Featured Book Lists
Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Lucky One
by Lori Rader-Day

Publishers Weekly Alice Fine, one of the protagonists of this complex, intimate novel from Mary Higgins Clark Award–winner Rader-Day (Under a Dark Sky), works for her ex-cop father’s Chicago construction firm while also volunteering for a website that matches missing people with unidentified remains. After seeing the face of the man who kidnapped her when she was a toddler among the listings, Alice calls on two other volunteers to help follow that lead. Meanwhile, Merrily Cruz, alerted by the police that her not-quite-stepfather, with whom she only corresponds sporadically by text, is missing, tries to seek him out. As the two women’s searches—and lives—collide, decades-old secrets come to light. Rader-Day creates deeply believable, empathetic characters and puts the power in the hands of women, including older women. Pacing is fast but not frantic, and the story’s constant surprises and reveals evolve naturally and come together satisfyingly free of loose ends. The tightly crafted storytelling brings heat back into the familiar cold case plot, digging deep into those aches that never really fade. Agent: Sharon Bowers, Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Kidnapped as a child from her backyard in Indiana but quickly rescued by her policeman father, Alice now volunteers for The Doe Pages, scrolling through image after image of unidentified individuals in an effort to reunite loved ones. There she spots her long-ago abductor, which sends her on a mission to find him before he strikes again. From the Edgar Award-nominated and Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus An online project to trace the fates of missing persons and unidentified murder victims bears poisonous fruit for two women it brings together.Everyone involved in the Doe Pages has their reasonscivic-mindedness, moral outrage, obsessive curiosityfor the interest they share in gathering information about the anonymous parties whose photos they pore over. Alice Fine's reason sets her apart. Taken from her home when she was only 3, she was lucky enough to be rescued by her father, a police officer in Victorville, Indiana, apparently before anything terrible happened. In the generation that's passed since then, Harrison Fine has quit the force, moved to Chicago, been widowed, and become the can-do junior partner in the contracting firm of King and Fine, where Alice is working in a meaningless hanger-on position the day she's scanning the contents of the Doe Pages and spots the photograph of the man she's convinced was her kidnapper. By the time Alice catches up with Richard Miller, she and a pair of her online buddies have uncovered evidence that he lived many lives before the last one came to an end when he was stabbed 12 times. One of these lives, Rader-Day (Under a Dark Sky, 2018, etc.) begins hinting early on, involved Merrily Cruz, who knew Miller as Richard Kisel, the man so close to her mother for so long that he was practically her stepfather, the man who on her 30th birthday leaves her a text message"Hey, kid, it's best if I don't bother you anymore. Have a good life"that so interests state trooper Graciano "Gonzo" Vasquez that it pretty much guarantees that "Rick Kisel was going to ruin their lives, all over again." The ensuing developments send both heroines spinning down converging rabbit holes to their dimly remembered pasts until Alice concludes, "She was in Wonderland." It's not a pretty place.Another harrowing nightmare by a master of the sleepless night. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog All the Truth That is in Me
by Julie Berry

Publishers Weekly This melancholy tale of a village outcast unfolds through the thoughts of Judith, who was kidnapped, held prisoner, and maimed by her captor. Two years later, she has returned home at age 18, but because of her severed tongue, she cannot explain her misfortunes or the crime she witnessed the night she was taken. Most of the townspeople shun her, and even her own mother acts ashamed. In some ways, Judith's silence protects her, but hiding the truth puts her and others at risk. Encouraged by an old friend, Judith is inspired to try to regain some speech. If she can find the means and courage to communicate what she knows, she and other innocent victims might find a form of salvation. Written as Judith's internal monologue directed toward Lucas, the boy she loves, Berry's (The Amaranth Enchantment) novel is suspenseful and haunting. Her poetic narrative ("There's nothing so bright as the stream by day, nothing so black on a moonless night") will draw readers in, and the gradual unveiling of secrets will keep them absorbed. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Like all things in this cunningly stylized novel, the setting is left undefined; a rough guess is mid-1800s America. The characters and plot, too, are mysteries in need of unfolding, and Berry's greatest accomplishment is jumbling the time line with confidence, thereby sprinkling every page with minor (or major) revelations. These trappings gild a not-that-unusual melodrama: 18-year-old Judith pines for Lucas, who has chosen another girl. Perhaps this is because Judith is mute, her tongue having been cut off by a madman who just happened to be Lucas' father. A few frustrating misunderstandings aside, the story gracefully incorporates everything from the right to education to the horrors of war to the freedom that comes along with acquiring language. What will stick in most readers' minds, though, is the first-person prose, which ranges from the unusually insightful (We were four people: the children we'd been, and grown strangers now) to the just plain pretty (Will her china face turn bronze beside you as you labor in your fields?). A strange but satisfying and relatively singular mix.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Stormy: A Story about Finding a Forever Home.
by Guojing

