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Posts by Molly W

Love letter to the funk-rock sound of the 1980s

Cover of MPLS Sound
A review of MPLS Sound by Joseph Illidge and Hannibal Tabu

This is a gorgeous purple graphic novel inspired by the Purple One. Theresa Booker dreams of being a musician and knows that there are many barriers to success for a black woman on the Minneapolis music scene in 1982. She puts together an amazing band with a singular vision but there's nowhere for Starchild to play. Talent and drive are not always enough. 

Apr 23, 2021

Dolly: Country catalyst for change

Cover of She Come By It Natural: Do
A review of She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh

Dolly Parton has been a beacon of hope with a big 'ole pile of hair singing with her heart, sharing her success with those in need, and representing generations of hard working women. It's high time to celebrate her accomplishments. She Come By It Natural is a beautifully researched book that started as an article for No Depression magazine right around the time the women's movement shifted: at the dawn of the Trump Presidency and worldwide protest, the Women's March of 2017 and #metoo.

Apr 15, 2021

The sixth and youngest and most dazzling poet

Cover of The Hill We Climb: An Inau
A review of The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman

Just in time for National Poetry Month!  This is an exquisite special edition of National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman's presidential inauguration poem given on January 20, 2021 with a foreword by Oprah Winfrey. I've watched and listened to this spectacular young poet recite "The Hill We Climb" numerous times, now, and each time I'm left feeling hopeful for our country and a democratic society. This poem is honest and looking towards a brighter future.

Apr 7, 2021

Grateful all year long

Cover of We are Grateful: Otsalihel
A review of We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

Otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Otsaliheliga is a reminder to celebrate blessings and reflect on struggles. This picture book follows a year of Cherokee celebrations, starting in fall and ending in summer. Seasonal events pictured include playing in the leaves, dancing at the Great New Moon Ceremony, making corn husk dolls, gathering wild onions, and planting strawberries. 

Mar 22, 2021

The doodles are alive

Cover of Doodleville
A review of Doodleville by Chad Sell

Drew's art club takes a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago and something unexpected happens. The doodles in her notebook come alive and run away. Her doodles are imaginative and playful and have the best personalities. But they aren't super well-behaved and get into trouble. 

Mar 15, 2021

Making the most of your gifts

Cover of When Stars are Scattered
A review of When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

This is the true story of how Omar Mohamed and his younger brother Hassan spent their childhood as refugees at the Dadaab camp in Kenya* separated from their mother and longing to return to their home in Somalia. Life is difficult in Dadaab. The many long years of waiting without enough resources along with thousands of other refugees wears the residents down and dashes their hopes and dreams for the future.

Mar 1, 2021

The power of Booker T. Washington's voice

Voices of Black America
A review of Voices of Black America: Historical Recordings of Speeches, Poetry, Humor & Drama by Naxos Audiobooks

This audiobook provides a treasured portal to the past. It features original recordings from 1908-1946 of speeches by Booker T. Washington, the poems of Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar recited by the poets, comedy routines, and more. All told, there's approximately 1 hour and 47 minutes of content.

To hear these famous voices is very special. The sound quality is on par with other historical recordings I've heard. That takes a moment to get used to, but feels intimate, like you've gone back in time and are witnessing the moment. 

Feb 22, 2021

Hard on the head and the heart

Cover of Before the Ever After
A review of Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson's latest novel-in-verse for middle grades just won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for outstanding writing by an African American author. Twelve-year-old ZJ's life turns upside down when his dad, a professional football player, starts suffering headaches, memory loss and personality changes. According to lore, Zachariah 44 (for his jersey number), suffered more NFL concussions than any other player, even with a helmet on.

Jan 26, 2021