Escape/Renew/Refresh in the Great Outdoors!

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” ― John Muir

As the end of summer nears, take advantage of good weather, scenic parks, and the great outdoors — right here in Illinois!

  • All of the titles featured here we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image.

DuPage & Kane County Forest Preserves

DuPage County Forest Preserves | Each year more than 4 million visitors enjoy the Forest Preserve District’s nearly 26,000 acres, 145 miles of trails and 60 forest preserves. That’s why we work hard to ensure these areas continue to offer great ways for you to “Take 5” to improve your mood, reduce stress and lead a healthier life! See the visitors guide for more information.

State Parks and Outdoor Recreation |  Appreciate the geographical diversity of Illinois by enjoying the recreational opportunities offered at Illinois’ state parks, fish and wildlife areas, and conservation areas, on our lakes and rivers, and in our forests. Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, wildlife watching, fishing, hunting or boating, Illinois has an ideal destination for you to explore, or to visit and just relax.

Forest Preserve District of Kane County | Since 1925, the Forest Preserve District has worked to preserve and restore Kane County’s natural areas, improve wildlife habitat, and enhance the quality of life for all Kane County residents. We invite you to visit the forest preserves and enjoy a quiet walk, embark on a camping weekend, picnic with friends and family, learn about nature, bird watch, fish, golf, ride, volunteer, or simply experience the wonder of our more than 20,000 of acres of woodlands, wetlands and prairies.

Homeschooling Resources

The Bensenville Community Public Library welcomes homeschooling and eLearning families in the community and offers support through a variety of services, materials, and programs.

Whether you are new to homeschooling or simply looking for supplemental resources for your home curriculum, we’ve compiled a list of useful resources for your homeschooling needs.

Looking for more educational resources? Visit our Keep Kids Learning: Free Online Resources page — a list of our favorite lessons, games, science experiments, storytimes, live demonstrations, virtual tours, and more!

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education empowers homeschooled children by educating the public and advocating for child-centered, evidence-based policy and practices for families and professionals. Search for information by state with an easy-to-use map and read about relevant homeschooling policies.

A good comprehensive site full homeschooling resources to help parents figure out where to start and all the options for homeschooling as well as explaining how to homeschool within the law.

For those who want to know that their kids are meeting state standards while still enjoying an individualized approach, this site offers a complete, integrated curriculum as well as online support and assessment tools.

Free online learning is available in a variety of subjects, including math, biology, chemistry, physics, finance, and history. There are short video clips on each subject as well as interactive exercises that allow students to practice their new skills.

On this homeschooling website, started as a free interactive way to teach young children to read using phonics, kids can play games, watch short videos on letters and sounds, and flip through “books” of stories.

Free, web-based homeschooling curriculum ideas that can be emailed directly to you six days a week.

Explore our Home Learning Collection

If your kids enjoy computer games, this is a good homeschooling resource. For a fee ($19.95/month for the first child in preschool-8th grade, $30/month for the first child in grades 9-12), access learning games to improve reading, math, science, and social studies skills.

Embarking on a new homeschooling adventure? Know the Illinois homeschool laws! Discover what you need to know about getting started, keeping accurate records, switching from homeschool to public school (and vice versa) and much more.

Looking for a way to teach your young children to read? On this homeschooling website, kids progress through a series of fun lessons on their road to reading and accumulate online rewards along the way

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool is a free online resource created by homeschooling parents for homeschooling parents. It contains full homeschool curriculum from a Christian worldview for grades K-12.

Free homeschool curriculum site for the Charlotte Mason style.

Get FREE resources for homeschoolers, sent via email, each day.

Our Online Databases for Kids & Students (Library card required)

Full-text articles to support research in history and genealogy and lesson plans to support student learning.

Resources to support middle school students, including biographies, magazines, primary source documents, photos, maps, and flags.

Resources for students to understand issues, develop critical thinking skills, and develop persuasive arguments. Includes citizens’ rights, earth and environmental issues, global issues, health and medicine, and more.

Sophie’s Picks! | Young Adult Fiction

Need a new read? Sophie from the Youth Services Department has hand-picked some of her favorite Young Adult books — fantasy, sci-fi, true stories, and more!

  • All of the books featured here are books that we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or the “Find it!” button to the right of the description.

Sophie Recommends...

The Scorpio Races

by Maggie Stiefvater

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.  At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

The False Prince

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

In a discontented kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl.

Fangirl

by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life―and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.  Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.  Now that they’re going to college, Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Cinder

by Marissa Meyer

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Tiger Lily

by Jodi Lynn Anderson

When fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan deep in the forbidden woods of Neverland, the two form an unbreakable bond. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. And yet, she is willing to risk everything—her family, her future—to be with him.

