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MandaMT

MandaMT

Joined July 2016

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MandaMT
Patternmaster | Octavia E. Butler
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I wasn‘t super impressed with the first female character I met in this book, but Amber is keeping my interest.

SolaRaynor “The word was a stone.“ Loved that! 6mo
14 likes1 comment
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MandaMT
Long Way Down | Jason Reynolds
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Pickpick

This was my 3rd go around with this story. First in verse, 2nd as the graphic novel, now previewing the audio for some students. I loved listening to Jason Reynolds read it. I‘m excited to share it with some young folks.

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MandaMT
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Pickpick

Highly recommend snagging this ALC from Libro.fm before it‘s gone. Bugz is ranked #1 in a game used by kids her age around the world. She uses her fame to showcase and support her indigenous culture both in and outside of the game. An alt-right clan is trying to take her down. One member unknowingly transfers to her school. Meeting IRL affects them both.
Reminds me of Ready Player One, but with more complex characters.

14 likes1 stack add
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MandaMT
Yesterday Is History | Kosoko Jackson
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Mehso-so

Andre jumps back in time after receiving a new liver transplant. He learns his donor was a time traveler and he‘s now inherited the ability. This leads to a love triangle between the boy from the past and one he‘s just met in the present. Andre must also decide what to do with his own future.
I wanted to learn more about the time traveling, but the focus was on the romance. Ultimately it wasn‘t for me, but I can see how would others like it.

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MandaMT
Rick | Alex Gino
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I loved Gino‘s other books. This quick MG read did not disappoint. As he enters middle school, Rick is starting question things. His best friend Jeff treats him well enough, but bullies everyone else. Rick‘s also not interested in girls yet… or boys. After finding the Rainbow Spectrum club at school and connecting with his Grandfather, things start coming together.
This book is a great model for kids looking to navigate relationships with peers.

Reign_1982 I've wanted to read this book, but I have been skeptical. Thanks for the review 9mo
18 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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MandaMT
Rick | Alex Gino
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MandaMT
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Loved this audiobook from Libro.fm‘s ALC collection. Kiki is an 11 year old with anxiety. To calm herself, she draws a magical world in her sketch book based on Indian myths. When the world comes to life and she gets pulled in, she must make hard choices and fight demons to keep her loved ones in both worlds safe. Reminded me of Inkheart.

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Great line.

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Pickpick

Juliet Takes a Breath is one of my favorite novels from the past few years. I think I still preferred it over this graphic novel adaptation, but the artwork here is absolutely beautiful. It really brought the story to life. Juliet is a Puerto Rican lesbian from NYC who travels to Portland Oregon to intern w/ a white feminist writer. Along the way she finds many new role models and friends who help broaden her worldview and learn about herself.

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MandaMT
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Pickpick

This one is pretty heavy, as one might expect a report on residential schools to be. It covers the history of invasions and colonialism leading up to the schools, what the school experience was like, the legacy they left behind, what reconciliation should look like, and action steps for what comes next. It‘s written as a report, so the writing “style” is very matter of fact. Still delivers an emotional punch though.

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MandaMT
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Pickpick

I‘m working in our summer camp‘s library/ sensory room this summer (it‘s kinda my dream job). I read this book between visits from kids. Mirka lives in an Orthodox Jewish community. She dreams of fighting dragons. In pursuit of her goals, she pushes boundaries and rebels against rules, but also draws strength from her upbringing.

wanderinglynn That does sound like a fun job! 9mo
18 likes1 comment
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MandaMT
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Read this for a book club. We previously read Me and White Supremacy and How to Be an Antiracist. This was a good transition from thinking about individual beliefs to working in groups to affect change. Highly recommend.

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MandaMT
The Rescue of the Unicorn | Deborah Lerme Goodman
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Been reading more CYOA this year. This is a solid sequel to The Magic of the Unicorn. You don‘t have to read the original for it to make sense. In this one you see a caged unicorn in a shipping port and you must decide what to do about it. It weaves in some Scottish folklore and other mythical creatures.

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Been reading this one for a book club. Some interesting ideas to think on.

