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Staff Picks

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Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
“Laura Ingalls Wilder was fond of saying that everything she wrote was true, but while what she wrote was certainly true, it wasn’t the whole truth. This extraordinary and gripping biography goes far beyond the original Little House books and puts them into the context of a broader American history. The story of the real Ingalls family and their role in the settlement of the American West and how the books have shaped our understanding of history is not to be missed.” – Mark at Krause Memorial
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf
“This is a book for grade school aged young people on how students in the same classroom react and interact with the “new” student in class. I shed a few tears reading the story, but loved it.” – Jacque at Cascade
The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds by Neil Gaiman
“This short and spooky book is as fantastic to read as it is beautifully illustrated but for an added experience listen to this book on audio. As with all Neil Gaiman narrated books it is WELL WORTH the listen, and this book has the added effect of an accompanying string quartet! As our main character heads on an adventure, one he is not likely to return from the same, haunting melodies lead you along the perilous journey by his side. Perfect if you’re looking for a spooky addition to your reading selection! Either way you read it, book or audiobook, you will be spoiled!” – Emily at Tyrone
Not Even Bones (1) (Market of Monsters) by Rebecca Schaeffer
“Not Even Bones (Market of Monsters #1) by Rebecca Schaeffer is a dark and twisty tale of dissection, black markets, and betrayal. It’s a little gruesome, but I absolutely could not put it down!” – Liz at Plainfield
Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth
“As an armchair outdoor adventure enthusiast, the concept of cave diving was a new concept to explore. Her description of being inside an Antarctic iceberg not only gave me shivers, but had me listening more intently than I normally do. Her writing style is engaging and pulls me into the events with her.” – Diane at the KDL Service Center
Copperhead: A Novel by Alexi Zentner
“Copperhead by Alexi Zentner is a slow, gritty coming-of-age story in which class, racial, and family tensions come to a head in one long weekend. Told with honesty this book tells the story of contemporary America and asks whether hatred, bigotry, and violence can ever be unleashed.” – Shaunna at Alpine
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
“Nina Hill, a likeable, quirky character, works in a bookstore, and other than her involvement with a competitive Trivia team, books are her life. Raised by an absent single mother, she’s thrown for a loop when she finds out that the father she never knew passed away and left her not only a mysterious inheritance, but a large family of half-siblings and other relations. ” – Jan at Walker
The Paper Time Machine: Colouring the Past by Wolfgang Wild, Jordan Lloyd
“130 captivating historical photographs that originally were black and white, and have been colorized and enhanced to show so much” – Megan at the KDL Service Center
The Whisper Man: A Novel by Alex North
“It was pretty chilling and I could put it down. A newly single father not knowing how to relate to his young son after the death of his wife moves to a small village hoping to start fresh. However the village has a dark past that finds them caught up in the trouble, and his son starts saying things he should not know about. ” – Craig Buno
The Tenth Muse: A Novel by Catherine Chung
“Unlike her sisters, the tenth muse wanted to express her own creation and so was condemned to mortality. In this novel, Katherine is female and a mathematician in the middle of the 20th century, and must insist she have her own voice. Inspiring!” – Penni at Cascade
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
“Are some friendships meant to be? What does it take to be a hero? This Newbery Award-winning novel follows four endearing and vibrant misfits as their worlds collide in the woods of their neighborhood, and shows how a universe of possibility exists in the word “hello.”  – Melissa at Krause Memorial
Middlewest Book One by Skottie Young
“This book will blow you away.” – Hannah at Wyoming
Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction by Chuck Klosterman
“Delicious thought experiments in bite-sized short stories.” – Trevor at Grandville
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
“I haven't been able to really dig in to a fantasy novel in a while, but Priory just felt like a breath of fresh air. It really brought its main characters to life in this vibrant world, and there was just a real sense of mystery surrounding that world that made you excited to uncover what happens next. Additionally, the romance in it wasn't conventional high fantasy romance, which I appreciated.” – Chloe at Plainfield
We're Not from Here by Geoff Rodkey
