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Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the second book of the Jannah Jewels, Hidayah, Iman, Jaide and Sara travel in time to ancient China where they meet the famous Muslim Chinese Admiral, Zheng He. The race is on to find the second artifact but the girls are chased down by pirates working for Jaffar, who is desperate to catch the girls and get to the artifact since his last run in with the girls left him empty handed and embarrassed in front of his father.
I enjoyed The Chase in China. There were times when I got lost in the writing but it was an overall fun read with lots of excitement and adventure. These girls certainly know how to get around! I loved getting to know a little bit more about Hidayah as well as the Jannah Jewels' arch enemy, Jaffar. He is a complicated character not entirely evil to the core but evil nonetheless. I am curious to see how he turns out if and when he realizes who the Jannah Jewels' work for.
View all my reviews
Friday, May 25, 2012
Scrape! Splash! Clunk! Clang!
Who knew the kitchen was NOT just for COOKING? I love this book! The joy and love it shows between parents and children are just so heartwarming. It’s upbeat feel and fun illustrations make you want to dance right along with them.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Welcome to the second Annual Splash into Summer giveaway! Thanks to I am A Reader, Not a Writer
& Page Turners Blog.
This summer I have a whole list of books that has stacked up in my to be read pile due to work and a writing project that I am working on for an author.
As always, this is a blog hop! So hop along to more than 200 + blogs and make a Splash into Summer!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
Author: Tololwa M. Mollel
Illustrator: Catherine Stock
Publisher: Lodestar Books; June 1, 1997
Topic/theme: Overcoming fear, Places & Cultures: Tanzania, Chickens
Grandmother Koko's hens laid their eggs in the strangest places.
A young Tanzanian boy named Yoanes must overcome his fear of a spooky shed, the scariest place on his grandparents' farm, to follow Kele to find out where she lays her egg. Of all his grandmother Koko’s chickens, Kele is the cleverest hider of her eggs. The reward for Yoanes if he can find Kele’s hidden eggs to fill the egg bowl is to accompany Koko to the market. There Koko will sell the eggs and give him a precious ten cent coin, with which Yoanes can buy any snack he wishes.
The author includes a glossary at the end of the book. Some discussion points can include: how they help their family. What they do to overcome their fears? Differences between life on a farm and life in the city. Then have children learn more about Tanzania. For some fun in the kitchen, try out this simple Mandasi recipe. Mandasi is a deep-fried bun that is a treat when eaten fresh and lightly powdered with sugar. :) The book covers a lot of Tanzanian agriculture, have your children make a list of the different plants, shrubs, trees and vegetation mentioned in the book.
Why I like this book:
This was a really cute story. From the beginning I am drawn into the mystery of the strange and secretive Kele. I also want to know where she keeps her eggs hidden. I love how we are taken on a tour through Yoanes's homeland as he trails the clucky hen. We learn about Tanzanian folklore along the way and watch him face his fears in the process. The illustrations are simply wonderful and engaging.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
"How a Unitarian from Jersey writes about a Muslim Superhero"
Have you ever gotten that feeling in the back of your head that there's something not quite right about the way you think? I've always daydreamed about things others have considered impossible or ridiculous. I'm the loon who decided statistically charting various vampires' awesomeness was a good idea.
So when the suggestion was made that someone needed to write about a Middle Eastern superhero my imagination went into overdrive. Of course we need a Middle Eastern superhero! Others have tackled this topic to great success, like Dr. Naif of the99.org, what’s different here is that I am not from the Middle East.
I sat down and started writing and a character named Recai Osman appeared on the pages before me. With green eyes and red beard, Recai stood in the middle of a windblown desert, daring me to take the challenge.
And cue the theme to Beyond Thunderdome.
A problem soon presented itself. It's impossible to discuss the Middle East in any meaningful way without bringing religion into the conversation, and while I've studied Islam, I am not a Muslim. I'm not Jewish either. In fact, I'm about as far from the religious spectrum of the Middle East as you could get. I'm a Unitarian Universalist.
UUism is based on the idea that we all have the right to our own path to Truth. For some that Truth is God, for some it's not. What connects us within the UU church is the belief that the search is valuable and that there is benefit to having a supportive and respectful community with whom to share that search. (You can read more about our principles here: Our Unitarian Universalist Principles)
For me, the importance of an individual’s expression of faith within a community is huge. I believe in God. Because of this, I often find myself listening to the fundamentalist rhetoric of all religions with a frustrated sigh. Why does someone have to be wrong in order for another to be right?
It was with this in mind that I thought about Recai. What makes a good man? What makes a good Muslim? And in a society in which religion is such a prominent part of day-to-day life, what would be the shape of evil?
Recai is a faithful man; he's erred and he's sinned, but his belief in Allah and in humanity is solid. Underneath his layers of confusion and self-doubt is a good man. His day-to-day life has been isolated from the city he lives in: Elih, Turkey (Google it for a good giggle). What would happen if a flawed man was forced to confront real evil, real sin? Could he rise to the occasion?
Islam and Judaism run throughout Shadow on the Wall. Some of the phrases and cultural idioms may be unfamiliar to Western readers, but I hope that you will see a little of yourself in the characters. The issues they face are written at high stakes, but the questions posed are ones we must all answer. Who am I? What do I stand for? Although Shadow on the Wall has supernatural elements, I like to think heroes exist in life, and I like to think that religion can fuel the good in people. Perhaps we're all capable of great things.
