Saturday, September 30, 2017

60. The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

read on my iPhone
2017, Mantle
393 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 9/30/17
Goodreads rating:  4.02 - 477 ratings
My rating:  5, I think
Setting: Contemporary England

First line/s:  "I was scrubbing potatoes when it happened."

My comments:  This was a charming, multi-layered story, told in the first person by Elvira herself.  Elvira has autism/Aspergers, and has been ruled -- and bullied -- by her overbearing mother for her entire 25 - or - so years.  That changes, however, when her mother has a serious stroke at the very beginning of the story.  Elvira learns to cope and appear more "normal" with the help of many caring individuals.  I love this book.  It takes you into the head and heart of a gril with a condition that is incredibly difficult to understand.

Goodreads synopsis: A socially challenged young woman is finally forced to find her place in the world in this breathtaking and moving debut 
     Elvira Carr believes in crisp schedules, clear guidelines, and taking people at face value. She lives at home with her overbearing mother, who has deemed her unfit to interact with the rest of society.
     But when her mother has a stroke, Ellie is suddenly forced to look after herself. She quickly comes up with an ingenious way of coping with the world: the seven social rules spreadsheet.
     Unfortunately, Ellie soon discovers that most people don't live their lives within a set of rules. As she experiences social missteps and awkward encounters, Ellie continues to learn – about herself, and the people around her. And she'll need this new knowledge if she hopes to pave the way to living life on her own terms.

Monday, September 25, 2017

59. Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Bedani

listened to on Audible
2015 Lake Union Publishing
377 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 9/25/2017 (my 46th wedding anniversary)
Goodreads rating:  3.94 - 28,501 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: contemporary Palo Alto, CA

My comments:  Beautifully read by Karen Peakes, the story is told by four women - a mother and her three daughters, as they reflect upon their lives and the different paths they've had to take because of the now-comatose father's abuse.  Four different stories, actually five if you include the granddaughter's, which is told by her mother.  Women deeply damaged by one man, and now, finally, discovering how to heal.  There's a  little bit too much philosophizing, but as I listened to this on a 16-hour drive, I didn't mind too, too much.  Great setting: contemporary Palo Alto, California.  An interesting, character-driven story, and an opportunity to watch and think about four very different relationships with one difficult man.

Goodreads synopsis: When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.
          Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets. 
          Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

58. Legend by Marie Lu

#1 Legend series
listened on Audible
2011, Putnam juvenile
305 pgs.
YA Dystopia/Fantasy
Finished 9/16/17
Goodreads rating: 4.19
My rating:  5

First line/s:  "But the biggest thing that doesn't compute for me is this:  Day has never killed anyone before."

My comments:  Told from two points of view, one of Day - the Republic's most wanted criminal, and one of June - one of the Republic's greatest and brightest stars. They are both fifteen years old, but I picture them at least three years older.  Strong characterization.  A dystopian world that I can believe and see, with equal amounts of goodness and badess.  An adventurous storyline, although it could have a very bad ending, does not go in that direction completely.  I like stories that you know, deep down, will end well, but you're never really absolutely sure.  I'm surprised I haven't read this earlier.  Looking forward to number two in the series.  I have no problem rating this a five, particularly since I listened to it and the two different reader were wonderful, really good casting.

Goodreads synopsis: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
          From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

PICTURE BOOK - A Very Improbable Story by Edward Einhorn

Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
2008, Charlesbridge
HC $16.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.99 - 94 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers: Dark blue
Illustrations on much or most of page, text is on white
1st line/s:  "one morning Ethan woke up with a cat on his head."

My comments:   Oh my gosh, what a great picture book to introduce probability to older kids!  It's cute and fun and gives wonderful mathematical information in a straight-forward, interesting way.  It gets a little convoluted at the end, but if it's being used as a read aloud, stress and pausing  can be used  effectively, and then play a probability game similar to one described in the book and VOILA!!

Goodreads:  Ethan wakes up one morning with a talking cat on his head. The cat refuses to budge until Ethan wins a game of probability. Without looking, Ethan must pick out a dime from his coin collection, or two matching socks from his dresser, or do something else improbable. Avery improbable story about a challenging math concept. Author: Edward Einhorn Format: 32 pages, paperback Ages: 7-10

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

57. The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker

read on my iPhone
2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
404 pgs.
Adult murder mystery/police procedural
Finished 9/13/17
Goodreads rating:  4.19
My rating:  4.5/5
Setting:  contemporary Chicago

First line/s:  "There it was again, that incessant ping."

