NetGalley Reads: A People’s History of Heaven

NetGalley Reads: A People’s History of Heaven

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Hello and happy Wednesday. November and December of 2019 were good months for me blog-wise because I got four different requests to read and review books, which happens but not that often and not all at the same time. I was invited to be a part of a blog tour for A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian and of course I said yes because I’m always open to reading new books and sharing my thoughts about them with you, especially if they represent identities that are often invisibilized. Let me tell you, if you want diversity, read this book. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the authors for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour.

I read this book between December 30th, 2019 and January 1st, 2020 and gave it five stars. I actually interrupted my reading of other books to devour this one because I was captivated from the very first page. The very first page is a list of the characters with a brief description of them, and I love it when I get that because I feel that I can get to know the characters even before the beginning of the story. Right from that very first page, I felt similarly about this book as I felt towards The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock; I felt cozy, I felt like I was part of the characters’ lives and I felt like they would be a part of mine from then on.

From the initial description of the characters, we know that one of them is visually impaired (I’m not sure if this is the correct term to use, but it’s the one used in the book), one is queer, and one is a transwoman. The story is set in India and the story is own voices, so there is also representation for POC. Honestly, reading this book is almost like a must because at least in my case, it drove me away from the same bland setting and the same bland characters and the same bland authors.

Heaven, where the main characters (who are all female) live, is a slum in India that is being demolished by the government and turned into white-washed buildings like huge malls. I read about colonialism in India when I was in high school, of course, but I’d never read a novel that narrated what actual people went through, and it was eye-opening.

Every chapter or set of chapters focuses on one of the characters and alternates between the past and the present. In this way, it’s more like a collection of short stories that are tied up by the events of the present, the seemingly imminent destruction of the slum and the efforts of the women to stop it.

What books that discuss cultures other than the American or the Western one do you recommend? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Dinosaur Hunter

NetGalley Reads: The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Dinosaur Hunter

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Hello and happy Friday. What a mouthful of a title, right? It seems like I’m suddenly obsessed with dinosaurs, but really it’s all part of this month’s theme, have you guessed it? Today I want to share a review of a middle-grade book I found super interesting and easy to read, so much so that I read it all in one day -in one sitting, actually. I’m talking about The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Dinosaur Hunter by Tim Collins. This book was sent to me via NetGalley for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank them, the author and the publisher for the opportunity.

I read this book on December 22nd and gave it for stars. One thing I love about this book is that it is illustrated. To me, illustrations add a lot to the reading experience. As a teacher, for example, I could have my kids read this book and I could use the illustrations to deepen the conversation, to ensure understanding if something in the text was not clear, or simply to provide a visual reference to the story.

The book is written in diary format written by Ann, our main character. Ann is based on Mary Anning, a real “dinosaur hunter.” I love that we have a female main character who is based on an actual historical figure because that challenges many stereotypes that live to this day about boys or men being the only ones interested in or capable of working as paleontologists.

The story starts with Ann digging what she calls “lizard fish” bones where she lives. Her dad sells these bones for almost nothing until someone comes and becomes interested in Ann’s findings. This leads to Ann traveling to London with her dad to talk about the bones she’d been digging to a group of paleontologists and then travel to the New World to continue her expedition and research.

Occasionally, we get these sections titled “Get Real,” which provide factual information to support the fiction we just read about. For example, we get clarification about the type of dinosaur Ann found, or we also get historical facts about the different places she and her dad visit. Like I said, this book has great educational value and I really enjoyed reading it.

What topic would you have liked to learn more about as a kid? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila