My New Book Club

On Sunday, I shared with you that I would be starting my new book club. Update: My book club is NOW OPEN! If you are interested reading books from different genres and authors, then please click on the picture, and it will take you to Bookclubs.com. I am so excited to begin this journey through books with you. I would also like for independent authors to become members, as we will also be reading your books and looking forward to including you in our book talks!!! Donโ€™t hesitate. Donโ€™t wait. Sign up today!ย ๐Ÿ’•ย ๐Ÿ’•ย ๐Ÿ’•ย 

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Currently Reading

From a Child’s Perspective

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Emmanuel Ofosue Yeboah

Imagine being born with a disability and because of it, your own father abandons your family. However, the power of a motherโ€™s love is unmatched; itโ€™s one that cannot be replaced. But your motherโ€™s name is Comfort, and she lives up to her name, and she treats you no differently from her other children. In fact, due to her belief and faith in God, she names you Emmanuel, which means โ€œGod is with us.โ€

This is the true story of Emmanuel Ofosue Yeboah. Read about how he did not let his disability define him. Instead, he defined his disability. Read about how he became the man of the house to take care of his family when they needed him, despite having a disability. Read about how he had no friends at school. But that quickly changed; not only did he gain many friends but also he was well-respected.

I absolutely love this picture book. It teaches children that although they may be different from their peers, this does not mean that they should be looked down upon, ostracized, talked about, laughed at, and be considered useless and/or a curse. 

I also love how this book demonstrates that despite a physical challenge, children can live a full, complete, and normal life and be respected for who they are and not for what they look like. It also teaches children to define themselves and not to let something or somebody define them.

The illustrations are realistic, creative, and colorful. I am always amazed at an illustratorโ€™s talent, and this is no different. Quallโ€™s work is bold and detailed. The readers do not have to guess what or who something or someone is; the pictures say it all. There is a phrase which says, โ€œA picture is worth a thousand words.โ€ In the case of this book, yes, it is!

Always Forever Reading’s Rating = ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

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The Underground Railroad

Purchased at Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore

Always Forever Reading’s Rating =

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Consisting of ten chapters and 108 pages, this book teaches young readers all about the Underground Railroad. It focuses on the great and many risks that slaves took to gain their freedom. For example, the opening chapter tells readers about Henry Brownโ€™s harrowing escape to freedom in a box. McDonough also explains to readers that the Underground Railroad was not a physical train but an invisible system that helped African American slaves escape the cruel treatment of slavery.

The illustrations in the book reflect the time period in which slaves lived. Instead of using illustrations with color, they are sketches, like what a person would create on a drawing pad. The sketches seem extremely real, and they are clear and easy to view. There are also maps that display the journeys of the Underground Railroad system, free and slave states, territories, and the Middle Passage. Moreover, young readers will learn about the chief crops of slavery.

I also like the inclusion of the photographs, which are great primary documents for the readers to view and/or read to learn more about the Underground Railroad. These pictures consist of slaves, railroad routes through Indiana and Michigan, abolitionists, receipts for purchased slaves, railroad conductors and operators, newspapers, novels, and even wanted signs advertising rewards for captured slaves. These details help readers to understand what life was like for slaves.

Should these young readers ever need to conduct research, write an essay for school, or want to read more about this timeframe, the timeline helps them to keep track of the year(s) that particular events occurred. The bibliography at the end of the book lists more resources that students can read about the Underground Railroad.

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Fiction vs. Nonfiction

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A Michael Hague Book

Kate Culhane: A Ghost Story (An Irish Tale)

Captured by the title and the cover, this book seemed interesting to me. But after I read the description, I checked it out at the library. Upon receiving this book, I immediately read it.

Based on an Irish tale, a Kate Culhane: Ghost Story will make its readers cringe, think aloud, and think twice about being in a cemetery or eating oatmeal. When reading this Irish folklore, I instantly liked Kate Culhane because she is strong, mentally and physically. She proves this when she accidentally stumbles upon a ghost’s grave.

Before even revealing itself, this ghost quickly starts making demands. He orders Kate to do things such as open his grave, carry him to a house on her back, and get him items while in the house. As I read this, I said aloud, “He sure is a bossy ghost, and she needs to tell it to do these things himself.” Remember, he is dead. However, I was really through with this demanding phantom when he orders Kate to eat the special oatmeal. I said, “He has lost his mind; I hope she passes on this meal!” Now, why he chooses to do what he does with the oatmeal is beyond disgusting.

When it is time for Kate to carry this obnoxious spirit back to his grave, he inadvertently reveals two things that he should have kept to himself. Then he tries to make Kate keep these secrets by taking her to his grave with him. Will Kate lose this battle with the pushy ghost? Will she ever find happiness? What does the ghost do to the oatmeal? Read this story to find out.

When it is time for Kate to carry this obnoxious spirit back to his grave, he inadvertently reveals two things that he should have kept to himself. Then he tries to make Kate keep these secrets by taking her to his grave with him. Will Kate lose this battle with the pushy ghost? Will she ever find happiness? What does the ghost do to the oatmeal? Read this story to find out.

