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Cog book cover
Cog book cover

Cog

Greg Van Eekhout

jFICTION Vaneekho Greg
Kids

"Cog looks like a normal twelve-year-old boy. But his name is short for 'cognitive development,' and he was built to learn. But after an accident leaves him damaged, Cog wakes up in an unknown lab--and Gina, the scientist who created and cared for him, is nowhere to be found. Surrounded by scientists who want to study him and remove his brain, Cog recruits four robot accomplices for a mission to find her. Cog, ADA, Proto, Trashbot, and Car's journey will likely involve much cognitive development in the form of mistakes, but Cog is willing to risk everything to find his way back to Gina."--Goodreads.

Angie's picture

This is a great, fast-paced, funny story about five robots trying to run from the sinister and evil uniMIND. Fans of the Wild Robot by Peter Brown will love this book! -Angie

To Night Owl from Dogfish book cover
To Night Owl from Dogfish book cover

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Holly Goldberg Sloan

eBOOK
Kids

Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, Bett and Avery, eleven, eventually begin scheming to get the couple back together after a break-up. Told entirely through emails.

Paul's picture

Rich with a wide cast of characters who populate the story as it progresses, with each getting enough individual development to spark even more interest, there are also plenty of ups and downs and twist and turns, some fairly predictable, some not at all, to engage the reader in following along with how these two grow as they share experiences while apart and together. -Paul

Al Capone does my shirts book cover
Al Capone does my shirts book cover

Al Capone does my shirts

Gennifer Choldenko

eBOOK
Kids

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.

Anne W's picture

Set in 1935, this book tells the story of Moose Flanagan and his family. His father gets a job as a prison guard on Alcatraz, so his family goes to live on the prison island alongside the other workers. Moose cares for his teenage sister Natalie, who nowadays would be diagnosed with autism, and deals with the warden’s shady daughter, who tries to involve Moose in her schemes. Notorious gangster Al Capone is imprisoned there, and is the target of much speculation and lore. -Anne W

A ceiling made of eggshells book cover
A ceiling made of eggshells book cover

A ceiling made of eggshells

Gail Carson Levine

eBOOK
Kids

From age seven, Loma relishes traveling with her beloved grandfather across fifteenth-century Spain, working to keep the Jews safe, but soon realizes she must also make sacrifices to help her people. Includes historical notes, recipe, glossary, and a link to a bibliography.

Paul's picture

Loaded with all kinds of historical details this story provides a window into the Jewish experience leading up to the expulsion from their homes after 1000 years of faithful service to their beloved country. -Paul

The prince and the dressmaker book cover
The prince and the dressmaker book cover

The prince and the dressmaker

Jen Wang

eBOOK
Graphic Novels

Prince Sebastian hides from his parents his secret life of dressing up as the the hottest fashion icon in Paris, the fabulous Lady Crystallia, while his friend Frances the dressmaker strives to keep her friend's secret.

Anne W's picture

This graphic novel is technically part of the adult collection, but my whole family, from my 10-year-old daughter to my teenage daughter to my husband to myself has read and loved it. The artwork is beautiful and the story is adorable. A prince hires a “lowly” dressmaker/designer to help him become who he really is inside, and after some ups and downs, this is a tale of acceptance, friendship, and love. It’s set in Paris at the dawn of the last century and characters ride around in carriages, but speak in modern language, using expressions like “this is crazy” and “cool,” a choice I found interesting. -Anne W

A long walk to water : based on a true story book cover
A long walk to water : based on a true story book cover

A long walk to water : based on a true story

Linda Sue Park

eAUDIO
Kids

When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

Becky's picture

Linda Sue Park was inspired by historical documents and an interview with Salva in the creation of this short novel. I highly recommend the audiobook for young, mature audiences. It’s only about 3 hours long, extremely powerful, and features the voices of the author and Salva at the conclusion. -Becky

The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers book cover
The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers book cover

The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers

Ben Kissel

ON ORDER BOOK
True Crime, Humor

"An equal parts haunting and hilarious deep-dive review of history's most notorious and cold-blooded serial killers, from the creators of the award-winning Last Podcast on the Left"--

Shawna's picture

As a fan of Last Podcast on the Left, I knew I'd love this book. The information presented is interesting and terrifying, but broken up with dark comedy and unique illustrations. -Shawna

The long way to a small, angry planet book cover
The long way to a small, angry planet book cover

The long way to a small, angry planet

Becky Chambers

SCIENCE FICTION Chambers Becky
Science Fiction

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star. Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain. Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

Brian's picture

This is some feel-good space opera. Seriously, it's filled with warm fuzzies, but in space. I kept thinking of it being a cross between Firefly and Star Trek. I dug it. I dug it a lot. -Brian

Upside-down magic book cover
Upside-down magic book cover

Upside-down magic

Sarah Mlynowski

eAUDIO
Kids, Fantasy

With their magic being unpredictable, Nory, Elliott, Andres, and Bax are sent to the upside-down magic room at Dunwiddle Magic School.

Anne W's picture

Fantasy isn’t usually my genre, but I listened to this with my kids as an audiobook in the car, and it was super cute and fun. This series is very popular with kids, and I can see why. Also I love the protagonist’s first name, Nory. So cute! Anyway, Nory can do magic, but it never goes how it’s supposed to and she ends up messing things up a lot. So she is sent by her high-achieving magic family to a special school for kids whose magic is “upside down.” There, she is finally accepted, makes loyal friends, and learns to accept herself and value her special talents. -Anne W

Jaws book cover
Jaws book cover

Jaws

DVD MOVIE SF/HORROR Jaws
Horror

The story of a killer shark that has taken over the waters near a seaside community, and the three men who set out to kill it.

