Friday, March 20, 2009

Somaly Mam, The Road of Lost Innocence

Somaly Mam, The Road of Lost Innocence. (I read this for a group at school). While it was shocking, it was not written to titillate. Somaly says that she told her story in a book so that she doesn't have to keep telling it, so that it stands apart from her. What was remarkable was the practical attitude of the book.

"I don't feel like I can change the world. I don't even try. I only want to change this small life that I see standing in front of me, which is suffering."

It is a personal story about the global sex trade and human trafficking, and more importantly, about the effort to fight it. Her organization (as well as Somaly and her family) have been threatened and attacked as a result of her work against organized trafficking. They continue to provide protection, shelter, education, and support for sustainable employment to victims of human trafficking in Cambodia. Somaly has written a direct and honest story with the purpose of creating awareness and support for her organization and her cause.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

More kid's books

Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman, More Minds. Good idea, not so great execution, still a fun little fantasy. Unremarkable. Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted. This was actually really cute. Didn't realize it was a retelling of the Cinderella story until 2/3 of the way through it. Always wondered why she was so docile. Good candidate for read out loud. Robert C. O'brien, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Still just as good as the first time. I've never thought about rats the same way since I first read this. I always imagine them making intricate machines in their vast underground tunnels and only appearing at subway stops and alleys on their way to somewhere else. It is odd to read it now when I view lab animals as convenient models for things. Now I worry about such poor study design, and all that lost data is tragic (although I'm still on these rats' side, of course). I'll probably never be able to do animal work - too many children's books and an overactive imagination.