Shouldn’t We Stop Being Rude?

Up until recently, I have always been proud of my country despite its flaws. And, in my heart of hearts, I am naïve enough to hope we can indeed live up to the hopes of our founders. The French part of my father’s side of the family, the Maurys and the La Fontaines, left southeastern France because they didn’t believe King Charles’ version of God. They were part of the Huguenot migration. They had their good points, though I must own up to their racist slave-owning past in Virginia. But my 5th-generation grandfather was the childhood teacher of Jefferson and Madison and one of my 5th-generation uncles was Mathew Fontaine Maury, otherwise known as the Pathfinder of the Seas. Some parts of the Bunker family, my mother’s paternal family, I believe left Germany because of religious persecution since they were followers of Martin Luther’s new church.

My point is though some of them were racist, they still did good things. Many generations later, both families tried to adhere to the ideals of being good people and believed in making a better life for us all. I grieve that my father and grandfather died in WWII to maintain and further a better, more equal life for all peoples; Black, White, Brown, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or whatever. And who cares if a person loves and wants to make a life with someone of the same sex? What does it matter as long as those involved are caring individuals? But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe my father and grandfather died in vain?

It would be easy for me to climb up on my soapbox and rant and rave, but that’s not the point here. The point is for us all to be tolerant, me included.

Anyway the two books I’m reviewing here deal with these issues. Hope you find them interesting.

How will Mark cope with his father’s dislike for Mark’s new identity?

The first book deals with bullying and sexual discrimination, plus where schools do indeed mete out punishment fairly.

The (Un)popular Vote

Jasper Sanchez

Mark Adams didn’t start out life as a boy. Instead, he was born a girl and christened in the Catholic Church as Madison Teagan, daughter of Graham Teagan who is the U.S. Congressman from California’s second district. Dad shows his true colors when Mark reveals who he really is. The congressman insists that his daughter hide her new identity from the voting public. So Mark and his mother move to a different part of California, but she still appears at campaigning events or other political shows. Mark registers as Mark Adams, using his mother’s maiden name, and becomes friends with other superbright LBGTQ kids in school where he witnesses the bullying of a friend who asks for privacy about the incident. The friend is suspended for punching the star athlete who bullied him. Mark decides to take a stand and run for School President, which does not sit well with his father. As the story unfolds, Mark shows tremendous self-awareness growth and ends up coming out to the world, which, of course, tanks his dad’s chances of being the next governor of California. The book is well written and addresses many of the issues now plaguing modern-age children. All of the more important characters in the book show multiple sides to themselves, which is always a good thing. Teachers will find many areas in it as teaching points.

BIBLIO: 2021, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 12 to 18, $18.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Young Adult Fiction

ISBN: 978-0-06-3022576-9

How will Zara deal with having to leave the only home she’s known?

The second book deals with racial/religious intolerance and secondarily with sexual preference and the tendency for schools to let athletes get away with more bad things.

Zara Hossain Is Here

Sabina Khan

Social and cultural equality have always been the myth of the United States of America, but have they ever really been the truth of this country? Zara Hossain has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas fourteen of her seventeen years. When she was three her parents left their Pakistani homeland to give their daughter what they thought would be a better life. Well, in part this is true, but all of them have felt the scorn of whiter skinned people. Zara is bright and a hard worker whose parents accept that she’s bisexual and that she tries to conform to the so-called American way. She does have friends in school who try to protect her, but they can’t always be there. One football star in particular seems out to get her and ends up causing her and her family to leave the country for good. There are so many compelling teaching points and discussion issues in this book, teachers could probably spend at least a month addressing them.

BIBLIO: 2021, Scholastic Press/Scholastic Inc., Ages 13-18, $18.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Young Adult Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-338-58087-7

Even if you don’t agree with what I say, I’d still love to hear from you, but please be polite. Thanks for reading my post and have a good weekend. Sarah

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