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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Poetry that gives life

Cover of Not Here
A review of Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen

What a time to be alive. What a time for poetry that gives life. Rupi Kaur, Nayyirah Waheed, Danez Smith, Ada Limón, Morgan Parker, Tommy Pico, Chen Chen, Kaveh Akbar, Ocean Vuong, Solman Sharif, Mai Der Vang, Yesika Salgado. There is no shortage of new school poets with distinctive viewpoints and a moving way with words. Add Hieu Minh Nguyen, the Minnesotan son of Vietnamese immigrants, to that list.

Aug 28, 2023

Pintando un arcoíris / Painting a rainbow

Book Cover image
A review of ¿De qué color es un beso? by Rocio Bonilla

Cuando Mónica va en bicicleta, es más rápida que el viento, pero lo que más más más le gusta del mundo es pintar. Pinta muchas cosas con todos los colores, pero nunca ha pintado un beso. Pinta con cada color para ver cual sea mejor para pintar un beso, y descubre algo de color arcoíris. Perfecto para compartir con niños de 3-6 años, y seguir con un proyecto de arte.  


Aug 25, 2023

Like the Real Housewives, set in Nigeria

Cover of The Nigerwife
A review of The Nigerwife by Vanessa Walters

Nicole Oruwari is living in Lagos with her handsome Nigerian-born husband and his wealthy family when she goes missing. Her auntie Claudine flies from the UK to Nigeria to find out more about what's happened to her niece and uncovers a tangled web of wealth and privilege that leaves readers riveted and surprised. At the heart of the mystery are the "nigerwives," a group of foreign-born women married to Nigerian men who regularly meet and look out for each other.  

Aug 23, 2023

Powerful and painful

Cover of My Dark Vanessa
A review of My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa is a debut novel that got a lot of initial buzz when it was first published and is now getting renewed interest from readers on social media. It absolutely deserves every bit of that. It's an incredible, disturbing, and timely story - one that has stuck with me long after I read the last page.

Aug 21, 2023

Menace under the surface

Cover of The Children of the Black
A review of The Children of the Black Glass by Anthony Peckham

Action, adventure, magic, mystery, plot twists, betrayal, redemption. Tell was only expecting to take his precious black glass, mined by his injured father, to the trading town of Halfway to get medicine and get back as quickly as he could. He didn’t count on his younger sister, Wren, sneaking along or the series of events embroiling them in a fierce wizard battle for control of Halfway. Tell and Wren make some strange alliances and some deadly foes. How the story resolves is anyone’s guess. The final page commands us to wait with a large “TO BE CONTINUED”.

Aug 18, 2023

A better understanding of the world and each other through travel

Cover of School Trip
A review of School Trip by Jerry Craft

New Kid Jordan Banks is back with his friends from Riverdale Academy Day School and they are headed to Paris for their eighth grade school trip. All of the students and teachers are divided into groups based on their travel interests and things go bananas when there's a mix-up with teacher itineraries, plane tickets and purchase cards. The teachers and students scramble with international travel requirements and restrictions and the trips veer wildly off course.

Aug 15, 2023

An eclipse is coming

Cover of Jade Dragon Mountain
A review of Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

Jade Dragon Mountain is a classic manor mystery set in 18th century China. Playing the role of Poirot (or Nero Wolfe or Ellery Queen, you can make your reference of choice) is Li Du. Li Du is a librarian who was exiled from the Imperial City and has spent the last five years traveling on his own throughout China. His recent travels have brought him to southern China (near the Tibetan border) and he has to seek permission from the local magistrate to travel within the district.

Aug 14, 2023

Have you ever felt misunderstood?

Cover of Garvey's Choice: The Graph
A review of Garvey's Choice: The Graphic Novel by Nikki Grimes
Theodore Taylor III

Nikki Grimes' novel in verse, Garvey's Choice, is now available as a middle grade graphic novel. Garvey likes to read books, map the stars, and sing. His dad wants him to toss a football around and shoot hoops. When Garvey's father doesn't see him for who he truly is, Garvey eats his feelings. This leads to a vicious cycle with Garvey feeling bad about himself and his dad wanting him to exercise even more.

Aug 11, 2023


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