Posts Tagged ‘Diversity’

Five Fabulous…LGBT Books

fab-five-logo-e1397403514389Five Fabulous Books is an original feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books and bookish things, with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and sharing recommendations for similar books. We love to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. You are very welcome to use the Five Fabulous feature on your own blog just be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations! Feel free to copy and paste our Fabulou5 graphic or create one of your own.

Admittedly I really need to read more LGBT reads so readers, if you have any recs, scream them at me!

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
This was the first trans book I read and I loved it. The writing was wonderful, the plot interesting and the characters were great. It was an emotional but wonderful read.

George by Alex Gino
I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. A true coming of age story about a boy who wants to dress like a girl. It is a lovely cute story that everyone should read.

Breathless and Secret by Brigid Kemmerer
This novella and novel are both incredible. Part of the Storm series, these books are the story of how one brother comes out to the rest of his family. Full of drama and love, it is a jam-packed read.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
My very first David Levithan book and my first LGBT book to boot, this was a wonderful read that really celebrates the full scale of diversity and what it means to be diverse.

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I was hooked on this book from the beginning. It is such a wonderfully cute story that is well written and full of love. I just loved this book so much and think you should all read it!

Posted by Faye

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Jacqueline Wilson

katyKaty Carr is a lively, daredevil oldest sister in a big family. She loves messing around outdoors, climbing on the garage roof, or up a tree, cycling, skateboarding, swinging…. But her life changes in dramatic and unexpected ways after a serious accident.
Inspired by the classic novel, What Katy Did, Jacqueline Wilson creates an irresistible twenty-first-century heroine. Fans of Hetty Feather and Tracy Beaker will fall in love with Katy and her family too.

I was a huge fan of the original What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge and read it many times as a child. However looking at my own children I can see how far away it is from the world they live in, and although I would whole heartedly encourage them to read it I was interested to see this re-working of the story and discover if Katy could be brought to life in a fresh way for a new audience. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.

Obviously I read this mentally comparing it to the original, but many today would come at it with fresh eyes and the story holds its own. Katy is the oldest of a string of six children. She is the leader of the pack, full of great ideas and an exciting imagination. She is also full of good intentions in regards to looking after her brothers and sisters, but somehow things don’t always work out the way she plans. Katy has a loving relationship with her father and a strained one with her step-mother whom she struggles to get on with whilst missing her own mother who died years before the story begins. Katy also finds her step-sister Elsie difficult to get along with, not really understanding Elsie’s need to be accepted by her at all. We get to know Katy as she goes through ups and downs of modern family life and her experiences at school with friends, starting to like boys and dealing with not so nice girls. All the memorable incidents from the original are there and given a new slant with humour and little twists.

Then Katy’s world is turned upside down as she has a terrible accident that completely changes her life. I felt that Jaqueline dealt with this part of the story extremely well. It has all the shock of the original but in today’s world medical problems are dealt with so differently. Through Katy’s eyes we experience the trauma of going to hospital, coping with treatment, with different people, with the diagnosis itself and with her family’s reactions to it. There are lots of emotions and it could be difficult reading for a sensitive child, or one to young. But it is a great way for children to learn about how life can be changed at a moments notice, and to see the aftermath of this.

As Katy has to learn to come to terms with her new life in a wheel chair Jacqueline depicts her struggles and her triumphs, this is a long process and Katy goes through so much, but I loved the way that the book ends on such a positive note. It’s great to see disability looked at in a way that doesn’t diminish the difficulties but focuses in the end on the good things that can come out of it and the things that Katy can still do rather than those that she can’t.

Also as the family draw together to try and help Katy deal with all that is happening to her there is a brilliant depiction of the complicated nature of family relationships where everyone does not always understand the needs of another and yet they all keep working at it. I really enjoyed the way the relationships evolved through everything that happened.

Verdict: This is agreat update of a classic novel and now, although I will still be encouraging my girls to read the original this will definitely be on my list of must read books for them as they grow up.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: July 2015
Format: Hardback
Pages: 480
Genre: Retelling, Fiction
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Democracy, Diversity and YA

Ravinder Randhawaembeauty and the beast‘Problems? Confusions? Contradictions? I got them all and if you’ve got them, then FLAUNT them is my motto.’ Meet Harjinder (aka Hari-jan): ‘A’ level student, supermarket worker and desperate journalist. Feisty and impulsive, Hari-jan can’t refuse a dare and to make matters worse has fallen in love with the wrong boy.
Her best friend Ghazala has taken to wearing the hijab and mentoring racists.
Can Hari-jan battle through the hurdles and win her man?
Can Ghazala work out how to do Good in her own way?
A sparkling, coming-of-age novel about life, love and friendship.

Forget Diary of a Wimpy Kid or The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, read the Diary of Mhairi Black Novice MP, a young woman of barely twenty years, who this month became a fully elected Member of Parliament. Hats off to Mhairi!!

Mhairi’s diary (published in the Herald Scotland) contains the episode in a Westminster canteen, which wonderfully sums up Mhairi and the place she’s suddenly found herself in. First, quite heart warmingly, when she gets her lunch of bread and chips, she gets told off by Rita at checkout for not having something more nutritious, then secondly when she sits down near a table where some of the canteen staff are having their lunch they indicate she should be in another part of the dining room. Dutifully Mhairi picks up her tray and walks towards the other end, when she sees a false partition with a sign saying “MPs only beyond this point.” Mhairi immediately turns around and goes back to sit near the canteen staff telling them “If they want us to be snobby you’d think they would go all out snobby and get a different room instead of a half effort partition?!” The whole table burst into rapturous laughter. Good for you Mhairi!

