#gslis739w12 Book Reviews

November 18, 2017 at 9:59 pm (Uncategorized)

ISBN: 978-0-316-01368-0
Grade Level : A/YA:
Quality: 5Q
Popularity: 4P
                Sherman Alexie hits a homerun in this coming of age story. Arnold (aka, Junior) is a fourteen year old boy who lives on an Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington. He suffers from hydrocephalus (water in the brain), his family is very poor, and he’s constantly getting picked on. He has a protector his best friend Rowdy, who he spends most of his days with on the res. Junior is a cartoonist who draws what’s on his mind. Junior dreams of a better life. Which he knows won’t happen in a place where alcoholism, and poverty is all that awaits in his future. One day he makes a decision. The world he knows is about to get turned upside down. Junior decides to switch schools for a chance at a better life. Junior soon realizes that his decision comes with consequences. Junior is about to face some harsh realities, and challenges that will either make him or break him. The books deals with racism, abandonment, death, and much more. A must read and one that will resonate with readers.
Video Link
Block, F.L. (1989). Weetzie bat. New York, NY: Harper Teens.
Weetzie Bat tells the lyrical story of Weetzie and Dirk and how a friendship can flourish over a lifetime. The book was much talked about because it touches on subject matter that is not viewed as popular in many adult circles. Dirk is gay and Weetzie has a baby out of wedlock. This fairy tale like tale has a genie and witch and other fantastic elements that add color to the story it tells. The character’s are sensual, loyal and as strong as any family unit. The books effectiveness is the sense of belonging that it emits throughout the story. In a society that full of abstract characters and people who are seeking acceptance, Weetzie Bat will be a welcome read.
Professional Reviews:

KIRKUS REVIEW

Punk flower-child Weetzie and her gay friend Dirk adventure through Hollywood’s plastic fantasy land, finding solace from life’s cruelties in their own loving household. Weetzie and Dirk become best friends during expeditions to nightclubs, movies, and the beach; then both find their true loves in true fairy-tale fashion—with the aid of a genie. Dirk meets Duck in a bar; Weetzie is “discovered” by “My Secret Agent Lover Man”; the four set up housekeeping, and also make movies, together. Then Weetzie makes a baby with Dirk and Duck, since My Secret Agent Lover Man is reluctant to bring a child into this trouble-filled world. This is too much for M.S.A.L.M., who leaves, but comes back with a witch baby he’s fathered; then Duck leaves when a friend dies of what must be AIDS, but he also returns; whatever “happily ever after” means, they all plan to try to achieve it together. Artful wordplay, wonderfully controlled use of the language of pop culture, and a story that seems about nothing much—but is, in fact, about very important things—make this a sad, happy, funny, and touching book. California cool, gay bars, and stereotypically bizarre lifestyles become nearly irrelevent details: these people are a lot more real than Ken and Barbie, and their loyally and love—even under the tragic long shadow of the love-borne disease—are a triumph.

KIRKUS REVIEW

Alexie nimbly blends sharp wit with unapologetic emotion in his first foray into young-adult literature. Fourteen-year-old Junior is a cartoonist and bookworm with a violent but protective best friend Rowdy. Soon after they start freshman year, Junior boldly transfers from a school on the Spokane reservation to one in a tiny white town 22 miles away. Despite his parents’ frequent lack of gas money (they’re a “poor-ass family”), racism at school and many crushing deaths at home, he manages the year. Rowdy rejects him, feeling betrayed, and their competing basketball teams take on mammoth symbolic proportions. The reservation’s poverty and desolate alcoholism offer early mortality and broken dreams, but Junior’s knowledge that he must leave is rooted in love and respect for his family and the Spokane tribe. He also realizes how many other tribes he has, from “the tribe of boys who really miss . . . their best friends” to “the tribe of tortilla chips-and-salsa lovers.” Junior’s keen cartoons sprinkle the pages as his fluid narration deftly mingles raw feeling with funny, sardonic insight. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-316-01368-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: May 20th, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2007

