Ostentatious October Staff Picks

Only the Oddest, most Opulent, and Obliging opuses for our staff’s October Staff Picks.

Check out the Audiobooks HERE!

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The Book of Two Ways: A Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781984818355
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - September 22nd, 2020

This fascinating story is an examination of death from two perspectives: the ancient Egyptian’s belief in an afterlife and preparation for it; the current day perspective of how to prepare for one’s own demise. It is a story that made me think a lot about life and death. It will grab the reader, shake her up, and force her to think about her own paths not taken, but not too late to explore! “It’s not until you start building your own tomb that you realize you’re going to be the one inside!” 

Dawn Edelstein is a middle-aged woman who has had two significant life experiences. Currently, she is a death doula, whose job is to  provide comfort and support for her clients through their dying process. Formerly, Dawn was a student of archeology, passionate about ancient Egyptian beliefs, but was whisked away from this part of her journey when her mother died, and she was needed at home. Now, years later, Dawn comes face to face with her own mortality, and questions her own life, and the path she could have taken, but didn’t. While she is helping people figure out how to die, she is trying to figure out how to LIVE! The ending of the story is open, and I am still contemplating how I would finish it! 
-Virgie
I may be alone here, but this was my first Picoult book. I tend to avoid them because I’ve never felt these stories were meant for me, but the setting of Egypt pulled me in. Now, I am so excited to tell everyone about this book. It really spoke to my fears as a young woman about missing out and making the 'wrong' choice. Based on the real Book of Two Ways, an Egyptian Middle Kingdom coffin text mapping out the dead's choice between two routes to the afterlife, it really starts with a near-death experience that forces Dawn to make a massive choice regarding the direction of her life, and how this choice splits her timeline in two. I adored how Dawn faced her demons in both timelines, and was never portrayed as infallible. I especially appreciated how neither route was the ‘right’ one. With Picoult’s writing, I could taste the dust and heat of Egypt on my tongue, and the salt of the seashore clung to my skin. Every single side character was fleshed out and sympathetic. Win was maybe my favorite character overall.  Dawn's love of Brian and Wyatt, but especially her daughter moved me to actual tears. My heart broke for Meret as she fought the social stigmas around body image, but also gave me some insight into how my own mother dealt with me when I had the same insecurities as a child. The best books make you examine your own life, and The Book of Two Ways has done a masterful job.  I had to text a friend immediately when I finished it at 2 am.
-Jenna
Check out the Audiobook HERE


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The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525541608
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 4th, 2020

This is a deeply emotional book. It's the story of Vivek’s life and death. Vivek was a person who shifted identities, a person whose relationship to the world was at once heavy and heartbreakingly delicate. Emezi brings her mastery of characters and language to this book, and you will not want to put it down. The Death Of Vivek Oji is a work of art, it will make you feel. 
-Izzy
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780063009448
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 1st, 2020

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes examines the dark side of fame, and if you were a fan of Daisy Jones and the Six, you’ll love Cassidy Holmes.  This novel begins with the now-retired 2000’s girl super-group, Gloss (heavily reminiscent of the Spice Girls) finding out that their reclusive fourth member Cassidy, Sassy, Holmes has died of suicide.  From there the book alternates between the formation of Gloss and their rise to fame, and the stories of the remaining members as they deal with the fallout of Cassidy’s death.  If you ever wondered what might drive a young starlet to do seemingly irrational things, this is the book for you.  This is the novelization of Britney Spears’ song ‘LUCKY.’  You witness the total breakdown of Cassidy’s private life.  The strained relationship between the group members when the whole world is watching is real and captivating.  What does the public eye do to their friendships, their families, and their romantic entanglements.  This book reminds us all that behind the curated facade and picture perfect lives of our favorite superstars, there are human beings.  Read it, and maybe think twice about buying that next gossip tabloid. Be kind to each other. 
-Jenna
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Find Me: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250758071
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - August 4th, 2020

