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!

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!

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!

Best YA Reads of Summer 2021

As summer 2021 wraps up, whether you’re going on one last summer trip, preparing to head back to school, or just looking for another great read, we’ve put together a list of 12 of the best YA books that have come out this summer!

  • 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.

You're So Dead

by Ash Parsons

Plum Winter has always come in second to her sister, the unbelievably cool, famous influencer Peach Winter. And when Peach is invited to an all-expenses-paid trip to a luxurious art-and-music festival for influencers on a private island in the Caribbean, Plum decides it’s finally her time to shine. So she intercepts the invite–and asks her two best friends, Sofia and Marlowe, to come along to the fest with her. It’ll be a spring break they’ll never forget.

Love and Other Natural Disasters

by Misa Sugiura

When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind. That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer. Because Nozomi has a master plan of her own: one to show Willow she’s better than a stand-in, and turn their fauxmance into something real. But as the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster…and maybe a chance at love she didn’t plan for.

The Box in the Woods

by Maureen Johnson

After solving the greatest unsolved mystery of the century, Stevie Bell goes undercover as a camp counselor to investigate the strange things going on at Camp Wonder Falls–the site of the infamous “Box in the Woods” murders.

Instructions for Dancing

by Nicola Yoon

Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. As she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?

The Passing Playbook

by Isaac Fitzsimons

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother, and a David Beckham in training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of isolation and bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans—he’s passing. But when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even though it would mean coming out to everyone—including the guy he’s falling for.

Perfectly Parvin

by Olivia Abtahi

Parvin Mohammadi has just been dumped–only days after receiving official girlfriend status. Not only is she heartbroken, she’s humiliated. Enter high school heartthrob Matty Fumero, who just might be the smoking-hot cure to all her boy problems. If Parvin can get Matty to ask her to Homecoming, she’s positive it will prove to herself and her ex that she’s girlfriend material after all.

Switch

by A.S. King

Time has stopped. It’s been June 23, 2020 for nearly a year as far as anyone can tell. Frantic adults demand teenagers focus on finding practical solutions to the worldwide crisis. Not everyone is on board though. Javelin-throwing prodigy Truda Becker is pretty sure her “Solution Time” class won’t solve the world’s problems, but she does have a few ideas what might. Truda lives in a house with a switch that no one ever touches, a switch her father protects every day by nailing it into hundreds of progressively larger boxes. But Truda’s got a crow bar, and one way or another, she’s going to see what happens when she flips the switch.

One Last Stop

by Casey McQuiston

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train. Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her.

We Are Inevitable

by Gayle Forman

After losing his brother, mom, and most of his friends, Aaron Stein is left with his shambolic father alone in their moldering secondhand bookstore, but just when he considers selling the store he meets new people and takes on new challenges, helping him come to terms with what he has lost and who he wants to be.

An Emotion of Great Delight

by Tahereh Mafi

In the wake of 9/11, Shadi, a child of Muslim immigrants, tries to navigate her crumbling world of death, heartbreak, and bigotry in silence, until finally everything changes.

Blood Like Magic

by Liselle Sambury

After failing to come into her powers, sixteen-year-old Voya–a Black witch living in near-future Toronto–is forced to choose between losing her family’s magic forever, a heritage steeped in centuries of blood and survival, or murdering her first love, a boy who is supposedly her genetic match.

You and Me at the End of the World

by Brianna Bourne

For five days teenager Hannah Ashton has been living a nightmare because Greater Houston is devoid of people and totally silent, but then she finds Leo Sterling, a boy from her school whom Hannah considers to be both hot and trouble; together they set out to explore their city, and their own emotions–but above all they need to find out what has happened to their world, or risk being separated forever.

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!

eBooks for Adults

With your BCPL library card, you have free access to tens of thousands of eBook and eAudiobook titles — on your phone, tablet, or computer! We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite popular reads in eBook and eAudiobook format. Be sure to place titles on hold that look interesting to you! Once ready, they can be instantly downloaded to your device.