New York Times, 1989

”Weetzie Bat” by Francesca Lia Block is a punk, young adult fairy tale, an ingeniously lyrical narrative of two friends, Weetzie and Dirk, who weave a nest of Hollywood illusions and hard-core loyalty. Weetzie’s unhappily divorced parents, Charlie and Brandy-Lynn Bat, take refuge in booze and drugs. In high school Weetzie connects with Dirk, who is gay. Dirk’s grandmother Fifi leaves the two of them her cottage when she dies, and it only remains to fill it with a loving family. Dirk finds Duck; Weetzie brings home My Secret Agent Lover Man. Even Slinkster Dog gets a mate, Go-Go Girl, and a bunch of puppies. Weetzie has a baby, Cherokee, who belongs to all of them, as does, eventually, the Witch Baby deposited on their doorstep. Although each of the four main characters is shaken by a terrible loss, the group survives through the knowledge that they are all each one has. ”Love is a dangerous angel” and can bring pain, but the bond is primitively strong. ”I heard that rats shrivel up and die if they aren’t, like, able to hang out with other rats,” Duck says.While the characters reach adulthood and assume responsibility for their lives, they evince the innocence and effervescence of a fancied childhood. The book is full of magic, from the genie who grants Weetzie’s wishes to the malevolent witch Vixanne, who visits the family three times. There are beauties and beasts and roses, castles and Cinderella transformations. What ”Family Pose” develops with traditional realism, ”Weetzie Bat” achieves through vivid imagery. Ms. Block’s far-ranging free association has been controlled and shaped into a story with sensual characters. The language is inventive Californian hip, but the patterns are compactly folkloristic and the theme is transcendent. ”I don’t know about happily ever after . . . but I know about happily,” Weetzie Bat thinks at the end.

These books are both entertaining. Credibly, even indelibly, they tell children that every adult results from a child, outgrown or not, who needed family. They both tell us that we can take our families where we find them or, lacking the luck to find them, make new ones. This is a poignant message and one desperately needed in an era of broken bonds. Beyond the immediate impact of both stories is another implication: the power of human imagination is such that even books can become family.

Here are two reviews from the Dueling Librarians Blog

duelinglibrarians.net/reviews/Part-Time-Indian.shtml

 

Cyndi’s Review

Recently I have been doing a lot of independent research on banned and challenged books for a project I’m putting together, and one book in particular caught my eye; Sherman Alexie ‘s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. This was due in it being part of Dueling Librarians Upcoming Review list, and that it is a young-adult novel. So many of the books challenged in the US are YA novels, usually because they contain language that is seen as unbecoming, portray violence and bullying, or scenes of a sexual or illicit nature (usually drug use or even the discussion of such controlled substances). Basically, anything that has the potential to make adults uncomfortable if asked about by a child.

Alexie’s novel was briefly removed from school library shelves for its violence and dark undertone. However, once said school board read Part-Time Indian, they found it to be “outstanding” and immediately lifted the ban. As a result, I expected a lot from this book, as was not in the least disappointed.

Part-Time Indiantells the story of Arnold “Junior” Spirit, a fourteen year old Native-American boy living on the Spokane Indian reservation. Junior gets into a bit of trouble and is suspended from school, only to be visited at home by his teacher who pleads with him to get out of the reservation before it kills him like it’s slowly killing all the other Indians. Junior decides to transfer to the Reardon High School 22 miles off the reservation, and discovers a whole new world filled with opportunity and frightening challenges. After making the decision to leave the reservation to go to the white school in town, Junior is seen as a traitor and faces abuse from his neighbors and, more devastatingly, his ex-best friend Rowdy.

Some of the themes Alxie explores are alcoholism, abuse (child and domestic), poverty, family, friendship, sexuality, bullying, revenge, belonging, death, rage, and hope. For a short YA novel, smattered with comics, one might think a book covering this much might feel incomplete and haphazard. This isn’t the case. Alexie handles each theme with care, honesty, and humor making this book bold and amazing.

Everything about Part-Time Indianwas great. I absolutely loved it, and would recommend it to anyone who likes YA novel.

