Book Discussion Kits

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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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Orchardist, The

Coplin, Amanda

At the turn of the 20th century in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a gentle solitary orchardist, Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots. Then two feral, pregnant girls and armed gunmen set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

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Family History Pacific Northwest Youth

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Persepolis

Satrapi, Marjane

The great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran in a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life (NoveList).

Alex Award
Amelia Bloomer List
Booklist Editors' Choice
Library Journal Best Books
New York Times Notable Book
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Piece of the World, A

Kline, Christina Baker

Andrew Wyeth's painting "Christina's World" would immortalize a young woman. This is the story of Christina and her life. After almost dying as a child of an undiagnosed illness, her legs are twisted, making her stumble as she walks. As she ages, the effects of this illness get much worse leaving her with a shrinking world. This book immerses us in the life on her farm and into the heart of a young woman. A touching story by the author of Orphan Train that brings to life the story behind a painting and the life of a young girl who always wanted more than she was given, but accomplished so much despite her handicap. -- Diane Scholl for LibraryReads.

LibraryReads Favorite

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Family History Youth
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Place for Us, A

Mirza, Fatima Farheen

An adult child and his estranged parents attempt to reconcile in this novel of identity and belonging. Rafiq and Layla, Muslim Indian-Americans living in California, see their son Amar for the first timein years at their daughter’s wedding. Spanning decades, this novel examines the family’s history, from the parents’ arrival in America to the secrets and betrayals that led to the present day.

Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award
Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Longlist

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Power, The

Alderman, Naomi

A smart and evocative dystopian novel of a near future that flips traditional gender roles. This book is bound to spark discussion by challenging long-held beliefs.


Women’s Prize
New York Times Notable

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Awards Sci-fi/Fantasy Society & Culture Youth
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Pride and Prejudice

Austen, Jane

Wealthy Mr. Darcy and spirited Elizabeth Bennett dislike each other at first sight, and each must contend with their pride and prejudices while Elizabeth's mother plots economically advantageous marriages for all her daughters in this classic novel.
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Ready Player One

Cline, Ernest

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut--part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed. It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?

Alex Award
Booklist Editors' Choice
Great American Read

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Awards Coming of Age Sci-fi/Fantasy Watch It Youth
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Reconstructing Amelia

McCreight, Kimberly

When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets an urgent phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something that would be completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter. Kate rushes to Grace Hall, but what she finds when she finally arrives is beyond comprehension. Her daughter Amelia is dead. Despondent over having been caught cheating, Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of impulsive suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. In a state of shock and overcome by grief, Kate tries to come to grips with this life-shattering news. Then she gets an anonymous text: Amelia didn't jump. The moment she sees that message, Kate knows in her heart it's true.

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Awards Crime Family Youth
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Sellout, The

Beatty, Paul

In this satirical take on race, politics, and culture in the U.S., a young black man grows up determined to resegregate a portion of an inner city, aided by a former Little Rascals star who volunteers to be his slave. This illegal activity brings him to the attention of the Supreme Court, who must consider the ramifications of this (and other) race-related cases. Readers who can handle provocative language and racial stereotypes will appreciate the glee that African-American humorist Paul Beatty brings to his critique and questioning of black identity; others will find it incendiary. -- Description by Shauna Griffin.

ALA Notable Books

Man Booker Prize

National Book Critics Circle Award

New York Times Notable Books

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Awards Coming of Age Not so Grim Underrepresented Authors Youth
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Small Great Things

Picoult, Jodi

"A woman and her husband admitted to a hospital to have a baby requests that their nurse be reassigned - they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into a courtroom. As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Editors' Choice
LibraryReads Favorites

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Small Indiscretion, A

Ellison, Jan

One June morning a photograph arrives in Annie's mailbox, igniting an old longing and setting off a chain of events that rock the foundations of her marriage and threaten to overturn her family's hard-won happiness. Past and present converge and explode when the adult Annie returns to London seeking answers, her indiscretions come to light, and the phone rings with shocking news about her son. Now Annie must fight to save her family by piecing together the mystery of her past--the fateful collision of liberation and abandon and sexual desire that drew an invisible map of her future.

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Crime International Youth
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Smell of Other People's Houses, The

Hitchcock, Bonnie-Sue

Four lives intersect in this portrait of 1970's life in an Alaskan fishing town. Vividly told and an "exquisitely drawn, deeply heartfelt look at a time and place not often addressed. Hitchcock’s measured prose casts a gorgeous, almost otherworldly feel over the text, resulting in a quietly lovely look at the various sides of human nature and growing up in a difficult world" just one decade after statehood (Maggie Reagan, Booklist).

