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Staff Picks: Books

Don't Miss Out!

 In case you didn’t know, right now in theatres there is a brilliant movie called the Queen of Katwe. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, and David Oyelowo, it follows the journey of a young girl named Phiona living in the slums of Uganda who learns the game of chess and quickly skyrockets through the ranks to be a national champion, even competing in international competitions for the rank of Grandmaster. In the process, she is able to improve life conditions for herself, her family, and uplift the community as a whole. 


Right after the credits rolled, I headed straight to the bookshelves to find out more about this incredible individual. The biographythe movie is based on, by Tim Crothers, fleshes out the inspirational tale a bit more to  include the political climate of the country at the time, and gives more details about some of the great challenges Phiona Mutesi was able to overcome.  Don’t miss out on this great story of true life triumph! 

One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment

 In 1980, the Chinese Government enacted a one child policy, mandating that each family could only have one child in hopes of curbing the rapid population growth of the country. This controversial policy was put into place to avoid facing another disaster like the Great Chinese Famine from 1959-1961 that killed an estimated 15 to 30 million people

However, there were unintended consequences. At the beginning of this year the one child policy was lifted, but millions of families are still have to live with the unique challenges it caused, such as the gender imbalance caused by widespread infanticide, and millions of unauthorized second children who live unacknowledged by the state, unable to attend school, or even get a library card.

In OneChild: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment, Mei Fong explores the aftermath of this policy through well researched analysis, and by following families to capture the repercussions through a more personal lens. This book is a really fascinating, eye-opening read. I definitely recommend it. 

Raymie Nightingale

Every time Kate DiCamillo publishes a book, my heart grows a little. Her newest book, Raymie Nightingale, available April 2016 is sure to make hearts grow in children that need to be reminded of the love that surrounds them. I want to hug each and every one of the characters in this story and help them grow up to be ok. You see, Raymie’s dad left. Raymie develops a plan to bring him back which involves baton twirling, a contest and good deeds. Along the way, Raymie meets two other girls on a journey of acceptance as well, and together the three Rancheros build hearts and souls that will bond children together forever. Start placing your holds now. Read this book and save the date to meet Kate DiCamillo on her book tour at the Central Library, 6:30 pm, July 11!

The Cowboy Way

Cole has missed almost four weeks of school. This news shocks his mother and leads her to a hasty road trip out of Detroit to take Cole to his father. Cole has never met his father, nor has he ever met a horse and cowboys. From the book jacket - “Inspired by the real-life inner-city horsemen of Philadelphia and Brooklyn, Ghetto Cowboy is a timeless urban western about learning to stand up for what’s right – the Cowboy Way.”

G. Neri writes with an honest style that will grip readers from the start. I read this aloud with my 7th grader and we both felt just as compelled to follow Cole’s journey to the end of the book. The ties that bind family together are universal, and believing in something or someone helps us all grow. 

Take a look at this and all of Greg Neri’s work. Then meet the author on Thursday, October 1 at 5:00 pm at the Powell Branch Library.