Throwback Thursday — Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today I am sharing a new-to-me historical picture book which documents events that rocked Memphis, Tennessee — and ultimately the world — in the winter and spring of 1968.

 

MEMPHIS, MARTIN--COVER

About the Book

This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination–when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.

In February 1968, two African American sanitation workers were killed by unsafe equipment in Memphis, Tennessee. Outraged at the city’s refusal to recognize a labor union that would fight for higher pay and safer working conditions, sanitation workers went on strike. The strike lasted two months, during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was called to help with the protests. While his presence was greatly inspiring to the community, this unfortunately would be his last stand for justice. He was assassinated in his Memphis hotel the day after delivering his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” sermon in Mason Temple Church. Inspired by the memories of a teacher who participated in the strike as a child, author Alice Faye Duncan reveals the story of the Memphis sanitation strike from the perspective of a young girl with a riveting combination of poetry and prose.

Amazon



My Thoughts About This Book:

I was thrilled when I saw this title come up in our library’s online catalog. Late last year we watched an American Experience show on PBS about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to Memphis in April, 1968. I learned so much from the documentary, and I was anxious to read this book to see how this tragic event was handled in a book written for children.

The main character, nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, is based upon a teacher in Memphis who participated in the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike with her parents when she was a child.

The conflict began in January, 1968, when two black sanitation workers were killed by a malfunctioning packer blade on an old and poorly-maintained garbage truck. Echol Cole and Robert Walker worked with Lorraine’s father.

$1.70 per hour — this was the average pay of a Memphis sanitation worker. The workers formed a labor union with the hope of gaining better pay, better treatment on the job, and improved safety. Memphis’s mayor, Henry Loeb, would not grant a pay increase, and he refused to acknowledge the workers’ labor union.

Beginning on February 12, 1968, and lasting for sixty-five days, 1,300 men went on strike. They marched to City Hall carrying signs. The workers and their families sacrificed greatly during this strike. A group of preachers in Memphis organized and used church donations to help the striking workers pay their bills. “The NAACP organized boycotts to support the strike.” (page 9)

The workers attended rallies each night. They sang freedom songs and listened to preachers. “The mayor railed NO! to every labor request, and my daddy kept right on marching.” (page 11)

The excitement described by the narrator, nine-year-old Lorraine, when it was announced that Martin Luther King, Jr., would be traveling to Memphis in March to try to assist in the sanitation workers’ cause was palpable. When Dr. King arrived on March 18th, he preached, and then made a plan to march with the workers on March 22nd. Except the march didn’t happen that day because an unusual amount of sixteen inches of snow fell in Memphis.

The march was rescheduled for March 28th on Beale Street. Six thousand women, men, and children attended. Unfortunately, instead of a peaceful march, some militant individuals created a riot. In response, Mayor Loeb called in four thousand National Guard troops and set a 7:00PM curfew. 

Dr. King left Memphis, but he promised to return . . .  Dr. King did return to the city on April 3rd. He spoke to the sanitation workers with passion that evening. The next day, Dr. King was assassinated by James Earl Ray on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

The final chapters of the book are about Mrs. Coretta Scott King and the termination of the Memphis Sanitation Strike on April 16, 1968. The book includes several poems.

Back Matter includes a detailed ‘Memphis Sanitation Strike–1968–Timeline’, information about the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Sources, and Source Notes. 

Words cannot express the profound affect this book had on me. Its poignant retelling of this part of our nation’s history is powerful. The author’s well-chosen words are fully-supported by the illustrator’s beautiful paintings.

Highly-recommended to teachers, librarians, and families. This book will open up important discussions about civil rights, respect, tolerance, perseverance, and determination. 



Alice-Faye-Duncan-333x500
Alice Faye Duncan

About the Author

On the author’s website you will find information about her books along with a set of lesson plans designed for several of her books.

