Happy Birthday Percy Jackson!

Hello booknerdigans!

Today my unconventional conventionalists, is my beloved Percy Jackson’s birthday, and I wanted to dedicate a blog post to the character that got me into reading.

That got me into blogging, that has introduced to me the wonderful world of books. So thank you Percy :) love ya seaweed brain!

I thought that I would share some of my personal favorite quotes and fanart from the Percy Jackson books and I would absolutely LOVEEEEEE to hear what your favorites are :)

“Wow,” Thalia muttered. “Apollo is hot.”
“He’s the sun god,” I said.
“That’s not what I meant.”
Rick Riordan, The Titan’s Curse

I nodded, looking at Rachel with respect. “You hit the Lord of the Titans in the eye with a blue plastic hairbrush.”
Rick Riordan

“Dreams like a podcast,
Downloading truth in my ears.
They tell me cool stuff.”
“Apollo?” I guess, because I figured nobody else could make a haiku that bad.
He put his finger to his lips. “I’m incognito. Call me Fred.”
“A god named Fred?”
Rick Riordan

“God alert!” Blackjack yelled. “It’s the wine dude!
Mr. D sighed in exasperation. “The next person, or horse, who calls me the ‘wine dude’ will end up in a bottle of Merlot!”
Rick Riordan, The Titan’s Curse

“Hercules,huh? Percy frowned. “That guy was like the Starbucks of Ancient Greece. Everywhere you turn–there he is.”
Rick Riordan, The Mark of Athena

“You weren’t able to talk sense into him?”
Well, we kind of tried to kill each other in a duel to the death.”
I see. You tried the diplomatic approach.”
Rick Riordan, The Sea of Monsters

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How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You (Aurora Skye #1) by Tara Eglington

How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You (Aurora Skye #1) by Tara EglingtonHow to Keep a Boy from Kissing You (Aurora Skye #1) by Tara Eglington
Published by HarperCollins Australia on February 1st 2013
Pages: 384
Goodreads

Executor of the Find a Prince Program™ and future author, sixteen-year-old Aurora Skye is dedicated to helping others navigate the minefield that is teenage dating. Counsellor-in-residence at home, where her post-divorce ad-agency father has transformed into a NAD (New Age Dad) intent on stripping his life bare of ‘the illusionary’ (i.e. the removal of home furnishings to the point where all after-hours work must be done in lotus position on a hemp cushion) Aurora literally lives and breathes Self-Help.
When the beginning of the school year heralds the arrival of two Potential Princes™ who seem perfect for her best friends Cassie (lighthouse beacon for emotionally fragile boys suffering from traumatic breakups) and Jelena (eye-catching, elegant and intent on implementing systems of serfdom at their school) it seems as if Aurora’s fast on her way to becoming the next Dr Phil.
As Aurora discovers, however, Self-Help is far from simple. Aurora’s mother arrives home from her extended ‘holiday’ (four years solo in Spain following the infamous ‘Answering Machine Incident’) throwing the NAD into further existential crisis. With Valentine’s Day drawing closer and the new Potential Princes not stepping up to the mark, Aurora is literally forced to take to the stage to throw two couples together. However, being cast opposite Hayden Paris (boy next door and bane-of-Aurora’s life) in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing brings challenges of its own. Not only does Hayden doubt that Cupid is understaffed and thus in dire need of Aurora’s help, but playing Beatrice to his Benedict throws her carefully preserved first kiss for a Prince into jeopardy. As Aurora races to save love’s first kiss and put a stop to the NAD’s increasingly intimate relationship with her Interpretive dance teacher (guilty of putting Aurora on detention for a ‘black aura’) she is left wondering who can a self help guru turn to for help? Can she practice what she preaches? And can long-assumed frogs become Potential Princes?

