For Every One by Jason Reynolds

for every one

Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: Why you should follow your dream even if you can’t be sure of achieving it.

What made me pick it up: I adore Jason Reynolds and all he does for teens and readers. I enjoy his work so of course I’d like a pep talk from him.

My favorite parts: It’s short and powerful. He packs a big punch with his story of continuing to try to make art and live the creative life despite detractors telling him it was not a viable option. I liked that he was a not yet successful writer writing that it’s not success you’re after. It’s following your path and all the joy and struggle that brings. Like he says repeatedly: jump anyway.

Who it’s great for: Everyone. May be especially useful for new grads.

Erica’s rating: five shells


Find this book in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

National Library Week 2018

nationallibraryweek

It’s National Library Week! Time to celebrate our favorite community centers and workers. If you love libraries as much as we do feel free to send or tell your positive thoughts to your local library worker. No hugs or gifts are necessary. At the very least go visit your local library. Using library services is thanks enough.

Cheers,

Abby & Erica

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina

alfonso

Originally published in: 2017

What’s it about: A graphic novel about a black teenage boy who is shot and killed by a police officer who mistook the hanger in his hand for a gun. The story follows his friends and family in the aftermath of his death and his own journey as those who have previously lost their lives to police violence lead him through the process of understanding and accepting his death.

What made me pick it up: A colleague put this on hold for me because she thought I was probably going to read it anyway.

My favorite things: Alfonso Jones is shot on the first page, but his story doesn’t end there. I love that we still get insight into his life and that the authors take the time to remember the details of the lives lost to police violence like Amadou Diallo and Anthony Baez. There’s an interesting juxtaposition I haven’t seen in fiction before between police treatment of black and brown men who haven’t committed violent crimes and that of typically white school shooters.

Who it’s great for:  A good read for teens and adults looking to understand the motive for the Movement for Black Lives. Good for fans of The Hate U Give, Dear Martin, and March.

Abby’s rating: five shells


Find this in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

Islandborn by Junot Díaz

islandborn

Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: A little girl has to draw a picture of where she is from but she left her homeland when she was only a baby so she can’t remember. She turns to neighbors and family members to help her create her picture.

What made me pick it up: I’m a huge fan of Díaz and was delighted when I found out he was turning his talents to picture books.

My favorite parts: I loved the beautiful descriptions of her place of birth, and the way the illustrations show how a young child might literally interpret them. I also like the use of a general “monster” to simplify the explanation of conflicts that caused many people to flee their nation. The colors are lively and it will make you want to book a trip to hear the music, and revel in the pardisio. (I also listened to this on audio, which is read by the author so it is excellent for that reason and includes vibrant music which only adds to the story.)

Who it’s great for: Díaz fans. Littles who can’t quite remember their birthplace. Anyone missing the island where they used to live. Readers looking for diverse books.

Erica’s rating: four and a half shells


Find this book in a library near you or on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

Weird In A World That’s Not by Jennifer Romolini

weird

Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: The author’s weirdness being her career super power, and how you can too.

What made me pick it up: I’m… a little weird and this seemed like something that applied.

My favorite parts: This book truly lives up to its title. It’s about a weirdo telling other weirdos how to best fly their freak flag in the world of normals. Aside from that I appreciated her insight into careers and how best to go about one. Be nice. Work hard. Understand that you are unique and your career will also be. But most importantly, you and your experience are just right for whatever is to come.

Who it’s great for: Anyone looking to make a change. Readers wondering if their brand of offbeat is too different. (It’s not.)

Erica’s rating: four shells


Find this book in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).