October Favorites

I’ve been reading like a maniac for Cybils judging (I think I’ve read around 70 and I’m not even halfway done!) but I’m going to wait and talk about them after judging is done.

These are my 5 favorite reads in October that aren’t up for Cybils judging.

Hector: A Boy, a Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid by Adrienne Wright

This one packs a punch. I wasn’t familiar with Hector or his story. The way that this story was told in three different first person segments made it all the more powerful. This was perfectly told for the older elementary or even early middle school set. So much to discuss. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t give more details, but if you are talking about apartheid, this story of 12 year old Hector is a must read.

I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu by Moahloli and McDonald

This is a fabulous book for little kids about the beauty to be found in each other. I adored it. We we read this and compared the idea to other religious ideas. And it came full circle when we read the Mandela book and it talked about ubuntu, which means “I am, because you are.”

A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation by McDivitt and Palmer

A great book that shows the amazing strength of this man as he brought about change for his people. We were lucky to have such a leader on the world stage. Intelligence, empathy, and courage are qualities too often lacking in leaders.

The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

It’s the second book of the Belles of London series but is a standalone. To be honest, I wish there had been a bit more interaction between the four friends that we met in The Siren of Sussex, but that just means it works better for new readers to the series.

Julia has crippling anxiety in social situations and that’s a big problem since her huge dowry puts her on everyone’s radar. Enter Captain Blunt who has come to London to fetch a rich wife to support his estate and three illegitimate children. A mutual attraction is there from the beginning, but it takes a life-threatening situation to move things forward.

This is one of those sweet romances that features two decent people who are each to cheer for. There are mysteries and problems to unravel, but the goodness of the characters make this a comforting read. And the mysteries aren’t so hard to figure out early on, but waiting for Julia to learn the truth made it worth reading.

I first knew I’d like Julia when she took a book to a party and actually found time to read it! She was a mouse who became a lioness thanks in part to the man who first showed her love. While she was a quiet character Captain Blunt was full of mystery and seemingly bad choices so the two matched quite nicely.

Highly recommend for romance fans, especially ones who love historicals. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.

Alias Anna: A True Story of Outwitting the Nazis by Susan Hood

This 339 page middle school book told in free verse is fantastic. I mostly listened to the audio and it was great.

Zhanna and Frina are piano prodigies and live in Ukraine with their parents. One day the Nazis come and march them toward the killing fields. Both girls manage to escape at separate times but eventually find each other again. They change their names and birthdays in the hopes of hiding, but Zhanna’s piano genius couldn’t be denied.

Read the book. Watch these two Jewish girls stand in front of the Nazis night after night and survive.

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