Saturday, February 29, 2020

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith - HIGH

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith, 286 pages. Candlewick, 2019. $18.

Language: R (75 swears 19 'fs'); Mature Content: PG 13; (sexual situations - mostly off-page) Violence: G. 



17yo Louise, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, is on the staff of the school's newspaper in a small town in Kansas. Louise is paired up with photographer Joey; together they write the feature section. The drama teacher/director has made a point that this year there will be diversity casting of the school musical - the Wizard of Oz. But, when students of color get the leading roles over the white kids, - including Louise's brother as the Tin Man, an ultra conservative parent's religious group puts up a fuss, with a teacher's job on the line, the paper has a big story to cover, and when the actors' families start receiving anonymous notes, Louise must decide between good reporting, and staying true to her family. 

Hearts Unbroken is an amazing #ownvoices read. Lots of issues - many because of the nature of the journalism class - diversity, racism, sexual bullying, family, relationships, friendship, church, patriotism.  It really made me think about how other cultures must feel when they see themselves represented (often parodied), and the struggle minority kids have getting equal consideration. I'm so excited to put more YA and middle grade novels by and about BIPOC on my shelves and into the hands of my students. 

Lisa Librarian

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