Posted in book reviews, books, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Look Both Ways

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Alexander Nabaum

◆ ◆ ◆ ◇ ◇

*Published October 8, 2019*

This was a very sweet book, and I liked that it focused on the minutiae of the everyday lives of the teens in the book. And it all stems from how the teens walk to or from school.

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Block by Jason Reynolds

From National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all they different directions a walk home can take.

This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—

Talking about boogers. Stealing pocket change. Skateboarding. Wiping out. Braving up. Executing complicated handshakes. Planning an escape. Making jokes. Lotioning up. Finding comfort. But mostly, too busy walking home.

Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.

Your life, your coworkers life, you kids’ life, your kids’ friends’ life, so many lives that you touch on a daily basis. Well, I hope you’re not touching right now, what with the social distancing and making sure everyone is safe, but you know what I mean. The way we live our lives, touches the lives of many other people in ways we can’t even imagine. The kids you seeing roughhousing in the hallway after school are the best friends you ever did meet. The kids who take your pocket change, just the change you have wandering around in your pocket, to buy ice cream for one’s sick mother. One of the coolest guys in school is scared of dogs, and plans his escape route should one start to chase him.

You never know what is going on in the lives of others, no matter the circumstances. And you interactions with that person may be the brightest thing in their lives that day. Or, it could be the worst thing to happen to them but they don’t want to let on that what you’re doing is affecting them so.

Think about your day, and think about your daily interactions, and think about the lives those interactions are taking a part of. And as with this book, think about how your interactions may be affecting others. I know that’s a hard sell right now, but try to think and reflect on how you can make not only your day better, but the days of others better.

I know that this sounds SUPER preachy right now, but sometimes we need the preach. And sometimes we need to listen to someone who is not ourselves or our family members. Take a look at Look Both Ways and make sure that you’re able to start looking both ways as well.

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Teen Titans: Beast Boy

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo

◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◇

*Published September 1, 2020*

I was so excited when I saw that Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo were doing another graphic novel together and that it was Beast Boy! I love Beast Boy and Raven and knowing a little bit more about Beast Boy is always good thing, like how did he end up with his shapeshifting abilities? The answer is in this graphic novel, so you should read it to find out if you’re new to the Teen Titans.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia,
illustrated by Gabriel Picolo

Garfield Logan has spent his entire life being overlooked. Even in a small town like Eden, Georgia, the 17-year-old with green streaks in his hair can’t find a way to stand out–and the clock is ticking. Senior year is almost over. If Gar doesn’t find a way to impress the Chosen Ones–the social elite at Bull Creek High School–he will never know what it’s like to matter. Gar’s best friends, Stella and Tank, don’t understand why he cares what other people think. They miss their funny, pizza-loving, video game-obsessed best friend.

Then Gar accepts a wild dare out of the blue. It impresses the Chosen Ones and his social status soars. But other things are changing, too. Gar grows six inches overnight. His voice drops and, suddenly, he’s stronger and faster. He’s finally getting everything he wanted, but his newfound popularity comes at a price. Gar has to work harder to impress his new friends. The dares keep getting bigger and the stakes keep getting higher.

When Gar realizes the extent of his physical changes, he has to dig deep and face the truth about himself–and the people who truly matter–before his life spirals out of control.

The best part about this graphic novel was how relatable Garfield Logan is. He’s a teenage boy, who is smaller than most in their senior year and all he wants is to be recognized as someone before his senior year ends. When he finds out a way to ensure his notoriety for senior year, he does it and he discovers a lot more about himself then he ever knew before.

We start out this graphic novel with the basis of all YA novels, Garfield Logan just wants to be accepted by the popular kids in his high school. His friends just want their fun buddy back. When he does get his wish and is acknowledged as more than just a punching bag of the bullies and jerks of the school, he has to keep doing more and more ridiculous stunts to keep his own popularity up.

It’s when we finally start to see Garfield going through a series of changes that most likely should have happened to him as he was growing up, that we start to realize that there was more to Garfield’s puberty change that was allowed to happen. He recognizes that there is more happening to his changes and while he is excited to see what’s going on (he’s finally got muscles!), he also wants to know why these different changes are affecting him now and what it means as he tries to control these changes.

As we end the graphic novel with Garfield/Beast Boy leaving his hometown to find out more about what is happening with him, we have an idea of what’s going to happen next. Especially as we have gotten a sneak peak at the next book and we see him and Raven bump into each other and neither has the best first impression. I’m excited to see what happens next with Raven and Beast Boy.

