Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire: My Month of MadnessBrain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An inside look at surviving a rare illness that tried to take away almost all the author was as a person, and the family, friends, and doctors who fought for her to be accurately diagnosed and treated.

This was both scary and fascinating.

Pages: 250

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Scorched by J. Lynn

Scorched (Frigid, #2)Scorched by J. Lynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was generally good, though not especially memorable. One of the characters deals with some serious issues and not always in the best ways. Since about a year passed since I had read the first book, I couldn’t really remember these characters, which were previously side characters. However, it didn’t really matter, because this stands alone pretty well.

Pages: 238

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book definitely held my attention. It discusses the serial rapist turned murderer called the Golden State Killer, a term coined by the author of this book. Sometimes I struggled with the rough transitions, but those are allowable and understandable, considering the author died before she finished researching and writing this novel, which meant the job of pulling it together and publishing it fell to others.

Once you settled into a section, the writing evened out. It was just the switch between chapters that sometimes threw me for a loop, like I had to resettled back into the story, or like I was suddenly being presented with a new story. In some cases, I was, since different chapters discuss about different events and victims.

Some part of me both hates and loves reading about a true crime unsolved mystery. It’s frequently uncomfortable, but piecing together clues and considering new angles is always engaging.

The crimes themselves are graphic, but the presentation of the stories and evidence is never gratuitous or over-dramatized. It’s presented as simply and almost clinically as possible, so as not to become anymore upsetting than necessary, while still remaining true and accurate.

Pages: 328

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Diana Dances by Luciano Lozano

Diana DancesDiana Dances by Luciano Lozano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is so sweet, and I love the illustrations. Diana is drawn with so much character and personality that she stands out in every panel.

From a simple perspective, this picture book is a story about being yourself, learning your own strengths, and finding your place in the world.

From a teacher perspective, this story is about how unique children are, and how they relate to the world and learn in many different ways. Diana has kinesthetic intelligence (also called body intelligence). People with kinesthetic intelligence are skilled at using their body to convey feelings and ideas. All of the adults in Diana’s life thought something was wrong with her, due to her her lack of attention, struggles to learn, and constant case of wiggles. They didn’t even consider that her brain works differently, and that focusing on her strengths and interests would make her strong in other areas of her life.

This story highlights how letting people be themselves is so much better than trying to force them to fit society’s mold. On that level, this book has a lot to say, and it does it in a simple and charming way.

I’m also a fan of the diversity represented in the illustrations, especially in the different body styles. Healthy body image in picture books is a great place to start.

This picture book will be published on March 12, 2019. For libraries, this would be great for storytime sessions tied to music and movement, and you’ll get the bonus of positive body image and the introduction of different learning styles, which is good for both your early learners to see and their parents/caregivers.

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