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Concrete Rose | Angie Thomas
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This was hard to read, but SO worth it. In The Hate U Give Maverick Carter is the no-nonsense father of the MC. He‘s an ex gang member, formerly incarcerated man who fathered two children as a teenager. He has become a pillar of the community and works hard to help his kids avoid the kinds of mistakes he made.
In THIS book though, we meet him as a teenager as he is learning all these difficult life lessons. Great book. Makes me want to reread THUG

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MandaMT
Revenge of the Red Club | Kim Harrington
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This is a new favorite! Riley loves her school‘s “Red Club”. Girls meet once a week to talk about their periods and share advice. They also have a secret locker stashed with extra pants, pads, tampons, etc. Various parent complaints stack up, leading to the suspension of the school newspaper, strictly enforced dress codes for girls, and an end to the Red Club. The girls at Hawking Middle School start organizing.⬇️

MandaMT This is an awesome story about girls standing up for themselves and supporting one another. Highly recommend for middle school classroom libraries. 10mo
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MandaMT
Blackout | Dhonielle Clayton, Nicola Yoon, Tiffany D Jackson, Angie Thomas, Nic Stone, Ashley Woodfolk
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Loved this as an audiobook. The narrators were wonderful! I definitely have a few new favorites. Basic premise is there‘s a blackout in NYC. A bunch of teens are making their way to a party and catching feelings along the way. I liked how the stories were connected, but easy to listen to independently of each other. Wish there had been one about Twig- a side character who was mentioned in most stories. Maybe in a future companion book :)

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Concrete Rose | Angie Thomas
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Loving this book so far- especially these details that make Garden Heights come to life. Lawless the MC‘s father in On the Come Up- set in the same neighborhood.

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MandaMT
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Mehso-so

This is the first Spies book I‘ve read from CYOA. Depending on your choices, you either head to Europe as a spy and bump into historical figures from 1915 OR spend time in Bali wandering through cultural events and crossing paths with mythical deities. These are interesting story elements, though neither is executed particularly well. CYOA are usually more about the bizarre twists and turns anyway. I am now curious about the real Mata Hari.

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Panpan

I‘m not sure who this book is for. Dabiri offers valid critiques of social media activism/ allyship. But I‘m unsure how it reaches the audience that needs to hear it, as it‘s somewhat academic. She‘s also critical of the term “anti-racism”, but it felt like the folks who say they agree with the ideas of say- feminism, just not the name. ⬇️

MandaMT Many of the ideas she presents will be familiar to readers of anti-racist books. The ideas on coalition building are introduced, but not elaborated on much. I‘m currently reading Charlene Carruthers‘ Unapologetic. It has some more concrete examples and ideas around coalition building. 10mo
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When reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, one expect to die every now and then- often in bizarre and random ways. Didn‘t see this one coming.

Bits 😆 10mo
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I can‘t stop reading this passage. This section is by Natasha Diaz

Reggie Isn‘t this everyone and their families? Lol, yeah, this one definitely reaches out. 10mo
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Ophie's Ghosts | Justina Ireland
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Great MG ghost story. It‘s the 1920s and 12 year old Ophie has to work as a maid in a large estate in Pittsburg. She can see ghosts. Both the city and the house are full of them. Ophie learns how to live with her new ability as a mystery unfolds at the manor.
I love Justina Ireland‘s other work. This one did not disappoint!

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MandaMT
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I was having a bit of a down day. Out of nowhere I got this package! Hooray for book festival sweepstakes! Mood lifted.
Contains From the Hinterlands (tagged) and matching postcards
Wild Tongues Can‘t Be Tamed edited by Saraciea J. Fennell
And
Anna K Away by Jenny Lee

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MandaMT
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This is a great book for middle grade readers. It breaks down many topic in the discussion about race- like implicit bias, cultural appropriation, and stereotypes. It also provides suggestions for actions readers can take. Would be a great starter for young people interested in allyship and antiracist reading/ work.

