A name might be just a word, but it elicits feelings, memories, meanings, and histories associated with it.  When we feel like we need to live up to our names or live down a reputation that a name may convey, names potentially define or limit who and what we become.  Names can also affect our self-perceptions.  Most of us have likely pondered the idea of our given names and whether we would have chosen something different. In his first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr., Sherman Alexie features Thunder Boy, who explores the meaning of his name.  Initially, he celebrates its power and its uniqueness.  When heRead More →

Seventeen year old JT Barnett is gay, but that’s not how he defines himself. He’s known from a young age that he likes boys and hasn’t really had any problems coming to terms with it; it’s just a part of who he is. No, for JT, his main struggle in life is with his own confidence. JT has a great best friend, Heather, and a loving boyfriend, Seth, but he’s plagued by doubts about his uninterested parents and his above average body weight. JT has love and support, but he’s looking for a way out. There’s no way that he’s going to end up workingRead More →

The adventures of the Legend Hunters continue in Book 2, Darkmouth: Worlds Explode by Irish author Shane Hegarty.  Not unlike the world of Artemis Fowl, predicaments and otherworldly creatures populate Darkmouth, where Finn the Defiant resides.  As a swarm of Legends was descending, Finn’s father pushed his twelve year old son to safety, and the gateway to the Infested Side closed, trapping the last Legend Hunter, Hugo the Great.  Now, Finn has fewer than 48 hours to find his dad who has been declared dead by the Council of 12. Although Finn is determined to rescue his father, the prophesy predicts his peril.  As theRead More →

At the end of her sophomore year, Summer Everett will travel to France to visit her father, a famous but somewhat flaky artist.  She will be spending her sixteenth birthday away from all that is familiar in Hudsonville, New York, where her mom is a philosophy professor.  In Provence, she anticipates a summer of possibility, inundated with wild surprises, maybe even her first kiss.  But without the abundant confidence and curvy figure of her BFF, Ruby Singh, Summer is plagued with uncertainty.  In fact, Summer’s favorite question is what if: What if I answer my cell phone before I board the plane for France? OrRead More →