Renee’s Review

The Absolutely True diary of a Part-Time Indian is a story about Junior, a young man enduring the ennui of his teen years on an Indian reservation whilst being ostracized from most of his fellow classmates for being different. A lack of opportunity on the reservation leads him to request going to the all white school in the neighboring town – thereby making him standout even more – and varying degrees of hilarity and tragedy ensue. But the story is so much more than a simple memoir of a teen. Sherman Alexie uses the story of Junior to cover topics like crushing poverty, coming of age with a disorder, racial tension, alcoholism, depression, and domestic abuse. And yet, Alexie manages to keep all of these topics from becoming too heavy for a young adult novel.

One thing Alexie did, which made the novel, at times, hard to read, was to focus on the sense of despondency for Junior and the other members of his reservation. The feeling that life will never change is pervasive, and quite sad. In a way, it is Junior’s distance from the other people on the res that seems to make him able to detach enough to leave and go to school somewhere else. He is fighting for something more than what he sees around him, even though he isn’t quite sure what that is. Of course, some of the men and women of the reservation then look at him as some kind of traitor – the Indian kid who would rather hang out in the white school – but then life keeps on going.

I liked Part-Time Indian, even though it made me very uncomfortable at times. I found myself pulling for Junior, in spite of (or perhaps because of) his tendency to unleash the anger he had at his situation in sporadic and sometimes mean outbursts. He was very real; as a character, he could have stepped right off of the page. I developed an attachment to the other characters as well, even Rowdy, Junior’s overly-aggressive friend.

A review of this book wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the illustrations, which are presented as though they are drawn by Junior, who whiles away much of his solitude drawing cartoons. Some are simple pictures, and some are full-blown pages of comics, all timed to go with the narration of the story, and all lending more of a voice to the main character and his point of view. In the end, they also make the book feel ever more like the reader has just stepped into Junior’s mind.

This is the second book by Sherman Alexie that I’ve read – the first being Reservation Blues – and I’m not sure why I haven’t read others. Both are spectacularly rich novels with very relatable characters. I don’t think you need to be any particular age or ethnicity to find something to love with Part-Time Indian, and I recommend the book to anyone interested in…well, life, pretty much.

 

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November 15, 2017 at 3:22 am (Uncategorized)

Teens and Social Media creating a world of their own.

Teenagers & Social Media

 

 

After reviewing all the materials provided for this assignment, I found myself thinking pondering a classroom discussion we had at the beginning of the semester. What is Teen Media, I belief we concluded that it’s anything and everything, it’s what they like! To use a teen term, OMG, these frontline videos hit the nail on the head. When juxtaposing Merchants of Cool and Generation Like, I couldn’t help but notice how both were about the exploitation of the teen demographic, except Cool exploited teens and in Generation teens exploited themselves. Merchants of Cool showed us that teens are the most studied group by merchandisers, teens set the markets and merchants are eager to exploit for profit.

Social media is the most powerful tool used by teens, it allows them to create and identity for themselves, a niche if you will, separating them from the rest of society. Frontline’s Cool, show us that market researchers for companies like Sprite, and Viacom have developed strategies for monitoring teens social media activities. The Pew Research tells companies that Facebook is the most popular and frequently used media platform among teens. Instagram and snapchat are rapidly following suit. How teens use social media is the driving force behind programs like MTV, 106 and Park.  The numbers show that teens 13 to 17 go online several times a day, to power of the smart phone can’t be denied. The numbers and free advertisement generated by youths is invaluable and by giving teens what they want, they can control the markets and generate large amounts of revenue.

The Generation video was produced 13 years after the Merchants of Cool. I noticed right away that teens in 2014 are a lot more entrepreneurial than those from 2001. Where in the 2001 video teens were being manipulated, by big corporations taking advantage of their individual popularity, 2014 and present users are building their own brands. Now by generating likes on social media, talking about themselves on youtube, and purposely exposing themselves and their likes into mainstream America by self- promoting companies have had to change their marketing strategies. Teens who have mastered branding themselves are sought after and catered too. The smartphone is the single greatest tool of this generation, while teens were being controlled in the past, smartphones have empowered them by shifting the communications landscape.

No more are teens seen, but not heard. Teens through technology have been able to build a community among their own peers. And now this community has been recognized by corporate America as the single most important component to their success or failure. What young adults do now matters, and has become the catalyst in the growth of America’s economy.