My comments:  A creepy, chilling, deliciously mesmerizing story of two men - one a cop, the other a psychopath.  So much happens in the story, and it's all told in very interesting ways.  We read the psychopath's diary, written especially for the cop, Sam Porter, to read.  We follow along with the cop as he returns to work after the murder of his wife (although it is slowly revealed that she has been murdered). And we suffer with the victim as she struggles through a horrible kidnapping.  There's a lot of violence.  Those parts sort of reminded me of the Archie Sheridan mysteries by Chelsea Cain.  I got creeped out a number of times, but couldn't wait to get back to find out what was going to happen next.  And the ending was really something.  Oh yes, there will be more....

Goodreads synopsis: Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind." 
          For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.
          As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.
          With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer's identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

Monday, September 11, 2017

PICTURE BOOK - Lines, Bars and Circles: How William Playfair Invented Graphs by Helaine Becker

Illustrated by Marie-Eve Tremblay
2017 Kids Can Press
36 pgs.(yes, I counted twice)
Goodreads rating: 3.85 - 54 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers: Solid light yellowish-brown

1st line/s:  "William Playfair was a dreamer.  He saw the world differently than other people."

My comments:  William Playfair (don't you love the name?) was, well, a goof-off and loser.  He was a great thinker with great ideas, but most of them fell through or got him in trouble.  And although he was the first recorded person to create and use line charts, bar graphs, and pie graphs, they were more-or-less scoffed at during his lifetime.  Poor guy.  This book chronicles all his failings and some of his triumphs, giving us a glimpse into the times as well - historical information is presented within the book (not as an afterword) on The Scientific Method, The Industrial Revolution, and The French Revolution. There IS also a three- page afterword with more information about the charts that Mr. Playfair actually created.

Goodreads:   Born in Scotland more than 250 years ago, William Playfair was a dreamer who ?saw the world differently from other people.? Unfortunately, this difference sometimes got in the way of his success. Early on, as he attempted to apply his unique perspective to a series of career opportunities in order to gain ?riches! fame! glory!? he instead suffered one failure after another. Then, while writing a book about economics, Will's innovative vision inspired an idea that would set him apart: he created the first modern line graph. Next came a bar graph and later a pie chart. These infographic inventions provided a way for numbers to be seen as pictures, which made them easier to understand and to remember --- and thus changed the way the world would interact with data forever.
          With this story of an unconventional man whose creative expressions revolved around math, science, engineering and technology, bestselling author Helaine Becker has created the perfect picture book introduction to STEM education. It would easily find use across curriculums in the classroom. On one level, it is a well-told and engaging biography of an intriguing man, illustrated with humor by Marie-Ève Tremblay. But it also explores math concepts such as measurement and geometry, as well as history, with sidebars on subjects such as the Industrial Revolution and steam engines. In addition, the book teaches the important lesson that everyone should follow their own curiosities to wherever they lead. The end matter includes historical notes, as well as more detailed explanations of the three types of graphs.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Programming Ideas

A major part of my job as a Youth Services Library Assistant is to develop and present programming for kids from BABY to TEENS.  My expertise is with kids from about 8 and up.... I'll leave the ideas for little guys for the little-guys-experts/

There are a zillion ideas bumping around in my head, each one pretty much ignited by reading a  picture book, and I'm going to start with MATH.


The Fibonacci Sequence
Book:  The Rabbit Problem by Emily GRavett

Book:  Lines, Bars and Circles: How William Playfair Invented Graphs by Helaine Becker
Activity Ideas:  Make a Bar Graph using M & Ms, Skittles, Froot Loops, or something similar.  If it's nice outside, kids could take their completed graphs and, using chalk, draw them on the sidewalk.

Book:      Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford
Activity Ideas:  Create Infinity Tiles based on this Babble Dabble Do activity.
     Also "Endless Tiles" based on the work of Sebastian Truchet.  Information can be found on Math Munch  and  with an "instructable"  called Amazing Math with Truchet Tiles.

Book:  Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins
Activity Ideas:  Coin Riddles: What's in Your Wallet? (Can you make exactly one dollar - cards with challenges like can you use five coins to make 62-cent?) Using real coins would be a plus.  Then, make a piggy bank to take home.