Shawna's picture

One of my favorite movies to watch over and over. With so many memorable lines, an iconic soundtrack, and such great costuming and imagery, it never feels like Summer until I've watched Jaws. -Shawna

Stepping stones book cover
Stepping stones book cover

Stepping stones

Lucy Knisley

eBOOK
Kids

Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom’s new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad. Most of all, Jen did not want to get new “sisters,” Andy and Reese. As if learning new chores on Peapod Farm wasn’t hard enough, having to deal with perfect-at-everything Andy might be the last straw for Jen. Besides cleaning the chicken coop, trying to keep up with the customers at the local farmers’ market, and missing her old life, Jen has to deal with her own insecurities about this new family . . . and where she fits in.

Paul's picture

This humorous and all too true graphic novel follows Jen (not Jennifer!) as she deals with her parents divorce and moving with her mom from the city to the country. To cope, Jen works on her cartoons, but eventually as all three get to know each other better and have a few adventures together, things mostly get better. -Paul

The remains of the day book cover
The remains of the day book cover

The remains of the day

Kazuo Ishiguro

FICTION Ishiguro, Kazuo
Fiction, Historical Fiction

The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

Amanda's picture

The writing is superb, and for those who enjoy Downton Abbey this book provides a comfortable amount of upstairs/downstairs intrigue. I did enjoy the main character's development over his car trip, reflecting on his life and coming to recognize the faults in choices he made. This is an excellent choice for those interested in midcentury Britain. -Amanda

Ghost book cover
Ghost book cover

Ghost

Jason Reynolds

eAUDIO
Kids

"Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential"--

Becky's picture

This is a story that will have you thinking about circumstance, opportunity and the value of mentoring influences. -Becky

You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington book cover
You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington book cover

You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington

Alexis Coe

BIOGRAPHY Washington, George
Nonfiction, Biographies, History

"In a genre overdue for a shakeup, Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first--and finds he's not quite the man we remember Young George Washington was raised by a struggling single mother, demanded military promotions, chased rich young women, caused an international incident, and never backed down--even when his dysentery got so bad he had to ride with a cushion on his saddle. But after he married Martha, everything changed. Washington became the kind of man who named his dog Sweetlips and hated to leave home. He took up arms against the British only when there was no other way, though he lost more battles than he won. Coe focuses on his activities off the battlefield--like espionage and propaganda. After an unlikely victory in the Revolutionary War, Washington once again shocked the world by giving up power, only to learn his compatriots wouldn't allow it. The founders pressured him into the presidency--twice. He established enduring norms but left office heartbroken over the partisan nightmare his backstabbing cabinet had created. Back on his plantation, the man who fought for liberty finally confronted his greatest hypocrisy--what to do with the hundreds of men, women, and children he owned--before succumbing to a brutal death. Alexis Coe combines rigorous research and unsentimental storytelling, finally separating the man from the legend."--

Amanda's picture

This is the first biography of Washington I’ve read since grade school, and was refreshing in its stories of Washington’s relationship to the women in his life and other human foibles that frequently get brushed over. Of course, everything involving the Founders these days gets colored through the lens of Hamilton the Musical, so being able to make those connections was also enjoyable. If you’re looking for a solid biography of Washington that doesn't intimidate, this is a great pick. -Amanda

Beverly, right here book cover
Beverly, right here book cover

Beverly, right here

Kate DiCamillo

eBOOK
Kids

Resolved to leave her home for good, young runaway Beverly is determined not to depend on anyone else, but as she settles in her new home and job, she forms connections with the people around her that alter her perspectives about life and herself.

Karen's picture

This is a beautifully touching and funny book to add to your reading list, and since it’s part of a trilogy, you can look forward to triple the reading enjoyment. -Karen

Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel book cover
Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel book cover

Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel

Taylor Jenkins Reid

FICTION Reid Taylor
Fiction, Historical Fiction

"Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it's the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she's twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she's pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice"--

Amanda's picture

This, to me, was a pretty great portrayal of a band and its musicians during the classic rock period. What really got me into the book was the oral history aspect of it - that it’s the band and those around them reminiscing years later. Their memories differ. They’ve had a couple of decades change their perspective. I enjoyed these characters and their personalities. I could almost hear their music as I read the story and see them interact on stage. If you are a fan of Behind the Music, this is a book you have to try! -Amanda

An American marriage book cover
An American marriage book cover

An American marriage

Tayari Jones

eAUDIO
Fiction

"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"--

Becky's picture

“An American Marriage” will have you thinking about the effects of incarceration and the messiness of human relationships. -Becky

Tight book cover
Tight book cover

Tight

Torrey Maldonado

eBOOK
Kids

After his quick-tempered father gets in a fight and is sent back to jail, sixth-grader Bryan, known for being quiet and thoughtful, snaps and follows new friend Mike into trouble.

Paul's picture

Written in a voice true to the story’s setting and local culture, this engaging and multi-leveled tale captures quite well how difficult it can be to survive and more or less successfully navigate through life and stay true to yourself and those you respect most. I often found myself reflecting on my own not so dissimilar experiences as a sixth grader as I followed Bryan through his triumphs and travails. A very highly recommended read. -Paul

The African Americans collection. book cover
The African Americans collection. book cover

The African Americans collection.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY
Documentary

Written and presented by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., director of W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, this six-hour series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed -- forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, the series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to the present -- when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. By highlighting the tragedies, triumphs and contradictions of the black experience, the series reveals to viewers that the African-American community has never been a uniform entity, and that its members have been actively debating their differences from their first days in this country. Throughout the course of the series, viewers will see that the road to freedom for black people in America has not been linear, but more like the course of a river, full of loops and eddies, slowing, and occasionally reversing the current of progress.