Find Me whisks you away to modern-day France with smokey cafes, art museums, and mysterious strangers on trains who turn out to be more familiar than one could think possible. Aciman delves into controversial topics once again with the paralleled love stories of Elio and his father, both involved with people a bit older and younger than themselves. The questionable age differences open the door to an exploration of the philosophy of time and the possible existence of fate--perverse, profound, or a deeply gray area in between,  it is left up to you, the reader, to decide. Nevertheless, the way Aciman weaves words together never fails to leave goosebumps on my skin and his allusions to music, art, history, and literature entertain the mind and expand one’s worldly knowledge effortlessly in this short and sweet read. Find Me offers hard-earned wisdom on life and love and keeps you hooked with a little bit of mystery as well.
-Josie
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Transcendent Kingdom: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780525658184
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - September 1st, 2020

Gifty grew up in the US with her Ghanian family, whose culture and evangelical beliefs were alive with influence. She used to see the world through a “God lens”, but that perspective clouded after her brother died of a heroin overdose, and her mother was trapped in depression. Gifty turns to science to make sense of her grief. As a Ph.D. student in neuroscience, she is determined to find a cure, or at least an explanation, for addiction and depression. Told with raw emotion, this powerful story is a scientific vs spiritual reflection on mental illness, addiction, faith, grief, science, and prayer! 
-Virgie
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Squeeze Me: A novel Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9781524733452
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - August 25th, 2020

This book is the perfect laugh for right now!!!  With all the absurd politics and current events (current reality) going on, some totally irrelevant, hijinks ensue all over the state of Florida.  The characters, some of which involve known persons without saying so, all are wrapped up in this snake based drama.  Squeeze Me couldn’t be more timely!!
- Chris
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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The Second Home: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250239341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - June 2nd, 2020

This is the story of the Gordon family, a typical family who spent every summer on Cape Cod. As the Gordon children entered their teens, this family became stressed, and then reconfigured. Through the years, it was the Cape Cod “other home” that finally brought them all back together. Like the summer home, they were vulnerable, still requiring upkeep, but certainly the anchor that held them all in place. 
-Virgie
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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The Night Swim: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250219688
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - August 4th, 2020

 Last year I reviewed Megan Goldin’s debut novel The Escape Room which was an entertaining quick read.  In this follow-up psychological thriller, she has really ratcheted up the suspense and improved her writing.  Rachel Krall is a popular true-crime podcaster.  While she is in a small seaside town following a controversial rape trial she is asked to follow up on a decade-old murder. Secrets, suspense, lies, twists, and turns abound in this page-turner or a thriller.  Watch for Goldin she is quickly becoming the next Lisa Jewell or Ruth Ware!
-Kim B

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Leave the World Behind: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062667632
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - October 6th, 2020

This unnerving, suspenseful story looks at humanity at the moment it tumbles from “what was” to “what is.” Amanda and Clay need a break from their hectic life so they take their children on a holiday to a remote corner of Long Island. When a blackout occurs on their first night they are left with no power, no neighbors, no connection to the outside world … and no idea what national emergency could be occurring. That same night an elderly couple appears at their door, supposed owners of the home they are staying in, and ask for shelter. Amanda and Clay take them in, not knowing they are about to experience a shared apocalypse with strangers. The story is tense and terrifying, a real thriller!
-Virgie
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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The Guest List: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062868930
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - June 2nd, 2020

This book is flying off the shelf and has remained a bestseller for good reason.  For those of you that would love to escape to a gorgeous island in Ireland that is full of spooky lore to attend a fabulous celebrity wedding, this book will transport you.  Starting off with a murder on the night of the wedding and then going back 3 days to get to know all the players, this book is a page turner.  The identity of the murderer and the victim aren’t revealed until the end.  With nods to the brilliant Agatha Christie, this book will keep you guessing until the satisfying conclusion.

