MINI REVIEWS: A Portrait in Poems | Women of Resistance | Tales from Behind the Window

Mini book reviews


50956183._SX318_SY475_Title: A Portrait in Poems: The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas

Author: Evie Robillard, Rachel Katstaller (illustrator)

Publisher: Hachette Book Group

Publishing Date: March 3rd 2020

Format: ebook

Pages: 48

Age Category & Genre: Childrens, Nonfiction, Poetry, Biography

Purchase at: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: The stories, paintings and early twentieth-century Paris of Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, come to life in this charming and innovative picture book biography, told in clever second-person free verse.

Here’s an insider’s tour of the fascinating lives of Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, amusingly addressed directly to the reader (“The next time you go to Paris …”). It explores the couple’s art collection, their famous writer and artist friends and even their dog, Basket. It also describes how Gertrude’s book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was not about Alice, but was more about Gertrude herself! A celebration of creativity and the creative process, this original and very readable picture book biography champions two women who dared to live unconventional lives.

In playful free verse, author Evie Robillard offers a unique introduction to one of the most influential figures of twentieth-century art and literature. It includes twelve child-friendly quotations from Stein’s work, such as: “It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” Illustrator Rachel Katstaller’s fun yet detailed art delightfully evokes the time and place of the text. Touching on literature, history, writing and the visual arts, this biography offers loads of direct curriculum applications. Back matter includes a time line, “snapshots,” sources and an author’s note with further background.


**A huge thanks to Hachette Book Group and Netgalley for providing me an e-galley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect or influence my review.**

A Portrait in Poems tells the story of Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, a couple who lived in a house full of paintings at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris, France. It is a picture book, biography and poetry book all at the same time. 

Even as an adult, I highly enjoyed this book. I think the author’s goal of introducing Getrude and Alice’s lives to the readers was met. I had no idea who they were before picking this book up. Learning about who they were and what their lives were like was interesting, especially because of how it was told. It made me curious enough to want to read more about them and their own works as both Gertrude and Alice were writers themselves. The illustrations were beautiful and vibrant, I could easily see children enjoying the graphics. It also mentioned wanting to spark the interest of children on paintings and poems and I can easily see how this book could have that influence. And I would like to read this book to my future kids and/or nieces with the hope that they will be interested in poetry and/or paintings as well after reading this.

A Portrait in Poems gives appreciation to paintings and poems, pretty much like Gertrude Steins and Alice B Toklas themselves. As someone who likes poetry and paintings as well, I definitely enjoyed this book. I was just delighted and in awe most of the time. It was pretty short but nonetheless enjoyable. I recommend this to children and even adults like me who appreciate poetry and paintings.




36697146._SX318_Title: Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism

Author: Danielle Barnhart & Iris Mahan (Editors)

Publisher: OR Books

Publishing Date: March 13th 2018

Format: eARC

Pages: 204

Age Category & Genre: Poetry

Purchase at: Amazon The Book Depository

Synopsis: A collection with a feminist ethos that cuts across race, gender identity, and sexuality.

Creative activists have reacted to the 2016 Presidential election in myriad ways. Editors Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan have drawn on their profound knowledge of the poetry scene to put together an extraordinary list of poets taking a feminist stance against the new authority. What began as an informal collaboration of like-minded poets—to be released as a handbound chapbook—has grown into something far more substantial and ambitious: a fully fledged anthology of women’s resistance, with a portion of proceeds supporting Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Representing the complexity and diversity of contemporary womanhood and bolstering the fight against racism, sexism, and violence, this collection unites powerful new writers, performers, and activists with established poets. Contributors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Sandra Beasley, Jericho Brown, Mahogany L. Browne, Danielle Chapman, Tyehimba Jess, Kimberly Johnson, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Maureen N. McLane, Joyce Peseroff, Mary Ruefle, Trish Salah, Patricia Smith, Anne Waldman, and Rachel Zucker.


**A huge thanks to Hachette Book Group and Netgalley for providing me an e-galley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect or influence my review.**

I honestly don’t know how to start this review. I had high expectations for this poetry collection. It was one of my highly anticipated reads of 2018. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Women of Resistance as much as I expected. 

Women of Resistance is a collection of poetry and prose tackling feminism, motherhood, sexuality, gender, cultural appropriation, violence and more. I really love the themes explored in this book. Some poems were hard-hitting and remarkable. But there were lines that didn’t make sense to me and I just couldn’t feel interested in most of them. I tried so hard to enjoy this. But I just wanted to get this over with most of the time. Unfortunately, this collection just wasn’t for me. And I couldn’t be sadder about it.

I am not discouraging you from picking this up. If you like the themes that this collection tackles, you still might enjoy this.


2 of 5


52838933._SX318_SY475_Title: Tales from Behind the Window

Author: Edanur Kuntman

Publisher: Europe Comics

Publishing Date: August 21st 2019

Format: eARC

Pages: 170

Age Category & Genre: Nonfiction

Purchase at: Amazon

Synopsis: “Tales from behind the Window” is based on memories of an Anatolian grandmother and women she knew who suffered from male dominance over their lives. Writer and illustrator Edanur Kuntman seeks a unique way to express and give voice to women in her grandmother’s memories and in our reality who were not able to reconcile their inner emotional depth with their rural worlds in Northern Turkey. One long and two short stories included in this book revolve around terrifying emotional burdens such as forced marriages, being betrayed by patriarchs, and lost love, which have haunted and still haunt many in rural Anatolia. 


**A huge thanks to Europe Comics and Netgalley for providing me an e-galley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect or influence my review.**

I have read this book two times. The first time was last year when I gave this 4 stars for reasons that I wanted and felt that there could be more and I didn’t like how some pages almost contained next to nothing except for minimal illustrations which I thought were inefficient. I recently re-read (which I have never done before, btw) this book and I just couldn’t not give this 5 stars. I still think those pages with minimal illustrations were unnecessary but I felt really satisfied this time and couldn’t ask for more.

Tales from Behind the Window tells very important stories. With the help of beautiful illustrations, this book took us to Turkey and made the stories of women back in the 1950s be heard. It is based on the personal experience of the author’s grandmother, Sureyya, and other women that her grandmother knew. It had three parts: Sureyya’s Tale, which is about Sureyya being forced into marriage and sold by her brother. Gulhanim’ Tale, which is about Sureyya’s mother and her experience as a single mother. And Done’s Tale, which is about Sureyya’s friend being sold off in the market just like her sisters.

Tales from Behind the Window highlights the oppression women face in a world where men’s words are the law. This is quite a quick read and could be read within an hour or two. I really love this book and I genuinely wish more people would be able to read this and hear these women’s stories. But how I also wish that we live in a world where these stories doesn’t exist and these women didn’t experience what they did. This book is heart-wrenching but truthful. It makes us face the reality about human trafficking and forced marriage that these women experienced and could still be happening to others. It also shows what poverty does to people. I loved how the story was told. It made me really feel the emotions the characters were feeling. I also love the art style. It was beautiful and I love Kuntman’s choice of when to use muted and bright colors.

Tales from Behind the Window is important. With the help of stunning illustrations, it tells stories that we all should acknowledge and listen to. I highly recommend.




Have you read any of these or any books from these authors? Have you added any of these to your TBR? What’s your latest 5-star read? Share your thoughts below!




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