Nocturnal November Staff Picks

Knock yourself out or stay up all night with these nocturnal November staff picks.

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The Winners: A Novel (Beartown Series) By Fredrik Backman Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781982112790
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - September 27th, 2022

I just finished this 700-page monster of a book, the third book of the saga, Beartown. It’s about two rural, rival hockey towns that endure tragedy and scandal, yet somehow both communities become the winners!  It’s because of books like this that I love to read! It makes me think, and makes me a better person! 

Although The Winners can be read alone, I strongly suggest you read the first two books of the trilogy, Beartown and Them vs Us to be able to enjoy the rich character connection. These characters have become “my people.” This story could be my town, could be many towns. It’s believable, incredibly tragic, yet hopeful, all in one story! Where you are born and who you become is a cruel lottery, yet in a crisis, you find out who you really are, and this, my fellow readers, is life itself!

-Virgie

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Our Missing Hearts: A Novel By Celeste Ng Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780593492543
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - October 4th, 2022

Author Celeste Ng conveys that the pandemic brought a sharp increase in anti-Asian discrimination. As an Asian-American, Ng has encountered this in her own life, and created this dystopian novel, inspired from her own life experiences, both past and present. It centers around the long US history of removing children from their homes as a means of political control. Bird Gardner is the 12-year-old son of an Asian mother. She is a local poet, tied to an insurrection detailing the removal of Asian children from their homes, in order to preserve the American culture. The story is mesmerizing, one of those “can’t put down until finished” kind of reads. She writes about a timely issue, that we should all be aware of; fearing and discriminating what we don’t know! I loved this story!

-Virgie

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We Spread By Iain Reid Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781982169350
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - September 27th, 2022

Whether you or a loved one find yourselves in the latter part of the  “Golden Years” requiring more care, this novel will help you understand the confusion that often accompanies these last years of life. Penny lives in a small home for the elderly which provides assisted living and memory care. As she narrates the story, you can feel her fear, panic, confusion, and anger. Why am I here? Who put me here? Where are all my things? This is definitely not a cheerful, upbeat read, but one that is important in order to understand with compassion. I only wish I had read this when I put my own mother in an assisted living facility! It would have given me a good perspective! 

-Virgie

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We Are the Light: A Novel By Matthew Quick Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668005422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - November 1st, 2022

Is there an alternate way to express righteous rage after a tragedy? Are there better ways to heal than being angry? What does it take to repair a soul? Author Matthew Quick offers deep thoughts to ponder, in his fictionalized story.

Lucas, a high school counselor, lost his wife and 17 friends at a theater shooting. Instead of shunning the brother of the dead shooter, Lucas is determined to help him navigate a senior project; a feature-length monster movie, to premiere at the same theater of the shooting. Furthermore, Lucas asks the survivors to star in the monster movie that killed all of their loved ones. Could this possibly be a way to heal? Wow! What a story with so many layers of thoughts to consider! One could almost feel these damaged souls wrap around each other!

-Virgie

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Gilded Mountain: A Novel By Kate Manning Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982160944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - November 1st, 2022

During the early 1900’s there were more injuries and deaths in the Colorado mines and quarries than in any other place in the world. This historical fiction is one such story about the Moonstone Mine, exposing the hardships and injustices the miners and their families endured. The story is told by Sylvie, a 17-year-old miner’s daughter, who is an outspoken, passionate rebel. She becomes privy to the inner circle of the Padgett family, owners of Moonstone Mine, and observes the disparity between the haves and have-nots in her town. Sylvie wanders amidst the rule to strike lines, with fire and determination for justice. It’s painfully interesting to glimpse into this world, in which the right to strike is so necessary, in spite of roadblocks and danger, yet has paved the way for the good of the future, the justice for workers, right here in Colorado!

-Virgie

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The Lindbergh Nanny: A Novel By Mariah Fredericks Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250827401
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - November 15th, 2022

Although I was not yet alive in 1932, when toddler Charlie, son of aviator hero, Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was kidnapped and later found dead, I’ve heard the story many times. It was an international headline for several years and is still talked about today. This highly researched historical fiction enables readers to glimpse into the odd Lindbergh household to see for themselves how this tragic story plays out through the eyes of Betty Gow, the child’s nanny. 

