YA Book of the Week: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

YA Book of the Week: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a book I hadn’t heard of until recently. (I learned about it while reviewing Time magazine’s list of the 100 best YA books of all time.) Most of the books I had at least heard of and many I had read in the past. However, this one was new to me and the title and cover were intriguing, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did!

The novel centers around a Native American teenager named Junior who lives on the Spokane reservation. He is an awkward guy who loves to draw cartoons and uses his art to express his feelings about the world around him. In fact, there are cartoon drawings sprinkled throughout the book.

Junior is often picked on, and even beat up, at his school on the reservation. When he realizes that he isn’t getting the best education there, he makes the decision to go to the white school in a nearby town. It’s a controversial decision since people in his tribe see him as a traitor and he also doesn’t readily fit in in his new school. As a result, he and his best friend Rowdy have a terrible falling out, leaving Junior even more alone.

Alexie’s book is a National Book Award winner, and with good reason. It deals with serious topics, like racism, substance abuse, and poverty. However, Alexie presents the story with humor, making it an enjoyable read. You can expect to run across some racist language, but it is used in a way that helps to tell the story, so it is necessary. In addition, there is some crude language and humor, but again, it adds to the authenticity of the novel.

Make Some 3D Hand Art

Make Some 3D Hand Art

Here’s a cool project that doesn’t take many supplies to create. I tried it myself and the steps and pictures of my progress are below.

To create your 3D hand art, you will need:

  • A pencil.
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils. (I used markers…which I now have all over my hands. Anyone else have trouble using markers without getting it on them? No? Just me?)
  • Ruler.
  • Paper.
  • A larger piece of paper, paper bag, or newspaper to put under your artwork while you are making it to prevent getting marks on the table.
A pencil on a table

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Step 1: Trace your hand using the pencil.

A close up of a whiteboard

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Step 2: Using the ruler and a black marker, crayon, or colored pencil, draw straight lines around the hand and between the fingers, like this:

A close up of a sign

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It should end up looking like this:

A picture containing object, comb, white, sitting

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Step 3: Draw curved lines across fingers and hand connecting the straight lines.

A picture containing object, comb, measure, clock

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If you get a little smudgy during the step, don’t worry about it. When you color it in you will hardly see the smudges. You can see I got a smudge near the wrist and there are some up by the fingers, too. When you’re done, you should have something like this: (Looks 3D already, doesn’t it?)

A picture containing standing, bird, white

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Step 4: Color in the stripes. It helps to use a pattern of colors because it sort of “tricks” the eye. However, I encourage you to try lots of different things and as many colors as you like! I used 4 colors in a rotating pattern.

A close up of a device

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Ta da! All finished! What do you think?

A close up of a logo

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When the library reopens (and we sure hope it is soon because we miss all of you!) bring in your hand art. We’ll make an art display of all the fun things we made while staying Safer at Home.

Harry Potter at Home

Harry Potter at Home

Looking for something new to do? J.K. Rowling, with some help from her Wizarding World partners, has created a new website to give people a way to escape the boredom of social distancing for a while. It’s called “Harry Potter at Home.” The site is full of activities, new stuff to read, quizzes, and more.

If you already have an account at Pottermore, you can sign in using that information. Or, create a new account using your email address. Don’t forget to get sorted into your house while you’re there!

If you’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books (or want to revisit Harry’s world), you can listen to Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone for free on the Hoopla app using your library card. If you don’t have a library card, you can sign up for a temporary one on our website. When the library re-opens, teens can come in with a parent or guardian to get a regular card.

Check out the Harry Potter at Home website here. https://www.wizardingworld.com/

YA Book of the Week: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

YA Book of the Week: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Orisha series. This is Adeyemi’s first published novel, which is one of the things that makes it so remarkable because it is sooo good! The story is set in a fantasy world where big cats grow large enough to be ridden and magic abounds, though it is being suppressed by the rulers of the kingdom who wish to eradicate magic users (maji) out of fear.

Maji are gifted with special talents that let them do things like control fire and summon waves. Zelie’s mother was a Reaper, a maji who could call forth the souls of the dead. Zelie, too, has that particular gift. Though magic has been all but erased from the world, Zelie finds herself with a chance to bring it back. But, to do so, she has to outwit the crown prince who chases her and her companions in an attempt to ensure they cannot reignite the world’s magic.

Adeyemi was inspired to write Children of Blood and Bone in part by the Black Lives Matter movement. Through the book, she explores themes of race, social justice, and gender roles. Adeyemi describes the novel as “an allegory for the modern black experience.”

Now, full disclosure, I didn’t read the book – I listened to the audiobook on Hoopla. While I’m sure reading the book is great, listening to it was amazing! The narrator, Bahni Turpin, lends a feeling of authenticity to the novel, set in a West African inspired world, through her beautiful accent. She does an excellent job of conveying the emotions of the characters through inflection. In fact, her voice work is so good that Children of Blood and Bone won the 2019 Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year.

You can read Children of Blood and Bone as an ebook using the Libby app or Overdrive, or listen to it on the Hoopla app.

To learn more about Tomi Adeyemi and read an interview with the author, check out this article on goodreads.