Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#Weneeddiversebooks Wednesday

Here's what we really need for #Weneeddiversebooks: books with characters of all types where the book is not ABOUT their ethnicity. These are paperbacks, and are bound to be in book fairs, packaged with plastic charms. I wish they were in hardcover, or at least prebind.

18693382Schroeder, Lisa. Caitlyn's Lucky Charm. 
27 May 2014, Scholastic
E ARC from

As summer camp comes to a close, Caitlyn, Hannah, Mia, and Libby buy a charm bracelet to take turns wearing and vow to write letters to each other, mainly because Libby is from England and doesn't have a phone. Caitlyn returns home to Connecticut only to find her family very worried about finances, since her father might lost his job. Her older sister is constantly crabby, and Caitlyn is regretting her decision to attend a magnet middle school and be away from her best friend, Jade. At the new school, she would like to be friends with cool Brie and her gang, and decides to run for class president to impress them. She also tries out for a school play and does make some friends, but they aren't all that "cool"-- Esther organizes the Battle of the Books. In the end, though, things go fairly well, Caitlyn realizes she is pretty lucky, and she sends the bracelet on to Mia.
Strengths: Caitlyn's parents are both alive and very supportive. The mother is trying to cut back on spending, and limits Caitlyn's new school clothes purchases, but also makes the family volunteer at a soup kitchen.
Weaknesses: Caitlyn starts off a bit whiny; while her efforts at trying to impress Brie irked me, (as did the whole school election thing. Seriously, authors! NO MORE!!!) the average 6th grade girl may enjoy it. The camp connection is a bit forced, as is the possible magical quality of the bracelet.(This is, however, realistic fiction and not fantasy.)

18693381Schroeder, Lisa. Mia's Golden Bird. 
27 May 2014, Scholastic
E ARC from

When Mia gets the bracelet, she hopes it is lucky, because her life isn't going well. An avid surfer and soccer player, she is not happy with having broken her foot while helping out at her mother's coffee shop, and since she can't be with her active friends, they are ignoring her. The coffee shop is struggling, and Mia's mother does the best she can to run it, since Mia's father died in Afghanistan when she was four. When Lacy Bell, a popular teen actress, comes into the shop with her grandmother, she wants to hire Mia to take pictures of the birds that the two see while out birding. Mia is glad of the money, and comes to like Lacy and feel a little sorry for her. Things continue to deteriorate with Mia's friends, especially when they find out that she is hanging out with a star. Mia yells at them that she's just working for Lacy, and Lacy hears her and ignores her call. Things end well, though, and Mia's friends get to have a slumber party with Lacy.
Strengths: Mia identifies herself as Latina, and there's a great conversation where she is asked "Are you Mexican?" and she replies that she's a lot of things-- Mexican, Guatemalan and white. There's a little bit of Spanish used, but again, the book is not about Mia being Latina. I did really love the idea of an ordinary girl developing a friendship with a star. By the way, in 1976, if Melissa Gilbert had been filming an episode of Little House on the Prairie in my home town, we totally would have been BFFs.
Weaknesses: The letters still felt a bit forces. The bracelet goes to Libby in England next.

 The next books come out July 29th 2014 by Scholastic Inc. and October 28th  2014.


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

I think I have seen this series before, but I didn't really know what it was about. It sounds really good, and like you said the diversity is something we need to see more often!

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