-Kim B

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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The Roommate Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593101605
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - September 15th, 2020

When east coast socialite Clara spontaneously moves to LA hoping to find true love, what she actually finds is a snarky new roommate with an unexpected profession.  Josh is hoping that he only has to stay in this new room until his ex feels like taking him back.  When a hilariously embarrassing accident leads Clara to find out that Josh is actually a pornstar, things get really interesting.  Without the luxury of being shocked, Clara and Josh have to work together to find a mutually satisfying solution to their individual problems, but will their fiery chemistry be too much to ignore? Spoiler alert-yes!  In this new, surprisingly feminist,  raunch-com, readers will laugh and cry and root for the two heroes to the very end.  I loved that this book tackles the romance genre in a fun new way.  It addresses the stigmas within sex work, and unhealthy relationships, while still hitting the staples of the genre and guaranteeing a Happily Ever After. Every character grows and develops without sacrificing who they fundamentally are.  It really was so good, and is a great addition to any bookshelf that could use a dose of hilarious, sexy romance.  This one is definitely going to make waves.

-Jenna

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Boyfriend Material Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781728206141
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks Casablanca - July 7th, 2020

After a night of not even that much debauchery, Luc finds himself in the tabloids again. Though he is not famous, his estranged father is and consequently, Luc is constantly in the eye of the paparazzi. To repair his image in the press, he needs a respectable boyfriend. Oliver is Luc’s last option, but luckily Oliver needs a boyfriend for a family event. They agree to a fake relationship, but can any relationship stay fake for long?

This is an adorable love story perfect for turning your brain off for a bit. 

-Izzy

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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The Lies That Bind: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399178955
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - June 2nd, 2020

This entertaining, romantic novel explores the never-ending search for love. Cecile leaves her long term relationship with Mathew, by following her heart to be with Grant, a man she hardly knows. When Grant disappears after 9-11, all the lies begin to emerge. But do mistakes and lies define us as a person? Instead of seeing the world in black and white, can one embrace the shades of gray? 

Cecile finds peace when she finds that her heart AND her head feel the same!  The relationships are complicated and intriguing! 

-Virgie

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Parable of the Sower Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781538732182
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 30th, 2019

This exquisite speculative fiction novel is set in the near future where political, social, and climate disasters have turned the US into an eerily familiar, burnt landscape. Lauren Oya Olimana has hyperempathy, a condition that forces her to experience other’s pain or pleasure. This condition and her practical outlook on life shape her religion, Earthseed. Earthseed is all about shaping and accepting change.  When her neighborhood is demolished, Lauren must travel north to seek safety. 

Parable of the Sower is a masterpiece. It depicts what survival looks like in a world that has given up on humanity. Butler’s writing is straightforward and honest. This is one of my favorite books of all time.

-Izzy

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor: A Novel (The Carls #2) Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524743475
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - July 7th, 2020

In this sequel to Green’s first novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, we find ourselves in a world that has met a seemingly all-powerful sentient being with the ability to alter our minds, a being that has disappeared just as quickly as it came. April May, the sometimes-anti-hero of the first installment, is missing and presumed dead in a warehouse fire. Her friends, who are only somewhat convinced of her death, are trying to hold it together without her. Somewhere down south of the border there is a company being run by April May’s one-time nemesis, Peter Petrawicki, who is promising an innovation that will utterly change the world - or obliterate it. 
Green’s scientific background and his internet-savviness are on full display in this thoughtful, hilarious, introspective, and completely timely sequel. 
- Megan
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Hench: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062978578
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - September 22nd, 2020

Even supervillains need a good temp, and Anna is just fine at vaguely villainous data entry. On one job she is asked to point some sort of device at the mayor’s kid’s head, putting her directly in the path of the superhero SuperCollider. During her recovery she begins to tally up the damage, human and monetary, that superheroes cause. 
Hench explores how we excuse the cost of what is ‘right’. This is an excellent book about what “the end justifies the means” can look like. 
-Izzy
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Fartology: The Extraordinary Science behind the Humble Fart Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781849499682
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quadrille Publishing - September 17th, 2019

As a science enthusiast, I love when I can learn the science behind how your body works. I also love the topic of flatulence. Gates combines both of these things in this book. He delves into what specifically gives you gas, the gut biome, and the stages of digestion. This is a great read for anyone that is curious about how farts work.