Bonus Content:

Here is a link to a movie of ‘Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop’ made by the Memphis Public Library:  https://youtu.be/MrbGrqynB_g

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R. GREGORY CHRISTIER. Gregory Christie

About the Illustrator

Gregory Christie received a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Freedom in Congo Square, written by Carole Boston Weatherford. He is a three-time recipient of The New York Times’s 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year Award, a six-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor Award in Illustration, and a winner of the Boston Globe­–Horn Book Award, the NAACP’s Image Award, and the Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award from the Museum of Tolerance. Visit Mr. Christie’s website at Gas-Art.com.


 

Deadly Connection by Lenora Worth

ABOUT THE BOOK 


Hidden enemies can be deadly.

But the Brooklyn K-9 Unit is on the case.

On her way to question US Marshal Emmett Gage about a DNA match that implicates his relative in a cold case and a recent murder, Officer Belle Montera’s attacked. Now she and her K-9 partner must team up with Emmett to find his cousin and the person after Belle. But can they figure out who’s targeting her without becoming murder victims themselves?

AMAZON  |GOODREADS 


MY THOUGHTS 

Deadly Connections by Lenora Worth is part of the K-9 True Blue unit series set in Brooklyn. Belle comes from a big family while Emmett is a loner. Belle, who is on her way to meet Emmett regarding DNA found related to a 20 year old murder case, is attacked, but Emmett rescues her. The plot is suspenseful and kept my attention from the start. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR  

A member of both the RWA and ACFW Honor Rolls, Lenora Worth writes romance and romantic suspense for Love Inspired and also writes for Tule Publishing. Three of her books finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards and several have been RT Reviewer’s Choice finalists. She also received the RT Romance Pioneer Award for Inspirational Fiction. “Logan’s Child” won the 1998 Best Love Inspired for RT. She is a NY Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling writer and a 2019 Rita Finalist. With eighty-plus books and novellas published and millions in print, she enjoys adventures with her retired husband, Don. Lenora loves reading, baking and shopping … especially shoe shopping.

WEBSITE |FACEBOOK |TWITTER|GOODREADS 


Post by contributor Allyson Anthony

Book Review: The Paper Daughters of Chinatown

Hello reader friends! Today I am thrilled to share such a beautifully written novel, but first want to let you know that it is certainly not for everyone. There are some triggers in this book, as you can surmise based on the book blurb. However, if you are able to, I highly recommend reading this book. It will surprise you in ways you didn’t imagine.

 

About the Book

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown

A powerful story based on true events surrounding Donaldina Cameron and other brave women who fought to help Chinese-American women escape discrimination and slavery in the late 19th century in California.

When Donaldina Cameron arrives at the Occidental Mission Home for Girls in 1895, she intends to teach sewing skills to young Chinese women immigrants, but, within days, she discovers that the job is much more complicated than perfect stitches and even hems. San Francisco has a dark side, one where a powerful underground organization – the criminal tong – brings Chinese young women to America to sell them as slaves. With the help of Chinese interpreters and the Chinatown police squad, Donaldina becomes a tireless social reformer to stop the abominable slave and prostitution trade.

Mei Lien believes she is sailing to the “Gold Mountain” in America to become the wife of a rich Chinese man. Instead she finds herself sold into prostitution – beaten, starved, and forced into an opium addiction. It is only after a narrow escape that she hears of the mission home and dares to think there might be hope for a new life.

AMAZON  |  BARNES AND NOBLE  |   GOODREADS


My Thoughts

 

There is so much history in this novel I don’t even know where to begin. The author’s attention to detail, and countless hours of research is evident on each and every page. Yes, it was a hard read at times. But all history isn’t cheery and roses. It is tough. It is hard to swallow. But at the end of the day, it still provides hope, which is exactly what Moore has done here.

Donaldina, “Dolly”,  is a character we can all connect with – a girl who wants to help out, thinking she is brave enough to handle it. A girl with a big heart, trying to make a difference. Sound familiar? Yeah, it does to me. As we often find in life, Donaldina found that the work she was doing wasn’t really what she had in mind, and was much harder than she ever thought. But that didn’t stop her. In fact, she found herself doing things she never dreamed of, and that in itself was inspirational.

