Forbidden

A few weeks ago I was catching up on podcasts while driving to my parents and Jeff and Rebecca from Book Riot talked for a long time about romance authors and the lack of diversity in romance. This piqued my interest, and decided to read one of Beverly Jenkins’ novels. I’m trying to read more diversely in terms of author and protagonist (but mostly #ownvoices), and also genre. I’m doing a lot better with #ownvoices than I am with genre, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to combine both.

I also decided to use a Jenkins novel for the prompt “a best seller in a genre you don’t normally read.” And let me tell you, it was difficult figuring out which books exactly are best sellers. Everything says, “Beverly Jenkins, USA Today bestselling author,” but I could never find out which books were bestsellers. So, I went with one of the most recent publications: Forbidden.

Forbidden follows Eddy and Rhine (who apparently was briefly introduced in another novel way back in the 80s) in a booming mining town in Nevada post-Civil War. Eddy is determined to make her way to San Francisco and start a restaurant but finds herself alone and close to death in the desert. Rhine is a scion of respectability and money in town, but he harbors a deep secret. Rhine was born a slave, the result of abuse between the slave owner and his mother, and is now passing for White. Rhine rescues Eddy and instantly feels drawn to her, but in order to be with her he must sacrifice all he has worked towards.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of Jenkins’ writing style, I like how seamlessly she weaves history in with the plot. The last few pages are full of notes and bibliography, so she clearly did her research. I’m also ashamed to realize just how little I know of postbellum history, aside from the highlights featured in textbooks.

Through Smart Bitches Trashy Books I found an interview with Jenkins from Jezebel and I thought this bit was most illuminating:

You’ve talked a little bit about what draws you to the nineteenth century—why does the postwar period to the end of the century interest you so much as a writer?

There was so much going on and it’s not a typical time that we know about, regardless of what race we are, and I think the more we know about each other the better off we’d all be. And it also has its parallels with the twentieth and the twenty-first century. Because right after the Civil War you had those great gains with Reconstruction—this huge amount of Black men in Congress and representatives through the states, you had the lieutenant governor in Louisiana, you had Black folks in positions of power and businesses and colleges going up. And then when Reconstruction died in 1876, everything started to unravel. You had the rise of the Klan and you had the Redemption period. And lynchings and blood and death and destruction. And folks said we’ve got to leave the South. They moved into places like Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, California. Which is where I set my very first book, Night Song, in one of those Black townships in Kansas.

In the ‘70s you had African Americans retaking their places in Congress and in the Senate and in local elections. So there’s a parallel in us rising and then the ‘90s and stuff started to sort of peter out again. It’s an up and down cycle. Great things happening in both centuries, both bittersweet.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience reading Forbidden and am definitely going to check out another of Jenkins’ books.

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Baby Storytime: 29

Opening Song

Action Rhyme:

“Open Them, Shut Them”

Shared Book:

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It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

Action Rhyme:

“I’m Bouncing”

I’m bouncing, bouncing everywhere (bounce child on knees)

I bounce and bounce into the air (raise child up)

I’m bouncing, bouncing like a ball,

I bounce and bounce, then down I fall (let child slip through knees)

x2

Book:

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Overboard by Sarah Weeks

Action Rhyme:

“Eye Winker”

Eye winker (point to eyes)

Tom tinker (point to ears)

Mouth eater (point to mouth)

Chin chopper (point to chin)

Chin chopper, chin chopper, chin chopper,

Chin chopper, chin (tickle under chin)

Song:

“Head Shoulders Knees and Toes”

Shared Book:

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Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton

Action Rhyme:

“Where is Thumbkin”

Closing Song

Toddler Storytime: Houses and Homes

Opening Song

“The More We Get Together”

Action Rhyme:

“Where is Thumbkin?”

Book:

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Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood

Action Rhyme:

“Here is a House”

Here is a house built up high (hands over head to make a roof)

With two big chimneys reaching for the sky (raise arms up high)

Here is a window (draw a square)

Here is a door (pretend to open a door)

If we look inside (peek through fingers)

There’s a mouse on the floor! (scamper fingers away)

Credit: Storytime Katie, from Perry Public Library

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This House, Once by Deborah Freedman

Feltboard:

“Goldilocks and the Three Bears”

*about halfway through I realized I had messed and did not include the parts about Goldilocks breaking chairs etc. Oh well, the kids didn’t seem to mind, but just a reminder to practice, practice, practice!

