Home
Calendar
Directory
News & Weather
Hot Titles
About Us

Featured Book Lists
ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Dread Nation
by Ireland, Justina

Book list *Starred Review* Ireland delivers a necessary, subversive, and explosive novel with her fantasy-laced alternate history. America is changed forever when the dead begin to prowl battlefields during the Civil War. The horror births a new nation and a different type of slavery, in which laws force Native and Negro children to attend combat schools and receive training to put down the dead. Jane McKeene attends Miss Preston's School for Combat in Baltimore. She studies to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette, to protect the white well-to-do. For Negro girls like Jane, it's a chance for a better life; however, as she nears the completion of her education, she longs simply to return to her Kentucky home. But when families around Baltimore go missing, Jane finds herself entangled in a conspiracy that results in a fight for her life against powerful enemies. Ireland crafts a smart, poignant, thrilling novel that does the all-important work of exploring topics of oppression, racism, and slavery, while simultaneously accomplishing so much more. It explores friendship, love, defying expectations, and carving out your own path instead of submitting to the one thrust upon you. From page one, Jane is a capable, strong heroine maneuvering through a world that is brilliant and gut-wrenching. This will take readers on a breathless ride from beginning to end.--Davenport, Enishia Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly In this alternate-history horror tale, shortly after Jane McKeene was born, the dead rose and attacked the living, effectively ending the Civil War. A reunified army fought the shambling hordes until Congress passed the Negro and Native Reeducation Act, requiring adolescent children of color to train for battle. At age 14, Jane-who is mixed race-enrolled at Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls, hoping to avoid conscription by becoming a socialite's bodyguard. Three years later, Jane is close to earning her attendant certificate when she, her ex, and her rival stumble across a dastardly plot hatched by Baltimore's elite. First in a duology, Ireland's gripping novel is teeming with monsters-most of them human. Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuilding, and a brave, smart, and skillfully drawn cast entertain as Ireland (Promise of Shadows) illustrates the ignorance and immorality of racial discrimination and examines the relationship between equality and freedom. Mounting peril creates a pulse-pounding pace, hurtling readers toward a nail-biting conclusion that inspires and will leave them apprehensive about what's to come. Ages 14-up. Agency: Donald Maass Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Slavery comes to a halt when the dead on Civil War battlefields begin to rise and eat their compatriots. The north and south put aside their philosophical differences and join forces against the undead. They are aided in their efforts by the passage of the Native and Negro Reeducation Act which forces African American boys and girls into combat schools. Graduates from these schools are a buffer between the living and the undead. Jane McKeen is a biracial girl sent to Ms. Preston's school of combat to obtain an attendant certificate. Jane is about to graduate when her friend, Red Jack, asks for help locating his sister Lily. Jane's attempts to discover Lily's whereabouts land her in a survivalist colony. Survivalists advocate a disordered view of natural selection that places Jane firmly under the thumb of a vicious sheriff and his psychopathic family. Jane is tasked with finding a way out of Summerland not only for herself, but also for those she loves. She must make some unlikely alliances of her own if she is to survive long enough to find her own path to freedom. This is a fictional exploration of the chattel slavery and American Indian boarding school systems. Ireland skillfully works in the different forms of enslavement, mental and physical, into a complex and engaging story. VERDICT A perfect blend of horrors real and imagined, perfect for public and school libraries and fans of The Walking Dead.-Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre
by Anika Aldamuy Denise