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, school

Tiny Navajo Reads: Sorry for Your Loss

Sorry for Your Loss by Jessie Ann Foley

◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◇

*Published June 4, 2019*

Another book that I read for the Sequoyah Books Talks for my library system, this is one that showed the places the death of a family member leaves behind. Both heartfelt and a bit of tugging on the heartstrings.

Printz Honor winner and William Morris Award finalist Jessie Ann Foley’s latest YA novel is a comitragic coming-of-age story about an awkward teenage guy who, after the loss of his brother, finds healing and a sense of self where he least expected to.

As the youngest of eight, painfully average Pup Flanagan is used to flying under the radar. He’s barely passing his classes. He lets his longtime crush walk all over him. And he’s in no hurry to decide on a college path. The only person who ever made him think he could be more was his older brother Patrick, the family’s golden child. But that was before Patrick died suddenly, leaving Pup with a family who won’t talk about it and acquaintances who just keep saying, “sorry for your loss.”

But when Pup excels at a photography assignment he thought he’d bomb, things start to come into focus. His dream girl shows her true colors. An unexpected friend exposes Pup to a whole new world, right under his nose. And the photograph that was supposed to show Pup a way out of his grief ultimately reveals someone else who is still stuck in their own. Someone with a secret regret Pup never could have imagined.

I will say this, Pup puts up with a lot in this book. Not only does the girl he have a crush on, as well as being friends with, just kind of dump everything in his lap without considering his side of things; with his brother dead, it seems that everyone else in his family has either forgotten him or moved on prematurely; and he’s about to fail his art class, where his teacher gives him what seems to be a life raft to help him keep afloat. All of these things resonate within Pup and show up in different ways.

What I enjoyed most about this book though was how well it not only articulated grief and dealing with grief, but love and the love of a family and how all of that can come together in order to support your family. Granted, no one’s family is the perfect family, if it were then you would need to wake me up because I am dreaming at the point. But with the fact that no one’s family is perfect, they may be perfect for you in all of their imperfections. And you may also find that what you love about your family is also what drives you up the wall about it as well.

Sorry for Your Loss is not only a story about dealing with grief and learning how to deal with the emotional loss of a family member, but it is also about learning how to love your family, with all of their quirks and musings. While this was a quick read for me, it is one that left an impact on me and one that I will most likely recommend to anyone who is trying to deal with grief and all the symptoms that it brings. What about you? What books have you read that have left an impact on your life? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, children, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Genesis Begins Again

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

*Published January 15, 2019*

As we are transitioning from summer and the Summer Reading Program in my library system and heading into the new school year, my library system is working on ways to still work and connect with our schools. One way that we’re doing that is by doing book talks for the Sequoyah Winners this year, and I did three of them. This is one of them and I have to say that I’m glad I read this book.

A Newbery Honor Book Winner of the Correta Scott King – John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award A Morris Award Finalist An NPR Favorite Book of 2019 A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019 A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019 This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself. There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence. What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show. But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

This was a sweet and powerful book about the darkness of one’s skin can affect your life, even if you said or think it does not. Now, as a preface, I am not Black, nor am I African-American. I do have darker skin, but it’s because I am Native American. I have no idea what it is like to be Black in the United States. All I can tell you is what I felt while reading this book.

What I felt while reading this book was a uniquely direct since of disproportionate power. There is power in being a lighter shade of black, as shown in Genesis’s own family. Her mother is lighter skinned, her grandmother is lighter skinned, and even her own father stated that Genesis was supposed to come out looking like her mother, and not like him. I cannot begin to image just how devastating that would be to hear as a small child, that your father is angry because you look more like him than your mother.

I also felt that Genesis was, and is, a product not only of her nature, but of her nurturing. What you hear as you grow up is what the voice in your head starts to tell you as well, and so at some point, you WILL start telling yourself all the negative things that you hear everyone else say about you. This all changes, or at least starts to change, when she ends up changing schools because of some housing issues. She starts to make friends with those who are different from her as well as friends who come from at least a similar background than her. And when she starts to find that there are things that she likes about herself, she starts to realize that maybe that is what she needed to start helping her family as well.

