Of all tribes : American Indians and Alcatraz book cover

Of all tribes : American Indians and Alcatraz

Bruchac, Joseph, 1942- author.

j970.5 Bruchac
Nonfiction, History

"On November 20, 1969, a group of 89 Native Americans-most of them young activists in their twenties, led by Richard Oakes, LaNada Means, and others-crossed San Francisco Bay under the cover of darkness. They called themselves the "Indians of All Tribes." Their objective was to occupy the abandoned prison on Alcatraz Island ("The Rock"), a mile and a half across the treacherous waters. Under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie between the U.S. and the Lakota tribe, all retired, abandoned, or out-of-use federal land was supposed to be returned to the Indigenous peoples who once occupied it. As Alcatraz penitentiary was closed by that point, activists sought to reclaim that land, and more broadly, bring greater attention to the lies and injustices of the federal government when it came to Indian policy. Their initial success resulted in international attention to Native American rights and the continuing presence of present-day Indigenous peoples, who refused to accept being treated as a "vanishing race". Over the protestors' 19-month occupation, one key way of raising awareness to issues in Native life was through Radio Free Alcatraz, which touched on: the forced loss of ancestral lands, contaminated water supply on reservations, sharp disparities in infant mortality and life expectancy among Native Americans compared to statistics in white communities, and many other inequalities. From acclaimed Abenaki children's book legend, Joseph Bruchac, this middle-grade nonfiction book tells the riveting story of that 1969 takeover, which inspired a whole generation of Native activists and ignited the modern American Indian Movement"--

Casey's picture

Engagingly written by Joseph Bruchac, Of All Tribes presents a wealth of information regarding the history of the United States government's treatment of various American Indian Nations. How this fraught history led to the eventual claiming of Alcatraz Island in 1969, and how this activism continues to ripple through current geopolitical and georestoritive movements. This would be a great gift book for middle-grade, and older, children, and families, especially those interested in US history and social justice movements. -Casey

Above ground : poems book cover

Above ground : poems

Clint Smith

811.6 /Smith
Black Lives Matter, Black History, Nonfiction, Poetry, Literary Nonfiction

Clint Smith's vibrant and compelling new collection traverses the vast emotional terrain of fatherhood, and explores how becoming a parent has recalibrated his sense of the world. There are poems that interrogate the ways our lives are shaped by both personal lineages and historical institutions. There are poems that revel in the wonder of discovering the world anew through the eyes of your children, as they discover it for the first time. There are poems that meditate on what it means to raise a family in a world filled with constant social and political tumult. Above Ground wrestles with how we hold wonder and despair in the same hands, how we carry intimate moments of joy and a collective sense of mourning in the same body. Smith's lyrical, narrative poems bring the reader on a journey not only through the early years of his children's lives, but through the changing world in which they are growing up--through the changing world of which we are all a part.

Annie's picture

A beautiful and healing collection of poems from Clint Smith (author of "How the Word Is Passed"), reflecting on the ups and downs of parenthood, how it has changed him and other epiphanies that come with it. Sprinkled with both the small happy memories and the bursts of grief that can come with the vicissitudes of life, loss and trauma. -Annie

Trees : a rooted history book cover

Trees : a rooted history

Piotr Socha

j582.16 Socha
Nature, History, Nonfiction

"Part botany, part history, part cultural anthropology--Trees goes beyond the basics to tell readers everything they might want to know about this particular branch of the plant kingdom. Trees explores the important roles trees play in our ecosystem, takes an up-close-and-personal look at the parts of trees (from roots to stumps to leaves), and unpacks the cultural impact of trees from classification systems (like family trees or data trees) to long-standing myths (like the Tree of Life)."--

Mari's picture

This book was an expired hold on the bookmobile, so I ended up "leafing" through it during a slower stop, their loss my gain! I was obsessed with the illustrations! The oversized pages offer several wonderful field guides for different types of trees, roots, seeds, endemic species, and more. I enjoyed the concise and gorgeous exploration of the use of trees as building materials throughout history. The book dives deep in the cultural significance to native trees around the world and examines religion and folklore surrounding trees. I loved the book so much I decided to buy a used copy online to enjoy again later. -Mari