To get started downloading eBooks or eAudiobooks with any of our digital services, such as OverDrive or Axis360, visit benlib.org/download. If you need help signing up, feel free to contact the Library and we’ll be happy to help.

The Other Black Girl

by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

Seven Days in June

by Tia Williams

Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget and seven days to get it all back again… This is a witty, romantic, and sexy-as-hell new novel of two writers and their second chance at love. Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York. When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love.

The Maidens

by Alex Michaelides

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Shipped

by Angie Hockman

A witty, clever, and swoon-worthy novel following a workaholic marketing manager who is forced to go on a cruise with her arch-nemesis when they’re up for the same promotion. Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it. The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position.

The Sweetness of Water

by Nathan Harris

A profound debut about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever. In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys. Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. 

Malibu Rising

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over-especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva. Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them… and what they will leave behind.

While Justice Sleeps

by Stacey Abrams

Aa gripping, complexly plotted thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court. Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together: excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. While Justice Sleeps is a cunningly crafted, sophisticated novel, layered with myriad twists and a vibrant cast of characters. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

by V.E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

The President's Daughter

by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

A former president’s daughter is kidnapped in this masterful rocket-ride of a thriller. Matthew Keating, a one-time Navy SEAL—and a past president—has always defended his family as staunchly as he has his country. Now those defenses are under attack. A madman abducts Keating’s teenage daughter, Melanie—turning every parent’s deepest fear into a matter of national security. As the world watches in real time, Keating embarks on a one-man special-ops mission that tests his strengths: as a leader, a warrior, and a father.

The Last Thing He Told Me

by Laura Dave

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.

With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.

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: eBooks for Kids & Teens

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

eBooks are a great way to read your favorite stories without having to carry multiple books! To get started downloading eBooks with any of our digital services, such as OverDrive or Axis360, visit benlib.org/download. If you need help signing up, feel free to contact the Library and we’ll be happy to help you.

They Both Die at the End

by Adam Silvera | eBook | Age: Teen (Grade 9-12)

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

From Parish: One of my favorite YA books to date. I decided to read this book because I was very curious to see if the characters truly die at the end. Let me tell you, the ending leaves you surprised! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure fiction with a hint of friendship, young love, and the thought of “what would you do if you knew you had one day to fully live?”. 

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire

by John August | eAudiobook | Age: Middle School (Grade 5-8)

Arlo Finch is a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Colorado, a tiny town of mystery and magic, but he’s already attracted the attention of dark and ancient forces. At first he thinks these increasingly strange and frightening occurrences are just part of being in Rangers, the mountain scouting troop where he learns how to harness the wild magic seeping in from the mysterious Long Woods.

But soon Arlo finds himself at the center of a dangerous adventure, where he faces obstacles that test the foundations of the Ranger’s Vow: Loyalty, Bravery, Kindness, and Truth.

From Parish: Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire is the perfect series to jump into if you’re a fan of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. This book gives us a magical world, mythical creatures, and a boy that is discovering the streets of Pine Mountain!

Ace of Spades

by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé | eBook | Age: Teen (Grade 9-12)

A contemporary thriller by a debut author follows two Niveus Private Academy students who, selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, are pitted against an anonymous bully who reveals all of their secrets.

From Parish: This is a thriller you won’t be able to put down! If you enjoy the movie “Get Out” and the TV series “Gossip Girl”, you’ll enjoy this book!

Twins

by Varian Johnson | eBook | Age: Elementary School (Grade 3-5)

Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran — a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!

Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there’s nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good.

From Parish: Recommended for fans of realistic fiction graphic novels, and stories similar to Raina Telgemeier. You’ll want to read this!

Fangirl Vol.1

by Sam Maggs & Gabi Nam | eBook | Age: Teen (Grade 9-12)

Cath doesn’t need friends IRL. She has her twin sister, Wren, and she’s a popular fanfic writer in the Simon Snow community with thousands of fans online. But now that she’s in college, Cath is completely outside of her comfort zone. There are suddenly all these new people in her life. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming boyfriend, a writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome new writing partner… And she’s barely heard from Wren all semester!

