Thursday, December 25, 2014

Title: Positive: Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope and Living to Change the World
Author: Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin
Genre: non-fiction, biography, memoir, inspirational

Paige Rawl, by all appearance was your typical, American middle school girl: she loved cheerleading, soccer, was a straight-A student and loved hanging out with her friends. Paige was also HIV-positive (from birth) and disclosed her secret to her best friend one night at a school lock-in. Before an hour had passed, all the kids at the lock-in knew Paige's secret and her relationship with her best friend was destroyed.
Bullying and teasing soon followed after this. When Paige went to the school counselor for help, she was told "to stop the drama." Because of this lack of understanding, Paige withdrew even more into herself and wouldn't tell her mother what was happening at school or about the nasty notes left anonymously at her locker. The stress eventually manifested itself through self harm and pseudo seizures, and out of desperation, Paige was homeschooled for a year. After a year had passed, Paige transferred to another high school that was more accepting and had a zero tolerance policy on bullying. Her middle school years still haunted her though and after another huge health scare, Paige used her anger, frustration and public speaking skills (from years of pageants) to bring awareness for HIV/AIDS.

A quick read (it took me two days); although this is catalogued in the adult biography section at my library, a middle schooler would be able to easily read this. There is no graphic content, although there a few swear words from when Paige recalls conversations with other kids. I look forward to watching Paige's successes in the future!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Title: Rain Reign
Author: Ann M. Martin
Genre: juvenile literature, special needs character, dogs

Since my last blog post (3 months ago!) I have been transferred to the Children's Department at the library where I work. A few weeks into my new position, this book by Ann M. Martin comes in. Yes, that Ann M. Martin of The Babysitters Club fame! I immediately snatched this book up because a) Ms. Martin was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid, b) the book cover is beautiful and c) this is considered research for work (reader's advisory).

The main character in this book is Rose who is high-functioning autistic and is obsesses with homonyms (hence the title) and prime numbers. Rose lives with her father, who is neither the best or the worst father in the world, but he does not act kindly towards Rose's disability. The book starts off with Rose's daily struggles in school to contain her outbursts and her awkwardness in social situations. Luckily, Rose has Rain, her dog, and her Uncle Weldon to help her through life and her father's moods. Unfortunately, Rain becomes lost during a hurricane and it's weeks before she is reunited with Rose. At the reunion, Rose learns that Rain had a family before her and Rose takes the hard, brave and unselfish journey to find Rain's original family...