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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors


Cover of Gibberish
A review of Gibberish by Young Vo

"First Dat sailed on a boat, then flew on a plane..." and now Dat is starting a new school where everyone speaks gibberish and he can't understand a word. Feeling lost and alone, Dat soon makes a friend - after all, play is a universal language! Slowly Dat starts to learn new words and begins to feel at home in his new environment. This book shines in the illustrations - all the gibberish is represented by speech bubbles filled with symbols, and while Dat is illustrated in color, his surroundings start out as black and white cartoons.

May 8, 2023

Taking back their nights

Cover of Women Talking
A review of Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Based on a real events, Toews' slim, powerful novel is true to its name. One evening eight Mennonite women living in an isolated community in Bolivia meet to discuss and make a choice that will change their lives irrevocably - whatever they decide. These eight women, along with more than a hundred other girls and women in their community have been suffering repeated sexual violations for years. And while that is devastating, and it has been devastating to them, the fact that it's members of their own community who have perpetrated these horrors makes their situation that much worse.

May 4, 2023

Getting feelings under control in the great outdoors

Cover of Highly Suspicious and Unfa
A review of Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert

Celine Bangura dreams of landing a coveted spot in a prestigious mentorship program. Her grades are tops and her popular conspiracy theory TikTok attracts thousands of followers. Unfortunately, there's one thing standing in her way: Bradley Graeme. Best friends for years, Celine and Brad parted ways when Brad wanted to expand his friendship circle and Celine felt heartbroken and left behind. Making matters worse, Bradley's friends treat Celine horribly.

May 1, 2023

Hope to be found

Cover of Rodney was a Tortoise
A review of Rodney was a Tortoise by Nan Forler

Rodney was Bernadette’s old pal. Older than Bernadette, older than her dad, even older than Great-Aunt Clara! Day after day, year after year, Rodney was there. With such a loyal and constant companion and friend, it is so hard for Bernadette to adapt to a world without him when he dies. “She crawled deeper and deeper into her shell until all of Bernadette seemed to disappear.” Talking with a kiddo about the loss of a pet or a loved one can be so hard for a caregiver.

Apr 28, 2023

Royal romance (of the fictional variety)

Cover of A Duke By Default
A review of A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

Portia Hobbs was introduced in Alyssa Cole's A Princess in Theory (the first in her Reluctant Royals series) as a friend of that heroine. Portia was a bit of a mess; partying too much, drinking too much, and definitely too many men. As Duke opens she's just arriving in Scotland to take on an apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker. If that sounds odd, Portia would agree.

Apr 25, 2023

Honoring narratives of the past

Cover of Kapaemahu
A review of Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson

This picture book is based on a traditional Hawaiian story of an event that took place more than 700 years ago. The story of the healer stones of Kapaemahu has multiple versions and is a mix of history and legend. The picture book Kapaemahu is based on the earliest recorded version, written in Olelo Niihau and English.  

Apr 24, 2023

Each day has its own magic

Cover of On My Papa's Shoulders
A review of On My Papa's Shoulders by Niki Daly

I’m not crying, you’re crying. It definitely was not me sitting at the reference desk crying happy, joyful tears while reading this book. You must be thinking of a different children’s librarian. This is a book about walking to school, easy peasy, how can that be a tear jerker?? But the simple love the little boy in this book has for his mama, his Gogo (grandma), his Tata (grandpa),and the small but meaningful differences in each walk will warm your heart. But the days he loves best are when his Papa takes him to school.

Apr 19, 2023


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