From Parish: Fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl will enjoy this book. Titled and based off of the fiction novel, fans will feel right at home reading this series. If you haven’t read the original book, it is available to download in OverDrive

The Rise of Kyoshi Vol. 1

by F.C. Yee | eBook | Age: Teen (Grade 8-12)

The longest-living Avatar in this beloved world’s history, Kyoshi established the brave and respected Kyoshi Warriors, but also founded the secretive Dai Li, which led to the corruption, decline, and fall of her own nation. The first of two novels based on Kyoshi, The Rise of Kyoshi maps her journey from a girl of humble origins to the merciless pursuer of justice who is still feared and admired centuries after she became the Avatar.

From Parish: One of my favorite Avatar and favorite books. A must read for fans of the Avatar series! Avatar Kyoshi is a memorable Avatar who appears in the television series a few times to offer Aang guides on her journey to stop the fire nation. Known for her powerful statement in the series “Only Justice will bring peace!” This book does a fantastic job giving us the backstory we need from our favorite past Avatar. Volume 2 is also on Overdrive.

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: Young Adult Reads

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.

Kate in Waiting

by Becky Albertalli

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway. But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson. Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

Perfectly Parvin

by Olivia Abtahi

Parvin Mohammadi has just been dumped–only days after receiving official girlfriend status. Not only is she heartbroken, she’s humiliated. Enter high school heartthrob Matty Fumero, who just might be the smoking-hot cure to all her boy problems. If Parvin can get Matty to ask her to Homecoming, she’s positive it will prove to herself and her ex that she’s girlfriend material after all. There’s just one problem: Matty is definitely too cool for bassoon-playing, frizzy-haired, Cheeto-eating Parvin. Since being herself hasn’t worked for her in the past (see aforementioned dumping), she decides to start acting like the women in her favorite rom-coms. But Parvin discovers that being a rom-com dream girl is much harder than it looks. Also hard? The parent-mandated Farsi lessons. A confusing friendship with a boy who’s definitely not supposed to like her. And hardest of all, the ramifications of the Muslim ban on her family in Iran. Suddenly, being herself has never been more important.

Tokyo Ever After

by Emiko Jean

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in―it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi―or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”―and her mom against the world. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess. In a whirlwind, Izumi travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izumi soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself―back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairy tale, happily ever after?

Where Secrets Lie

by Eva V. Gibson

Amy Larsen has spent every summer with her cousin Ben and their best friend Teddy in River Run, Kentucky, loving country life and welcoming the break from her intensive ambitions and overbearing mother—until the summer she and Teddy confront the changing feelings and simmering sexual tension growing between them, destroying the threesome’s friendship in a dramatic face-off.

One year later, Amy returns to River Run dreading what she might find. But when Teddy’s sister disappears, Amy, Ben, and Teddy agree to put aside their differences to search for her. As they dig deeper into the dark history of their small town, all three friends must unearth the truths that tie their families to tragedy, cope with their own toxic upbringings and beliefs, and atone for the damage done to each other and themselves.

It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story

by Lauren Morrill

After her mother gave birth to her in the bathroom of a local pizzeria, Beck has been given the dubious privilege of having minor fame, free pizza for life, and a guaranteed job when she turns sixteen―a job she unfortunately can’t afford to turn down.

Now she’s stuck with her geeky co-workers instead of taking Instagram-ready shots with her best friends (and her epic crush).

But maybe the pizza people aren’t all bad. Maybe that pizza delivery guy is kind of cute. And maybe there’s a way to make this Bathroom Baby thing work for her. Because when disaster strikes the beloved pizza place that’s started to feel like home, she’s going to need a miracle―one that might even mean bringing her two worlds together.

Indivisible

by Daniel Aleman

Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American.