5hearts

My Thoughts

This was just wonderful. Wonderful beyond wonderful. Its been a while since I read an amazing contemporary and this one…this one. It made my laugh, it made me cry, it made me so happy, it made me annoyed, all the emotions when into this book. Aurora Skye. Such a majestic name for such a clumsy person. Me. I loved Aurora. She felt like a real person to me. That I love, that I get annoyed by, that makes me cry, she is one of the most emotionally influential person that I have ever read about. I loved the idea of the Find A Prince Program. I would for one never use this program because that is not my personality butttttttttt I still loved the idea of AURORA using it. She is the perfect person for this program. She’s a mini cupid. Yet sometimes cupid can be a pain in the ass. But a very cute pain in the ass 😉

Oh Hayden Paris, you have officially been added to the Gabi’s Never Ending List of Fictional Boyfriends. Congratulations! He is such an effing cutie patootie with an effing heart of gold. I think I’ve said this before but my absolute favorite types of relationships in books are the love/hate relationships. They are just amazing to read about. There’s a very thin line between love and hate 😉

The Squad. The Squad of girls. Lindsay, Sara, Jelena, and Cass. Why aren’t they just a bunch of sweeties. I loved the stories behind these characters that hid behind the main story of the books if you get where I am getting at. Going back to Aurora, I cried. Its a rare occasion for me to cry during a book. But her relationship with her mother and father really made my tears come out. And I really appreciate that from books.

All in all, this book was amazing beyond words. I loved it so very much. And I feel like the thing I liked most about was how 3D it was. I could meet an Aurora Sky in real life. I have met a Hayden Paris in real life. There is a 3D girl squad. And it really makes the story pop out. So would I recommend this book? HELL FREAKING YEAH!!!!!!!! SO READ MY FELLOW NERDS! READDDDDD

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Waiting On Wednesday|Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Waiting On Wednesday|Crooked Kingdom by Leigh BardugoCrooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2
Published by Orion Children's Books on September 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Goodreads

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

How Much Hamilton Has Impacted My Life…

Hello booknerdigans,

I know a lot of you know this already, and basically the whole book community is in love with Hamilton and I really cannot blame them. It is safe to say that Hamilton really has impacted my life like nothing else had. IT IS SAFE TO SAY! That Hamilton has impacted me the same way that Percy Jackson had. And thats saying a lot. I was a little late to the whole Hamilton ordeal. I started listening to it in January of this year…and to this day I can’t go a single day without listening to the entire album at least once.

I will never be satisfied.

I cried a lot throughout my first listen of the album and now… Lin Manuel Miranda, Philipa Soo, and Leslie Odom Jr. has left the show. Today I was listening to the album. The usual. And out of nowhere I started bawling. I bawled for hours on end. I bawled for the death of America’s First treasurer. I bawled for the inspiration that is Lin Manuel Miranda. I bawled for these amazing people who have inspired me every time I started to hear the words “How does a bastard…”

Teach me how to say goodbye.

And it hurts. It hurts emotionally. It hurts when I realize that they aren’t going to be a part of the production. It hurts every time I start to hear Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story. It hurts when my friends say they will never listen to it because of the hype. But seeing that past that, there is so much more to come for Hamilton and the cast itself and I can’t wait for them to take their shot.

I guess I needed to write these stuff down in honor of Lin Manuel Miranda’s last show tonight. I feel helpless knowing that I won’t see him if for some miracle in fifty years I’ll be able to get tickets. I guess this Story of Tonight really has me Raising a Glass to the production that is Hamilton.

History really has it eyes on you.

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Atlantia by Ally Condie

Atlantia by Ally CondieAtlantia by Ally Condie
Published by Dutton Children's on October 28th 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Goodreads

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.
Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

5hearts

My Thoughts

Ummmm…ok. Too start things off I read the Matched series a couple years back and I wasn’t too big of a fan of it. So I didn’t have huge expectations for this book. I went into it without knowing anything about it. I honestly though it would be a mermaid tale and that is why I originally picked it up. You don’t see many mermaid books flying about in the YA community. I didn’t like it. I thought the story started off really slow and there were good part there were. But over all it was two and half hearts for me. The bad things in the book really outdid the good.