Pavarti K. Tyler's Bio:Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway.Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry as a freelance accountant for several international law firms. She now operates her own accounting firm in the Washington DC area, where she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not preparing taxes, she is busy penning her next novel.Throughout history, literature and the art of story-telling have influenced politics, religion and culture. The power of the epic tale is universal. Why is it that those who never read The Iliad know Helen of Troy? Her story, Homer’s story, transcends the written word and has become a part of our human lexicon. The power of the written word is undeniable and Pavarti is honored to be part of the next wave of literary revolution.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Recai Osman: Muslim, philosopher, billionaire and Superhero?
Controversial and daring, Shadow on the Wall details the transformation of Recai Osman from complicated man to Superhero. Forced to witness the cruelty of the Morality Police in his home city of Elih, Turkey, Recai is called upon by the power of the desert to be the vehicle of change. Does he have the strength to answer Allah's call or will his dark past and self doubt stand in his way?
Pulling on his faith in Allah, the friendship of a Jewish father-figure and a deeply held belief that his people deserve better, Recai Osman must become The SandStorm.
Shadow on the Wall tackles issues of religion, gender, corruption and the basic human condition. Beautiful and challenging, this is not a book to miss.
Pavarti K. Tyler's Web Site:http://www.fightingmonkeypress.com/
Shadow on the Wall blog tour site:http://shadow-on-the-wall-blog-tour.blogspot.com/
Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186
This is a well written, emotionally charged story that is really hard to put down. right from the beginning I was pulled into the story and main character, Recai.
Recai in this story reminds me of a Muslim born and raised in the West. With most kids, they start off in a very religious and sheltered lifestyle but once they move out go to college, they begin to experience life in a way they were not raised to and begin to take on a more western, non-religious lifestyle. Most by the end of college usually return to practicing the religion more faithfully. Sometimes it takes an incident that reawakens the religous beliefs they grew up with.
Recai reminded me of that young Muslim. He grew up in a Muslim family but later as he grew up kind of did his own thing, experience life for himself, drinking, dating and what not. While he never really left the religion, he did not always practice all of the tenents like praying and fasting. However, it took a devasting incident that took the life of someone dear to him and nearly taking his, that sent him on a search. Whether he was searching for answers, faith, or a way out of his misery, Recai found something in the desert where he was left to die. Upon returning to his city, angry and wanting revenge, he inavertantly saves the life and honor of a young woman during a sandstorm. He also finds his father's company crumbling with corruption and his city falling into oblivion as men of "faith" and "morality" rule his city with abuse and unspeakable crimes against the poor and the women. Rape is rampant, not because men seek sexual pleasure from the women but instead it is used to punish and destroy "mens" reputation. The effects are devastating, especially to the women who receive the brute force of the punishments. They are either killed, abandoned or commit suicide. Corruption is rampant. Drugs have creeped their way into the city. Recai is on a mission of his own when he returns to find the person responsible for Rebekah's death, the Jewish woman who cared for him along with her father, and the destruction of his father's company. But an even greater mission is thrusted up him when he saves Sabiha, who was marked for rape because her brother, a soilder in the RTK, accousted the niece of the town's mayor. Recai is dubbed, the SandStorm, because of this act. In an alley he tackles Sabiha's brother and conviences him that the RTK are not working in the way of Allah, that they are really nothing more than thugs and terrorists. Sabiha's brother is then moved to take a stand by alerting Maryam and Recai when something major is about to go down. Maryam gives Recai a veil to keep his identity concealed. Thus, Recai becomes The SandStorm.
Recai is a real character to me. He does not consider himself a hero nor does he really want to be but he is forced to stand where eithers have chosen to join the forces of evil. Recai is a man flawed spiritually but is also a man who on a spiritual quest of his own to reawaken his own faith in Allah. He fights with his own weakness and struggles to be the good person that he wants to be but has a hard time pulling off. His struggle with his nafs (self) is the same that everyone has to deal with.
This story is very well written, without bias although it was easy to see it was not written by a Muslim. But I give props to the author for writing such a riviting story. I really liked the characters Hasad, Rebekah's father, and Maryam, a nurse who does her part in helping Recai, Hasad and the women who abused under the oppressive laws of the RTK. * The only thing I did not like for was some of the language used in the story. I personally do not swear, curse or use fowl language and do not like to read it either.
Paperback Price: $11.95
Publisher: Fighting Monkey Press
Release: May 1, 2012
Amazon buy link
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012
Author: Ruhksana Khan
Illustrator: Yunmee Kyong
Publisher: Viking; 2005
Ages: 4 and up
Theme/Topics: Sibling rivilry, Jealousy, Pets, Chickens, Mother & Daughter relationships, Places: Pakistan
Ami loves her hen better than me. She calls her Bibi. I call her silly.
Summary: It is no fun when your brother or sister gets all the attention! Anyone with a sibling knows that. But what happens when the center of attention is a pet chicken?
Rani thinks her mother loves Bibi the hen more than her. Rani doesn't understand how her mother could love the hen so much until one Bibi goes missing and Rani and her mother gets a bit surprise!
Silly Chicken Teachers Guide for 1-3 grade.
Why I like this book:
Author Rukhsana Khan does a wonderful job of getting to the heart of a child's emotional distress when it comes to vying for a parent's attention and love. Rani is such a cute character and I totally understand her feelings toward that chicken. LOL! But children also learn that things are not always as bad as they seem :) The illustrations are fun, whimsical and cute.