Librarians Read: The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley

I absolutely adored The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley from start to finish and already have 3 people that I can’t wait to share it with. Frances (or Figgrotten as she prefers) is a 6th grader who loves nature and science and is a great observer of people – though she keeps most at a distance. After suffering the ire of her classmates from answering too many questions, Figgrotten has learned to hide her brilliance from most people with the exception of her thoughtful bus driver and encouraging teacher. She is most happy when she is up in the rock cave in the low cliffs behind her home where she can study nature and breathe. But inevitably life changes are coming for Frances through a terrible standoff with her older sister, a disturbingly precocious new classmate, the death of someone dear to her and the onset of puberty. I hope other readers will enjoy this thoughtful and true book as much as I did.

Librarians Read: Hello Universe

I have really been dragging my feet on reading the Newbery winner this year and for no good reason. This is a sweet book with some lovely young characters in it and by the end they have all pushed past some life-blocks that have been holding them back and have gotten themselves on a more empowered path. When recommending it to readers I would mention that the author takes some time to set things up which for me led to an initial slow pace but once Virgil drops into that well (no spoilers since it’s right on the cover) I was quite driven to zoom my way through. Give this one to the big-hearted readers who enjoy a little bit of sadness, depth and diversity in their realistic fiction.

Librarians Read: Anatomy of a Scandal

K just finished Anatomy of a Scandal, a thrilling and mysterious drama.  The story is told in multiple perspectives, from a lawyer, a politician, and a wife.  The politician is in the middle of a scandal after an affair goes awry.

We learn new details as the story unfolds, about the past of the lawyer, about the past of the politician, about the life of the wife.

Recommended for adults or young adults who can manage the theme of sexual assault.

Librarians Read: Manabeshima Island

K just finished this beautiful graphic novel and travelogue through an island in Japan.  It was so gorgeous, so well-written, so detailed and full of beautiful culture.

From the eyes of a French explorer who stays on an island in Japan, this book is full of vignettes about life on the island.  With interesting people and details about homes and food and cat gangs, this book is delightful.

Recommended for MG age and above.

Videos: Rotten (Netflix)

There is so much to learn about commercial food production. Although we often accept what we get in the supermarkets without looking too deeply into processes, it is always enlightening when we do so. The series Rotten, now on Netflix is a terrific place to start. Every episode takes on a certain aspect of the food that we consume and examines it at both a local and global levels. There are currently 6 seasons focused on – Honey, Peanuts and other foods that are associated with allergies, Garlic, Chicken Farming, Dairies and Fishing. If you want to learn more about the international food industry then take a look at this series on Netflix.

Librarians Read: Things Fall Apart

I recently decided to re-read on of my favorite books from college, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. We now have copies available in print and on Overdrive, including an audio version. I chose to go with the new print version that we collected from Modern Libraries which includes the attached silk bookmark and had very high quality printing. Aside from all the aesthetic pluses the book remains one of my favorites. I loved the rich descriptions of pre-colonial life in Nigeria. The culture was so well-developed and the pages sing with reality – a bit of comedy and certainly tragedy. Have you picked up any old favorites lately? If so, has your reading experience altered?

Librarians Read: The Belles

I read The Belles amazingly quickly and with great fervor.  The book was a delightful mix of gore and beauty, with the Belles giving beauty treatments to the court.  They use their arcana, their blood, to provide these treatments, and the Princess and the Court are in the process of changing and shifting into something new and less positive.

This book was stunning in its delivery and its voice, with some sisterhood and familial secrets buried in the depths.

Highly recommended for fans of fantasy and fashion, for YA readers into middle school.