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown is a poignant story that had me reaching for the tissues. The stories of the things these young woman (and girls) went through absolutely broke my heart. The addition of Mei Lien to the storyline was perfect. She provided a POV that I was nervous about reading, but found myself clinging to every scene. Again, it was hard to read, and I know there were women in much worse circumstances than her. It really makes you think about things, about life.

If you are looking for a historically accurate read that will open your eyes and take your breath away, I highly recommend this book. It is full of emotion, sadness, and darkness. But I find that you can always find a little light in a dark world, and that’s exactly what Moore does. She brings readers hope.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


About the Author

Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty publications. Her historical novels and thrillers are written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women’s fiction, romance and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom. Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah. Heather is represented by Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.

Please join Heather’s email list at: HBMoore.com/contact/
Blog: MyWritersLair.blogspot.com
Website: HBMoore.com
Instagram: @authorhbmoore
Twitter: @heatherbmoore
Facebook: Fans of H.B. Moore


 

Do you like reading historically accurate stories, even if they are emotionally hard to read?

 


Post by Contributor Jessica Baker

 

Book Review: An Uncommon Beauty

Happy Wednesday! Today’s book review is An Uncommon Beauty (Abiding Love Book 2) by Kari Trumbo. 


ABOUT THE BOOK

WHAT’S A SHERIFF TO DO WHEN LOVE TEMPTS HIM TO BREAK THE LAW? 

THE WRONG MAN FOR THE JOB 

After failing to catch a rustling ring right under his nose, Sheriff Carl Rainer sees anger and mistrust everywhere he looks. Seeking to do right by the town, he makes an arrest that will either turn the tide or force the mayor to fire him. 

THE RIGHT WOMAN IN THE WRONG TIME 

Esther Greening is a woman ahead of her time. As former co-owner of an orphanage, she steps in as temporary teacher of the Albertville school when the sheriff arrests the last one for murder. However, a threat against one of her former charges sends Esther running to the girl’s rescue in direct defiance of Carl’s insistence that she keep safe. 

A PAIR THAT CAN NEVER BE 

With a law that forbids a white man to marry a black woman, a relationship could get either of them thrown out of town. But when a former rustler abducts Esther, Carl will stop at nothing to get her back. 

What will it take for Carl and Esther to gain the support of the town and for love to conquer prejudice?

AMAZON |GOODREADS |


MY THOUGHTS

An Uncommon Beauty drew me in from the first page. It’s a story filled with romance, action, and suspense, and it’s a story about people standing beside their friends.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kari Trumbo is a bestselling author of Christian and sweet romance.

She writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with historical detail and heart.

She’s a stay-at-home mom to four vibrant children. When she isn’t writing, or editing, she home schools her children and pretends to keep up with them.

Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota, land of frigid toes and mosquitoes the size of compact cars, with her husband of over twenty years. They have two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB


Post by Contributor Allyson Anthony

Book Review: Bright Side

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today I am thrilled to share my thoughts about Bright Side by Rose Fresquez. Bright Side is the third book in Rose Fresquez’s Buchanan series, her delightful interracial Christian firefighter romance series.


ABOUT THE BOOK

A firefighter burned out on romance, a single mom who sparks his interest and ignites their second chance at Love.

After his former relationship goes up in flames, Andrew Buchanan accepts a position as captain of a firehouse near his hometown. Determined to invest time with family and the new community, Andrew lets his brother reel him into coaching a kids’ soccer team. The last thing on his mind is romance…until an opportunity presents itself in the form of Bianca Perez.

She’s a single mom run ragged, but ready to step back into dating after being a widow for five years. Falling for a hot firefighter is crazy enough.

Making a fool of herself in front of Andrew Buchanan is not part of her plan—if she had a more definite plan, she would know better than to fantasize about a man who would never give her the time of day. When her fantasy unfolds to reality, they both realize how much they need a chance to love again. Will Bianca be willing to risk losing another man in the line of duty?

Bright Side is the third book in the standalone series; The Buchanans.

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

“You look at me like I’m going to light a match and set you on fire.”

