Shout Out: A Night of Slam Poetry

This weekend, I was lucky enough to attend an all-ages, free slam poetry event put together by One Book One New Orleans and Dillard University Library. My 12-year-old son and I went with friends, and I think we all came away amazed and invigorated by the talented poets who performed. Chuck Perkins, host of The […]

Book review: 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

As my heart breaks watching coverage of Hurricane Harvey pummeling Texas–and I hold my breath that its impact here in New Orleans is minimal–I can’t help but remember that today is the 12-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It’s a tense time of year for New Orleanians, especially those transplanted to places affected by the current […]

Book review: We Fought Back: Teen Resisters of the Holocaust

After this weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, I thought I’d share a nonfiction YA book about Jewish teenagers who escaped death marches, labor camps, and ghettos to fight Nazis. This collection of seven individual stories, based on author Allan Zullo’s interviews with each participant, highlights eastern European partisans who “wreaked havoc on the Nazis through […]

Book review: Saints and Misfits

There are three kinds of people in 15-year-old Janna Yusuf’s life: saints, misfits, and monsters. Saints make the world a better place, like Janna’s elder-care charge, Mr. Ram, and her too-good-to-be-true prospective sister-in-law Sarah Mahmoud. They can be a little intimidating. Misfits are people like Janna. Whether she wears her burkini at the beach with […]

Book review: YA fantasy books with strong girls

Welcome to Part 3 of my book review series featuring speculative literature books with strong girl protagonists. In previous installments, I listed books for younger middle grade readers (ages 8-10) and middle grade readers (10-12). This post emphasizes readers 12-16, moving into the young adult category. (By the way, my age recommendations are based on […]