Penny’s Picks: November 2021

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 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.

Lessons in Fusion

by Primrose Madayag Knazan

Sixteen-year-old Sarah (it’s pronounced SAH-rah, thank you) has a successful blog creating fusion recipes. When Sarah is invited to compete on Cyber Chef, a virtual cooking competition, her twists on her Baba’s recipes are not enough to pique the palate of the show’s producers. She is pushed to present dishes that represent her Filipinx culture, but these flavours are foreign to her since her parents raised her emphatically Jewish. To survive Cyber Chef and find her cultural identity, Sarah must discover why her mother turned her back on all things Filipinx, and learn the true meaning of fusion.

The Splendor

by Breeana Shields

When Juliette’s sister, Clare, returns from her birthday week at the magical hotel upon a hill, she comes back changed … Deeply unsettled, Juliette uses the last of her savings to book a stay at the Splendor and unravel its mysteries. Run by the talented young illusionist, Henri, the halls are full of magnificent delights and alluring distractions. Every wonder seems to twist Juliette’s attention away from the answers lurking just beneath the surface.

The Holiday Switch

by Tif Marcelo

Lila Santos is ready for her last winter break of high school. The snow in her small town of Holly, New York, is plentiful, the mood is as cozy as a fuzzy Christmas sweater, and she’s earning extra cash working at the local inn—AKA the setting of the greatest film of all time, Holiday by the Lake—while moonlighting as an anonymous book blogger. But her perfect holiday plans crash to a halt when her boss’s frustratingly cute nephew, Teddy Rivera, becomes her coworker. Lila is type A; Teddy is type “Anything but Lila’s Way,” and the two of them can’t stop butting heads over tangled icicle lights and messy gift shop merch. But when they accidentally switch phones one afternoon, they realize they’ve both been hiding things from each other. Will their secrets—and an unexpected snowstorm—bring these rivals together?

Battle of the Bands

edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith

A collection of sixteen interconnected short stories about a high school’s battle of the bands competition, from such authors as Shaun David Hutchinson, Brittany Cavallaro, and Preeti Chhibber.

Eyes of the Forest

by April Henry

A bestselling fantasy author disappears — only his biggest fan believes he’s in danger and has the courage to uncover the truth in this fast-paced mystery with a chilling, psychological twist.

The School Between Winter and Fairyland

by Heather Fawcett

Twelve-year-old Autumn, the beastkeeper at Inglenook School for Magicians, befriends Cai Morrigan the young magician prophesied to destroy the dragon suspected of devouring Autumn’s twin brother, and together they uncover the dark truth that lies at the heart of Inglenook School.

Daughter of the Deep

by Rick Riordan

In this story inspired by Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” Ana Dakkar, a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world, makes astounding discoveries about her heritage and puts her leadership skills to the test against deadly enemies from a rival school.

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy

by Anne Ursu

Marya Lupu’s parents has always believed that her older brother Luka is destined to be a sorcerer and make the family’s fortune, so when the day he is tested turns into a disaster, and the Guild declares that he has no magical talent, they find it easier to blame Marya for upsetting the test than admit the truth, and she is sent to the Dragomir Academy, a school for wayward girls–but a school where she finds friendship and ultimately discovers her own talents.

Tangled Up in Luck

by Merrill Wyatt

When seventh grade enemies research a missing set of jewels for a class project, they realize that the answers to the unsolved case might be much closer to home than they thought in this fun-filled mystery for fans of The Book Scavenger and Lemons . If you told Sloane Osburn and Amelia Miller-Poe that they’d be hiding in their town cemetery from an evil mastermind, they would have been hard-pressed to believe you. If you also told them that person was intent on beating them to a cache of long-lost jewels using nothing more than a slingshot and wicked aim, they’d have been sure you got your facts wrong. Finally, if you told them they’d be doing all of this as friends…well, they would have been sure you needed medical attention. Whether through serendipity (really, really good luck) or zemblanity (really, really bad luck), someone tricked their teacher into using their seventh-grade class to investigate the mystery of their town’s long-missing treasure. From there, things have escalated. Quickly. Now, the girls are stuck hiding behind a gravestone, dodging acorns (who knew acorns could be so threatening?), and just a few clues short of those jewels. It’s up to these enemies-turned-partners to uncover centuries-old clues to find the treasure at the end of this book before the mysterious person on their trail can get to it first…

Dust & Grim

by Chuck Wendig

Thirteen-year-old Molly doesn’t know how she got the short end of the stick — being raised by her neglectful father — while Dustin, the older brother she’s never met, got their mother and the keys to the family estate. But now the siblings are both orphaned, she’s come home for her inheritance, and if Dustin won’t welcome her into the family business, then she’ll happily take her half in cash. There’s just one problem: the family business is a mortuary for monsters, and Molly’s not sure she’s ready to deal with mysterious doors, talking wolves, a rogue devourer of magic, and a secret cemetery. It’s going to take all of Dustin’s stuffy supernatural knowledge and Molly’s most heroic cosplay (plus a little help from non-human friends) for the siblings to figure it out and save the day… if only they can get along for five minutes.

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!

New Historical Fiction

All of the titles featured here in this booklist 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.

Radar Girls

by Sara Ackerman

An extraordinary story inspired by the real Women’s Air Raid Defense, where an unlikely recruit and her sisters-in-arms forge their place in WWII history.

Daisy Wilder prefers the company of horses to people, bare feet and salt water to high heels and society parties. Then, in the dizzying aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Daisy enlists in a top secret program, replacing male soldiers in a war zone for the first time. Under fear of imminent invasion, the WARDs guide pilots into blacked-out airstrips and track unidentified planes across Pacific skies.

This inspiring and uplifting tale of pioneering, unsung heroines vividly transports the reader to wartime Hawaii, where one woman’s call to duty leads her to find courage, strength and sisterhood.

The Show Girl

by Nicola Harrison

Nicola Harrison’s The Show Girl gives a glimpse of the glamorous world of the Ziegfeld Follies, through the eyes of a young midwestern woman who comes to New York City to find her destiny as a Ziegfeld Follies star.

It’s 1927 when Olive McCormick moves from Minneapolis to New York City determined to become a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. Extremely talented as a singer and dancer, it takes every bit of perseverance to finally make it on stage. And once she does, all the glamour and excitement is everything she imagined and more―even worth all the sacrifices she has had to make along the way.

Then she meets Archie Carmichael. Handsome, wealthy―the only man she’s ever met who seems to accept her modern ways―her independent nature and passion for success. But once she accepts his proposal of marriage he starts to change his tune, and Olive must decide if she is willing to reveal a devastating secret and sacrifice the life she loves for the man she loves.

Basil's War

by Stephen Hunter

Basil St. Florian is an accomplished agent in the British Army, tasked with dozens of dangerous missions for crown and country across the globe. But his current mission, going undercover in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, might be his toughest assignment yet. He will be searching for an ecclesiastic manuscript that doesn’t officially exist, one that genius professor Alan Turing believes may hold the key to a code that could prevent the death of millions and possibly even end the war.

St. Florian isn’t the classic British special agent with a stiff upper lip―he is a swashbuckling, whisky-drinking cynic and thrill-seeker who resents having to leave Vivien Leigh’s bed to set out on his crucial mission. Despite these proclivities, though, Basil’s Army superiors know he’s the best man for the job, carrying out his espionage with enough charm and quick wit to make any of his subjects lower their guards.

The Women of Troy

by Pat Barker

A daring and timely feminist retelling of The Iliad from the perspective of the women of Troy who endured it–an extraordinary follow up to The Silence of the Girls from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Regeneration Trilogy.

Troy has fallen and the victorious Greeks are eager to return home with the spoils of an endless war–including the women of Troy themselves. They await a fair wind for the Aegean.

It does not come, because the gods are offended. The body of King Priam lies unburied and desecrated, and so the victors remain in suspension, camped in the shadows of the city they destroyed as the coalition that held them together begins to unravel. Old feuds resurface and new suspicions and rivalries begin to fester.

Largely unnoticed by her captors, the one time Trojan queen Briseis, formerly Achilles’s slave, now belonging to his companion Alcimus, quietly takes in these developments. She forges alliances when she can, with Priam’s aged wife the defiant Hecuba and with the disgraced soothsayer Calchas, all the while shrewdly seeking her path to revenge.

Her Heart for a Compass

by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York

From one of the most famous former members of the British royal family, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York —a mesmerizing novel of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age that richly details both high society and low in Victorian England.

Queen Victoria’s close friend, the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch, Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is expected to make an advantageous marriage. But Margaret is an impulsive and outspoken girl in a repressive society where women are, quite literally, caged in corsets and required to conform.

When Lady Margaret’s parents arrange a society marriage for her, she tries to reconcile herself to the match. But shortly before her betrothal is announced, Margaret flees, leaving her parents to explain her sudden absence to an opulent ballroom stuffed with two hundred distinguished guests.

Banished from polite society, Margaret throws herself into charitable work and finds strength in a circle of female friends like herself—women intent on breaking the mold, including Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise. Margaret resolves to follow her heart—a journey of self-discovery that will take her to Ireland, America, and then back to Britain where she finds the life she was always meant to lead.

A bold and thoughtful story about a rebellious woman finding herself and her voice in an age of astounding technological change and great social unrest, Her Heart for a Compass is a delicious costume drama rich in atmosphere, history, and color.

The Kitchen Front

by Jennifer Ryan

From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes an unforgettable novel of a BBC-sponsored wartime cooking competition and the four women who enter for a chance to better their lives.

Two years into World War II, Britain is feeling her losses: The Nazis have won battles, the Blitz has destroyed cities, and U-boats have cut off the supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio program called The Kitchen Front is holding a cooking contest—and the grand prize is a job as the program’s first-ever female co-host. For four very different women, winning the competition would present a crucial chance to change their lives.

Strongheart: The Lost Journals of May Dodd and Molly McGill

by Jim Fergus

In 1873, a Cheyenne chief offers President Grant the opportunity to exchange one thousand horses for one thousand white women, in order to marry them with his warriors and create a lasting peace. These women, “recruited” by force in the penitentiaries and asylums of the country, gradually integrate the way of life of the Cheyenne, at the time when the great massacres of the tribes begin.

After the battle of Little Big Horn, some female survivors decide to take up arms against the United States, which has stolen from the Native Americans their lands, their way of life, their culture and their history. This ghost tribe of rebellious women will soon go underground to wage an implacable battle, which will continue from generation to generation.

In this final volume of the One Thousand White Women trilogy, Jim Fergus mixes with rare mastery the struggle of women and Native Americans in the face of oppression, from the end of the 19th century until today. With a vivid sense of the 19th century American West, Fergus paints portraits of women as strong as they are unforgettable.

A Peculiar Combination

by Ashley Weaver

The first in the Electra McDonnell series from Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver, set in England during World War II, A Peculiar Combination is a delightful mystery filled with spies, murder, romance, and the author’s signature wit.

FIRST RULE: DON’T LOSE YOUR CONCENTRATION.
Electra McDonnell and her family earn their living outside the law. Breaking into the homes of the rich and picking the locks on their safes may not be condoned by British law enforcement, but with World War II in full swing, Uncle Mick’s locksmith business just can’t pay the bills anymore.

SECOND RULE: DON’T MAKE MISTAKES.
So when Uncle Mick receives a tip about a safe full of jewels in an empty house, he and Ellie can’t resist. All is going as planned―until the pair is caught red-handed. But instead of arresting them, government official Major Ramsey has an offer: either Ellie agrees to help him break into a safe and retrieve blueprints crucial to the British war effort, or he turns her over to the police.

THIRD RULE: DON’T GET CAUGHT.
Ellie doesn’t care for the major’s imperious manner, but she has no choice. However, when they break into the house, they find the safe open and empty, and a German spy dead on the floor. Soon, Ellie and Major Ramsey are forced to put aside their differences to unmask the double agent, and stop Allied plans from falling into enemy hands.

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!

Parish’s Picks: Baking Fun!

Hey hey… Parish is back with a new booklist! This time he’s selected some of his favorite activity and DIY books for kids and teens.

October is finally upon us, and what better way to celebrate a month of ghosts and ghouls, as well as another great fall season, with some baking! October and fall are the perfect time to fine tune your baking skills… with Halloween approaching, and soon other holidays that bring loved ones together, why not start the holidays with a little baked goodness? This booklist features some of Parish’s favorite cookbooks with tons of easy to follow recipes, and beautiful pictures.

The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book

by Food Network, Maile Carpenter | Grade: 4th-8th

An ultimate baking primer for beginners, written by the editors of the top-selling food magazine, shares more than 100 photographed recipes for everyday and special-occasion cakes, brownies and other baked favorites while providing fun ideas for customizations and alternatives to cakes.

From Parish: Food Network is one of my favorite channels to watch during my free time! This book is nicely written and put together. One of my favorite things about the book is the table of contents — it’s listed by cookies, bars, and cakes with pictures of each item.  Readers who enjoy baking, and learning different ways to make cookies, or how many drops of food coloring to make a certain color will love this book.

The Ultimate Kids’ Baking Book

by Tiffany Dahle | Grade: 3rd-8th

Now your kids can bake their cake and eat it too (with a little help from mom and dad). There are so many reasons for a kid to celebrate and this book has desserts for every milestone, from First Day of School Smart Cookies and Family Road Trip Muddy Buddies to Fall Break Snickerdoodles and the Best Birthday Cupcakes.