With a sweet romance, a fun family-centered storyline, and bits of humor sprinkled throughout, author Rose Fresquez creates a captivating contemporary romance novel that her readers will be sure to enjoy.  Even though Bright Side is the third book in Rose Fresquez’s Buchanans series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. This wonderful interracial firefighter romance series follows the three Buchanan siblings (Ezra, Renee, and Andrew) as they discover love when they least expect it.

After a failed engagement, fire captain Andrew Buchanan is hesitant to enter a relationship again.  Bianca, a widow with a young daughter, is afraid of losing another person she loves.  Add in the crazy antics of coaching a youth soccer team and you have the recipe for a humorous and fun novel.   

Personally, I love series that focus on close family and friend relationships, so I was thrilled that all the Buchanan siblings and their significant others played a role in this book.  Readers will fall in love with this family and will want to go back and read the first two books in the series if they have not already. 

Bright Side is recommended for readers of inspirational contemporary romance.  If you haven’t read any books by this author yet, this is the perfect opportunity!  I am looking forward to reading more books from Rose Fresquez in the future.

I RECEIVED A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER AND WAS NOT REQUIRED TO WRITE A POSITIVE REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MINE.

“She was not about to admit to him that he ignited a fire within her, something she hadn’t experienced since her first love, or even ever before.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rose Fresquez is a stay-at-home mom, with a husband and four kids. In her free time, she likes to spend time outdoors with the family, sing gospel music and plotting her next writing project.

Rose’s writing projects include both Christian non-fiction and Christian fiction.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

Book Review: The Truth About Fame

Happy Monday, friends! Today I wanted to share my thoughts about The Truth About Fame. This is the second book in Toni Shiloh’s new Christian Chick Lit series: Faith & Fortune. The Truth About Fame releases tomorrow July 7th, so you still have time to add it to your TBR list! You won’t be disappointed! Happy Reading!


ABOUT THE BOOK

My life has always been in the spotlight. Born to two famous parents and then quickly rising to “super” status in the modeling world ensured that I, Astoria “Tori” Bell, would always have my image plastered across newsstands. Unfortunately, adoring fans weren’t always magnanimous and now I have a stalker on my hands.

Oddly enough, the tall, dark, and all-too handsome bodyguard hired to protect me seems more harmful than the threatening notes from the stalker. As well as his plan to flush out the danger by proposing a fake engagement.

The lines between pretend and reality blur and I have to shore up my resolves.

Baggage from my past means I can’t let myself be vulnerable. But the way Marcel Fox treats me has me thinking otherwise.

With a new rock on my finger and the man who put it there by my side, happily ever after seems like a possibility or is that as fake as my public persona?

The Truth About Fame is the second book in the Christian Chick Lit series: Faith & Fortune.

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

“Despite what most people thought, fame wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.”

The Truth About Fame is the second book in Toni Shiloh’s new Christian Chick Lit series, Faith & Fortune. It is recommended that the Faith & Fortune series be read in order, starting with The Trouble With Love, since the characters and storylines continue throughout the series.

In The Truth About Fame, supermodel Tori Bell finds herself with a stalker. When her stalker’s threats escalate and Tori’s friends are in danger, it is up to Tori and her handsome bodyguard Marcel Fox to find out the stalker’s identity before it is too late. 

Even though best friends Holiday, Tori, and Octavia are all famous and wealthy, they have insecurities and struggles that readers can easily relate to.  The Truth About Fame deals with some serious topics, but Toni Shiloh keeps the tone light and adds in humor that her readers are sure to enjoy.  The banter between Tori and Marcel is perfectly done and endears me to these wonderful characters. 

Toni Shiloh continues to bring a much-needed diversity to Christian fiction, and her writing is rich with beautiful messages of faith.  Toni Shiloh’s novels always encourage me to dig deeper into the Scripture and reflect on my own life.  I have loved every single one of her books, but I think this book might be her best one yet! 

The Truth About Fame is highly recommended for readers of inspirational fiction. I can’t wait to read Octavia’s story in The Price of Dreams, which releases in August 2020.

I RECEIVED A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER AND WAS NOT REQUIRED TO WRITE A POSITIVE REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MINE.