Bond's picture

Added by Bond

Eyes on the prize : America's Civil Rights years. book cover
Eyes on the prize : America's Civil Rights years. book cover

Eyes on the prize : America's Civil Rights years.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY
Documentary

Produced by Blackside, Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Winner of numerous Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, an International Documentary Award, and a Television Critics Association Award, Eyes on the Prize is the most critically acclaimed documentary on civil rights in America. Eyes on the Prize recounts the fight to end decades of discrimination and segregation. It is the story of the people -- young and old, male and female, northern and southern -- who, compelled by a meeting of conscience and circumstance, worked to eradicate a world where whites and blacks could not go to the same school, ride the same bus, vote in the same election, or participate equally in society. It was a world in which peaceful demonstrators were met with resistance and brutality -- in short, a reality that is now nearly incomprehensible to many young Americans. Through contemporary interviews and historical footage, Eyes on the Prize traces the civil rights movement from the Montgomery bus boycott to the Voting Rights Act; from early acts of individual courage through the flowering of a mass movement and its eventual split into factions. Julian Bond, political leader and civil rights activist, narrates. The driving force behind Eyes on the Prize and Blackside, Henry Hampton (1940-1998) won numerous awards for this landmark series including the duPont-Columbia Gold Baton, the Peabody Award, and Academy Award nominations. He set out to share his vision of what he called "the remarkable human drama that was the Civil Rights Movement" through the Eyes on the Prize documentary and a book of the same title by Juan Williams. In recent years, a number of key figures who appear in the films (including the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, a leader of the Montgomery bus boycott; Coretta Scott King, wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, and an activist in her own right; Kwame Ture, also known as Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; and George Wallace, the 1960s Alabama governor who resisted integration) have died, making this record of their testimony all the more valuable.

Bond's picture

Added by Bond

The hate u give book cover
The hate u give book cover

The hate u give

Angie Thomas

eAUDIO
Young Adult

After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

Becky's picture

“The Hate U Give” had been on my must-read list for a while, and I finally was able to listen to the captivating audio version. Such a powerful and poignant read, and a story that I continue to think about well after its close. -Becky

The night diary book cover
The night diary book cover

The night diary

Veera Hiranandani

eBOOK
Kids

Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

Anne W's picture

The Night Diary tells the harrowing story of Nisha and her family as they attempt to flee their home in India. Nisha must flee the only home she’s ever known, making a dangerous journey hundreds of miles on foot to safety. -Anne W

Denmark Vesey's garden : slavery and memory in the cradle of the Confederacy book cover
Denmark Vesey's garden : slavery and memory in the cradle of the Confederacy book cover

Denmark Vesey's garden : slavery and memory in the cradle of the Confederacy

Ethan J. Kytle

975.703 /Kytle
Nonfiction, History

A book that strikes at the heart of the recent flare-ups over Confederate symbols in Charlottesville, New Orleans, and elsewhere, Denmark Vesey's Garden reveals the deep roots of these controversies and traces them to the heart of slavery in the United States: Charleston, South Carolina, where almost half of the U.S. slave population stepped onto our shores, where the first shot at Fort Sumter began the Civil War, and where Dylann Roof shot nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the congregation of Denmark Vesey, a black revolutionary who plotted a massive slave insurrection in 1822. As early as 1865, former slaveholders and their descendants began working to preserve a romanticized memory of the antebellum South. In contrast, former slaves, their descendants, and some white allies have worked to preserve an honest, unvarnished account of slavery as the cruel system it was. Examining public rituals, controversial monuments, and whitewashed historical tourism, Denmark Vesey's Garden tracks these two rival memories from the Civil War all the way to contemporary times, where two segregated tourism industries still reflect these opposing impressions of the past, exposing a hidden dimension of America's deep racial divide. Denmark Vesey's Garden joins the small bookshelf of major, paradigm-shifting new interpretations of slavery's enduring legacy in the United States. --inside jacket.

Amanda's picture

Though this is an excellent read for a Charleston lover like me, it also makes for a microcosm of slavery, Lost Cause mythology, and racism in the South in general. The book traces the many filters the question of slavery has been put through over the past few centuries, and how it's evolved and been remembered. Highly recommend for the history buff! -Amanda

Bedtime bonnet book cover
Bedtime bonnet book cover

Bedtime bonnet

Nancy Amanda Redd

ON ORDER BOOK
Picture Books, Black Lives Matter, Diverse Characters

As family members braid, brush, twirl, roll, and tighten their hair before bedtime, putting on kerchiefs, wave caps, and other protective items, the little sister cannot find her bonnet.

Casey's picture

I can't wait to see this one when it gets in! -Casey

Rust & stardust book cover
Rust & stardust book cover

Rust & stardust

T. (Tammy) Greenwood

FICTION Greenwoo T
Fiction, Historical Fiction

Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth's, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he's an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute, unless she does as he says. This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way. Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner and her captor, whose story shocked the nation and inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write his controversial and iconic Lolita, this heart-pounding story by award-winning author T. Greenwood at last gives a voice to Sally herself.