I thought that Rio was really dull. Like a super dull narrator. She has these big dreams of going up to th Above but she just didn’t seem like it. If she really did want to go above she would’ve done it without her sister’s consent, and yes I know she did that to protect her but who were they really protecting if you ask me. She was dull throughout the book. Her relationship was very dull. The romance wasn’t very sparky, and romances in books really make me think. They’re my favorite part of the books, but this one really didn’t catch my eye.

True. Literally one of the only reasons I didn’t give this book one star. It always is! He was the only character I liked except Maire (really cool aunt), and if he wasn’t here in the story I would’ve hated this book. The romance between him and Rio though….not so much. I already explained before how there was no real spark going between them and there really needs to be one if you’re going to sell a book with a romance in it. I don’t know I’m babbling now BUT I NEED THE SPARK!

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book to a bucket load of people. And trust me it kills me writing these reviews. I hate it when I hate a book you know what I mean? Eh its a blogger thing 😉

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Life Update – Gabi

Hello peeps :)

I wanted to write a post about what has been going on recently since I don’t post. I’m straight up admitting that I’ve been in and out of the blogging game and I really really REALLY do wanna get back in. Trust me on that. But whats been happening with me you may ask? Well I am currently back in home country Brazil spending a bit of summer vacay here before I go back to Florida.

I’ve been writing a book with somebody. I have written many stories that never have an ending. I end up giving up on them a 1/12th of the way in. This story though I actually love. It is gonna keep for sure. 3K so far! Not much but it is a start! Don’t really wanna go into all the details but the basic stuff that you need to know. Its New Adult (I know right! Gabi? New Adult?) and it is a Contemporary. I’ll keep you guys updated on that :)

I’ve gotten into a lot of after school activities including one called BBYO (jewish teen organization) which perhaps changed my life. I really love it over there. And yeah other than that I have been living very boringly.

I am trying to get back in. I am. For instance, I have been on Twitter a lot more trying to get back into the community, reading a lot more books, and I love it :) I love the community and I am glad I am making my way back in.

The Fault In Our Books: The Importance of Diversity in Children’s Literature

 

I wrote this essay for a class, but I decided to publish it! If anyone is interested in seeing any more of my research, let me know!


The Fault in Our Books: The Importance of Diversity in Children’s Literature

           85, 88, and 97 percent of the characters in the books on the 2013 New York Times bestsellers list for young adult fiction were white, straight, and abled respectively (Lo, “Diversity in the 2013”). The lack of diversity in mainstream media is widely addressed–with the exception of children’s books. When the characters in the books read by children do not represent the diverse population of the children, a feeling of inferiority is created for the children who do not see themselves (Paul). The lack of diversity does not only affect children of minorities– the children who are represented also suffer through the lack of education about new cultures. Reading books featuring characters of minorities is essential to the development of self-esteem and comprehension in children because reading about different characters encourages acceptance of unfamiliar cultures and promotes the idea that everyone is equal while furthering a love of reading in children.

           The problem of diversity in children’s books is as old as children’s books themselves. The first time this issue was ever addressed publicly was in 1965, with the article “The All White World of Children’s Books” (Bishop). This article sparked a discussion that was strong among librarians for about a year, before the subject died off, only to be addressed again in 2014. Numerous studies have been conducted over the last few decades and the results are unanimously the same: the vast majority of books have main characters of white race and a large percentage of the already small number of books with diverse characters portray them in a stereotypical way. In recent times, there has been a lot of buzz around this issue because of an emerging organization: We Need Diverse Books. This organization came to be because of an outrage at the lack of diversity on author panels at BookCon, a large book convention, in 2014. This discussion spawned the hashtag “#WeNeedDiverseBooks” and the organization was formed after that (diversebooks.org). The organization has devoted itself to advocating diversity in the children’s publishing industry. In addition to this foundation that is harnessing a large amount of attention, schools around the country are starting to include more culturally diverse books in their curriculum. Even with these new developments, the lack of diverse characters in books is still a problem. Such an important discussion should not only be had in the publishing industry. Research shows that the “Big Five” publishers: Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, are still publishing young adult and children’s books that rely heavily on characters of white race, christian religion, heterosexual sexuality, and cisgender gender.