The novel explores the culture of the 30s; the disparity and judgment between the haves and have-nots. What was it like to live the life of a hero? What was it like to live with and work FOR a hero? Quite an interesting read!

-Virgie

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The Last Chairlift By John Irving Cover Image
$38.00
ISBN: 9781501189272
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 18th, 2022

John Irving turns 80 this year and has said The Last Chairlift will be his last long novel.  He may have saved the best for last.  This book is fantastic.  In it, Irving explores the same themes he’s explored in his earlier work – fatherlessness, wrestling, New Hampshire, private schools, sexuality, small stature, the marginalized – but with a new lens so it all seems fresh and compelling.  Also like his previous work, Irving confronts tragedy head-on.  By plumbing the extreme lows of tragedy and other challenges, a light shines on the importance and power of love.  The Last Chairlift is an 889-page love story.

-Mike

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The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) By Donna Tartt Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780316055444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - April 7th, 2015

The Goldfinch is a unique and moving coming-of-age story that I think everyone should read. The book (far superior to the film) follows the strange and bewildering life of a young man named Theo. His journey is an extraordinary tale in the wake of tragedy. In a desperate moment of fear and confusion, he makes a choice that is the catalyst for the rest of the narrative. Through moments of change, rebellion, despair, survival, and hope, we watch Theo learn and grow, becoming hardened and yet soft. I reread this book every time I need a reminder of what makes life special and yet banal, fleeting and yet infinite, ordinary yet extraordinary. 

Donna Tartt has the ability to articulate the quiet nuanced moments of everyday life that shape our reality while creating a story that was so astounding and engaging you could hardly put the book down. 

The trials of Theo’s life; specifically the heart-wrenching moments made me reflect on my own journey so far. The book often felt like Tartt was holding a mirror up to my own life and past experiences. Her stark portrayal of mortality and the fragility of the realities we shape was poignant and powerful. Being a child of a single mother made this book especially enjoyable for me because some of my own experiences had been translated into this stunning work of fiction. 

-Gretchen

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The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice By Todd Henry Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781591846246
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Portfolio - August 27th, 2013

Speaking as an authority in the field of incomplete, unfinished, never started or merely-dreamed projects, I wish I had read this book years ago near it's publication. Accidental Creative, while framed in more of a business-minded side of creativity, tackles the essential problems of the creative process as it meshes (or refuses to) with today's market. To keep it simple, and to the point, much like Henry's writing; this book did not change my life, it simply helped me identify where I get stuck as a creative. In doing so, helped me change my own life. The author gets it, and strips away all of the fluff to tackle the problems addressed in this book at their core. 

-Ryan

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The Journey: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon By James Norbury Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9781647229733
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mandala Publishing - October 25th, 2022

I find it difficult to describe this beautiful, food-for-the-soul story by using anything but superlatives! Reading the simple conversation between the big panda and the tiny dragon instilled in me a sense of peace and calm. It’s the quiet, gentle voice of the story that exudes the wisdom of weathering life’s storms. The exquisite illustrations complement this alluring story, and promote it as shelf-worthy! 

If you enjoyed The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse, then I’m certain you’ll want this inspiring book for your own shelf, and give a few more as gifts! 

-Virgie

 


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Uncultured: A Memoir By Daniella Mestyanek Young Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250280114
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - September 20th, 2022

This memoir about a child growing up in a cult is disturbing, yet mesmerizing. Danielle was raised in The Children of God commune, a group that trafficked, exploited, and abused its children in the name of God. The group traveled from Brazil to Mexico and finally to the United States, where Danielle escaped her commune, her family. She entered this new culture in the U.S. as a shattered teen who looked normal on the outside but was broken on the inside. Growing up under Bible verses, sexual punishments, and constant preparation for the Apocalypse, she knew nothing of the real world and had little trust in anyone. Yet, against all odds, Danielle survived and wrote this memoir. Her story is tragic, courageous, and unbelievable. It’s difficult to imagine how anyone in this situation could survive! 

-Virgie

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Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most By Cassie Holmes Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781982148805
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - September 6th, 2022

This is your life! How are you really living it, or do you plod through each day, only to have a do-over the next day? Are you even aware of how you spend your time?

If your life needs a boost, or a re-set, I’d suggest that you take a look at this non-fiction selection. The extensive research provides analytical, yet practical ways to track your time, change habits, and pay attention to how you navigate each day. 

