<![CDATA[Red Hen Bookshop - Talk & Peck]]>Thu, 07 Jun 2018 06:09:30 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Listening is an Act of Love- Guest Review by B. W. Harold]]>Tue, 10 Apr 2018 23:00:00 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/listening-is-an-act-of-love-guest-review-by-b-w-harold “StoryCorps is built on a few basic ideas: that our stories—the stories of everyday people—are as interesting and important as the celebrity stories we're bombarded with by the media every minute of the day. That if we take time to listen, we'll find wisdom, wonder, and poetry in the lives and stories of the people all around us. That we all want to know our lives have mattered and we won't ever be forgotten.” -Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps
 Listening is an Act of Love is an inspirational read. The compilation includes stories from grandparents, friends, and of course...survivors. The project consists of “booths” being set up in major U.S. cities. The most common being New York. The booths are recording studios that allow random people to make an appointment and interview each other. The interviews are recorded and burned to discs. One disc goes home with the participants, one goes into a library meant to preserve oral history.
Written in a dramatic form, Listening is an Act of Love is easy to follow.  The book is divided into five sections: Home and Family, Work & Dedication, Journeys, History & Struggle, and Fire & Water.
Home & Family
Memories from every end of the spectrum, the sad and the uplifting declarations of love and of appreciation. The most heart warming narrations of this section are the story of elderly matriarchs. Grandfathers told grandchildren how they met their grandmothers. Grandchildren thanked their grandparents for taking them in after traumatic circumstances. Family is such a broad word. Family is a bond, not blood, a symbol of acceptance.
Work & Dedication
The most important lesson a parent can teach their children is the value of work. Ronald Ruiz, a New York bus driver, brings the reader to tears with his story of  an elegant, but confused woman searching for her friends and their luncheon date. Friends are told about going to work with their parents, and the realization of how much their parents did for them. And finally chaplain Janet Luntz discusses the unsung heroes of a hospital. This section offers a glimpse of the American work ethic.
This section focuses on the things that make us who we are. Two inmates from the Oregon Penitentiary compared missteps that lead to prison. Their story ends with a chilling post script. The eeriness of a child predicting their own death, and the ugliness of cancer are showcased in this section.
History & Struggle
Events that shaped our culture and our history. The Vietnam War, The Holocaust, The AIDS epidemic, and the Civil Rights movement. All events that grabbed hold of people and shook them violently. Taylor and Bessie Rogers of Memphis, Tennessee recall attending Martin Luther King's “I have a Dream” speech the day before he was killed. Mary Caplan tells her friend how she cared for her AIDS stricken brother at a time when the disease was considered a plague. And Manny Diaz Jr. described life in East Harlem during the Great Depression. A reminder that History is made by people, not the circumstances.
Fire & Water
Any book that claims to be about the human struggle has to feature stories of survival. 9/11 and Katrina take center stage in this section. Joseph Dittmar described his day in the World Trade Center on the infamous date. He holds nothing back with the gore and the hysteria. As witness to the second American disaster, Rufus Burkhalter and Bobby Brown explain their role in a New Orleans pumping station during Hurricane Katrina. With so much focus on the devastation of the events, it's easy to forget that real people were involved. Story Corps helps keep that in perspective.
Dave Isay himself breaks in from time to time and shares the impact the project has had on families and others who have sat at the mike and shared their memories with a loved one, or a project facilitator. Questions asked include: What is the happiest moment of your life? The saddest? Who is the most important person in your life? Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you? Etc.
America is a patchwork, held together by ideals and action. StoryCorps is an organization interested in showcasing the people who make up this patchwork. Listening is an Act of Love is StoryCorps' contribution to the process of putting a human face on issues that affect our society.  Sentimental? Yes, but very much needed in this disconnected culture. Recommended.]]>
<![CDATA[The Night Circus- Guest Review by B. W. Harold]]>Tue, 03 Apr 2018 23:00:00 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/the-night-circus-guest-review-by-b-w-haroldIn her debut novel, Erin Morgenstern creates a story about two children who never had a choice in their own destinies. Along the way, she builds a dark and mysterious world that swallows her readers whole. Despite the dark setting The Night Circus has an ethereal beauty; the perfect setting for the conflict of Ms. Morgenstern's story.
Once upon a time, two rival mystics waged a secret contest between each other. Each mentor chose their own student to represent them and their method of the craft. Hector chooses his own daughter Celia. While Alexander chooses an orphan who prefers the name Marco. After years of training and lessons, the two students meet in the whimsical Night Circus.
Celia and Marco begin their competition with a driving need to just get the game done. But as they grow closer, it becomes apparent that they are deeply connected in love and respect. There is a problem in this though, since the competition can only have one outcome... death. With this realization, the couple has to find a way to end the game without losing all they have come to live for.
Along with her love struck magicians, Ms. Morgenstern creates a family within the circus that the reader can truly feel connected too. Readers also meet Tsukiko, the Burgess sisters, the Murray twins, and many many others who fascinate and draw them into this world of light and dark.
If not enticed by the forbidden love aspect of the story, the reader is given a vivid tour of the legendary circus. As the love develops, so too does the circus as it becomes a loving collaboration between the two opponents. In short, the circus becomes its own character. Enigmatic attractions suck the reader deeper into the world of the circus. Though lightly powdered with a spiritualism/fun- house quality, the images Ms. Morgenstern builds are so well crafted the reader has to read the descriptions over and over again to get the full effect.
Between changing perspective over the course of the novel, the reader is introduced to both “opponents” equally. This intelligently written story gives the reader characters they can care about. The occult themes are light. These characters do what is expected of them, not because they want to have power or achieve some dark agenda. These are two kids just trying to please their mentors. Those mentors just happen to be playing with shades of gray. In the process, Ms. Morgenstern creates an intricate puzzle the reader slowly unravels as the novel marches forward.
Fans of epic love stories will enjoy this novel just as much as fans of the high fantasy genre. Whether drawn in by the competition or the mystery of the setting, a well written, and well developed concept makes this story a page turner. Recommended.