“I just finished "We're Not From Here" by Geoff Rodkey and I loved it. Great for 4th grades and up, this funny, fast-paced sci-fi read will get any child thinking about what it means to be human. It's like nothing I've ever read- a really original story about a group of humans trying to survive on a new planet called Choom after Earth was blown up in nuclear war decades ago and their Mars station is no longer habitable. “ – Jenny at the KDL Service Center
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson
“Cussy Mary carries books on horseback to people of remote Appalachia. She is a witness to the supreme struggles of her people and faces much discrimination of her own. Richardson delivers a hopeful and well-researched historical novel that will leave you feeling fortunate and inspired.” – Nanette at Cascade
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
“It is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. Instead of opening presents Leonard hatches a plan to murder his childhood friend and kill himself. What is he hiding? Will the unforgettable and loveable characters in his life be able to save him? Or does Leonard find the strength to save himself?” – Nanette at Cascade
The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World's Longest Treasure Hunt by Randall Sullivan
“I want to be believe there’s treasure buried on Oak Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, and this nonfiction book only further tantalizes the possibility! Sullivan does a great job of distilling the 200-year mystery, beginning with the discovery of the storied Money Pit and catching us up to the most recent search efforts by the Lagina brothers from Michigan” – Vivi at the KDL Service Center
Who wet my pants? by Bob Shae
This delightful picture book is by Dan Shea (author) who has partnered with Zachariah Ohora (illustrator) to create one of the new BEST PICTURE BOOKS ever!  The story follows Ruben as he attempts to come to terms with a potentially embarrassing situation, but the compassion of his buddies is what really shines through!  Parents and kids will love this…and please take time to look closely at the pictures! - Englehardt (Lowell) Branch
Grandpa’s Stories: A Book of Remembering by Joseph Coelho
Follow a young girl who spends a year with her grandpa, reliving all the ways he loved her. It teaches us to appreciate the moment, and how love lives on. – Ashten at Wyoming
You Are Light by Aaron Becker
This board book is gorgeous. You’ll find a yellow sun with a halo of bright die-cut circles of all different colors. The author has a reflecting on all the things that are light, including ourselves. – Ashten at Wyoming
Over the Top : A Raw Journey to Self-love.
This book is an honest and raw look at one of our favorite Queer Eye cast members. As If I didn’t love JVN any more, this book allows me to understand his story, and honor my own. – Ashten at Wyoming
How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper
How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper is a darkly comic story of Andrew whose job is to explore the homes of people discovered to have died alone. He is looking for their family and other things of value in their tragically empty lives, an emptiness echoed in his own life. Andrew must decide whether he can face his past and expose the truth of his life to himself and the other people in it, all while maintaining a witty British stiff upper lip. – Penni at Cascade
The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder
It’s football season. And although this is a novel about 21 men spending the weekend to reenact the play in which Lawrence Taylor broke Joe Theismann’s leg on Monday Night Football in 1985, it’s not really a football book. This is a book about us guys and all our quirky performances, told with insight and humor. – Trevor at Grandville
The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke
I found myself sitting on the seat of my chair, I was caught up in the lives of the characters, the suffering, sorrow, pain, turmoil and hate, especially during the war against the Jewish people and anyone who dared assist them in any way. I knew the story would be hard to read, because of what people suffered, especially the children. But I loved the power of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness that shines bright in this book. - Kelly at Nelson/Sand Lake
Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui
I recently read a good Graphic Novel called “Delicious in Dungeon. It’s a great teen series with a new twist on exploring when the adventurers lose all of their gear and have to eat the monsters that they slay and make them into meals like “Dragon Ham” and “Roasted Basilisk”. Sounds good right? – Tabby at Wyoming
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
I love this series about a black Texas Ranger in East Texas. The setting and culture of East Texas are just as much a character in the book as Darren. – Shauna at Alpine
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
Mystery readers who enjoy books in series will want to consider Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Maggie Hope, a whip-smart, educated, and beautiful young woman with a background in mathematics and a talent for breaking codes, chafes at her role as secretary, but her talents don’t remain undercover for long. Readers will want to start with this, the first in the series, which introduces the many characters and which so accurately conveys the atmosphere of London during the war. – Mark at Krause Memorial
