This is the perfect read for any animal lover, especially anyone interested in elephants. It takes place in a village in Kenya where a young girl secretly witnesses the birth of an elephant (she is not supposed to be with the herd). Then danger prevails with nearby poachers, corrupt rangers, and disgruntled community members. After tragedy strikes, Jama has to make instant decisions that will affect her life forever. Although I cried during parts of the story, the heartwarming conclusion makes it all worth it. This would be a good family or classroom read aloud with short chapters and lots of discussion topics around the fate of endangered animals and conservation efforts in Africa.
This endearing tale will hopefully be enjoyed by young animal lovers everywhere. I can imagine myself loving this book as a youngster because the two intertwining stories appeal to the animal lover and the environmentalist. Maggie has a stutter and therefore struggles at school and with friends. Her father doesn't understand and sends her off to the country to live with a brilliant and eclectic grandfather. Rumpus the snow leopard is unfortunately sold from a department store in London and gets dumped into an unknown countryside. In the English wood, these two characters come together and learn to fight for their survival. Beautifully written, this is perfect for a family or classroom read aloud. It reminds me of Pax or Tiger Rising or even Heidi or Matilda. ENJOY!
Neil deGrasse Tyson's insights help to push the reset button on humanity. If you arrive at this book with the feeling that life on earth is going off the rails, then reading Tyson brings you back around to being happy for awhile. His degrees and background would make you think that his work is difficult to read, but very much to the contrary. He uses data and research and stories to back up his thoughts and, as in previous books, his storytelling is very readable. Tyson views Earth from an alien perspective and his chapters on race and gender were especially eye-opening for me. He widens the lens Earth by thinking how a visiting alien might "see" it.The most
Are the current events surrounding book bans an interesting topic for you? This book about students entering Ms. Sett's 6th grade classroom are worried because she has a reputation in town. The teacher's influence has made the town a "safe" place for all residents by suggesting crazy regulations (ie only white houses, no Halloween, curfews) but none hits home until three kids open their lit circle classic book by Jane Yolen and discover blackened out passages. The current events surrounding book banning come to life in a middle grade book that shows how students can take action and really display how some adult's views of the world are quite ridiculous and need to be questioned.
What a fun ride! This is my first TJR book and I would really recommend it--especially if you have any interest in the world of tennis. Carrie Soto is the GOAT when she retires but then in the next few years her records begin to fall and she feels drawn back to the court. She is one tough cookie known in tennis circles as "The Bi$#!%@" but as the story goes on you see another side of her. Javier (father and coach) is a favorite character who knows the tennis game inside and out. And then comes Bowe--does she let herself fall for him or not? Does she win a few Grand Slams along the comeback trail or not? Have fun with this one!
I haven't loved a Jodi Picoult book in awhile but this is up as one of my favorites. Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan coauthored and found a rhythm in their writing. This story is told in two voices--an 18 year old who's dead at the beginning and the mother of the boy accused of the murder. With typical twists and turns and told in regressing and progressing timelines, I stayed interested throughout. As usual, the research is thorough and current hot button topics are covered (not revealing anything here) but definitely the two main characters have to endure life altering choices when they both land in a small New Hampshire town. And then there's the interspersed beekeeping--an added bonus!
"Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again" --this subtitle says it all. I truly wish this book had stayed on the bestseller list longer to attract more readers because it is that important! As screentime has increased, humans' focus time has decreased and it is not our fault. Hari takes a deep dive into the research and interviews experts all over the world who explain what corporations have done to change our brains. They explore twelve reasons we are all struggling in everyday life situations. Fortunately, the book also explores what we can do to get our focus back--and it does not involve throwing our phones away and moving into a remote cave.
I loved this book! Sylvie arrives in Moonstone (ie Redstone) Colorado around 1907 with her family so her father can work in the marble mine. The cruelty of the mine bosses and owners is apparent on every page. The miners struggle through long, dangerous hours and cold winters in tents while the mine owners live lavishly in the castle at the bottom of the hill. Splendidly written with grand views of local landscapes and relevant topics (unionizing, women's rights, immigration) for today, this book really caught my attention. Manning incorporates historical events as she describes young Sylvie navigating between the two worlds of the haves and have-nots. Enjoy!
This is the best book I have read this year! Geraldine Brooks does not disappoint with her detailed research and deep dive into a true legendary American racehorse. In the 1850s a slave boy was present at Lexington's birth and then "rides along" to follow the horse's fortunes and successes throughout his life. Another storyline takes place in 2019 when an art historian researches a painting found in a roadside trash heap and an anatomist examines Lexington's bones. I was completely intrigued by every character and every thread and how the author brilliantly weaves these together.
