September 2016 Staff Picks

"The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading." ~David Bailey

Books to grow in knowledge in this month's staff picks.

Books: 
Staff Pick Logo
Return Cover Image
By Aaron Becker, Aaron Becker (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780763677305
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 2nd, 2016

Return is the third book by Caldecott Award-winning author/illustrator Aaron Beck. This one tells the story of a young girl who wants to go on an adventure with her father, but he always seems too busy. This is the girl’s third trip into the fantasy world of kings and castles. Can the father find his daughter and persuade her to return?

This book, like Aaron’s previous two titles (Journey, 2013 and Quest, 2014), is beautifully illustrated with no words. This book can be “read” many times, each time with a different story. With each turn of the page, there are so many things to talk about, making this book fun for many ages.

-Recommended by Chris


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Lion Lessons Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803739086
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - July 5th, 2016

So, what do you do when you don’t want to be a little boy anymore and you want to be a lion? Well...you take Lion Lessons from a professional lion! There are seven steps to being a lion and you must pass each one. This is a great book for teaching kids about setting goals and seeing them through to the end.

-Recommended by Chris  


Staff Pick Logo
The Forgetful Knight Cover Image
By Michelle Robinson, Fred Blunt (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780803740679
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - July 5th, 2016

The Forgetful Knight is a fun and mixed-up story about a knight who tells his tale but can’t remember where the story is going. He says one thing and really means another. He thinks he is on a quest to prove himself as a knight by fighting a dragon who ate his friend? This is wonderfully fun, zany story to read aloud.

-Recommended by Chris


Staff Pick Logo
Good Night, Baddies Cover Image
By Deborah Underwood, Juli Kangas (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481409841
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beach Lane Books - May 17th, 2016

What do the villains - “baddies” - of fairy tales do when the day is over and it’s time to go to bed? Underneath all their bad exteriors, these creatures have soft hearts. They go home and do the same things that others do to get ready for bed…eat dinner with their friends and brush their teeth! The illustrations are delightful and the rhymes are so much fun to read.

-Recommended by Chris


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Leave Me Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781616206178
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - September 6th, 2016

This book is for every mother who is strapped with children, responsibilities, work outside the home, those women who have the “secret urge” to just leave ...this novel is for you! Maribeth, who has “forever” taken care of everyone else, finds herself needing to be taken care of after an emergency heart bypass surgery. While in the hospital, Maribeth enjoys her familiar fantasy; a prolonged hospital stay, where she is nurtured every minute. Once home, Maribeth realizes the only way she can care for herself is to run away from her home, her family. Do not dismay; this book has a powerful ending. Somehow, everything works out for the best!

-Recommended by Virgie


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The Woman in Cabin 10 Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501132933
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - July 19th, 2016

If you liked In a Dark, Dark Wood you will love Ruth Ware’s next novel, The Woman in Cabin 10. Travel writer Lo boards a new cruise ship to write an article about the impeccable new ship. But the cruise goes wrong. Lo is paranoid after hearing screams and a body being thrown overboard in the middle of the night. None of the crew seem to believe Lo, and no one is missing from the ship. But Lo knows what she heard, and the reader is left wondering if it is all in her head.

I read this book in 3 days. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and twists surprisingly at the end. This book is more than just a suspense thriller though; it is also a book about the strength of women who work together, and the importance of trusting one’s self.

-Recommended by Ella


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Commonwealth Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062491794
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 13th, 2016

Blended families have become more prominent in our culture. Regardless of the circumstances - often death or divorce - it can be challenging for all involved: step parents, custodial parents, step siblings, all join together and in the process, redefine the concept of family.

Commonwealth is a novel about two families whose fates are set into motion one afternoon at a Christening party in LA. Patchett cleverly positions the 6 step-siblings at the center of this domestic drama, revealing secrets and tragedies over the span of five decades. As this character-driven story explores the relationships between members of a complicated blended family, there is some hope to be found. I loved this book. It gave me food for thought!

-Recommended by Virgie


Staff Pick Logo
A House Without Windows Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062449689
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - August 16th, 2016

This is the story of Zeba, an Afghan woman, a young wife and mother, who is accused and jailed for killing her husband. Zeba awaits her trial in the Chil Mahtab prison for Afghan women, where she forms a unique friendship with other women awaiting their own trials. Yusuf, a young American lawyer returns to his birthplace in Afghanistan, working for an international human rights organization. His first defense case is Zeba’s alleged crime. Zeba refuses to recount what happened in her backyard, understanding that the truth would be of little benefit in a culture that deems a woman’s testimony worth only a fraction of a man’s. This is an unforgettable portrayal of what modern women, bound by the traditional culture of Afghanistan, face. The story is powerful, riveting, emotional and an excellent read!

-Recommended by Virgie


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The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780871407139
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - May 3rd, 2016

This book is written by an excellent journalist who reported in Syria between 2011-2013, at the beginning of the civil war. This is an important and wise book, albeit sad and full of atrocity. Giovanni describes the origins of disintegration as people shifted from recognizing themselves as ‘Syrians’ to identifying themselves by religious sects. “We used to all be Syrians,” many interviewees lament in this book. Giovanni describes her encounters with Syrians and other journalists, and weaves a profound narrative of the strange beginning of this now totally out of control war.

-Recommended by Ella


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The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory in an American City Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501104251
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner Book Company - April 5th, 2016

This book comes close to an anthropological examination of a border town, Brownsville, Texas and a horrifying crime that took place there when a couple murdered their 3 young children. Laura Tillman looks closely at the crime and the socioeconomic circumstances of the place and the couple who committed the murder. Brownsville is one of the most impoverished towns in America. When I was reading this book, it opened my mind to an entirely new level of misery I never knew was possible. I recommend this book because I think that it’s important to be able to comprehend this level of poverty and desperation, in order to cultivate compassion and work toward change.

-Recommended by Ella


Staff Pick Logo
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781451659177
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 7th, 2016

The Oregon Trail is an adventure travel memoir interspersed with history about different aspects of the legendary 2,000 mile-long route across America’s plains and Rockies toward the Pacific Northwest. Buck travels along the trail (some parts paved over with industry, others still rutted) with his younger brother, Nick, in a covered wagon pulled by 3 distinctively characterized mules. As they progress west, Buck summarizes varying historical aspects of the trail, including stories of successes and failures, risks and safeties, and the ever-changing nature of the trail itself. Buck and Nick are wildly interesting people with a phenomenal story to tell.

-Recommended by Victoria