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LeAnna’s Picks!

Here at the library, we love all books, of course, but some of us have a particular affinity for specific books. We regularly highlight those books in our Staff Picks section here on the blog, and this time it’s our newest Children’s Librarian, LeAnna’s turn. Here are five of her favorite titles:

Watership Down by Richard Adams

I have loved this book the longest of any of the materials on this list. I read it first when I was in college, and I re-read it a few years ago. I enjoyed both readings, and I gained different meaningful ideas from both. Watership Down is a survival tale about the courage of rabbits who, having lost their home, journey onward to find a new, better one. It was written by Adams for his children. Originally, he told it to them over a period of time as bedtime stories. Though the story was meant for children, and children will no doubt enjoy the rabbit’s adventures, there are important allegories about human society to be found and enjoyed by older readers.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds

“There will come a time when we will love humanity, when we will gain the courage to fight for an equitable society for our beloved humanity, knowing, intelligently, that when we fight for humanity, we are fighting for ourselves.”

I read the adult version of this book first because I wanted to educate myself about the Black experience in America. As someone raised in the Southern United States, public education left a lot of – if not most of –  the details out. And when I found out that the book was being adapted by Jason Reynolds, I knew I had to read the YA version. I adore Jason Reynolds, both as a human and author, so I knew his take on Ibram X. Kendi’s thoroughly researched original work would be both engaging and accessible, and it was! In my opinion, this book should be required reading for all.

Mort by Terry Pratchett

Have you ever wondered what Death is like? No not the act of dying. The actual entity, Death. Like, the Grim Reaper.

If your answer was yes (and you enjoy a good hilarious and sarcastic fantasy novel), then this is the book for you! You’ll get to see Death’s lodgings and meet his daughter. Yes, Death has a daughter! You will also get to meet Death’s new, teenage apprentice, Mort, and you will come to love them all.

Wait. There’s more! If you do find yourself enjoying the characters and this uproarious, lively world Pratchett created, the good news is, there are eight more books in the Death sub-series of the forty-one Discworld novels.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Pick up this title and learn about the death industry in America from an insider. Caitlin Doughty used to work for a California crematory. Now she owns her own funeral home, runs an educational Youtube channel and podcast, and travels the world researching, writing, and teaching us about dying in various cultures.

I’ve always been a little morbid; the Goosebumps and Bailey School Kids books were favorites when I was a child. This book checks all the boxes that those series did, but Doughty’s stories are true as well as creepy.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

This is one of the most relatable books I have ever read. At its heart, the story is about friendships and how important they are in our lives – maybe even more important than romantic relationships. The author does a great job of writing in a way that makes you feel like you are right there with the main characters, and the book includes some pretty hilarious scenes – including a battle on a bouncy castle!

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