The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

9780062870674_3cee2Originally published in Library Journal, August 2018.

Originally intended as a screenplay, this compelling debut historical fiction novel is based upon the life of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew imprisoned for almost three years at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he served as the tattooist. Soon after Lale, 25, arrives at Birkenau, he contracts typhus and is left for dead. He is rescued by fellow inmates and Pepan, an older French man and tattooist. Pepan teaches Lale the trade, which along with fluency in six languages, allows Lale privileges of a single room and extra food. Lale’s sole mission is to survive the unbelievable horrors and live to see another day outside the camp. Then he meets young Gita, and his mission changes to surviving and marrying Gita. Despite surroundings of bleakness and death, Lale and Gita’s passionate love blooms in the precious, miniscule moments alone. Lale’s story is heartbreaking, yet hopeful. Readers will root for him despite many setbacks to his survival. An afterword by Gary Sokolov, Lale and Gita’s son, further demonstrates his parents’ unbreakable bond of love and survival against unfathomable evil. VERDICT: Recommended for historical fiction & memoir fans for its unforgettable Holocaust story told from the unique perspective through the eyes of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

51pmjwgu0bl._sx340_bo1,204,203,200_The Library Book is a fabulous in-depth look at the unsolved mystery surrounding the single largest library fire in United States history,  that of the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986. Though the book is nonfiction, it is packed full of interesting information, including the history of the very first libraries as well as both hilarious and heartwarming anecdotal details from various library employees which Orlean interviewed.

Perhaps I loved it so much because I’m a librarian, but I believe it will be loved by any reader based upon the great popularity it has already received. Celebrity reader, Reese Witherspoon selected The Library Book as the January pick for her book club, Hello Sunshine and it’s also spent time on the New York Times Bestseller list, of course. It is evident that Orlean spent many years researching and studying the Los Angeles Public Library system, as well as libraries in general. Most fascinating to me was the description of  the process of thousands of wet, damaged books from the fire that were frozen before the mold started, and then months later pressed dry to remove all the moisture. Another really neat thing to read about was the start of e-books and the mind-blowing statistics of their worldwide usage today. I kept repeating facts out loud while reading to my husband because they were so interesting.

The Library Book has been called “a love letter to libraries” by some, which is certainly on point. In the beginning, Orlean tells of when she was a young girl visiting the library with her mother, a memory which she will always cherish. She remembers vividly the discussions with her mother on the way home which books they would read first and the feel of the stack of books in her lap, a comforting presence. Her mother always said she should have been a librarian. Like Orlean, I too have always held a special place in my heart for libraries. I can remember being in them from the time I was very young, in awe of the wonder surrounding me on the shelves. And, like Orlean’s mother, I always dreamed of being a librarian, and here I am. This book really captivated me and reminded me just how fortunate and thankful I am to be able to be living out the dream I once had as a little girl.

I would highly recommend The Library Book for fans of nonfiction and fiction alike, especially those who love a bit of mystery and/or history. You won’t be disappointed with this book!

Definitely Daphne by Tami Charles

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (#ReadYourWorld)

Understanding Poverty in America

Librarian Laura’s Review of Definitely Daphne by Tami Charles

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Definitely Daphne is a delightful new middle grade novel by Tami Charles. It is a perfect choice for Multicultural Children’s Book Day, as it is filled with characters of all colors, backgrounds, and histories.

Seventh-grader Annabelle Daphne Louis, known  as “Belle” to her family, has always been home-schooled because she’s moved so many times. Her mother is a Master Sargent in the Air Force and she’s lived in Germany and the UK. Recently, she was uprooted from Germany and brought to live in her mom’s hometown of Linden, New Jersey, all the way across the world from her best friend Mae, a Japanese girl she befriended on the Air Force base in the UK. Now she “sees” Mae during an almost daily Facetime session and through near-constant texting. Annabelle is tech-savvy and smart; her favorite thing to do in her free time is shoot Youtube videos in her girl cave. Black with Puerto Rican roots, Annabelle is very cultured and accepting of others different from her. She also can speak more than three languages, thanks to being a military kid. Now she is going to attend an actual school for the first time because her mom has to go to Afghanistan on an assignment and her father just landed a huge client at his tech company. She starts school at McManus where she sticks out like a sore thumb as the “new kid from Germany” with the weird clothes and funny accent.

When she asks to quit school after a very stressful first day, her mom suggests bringing her to therapy. Her therapist, Dr. Varma, actually “gets” her feelings and suggests that she start a vlog in order to help her acclimate to her new school and make friends. To keep her anonymity, she dresses in disguise and goes by her middle name, Daphne, and “Daphne Doesn’t” is born. Her first vlog becomes an almost instant internet sensation, which surprises Annabelle, as well as her family and best friend Mae.