Morris Award Finalist
Carnegie Medal Shortlist
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So You Want to Talk About Race

Oluo, Ijeoma

Oluo is a Seattle writer and editor. This book of essays, her debut, was written in response to the conversations forced upon her growing up as a person of color in a largely-white middle-class area of Seattle. Oluo speaks clearly and thoughtfully about her personal and work life, exposing the injustice and duplicity she has encountered, and the hurt caused by casual interactions with well-intentioned acquaintances. Throughout the book she also answers questions – about racism, about the experience of oppression, and about the best way to navigate painful, racially-charged conversations.
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Soul of an Octopus, The

Montgomery, Sy

Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solve problems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal’s color-changing techniques. With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” (Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick), Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.

National Book Award Finalist
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
American Library Association Notables
Booklist Editor's Choice

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Animals Awards Not so Grim Science & Nature Youth
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Sound of A Wild Snail Eating, The

Bailey, Elisabeth Tova

While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater under standing of her own confined place in the world. Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence and provides an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.

John Burroughs Medal
William Saroyan International Prize
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Stranger in the Woods, The: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Finkel, Michael

"In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water, to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothes, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed, but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the why and how of his secluded life--as well as the challenges he has faced returning to the world. A riveting story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded"--Publisher description.

LibraryReads Favorite
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Sun and Her Flowers, The

Kaur, Rupi

A transcendent journey about growth and healing, ancestry and honoring ones roots and expatriation, and rising up to find a home within yourself. Poetry for those who think they don't like poetry.

GoodReads Choice Award Winner
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Then Came You

Weiner, Jennifer

An unexpected love story. Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior with a full scholarship, acquaintances instead of friends, and a family she's ashamed to invite to Parents' Weekend. With the income she'll receive from donating her "pedigree" eggs, she believes she can save her father from addiction. Annie Barrow married her high school sweetheart and became the mother to two boys. After years of staying at home and struggling to support four people on her husband's salary, she thinks she's found a way to recover a sense of purpose and bring in some extra cash. India Bishop, thirty-eight (really forty-three), has changed everything about herself: her name, her face, her past. In New York City, she falls for a wealthy older man, Marcus Croft, and decides a baby will ensure a happy ending. When her attempts at pregnancy fail, she turns to technology, and Annie and Jules, to help make her dreams come true. But each of their plans is thrown into disarray when Marcus' daughter Bettina, intent on protecting her father, becomes convinced that his new wife is not what she seems. With startling tenderness and laugh-out-loud humor, Jennifer Weiner once again takes readers into the heart of women's lives in an unforgettable, timely tale that interweaves themes of class and entitlement, surrogacy and donorship, the rights of a parent and the measure of motherhood.

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Family Youth
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There There

Orange, Tommy

With a large cast of characters, light suspense, and insightful narration, this is an enlightening and fast-paced story depicting Native American life in a modern urban setting.


Indies’ Choice Book Award
Society of American Historians Prize for Historical Fiction
ALA Notable
New York Times Notable

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This Is How It Always Is

Frankel, Laurie

"This is Claude. He's five years old, the youngest of five brothers. He also loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They're just not sure they're ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes."-- Provided by publisher.

GoodReads Choice Award Nominee

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Coming of Age Family Pacific Northwest Social Justice Youth
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Tiger's Wife, The

Obreht, Téa

Remembering childhood stories her grandfather once told her, young physician Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for "the deathless man," a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man would go on such a farfetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger's wife.

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Awards Family International Sagas Youth
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To Kill a Mockingbird

Lee, Harper

Scout's father defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in this novel set in a small Alabama town during the 1930s.

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Classics Coming of Age Crime Family History Social Justice Youth
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To Kill a Mockingbird

Lee, Harper

Scout's father defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in this novel set in a small Alabama town during the 1930s.

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Classics Coming of Age Crime Family History Social Justice Youth
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Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, The

Tinti, Hannah

"Loo is twelve when she moves back to the New England fishing village of her early youth. Her father, Hawley, finds work on the boats, while she undergoes the usual heartaches of a new kid in school. But lurking over Loo are mysteries, both of the mother who passed away, of the grandmother she's forbidden to speak to. And hurtling towards both father and daughter are the ghosts of Hawley's past. Before Loo's birth, he was a professional criminal engaged in increasingly elaborate and dangerous underworld schemes. Life on the road was harsh - Samuel Hawley took "twelve bullets" in his brutal career. The scars have healed, but there is a reckoning still to come"-- Provided by publisher.

