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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Dolly: Country catalyst for change

Cover of She Come By It Natural: Do
A review of She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh

Dolly Parton has been a beacon of hope with a big 'ole pile of hair singing with her heart, sharing her success with those in need, and representing generations of hard working women. It's high time to celebrate her accomplishments. She Come By It Natural is a beautifully researched book that started as an article for No Depression magazine right around the time the women's movement shifted: at the dawn of the Trump Presidency and worldwide protest, the Women's March of 2017 and #metoo.

Apr 15, 2021

Let's Read Some Poetry part 3

Cover of new poetry books
new poetry books

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets to remind "the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters." To help myself (and you) out I've put together some lists of poetry from last year and some new titles from the the first quarter of this year. This is the third of four lists. Let's read some poetry!

Apr 12, 2021

Never all sparkles and sunshine

Cover of Kevin the Unicorn: It's No
A review of Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows by Jessika von Innerebner

Unicorns are supposed to be all smiles, glitter and rainbows. And Kevin’s days are “filled with …Magical Awesomeness” Until the morning Kevin wakes up on the floor. Something feels not quite right, but he picks himself up and smiles through it all, since his living room posters remind him that, “Unicorn Starts with You!” and to “Keep it Happy” and “Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle.” So he sets out for yet another fantastic day.

Apr 9, 2021

Read for the food, stay for the murder (or perhaps vice versa)

Cover of Arsenic and Adobo
A review of Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala

"My name is Lila Macapagal and my life has become a rom-com cliche'.
Not many romantic comedies feature an Asian-American lead (or dead bodies, but more on that later), but all the trademarks are there.
Girl from an improbably named small town in the Midwest moves to the big city to make a name for herself and find love? Check.
Girl achieves these things only for the world to come crashing down when she walks in on her fiance' getting down and dirty with their next door neighbors (yes, plural)? Double check.

Apr 8, 2021

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

Let's read some poetry, part 2

Cover of New Poetry Books
New Poetry Books

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets to remind "the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters." Since I don't read much poetry, I try every April to challenge myself to read some poetry. To help myself (and you) out I've put together some lists of poetry from last year and some new titles from the the first quarter of this year. This is the second of four lists. Let's read some poetry!

Apr 5, 2021

Feeling distant

Cover of Lejos = Far
A review of Lejos = Far by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Blanca Gomez

Right now, we all feel far away from one another. This bilingual board book helps little ones understand what it means for something to be "far." Using simple text and tranquil illustrations, Lejos = Far describes places and things by their distance from one another. If you're looking to teach spatial concepts and get a little language practice in too, I recommend this book.

There is also a companion book that covers the concept of "close": Cerca = Close
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Apr 2, 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

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