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-A picture book biography of one of the most significant and inspiring figures in library history. Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City, initially arrived in Manhattan to attend her sister's wedding. Intrigued perhaps by the "hustle and bustle" of this "new island," she decided to stay, finding temporary work as a seamstress. Belpré truly found her calling when she took a position as a bilingual assistant (the text notes that was she was, in fact, trilingual) at a neighborhood library, and went on to transform library services through culturally diverse storytelling, published books, and targeted outreach. Denise sprinkles her lyrical verse with Spanish, and emphasizes Belpré's love of stories, plucking the title of the book from her desire "to be like Johnny Appleseed...plant my story seeds across the land." Escobar's warm illustrations enliven the subject and carry the motif by depicting Belpré in impeccably stylish outfits and accessories detailed with floral patterns. Because of the composition style, readers are given only brief depictions of significant moments in Belpré's personal and professional life, but Denise provides a detailed author's note, summarizing Belpré's lasting impact, and includes a great amount of back matter. VERDICT An appealing tribute and successful remedy to the lack of titles about the groundbreaking librarian. This book pairs nicely with Lucia Gonzalez's The -Storyteller's Candle, and is a must-have for all libraries.-Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Kirkus A warm introduction to Pura Belpr, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library.In 1921, Belpr left her island home of Puerto Rico for New York City. There, she started work as a bilingual assistant in the public library. But where were the stories of her native land? "How lucky for the library that Pura has story seeds ready to plant and grow." Eventually, not only did Belpr hold a popular bilingual story program, but also, finding there were no books available for children in Spanish, she wrote them. Traveling "from branch to branch, classroom to classroom, to churches and community centers," Belpr planted "her story seeds in the hearts and minds of children new to this island who wish to remember la lengua y los colores of home." Belpr's story is told in rhythmic language with a good dose of (unitalicized) Spanish sprinkled throughout. Escobar's vibrant illustrations are filled with details that help bring to life the story of this remarkable librarian. Belpr is portrayed with light brown skin. A closing note explains that today, the American Library Association honors her by presenting an annual award that bears her name to a Latinx writer and illustrator whose works celebrate the Latino cultural experience. Read together with The Storyteller's Candle / La velita de los cuentos, by Luca Gonzlez and illustrated by Lulu Delacre (2008).In Belpr, children will find an affirmation of the importance of seeing their own culture in books. (bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Denise and Escobar pay tribute to the legacy of librarian Pura Belpré in this vibrant picture-book biography. Adults familiar with Belpré's story will immediately compare this book to The Storyteller's Candle (2008), by Lucía González, but this version adds a contemporary feel through the brilliantly detailed, brightly colored, whimsical illustrations and smoothly integrated linguistic code-switching. Here readers watch as Pura arrives in New York in 1921, just for a visit, filled with the stories her abuela told her in Puerto Rico. She stays, however, and finds work as a seamstress but yearns to do something else. As luck would have it, her chance comes when the public library needs a bilingual assistant. Thus begins Pura Belpré's career as the storyteller with puppets and a candle, around whose feet children sat listening to stories of Puerto Rico, including ones Pura writes herself. Planting Stories is a glossy immigration tale of dreams coming true, and the lyrical language lends itself to being read aloud.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Readers may know Pura BelprAc as the name of an award given to books about the Latin American cultural experience. But who was BelprAc herself? Denise (Starring Carmen!) celebrates the first Latina New York City librarian, born in 1899, who seeds the folktales of her native Puerto Rico in her new home. As a library assistant, BelprAc makes puppets to enhance her storytelling performances, which introduce the elegant cockroach Martina, the dashing mouse PAcrez, and other beloved characters from Puerto Rican folklore, then goes on to publish the tales for wider distribution. Colombian illustrator Escobar represents the biography's central image of "planting" story seeds in detailed, retro-style spreads with flowers that float around Belpre as she weaves her tales ("Her eyes dance! Her voice sings!"). Sepia tones contribute a feeling of age and a sense of warmth. Denise plants an idea of her own-that telling stories is a crucial activity for keeping culture alive. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book As a bilingual assistant at Nueva York's public library in 1921, Pura Belpri retells the folk stories of her native Puerto Rico at storytimes and eventually writes them down for publication. Descriptive language moves between English and Spanish seamlessly. Both text and expressive, warm illustrations carry the metaphor of planting seeds, so that readers see the seeds of Belpri's stories bloom as the biographical details unfold. Also available in Spanish. Reading list. Bib. (c) Copyright 2019. 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.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Trombone Shorty
by Troy Andrews