Amanda's picture

The author handled this story well, not giving graphic detail of Sally’s ordeal but giving enough for the reader to understand how horrible it was and how frightened Sally was of her captor. I loved the portrayal of all the other people affected by Sally’s kidnapping getting their perspective told. That added an element to the story as a whole that made the entirety of it more relatable. Maybe not a story for everyone, but certainly a well-done story of a resilient young woman who faced a despicable situation. -Amanda

The diary of a bookseller book cover
The diary of a bookseller book cover

The diary of a bookseller

Shaun Bythell

BIOGRAPHY Bythell, Shaun
Nonfiction, Biographies

When Bythell first thought of taking over the bookstore in the remote Scottish village of Wigtown, it seemed like a book-lover's paradise. Here he details his experiences at the helm of The Book Shop, Scotland's largest second hand bookstore: the delightfully unusual staff members, eccentric customers, odd townsfolk and surreal buying trips to old estates and auctions. As he struggled to build his business-- and be polite-- he is seduced by the charm of small-town life, and the peculiar characters he meets. -- adapted from jacket

Amanda's picture

Being a former bookseller I could relate to a lot of this, and found the author’s observations on his co-workers and customers acerbic and amusing. And since it’s a diary, it’s a very easy book to pick up and put down as necessary, and no matter where you are in it you’ll find something delightful to chuckle at. -Amanda

All rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook book cover
All rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook book cover

All rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Leslie Connor

eBOOK
Kids

"Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth--and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home. When Perry moves to the "outside" world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from .. but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?" --From Amazon.com.

Anne W's picture

This is a cute, heartwarming book, if a little implausible, about a boy named Perry, who grows up inside a minimum-security, coed prison with his mother Jessica, an inmate, in the tiny town of Surprise, Nebraska. This book, if somewhat predictable and far-fetched, nonetheless does a good job of humanizing incarcerated individuals and stressing how one mistake does not make someone a bad person. Perry collects stories from prison inmates and shares them as part of a school project, as well as sharing how the inmates have collectively raised him and how they maintain bonds with their own families and their own better natures. -Anne W

Nat enough : Nat Enough Series, Book 1 book cover
Nat enough : Nat Enough Series, Book 1 book cover

Nat enough : Nat Enough Series, Book 1

Maria Scrivan

eBOOK
Kids

Natalie has never felt that she's enough -- athletic enough, stylish enough, or talented enough. And on the first day of middle school, Natalie discovers that things are worse than she thought -- now she's not even cool enough for her best friend, Lily! As Natalie tries to get her best friend back, she learns more about her true self and natural talents. If Natalie can focus on who she is rather than who she isn't, then she might realize she's more than enough, just the way she is.

Paul's picture

The story of Natalie, as told in pictures, and how she navigates entering middle school along with a bunch of kids from other grade schools, the loss of her best friend (who’s turned into a really “mean girl”), the making of new, truly good friends, and finding out what she’s good at doing. Of course there’s a lot of anxiety, self doubt, and missteps along the way but Nat survives, spectacularly, in this sweet and humorous tale. -Paul

How to survive a summer book cover
How to survive a summer book cover

How to survive a summer

Nick White

FICTION White Nick
Fiction, LGBTQ+

"A debut novel centering around a gay conversion camp in Mississippi, and a man's reckoning with the trauma he faced there as a teen"--

Amanda's picture

The character of Will reminds me of a few young men I've known, and his journey in this book intrigued me, baffled me, impressed me, and comforted me. There's hints of Southern Gothic, to give you a taste and keep you guessing. Each layer of the story got me more invested, and by the near end I was literally at the edge of my seat, anxious to know what would happen next, and I seemed to feel what the characters were feeling as it all came out. I feel like this is a book and a story that some LGBTQ youth may find engaging enough to help them muddle through complex emotions and their own journeys of self discovery. -Amanda

The tiger rising book cover
The tiger rising book cover

The tiger rising

Kate DiCamillo

eBOOK
Kids

Rob, who passes the time in his rural Florida community by wood carving, is drawn by his spunky but angry friend Sistine into a plan to free a caged tiger.

Karen's picture

Will they free the tiger? Will freeing the tiger free them from the grief they are feeling? You’ll have to read the book to find out, and, believe me, you’ll be glad you did. -Karen

The evolution of Calpurnia Tate book cover
The evolution of Calpurnia Tate book cover

The evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Jacqueline Kelly

eBOOK
Kids

In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee Tate is instructed to be a lady by her mother, learns about love from the older three of her six brothers, and studies the natural world with her grandfather, the latter of which leads to an important discovery.

Anne W's picture

Calpurnia has to deal with breaking the mold for girls in her place and time and come to terms with growing up. The chapters are a series of vignettes in her life with six brothers in a small Texas town on the cusp of the 20th century. The writing is clever, funny, and beautiful. -Anne W

The birchbark house book cover
The birchbark house book cover

The birchbark house

Louise Erdrich

eAUDIO
Kids

This is a vital and dramatic novel of a year in the life of a young Ojibwa girl in the mid-1800s.

Becky's picture

Birchbark is a great parallel for readers who enjoy the Little House books. Louise Erdrich provides a unique perspective into Ojibwa daily life during the nineteenth-century. The story is divided into the four seasons and told through the eyes of 7-year-old, Omakayas. Readers learn about a Native American family’s daily life, traditions, and connection with nature. Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwa, was able to weave in her research, observations, and conversations with Ojibwa elders into a narrative that is accessible to middle-grade children. -Becky

Vegan with a vengeance : over 150 delicious, cheap, animal-free recipes that rock book cover
Vegan with a vengeance : over 150 delicious, cheap, animal-free recipes that rock book cover

Vegan with a vengeance : over 150 delicious, cheap, animal-free recipes that rock

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

eBOOK
Nonfiction, Cookbooks

Melody's picture

One thing I dream about in my imagined post-quarantine life is visiting Isa Chandra Moskowitz's restaurant Modern Love in Omaha, Nebraska. I am a big fan of her cookbooks. I've never met a recipe of hers that I didn't like. We have more of her cookbooks in print at ICPL, but I'll take this e-book while I wait to be able to hold her books with my own, garlic-scented fingers. -Melody

Anne of Green Gables book cover
Anne of Green Gables book cover

Anne of Green Gables

L. M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery

eBOOK
Kids, Fiction

Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.

