Book Discussion Kits

Book Discussion Kit Home

Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Foundation are proud to offer book discussion kits.

Each kit includes 10 copies of a single title. Resources for book discussions may be found at publishers' websites, bound into some editions of the book, or at www.bookreporter.com or www.readinggroupguides.com (Download a printer friendly list of book kits.)

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I Am Not your Negro

Baldwin, James

To compose his stunning documentary film I Am Not Your Negro, acclaimed filmmaker Raoul Peck mined James Baldwin s published and unpublished oeuvre, selecting passages from his books, essays, letters, notes, and interviews that are every bit as incisive and pertinent now as they have ever been. Weaving these texts together, Peck brilliantly imagines the book that Baldwin never wrote. In his final years, Baldwin had envisioned a book about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. His deeply personal notes for the project have never been published before. Peck s film uses them to jump through time, juxtaposing Baldwin s private words with his public statements, in a blazing examination of the tragic history of race in America. - From the publisher

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary
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I Will Send Rain

Meadows, Rae

It's 1934 and the Bell farm in Mulehead, Oklahoma is struggling as the earliest storms of The Dust Bowl descend. All around them the wheat harvests are drying out and people are packing up their belongings as storms lay waste to the Great Plains. As the Bells wait for the rains to come, Annie and each member of her family are pulled in different directions. Gritty, bittersweet, lyrical, vibrant, and absorbing.

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Family History
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If Beale Street Could Talk

Baldwin, James

When a pregnant Tish's boyfriend Fonny, a sculptor, is wrongfully jailed for the rape of a Puerto Rican woman, their families unite to prove the charge false.

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Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The

Skloot, Rebecca

Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. Includes reading-group guide. Reprint. A best-selling book.

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Awards Bio & Memoir History Science & Nature Social Justice Watch It
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Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The

Skloot, Rebecca

Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. Includes reading-group guide. A best-selling book.

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Awards Bio & Memoir History Science & Nature Social Justice Watch It
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In the Darkroom

Faludi, Susan

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi had barely heard from her father Steven for over 20 years when she received an email in which Steven came out as transgender. Now called Stefánie Faludi, she wanted to make her daughter's acquaintance all over again. In the Darkroom explores Stefánie's life, beginning in Budapest after World War I. Susan based this biography on recollections from her childhood, conversations and correspondence with Stefánie, as well as interviews with other family members and friends, Stefánie's surgeon, and other transgender women. In this fascinating account, Susan disentangles fact from fiction in Stefánie's recollections, painting a moving and insightful portrait. -- Description by Katherine Bradley Johnson.

ALA Notable Book

New York Times Notable Book

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Awards Bio & Memoir Family History Society & Culture
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In the Garden of Beasts

Larson, Erik

In this readable narrative, author Larson (The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck) offers a real-life, eyewitness perspective inside the Nazi hierarchy as Hitler came to power. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered professor from Chicago, became the first US ambassador to Hitler's Germany in 1933. Dodd, his wife, their son, and their 24-year-old daughter Martha lived in Germany for about five years. Drawing on Martha's diaries and letters, much of the book centers on Martha's romantic affairs with high-ranking Nazi officials and her eventual heroism as she realized Hitler's true character. Meanwhile, her father William Dodd informed the US State Department of increasing Jewish persecution, with little response from the State Department. The book sheds light on why it took so long for the world to recognize the threat posed by Hitler. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Bio & Memoir History Politics Society & Culture WWII
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In the Unlikely Event

Blume, Judy

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place--Nat King Cole singing "Unforgettable," Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

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Coming of Age Family History Sagas Society & Culture Youth
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Indigenous People's History of the United States, An

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne

Challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the indigenous peoples was genocidal and imperialist, designed to crush the original inhabitants. Spanning more than 300 years, a classic bottom-up history significantly reframes how we view our past. Told from the viewpoint of the indigenous, it reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the U.S. empire. 2015 Recipient of the American Book Award

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Awards Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Inheritance, The: A Family on the Front Lines of the Battle Against Alzheimer's Disease

Kapsambelis, Niki

"Every 69 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. For most people, there is nothing that they can do to fight back. But one family is doing all they can. The DeMoe family has the most devastating form of the disease that there is: early onset Alzheimer's, an inherited genetic mutation that causes the disease in 100 percent of cases. Of the six DeMoe children whose father had it, five have inherited the gene; the sixth, Karla, has inherited responsibility for all of them. But rather than give up in the face of such news, the DeMoes have agreed to spend their precious, abbreviated years as part of a worldwide study that could utterly change the landscape of Alzheimer's research and offers the brightest hope for future treatments--and possibly a cure. This incredible narrative redefines courage in the face of one of the most pervasive and mysterious pandemics of our time"-- Provided by publisher.

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Family Science & Nature
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Interior Chinatown

Yu, Charles

A stereotyped character actor stumbles into the spotlight before uncovering surprising links between his family and the secret history of Chinatown. National Book Awards: Fiction Book Club: Now Read This -- PBS NewsHour and The New York Times (Feb 2021)

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Awards Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Invention of Wings, The

Kidd, Sue Monk

Hetty "Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke's daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. Kidd's sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other's destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

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Awards History Society & Culture
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Invisible Front, The

Dreazen, Yochi

Major General Mark Graham was a decorated two-star officer whose integrity and patriotism inspired his sons, Jeff and Kevin, to pursue military careers of their own. His wife Carol was a teacher who held the family together while Mark's career took them to bases around the world. When Kevin and Jeff die within nine months of each other--Kevin commits suicide and Jeff is killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq--Mark and Carol are astonished by the drastically different responses their sons' deaths receive from the Army. While Jeff is lauded as a hero, Kevin's death is met with silence, evidence of the terrible stigma that surrounds suicide and mental illness in the military. Convinced that their sons died fighting different battles, Mark and Carol commit themselves to transforming the institution that is the cornerstone of their lives. The Invisible Front is the story of how one family tries to set aside their grief and find purpose in almost unimaginable loss. The Grahams work to change how the Army treats those with PTSD and to erase the stigma that prevents suicidal troops from getting the help they need before making the darkest of choices. Their fight offers a window into the military's institutional shortcomings and its resistance to change - failures that have allowed more than 3,000 troops to take their own lives since 2001.

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Awards Bio & Memoir History Politics Society & Culture
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Invisible Man

Ellison, Ralph

A Black man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility. "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me...When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination - indeed, everything and anything except me."

National Book Award

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Awards Classics Social Justice Underrepresented Authors