Social media being such an integral part in the lives of teens makes me aware of the fact that as a librarian, learning these metrics will allow me to better serve young adults in the future. Understanding their wants and needs will enable me to help teens to reach the goals they set for themselves. As librarians program development enhances our engagement with teens. The documentaries gave me a glimpse into the lives of teens. They’re not misguided misfits begging for attention. They are driven intelligent individuals who have purpose and are knowledgeable beyond their years.  Through social media they have learned how to generate income, become CEO’s, and be famous. Watching them congregate in their houses, ala board members to discuss their social profiles tells me they take their futures seriously. Their successes tells me teens are more complicated than meets the eye.https://i2.wp.com/d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/newshour/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/teen-tech-barchart.png

 

 

 

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November 12, 2017 at 2:40 pm (Uncategorized)

Dystopian literature has  burst onto the YA scene with books like the Hunger Games, and  Uglies, brought us these repressive societies.  ReadWriteThink is a teen podcast that talks about Dystopian Literature. Challenging readers to ask themselves how did this happen and can this happen in our own world? It is food for thought given the uncertain and dysfunctional climate of our society.  Similar to The Horn Book article, “What Makes a Good Dystopian Novel”, the podcast reviews some of the most popular dystopian novels currently in circulation.  Most of the titles are recommended by young readers. The four major elements of  good dystopian novels vivid settings, protagonist that stand out, individuals or forces in charge, and the dire circumstances of these societies are all key components of these tales.Adventure and heroism too. Dystopian  Literature offers readers a glimpse of what could happen if society takes a turn for the worse. These scenarios are not likely to occur, but one can’t help our imaginations from taking us to this reality.

http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/podcast-episodes/podcast/dystopian-literature-30616.html

Spisak, April. 2012. “What makes a good YA dystopian novel?” Horn Book Magazine 88, no3 (2012): 55-60.

http://www.hbook.com/2012/04/choosing-books/recommended-books/what-makes-a-good-ya-dystopian-novel/

 

 

Uglies book.jpgWesterfeld, S. (2005). Uglies. Simon Pulse Publishers.

These Dystopian novels can all be found at local your public libraries NYPL, BPL, and Queens as well as Amazon Books, and other book stores throughout the tri-state area.

HungerGamesPoster.jpgCollins, S. (2008). Hunger Games. Scholastic

 

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November 7, 2017 at 4:39 am (Uncategorized)

The 5 Book Challenge created by Ramon Carela and Freddie Rivera is posted #gslis739Challenge on twitter and on Ramon’s Blog. The genre we are introducing is Street Literature / Urban Fiction.

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October 31, 2017 at 3:35 am (Uncategorized)

Image result for whatcha mean, what's a zine/ image Todd, M., & Watson, E. P. (2006). Whatcha mean, what’s a zine?: The art of making zines and minicomics. Boston, Mass: Graphia.
This leisurely paced off beat informational guide is an informative and fun read. Zines, chap books, or pamphlets serve as hand books for young readers who want to try something different. It’s an alternate form of social media, introspective and quirky  by design, zines are a great way to share ideas with others who share a common interest. The writing style is descriptive, browsable, and easy to understand. The illustrations are cartoon like they vary in style. Some follow the standard frame by frame formatting. While others are more anecdotal and abstract. The book provides several how to sections on silk screening covers, writing, collating with a copier, and copy talk. DIY programs are one of the tools librarians use to build relationships with their patrons or students within their communities.
 https://images.bigcartel.com/product_images/132490587/IMG_4404.JPG?width=1000&height=1000

 

Read Alike

Young female readers who want to create zines of a more political nature Girl Zines is a good read for you to explore. The subject matter covers many topics of interest in a bold illustrative way.