Book list Gr. 5-8. Igus' prose poems and Wood's evocative paintings combine to give a succinct overview of African American music. A useful time line sets the social context, and brief paragraphs describe the various types of music, from African origins and slave songs through ragtime; the blues; big band, bebop, and cool jazz; gospel; rhythm and blues; and the contemporary sounds of rock, hip-hop, and rap. Igus effectively uses snippets from song lyrics to communicate both a feel for the music itself and a sense of how the various styles played to the emotions of the musicians and their fans ("From the basements to the rooftops, / I see the cool tones of modern jazz / escape the city heat"). Wood's paintings are equally suggestive. Mixing modernist and primitive styles and using color nicely to communicate musical style and tone, her art not only complements the text but vivifies it. Audience may be a problem: the supportive text is too sophisticated for younger readers to grasp themselves, and the format may alienate some older readers. Perhaps best used in a junior-high classroom with audio accompaniment, this striking book, in the hands of a creative teacher or librarian, could give kids a feeling for the majesty, creativity, and continuity of African American music. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)0892391510Bill Ott

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus The collaborators on Going Back Home (1997) return with a stunning history of African-American music. They begin 500 years ago, on the African continent, chronicle the slave trade, and document the work songs and spirituals of American slaves. The blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, funk, rap, and hip hop all come under scrutiny in free-verse poems that incorporate lyrics about and the rhythms of every style. In addition, Igus has added a brief description of each musical movement and a terrific timeline noting highlights of African-American history--both musical and more general information--which roots the whole book in a broader context. Wood's vibrant paintings are based in historical detail, and resonate with emotion. The color choices, postures of the figures, as well as the expressions on their faces, reflect various aspects of African-American music; the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression. A child hidden in each scene adds a nice piece of personality for readers to interpret. Stylish and lively design pulls it all together into an absorbing, attractive package. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Cat Man of Aleppo
by Karim Shamsi-Basha