I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt
The little worms go on big adventures—you just have to use your imagination! I read it to a third grade class and we all laughed together, especially those of us who CAN only draw worms. – Elizabeth at Plainfield
A Dream about Lightning Bugs by Ben Folds
This month I read "A Dream About Lightning Bugs" by Ben Folds. It’s a great read for creative types as it explores the art-making process that any art maker can appreciate and learn from. It’s fun, insightful, and interesting, especially for people who loves Ben Folds music. – Jenny at Kentwood
High Fidelity by Nick Horby
My pick for this month is High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. My one line: “Dive into record shop owner Rob’s brain as he comes to understand why it’s ‘what you’re like’ and not ‘what you like’ that matters in life. (And no, I don’t always plug headphones into the books I’m reading.)” – David at the KDL Service Center
Attila: The Barbarian King and the Fall of Rome by John Man
Not a lot is known about the Huns, but John Man does a great job of uncovering the history of the Huns and their mysterious leader, Attila, who almost took down the Roman Empire. – Megan at the KDL Service Center
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
Moby and friends on the bookmobile have been enjoying Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrede and Guy Parker-Rees. It’s filled with charm and affirmation. – Kevin Kammaraand on the Bookmobile
The Oracle by Jonathan Cahn
I have a recommendation and a profound and uplifting read for you, called ‘The Oracle’ by Jonathan Cahn. Jonathan Cahn’s website, which is connected to his church, is It is an excellent church for Jews and Gentiles pastored by Jonathan Cahn. I have followed his teaching for over a decade now. – Trish at Walker
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen and Glass Sword are part of a series, they were recommended to me by our KEL Youth Librarian, Clare, the intrigue and fantastic abilities of the characters take the reader in, there is violence, not my thing, but the protagonists always win, so it works for a reader who doesn’t want to see them lose. – Rebecca at Wyoming
Because by Mo Willems
I read the book “Because” by Mo Willems and Amber Ren. It’s such a sweet, simple story about how following your passion can inspire and change the course of someone else’s entire life. – Ashten at Wyoming
Survivor’s Club by Michael Bornstein
I enjoyed the first person account by Michael Bornsein, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz. I wanted to engross myself in this survival story as I anticipate the Holocaust survivor Guest Speaker, Lowenberg, who is coming to WYO on Nov 13th. Like the boy in this book, it is about surviving but most importantly about overcoming hate. – Jules at Wyoming
Caligula by Lingua Ignota
Kristin Hayter has created something truly terrifying and beautiful. With her blend of operatic singing, primal screams, dark industrial sounds, metal offshoots, and pungent themes the listener is drawn in and repelled simultaneously. Hayter requires much attention from her listeners. – Joel at Wyoming
The Upside by Neil Burger
Classified as a Comedy, I thought this was more of a Dramady. This movie really showcased the talents of Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston as an unlikely pair who really come through for each other. Based on a true story, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the performances and by how much I enjoyed a movie I’d not ordinarily pick up. - Laura at Plainfield
Primer by Shane Carruth
The only movie I've ever seen to make time travel seem possible. – Jake at Wyoming
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Ted Chiang never ceases to be able to drown me in wonder and existential dread at the same time. – Jake at Wyoming
Lovely War by Julie Berry
" I couldn’t put this book down! First of all, the cover is beautiful, and I always judge a book by its cover. It is a mix of two different love stories, set in WWI. There is a fun twist in which the goddess Aphrodite is telling the story of the young couples. This book is warm and charming but handles difficult topics like war and prejudice in a poignant way.” - Jill at Wyoming
The Need by Helen Philips
“This story is sort of a blend of horror, thriller, and musing on the mundane joy of caring for small children. As a parent of a toddler and a baby, I read it at the perfect time because her language and descriptions of parenting ring so true. But even if you aren’t a parent, the tension around the plot is also very compelling and makes it a fascinating, creepy ride.” - Anna at East Grand Rapids
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
“The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys. It takes place in Franco’s Spain, with several characters’ stories intertwining with secrets, love, and fear. Because it’s written in short chapters with plenty of twists and turns, I found this book impossible to put down!” - Elizabeth at Plainfield
Leyla by Galia Bernstein
