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Gold Medal #2: SET ME FREE, by Ann Clare LeZotte, a (first!) review by Liz, 17

  Hi, my name is Liz. I'm in high school in Florida. My family is Mexican Indigenous (Otomi). I'm Deaf, I have a cochlear implant, Sign and oral speech. I'm happy to be a new member of Indigo's Bookshelf but a little nervous to post my first review. (Thanks to Charlie, Ms. Deatrice and Ms. Linda for their advice, help and patience in getting me here. It took a lot of work!) Though this is a white MC historical written by a white author, this book weaves racism, anti-Indigenous prejudice, colorism along with the ableism and sexism the MC experiences firsthand. White authors writing historical fiction should use this as an example of how it can be done. I'll write about the book from a Deaf POV because we badly need Deaf and disabled intersection in our sovereign states, nations, tribes and bands.  When all my new friends told me I should read   Show Me a Sign   because it is a great Deaf book by a Deaf author, I picked it up at the library. Some of the history dragge
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Gold Medal Prime time: An Interview with Alia Jones, by Charlie, 18

 This person is so awesome, she was like: "Why do you want to interview me?"  Later asking (when I pestered), "You still trying to interview me?"  😂 As soon as I found out about Alia Jones, I knew I liked her and that she would accept me. She is a voice of justice and art and talent and care. We love kids books. We're concerned with Afro-Indigenous identity and history--and how our ancestors honor each other today.  I worked extra hard on my questions because I knew our conversation would resonate. I knew she would dare with me--if I dared with her. Grab a hold--here we goes! C: What's your provenance? You've mentioned your mom and dad a little online. I recently learned your name comes from Frank Herbert's St Alia of the Knife. Where did you come from and who do you belong to? A: My roots are in Alabama and Mississippi, but I was born and raised up north, in Cincinnati Ohio. My mom and dad were very special people. They’ve both passed on. I’m tryin

GOLD MEDAL #1: JOJO MAKOONS, The-Used-To-Be-Best-Friend, by Dawn Quigley, a review by Ashleigh, 15

I asked my friends if I could be the first one to do a blog after our long hiatus. Indigo's Bookshelf has changed. We have some new members--like Liz H., 16, who can talk to Florida, Deaf, Mexican Indigenous experience! Alexis has decided to take more of a backseat (because she became a lightning rod for criticism). But we still feel this is worth the mission we set out to do! To honor the strength and memory of our friend Indigo and talk about Indigenous books for kids and teens.  My life has changed too. Last year, my younger sister Violet, or Vi which she preferred, died of Covid-19. She was "almost six." It's been hard for me to read kidlit because of her. It was Dawn Quigley's early chapter book JoJo Makoons that brought me back and I know this is a book that kids like Vi will love to read and feel proud to be Indigenous. Dawn Quigley is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, North Dakota. The illustrator Tara Audibert is of Wolastoqey/French her

Afro-Native/Ancestral Memory: An Interview with Mama Penny Gamble-Williams, by Charlie, 17

We're all doing at-home school or college and not reading a lot for pleasure. Some of us are experiencing major stress and flare ups of existing conditions. Our parents are furloughed or in essential jobs. We have a half dozen unfinished kidlit & YA Lit reviews and essays, which we promise we'll get to. In the meantime, we are excited to present interviews by some of our mentors and influencers. It's been the most meaningful event of my time with Indigo’s Bookshelf to interview Mama Penny, as she invited me to call her. This is a simple version of her biography: Penny Gamble-Williams of Wampanoag and African heritage is an artist and spiritual leader involved in Native land, freedom of religion and sacred site issues, Indigenous and environmental rights. She was incredibly generous with her knowledge and experience, knowing that we would share it with all readers. She was warm and supportive at every turn. I am still drinking her words. C:  We found o

Mentors & Influencers # 1-- An Interview with Betsy Bird, by Alexis, 20

We are all doing at-home school or college and not reading a lot for pleasure. Some of us are experiencing major stress and flare ups of existing conditions. Our parents are out of work or in essential jobs. We have a half dozen unfinished kidlit & YA Lit reviews and essays, which we promise we'll get to. In the meantime, we are excited to present interviews by a handful of our mentors and influencers. The first person we talked to is Betsy Bird. You know Bets. She of the literary children's blog, A Fuse #8 Production.   Author and editor of fabulous fiction and nonfiction titles, including FUNNY GIRL, THE GREAT SANTA STAKEOUT, WILD THINGS! ACTS OF MISCHIEF IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, and her upcoming MG debut, LONG ROAD TO THE CIRCUS. I've got to take an online anatomy quiz now! She can tell you the rest.                                                            Betsy at 13--who you are A: Were you a big reader as a child? What were some of the books you

Bric-a-brac--a collection of reflections

Alexis, 20: I used to go yardsaling with my Grandpa Joe. When people asked what he was looking for, he'd always say, "Oh, just some bric-a-brac." We're at home, doing school/college online, playing video games, driving around town in masks and gloves to pick up stuff the growns. But we're still talking about kidlit & Ya Lit. This is our bric-a-brac! Alexis, 20: I can't afford to buy A GIRL CALLED ECHO, VOLUME 3: NORTHWEST RESISTANCE. The first two volumes, written by Katherena Vermette , illustrated by Scott B. Henderson & color by Donovan Yaciuk, may be my fav books in the Indigenous New Wave. Echo is edgy and her day to day life and historical dream travelling are highly compelling. I looked at the Library website for YA graphic novels with female/femme protagonists. I found the excellent ALMOST AMERICAN GIRL: AN ILLUSTRATED MEMOIR by Robin Ha. I picked it randomly and liked the preview, but it seems right to be reading and celebrating a Asian