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Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

14 April 2020

Frederick, A Virtual Puppet Performance - Read by Michael Shannon

WOW...this is my first post during the Coronavirus pandemic! I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.

Thanks to the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the city’s largest professional theater devoted exclusively to children and families, for launching a new YouTube channel, CCTv: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children’s Theatre. To kick if off we are treated to Frederick. Here's hoping this helps with your little ones. Or is a comfort to everyone of all ages.

Chicago Children’s Theatre’s all-new virtual puppet performance was created while all of the artists were sheltering in place, working with resources limited to what they had in their homes or on their laptops.

Frederick is directed by CCT Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell. Puppets and sets were designed, built and puppeteered in a home studio by Grace Needlman and Will Bishop, CCT’s Director of Production, the creative team behind CCT’s annual series of Beatrix Potter puppet shows and the company’s hit Chicago premiere Wake Up Brother Bear earlier this season.

Chicago musician Mr. Nick Davio performs the jaunty instrumental underscore, which is inspired by songs from the popular TYA musical version of Leo Lionni’s Frederick by Suzanne Miller, with music and lyrics by Sarah Durkee and Paul Jacob. Video editing is by Shiri Nicole Gross.

Support future productions at

04 February 2020

Abrams, Rapinoe, and Bird, oh my!

Yup...The fabulous Stacey Abrams, along with badass couple Megan Rapinoe & Sue Bird join HBO's THE SHOP: UNINTERRUPTED to chat about the state of the world. Also joining the conversation is EGOT Whoopi Goldberg, Malcolm Jenkins, And Hasan Minhaj.

By the look of the trailer this is gonna be a great conversation. Check it out on Friday, February 7 (9:30-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) or later on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.

Review: Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy

Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy by Chynna Clugston Flores
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have loved the Lumberjanes franchise for many years. After taking some time off to read other series, I'm back and went with the this crossover event with Gotham Academy - a series I thought looked great, but never fit into my overcrowded comic book plate. And you know what? THIS WAS AMAZING.

The Lumberjanes feel was still present - can't speak about the Gotham Academy feel - but it was wacky and sweet. Lumberjanes is ever telling stories of friendship and being true to yourself. This was doubly true for this collection.

I hope these two gangs of adorable young people team up again.

This is a great read for anyone wrestling with expectations - parental to societal.

View all my reviews

30 December 2019

Review: Trapeze

Trapeze Trapeze by Leigh Ansell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Trapeze by Leigh Ansell is an enjoyable fish out of water tale set in a high school. We meet 17-year-old Corey who is a budding trapeze star. When tragedy strikes, she finds herself stuck in a stereotypical suburb and enrolled in high school. The novel deals with not just Corey's struggle to fit into high school, but her journey to reestablish a relationship with her mother, her first love, and domestic abuse.

Ansell wraps up Corey's tale with one too many tropes, but even as I was thinking, "Really?" I was also moved by the character developments. Considering Ansell is only 21, I look forward to her honing her gift of storytelling in future novels. There is an excellent scene when one character gaslights Corey and it is so well written I could feel my skin crawl.

I recommend Trapeze for high schoolers and those us who survived those years, but still like to revisit through YA novels. Considering the number of moral choices that Corey and her friends have to manage, that all high schoolers have to manage, this would also be a good read for parents. I always appreciate books that could lend itself to conversations between teens and parents.

Disclaimer: I received this book from a publicist in exchange for this review. No other compensation was received.

View all my reviews

11 November 2019

Review: Know My Name

Know My Name Know My Name by Chanel Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Slight spoiler of first 100 pages....beware!

You think you know what happened when two Swedish students found Brock Turner raping a woman next to a dumpster. But you have no idea. Maybe if you lived in the Stanford area you might know more. But I suspect that through gossip you might know even less than I do here in Chicago. That is why the courage that Chanel Miller displays in her memoir, Know My Name, is monumental.

The first three chapters are heart-wrenching and required me to put the book down many times. Chanel wastes no time getting right to why she wrote the book. Why we need to know her name. The night of the rape. The evening where she spent with her family and later her mom dropped Chanel and her sister off at a party. The party. Then the morning after as she awakens in the hospital with zero memory of what happened.


Seriously. Chanel painstakingly takes us back to that morning when she finds pine needles in her hair, wonders why she has no underwear, can’t find her phone, and then undergoes a rape test examination. Photo after photo. Test after test. Police interview after interview and no one tells her she was assaulted.

To say I was furious is an understatement. As you will likely be.

I truly believe that this memoir will be assigned in class, passed on from friend to friend, and a divider book - our lives before and after we read the tale of Chanel Miller. It is not a classic because we need to read about her resilience. It will be a classic because we need to drown in her rage.

When I requested a review copy all I thought was, “I need to know how she is feeling.” Pissed the fuck off is what she is feeling.

Her story is one of having the anger take over her life. There is a scene where she loses control and shatters her phone by slamming it on the table. Then she is forced to use it while in a baggie. That scene is palpable. You may even flashback to a moment where anger has taken control of your life, even for a moment.

But what she does with her anger is survive. She grounds herself through art. I honestly feel the bravest thing she’s did was to spend the summer away from everyone and everything she knows to study art. I am usually grouchy about the privilege it takes to jet off somewhere to heal as most people do not have that luxury. But the way it comes about, the learning she gets out of it...well...it is privileged, I also see the beauty and bravery in it.

Everyone who takes a basic women's studies class or reads the news knows that few rape survivors find themselves in court against their attacker. There are Many reasons for this including the trauma of pressing charges.

We get to experience this trauma with Chanel. And IMO the most trauma came from the slow nature of the court system. Waiting. Preparing to testify one day then being told in 3 more months or in an hour versus tomorrow.

Know My Name is an immediate classic. It may take you awhile to get through it as you may need to take breaks. Or you may devour it in one sitting as your fury fuels your need to keep reading. This is a book I want everyone to read because I need to discuss it in person. So please, get yourself a copy and let’s grab coffee or a cocktail.

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This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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