Things That Grow

by Meredith Goldstein

When Lori’s Dorothy Parker–loving grandmother dies, Lori’s world is turned upside down. Grandma Sheryl was everything to Lori—and not just because Sheryl raised Lori when Lori’s mom got a job out of town. Now Lori’s mom is insisting on moving her away from her beloved Boston right before senior year. Desperate to stay for as long as possible, Lori insists on honoring her grandmother’s last request before she moves: to scatter Sheryl’s ashes near things that grow.

Along with her uncle Seth and Chris, best friend and love-of-her-life crush, Lori sets off on a road trip to visit her grandmother’s favorite gardens. Dodging forest bathers, scandalized volunteers, and angry homeowners, they come to terms with the shape of life after Grandma Sheryl. Saying goodbye isn’t easy, but Lori might just find a way to move forward surrounded by the people she loves.

List of Ten

by Halli Gomez

Ten: three little letters, one ordinary number. No big deal, right? But for Troy Hayes, a 16-year-old suffering from Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the number ten dictates his life, forcing him to do everything by its exacting rhythm. Finally, fed up with the daily humiliation, loneliness, and physical pain he endures, Troy writes a list of ten things to do by the tenth anniversary of his diagnosis—culminating in suicide on the actual day. But the process of working his way through the list changes Troy’s life: he becomes friends with Khory, a smart, beautiful classmate who has her own troubled history. Khory unwittingly helps Troy cross off items on his list, moving him ever closer to his grand finale, even as she shows him that life may have more possibilities than he imagined. This is a dark, intense story, but it’s also realistic, hopeful, and deeply authentic.

House of Hollow

by Krystal Sutherland

Iris Hollow and her two older sisters are unquestionably strange. Ever since they disappeared on a suburban street in Scotland as children only to return a month a later with no memory of what happened to them, odd, eerie occurrences seem to follow in their wake. And they’re changing. First, their dark hair turned white. Then, their blue eyes slowly turned black. They have insatiable appetites yet never gain weight. People find them disturbingly intoxicating, unbearably beautiful, and inexplicably dangerous.

But now, ten years later, seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow is doing all she can to fit in and graduate high school on time—something her two famously glamourous globe-trotting older sisters, Grey and Vivi, never managed to do. But when Grey goes missing without a trace, leaving behind bizarre clues as to what might have happened, Iris and Vivi are left to trace her last few days. They aren’t the only ones looking for her though. As they brush against the supernatural they realize that the story they’ve been told about their past is unraveling and the world that returned them seemingly unharmed ten years ago, might just be calling them home.

Fade Away

by E. B. Vickers

At 8:53 pm, thousands of people watched as Jake Foster secured the state title for his basketball team with his signature fadeaway. But by the next morning, he’s disappeared without a trace. Nobody has any idea where he is: not his best friend who knows him better than anyone else, not his ex-girlfriend who may still have feelings for him, not even his little brother who never expected Jake to abandon him. Rumors abound regarding Jake’s whereabouts. Was he abducted? Did he run away to try to take his game to the next level? Or is it something else, something darker–something they should have seen coming?

Told from the points of view of those closest to Jake, this gripping, suspenseful novel reminds us that the people we think we know best are sometimes hiding the most painful secrets.

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

by Laekan Zea Kemp

Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans—leaving Pen to choose between not disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself. Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that—a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself. Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home. This stunning and poignant novel from debut author Laekan Zea Kemp explores identity, found families and the power of food, all nestled within a courageous and intensely loyal Chicanx community.

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!

Juneteenth: Reads for Everyone

On Thursday, June 17, 2021, the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act” was signed into law, designating Juneteenth National Independence Day (June 19) as a federal public holiday.

Juneteenth (a combination of “June” and “nineteenth”) commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves in Galveston, Texas finally learned that the Emancipation Proclamation had declared them free more than two years earlier. Annual celebrations of the occasion—parades, fireworks, cookouts, community gatherings, dances—spread beyond Texas as African Americans migrated across the country and traditions were passed on from family to family and community to community.