Palindromes and Accurate Addition
Book/s:  Mom and Dad are Palindromes by Mark Shulman (for introduction)
If You Were a Palindrome by Michael Dahl (read at the end to "debrief"
Too Hot to Hoot by Marvin Terban (riddles to ask throughout the session)
Activity Idea:  Each child should have a blank paged lab book for their calculations.A 100-chard should be included in the lab book.  Explain how number palindromes result (inverting each number and adding together until a palindrome happens).Have them look three and four step palindromes.  What happens when you try to make a palindrome out of 3 or 4-digit numbers?

Prime Numbers, Factors, and Multiples
Book:  The Boy Who Loved Math, The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman
Activity Idea:  Go through a 100-number Sieve of ERathsothenes to find all the prime numbers (Use a 200-number chart for older kids or kids who are ready for higher numbers).
Extension:  Card game for recognition and memorization.

Book:  A Very Improbable Story by Edward Einhorn
Activity Idea:  Begin by teaching about the different colors, suits, and cards in a deck of cards.  Then teach about Likely, Unlikely, Possible, Impossible, Even chances, Certain, etc.  Teach about tally marks and draw sets of 10 cards from a bag, discussing the probability of pulling out a certain card, or suit, or face card.....
          Throwing a pair of dice 100 times and recording the results also makes the beginning place of what are the chances....especially if you make bar graph showing your results.  It's actually quite impressive and easy to see the "odds."

Book:  Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy (perhaps not the greatest read aloud, but a good one to point out symmetry as you read.)
Activities:  First, make "freaky creatures" by making each student's name symmetrical by using cursive handwriting...color and add features.  Second, cut out a somewhat-symmetrical image from a magazine, cut it in half on the line of symmetry, glue to a piece of paper, and attempt to draw the other half.  Third, Cut paper symmetry (positive-negative images) as well as snowflakes.

Book:  Grandfather Tang's Story: A Tale Told with Tangrams by Ann Tompert
Activity Ideas:  As you read the story aloud, have kids see if they can make the animals using a set of tangrams provided to each of them.  It would be nice to have a felt board to show, as well.  Then, using the set of tangrams they are given, can the make a square?  A rectangle?  A parrallelogram?  A trapezoid?  A triangle?  Endless possibilities....

Mobius Strip
Book:  Math at the Art Museum
Activity Ideas:  The book Math at the Art Museum includes many different pieces of art with mathematical concepts, but I think I'd do two fun activites relating to the Mobius strip, and what it really means to have one continuous side.  I'd have kids make a Mobius strip, then draw a line (showing how it connects at beginning and end points), then cut out the line to see what happens.  Activity two would be to have kids draw a line (sort of like scribbling, going back and forth over itself a few times, then connecting at the end to have made one continuous line.  It can then be colored in using just two colors where the colors never touch each other.  I'd have them make this into a small art print to take home.

Programming Ideas with a Single Book

Robert's Snow by Grace Lin (ideas included in blog write-up)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

PICTURE BOOK - Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford

Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
2012, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis (a division of Lerner Books)
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 3.99 - 814 rtings
My rating: 4
Endpapers endless numbers black on gray

1st line/s:  "The night I got my new red shoes, I couldn't wait to wear them to school."

My comments:  Infinity has always been a tough concept for me to wrap my mind around.  In this book, a little girl inquires of different people what they think of when they think of infinity.  The illustrations are really interesting and different.  I'm planning to use this book as the perfect  introduction to a quick program for kids that's an inquiry about infinity.

Goodreads:   When I looked up, I shivered. How many stars were in the sky? A million? A billion? Maybe the number was as big as infinity. I started to feel very, very small. How could I even think about something as big as infinity? Uma can't help feeling small when she peers up at the night sky. She begins to wonder about infinity. Is infinity a number that grows forever? Is it an endless racetrack? Could infinity be in an ice cream cone? Uma soon finds that the ways to think about this big idea may just be . . . infinite.

