Tag Archives: Bullying

Book Review: Never Talk to Ravens: Perfect Life Lessons Without Preaching for Young Readers

Never Talk To Ravens

By M. L. Furry

After a bit of teasing from his friends about how big his feet grew over the summer, Xavion snapped. He knew better than to fight with his friends, but he was tired of the comments. Giant feet were great for jumping, but people were always tripping over them and Xavion was super tired of hearing about them. So, when his friend shouted names at him on the playground, he fought back by yelling “four-eyes” at one of his friends with glasses.

Xavion felt bad as soon as he said it, but Mrs. Barnes heard him, so he is stuck in time-out for five recesses in a row. He got tired of watching the other kids play and decided to rest. Falling asleep quickly, he was awakened by a kangaroo tugging on his sleeve. Confused, Xavion thought the he might be dreaming.

Soon he finds out the kangaroo’s name is Jamieson; he is straight from Australia and needs Xavion’s help. Each day, during recess, Jamieson returns to Xavion and tells him about how he got tricked by some Ravens and really wants to get back home. Between the two of them, they hatch a plan.

Never Talk To Ravens is an engaging and entertaining illustrated chapter book for kids ages 7 to 10 to enjoy. The focus on kindness, helping others and actions leading to consequences are important issues for children to understand and work through. I really love that Never Talk to Ravens allows children to understand the concepts of the issues, yet does not bonk them over the head “do this, not that”. It allows kindness and helping others to subtly sink in as children read the story.

I really enjoyed the story, characters and message in Never Talk to Ravens. It is perfect for the age group intended. If you have younger children, they would most likely enjoy you reading it to them. I am excited to see it is the first book in the Xavion and Jamieson Adventure Series.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Absolute True Diary...

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie

230 pages

Arnold Spirit Junior was supposed to die at during surgery when he was six months old. Born on a Spokane Indian Reservation, he was too much cerebral spinal fluid on his brain that had to be drained off right away. His head is large and he needs thick glasses. He talks slow and is bullied by most of the kids and some of the adults on the Reservation. Yet, he is the wisest kid I have ever read about.

Life is tough for him, yet he keeps on going. His family is close. When you don’t have anything including steady meals you learn to depend upon your immediate and extended family.

After an altercation at the Indian school, Junior’s teacher advises him to get out. He feels Junior will never survive if he stays on the Res. With alcoholic parents and no future to speak of except a life of poverty, Junior decides he wants to go to a white school off of the Reservation.

Even though the kids live within twenty miles of the Res, it is a different world with different rules. Junior is in a foreign place trying to learn the rules and language without harming himself or anyone else.

This book is amazing. The characters are so well developed I felt like I could have a conversation with them. The tragic events this fourteen-year-old boy experienced are more intense than most adults will experience. But don’t get the impression that this is a sad, depressing book. It is a book about hope, over-coming challenges and taking risks. The lessons Junior learns are life lessons all of us should appreciate and heed.

This novel deals with human and often controversial issues in an honest and straightforward way without the sugar-coated illusions in other books. There are sexual situations (yeah, he is a 14 year-old – what did you expect?), alcohol abuse (unfortunately this is a problem on Indian Reservations), salty language (see the earlier note about how old these kids are), and the problem with fitting in/bullying are all throughout the book. This is the reason it was placed on the list of banned books.

Unless your teen has been living in seclusion or away from all other kids and social media, I don’t really think there is anything in Alexie’s book that they haven’t seen or heard. It is such an amazing read with subtle ways to cope with bullying and making your life work when it seems like nothing is going your way I would honestly have allowed my sons to read it. I would have bought it for them. If you are concerned – read it first or at the same time and discuss it.

And if you live in country that gives you the freedom of deciding what you want to read – I am happy for you. I take that freedom seriously so nothing makes me want to read a book more than placing it on a banned list. There are just so many I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to read them all, but am extremely happy that I read this one.

If you read it, or have read it – let me know your thoughts.

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