SMILER'S BONES -- a striking novel based on the harrowing true story of Minik, an Eskimo boy seized in the name of exploration and brought to New York at the beginning of the 20th century
Smiler's Bones by Peter Lerangis (2005, Scholastic Press; 160 pages)
In 1897, famed explorer Robert Peary took six Eskimos from their homes to be "introduced" to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Among the six were a father and son, Qisuk ("Smiler") and Minik. They became living, breathing museum exhibits. Soon, four of the original Eskimos were dead - including Smiler, whose burial was not at all what it appeared to be. One of the survivors returned to Greenland, leaving young Minik to be the only living Polar Eskimo in New York for twelve long years.
Smiler's Bones is Minik's story, a tale of lies and deceptions and a reflection on the price of exploration. Minik's story brings us many questions about science, racism and ethics. The author's choice of a first-person point of view works very well, and Minik's character becomes unforgettable. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes stories based on reality, and to those who enjoy stories about discovering the truth, even if it is painful.
Find this title in our catalog: Smiler's Bones
Recommended by: Maite
Exit, Pursued By a Bear by E.K. Johnston (2016, Dutton Books For Young Readers; 256 pages)
This is the story of Hermione Winters, the captain of her cheerleading team. She is the popular, envied girlfriend and the queen of her school. The book is the story of her last year at school and how she discovers that most of the time, even when we seem to be in control, an event can change our lives forever.
And that is what happens to Hermione when someone puts something in her drink at a party, a moment that determines the new labels she will be both wearing and fighting for the weeks to come.
The story is heartbreaking and empowering. It celebrates the power of friendship, it talks about the difficult decisions that have to be made, and about how to work and deal with trauma. The book is beautifully written and the story is so engaging that you simply can't put the book down until you get to the final page.
The pages are filled with tenderness, rawness, and truth. This is the portrait of a young woman facing an unthinkable void. It is also a portrait of a strong and fierce friendship between women, and a portrait of the horrors of sexual violence. There is a great conversation in the book between Hermione and a pastor that also brings faith and spirituality to the table in times of trauma. And the story does a great job describing the cheerleading world, and treating it with respect, as a sport.
"Broken is harder to deal with. That´s the first time I´ve thought of myself as broken. Polly won´t let me, I don´t think, but everyone else seems to expect it. And maybe I am. Maybe this would be easier if I acted like I am broken. Then they´ll be able to fix me. You can´t fix something that doesn´t know it´s broken."
A must read.
Find this title in our catalog: Exit, Pursued By a Bear
Recommended by: Maite