Friday, September 8, 2017

MOVIE - Home Again

PG-13 (1:37
Wide Release 9/8/2017
Viewed Opening Night (just a coincidence) at Carlisle 8
IMBd: 5.8/10
RT Critic: 34   Audience:  64
Critic's Consensus:  Home Again gathers a talented crowd of rom-com veterans on both sides of the camera -- all of whom have unfortunately done far better work.
Cag:  6/Awesome  5/Loved it  4/Liked it a lot  3/Liked it  2/It was okay  1/Didn’t like it
Directed by Hallie Myers-Shyer
Open Road Films

Reese Witherspoon, Candace Bergen, Michael Sheen

My comments:  A really lighthearted comedy that could happen to absolutely anyone as long as they're gorgeous, rich, have famous parents, beautiful children, and unlimited money so they don't really have to work.  Cuteness abounds.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  HOME AGAIN stars Reese Witherspoon as Alice Kinney in a modern romantic comedy. Recently separated from her husband, (Michael Sheen), Alice decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters. During a night out on her 40th birthday, Alice meets three aspiring filmmakers who happen to be in need of a place to live. Alice agrees to let the guys stay in her guest house temporarily, but the arrangement ends up unfolding in unexpected ways. Alice's unlikely new family and new romance comes to a crashing halt when her ex-husband shows up, suitcase in hand. HOME AGAIN is a story of love, friendship, and the families we create. And one very big life lesson: Starting over is not for beginners.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

56. The Late Show by Michael Connelly

#1 Renee Ballard, LA Police Detective
listened on Audible
2017, Little Brown  Co.
405 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 9/7/2017
Goodreads rating:  4.06
My rating:  4
Setting:  Contemporary LA

First line/s:  "Ballard and Jenikins rolled up on the house on El Centro shortly before midnight."

My comments:  Renee Ballard is a smart, aggressive, bend-the-rules detective in the Los Angeles police department.  I can't say I really liked her, but I think it's the way that the reader's voice gave her personality - or lack thereof.  Much of it was read in a monotone.  If I'd been reading it myself I would've definitely put different stresses to the words and I think it would've changed Renee's personality for me completely.  The cases were cleverly conceived by Mr. Connelly and incredibly captivating.  Excellent characters, interesting lifestyle for the protagonist, super setting.  I only drove around LA twice, but I can see it in my head as he describes it.  Yes, a good murder mystery of which there will hopefully be more.

Goodreads synopsis: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD
          Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.
          But one night she catches two cases she doesn't want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner's wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won't give up her job no matter what the department throws at her.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

MOVIE - Logan Lucky

PG-13 (1:59)
Wide Release 8-18-17
Viewed 9-3-17 at Carlisle 8
IMBd: 7.3/10
RT Critic: 92   Audience:  76
Critic's Consensus:  High-octane fun that's smartly assembled without putting on airs, Logan Lucky marks a welcome end to Steven Soderbergh's retirement -- and proves he hasn't lost his ability to entertain.
Cag:  5 Loved it
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Fingerprint Releasing/Bleeker Street

Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Hillary Swank

My comments:  Now this was a really, really good comedy.  Not a silly comedy, or stupid one.  Not a black comedy or even a slap happy one.  It was smart, fun, and very, very funny.  For me, Adam Driver really stole the show.  Between his Forrest Gump-like accent, artificial hand, and straight-faced delivery of all his lines, I couldn't wait for the next scene he was in.  And believe it or not, the entire movie was full of good, positive family values even if it was about a heist!  Channing Tatum was his usual charming self an Daniel Craig, Hillary Swank, and Katie Holmes were all superb.  The only off note for me was the character that Seth MacFarlane played.  Too over-the-top, more silly than the rest of the movie warranted.  A really well done move, not Oscar Material, but clever, well acted, and well made.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Trying to reverse a family curse, brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

55. The Girl on the Bridge by James Hayman

# 5 McCabe & Savage, Portland, ME
listened to on Audible
2017, William Morrow
368 pgs.
Adult murder mystery
Finished 9/3/17
Goodreads rating: 4.12 - 732 ratings
My rating: 3
Setting: Contemporary Portland, ME (with flashbacks to 2001 NY state)

First line/s:  "October 2001:  Winter comes early to northern New York state.  By the third Saturday in October nighttime temperatures on the Holden College campus in Willardville had dropped to well below freezing."

My comments:  Lots of talking and very little action in this one, more telling than showing.  The same story/s seem to be told over and over again, the book could've and should've been shorter.  No surprises - hints from the very beginning (chapter 2, I think).  This is the first one in the series that I've listened to, and although it was read well, the reader's voice was too old and gruff for the Michael McCabe I had in my head.  I didn't care for the way he did women's voices, either.  It's amazing how much this changed people's personalities in my mind (this is, after all, the 5th I've read in this series and feel like I've gotten to know the protagonists a bit...)  Note to self:  READ the next one, don't listen to it.  Also, the last four or so minutes of the book were fun.

