Posted on August 14, 2014

Back to School Reads

We have a great selection for parents, students, and teachers in preparation for back to school.  Come check out our display window for “Back to School” and “Back to Reading” selections for readers of all ages.  Here are a couple of books we recommend.

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The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös is a book that shares the interesting life of a mathematician.  Paul Erdös hated following rules in school, but he loved math growing up and discovered fascinating things about numbers.  This book is fun, while introduces various math concepts throughout the book. 

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One by Kathryn Otoshi

  One by Kathryn Otoshi is a fabulous book about kindness, standing up for others, and the power of solidarity.  It is about the color blue and how it gets picked on by red. No one said anything about it until One came.  It simple concepts using colors and numbers as characters are used to convey a powerful message!  This is a great children’s book.  Also, check out the sequel, Zero.

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Wonder by R.J Palacio

Wonder by R.J Palacio is about a boy named Auggie who was born with a facial difference.  This difference has prevented him from attending mainstream school until now.  Auggie wants to be treated like any ordinary kid entering fifth grade, while students are having a hard time getting past what they see.  This is beautiful story is about compassion and acceptance.

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Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

  Akata Witch by science fiction/fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor, is a book about a young girl name Sunny.  She has a hard time fitting in because she is US- born Nigerian.  Many kids at school make fun of her for being Akata, a derogatory term to refer to her being from the United States.  She also is albino and has to protect her skin from the sun.  However, she discovers that she is a “free agent” who possesses magical powers.  She is introduced to the Leopard community, a community which teaches her how to control and master her magic to defeat what’s to come.  This is the first of Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch Series for young adults.

Posted on July 22, 2014

Melodee Strong’s Children Collection

 


 Melodee Strong is a local illustrator and artist in North Minneapolis.  She and Todd Snow wrote a collection of children’s books that will engage young children.  The words are so clear for children to read and understand, while each picture tells a beautiful story of love, self-pride, giving and kindness.  Melodee Strong’s artistry captures the power and beauty in these themes.  Families will love these books.  Come check them out.

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For more information on Melodee Strong, visit her website.

 

Posted on July 15, 2014

the ‘undergrounds’ we traverse: thoughts on Kiese Laymon’s Long Division

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“‘People disappear, City,’ she said, ignoring my question. ‘We live, we wonder, we love, we lie, and we disappear. Close the book.’

‘Are you for real? That’s it?’

And sometimes we appear again if we’re loved,’ she said. ‘Accept it.’”

 

“‘No,’ Mama Lara said, ‘This ain’t it. You know how movement works now. You know how love and change work. And you know that sometimes, just sometimes, when folks disappear, they come back, don’t they?’”

-excerpts from Kiese Laymon’s Long Division

 

Long Division is a dizzying, hilarious, piercing book that is about and told from the perspective of Citoyen Coldson, a teenager from post Katrina Jackson Mississipi, 2013. City, the main character, is an awkward but witty teen who is a bit unsure of his body and is competing in Jackson’s, Can You Use That Word in a Sentence contest. Constantly under the verbal attack of fellow contestant LaVander Peeler, City finds himself in the principals office one day after calling Peeler a “wack ni**a”. It’s there that he finds a book by the title Long Division but which is mysteriously without an author.

City reads the first chapter of the book to find it strangely about a boy named City from Jackson Mississipi only in 1985. Kiese Laymon’s Long Division takes us backwards and forwards from this post Katrina world of 2013 back to 1985 and further to 1964 as both City’s work at solving a mystery, traveling through time in this hole in the woods of Mississipi.

Without giving away too much of the book, what I love about Long Division, is the way the story dives unafraid into the concerns of respectability politics, the expectations an older generation of Black folk have for younger generations  surrounding how to act when white folks are watching. Compositionally brilliant, Laymon writes to those who have for so long not been thought of as audience, as reader. I could not put the book down as Laymon makes us laugh and cry at our differences but also makes us examine the fears we hold about love, if we can be loved, are we worthy of it. City dives into a hole in Mississipi to travel through time and solve a mystery and all the while Laymon is brilliantly challenging us to investigate the ‘undergrounds’ we must traverse, the histories we must face, and that only love can make some things reappear.

It is so hard to pinpoint Long Division as genre, and so I won’t even try, but if you are up for a good read that will make you laugh, cry and examine, look no further. Do yourself a favor and pick up Long Division!!!