Staff & Friends: JOANNE'S PICKS

Joanne likes fantasy, dystopia, mysteries, nonfiction and realistic stories and cooking.

November 2, 2022: Joanne's pick this week is "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The Illustrated Edition" by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay with Neil Packer. Many years ago this fifth book in the series was the darkest yet and truly established the ongoing war of good vs. evil wizards. Joanne remembers refusing to read on for two days after the death of a main character dear to Harry. She needed to let all of the emotions and ramifications to settle before continuing.  As just one example of the intense depth and visceral impact of the illustrations check out pages 522 and 523 illustrating this pivotal event. Had to stop reading for a day again!

October 8, 2022: Joanne's pick for Mystery Series Week is just in time for the start of the baseball playoffs...the "Ballpark Mysteries" by David A. Kelly for readers ages 6-9. Cousins Mike and Kate solve mysteries in different MLB parks  from Boston's Fenway to L.A. Dodger Stadium and many ballparks in between. Solve mysteries and learn unique facts about the park and team. Check out some of the 2022 playoff teams with their own books. 

September 22, 2022: Joanne's picks this week are three books that resonate with her interest in history and political science and which have been, in her opinion, inexplicably banned: "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" by Ibram X. Kendi and Jadon Reynolds. This in depth, thought provoking book for young adults has been banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people. "Kite Runner" written by Khaled Hosseini. This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”  "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. This moving diary of a teen hiding from the Nazis has been banned because of sexually offensive language and disturbing subject matter.

August 16, 2022: Joanne's pick this week for Romance Month is "Thank You for Listening" by author, screenwriter, lifelong actor and award-winning narrator of over 500 hundred titles including Emily Henry and Kristen Hannah titles, Julia Whelan. Combine "snowed in", "just one night", "epistolary", "second chances", and "mistaken identities" tropes with 2 romance narrators making connections and life decisions and you get a funny, sexy, poignant and vibrant story. You know it is special when Emily Henry says "I wanted to bask in this book and I also wished I had written it."

July 11, 2022: Joanne's pick this week: Phillipines born journalist/writer Jose Antonio Vargas, with forceful prose, eloquently and emotionally dares to tell his story which echoes the story of so many others who both gain and lose so much living in the undocumented shadows in his memoir, "Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen".  While this is Jose's personal story of immigration and balancing the people and facts of his life, regardless of your status, there is something in his story that will resonate with you.

April 14, 2022: Joanne’s pick this week for Poetry Month is Amber McBride’s William C. Morris YA Debut Award winning “Me MOTH”, a novel in verse. This impactful story of the joint road trip of two teens (Moth who cannot forgive herself for surviving the car crash that took the lives of her parents and brother and Sani who suffers from depression and has lost his music), will remain in your consciousness long after you finish reading it.  The vivid rhythm of McBride’s succinct and expressive poetry provides the perfect conduit for the emotions, roots and mysteries discovered by Moth and Sani on their journey.

February 23, 2022 Joanne's pick this week is the 2022 Caldecott Honor, Seibert Honr, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner "Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre" by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper.  This clebrated author and acclaimed illustrator have joined to tell young readers in a moving and insighful way about the events that must not be forgotten and from which we have much to learn.  Important book not just for Black HIstory Month but for every month.

February 16, 2022 Joanne's pick this week is Ojibwe author Angeline Boulley's debut novel, "Firekeeper's Daughter", a groundbreaking adult/teen thriller. In this Printz award winner, 18 year Daunis has spent her life balancing between two identities. Her father was a hockey star from the Sugar Island Ojibwe reservation, and her mother is the daughter of one of Sault Ste. Marie's most prominent families. Add to her story a fake romance, an undercover drug investigation and twists and turns, as well as racist realities and the result is a strong, engrossing novel from first to last page.

January 10, 2022 Joanne's pick this week is "State of Terror" by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny. This is a writer partnership made in political mystery reader's dreams. Match Penny's mystery writing skills, add one of Rodham Clinton's nightmares that haunted her while secretary of state and include some Three Pines appearances and you have a fast paced thriller from beginning to end.  

October 13, 2021 Joanne's pick this week is "Marie Lu's Duology "Skyhunter" and "Steelstriker", a YA dystopian science fiction fantasy  Lu is a master of this genre with high tension, relatable characters, unique worlds and no perfect endings.

October 5, 2021 Joanne's pick this week is "The Personal Librarian" by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.  It took an amazing collaboration of an accomplished Black author of contemporary literary fiction  with another accomplished writer of strong women historical fiction novels to bring to life with vivid detail and contemporary importance the story of Belle Marion Greener who hid her true Black self to protect her family yet accomplished so much professionally as white  Belle da Costa Greene, the personal librarian to J.P. Morgan curating the Pierpont Morgan Library.

