September’s Book of the Month: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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7 days of voting!
We have a winner for our September’s 2016 book of the month.

The Mocha Girl Read Book of the Month for September is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Take a minute to see what this book is all about.


Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.

About the Author

12376487_515777865299221_7876310323126831737_nWinner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Sherman Alexie is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer.

He has published 25 books including his first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr, and young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, both from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned, a book of poetry, from Hanging Loose Press; and Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories, from Grove Press.

He has also published the 20th Anniversary edition of his classic book of stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

Smoke Signalsthe movie he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

A Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, Alexie grew up in Wellpinit, Washington, on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Alexie has been an urban Indian since 1994 and lives in Seattle with his family.

Author’s Website:


Buy the Book

Congratulations to Sherman Alexie for being September’s book of the month. Feel free to leave comments below or at We are looking forward to hearing what you all think of this month’s selection.

Keep the pages turning ladies.

#BlackGirlMagic: Olympic Attire


#BlackGirlMagic is how the world is defining the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro; with every turn, competition and metal our Mocha Girls are are reminding the universe who is boss. This reminder is arriving at a time where we shall retune how we see ourselves, encourage ourselves and support our fellow Mocha Girls when we exhibit individual and group excellence. [Read more…]

September’s Book of the Month Voting is Open

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For the month of September, we are going to read a BANNED BOOK.  As always there are some really great titles up for the vote this time.

Here are the Rules for Voting.

1. You may vote for three (3) books.

2. All members get to vote only once.

3. Last day to vote will be August 21, 2016. (11:00pm Los Angeles time)

4. The book with the most votes wins. But if there is a tie there will be a 48-hour death match. The two or three books will go into a head to head competition for only 48 hours. Whichever book is left standing (with the most votes) wins!

Below the poll, you will find the title of the books linked to a brief description. Now…may the best book win!

What Did You Think of… Between the World and Me?

What did youToday we are going to talk about July’s book of the month, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  But first, let’s check out this book and see what it is all about.


In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Questions to think about and/or answer:

1. Why did Coates use manhood as an overlying theme? Would it have been less, equally, or more effective for him to incorporate the black female struggle as well into this text?

2. Can this book also be seen as a plea for education reform? When Coates says that “the schools were not concerned with curiosity,” but rather with “compliance,” what does that tell us about how the educational institution in America perpetuates racial injustice?

3. Rather than categorizing people as either good or bad in two distinct categories, it is clear that Coates speaks of humans as having pure and dark intentions and actions simultaneously. It is not the bad white people vs the good black people. That being said, how does Coates speak of humanity and its complexities? Give examples.

4. Coates refers to the word “people” as a political term and frequently references white people as those who “believe themselves white.” What can this kind of dissociation from race do as the United States progresses? Moving forward, how can reminding people that race is purely a social construct aid in this fight?  (Questions from Alexis Elafros, University of Central Florida)


“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory.”—Toni Morrison

“Powerful and passionate . . . profoundly moving . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Really powerful and emotional.”—John Legend, The Wall Street Journal

Mocha Girls Speak

me-300x300Moch Girl Tiffany

What an amazing piece of work! I see why Toni Morrison said it should be required reading. This is one black man’s experience of living in this country and if you read it with an open mind then you will begin to understand the plight and fear that many of our black brothers must deal with on a daily basis. Between the World and Me should be required reading and it should also serve as a conversation starter if we ever want to get to the point of having a real and honest dialogue on the topic of race and what it means to be black in the United States.

30805652Mocha Girl Mykie

Why I read this book: One of my friends was reading this book and said it made him think of me and that he thought it would be something I would like. So he ordered it for me as a gift of kindness and had it shipped to my house. I’m glad he did.
I agree with Toni Morrison’s assertion that this book is required reading, but I’d like to take a moment to clarify exactly why. I’ve read many good reviews of this text, but none of them have capitalized on or defined why one would recommend this as required reading.
First, this text is widely personal, real and evidence-based and provides a level of insight and awareness related to the core of race issues in America in a way that very few texts have.
Secondly, the documentation of his first-hand experiences, coupled with Coates’ ability to engage the reader with his unique and eloquent writing style, create a unique and powerful experience for the reader.
Finally, the reader is blatantly faced with realities, ones that they may not have been aware of to begin with, and have no other choice but to face them. To swallow them. To wake up and smell the coffee.
So with those things considered and clarified, this is, indeed, required reading. For everyone.
I was amazed at how many good, deep and profound quotes this book contains. Ones that will likely live on forever. Coates is an amazing writer, and amazing storyteller and a brilliant intellect. With all of that said though, I disagree with the comparisons to Baldwin. The primary commonalities between Baldwin and Coates are that both of their works demonstrate their strong and passionate abilities to examine the states of Black America, the impacts of racism and their abilities to summarize the Black experience. But their styles and their approaches are vastly different. It’s okay to have more than one talented black intellect without categorizing them or forcing the act of one piggy backing on the other. They’re different. And amazingly individual.