Resources:

http://www.bklynpubliclibrary.org

http://www.goodreads.com

https://www.ebscohost.com/novelist/our-products/novelist-appeals

http://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-make-a-zine

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October 27, 2017 at 4:48 am (Uncategorized)

ypl_woodson_Brown_Girl_Dreaming.jpg Woodson, J. (2014). Brown girl dreaming. New York, N.Y.: Nancy Paulsen Books. ISBN: 978 0 399 25251 8

Voya Code:

J grades 7- 9) / A/YA : recommended for teens

Quality: 5Q, 3Q

Popularity: 2P, 4P, and 5P

Every now and then a story is told so eloquently that you can’t help but fall in love. The narrative is so well constructed that we have to sit back, reflect, and smile. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, meets all of the criteria mentioned above. Woodson spins a lovely tale about growing up in the south/ and Brooklyn (North) during the volatile 60’s and 70’s. I grew up during the time Woodson writes about in NYC, and I am amazed by the difference our upbringings. Learning about differences between growing up in the North and South is humbling. This book will resonate with teens, especially those who want to understand how far we’ve grown as a country.

Read Alike:

In this poetic memoir, Margarita Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

 

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October 24, 2017 at 2:18 am (Uncategorized)

9781338179798_xlg.jpgHale, N. (2017). The Underground Abductor: An Abolitionist Tale. Turtleback Books.

 

Nathan Hale takes Historical Fiction to another level in “The Underground Abductor”, in this wonderfully written non-fiction graphic novel. Well written non-fiction tales create didactic opportunities for young adult readers. The graphic novel format is also a great way to draw in reluctant readers. Combining a solid narrative with beautiful visual content brings this story to life, as well as, shows how entertaining non- fiction materials have come. In this weeks readings the term  Creative Non-Fiction (227) was written about. Authors who can take a non- fiction story and creatively tell the facts, just takes the genre to a higher level.

page7.jpg

lit_fannie-lou-hamer.jpgWeatherford, C.B., Holmes, E. (2015). Voice of Freedom: Fannie Mae Hamer. Candlewick Press. ISBN 9780763 6653

Another Powerful Civil Rights Story!!! Non-Fiction at it’s best.

A welcome addition to civil rights literature for children … Hamer’s determination, perseverance, and unwavering resolve come through on every page. Holmes’ quiltlike collage illustrations emphasize the importance Hamer placed on community among African-Americans. Young readers who open this book with just a vague notion of who Fannie Lou Hamer was will wonder no more after absorbing this striking portrait of the singer and activist. Bold, honest, informative, and unforgettable.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

 

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October 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Here are my 2 professional book reviews.

 

 

Thomas, A (2017). The hate you give. New York, NY: Bray & Belzar: 978-0062-498-533 (ISBN)

 

The protagonist in this riveting novel is Starr Carter. Starr is living a double life, prep school kid in suburbia and another on the other side of the tracks in the hood. Straight out of the headlines of today’s newspapers, “The Hate U Give” tells a story that is relevant in today’s society. Starr’s world suddenly turns upside down. While reluctantly attending a party in the hood, Starr comes into contact with her closest childhood friend Khalil. Emotions get amped up when Khalil is shot dead by a white police officer during a questionable traffic stop. Starr’s  is overwhelmed by anger and guilt over the death of her fiend.

Angie Thomas encapsulates the Black Lives Matter movement gripping our country today. Harsh realities are spread out beautifully throughout the novel’s narrative by Thomas. It is the type of story that needs to be told it brings perspective to the difficult climate we’re living in today. The novel is full of interesting characters that bring color to this dynamic tale. This book is a must read.

 

Read Alikes:

 

 

Ghost (Track Book 1) by [Reynolds, Jason]

 

Reynolds, J (2016). New York, NY: Atheneum Books: 180 p. 978 -1-4814-5015-7

 

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw has a lot of hate inside (34). Ghost a nickname he gave to himself is being raised by his mother after circumstances at home go astray. This life leads to Ghost having what his principle calls altercations at school. One day while sitting in the park near the track field. Ghost is watching a local neighborhood track team called the defenders practice one day. When without provocation Ghost lines up and races the defenders fastest sprinter to a hundred yard dash and wins.

The coach takes notice of Ghost’s natural talent for sprinting and invites him to join the team. It goes without saying that maintaining his spot on the team will not be an easy task for Ghost. Altercations and situations constantly challenge coach’s patience and tough choices have to be made about Ghost’s position on the defenders. Reynolds ability to present a narrative in the voice of our protagonist makes for a wonderful read. The story mirrors that of so many teens growing up in similar situations in today’s society.

