Recent Reviews

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Gwen the Rescue Hen Cover Image
Gwen the Rescue Hen

Inspired by a true story of hens that survived a tornado at an egg farm in Ohio, Gwen the Rescue Hen is a tender tale that will have kids doting on chickens everywhere you look. Before the tornado whisks them away, Hen and her flock are kept in tiny cages, illustrated in black and white. They long for the day when they might be able to spread their wings and fly in a world full of color and light. The tornado drops them right around Mateo’s neighborhood, and he befriends Hen—naming her Gwen—and brings her home, along with the rest of her small flock. Together, Gwen and Mateo learn about what chickens can do when they’re free. Chicken facts are included in the back. Recommended by Mary

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Two Bicycles in Beijing Cover Image
Two Bicycles in Beijing

When I first discovered this book, I thought it would be about two friends who ride their bicycles around Beijing together. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was not the people but the bicycles who were friends! A delivery boy buys Lunzi, the red bike, and they ride all over town as he makes his deliveries and she looks for her friend, Huangche, the yellow bike. When the old friends reunite, new friends are made. This sweet story features gorgeous, textural illustrations and a sprinkling of Mandarin Chinese throughout a tour of Beijing’s main attractions. Recommended by Mary

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The Big Bad Wolf in My House Cover Image
The Big Bad Wolf in My House

This book is breathtaking and heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful. The tale of The Three Little Pigs is used as a familiar anchor as a tale of domestic violence is told. A little girl describes the actions of the Big Bad Wolf—he’s sweet at first, but then he yells and curses, breaks things without cleaning them up or apologising, and even leaves bruises on the girl’s arm. The girl and her mom don’t feel safe in their home, and they’re able to seek refuge at a domestic violence shelter with other parents and children. This vital story is told with such grace—don’t be afraid to share it with children. After all, domestic violence happens in real life, too. Recommended by Mary

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The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories Cover Image
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed

Newly available in English, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is a knockout collection of literary horror by Argentine journalist Mariana Enríquez, read flawlessly and tantalizingly by Rebecca Soler. Readers will learn of Angelita, a walking infant corpse; of a woman who fetishizes the human heart; of an enigmatic pop star whose latest album, Meat, inspires a new kind of craze. All of the stories are narrated by women—clever women who struggle to express their sexuality, who want to believe in something, who nurture and devour at once. Fans of Carmen Maria Machado, what are you waiting for? Recommended by Mary

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Small Things Like These Cover Image
Small Things Like These

Irish master of short stories Claire Keegan delivers a pocket-sized novel in a richly drawn village of secrets and the status quo. It’s 1985 and Christmas is nearing. Bill Furlong’s coal and firewood business is busy as ever, but on an early delivery to a laundry run by nuns, he comes across an unholy sight. Furlong is no Scrooge—a good man is he—but recognition of his privilege, complicity, and hypocrisy sets him on a journey of self-discovery not unlike that of A Christmas Carol. Furlong’s recognition of the worth of those around him, and of himself, will warm your heart and open your eyes. Recommended by Mary

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I Hope You're Listening Cover Image
I Hope You're Listening!

Delia “Dee” Skinner is The Seeker—the host of the viral podcast Radio Silent, which harnesses the power of laptop detectives to help find missing people and bring some of them home. Despite the podcast’s success, Dee takes every step to keep her identity secret. A seventeen-year-old small town lesbian, she wasn’t always drawn to solving crimes. Her best friend, Sibby, was taken before her very eyes, and her whereabouts are still unknown. Everything Dee does is for Sibby. When a local girl goes missing ten years after Sibby’s disappearance, Dee is hesitant to take the case to Radio Silent, but allowing herself to be vulnerable might be the missing piece of the puzzle. Add this chilly, feminist thriller to your list! Recommended by Mary

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An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed Cover Image
An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed

Think of Jane Marple with a secret sociopathic side, and you have Swedish noir writer Helene Tursten's creation, Maud. Though both she and Jane have little patience for wrongdoers, Maud takes things into her own hands. With a string of murders to her credit, we find her on the African vacation of a lifetime, fully anticipating her next strike, but that's where Tursten turns the psychological tables yet again, adding another facet to a deliciously complex little old lady. Its pocket format and autumnal setting make it the perfect book to slip into a coat pocket and read bit by bit on your favorite park bench. Recommended by Kelly

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A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables) Cover Image
Spindle Splintered

In this mash-up of Sleeping Beauty tales retold, the princess takes control of her own destiny. Rather than a hollow happily-ever-after life with Prince Charming, she gains autonomy and purpose. She is so much more interesting than the traditional helpless version. As in her longer works, Harrow imagines strong women faced with sometimes difficult choices making their way in a world often pitted against them. This smart novella left me thinking about choice, power, strength, and courage. Harrow packs a lot into this short tale. Recommended by Nancy

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How to Not Be Afraid of Everything Cover Image
How Not to Be Afraid of Everything

How To Not Be Afraid of Everything by Jane Wong is lyrical and haunting in its depiction of intergenerational trauma. Wong’s work feels like finding yourself while always checking over your shoulder for a ghost. Wong’s poems reckon with the weight of being a daughter and a granddaughter, expressing both feelings of inadequacy and the sense that she alone can hold everything together. The tension behind each poem is fear: both of being unappreciative of the struggles of your family and judged by those who cannot understand. Wong writes of survival, vulnerability, and the desire to have what you’re promised. Recommended by Nikita

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Sugar in Milk Cover Image
Sugar in Milk

Khoa Le's illustrations are breathtaking in this lovely immigration story. A girl immigrates to America to live with her aunt and uncle, but she's overcome with homesickness. Her aunt tells her a thought-provoking folktale about a clever immigrant and how he helped his people make a new home. This gorgeous book should be a mainstay on your shelf. Recommended by Mary