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MADreads for Teens

Book reviews for teens by library staff and guest contributors

The sixth and youngest and most dazzling poet

Cover of The Hill We Climb: An Inau
A review of The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman

Just in time for National Poetry Month!  This is an exquisite special edition of National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman's presidential inauguration poem given on January 20, 2021 with a foreword by Oprah Winfrey. I've watched and listened to this spectacular young poet recite "The Hill We Climb" numerous times, now, and each time I'm left feeling hopeful for our country and a democratic society. This poem is honest and looking towards a brighter future.

Apr 7, 2021

Opening the floodgates about PTSD

Cover of The Valley and the Flood
A review of The Valley and the Flood by Rebecca Mahoney

Somewhere in the Nevada desert, Rose Colter hears her best friend’s last voicemail message broadcasted on the radio. With her car broken down, she runs towards the broadcast tower into a town called Lotus Valley. The townspeople have been waiting for her; in fact, she was prophesied to arrive and in doing so would bring about a great flood within the next three days. Is Rose the cause of the flood and if so, why?

Mar 31, 2021

The humanity in history

Cover of A Light in the Darkness: J
A review of A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust by Janusz Korczak

Albert Marrin has crafted a gripping narrative of the life and death of Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jewish doctor in the Warsaw Ghetto. He was not only a physician, he ran an orphanage in Warsaw for Jewish children. As the horrors of the Nazi regime moved closer, Dr. Korczak was given numerous opportunities to escape, but he would not go without his charges. Ultimately, he led them to Treblinka Camp, dying by gas along with the children in 1942.

Mar 26, 2021

The distaff side

Cover of Our Woman in Moscow
A review of Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams

In 1951 two British government officials, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess, left on a boat sailing from Southampton to France and then disappeared. Though there were suspicions that they had defected to the Soviet Union, this wasn't confirmed until five years later when they appeard at a press conference in Moscow. In the years after this it became clear that they were not the only two British "gentlemen" to have been recruited by the KGB, there were at least 3 others and they all became known as the Cambridge Five.

Mar 10, 2021

Detecting and derring-do

Cover of Murder in Old Bombay
A review of Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

Jim Agnihotri can’t shake the image of the two women falling from his mind. A former captain in Her Majesty’s forces, Agnihotri has read of the case while recuperating from terrible injuries to mind and body from a skirmish in 1891 Karachi, but it is the perplexing mystery surrounding the deaths of two wealthy Parsee women who apparently jumped from a Bombay clock tower on their own accord that haunts him. Why would the Framji women jump at such an interval apart? And why would two young women seemingly happy with their lives choose to end them so violently?

Mar 3, 2021

Returning to a favorite world

Cover of Witness for the Dead
A review of Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison

I'm frequently asked to name my favorite book or to list my top ten, and mostly I just get stumped by that question. I love so many books for so many different reasons and they shift in my estimation as this one moves up or that one moves down and all fully dependent on what has wowed me recently. But there is one book I read seven years ago that has consistently been a go-to for me when asked for a favorite.

Feb 25, 2021

The power of Booker T. Washington's voice

Voices of Black America
A review of Voices of Black America: Historical Recordings of Speeches, Poetry, Humor & Drama by Naxos Audiobooks

This audiobook provides a treasured portal to the past. It features original recordings from 1908-1946 of speeches by Booker T. Washington, the poems of Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar recited by the poets, comedy routines, and more. All told, there's approximately 1 hour and 47 minutes of content.

To hear these famous voices is very special. The sound quality is on par with other historical recordings I've heard. That takes a moment to get used to, but feels intimate, like you've gone back in time and are witnessing the moment. 

Feb 22, 2021


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