The books below, both fiction and nonfiction and for a a variety of ages, explore the Juneteenth holiday directly or take place during the joyous, yet tumultuous time period as slavery officially ended and freed Black people faced new forms of economic, legal, and societal barriers rooted in racism.

  • 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

Kids

Juneteenth for Mazie

by Floyd Cooper

Little Mazie wants the freedom to stay up late, but her father explains what freedom really means in the story of Juneteenth, and how her ancestors celebrated their true freedom.

 

Juneteenth: Traditions and Celebrations

by Lisa A. Crayton

Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. Across the country, people observe the day with speeches, poetry readings, festivals, picnics, street fairs, and family reunions. It is a day for people to come together and continue working toward equality. Readers will discover how a shared holiday can have multiple traditions and be celebrated in all sorts of ways.

Juneteenth

by Drew Nelson

June 19th, 1865, began as another hot day in Texas. Enslaved African Americans worked in fields, in barns, and in the homes of the white people who owned them. Then a message arrived. Freedom! Slavery had ended! The Civil War had actually ended in April. It took two months for word to reach Texas. Still the joy of that amazing day has never been forgotten. Every year, people all over the United States come together on June 19th to celebrate the end of slavery. Join in the celebration of Juneteenth, a day to remember and honor freedom for all people.

The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure

by Steven Otfinoski

The Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War have brought an official end to slavery, yet some Southern slave owners are refusing to comply. The road to freedom is still long and hard for many African Americans, but you’re not giving up. Will you: Overcome obstacles as you make your way north from Texas, looking to begin a new life of freedom? Seek out your family, from whom you were separated as a child, after emancipation? Fight back when you take work as an apprentice but find that you’re still treated as a slave? YOU CHOOSE offers multiple perspectives on history, supporting Common Core reading standards and providing readers a front-row seat to the past.

Teens

Come Juneteenth

by Ann Rinaldi

Although born a slave to Luli’s family, Goose feels loved and respected by the family to which she is attached, but when Union soldiers arrive and tell her that slavery ended more than two years prior, Goose feels betrayed like never before and runs away to experience real freedom for the first time in her life.

A Sitting in St. James

by Rita Williams-Garcia

1860, Louisiana. After serving as mistress of Le Petit Cottage for more than six decades, Madame Sylvie Guilbert has decided, in spite of her family’s objections, to sit for a portrait.

While Madame plots her last hurrah, stories that span generations—from the big house to out in the fields—of routine horrors, secrets buried as deep as the family fortune, and the tangled bonds of descendants and enslaved, come to light to reveal a true portrait of the Guilberts.

This astonishing novel from three-time National Book Award finalist Rita Williams-Garcia about the interwoven lives of those bound to a plantation in antebellum America is an epic masterwork—empathetic, brutal, and entirely human—and essential reading for both teens and adults grappling with the long history of American racism.

Daughters of Jubilation

by Kara Lee Corthron

In the Jim Crow South, white supremacy reigns and tensions are high. But Evalene Deschamps has other things to worry about. She has two little sisters to look after, an overworked single mother, and a longtime crush who is finally making a move.

On top of all that, Evvie’s magic abilities are growing stronger by the day. Her family calls it jubilation—a gift passed down from generations of black women since the time of slavery. And as Evvie’s talents waken, something dark comes loose and threatens to resurface…

And when the demons of Evvie’s past finally shake free, she must embrace her mighty lineage, and summon the power that lies within her.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

Adults

On Juneteenth

by Annette Gordon-Reed

Combining personal anecdotes with poignant facts gleaned from the annals of American history, Gordon-Reed shows how, from the earliest presence of Black people in Texas to the day in Galveston on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in the state, African Americans played an integral role in the Texas story. Reworking the traditional “Alamo” framework, she powerfully demonstrates, among other things, that the slave- and race-based economy not only defined the fractious era of Texas independence but precipitated the Mexican-American War and, indeed, the Civil War itself.

