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FABLES!!

Have you ever heard of Snow White? Of the Three Little Pigs? Of Little Boy Blue? What if you found out that they actually lived in New York and were actually alive? These questions are the basis for Bill Willingham's graphic novel series, Fables. Currently there are twenty volumes in publication and the current rumors are that there will be two more published to wrap up the adventures of the residents of Fabletown.

Once upon a time, all the storybook characters we know and love - or hate - lived in the Homelands. The Adversary declared war on the Homelands and many of the fables were able to sneak out of the Homelands and establish their own communities on Earth. One settlement is in New York City - surrounded by enchantments so that the Mundys ("mundane" non-fable humans) will not realize the fables are there - and the other is in Upstate New York - where those fables who cannot pass as human live. This community is led in theory by Old King Cole but in reality the real work is done by Snow White, Biggby "Big Bad" Wolf, and Rose Red. This series follows our favorites as they attempt to reclaim the Homelands and follows their attempts to live in the mundane world.

The author takes the reader's basic knowledge of classic stories and adds in extra facts to give a full life to characters known as a child. The illustrations add another dimension to the story being told of people wanting to return home after a war. It adds to the idea of defining what makes a home a home. Is it where you are? Or who you are with that makes a home?

Atlantia - Living Under Water

I started reading Atlantia because I had read and enjoyed Ally Condie's dystopian series Matched, and wanted to see where she went next. While she continues writing about alternate societies with a strong female lead character, that's where the shared themes split.

Atlantia was established as an underground community when the air became too polluted to support life on land. This is the story of Rio and her twin sister Bay. At the annual ceremony celebrating the Divide - the time where people sacrificed to stay Above to support those who lived Below - teens are allowed to choose whether they will stay Below in Atlantia or make the choice to go work in the Above. Rio has always dreamed of feeling the sun on her skin, of having a life Above. Through a series of promises to her a sister, Rio agrees to stay Below - to continue the work of their mother, the former Minister Oceana. She does this believing that her sister Bay will also remain in the Below with her. What happens when Bay announces at the ceremony that she chooses Above?

Condie does a great job of incorporating history, religion, engineering, faith, and family relations in just this one book. There are many themes brought forward to make a reader think about what why things are done. Would you make the choice that would be best for you? Or are you willing to sacrifice for the benefit of others?

Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston

First published in 1942 at the height of her popularity, Dust Tracks on a Road is Zora Neale Hurston's candid, funny, bold, and poignant autobiography, an imaginative and exuberant account of her rise from childhood poverty in the rural South to a prominent place among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. As compelling as her acclaimed fiction, Hurston's very personal literary self-portrait offers a revealing, often audacious glimpse into the life -- public and private -- of an extraordinary artist, anthropologist, chronicler, and champion of the black experience in America. Full of the wit and wisdom of a proud, spirited woman who started of low and climbed high, Dust Tracks on a Road is a rare treasure from one of literature's most cherished voices.

(review from www.goodreads.com)

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

When the Ku Klux Klan's unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella's segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind.

Stella lives in the segregated South; in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can't. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn't bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they're never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella's community - her world - is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don't necessarily signify an end. 

(review from www.goodreads.com)

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique

A major debut from an award-winning writer -- an epic family saga set against the magic and the rhythms of the Virgin Islands.

In the early 1900s, the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea. Orphaned by the shipwreck are two sisters and their half brother, now faced with an uncertain identity and future. Each of them is unusually beautiful, and each is in possession of a particular magic that will either sink or save them.

Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world. Uniquely imagined with echoes of Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the author's own Caribbean family history, the story is told in a language and rhythm that evoke an entire world and way of life and love. Following the Bradshaw family through sity years of fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, love affairs, curses, magical gifts, loyalties, births, deaths, and triumphs, Land of Love and Drowning is a gorgeous, vibrant debut by an exciting, prizewinning young writer. 

(review from www.goodreads.com)

Driving the King by Ravi Howard

A daring and brilliant new novel that explores race and class in 1950s America, witnessed through the experiences of Nat King Cole and his driver, Nat Weary.

The war is over, the soldiers are returning, and Nat King cole is back in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, for a rare performance. His childhood friend, Nat Weary, plans to propose to his sweetheart, and the singer will honor their moment with a special song. But while the world has changed, segregated Jim Crow Montgomery remains the same. When a white man attacks Cole with a pipe, Weary leaps from the audience to defend him -- an act that will lead to a 10-year prison sentence.

But the singer will not forget his friend and the sacrifice he made. Six months before Weary is released, he receives a remarkable offer: will he be Nat King Cole's driver and bodyguard in L.A. It is the promise of a new life removed from the terror, violence, and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama.

An indelible portrait of prejudice and promise, friendship and loyalty, Driving the King is a daring look at race and class in pre-Civil Rights America, played out in the lives of two remarkable men.

(review from www.goodreads.com)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child's soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

(review from www.goodreads.com)

Rainbow in the Cloud by Maya Angelou

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper," Maya Angelou wrote in her groundbreaking memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Indeed, Angelou's words have traveled the world and transformed lives--inspiring, strengthening, healing. Through a long and prolific career in letters, she became one of the most celebrated voices of our time.

Now, in this collection of sage advice, humorous quips, and pointed observations culled from the author's great works, including The Heart of a Woman, On the Pulse of Morning, Gather Together in My Name, and Letter to My DaughterMaya Angelou's spirit endures. Rainbow in the Cloud offers resonant and rewarding quotes on such topics as creativity and culture, family and community, equality and race, values and spirituality, parenting and relationships. Perhaps most special, Maya Angelou's only son, Guy Johnson, has contributed some of his mother's most powerful sayings, shared directly with him and the members of their family.

A treasured keepsake as well as a beautiful tribute to a woman who touched so many, Rainbow in the Cloud reminds us that "If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

(review from www.goodreads.com)

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Cowritten by Malcolm X's daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world. 

I am Malcolm. I am my father's son. But to be my father's son means that they will always come for me. They will always come for me, and I will always succumb. 

Malcolm Little's parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that's nothing but a pack of lies -- after all, his father's been murdered, his mother's been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There's no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer.

But Malcolm's efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory when what starts as some small-time hustling quickly spins out of control. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he's found is only an illusion--and that he can't run forever.

follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

(review from www.goodreads.com)

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton

When little Mica Mouse is scared by thunder booming outside her cozy home, Papa Mouse reaches for just the right story to comfort her. Hugging her close, he begins to read The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. In this poetic book-within-a-book, a happy little rhinoceros is overwhelmed by a storm that sweeps away everything he loves. Swallowing the storm just makes him feel worse, so Rhino sets off on a whimsical journey toward healing. Along the way, he meets many friends, including a kind spider, a brave kangaroo, a wise tortoise, and an uplifting whale. With their help, Rhino lets go of the storm inside and learns to see the light in a world turned gray. Mica Mouse is soothed by the story and Papa's gentle reminder that even though bad things sometimes happen, the world is full of people who care.

In his first children's book, longtime Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton gives us an engaging resource to help children express their feelings and navigate through difficult experiences. The "Take a Deeper Look" page at the end of the book even provides discussion questions to facilitate a healing dialogue.

(review from www.goodreads.com)

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