Book Reviews – The Good Neighbor and The Poet X
April was a much slower book month for me. Between our anniversary and all the Easter festivities, I just didn’t have a lot of reading time. But I did manage to finish 2 books – one for my book club and one that my husband got me for our anniversary. Read on to see my book reviews for April!
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Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.
With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.
Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.
I read The Poet X for my book club, and I don’t know that I would have picked it up otherwise. But I’m so glad I did, because this book is eye opening as far as teenage lives go and teenagers living with parents from another country. It was so interesting to read how differing customs and ideals transfer into American life and how a teenager struggles to find their place in their life.
I think this is an important book for teens and adults alike. It features a girl questioning her religion, her family, herself, and more. And it’s all written in verse, which makes it both an easy and important read. The author, Elizabeth Acevedo, writes slam poetry, which is the style this book is written in. You can see her read on YouTube and it’s really cool! It’s definitely not something I could do – which made it all the more interesting to read.
My Recommendation: Read this book – it’s perfect for helping you see different perspectives and what teenagers often go through.
The Good Neighbor, the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers, tells the story of this utterly unique and enduring American icon. Drawing on original interviews, oral histories, and archival documents, Maxwell King traces Rogers’s personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work, including a surprising decision to walk away from the show to make television for adults, only to return to the neighborhood with increasingly sophisticated episodes, written in collaboration with experts on childhood development. An engaging story, rich in detail, The Good Neighbor is the definitive portrait of a beloved figure, cherished by multiple generations.
I love love love this book! I cannot recommend it enough. Maxwell King writes the story of Fred Rogers’ journey into public television and tells of his private life as well. It was so interesting to read about his life as a chubby rich boy with asthma, and to see how it shaped what he did with his future. I loved reading about how Fred Rogers worked relentlessly to make sure he was connecting with the children who watched his program (often at the expense of connecting with the adults!). And I am a huge kindness advocate, so I really enjoyed reading about Rogers’ beliefs on kindness and how he lived a life that reflected that so deeply.
My Recommendation: Buy this book! It’s worth reading once and then rereading all your favorite quotes and moments when you’re looking for inspiration or kindness in a seemingly dark world.
I only made it through two books this month, but they were both deep, rich and well worth my time. I definitely recommend checking them both out! Thanks for reading my book reviews this month!
What did you read this month? Give me all your recommendations!