Book Reviews

Resilient Refugees & Rebel Librarians : My October Reads

It was a slow reading month for me where children’s books were concerned. I spent the first half of the month reading books for people my own age, so I only made it to a few this month. The links in the post lead to the book’s Goodreads profile.

The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle
by Victoria Williamson


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Ages 8-12

The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle is about two girls from wildly different backgrounds sharing an apartment complex and growing a friendship. Reema is a Syrian refugee who moves with her family (and without her much loved brother) and Caylin is a girl from a low-income, turmoiled household who relies on her mean attitude to get her through. The girls separately happen upon a struggling mother fox and her young and end up bonding over their similarities: a love of running, their language/speech barriers, and their desire to help the fox family.

This book was thoughtful and the unlikely friendship between main characters is intriguing. My favorite part about this book is the growth of Caylin’s character. The novel also handles the issue of racism against Muslim refugees realistically, but still age-appropriately. I didn’t love the poems from the fox’s POV. I feel like they would go right over the heads of the target audience. On the other hand, if used in a curriculum (this book would be good for that), the poems add an extra layer that could be expanded upon.

Property of the Rebel Librarian
by Allison Varnes

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Ages 8-12

Property of the Rebel Librarian is about a middle schooler who starts a secret library out of an old locker after her school begins a PTA-inspired book banning spree. There is so much to love about this book. It is very plot driven, making it an easy read and appealing to the target audience. Watching June go from “plain band girl” to rebelling against her parents for a good cause was inspiring. She is very relatable- like any budding teenager realizing that her parents are not always right.

Speaking of June’s parents, and all the adults in the Dogwood community for that matter, they will make you want to scream. Throughout most of the book they are like caricatures of strict parents- controlling what their child reads, setting her up to be premed, trying to control their older daughter’s major in college. However, Varnes writes a “overheard” conversation between them towards the end of the novel that shines some much needed light on their actions and develops them as characters. The relationship between June is Matt is also notable. I won’t spoil it, but there are some very sweet scenes between these two!

Overall, I loved this book and watching June learn how to stand up for her beliefs even when they contradict everything she has thought about adults up until now!

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness
by Anastasia Higginbotham

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Ages 4+

Are you raising a white child? Having trouble addressing the rampant racism still plagueing The United States of America? You need this book. Enough said. And while you are at it, grab Higginbotham’s other “tough subject” books in her Ordinary Terrible Things series: Death is Stupid, Tell Me About Sex, Grandma, and Divorce is the Worst.




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