All in all, I think what I loved most about this story is that there are things that you can unlearn about yourself, and there are things that you can learn to love about yourself that you didn’t use to love about yourself. And I think that’s what most beautiful about this book and Genesis, that you can teach yourself new things, and those new things can help you.

What have you relearned about yourself? What have you unlearned about yourself? And yes, those are different things. Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: My Hero Academia Vol. 22

My Hero Academia, Vol. 22 by Kohei Horikoshi
◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

 

I read this the same day that I read My Hero Academia Vol. 21 and I was definitely glad to know that I had the next three books to continue reading.

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

In the third match of the joint battle training, the students of Class 1-A have their hands full dealing with the unexpected creativity of Class B’s Quirk use. These matches give everyone a chance to reflect on exactly where they all stand in comparison to each other and on the events in their lives that have brought them to this point. Then it’s time for Bakugo to show what he’s learned…

I think this is where we see the best of Bakugo yet, he has actually learned how to use teamwork! But one of the best things is that we get to see all of Class B’s Quirks and how everyone has grown and changed and advanced. The best clash of Class A vs. Class B is definitely Bakugo’s team vs. a set of Class B that we haven’t really gotten a good look at. It was definitely good to see what happens when you actually learn and put that knowledge to actual use. Just so good! Go My Hero!

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: My Hero Academia Vol. 21

My Hero Academia, Vol. 21 by Kohei Horikoshi

 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

*Published October 1, 2019*

my hero academia 21Yep, I’m finally getting back into My Hero Academia and I can’t believe it took me a few months to get back to reading this series! I flippin’ love this series and I love all of it! So good!!!

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

Class 1-A’s joint battle training with Class B continues! Class 1-A get the first win in the best-of-five series of all-out Quirk battles, but after some feedback from the teachers, the students square off again for a second round, and real rivalries form.

We have three sets of stories here; the end of the fight between the weirdly intelligent Nomu against our new #1 hero, Endeavor, Deku unlocking more vestiges from All for One and the powers that belong to those vestiges, and the start of the testing phase to allow Shinso to transfer to the Hero track at U.A. I will say that I was most interested in the kids’ stories, about Deku and how much power he’ll be unlocking in All for One, and Shinso and how he’s going to start using his powers for heroic purposes. Those were in the interesting bits of story.

I liked that we get to see a little more about those who had All for One before Deku, that we see a “memory” of them and they explain how to use their power as it starts to manifest in All for One. Apparently All Might never got as far as Deku has in the realization of the past memories, but it shows that this power is meant for Deku, in my head. It means that Deku will be doing all that he can and more to make sure to use this power for the good of everyone.

I also like that we get an idea of how Shinso has been working to make his quirk a usable one for hero work; we see that he’s been working with Aizawa-sensei to not only get his capture fabric, but training in it as well. We see that that are ways to not only augment what you have, but change how your use your Quirk in order to make better use of it. This is what Shinso has been doing ever since the Sports Festival, to try and make sure that he can be a hero one day, on his own merit.

This is the stories that interest me most in My Hero Academia, the stories about those who struggle to reach their goal, because their goal is their shining light in a world they only see darkness in. What are your goals in life? What do you reach for when you need to reach for something?

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: All the Crooked Saints

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

*Published August 28, 2018*

all the crooked saintsI have had this book on my physical shelves for a couple of years. I actually won it as a prize for my library’s Summer Reading Program. It just sounded like it would be an excellent book of magic and fantasy set in the 1960s in Colorado.

Here is a thing everyone wants:
A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado, is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

This was such an interesting book! I loved reading about the Soria cousins, as they seek to do what their family has done for generations; provide miracles for those who seek them out. One caveat: they cannot help the pilgrims overcome the price for their miracle. Now the Sorias are surrounded by pilgrims who will not leave with their miracles attached to them in such public ways.

When Daniel, the current Saint of Bicho Raro, leaves, having attracted a price for inadvertently helping a pilgrim, his cousins do all that they can to seek him out and save him from his own darkness. And the darkness of a Soria is the darkest of them all.

This is a story about love; familial, romantic, platonic, just about all the love you can think of and how that love is not only a saving grace for some people, but it’s a lifeline for them as well. I love the story of love and forgiveness and family. The cousins learn that there is more out there, and the pilgrims learn to talk about their problems as well as their miracles. If anything, this book highlights the need for people to talk about their feelings and what is causing those feelings. And believe me, All the Crooked Saints gave me all the feelings!