           One of the main problems of the lack of diversity in children’s books is the effect it has on the self-esteem of children of minorities. When children do not see themselves in books, they feel as if they are not important, as if they do not belong in books. This causes them to feel as if they do not belong in society: they feel “devalued” (Bishop). Children with an alternative home life, such as two mothers or an alcoholic parent, also have their self-esteem hindered when they are not represented in books; their home life will start to feel “secretive” to them (Paul). If it is not portrayed in books as normal, children will not feel comfortable talking about their problems with their friends. This creates a dynamic of one-mindedness and exclusivity, as well as affirming gender roles and “traditional values.” Minority children want to see themselves in a positive present and future. A large amount of the already small number of diverse titles are about historical issues and thus not relatable to children. Level three of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is belonging– “to be accepted and liked by other people in a group” (Merriam-Webster). Never reading about characters similar to oneself makes one feel like they do not belong; it diminishes their self-esteem.

           A commonly seen aspect of this problem that affects the self-esteem of children is stereotypes. Certain stereotypes are laughed at, such as the feminine gay man or the drag queen-esque trans woman (Lo, “LGBT Stereotypes”). This diminishes the self-esteem in both people who do and do not have these stereotypical traits when they are portrayed this way. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie introduced the concept of a “single story” in her 2009 TED Talk, “The danger of a single story” (Adichie). A single story is a one-dimensional view of a complex reality. For example, a large amount of Americans think of Africa as an entirely third-world area– when in reality, parts of Africa are just as metropolitan as New York City. Single stories emphasize people’s differences rather than their similarities. One character is not representative of all their type. Children are very impressionable and susceptible to believe what they are told. If all of the black characters in books are poor, they will assume that all black people are poor. Diverse books are necessary to show children a broad range of lifestyles for every race. The nature of children is to love; they have to be taught hate and discrimination. One-dimensional books with stereotypical characters only help enforce racial supremacy and prejudice.

           A huge factor of self-esteem in children is the feeling of normality. Kids need characters like themselves to feel normal. Shockingly, there are more books about fictional creatures such as dragons or unicorns than children of minorities (Myers). This teaches kids a powerful lesson about their own importance. Children, especially those of minorities, use books as a means of self-affirmation. Having a relatable character in a book helps children with self-esteem issues because it affirms that they are “normal” and special (Bishop). The same goes for children with alternative lifestyles such as living in a foster home or having gay parents. Seeing a character living a life similar to their own causes children to value their home life more. When over 100 teenagers were asked how they feel when they read a book with a character that shares their race or ethnicity, the most popular answer by far was that they “can relate” or “feel a connection” (Diversity in Literature Survey). Children of minorities are so used to feeling different and left out among their peers that a book with a similar character to themselves provides immense relief. It tells them they are normal and can be just like their peers. Books have the power to change lives (NPR). For example, when Annie on My Mind was published in 1982, it was life-changing for so many young girls. It showed them that it is okay to be a lesbian– that they can fall in love and have romantic courtships like the straight characters that they are used to seeing. If minority characters are not included in children’s literature, white children will become the “picture of normal” (Adichie).

