‘Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals’ by Laurie Zaleski is touching, charming, and humorous

Funny Farm by Laurie Zaleski "Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals" by Laurie Zaleski is not what I was expecting at all. We know from the first page, the Prologue, that it's about how Zaleski rescues animals, but what is unexpected is that more than half the book is about her childhood, … Continue reading ‘Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals’ by Laurie Zaleski is touching, charming, and humorous

Incredibly — ‘Better, Not Bitter: Living On Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice’ by Yusef Salaam an inspiring read

Better Not Bitter by Yusef Salaam The set of blazing emotions provoked by Yusef Salaam's memoir, "Better, Not Bitter: Living On Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice," includes strong doses of disgust, shame, anger -- and inspiration. In 1989, five teenagers, all Black or Hispanic, were convicted in the notorious case of a young … Continue reading Incredibly — ‘Better, Not Bitter: Living On Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice’ by Yusef Salaam an inspiring read

‘Poppy in the Wild’ by Teresa J. Rhyne a story of love and determination

Poppy in the Wild by Theresa Rhyne The title of the story, "Poppy in the Wild: A Lost Dog, Fifteen Hundred Acres of Wilderness, and the Dogged Determination that Brought Her Home" by Teresa J. Rhyne is a bit misleading. It's not really just the story of a beagle from China who escapes from her … Continue reading ‘Poppy in the Wild’ by Teresa J. Rhyne a story of love and determination

‘I Just Wanted To Save My Family,’ a memoir by Stéphan Pélissier

I Just Wanted to Save My Family by Stéphan Pélissier Stéphan Pélissier's memoir, "I Just Wanted to Save My Family," enlightens us by aiming an unforgivingly bright beam on the injustices engendered by the network of dark systems and practices that define governments and authoritarian figures all over the world. Unfettered nationalism. Corrupt populism. Cruel … Continue reading ‘I Just Wanted To Save My Family,’ a memoir by Stéphan Pélissier

‘When Harry Met Minnie’ by Martha Teichner is a touching and heartbreaking story of dogs, friendship, and serendipity

When Harry Met Minnie by Martha Teichner I picked up "When Harry Met Minnie," by Martha Teichner, thinking it was a story about dogs. I was wrong. While the dogs, two adorable but quirky bull terriers named, obviously, Harry and Minnie, are part of this story — it's so much more. Teichner writes about serendipity, … Continue reading ‘When Harry Met Minnie’ by Martha Teichner is a touching and heartbreaking story of dogs, friendship, and serendipity

‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama (review by Jack Kramer)

A Promised Land by Barack Obama For those readers who are soon to launch into Barack Obama's memoir, "A Promised Land," be forewarned: if you think you're about to enjoy anything like a light-hearted romp through a very successful 2008 presidential campaign and an arguably quite successful first-term presidency, it would be wise to radically … Continue reading ‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama (review by Jack Kramer)

‘They Called Us Enemy’ by George Takei is a graphic memoir that brings home the horror of racism and judging people by their race and is a must-read for teenager readers

I've read about the internment camps for Japanese Americans during WWII, and there are many historical fiction books for children that are set in those camps (see some listed at the end of this review), but George Takei's powerful memoir instilled in me a broader sense of what this country was like when this atrocity … Continue reading ‘They Called Us Enemy’ by George Takei is a graphic memoir that brings home the horror of racism and judging people by their race and is a must-read for teenager readers

‘The Light in Hidden Places’ by Sharon Cameron is an inspiring and unforgettable YA novel based on a real story that must be shared

Sharon Cameron's genius is clearly demonstrated by the careful and masterful text she has created in "The Light in Hidden Places." This is a real story of heroism and courage brilliantly re-crafted into a novel that takes readers directly into the heart of the darkest days of WWII Poland. Stefania Podgórska has grown up on … Continue reading ‘The Light in Hidden Places’ by Sharon Cameron is an inspiring and unforgettable YA novel based on a real story that must be shared

Children’s nonfiction books for Black History Month 2020 and beyond

The importance of diverse children's books cannot be overstated. Many readers and educators know that when they were growing up, children's books were about one group of people -- young, white, Christian people. And while I loved reading, I don't remember reading one book about a young Jewish girl, much less anyone of color. That … Continue reading Children’s nonfiction books for Black History Month 2020 and beyond

‘An Elephant in My Kitchen: What the Herd Taught Me About Love, Courage and Survival’ by Françoise Malby-Anthony

While this memoir, "An Elephant in My Kitchen: What the Herd Taught Me About Love, Courage and Survival" is, in a way, a sequel to "The Elephant Whisperer," it's a different story with a different writer. Françoise Malby-Anthony is a fabulous narrator, and her story brings readers to tears at times, but her strength and … Continue reading ‘An Elephant in My Kitchen: What the Herd Taught Me About Love, Courage and Survival’ by Françoise Malby-Anthony

‘Our Symphony with Animals: On health, empathy and our shared destinies’ by Aysha Akhtar is filled with science and affirmations about the importance of animals in our lives

First posted in Bookreporter.com. "Our Symphony with Animals: On health, empathy, and our shared destinies" by Aysha Akhtar, M.D., is a memoir, an informational text, and a paean to the joys of sharing our lives with animals. Akhtar shares that she was abused as a child. She writes about her childhood dog, Sylvester, whom she … Continue reading ‘Our Symphony with Animals: On health, empathy and our shared destinies’ by Aysha Akhtar is filled with science and affirmations about the importance of animals in our lives