<![CDATA[A Short History of the American Stomach- Guest Review by B. W. Harold]]>Sun, 01 Apr 2018 00:36:23 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/a-short-history-of-the-american-stomach-guest-review-by-b-w-haroldClearly, I need more time in my day/weeks/months, or less crazy. Without further ado (and with massive apologies), the first in a series of guest reviews by B. W. Harold, who has so graciously allowed me to share these while I try to track down where my mind went and get it back on track.
~The Red Hen

Frederick Kaufman's "A Short History of the American Stomach" is a humorous and insightful study of the evolution of America's eating habits. Where most writers would have focused on regional delicacies, the rise of fast food, or the generational shift of supper spreads. Mr. Kaufman chooses to tell his reader about diet gurus of the New World. Including the Beecher sisters (Harriett was most famous for her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin") Cotton Mather, and Sylvester Graham.
These great thinkers were opposed to store bought bread, marketplace milk, and anything none kosher. Old Testament thinking was the rule of thumb in their day. Fasting was a popular way to punish oneself for perceived sins. Feasting was a common form of celebration.
Mr. Kaufman's telling is witty and laugh out loud. From the "vomiting trend" of the Puritans to the carnivorous followers of Dr. Atkins, Mr. Kaufman entertains as well as educates his readers in little known eating habits. Kaufman pulls quotes from these "eccentric" to say the least nutritionists. Some of which asserted the religious fervor that laid the foundation of this country.
"A Short History of the American Stomach" paints a nation of adventurous eaters. In between jokes about these dated ideas and detailed facts that explain why as a nation America goes back for seconds.
Another famous writer is linked to this elite "subculture" of dietary zealots. Louisa May Alcott, William Alcott's first cousin once removed was a reluctant participate in a diet that excluded almost everything, but fresh fruit. Thoreau, Twain, Emerson, and Walt Whitman all found a form of the diet of  featured nutritionist that satisfied them. Special diets seem to attract the artist types.
Drawing on American folklore Kaufman embraces the giganticness of the American appetite. He introduces us to the world of competitive eating and the greatest All American eater Eric "Badlands" Booker. Also "Son of Otto Jack, son of Hudson Daniel, son of James Andrew Jackson, son of Robert Nelson, son of James Andrew, son of Jeremiah, son of Thomas, son of Jonathan,...son of Daniel Boone," the colorful Dale Boone, a very active competitive eater. The ninth generation of Daniel Boone's lineage.
Kaufman covers the beginnings of America with the Puritans, Ben Franklin, Ellen Harmon White (the teacher of William Kellogg), and the latest advancements to modern food production. He uses excepts of their books but balances it out with humor so to remind the reader, Kaufman isn't really interested in a Yale lecture. He keeps his reader in their seat as he navigates the workings of the digestion process. Making for a fun read.
It's a fresh take on a unusual subject. The biggest hook being the first chapter. Comparing the Food Network to the porn industry is strategically placed to both shock and humor the reader.
"American Stomach" is not a textbook, but it's not a farce either. It blends fact and humor just enough that the book has knowledge value, as well as entertainment value. Kaufman presents a rather dull subject in a light and colorful way. For anyone who wants to collect off beat nonfiction books, recommended.