-Kim T


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The Complete What's Your Poo Telling You (Funny Bathroom Books, Health Books, Humor Books) Cover Image
By Josh Richman, Anish Sheth, Peter Arkle (Illustrator), Matt Johnstone (Illustrator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781452170077
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - May 22nd, 2018

Similar to Fartology: The Extraordinary Science Behind the Humble Fart, this book talks about some of the science of farts and poop. However, this book leans into the history of poop. I did not realize that there are so many monikers for different styles of poops. Not only does it talk about human poop, but it also talks about animal poops as well! What a deal! This could make a great coffee table book, or, even better, a bathroom book.

-Kim T.


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Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399589157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - February 25th, 2020

When Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009, she came home to a very different Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. An oil boom had changed the landscape and the tribal government. When an oil worker goes missing, Lissa takes it upon herself to find him, or his body. She shows extreme resourcefulness in her search, which ultimately reveals the impacts of the oil boom and a longer colonial history on this land.

Thoughtfully written and excellently researched, Sierra Crane Murdoch recounts this true story with heart. This is perfect for a true crime or history lover.

-Izzy

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781501129018
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - August 25th, 2020

Eric Weiner, famous for the bestselling Geography of Bliss, gives us a terrific foray into philosophy and philosophers, starting out by explaining the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  I personally loved this as a starting point.  The subtitle of the book is In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers and that is exactly what it is.  Weiner picked 14 philosophers to tackle everyday questions.  He ventured as much as possible by train to the homes of these philosophers.  Part self-help, part philosophy, part travel book.  This book ticks a lot of boxes for both the novice to philosophy all the way to the philosophy nerd.  The perfect time for this book.

-Kim B

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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A Song Below Water: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250315328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Teen - June 2nd, 2020

A Song Below Water is as strong and irresistible as a siren call.  In this totally triumphant novel, sisters Effie and Tavia are both fighting their own demons, in the form of racial discrimination, and in Tavia’s case magical discrimination as well.  Tavia is a siren, and in the aftermath of an alleged siren’s murder, she is in more danger than ever.  As tensions rise and Tavia has more difficulty hiding her powers than ever, Effie is struggling with family tensions and pursuing her dream part at the local renaissance fair.  Even more so, all is not well in this magical version of Portland, as people start to go missing, and sirens are taking all the blame with none of the evidence. It’s Effie and Tavia against the world as the drama comes to a head, not to mention all the regular stress of junior year.  I loved this book not only for its magical use of legend as a reflection of our own current events, but for its unfailing portrayal of female friendship and difficult family dynamics.  Required reading for sure!
-Jenna
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062683250
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 22nd, 2020

London can be a dangerous place if you know what’s really going on. The magical world lies just beyond a second glance at an ally or a street urchin. Susan catches a glance and gets swept into this wonderful and dangerous world. But don’t worry, she has company. Merlin is a member of the Booksellers of London, who are charged with maintaining the balance between the worlds. 

This is an excellent fantasy book. It balances humor, adventure, and honest emotional journeys. 

-Izzy

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Fable: A Novel Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250254368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - September 1st, 2020

Fable has been stuck on an island of dredgers, folks who dive along reefs for valuable gems and have a crooked moral compass. She has survived for 4 years, diving and trading her haul, saving up for passage off of this forsaken island, and prove to her father that she can make it in the world. 

