Read this: Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm

Sunny Side Up Book Cover Sunny Side Up
Jennifer L. Holm
Juvenile Fiction | Middle Grade
Scholastic Inc.
August 25, 2015
Matthew Holm
Grandparent and child, Family Secrets
Heard the author talk at ALA 2015 - Sunny's situation reminded me of the times I felt left out of family issues.
Kids who are going through or have been through a tough transition in family life, school, or friendship (Isn't that everyone?)
8 +


When is a summer vacation not really a summer vacation? Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It’s full of . . . old people. Really old people. Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .

Read this: Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Roller Girl Book Cover Roller Girl
Victoria Jamieson
Juvenile Fiction | Middle Grade
March 10, 2015
Heard about it on Pop Culture Happy Hour
Middle grade girls and boys, reluctant readers

I read Roller Girl in one sitting, enjoying every minute of Astrid's adventure.

The Newbery Honor Award Winner and New York Times bestseller Roller Girl is a heartwarming graphic novel about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby—perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier's Smile! For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl. In this graphic novel debut that earned a Newbery Honor and five starred reviews, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring coming-of-age story about friendship, perseverence, and girl power! From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read | Notorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Notorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Biography of a Badass.



The authors Carmon and Knizhnik have done an impressive job of bringing the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg into pop culture while highlighting serious scholarship and the fierceness of the Supreme Court Justice. Before reading Notorious RBG, I considered her a  remarkable woman. While I was reading I responded personally more than once, pausing because her steadfast and resolute campaign for equality took my breath away. I have become a rabid fan of her work.

The book touches upon many aspects of her life: her early years, her academic appointments, her arguments before the court. She is one of the most important Civil Rights leaders of today. You will want everyone you know to read about this cultural icon.


RBG-early timeline

Her early years were often spent in the library with books [You know I couldn’t possibly leave out that detail]:

“For a while, her favorites were books about Greek and Norse mythology, and then she graduated to Nancy Drew. “This was a girl who was an adventurer, who could think for herself, who was the dominant person in her relationship with her young boyfriend,” RBG remembered happily.”
RBG - timeline

Her early career:

“The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.”

“1963: RBG becomes the second woman to teach full-time at Rutgers School of Law.   “[The dean explained] it was only fair to pay me modestly, because my husband had a very good job.”

“She said, ‘I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”


RBG - and her partner Marty


The story of her marriage reveals what a true partnership looks like, decades before the idea of men sharing equal responsibilities in raising children reached popular culture.


RBG - workout routine

RBG’s physical resilience is yet another area where I was floored. She has survived cancer twice, and can do more pushups in her nineties than I can.



She does it all with the clarity of her life’s work.

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity,” she said simply. “It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

“She likes to quote the opening words of the Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union.” Beautiful, yes, but as she always points out, “we the people” originally left out a lot of people. “It would not include me,” RBG said, or enslaved people, or Native Americans. Over the course of the centuries, people left out of the Constitution fought to have their humanity recognized by it. RBG sees that struggle as her life’s work.”

No wonder she’s inspired a cult of admirers.






Read it: Carmon, Irin, and Shana Knizhnik. 2015. Notorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

And check out the Tumblr that started it all.