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This is a book of contradictions. While the words are positive about differences in people, the illustrations all show thin White people. Belinda is the only fat person except for one man at the park in the start of the book. There is only one Black woman, also at the start, and she is also thin. Belinda's best friend is Daniel, who has two moms. After being insulted by the summer camp bus driver, Belinda goes to Daniel's house. One mom tells her a parable about flowers in the garden. At the end, Belinda feels better.
Stories to make you laugh and cry, they interweave themes of being Jewish, a lesbian, a feminist. The now-classic award-winning piece, "A Letter to Harvey Milk," begins the collection and draws you right in. Hilarious "Of Balloons and Bubbles" tells of a butch woman taking friend's 2½ year old out for an afternoon while trying to decide whether to have her own child or not. In "The Babka Sisters," an old Jewish woman giving an oral history, tells of her coming out. "Homo Alone," is a familiar piece about going to the parents' for Thanksgiving. There are stories about AIDS, coming out, aging, finding woman-love on a kibbutz, how alternative insemination alters a relationship, eroticism at all ages. This is truly a collection spanning the award-winning author's works. Highly recommended!
"A young boy's fascination with everything he sees around him causes him to be late and upsets his parents, until they come to realize his special gift. So many colors, such a sight, it made him shriek with pure delight. "What a fabulous pie, can I have a slice? What a fabulous game, can I roll the dice?"
Judi, a middle schooler, starts a 3 month diary as part of her English class requirements. She decides she is too fat and tries various ways of losing weight. She often writes about the skinniest girl in 8th grade, Nancy Pratt, whom she looks up to. Later, Nancy teaches her about bingeing and purging, which Judi soon follows. Judi loses control over her developing eating disorder, but just as Nancy is taken to a residential treatment facility for girls with eating disorders, Judi confesses all to a teacher, then her mother, and starts therapy. Written in a compelling diary format, this is an excellent book for young teens with some good lessons thrown in. Things Judi learns: she wasn't any happier at 120 pounds than at 127, her problems actually became worse, covering up her behaviors became increasingly harder for her and her guilt grew. Bookshare has a number of books about eating disorders.
Like many young girls, Felicia's favorite story is how she came to life. In her case, she is Guatemalan and adopted by a lesbian couple. Includes picture descriptions. Ages 4-8.
Ruthie loves to visit Nana. Nana buys Ruthie her favorite foods and takes Ruthie's favorite books out of the library. But Ruthie and Nana don't always like to play with the same things. Nana loves dolls and dress-up clothes. Ruthie loves fire engines that go whee-ooh! whee-ooh! and motorcycles that go vroom! vroom! Nana's neighbor, Brian, gets to play with fire engines and motorcycles. So why doesn't Ruthie? Lesléa Newman's insightful story and Cyd Moore's exuberant illustrations capture the loving relationship between Ruthie and Nana, and the reassuring theme that two people can love different things and still love each other.
Not only does Gloria march in the Gay Pride Parade, she plays a tambourine, too! She meets people along the way who wave and smile. Only a small group outside the park display the negative signs of homophobia.
Professor Ueno's loyal Akita, Hachiko, waits for him at the train station every afternoon, and even after the professor has a fatal heart attack while at work, Hachiko faithfully continues to await his return until the day the dog dies. Based on a true story.
Heather has two mommies. The lesbian couple decided they wanted a baby. Mama Kate is a doctor and Mama Jane is a carpenter. Jane became pregnant and Heather is born. When Heather is 3, she starts attending a play group. There, she learns that there are many family designs as each child draws her or his own family group.
Newman's stories look at various topics from a Jewish lesbian perspective: AIDS/the Names Project Quilt ("Something Shiny", aging grandparents ("Sunday Afternoon"), homophobioa ("A Letter to Harvey Milk"), assimilation vs. tradition (One Shabbos Evening"), incest ("The Best Revenge"), the Holocaust ("Flashback"), and others. A glossary of Yiddish terms is included.
From the book: Just as the leaves tumble down from the trees every fall, and the flowers blossom every spring, Eleanor's grandmother, Bubbe, makes chicken soup with matzo balls every Passover. This year is no exception. With Eleanor's help, Bubbe makes some of the lumpiest, bumpiest, yummiest-looking matzo balls Eleanor has ever seen. These matzo balls are so delicious that no one in Eleanor's family can resist sneaking a taste, each thinking one or two matzo balls will never be missed. But when it comes time to serve the soup at the Passover meal, there aren't enough matzo balls for everyone-until Eleanor find one last matzo ball in a very unexpected place! Warm, cheerful illustrations complement this gentle story of a family's celebration of the Passover holiday and their rediscovery of its true meaning. A special note detailing the food and traditions of Passover is included at the end of the book.
As the (unnamed) girl and her Bubbe grow older, Bubbe moves from her own apartment into the girl's family home, then later into a nursing home. A very sweet story about aging and love.
"In this rhyming tale in the style of "The Night Before Christmas," a family's preparations for Chanukah are disrupted by a wildly spinning dreidel." There was holiday hustling and bustling galore. Papa was shining the silver menorah, Mama was wrapping a gift for Aunt Dora." A delightful introduction to the customs of Hanukkah.
Newman's lesbian family story, "Heather Has Two Mommies" (1990), created a furor when it was included in the New York Public Schools' Rainbow Curriculum. Now Newman tells a story of how a child feels when his two mommies separate and break up the family. As in any divorce, Frankie feels upset and anxious when Patty, his "other mom," moves into her own apartment. The first time he visits her and they picnic in the park, he cries and talks about his fears. "I'm scared. I don't want to get divorced," he says. Patty hugs him and reassures him that she will always, always, always be his mom. "Only grown-ups get divorced. Not kids," she says. From now on, he will visit her every week--Saturday is Pattyday. The bibliotherapy is reassuring, especially since the words and Hegel's expressive watercolor pictures are frank about the painful separation as well as about the parents' enduring love for their child. --Hazel Rochman (Booklist) The grammar is a bit off in this one. Good concepts, but not up to Newman's usual standards.... Still valuable in the children's library. Includes picture descriptions. Other books by Leslia Newman are available from Bookshare. This file should make an excellent embossed braille copy.
Uncle Leonard takes Zoe to a planetarium and tells her that if he dies, he will be like the stars: too far away to touch, but close enough to see. He puts glow-in-the-dark stars on her ceiling. A very compassionate story/picture book for and about children who might lose someone close as a result of AIDS, or any terminal illness for that matter.
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