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Forever Reading’s Rating = ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

A Great but Difficult Read

Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger

I placed this book on hold at my local library and could not wait to receive it. When I finally did receive it, I immediately began reading it. In Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation, John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger focus on the institution of slavery but from the perspective of the slave. This novel depicts the horrors that slaves regularly endured.

Although this a good book, I am having an extremely difficult time reading it because the details are GRAPHIC. One example about a pregnant slave is absolutely horrendous. Franklin and Schweninger write, “One overseer admitted that he tied a female slave’s hands, put her head down a steep hill, placed a log under her belly and administered several hundred lashes. He ‘whipped her so brutally’ that the woman, who was pregnant, miscarried and ‘was Seriously injured and disabled.'” 

To me, this disregard for human life is a disgrace on every level, and after reading about this incident, I just put down the book and began reading some lighter novels while still trying to read Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation. It finally got to the point that I made the decision to postpone reading this novel for now. However, my intent is to finish reading this book, just not right now.

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The Dirty Thirties

The Great American Dust Bowl — Don Brown

What a great way to teach history to younger students. Not only is the text informative but also the illustrations are extremely descriptive. Don Brown tells the story of a turbulent time in history, The Dust Bowl. In this quick read, students will learn vocabulary terms, such as The Dust Bowl of the Continent, The Dirty Thirties, dusters, black blizzards, and dust pneumonia. These young minds will learn about the causes and effects of this catastrophic period and more importantly, they will have fun learning it.

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Forever Reading’s Rating = ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921: Scott Ellsworth

If you never knew that Tulsa, Oklahoma experienced racial strife, then you need to read Scott Ellsworth’s book, Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Ellsworth provides details about the racial tension between black and white Tulsans, which eventually led to the 1921 riot. But before this infamous upheaval, Tulsa’s black community was extremely successful. This is evident as there was not one but two churches that served this population: “Vernon African American Methodist Episcopal Church and Macedonia Baptist Church” (Ellsworth 12). Moreover, Black Tulsa, as it was known, had prominent citizens and successful businesses. Black Tulsa was rapidly growing, “and by 1921, there were almost 11,000 blacks and the community counted two black schools, Dunbar and Booker T. Washington, one black hospital, and two black newspapers, The Tulsa Star and the Oklahoma Sun. Black Tulsa at this time had some thirteen churches and three fraternal lodges–Masonic, Knights of Pythias, and I.O.O.F.–plus two black theaters and a black public library” (Ellsworth 14). Due to this success, Tulsa’s black business district became known as the ‘Negro’s Wall Street'” (Ellsworth 15). Unfortunately, the looming destruction of this thriving community was swiftly approaching. Find out what happened to this once successful district. However, as you read this book, be prepared to experience feelings of disgust, sadness, and anger.

Consisting of only five chapters, this book is not difficult to read. However, it is the content that makes this book challenging to read. Simply put, Ellsworth does not sugar coat this information. In addition, after reading Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, I am motivated to learn more about this tempestuous period in Tulsa. Hence, I will read some of Ellsworth’s listed sources that I recorded in my “to be read” list and other published books about this topic. Lastly, remember that it is important to learn about and understand our history so that we, as American citizens, can improve the country in which we live.

A huge thank you to Stace for recommending this topic to me. Love you much!!!

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Forever Reading’s Rating = ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

John Hope Franklin Loren Schweninger: Imagine My Surprise

I just finished reading, In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family in The Old South by John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger. While searching the Internet for books written by Dr. Franklin, a 1935 Fisk University graduate, the title of this novel caught my attention, so I checked it out at the library.

When I finally receive the book, I begin to read the prologue. Imagine my surprise when I read words, such as Deaderick Street; Nashville; Davidson County Courthouse; and Tennessee. I am astonished because I attended college in Nashville, and I was going to read about this city and its early beginnings from the viewpoint of a slave. Then, I read the words, Charlottesville, Virginia. I immediately think, “This is the place where Heather Heyer lost her life during the protest on August 12, 2017.” The next thing I know, I put down the other book that I was reading, and I begin to read this one with intensity.

A mother’s love. A mother’s sacrifice. A mother’s determination. Dr. Franklin chronicles the life of Sally Thomas, a slave mother who desires only one thing for her children: freedom. Her story begins in Charlottesville, Virginia and then shifts to Nashville, Tennessee. As I read this novel, I kept wondering when Thomas’ sons or grandchildren would find their “promised land”. Throughout this novel, Sally, her sons, and her grandchildren must navigate their lives during and after the institution of slavery. Do they find their promised land? Reading the novel will answer this question.

My challenge to you: Franklin and Schweninger provide much imagery that is difficult to ignore. Therefore, as you read this novel, allow your mind to experience the Thomas family’s journey. Lastly, remember to chime in on what you are reading. Happy reading!

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Forever Reading’s Rating = ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