I often find self-help books “cheesy” but this one really hit home with me! Maybe it will help you as well!

-Virgie

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Dark Matter: A Novel By Blake Crouch Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781101904244
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - May 2nd, 2017

A compelling journey through the multiverse told at a breakneck pace, Dark Matter is an expedition into the human burden of living with the toll of irreversible decisions. Jason, a quantum physicist is living a complacent life of mediocrity with his wife and son as a professor at a local college in Chicago, when one day, he is kidnapped by an unknown assailant, injected with a mind-numbing drug, and thrust into an alternate reality. A reality wherein he pursued academia instead of the love of his life. A reality wherein he cracked the secret to interdimensional travel. Desperate, disoriented, and hopeless, Jason soon discovers that interdimensional travel isn’t as straightforward as he thought and that getting back to his reality will push his mind and body to the limits of its capacities. Thrilling until the very end, Dark Matter is ultimately a gritty, dimension-hopping, drug-injecting love story that will leave you wondering if you are living the best version of your life. 

-Bryce  

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The Golden Enclaves: A Novel (The Scholomance #3) By Naomi Novik Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593158357
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - September 27th, 2022

I love to introduce this series by saying “It’s kind of like Hogwarts if the school was trying to kill all the children inside it. Also, the lead character is fully capable of mass magical murder.” 

Novik’s conclusion to the Scholomance trilogy is full of the same kind of gritty, determined, survivalist writing that drew me to the series in the first place. Our main girl El is still reeling from the shock of surviving the Scholomance - relatively unscathed, even - but without her other half, Orion, by her side. The truth about what really happened in the Scholomance goes deeper and darker than even El can imagine, and the repercussions of decisions made long ago continue to tear the magical world apart. 

Is El really the monster of destruction foretold to bring down wizardkind as we know it? Or is she the only thing that can save them from themselves? 

-Megan

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The Heart Principle By Helen Hoang Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780451490841
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - August 31st, 2021

I deeply love Hoang’s series of neurodivergent romances, and The Heart Principle was not a disappointment! 

Anna Sun is a talented violinist, but lately, she’s found herself trapped in a never-ending perfectionism spiral where she can’t finish a single song without restarting it - over and over and over again. When her therapist suggests that perhaps Anna needs to start being more honest with herself and the people close to her to break out of her spiral (which Anna thinks is a terrible idea), Anna decides instead to try out this whole honesty thing on a one-night-stand instead. Quan is the last person you’d think she’d date based on his outward appearance, all tattoos and leather jackets, but it turns out the two are more suited than they thought. After a life-changing diagnosis, Anna will have to decide if she’d rather continue living with a mask to please her family, or if she can be brave enough to live her life authentically - with Quan at her side. 

-Megan

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The Love Hypothesis By Ali Hazelwood Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593336823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - September 14th, 2021

Olive Smith may have just made a huge mistake. 

All she was trying to do was convince her best friend and fellow Ph.D. candidate, Anh, that she was really and truly over her ex-boyfriend. Unfortunately for Olive, her way of proving that fact was panic-kissing the biggest asshole in their department - Professor Adam Carlsen. 

For reasons mysterious to Olive, Adam seems amused by her predicament and agrees to be her fake boyfriend to keep the charade up for Anh. But as the weeks of pretending drag on, it seems more and more obvious that Olive and Adam really have something. A cruel colleague and a disastrous run-in at a scientific conference threaten to derail everything for Adam and Olive unless Olive has the courage to speak up for herself. I loved reading a fun romance set in the STEM field! 

-Megan

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Before I Do By Sophie Cousens Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593539873
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - October 11th, 2022

This fun, witty romance goes beyond a simple easy romcom (though it is that as well!). ‘Before I Do’ follows Audrey: a slightly chaotic, indecisive heroine on the eve of her wedding to a very stable and down-to-earth Josh. After a few mishaps, and a long-lost “what if” ex-boyfriend shows up to the rehearsal dinner, Audrey is seriously second-guessing her life choices. I thought this book to be a classic romance, but then the story delved into some deeper layers. Conversations about difficult mother-daughter relationships, musings about fate versus the power you have over your own life choices, and the importance of learning from your mistakes all weave together with this humorous love story to create a thoroughly enjoyable fall season read! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to curl up under a blanket and spend an afternoon enjoying a fabulously written book. 