“The book Leyla by Galia Bernstein is so sweet. Leyla, a young baboon runs from her large family and comes across a lizard who is busy doing nothing. The lizard teaches her how to seek out moments of peace during chaos. Leyla runs back to her family knowing that wherever she goes she can return to peace any time.” - Ashten at Wyoming
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
“This was recommended to me by a friend, who described it as “like if Jane Austen wrote Harry Potter,” which is a) exactly the kind of book I wanted to read and b) accurate. The author has a new book coming out next year, too, so it’s a good time to discover it!” - Mara at Gaines
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
“This is the story of Princess Pinecone, a young viking who wants to be a warrior just like everyone else her village. But instead of getting her "a real warrior's horse" (which is exactly what she asked for), her parents got her an adorable round-eyed pony, which has a tendency to eat things it shouldn't and farts way too much (definitely NOT what she got).” -- Katie, Circulation Substitute
Wanna get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts
“If you’re a fan of Janet Evanovich you may enjoy this series by Deborah Coonts. Lucky O’Toole is head of Customer Relations in a casino and gets in plenty of situations.” - Loretta at Wyoming
Wilderness Essays by John Muir
EAudiobook Cloudlibrary
“Muir’s essays are as monumental as the lands that he explored. And they’re about so much more than the land, as he tells of the people who often traveled with him as guides and fellow explorers. His words paint pictures of landscapes and journeys that seem effortless and endless in their beauty. He tells of climbing a mountain at night to look down upon a moonlit glacier. Who does that?! These essays, conveying a reverence for nature and discovery, are as relevant today as when they were written over one hundred years ago.’ -- Randy at the KDL Service Center.
The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
“Creeper, a scrappy young teen, is done living on the streets of New Orleans. Instead, she wants to soar, and her sights are set on securing passage aboard the smuggler airship Midnight Robber. Her ticket: earning Captain Ann-Marie’s trust using a secret about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums. This is a lovely novella set in an interesting world and fun characters.” - Shaunna at Alpine
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
“The thrilling follow-up to the award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird: Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is on the hunt for a boy who's gone missing - but it's the boy's family of white supremacists who are his real target.” - Shaunna at Alpine
They Called us Enemy by George Takei
“A graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself. An excellent graphic novel about a part of American history not often spoken of.” - Shaunna at Alpine
Will my cat eat my eyeballs? : big questions from tiny mortals about death by Caitlin Doughty
“One of my favorite nonfiction author. Answering questions asked by kids. (adult may not ask but equally wondering about them I’m sure …)” - Yuko at the KDL Service Center
An Irish Country Family : an Irish Country novel by Patrick Taylor
“My favorite series! Colorful characters and feel-good story always make me want to live there and then.” - Yuko at the KDL Service Center
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
“Edward Snowden’s thoughtful, eloquent, and often humorous memoir offers a look at his boyhood growing up in the Washington Beltway in a family of career civil servants, his early interest in computer networking, and his work for the NSA, a life matching the trajectory of the dawn of the information age, with all of its possibilities, and the rapid ascent of mass surveillance.” - Mark at Krause Memorial
Anne of Green Gables, my Daughter, and Me : what my favorite book taught me about grace, belonging, and the orphan in us all by Lorilee Craker
“Loved reading a book that speaks of the province where I was born, and poignant stories of growing up as an orphan, both literary and real life. And, she's funny.” - Marcia at Grandville
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
“This picture book is gorgeous and brilliant. Not only will it give girls the confidence to wear their hijab with pride, it gives my daughters the opportunity to learn about and understand a culture different from their own.” - Samantha at the KDL Service Center
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land
“If you enjoy nonfiction books that are read like a story then you will love this book! Maid is an incredible story of how the author struggled to make ends meet but still managed to raise a child and get a degree. The authors' story sheds light on poverty, and the many hardships people have to overcome to provide for themselves or their families.” - Hollie at Wyoming
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
“In this work of nonfiction, the reader can connect with three women who each have very different experiences with sex. One woman has an affair with her high school teacher; another woman is married and cheats on her husband; the third wom”an is married and partakes in threesomes with her husband. This book was so interesting as it allowed me to view different emotions tied to sexuality and sexual desire. - Hollie at Wyoming
