Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Book Review: The World Beneath by Janice Warman

The World BeneathThe World Beneath by Janice Warman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reposted from my review on Kidliterati 

This historical novel opens up in Cape Town, South Africa, 1976 during apartheid.

Twelve-year-old, Joshua dreams about his big brother, who works in Johannesburg, and he fears for his life. His mother, they call Beauty, not her Xhosa name is the maid in a white household, and she assures Joshua his brother’s fine.

Sent to live with his mother and the wealthy Malherbe’s while he recovers from tuberculosis, Joshua hides his presence. He’s not supposed to be seen. There’s a cupboard under the stairs, where he keeps out of everyone’s way, listening to the sounds of the house.

One day, he finds himself on a “whites only” street with money in his pocket. His mother had told him, “You must never let the police see you. You are not supposed to be here. You must be invisible.”

But when kind-hearted, Joshua comes across Tsumalo, a black man being hunted down by the police the outside world enters to the house of the Malherbe’s, and Joshua hides him in the shack no one visits. Tsumalo explains the cruel injustices taking place in South Africa.

“We are fighting for freedom, Joshua. The whites have the power, and they don’t want to share it with us. They call it apartheid.”

The two become very close, Tsumalo much like the father he never had. Joshua wants to return home to Ciske, where his grandparents live with his younger brother and sister. But he also wants to help, be like his brother, and fight for justice. Only he has to get an education, first, which is denied black people under apartheid.

An explosive incident happens at the Malherbe’s, and Joshua is separated from his mother and Tsumalo. But two years later, Joshua returns to the town he grew up, and to the house his mother worked, knowing he has to make a choice, a choice that could send him to prison without a trial.

Difficult and heartbreaking, readers follow Joshua through what he has to endure; be prepared to become angry when reminded of the ignorance of racism and apartheid. This book is a good starting point for discussions about human rights and democracy, but some passages may not be clear enough for young readers. The author is a reporter now, who lived in South Africa during this time.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Update: YES! The Democrats took the House. Time for accountability from this administration! 

Because Our Lives Depend on Good Representation! 

We are fighting for our democracy! 

We are being threatened by a terrorist-in-chief who is beholden to Russia. 

A GOP controlled Senate and House that wants to take Health Insurance AWAY from the American People! (My family's included.)

 And give it to Billionaires.  

For our lives! 
For our health!
To flourish as a society

Vote Blue to save our Social Security -- of which we, the people pay into all our working lives, yet the GOP wants to strip us of that as well! 

Such criminal behavior. 


Monday, October 29, 2018

Never Stay Silent!

With hate and fascism spreading through this nation like wildfire remember the words of Desmond Tutu and Elie Wiesel: 

Either way...
Love wins! 

Sidenote: I recently found out my grandfather flew a PBY Catalina over the Mississippi during WW2 to keep Nazi submarines from entering the United States.  

Thanks, Grandpa! 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Book Review: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Ali Fadhil and Jennifer Roy

Playing Atari with Saddam HusseinPlaying Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Basra, Iraq, 1991

January 16th.
The bombs start falling.  A repost from my review on Kidlilterati. 

Eleven-year-old Ali and his brother Shirzad, are busy playing Atari when their mother orders them to the safe room. They race each other to the farthest reaches of the schoolhouse, a target where Saddam has placed weapons, where their young sister and brother wait.

The Americans are coming.

This is Ali’s second war, the first lasted eight years, (with Iran) ending when he was nine, his sister only six; she doesn’t remember what war is like.

Saddam Hussein is the president of Iraq, George Bush, the president of the United States. After Saddam orders the invasion of Kuwait, a neighboring country south of Ali’s home in Basra, his family scrambles to lock down and wait for the bombs to pass.

While the bombs fall, Ali plays Atari in his imagination. The bombs hit close enough his teeth vibrate, and he and his siblings sing the Muppet Show theme, drowning them out, and his family lives through their first night of the war.

Saddam’s people are everywhere, even the obnoxious twins Ali and his brother play “football” with, are sons of one of Saddam’s top men, anything he and his brother say or do will be reported. Propaganda rules the airwaves. People disappear.

Meanwhile, everything about America fascinates Ali. He “wishes he’d been born in a place where people are happy and carefree. Where families aren’t hiding, hoping to live through the night, for no other reason than their leader is a madman.”

