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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Queen Bey plays muse

Cover of There Are More Beautiful T
A review of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker

Morgan Parker, poet author of the explosive collection There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, leaves the title open to interpretation, but with one exception: She isn’t suggesting that Beyoncé isn’t beautiful, because Beyoncé is beautiful. Like the rest of us, Parker is clearly a fan. She is however suggesting that her muse -- the “flawless” Queen Bey -- might not actually be the be-all, end-all for American popular culture or Black womanhood.  

Sep 21, 2023

Dynamic duo

Cover of The Janes
A review of The Janes by Louisa Luna

Alice Vega is something of an enigma to those who know or have heard of her. But one thing that is known about her is that she's good at her job as an investigator and in particular she is excellent at finding the missing. So though it might be unusual to be hired by a police department to look into the deaths of two unidentified girls and how they relate to other missing girls who are being trafficked, Alice is willing to take on the job. Two Jane Does have been found in San Diego and it's clear that they were sex trafficking victims and killed by the same person.

Sep 19, 2023

What's in the book?

Cover of Open this Little Book
A review of Open this Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier
Suzy Lee

If you and your little ones love books, Open This Little Book is the perfect choice. It's a story within a story, a book within a book -- and it's all a lot of fun! Madison native, Jesse Klausmeier, along with illustrator-extraordinaire Suzy Lee, have created an imaginative and exciting picture book that will have your kids asking to read it again and again. But what's inside the book? You'll have to check it out and find out for yourself!

Sep 15, 2023

Mannerling wants your soul

A review of Daughters of Mannerling Series by Marion Chesney

I’m not one who typically goes back and reads classic romance authors since I often have my hands full of newly released titles, but when a colleague extolled the virtues of Marion Chesney’s Regency-set romances, I was intrigued enough to check out the audio recording of The Banishment, the first title in Chesney’s Daughters of Mannerling series. It was short, and the audio appealed as much as the print version’s dated and ugly covers did not. Well, dear reader, I did not know what I was getting into.

Sep 12, 2023

The world is dangerous and mysterious

Cover of Big Tree
A review of Big Tree by Brian Selznick

And totally worth saving.  

Louise and Merwin are tiny sycamore seed siblings preparing to take flight from their mother's seed pouch when disaster strikes. The forest is on fire and creatures are fleeing the area. A stampede of dinosaurs knock over mama and her seed pouch bursts open. The two little seeds make their way into the terrifying world earlier than planned, sooner than they were prepared for, and without great prospects for finding a suitable place to put down roots.

Sep 11, 2023

Becoming buoyant

Cover of Starfish
A review of Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Eliana Elizabeth Montgomery-Hofstein
  That's my name,
  My bestie, Viv,
  and my parents call me
  Ellie or El.
  But most people call me Splash
  or some synonym for whale.
  Cannonball into a pool,
  drenching everyone,
  and wear a whale swimsuit
  to your Under the Sea birthday party
  when you're a chubby kid
  who grows up to be a fat tween
  and no one will let you live it down.

Sep 8, 2023

Eerie season is almost upon us

Cover of The Stranger Diaries
A review of The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

October and the spooky season are just around the corner and I have the book for you. Elly Griffiths' (best known for her Ruth Galloway series of mysteries) Stranger Diaries is suspenseful and even spooky at times (there's even a ghost) and is a gothic book about a gothic story that is being written about for a book. Okay that sounds like nonsense, I know.

Sep 5, 2023

What's in a Name?

Cover of The Boy Who Tried to Shrin
A review of The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran
Michelle Pereira

When Zimdalamashkermishkada starts at a new school, he feels anxious about introducing himself to new people with a long name and decides to shrink his name to "Zim." But between his new friend, Elly, seeing him for who he truly is and not giving up practicing skateboarding, he begins to gain confidence about himself and his full name. 

This uplifting story will inspire young readers to celebrate their authentic selves and learn that it's okay to take up space. 

Sep 1, 2023

American dream or nightmare?

Cover of Parachute Kids
A review of Parachute Kids by Betty C. Tang

Feng-Li Lin and her siblings land in the United States for a dream vacation to visit Disneyland and unexpectedly end up staying forever. They arrive in California with their parents and as soon as they enter customs, there are problems with tourist visas. It starts out with their dad needing to return to Taiwan almost immediately. Then their mother needs to leave with plans to come back shortly. Family friends who immigrated earlier provide support and supervision, but before too long they move away, and the kids are on their own.

Aug 31, 2023


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