“Maybe, just maybe, my future could be different.  I could trust in a God who gave second chances.  I could fall in love and trust this man with my innermost secrets and desires.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novel, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist and Risking Love is a 2020 Selah Award finalist.

A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to help readers find authors. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at http://tonishiloh.com.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Book Review: The Trouble with Love by Toni Shiloh

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today we’re featuring a book review of The Trouble with Love by the lovely and amazing Toni Shiloh! Be sure to check out this phenomenal book!


About the Book

I, Holiday Brown, have it all. A platinum record. Multi-million dollar home in Manhattan that I share with my two best friends. Life is looking fantastic until my roommate’s brother decides to bunk in our guestroom while his house gets renovated.

W. Emmett Bell has always been the bane of my existence. He’s annoying, stubborn, a know it all, and just might be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I refuse to fall for him. Then his sister’s threatened by a stalker and dynamics change. His unwavering faith isn’t quite as self-righteous as I’d always thought, and maybe he has a good side I’ve overlooked all these years.

Or maybe it’s all too much trouble.

The Trouble With Love is the first book in the Christian Chick Lit series: Faith & Fortune. 
Amazon | Goodreads


My Thoughts:

The Trouble with Love is an amazing read, seriously it’s so good and I absolutely loved it!I loved Holiday and Emmett, Holiday was so likeable and totally relatable, I was cheering her on! Emmett was such a sweetheart, I loved how he helped Holiday to see how much God loves her!
I have never been to New York City, but I am fascinated with stories that are set there, and I loved that NYC is the setting for this series, Toni skillfully brought the city to life and made me feel like I was there!
I loved Tori and Octavia too and I’m super excited to read their stories, especially Octavia’s because she’s currently my favorite of the three ladies!
I also loved that this book is written in first person.
And I loved the suspense thread that was woven through the story!
The Trouble with Love is a fabulous read! I highly recommend it and I can’t wait to read The Truth about Fame.
Take my word for it, The Trouble with Love is one you don’t wanna miss!
(5 Stars!)

I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher. Which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own!

This review was first posted on Just Your Average reviews

About the Author

Author bio –Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novel, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist and Risking Love is a 2020 Selah Award finalist. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to help readers find authors. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at www.tonishiloh.com

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub | Newsletter


Post by contributor Caitlyn Santi


What interests you most about The Trouble with Love? Have you read any of Toni Shiloh’s books yet?

Book Review: Taking A Chance on the Enemy by Liwen Y. Ho

Happy Monday! Today on Diversity Between the Pages we’re featuring a review on Taking a Chance on the Enemy by Liwen Y. Ho.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

About the Book

She’s an art teacher used to coloring outside the lines. He’s the straight-laced cop who pulled her over. Sparks fly when she decides to take a chance on the enemy.

Feisty and adventurous, art teacher Sam Koo is used to getting what she wants, including talking her way out of traffic tickets. When it comes to money matters though, she’s a lost cause. Her studio is in trouble, and there’s no way of charming herself out of this mess.

Police officer Lucas Choi is the last person she expects to rescue her. Handsome and rule-abiding, he was the best—and worst—part of her high school experience. When they meet a decade later, he’s still on her case and quick to point out her flaws.

Their differences drive each other crazy, but also draw them closer. The attraction is tangible, yet so are Sam’s fears. Will she choose to protect her heart or trust the only man who ever rejected her?

Each book in the Taking Chances on Love series is a standalone and can be read separately. To follow the stories as they occur in the overall timeline, feel free to read them in this order:

Taking a Chance on Mr. Wrong – Book Two

Taking a Chance on the Heartbreaker – Book One

Taking a Chance on the Enemy – Book Three

*Taking a Chance on the Enemy was formerly titled Drawn to You. This story was edited and rereleased with a new cover for your reading pleasure.

Amazon | Goodreads

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My Review:

This is my first time reading anything by Liwen Y. Ho, and I truly enjoyed reading how opposite personalities attract. Sam Koo, an artist whose studio is on the edge of bankruptcy and is disorganized, is the complete of Lucas Choi, a police officer who is organized and a stickler for not breaking rules. They have known each other from school and drove each other crazy back then. They meet up again when Lucas pulls Sam over. This is an easy to read, sweet book as well as the chemistry and tension between the two characters. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

About the Author

Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and a writer by night. She writes sweet and inspirational romance infused with heart, humor, and a taste of home (her Asian roots).