School Library Journal Gr 1-4-"Where y'at?" Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, opens his book with this phrase, letting readers know that it's New Orleans parlance for hello. In this stunning picture book autobiography, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrews shares the story of his early years growing up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Andrews desperately wished to emulate the musicians in his family and those he saw performing all over his city, so he and his friends made their own instruments out of found materials, played in the streets, and marched with bands. When one day he found a battered, discarded trombone bigger than he was, Andrews finally had a real instrument to play, and he practiced day and night, acquiring the nickname Trombone Shorty from his older brother. The moment Bo Diddley pulled Andrews on stage to play with him during the New Orleans jazz festival was a turning point, and he hasn't stopped performing since. Collier's beautiful watercolor, pen-and-ink, and collage artwork picks up the rhythm and pace of Andrew's storytelling, creating an accompaniment full of motion and color. Each spread offers a visual panoply of texture, perspective, and angles, highlighting the people and the instruments. Andrews's career is still on the rise, his music gaining an ever wider audience, and this title will be an inspiration to many. VERDICT Coupled with a selection of Trombone Shorty's music, this work will make for fun and thoughtful story sharing. A must-have.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA © Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Publishers Weekly The streets of New Orleans are filled with music, and so is the house of Troy Andrews, who narrates the story of his growth into the musician known as Trombone Shorty. Troy dreams of having his own band, and when he finds a battered trombone, he knows he's on his way: "It didn't sound perfect, but finally with a real instrument in my hand, I was ready to play." He brings it to a Bo Diddley concert, and Diddley brings him onstage. Andrews shares the culture of Tremé, his New Orleans neighborhood, punctuating his story's high moments with the traditional greeting-"Where y'at?" Collier's (My Country 'Tis of Thee) collaged illustrations give the story even more joyful power. He paints sound with sunbursts of color, the fragrance of gumbo with misty swirls, and Troy's dreams about the future with bubbles that rise from his bed as he sleeps with his arm around his trombone. If a fairy tale were set in New Orleans, this is how it would read. Ages 4-8. Illustrator's agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (Apr.)? © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In this contemporary autobiography, Andrews pays tribute to the New Orleans neighborhood of Tremé and the culture and community that propelled him into becoming the Grammy Award-nominated musician he is today. Like other stories of artistic achievement, this is one of determination and passion. Young Troy, nicknamed Trombone Shorty by his brother, forms a band with his friends using homemade instruments, until one day Troy finds a real trombone to call his own. But this story breaks from the motif of individualism to recognize that family, community, mentors, and friends are always part of life's journey. It reminds young readers particularly boys of color that they can follow their dreams and lean on people who will nurture and guide them. Andrews' journey is perfectly complemented by Collier's illustrations. Sharp panels of color and image, perspective that dips and soars, and layers of mixed-media collage unite to feel like renditions of brass band music itself. The author's note fills in the gaps in the story and reaffirms the importance of people and place. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Trombone Shorty Foundation.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Singularity Is Nearer
by Ray Kurzweil

Book list Futurist thought leader Kurzweil, whose The Singularity Is Near was published nearly 20 years ago, explores the complexity of artificial intelligence through neural sciences. AI can reach human intelligence, he asserts, as he delves into the implications and consequences of AI in the workforce, in medicine, and in society overall. According to Kurzweil, human intelligence is defined as a bundle of cognitive abilities, and AI as the simulation of human brains by computers. Building upon his previous work, the author defines singularity as a metaphor for when we are unable to comprehend the “radical shift” to our current level of intelligence that AI poses. Drawing on scientific reports, research studies, and interviews with experts, Kurzweil observes the long-term trends in order to ponder the promises and perils of AI when it comes to nuclear weapons and genetic engineering. To readers interested in AI and biotechnology, Kurzweil offers insight as he breaks down the complex topic and addresses the ethical issues surrounding its use and place in society.