What book gives you all the feels? Do you need to talk about the feels the books have given you to any and everyone? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: My Hero Academia, Vol. 18

My Hero Academia, Vol. 18 by Kohei Horikoshi

 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

*Published April 2, 2019*

my hero academia vol. 18Here we have a combination of both intense and light, hard and soft. And we finally get the ending to the Chisaki arc!

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

Midoriya is in the fight of his life—an all-out battle with Overhaul, who has unleashed his terrifying power. Midoriya is matching it with his own power, pushing One For All to 100 percent. Only by relying on Eri’s restoration Quirk can he hope to take down Overhaul. If Midoriya manages to walk away from this fight, his life will never be the same again…

This is a good ending to the Chisaki volume, as we see the final fight between Chisaki and Deku with Eri’s help. It’s only by relying on this little girl’s unconscious control of her power to rewind someone that Deku is able to go full out, One for All at 100%, and use that power to take Chisaki down.

After Chisaki is taken down, we turn to somewhat lighter events with the make-up test for those students who failed the initial provisional licensing, with these students having to “cooperate to open up the kids’ heart.” I won’t say more other than this, as I truly love it all turns out, but I will say that our students do happen to pass this provisional licensing, even if this make-up test isn’t what any of them truly expected.

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: My Hero Academia, Vol. 17

My Hero Academia, Vol. 17 by Kohei Horikoshi

 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

*Published February 15, 2019*

my hero academia vol. 17Togata has quickly become one of my favourite heroes of this series, and this volume is why. His persistence and the mastery he has over his Quirk is awe-inspiring, especially for young heroes like Deku.

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

The raid on the Hassaikai gang is in full swing, and the heroes plunge into the darkness toward their ultimate confrontation. Lemillion engages Overhaul in an attempt to rescue Eri, and the battle reaches a new level of intensity. Midoriya is desperate to help his mentor, but what fate has Nighteye foreseen for them all in this clash? And does the key to Midoriya’s survival lie in Eri herself?

This is one of the most action packed volumes yet! We are focused mainly on Lemillion (Togata) as he has finally caught up with Overhaul and is fighting to not only rescue Eri, but to right his wrong on not rescuing her earlier. He is also fighting to prove that he can be the hero that society needs him to be, now that All Might has retired. But as the fight progresses, we can see that it’s getting hard for Togata to fight against three on his own when he also has to protect Eri. It’s in protecting Eri that tragedy strikes, and he is taken down. He’s not out by any means, but he is taken out of the fight.

We then have Deku show up and continue the fight, to rescue Eri and bring her to safety. And with Eri’s help, Deku is able to go 100% Full Cowling, keeping himself ready and able to fight against the Chisaki Chimera until the end. Only this isn’t the end! There’s a fricken’ cliffhanger!!!!! GAAHHHHHH!!!! Just make sure you have the next volume ready when you read this one!

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: My Hero Academia, Vol. 16

My Hero Academia, Vol. 16 by Kohei Horikoshi

 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

*Published December 4, 2018*

my hero academia vol. 16I love it when books can turn the focus away from their main characters for just a bit and we get a deeper look into the lives of others in the books. It’s a good way to give some context to the world these characters live it and what it means to them.

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

The Hassaikai crime gang, led by the young boss Chisaki, has been working on a plan to distribute a Quirk-destroying drug. The key to this evil scheme is the young girl Eri, held prisoner in Chisaki’s hideout. Nighteye asks other heroes to form a team to launch a rescue attempt—and the students of Class 1-A are going into the lion’s den with them! But Nighteye, who can see the future, refuses to look at the fates of anyone going on the mission…

I love learning more about Kirishima and Tamaki Amajiki, one of the Top Three at U.A. known as Suneater due to his Quirk. The reason for this is because both Kirishima and Amajiki are both interning under the same hero, thus making this a great volume in which we get to see them and how they work. We also get to see a little bit more into the meaning behind Kirishima’s hero name “Red Riot,” and exactly what it means to him to be a chivalrous hero, especially in a time where people sometimes only become heroes for the fame and money that come along with it.

I also like knowing a little bit more about one of the Top Three, a teen with low self-esteem in himself and his Quirk. Amajiki, one of the best students at the school with such control over his Quirk, has shown that he would be a great boon to society once he graduates. He doesn’t believe so though, and it’s only once he has to take on several villains at once that we fully see what it means to be one of the Top Three, even if you can’t see it yourself.