Wow! If you want a good look at race relations in the 1930s, this is your book. It takes place in the Sabine River bottoms–which occupy several hundred miles along the border between Louisiana and Texas, south of Shreveport to just north of the Gulf of Mexico. Somewhere I read that the Sabine also marks […]

Texas. The Lone Star State. The Alamo. Oil. Guns. Football. Border politics. Where do we start? My husband and I drove with my sister-in-law from California to the east coast along the southern route late one fall sometime in the early to mid-’00s. On that trip we drove across Interstate 20, through Abilene, Dallas, and […]

This book is a wonderful look at the Trail of Tears! It’s told in little vignettes from multiple points of view, and it follows one group of Cherokee from the moment the soldiers show up at their small village to remove them. We hear most often from Maritole, but we also get little snippets from […]

This was an accidental choice, but it’s turned out to be a fairly happy accident. Which is a bit of a coincidence, as the book was accidentally announced as a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Despite the error having been made internally, Myracle had to withdraw from the contest. […]

This one is a wonderful book for our challenge–the saltwater coastal marsh where Kya lives is a vibrant vital part of her life, and an integral part of the story. The marsh birds are present not just in their calls, but in their individual feathers and characteristics–some of them incredibly detailed: the crest feathers of […]

I was hesitant about this one because I’d heard there were some concerns over the way Russo handles his female characters and race, but mostly because it’s a long one–a serious investment of time when I’m feeling behind in my goals for the year. But I’m really glad I gave it a chance–this one nails […]

I really enjoyed the music references in this book–and I got a kick out of the main character, Shoe, having an Uncle Albert, given all the Paul McCartney references. Plus, I’m reading it after having watched the movie Yesterday, so I’m getting a double dose of McCartney nostalgia. But the book really shone a light […]

This was an excellent, thought-provoking look at a little-known historical event which had far-reaching consequences that continue to ripple through today’s headlines. The Ni’ihau Incident was used as a justification for the US government’s policy of imprisoning Japanese-Americans during World War II. Historians today recommend the usage of the phrase “concentration camps” for these places […]

Wow! This book has it all when it comes to setting and our reading challenge–geography, history, all the different people who make up Hawaii–and the setting is so integral to the story! So many aspects of the story are uniquely Hawaiian, there’s nowhere else it could be set. I am reading my way across the […]

I love Hawaii! I’ve visited the Big Island twice, and I love it. However, visiting someplace as a tourist can be very different from living there, and that’s very true of Hawaii. Its physical isolation means that the cost of living is very high, and most items are much more expensive than on the mainland. […]