           Diversity in children’s literature increases more than just self-esteem; it educates children on different cultures and promotes equality and tolerance. Because of the naivete and willingness of the child’s mind, reading about new cultures makes them feel more normal rather than abstract to children. A lot of people have single stories of places and cultures that are unfamiliar to them (Adichie). Getting inside the head of a character different from oneself normalizes that character’s culture and home life; there are few better ways to learn about a culture than from someone who lives that culture. Diverse books teach kids belonging and acceptance (Sargeant). A good book that accurately represents an unfamiliar culture can broaden a child’s perspective of the world and their peers. Studies show that reading books with different dialects can broaden how English is spoken is America (Bishop). Kids also develop more positive attitudes towards their own culture and race when presented with books with similar characters (Gillespie). A large problem that prevents Americans from having the knowledge of other cultures that people have in other countries is their general hatred of being wrong (Paul). By reading books with different cultures, readers are respectfully, sometimes unknowingly, receiving a cultural education–especially if the characters in said books challenge stereotypes that have already been presented through other forms of media such as movies and tv shows. Ann Morgan, a writer from London who dedicated a year reading books from every single country in the world, argues that more books need to be translated into English for a full, unbiased understanding of world cultures (“Reading a book”). People of minorities are desperate to share their cultures; it is such an important part of their lives. Books are a perfect outlet. Growing up being aware of different cultures raises children to be more tolerant and inclusive. An extremely successful program at Fairmont State University in West Virginia is devoted to doing exactly this. The goal of the project is to “help children build self-esteem and embrace diversity through a love of reading” (McNamara). In addition to the tremendous success of this program, studies show that reading decreases prejudice and increases empathy (Kleinfeld). So many individuals all over the world use writing as a means of communication. Literature from different countries encourages cross-cultural communication, the key to acceptance (Dar). Having knowledge of a culture makes it easier to accept and recognize said culture.

           Children are truly not given enough credit for what their minds can do. They have the ability to transform stereotypical scripts to be more understanding and inclusive. It is not uncommon for a child to insert themselves into a book that does not have concrete race descriptions. In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Harry and Hermione were never given specific races–it is the movies that projected sudden whiteness on the characters (Berlatsky). Learning about different cultures’ struggles and traditions helps develop empathy in children. In addition, children become aware of key concepts such as privilege through books where characters make the same discoveries, such as the young adult novel The Inside of Out, in which the main character is educated about white privilege by her friend. (Thorne). Contrary to popular belief, children do enjoy learning. They are “naturally curious” and have a need to discover the world around them (Hunt). Tying in education to reading makes children enjoy reading more, making them more caring people.

           Discovering new cultures through reading taps into a child’s natural desire to learn while promoting their love of reading. Students associate positive feelings with books when they can relate to them (Diversity in Literature Survey). If a child is more likely to reach for a book with a character that looks like themself on the cover, they are more likely to reach for a book in general. Noah Cho, a middle school teacher in San Francisco, fills his class curriculum with nothing but culturally diverse titles every year. As a result, his students become more self-sure and confident–and their grades raise (Cho). A group of librarians surveyed unanimously agreed that the children in their programs would be more enthusiastic readers if they saw themselves in books (PR Newswire). Also, diverse books provide a challenging reading experience for particularly younger readers, being overall enjoyable. It can be a struggle for children to grasp onto new cultures, but the overall result is a well educated child who enjoys reading more. For example, learning about history through a minority perspective that it not taught in schools can give kids insight and bring forth new ideas on historical events. Children use books to escape reality (“Children’s Fantasy Literature”). Reading about different types of people provides a fundamentally different reading experience than real life, where the only glimpse into other’s lives comes from what they offer up. Every culture has a huge array of stories: folklore, mythology, religious stories–the variety is endless. As Rudine Sims Bishop so eloquently stated in one of her most famous essays, children need “windows” onto other cultures, “mirrors” onto their own lives, and “sliding glass doors” to escape into other worlds and experiences (“Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors”).

           The lack of diversity in the children’s literature field is a huge problem because the self-esteem of children revolves around the feeling of “normality,” a sensation that can come from seeing oneself in books. Children who are represented in books also suffer from the lack of cultural education and true depth to their books. All children are at risk for misunderstandings and potentially harmful assumptions because of stereotypically portrayed characters of minorities. This problem can only be solved if publishers, teachers, librarians, and readers work together and share their experiences with discrimination to change the industry.

(Works Cited available upon request.)