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

Publishers Weekly In this fanciful prognosis, Kurzweil explores how technological advances made since the publication of his 2005 book, The Singularity Is Near, will affect humanity’s future. His predictions are based on his belief that around 2045 and “aided by superhuman AI, we will engineer brain–computer interfaces that vastly expand our neocortices with layers of virtual neurons” in the cloud, achieving the “singularity” point at which humanity and technology will merge. Discussing some of the mind-bending possibilities such an event would engender, Kurzweil suggests it may one day be possible to transfer one’s memories and personality to a digital medium, raising questions over whether the digital version should be considered the same person as the biological original and whether “our subjective consciousness may somehow encompass all copies of this defining information.” Unfortunately, most of Kurzweil’s arguments cite as evidence only his unwavering confidence in the inevitable march of scientific progress. For example, he posits that “medical nanorobots” will forestall aging by repairing organs and adjusting blood levels without providing much detail on the science needed to realize such an innovation. The bounty of graphs suggesting that technological advances lie behind long-term declines in annual hours worked, violent crime, and authoritarianism paper over the potential negative consequences of advanced technology, which are treated largely in passing. This has more speculation than science. Agent: Nick Mullendore, Vertical Ink Agency. (June)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus The acclaimed futurist demonstrates how a revolutionary future is closer than you might think. Kurzweil, principal researcher and AI visionary at Google, is very good at thinking ahead, especially in linking technological innovation with social impacts. He has written a string of thought-provoking books, most notably the 2005 work The Singularity Is Near, in which he predicted that by 2029, computers would reach and perhaps exceed human-level intelligence, as well as pass the critical Turing test. It certainly was a bold forecast, but now it seems plausible, if not inevitable. In his latest book, the author tracks the breakthroughs of the past decade that will contribute to reaching the goal, tying together artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum processing. He looks closely at how the latest computers can display sentient thinking and communicate through plain speech, an area he studies at Google. Along the way, Kurzweil examines advances and makes predictions in the areas of renewable energy, food production, 3-D printing, and health and medicine. In his 2005 book, the author also made the claim that by 2040, humans would be able to directly interface with computers through brain connectivity. “A key capability in the 2030s,” he writes, “will be to connect the upper ranges of our neocortex to the cloud.” Nearly 20 years ago, this concept felt like it was ripped from a sci-fi movie, but his latest book capably explains the recent developments in biotechnology and nanotechnology that could enable it. Of course, if these developments were to occur, they would constitute a major shift in consciousness. It still sounds somewhat fanciful, but Kurzweil’s capacity for predictive thinking should not be underestimated—and 2040 is only a generation away. As the author might say, stay tuned. This book brims with ideas about what lies ahead, and Kurzweil presents his vision with clarity and passion. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Freewater
by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Kirkus Two youngsters escaping slavery find refuge.Twelve-year-old Homer and his little sister, Ada, become separated from their mother as they attempt to flee enslavement on the Southerland plantation. They are rescued by Suleman, who takes them deep into the Great Dismal Swamp, where they join Freewater, a community of people who successfully fled from slavery and children who were born there. They work together to remain free, support one another, and remember the history of their founding. Suleman is one of the men who patrols the swamp, watching for any who would seek to reenslave them. He and others raid neighboring plantations for supplies. Freeborn Sanzi, 12, is determined to be a hero like Sulemaneven if it gets her into troubleand when her efforts go badly wrong, it places their settlement in danger. Meanwhile, back at Southerland, Homers mother has been caught and severely whipped. This does not keep Homers friend Anna from plotting her own escape while Homer seeks a way to rescue his mother. Set in a fictional community but based on real stories of those who fled slavery and lived secretly in Southern swamps, this is detailed and well-researched historical fiction. The characters are varied, complex, and fully realized. Descriptions of the setting are so vivid that it becomes a key aspect of the narrative. The page-turning action will engage readers as the story reaches a satisfying conclusion.An exceptional addition to the resistance stories of enslaved people. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kirkus Two youngsters escaping slavery find refuge. Twelve-year-old Homer and his little sister, Ada, become separated from their mother as they attempt to flee enslavement on the Southerland plantation. They are rescued by Suleman, who takes them deep into the Great Dismal Swamp, where they join Freewater, a community of people who successfully fled from slavery and children who were born there. They work together to remain free, support one another, and remember the history of their founding. Suleman is one of the men who patrols the swamp, watching for any who would seek to reenslave them. He and others raid neighboring plantations for supplies. Freeborn Sanzi, 12, is determined to be a hero like Suleman—even if it gets her into trouble—and when her efforts go badly wrong, it places their settlement in danger. Meanwhile, back at Southerland, Homer’s mother has been caught and severely whipped. This does not keep Homer’s friend Anna from plotting her own escape while Homer seeks a way to rescue his mother. Set in a fictional community but based on real stories of those who fled slavery and lived secretly in Southern swamps, this is detailed and well-researched historical fiction. The characters are varied, complex, and fully realized. Descriptions of the setting are so vivid that it becomes a key aspect of the narrative. The page-turning action will engage readers as the story reaches a satisfying conclusion. An exceptional addition to the resistance stories of enslaved people. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-12) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Fleeing enslavement at Southland Plantation, 12-year-old Homer and his little sister, Ada, get separated from their mother but keep moving until they arrive at a wild, unknown area. Struggling forward and fearing capture, they are helped by a man who literally swings to their rescue from the trees! Suleman helps them make their way to a hidden community of formerly enslaved people and their freeborn children. The newcomers are in awe of how this hidden enclave—Freewater—-exists, but they also fear for their new home and friends after overhearing the plantation overseer Stokes and his minions planning to set the swamp ablaze to flush them out. Back at the plantation, their recaptured mother and others want to join the Freewater community, and a perfect plan comes together. Debut author Luqman-Dawson brings to life a lesser-known piece of Black history: the role of swamplands as safe areas for those making their way to freedom. She has imagined how people not only would survive but thrive in such places. Skillfully drawing memorable characters and moving them toward an exciting, heartfelt resolution, Luqman-Dawson does not shy away from the realities of slavery. This lyrical story of hope, strength, and ingenuity will be gobbled up by young history buffs and adventure lovers. Direct your Christopher Paul Curtis and Avi fans this way.

