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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Tulalip, From My Heart: An Autobiographical Account of a Reservation Community

Dover, Harriette Shelton

In Tulalip, From My Heart , Harriette Shelton Dover describes her life on the Tulalip Reservation and recounts the myriad problems tribes faced after resettlement. Born in 1904, Dover grew up hearing the elders of her tribe tell of the hardships involved in moving from their villages to the reservation on Tulalip Bay: inadequate supplies of food and water, harsh economic conditions, and religious persecution outlawing potlatch houses and other ceremonial practices. Dover herself spent ten traumatic months every year in an Indian boarding school, an experience that developed her political consciousness and keen sense of justice. The first Indian woman to serve on the Tulalip board of directors, Dover describes her experiences in her own personal, often fierce style, revealing her tribe's powerful ties and enduring loyalty to land now occupied by others.
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Good House, The

Due, Tananarive

Working to rebuild her law practice after her son commits suicide, Angela Toussaint journeys to the family home where the suicide took place, hoping for answers, and discovers an evil force that is driving locals to acts of violence.

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Pacific Northwest Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Water Dancer, The

Coates, Ta-Nehisi

A Virginia slave narrowly escapes a drowning death through the intervention of a mysterious force that compels his escape and personal underground war against slavery. Book Club: Oprah's Book Club (Nov 2019) Award winner: ALA Notable Books - Fiction: 2020 BCALA Literary Award: First Novelist Category LibraryReads Favorites: 2019 Loan Stars Favourites: 2019

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Awards History Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Woman of No Importance, A: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII

Purnell, Sonia

Traces the story of mid-twentieth-century spy Virginia Hall, detailing her pivotal role in coordinating Resistance activities in Europe that helped change the course of World War II. Award winner: Plutarch Award for Best Biography

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Awards History WWII
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Street, The

Petry, Ann

The Street follows the spirited Lutie Johnson, a newly single mother whose efforts to claim a share of the American Dream for herself and her young son meet frustration at every turn in 1940s Harlem. Opening a fresh perspective on the realities and challenges of black, female, working-class life, The Street became the first novel by an African American woman to sell more than a million copies. Book Club: Now Read This -- PBS NewsHour and The New York Times (May 2020)

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Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors

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Rough House: A Memoir

Tina Ontiveros

A story of growing up in turmoil, Rough House recounts a childhood divided between a charming, mercurial, abusive father in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, and a mother struggling with poverty in The Dalles. It is also a story of generational trauma, especially for the women - a story of violent men and societal restrictions, of children not always chosen, and frequently raised alone. Tracing her childhood through the working class towns and forests of Washington and Oregon, Ontiveros explores themes of love and loss, parents and children, and her own journey to a different kind of adulthood. Award winner: Pacific Northwest Bookseller Awards (2021)

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Bio & Memoir Pacific Northwest
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Parable of the Talents

Butler, Octavia E.

Laura Olamina's daughter, Larkin, describes the broken and alienated world of 2032, as war racks the North American continent and an ultra-conservative religious crusader becomes president. Award winner: Nebula Awards: Best Novel New York Times Notable Books - Science Fiction: 1999

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Sci-fi/Fantasy Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Parable of the Sower

Butler, Octavia E.

In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others' pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages. Book Club: LeVar Burton (Jun 2021)

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Sci-fi/Fantasy Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-first Century

Bruder, Jessica

Author Jessica Bruder, who teaches at the Columbia School of Journalism, spent several years traveling with older Americans who have become itinerant workers in order to make ends meet. In Nomadland, she describes how they assume a "wheel estate" (instead of "real estate") existence as they travel from one seasonal job to the next, exchanging information on safe camping sites and enjoying the camaraderie of the road. Bruder vividly and sympathetically characterizes these "workampers" as she critiques the financial systems that have led them to adopt this solution. Book Club: Now Read This -- PBS NewsHour and The New York Times (Mar 2021)

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Society & Culture Watch It
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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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How Long 'til Black Future Month?

Jemisin, N.K.

N. K. Jemisin is one of the most powerful and acclaimed speculative fiction authors of our time. In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story "The City Born Great," a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis's soul. Award winner: Alex Award: 2019 LibraryReads Favorites: 2018 Locus Awards: Collection

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Sci-fi/Fantasy Underrepresented Authors
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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Fowler, Therese Anne

A tale inspired by the marriage of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald follows their union in defiance of her father's opposition and her scandalous transformation into a Jazz Age celebrity in the literary party scenes of New York, Paris, and the French Riviera.

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History
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All Systems Red

Wells, Martha

A murderous android discovers itself in "All Systems Red", a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial intelligence. In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn't a primary concern. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid -- a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as "Murderbot." Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth. Award Winner: Alex Award (2018)

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Sci-fi/Fantasy
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All the Forgivenesses

Hardinger, Elizabeth

Growing up on their hardscrabble farm in rural Kentucky, fifteen-year-old Albertina "Bertie" Winslow has learned a lot from her mama, Polly. She knows how to lance a boil, make a pie crust, butcher a pig, and tend to every chore that needs doing. What she doesn't know, but is forced to reckon with all too soon, is how to look after children as a mother should ...When Polly succumbs to a long illness, Bertie takes on responsibility for her four younger siblings and their dissolute, unreliable daddy. Yet no matter how hard she tries to hold the family together, the task is overwhelming. Nine-year-old Dacia, especially, is resentful and stubborn, hinting at secrets in their mama's life. Finally, Bertie makes the only choice she can - breaking up the family for its own survival, keeping the girls with her, sending the boys off to their grown brothers, long gone from home.Ever pragmatic, Bertie marries young, grateful to find a husband willing to take on the care of her sisters, and eventually moves to the oil fields of Kansas. But marriage alone cannot resolve the grief and guilt she carries over a long-ago tragedy, or prepare her for the heartaches still to come. Only by confronting wrenching truths can she open herself to joy - and learn how to not only give, but receive, unfettered love.

