‘Out Of Chaos’ is a compelling autobiographical read, written with honesty in a matter-of-fact style that makes reading this somewhat discomfiting story still a quite comfortable experience.
The title of this book is no lie: it is a story of family dysfunction, homelessness, crime and abuse experienced by a young woman who had the strength to then reclaim and rebuild her life. It is a cautionary tale about how easy it can be to fall so far that it’s hard to get back up, but it is also a story that would give hope to anyone in similar situations.
Mott neither glorifies the less-than-stellar choices and actions of her misguided youth nor begs for the reader’s pity as she tells her story, but does evoke a great deal of understanding and empathy in the reader as her life is pulled into a downward vortex from which she cannot escape. The moments of resolve and the decisive actions that Elle takes as a result position the reader to share her hope of a better life and to almost will her to make it work, despite the fact that they are reading the story in past tense.
Despite the bleakness of its beginning and the despair encountered as the story continues, the overall tone and the message of this book are positive and life-affirming.
‘Out Of Chaos’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
It takes a particular kind of person to embrace the challenges of living in the more isolated parts of coastal Alaska, and to not only survive but thrive on the landscape and lifestyle that it presents.
George Davis has certainly proven himself to be up to the challenge throughout the years. His experiences are varied and interesting, and his story is told in a conversational way that is enjoyable and easy to read.
‘Alaska Man’ has been awarded a Bronze Acorn.
Find your copy here.
An interesting cross-cultural read.
This is a story of cultures confronting one another and the tension between tradition and innovation that follows. When a young woman travels to work in a traditional community that has just begun to embrace tourism, she discovers the different interests and motivations that cause ripples and turbulent undercurrents in Lugu Lake.
Written from the perspective of a Chinese woman who studied these communities, the reader can sense the authenticity of the both the narrative, which offers a profound exploration of the experiences of the people and the problems caused by significant differences in thinking. This is a fascinating study of the development of a traditional Chinese town and its people, something that most western readers certainly have very little idea about, yet at the same time, it reminds the reader that human nature doesn’t actually change much wherever you go. It’s also a timely reminder of what happens when economic concerns take precedence over environmental and social considerations, and the impact that has on both place and people.
It’s an intriguing and thought-provoking story, which I very much enjoyed. I’ve awarded it a Silver Acorn.
Find your copy here.
A beautiful story of a little cat and how she saved a soldier.
This beautiful story of a calico kitten and her role in the Gulf War is beautifully written in a straightforward yet heartwarming style that will be enjoyed by older children, but also by adults. The writing is expressive but still easily understood, and the uglier elements of the war are treated gently, although not ignored, so that younger or sensitive readers are not frightened or put off from reading the story.
The cover and illustrations by Milena Radeva are absolutely stunning, capturing both the story and the personality of the kitten as she grew and won her place in the heart of a soldier.
‘The Scheherazade Cat’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn
for excellence in both storytelling and illustration.
Find ‘The Scheherazade Cat’ here.
Fantastic WWII history in a personal story.
Ron Miner’s collection of stories and art by his father, combined with the story of his own experiences of gathering those accounts together, provides a rare opportunity for detailed insight into the experiences of an American serviceman during World War II. The stories are told in a conversational and personal way, so that the reader begins to feel connected to both narrators as their stories develop.
The artwork by Miner’s father is incredible, presenting an extraordinary level of detail. The book also offers a range of photographs of planes, servicemen, news clippings and personal letters pertaining to America’s involvement in the war. The images alone are worth the price of the book.
As a history teacher, I really appreciated the straightforward manner in which these stories are told, and the level of detail given about events which are generally only relayed factually in textbooks. I plan to share some of these stories and pictures from the book with my own students when we study WWII.
This is a fantastic book for anyone who enjoys reading biography, adventure and war stories and for history enthusiasts.
Book Squirrel has awarded ‘Sketches of a Black Cat’ a Gold Acorn for overall excellence.
Readers can buy a copy at Amazon.
One could learn quite a lot about how to love deeply and sensuously from reading ‘Lethal as Love’, but there is also a more sombre lesson to be heeded: nothing lasts forever.
Patrick Williams’ poems are beautiful in the simplicity and honesty of the feelings they convey, even though the feelings they communicate are at times complex and conflicted, especially as the relationship develops. There is no pretence or affectation in Williams’ writing, nor is there any strict observance of rhythm, rhyme or other particular poetic techniques. Instead, he uses language and form to evoke a strong sense of love and longing that is almost tangible as he leads the reader on a journey through the highs and lows of the love he so powerfully communicates in these poems.
Some of this poetry is quite erotic, so it’s definitely only for an adult audience, but there’s nothing gratuitous or tawdry or cheap about it. One could learn quite a lot about how to love deeply and sensuously from reading ‘Lethal as Love’, but there is also a more sombre lesson to be heeded: nothing lasts forever. It is clear from ‘Lethal as Love’, though, that the pleasure and passion were definitely worth the pain.
Book Squirrel has awarded ‘Lethal as Love’ a Golden Acorn.
Find it on Amazon.