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#METOO: Shout, Speak and Women are Some Kind of Magic

18 May

We are at a time when it is easy to feel alone, especially for those that have been through an ordeal such as sexual abuse, it is even harder to handle alone. Healing can come in different ways, and poetry seems to be fitting because what better way to repair one’s soul than to take in information in bits like poetry or verse. Authors like Laurie Halse Anderson and Amanda Lovelace are known not to shy away from this challenging subject. They work hard to give voice to those that have been silenced through abuse.

Shout and Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson is the author of  Speak, her most famous book, which was also adapted into a movie starring Kristen Stewart. Speak was published in 1999. It brought to light what we see today in the #metoo movement, the perspective and growth of a victim into a survivor of sexual assault. This theme is carried out in her memoir in verse, Shout. The book Shout explains where her idea for Speak came from, which was her own experience of sexual assault at 13 years old by an older classmate. Although this book has a heavy undertone, revolving around this theme are lighter moments. These books are recommended for those High School aged and older. Anderson has always been a vocal advocate of survivors of sexual assault and the teaching of consent.

Women Are Some Kind Of Magic Series
by Amanda Lovelace
the mermaid's voice returns in this one
NJ author, Amanda Lovelace, published her first book before earning her bachelor’s degree.  Lovelace expresses her life of loss, resilience, and hope in her three-part series named “Women are Some Kind of Magic.” Through the series, she uses the women in her life and her experiences to express problems personal to her. Each book revolves around a different theme. In The Princess Saves Herself in this One, she speaks to the subject of resilience. In The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One, she speaks of survival. In her last book, The Mermaids Voice Returns in this One, she goes between the themes of escapism and healing.  Stay tuned for our upcoming Wednesday’s blog when another of our library’s staff talks more about The Princess Saves Herself in this One.

Written by:
Elbie Love
YA Library Associate

Understanding Grief with YA Verse Fiction

29 Apr

Grief from loss is a common occurrence among those that know someone that has passed away during this chaotic time. Mourning the passing of someone comes in different ways. Grief can be expressed through anger, sadness, and even an extreme action. For poetry month, these two fiction young adult books will show the reader different ways characters grieved in a time of instability.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Long Way Down
Will’s brother got gunned down on his way to the neighborhood bodega. He and his grief-stricken mother try to process Shawn’s death. Will retreats to “the rules” in his grieving for his brother. There are three rules which are not to cry, not to snitch (tell who did it), and get revenge. These three rules create a toxic cycle of gun violence in his neighborhood. Will learns this in his grief when he steals his brother’s gun and descends the elevator to find and kill the person that killed his brother. The majority of the story takes place in the elevator that goes down seven floors. On each level, a person from Will’s life connected to gun violence boards the elevator. Each person like his father, classmate, confides in him how “the rules” played a part in their murders. The reader takes in the heart-wrenching drama through a variety of verses that would leave the reader questioning if Will is open enough to take in the message that he is receiving from beyond the grave.  It is available from elibraryNJ and eBCCLS as ebooks and digital audiobooks.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Out of the Dust
In this historical verse fiction, readers get to learn about a very different America in the early 1930s. The Great Depression was very hard on the average American but especially hard for Americans that lived in Oklahoma like Billie Jo. She is a 15-year-old girl that tries to survive during the Great Dust Bowl. Oklahoma’s countryside was overtaken by dry land due to over-farming and drought. The book begins with Billie Jo’s seemingly happy. When a horrible tragedy affects her and her mother, things fall apart! Hesse does a beautiful job telling the story of grief, family, and adversity through the spirit of a spunky teenage girl.  It is available from eBCCLS as an ebook and eLibraryNJ as an ebook and digital audiobook.

Written by:
Elbie Love
YA Library Associate

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