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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Unbroken

Hillenbrand, Laura

"On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will. In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit . Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit." --Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run

Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year

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Bio & Memoir History Watch It WWII
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Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Horan, Nancy

The improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny. At the age of thirty-five, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium--with her three children and nanny in tow--to study art. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists' colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated "belle Americaine." The two begin a fierce love affair--marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness--that spans the decades and the globe. The shared life of these two strong-willed individuals unfolds into an adventure as impassioned and unpredictable as any of Stevenson's own unforgettable tales.

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Family History International
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Underground Girls of Kabul, The

Nordberg, Jenny

In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as "dressed up like a boy") is a third kind of child - a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times , constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom. The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents' attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.

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Awards International Social Justice Society & Culture Youth
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Underground Girls of Kabul, The

Nordberg, Jenny

In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as "dressed up like a boy") is a third kind of child - a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times , constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.

The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents' attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.

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Awards International Social Justice Society & Culture Youth
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Underground Railroad, The

Whitehead, Colson

"Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey -- hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day."--Provided by the Publisher

National Book Award
Arthur C. Clarke Award
Andrew Carnegie Medal
Pulitzer Prize
Oprah Book Club

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Awards History Sagas Social Justice Underrepresented Authors
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Underground River, The

Conway, Martha

"Set aboard a nineteenth century riverboat theater, this is the moving, page-turning story of a charmingly frank and naive seamstress who is blackmailed into saving runaway slaves on Underground Railroad, jeopardizing her freedom, her livelihood," and a hard-won new life. A novel with distinctive setting full of rich historical details and thorny issues. -publisher description

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Family History Social Justice
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Undertaker's Assistant, The

Skenandore, Amanda

Raised in Indiana by a Union Army surgeon and his wife, former slave Effie returns to New Orleans after the end of the Civil War as a freedwoman. Thanks to her work assisting her adoptive father in his surgery, she has a stomach for gore, so she finds work as an embalmer. Searching for her roots and building an independent life for herself, Effie is pulled into political activism through her attraction to a young politician. This historical novel explores issues of class and race during the Reconstruction Era, and will appeal to readers who love immersive detail.

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Coming of Age History
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Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The

Joyce, Rachel

Retiree Harold Fry finds himself at an unexpected crossroads when a letter arrives from an old friend. Queenie Hennessy, writing from hospice care, wishes to bid farewell. Though out of contact for 20 years, Fry embarks on a road trip to visit her, leaving behind an acrimonious marriage and a sleepwalking existence. Readers join the quirky and introspective Harold in a journey of discovery, learning that it's never too late to start living. Poignant and heartwarming, this is sure to inspire discussion on topics including death, friendship, and marriage.


Commonwealth Book Prize Shortlist
American Library Association Notable
Man Booker Longlist
Washington Post Best Book
Booklist Editors' Choice

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International Not so Grim
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Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The

Joyce, Rachel

Retiree Harold Fry finds himself at an unexpected crossroads when a letter arrives from an old friend. Queenie Hennessy, writing from hospice care, wishes to bid farewell. Though out of contact for 20 years, Fry embarks on a road trip to visit her, leaving behind an acrimonious marriage and a sleepwalking existence. Readers join the quirky and introspective Harold in a journey of discovery, learning that it's never too late to start living. Poignant and heartwarming, this is sure to inspire discussion on topics including death, friendship, and marriage.


Commonwealth Book Prize Shortlist
American Library Association Notable
Man Booker Longlist
Washington Post Best Book
Booklist Editors' Choice

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International Not so Grim
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Unsheltered

Kingsolver, Barbara

Unsheltered features a dual narrative set in the same New Jersey house more than one hundred years apart. In the 1870s, science teacher Thatcher Greenwood grapples with the controversy over teaching evolution in schools. In the present day, newly laid-off magazine worker Willa Knox struggles with the recession that destroyed her job, her husband’s job, and their comfortable middle-class status. Both families are trying to survive during times of rapid change in an unstable world.

NPR Best Book

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Family History Sagas Society & Culture
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Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II

Aleksievich, Svetlana

"Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, War's Unwomanly Face is Svetlana Alexievich's collection of stories of women's experiences in World War II, both on the front lines, on the home front, and in occupied territories. This is a new, distinct version of the war we're so familiar with. Alexievich gives voice to women whose stories are lost in the official narratives, creating a powerful alternative history from the personal and private stories of individuals. Collectively, these women's voices provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of the war." --provided by the publisher

Nobel Prize in Literature (author)

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Bio & Memoir History International WWII
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Us

Nicholls, David

David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his New York Times bestseller one day to a compellingly human, deftly humorous new novel about what holds marriages and families together--and what happens when everything threatens to fall apart. Douglas Petersen may be mild mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells Douglas that she thinks she wants a divorce. The timing couldn't be worse. Hoping to encourage her son's artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world's greatest works of art as a family, and she can't bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best, anyway?

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Family Not so Grim
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Us Against You

Backman, Fredrik

Backman returns to the Swedish village of Beartown in this insightful novel offering humor and emotion alongside grim realism to explore heavy themes like violence, politics, family, and community.

LibraryReads Favorite

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International Youth