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

Abby’s Favorite Books of 2017

 

I read a lot of books this year and enjoyed many of them. It’s hard to choose favorites, so I narrowed it down to only those books that were released during 2017. These books all received five out of five shells in my reviews.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
Rita Williams-Garcia is an incredible author whose middle-grade fiction always handles difficult subjects with ease and gentleness. Her newest release is no different. I loved going on an adventure with Clayton as he discovered truths about himself and his family through the power of music.

Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley
I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me at the beginning of the year that a book about yoga would make my best-of list, but here we are! Beyond just making yoga more accessible, the biggest take away from this book is that no matter who you are and what your physical limitations may be, your body and mind deserve to be nourished and prioritized.

Hunger by Roxane Gay
This was one of my most anticipated reads for the year and it exceeded all of my expectations. I still feel it in my chest when I reflect on the experiences Roxane Gay shares in this heartbreaking memoir.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This book deserves every ounce of praise that it’s received this year. It’s a stunning YA debut about police violence and the movement for black lives. You definitely need to pick it up if you haven’t already read it. Do it!

Erica’s Favorite Books of 2017

Looking back on 2017 (with the help of Goodreads, of course) I see that I liked and really liked a lot of books. But the ones that got five stars from me were these:

Princess Hair by Sharee Miller
This wonderful picture book spreads the message that everyone is a princess and therefore their hair is princess hair. Then it details exactly how princesses can wear all the varieties of African American hairstyles. I loved its premise and its focus on African American girls. It’s all empowerment and positive message and inclusion and you should get it for all your littles, whether of color or not.

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera
As I talked about in my review this picture book is hilarious in its absurdity about animals and their underroos. I loved it so much I bought it for my almost three-year-old niece for Christmas.

Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky
Vibrant colors and illustrations with a powerhouse of information on notable women you may have heard of and some you likely haven’t. I was inspired and to this day want to share it with everyone (just ask Abby what my reaction was when I saw her reading it.). Ignotofsky’s next book, Women in Sports, came out in July and is one of my most anticipated reads for 2018.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
It’s no secret I adore Backman’s whole catalog but this novella hit so close to home. If you’ve ever had a loved one deteriorate from Alzheimer’s this will likely make you cry the entire time, like it did me. About a grandfather trying to come back to reality for his grandson even though he can’t quite find the way.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
I’m still in awe of the mastery of this novel by Picoult and I try to get everyone to read it in the hopes of fostering dialog about race and race relations in America. It’s so easy to say “oh no, I’m not racist” without realizing all the little ways you maybe are. I stand by my one word review of “wow”.

Movie Review: Persepolis

persepolis
This post contains affiliate links.

Originally released: 2007

What it’s about: Illustrator Satrapi’s childhood in and out of Iran during and just after the revolution.

What made me pick it up: I had read Persepolis and Persepolis 2, graphic novels by Satrapi, and was curious to see how they had been turned into a film.

My favorite parts: This was a very faithful retelling of Satrapi’s graphic novels, with pieces moved around in just the right way to tell it visually without it being dryly chronological. I actually think her illustrations work better as animations so I highly enjoyed the movie. It is in French as well (with English subtitles), so Francophiles can rejoice!

Who it’s great for: Readers of Satrapi’s books. Anyone interested in Iran, especially during the revolution and its aftermath.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Get a copy of this movie on Amazon or from your local library.


 

Charlottesville

20707937_10155650777324810_1842754446704657496_n
Image created by beloved Charlottesville store Rock Paper Scissors. Learn more at: https://www.thinkrpscville.com/

As we all begin to move forward after the horrendous Charlottesville violence of August 12, Abby and I thought we would share some books that might make for good reading to further inform on issues of racial and social justice.

Books We Have Reviewed Before
Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color by Marilyn Nelson
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram Kendi
March (series) by John Lewis

Other Titles We Recommend
The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson
Voice of Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
The Crunk Feminist Collection by Brittney Cooper
Hidden Figures by Margot Slatterly
Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Homegoing by Yaa Gayasi
Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon

Enjoy these books and pursue other reading that opens you up to new ideas and the experience of people different than you. Most importantly going forward, treat each other with understanding, kindness, and love.