July 28, 2021 While Kendra is away on vacation, Joanne is doing the Wednesday pick.  Joanne loves to cook. Her style is improvisational, different, messy, fun, simple, use whatever is in the refrigerator and pantry, and tweak the recipe as she cooks.  Who would have thought they would make the perfect cookbook for all of us with her style of cooking – “The New York Times Cooking No Recipes Recipes” by Sam Sifton.  She has already made several of the dishes using Sifton’s modifications and hacks and some of her own!  Check out the Pizza Without a Crust recipe! Not to leave out the kids -- Cooking can be such a fun time for family and young friends and what better “cookbook” to use than Kids in the Kitchen” by Sheila Simmons. It is a memory book, craft book and cookbook all wrapped into one.  Fill in the blanks, make a craft, cook, eat and have fun using this interactive book. Check out the Skillet Spaghetti Pizza recipe!    

July 8, 2021 “Beach Read & More” Teen pick by Joanne: While Hannah Reynolds tells the story of Abby and Noah’s complicated summer romance on Nantucket Island with humor and teen angst in “The Summer of Lost Letters”, she also creatively combines local flavor, researching family roots, World War II and Holocaust history and self-discovery in this entertaining young adult debut novel.

JANUARY 22, 2021-- FIRST PICK OF THE NEW YEAR IS A POWERFUL YOUNG ADULT NOVEL:

While Gary D. Schmidt (Newbery Honor Winner and National Book Award Finalist) has set his latest young adult novel Just Like That in the 1960’s, the same time setting of The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now, it is a timeless story about Meryl Lee Kowalski, an eighth grader, having lost her best friend to a car accident, “beginning anew” at a girls’ private school in Maine.  It is a story of Obstacles, Resolutions, Accomplishments, friendships, challenges, and clashing society norms told with the backdrop of the Viet Nam War, sit-ins, racial and economic inequality and heart-rending changes intertwined with Matt’s story of struggle, avoiding a cruel criminal and courage all resulting in walls being taken down and demons being faced and love.

SEPTEMBER 11: 

Sometimes books haunt me long after I finish them and sometimes I have to immediately reread them once I finished them.  This weeks' recommendation is one of them: Louise Penny's 16th novel, All the Devils Are Here, per usual, is so much more than a murder mystery. It is a story about family, love, misconceptions, hurts, love, secrets, history, devotion, intrique, slight of hand/eye/mind, family,and love.  Louise Penny's language, subtle clues, intense emotions, heart-stopping events and characters with great strengths and human weaknesses and faults hold you from the opening line to the last word.  A rereading illumiinated so many comments and clues once you know the events in chapters 41 to the end. Armand Gamauche is one of those characters whose actions, words, and foundational beliefs and morals haunt me, in a very good way, long after I finish the book.

JULY 31: 

The first Jordan Sonnenblick novel I read was Notes from the Midnight Driver.  I was moved by the humor, the pain, the joy, the uncertainty, the unlikely friendship and the million of emotions faced by a changing teen. We have all known (or are) an Alex or Laurie.  I was hooked and read his first novel Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie and then each new one when published and recommend them to readers of realistic novels who want to read about believable characters who are facing the same things they are.  Here are a few . . .

Notes from the Midnight Driver for Grades 9. When scheming teen Alex is ordered to do community service at a senior center he is assigned to Solomon Lewis, a "difficult" senior with a lot of attitude, and through their relationship, both are profoundly changed.

Falling Over Sideways for Grades 6 - 8. Claire's life is a joke, but she's not laughing. When the joke becomes serious, the only way Claire, her family, and her friends are going to get through it is if they can find a way to make it funny again.

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie for Grades 7.  When his little brother is diagnosed with leukemia, thirteen-year-old Steven is forced to deal with his brother's illness, his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece, his homework, the band, girls, and Dangerous Pie.

Zen and the Art of Faking It for Grades 7 - 9. When eighth-grader San Lee moves to a new town and a new school for the umpteenth time, he doesn't try to make new friends. Instead he sits back and devises a plan to be totally different.

JULY 24: 

Young people have been, are being, and will always be called to action to speak out, protest, work for change.  In Kent State Deborah Wiles, using stunning, moving poetry, tells the haunting story of the murder of four students and wounding of 9 others on the college campus from every complicated angle, side and person giving a complete picture of the times, not just a “this is what happened on May 4, 1970” recounting.   Whether you vividly remember this 50 year old tragedy or are, in these times of unrest, telling your grandchildren the history they must not forget, this book vividly makes us realize that we each must stand for truth and be brave in our commitment to the tenets of our democracy.

 

JULY 17: 

Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels star the most endearing, intelligent, mischievous, and incorrigible character, Eugenides the thief. This series for 12+ readers began with the Newbery winner "The Thief" in 1996 and includes political machinations and intrigue, intervention of the gods, battles of various kinds, dangerous journeys and multilayered alliances. You have time to read or reread the first 5 books in the series before the long awaited final comes out in October.  Yea!