Anne W's picture

Someone gifted me a box set of the Anne of the Green Gables books when I was ten or so, since plucky orphan Anne Shirley and I share a first name, and I never read them. They sat on my bookcase through the whole remainder of my childhood without ever being touched. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading Anne of Green Gables, I’m totally kicking myself for what I’ve been missing all these years. Who knew the humor in a book published in 1908 could hold up so well? I laughed out loud several times. Anne is a delightful character and her bold, dramatic dialogue is fun to read. To quote from the book itself, this book is one full of “tang and zest.” -Anne W

The old truck book cover
The old truck book cover

The old truck

Jarrett Pumphrey

eBOOK
Kids, Picture Books

"On a small family farm, an old truck falls into disrepair and lies nearly forgotten, except by the family's daughter. The truck is been part of her daydreams as she grows up and develops strength and independence. As an industrious young woman, she pulls the rusted and overgrown vehicle from its almost-grave and restores it"--

Casey's picture

I love this title about making something old new again, and again, and again. Simultaneously about loving family and respecting items through time, this is one for all the menders and antiquers out there! -Casey

The screaming staircase book cover
The screaming staircase book cover

The screaming staircase

Jonathan Stroud

eBOOK
Kids

Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.

Paul's picture

I have become totally hooked on this series and very much recommend it for older tweens. I plan to continue enjoying my way through each volume even after the current quarantine/shut down is lifted! -Paul

The mighty heart of Sunny St. James book cover
The mighty heart of Sunny St. James book cover

The mighty heart of Sunny St. James

Ashley Herring Blake

eBOOK
Kids

"Twelve-year-old Sunny St. James must navigate heart surgery, reconnections with a lost mother, the betrayal of a former best friend, first kisses, and emerging feelings for another girl"--

Anne W's picture

This is a nuanced exploration of LGBT+ identity from an adolescent perspective, and Sunny wrestles with her feelings, sometimes helped or hindered by family, friends, and society, to find out who she really is. -Anne W

Theft by finding : diaries 1977-2002 book cover
Theft by finding : diaries 1977-2002 book cover

Theft by finding : diaries 1977-2002

David Sedaris

eAUDIO
Humor, Memoir, Literary Nonfiction, LGBTQ+

Shares the author's favorite diary entries, providing a look into the mind of a comic genius.

Heidi K's picture

Nobody really needs me to suggest David Sedaris. But having read all his other books which blend essay, humor, autobiography, and scathing social critique, I thought this compilation of writing pulled from his diaries would seem a little old hat - sort of a "for fans only" affair. Well, I am a fan, but Theft by Finding has passages so biting and original and weird that I gasped several times while listening to the eAudio on walks during quarantine. Trademark humor is still there, but there are also parts of Theft by Finding that grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and shook me. -Heidi K

Big magic : creative living beyond fear book cover
Big magic : creative living beyond fear book cover

Big magic : creative living beyond fear

Elizabeth Gilbert

eAUDIO
Nonfiction, Self Help

"Coming September 22nd From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you've dreamed of. Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the "strange jewels" that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy"--

Heidi K's picture

If you're feeling in a rut, this book might offer the push you need. It's not preachy and it's full of good stories about the creative process. It was good on eAudio - read by the author. -Heidi K

Shuggie Bain : a novel book cover
Shuggie Bain : a novel book cover

Shuggie Bain : a novel

Douglas Stuart

FICTION Stuart Douglas
Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+, Literary Fiction

"Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher's war on heavy industry has put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light but a burden for his artistic brother and practical sister. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a "whoremaster" of a husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good - her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamourous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion's share of each week's benefits - all the family has to live on - on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes's older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to look after her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. He is meanwhile doing all he can to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that Shuggie is "no right," and now Agnes's addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her-even and especially her beloved Shuggie." --

Heidi K's picture

This book received a Kirkus starred review, and it's definitely worth the hype. The book takes place in the working class Scotland of the 1980s. Agnes is a young alcoholic woman who loves her children but is mostly incapacitated by poverty and drink. Shuggie is a young boy who is a bit of a social pariah for being a gay momma's boy - even though for most of the book he has little to no understanding of why he doesn't fit in with the others. He just doesn't. I thought this book was heartbreaking but also just plain beautiful. I won't forget Shuggie or Agnes. -Heidi K

The book of joy : lasting happiness in a changing world book cover
The book of joy : lasting happiness in a changing world book cover

The book of joy : lasting happiness in a changing world

Dalai Lama XIV Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho

294.3444 /Dalai Lama
Nonfiction, Self Help, Biographies, Religion

Two leading spiritual masters share their wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity, sharing personal stories and teachings about the science of profound happiness and the daily practices that anchor their emotional and spiritual lives.

Heidi K's picture

When Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama get together to talk about their lives, philosophies, and teachings, the result is a guidebook on how to transform joy from a fleeting emotion to a way of life. My favorite thing about this book are the funny bits of dialogue between the two men who prove that above all, they are merely human. The stories from their lives are great, and the themes discussed seem so relevant to the precarious times we have found ourselves in. -Heidi K

My best friend book cover
My best friend book cover

My best friend

Julie Fogliano

eBOOK
Kids, Picture Books

Two girls quickly become best friends, even before they learn one another's names.