Book:

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Follow the Line Through the House by Laura Ljungkvist

Action Rhyme:

“Teddy Bear”

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Turn around.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Touch the ground.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Show your shoes.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

I love you.

Closing Song

Baby Storytime: 28

 

 Opening Song

Action Rhyme:

“Open Them, Shut Them”

Book:

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Nose to Toes You Are Yummy by Tim Harrington

Song:

Head Shoulders Knees ad Toes

Action Rhyme:

“Little Red Wagon”

Bumping up and down in my little red wagon,

Bumping up and down in my little red wagon,

Bumping up and down in my little red wagon,

Won’t you be my darling?

x2

Shared Book:

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Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church

Action Rhyme:

“Baby’s Bellybutton”

Here are baby’s fingers (touch fingers)

Here are baby’s toes (touch toes)

Here is baby’s belly (touch belly)

Round and round it goes (tickle belly)

Book:

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My Heart is like a Zoo by Michael Hall

Song:

“Itsy Bitsy Spider”

Closing Song

Little Boxes

I heard about Little Boxes: Twleve Writers on Television edited by Caroline Casey on Book Riot’s All the Books podcast and it sounded really interesting. It’s a collection of essays about television and how the shows we watched as children influenced us and our childhoods. I have to admit, All the Books made it sound much more interesting than it actually was, at least for me. And I had the song “Little Boxes” stuck in my head the whole time. Of the book, I thought only two essays were really strong. The one on The Cosby Show and the one about Daria.

It probably doesn’t help that the TV shows people wrote about were mostly before my time. In the introduction it states that all writers grew up in the time before Internet as we know it today, and when classic black and white shows were still playing on reruns and Nick at Night. Given that introduction I thought I’d know all the shows (I watched a lot of I Love Lucy and Bewitched and The Munsters on Nick at Night), but I only watched two of the shows, and was familiar with one other– Anne of Green Gables and Daria were the shows I watched and Dawson’s Creek is the one I’m familiar with. Other shows touched on are Blossom, Twin Peaks, Cosby Show, and then some I’d never heard of before (mostly 1990 and earlier).

One thing I did learn, is just how different shows are today on Netflix or on DVD because when originally aired, they weren’t anticipating re-watches and DVD releases, so many shows had great music, which is then changed to canned music or cheaper music when re-released. Now I wonder what music was originally on some of my favorite shows (Friends and Sex and the City) specifically, since they originally aired pre-home video release of TV shows. Also, Friends has some pretty awful transition music, so I’d love to think it was better originally.

Also, fun fact. This book is published by a small press in Minnesota. I think it’s pretty exciting the book made it to a (relatively) popular book podcast.

Toddler Storytime: Dinosaurs

Opening Song

The More We Get Together

Book:

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Dinosaur vs the Library by Bob Shea

Feltboard:

Five Funny Dinosaurs

Five funny dinosaurs letting out a roar.

One went away, and then there were four.

Four finny dinosaurs munching on a tree.

One went away, and then there were three.

Three funny dinosaurs didn’t know what to do.

One went away, and then there were two.

Two funny dinosaurs having lots of fun.

One went away, and then there was one.

One funny dinosaur afraid to be a hero.

He went a way, and then there was zero.

Book:

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Camp Rex by Molly Idle

Action Rhyme:

“Dinosaur, Dinosaur”

Dinosaur, dinosaur, turn around.

Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch the ground.

Dinosaur, dinosaur, reach up high.

Dinosaur, dinosaur, blink your eyes.

Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your noes.

Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your toes.

Dinosaur, dinosaur, slap your knees.

Dinosaur, dinosaur, sit down please.

Book:

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How do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen

Closing Song

The Princess in Black

I mentioned previously that I like to dress up as characters from children’s books for Halloween. This year I was Princess Magnolia, or better known as The Princess in Black.

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The only thing I had to do was cut a piece of black felt to an appropriate cape size (I don’t recommend felt though, it was very heavy. But it was all I had on hand) and draw a flower, cut it out and pin it to my shirt. Easy Peasy.