Ali and his family stick with you, how they survive and deal with the unimaginable, how their regular lives are changed and how they cope as a family even while their father, a dentist for the regime disappears, and Ali’s older brother becomes the boss of him. Based on a true story. There are playful moments, and terrorizing fear, and I cannot recommend this book highly enough, a gripping and thoroughly immersive book.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Read a New Fantasy Anthology!

My Story OVER AND OVER is featured in the debut issue of 

Fantasy Short Stories Anthology 

An anthology series featuring amazing stories by authors from around the world. In Book One you'll find stories about magical swords, multiple lives, super-villains, beings from other worlds, and more. 

Stories include: 

Bedwyr and Caliburn after Camlann 
By Patrick S. Baker 

Back into the Cave 
by Isaac Teile 

Over and Over 
By K. L. Hallam 

Honor Among Thieves 
By Gustavo Bondoni 

by Vonnie Winslow Crist 

Life Choices 
By Neil A. Hogan 

A Matter of Vanity 
By Julie Goodswen 

Blurb for Over and Over:

Future Earth: 22X. The last of the dreamers are brought back from death, but only those who still hold memories and can recreate a new future for a dying species.

Available in Print or eBook


Currently $2.99 for Kindle

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Exciting News!

My Story G.L.O.R.I.A. is featured in issue #16 of  Alien Dimensions.  Yay! 

Science Fiction is my FUDGE and I'm thrilled to continue producing stories in this genre.  

Look at this Beauty!   

Today, Sept 4th is Launch Day.

 ~ with Special Pricing for the Digital Version at $0.99 

"I created G.L.O.R.I.A., to be more than a fire weapon.
GLORIA was my monster. 

Science Fiction helps me idealize the world and create a better future! 

Available in print or ebook! Barnes & Noble and Amazon. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

MG Book Review: Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard

Just Like JackieJust Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A repost of my review on Kidliterati 

Robinson Hart isn’t a baby robin. She’s the only person to stand up to Alex Carter, the biggest bully in fifth-grade, and he’d better watch his mouth. Grandpa taught her how to seal transmission fluid, but nothing’s going to seal Alex’s mouth or the bloody nose she just gave him. “Robbie” Robinson’s a spitfire and a darn good baseball player. Her best friend Derrick, the opposite of everything she is, runs to her aid on the schoolyard, proclaiming it’s not her fault. “That’s why people need moms, or they end up like her,” Alex Baby Carter cries in defense.

Robinson’s never known her mother or father. All she’s had is Grandpa even if people stare, wondering how they could be related. He’s a black man, and she’s white, he raised her and named her after Jackie Robinson. Now it’s she, who’s taking care of him. Grandpa’s showing signs of Alzheimer’s, and Robbie hates when he’s called into school, on days she’s forgotten to count to ten or read baseball stats in her head to calm down. Whenever I’m bad he forgets more.

Robbie’s wants suspension, then she can help Grandpa in the garage all day, every day for the rest of her life. She’s really good at it, good thing because Grandpa’s forgetting his words and his memory gets tired, and she can’t have anyone wondering if he’s unfit to raise a child. She’s his right-hand and Harold, who’s practicing to be a dad while awaiting an adoption with his partner Paul, is Grandpa’s left-hand in the garage. She knows everything about repairing cars and tapping sugar maple trees.

When her fifth-grade class is given a family tree assignment. Robbie doesn’t know her mother’s name or anything about her family, and her grandfather’s quickly forgetting everything. Robbie needs to find out. Gloria, the guidance counselor, invites a group to discuss their emotions and work on the family tree project, but there’s no way Robbie’s having any of it. Especially since Gloria invited the bully, Alex Carter into the group.

A heartfelt and realistic depiction of living with someone with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s particularly painful reading how a child deals with her grandfather’s struggle. A beautifully written book, with great sensitivity, along with fantastic baseball and mechanic metaphors, we also learn a little about tapping sugar maples in Vermont. And what it looks like when we misjudge others and the lives they live, or the suffering we know nothing about, and then discovering your archenemy might have a heart after all.

Suggested for grade level: 3-7. A moving and powerful reading experience.

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