 

NONFICTION MUST READ!  STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by JASON REYNOLDS AND IBRAM X. KENDI.  This says it better than I can:  "Reynolds (Look Both Ways) lends his signature flair to remixing Kendi's award-winning Stamped from the Beginning...Told impressively economically, loaded with historical details that connect clearly to current experiences, and bolstered with suggested reading and listening selected specifically for young readers, Kendi and Reynolds's volume is essential, meaningfully accessible reading."—Publishers Weekly, starred review  "Jason Reynolds has the amazing ability to make words jump off the page. Told with passion, precision, and even humor, Stamped is a true story-a living story-that everyone needs to know."—Steve Sheinkin, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Bomb and Born to Fly

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 5) (Illustrated edition) By J. K. Rowling, Mr. Jim Kay (Illustrator), Neil Packer (Illustrator) Cover Image
By J. K. Rowling, Mr. Jim Kay (Illustrator), Neil Packer (Illustrator)
$54.99
ISBN: 9780545791434
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - October 11th, 2022

Ballpark Mysteries #2: The Pinstripe Ghost By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780375867040
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - February 22nd, 2011

Ballpark Mysteries #9: The Philly Fake By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator)
$4.99
ISBN: 9780307977854
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - May 13th, 2014

Ballpark Mysteries #10: The Rookie Blue Jay By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780385378758
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - February 24th, 2015

Ballpark Mysteries #14: The Cardinals Caper By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9781524767518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - February 6th, 2018

Ballpark Mysteries #18: The Atlanta Alibi By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780593126271
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - February 1st, 2022

Ballpark Mysteries #3: The L.A. Dodger By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780375868856
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - July 26th, 2011

Ballpark Mysteries #4: The Astro Outlaw By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By David A. Kelly, Mark Meyers (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780375868832
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - February 28th, 2012

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning By Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316453691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 10th, 2020

The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781594631931
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 5th, 2013

The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition By Anne Frank, Otto M. Frank (Editor), Mirjam Pressler (Editor), Susan Massotty (Translated by) Cover Image
By Anne Frank, Otto M. Frank (Editor), Mirjam Pressler (Editor), Susan Massotty (Translated by)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780553577129
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - February 3rd, 1997

Thank You for Listening: A Novel By Julia Whelan Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780063095564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - August 2nd, 2022

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen By Jose Antonio Vargas Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062851345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dey Street Books - September 3rd, 2019

Me (Moth) By Amber McBride Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250780362
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - August 17th, 2021

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre By Carole Boston Weatherford, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781541581203
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Carolrhoda Books (R) - February 2nd, 2021

Firekeeper's Daughter By Angeline Boulley Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250766564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - March 16th, 2021

State of Terror: A Novel By Louise Penny, Hillary Rodham Clinton Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781982173678
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Simon & Schuster/St. Martin’s Press - October 12th, 2021

Skyhunter (Skyhunter Duology #1) By Marie Lu Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781250802699
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - August 31st, 2021

Steelstriker (Skyhunter Duology) By Marie Lu Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250221728
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 28th, 2021

The Personal Librarian By Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593101537
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Berkley - June 29th, 2021

The New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes: [A Cookbook] By Sam Sifton Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781984858474
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - March 16th, 2021

Kids in the Kitchen By Sheila Simmons Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781934817483
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Great American Publishers - February 21st, 2019

The Summer of Lost Letters By Hannah Reynolds Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593349724
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Razorbill - June 15th, 2021

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country By Amanda Gorman, Oprah Winfrey (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Amanda Gorman, Oprah Winfrey (Foreword by)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780593465271
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Viking Books - March 30th, 2021

Just Like That By Gary D. Schmidt Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544084773
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Clarion Books - January 5th, 2021

All the Devils Are Here: A Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #16) By Louise Penny Cover Image
$28.99
No longer available from Storybook Cove
ISBN: 9781250145239
Published: Minotaur Books - September 1st, 2020

Notes From the Midnight Driver By Jordan Sonnenblick Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780439757812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - October 1st, 2007

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie By Jordan Sonnenblick Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780545722865
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 29th, 2014

Zen and the Art of Faking It By Jordan Sonnenblick Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780439837095
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - January 1st, 2010

Falling Over Sideways By Jordan Sonnenblick Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780545863254
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Scholastic Inc. - May 30th, 2017

Kent State By Deborah Wiles Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338356281
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 21st, 2020

The Thief (Queen's Thief #1) By Megan Whalen Turner Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062642967
Availability: Not in Store - Usually Ships in 2-7 Days from Warehouse
Published: Greenwillow Books - February 28th, 2017

The Queen of Attolia (Queen's Thief #2) By Megan Whalen Turner Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780062642974
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - February 28th, 2017

The King of Attolia (Queen's Thief #3) By Megan Whalen Turner Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780062642981
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - February 28th, 2017

A Conspiracy of Kings (Queen's Thief #4) By Megan Whalen Turner Cover Image
$10.99
No longer available from Storybook Cove
ISBN: 9780062642998
Published: Greenwillow Books - February 28th, 2017

Thick as Thieves (Queen's Thief #5) By Megan Whalen Turner Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780062568267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - May 15th, 2018

Return of the Thief (Queen's Thief #6) By Megan Whalen Turner Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062874474
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - October 6th, 2020

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning By Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316453691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 10th, 2020