Jennifer is our children’s book buyer and she’s full of recommendations for kids books of all ages. Jennifer is also our resident pop culture expert!
“Genius… It is miraculous to read these pieces… You must read The Best of Me.” —Andrew Sean Greer, New York Times Book Review
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
A CNN and Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Month
For more than twenty-five years, David Sedaris h
In this charming YA anthology, nine of today’s YA authors show us love in the time of social distancing. From two boys finding love on a daily walk to a young entrepreneur making masks to a new girl getting pizza delivered, there are many opportunities for the teens in these stories to find “the one” or at least the one for right now. A lovely comforting read for those wanting something to brighten their day.
In this charming and fun graphic novel, Effie is a feisty orphan who is sent to live with her two eccentric aunts in Brooklyn. While trying to figure out what’s the deal with her mysterious and possibly magical relatives, she makes friends with a couple of kids at her new school. Highly recommend this for fans of SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH, KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE, and any number of books about young witches in modern times.
Brosh is back with another heartbreaking and relatable book about childhood, humorous animals, and life’s absurdities. But she also covers an episode of overwhelming loss and grief that is a gut punch when it’s revealed. With her signature MS Paint cartoons she takes us on an analytical journey of her frustrations and heartache, and in insightful longer pieces she delves deeper into what causes her confusion and pain and how she copes with it all.
This atmospheric boarding school story has it all—a creepy setting, a mysterious history, an endearing friendship, and snooty villains. You’ll cheer the main character Juniper on as she navigates through her bumpy first year at Ellsmere Academy with the help of her quirky and friendly roommate Cassie. Previously published in 2008 as THE WAR AT ELLSMERE, this new edition is more colorful as it has been redrawn, reimagined, and reinked.
I miss coffee shops, diners, and other people’s houses. I miss being with friends, curled up on their sofas, and having deep discussions about life, the universe, and everything. While reading Lippman’s frank and personal essays, I felt like I was once again sitting with a friend who was sharing her life with me—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I started reading this book during the winter and then recently finished it during a particularly tough time. It was cathartic in so many ways, and I liked the way the stories circled back on themselves, like a good mystery. Lippman is a crime fiction writer and has led a fascinating life as a journalist and author, plus she’s married to David Simon, the creator of “The Wire.” I enjoyed reading about her dual careers and all the stages in her life and her experiences as a mother who came to parenting late in life. Someday, I’ll have coffee dates with friends again, but in the meantime I have authors like Lippman, who are friends between the pages.
I love a strong voice and Ashley Bennett, the narrator of BLACK KIDS has a wry sarcastic voice with truth-telling undertones that is reminiscent of Starr Carter’s in THE HATE YOU GIVE or Maddy’s in EVERYTHING EVERYTHING. Ashley lives in 1990s LA and attends an exclusive HS where she’s one of a handful of Black kids, but her three closest friends are privileged White girls whom she’s known since preschool. Toward the end of their senior year, four LAPD officers are acquitted for a horrible crime against a Black man named Rodney King and LA explodes in anger and riots. Ashley’s heart breaks for LA, for her family, and for herself as she recounts her past and present in this page-turning coming-of-age YA novel.
I’m a huge Halse Anderson fan and have read everything she’s ever written, so when I heard she was doing a Wonder Woman graphic novel? Yes, please. It opens with Diana on the familiar island of Themyscira on the day of her 16th Born Day, but she’ll end up half-way around the world in present day NYC. Along the way, she meets new friends and proves that she has a big heart and knows the difference between right and wrong, and that she’ll do whatever it takes to get to the truth (with the lasso!) and help people. This coming-of-age story is also about the refugee and immigrant experience as Diana becomes both. I loved this non-sexualized version of Wonder Woman and the illustrations, coloring, and letters are just gorgeous.
This book is for space nerds like me and anyone who's been in isolation for the past few months (so everyone :). In 2013 Green spent four months in a geodesic dome on a Hawaiian island, pretending that she and her five crewmates were on Mars as part of NASA's HI-SEAS project. Green supplements her tale of a simulated Mars experience with historical notes of NASA's missions and of many famous astronauts' observances.
I ran across a quote years ago about how you should act in the present in such a way that you give your future self a gift. This is exactly what Oona does--or at least attempts to do--in this delightful and unique spin on time travel. Every year on her birthday, which is also New Year's Eve, she "leaps" into another year of her life, but not in sequential order. Without giving any spoilers, I will say that my favorite part of the novel was Oona's love of music and her devotion to the craft of performing it. tldr; Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.
If you miss watching basketball as much as I do, you'll love this fun and exciting true story of a California high school team's quest for a state championship. Gene Luen Yang usually writes about super heroes or cultural history, but in the Dragons of Bishop O'Dowd and their coach Lou Richards he found a compelling tale and real heroes. He interviewed coaches, players, and staff, and woven between their stories is the history of basketball - from its invention to the starts of the NBA. Yang is one of my favorite authors and this book is easily in my top five of graphic novels.
Jones’ unflinching coming-of-age memoir of growing up black and gay to a Buddhist single mother was one of my favorite reads of 2019. It had me re-reading specific passages over and over because of the beautiful or hilarious prose. This line in particular gets me every time: “There should be a hundred words in our language for all the ways a black boy can lie awake at night.
Shape-shifter Nimona convinces Lord Ballister Blackheart that he needs her help to carry out his evil plans and defeat Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. The latter is with the Instiution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, and both Nimona and Blackheart think it’s not as great as everyone thinks it is. Hilarity and destruction ensue as nothing goes according to their wacky plans in this witty and inventive graphic novel. Nimona is an endearing and smart character, and I dare you not to fall in love with her (in all of her many forms).
After years of killing plants and flowers, I have finally turned into one of those people who successfully grows things, delighting in their stages--from mysterious green buds pushing through the ground to recognizable flowers or vegetables or even weeds. I've been reading this lovely book since last fall, enjoying both the gardening bits and Dickinson's life and poems, and I'm excited to emulate parts of her gardens. Or at least to attempt her "Darlings of the Soil."
A book about the power of love and resistance from New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed.
Year of the Monkey is a gorgeously written memoir about Patti Smith coming to terms with life since 2016. It's a dreamy meditation on love, loss, and aging. Smith is my Punk Queen and I will read anything she writes. I love her books.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
"A spectacular novel that only this legend can pull off." -Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, in The Atlantic
Explore the beginning of Leia's participation in the Rebellion and the origin of her friendship with Amilyn Holdo from The Last Jedi!