<![CDATA[Celebrating Two Years]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2018 19:16:19 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/celebrating-two-yearsRed Hen Hide & Seek 2018 is all wrapped up. There were 12 Red Hen Stuffies hidden this year. It was fun to hide them again this year, and it looks like close to all of them were found within a few days of them being hidden. 

It has been a great, though slow two years. I am starting to see a teeny pick up in sales, which is good. In terms of future plans, I am looking at it being several more years before I can consider the approach to a brick and mortar storefront again. I am not yet close enough to a consistent profit to present as proof of success to a lender, though I am inching closer. Goal wise, I will need to increase my sales by at least five times what I am selling per month now, consistently. 

I will be releasing a new survey soon to see where the community stands in relation to the Bookshop, and where the needs and gaps are, and what is working, and what is not.

​I am so grateful for all the support I have received over the past two years, and I look forward to many more years in the community!
<![CDATA[Assorted Reviews]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2018 19:01:04 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/assorted-reviewsThese are the reviews that I had intended to post through December and January. Family Mayhem and illness changed my plans somewhat. So here they are, in greatly abbreviated form. I'll be sharing some guest reviews over the rest of the month from B. W. Harold. While I catch up on other nuts and bolts work as well as get ready for Indie Bookstore Day in April.
Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead
This novel: Continues the tale started in Glittering Court, and Mira is the protagonist. It tells the same story from a different perspective- Mira's. She wants to find her brother and buy his freedom, and plans to marry as rich as she can to make it happen.
We see her part in the overall story arc, as well as her own development. I like: the viewpoint of a refugee, someone from a segregated group navigating a society she doesn't agree with or fit into.
Venturess by Betsy Cornwell
It is the second  installment in Cornwell’s Steampunk Cinderella retelling. Nicolette has her shop and her machines and is free from the Steps. War is a looming possibility with Faerie once again, and Mr. Candery sends a letter to Nicolette asking her to bring the prince to negotiate possible peace. On the journey: Nick, Fin, and Caro survive an attempt on their lives, and surprises abound, from flying steeds and merpeople to shocking family secrets. I like: the non binary relationship, the detailed fantasy world, and the continuing storyline of Nicolette finding her strong path.Working With Grandpa by Karl Hamann
This memoir details the time the author spent with last Lakota medicine man and after. It is a slow read, well written, with a real, authentic voice. Hamann tells humorous stories as well as serious stories in this look back at an impactful time in his life.
Kids These Days by Malcolm Harris
This is an analysis of the political, economic, and social factors that affected the development of the Millenial generation, with an alternately serious and bitterly humorous approach to the data. Kids These Days  draws a clear picture of what has created the difference between this and previous generations with a somewhat depressing retrospective look (the treatment of the generation as “tools” by the market according to the author, the idea that the moves that created a generation as conflicted as the Millenial generation were made without consideration of the future impact). Harris provides an overall perspective of the past, the projected future, and the possible solutions to change the path in a sarcastic and biting tone that encapsulates the bitterness that many young people wrestle with. It is one of the more engaging economic commentaries I have ever read.]]>
<![CDATA[The Fallen Star by Robert Hewitt Wolfe]]>Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:46:27 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/the-fallen-star-by-robert-hewitt-wolfeThis is the sequel to The Goblin Crown, in which Billy, the unlikely human kid turns out to be the Goblin King. The Fallen Star follows Billy and his friends as they try to save goblin kind from the human Army of Light.