In her pre-author life, she received a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary. She loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________Post by Contributor Allyson Anthony

Throwback Thursday — Code Word Courage

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today I am sharing one of my favorite WWII historical fiction novels by Author Kirby Larson. This exceptional book features the Navajo Code Talker program of WWII and diverse characters from the Navajo Nation and Mexico.

 

CODE WORD COURAGE

About the Book

Billie has lived with her great-aunt ever since her mom passed away and her dad left. Billie’s big brother, Leo, is about to leave, too, for the warfront. But first, she gets one more weekend with him at the ranch.

Billie’s surprised when Leo brings home a fellow Marine from boot camp, Denny. She has so much to ask Leo — about losing her best friend and trying to find their father — but Denny, who is Navajo, or Diné, comes with something special: a gorgeous, but injured, stray dog. As Billie cares for the dog, whom they name Bear, she and Bear grow deeply attached to each other.
 
Soon enough, it’s time for Leo and Denny, a Navajo Code Talker, to ship out. Billie does her part for the war effort, but she worries whether Leo and Denny will make it home, whether she’ll find a new friend, and if her father will ever come back. Can Bear help Billie — and Denny — find what’s most important?
 
A powerful tale about unsung heroism on the WWII battlefield and the home front.

Amazon



My Thoughts About This Book:

I was drawn to this book by a review I read. This book has three elements I always look for in middle-grade books before I begin reading them:  Historical fiction–this one is set during World War II. Diverse characters–this one features Navajo and Mexican characters portrayed positively and in important roles.Animals as inspirational supporting characters–this one has a dog.  

The other component I look for as I am reading the book are the feelings of empathy and compassion and the maturing of a character through lessons learned. These elements can only be garnered by a skilled author. 

This book possesses all of these traits. 

What sets this story apart from others is Kirby Larson’s awesome writing style. She seems to flawlessly place the right words on the page at just the right tempo and in just the right order. Her setting and characters are well-developed. Her novel is obviously well-researched from my reading of non-fiction about this time period.

I particularly liked the way the main character, Billie, reached beyond her lonely, mournful life to touch others through her kindness and friendship. In particular, she forges a friendship with a boy from Mexico whose father works on Billie’s great-aunt’s ranch. Tito is wise beyond his years, in my opinion, when it comes to his emotional intelligence regarding being bullied by the so-called popular kids in school.

Another exceptional aspect of this book is the World War II depiction of military life and the battle scenes the author so carefully researched.  Billie’s close relationship with her older brother, Leo, is admirable. 

Finally, the inclusion of Denny, a Navajo friend of Leo’s, and the abandoned dog he brought home to Billie’s house enrich the plot ten-fold. The tribute to the ‘Navajo Code Talker’ program in WWII and the courageous men who participated in this ground-breaking mission was intriguing.

I believe this is a story that should not be missed by middle-grade readers. It would also make a worthwhile read-aloud in class or during a family’s reading time. So many great life lessons are taught in its pages.

Highly recommended to middle-grade readers, fans of historical and military fiction, fans of animal-centered fiction, and fans of literature which includes diverse populations as strong characters.

I borrowed this book from the Children’s Section of the local public library.

Below is a link to the Goodreads page listing all four installments in the ‘Dogs of World War II’ series by this author with links to their book blurbs.

LINK TO ‘DOGS OF WORLD WAR II’ SERIES ON GOODREADS


Kirby Larson

About the Author

Kirby Larson went from history-phobe to history fanatic while writing the 2007 Newbery Honor Book, HATTIE BIG SKY. Her passion for historical fiction is reflected in titles such as THE FENCES BETWEEN US, THE FRIENDSHIP DOLL, as well as the sequel to HATTIE BIG SKY, HATTIE EVER AFTER, and her two latest titles, DUKE–which was nominated for 5 state Young Reader Choice awards as well as being a finalist for the Washington State Book Award– and DASH–which has garnered two starred reviews, a NAPPA Gold Award and a Capitol Choices nomination.

