Books: 
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We Are the Brennans: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250796226
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Celadon Books - August 3rd, 2021

I have finished reading about this family but find myself thinking about them and wondering how they are doing. This Irish American tight knit family in New York has family secrets and drama galore. Each chapter is told from a different members perspective with plenty of flashbacks that slowly reveal their background stories. Several twists and turns kept me reading and then a good ending that wraps everything up. I find myself craving a little visit to a good Irish pub--and maybe even a tall stout!


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Shallow Waters: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781982179663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria/Black Privilege Publishing - August 3rd, 2021

As a white person with unfortunately little background on myths and legends told by slaves in America, this book was intriguing with its mix of historical accounts, mythology, and magic woven together. Yemaya emerges out of a cocoon and travels as a young girl through the American South and then along the Underground Railroad pursuing her lost love Obatala, a slave harshly grabbed from the shore in Africa and brought to America on a slave ship. She has mystical powers of healing that help slaves as they escape the cruelty of slave owners. I enjoyed the mix of history and spiritual strength shown in the story.


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Beautiful Country: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385547215
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday Books - September 7th, 2021

Yes a wonderfully written memoir from the perspective of a Chinese family in the mid 1990s in New York City. Its true that white privileged folk like myself inaccurately assume that Asian immigrants are fine and will succeed without any struggle. With increased hate crimes against Asians, this book brought to the forefront that every immigrant experience is different and is often scary and deprived. The story mostly tells about Qians 4th and 5th grade years where she starved daily, worked in horrific conditions, and listened to her parents fight--or worse--attack her verbally. It gets worse when her mother is hospitalized. This ranks up with Angelas Ashes and Glass Castle when detailing the disappointments, embarrassments, humiliation, and extreme poverty of a girl just trying to get through elementary school.


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Red Island House: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982137809
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - March 23rd, 2021

Have you been craving a tropical vacation to a serene beach? Have you been to a tropical vacation spot and peaked into stores and homes and wondered about the stories of the occupants? This book will fill the cravings of both of the above. Each chapter is a stand alone story of a community member of a small island in Madagascar (I now have it on my bucket list!) delving into the relationships between the protagonist (an African American academic), her Italian business tycoon husband, and all the local islanders, many of whom work as staff at their large vacation home. There are lovely stories and sad stories intertwined. I loved every character in this book but probably would not want to be friends with any of them! Living in a tropical paradise is not as nice as it would seem.


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The Guide: A novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525657767
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - August 24th, 2021

Jack from The River is back to his home state of Colorado and takes an end of summer job as a flyfishing guide in a tight, secluded canyon above Crested Butte that caters to the ultra rich. Peter Heller is a master storyteller whose pacing captures the readers attention. For the first half of the book I enjoyed the slow pace and intensive descriptions of fly fishing that made me want to grab my rod and head to a trout stream. But in typical Heller fashion, sinister and unexplainable events and hints of the lingering worldwide pandemic keep Jack feeling uneasy. Finally his need to know what is happening in the fishing lodge next door leads to the discovery of shocking international greed and sickening exploitation. Heller speeds up the pace and all hell breaks loose. No more hints here- grab this book and set aside some time for Peter Heller to give you a bumpy ride.


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The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781643750675
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - August 3rd, 2021

The subtitle is Coming of Age in the Somali Desert but could be Coming of Age during the Somali Political Crisis of the early 90s. As the author points out, no Americans knew of the brutality that was occurring because other events--ie. the Iraqi War--was consuming American media. The strong figure is the grandmother who lives a traditional nomad life in the desert following water for her goats and camels. The author lives and learns with her grandmother for years until other forces pull her away. Ultimately, Shugri navigates traumatic situations involving female suppression (the chapter on female genital mutilation is horrendous), family clanship, increasing political instability, and then learning life all over again as an emigrant to Canada. Storytelling was tradition in the desert and this book does not disappoint with mini stories in each chapter. Resilience is the guiding theme and she is an extreme example as she goes from goat and camel herder to a California soccer mom.


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Bodies Are Cool Cover Image
By Tyler Feder, Tyler Feder (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780593112625
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - June 1st, 2021

Every body shape and size and color are acceptable! This is a celebration of all humans and a great way to talk about acceptance of everyone. Every page has an abundance of people with things to notice--it's almost like a Where's Waldo but you are not searching for a quirky guy in a striped shirt but every type of person with a myriad of subtle differences. What a celebration of life! The description inside says it is a joyful body-positivity anthem and that describes it perfectly!


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Braiding Sweetgrass Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781571313560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 1st, 2014

As I plant my garden and walk the dog this spring, I am listening to the audio of this book. It is a deep dive into environmental issues from the perspective of a Native American (Potawatomi Nation) female scientist. The story of bringing an old pond filled with green algae back to a swimmable water hole for her daughters is an analogy for bringing other climate disasters back with diligence and perseverance. My favorite stories from this book include making maple syrup, learning her native tongue, taking her college students out to a reed swamp to study the plants, and the overall need for gratitude in every aspect of our lives.


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Linked Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338629118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - July 20th, 2021

Gordon Korman has done it again, written a timely middle grades book with relevant topics and the best part--it takes place in Colorado. Swastikas are painted throughout the middle school where Link attends. Then more and more appear even as the student body rallies together to learn about the hateful meaning of the symbol and try to unite against the crime. The only Jewish girl in town is the daughter of paleontologists who are digging bones from the local hillside. She and Link create an interesting bond even as the mystery continues. This book would be a good conversation starter about dark parts of our history.


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The Secret Keeper of Jaipur Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780778331858
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mira Books - June 22nd, 2021

In the followup to her first novel The Henna Artist, the author continues the story with the same wonderful characters who draw you in to the hierarchical structures and the royal class of India. This book starts out with a bang-literally! Readers do not need to read the first book in order to fall in love with the characters and their intertwined relationships and secrets held between them. The story takes place in two cities of India-one in the hot interior and one at the foothills of the Himalaya. You can almost taste all of the cuisine and see the carefully planted gardens as the plot thickens.


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My Jasper June Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062836632
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Walden Pond Press - January 12th, 2021

This would be a great book for a family read aloud since it has themes of loss of a family member and homelessness. It truly shows how deep a friendship can form even when you don't know everything about your new friend's background. The ending--albeit predictable--leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling.


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Best Nerds Forever Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780316500241
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Jimmy Patterson - May 3rd, 2021

James Patterson--yes, the one who writes for adults--is now a go-to author for middle grade students and this one won't disappoint. The main character Finn dies in the first chapter and then watches as his nerdy group of friends (lovable misfits) learn to handle life without him. Finn's father had been a number cruncher and knew the statistics for every type of death, thus unfortunately instilling in his son a fear of any risky behavior. But after he's dead, he discovers that he can do all those things he was scared to do (ie jump off a cliff into a deep lake) and that people who are living should have a balance of fear and courage.


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The Painter (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780804170154
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2015

I have read pretty much everything Peter Heller has written but this one sticks out as my favorite. The main character is an artist who loves to fly fish and paint. He just wants to hide away in his Western Slope small town community. But then he witnesses a brutal attack on a horse and his life changes in a moment. I can picture the scenery as he drives the dirt roads around Paonia and then the desert near Santa Fe where he ends up in a life or death chase. Great storytelling and suspense!


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We Could Be Heroes Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781534445260
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - February 23rd, 2021

This is a story about a sweet friendship between unlikely friends who both have challenges in their lives. Then an elderly neighbor's dog becomes their mission. Is the dog being abused? Booler the dog also has health challenges and helps to cement the friendship and then leads them to an adventure for all. Ultimately, who is saving whom?