The sequel exceeds any expectations fans of The Goblin Crown might have. The world building continues, expanding into the area around Mother Mountain and even as far as the human lands through flashbacks of human characters. The character development continues to be complex, with Billy learning the burdens and choices of leadership, Lexi learning the weight of her powers and the responsibilities of those powers, and Kurt trying to find his place in a world where the star quarterback doesn’t fit. Even as the main characters develop, the side characters get their own development, so readers get a well rounded experience.

This is a throughly enjoyable book, with so many relatable moments for middle grade readers starting to wonder where their place in the world is, and starting to realize the weight of consequences. I highly recommend this book for fantasy lovers, and if you enjoyed The Goblin Crown, you’ll love this one just as much. This book will be available June 12, 2018.]]>
<![CDATA[Multicultural Children's Book Day- X3!]]>Sat, 27 Jan 2018 03:52:38 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/multicultural-childrens-book-day-x3​To Start:

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 
Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. 2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors
HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild
PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs
GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies
SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press
BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press
2018 Author Sponsors
Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina
Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.
Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

On to the reviews! I have three books I received to review (each one delightfully different, too): No Kimchi For Me! by Aram Kim, published by Holiday House, Before She Was Harriet by Lisa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome, published by Holiday House, and Princess Sophie and the Six Swans: A Tale From the Brothers Grimm retold and illustrated by Kim Jacobs, published by Wisdom Tales.

PictureNo Kimchi For Me! by Aram Kim, Published by Holiday House
Yoomi doesn't like kimchi (too spicy!), but her brothers won't let her play with them because they say only babies won't eat kimchi, and they don't play baby games. Luckily, Grandma has an idea.

This is a great relatable story about not liking something- regardless of our culture or heritage, we all have a food we didn't like at all, like Yoomi. The simple and charming illustration style, with the bright colors and expressive faces, and the dialog, make this an appealing book for the pre-k through first grade groups. There is a lot of room for discussion about the different characters and the way they act, and interact, as well as the differences and similarities between reader and character. I like the addition of different foods inside the covers, and the recipe for kimchi pancakes at the end (now my little one wants to try kimchi pancakes!) A recommended read for up to first grade with budding independent readers.​

PictureBefore She Was Harriet by Lisa Cline-Ransome, illus. by James E. Ransome, Published by Holiday House
This is a wonderful poem walking back through Harriet Tubman's life, from old age to youth. The illustrations are beautiful watercolors, each showing her at a different stage in life. 

This is a moving and evocative poem, great for introducing readers to poetry and the human side of the Civil War. All ages will enjoy this poetic tale about Harriet Tubman, Suffragist, General, Spy, Nurse, Moses, and more.

PicturePrincess Sophie and the Six Swans: A Tale From the Brothers Grimm, Retold and Illus. by Kim Jacobs, Published by Wisdom Tales
Princess Sophie is a retelling of The Six Swans read from the Princess' point of view. The illustrations are great, and call to mind Jan Brett's style of illustration as well as some Northern/Western European art styles.  

The tale is slightly simplified with the shift to first person point of view, making it ideal for kids who may not have the attention span for the full original tale, or who may relate better with a first person pot instead of the original third person narrative. Jacobs briefly touches on Sophie's feelings about her father re-marrying, creating an opportunity for discussion about different family structures and how it feels for those to change.  Overall this is a solid kids' book, and one that I would recommend for kids who are starting with early chapter books due to the length and complexity of the story.