From Parish: We all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” well, I 100% judged this book by its cover! I’m a big donut guy and the pink sprinkled donuts looked so good, I just had to check this book out for its recipes! (Donut recipe is on page 69!) I highly recommend making the “Father’s Day Pretzel Bark” on page 109. I give it a 10/10.

Baking with Kids

by Leah Brooks | Grade: 1st-5th

Get ready to measure, mix, and decorate! Baking with Kids is just the book you need to help teach children to bake. Show your children how to safely use basic equipment in the kitchen and explain all about the important ingredients they’ll need to make the most delicious baked goods. Recipes include muffins, scones, breads, pretzels, crackers, pizza dough, pie crust, cake, cookies, cupcakes, and more! Celebrated chef and instructor, Leah Brooks creates activities with simple step-by-step photo illustrations that will guide kids through each recipe and inspire creativity throughout. Put on your aprons–it’s time to get baking!

From Parish: I highly recommend this book to those looking for fun ways to bond with their family. This book isn’t only filled with fun recipes the whole family will love, but also gives pointers on how smaller hands can help with the recipe. A must checkout!

Easy Eats: A Bee and PuppyCat Cookbook

by Natasha Allegri | Grade: 6th-12th

Bee and PuppyCat from the popular YouTube series of the same name love to eat, well, almost everything. Their never-ending quest for their next meal or snack leads them on adventures through space and time. Make food magical with this Bee and PuppyCat cookbook of tasty recipes and cooking tips and tricks. For beginner or experienced cooks and intergalactic temp workers alike.

From Parish: Bee and PuppyCat is my favorite TV series. First, if you are a fan of Adventure Time, you’ll love Bee and Puppycat! One of my favorite things about this book is how they indicate how many servings a dish makes… using Puppycat icons!

The Pokemon Cookbook

by Maki Kudo | Grade: 6th-12th

Create delicious dishes that look like your favorite Pokémon characters — from desserts to pizza — with more than 35 easy, fun recipes. Make a Pokémon ball sushi roll, Pikachu ramen or mashed Meowth potatoes for your next party, weekend activity or powered-up lunchbox.

From Parish: Growing up around when Pokemon started, I couldn’t pass checking out a cookbook based on the show! Full of Pokemon puns, this book will teach you how to turn a normal salad into a Shaymin Green Salad (page36). Great book to push your creativity to the next level.

Disney Princess Cookbook

by Disney | Grade: 3rd-12th

Make learning how to cook fun and downright magical with inspiration from the Disney Princesses! Featuring simple step-by-step instructions and mouth-watering photos of each dish, this cookbook makes it easy to whip up enchanting treats, while enjoying captivating illustrations of the princesses and their friends.

From Parish: If you know a fan young or old who LOVES Disney princesses this is the book for them. All the current Disney princesses have a recipe that’s based on their movie, and a few recipes dedicated to their awesome companions. One of my favorite recipes from this book is the Sun Punch (page 103). This punch is supposed to represent a bright golden-yellow light similar to the lanterns used during the light the sky festival during Rapunzel’s birthday.

The Official Harry Potter Baking Book

by Scholastic | Grade: 3rd-12th

Delight in 43 tasty recipes inspired by the Harry Potter films! From Pumpkin Patch Pies to Owl Muffins, Luna’s Spectrespecs Cookies to Hogwarts Gingerbread, The Official Harry Potter Baking Cookbook is packed with mouthwatering recipes that will, dare we say.

From Parish: If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, you’ll love all the recipes inspired by the movie. One of my favorite recipes — which is easy to make — are the Wizarding Hats (page 22). Turning simple pigs in a blanket to delicious magical hats. This book will give anyone a taste of Hogwarts!

The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook

by Rosanna Pansino | Grade: 3rd-12th

The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook combines two things Rosanna Pansino loves: geek culture and baking. Her fondness for video games, science fiction, math, comics, and lots of other things considered “nerdy” have inspired every recipe in this book. You’ll find the recipes for many beloved fan favorites from her internet baking show of the same name, such as Apple Pi Pie, the Chocolate Chip Smart Cookie, and Volcano Cake; as well as many new geeky recipes, such as Dinosaur Fossil Cake, Moon Phase Macaroons, and the Periodic Table of Cupcakes.

From Parish: Rosanna Pansino’s Nerdy Nummies YouTube channel was one of my favorites to watch. All her recipes are inspired by video games, science fiction, math, and comics. Rosanna taught us ways to show and share our nerdy side with our friends! One of my favorite recipes is the video game controller cookies (page 150). Being a big gamer myself, I couldn’t pass up baking these delicious, cool cookies!

Super Good: Baking for Kids

by Duff Goldman | Grade: 4th-8th

From New York Times bestselling celebrity chef and host of Ace of Cakes and Kids Baking Championship Duff Goldman, this book teaches budding young bakers how to make dozens of crazy delicious concoctions–from confetti snickerdoodles to unicorn cupcakes to amazing dessert pizzas. With more than 35 delicious recipes and tons of fun fact-filled sidebars on everything from the science of yeast to the history of baking, Super Good Baking for Kids shows kids how to make treats that will amaze parents, delight friends, and make the whole family go “mmmmmm.”

From Parish: When I picked this book up a while ago, I checked it out because it was written by the Ace of Cakes himself, Duff Goldman. (If you haven’t seen any of his shows, I highly recommend you do!) This book is really nice for children who have an interest in baking and would like to master cakes. Duff does not only share really delicious recipes, but helpful hints and lessons during the process. Highly recommend those who have a cake interest or those who enjoy looking at good cakes!

The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook

by Bridget Thoreson | Grade: 5th-12th (parental guidance)

Since its debut in 1993, the movie has achieved cult-classic fame, with both children and adults as a loyal fanbase. Fans fall in love with the delightful, demonic and diva-esque Sanderson Sisters and the sleepy New England town they torment. Now you can conjure up your own spooky treats and bewitching drinks to celebrate Halloween, whether you’re attending a surprise rave in town, or just spending “a quiet evening at home.” is filled with over 60 recipes for fare inspired by everyone’s favorite witches and their spells, potions, and schemes. It is the ultimate must-have for fans of all ages—but don’t worry, no children were harmed in the test of these recipes.

From Parish: Can we really enjoy October if we don’t spend one day watching our favorite three witches put a spell on all of us? No, we can’t. The Unofficial Hocus Pocus cookbook is a great masterpiece that will satisfy any fan of the movie.  Parents, if you’re picking this up for your child, please note that the last few chapters have adult drink recipes.

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!

New Thriller and Suspense

All of the titles featured here in this booklist 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.

Bullet Train

by Kotaro Isaka

A dark, satirical thriller by the bestselling Japanese author, following the perilous train ride of five highly motivated assassins.