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Beautiful story about connection and acceptance. Libby‘s family is full of bullies- she refuses to become one. Vincent finds solace in triangles while being harassed at school. Jack is coping with the loss of his brother as his school is in danger of being shut down. T lives on the street. 4 isolated kids are drawn together by words of encouragement and acts of kindness. This book discusses trans identities in a way kids can understand.

megnews Beautiful cover 11mo
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MandaMT
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This book was so beautifully crafted- both aesthetically and in its storytelling. Hall weaves her own story of trying to uncover these hidden histories between accounts of various slave revolts. Martinez‘s visuals are stunning. I read this shortly after Clint Smith‘s How the Word is Passed. Both ask us to reconsider how we think about the history of chattel slavery.

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Loved this collection of modern YA short stories based on Shakespeare‘s work. It would be awesome to use with students. Not only do the retellings make some of these stories more accessible, but many offer thoughtful critique of the original work. Adler‘s take on The Merchant of Venice is a great example.

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I love the way Braden frames kids lives in rural Vermont. I see many of my students in this character.

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Why We Fly | Kimberly Jones, Gilly Segal
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Out in October. I was skeptical of this one at first (I‘m not sporty), but ended up LOVING it. Seniors Leni and Nelly have always cheered together. Their relationship strains in their final year, especially after the squad decides to kneel during the anthem. The action has different consequences for each girl. Importantly, the story focuses on the work that happens AFTER they take a knee. ⬇️

MandaMT I really appreciated how Leni serves as an imperfect example of white allyship, while balancing the story with what Nelly and other students of color experience. Additionally, this story talks about social justice without having the character experience traumatic events firsthand (save social media backlash and school discipline). While those stories are certainly important, this is a different take. (edited) 12mo
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MandaMT
Other Words for Home | Jasmine Warga
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MandaMT
Other Words for Home | Jasmine Warga
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Read this with some students recently. It‘s a story in verse about a Syrian girl who comes to the US. Beautifully written. Very accessible for middle schoolers. My kids learned a lot.

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This book was PHENOMENAL! Clint Smith toured landmarks associated with Slavery in the US. Some places, like the Whitney Plantation, place the slave narrative front and center. Others, like Angola Prison, skirt around it. He fills in gaps tour guides omitted. This book is worth checking out for the first chapter alone. He takes multiple tours at Jefferson‘s Mount Vernon and notes the vastly different slave tour and house tour. Very eye opening.

Christine I‘m really looking forward to this one! 12mo
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MandaMT
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Loved this coming of age story about a senior in high school grappling with gender identity. Dean has been cast a Romeo in the high school play. What initially was an edgy gender swapped casting gives Dean the space to explore trans masculinity. As a theater kid this brought back memories. As a cis person it was a wonderful insight into someone else‘s experience. The voice artist was perfect this audio book.

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MandaMT
Love in English | Maria E. Andreu
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This one was super cute YA romance. Ana has just moved to the US from Argentina. As she grapples to learn the language, she also gets caught in a love triangle. Will she go for the All-American boy from her math class, or the playful Greek boy she meets in ESL? I really liked how the author handled the language barrier. Blocks of dialogue are replaced with “wah wah” noises when there are words Ana doesn‘t understand. 👇

MandaMT Further along there are noticeably fewer word replacements as Ana‘s English improves. I also really liked the supporting characters in this. Ana‘s best friend is an American, but also Latinx in this predominantly white community. As a fashionista and beauty blogger, she makes a splash in their town. Ana‘s relationship with her parents is complicated and beautifully written. (edited) 12mo
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MandaMT
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Mehso-so

This was an ambitious stand alone that may have played better as multiple books. When Rue‘s mother dies the father she‘s never known brings her back to his magical homeland. She runs into trouble when she returns to see her sister. That‘s all in the 1st chapter.
I liked the premise and there were some great passages, but there was so much zapping between urban Texas and the fantasy world that it was a bit confusing.

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Finished the last Magic Misfits book. I cannot recommend this MG series enough! This last book focuses on Ridley, the tough as nails (sometimes abrasive) tinkerer. She must learn to be more patient and trusting with those around her to succeed. Lots of fun action sequences and lessons about friendships.

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Blood Island | Liz Windover
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A handful of these endings were *slightly* more gruesome than your average CYOA book. I had an opportunity to read this with some squirrelly 7th graders after our most recent standardized test. They appreciated the extra gore and ghosts.