Reading these three books was a lot of fun, and they are each great books in their own right. I definitely recommend checking out each of these books, as well as other diverse books, for your kids- it is good for kids (and adults) to read books with characters who look and act like them, and also that look and act differently. Diversity in literature breeds empathy and understanding in real life. #ReadYourWorld #MCBD2018 
<![CDATA[Misc Mash]]>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:13:32 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/misc-mashSo we lost net neutrality today. That could change a lot. The tiny shreds of optimism I have left say maybe it won't change anything, or changes will be benign. The rest of my (pretty cynical) thoughts are wondering exactly how this will change how I do things as an online business, being relieved I wasn't able to get to next year's planning yet, because this may change it massively, and wishing I had a storefront so I have two lines of distribution.

This comes at a time when I am dealing with a lot more than I share (personal health issues and the like) so I may be radio silent from time to time as we small online retailers see how things are affected by this enormous policy change. I am working on getting several book reviews completed, as well as organizing my process for the handmade journal I was testing using old hardcover books. A newsletter probably won't make it until close to New Year's, and for that I apologize. More and more there is more to do than there is of me to go around, and my family and paying job will have to take precedence at this time of year. 

I am still planning to make it to a storefront, but with everything that has been going on, it may take longer than I or anyone else wants- I appreciate everyone's support, and ask that you continue to support the Red Hen Bookshop by shopping, and sharing. 

Thank you, and Happy Holidays!
<![CDATA[The Feed by Nick Clark Windo]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 18:21:59 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/the-feed-by-nick-clark-windoI received an ARC of The Feed by Nick Clark Windo from William Morrow Books for the purpose of reviewing.

The Feed is an advancement of social media and the Internet, transmitted directly to people's minds. It is accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Everything can be shared. Tom and Kate use the Feed, but Tom resists the addiction to constant connection created by his father's invention. One day, the Feed collapses, leaving society in shock and shattering the world as they know it. Six years later, Tom and Kate, along with a handful of other survivors are working to rebuild their lives for their children. Then their only child, six year old Bea, disappears. What follows is a desperate search for a child in a world without technology, and where you can't always trust those around you.

This is a great dystopian thriller. The characters, the environment, are all well written and detailed. That it is set in a future time where humanity has followed technological consumption and connection to an extreme makes me want to live off grid for a few weeks- just in case lol. But seriously, this is an excellent example of dystopian writing taking one of humanity's greatest achievements and greatest fears and following them to a terrifying (yet hopeful) end. There are some great twists and turns in the book (I thought I had it figured out at one point, then found out I was wrong in the next chapter) and the pacing and tension work well together to keep you from putting it down.

This book also hit me as a parent. The crushing fear of losing a child and the willingness to do anything, go anywhere to find them and save them, to make a better and safer life for them. The characters change as people through the course of the book, and take steps forward and back as they try to find their child and lose, then regain, their trust in each other and themselves.

The Feed will be on sale March 2018, so you've got a bit of a wait. Trust me, it is worth it. ]]>
<![CDATA[The Thunderbolt Affair by Geoffrey Mandragora]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:17:51 GMThttp://redhenbookshop.com/talk--peck/the-thunderbolt-affair-by-geoffrey-mandragoraI discovered this Steampunk gem at (where else?) the Big River Steampunk Festival, where I trawl for new authors and catch up with the ones I know every year. 

Set in 1887, the Empire is on the verge of war with the Kaiser Reich. Ian Rollins, a Commander in the Royal Navy, has a career that is about to fall apart after a disaster on the ship he served burned the ship and earned him the enmity of many of the officers. Instead, in a surprising twist of fate, Commander Ian finds himself working on a submersible stolen from Irish militants in the US with the help of the Pinkertons. Alongside Nicola Tesla and his cousin Danjella, Commander Ian and his new crew work to engineer a larger submersible while trying to find a saboteur that was responsible for the accident on his last ship as well as a number of "accidents" and attempts on Ian's life as he learns the ins and outs of submersible command.

I found this to be a great example of Steampunk genre fiction. I enjoyed the characters, and Ian's development from a drunk with some very staid views of a woman's place to a less uptight person by the end of this first book. The writing imparts a good sense of Victorian atmosphere, the world building and description are good, and the ending is such that you really do want to get that next book. I recommend it for Steampunk fans, of course, and especially for fans of Kady Cross and her Steampunk Chronicles.