A massive bestseller in Japan, Bullet Train is an original and propulsive thriller that fizzes with an incredible energy and surprising humor as its complex net of double-crosses and twists unwind. Award-winning author Kotaro Isaka takes readers on a tension packed journey as the bullet train hurtles toward its final destination. Who will make it off the train alive—and what awaits them at the last stop?

Survive the Night

by Riley Sager

It’s November 1991. Nirvana’s in the tape deck, George H. W. Bush is in the White House, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the shocking murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father—or so he says.
 
The longer she sits in the passenger seat, the more Charlie notices there’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t want her to see inside the trunk. As they travel an empty, twisty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly anxious Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s jittery mistrust merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?
 
One thing is certain—Charlie has nowhere to run and no way to call for help. Trapped in a terrifying game of cat and mouse played out on pitch-black roads and in neon-lit parking lots, Charlie knows the only way to win is to survive the night.

The Turnout

by Megan Abbott

With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were homeschooled and trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents’ death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prized student.

Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible.

Sleeping Bear

by Connor Sullivan

Perfect for fans of Brad Thor and Vince Flynn, this white-knuckled debut thriller follows a former Army veteran seeking solitude in the Alaskan wilderness after her husband’s death—only to find herself a pawn in a deadly game with Russia.

After her young husband’s untimely death, Army veteran Cassie Gale decides to take a few days of solitude in the Alaska wilderness before she starts her new job. But when she fails to show up on her first day and her dog is discovered injured at her wrecked campsite, her father knows that this is much more than a camping trip gone awry.

As it turns out, Cassie’s not the first person to disappear without a trace in Alaska’s northern interior. Bears. Wolves. Avalanches. Frostbite. Starvation. There are many ways to die in here. But not all disappearances can be explained. Cassie’s is one of them, along with a number of other outdoor enthusiasts who have vanished in recent years.

Regaining consciousness in a Russian prison, Cassie finds herself trapped in a system designed to ensure that no one ever escapes alive. It will require all her grit and skills to survive. Meanwhile, her father rushes to outrun the clock, scouring thousands of acres, only to realize she’s been taken by a far more nefarious adversary—one with the power of the Eastern Bloc behind it. Ties to his past life, one full of secrets, threaten to surface. He knows there’s a price to be paid, but he’s determined it won’t be his daughter.

Version Zero

by David Yoon

From the brilliant mind of New York Times bestselling author David Yoon comes a lightning-fast and scorchingly observant thriller about how we can save ourselves from the very real perils of a virtual world.

Max, a data whiz at the social media company Wren, has gotten a firsthand glimpse of the dark side of big tech. When he questions what his company does with the data they collect, he’s fired…then black-balled across Silicon Valley.

With time on his hands and revenge on his mind, Max and his longtime friend (and secretly the love of his life) Akiko, decide to get even by rebooting the internet. After all, in order to fix things, sometimes you have to break them. But when Max and Akiko join forces with a reclusive tech baron, they learn that breaking things can have unintended–and catastrophic—consequences.

Take It Back

by Kia Abdullah

From author Kia Abdullah, Take It Back is a harrowing and twisting courtroom thriller that keeps you guessing until the last page is turned.

Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a brilliant legal career. But her decisions came at a high cost, and now, battling her own demons, she has exchanged her high profile career for a job at a sexual assault center, helping victims who need her the most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

When Jodie, a sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, accuses four boys in her class of an unthinkable crime, the community is torn apart. After all, these four teenage defendants are from hard-working immigrant families and they all have proven alibis. Even Jodie’s best friend doesn’t believe her.

But Zara does―and she is determined to fight for Jodie―to find the truth in the face of public outcry. And as issues of sex, race and social justice collide, the most explosive criminal trial of the year builds to a shocking conclusion.

A Man Named Doll

by Jonathan Ames

From the creator of HBO’s Bored to Death, a deliciously noir novel about idiosyncratic private detective Happy Doll and his quest to help a dying friend in a sun-blinded Los Angeles as “quirky, edgy, charming, funny and serious” as its protagonist.

Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. A veteran of both the Navy and LAPD, Doll supplements his meager income as a P.I. by working through the night at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. Armed with his sixteen-inch steel telescopic baton, biting dry humor, and just a bit of a hero complex, the ex-cop sets out to protect the women who work there from clients who have trouble understanding the word “no.”
 
Doll gets by just fine following his two basic rules: bark loudly and act first. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, even he finds himself wildly out of his depth, and then things take an even more dangerous twist when an old friend from his days as a cop shows up at his door with a bullet in his gut.
 
A Man Named Doll is more than just a fascinating introduction to one truly singular character, it is a highly addictive and completely unpredictable joyride through the sensuous and violent streets of LA.

The Wedding Night

by Harriet Walker

After ending her engagement, a woman decides to go on a much-needed getaway with her friends to clear her head—but she soon realizes her secret may be the one thing she can’t get away from.

When Lizzie calls off her wedding in the south of France only a week before the big day, not even her closest friends know why. But since the château is already paid for, they figure it’s the perfect place to take Lizzie and get her mind off her suddenly single state.

When the group arrives, it’s as if the wedding is waiting for them.

The next day, Lizzie wakes to find her friends have drunkenly reveled in the wedding-that-wasn’t—but not all their antics were benign. Someone is set on tormenting Lizzie, and she can’t figure out who.

The more the friends try to piece together exactly what happened that night, the more secrets start to come out.

The biggest secret of all—the one that must not be revealed—is Lizzie’s. But as intimidating messages appear around the château, it seems that someone intends to pursue her until it is. Will Lizzie ever be able to escape her past, or will it destroy more than one life on this trip?

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!

Spooky YA Thrillers

It’s that time of year… it’s almost Halloween! The air is cooler, leaves are falling, and we are in the mood for some suspenseful, young adult thrillers! If you liked One of Us is Lying — which has been on the New York Times Bestsellers List for 190 weeks and has a show coming out on Peacock in October — we’ve got a great list of read-alikes to give you a scare!

  • 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 Good Girls

by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Targeted as suspects in the shocking murder of a high school senior, three teens-including a notorious party girl, a head cheerleader and a would-be valedictorian-race to expose long-buried secrets and identify the real killer.

I Killed Zoe Spanos

by Kit Frick

Anna Cicconi’s summer gig as a nanny is supposed to be a fresh start. But the community has been on edge since Zoe Spanos, a local girl, disappeared New Year’s Eve. Anna’s resemblance to Zoe causes her to delve into Zoe’s life. She becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected– and that she knows what happened to her. When Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Can her podcast uncover the truth?

Truly Devious

by Maureen Johnson

When Stevie Bell, an amateur detective, begins her first year at a famous private school in Vermont, she sets a plan to solve the cold case involving the kidnapping of the founder’s wife and daughter shortly after the school opened.