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Family
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Hollow Kingdom

Buxton, Kira Jane

S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle's wild crows (those idiots), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos ®.Then Big Jim's eyeball falls out of his head, and S.T. starts to feel like something isn't quite right. His most tried-and-true remedies--from beak-delivered beer to the slobbering affection of Big Jim's loyal but dim-witted dog, Dennis--fail to cure Big Jim's debilitating malady. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, where he discovers that the neighbors are devouring each other and the local wildlife is abuzz with rumors of dangerous new predators roaming Seattle. Humanity's extinction has seemingly arrived, and the only one determined to save it is a foul-mouthed crow whose knowledge of the world around him comes from his TV-watching education.

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Sci-fi/Fantasy
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Year of the Witching, The

Henderson, Alexis

A young woman living in a rigid, repressive society discovers dark powers within herself, with terrifying and far-reaching consequences, in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut. In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet's word is law, Immanuelle Moore's very existence is blasphemy. The daughter of an union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement. But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood. Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her. Award Winner: YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults: 2021

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Awards Underrepresented Authors Youth
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Hex

Olde Heuvelt, Thomas

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated by being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers, decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past. Award: The Reading List (RUSA): 2017

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Awards
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How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Odell, Jenny

When the technologies we use every day collapse our experiences into 24/7 availability, platforms for personal branding, and products to be monetized, nothing can be quite so radical as . . . doing nothing. Here, Jenny Odell sends up a flare from the heart of Silicon Valley, delivering an action plan to resist capitalist narratives of productivity and techno-determinism, and to become more meaningfully connected in the process. A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER One of President Barack Obama’s “Favorite Books of 2019”
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Salvage the Bones

Ward, Jesmyn

Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups. Awards: Alex Award: 2012 Library Journal Best Books: 2011 National Book Awards: Fiction New York Times Notable Books - Fiction and Poetry: 2012

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Awards Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Henna Artist, The

Joshi, Alka

A talented henna artist for wealthy confidantes finds her efforts to control her own destiny in 1950s Jaipur threatened by the abusive husband she fled as a teenage girl. Bookclub: Reese Witherspoon's Book Club (May 2020) Author Alka Joshi enjoys visiting book groups on Zoom. She can be contacted through her website at www.alkajoshi.com/contact-me for further information.

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Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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Giver of Stars, The

Moyes, Jojo

English bride Alice Wright volunteers for Eleanor Roosevelt's new traveling library in small-town Kentucky, joining a group of independent women whose commitment to their job transforms the community and their relationships. Book Club: Reese Witherspoon's Book Club (Nov 2019)
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Body is Not an Apology, The: The Power of Radical Self-love

Taylor, Sonya Renee

Humans are a varied and divergent bunch with all manner of beliefs, morals, and bodies. Systems of oppression thrive off our inability to make peace with difference and injure the relationship we have with our own bodies. The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world—for us all. This second edition includes stories from Taylor's travels around the world combating body terrorism and shines a light on the path toward liberation guided by love. In a brand new final chapter, she offers specific tools, actions, and resources for confronting racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. And she provides a case study showing how radical self-love not only dismantles shame and self-loathing in us but has the power to dismantle entire systems of injustice. Together with the accompanying workbook, Your Body Is Not an Apology, Taylor brings the practice of radical self-love to life.

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Social Justice Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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From the Ashes: my story of being Metis, homeless and finding my way

Thistle, Jesse

In his memoir, Jesse Thistle writes about his experiences as a child abandoned by his parents and placed in foster care, his self-destructive cycle of drug addiction, petty crime and homelessness, and how he managed to turn his life around through education and perseverance. Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Nonfiction *Winner, Indigenous Voices Awards *Winner, High Plains Book Awards *Finalist, CBC Canada Reads *A Globe and Mail Book of the Year *A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year
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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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Song of Achilles, The

Miller, Madeleine

Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War.

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History
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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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Rose Code, The

Quinn, Kate

Joining the elite Bletchley Park codebreaking team during World War II, three women from very different walks of life uncover a spy's dangerous agenda years later against the backdrop of the royal wedding of Elizabeth and Philip.

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History WWII
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Motorcycle Diaries, The

Guevara, Che

The Motorcycle Diaries is Che Guevara's diary of his journey to discover the continent of Latin America while still a medical student, setting out in 1952 on a vintage Norton motorcycle together with his friend Alberto Granado, a biochemist. It captures, arguably as much as any book ever written, the exuberance and joy of one person's youthful belief in the possibilities of humankind tending towards justice, peace and happiness. After the release in 2004 of the exhilarating film of the same title, directed by Walter Salles, the book became a New York Times and international bestseller.

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Social Justice Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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American Spy

Wilkinson, Lauren

It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War. Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant and talented, but she's also a black woman working in an all-white boys' club, and her career has stalled with routine paperwork - until she's recruited to a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention. In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, and a good American.  Inspired by true events—Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”—American Spy knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. Selected for 'Now Read This' Book Club - PBS NewsHour and the New York Times (June 2020) Nominated for the NAACP Image Award • Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

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History
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All the Birds in the Sky

Anders, Charlie

A stunning novel about the end of the world--and the beginning of our future childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages. A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Editors' Choice
Locus Awards for Fantasy Novel
Nebula Awards for Best Novel

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Awards Sci-fi/Fantasy Underrepresented Authors