February 2016 Staff Picks
"Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light." –Vera Nazarian.
February staff picks for those who are shining brightly...
Recommended by Aly: Love Monster gets back from his vacation and finds a box of chocolate waiting on his doorstep. Love Monster LOVES chocolate, but then again, who doesn’t love chocolate? His favorite is Double Chocolate Strawberry Swirl! He thinks about sharing his chocolate with his friends, but then someone might get the chocolate he wants. What will Love Monster do? This cute picture book helps kids learn that sharing is always the best thing to do!
Recommended by Victoria: If you are a fan of Humans of New York (either the book or the Facebook page), then consider this appropriate adaptation for children! It features unaltered pictures of New York City’s tiniest citizens in all their youthful glory – the bright colored outfits, the big grins, the playful expressions! The text underneath each picture creates a cadenced poetry that encourages children to be productive and creative.
Recommended by Chris: This is the best book for any child that has ever had the challenge of getting dressed. It tells how fun it can be to be dressed. Most people would never dress a dragon! I just love the illustrations and the story.
Recommended by Chris: This is the story of the little snowplow and how he trains and proves that he can do the job too. We in Steamboat have SO MUCH SNOW this winter and would love to have this little snowplow come and plow our sidewalks. He could help do the job on the East Coast too. This is a super-cute book!
Recommended by Virgie: This children’s picture book is another “self esteem shot in the arm” for those people dear to us, young and old! The beautiful illustrations and simple words relay the message that every person matters! The last paragraph says it all: “I just can’t imagine a world without you.”
Check out all of Nancy Tillman’s books. They are wonderful.
ecommended by Virgie: Constantly talkative, cheerful Suzy is entering the hard years of middle school, full of peer pressure and cliques. She has lost her best friend, Franny, an expert swimmer who drowned. Suzy becomes a selective mute in an attempt to find order in her own world. She tries to write a new ending to the story of her friendship with Franny; an ending in which she is one of the good guys, not a villain. In this attempt Suzy becomes an expert about jellyfish … a species of survival. This is a painful story, complete with snippets of incredible scientific facts that will knock your socks off!
This novel, a 2015 National Book Award finalist, will appeal to readers grades 5 and up who experience challenges during adolescence, readers who are environmentally conscious, and lovers of scientific facts and mathematical wonders.
Recommended by Aly: Mrs. Frisby is a widowed mouse raising her kids on the outskirts of a human family’s farm. When her son, Timothy, becomes very ill she will go to any lengths to save him. Her determination leads her to the rats of NIMH, a group of escaped lab rats. The rats of NIMH agree to help Mrs. Frisby because her deceased husband helped them escape the lab facility they were trapped in so many years ago.
This tale is wonderfully written with a unique premise that will delight readers of all ages.
Recommended by Chris: Ruta Sepetys is a wonderful historical fiction author for teens. Her newest book, The Salt to the Sea, is the story of four people who are trying to get to the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that will be their salvation from WWII. Each person has their own story about why they are running and how they became refugees. The war is closing in on them from all sides: the Russians from the East, the British and Americans from the West. It’s the depth of winter and they are not the only people on the road to the port. Is there going to be enough room on the ship for everybody?
The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff is a relatively forgotten chapter of WWII history, even though it is considered the worst maritime disaster.
The Salt to the Sea is a very powerful read. I highly recommend it for teens and adults; this would be a great book club read.
Recommended by Aly: This is the third book in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series. The adventure continues as Jacob Portman and Emma Bloom continue to run from the Wights as they try to hatch an unfeasible plan to rescue their friends and beloved Ymbryne, Miss Peregrine. In the midst of this action-packed, supernatural thriller, true friendships that stand the test of time are forged and the power of first love deepens. Join Jacob as he makes a dangerous choice between embracing who he has become and the simple, predictable life he used to have.
Recommended by Jamie: What’s a Veblen? She’s our heroine, as it turns out, and she’s quirky and utterly lovable, a bit of a grown-up version of Star Girl who can communicate with squirrels and speaks Norwegian. Veblen’s life isn’t uncomplicated but she seems to be handling things until she falls in love with Paul. The most memorable aspect of this novel is its hilarious and wonderfully-developed characters, but it’s important to note that the book is also very well-written with a modern and unique style. Plus, squirrels and a typewriter.
Recommended by Emily: I highly recommend you read The Revenant, even if you’ve already seen the film. The Revenant is suspenseful historical fiction that presents the story of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper with Rocky Mountain Fur Company during the 1820s. Glass was mauled by a bear and left for dead by Bridger and Fitzgerald, the two members of the brigade charged to stay with Glass while he inevitably died. Glass survived. Though he was left without his Anstadt rifle or personal belongings, he managed to heal, crawl hundreds of miles, and track down the two who abandoned him on the banks of the Grand River.
Though the acting and cinematography of the movie are impressive, I much prefer the book over the movie adaptation. Punke’s novel provides detail and historical context that the film could not. This frontier story is worth your time.
Recommended by Victoria: An empowering read that encourages readers to make changes in their lives by compartmentalizing their relationships to the world and their “ideal” life. Breaking down our lives and relationships into small segments makes evolving into the person we want to be easier and less daunting. The author abhors the helpless and touts the idea that every person and every action counts.
Recommended by Virgie: Neurologist Oliver Sacks’ luck has run out. Mortality is no longer an abstract concept as he comes face-to-face with death. These uplifting essays are a testimony of how Sacks chose to live during his remaining months.
Sacks writings are inspired by what one can pay attention to when the end is in sight: GRATITUDE says it all! This volume is short enough to read easily in one sitting, but the thoughts have given me a lot to ponder and will stay with me for a long time.
Recommended by Victoria: This is, undoubtedly, a heavy read. Genoways utilizes journalistic tactics and writing styles to delve into the work and history of pork processing, primarily located in Iowa and Minnesota. Some examinations will sincerely make you rethink your relationship to pork without an animal-rights-justice approach. Rather than describing the treatment of animals, Genoways instead appeals to our collective ethos by detailing the foul treatment of factory workers, the illnesses they endure, and the tension generated by these factories employing undocumented workers. A necessary read for anyone who wants to do right by their fellow humans.
Recommended by Shane: This is the memoir of Lindsey Stirling, a talented dancing electronic violinist who became famous via less traditional routes: through social media and her performance on America’s Got Talent. Often when someone is considered a ‘celebrity’ or ‘famous’ the stereotypical assumptions placed upon said person can be negative, but this book proceeded to prove me wrong in my assumptions. The focus of The Only Pirate at the Party is not solely Stirling’s success, but also her hardships in overcoming self-doubt, rejection and the plethora of emotions that go along with that battle. Without giving away the entirety of the book,the most important lesson to learn is that “quick success” is a loose translation of “incredible determination and hard work.”