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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award winner

Cover of Frizzy
A review of Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega illustrated by Rose Bousamra 

Marlene spends every Sunday in a salon having her hair straightened in order to look presentable according to her Dominican mother's standards. Keeping her hair smooth requires her to avoid running around, sweating, and playing outside with the other kids. This makes Marlene miserable. The situation reaches a fever pitch at an older cousin's quinceañera where Marlene is taunted and berated for her wild behavior and unruly hair.

Feb 2, 2023

An attainable goddess?

Cover of Aphrodite and the Duke
A review of Aphrodite and the Duke by J. J. McAvoy

Aphrodite Du Bell hates her name. The eponymous heroine of J. J. McAvoy’s romance Aphrodite and the Duke certainly has the beauty and bearing reminiscent of the Greek goddess, but ever since she was jilted by Evander Eagleman, Duke of Everely, she’s been reluctant to reenter society. An ultimatum from her formidable mama means she must find a husband this year, but the discovery that the now-widowed Evander will be present this season gives Aphrodite a sliver of hope she might be able to rekindle the love she knows Evander genuinely held for her.

Feb 1, 2023

Caldecott Honor Book: Choosing Brave

Cover of Choosing Brave: How Mamie
A review of Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Joy Illus. by Janelle Washington

This book opens on August 31, 1955, when Emmett Till's body was found and his mother, Mamie, chose to have him sent home - the braver thing. We then jump back in time to Mamie's childhood, learning about her family, her schooling, her marriage, and Emmett's birth, with each of Mamie's brave choices highlighted. Emmett's childhood comes next, noting his stutter of speech that came from polio, and his trick of whistling to calm him down.

Jan 31, 2023

Never broken

Cover of Inheritance: A Visual Poem
A review of Inheritance: A Visual Poem by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo’s Inheritance: A Visual Poem weaves themes of identity, self-love, generational trauma, and beauty standards into a lovely poem. Beautiful illustrations by Andrea Pippins work in tandem with Acevedo’s words to create an immersive experience that pulls the reader further into the poem. Though it is a short read, it is touching and rousing in ways that other longer books may fall short.

Jan 27, 2023

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023

Cover of New Holocaust Titles
New Holocaust Titles

"The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides."

Jan 25, 2023

The siren song of Puget Sound

Cover of Spells for Forgetting
A review of Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

When I think of an atmospheric novel from here on out, I'm going to be thinking of Spells for Forgetting. The story of Saiorse Island off Puget Sound and the residents who live there and listen to her calling weaves together magic, belonging and longing, loss and betrayal, and good and evil. On the surface, Saiorse Island is a lovely ferry ride from Seattle with an apple orchard that attracts a tourist crowd through spring, summer, and fall.

Jan 23, 2023

Music and memories

Cover of Holding On
A review of Holding On by Sophia Lee

Lola's house is always filled with music--as she says, "If you want to hold on, you gotta sing your songs"! When Lola starts to seem quieter, more uncertain, it's up to her granddaughter to help fill in the silences. This beautiful picture book features a young girl matter-of-factly supporting her grandmother through memory loss while reflecting on and continuing all the meaningful (and multi-sensory) experiences they have shared over the years.

Jan 20, 2023

Finding new paths

Cover of Georgie, All Along
A review of Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn

When Georgie was a teenager no one in her small home town expected much of her. She was flaky and aimless. But somehow, after leaving home for California, she managed to make a life as the the personal assistant to a Hollywood power player. The problem is, her boss has suddenly picked up sticks and retired and now Georgie is at a loss. She's used to taking care of every little aspect of someone else's life and has no clue how to do the same with her own. And so she does what all big city gals, who are at a crossroads, do in rom-coms.

Jan 19, 2023


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