19557123Mocha Girl Debra

Really deep brotha. Made me wish I went to Howard. Didn’t know Howard was that Mecca as he calls it.

Mocha Girl Lady

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What did you think of Between the World and Me?

Books to Accompany the 2016 Olympic Games

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The 2016 Olympic Games are now in full swing in Rio de Janeiro. For sixteen days the world will see just what some of the fastest, strongest, and all around most amazing athletes of the world can do. In addition to the dazzling display of athletic mastery and impossibly fit people, the Olympic Games present a unique opportunity to watch sports, society, politics, and economics collide in real-time.

The focus may be on athletic achievement but it is nearly impossible not to think about the political, social, and economic backdrop against which the Games take place. The parade of nations during the opening ceremony brought this to the forefront, with the Refugee Olympic Team marching behind the Olympic flag instead of a country flag and the greatly reduced number of Russian athletes. Further, given all the press coverage that preceded the event about the difficulty Brazil was having in preparing for the Games, one can’t  help but wonder how the lives of the people in the host city are both enhanced and disrupted by the presence of the Games in Rio.

Of course, the Olympic Games also present the chance to not only celebrate achievement and success but also to reflect what those terms means to us as individuals, as citizens of a particular country, and as citizens of the world. Let us not forget that even those athletes who leave Brazil without a medal around their necks are still some of the most talented athletes in the world.

With all this in mind, this week’s post focuses on books that tell the story of the Olympics, its athletes, its casualties, and its victors.

Books about the History of the Games




















A Brief History of the Olympic Games by David C. Young

Start here for a history of the ancient Olympic Games.
Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics by Jules Boykoff

Look to Jules Boykoff for a history of the modern Olympics from the nineteenth century to the modern era.
The Games: A Global History of the Olympics by David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt not only tackles the history of the games from its reinvention in 1896 to the current games in Rio, he explores how the Olympics have highlighted domestic and international conflicts and movements. He tells how women fought to be included in the Olympics, discusses how the Olympics reflect changing attitudes about race and ethnicity, explores the tension between professional athletics and the Games’ amateur ideals, and reveals the often disappointing economic realities host cities are left with after the Games leave town.

Olympic Politics: Athens to Atlanta, 1896-1996 by Christopher R. Hill

Hill explores the politics behind the Olympics from the ancient games to the Atlanta games. He covers how the games are financed, the bidding process for prospective host cities, and more.

The International Olympic Committee and the Olympic System: The Governance of World Sport by Jean-Loup Chappelet and Brenda Kubler-Mabbott

This book is for anyone looking for a comprehensive picture of how the Olympic system works: how it is organized, governed, financed, and more.

Books about Brazil & the Olympics











Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink by Juliana Barbassa
Brazilian-born journalist Juliana Barbassa returned to Rio after a 21-year absence.  In Dancing with the Devil in the City of God she chronicles the transformation of the city as it readied itself for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, revealing the triumphs and the struggles, the good and the bad.

Brazil’s Dance with the Devil The World cup, the Olympics, and the Struggle for Democracy by David Zirin
With the focus on Brazil, David Zirin connects sports, politics and social justice, discussing how mega-events exacerbate social issues and often leave behind poor people who have been dislocated to make room for giant stadiums and a more militarized police state.

A Concise History of Brazil by Boris Fausto and Arthur Brakel
This one has nothing to do with the Olympics but focuses solely on this year’s host country. Here you’ll find nearly 500 years of Brazilian history in about as many pages.

Books by or about Athletes








Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith by Gabrielle Douglas with Michelle Burford

This 2012 autobiography focuses on gymnast Gabrielle Douglas and her journey to the 2012 London Olympics where she won a gold medal in the individual women’s all-around event (becoming the first African-American to do so), in addition to helping her team take home the gold in the team event.

No Limits: The Will to Succeed by Michael Phelps with Alan Abrahamson
In No Limits Michael Phelps describes the hard work, commitment, and sacrifice it took to become an Olympic champion several times over. With an emphasis on training and preparation, No Limits might appeal particularly to those aspiring to Olympic greatness themselves.

Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith by Tommie Smith with David Steele
Many have seen the famous photo of Tommie Smith raising a black-gloved fist at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics after coming in first in the 200-meter dash. Here Smith tells what happened after he struck that iconic pose.