What Erica Has On Hold

To Download

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper because I had someone tell me they were his favorites from childhood and I’d never heard of them.
To Provence with Love by T.A. Williams because I am all about everything France.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith because a coworker told me she thought I’d identify strongly with it.
Second Star to the Right by Mary Alice Monroe because Peter Pan.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because my friend said she loved it and I haven’t read it.
The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande because I’m all about lists.
Give and Take by Adam Grant because it’s about giving and I’m a huge fan of Grant.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue because Oprah said so.
My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul because book about books.
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore because women in science.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace because female empowerment.
The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn because Jane Austen and sci-fi.
The Liberal Redneck Manifesto by Trae Crowder because I’m curious.
The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan because I grew up a stone’s throw from Ontario and I wish we cared for these amazing ecosystems as we should.
The Rules Do No Apply by Ariel Levy
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon because movie and good press and I read The Sun Is Almost a Star and it was pretty good.
Word by Word by Kory Stamper because words.
Blockade Billy by Stephen King because it’s short and about baseball and I’ve never actually read it.

In Print

Beartown by Fredrik Backman because I like his other stuff.
Whereas by Layli Long Soldier because Native American poetry.
White Working Class by Joan C. Williams because I read White Trash and am just on a jaunt on that subject.

Picture books Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, The Banana-leaf Ball by Katie Milway, This is Edinburgh by Miroslav Sasek, and Sea Otter Heroes by Patricia Newman because they looked interesting and also ‘merica, play, otters, and Scotland.

LeVar Burton Reads

levar burton

Originally published in:  2017

What it’s about: A brand new podcast featuring LeVar Burton reading short fiction.

What made me tune in: This is basically Reading Rainbow for the adults who grew up with it.

My favorite things: Primarily featuring science fiction and fantasy, Burton’s enthusiasm for the stories he reads is contagious. The voices and sound effects used in each episode are engaging and fit the stories so well that they almost go unnoticed. I love the way he takes the time to explain why he chose each story and what aspects of it he likes the best. So far, each episode has been under an hour and fits nicely into a day’s commute.

Who it’s great for: Anyone who grew up on Reading Rainbow. Fans of audiobooks looking for something shorter to try.

Abby’s rating: five-shells


Find it for free wherever you access your podcasts.


 

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins

interracial love

Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: A previously unpublished collection of stories by the multitalented late writer Kathleen Collins on love, family, and relationships.

What made me pick it up: I’d heard good things about the collection and it was nice and short so I knew I could get through it quickly and easily.

My favorite things: Collins seamlessly moves through different voices and perspectives, lending each an air of honesty and authenticity. Her stories sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes mundane, but always moving

Who it’s great for: Readers looking for stories about love and relationships that don’t ignore the complexities of race, gender, class, and sexuality.

Abby’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy of this book at Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

img_1906

Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: Notable female scientists throughout history.

What made me pick it up: I think I saw it on Twitter. It was about women scientists and I placed a hold immediately because I immensely enjoyed Lab Girl and Headstrong. 

My favorite things: This book is like a good mixed drink: smooth, flavorful, and designed to be sipped slowly. I only read a few pages a day so I could savor the unique illustrations and layouts as well as the mostly new-to-me knowledge of these amazing scientists. The message is empowering for girls of any age and the colors are fabulous. It’d make a great gift for any young devotee of STEM in your life.

Who it’s great for: Those interested in women’s contributions to science. Readers of all ages. Fans of great illustrations. Graphic novel readers who want a nonfiction book. Girls, girls, girls.

Erica’s rating: four-and-a-half-shells


Pick up copies of the books mentioned above at Amazon using our affiliate links: Lab Girl; Headstrong; Women in Science or look for them in your local library.