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

by Dashka Slater

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2020 (so far):

Dystopian futures, galaxies far, far away, mysterious magic, and the supernatural! Below are our picks for the best new science fiction and fantasy reads of 2020 (so far!), hand-picked by our Adult Services Department staff.

  • All of the titles featured here we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or button to the right of the description.

The City We Became

by N.K. Jemisin

Three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts her most incredible novel yet, a story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City.

Riot Baby

by Tochi Onyebuchi

Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative and an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella–through visits both mundane and supernatural–tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

The Resisters

by Gish Jen

The time: Some thirty-five years hence. The place: AutoAmerica–governed by “Aunt Nettie,” an iBurrito of AI algorithms and the internet, in a land half under water. The people: Divided into the angelfair “Netted,” whose fate it is to have jobs and live on high ground, and the mostly coppertoned “Surplus,” whose jobs have been stripped and whose sole duty now is to consumeThe story: A Surplus family–he was once a professor, she is still a lawyer–has a girl child, Gwen, who’s born with a golden arm. When AutoAmerica and ChinRussia decide to revive the Olympics, suddenly Gwen, who’s been playing in the Resisters League her parents have organized, is in great demand. An amazing story of a world that looks only too possible, and a family struggling to maintain its humanity in circumstances that daily threaten their every value as well as their very existence.

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories

by Ken Liu

From award-winning author Ken Liu comes his much anticipated second volume of short stories. Ken Liu is one of the most lauded short story writers of our time. This collection includes a selection of his science fiction and fantasy stories from the last five years-sixteen of his best-plus a new novelette.

Chosen Ones

by Veronica Roth

Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One, and his weapon of choice–catastrophic events known as Drains–leveled cities and claimed thousands of lives. Chosen Ones, as the teens were known, gave everything they had to defeat him. On the tenth anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat, something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One’s ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold–bigger than the world itself.

Harrow the Ninth

by Tamsyn Muir

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.

The Seep

by Chana Porter

When an alien entity invades Earth, anything imaginable is possible—literally. A utopian future without capitalism or social barriers might seem like the perfect reality, but when Trina’s wife Deeba decides to be reborn as a baby to experience an even better life, Trina is left alone and heartbroken. What does it mean to be unhappy in a seemingly perfect world, and is it possible to save those who have already decided the alien Seep is the answer to everything?

The Vanished Birds

by Simon Jimenez

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her, and all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives for only the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays from an old wooden flute. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in one another the things they lacked. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.

Want more recommendations?

 

You can check out all of our online booklists (for kids and for adults), or reach out to us! Our staff is ready and willing to make reading, listening, or viewing recommendations to you! Email us at reference@benlib.org or contact us via our online form!

Founding Families | The Korthauers

Welcome to “Founding Families”, a local history series that highlights and features a founding family of Bensenville through ancestry, photos, and more. Stay tuned for more Founding Families to be featured on our website and as a part of our “Flashback Friday” series on Facebook. In the meantime, be sure to browse the Bensenville Historical Collection on the Illinois Digital Archives for more local history information.

The Korthauer family sailed to New York City in 1840 from the Kingdom of Hanover. The family included parents Henry and Maria, and their three children Caroline, William and Herman. They constructed the Korthauer Log House in 1844 on a 165 acre settler claim, which is now the oldest surviving structure in Bensenville. The Log House was moved to a property adjacent to the public library in the early 1990s.

Henry opened a hardware store and also worked as a cabinetmaker. Henry was known for his work building spinning wheels, and helped to construct the mechanism for the Fischer windmill, which is today located in Mount Emblem Cemetery. Son Herman was involved in the construction of the Freiden’s Evangelical Church in 1902.

In 1872 the coming railroad brought an opportunity to create a shipping point for agricultural products and services. Dietrich Struckman, Henry Korthauer, and Frederick Heuer purchased the land that is now Bensenville. And in 1873 the plat was recorded and the land was subdivided into lots. Tioga can be found in some old maps but the name Bensenville was created by Henry Schuette who was reminded of his homeland in Bensen, Germany.

Henry’s oldest son, Herman, took over the family business and was central in organizing the village of Bensenville and the fire department. In 1884 the Korthauer’s Hardware Store was on the northeast corner of Center and Main. There were no sidewalks, and the streets were either dusty or muddy and full of ruts. More progress came when a telephone switchboard was installed in Korthauer’s hardware store in 1902. Concrete sidewalks replaced wooden sidewalks in 1903, and electricity was in Bensenville by 1910.