-Annali

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The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún Deluxe Edition I (Vol. 1-3 Hardcover Omnibus) By Nagabe Cover Image
By Nagabe
$42.99
ISBN: 9781638581901
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Seven Seas - August 2nd, 2022

This book is a perfect combo of spooky, cottage-core, and fantasy! The art style is gorgeous and the haunting storyline makes for a cozy read on rainy days. 

A heartbreakingly beautiful tale of a human girl named Shiva being raised by a cursed monster she calls Teacher. They spend their days gathering supplies from nearby abandoned villages, having tea parties, and baking pies in their quaint woodland cabin. Not everything is quite so happy, however. The child can’t touch her caretaker lest she be ‘cursed’ to become like him and Teacher begins to realize that the whole world is against their little family. He will do anything to protect Shiva from those who would harm her and from the curse that he and others of his kind carry. Follow along as these two loveable characters face countless trials and form an unbreakable bond that may prove to doom or to save the realm.

-Isabella

 


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Greywaren (The Dreamer Trilogy #3) By Maggie Stiefvater Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781338188394
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - October 18th, 2022

This stunning conclusion to the Dreamer trilogy pulls no punches - and what else should you expect from a series centering on Ronan Lynch, a pugnacious dreamer of impossible dreams? 

All over the world, dreamed objects, animals, and people have mysteriously stopped working due to a severed ley line. Former Moderator Carmen Farooq-Lane, her enigmatic Visionary Liliana, and chaotic dreamer Henessey suspect that they may not have saved the world after all. Ronan is trapped in a strange in-between world from which he may or may not awake - and does he even want to? Ronan’s brother Declan is trying desperately to hold his world together, which these days means doing everything he can to get his dreamed brother Matthew awake enough to finish high school. 

All parties involved will need to question what they thought they knew if they want to keep the world from dissolving under unquenchable fire. 

-Megan

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) By Suzanne Collins Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781338635171
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - May 19th, 2020

This book is amazing! The book follows young Cornelius Snow in the Capital as they try to rebuild after the revolution. This story shows a behind-the-scenes look at how the Hunger Games progressed over the years. You also learn why Snow has such a predisposed disliking for District 12. The answer to this question lies in the character Lucy Gray. She is my favorite and I will be dressing up as her for Halloween. Is a must-read for all Hunger Games fans!

-Eva 

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Heartless By Marissa Meyer Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781250148186
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - May 1st, 2018

A mix of magic, romance, plot and fairytales this book has it all! The story takes place in Hearts, a kingdom that seems to be inhabited by characters from the classic story Alice in Wonderland. In case you are wondering, Chesire does make an appearance although you can’t always see all of him. This hooked me from the beginning. The main character is Catherine. Born from a noble family she has dreams to open a bakery much to her parents distaste. Her world is thrown upside down when she meets Jest. A mysterious court jester proficient in card tricks, singing and stealing hearts. This is a stand alone story that had me sobbing at the ending. Happy reading!

-Eva 

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Serpent & Dove By Shelby Mahurin Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062878038
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - August 4th, 2020

I haven’t read that many books with witches in them and this one did a great job incorporating them. The plot is fairly simple but the dialogue is awesome. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters, especially the main character Louise. She is a rebellious soul who will speak her mind no matter who is around. Her spirit changes the people around her.  I really enjoyed how the author showed the change in the characters throughout the book. The main theme of the book is to not judge or dislike someone because of their background. We are all people and deserve to be treated like people. I am currently reading the next book Blood and Honey where the characters' journey continues with new threats to overcome.

-Eva

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Fantastic Mr. Fox By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780142410349
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - August 16th, 2007

This is one of my favorite childhood classics! Mr. Fox is brave and daring–Every night he steals dinner for his wife and children from one of the three nasty farmers near his burrow. He takes bigger and bigger risks, until one day, the farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean decide they have had enough! They plan to end Mr. Fox once and for all… Fox and his underground friends must unite to defeat the horrible farmers, and provide food for everyone!
I have the fondest memories of my dad reading this book to me as a child. With daring adventures, quirky characters, and fantastic illustrations, this is a perfect read-aloud book for the family to enjoy. 