Casey's picture

Soaring illustrations accompany lyrical text about what it means to have and be a best friend. This one is a gem! -Casey

The list of things that will not change book cover
The list of things that will not change book cover

The list of things that will not change

Rebecca Stead

eBOOK
Kids

Despite her parents' divorce, her father's coming out as gay, and his plans to marry his boyfriend, ten-year-old Bea is reassured by her parents' unconditional love, excited about getting a stepsister, and haunted by something she did last summer at her father's lake house.

Karen's picture

The beauty of this story is that it displays the kind of love that doesn’t ask you to be anything but who you are, the kind of love she wishes everyone had. -Karen

Betty before X book cover
Betty before X book cover

Betty before X

Ilyasah Shabazz

eAUDIO
Kids

Raised by her aunt until she is six, Betty, who will later marry Malcolm X, joins her mother and stepfamily in 1940s Detroit, where she learns about the civil rights movement.

Anne W's picture

Hopeful, heartwarming, but honest about real hardships. -Anne W

Keeper of the lost cities book cover
Keeper of the lost cities book cover

Keeper of the lost cities

Shannon Messenger

eBOOK
Kids

At age twelve, Sophie learns that the remarkable abilities that have always caused her to stand out identify her as an elf, and after being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory for which some would kill.

Becky's picture

I want to give a big shout out to the tween patron that recommended this series to me! I think this is a series that will appeal to audiences of all ages, particularly to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Shannon Messenger excels at character development, dialog, and intriguing plotlines. In “Keeper of the Lost Cities,” we follow Sophie’s passage into a new world, where we try to unravel the mysterious elements behind her powers and abilities. While I love the fantasy elements of this story, I also really appreciate Shannon Messenger’s focus on relationships, integrity, and bravery. I think many kids (and adults) reading this will find things to relate to and will quickly get sucked in to the fantastic storytelling. I’ve got the next book on hold and can’t wait! -Becky

From the desk of Zoe Washington book cover
From the desk of Zoe Washington book cover

From the desk of Zoe Washington

Janae Marks

eBOOK
Kids

"Avid baker Zoe Washington receives a letter on her twelfth birthday from her biological father, who is in prison for a terrible crime"--

Paul's picture

The author, Janae Marks, deftly weaves the all too common experiences of African-Americans with the U.S. justice system and its fallout into an engaging tale of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood, juggling several things at one time while balancing what she feels is the right thing to do and the fear of suffering the consequences, both if she does or does not follow through in her quest. -Paul

Exhalation book cover
Exhalation book cover

Exhalation

Ted Chiang

eBOOK
Science Fiction, Short Story

This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary "Exhalation," an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. And in "The Lifecycle of Software Objects," a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over twenty years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being. Also included are two brand-new stories: "Omphalos" and "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom." In this fantastical and elegant collection, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth--What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human?--and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning, and compassion.

Brian's picture

Chiang explores determinism, A.I. and alternate realities. Every tale is unique and fascinating. So much so that I can't choose a favorite. I recommend this to anyone who wants their Sci-Fi to get them thinking. -Brian

Wink book cover
Wink book cover

Wink

Rob Harrell

eAUDIO
Kids

After being diagnosed with a rare eye cancer, twelve-year-old Ross discovers how music, art, and true friends can help him survive both treatment and middle school.

Angie's picture

A cancer survivor himself, author Rob Harrell brings both honesty and humor to this comics-illustrated book. If you liked Cece Bell’s El Deafo -- like Cece, Ross imagines a superhero alter-ego to help him through the frustrating ups and downs of friendship. -Angie

Circe : a novel book cover
Circe : a novel book cover

Circe : a novel

Madeline Miller

eAUDIO
Fiction, Literary Fiction, Fantasy

Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

Casey's picture

I'm so glad I took the time to listen to Circe. Madeline Miller's writing is lofty yet accessible and her characters highly realized, I loved everything about this title. Look for Circe one on my rereads shelf soon! -Casey

The dearly beloved : a novel book cover
The dearly beloved : a novel book cover

The dearly beloved : a novel

Cara Wall

eBOOK
Fiction

"Set in the years 1950-1970 in a changing America and London, follow[s] two married couples - ministers and academics - whose intricate bonds of faith and friendship, jealousy and understanding, are tested by the birth of an autistic child"--

Mari's picture

Set in Civil Rights Era New York State, follows two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and faith. James and Charles, two young ministers and their wives Nan and Lily, deal with their separate struggles in different ways, and at all times questioning their faith. The surprising friendship between the wives, one a devout, the other an atheist is challenged through their paths toward motherhood, and the birth of an autistic child at a time when little was known about autism. A slow read that really carefully examines the meaning of faith and hardship, that I ended up really enjoying. -Mari

Gregor the Overlander book cover
Gregor the Overlander book cover

Gregor the Overlander

Suzanne Collins

eBOOK
Kids

When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.

