Afterlife [kit] by Julia Alvarez

The Poet X Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, has had the rug pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep. Antonia has always sought direction in the literature she loves--lines from her favorite authors play in her head like a soundtrack--but now she finds that the world demands more of her than words. Afterlife is a compact, nimble, and sharply droll novel. Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, it asks: What do we owe those in crisis in our families, including--maybe especially--members of our human family? How do we live in a broken world without losing faith in one another or ourselves? And how do we stay true to those glorious souls we have lost?

The four winds [kit] by Kristin Hannah

Hannah (The Great Alone) brings Dust Bowl migration to life in this riveting story of love, courage, and sacrifice. In 1934 Texas, after four years of drought, the Martinelli farm is no longer thriving, but Elsa is attached to the land and her in-laws, and she works tirelessly and cares for her children, 12-year-old Loreda and seven-year-old Anthony. Her husband, Rafe, has become distant and something of a hard drinker, and after he abandons them, Elsa reluctantly leaves with her children for California with the promise of steady work. Her dreams of a better future are interrupted by the discrimination they face in the unwelcoming town of Welty, where they are forced to live in a migrant camp and work for extremely low wages picking cotton. When Elsa's meager wages are further reduced and she has the opportunity to join striking workers, she must decide whether to face the dangers of standing up for herself and her fellow workers. 

In a small village in France, a young woman named Adeline prays to any god who will answer for salvation from a stifling life. But the one who arrives grants Addie a gift, in exchange for her soul, that comes with a curse: though she will not age or die, everyone she meets will forget her as soon as she leaves their sight. For 300 years, Addie moves through the world without touching it, balancing ephemeral but immense suffering against the joy of witnessing, and often underhandedly influencing, art and artists. As the devil she bargained with lingers in the shadows, Addie makes herself his equal, laying claim to her strange life. And then, one day in 2014 Manhattan, she finds a boy who, impossibly, remembers her. Schwab deftly weaves time and place, flitting between Addie's frantic past and her grounded present while visiting intermittent July 29ths in between. Narratively, this is a whirlwind--deeply romantic, impossibly detailed, filled with lush language, wry humor, and bitter memories. This often startlingly raw story begs the questions: what is a soul? What does it mean to be remembered? And what prize is worth giving those things up?

Before the coffee gets cold : a novel [kit] by 1971- Toshikazu Kawaguchi

If you could go back, who would you want to meet? In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee -- the chance to travel back in time. Over the course of one summer, four customers visit the café in the hopes of making that journey. But time travel isn't so simple, and there are rules that must be followed. Most important, the trip can last only as long as it takes for the coffee to get cold. Heartwarming, wistful, mysterious and delightfully quirky, Toshikazu Kawaguchi's internationally bestselling novel explores the age-old question: What would you change if you could travel back in time?

Social historian Rubenhold more than justifies another book about the 1888 Jack the Ripper murders by focusing on the killer's five victims: Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elisabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. This unique approach not only restores humanity to the dead and counters glorification of the Ripper but also enables Rubenhold to offer some original insights into the crimes. In her careful parsing of the available accounts of the inquests from newspaper reports, she convincingly argues that three of the victims were not prostitutes, and thereby undermines numerous theories premised on the killer's targeting members of that profession. Rubenhold reconstructs their sad lives, which, for some, included struggles with alcoholism and domestic abuse. She believes that the women found dead on the streets of London's East End may have been sleeping rough, and that all were slaughtered while asleep, a theory that explains the absence of outcries or defensive wounds. The lack of grisly forensic details highlighted in other books on the subject will be a relief to many readers. This moving work is a must for Ripperologists . 

A single comment can change a life, or for Giovanna, the adolescent only child of a middle-class Neapolitan couple in the early 1990s and narrator of Ferrante's sumptuous latest, it can set it in motion. "She's getting the face of Vittoria," Giovanna's father, Andrea, says about her, referring to Giovanna's estranged aunt Vittoria, whom Andrea disdains and calls ugly. The comment provokes Giovanna into seeking out Vittoria on the other side of Naples, where she finds a beautiful, fiery woman, consumed by bitterness over a lover's death and resentful of Andrea's arrogance at having climbed the social ladder. Andrea can't save Giovanna from Vittoria's influence, and their relationship will affect those closest to Giovanna as family secrets unravel and disrupt the harmony of her quiet life. Giovanna's parents' devastating marital collapse, meanwhile, causes her to be distracted at school and held back a year, and prompts Giovanna into a steely self-awareness as she has her first sexual experiences along a bumpy ride toward adulthood. Themes of class disparity and women's coming-of-age are at play much as they were in Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet, but the depictions of inequality serve primarily as a backdrop to Giovanna's coming-of-age trials that buttress the gripping, plot-heavy tale. 