It may be that I’m being unfair, and am happy to be corrected, but it appears to me that politics is not a subject covered in Young Adult fiction. We have vampires galore, dystopian works, time travel, Harry Potter (a genre in itself), cancer, love and identity and so on, but no trailblazing books about the highest seats of power.

There is great talk of the importance of diversity in YA books. I completely agree that diversity, the free exchange of ideas through the medium of fiction, is a cardinal principle. I would put politics under the banner of diversity, for it seems to be a forgotten and therefore undervalued subject, and yet politics underpins our very existence and governs much of what we can or cannot do, what opportunities, rights and freedoms are available to us.

In Britain, the land of the Magna Carta, which first established the principle of equality before the law, a cornerstone of democracy, we’re lucky enough to enjoy civil liberties that people in other countries are struggling for. These brave and courageous people, for instance the blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to ten years in prison and a thousand lashes – let’s write that again – a thousand lashes – for setting up a liberal website, would be astounded that we don’t value our democracy and therefore our political system (with all its flaws) as a most precious resource.

‘But is there drama in democracy?’ I hear you all asking. Yes, quite simply is my answer. Just look at all the political thrillers, the films and TV dramas set in the ‘corridors of power.’ When they’re well written, whether comedies or conflict, they make riveting watching, or reading.

I accept there’s an issue about age; the political arena is seen as being for ‘grown-ups,’ by virtue of age restrictions. But actually any 18 year old can stand for parliament as long as they can put down a deposit of £500 and are nominated by 10 electors of the constituency. That makes politics into young adult territory.

How many times have we heard people complaining about the young not being engaged with politics. Surely, if their reading doesn’t include books that are set amongst the rough and tumble of politics; the processes, rooms and recesses of parliament; if they don’t have heroes and heroines, villains and thugs who pursue their ambitions in those places, then young people will never become familiar with them or identify them as places where they could be. Politics, and the places of politics will remain distant, difficult and incomprehensible.

We learn from literature: it evokes dreams, sparks ideas, makes known the unknown. I ask YA writers to fling open the doors to those corridors of power so their readers can see themselves there – within the boundaries of whatever story has been created. It can be as full of passion, action, fun or thrills as anything else.

Conspiracies, secrets and devilish deeds can occur as much in those hallowed halls as anywhere (and most probably do); the stakes are high, the prizes are glittering. There’s power to be grabbed and blazing ambitions to be fulfulled. Villains and enemies, the revengeful and friendless, the love-lorn and romantic, the dewy-eyed and innocent, all jostle against each other, pursue their plans, courses, machinations – and many a tangled web is woven and many a drama is created.

Post by Ravinder Randhawa

ravindaRavinder Randhawa is the acclaimed author of the novels Beauty and the Beast (YA), A Wicked Old Woman, The Tiger’s Smile and the short story collection Dynamite. She’s currently working on a trilogy: The Fire-Magician. Ravinder was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Toynbee Hall, Queen Mary’s University, the University of London, and founded the Asian Women Writer’s Collective.
Ravinder was born in India, grew up in leafy Warwickshire, now lives in London and agrees with Samuel Johnson’s saying (though of course, in a gender non-specific way) ‘…if a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’ Loves good coffee and really good thrillers. To learn more about Ravinda and her work check out her Website (here), Facebook(here) or Goodreads author page (here). Alternatively you can interact with her on Twitter(here)

You can check out the rest of Ravinder’s tour schedule here.

Tour-Wide Giveaway
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3 Paperback copies of Dynamite

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The Baking Life Of Amelie Day

Vanessa Curtis

Amelie DayAmelie Day loves to bake – cupcakes, biscuits, bread, tarts and muffins – so she’s thrilled when she’s invited to compete in Britain’s Best Teen Baker of the Year. But Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis and some days she can barely breathe. Determined not to let her condition or her mum stop her, Amelie musters all her flour power, but will it be enough to get her there?

Amelie Day loves baking, in fact she LIVES baking. She’s always concocting new recipes and making up cookie/cake/biscuit related ideas. She could bake for Britain, in fact she really could bake for Britain as she’s won a place in Britain’s Best Teen Baker competition and can’t wait to get started. Sadly, there’s a problem, she’s got cystic fibrosis, a condition which is hard to live with, some days she finds it hard to breathe.

Amelie has always wanted to win this competition and she tries out all her food out on her two best friends and guinea pigs, Gemma and Harry, they know how to help with her condition and she tries her best to get on with it but its really hard. Will she be able to overcome her condition (and her mum) and win the competition? Or even be able to get to the competition?

I don’t want to ruin the ending for you all but I know that there are some parts in the book which will make you laugh, some bits that will make you cry (I know because I cried!) and you will realise that people with CF are really brave and inspiring to get on with life like that.

Verdict: I think this book is inspirational, brilliantly written and covers important topics.

Reviewed by Daisy (13)

Publisher: Curious Fox
Publication Date: September 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 240
Genre: Baking, Diversity, Disability
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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