Becky's picture

Looking for a middle-grade fantasy adventure series? “Gregor the Overlander” follows Gregor and his adorable two-year-old sister as they fall through a grate and enter the world of the Underland. Gregor finds that the uneasy cohabitation of humans with large spiders, cockroaches and rats in the Underland has placed this world on the brink of war. Interwoven throughout this fast-paced narrative, Suzanne Collins allows the reader to explore issues of tolerance and loyalty. Well written and exciting—a great start to the Underland Chronicles series! -Becky

Dinner in French : my recipes by way of France book cover
Dinner in French : my recipes by way of France book cover

Dinner in French : my recipes by way of France

Melissa Clark

eBOOK
Cookbooks

"The new French classics in 150 recipes that reflect a modern yet distinctly French recipe canon, from New York Times star food writer Melissa Clark. Just as Dorie Greenspan brought Julia Child's recipes into the late 20th century, so Melissa Clark brings French cooking into the 21st century. Now, as one of the nation's favorite cookbook authors and food writers, Melissa updates classic French techniques and dishes to reflect how we cook, shop, and eat today"--

Anne M's picture

If you are spending more time in the kitchen and want to expand your cooking repertoire, check out Melissa Clark's new cookbook "Dinner in French." In her true fashion, Clark makes French cooking accessible. No intimidating cooking techniques or long lists of ingredients here. She also brings her own flavor profile, which I like to describe as bright, to these recipes. Just in time for spring, try "Dandelion Salad with Sweet Garlic Confit, Pancetta, and Blue Cheese" or "Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Tarragon Tart." Just want to look at beautiful pictures of delicious food and French food markets? This cookbook has those in abundance. -Anne M

The goose girl book cover
The goose girl book cover

The goose girl

Shannon Hale

eAUDIO
Kids

On her way to marry a prince she's never met, Princess Anidori is betrayed by her guards and her lady-in-waiting and must become a goose girl to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim the crown that is rightfully hers.

Casey's picture

Readers will love cheering for Ani as she learns to take charge of her destiny in this nuanced and clever retelling of a classic fairytale. Though the first installment in the Books of Bayern Trilogy, Goose Girl is a fabulous standalone. I’m loving listening to the full cast audio recording for my reread! -Casey

The forgotten girl book cover
The forgotten girl book cover

The forgotten girl

India Hill Brown

eBOOK
Kids

When eleven-year-old Iris sneaks out at night to make snow angels, she was not expecting to raise the ghost of Avery Moore, a girl her own age; but bringing to light the segregated and abandoned black cemetery seems like the perfect way to help Avery get the recognition she craves, and it will also be a good idea for the school project about the history of her small North Carolina town, where racial tensions are never far from the surface--only it seems that if Avery gets everything she wants Iris will join her as a ghost, best friends forever.

Anne W's picture

Can they figure out what the ghost wants, and what her story is, before it’s too late? This is a classic ghost story that also teaches readers about systemic racism in the past and present. -Anne W

The inquisitor's tale, or, the three magical children and their holy dog book cover
The inquisitor's tale, or, the three magical children and their holy dog book cover

The inquisitor's tale, or, the three magical children and their holy dog

Adam Gidwitz

eBOOK
Kids

"A peasant girl and her holy greyhound, an oblate on a mission from his monastery, and a young Jewish boy travel across medieval France to escape persecution and save holy texts from being burned"--

Paul's picture

Recommended for upper elementary and above, for some content and word complexity. -Paul

Where the mountain meets the moon book cover
Where the mountain meets the moon book cover

Where the mountain meets the moon

Grace Lin

eBOOK
Kids

Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.

Casey's picture

Believing the fantastic tales her father weaves every night, Minli sets out on a quest to change their family’s fortune. If you have yet to read Grace Lin’s Newbery Honor winning modern classic, now might be the perfect time to escape to Fruitless Mountain. -Casey

The strangers book cover
The strangers book cover

The strangers

Margaret Peterson Haddix

eBOOK
Kids

Told from separate viewpoints, Chess, Emma, and Finn Greystone, ages twelve, ten, and eight, investigate why their mother went missing and uncover their ties to an alternate world.

Angie's picture

This is the beginning of a new page-turning adventure that examines assumptions about identity, family, and home, from the master of middle grade suspense. -Angie

Such a fun age : a novel book cover
Such a fun age : a novel book cover

Such a fun age : a novel

Kiley Reid

eBOOK
Fiction

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other. With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

Mari's picture

I quickly devoured this book, Reid’s writing is light and conversational and her keen observations of the world shine though. A white mother, Alix, is mortified when her babysitter, Emira, who happens to be black, is accused of kidnapping her toddler at a yuppie grocery store. We see through the two characters’s experiences a dark but funny exploration of privilege and the problematic nature of the white savior. -Mari

The Dutch house : a novel book cover
The Dutch house : a novel book cover

The Dutch house : a novel

Ann Patchett

eAUDIO

"Ann Patchett, the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, returns with her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go"--

Frannie's picture

When this book first came out some months ago I read it quickly, loved it, and more or less moved on. However, working from home my intake of audiobooks has gone way up and I thought it would be good to revisit so I could perhaps form a more nuanced opinion, and it did not disappoint! This rather depressing book involving the life and times of a brother sister duo who grew up in a house that seems cursed has some of the edges blunted when read by none other than Tom Hanks. Author Ann Patchett never lingers on tragedy too, which makes things a little easier to swallow. Also the main characters hold on to resentment and loss, but it isn't the force that drives them. Come for the story, stay for the beautiful descriptions of space! -Frannie

Roll with it book cover
Roll with it book cover

Roll with it

Jamie Sumner

eBOOK
Kids

Twelve-year-old Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, finds her life transformed when she moves with her mother to small-town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's Disease.

Mari's picture

Added by Mari

Owl's Outstanding Donuts book cover
Owl's Outstanding Donuts book cover

Owl's Outstanding Donuts

Robin Yardi

eBOOK
Kids

Warned by an owl, ten-year-old Mattie discovers that someone is secretly polluting the land near her aunt's Big Sur donut shop and sets out to stop them.