There is another national problem with drugs that is not opioid addiction. This category of drug is prescribed by a physician and then therefore seems more trustworthy. However, big pharma again has pulled the wool over the public. In this well written memoir (she's a writer by trade) this new mom with extreme insomnia finds out the hard way with a dependency on Benzodiazephine medicines. She experiences damage to all parts of her body and her life. Heart wrenching and relevant, this book will grab your attention and keep it.
This is the best book I've read in a while. If you like historical fiction, the Northern NM and Colorado settings as seen through many generations, both indigenous and immigrant, is interesting. Denver, Colorado in the 1930s was a hardscrabble place if you didn't fit the right profile. If you like strong characters you will fall in love with all of them, especially the women. "Little Light" radiates just as her name does. And finally--the language! This author commands respect with her beautiful descriptions of vast landscapes and urban desperation.
Picture this--two people engaged in modern day London both with lots of baggage. They are both doctors completing their internships and marvelously in love. However, they come from different cultures and different parental expectations and everything keeps getting in the way. This book kept me reading just because I wanted to know if ultimately they would marry or if it would all fall apart (no hints here!) This is a character driven novel with more substance than a rom-com but not too heavy either--a just right pick!
If you have landed in the Vail Valley in the last 40 years with the intention to be a ski bum or at least get more ski days, then this book is perfect for you. Buy this book for your favorite skier! The author takes a year to travel throughout the ski industry (including our beloved Eagle County) to answer the question is it still possible to live the ski bum lifestyle? Her research dives into every important topic - housing shortages, low wages, gender inequalities, mental health problems, alcohol abuse, wealth disparity, and impending climate changes that will affect skiing. Every chapter had something I could relate to as she travels throughout CO, WY, MT, and NM. The book was also interspersed with descriptions of hidden powder stashes and ideal runs that got me thinking about the upcoming season! Are my skis tuned yet?
This novel was eye opening for me and unfortunately very relevant to current events related to Roe V. Wade. This is based on true events in the 60s and 70s when the US government paid for, justified, and performed sterilizations on young poor and black girls. They justified birth control that was not yet approved. Civil, a newly graduated nurse, takes a job in a family outreach center hoping to help local families. Instead she is swept into the controversial procedures in a way that takes over her life in unexpected ways. This is a very well written historical novel.
This is the ultimate rom-com for book lovers just as the title says. Nora Stephens is a cut throat literary agent who you are not supposed to like but she is quite endearing despite her grizzly personality. The city girl and her sister take a month off to spend time together and relax in small town North Carolina. All the predictable twists and turns start as soon as their plane hits the runway as they enthusiastically pursue their vacation checklist--petting horses, sleeping in a tent, and yes, dating the local men! This was not my typical read but I ended up really enjoying it! I might even peruse Emily Henry's other titles now. . .
Attention all kindergarten and first grade teachers (and parents)! This is it! If you loved Magic Tree House and need a new idea this is it!! If you want a first read together series this is it! The bonus is that the characters are curious and compassionate about animals. They collaborate to solve environmental issues. In this first in the series, a magic sailboat travels to Hawaii. What a great way to incorporate geography discussions. Then at the end are fact pages to enhance the learning. So much fun (from a former teacher)!
This memoir written by a PhD of philosophy who happens to also have a severe disability explores society's vision of beauty. I found myself shocked by some of the microaggressions and outright blatant criticisms ("why were you even born?") but then in the next chapter overwhelming compassion. Her dissertation explores art deeply so she travels the world asking what is beauty--from statues in Italy to the Killing Fields in Cambodia and even a Beyonce concert! Why are people drawn to different places? She searches for a delicate balance between wanting to blend in but then wanting to stand out. I hope the honesty and compassion in this book rubs off on me.
This book spoke to me and is easily relatable for anyone with teenagers who are soon to leave or have left the nest recently. I felt like it was a "Letting Go" book for anxious parents in this life stage. She addresses illness and loss and the fear of disaster around any bend in each of the essays. This could be read all in one sitting or in pieces as you have time. I found this memoir very inspiring as it explores love and joy and how life can be even when there are unannounced roadblocks in the path of life.
This is a sequel to The Golden Arrow but there's no need to read that one. Tom and Kate hop on the magical train again to find their missing uncle and save some endangered animals along the journey. However, real life gets in the way. Kate tries out for the middle school play and meets a boy who has been homeschooled all his life. Is he a friend? an enemy? Should she defend him from bullies or join in? This book continues the climate and environmental themes in a gentle format--informative fiction. It would be fun to Google all the geographical regions and unusual animals mentioned in the book--a great classroom read aloud or family bedtime read.
Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant chemist in 1960s California so unfortunately she deals with inequality, prejudice and sexism daily. She deals with these realities using persistence and wit and thus becomes one of my favorite characters I have read in a long time. As her life in research fizzles out, she reluctantly turns to TV. Her afternoon cooking show is actually a pep talk for women who are stuck in their homes doing laundry, raising kids, and cooking dinner, denied their desires to follow dreams. Besides Elizabeth Zott, I fell in love with the fabulous side characters--Mad, Harriet, and the smart dog named SixThirty.
This was a delightful book where I loved all the characters, but especially the Pacific Octopus named Marcellus. He narrates sections of the book and definitely lives up to the "intelligent" definition of "bright" from the title. But he's not the only character you will love! Tova is struggling with her life at 70 and living in the Pacific Northwest house her father built with constant reminders of her dead son and husband. She is oblivious to the Scottish shop owner who has a crush on her. Then Cameron appears! He is so frustrating as a 30 year old who gets fired from every job but eventually adds so much to the story. This is a great debut novel that's fun to read!
This is an epistolary -- an entire book written in letters in the 1960s. If you love anything Julia Child/cooking you will enjoy this book. But many other themes are thrown in -- women's role in society, enduring effects of war, interracial relationships, female friendships, and the birth of food cultures in the Northwest and Southern California. Many letters made me laugh. Every letter made my mouth water with wonderful descriptions of food and wine pairings. YUM!
This is Brene Brown's best book yet! However, before diving in make sure you know who Brene Brown is..watch some TEDTalks or listen to her podcast. Her extraordinary ability to describe in detail the current research on emotions and feelings can be topped by no one else. The layout of the book is beautiful like a coffee table book but the content is deep and meaningful. It is not a self help book that gives you directions on how to fix something but it is a self discovery book that gives examples and stories that lead to "Oh I feel that too!" 87 emotions explained--there is a lot in this book but it can be swallowed in small bites.
Little hints and little secrets are revealed throughout the book which moves the book along just as Joel moves along the river away from his small hometown in Kentucky. Joel disappears on page one and the whole book is about his best friend A who knows a little too much about his sixth grade year where he has been bullied. A struggles with how much to reveal to the authorities when no one seems to really care. A also struggles with personal concerns and lies and inconsistencies. These lovable nerds are navigating a changing world that needs to give them more support and compassion.
A very small class of 7th graders in small town Fawn Creek, Louisiana have grown up together since kindergarten and in typical middle school fashion have formed cliches that are not always nice to each other. Then enter Orchid Mason, an out of towner new girl who raves about living all over the world. She stirs up the class by being nice to everyone. She sees the good and spreads kindness even when parts of her life remain a mystery. If you have read Erin Entrada Kelly's other books, you will love this one even more. I like how it is told from each kid's perspective.
Eleanor Bennett dies before revealing many secrets of her life. She leaves a recording for her two adult children Benny and Byron who have not gotten along in years. From her upbringing on a beautiful shore in the West Indies to her daring escape and life transformations thereafter, this book jumps back and forth in time each leap reveals a little bit more. It's a layering effect that keeps the reader reading and guessing. The two siblings--will they put aside their grudges and past history in order to understand the new family history that is revealed?
Do you ever dream about a dinner at a restaurant that has such a high demand for reservations that you have to send a postcard and then only have about a 50% chance of getting in? This memoir tells the story of a girl who grows up in rural Maine working at her father's diner. She falls in love with food but then unfortunately falls in love with an abusive man and prescription drugs and alcohol. She hits bottom and then climbs out and becomes the owner of an international food destination in Freedom, Maine. The food descriptions are beautiful and piques my appetite and yes--I'm sending in my postcard this year!
Devastating and riveting and absolutely mind-boggling all at once because the storyline is happening every single day just south of us. The story chronicles a middle class woman and son who get caught up in the cartels and have to escape from their Acapulco home. The unrelenting violence is real but so is the love and compassion. Lydia and Luca and Soledad and Rebeca and all the others face daily challenges but ultimately make it to el norte. This is an important read for EVERY person in the US and will stay with you in your thoughts for a long time.
I have skipped a few of Allende's recent titles but this was the perfect one to jump back in and enjoy her writing. This acts as a memoir as it is written as a letter to her grandson and it covers 100 years of history spanning South and North America (1920-2020). Violeta is a strong, smart woman who endures political upheaval, financial ruin, disappointing men, and pandemics but also thrives in powerful loves, childrearing and eventually activism and support of other women. This is a very satisfying read.
