she’s reading: pb’s, nonfic

Dear TBR,

Reading into Spring means you’re supposed to be reading outside. Since it’s about fifteen degrees below where outside reading is comfortable for me (plus pollen), today I’m sharing inside reads on a fake tree. It looks totes natural, right???

The Yellow Áo Dài, by Hahn Bui, illustrated by Minnie Phan – I was really interested in this one because my baby sister is Cambodian and the áo dài, or long shirt, is also traditional in her culture. This is an adorable little story about an International Day festival at a school, a girl wearing Mom’s clothes, and… messing them up. The fix is both inclusive and clever, and ties the child’s culture even closer to her, with stitches of familial love and memory.

Big, by Vashti Harrison – “In childhood, big is good. Big is impressive, aspirational. But somewhere along the way, the world begins to tell us something different…” The line between “What a big girl!” and “Girl, you’re too big for that,” is often indecipherable in childhood. Everything is good, until one day… it isn’t. This is a book that will hopefully inculcate kindness into the words we speak to children, and the words they learn to speak to each other. Vashti Harrison’s artwork is always lovely, and this was a treat on two levels, as the character reteaches herself to see her own good again. It’s heartbreaking that this book is necessary, but it is, and I’m glad it exists.

It’s Not Bragging If It’s True, by Zaila Avant-Garde – I wasn’t sure initially what to make of this Scripps National Champion and two-time Guinness World Record-holder writing a kind of self-help book. The subtitle is “How to be Awesome at Life,” but she admits early on that the title is for drama. The short answer is “show up and show out.” The longer answer she takes readers through in an open-hearted way, letting them see the challenges, distractions, and ways she asked for help to make the dreams she dreamed come true. Avant-Garde shares her 2019 Scripps Spelling Bee failure, and her return in 2021, as well as details of her basketball success. “Hard work” is reiterated kindly, amusingly, and refreshingly, but the answer is unvarying – and I think readers will both understand and be inspired.

Kentanji Brown Jackson: And Justice for All, by Tami Charles, illustrated by Jemma Skidmore – After 232 years and 115 appointments, Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson became the first Black woman appointed to serve on the US Supreme Court. This is the entire gist of the book, and it’s more of an historical landmark book than a story, told in lyrical language with plenty of praise for Justice Jackson’s work ethic and family. I was a little disappointed that readers wouldn’t be informed more about what a Supreme Court Justice does, and why it’s important that the highest court in the land is represented with the people that live in this country, but I suspect this was the first and earliest of a number of books written on the Justice which will take a different slant. This book celebrates the triumph that Justice Jackson’s appointment is for her personally, and for America as a whole.

Our post is getting a bit long, and the novels might just require their own longer reviews, so tune in next time as I get to those.

Fresh onto the TBR:

  • Enter the Body, by Joy McCullough
  • To Wrack & Ruin, by Ann Aguire, a Kindle Vella serial
  • That Selfsame Metal, by Brittany N. Williams
  • In Memoriam, by Alice Winn


Until the next book, 📖

Still A Constant Reader

About the author

tanita s. davis is a writer and avid reader who prefers books to most things in the world, including people. That's ...pretty much it, she's very boring and she can't even tell jokes. She is, however, the author of nine books, including Serena Says, Partly Cloudy, Go Figure, Henri Weldon, and the Coretta Scott King honored Mare's War. Look for her new MG, The Science of Friendship in 1/2024 from Katherine Tegen Books.

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