The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” The past has crawled out of its grave: Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

by Holly Jackson

As her senior capstone project, Pippa Fitz-Amobi is determined to find the real killer in a closed, local murder case, but not everyone wants her meddling in the past.

None Shall Sleep

by Ellie Marney

Eighteen-year-olds Emma Lewis and Travis Bell, recruited by the FBI to interview juvenile serial killers, must turn to a notorious teenage sociopath to help track down a new murderer. 

The Mary Shelley Club

by Goldy Moldavsky

Scholarship student Rachel keeps to herself at Manchester Prep, preferring the company of horror films to trust fund babies. When a prank puts her on the radar of a mysterious student society, “The Mary Shelley Club”, they subject her to a number of escalating Fear Tests which eventually puts them on the radar of a serial killer. 

How We Fall Apart

by Katie Zhao

Jamie Ruan is the queen bee of Sinclair Prep. Until one day, she’s dead. The Proctor, an anonymous poster on the school media app, points the finger at Jamie’s friends. Akil Patel is the school’s track star and he’s running from his secrets. Krystal Choi has a killer sense of fashion, but does that make her a killer? Alexander Lin is always focused on grades, but is hiding a dark secret. Nancy Luo isn’t threatening … unless you get between her and the top spot. 

14 Ways to Die

by Vincent Ralph

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man. She was the first of his victims but not the last. Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all. The whole world is watching her every move. And so is the Magpie Man. 

They’ll Never Catch Us

by Jessica Goodman

Sisters Stella and Ellie Steckler are both determined to win a scholarship and escape their stifling small town, but their plans are upset when a new girl joins the cross-country team and then disappears. 

You're So Dead

by Ash Parsons

Plum Winter and her two best friends sneak into an influencers-only festival event on a private island in the Caribbean.  Plum and her friends soon realize that someone has lured each of them to the “festival” to kill them. Someone has a vendetta against every person on the island–and no one is supposed to leave the island alive. So, together, Plum, Antonia, and Marlowe will do whatever it takes to unravel the mystery of the killer, and fight to save themselves and as many influencers as they can, before it’s too late. 

That Weekend

by Kara Thomas

After Claire wakes up alone on a mountain with no memory of how she got there, she learns her best friend Kat and Kat’s boyfriend are missing and Kat’s past is full of secrets. 

She remembers Friday night, but after that, nothing. Now Kat and Jesse are missing. The answers are buried somewhere in Claire’s memory– and she is pretty sure she is not going to like what she remembers. 

The Ivies

by Alexa Donne

Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions…among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly. 

They Wish They Were Us

by Jessica Goodman

At an exclusive prep school on Long Island, Jill Newman looks forward to her senior year as a member of the school’s most elite clique, the Players, until new evidence surfaces about the murder of her close friend Shaila. 

Influence

by Sara Shepard

After her family moves to Los Angeles, Delilah Rollins, already a minor Internet celebrity, plunges into the competitive and glamorous world of social media influencers, but can cosmetics and good lighting conceal cheating, manipulation, blackmail, and murder? 

This is Why We Lie

by Gabriella Lepore

When a fellow student is murdered, Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole, who discovered the body, launch their own investigation and discover that everyone in the community of Gardiners Bay has something to hide. 

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!

Hispanic Heritage Month / Mes de la Herencia Hispana: Part 2

Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate Hispanic and Latino Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

We’ve put together a selection of adult books and stories in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Reunimos una selección de libros e historias para adultos en honor al Mes de la Herencia Hispana.

In the Dream House: A Memoir

by Carmen Maria Machado

In this memoir Machado tackles difficult and dark subjects with wit and a bold attitude. Using her lyrical writing skills, Machado articulates the complexities of abuse in queer relationships. She embeds cultural criticism and theory into her story, by explaining the ways in which abuse especially among women and lesbians are not represented.

This Thing Between Us

by Gus Moreno

Moreno writes an original horror novel about grief, loneliness and the creepy intrusiveness of technology. Thiago Alvarez suffers the loss of his wife in a tragic murder. The story reads like it’s a letter to his deceased wife Vera, a story recounting their life together and the strange paranormal experiences that ignored. He moves to a remote cabin to escape everything except, he can’t escape the evil that’s chasing him.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

by Julia Alvarez

Alvarez writes a fictional novel of four sisters in a autobiographical account of Alverez’s early childhood in the Dominican Republic and immigrating to New York due to the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. The book gives an in depth look at the immigrant experience and the strong family ties that these sisters and their parents go through from 1989 to 1956.

Passions and Impressions

by Pablo Neruda

100 short prose writing by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The essays and prose poems cover many topics; Chilean history, politics and geography. This is a sequel of Neruda’s memoirs and mostly a testament for his love for Chile.

Postcolonial Love Poem

by Natalie Diaz

Winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry Natalie Diaz, Diaz shares her indigenous heritage and observations of human nature through her second collection of poetry, Postcolonial Love Poem. She speaks on the issues of justice, race, and the environment.

Open Veins of Latin America

by Eduardo Galeano

Uruguayan journalist Galeano explores political and economic conflict in Latin America through a Marxist perspective. He discusses centuries of Latin American history focusing on the genocide, abuse and exploitation that began with Spanish conquistadors and colonization. He discusses in depth how dictators were imposed and supported by the CIA during the 20th century.

Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America

by Maria Hinojosa

Emmy award winning journalist Maria Hinojosa’s memoir relates history of US immigration policy and her intimate experience growing up on the south side of Chicago. Hinojosa describes the behind the scenes of intersectional and humanized storytelling.

Mexican Gothic

by Silva Moreno-Garcia

This novel takes places in 1950’s Mexico. Socialite, Noemi Taboada is sent off to a small mountain mining town to check up on her ill cousin who has been married to a mysterious and handsome Englishmen. Noemi investigates the town and dig deep as she unearths stories of violence, madness and death

Bless me, Ultima

by Rudolfo A. Anaya

Six-year-old Antonio meets Ultima a curandera, a woman who heals using herbs and magic. Together they try to end the war between good and evil that is getting out of control in their village during World War two.

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies

by Laura Esquivel

This novel takes place during the Mexican revolution and centers around the La Garza family. The story is told through recipes and home remedies, using metaphors, figurative language and magical realism. The book takes place over a twenty-year period.

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!

Parish’s Picks: Activity Fun — Part 1

Hey hey… Parish is back with a new booklist! This time he’s selected some of his favorite activity and DIY books for kids and teens.

With school back in session and the weather turning a little bit cooler, we’re in the mood for crafting and activities! Crafting and hands-on projects (for kids or the entire family!) can be a great way to relieve stress and to let your imagination and creativity run wild. Parish’s booklist includes his personal recommended activity books that crafters of any level will find enjoyment in.