-Annali 

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon By Grace Lin Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780316038638
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 12th, 2011

Mystical, mythological, and ultimately heartwarming, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is the perfect mix of thrilling adventure, danger, and friendship. Set in a world based on Chinese mythology, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon will delight any short-story lover while also delighting everyone else in between. Minli, a young girl, goes on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon after being told by a goldfish that he will answer any question. Throughout the course of her journey, Minli meets an enchanting cast of characters (a dragon who can’t fly, an evil green tiger, and an emperor who masquerades as a beggar, just to name a few) who share fables with her that help her along her journey and add to the whimsy of the world Grace Lin created. I have read this book many times, and every single time, I love it even more. 

*This book can be read separately from the rest of the series.*

-Bryce 

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Starry River of the Sky By Grace Lin Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780316125970
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - February 11th, 2014

Written in the same style (and likely world) as Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry River of the Sky follows the story of Rendi, a young boy who ran away from his family and finds work in an inn falling into disrepair in a desolate part of the country. Though slightly less fantastical and a little more mature than Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry River of the Sky still has that flair of short-story telling and spice of Chinese folklore. As always, an eclectic cast adorns the book (a boy who turned into a frog who swallowed the moon, an equal-parts beautiful and mysterious lady, and a man who supposedly moved an entire mountain by hand, to name a few) who fill the book to the brim with whimsical anecdotes, adding to the magical thread Grace Lin has spun. If you are a fan of mythology or legends, I would strongly recommend this book. 

*This book can be read separately from the rest of the series.*

-Bryce 

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When the Sea Turned to Silver By Grace Lin Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780316125949
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 5th, 2017

The world of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is brought to its climactic height in When the Sea Turned to Silver, which is arguably the most involved plot in the series.

Following the story of Pinmei, who lives with her storytelling grandmother on the mountain where, supposedly, the Old Man of the Moon lives, When the Sea Turned to Silver tells a spellbinding story of empirical conquest, undying friendship, and mystical journeys. When Pinmei’s grandmother is kidnapped by an emperor vying for world domination, Pinmei sets out on a quest with her friend Yishan to deliver the one thing the emperor wants the most: the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. As always, Grace Lin fills this story with an eclectic cast (a sentient root of ginger, a beautiful lady who is friends with a clam that turns into a swallow, and a turtle with the power to end the world) that impart wisdom and whimsy to the story. Heartwarming, enchanting, and with an ultimately satisfying ending, When the Sea Turned to Silver feels just like a hot cup of tea on a snowy day. If you were a fan of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, you can’t miss When the Sea Turned to Silver.

*Recommended to read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon first*

-Bryce     

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The World's Loneliest Elephant: Based on the True Story of Kaavan and His Rescue By Ralph Fletcher, Naoko Stoop (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Ralph Fletcher, Naoko Stoop (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316364591
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Christy Ottaviano Books - October 18th, 2022

This wonderful children's book is based on the true story of the elephant Kaavan and his rescue from an abusive zoo. Kaavan was brought to a zoo as a baby to be a gift for the daughter of the president of Pakistan. He lived mostly chained up with no trees or shade, and was heartbroken after his mate died. While this story may be hard to share, it is so important to teach children and adults alike about the way animals deserve to be treated. The beauty of this book is in learning about all of the people who did something to help Kaavan, whether it was signing a petition, shutting down the zoo, or helping Kaavan to a wildlife sanctuary. This story shows that every little bit helps, and anyone can work to make the world a better place for all living things. This book highlights the importance of connection, family, and empathy, and is a wonderful way to start educating at home. 

-Annali

 


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Wildoak By C. C. Harrington Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781338803860
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - September 20th, 2022

Wildoak by C.C. Harrington has all the makings of a great children’s book– a loveable main character, a partially-tame wild animal and a righteous cause. Ten-year-old Maggie Stephen goes to live with her grandfather near Wildoak Forest in Cornwall, UK in the hopes of improving her stutter which has made school thus far miserable. Her love of animals leads her to befriend an abandoned snow leopard in the forest near her grandpa’s house. When the forest is threatened by development, Maggie fights for both the snow leopard and the place she loves. This is a beautiful middle-grade book about a young girl who finds her voice as she champions what she loves.

-Danielle

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