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Family Matters: Young Adult Books Reflecting the Diversity of Families

8 Jan

Every family comes in different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and goes through their own obstacles. At the end of the obstacles, some families come together, and others do not. Here’s a selection of fiction and non-fiction young adult books that are themed around the unique makeup of different families.

Three Dark Crowns
By Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns
In Three Dark Crowns, readers find out what happens when the king and queen of a mystical land give birth to triplets. How does a kingdom determine who is to be the royal heir with three firstborn daughters eligible for the crown? Have them fight to the death, of course! When they turn 16, these three girls with special powers are raised together to one day kill the other two for the crown.

Wonder
by R.J. Palacio
Wonder
When a child named August is born with a disability, one sees throughout Wonder how it affects the people around him, especially his family and classmates. The reader gets to see from not only from August’s perspective in each chapter but from the other people in his life.

Finding Audrey
by Sophie Kinsella
finding audrey
Fourteen-year-old Audrey is struggling with an anxiety disorder that resulted from the bullying she endured in high school. Her family consists of her suffocating and overprotective mother, quiet father, unapologetically sarcastic older brother, and adorable little brother. Kinsella does a great job focusing on how Audrey’s diagnosis and prognosis affect family dynamics in Finding Audrey.

Where The Stars Still Shine
By Trish Doller
Where the Stars Still Shine
What happens when you are abducted by your mentally unstable mother at five years old and then sent back to your father at seventeen? This is Callie’s reality in Where The Stars Still Shine. She is forced to find normalcy when she has no idea what that might be. She has to make a new home, new life, and new family after years on the run with her mom.

By Elbie Love
Young Adult Assistant

Best of 2019: Our Staff’s Favorite Books of 2019

31 Dec

It has been a busy year at the Hoboken Public Library.  We’ve begun preparing for our renovations of the third floor Children’s Department.  We opened our new Toybrary, in the Annex. and the Learning Center.  There have been lots of great programs including our Library Fair in June.  Our blog reached 300 posts last month.  Thanks to all our library patrons here in Hoboken and all our readers world wide for joining us this year and celebrating the written word.  We wanted to wrap up 2019 with a look at some of the favorite books our staff enjoyed this year.  They include fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, a picture book, and a book of poetry!

Throw Me to the Wolves
by Patrick McGuinness
Throw Me to the Wolves

In this murder mystery set in Britain, two detectives are starkly different in age, temperament, and policy. The suspect is a boarding school teacher known to one detective from his school days. Two parallel stories about the murder investigation and about events of times past converge. The story feels contemporary because of current events (Brexit, fatberg) and deals with the role of tabloids, social media, and the internet in society today.  I liked everything about Throw Me to the Wolves: the plotting, the observations, the language, and the humor.
~Victoria Turk, Reference Librarian

Soft Science
by Franny Choi
soft science

My favorite book this year was Soft Science by Franny Choi. It’s a poetry collection inspired by the Turing test and it’s a true testament to how creative poetry can be. There are poems in the form of a glossary, a computer code and even a collection of Twitter insults run through Google Translate several times.
~Samantha Evaristo, Outreach Assistant

The Starless Sea
by Erin Morgenstern
Starless Sea

I was eagerly looking forward to Erin Morgenstern’s follow up to her fantastic first novel, the New York Times bestselling The Night CircusThe Starless Sea happily exceeded my expectation and was my favorite book of 2019.  I enjoyed the metafiction aspects of it which included stories within stories set in both our world and an underground world where a mysterious magical library exists.  Fans of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere will enjoy this novel.
~Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Serpent and Dove
by Shelby Mahurin
serpent and dove

This is a great YA read published in 2019.  Serpent and Dove is  a story about a rebellious witch named Lou who left her coven to become a thief. She then, meets Reid a witch-hunter and they fall for each other. In a tale, of forbidden love, they show plenty of courage and have a lot of loyalty in this series. This book is a must read!
~Michelle Valle, Circulation Assistant

Mooncakes 
Written by Suzanne Walker and Illustrated by Wendy Xu
Mooncakes

Mooncakes is my pick for Graphic Novel of the year.  The story focuses on a witch living in New England who just reunited with her childhood crush.  School Library Journal says, “This sweet, spellbinding story will appeal to fans of magic and romance.”  I was impressed that it was lgbtq inclusive with a diverse group of characters.
~Steph Diorio, History Librarian

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
Written by Sonia Sotomayor and Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Just Ask

Kids are different! In this book, by United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, kids are celebrated for being exactly who they are! Just Ask encourages compassion, empathy, understanding, and curiosity. It is also beautifully illustrated! Great for all ages. It is one of my favorite picture books of 2019.
~ Ashley Hoffman, Children’s Librarian

The Real Wallis Simpson: A New History of the American Divorcee Who Became the Duchess of Windsor
by Anna Pasternak
The Real Wallis Simpson

The Real Wallis Simpson is a kinder and more historically accurate portrayal of an often misunderstood historical figure.
~Lindsay T. Sakmann, Reference Librarian

How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X Kendi
HowtoBeanAntiracist

Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s most important public intellectuals. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi combines a memoir of his life with a clear guide on how readers’ can confront the structural racism that still plagues America. Kendi’s book is destined to become a classic on high school and college reading lists.
~Karl Schwartz, Young Adult Librarian

The Borgias
Written by Alejandro Jodorowsky and illustrated by Milo Manara
The Borgias

I am excited to read The Borgias, a graphic novel, since I am such a fan of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s movies such as Holy Mountain and Endless Poetry.
~Sacha Chavez, Reference Assistant

What was your favorite book of 2019?  Share it in the comments!

For gamers, checkout BCCLS list of the Best Games of 2019!  My son’s faves have been Super Mario Maker 2 and Pokemon Shield.

Would you like to discuss great books in 2020?  We have Science Fiction/Fantasy, History, and Mystery Book Discussion Groups at HPL!

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