Show Me Cool Magic: A Guide to Creating and Performing Your Own Show

by Jake Banfield | Grade: 2nd and up

This book takes the reader from knowing zero about magic to being able to do a whole show for their family and friends. Along the way they will learn some cool tricks to show their friends in school, find out how to do a PR stunt, film their own tricks, develop their unique magician persona, and all the other secrets to making magic amazing.

From Parish: Who doesn’t love seeing a magician display unbelievable card tricks! I know I do! This book does a good job teaching readers with no experience how to do all kinds of unbelievable magic tricks to impress their friends!  I highly recommend this book for readers who are looking for new skills or something to impress their peers.

My First Rock Painting Book: 35 Fun Craft Projects for Children Aged 7+

by Emma Hardy | Grade: 2nd and up

In My First Rock Painting Book, craft expert Emma Hardy shows how to take a simple rock and transform it into something truly amazing.

From Parish: I was inspired to try rock painting a try thanks to Miss Penny and Miss Diane’s rock painting program. If I had to pick any book to give me inspiration for painting rocks, this is the book to pick! It is filled with tons of creative ideas and instructions. You can definitely find something to make; my favorite is the rock cactus. 

Crayola Create It Yourself

by Crayola LLC | Grade: 1st and up

Crayola: Create It Yourself includes fifty-two of the most popular and fun craft projects, organized by the four seasons: fall, winter, spring, and summer. Kids will create DIY gifts like Mother’s Day picture frames and Valentine’s Day Lanterns, they’ll decorate the house with Haunted Halloween Decorations and Melted Crayon Ornaments, and they’ll make timeless paper spinners and CIY terrariums for use all year round. 

From Parish: Crayola is one of my favorite brands and the book lives up to the Crayola name! Readers who are a fan of card making, any type of decorations, and have a box of crayons laying around (either Crayola or not!) will enjoy this book!

Writing a Letter

by Cecilia Minden | Grade: 3rd and up

Writing is an important skill that kids use almost every day. The goal of the Write it Right series is to make kids writing experts. Writing a Letter is full of tips and tricks to help kids craft an engaging letter, from constructing an introduction to labeling the envelope.

From Parish: Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Mr. Parish, why are you recommending a letter writing book when we’re trying to de-stress?” Hear me out! Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a handwritten letter in the mail? Especially from a loved one? I know I do, and if you’re interested in our PenPal Exchange program, why not brush up on some new letter writing skills! With the holidays approaching, after crafting a beautiful homemade card, why not write a lovely letter with it? 🙂 

Recycle and Remake

by DK | Grade: 1st and up

This gentle, but empowering book is full of creative making activities, information, and ideas that give young eco-warriors (like you!) the know-how to really help the environment.

From Parish: Recycle and Remake is a must read and craft because it shows you how to give old things new life. This is perfect for readers who like to discover fun ways to turn cardboard into a piñata or turn straws into a bee hotel! 

Ultimate Slime

by Alyssa Jagan | Grade: 1st and up

DIY tutorials for crunchy slime, fluffy slime, fishbowl slime and more than 100 other oddly satisfying recipes and projects.

From Parish: SLIME! I highly recommend this book to any one and I mean ANY who loves SLIME! Every page in this book explains different ways to create awesome, slimy, gooey slime that everyone will enjoy!

Let’s Get Crafty With Cardboard and Paint

by CICO Kidz | Grade: 1st and up

These fun, colorful crafts are designed to bring out a young child’s creative side. The inventive ideas include a super space rocket, colorful rainstick, and cardboard castle.

From Parish: I just love any type of crafting that utilizes cardboard! Cardboard is so easy to obtain you can create any type of craft! This book is perfect for readers who have tons of cardboard lying around the house. I highly recommend the airplane craft!

A Kid’s Guide to Awesome Duct Tape Projects

Grade: 1st and up

It is a known fact of the universe that duct tape can fix anything. Now, thanks to Instructables.com, there’s one more thing duct tape can fix—boredom! These awesome DIY crafts will be sure to entertain and delight kids of all ages.

From Parish: Fun book for middle schoolers, tweens, and teens! This is a book that teaches how to make durable wallets and other projects with duct tape! Perfect for readers who enjoy creating their own gifts for family and friends. 

The Everything Toddler Activities Book

by Joni Levine | Grade: Present

Now you can play and teach your toddler at the same time with this book. Written by an experienced child-care expert, this informative and fun guide shows you how to stimulate your child’s development with age-appropriate, enjoyable, and educational activities such as:

  • Making Puppets
  • Margarine Tub Jellyfish
  • Dinosaur Eggs
  • Flower Crowns
  • Story in a Bag
  • Camping “Out”
  • Plus rhymes and songs, holiday fun, and crafts galore!

From Parish: Parents who are seeking activities for their younger kids should check this book out! Written by an experienced child-care expert, this book has tons of information to help with your child’s development. You can also have your older children tag along too. 

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!

Hispanic Heritage Month / Mes de la Herencia Hispana: Part 1

Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate Hispanic and Latino Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

We’ve put together a selection of youth and teen books and stories in both English and Spanish in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Reunimos una selección de libros e historias para jóvenes y adolescentes tanto en inglés como en español en honor al Mes de la Herencia Hispana.

Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina

Mango, Abuela, y Yo por Meg Medina

Mia’s abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. While they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English, and Mia learns some Spanish, too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn enough words to tell Mia her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfecto idea for how to help them all communicate a little better. Here is an endearing tale that speaks loud and clear about the love that binds families across the generations.

La abuela de Mia viene a vivir con Mia y sus padres. Cuando Mia eomparte con ella su cuento favorito a la hora de dormir, descubre que la abuela no entiende inglés. Mia la ayuda con el inglés y a la vez ella aprende algunas palabras en español. Pero la abuela no conoce suficientes palabras en inglés para compartir las historias de familia con su nieta. Un dia, Mia ve un loro en una tienda de mascotas y descubre la manera de ayudar a su abuela.

Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora

¡Gracias, Omu! por Oge Mora

When the aroma of Omu’s homemade stew fills the air, her neighbors arrive, one by one, for a taste until all is gone except for her generous spirit.

¡Todos en el vecindario sueñan con probar el delicioso guiso de Omu! Uno por uno, siguen sus narices hacia el delicioso aroma. Y uno por uno, Omu ofrece una porción de su comida. Pronto la olla está vacía. ¿Ha sido tan generosa que ya no le queda nada?

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Soñadores por Yuyi Morales

Dreamers is a celebration of making your home with the things you always carry: your resilience, your dreams, your hopes and history. It’s the story of finding your way in a new place, of navigating an unfamiliar world and finding the best parts of it. In dark times, it’s a promise that you can make better tomorrows. 

Soñadores es un homenaje a los migrantes y a todo lo que traen con ellos, y aportan, cuando dejan sus países. Es una historia de familia. Una historia que nos recuerda que todos somos soñadores que llevamos nuestros propios regalos donde quiera que vayamos. Bella y poderosa en todo momento, pero especialmente de una urgente premura hoy en día en que el futuro de los dreamers es incierto, esta es una historia actual y eterna.