Chrissyreadit I still love CYOA books 😍🙌🎉 13mo
Reggie Awww I would have so appreciated you being my teacher reading this with us. Great job. 13mo
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MandaMT
This post contains spoilers
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This book has been touch and go for me, but this chapter where Rue tells Bri everything she‘s learned about the unwritten parts of history, and Bri gets defensive... very impactful. We‘ve been led to see her as “one of the good ones”, which makes this critique stand out all the more.

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Another great installment in the Magic Misfits series! Theo takes center stage in the 3rd book. Torn between the Misfits, his family, and new friend Emily, Theo realizes he can‘t please everyone. The Misfits keep a watchful eye on a suspicious ventriloquist as they prepare for the town talent show. NPH‘s magical interludes teach fun card tricks.

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Ikenga | Nnedi Okorafor
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Ikenga | Nnedi Okorafor
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Loved this one! Nnamdi, a 12 year old boy, gets a gift from the ghost of his father. The Ikenga changes him into “The Man”- a hulk like crime fighter. Nnamdi must learn to control while finding out who the true villains are. Beautifully told story about living with pain and grief.

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MandaMT
The Boy in the Black Suit | Jason Reynolds
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In an interview last week Jason Reynolds said this was his favorite Jason Reynolds book. It‘s been on my TBR shelf for a while, so I gave it a shot.
It did not disappoint.
Matt‘s mother has just died. He ends up working a part-time job at the funeral home that performed her service. He finds sitting in on other funerals helps him feel less alone. Beautiful story about loss and living with grief.

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MandaMT
The Storm Runner | J.C. Cervantes
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Mehso-so

I love the idea behind the Rick Roirdan Presents series- MG books that draw from various world mythologies written by people from those cultures. This one is about a young boy who gets caught up in a Mayan prophecy. It had some really fun, action packed moments. I had to push myself to get to the end though. It might be that I just wasn‘t in the right headspace for a longer book right now. (400+ pages)

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MandaMT
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Loved this MG collection of short stories from Native authors! All the stories revolve around a Powwow that the characters are either on route to or attending. They are woven together in really fun ways. This is part of the free February collection from Libro.fm‘s ALC program for educators.

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MandaMT
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Loved this follow up to We Set the Dark on Fire. Great duology. The first book provides the world building for this story of rebellion against an authoritarian regime. The second book is full of action, adventure, and queer romance. The cast of characters features many badass female revolutionaries.

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This was another great freebie from Libro.fm‘s ALC* program for educators. In telling the stories of Berdis Baldwin, Alberta King, and Louise Little, Tubbs paints a broader picture of Black women‘s experiences in the 1920‘s & 30‘s as mothers and community organizers.

*still available until the end of the month

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MandaMT
The Storm Runner | J.C. Cervantes
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February Break vibe.

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MandaMT
Chlorine Sky | Mahogany L. Browne
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Loved this story in verse. Wish I had a physical copy to mark up some favorite passages. Browne has written beautifully on girlhood, basketball, friendship, identity and protecting oneself and others.

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I was off Litsy for a few months. I fished this during that time. Below is my write up from my “Top 10(ish) Favorite Books of 2020. TLDR: It changed my life. 👇

MandaMT This book has impacted my year more than any other. It had been sitting on my shelf unread. After the murder of George Floyd I wanted to get into more serious reading. I posted on social media to see if anyone wanted to read it with me. I figured shared accountability would keep me on track. I thought the book club would meet a handful of times over the summer. We‘ve met every week for the last 7 months. 1y
MandaMT Saad‘s work is uncomfortable by design. It calls for the reader to reflect deeply on personal experiences and uncover biases. I don‘t think I would have gotten as far into it on my own. 1y
MandaMT After completing it we moved on to Kendi‘s How to be an Antiracist, shared relevant podcasts and other BIPOC centered media, and gotten involved in projects like the Vote Forward letter writing campaign. I‘m pretty terrible about finding social outlets and staying connected. The pandemic has made this even worse. Having a consistent meeting has really helped. It‘s also kept me focused on racial justice even when its not all over my newsfeed. 1y
Reggie This is great you were able to find people that helped and motivated you and that you got something out of it. I keep seeing it B&N and tell myself to pick it up but I haven‘t yet. 1y
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