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April / May 2018 Collection Spotlight

Here are some great titles for your reading and viewing pleasure as selected by the staff of Collection Development Services. Selections include children’s picture books and fiction about seeking help to scratch an itch, in search of a girl’s mother, and the 1947 partition of India. Nonfiction for kids include poetry, info on recycling, and gardening projects. The A/V selections include documentaries on African artists and monster truck technology. Teen fiction includes a coming of age of tale and an alternate reality in post-Civil War America. Adult fiction includes a collection of short stories and four women who bond in Italy during the course of one year. Adult nonfiction includes a history of the Pony Express, how to heal through writing, and milk’s place in food history. Spanish nonfiction titles include what you need to know about purchasing/repairing a bicycle and interesting facts about professional road cycling.

Find more reading suggestions at Books & Media.

 Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? book jacket

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John

When Elephant has an itch that he cannot reach, he seeks help from other animals to scratch it.

Picture Book

 Hurricane Child book jacket

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Born on Water Island in the Virgin Islands during a hurricane, which is considered bad luck, twelve-year-old Caroline falls in love with another girl--and together they set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother. Also available in: eBook and Audiobook.

Children's Fiction

 The Night Diary book jacket

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary. Also available in: eBook and Audiobook.

Children's Fiction

 Leaf Litter Critters book jacket

Leaf Litter Critters by Leslie Bulion

Have fun on this poetic tour through the leaf litter layer and dig into the fascinating facts about the tiny critters who live there. Nineteen poems in a variety of verse forms with accompanying science notes take readers on a decomposer safari through the "brown food web," from bacteria through tardigrades and on to rove beetle predators with other busy recyclers in-between.

Children's Nonfiction

 Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle book jacket

Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle by Erica Fyvie

All the stuff that surrounds us has a life cycle: materials are harvested, the stuff is made and distributed, it's consumed and then it gets trashed or recycled. Using the typical contents of a child's school backpack this book explores those stages in detail, including lots of ways to reduce, reuse or recycle waste along the way.

Children's Nonfiction

 Dig In!: 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps book jacket

Dig In!: 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari A. Cornell

Grow your own fruits and vegetables from nothing but kitchen scraps! Rather than throwing away leftovers from food in your kitchen, you can use them to grow more. Learn how to turn a single sweet potato into a pot full of them. Grow a salad from the end bit of lettuce and a lemon tree from a single seed.

Children's Nonfiction

 Fonko Series book jacket

Fonko Series

This documentary series introduces some of the most outspoken and creative African artists of today. New technologies have released the talents of the continent, helping to spread music, art and ideas. From Dakar in the West, through Accra, Lagos and Luanda to Johannesburg in the South, FONKO redefines the image of Africa.


 Monster Truck Tech book jacket

Monster Truck Tech

Part vehicle, part freak of nature, monster trucks are a technological wonder. Their purpose – to crush cars and dazzle audiences. The creator of the sport, Bob Chandler, explains how it all started and takes you on a behind the scenes look. See some of the most riveting crashes and hear about them from the drivers who survived them. Explore the safety innovations that have made monster truck racing one of the safest motor sports.


 Now a Major Motion Picture book jacket

Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy

Iris Thorne’s grandmother’s epic fantasy series Elementia has been obsessed over by fans and praised by critics for years… and Iris feels like it’s ruined her life. So when she finds herself on a plane to Ireland with her younger brother Ryder – who loves Elementia – in order to view the filming of a new movie based on the books, she is less than thrilled. But as she gets to know the cast and crew, and sees the passion the director brings to the project, she begins to question her hatred of Elementia. And then, of course, there’s handsome, charming, nerdy Eamon, who’s playing the hero in the film… More than just a fun and frothy romance, Now a Major Motion Picture also explores the challenges of family, the hazards of fame, and the courage it takes to pursue your dreams. Also available in: eBook.

