All posts tagged: book review

The Island of Sea Women

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa Lee is the first powerful and captivating book that I read this year. The novel is about haenyeo and female friendship. Haenyeo are sea divers and they belong to a matrifocal society, where the women provide for their families. Husbands stay at home, cook and take care of children, while women sell the captured sea creatures and earn their livelihood. The novel is set in Jeju Island when it was occupied by Japanese and later by Americans and was ravaged by violence. The friendship between Mija and Young-sook is the key element of the novel. They grow up together, train as haenyeo, and get separated after their marriages, but keep in touch occasionally. Mija indirectly causes irreparable loss to Young-sook and they turn from best friends to enemies. Will Young-sook forgive Mija? Why did Mija act the way she did? These two questions drive the novel. I did not expect so much violence and See paints a picture that haunts you long after you put the book down. …

Ghosts

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier is a graphic novel about two sisters. Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya is sick. Maya has cystic fibrosis and the cool sea air could make her feel better. Catrina doesn’t like moving Bahia de la Luna because she will miss her friends. The town has a secret. There are ghosts in Bahia de la Luna. Maya wants to meet a ghost, but Catrina doesn’t want to meet one. At the end of the year, when the ghosts meet their loved ones, will Catrina put aside her fear of ghosts? Will Maya make ghost friends? This novel also explores the relationship between two sisters and their fears. This is my first time reading a graphic novel and I loved the beautiful illustrations. There was so much detail in each picture. I appreciated the sinuous drawings of the ghosts. The story itself had a logical ending, but the series of events were captivating. This is my first Raina Telgemeier novel and …

House without walls

House without walls by Ching Yeung Russell is a touching novel about the plight of refugees in finding a new homeland. Eleven-year-old Lam escapes Vietnam with her younger brother Dee Dee during the Vietnam Boat People Exodus in 1979, when people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia fled their homelands for safety. Lam and Dee Dee’s final destination is San Francisco, to live with their father. Their immediate destination was to reach a refugee camp so that they could travel to America. Their sea voyage is riddled with cold, hunger, exhaustion and violent sea pirates. At sea, a kind family takes them under their wing and they spend with them until they leave to America. The plight of the refugees and the disapproval by the new countries was heart touching. In one of the countries they landed, they shipped the refugees back to the sea in malfunctioned boats, with the intent that they will die at the sea and will not return back to their country. This incident almost brought tears to my eyes. The novel …

Badger’s Perfect Garden

A badger wants to plant the perfect garden. He collects many seeds of different colors, shapes, and sizes and asks for his friends’ help to plant the seeds. His friends Red Squirrel, Dormouse and Weasel offer help willingly; they weed, rake and plant. But nature has other plans for the badger’s garden, which disappoints the badger. How did badger deal with his disappointment? Was his garden as perfect as he wanted it to be? This is a good book to teach children about how to persevere when things don’t happen according to plan. This book is written by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki. The illustrations were beautiful and animated. Rating: 5/5 Published: March 15, 2019, by Sleeping Bear Press

Dreamers

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales is a children’s picture book about immigrants. In this book, a mother and son cross a bridge and move from their home to a new country. They face several challenges such as not knowing the language and social norms of the new place. They discover a library and their love for books assimilates them in the new culture, and make them feel like they belong to that alien country. This story is inspired by the author’s personal life. Yuyi Morales and her son Kelly traveled from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas, legally and unexpectedly had to settle down in the States. As a result, they missed their family, food, friends, job, and the ability to communicate – to understand and be understood. They discovered a local library, learned, read and spoke English and made the United States of America their new home. In the author’s own words, ‘Dreamers: we enter a new country carried by hopes and dreams, and carrying our own special gifts, to build a better future’. …

Mommy’s Khimar

Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow is a children’s picture book. A Khimar is a flowing scarf and is also called a hijab. In this story, a young girl plays dress-up with her mother’s head scarves. By wearing Mommy’s Khimar she becomes a queen with a golden train, a mama bird protecting her baby brother and a superhero in a cape. She smells her Mommy’s Khimar and becomes surrounded by her mother’s love and warmth. The illustrations by Ebony Glenn were catchy with bright colors and the facial expressions of the young girl were exquisite. This book is the perfect book about a girl’s love for her mother and embracing Muslim culture and traditions. Rating: 5/5 Published: April 3, 2018

Soul Spoken

Soul Spoken by Chaitali Nath is a book of poems, musings, and stories. The poems are about friendship, love, women empowerment, protecting nature and writing, to quote a few themes. This is my first time reading a book of poems and I enjoyed reading them. I got a beautiful insight about life in general, from these poems. Rather than completing the book in one sitting, this book has to be savored. Each poem has to reflected upon and imbibed. The book would have been more structured if the quotes, musings, open letters, and stories were not in the same book. The author is a modern young poet and she has chosen fitting themes for her poems. People of a wide age range, from early teenagers to late adults can enjoy this book. To quote a stanza from the poem, I found love: “Love is not always a boy and a girl holding hands Love is also when mom feeds you with her own hands Love is also when you get those colorful friendship bands Love …