Giraffe math book cover

Giraffe math

Stephen R. Swinburne

j513.2 Swinburne
Picture Books, Nonfiction, Animals, Science

"Told through the voice of Twiga the giraffe, this picture book shares knowledge about giraffes through math, using measurements, graphs, fractions, time, elemental geometry, and percentages."--

Casey's picture

Giraffe Math is wonderful and so fun! Add this to the ever-growing list of fabulous picture book nonfiction. -Casey

Tenderheart : a cookbook about vegetables and unbreakable family bonds book cover

Tenderheart : a cookbook about vegetables and unbreakable family bonds

Hetty McKinnon

641.5636 /McKinnon
Cookbooks, Nonfiction

"From the acclaimed author of To Asia, With Love, a loving homage to her father, a Chinese immigrant in Australia, told in 150 flavorful, vegetarian recipes. Heritage and food have always been linked for Hetty McKinnon. Growing up as part of a Chinese family in Australia, McKinnon formed a deep appreciation for her bi-cultural identity, and for her father, who moved to Sydney as a teenager and learned English by selling bananas at a local market. As he brought home crates full of produce after work, McKinnon learned about the beauty and versatility of fruits and vegetables. Tenderheart is the happy outcome of McKinnon's love of vegetables. From Miso Mushroom Ragu with Oven-Baked Polenta to Celery and Vermicelli Spring Rolls and Sweet Potato and Black Sesame Marble Cake, Tenderheart features 21 essential fruits and vegetables that become the basis for 150 recipes. A tender tribute to her father and his experience as an immigrant, McKinnon explores how food connects us to our loved ones, even when they are no longer with us - and gives us the tools to make recipes that are healthful, economical, and bursting with flavor"--

Victoria's picture

I picked up this gorgeous cookbook on the Bookmobile and couldn't stop staring at the front cover, so knew I'd be taking it after my shift. This is a book about love; love of family and love of cooking. The two interweave beautifully in the recipe illustrations and the photo album snap shots. The author's love and respect for her father and mother and the sacrifices they made are evident in every recipe. I loved how each chapter was a shout out to a new vegetable or root. Many of the recipes had similar experiences so the book is practical, too. I have tried several recipes already and can't wait to serve up more! -Victoria

Our migrant souls : a meditation on race and the meanings and myths of "Latino" book cover

Our migrant souls : a meditation on race and the meanings and myths of "Latino"

Héctor Tobar

305.868 /Tobar

"Latino" is the most open-ended and loosely defined of the major race categories in the United States. Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of "Latino" assembles the Pulitzer Prize winner Héctor Tobar's personal experiences as the son of Guatemalan immigrants and the stories told to him by his Latino students to offer a spirited rebuke to racist ideas about Latino people. Our Migrant Souls decodes the meaning of "Latino" as a racial and ethnic identity in the modern United States, and seeks to give voice to the angst and anger of young Latino people who have seen Latinidad transformed into hateful tropes about "illegals" and have faced insults, harassment, and division based on white insecurities and economic exploitation.

Victoria's picture

After a few paragraphs into this book, I was hooked by the author's writing style, historical knowledge and perspective, but perhaps most of all by his humility and humanity. Part professor and part reporter, Tobar is first a collector and reflector of stories, of histories, and this book is an ode to his Latino students and those trying to make sense of their ancestral roots; but will resonate with anyone who has left their motherland in search of a new life. Tobar contends that the very notion of the word "Latino" to describe such myriad life experiences that have intersected with geopolitical and socioeconomic clashes of civilizations (namely North vs. South America,) is ridiculous. I found myself looking up historical facts mentioned in the book, or googling landmarks to gain more insight. While I did not agree with everything the author laid out, overall I thought this was an excellent, moving and brave undertaking. I have no doubt it will bring solace to those who have made journeys across oceans, deserts, or walls due to war, country instability, or in search of something more. In the very least they know that while their stories may differ, they are not alone. -Victoria

Lapidarium : the secret lives of stones book cover

Lapidarium : the secret lives of stones

Hettie Judah

553.8 /Judah
Nonfiction, Nature

"Inspired by the lapidaries of the ancient world, this book is a collection of true stories about sixty different stones that have influenced our shared history. Through the realms of art, myth, geology, philosophy, and power, the author tells the story of humanity through the minerals and materials that have allowed humans to evolve and create. Lapidarium uses the stories of these sixty stones to explore how human culture has formed stone, and the roles stone has played in forming human culture"--

Melody's picture

This book gets my vote for prettiest cover on the new nonfiction shelves right now. It's history, mythology, and earth science packaged into smart essays that revel in humanity. -Melody

Root, nurture, grow : the essential guide to propagating and sharing houseplants book cover

Root, nurture, grow : the essential guide to propagating and sharing houseplants

Caro Langton

635.965 /Langton
Nonfiction, Home

Shows you how to make the most of your favorite houseplants through simple, beginner-friendly propagation techniques, as well as resourceful DIY projects including homemade rooting mediums, seed-bombs, and a self-watering plant pot.