Teen Fiction

 Dread Nation book jacket

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

The outcome of the American Civil War was altered drastically when the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg – and then, everywhere else. Soon, the cities and countryside were overrun by “shamblers,” whose bite caused even living human beings to become mindless monsters hungry for human flesh. Under the Native and Negro Reeducation Act, Janet McKeene attends a combat school in Baltimore that teaches African-American girls to fight the shamblers, and protect the white women who will be their employers. Although she values the training she’s receiving, Janet seethes at the injustice of a system that treats non-whites as though their lives are worthless. When she uncovers a sinister plot by the local authorities that involves using shamblers to consolidate political power, it will take all of Janet’s intelligence, tenacity, and combat skills to save herself and her friends. Dread Nation is a fast-paced alternate history with fantastic worldbuilding, and a great read for fans of zombie novels and of snarky, tough female characters. Also available in: eBook and Audiobook.

Teen Fiction

 Dictionary Stories: Short Fictions and Other Writings book jacket

Dictionary Stories: Short Fictions and Other Writings by Jez Burrows

In his introduction to Dictionary Stories, Jez Burrow shares the method to his madness: having become obsessed with the sample sentences used in dictionaries to demonstrate the meanings of words, he decided to create a book of short stories using only these sample sentences. The result is a series of micro stories, many of which produce the impression of having stumbled into a longer story at a single, critical moment. The genres range from humorous lists (“Why you are no longer invited to our baby shower”) to sinister suspense (“Noir II”) to gleefully absurdist tales, such as this entry, simply titled “Check”: “The house is ablaze, police set up a roadblock on Tenth Street, thirty were hurt, forty were arrested, and Neil is still recovering from shock. Once more, you’ve proven yourself inept at chess.” Dictionary Stories is perfect for fans of quirky short fiction, and for those whose time for pleasure reading is limited to a few precious moments before bedtime.

Adult Fiction

 Women in Sunlight book jacket

Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes

Three American women, who have each suffered a personal loss, meet while touring a potential retirement community. After becoming fast friends, they realize that they don’t want to embark on the down-sized life promised by the retirement community; instead, they want lives that are more daring, more interesting, more complicated. Together, they rent a villa in Tuscany and meet writer Kit Raine, an ex-pat who’s lived in Tuscany for a decade, who also becomes a friend. Although each of the women does find a renewed purpose while living in Tuscany, the truth is, there’s not a great deal of plot in Women in Sunlight. The joy of reading this book comes from vicariously experiencing what the characters do: mouthwatering food, gorgeous scenery, and the heartwarming satisfaction of deepening friendships between women who discover that, far from their lives being over, they may be just beginning. Also available in: eBook and Audiobook.

Adult Fiction

 West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express book jacket

West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express by Jim DeFelice

On the eve of the Civil War, three American businessmen launched an audacious plan to create a financial empire by transforming communications across the hostile territory between the nation’s two coasts. In the process, they created one of the most enduring icons of the American West: the Pony Express. Daring young men with colorful names like “Bronco Charlie” and “Sawed-Off Jim” galloped at speed over a vast and unforgiving landscape, etching an irresistible tale that passed into myth almost instantly. Equally an improbable success and a business disaster, the Pony Express came and went in just eighteen months, but not before uniting and captivating a nation on the brink of being torn apart.

Adult Nonfiction

 The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process book jacket

The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process by Francesa Lia Block

Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. In this long-anticipated guide to the craft of writing, Block offers an intimate glimpse of an artist at work and a detailed guide to help readers channel their own experiences and creative energy. Sharing visceral insights and powerful exercises, she gently guides us down the write-to-heal path, revealing at each turn the intrinsic value of channeling our experiences onto the page. Also available in: eBook.

Adult Nonfiction

 Milk! A 10,000 Year Food Fracas book jacket

Milk! A 10,000 Year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky

Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid's diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics. This is Kurlansky's first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary story of milk and all things dairy--with recipes throughout.

Adult Nonfiction

 No sin mi bicicleta : una guía para vivir sobre dos ruedas book jacket

No sin mi bicicleta : una guía para vivir sobre dos ruedas by Anna Brones

Everything you need to know about your bicycle including what to look for when purchasing one, how to repair it, personalize and enjoy it. Todo lo que necesita saber sobre su bicicleta, incluyendo qué buscar cuando va a comprar una, cómo repararla, personalizarla y disfrutarla.

Spanish Nonfiction

 Ciclopedia : guía ilustrada de ciclismo  book jacket

Ciclopedia : guía ilustrada de ciclismo  by Robert Dineen

Collection of interesting facts about the world of professional road cycling. Colección de datos interesantes sobre el mundo del ciclismo profesional en carretera.

Spanish Nonfiction