Read Alikes

Patina (Track Book 2) by [Reynolds, Jason]
28217757

 

 

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October 15, 2017 at 2:26 pm (Uncategorized)

Here is a YA lit. publisher from Canada that’s producing great YA materials.

Red Dear Press is a publisher of YA literature based in Ontario, Canada. They also publish upscale children’s books, and adult fiction and non-fiction. Red Dear has been in existence since 1975. They were purchased by Fitzhenry and Whiteside in 2000, but retain full autonomy of their publishing house. Their authors have won over 300 literary awards over the years, and citations for excellence throughout the years. Red Press has recently has gained notoriety in the young adult world with two Governor General’s Award nominations Leslie Joyce’s novel, “Jeremy Stone” and Beverly Brenna’s “The White Bicycle”.

The Red Dear Press website www.reddearpress.com  has many features that are easy to navigate. Feature’s a catalogues that contains a teacher’s guide, Canadian catalogue, and personal mailing list. Red Dear Press acknowledges the importance of social media, the website has links to the Canada Council for the  Arts, Ontario Art Council, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. In July 2017 Red Dear Press was acknowledged by BOOKFOX, www.thejohnfox.com/2017/07/30-best-young-ya-publishers/  as one of 30 young adult publishers eager for your book. Dawn Green’s book “How Samantha Smart Became a Revolutionary” is debuting in 2017 by Red Dear Publishing. Kirkus Reviews calls it “Action packed drama…A troubling gripping read”. This is just one of several exciting YA novels being published by Red Dear Press.

“Dawn Green provides a powerful heroine. . . (The story) is suspenseful and well-developed. Samantha?s story shows readers that the most unexpected moments and people can inspire hope and take on a power all their own if you have the courage to let them.”
the National Reading Campaign

         Green, D (2017). How Samantha smart became a revolutionary. Markham, ON: Red Dear Press. 978-088995-5493 (ISBN).

By: Freddie Rivera, GSLIS 739 Student

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October 10, 2017 at 1:23 am (Uncategorized)

Serrano,S (2015). The rap yearbook. New Yok, NY: Abrams Image books. Illustrated by Arturo Torres

“The Rap Year Book” tells the narrative of many teens lives in the today’s current climate. The juxtaposition this retrospective book creates are very telling.  Choices teens and adults make have consequences, we shouldn’t draw conclusions based solely on our beliefs. Listening is a great equalizer. The reactions and events that have transpired all over our country since rap music’s inception have been monumental. Laws have been created, barriers have been broken, and a new culture of teens has burst on the scene.

Teenagers in today’s society are more sensitive to the issue surrounding their everyday lives. They’re kind, caring, entrepreneurs, and volatile. A YA Librarian must act as a curator when choosing the books that go into their collections. A book like “The Rap Year Book” is great for any library collection, because it tells a story. in many cases it mirrors their own story. Teens benefit greatly when reading books that they can identify the issues being written about. Police profiling, racism, and social injustice especially are just some of the stories told in this narrative. Prevalent in this book the 1% attacks the genre and its artist with a blitz in order to regulate the genre. The 99% ers need access to these types of materials.

 

Coval, K (2015). The breakfast poets: new American poetry in the age of hip hop. Chicago, Ill: Haymarket Books. ISBN 9781608463958

 

Vincent,R. (1996). Funk, the music, the people, and the rhythm of the one. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin Publishers. ISBN 97803121344991

Resources

http://www.goodreads.com

http://www.worldcat.com

http://www.haymarketbooks.com

google images

http://www.bklynpubliclibrary.org

Grade range: 13 to adult

These two items are very complimentary to “The Rap Year Book”. Funk may have been published in 1996, but artist faced the similar backlashes from society. Like rap music, funk music also changed the nation at a time when society was afraid of change. It is the perfect read alike book for teens, it will allow them to  identify with their current situation. Teens will be surprised to learn that teens struggles were not much different 20 years ago. Poetry, as we’ve learned in class has become a genre used by teens to express their messages to the masses. The power of poetry especially by teens through social media and poetry slams has swelled to a phenomenon nationwide. Teens will love “The Breakfast Poets”.

 

 

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