7 days of Christmas : a season of generosity by Jen Hatmaker
“I really enjoyed her discussions on how she got her family to unplug, use less, recycle, spend less, and give during the Christmas season. I could really try implementing some of her suggestions to improve upon myself. It was a quick read and very enjoyable!” - Anne at Krause Memorial
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
“I recently have been listening to the His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. It’s great audiobook series because it is a full cast Audiobook with Philip Pullman (the author) narrating. It’s a multi-world fantasy series involving a little girl and boy and their struggles with destiny. It is a really interesting story particularly for people with a theological background because it takes a look at the the truths of the Bible and questions them from different perspectives. I have been really intrigued by this story.” - Liesl, Circulation Substitute
Kochland: The secret history of Koch Industries and corporate power in America by Christopher Leonard
“Koch Industries, one of the largest corporations in the United States, touches our lives on an almost daily basis, yet its owners strive to make sure the public knows as little about the company as possible. In addition to being a large producer of petroleum, paper, lumber, food products and many other consumer goods, its owners Charles and the late David Koch wield huge influence on politics and government. This is one of those non-fiction page turners.” - Gene, Information Substitute
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
“It is so meaningful, powerful and personally relevant. Focusing on nature, botany and traditional teachings about the relationships between plants, animals, the earth, air and our selfishly destructive role and how we can change, the author cites local West Michigan artists and traditional teachers as well as those from Kentucky the NE and other parts of the country. I’d give the audio book to everyone I know if I could.” - Rebecca at Wyoming
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
“In a utopian world where all of society’s monsters have been vanquished by angels something goes bump in the night. Jam goes to her mothers work studio to discover a monster inside, only this monster claims not to be a monster but to come to kill a monster hiding among them.” - Hannah at Wyoming
“Polly loves writing and learning new words, and when she discovers a magic notebook where anything she writes inside instantly comes true, she's thrilled to use all her favorite words to make some magical things happen. However, Polly's about to learn that with great magical power comes great responsibility! Charming illustrations and large text make this an awesome new beginning chapter book series.” - Jenny at East Grand Rapids
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
“I recently enjoyed listening to the audio of Well Met by Jen DeLuca. Grab a turkey drumstick and don your flower crown, it’s time for a rom-com at the Ren Fest!” - Elizabeth at Plainfield
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
“Patchett tells an engrossing story of two siblings who grew up in the most beautiful house in town, a house that becomes almost a character in this novel about family, and how we often spend much of our lives trying to go back to figure out and make right our childhoods.” - Penni at Cascade
Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights by Dovey Johnson Roundtree
“Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights by Dovey Johnson Roundtree is the life story of a Black woman born in 1914 whose strength, drive, and ambition were truly awe-inspiring. She prevailed in spite of overt and covert racism to graduate from college, become one of the first female officers in the armed services, go to law school, and answer the call to become a minister.” - Susan at Plainfield
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
“This overlooked classic, winner of the National Book Award for 1961, is finding renewed interest these days. In this first novel, Binx Bolling, privileged scion of a prominent New Orleanian family and just shy of his thirtieth birthday, struggles to find life’s meaning and purpose as Mardi Gras explodes in the streets around him.” - Mark at Krause Memorial
Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury
“A thriller that revolves around Kamal a policeman whose world is completely changed when he realizes the world he lives in and the government he works for is all built upon an epic lie. Because a time traveler manipulated history and changed the course of the world, spurred on by the love of his family he sets off to right this wrong.” - Craig at Walker
You Loves Ewe! by Cece Bell
“Oh my goodness! This book will win the hearts of elementary students and grammar police of any age. Hilarious twists on our weird English language make for a sweet and memorable story.” - Sara at Nelson Township/Sand Lake
The Dairy of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
“Ever wonder what it’s like to own a bookshop? Well Shaun does, and his bookshop diaries of daily interactions with his own staff and his patrons range from thought provoking to hysterical. A great read!” - Clyde at Spencer