Melody's picture

If you are into houseplants and love growing their babies, this is the book for you. My house doesn't get great sunlight (plus, cats!) so I personally don't have a ton of houseplants at home. That isn't going to stop me from checking out this book and reading about nurturing their growth from a single cutting. I'm happy to read it for the beautiful plant photography itself. -Melody

The heat will kill you first : life and death on a scorched planet book cover

The heat will kill you first : life and death on a scorched planet

Jeff Goodell

363.73874 /Goodell

"The Heat Will Kill You First is about the extreme ways in which our planet is already changing. It is about why spring is coming a few weeks earlier and fall is coming a few weeks later and the impact that will have on everything from our food supply to disease outbreaks. It is about what will happen to our lives and our communities when typical summer days in Chicago or Boston go from 90°F to 110°F. A heatwave, Goodell explains, is a predatory event--one that culls out the most vulnerable people. But that is changing. As heatwaves become more intense and more common, they will become more democratic. As an award-winning journalist who has been at the forefront of environmental journalism for decades, Goodell's new book may be his most provocative yet, explaining how extreme heat will dramatically change the world as we know it"--

Victoria's picture

Here in Iowa this August, cities across the state are breaking historical temperature highs. Though not taken on nearly as much as other extreme weather such as tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, and flash flooding, extreme heat is the number one killer. Prolonging its devasting effects with air conditioning not only places a band-aid on the problem but causes global temperatures to rise even more. Once thought as one-offs, extreme heat events have become the norm, are not going away and in fact, the author notes are becoming more "democratic;" disrupting all facets of our lives (think over-extended power grids and school closures.) While this is a disturbing book to read, if extreme weather will affect you (spoiler, it will,) then this is an absolutely necessary read. I love climate books that offer pragmatic solutions; albeit solutions that could be hard to swallow (think eating insects instead of that hefty steak). Author Goodell is astute at correlating global events in a logical way and in his over two decades of reporting on climate change, has become well-versed in connecting the dots of imminent disaster of a planet in peril if left unchecked. -Victoria

Bridges book cover


Marc Majewski

j624.2 Majewski

"Bridges can be high or low, long or short, straight or curvy. Some are designed to blend in, while others stand out. But each one tells a story: a reminder of our history, a testament to ingenuity and engineering, an invitation to imagine the possibilities of the future. Literally and symbolically, bridges connect us-to new places, new cultures, and new people. With poetic text and sweeping illustrations, Marc Majewski delivers a unique, accessible look at bridges from all around the world: from the incredible structures that connect San Francisco's Golden Gate and Zambia's Victoria Falls, to England's Tower Bridge and Japan's Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, and many in between. Both informational and thought-provoking, Bridges shows how these awe-inspiring structures unite the manmade and natural worlds, and how they bring humanity together"--

Anne W's picture

Nonfiction is for all ages - even our youngest readers! Case in point: the new picture book "Bridges" by Marc Majewski. Highlighting 21 bridges around the world, each page contains a lush, colorful, sweeping illustration of the bridge; its name and location; and two short sentences with plainly-stated, succinct and simple - yet fascinating! - facts about the bridge. Example: "Bridges stand out. Golden Gate Bridge, USA. The unmistakable color of this bridge is called 'international orange.'" On the next page: "Bridges blend in. Umshiang Double-Decker Root Bridge, India. This living bridge grows and gets stronger year after year.") You can admire the pictures, spark the imagination, and leave it at that, or you can research each bridge (there is back matter with a little more information about each bridge) and learn more. I know I googled that root bridge immediately because I wanted to see a photograph! Young kids will probably have lots more questions about bridges after this reading experience. Enjoy! -Anne W