Anne W's picture

This is a fun, unique book that takes place in two of my favorite places: a campground and a donut shop. There’s an anthropomorphic owl who communicates with Mattie, the main character, giving her clues about the environmental crime leading to a mystery Mattie and her friends Sasha and Beanie are trying to solve. Each chapter opens with a mouth-watering description of an inventive, gourmet donut, which is a fun bonus! -Anne W

Near the exit : travels with the not-so-grim reaper book cover
Near the exit : travels with the not-so-grim reaper book cover

Near the exit : travels with the not-so-grim reaper

Lori Erickson

eAUDIO
Nonfiction

Near the exit examines how different cultures confront and have confronted death.

Becky's picture

I had put “Near the Exit” on hold awhile back when I missed the chance to see Lori Erickson speak at the Iowa Book Festival last year. I finally got my hands on it and it was worth the wait! In this book, Erickson uses in-depth research, spiritual travels, interviews, and personal experience to examine how various cultures view death. I appreciated her curiosity and open-mindedness, and thoroughly enjoyed the insight and the unexpected humor in this read. -Becky

The screaming staircase book cover
The screaming staircase book cover

The screaming staircase

Jonathan Stroud

eBOOK
Kids

Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.

Paul's picture

Recommended for tweens and older this is an action and adventure tale with humor and grisley demises sprinkled throughout. -Paul

Yes please book cover
Yes please book cover

Yes please

Amy Poehler

eAUDIO
Nonfiction, Memoir, Humor

The actress best known for her work on "Parks and Recreation" and "Saturday Night Live" reveals personal stories and offers her humorous take on such topics as love, friendship, parenthood, and her relationship with Tina Fey.

Melody's picture

I need a little humor these days! Amy Poehler is such a talented writer and comic actor. When Tina Fey's Bossypants isn't available, I reach for Amy's Yes Please next. -Melody

Fish in a tree book cover
Fish in a tree book cover

Fish in a tree

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

eAUDIO
Kids

"Ally's greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn't know how to read"--

Karen's picture

Think about a teacher you had who made a difference in your life. This is a story about Ally and a teacher who cared. The message? Don’t judge or label someone before you get to know a person. Celebrate the different gifts and talents of others. And remember that all great minds don’t always think alike. -Karen

The mirror & the light book cover
The mirror & the light book cover

The mirror & the light

Hilary Mantel

eAUDIO
Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

""If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?" England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith's son from Putney emerges from the spring's bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen before Jane dies giving birth to the male heir he most craves. Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry's regime to the breaking point, Cromwell's robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him? With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man's vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion, and courage"--

Anne M's picture

It has been 8 years since the last installment of Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy and "The Mirror and the Light" was well worth the wait. Beautiful written and rich in detail and character, Mantel's writing is absorbing. For fans of audiobooks, Ben Miles provides a fantastic reading. In anticipation for this book, I immersed myself in the world of Thomas Cromwell, rereading "Wolf Hall" and "Bring up the Bodies" by listening to the audiobooks. I missed so much from the first reading, I was glad I did. Now I'm a little sad to leave the Tudor court. Unlike most of the people in Henry VIII's circle, I'm just happy I get to do so by choice. -Anne M

That's life! book cover
That's life! book cover

That's life!

Ame Dyckman

eBOOK
Kids, Picture Books

Life personified appears at a child's door and takes them on a journey in which they learn to have the time of their Life, that Life is full of surprises, and much more.

Angie's picture

This brand new picture book by a new favorite author, Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld asks, Where will life take you? After Life literally knocks on their door, one kid discovers that Life is truly what you make it. It's weird and may not always cooperate, but Life's beauty becomes apparent when it's embraced for all of its quirks. This is a new twist on showing kids what life is all about. -Angie

The Wednesday wars book cover
The Wednesday wars book cover

The Wednesday wars

Gary D Schmidt

eBOOK
Kids

During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.

Anne W's picture

The best book I’ve read so far this quarantine. Maybe even the best kids book I’ve read this year! It’s just about some basic events in an average suburban kid’s life, but BAM! It hits you over and over again with BEAUTIFUL WRITING that sums up THE REASONS LIFE IS WORTH LIVING, in a subtle and casual way (not heavy-handed or overbearing). -Anne W

Less : a novel book cover
Less : a novel book cover

Less : a novel

Andrew Sean Greer

eBOOK
Fiction, Humor

Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.

Jason's picture

Comedic quest novel of sorts, only here the protagonist is running away from love and trips into it. Full of dry wit, I found many well crafted sentences that I would skip back to reread. -Jason

The one and only Ivan book cover
The one and only Ivan book cover

The one and only Ivan

Katherine Applegate

eBOOK
Kids

When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.

Becky's picture

This is a story about animal treatment, friendship, integrity, and the power that comes with words and art. -Becky

Wishtree book cover
Wishtree book cover

Wishtree

Katherine Applegate

eBOOK
Kids

An old red oak tree tells how he and his crow friend, Bongo, help their human neighbors get along after a threat against an immigrant family is carved into the tree's trunk.

Angie's picture

Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, Wishtree is Newbery Medalist and New York Times–bestselling author Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view. -Angie

The Topeka school book cover
The Topeka school book cover

The Topeka school

Ben Lerner

eBOOK
Literary Fiction

Frannie's picture

This coming of age novel had special resonance for me growing up in a similar time, place, and milieu where much of the book unfolds. While the book is mostly centered around the fictionalized version of the author, other characters too have their story told from their point of view. Another thing that drew me in was the intimation of events occurring outside the main plot. Additional selling points for highlighting competitive speech and debate, something I dabbled in when in high school and one rarely sees in pop culture. -Frannie