I had the wonderful fortune of seeing Rhiannon Giddens perform early last summer and hearing her sing her song, Build a House. It was moving and powerful! So, imagine my excitement when after the song, she announced that this song was a forthcoming picture book. The book is just as powerful. The lyrics and the beautiful illustrations celebrate the power of music as they capture the deep sorrows and the resilience and joy of a family as they move from slavery to freedom. A QR code in the back will give you access to the song so you can listen while you read.—Holly
Through rhyming text and whimsical illustrations, best-selling author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott-Honor-winning artists Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal show what it means to be a true friend. It's not caring about how a person dances or draws, or if that person agrees with you, or even that her lunches smell funny. A true friend cares about the other person as he is, and connects with you in a million large and small ways. This is a delightful book, a testament to fast friends everywhere. —Susan
Life is full of many special moments, and Caldecott honoree Marla Frazee has captured them perfectly in this companion to All the World. The text is SO simple, but the exquisite illustrations speak volumes. I dare anyone to read this book and not get teary-eyed. What a wonderful gift for parents, grandparents, or virtually anyone with a pulse! —Barb
I just adore Oona's stories, and this new one is just as delightful! Oona in the Arctic is beautifully illustrated and full of adventure. Oona and Otto help a baby beluga whale find her way back home with the assistance of many arctic animals. A fun read-aloud, this book is perfect for families looking for excellent visuals and narrative storytelling! —Jaya
From the creators of many best selling picture books comes a retelling of the beloved Norwegian fairy tale: The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Mac Barnett's rhyming text is hilarious (and sometimes gross) while Jon Klassen's sepia-toned illustrations perfectly capture the expressions of the characters and the overall scenes. Together the combination is a book sure to delight both children and adults. This is the first in a series of three fairy tales from this award-winning team. —Susan
Resilience. That’s the name of the NASA Mars rover in this story and a perfect name for a character that completely found its way into my heart. Told from the perspectives of the rover, “Res” and a young girl, Sophie, this creative and wonderful story celebrates scientific discovery, the importance of teamwork and connections and what it means to be fully alive. A terrific STEM book that would also make a great read-aloud .—Holly
What a fantastic book! A. Deborah Baker (aka Seanan McGuire) does not disappoint with this third book. Avery and Zep are still stuck in the Up-and-Under and are joined by their new friends Niamh and the Crow Girl. They find themselves in the Land of Air ruled by a Queen with a habit of turning people into monsters. With the help of her son Jack, they realize they can retrieve something that belonged to the Crow Girl. Full of adventure and friendship, a great read for the whole family. —Jay
This book is hilarious! It also deals with the trauma and PTSD in the years following a horrific public tragedy. Yes, both of those things are true. I laughed out loud, then cried and then laughed some more. The story isn’t so much about the actual tragic event, but about Simon as he learns to move forward in a new town and a new school with the love and support of his family, friends, and community. Simon’s PTSD and anxiety are handled sensitively and honestly. Full of wonderful quirky characters in a unique and fascinating small town, Simon Sort of Says will make readers of all ages feel and think. And laugh! This story will stay in your heart for a very long time.—Holly
Set against delightfully eerie marshlands and the villages that inhabit them, this book pulled me in right away (much like the marsh will, if you aren’t careful)! The story follows Willa, one of six sisters, who must confront old superstitions when she journeys from her home and deadbeat father in order to find the sister who ran off with the fair. Or maybe the mythical Marsh King is to blame? Lucy Strange’s writing is clear and compelling, each sister fully realized and distinct from one another. Great for readers who appreciate a well-told ghost story, Sisters of the Lost Marsh will keep you guessing from start to finish!—Claire
When Paul’s grandmother is stopped at an airport security check because of a strange container in her luggage, effects ripple out to other Asian American children waiting for their flights. Each story, written by a different Asian American author, highlights the individuality of the kids–their interests, relationships to their families, and relationships to the countries of their familys’ origins. But the kids face a similar racism in the way people see them, throwing them into moments of brief connection to each other. —Joan
Kelsie Miller just THINKS everyone hates her--she's an overachiever who keeps people at arm's length. It takes an overnight road trip with her archrival, super-smart, hunky Eric Mulvaney Ortiz, to make her rethink her "failed" friendships and sort out her feelings about herself. I love these characters--and who doesn't love a good rom-com?! —Barb