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

Horn Book Many accounts of the Underground Railroad mention that enslaved Blacks would stick close to swamps as they made their way North, as the topography proved problematic for slave catchers. A lesser-known fact is that from the 1700s through the Civil War, hundreds of African Americans remained in the swamp and established thriving communities. One such area, the Great Dismal Swamp, serves as the inspiration for Luqman-Dawson's engrossing, multi -- perspective debut novel. Twelve-year-old Homer is on the run with his seven-year-old sister, their mother having turned back to save his friend, Anna. Homer has no idea how to survive in the swamp; the answer arrives in Suleman, a Black man with knowledge of both the swamp and the surrounding plantations. Suleman leads them to Freewater, an established community with a whole generation of children who have only known freedom. Homer makes the hard choice to go back to his old plantation (accompanied by his new friends) to free his mother, but she and Anna have their own plans for freedom, supported by an unexpected source: Nora, the youngest daughter of the plantation owner. When they all converge on the night of a wedding, sacrifices from each of them bring the story to an explosive and cathartic conclusion. Every chapter begins with a character's name and records their journey, successfully developing a multidimensional cast. The author's note contains a brief history of these communities formed by both Indigenous and self-emancipated Black people. (c) Copyright 2023. 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.

Publishers Weekly Based on the real-life Great Dismal Swamp, where enslaved people sought refuge from plantation life, Luqman-Dawson’s engrossing historical fiction novel follows enslaved Black siblings 12-year-old Homer and seven-year-old Ada after their escape from Southerland Plantation and its white overseer. An encounter with plantation raider Suleman results in the children being taken to swamp haven Freewater, a lush forest peopled with individuals who escaped slavery and who keep watch for possible invaders. Making her children’s debut, Luqman-Dawson populates the town with richly rendered characters, including Freewater-born Juna, who has never seen a white person, and her sister Sanzi, a tough but unseasoned fighter who looks up to Suleman and wants to do her part to help the people of Freewater. When the town’s inhabitants undertake a liberation effort, the characters must build courage and overcome their fears in this vividly written, wholly accessible novel of enslavement and resistance. Back matter includes an author’s note describing the true history behind Freewater. Ages 8–12. Agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Jr. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Songs in Ordinary Time
by Mary McGarry Morris

Publisher's Weekly : Set in Vermont during the summer of 1960, Morris's latest concerns a dysfunctional family that falls prey to a dangerous con man.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Powered by: YouSeeMore © The Library Corporation (TLC)