She's done it again--Marie Benedict has found a strong woman in history who deserves a lot of credit. Dr. Rosalind Franklin is a powerhouse in scientific research back when there was a race to be the first to describe the structure of DNA. She was misunderstood by her family and male colleagues. She was undermined by the men who went on and got the Nobel Prize. But Marie Benedict has done her exhaustive research again and gives us another amazing account of an important historical figure. I recommend all of her books, not just this one!
I am still thinking about this novel even long after reading it. This haunting tale relates how a climate scientist quietly and secretly prepares her summer house as a safehaven for her child and three others to survive the inevitable disasters on earth. The impending doom is subtle but also hinted at in every sentence. The four survivors are well prepared with resources and skills, but understandably experience depression and melancholy. The author writes a love story to Mother Earth with exquisite observation of every patch of nature around the high house.
Wow! What a fun ride! From page one the reader knows a Stradivarius has been stolen. Every page gives more insight about the instrument and its owner Ray. You will grow to love Ray and truly hope his violin is returned. He goes through struggle upon struggle as a young black kid from the South who just wants to play classical music and who happens to be extremely talented. If you love music, if you love underdog stories, or if you just love page turners, this book is for you!
If you like a book that gives you insight into every person in a small US town-their struggles in mental health, cancer recovery, loneliness, etc. But it is not depressing. As the title says, hope thrives in the community and in celebrating small moments of gratitude and connection families unite, begin, or continue. A little hope goes a long way. . .
What a nice story about friendship. Two ten year olds living in Southern California in the 80's have a summer to remember. Bug is used to daily beach trips with her older brother--but not this summer! There's a new friend upstairs to get to know--and he has a secret! There are scary skinheads down the block and a serial killer in the area. Bug learns that housemates are important family even with their interesting quirks and backgrounds. Heartwarming describes this book!
Everyone should read this book! This is perfect for book clubs--so much to discuss! This book relates to current news but has much more. Two best friends, one black and one white, are navigating adulthood (fertility difficulties, climbing the ladder in a newsroom, etc) when a black boy is shot by Jenny's cop husband. Ry is assigned to cover the murder on the news. Will their lifelong friendship survive this? Will they build a deeper understanding of each other? With alternating chapters from each woman's perspective, I could not put this book down.
When I was in kindergarten I saw Jane Goodall's iconic film of interacting with a chimp and she's been my hero ever since. If you have been feeling frustrated or overwhelmed lately, this book will help you get out of a slump. Jane travels the world with stories of hope and collects more as she goes. Now approaching 90, she stops long enough to have a conversation with Abrams. This book is a comforting dialogue that dives deeply into the meaning of hope and why we can still be hopeful even with the climate crisis and pandemic as our current events. She made me hopeful again!
If you loved some of DiCamillo's earlier books like Tale of Despereaux, then this one is for you! She creates a heartwarming story that will make your heart happy--and fall in love with a goat named Answelica. Follow the tale of a girl who has no memory of her past from a monastery to the king's castle. As usual, DiCamillo uses great vocabulary throughout. The illustrations are beautiful. Enjoy!
The main characters-an autistic boy and his college professor father-are grieving the death of the mom/wife. The boy is a very endearing character who you will love more and more as the book goes on. But unfortunately he is ultra sensitive to the suffering of animals on earth. Many current social, political, and environmental issues of the times are presented in underlying layers. I loved the descriptions of possible life on other planets and the wildlife struggling to survive right here on our planet.
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This is a good book club option since everyone will come with different background experiences about schizophrenia. A thoroughly researched expose into a family of 12 children where 6 were diagnosed with schizophrenia takes place mostly in Colorado. This was chosen by Oprah and hopefully will help to destigmatize mental health issues.
This memoir written by a playwright tells of her ten year journey with Bell's palsy. She explores how humans crave symmetry and when it is not apparent on a face, how interactions are then disrupted. Her search for a cure is long and winding and she finally realizes that recovery may be different than she originally thought. She worries about her children's growth-if a mom can't smile, do they still see her joy? This is well-written and brought up so many issues exploring our society's emphasis on outward appearances.
This book is a beautifully illustrated and goes straight to the heart. Zubi starts school and throughout the day gets mixed messages about her body and goes home to discuss her questions with a very understanding family who sees and corrects their own body imaging views. This is a body positive, heartwarming, strong family children's book.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?