Adventure and survival weave through this story, keeping you on the edge of your seat the whole time you are reading. The Audiobook is great too, check it out on Libro.FM

-Izzy

Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Like the Willow Tree  (Dear America) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781338724325
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - September 1st, 2020

While this is an older book from Lowery, it is a very timely book right now.   Like the Willow Tree takes place during the Spanish Flu of 1918.  With every day bringing something new and scary Lydia is not sure what to make of her new reality.  While they may not have the technology that we have today, things being closed and restrictions put in place are very much like we have been through the last couple months.  This is written in a diary, but this is how we learned about what people experienced during the Great Influenza.  

-Chris

Check out the Audiobook HERE


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Dragon Pearl Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781368014748
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rick Riordan Presents - January 7th, 2020

Min is real tired of her life on an obscure planet, hiding her powers, and doing chores. When two men from the Space Force come to her family’s door investigating her brother, Jun’s, disappearance. They suspect that he has gone to search for the Dragon Pearl, an extremely powerful magical object. Min decides to join the Space Force to search for Jun and escape her planet.  On her mission to find out what happened to Jun, she encounters pirates, sabotage, friends, ghosts, and magic.

This is an excellent SciFi/ fantasy adventure. Min’s journey and growth are evocative of the trails and tribulations of growing up to find the world is a deeply complex thing. 

-Izzy

Check out the Audiobook HERE


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Dress Coded Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781984816436
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - July 7th, 2020

This is a super cute book about a group of girls that take on the dress code in their school.  The dress code is mostly directed toward the females of the school, so they don’t distract the boys. Though with all the changes kids go through in middle school, sometimes it’s hard to fall into the right guidelines and these girls make it a point to include all the girls in the school to help them change it.
This would be a great mother/daughter book club book.  There is so much to talk about.  Though I think anyone should read this book, including young men.
-Chris
Check out the Audiobook HERE and the Ebook HERE


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Spindlefish and Stars Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316496018
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 22nd, 2020

When Clo’s father leaves her only with a ticket for half passage to an unknown island and a wheel of cheese, she is forced to leave the nomadic life she loves. This ticket gets her to an island full of old and grey folks. Her job on that island is to spin fish into wool.

This cerebral and thoughtful book brings up questions of fate, free will, and sacrifice. Spindlefish and Stars is perfect for the thoughtful kid who asks questions you don’t have an answer to.

-Izzy

Check out the Audiobook HERE 


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Tony T-Rex's Family Album: A history of Dinosaurs Cover Image
By Rob Hodgson (Illustrator), Mike Benton
$19.95
ISBN: 9780500651681
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Thames & Hudson - May 28th, 2019

If you love dinosaurs, then you’ll love this book! T-Rex’s family members are named like Uncle Magellan, and their species are also named. There is a little history for each species, and there are a bunch of cool facts as well! The perfect gift for your tiny paleontologist [and even the not-so-tiny ones]. 

-Kim T


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Let's Talk About Race Cover Image
By Julius Lester, Karen Barbour (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780064462266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - December 23rd, 2008

This is an excellent book to get a conversation about race going with your kid. Julius Lester writes frankly about what race means and how it impacts the world. He writes about race in a very accessible and poetic way, perfect for kids. I really enjoyed the illustrations, they had beautiful movement to them.

-Izzy


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Wild Symphony Cover Image
By Dan Brown, Susan Batori (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593123843
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rodale Kids - September 1st, 2020

This adorable book shows children that music is everywhere you look, and there is a coded message for you to solve. Maestro Mouse and his friends teach you many little ‘secret’ lessons to be learned like, “Even when life seems messy, there’s beauty to be found everywhere.” This book comes with a cool bonus: a free app that lets you access music composed by the author himself!

- Kim T


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Every Night Is Pizza Night Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781324005254
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Norton Young Readers - September 1st, 2020

Pipo is pretty dang sure that pizza is the best food ever. So sure, that she makes her family eat pizza every single day! Her parents are kinda sick of it so they tell her to go around and prove that pizza is the best food. Pipo finds out that everyone has a different food they think is the best and finds some new foods she likes a lot!

If you’ve got a kid who is convinced that 1 thing is the best, read this book with them and it may encourage them and you to try something new.

-Izzy