School Library Journal K-Gr 3—The power of one person's kindness and commitment to others is a potent message. Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel's life is "a story about cats and war and people. But most of all, it is a story about love." In this book based on an actual person and real events, Latham tells the tale of an ambulance driver who chose to stay in his hometown of Aleppo, Syria, even after war broke out. He begins to come across hungry, lonely cats as he drives his ambulance. With what little money he has, he buys scraps of meat to feed the animals; he extends his efforts to other animals and children as well. With international support, Mohammad creates a sanctuary from war's devastation for animals and children. The straightforward telling is accompanied by graphically strong illustrations. The art depicts war-torn streets, bombed buildings, and great sadness but also playful cats and smiling children who have been helped by Mohammad. Notes from both authors and the illustrator provide a glimpse into the book's inspiration and the research that went into the art. VERDICT A useful addition to school and public libraries to inform and to spark discussion about war, individual potential, and kindness to animals.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list The ongoing civil war in Syria has brought devastation for almost a decade now, and this picture-book collaboration relates that tragedy through the hopeful and incredible true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel. When the war came to Aleppo, many people fled and were forced to leave behind their animals. Alaa, an ambulance driver, began feeding the stranded cats of his abandoned neighborhood, and their numbers quickly multiplied. One social media movement later, he was able to build an animal sanctuary, as well as offer other services for local human survivors. The story of the Cat Man of Aleppo is remarkable in its own right, but it also serves as a bridge between the harsh reality in Syria and young American students, with the cats serving as a more approachable and relatable proxy for the people suffering in the background. Shimizu's lifelike illustrations capture the joy and beauty prior to the war, juxtaposing it with the horror and grief that followed. A trio of early spreads depict the trauma, violence, and mass destruction, though there is no gore, and what follows is a purely hopeful tale of love for one's homeland. What a relief to see Middle Easterners depicted as recognizably modern people through their clothing, technology, and so on rather than religious caricatures or characters from Aladdin. A safe, sobering, and hopeful introduction to the crisis in Syria.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2020 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood emptiesexcept for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they're left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them. A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity. (Picture book. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this picture book biography of an unexpected war hero, Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel—Alaa—is first seen in the old covered market of Aleppo, his native city. When war comes to Syria, many inhabitants leave, but Alaa stays to help: as an ambulance driver, “he swerves through the rubbled streets and carries the wounded to safety.” Intricate digitally colored ink drawings by Shimizu (Barbed Wire Baseball) portray scenes of desolation in this story by Latham (This Poem Is a Nest) and Shamsi-Basha, a Syrian-born writer and photographer. With meticulous care, Shimizu draws the destroyed buildings, the empty streets, and the cats that fleeing Syrians have left behind. In one striking spread, a huge olive tree towers over Alaa, two cats eyeing him from its branches. He starts bringing the strays food and water. “Together we can save them all,” he tells his neighbors. Donors who hear about his efforts help him fund a sanctuary (“Alaa is able to rescue other animals, too”), a playground for children, and a well. “All he did was love the cats, and that love multiplied and multiplied again.” Latham and Shamsi-Basha pick out the glimmers of light that make up Alaa’s story, and Shimizu portrays their beauty. Author’s notes give more information—including where to donate. Ages 4–8. Authors’ agents: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio (for Latham); Rena Rossner, Deborah Harris Agency (for Shamsi-Basha). (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 3—The power of one person's kindness and commitment to others is a potent message. Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel's life is "a story about cats and war and people. But most of all, it is a story about love." In this book based on an actual person and real events, Shamsi-Basha and Latham tell the tale of an ambulance driver who chose to stay in his hometown of Aleppo, Syria, even after war broke out. He begins to come across hungry, lonely cats as he drives his ambulance. With what little money he has, he buys scraps of meat to feed the animals; he extends his efforts to other animals and children as well. With international support, Mohammad creates a sanctuary from war's devastation for animals and children. The straightforward telling is accompanied by graphically strong illustrations. The art depicts war-torn streets, bombed buildings, and great sadness but also playful cats and smiling children who have been helped by Mohammad. Notes from both authors and the illustrator provide a glimpse into the book's inspiration and the research that went into the art. VERDICT A useful addition to school and public libraries to inform and to spark discussion about war, individual potential, and kindness to animals.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book In 2012, civil war comes to Aleppo, then the largest city in Syria. Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel is an ambulance driver who remains behind while many of his neighbors flee. Soon his area is filled with abandoned cats, whose "lonely, confused faces remind Alaa of the loved ones he has lost." He begins feeding them (and, as cat lovers know, stray cats return to their food source). News of Alaa's actions circulates on social media, and he becomes known as the "Cat Man of Aleppo"; an outpouring of donations allows him to create a cat sanctuary. This gentle book emphasizes that in the midst of chaos, caring for the forgotten and discarded, no matter how small, affirms the preciousness of all life. In an author's note, Shamsi-Basha explains that during wartime, animals, too, "suffer, and caring for them illuminates what it means to be human." Shimizu's ink, watercolor, and digital illustrations capture scenes of human despair and physical wreckage along with images of cats perching (and napping) in burnt-out cars and on heaps of rubble. Other images showing the "hope and love [that] fill people's hearts," along with the playground Alaa builds and the wells he helps dig in the city, reflect optimism and solace. An introductory note by Alaa, printed in English and Arabic, along with appended author and illustrator notes and art references, provide additional context. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list The ongoing civil war in Syria has brought devastation for almost a decade now, and this picture-book collaboration relates that tragedy through the hopeful and incredible true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel. When the war came to Aleppo, many people fled and were forced to leave behind their animals. Alaa, an ambulance driver, began feeding the stranded cats of his abandoned neighborhood, and their numbers quickly multiplied. One social media movement later, he was able to build an animal sanctuary, as well as offer other services for local human survivors. The story of the Cat Man of Aleppo is remarkable in its own right, but it also serves as a bridge between the harsh reality in Syria and young American students, with the cats serving as a more approachable and relatable proxy for the people suffering in the background. Shimizu's lifelike illustrations capture the joy and beauty prior to the war, juxtaposing it with the horror and grief that followed. A trio of early spreads depict the trauma, violence, and mass destruction, though there is no gore, and what follows is a purely hopeful tale of love for one's homeland. What a relief to see Middle Easterners depicted as recognizably modern people through their clothing, technology, and so on rather than religious caricatures or characters from Aladdin. A safe, sobering, and hopeful introduction to the crisis in Syria.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2020 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood emptiesexcept for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they're left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them. A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity. (Picture book. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this picture book biography of an unexpected war hero, Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel—Alaa—is first seen in the old covered market of Aleppo, his native city. When war comes to Syria, many inhabitants leave, but Alaa stays to help: as an ambulance driver, “he swerves through the rubbled streets and carries the wounded to safety.” Intricate digitally colored ink drawings by Shimizu (Barbed Wire Baseball) portray scenes of desolation in this story by Latham (This Poem Is a Nest) and Shamsi-Basha, a Syrian-born writer and photographer. With meticulous care, Shimizu draws the destroyed buildings, the empty streets, and the cats that fleeing Syrians have left behind. In one striking spread, a huge olive tree towers over Alaa, two cats eyeing him from its branches. He starts bringing the strays food and water. “Together we can save them all,” he tells his neighbors. Donors who hear about his efforts help him fund a sanctuary (“Alaa is able to rescue other animals, too”), a playground for children, and a well. “All he did was love the cats, and that love multiplied and multiplied again.” Latham and Shamsi-Basha pick out the glimmers of light that make up Alaa’s story, and Shimizu portrays their beauty. Author’s notes give more information—including where to donate. Ages 4–8. Authors’ agents: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio (for Latham); Rena Rossner, Deborah Harris Agency (for Shamsi-Basha). (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog What Happened To You?
by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey

Kirkus A collaborative look at brain trauma and methods to alleviate the potentially lifelong effects.Child psychiatrist and neuroscientist Perry teams with Winfrey to examine traumatic injury caused by an abusive childhood. The book is formatted in a conversational interview format, with Perry sharing his insights on stress, brain biology, and physiological response, offering new approaches to emotional and psychological pain. Using medical models, Winfreys personal experience, and Perrys years of research, the authors demonstrate the brains resilience and ability to adapt to traumatic situations, particularly when paired with psychopharmacological remedies, natural interventions, and behavioral treatments. This process of neural recalibration works wonders in instances of deeply embedded trauma and abuse, allowing people to live better lives through newly invigorated self-worth. Winfrey candidly shares difficult memories of a childhood where regular whippings (as early as age 3) were accepted practice and there were expectations of silence and a smile in their aftermath. In addition to this early trauma, she recounts her difficult adult relationship with her mother, which culminates in a powerful scene in a nursing home when Winfrey froze at her mothers bedside, unable to address her. She admits that while collectively these events manifested into her adult relationships and behavior, she eventually processed and embraced the trauma as an opportunity for healing and a way to move forward. With proactive conviction, the authors help readers to recognize their own internalized trauma and encourage the reshaping of personal paths toward wellness and to excavate the roots that were put down long before we had the words to articulate what was happening to us. Through therapeutic frameworks and the curative power of community, belonging, human connection, and mindfulness, the authors show how renewal of mind and spirit is attainable. Though many of these issues have been addressed before, Perry and Winfreys partnership is notable, and their book is worthy of attention.A candid guidebook to exorcising mental trauma. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

204 West Main Fertile, IA 50434  |  Phone: 641-797-2787
Powered by: YouSeeMore © The Library Corporation (TLC)