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Cindy Jamison's Winning Essay in the "A Book That Changed Your Life" Contest

     Gravel spewed in every direction as the truck careened the corner from smooth pavement to dirt road. A quarter mile away, the sound of screeching tires and lumber thudding against the truck bed caused more than gravel to fly in the wee hours of the morning; seven children flew from their beds. Faces pinched and every muscle taut, their bodies flooded with stress-induced cortisol. Trembling, eyes dilated with dread, they awaited the truck’s headlights to illuminate the two massive pine trees standing sentry to the drive. Hope faded to despair once again as the h...

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Hidden Valley Road

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family


Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, written by Robert Kolker, delves into the world of mental illness, specifically schizophrenia and our country’s attempt to understand and treat people suffering from it. When researchers tried to investigate whether or not there is a genetic origin of schizophrenia, they were astonished to hear of the Galvin family living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Galvin family...

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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston


This collection of short fiction by the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God includes several of her “lost” works that are back in print for the first time since they were published in the early 20th Century. Hurston is best known today for her fiction featuring her real hometown of Eatonville, Florida – but in the middle of the Roaring 1920s, Hurston lived in Harlem and moved in the same circles as Langston Hughes and other writers. The eight r...

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Green on Green

Green on Green by Dianne White with illustrations by Felicita Sala

Recommended for ages 4-8 years

Author Dianne White has created another absolute winner in this new picture book. Gorgeous illustrations of seasonal changes are highlighted with color, along with flowing and rhyming simple text, capture the reader from beginning to end. I encourage readers to pick this book up again and again, as there is something new to discover every time. Each season, color palette, and word flows effortlessly from page to page and feels full of wonder. You can see ...

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The Mirror & the Light

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

Like all of Mantel’s work, The Mirror & the Light is a weighty, well-researched novel.  It is the final installment in a magnificent trilogy (Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies) that traces the life of Tudor courtier Thomas Cromwell.  From his humble beginnings as a blacksmith’s son to his meteoric rise to the right hand of King Henry VIII, Cromwell uses his wits to ascend.  The Mirror & the Light picks up with Cromwell at the peak of his power, orch...

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Furious Thing

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (Young Adult Novel)

15-year-old Lexi’s anger is out of control. She does not want to break or throw things, but she just cannot seem to get a grip on her emotions. She has no friends, her grades are bad, and she is always making her stepfather angry. If only Lexi could push down her anger, then perhaps her family (and everyone else) would be happy with her. Is she really the monster her younger sister claims she is, or is the monster outside of her? Someone is shattering her sense of self-worth, and just mayb...

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Look Both Ways: A tale told in ten blocks

Look Both Ways: A tale told in ten blocks by Jason Reynolds

Recommended for ages 8-12 years

This author has such an amazing talent for reaching our youth through his words. Look Both Ways:  A tale told in ten blocks does not disappoint. The book is a collection of ten short stories. Each story is told as the kids walk home from school. The different characters just pull you right in and make you want to know each one of them personally. The kids’ conversations include topics such ...

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A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains


A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains by William Walters and Victoria Golden


A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains is a memoir depicting William Walters’s life as one of the last survivors of the famous Orphan Trains that transported over 250,000 children from the East Coast streets and orphanages, from 1854 until the early 1930’s. Walter tells of his experience being separated from his brother at one of the many stops, and of the abuse he suf...

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The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Something is not right at the rundown Sun Down Motel in the outskirts of Fell in upstate New York.  It is 1982 and Viv Delaney finds herself passing through on her way to NYC and gets a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down to make some extra money.  After dark, the place comes alive with a sinister, haunting presence.  Could this hotel be hiding secrets tied to a possible serial killer who has been abducting women in the area for years?  Viv is determine...

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Fake News Part 2

We've added another entry to our audio Fake News blog on the Public Libraries of Saginaw's website. We'll be discussing the definition of Fake News and a little history of it. Hope you enjoy! Click here to listen to our second installment.

Janie Peters, Branch Head Wickes Library

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Fake News Introduction

Fake news can be tricky to identify, especially as we are bombarded with it everyday. The Public Libraries of Saginaw recognizes that the spread of disinformation can have an impact on us all. We have developed an audio blog to walk you through strategies to evaluate credible sources of news information, and to encourage you to think critically and look skeptically at what's behind the hype. Along with the audio, we will posting links to resources and images. Click here to listen to our first installment.

Janie Peters, Branch ...

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Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving by Mo Rocca

If you are looking for a wonderful, light-hearted work of non fiction to ring in the new year, then Mobituaries by Mo Rocca should be at the top of the list. The author defines a mobituary as “an appreciation for someone who didn’t get the love she or he deserved the first time around.” Throughout the book, Mr. Rocca reminds the reader about people worth remembering who may have been forgotten with the passage of time or circumstance. Did you know that Audrey Hepburn died on the same day as Bill Clinton’s inauguration or tha...

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Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

The coast of Erie-On-Sea is said to be home to a supernatural creature seen only on a winter night. Herbert Lemon, resident Lost-and-Founder for the Grand Nautilus Hotel, has heard the legend, but who really believes such things? A girl named Violet comes scrambling through his window one evening begging to be hidden, but she also wishes to hire him to help her find her parents (he is after all the resident Lost-and-Founder at the hotel where she was abandoned as an infant). Unfortunately Boat-Hook-Man is al...

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Child of the Dream

Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963 by Sharon Robinson

Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

This book follows the year Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, turned 13 years old.  The year is 1963 and also a very important year in the history of America.  Sharon Robinson’s journey is documented in a fascinating and telling memoir. The book also contains several photos of the family enjoying time with other famous civil rights heroes. The Robinson family participated in many of the most important events of the era. But as important as...

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The Last Train to London

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

The Last Train to London is a historical fiction written about a true life World War II heroine Geertruida Wijsmuller also known as Tante (Aunt) Truus. Truus was a Dutch woman that smuggled Jewish children out of Germany and other German occupied countries such as Austria. She would take them to countries such as Britain and have them placed with families. Her mission was called the Kindertransport and she would end up rescuing ten thousand children from the Nazi’s. She never had any biological children, however her tombstone reads “Mo...

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