The Korthauers were also involved in civic matters, with Henry’s sons Herman and William elected Chief and Treasurer of the newly organized Bensenville Fire Department in 1894. Herman was also a School District 2 Board member, twice elected Village President, Fireman, and Justice of the Peace. The Fire Station at 500 South York Road is dedicated as a memorial to honor the community service provided by the Korthauer family.

The Korthauer settlers can be remembered at Mount Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst, and at the Korthauer Log House living museum at the Bensenville Community Public Library.

Johann Heinrich (Henry) Christian Korthauer (1822-1891)

Herman H. Korthauer (1852-1939)

Our Digital Librarian & Archivist has been reorganizing and preserving the Library’s physical local history collection and digitizing resources for the Illinois Digital Archive. To start browsing the Bensenville Historical Collection on the Illinois Digital Archives, please visit: benlib.org/local-history-online.

Local history questions? Please contact Digital Librarian & Archivist, Elizabeth Morris, at emorris@benlib.org.

Miss Kyrie’s Picks! | A Booklist For Little Ones

Miss Kyrie from the Youth Services Department has hand-picked a selection of her current favorite books for little ones! Love Mo Willems? Looking for books that celebrate diversity and encourage confidence? Miss Kyrie has something for you! 

  • All of the books featured here are books that we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or button to the right of the description.

Miss Kyrie Recommends...

One

by Kathryn Otoshi

Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count.

AGES: Preschool and older

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

by Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand-new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as he steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are, Pete keeps movin’ and groovin’ and singing his song…because it’s all good.

AGES: Toddler/Preschool

The Itsy Bitsy School Bus

by Jeffrey Burton

The itsy bitsy school bus is ready for the first day of school! Whether it’s a first day to Pre-K or back-to-school, little ones are sure to love this classroom twist on the classic nursery rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”!

AGES: Toddler/Preschool

I Broke My Trunk!

by Mo Willems

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In I Broke My Trunk! Gerald tells Piggie the long, crazy story about breaking his trunk. Will Piggie end up with a long, crazy story of her own?

AGES: Preschool and older

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

by Jane Cabrera

In this snuggly board book perfect for small hands, a sheep has plenty of wool to share with her friend, who knits cozy gifts for her community. But when the sheep’s generosity leaves her shivering, the community offers their love and gratitude – and some hand-knit gifts to keep warm.

AGES: Toddler/Preschool

Sunrise, Moonrise

by Betsy Thompson

“Sun rises. Bird sings.” And so the day begins in this beautifully simple board book with bold artwork and lyrical text that shows us the passing of time in the day. Fish swim under a blue sky, squirrels dream as the sun sets, the moon rises as stars blink, and an owl hoots when night falls. With word repetition and a single tree that houses both the bird who sings as the sun rises and the owl who hoots after the moon rises, little ones can begin to understand that the day begins and ends in the same way.

AGES: Toddler/Preschool

My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World

by Gilles Bachelet

Gilles Bachelet’s cat behaves like any normal cat–sleeping, eating, getting in the way, making a mess–but in this warm and funny picture book he happens to be. . . a very large elephant. Whether he’s keeping clean, playing with yarn, or posing for a portrait, this cat has his own unique way of doing things. Readers of all ages will delight in the whimsical and fun illustrations that accompany this “cat’s” sweet and silly tale.

AGES: Preschool and older

Your Pal Mo Willems Presents: Leonardo the Terrible Monster

by Mo Willems

Leonardo is a terrible monster — he can’t seem to frighten anyone. When he discovers the perfect nervous little boy, will he scare the lunch out of him? Or will he think of something better?

AGES: Preschool and older

Little Tree

by Loren Long

Little Tree is very happy in the forest, where he is surrounded by other little trees and his leaves keep him cool in the heat of summer, but when autumn comes and the other trees drop their leaves, Little Tree cannot be persuaded to let his go, even after they wither and turn brown.

AGES: Preschool and older

Three Billy Goats Buenos

by Susan Middleton Elya

Three little cabritos have a clever plan to get past the grumpiest troll in the land. But then one of the billy goats wonders: Why is that gigante so grumpy, anyway? This thoughtful question sends their plan in a new direction, and the results are better than they ever imagined. Dashes of humor, empathy, and kindness make this modern twist on a classic tale a charming delight. Incorporates Spanish words and includes a glossary.

AGES: Preschool and older

Princess Hair

by Sharee Miller

Celebrate different hair shapes, textures, and styles in this self-affirming picture book! From dreadlocks to blowouts to braids, Princess Hair shines a spotlight on the beauty and diversity of black hair, showing young readers that every kind of hair is princess hair. Encourages confidence and pride in this playful, colorful picture book that teaches readers to love every bit of themselves.