Juneteenth

by Ralph Ellison

From the author of bestselling Invisible Man—the classic novel of African-American experience—this long-awaited second novel tells an evocative tale of a prodigal of the twentieth century. Brilliantly crafted, moving, and wise, Juneteenth is the work of an American master.

“Tell me what happened while there’s still time,” demands the dying Senator Adam Sunraider to the itinerate preacher whom he calls Daddy Hickman. As a young man, Sunraider was Bliss, an orphan taken in by Hickman and raised to be a preacher like himself. Bliss’s history encompasses the joys of young southern boyhood; bucolic days as a filmmaker, lovemaking in a field in the Oklahoma sun. And behind it all lies a mystery: how did this chosen child become the man who would deny everything to achieve his goals?

The Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood—where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him.

In Colson Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.

Beloved

by Toni Morrison

Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

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!

June is Zoo & Aquarium Month!

Celebrate National Zoo and Aquarium Month with some great reads from our youth non-fiction collection. (And remember, you can check out a pass to the Brookfield Zoo through the library’s Museum Adventure Pass program!)

National Zoo and Aquarium Month is celebrated annually to honor the role of zoos and aquariums in conservation, education, recreation, and research. It is also intended to promote and encourage more individuals to visit zoos and aquariums.

  • 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.

My Visit to the Aquarium

by Aliki

Come along on a trip to a wonderful place where you can visit aquatic creatures from all over the world-all in one very special day!

My Visit to the Zoo

by Aliki

Meet your favorite animals as a boy and his cousin visit the zoo and see how animals really live in the wild —from the tropical rain forests to the African plains.

Baby Dolphin's First Swim

by American Museum of Natural History

Meet a baby dolphin and see how he spends his first day in the ocean! This picture book follows a dolphin from birth as he swims with his mom; learns to eat, jump, and play with his pod; and even escapes a shark.

Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

The true story of Ivan, known as the Shopping Mall Gorilla, who lived alone in a small cage for almost 30 years before being relocated to the gorilla habitat at ZooAtlanta.

Tiger Time

by Kama Einhorn

Go inside Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, where you will meet a tiger named Kamal, one of 500 animals who has been rescued and now lives in safety.

Jack Hanna's Wild But True

by Jack Hanna

Jack Hanna offers 200 really delightful facts and anecdotes about wild animals. Stories include animal friends, endangered animals, hilarious stories, surprising animal species, and crazy, unbelievable animal stories that will warm your heart.

First Big Book of the Ocean

by Catherine D. Hughes

National Geographic Kids First Big Book of the Ocean is an adorable animal reference that includes the sea’s high-interest animals, such as dolphins, sharks, sea otters, and penguins, and introduces kids to some of its lesser-known creatures.

I Wish I Was a Lion

by Sandra Markle

Dig into the lives of lions in this beginning reader with full-color photos of lions in the wild! What if you wished you were a lion? And then you became one? Could you eat like a lion? Sleep like a lion? Live in a lion family? And would you want to? Find out!

Giraffes

by Laura Marsh

Explore the African savanna with giraffes in this exciting National Geographic Kids reader. Packed with beautiful and engaging photos, kids will learn all about these amazing animals.

Pierre the Penguin

by Jean Marzollo

Rhyming text and colorful illustrations describe the efforts of aquatic biologist Pam to help Pierre, an African penguin living at the California Academy of Sciences, when he begins to go bald.

Finding Winnie

by Lindsay Mattick

A woman tells her young son the true story of how his great-great-grandfather, Captain Harry Colebourn, rescued and learned to love a bear cub that he named Winnie in 1914 as he was on his way to take care of soldiers’ horses during World War I. He finally brings her to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin.

A Trip to the Zoo

by Karen Wallace

Join Billy and Matt for a day at the zoo. It’s a chance to see and learn about all kinds of animals—from a hungry giraffe to performing sea lions!

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!