Astro Origami

Did you know that Michigan is home to six protected Dark Sky Preserves? Additionally, Michigan is home to Headlands International Dark Sky Park and Dr. T.K. Lawless Park, which are the only internationally designated park preserves in the state. While each location provides the very best opportunity for you to truly enjoy the Milky Way, aurora borealis and more - you do not need to travel to these places to Observe the Night Sky. You can begin your adventure at home by simply keeping a few viewing tips in mind.

Activities:

Resources:

The awesome night sky by Kay Barnham

In this gentle science series, World of Wonder (4 titles), the youngest readers are given the fundamental ideas and language needed to grapple with our world's natural wonders. Each title begins with activity suggestions before a series of colorful, full-bleed spreads break the topics down into digestible tidbits--one short paragraph per page--incrementally building readers' understanding of the subject. The Awesome Night Sky tackles astronomy, touching on aspects that will already be somewhat familiar to children, like the sun, moon, other celestial bodies, and the scientific tools human used to study it all. Vocabulary terms are underlined in the text and collected in a glossary. While photography is absent, Frost's inviting illustrations give the perfect context for each lesson, and two omnipresent white children anchor the education in friendly companionship. Effective in balancing simplicity with the right selection of details, these make excellent science primers for early readers.

baby birds

 

    "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves        of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."

                              --Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

 

Nature has long been considered a cure for the troubled soul. Some studies have shown that time in nature is an antidote to stress: It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. It is also just plain fun! Especially with a few helpful suggestions to make your nature observations even more enjoyable.

 

CPL Program:

 

Activities:

 

Resources:

Look for more information about the animals you see during your nature observation in Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia or PebbleGo

When a girl walks through the woods with her grandma, she's so excited about reaching their destination that she misses out on what's around her. But with Grandma's help, she learns how to breathe, be peaceful, and notice the little surprises along the way. Find mindfulness in nature through this gentle story.

In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species -- births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away -- until now. Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story -- from 100,000 years ago to the present. A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived will upend your thinking on Neanderthals, evolution, royalty, race, and even redheads. (For example, we now know that at least four human species once roamed the earth.) Plus, here is the remarkable, controversial story of how our genes made their way to the America's -- one that's still being written, as ever more of us have our DNA sequenced. 

As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family's ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major's aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie's debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max's friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz-- the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences. France, 1942. Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite "Daisy" Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother's Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand's underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country--and the man--she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret . . . one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history. 

A fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world -- provided we ask the right questions. By the end of an average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information -- unprecedented in history -- can tell us a great deal about who we are -- the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable. Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. 

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that "[w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as "a system of social control" ("More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850"). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the "war on drugs." She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates "who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits." Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: "most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration"-but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that. 

March. Book 1 [kit] by 1940 February 21- John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) was an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence took him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. Lewis shares his remarkable story with new generations in March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole). March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story." Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations. 

Anxious people : a novel / [kit] by 1981- Fredrik Backman

This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Viewing an apartment normally doesn't turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths. As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

An enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families' lives. One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly--thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades. Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.

 "Do not question. Do not fight. Do not resist." Such is eight-year-old Noriko "Nori" Kamiza's first lesson. She will not question why her mother abandoned her with only these final words. She will not fight her confinement to the attic of her grandparents' imperial estate. And she will not resist the scalding chemical baths she receives daily to lighten her skin. The child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American GI lover, Nori is an outsider from birth. Her grandparents take her in, only to conceal her, fearful of a stain on the royal pedigree that they are desperate to uphold in a changing Japan. Obedient to a fault, Nori accepts her solitary life, despite her natural intellect and curiosity. But when chance brings her older half-brother, Akira, to the estate that is his inheritance and destiny, Nori finds in him an unlikely ally with whom she forms a powerful bond--a bond their formidable grandparents cannot allow and that will irrevocably change the lives they were always meant to lead. Because now that Nori has glimpsed a world in which perhaps there is a place for her after all, she is ready to fight to be a part of it--a battle that just might cost her everything. Spanning decades and continents, Fifty Words for Rain is a dazzling epic about the ties that bind, the ties that give you strength, and what it means to be free.

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and re-energizes the conversation about racism--and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas--from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities--that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves. Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

May We Suggest

Looking for something to read? We now have three services to meet your needs: May We Suggest Classic, May We Suggest Express and May We Suggest - Kids

  • May We Suggest Classic – Tell us what you like to read and a Canton Public Library librarian will respond with a curated reading list within 4 days.
  • May We Suggest Express – Get your curated reading list within 2 days, and have up to three books from that list placed on the hold shelf for you so you can start reading right away.
  • May We Suggest - Kids – For the kids! Answer a few simple questions to tell us what you need, and you will receive your own list of reading suggestions prepared by a Canton Public Library librarian within 2-4 days. 

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