She does make some true friends at McManus, other unique kids who don’t really fit in with the popular group: John, Clairna, and Navdeep. But when popular, beauty queen Rachael starts giving her attention for all the wrong reasons, Belle begins ditching her real friends in order to “fit in” with the “it” crowd. Along the way she loses her uniqueness that her three new friends love about her. When someone finds out that Annabelle is actually the popular internet video queen “Daphne,” Belle must decide how to handle the fame & popularity without losing her own identity and true friends in the process.

This is a wonderful story of family, friendship, and navigating the curve balls life throws at kids sometimes. The characters are unique and feel very real. The story line moves along rather quickly and is very humorous in places. I really enjoyed Annabelle’s story and I know you will too!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with the review copy of this title.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s EyesDescendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

2018: A Year In Review

Books Read in 2018: 109

My Favorite Books Read in 2018

Listed in no particular order, here are some of my favorite books read in 2018. I’ve included a bit of information after each title as to the intended audience and genre. Many are linked to my review of the title. Please let me know if you enjoyed any of these as much as I did. Happy New Year!

  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (Adult, Self-Help, Women’s Life)

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  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Adult, Historical Fiction)

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  • One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards (YA, Suspense, Thriller)

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  • The Other Woman by Sandie Jones (Adult, Psychological Suspense, Thriller)

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  • Crucible by James Rollins (Adult, Suspense, Thriller, Adventure)

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  • The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (Adult, Historical Fiction)

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  • Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman (Adult, Psychological Suspense)

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  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (YA, Contemporary Realistic)

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Books Read in 2018

 

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2018 was a great year of reading! Below is a list of all the YA and Adult books I read in 2018. Many of them are linked to my reviews. Let me know if there are any you read and want to discuss!

January

  1. The Heirs by Susan Rieger
  2. Us In Progress by Lulu Delacre
  3. The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
  4. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
  5. Orphan, Monster, Spy by Matt Killeen
  6. Little Big Love by Katy Regan

February

  1. Holly Jolly Summer by Tiffany Stewart
  2. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
  3. The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
  4. The Edge of Us by Veronica Larsen
  5. Too Late by Colleen Hoover
  6. After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
  7. Broken, Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia
  8. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
  9. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
  10. Send Down The Rain by Charles Martin
  11. Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin
  12. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

March

  1. Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
  2. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
  3. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
  4. The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
  5. Slammed by Colleen Hoover
  6. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
  7. I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
  8. Under the Lights by Abbi Glines
  9. Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
  10. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering
  11. Our Little Secret by Roz Nay
  12. After the Game by Abbi Glines
  13. Losing the Field by Abbi Glines
  14. The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom by AE Hotchner
  15. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

April

  1. The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
  2. Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry
  3. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
  4. He Will Be My Ruin by K. A. Tucker
  5. Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell
  6. Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker
  7. The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel
  8. The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet

May

  1. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
  2. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
  3. From Here to You by Jamie McGuire
  4. Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
  5. Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino
  6. Our Finest Hour by Jennifer Milliken
  7. Long Way Home by Katie McGarry
  8. Seaside Sweets by Melissa Chambers
  9. The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren

June

  1. Never, Never by Colleen Hoover
  2. Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover
  3. Wrong in All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee
  4. Lillian Frances by Colette Huxford
  5. When it’s Real by Erin Watt
  6. Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
  7. Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
  8. What We Find by Robyn Carr
  9. Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax
  10. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  11. Most of All You by Mia Sheridan
  12. Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker
  13. News of Our Loved Ones by Abigail DeWitt
  14. Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen
  15. One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards
  16. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

July

  1. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
  2. The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
  3. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
  4. The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
  5. The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
  6. Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
  7. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
  8. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
  9. Providence by Caroline Kepnes
  10. Sweet Sixteen by Brenda Rothert
  11. The Book of Joshua by Jennifer Anne Moses

August

  1. As Dust Dances by Samantha Young
  2. An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder
  3. Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
  4. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
  5. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
  6. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo
  7. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

September

  1. The Latecomers by Helen Klein Ross
  2. Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
  3. Yvain: the Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson
  4. A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
  5. Sadie by Courtney Summers
  6. Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West
  7. The Competition by Cecily Wolfe
  8. Till it Stops Beating by Hannah R. Goodman

October

  1. The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman
  2. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
  3. Sweet Addiction by J. Daniels
  4. Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde
  5. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus
  6. Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

November

  1. The Reckoning by John Grisham
  2. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
  3. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
  4. Crucible by James Rollins

December

  1. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  2. One Day in December by Josie Silver
  3. Verity by Colleen Hoover
  4. Definitely Daphne by Tami Charles
  5. Hide With Me by Sorboni Banerjee
  6. Something Like Breathing by Angela Readman
  7. The Au Pair by Emma Rous