Goodreads synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed McCabe and Savage series comes an electrifying new thriller of taut and twisted suspense.
          On a freezing December night, Hannah Reindel leaps to her death from an old railway bridge into the rushing waters of the river below. Yet the real cause of death was trauma suffered twelve years earlier when Hannah was plucked from a crowd of freshman girls at a college fraternity party, drugged, and then viciously assaulted by six members of the college football team.
          Those responsible have never faced or feared justice. Until now. A month after Hannah’s death, Joshua Thorne—former Holden College quarterback and now a Wall Street millionaire—is found murdered, his body bound to a bed and brutally mutilated.
          When a second attacker dies in mysterious circumstances, detectives Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage know they must find the killer before more of Hannah’s attackers are executed. But they soon realize, these murders may not be simple acts of revenge, but something far more sinister.
          The Girl on the Bridge is a compelling and harrowing tale of suspense that once read will not easily be forgotten. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

MOVIE - Wind River

R (1:51)
Limited release 8/4/17
Viewed 9/2/17
IMBd:  7.8
RT Critic:  87  Audience:  91
Critic's Consensus:  Wind Riverlures viewers into a character-driven mystery with smart writing, a strong cast, and a skillfully rendered setting that delivers the bitter chill promised by its title.
Cag:  6/Awesome
Directed by Taylor Sheridan
Acacia Filmed Entertainment
Written by the director

Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen

My comments:  This was definitely one of the best movies I've seen in a while.  Captivating story - horrific as it was.  It included some of the best acting I've seen in a long while, complex characters.  A frigid cold winter, with scenery shots just right so that they accentuated the plot.  The devastation of the Wind River Reservation and the lives of the people trying to eak out an existence there was the centerpiece for this devastating story.  And then there was Jeremy Renner.  He was incredible, backed superbly by a cast of Native American actors that I've seen often enough to recognize, including Graham Greene.  The story will be hard to forget, and so will Jeremy Renner's performance.

RT Summary:   WIND RIVER is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American Reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death. Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, WIND RIVER also stars Gil Birmingham, Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones, Kelsey Asbille, and James Jordan.
IMDb Summary:  A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.

Friday, September 1, 2017

54. Dear America: The Diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson: With the Right of Angels; Hadley, Virginia, 1954 by Andrea Davis Pinkney

read by Channie Waites, on cd, in the car
6 unabridged cds  (6:37)
2011 Scholastic
336 pgs.
Middle grades Historical Fiction
Finished 9/1/17
Goodreads rating:4.05 - 646 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting:   Hadley, Virginia 1954

First line/s:  "It's early, before the sun even knows she's got sleep in her eyes."

My comments:  Take a seat front and center to learn about the beginning of integration/desegregation in Virginia in 1954.  I listened to this wonderful, inspired story which was incredibly enhanced by the reading of Channie Waites.  Although the Dear America series is not ABOUT real people, I've got to guess they're based on real people, particularly in this case.  Fascinating, disgruntling, ridiculous, unbelievable - the idea that people should be divided because of the color of their skin.  My granddaughter listened to the first two discs with me and was mesmerized.  I'm positive she never had a clue about segregation.  This was an outstanding story, taking the reader inside the head of a young African-American girl who had to break those difficult, scary, almost-impossible boundaries set up by white people throughout history in our country.   Highly recommended.

Goodreads synopsis:  Coretta Scott King winner Andrea Davis Pinkney brings her talents to a brand-new Dear America diary about the Civil Rights Movement.
          In the fall of 1955, twelve-year-old Dawn Rae Johnson's life turns upside down. After the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Dawnie learns she will be attending a previously all-white school. She's the only one of her friends to go to this new school and to leave the comfort of all that is familiar to face great uncertainty in the school year ahead.
          However, not everyone supports integration and much of the town is outraged at the decision. Dawnie must endure the harsh realities of racism firsthand, while continuing to work hard to get a good education and prove she deserves the opportunity. But the backlash against Dawnie's attendance of an all-white school is more than she's prepared for. When her father loses his job as a result, and her little brother is constantly bullied, Dawnie has to wonder if it's worth it. In time, Dawnie learns that the true meaning of justice comes from remaining faithful to the integrity within oneself.