Archive | October, 2019

Halloween Horror Reads for Teens

30 Oct

There is no better way to get into the Halloween spirit then to borrow some Horror-themed YA reads for FREE at the Hoboken Public Library. Below are four suggested reads that are great for Halloween, Day of the Dead, and even all year round. If you like to feel the anxiety and adrenaline that comes with being a little scared and comfortable at home, CHECK OUT these awesome reads!

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
by Gwenda Bond
Stranger Things Suspicious Minds
The hit thriller Netflix series has a prequel!!! In the series, we are familiar with curious characters like Eleven. Like most things in the series, Eleven’s past is still a mystery. This book investigates Eleven’s mother’s past and the moments that set things in motion for the original series. The author, Gwenda Bond, makes the story her own with respect to the show by introducing new characters and following along with the original story. If you are a fan of Stranger Things, this is the book for you.

For Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery, Horror

by Neil Gaiman
Leaving your friends and moving away is tough, and there are no siblings to bother in Caroline’s case. She is not afraid to tell her parents that it was not fair that they had to move. But her parents do not care to acknowledge it or her for that matter. She is the only kid in the building of weird neighbors like Mr. Bobo, the mouse trainer, and Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, the building’s fortune-tellers. Even they could not keep boredom away. She counted the windows and the doors to fill in time but stumbles on a small door in the wall. This door happens to open to another dimension where the “other mother” lived. The other mother was the replica of her birth mother, except she gave her the attention she craved, and she had the TWO BLACK BUTTONS for eyes. The reader can get a virtual taste of the story’s setting through the black and white illustrations sporadically throughout the book. Coraline could not wait to go through the door and hang out with her “other mother and father.” But the day came when the “other mother” asked her to stay with her at the price of letting her sew buttons into Coraline’s eyes. Coraline escapes, the other mother is not happy, and kidnaps her birth parents. What can Coraline do now?  You can also borrow the movie adaptation.  You can also check out a previous post about Neil Gaiman here.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Paranormal, Horror, Graphic Novels

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenJacob grew up listening to his grandfather, Abraham’s, stories. He told stories of surviving monsters of human and mystical forms during World War II. Jacob always looked up to him, but as he grew into a teenager, he started to doubt his grandfather’s stories where true. When his grandfather is found brutally murdered, he ventures out to the island setting of his grandfather’s stories to find out more about him and his death. He stumbles upon to an orphanage of children with peculiar abilities. There is a boy with bees in of him and a floating girl which are displayed in old fashioned style pictures throughout the book. Little did he know was that his presence made the children valuable to the murderous monster’s that lark in the shadows.  A movie adaptation is also available.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Orphanages, Mystery, Supernatural, Monsters

by Pam Smy
The Thornhill orphanage intertwines the lives of two girls. Mary was a mistreated orphan of Thornhill 35 years before Ella moved into the neighborhood. How do they connect all those years apart? The secret is a diary and dolls! In this book of traditional text and haunting grayscale illustrations, the reader cannot help but wonder what became of Mary and if she wants Ella to join her.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Bullying, Orphanages, Ghosts, Supernatural

By Elbie A. Love
Young Adult Library Associate

Want more Halloween suggestions?  Check out our Halloween Urban Fantasy post and favorite Horror movies.


A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington

23 Oct

A Terrible Thing to Waste
I first became interested in the work of Harriet A. Washington when my home city of Newark was hit with a lead water crisis that has frequently been compared in terms of severity to Flint, Michigan. I wondered why such environmental disasters hit the poorest communities in the United States the hardest and what the social effects of long term lead exposure would mean for the children of Newark. In A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and its Assault on the American Mind, Washington brilliantly lays out the sobering research about environmental racism and the profound effects it has on the well-being of some of the most vulnerable Americans.

“Environmental Racism” is a term used by public health researchers and sociologists to describe the disproportionate way in which black, Latino, and indigenous communities face the brunt of environmental hazards, often leading to devastating health consequences. A prominent example of environmental racism that Washington cites is the fact that almost all of the cases of lead poisoning in Baltimore were found among the city’s black children. While white residents of Baltimore were approved for cheap mortgages in the suburbs after World War II and moved into newly built homes, African Americans were redlined out of these neighborhoods and forced to stay in unsafe homes in the inner city, many of which to this day have never been fully remediated of the lead paint that continues to poison the developing brains of infants in Baltimore.

Washington bluntly describes the profound social consequences of environmental racism. Many of these toxins such as lead, untested chemicals, and waste from landfills that find their way disproportionately into minority communities cause severe cognitive damage. Washington doesn’t believe that IQ is a good predictor of intelligence, but she does believe that it can show how a person has been harmed by bad environmental policies. In contrast to those who would argue that intelligence is innate or genetic, Washington’s research shows that differences in IQ between different groups of people correlates most strongly to the type of environment they live in. Washington demonstrates how the average intelligence of groups of people can rise dramatically when they are exposed to better nutrition and cleaner environments, refuting that commonly held belief that intelligence is a static trait.

A Terrible Thing to Waste is an incredibly important book by one today’s smartest environmental researchers. I found many of my beliefs about intelligence, race, poverty, and urban planning to be constantly challenged while reading Washington’s book. I was inspired by the stories of communities who fought back against environmental racism and despite the often depressing subject matter, I felt hopeful by the end of the book that communities can work together to solve these problems.

Written by
Karl Schwartz
Young Adult Librarian

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