AGES: Preschool and older

Jabari Jumps

by Gala Cornwall

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

AGES: Toddler/Preschool

This is Fun! (CD)

by Caspar Babypants

Simple, fun, acoustic, sing a long songs for kids ages 0-6 and their parents is what the debut album from Caspar Babypants is all about. THIS IS FUN! is an invitation to sing and smile for the whole family. Caspar Babypants is also known as Chris Ballew, the twice Grammy nominated songwriter and lead singer for the Seattle rock and roll band The Presidents of the United States of America.

ALL AGES

The Perseid Meteor Shower | Stargazing Books, Apps, and Resources

It’s Meteor Month! Break out your comfiest lounge chair and head out to the backyard (or dark-sky site) and don’t miss the annual Perseid meteor shower!

  • The best viewing time for the Perseid viewing is August 11-12, 2020!

Did you know… The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The meteors are called the Perseids because the point from which they appear to hail lies in the constellation Perseus.

To read more about it...

  • The Perseid meteor shower peaks early in the morning on Wednesday, August 12. Often the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids produce rates of up to 100 meteors per hour.
  • The peak of the Perseid meteor shower occurs overnight from August 11 to 12. On August 12, the shower’s radiant — the point on the sky from which shower meteors appear to originate — will be high in the northeast around 2 A.M. local time. That will be the best time to watch for shower meteors, although you’ll likely catch meteors anytime between dusk on the 11th and dawn on the 12th.

Visit Astronomy.com for Perseid viewing info and some great photos of Comet NEOWISE!

Browse our favorite astronomy websites to consult for convenient nightly star charts and more:

Get the latest space exploration, innovation and astronomy news. Space.com celebrates humanity’s ongoing expansion across the final frontier.

NASA.gov brings you the latest news, images and videos from America’s space agency, pioneering the future in space exploration and scientific discovery.

Quality sky maps and star charts for skywatchers and educators. Download The Evening Sky Map free each month. Find constellations, planets, comets.

Prefer to go mobile? Download our favorite sky-viewing & "augmented reality" apps:

Star Walk 2 Free

Star Walk 2 is an exquisite stargazing app enabling you to explore the night sky through the screen of your device. Make an effortless journey through thousands of stars, planets and constellations. All you have to do is point your device to the sky!

DOWNLOAD:

Star Chart

Used by over 30 million people worldwide, Star Chart provides a magical star gazing experience like no other. You can now have a virtual planetarium in your pocket! Look through the eyes of your device to see a virtual window into the whole visible universe.

DOWNLOAD:

SkyView Lite

This beautiful, intuitive stargazing app uses your camera to precisely spot and identify celestial objects in sky, day or night. Find popular constellations while you scan across the sky, locate planets in our solar system, discover distant galaxies, and witness satellite fly-bys.

DOWNLOAD:

Want more astronomy? Check out these titles for adults & kids:

Keep looking up... Space is boundless!

If You Liked… “Where the Crawdads Sing”

Did you love Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens? This absorbing, atmospheric tale about a lonely girl’s coming-of-age in the marshes of North Carolina topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2020 for a combined 30 non-consecutive weeks. If you’re looking for more reads like this one, check out this list of read-alikes.

The Scent Keeper

by Erica Bauermeister

A moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives. The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.

Let's No One Get Hurt

by Jon Pineda

Fifteen-year-old Pearl is squatting in an abandoned boathouse with her father, a disgraced college professor, and two other grown men, deep in the swamps of the American South. Despite the isolation, Pearl feels at home with her makeshift family: the three men care for Pearl and teach her what they know of the world … While Pearl is out scavenging in the woods, she meets Main Boy, who eventually reveals that his father has purchased the property on which Pearl and the others are squatting.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

by Carol Rifka Brunt

1987. The only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus is her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life … June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and that this unexpected friend just might be the one she needs the most.

The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

A desperate family seeks a new beginning in the near-isolated wilderness of Alaska only to find that their unpredictable environment is less threatening than the erratic behavior found in human nature.

Sycamore

by Bryn Chancellor

Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since.

The Risen

by Ron Rash

While swimming in a secluded creek on a hot Sunday in 1969, sixteen-year-old Eugene and his older brother, Bill, meet Ligeia, a free-spirited redhead from Daytona Beach banished to their small North Carolina town. Ligeia entrances the brothers, especially Eugene, who is drawn to her raw sensuality and rebellious attitude. But when Ligeia vanishes as suddenly as she appeared, the growing rift between the two brothers becomes immutable. Decades later, the once-close brothers now lead completely different lives. When a shocking reminder of the past unexpectedly surfaces, Eugene is plunged back into that fateful summer and the girl he cannot forget.