In 2006, Kirby began a collaboration with her good friend Mary Nethery resulting in two award-winning nonfiction picture books: TWO BOBBIES: A TRUE STORY OF HURRICANE KATRINA, FRIENDSHIP AND SURVIVAL, and NUBS: THE TRUE STORY OF A MUTT, A MARINE AND A MIRACLE.

Kirby lives in Kenmore, Washington with her husband, Neil, and Winston the Wonder Dog. When she’s not reading or writing Kirby enjoys beach combing, bird watching, and traveling. She owns a tiara and is not afraid to use it.

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Book Review: A Deadly Inside Scoop

Happy Monday! I’m delighted today to share my review of the recently-released cozy mystery A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOPSERIES: An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Berkley Books
RELEASE DATE: May 12, 2020
PAGES: 384

This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop–with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.

Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.

To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…


MY THOUGHTS

I always love starting a new cozy mystery series, particularly if it’s by an author I haven’t read yet. A Deadly Inside Scoop is one of the better series debuts I’ve read recently, and I’m so delighted to have discovered a new-to-me author that I’ll definitely keep following!

Bronwyn “Win” Crewse has a lot at stake as the book begins. She’s putting the final touches on restoring her family’s ice cream parlor (re-opening in the middle of a blizzard) and preparing to follow her beloved late grandmother’s footsteps, under the loving watchful eye of her Pop-Pop and with the help of her friends & family. Win is instantly likable, if a bit scattered (which is excusable, given how much she’s trying to juggle at the moment. Restart a community favorite business, carry on a family legacy, solve a murder… you know, the usual lol). Her ice cream flavors sound really yummy & I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up – and how she uses her grandmother’s cherished recipes – as the seasons & series progress.

Win comes from a tight-knit family who make up the majority of the 0.4 % African American population of their tiny town just outside Cleveland, and I loved the diverse characters that make up the supporting cast as well. (Her Pop-Pop has my heart!) Including Win’s two best friends – Riya (half-Sicilian & half-Indian) & Maisie (whose Jewish grandmother owns & operates the town’s Chinese restaurant). Riya is the hotheaded protector; Maisie is the impetuous free spirit. And while we don’t spend much time with Riya in this book, the trio of friends is a formidable force to be sure.

The mystery is nicely layered and moves at a steady pace throughout the story. Poor Win and Maisie aren’t the most seasoned of investigators, opting for a rather madcap hodgepodge of ideas and stakeouts and interrogations, but it’s highly entertaining. A host of suspects cross their paths, along with some motives that range from fairly weak to pretty strong. You sorta get the feeling that, if Win and her crew had just been patient, Detective Beverley would have figured it out before too much longer but goodness it would have been a lot less fun!

Bottom Line: A Deadly Inside Scoop is a fun start to a new series with diverse characters, a strong sense of family & community, and – of course – yummy ice cream! Win is a heroine readers will quickly embrace, and her relatable struggles make her a sympathetic character. Best friend Maisie is the Lucy to Win’s Ethel – if that infamous comedic duo had also solved crimes – and, while you’re tempted to groan at her ideas, her infectious personality & loyalty to Win keeps her likable too. I loved the ethnic & age diversity of this small community & the unique perspective each brought to the book. A well-plotted mystery rounds out the mix, and I’m ready for another visit with the Crewse family & their ice cream parlor!

Reviewer’s note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some casual usage of “God” in this book. It is otherwise a clean book & free from curse words.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
This review originally appeared on Reading Is My SuperPower

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ABBY VANDIVERWall Street Journal Bestselling Author Abby Collette loves a good mystery. Born and raised in Cleveland, it’s even a mystery to her why she has yet to move to a warmer place. Author of the two Southern cozy mystery series Logan Dickerson Mysteries featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian who is always digging up trouble, and the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, set in East Texas, it pairs a medical examiner and her feisty auntie who owns a funeral home and is always ready to solve a whodunnit. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries and spending time with her grandchildren, each of which are her favorite.

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