If Talia Hibbert Writes it, I will read it! Ex-Friends turned Academic Rivals, Celine and Bradley are competing for a life-changing scholarship that takes them on a camping trip into the Scottish wilderness. While proving their leadership skills, sparks begin to fly like a roaring campfire! —Gigi
I loved this book! It does such a nice job of laying the groundwork (grade and middle schools) and then picks up the momentum during high school and college as the author struggles to find herself and her place in the world. Through word and graphic, she very realistically conveys the overwhelming pressures on young people as they prepare for adulting. Self-doubt and courage, expectations and thoughtful advice, failure and success are all part of the journey. A hugely inspiring story, and because of its format, very accessible. —Susan
Perla has to live up to crushing expectations at home and school in a crazy story that keeps you on the edge of your seat as she attempts to fake her way through a semester at a school she doesn't actually attend. Through the stress of it all, she is able to figure out that her parents' plan doesn't match her dreams, and she works up the courage to stand up for herself and follow her own dreams. The twists and turns of this book keep you flipping pages to see if Perla will get caught and if she'll finally tell her parents the truth. If you've ever worried about living up to others' expectations or felt the stress of trying to be perfect, you'll relate to Perla and her story. —Kelly
In the jungles of Jamaica, 18-year-old Victoria leads tours through the wilderness as a Wildblood, someone who uses their magic to protect the tourists. The latest tour is for Thorn, a renowned goldminer, who is handsome and kind to Victoria. It's up to her to get them through the jungle in one piece. The adventure in this story jumps off the pages. Lush setting, interesting magic, and a hopeful romance. An excellent read! (Author's CW: blood/gore; physical/sexual assault; death; sexual trauma; disturbing imagery; body horror; spiders; references to suicide and suicidal ideation.) —Jaya
A Restless Truth is proof that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Freya Marske sticks to the winning formula that made her first book, A Marvellous Light, such a delight to read. A queer romance set in a magical, Edwardian-era society? Only this time, they’re on an England-bound ocean liner?? Yes, please! This second installment in The Last Binding trilogy expands on the world that began with A Marvellous Light and introduces a zany new cast of characters. All aboard for A Restless Truth! —Claire
Have you ever wondered how we got here from there? From Bitcoin and Bowie to Vegas and Zuckerberg, Jeffries draws on history, philosophy, art, and popular culture to draw together some of the threads that form life as we know it today. It’s eminently readable, with enough of the familiar (Netflix, iPods, Madonna) to make the potentially daunting (Foucault, Baudrillard) accessible and interesting, and seeing how things are connected make the world seem a lot less bewildering and random. —Joan
I was in high school in the early 80s, so I’m the perfect age to remember when U2’s first albums came out. And I’ve been a fan ever since. When Bono’s memoir was published in early November, I was interested but skeptical. I mean, of course he can write great song lyrics, but a book?
On vacation last week, I decided to give the first few chapters a try. And then I couldn’t put it down! Bono is a gifted storyteller. His writing is thoughtful, insightful, funny and often filled with humility as he reflects on his life of family, friendships, activism, faith and of course music.
To get a fuller experience of Bono’s memoir, listen to the audiobook on LibroFM - It's a wonderful mix of Bono’s narration blended with sound effects and song bits.
Enjoyable and delightful not only for U2 and music fans but for anyone who appreciates a great memoir. —Holly
Every now and then I’ll read something that makes me think, “Wow. Why can’t every book be like this?” In the case of Moses Ose Utomi’s debut novella, I’ve been saying it out loud to anyone who will listen, because this is a story that knows exactly where it’s going and wastes no time in getting there. Fans of the classic hero’s journey will love this timely, albeit brutal, tale which explores cycles of oppression and the power of truth. I can already tell Utomi will be an author I will return to, and look forward to reading his young adult debut, Daughters of Oduma, next! —Claire
An exciting and absorbing account of the race to find a vaccine against the dreaded polio virus that was particularly virulent in the United States during WWII and into the 1950s. This historic novel centers on doctor and epidemiologist Dorothy Horstmann whose discoveries led to both the Jonas Salk and the Albert Sabin vaccines. Horstmann came from a very humble background and dreamed of being a doctor, but when she became one, had to fight for her place to be heard and recognized in a world dominated by men. Through her focused dedication to eradicating this deadly disease she was able to gain the respect of her colleagues. We also see what is involved with creating a vaccine, from the beginning lack of knowledge to theories, to experiments, to competition all on to eventual success. Great read in the wake of the COVID pandemic. —Susan