Edgar Award Nominee
LibraryReads Favorite

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Coming of Age Crime Family Sagas 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 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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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
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Warlight

Ondaatje, Michael

Two siblings are abandoned by their parents, left in the care of mysterious guardians who operate in the dark and the murk. They look for answers where none are forthcoming. In the aftermath of the London Blitz, the city struggles to rebuild itself, one relationship at a time. Written with spare prose, Ondaatje’s story prompts readers to wonder the best way to protect a child when understanding may put them in greater danger.

Man Booker Prize Longlist
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee
Walter Scott Prize Longlist

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Awards Coming of Age Crime Family History International WWII Youth
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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Fowler, Karen Joy

Coming of age in middle America, eighteen-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister.

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Animals Awards Coming of Age Family Youth
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We Should All Be Feminists

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay--adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name--Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author's exploration of what it means to be a woman now--and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Amelia Bloomer List

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Weight of Blood, The

McHugh, Laura

The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane's mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy's family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family's influence, Lucy--darkly beautiful as her mother was--is always thought of by those around her as her mother's daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls--the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn't save--and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri's death.

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Awards Crime Family Youth
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What Alice Forgot

Moriarty, Liane

What would happen if you were visited by your younger self, and got a chance for a do-over? Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she's actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce. A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn't sure she likes who she's become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.

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Family International Not so Grim Youth
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What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in An American City

Hanna-Attisha, Mona

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was a pediatrician in Flint, Michigan who noticed that something was wrong with the water in her city. There was plenty of circumstantial evidence of a mounting health crisis, but there was no proof. When she announced her conclusion that city drinking water was the source, city officials challenged her data and her credibility. This 2018 book is a firsthand account of the Flint water crisis, Hanna-Attisha's research into its origins and effects, and the ongoing struggle of Flint advocates to secure clean water. In it, Hanna-Attisha personalizes the crisis by telling the stories of her patients: Flint's children and their parents.

New York Times Notable
NPR's Best Science Book

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When the Emperor was Divine

Otsuka, Julie

Otsuka's commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any previously written--a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times.

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Awards Family History Short (less than 250 pages) WWII Youth
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Where Women Are Kings

Watson, Christie

From the award-winning author of Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away , the story of a young boy who believes two things: that his Nigerian birth mother loves him like the world has never known love, and that he is a wizard Elijah, seven years old, is covered in scars and has a history of disruptive behavior. Taken away from his birth mother, a Nigerian immigrant in England, Elijah is moved from one foster parent to the next before finding a home with Nikki and her husband, Obi. Nikki believes that she and Obi are strong enough to accept Elijah's difficulties--and that being white will not affect her ability to raise a black son. They care deeply for Elijah and, in spite of his demons, he begins to settle into this loving family. But as Nikki and Obi learn more about their child's tragic past, they face challenges that threaten to rock the fragile peace they've established, challenges that could prove disastrous.

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Semple, Maria

When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.

Alex Award

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Awards Family Not so Grim Pacific Northwest Watch It Youth
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Whistling Season

Doig, Ivan

"Can't cook but doesn't bite." So begins the newspaper ad offering the services of an "A-1 housekeeper, sound morals, exceptional disposition" that draws the attention of widower Oliver Milliron in the fall of 1909. That unforgettable season deposits the ever-whistling Rose Llewellyn and her font-of-knowledge brother, Morris Morgan, in Marias Coulee along with a stampede of homesteaders drawn by the promise of the Big Ditch--a gargantuan irrigation project intended to make the Montana prairie bloom. When the schoolmarm runs off with an itinerant preacher, Morris is pressed into service, setting the stage for the "several kinds of education"--none of them of the textbook variety--Morris and Rose will bring to Oliver, his three sons, and the rambunctious students in the region's one-room schoolhouse. A paean to a way of life that has long since vanished, The Whistling Season is Ivan Doig at his evocative best.

ALA Notable Book
Alex Award
Booklist Editors' Choice

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Awards Coming of Age History Not so Grim Pacific Northwest Youth
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Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

Egan, Timothy

The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before. In The Worst Hard Time, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Timothy Egan tells the epic story of this environmental disaster and its impact on the communities stricken with fear and choked by dust in the 'dirty thirties'.

Donated by the Mukilteo Library Evening Book Club in honor of Sheila Nesse on her retirement.

National Book Award
Western Heritage Award

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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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