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Firekeeper's Daughter

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

If you haven’t read one of the best books of 2021 yet, what are you waiting for? Although Firekeeper’s Daughter was published as a young adult novel, it’s a rich story that adults can appreciate, too.

The author, Angeline Boulley, is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Her protagonist, Daunis Fontaine, is a recent high school graduate who has always felt like she’s lived between the worlds of her mother’s rich, white family and her late father’s Ojibwe relatives. Daunis had been looking forward ...

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Bright Star

Bright Star by Yuyi Morales

For ages 4-8

This picture book has a message that you will want to share with every child in your life. It is an encouraging voice that helps a tiny fawn learn to use his or her own voice in this big world. The voice is reassuring and empowers the young fawn with courage, strength and love. It was written to show and highlight the borderlands but the message of the story resonates far and wide. The artwork is stunning and you can feel the emotion when you look into the beautiful eyes of the baby fawn and then also th...

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The Music of Bees

The Music of Bees By Eileen Garvin


Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman grew up thinking she would one day become a third-generation Oregon fruit grower, but then her parents sold the family orchard to a land developer, she took an office job, and found herself beekeeping on the side. Her hives pollinate nearby fruit trees and give her something to nurture after the sudden, devastating losses of her husband and parents. When she’s taking care of her bees, she doesn’t have time to remember that she’s the last-living member of her family.


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Trying by Kobi Yamada with illustrations by Elise Hurst

Trying is something we all do throughout our life journey.  This book is about trying and sometimes failing and then trying again and the decisions we make to keep trying even after failures.  At the start of this book a young person approaches a sculptor and asks how he had created such amazing things and the sculptor starts a conversation with the young person about trying a new skill. The young person quickly states his doubt and the sculptor tells the young person that you will not know what you can do unless yo...

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Strangeworlds Travel Agency

Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski

“There have always been places in our world where magic gathers. 

You can see it, if you look close enough.”


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Lift by Minh Lê with illustrations by Dan Santat


Everyone knows the power of simple pleasures. For Iris, it is the delight of pushing the elevator button. It is their routine whether leaving home or returning – it’s her job to send them on their way. Until one day, her watchful little brother leans forward and pushes the button before she can. Dan Santat’s keen eye for body language shows just how upsetting this new development is for Iris, even while the rest of the family celebrates the m...

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His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

Months ahead of his death last July at age 80, John Lewis informed few people that his cancer of the pancreas was terminal.


One of them was a biographer he highly trusted, a historian and student of the civil rights movement. To add to the attraction, Jon Meacham is also a religious soul who had invested an intense inquiry into Jesus Christ's final words from the cross. This made Meacham a soul mate.


The pair collaborated on His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope, which ultimately was a rush job, because the civi...

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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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