October 2011

These are the books the Children's Area staff reviewed in October 2011. Click on the "check the catalog" link to see if the book is available. If it isn't, ask a librarian to put it on hold for you.

Scroll past these book reviews to see an archive of all of the previous book reviews.

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One Crazy Summer

Summer vacation becomes a life-changing experience for three young girls who travel from their hometown in Brooklyn, NY to visit with their long-lost mother in Oakland, CA during the Black Power movement of the late 1960's and early 1970's - a pivotal time in African American history. Only Delphine - 11-year old big sister - has fragmented memories of her mother before she left their home. She and her two younger sisters, Vonetta- age 9, and Fern- age 7, never refer to her as "Mommy, Mom, Mama, or Ma," which are all terms of endearment. They simply call her their mother – a statement of fact - or by her name, Cecile. Dreamy visions of Disneyland and playing at the beach are soon lost and replaced by the daily activities at The People's Center, the local community center run by the Black Panthers – the place where Cecile sends the girls every morning to eat at the free breakfast program and to participate in the summer day camp. As long as the girls are out of her kitchen and her house and not causing her any trouble, Cecile doesn't seem to care what they do. As usual it is up to Delphine to take care of her younger sisters, and instead of introducing them to Mickey Mouse and helping them find seashells, they learn about Huey Newton and the revolution. Over the course of their four week stay, in what little time they do spend with Cecile, the girls finally begin to get to know and understand her. Not only do they get to know their mother, but they also learn what it is to be a true revolutionary.

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Cars Galore

"Black car, green car, nice car, mean car. Near car, far car. Whoa! Bizarre car!" This is an awesome book about all kinds of crazy cars that you have never even imagined. Have you ever seen a Rock-and-Roll car? Or a Fun-filled-Fort car? The rhyming text and pages packed with exciting illustrations invite readers to explore this book for hours. Car-tastic!!

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Anything But Typical

If you have ever met a person with autism, you know it can be really hard to understand what's going on in their head. Anything but Typical will give you insights into the mind of someone with autism. This book is written from Jason's viewpoint. Jason is an 11 year old boy with autism who loves to write. Normally, communication is really hard for Jason, but when he writes he can say all the things in his mind. He writes stories about all kinds of interesting characters, and he lets the story find its own ending, its own path through the plot. Jason finds a pen-pal over the internet who loves his stories. He really enjoys the budding friendship with this girl, and for the first time in his life he experiences a normal relationship with a peer. When he finds out she is going to the same storytelling conference as he is, his world falls apart. He is so afraid she will not like him. Anything but Typical is the story of a special child who is experiencing some very normal occurrences in his life. I really liked this story and I hope you will too.

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