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Preview: Books and Quilts

Books and Quilts

Updated: 2018-03-24T11:16:13.945-04:00


Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles


This story made me feel sad, angry and even afraid at times.  Tyler Johnson died when he shouldn't have.  He should have been safe in his own neighbourhood, but he wasn't.  Now his twin, Marvin, is left to figure out what happened to him and how to move forward.

With the unfailing support of his mother and his two closest friends, Ivy and G-mo, Marvin is able to search within himself and his community for answers.  Screaming back at him is the colour of his skin.  It is the first thing that a lot of people notice when they look at another person.

Did Tyler get caught up in a bad decision he made, or did some one look at him and decide that because of his skin colour he must be doing something bad.  Marvin experienced a lot of anguish as he broached these questions.  On top of that, he had to find the strength to face the media, his classmates and their opinions.

This is a powerful tale.  The first time I opened it and started reading, I closed it after a few pages.  I wasn't ready for the emotional impact I knew it was going to throw at me.  A few hours later, I cleared a block of time and dove in.  While I love the book and the main characters, I am sad that we still need these tales to be told.  I have faith, like Marvin, that we as a society can move forward and do what's right.  At present we need authors such a Jay Coles to present these stories and show us how to proceed.

This book would be a great subject for a class room discussion or to read as a family.

Cover image courtesy Hachette Book Group.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.


Stitch'n Time - Have I Accomplished Anything?


So sorry to have been missing in action.  Last week was March Break here in Ontario.  That meant I was extra busy at work with a week full of kid activities.  As you can imagine, helping present activities for up to 150 kids a day can be stressful.  While I didn't have much time for stitching, I did do crafts with the kids each day.Pup Tag made during our Paw Patrol eventI was not surprising that kids really don't listen carefully to instructions.  It was worse that so few kids were able to use scissors.  Often their parents would swoop in and take the project away from them and do the cutting to their standards.  What good is that, the child still can't use the scissors and the child finishes the project much faster that expected.  This caused problems with our timing.  arg.  Hence, my stress.Lumpy and bumpy, clearly in need of blocking when done.This week I am on staycation and re cooping.  I did some knitting today.  I am on to the next section of my project and have moved to larger needles and two strands of the orange yarn.    It's knitting nicely, but sure is going to require a lot of blocking.  Since I had to wind one skein into two equal balls of wool, I used my kitchen scale to weigh the first ball i was winding.  Once the ball reached half the weight of the skein, I started the second ball.  Much better than guessing as I did with the first two colours.After one of my shorter days last week, I was able to drop into the quilt shop and get a few supplies for a pillow cover I'm making for a co-worker.  I had planned to purchase some plain off white fabric for background, but when I spied this piece with text all over, I knew it would be so much better.  Remember, I work in a bookstore...  Now I have no excuse for not starting on this project.Stitch'n Time is a weekly post where I share my progress (or lack there of) with my needlework projects.  You are welcome to use Mister Linky to add a link to your current needlework post.[...]

Swing it, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm


Sunny has had a lot of changes in her life lately.  She's started middle school and her adored older brother has been sent to a boarding school.  Talking to her grandfather once a week really helps, but she's still sad.

at first this story seemed all over the place, then I realized that Sunny's life was continuing with her varied activities even thought her brother wasn't at home. Yes, she had sad moments, but mostly her  life was continuing on track.  She really started turning things around when she stopped feeling sad for herself and started to consider her brother's feelings.  It's a big step for any person to realize that the world doesn't revolve solely around them.  Once Sunny reached out to her brother she started to feel better and so did he.

This is a touching story about Sunny's concern for her brother.  She learned a lot about what it means to be part of a family.

This graphic novel is suitable for middle school and younger readers who read at an advanced level.

I received and advanced readers copy of this book from Indigo Music & Books Inc., in exchange for an honest review.


Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed


Maya is in her final year of high school in a small American town.  She is quiet and often hides behind her video camera which she employees to make documentaries.  She'd love to attend NYU for film studies though her parents expect her to follow their wishes of meeting a nice Indian boy while she attends a near by law school.  Maya is torn between pleasing her parents and following her heart  All these plans are thrown in turmoil when a response to a serious incident elsewhere in the country unleashes islamaphobic attacks upon the family.

Maya is your typical girl next door that you'd want your child to be friends with.  She is kind and sensitive to others, smart and studies hard.  She also happens to be Indian and Muslim.  These shouldn't and don't matter to most people, but there are some who hold these differences against her.  Just because a person is different than you, it doesn't automatically diminish that person nor does it make them bad.

At an age where so many teens are struggling with what they want to do with their future, Maya has a very clear view.  She wants to study film so she can make and direct documentary films.  She also wants to be able to tell her parents that she wants a love match and not an arranged marriage.  She wants to be given the freedom to make her own choices.

I love this book.  It spoke to me on so many levels.  As a parent, Maya is a daughter that I would be pleased to call my own. She was brought up in a warm and loving family by attentive parents.  She is intelligent and well prepared to face the adult world.  When the world crashes into her life and her family, her response is realistic.  She is concerned for the well being of those who were directly impacted by the incident before she questions how this might reflect back on the Muslim communities across the United States.

Author Samira Ahmed has shone a light on an ugly incident of the type that happens far too often in our so called 'civilized communities'.  She helps to call attention to racial and religious bigotry.  Such hatred has no place in this world.  All it does is create damage.  Education is the best weapon against such ignorant actions.  This book needs to be widely read.  It would be a good starting place for class room discussions about combating racism.  This is a strong debut novel by Ms. Ahmed and I eagerly await her next novel.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.