The Barrowfields

by Phillip Lewis

Just before Henry Aster’s birth, his father—outsized literary ambition and pregnant wife in tow—reluctantly returns to the small Appalachian town in which he was raised. There, Henry grows up under the writing desk of this fiercely brilliant man. But when tragedy tips his father toward a fearsome unraveling, what was once a young son’s reverence is poisoned and Henry flees, not to return until years later when he, too, must go home again. 

My Absolute Darling

by Gabriel Tallent

Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption.

If the Creek Don't Rise

by Leah Weiss

In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She’s been married to Roy Tupkin for fifteen days, and she knows now that she should have listened to the folks who said he was trouble. But when a stranger sweeps in and knocks the world off-kilter for everyone in town, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife. As stark and magnificent as Appalachia itself, If the Creek Don’t Rise is a bold and beautifully layered debut about a dusty, desperate town finding the inner strength it needs to outrun its demons.

Miller's Valley

by Anna Quindlen

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley, Pennsylvania. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship, and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.” Miller’s Valley is a study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.”

Want more recommendations?

 

You can check out all of our online booklists (for kids and for adults), or reach out to us! Our staff is ready and willing to make reading, listening, or viewing recommendations to you! Email us at reference@benlib.org or contact us via our online form!

Penny’s Picks! | A Booklist For Kids & Teens

Miss Penny from the Youth Services Department has hand-picked a selection of her current favorite books — and there’s something for a range of ages!

  • All of the books featured here are books that we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or button to the right of the description.

Penny Recommends...

A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope

by Patrice Caldwell

Sixteen stories by best selling and award winning authors, that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic. Stories of love, betrayal, strength and resistance with true to life characters. It is amazing to be able to read different writing styles and diverse characters. Don’t miss this rare treasure of stories.

AGES: Young adults

Only Mostly Devastated

by Sophie Gonzales

This novel has been named one of the most exciting books of the year. On the list of Cosmopolitan Best 17 LGBT books. The story is inspired by Grease, complete with a group of Pink Ladies this realistic fiction book has wonderful characters that everyone can relate to. The voice of Ollie, is one of humor and introspection. Entertaining heartfelt dialogue with authentic, believable teen angst.

AGES: Young adults

Alice by Heart

by Steven Sater

This is a beautiful adaptation of the off-Broadway musical Spring Awakenings encourages readers to celebrate their imaginations. This is a journey through the mind of Alice, as she takes refuge in a London Tube station during WW II. Alice experiences grief, loss and first love with the help of her favorite book Alice in Wonderland .This is a great read for anyone who loves poetry, a good story, and love.

AGES: Young adults

Don't Read the Comments

by Eric Smith

Get ready to get your geek on! At first look this book is about a boy and a girl who find each other in the online gaming community.But its more than that, it’s an examination of the challenges teens face in the today’s world. This book examines a lot: racism, sexism, assault, income inequality, toxic online culture and more. Perfect book for anyone who loves gaming and relationships.

AGES: Young adults

What Kind of Girl

by Alyssa Sheinmel

These novel explores the topics of domestic violence and mental health in teens. The author does a great job of getting inside the victims minds and showing all their emotions and doubts that they are having. The book explores what constitutes abuse, do intentions matter? What authority figures ate the best to report to? Will anyone believe me? This novel is very emotional and sometimes hard to read, it is an important read for the #MeToo era.

 

AGES: Young adults

A Little Courage

by Taltal Levi

A sweet story of courage, imagination and friendship. A little creature loves to explore around the house during the day. The reader might be reminded of the Borrowers or Thumbelina. The illustrations while simple are very detailed. This little story inspires a sense of adventure, confidence and fun.

 

AGES: Preschool to second grade

One of These Is Not Like the Others

by Barney Saltzberg

This book points out and celebrates our differences. A book that begs to be read aloud. Readers are encouraged to notice both the similarities and differences between the characters. So clever, you will laugh out loud!

AGES: 2 to 5 years old

The Lineup: Baseball Biographies & Movies

The 2020 season of Major League Baseball is officially here! While this season is going to look a lot differently, we’re just happy to see baseball back in action. In celebration of the return of baseball, we’ve rounded up our favorite biographies and films to get you ready to cheer on your favorite team.

  • All of the titles featured here we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image.

Baseball Books — Biographies

Films About Baseball

Want more recommendations?

 

You can check out all of our online booklists (for kids and for adults), or reach out to us! Our staff is ready and willing to make reading, listening, or viewing recommendations to you! Email us at reference@benlib.org or contact us via our online form!