Be Bold! Be Brave! 11 Latinas Who Made U.S. History by Naibe Reynoso

¡Sé audaz, sé valiente! : 11 Latinas que hicieron historia en Estados Unidos por Naibe Reynoso

A bilingual book that highlights 11 Latinas who excelled in their professions and made U.S. History by accomplishing something that hadn’t been done before in various fields including medicine, science, sports, art and politics.

Un libro bilingüe que destaca a 11 latinas que sobresalieron en sus profesiones e hicieron historia en los Estados Unidos al lograr algo que no se había hecho antes en varios campos, incluidos la medicina, la ciencia, los deportes, el arte y la política.

Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de La Peña

Los Deseos de Carmela por Matt de La Peña

When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true–she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make…

Hasta ahora el cumpleaños de Carmela no puede ser mejor. Hoy es lo suficientemente mayor para acompañar a su hermano en su recorrido por la ciudad. Y la tarde que pasan juntos se llena con la magia de lo que ven a su alrededor: desde el brillante sol de los campos hasta las golosinas en la vidriera de la panadería. Pero cuando recoge un diente de león que crece en el concreto, se pregunta qué otra cosa podría desear…y decide entonces salir en busca del deseo perfecto.

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma y Cómo Obtuvo Su Nombre por Juana Martinez-Neal

If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell.

Si le preguntas, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela tiene demasiados nombres: ¡seis! ¿Cómo acabó una persona tan pequeña con un nombre tan grande? Alma se dirige a papá en busca de una respuesta y se entera de Sofía, la abuela que amaba los libros y las flores; Esperanza, la bisabuela que anhelaba viajar; José, el abuelo que fue artista; y otros homónimos también. A medida que escucha la historia de su nombre, Alma comienza a pensar que, después de todo, podría encajar perfectamente y se da cuenta de que algún día tendrá su propia historia que contar.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Renace por Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

Esperanza Ortega tiene todos los tesoros que una chica pueda desear: hermosos vestidos, una linda casa llena de sirvientes en México, y la promesa de que un día llegará a presidir el Rancho como su mamá. Pero una tragedia inesperada destruye ese sueño, obligando a Esperanza y a su madre a escapar a California dónde tendrán que trabajar en una finca junto a otros mexicanos. Allí tendrá que olvidar su pasado y enfrentarse a las nuevas realidades de su vida: trabajo duro, aceptación y dificultades económicas. Esperanza descubrirá que la verdadera riqueza está en la familia y la comunidad.

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de La Peña

Pocho por Matt de La Peña

Sixteen-year-old Danny searches for his identity amidst the confusion of being half-Mexican and half-white while spending a summer with his cousin and new friends on the baseball fields and back alleys of San Diego County, California.

Danny, de dieciséis años, busca su identidad en medio de la confusión de ser mitad mexicano y mitad blanco mientras pasa un verano con su primo y nuevos amigos en los campos de béisbol y callejones del condado de San Diego, California.

Breaking Through by Francisco Jimenez

Senderos Frontizeros by Francisco Jimenez

Having come from Mexico to California ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Francisco is still working in the fields but fighting to improve his life and complete his education.

Venido de México a California hace diez años, Francisco todavía trabaja en los campos, pero a la edad de catorce ya está luchando para mejorar su vida y para terminar su educación.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

Yo No Soy Tu Perfecta Hija Mexicana por Erika Sanchez

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal

Julia no es la hija mexicana perfecta. Ese era el rol de su hermana Olga. Olga no fue a la universidad, se quedo en casa para cuidar a sus padres, limpiar la casa y trabajar a medio tiempo. Julia tiene grandes suenos y no quiere formar parte del camino de su hermana mayor. Pero un solo error, que ocurre mientras enviaba un mensaje de texto al mismo tiempo que cruzaba la calle mas concurrida de Chicago, resulta en la muerte de Olga, dejando atras a Julia para ocuparse de las secuelas. Sus padres, quienes inmigraron ilegalmente a Chicago desde Mexico en busca de una vida mejor, estan inconsolables. La madre de Julia parece canalizar su dolor para senalar de todas las maneras posibles que Julia no es la hija mexicana perfecta que Olga era. Pero Julia pronto descubre que Olga puede haber tenido secretos, tambien. Con la ayuda de su mejor amiga Lorena, Julia esta decidida a descubrirlo. ¿Era Olga realmente lo que parecia? ¿O habia algo mas en la historia de su hermana? Y de cualquier manera, ¿como puede Julia incluso intentar vivir a la altura de un ideal aparentemente imposible.

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!

New Memoirs & Biography | August 2021

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

Steve Kerr: A Life

by Scott Howard-Cooper

Few individuals have had a career as storied, and improbable, as Steve Kerr. He has won eight NBA titles—five as a player and three as a coach—for three different franchises. He played alongside the best players of a generation, from Michael Jordan to Shaquille O’Neal to Tim Duncan, and learned the craft of basketball under four legendary coaches. He was an integral part of two famed NBA dynasties. Perhaps no other figure in basketball history has had a hand in such greatness.

The only coach other than Red Auerbach to lead a team to the Finals five consecutive seasons, Kerr seems destined for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Steve Kerr is his incredible story, offering insights into the man and what it takes to be—and make—a champion. Drawing upon Scott Howard-Cooper’s years covering Warriors, deep archival research, and original interviews with more than one hundred of the central characters in Kerr’s life, this is basketball biography at its finest.

Madam C.J. Walker: The Making of an American Icon

by Erica L. Ball

Madam C. J. Walker—reputed to be America’s first self-made woman millionaire—has long been celebrated for her rags-to-riches story. Born to former slaves in the Louisiana Delta in the aftermath of the Civil War, married at fourteen, and widowed at twenty, Walker spent the first decades of her life as a laundress, laboring in conditions that paralleled the lives of countless poor and working-class African American women. By the time of her death in 1919, however, Walker had refashioned herself into one of the most famous African American figures in the nation: the owner and president of a hair-care empire and a philanthropist wealthy enough to own a country estate near the Rockefellers in the prestigious New York town of Irvington-on-Hudson. In this biography, Erica Ball places this remarkable and largely forgotten life story in the context of Walker’s times. Ball analyzes Walker’s remarkable acts of self-fashioning, and explores the ways that Walker (and the Walker brand) enabled a new generation of African Americans to bridge the gap between a nineteenth-century agrarian past and a twentieth-century future as urban-dwelling consumers.

Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property
and Nazi Treasure

by Menachem Haiser

From a gifted young writer, the story of his quest to reclaim his family’s apartment building in Poland—and of the astonishing entanglement with Nazi treasure hunters that follows 

Menachem Kaiser’s brilliantly told story, woven from improbable events and profound revelations, is set in motion when the author takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland. Soon, he is on a circuitous path to encounters with the long-time residents of the building, and with a Polish lawyer known as “The Killer.”  A surprise discovery—that his grandfather’s cousin not only survived the war, but wrote a secret memoir while a slave laborer in a vast, secret Nazi tunnel complex—leads to Kaiser being adopted as a virtual celebrity by a band of Silesian treasure seekers who revere the memoir as the indispensable guidebook to Nazi plunder. Propelled by rich original research, Kaiser immerses readers in profound questions that reach far beyond his personal quest. What does it mean to seize your own legacy? Can reclaimed property repair rifts among the living? Plunder is both a deeply immersive adventure story and an irreverent, daring interrogation of inheritance—material, spiritual, familial, and emotional. 

House of Sticks

by Ly Tran

An intimate, beautifully written coming-of-age memoir recounting a young girl’s journey from war-torn Vietnam to Ridgewood, Queens, and her struggle to find her voice amid clashing cultural expectations.

Ly Tran is just a toddler in 1993 when she and her family immigrate from a small town along the Mekong river in Vietnam to a two-bedroom railroad apartment in Queens. Ly’s father, a former lieutenant in the South Vietnamese army, spent nearly a decade as a POW, and their resettlement is made possible through a humanitarian program run by the US government. Soon after they arrive, Ly joins her parents and three older brothers sewing ties and cummerbunds piece-meal on their living room floor to make ends meet.

Told in a spare, evocative voice that, with flashes of humor, weaves together her family’s immigration experience with her own fraught and courageous coming of age, House of Sticks is a timely and powerful portrait of one girl’s struggle to reckon with her heritage and forge her own path.

The Great Peace

by Mena Suvari

The Great Peace is a harrowing, heartbreaking coming-of-age story set in Hollywood, in which young teenage model-turned-actor Mena Suvari lost herself to sex, drugs and bad, often abusive relationships even as blockbuster movies made her famous. It’s about growing up in the 90s, with a soundtrack ranging from The Doors to Deee-Lite, fashion from denim to day-glo, and a woman dealing with the lasting psychological scars of abuse, yet knowing deep inside she desires so much more from life.

Within these vulnerable pages, Mena not only reveals her own mistakes, but also the lessons she learned and her efforts to understand and grow rather than casting blame. As such, she makes this a timeless story of girl empowerment and redemption, of somebody using their voice to rediscover their past, seek redemption, and to understand their mistakes, and ultimately come to terms with their power as an individual to find a way and a will to live—and thrive. Poignant, intimate, and powerful, this book will resonate with anyone who has found themselves lost in the darkness, thinking there’s no way out. Ultimately, Mena’s story proves that, no matter how hopeless it may seem, there’s always a light at the end.

Mike Nichols: A Life

by Mark Harris

A magnificent biography of one of the most protean creative forces in American entertainment history, a life of dazzling highs and vertiginous plunges–some of the worst largely unknown until now–by the acclaimed author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back

Mike Nichols burst onto the scene as a wunderkind: while still in his twenties, he was half of a hit improv duo with Elaine May that was the talk of the country. Next he directed four consecutive hit plays, won back-to-back Tonys, ushered in a new era of Hollywood moviemaking with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and followed it with The Graduate, which won him an Oscar and became the third-highest-grossing movie ever. At thirty-five, he lived in a three-story Central Park West penthouse, drove a Rolls-Royce, collected Arabian horses, and counted Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Leonard Bernstein, and Richard Avedon as friends.

Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight

by Julia Sweig

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A magisterial portrait of Lady Bird Johnson, and a major reevaluation of the profound yet underappreciated impact the First Lady’s political instincts had on LBJ’s presidency.

In the spring of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson had a decision to make. Just months after moving into the White House under the worst of circumstances—following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—he had to decide whether to run to win the presidency in his own right. He turned to his most reliable, trusted political strategist: his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. The strategy memo she produced for him, emblematic of her own political acumen and largely overlooked by biographers, is just one revealing example of how their marriage was truly a decades-long political partnership.

Broken Horses

by Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile was born into a musically gifted, impoverished family on the outskirts of Seattle and grew up in a constant state of change, moving from house to house, trailer to trailer, fourteen times in as many years. Though imperfect in every way, her dysfunctional childhood was as beautiful as it was strange, and as nurturing as it was difficult. At the age of five, Brandi contracted bacterial meningitis, which almost took her life, leaving an indelible mark on her formative years and altering her journey into young adulthood.

As an openly gay teenager, Brandi grappled with the tension between her sexuality and her faith when her pastor publicly refused to baptize her on the day of the ceremony. Shockingly, her small town rallied around Brandi in support and set her on a path to salvation where the rest of the misfits and rejects find it: through twisted, joyful, weird, and wonderful music.

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!

A Back-To-School Booklist

All Are Welcome

by Alexandra Penfold

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce a school where diversity is celebrated and songs, stories, and talents are shared.

I Got the School Spirit

by Connie Schofield-Morrison

As a new school year begins, a young girl is filled with school spirit as she zips her book bag shut, rides the bus, enjoys her classes, and eagerly anticipates the next day.

My First Day

by Leilani Sparrow

Get ready to go, it’s the first day of school! Follow one little boy as he experiences all the firsts a first day of school brings, from his first story to his first friend, in this sweet reassuring picture book.

It's Your First Day of School, Busy Bus!

by Jody Jensen Shaffer

Today is the very first day of school! Busy Bus is excited, but he also has some first-day jitters. Luckily, bus driver Ben knows just what to do to make sure that the school year gets off to a great start.

First Grade, Here I Come

by Nancy Carlson

Henry tells his mother that he did not like his first day of first grade, but as he describes what he did and learned, he begins to realize that he might enjoy it after all.

Wow! School!

by Robert Neubecker

Izzy finds many things to be excited about on the first day of school.

Mouse’s First Day of School

by Lauren Thompson

When he goes to school, Mouse finds a world of new objects and new friends.

Hello School!

by Priscilla Burris

A diverse class of excited youngsters are about to start school and experience all its wonders! Small moments like discovering one’s own cubby space and big moments like a first nature walk are all brought to life with inviting artwork.

Lola Goes to School

by Anna McQuinn

Lola meets new friends and tries many new things on her fun but exhausting first day of school.

The Night Before Preschool

by Natasha Wing

In rhyming text based on “The Night Before Christmas, ” Billy is too nervous to sleep the night before he begins preschool, but a kind teacher and new friends fill the day with fun.

Monsters Love School

by Mike Austen

Nervous monsters attending school for the first time learn new things, make friends, and sample Chef Octi’s special School Gruel.

The King of Kindergarten

by Derrick Barnes

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements–and then wake up to start another day.

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!