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BOOKS WE LOVE - Staff Picks

Caroline: Little House, Revisited Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062685346
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - September 19th, 2017

 A beautifully written historical novel that shows the missing piece in the beloved Little House on the Prairie series: What was life like for “Ma”? This definitely isn’t a revisionist retelling that focuses on how difficult pioneer life was for women, but neither is it an idealized view of life in those often dangerous times. In Sarah Miller’s lovely telling of the Ingalls family’s journey by covered wagon to their prairie homestead claim, a pregnant Caroline experiences loneliness, sorrow, and difficulty, but overwhelmingly, her life is measured by strength, fortitude, joy, and the incredible love she experiences with her husband and her girls. I can only imagine the depth of Miller’s research, as the details about everyday life that make the time period come alive seem effortless. Caroline is a fully drawn character, a woman who loves making a pleasant home for her family and who enjoys even her mundane chores, but who can also feel envy of her husband’s ability to get away and to share work and fun with other men on the frontier. Whether you’re a Little House fan or just enjoy good historical fiction, delve in for a visit to our American past.

Little Fires Everywhere Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735224292
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - September 12th, 2017

This is a provocative narrative about family secrets that yield tragic consequences. It takes place in the affluent, planned community of Shaker Heights, Ohio where the picture-perfect lives of the Richardson family slowly begin to unravel as they intertwine with the lives of the enigmatic artist Mia Warren and her teenage daughter, Pearl. Though not a terribly original premise--a crack in the facade of idyllic suburbia reveals darker truths--the novel is still quite dynamic.
Ng has a talent for creating intricate plots and depth of character with which she explores a multitude of societal issues such as race, class, prejudice, privilege, parenting, abortion and even artistic expression while allowing the reader to choose their own alliances.  There are no cut and dried heroes or villains in this story, just people learning (the hard way) that life is complicated and imperfect.  Well-written and thought provoking, Little Fires Everywhere would make a good book club read.

The Child Finder Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062659057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 5th, 2017

In her new novel, The Child Finder, Rene Denfeld plunges the reader deep into the snowy woods of the Oregon Skookum National Forest where the devoted private investigator, Naomi Cottle, is searching for another missing child. Madison disappeared in the woods three years ago at the age of 5 and is assumed dead by everyone except her hopeful parents. As Naomi's relentless search uncovers the mystery behind Madison's disappearance, it also reveals truths about her own fractured past. Denfeld's florid writing style and blending of fairy tales, dreams and memories casts a magical light upon the darker subjects of trauma and abuse that are at the heart of this novel, but despite the disturbing subject matter, there is still a strong message of redemption and power in the will to survive.
The Child Finder is a beautifully written page turner, rich with psychological insight, emotional engagement, life-and-death peril, and a memorable cast of characters, rooted in a darkly atmospheric landscape.


Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Cover Image
ISBN: 9780310345091
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Zondervan - February 9th, 2016

Phillip Yancey, a well-known modern Christian author who has tackled many topics familiar to people of faith, addresses prayer, a practice common to 90 percent of Americans. As most regular pray-ers know, the prayer life can be fraught with pitfalls. Yancey is brave enough to tackle the problems of prayer head-on and to invite us to look at them together, rather than lecturing us. He asks the hard questions, including: Why do some important prayers remain unanswered? Why do horrible things still happen to people who pray for protection? What about prayers for physical healing? Why don’t they usually “work”? He reminds us, through Biblical and modern examples, that prayer is a relationship, not a transaction--a conversation, not a bargain. His compelling argument for why we should pray is that it was Jesus’s response to every situation. Yancey points out that the Bible is full of examples of faithful people berating, yelling at, and arguing with God, and he says these are all valid forms of prayer. What a brave and well-spoken writer, and what an important topic.

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553521900
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 25th, 2015

One of the most fun things about reading books with a child is observing the different ways they appreciate the book as they grow. I bought my son this book before he was born, because I liked its whimsical nature and retro illustrations. Now he’s 15 months old, and this is one of his favorite books. He likes to have it read to him, but also likes to sit and look at the illustrations by himself. The book depicts children with their favorite stuffed animals, and then each stuffed animal turns life-sized and transports its child to dreamland for fantastic adventures—everything from a feast with guests like Bigfoot and Humpty Dumpty, to a festive fairy gathering, to a mermaid teaparty. Martin writes and paints intelligently, so the book is a perfect blend of simple and sophisticated, easy to grasp but always with more to notice.

The Book of Mistakes Cover Image
By Corinna Luyken, Corinna Luyken (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780735227927
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - April 18th, 2017

Just this morning I ran face first into a sliding glass door.  Mistakes happen. But in Corinna Luyken's debut picture book, The Book of Mistakes, the mistakes are much less painful and much more creative as her beautiful and clever illustrations demonstrate. The story begins with a simple face where one eye is larger than the other. With each page the character evolves from one mistake after another until it gradually reveals a delightful and unexpected change of perspective. The sparse text is both candid and encouraging and requires the reader to really observe what's on the page. This book is a wonderful example of the power of creativity and imagination and an important reminder that we all make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can lead to something amazing (or sometimes just a fat lip).