Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The History of Gospel Music.

Woog, Adam.  The History of Gospel Music.  Gale/Lucent      2014  136p  $35.95  ISBN 978-1-4205-0945-8  ms/hs     series: Music Library  Nonfiction  E-BNS   

Gospel music is at the center of African-American religious worship, from its history in slave songs to pop and current artists.  This volume, The History of Gospel Music, is part of the History of Music series.  Featuring the music and musicians who have innovated, fostered and developed gospel music, this title provides a very complete look at the full range of gospel music from slave songs to today’s artists like Lecrae.  The information is presented through text, photographs with detailed captions, and sidebars.  The text is very readable, yet it includes great detail in telling the story of gospel music.

Additional material includes detailed note
s for each chapter, an annotated listening list of recommended CD’s, a glossary, a four-page annotated bibliography for further information, an extensive index and a list of picture credits.  This title is a complete research tool for students.  The level of detail and length of the text make this title perfect for older middle-school students and high-school students.

The Music Library includes 13 titles discussing the innovators who have shaped each style of music from jazz to classical to rock and roll.  The series is excellent for research.

Summary: This book focuses on the music, musicians, instruments and cultural significance of gospel music.  High school, maybe middle.    

Gospel music                                                --Joan Theal

Revolution. (The Sixties trilogy, book two)

Wiles, Deborah.  Revolution.  (The Sixties trilogy, book two)     Scholastic Press  2014  $19.99  ISBN 978-0-545-10607-8      ms/hs   Historical fiction  VG-BN  

Sunny Fairchild and her older stepbrother Gillette sneak into the municipal pool in Greenwood, Mississippi, for a forbidden nighttime swim.  Sunny is alarmed when they discover Raymond Bullis, a black teen, who has the same idea.  That summer, the three come of age in a time of turbulence and change that will eventually be known as Freedom Summer.

Sunny is happy with the status quo but now must deal with her father’s new wife and family, Gillette and Audrey.  Resistant to change, Sunny is constantly
fighting her stepmother’s motherly overtures.  Raymond wants immediate change, with parity for all.  When change doesn’t happen fast enough, he takes matters into his own hands, bringing down the wrath of Deputy Davis. 

To lend even more authenticity to the narrative, Wiles incorporates many archival photographs, pamphlets, posters, snatches of speeches, song lyrics and short biographies of Civil Rights leaders.  But it is seeing how the other half lives through the characters’ eyes that really brings history to life.  Raymond lives on the wrong side of the tracks and his home has no indoor plumbing or electricity.  There is no proper school
for him.  Life is overshadowed by the threats of violence or the loss of income or a job.  It is an eye-opening experience for Sunny and the reader.

Revolution is an excellent addition to the study of the Civil Rights movement.  Author Deborah Wiles has done her research, and even makes it available for student use via Pinterest
(http://www.pinterest.com/debbiewiles/).  

Summary: When Sunny and her stepbrother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool, they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.  

Civil Rights-Fiction                                  --Hilary Welliver


In the Shadows.

White, Kiersten, and Jim Di Bartolo.  In the Shadows.  Scholastic Press  2014 376p  $21.99  ISBN 978-0-545-56144-0      jr/sr   Graphic novel   VG-BN

A story of love, mystery, conspiracy, and revenge told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures and spanning centuries, In the Shadows is a collaborative effort by author Kiersten White and artist Jim Di Bartolo. White's prose follows two pairs of siblings around the turn of the twentieth century as they meet and grow close at a summer boarding house by the sea.  Di Bartolo's section follows a young man who is imprisoned and has been forcibly turned into some sort of creature who then goes on a hunt for the people who did this to him.  At first the connection between the two stories is not apparent, and switching back and forth can be tiring for the reader, particularly since there is so little dialogue in Di Bartolo's scenes (although the artwork is lovely).  Once the connection becomes apparent and the timelines converge, however, readers will find themselves speeding up, eager to learn how everything turns out.

Summary: A story of love, mystery, conspiracy, and revenge told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures and spanning centuries.                
Romance-Fiction, Mystery-Fiction                      --Bethany Geleskie

Babe Conquers the World.

Wallace, Rich, and Sandra Wallace.  Babe Conquers the World.  Boyd's Mills/Calkins Creek  2014  272p  $16.95  ISBN 978-1-59078-981-0 ms/hs  Biography  E-BN 

Fiction sports writer Rich Wallace and his sports-journalist wife Sandra collaborate to present an in-depth biography on the woman who challenged the sports world to include women.  Babe’s intensity, both on and off the sports arena, reveals a woman who would not take “no” for an answer.  Her determination, hard work and outspokenness served her well as she conquered a variety of sports, including basketball, track and field, tennis, and golf.  Realizing she was better suited to sports where individual prowess was featured, she became an Olympian in track and field and a golf champion. Her ability to relate to fans increased her popularity even if that adoration was not always returned by competitors. Her love of family is discussed, including her closeness to her sister and the fact that she provided consistent financial support to her throughout her athletic career.  Few may know of her efforts to educate people about cancer and the ability to live a full life after diagnosis.  The book includes a timeline, chapter notes, an index, a list for further reading, and a question-and-answer section about what happened after her untimely death due to cancer.  This is a well-thought-out book that will appeal to young readers as well as teenagers, with sidebar pages that explain historical events referenced in the preceding chapter.  This is a truly remarkable book about a very remarkable woman.           

Summary: Biography of Babe Didrikson Zaharias that delves into her athletic accomplishments as well as who she was as a person. Numerous black-and-white photos add to the text that flows like an interview with the legendary Babe. Grades 5-12.     

Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Women athletes                     --Lois McNicol


On the Road To Find Out.

Toor, Rachel.  On the Road To Find Out.  Macmillan/Farrar Strauss 2014  311p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-374-30014-2      hs      Realistic fiction   VG 

When Alice made a New Year’s resolution to take up running, she had no idea that running would become her therapy, escape, and salvation.  Running did not start auspiciously.  Her first run was eight minutes long and ended abruptly when a jogger in a Yale sweatshirt passed her and she was unexpectedly reminded of her failure to gain admittance at the university.

Alice is a privileged teen.  Her folks are rich.  She has a whole floor in her house that belongs to her
. (The suite even offers a jacuzzi!)  At the top of her senior class, Alice believes she is entitled to success, which until now has been heaped upon her, and she doesn’t handle failure well at all. 

Fortunately, Alice has Jenni
, who stands by Alice through all the drama, and holds her ground when necessary.  Alice is lucky to have Jenni, who will undoubtedly be her friend for life. She also has Joan, the owner of the running store where Alice works, and Miles, a homeschooled co-worker who becomes Alice’s boyfriend.  Together they help Alice come to the realization that she is focusing on the wrong things and should focus on what really matters in life. 

Teens will be able to relate to overachieving Alice and will find her tribulations realistic.  Though initially Alice is not very likeable, by the end of the book we develop empathy for her, may even shed some tears for her, and cheer for her when she makes her valedictorian speech.

Summary: Alice comes of age through running and self-reflection, and with a little help from her friends.  

Friendship-Fiction, Success-Fiction             --Hilary Welliver