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There There

Tommy Orange

Audience:

Adult

This shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle's death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American -- grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.

The Second Life of Mirielle West

Amanda Skenandore

Audience:

Adult

The glamorous world of a silent film star’s wife abruptly crumbles when she is carted hundreds of miles from home to be detained at the Carville Lepers Home in this page-turning story of courage, resilience, and reinvention set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles. Based on the true story of America’s only leper colony, The Second Life of Mirielle West brings vividly to life the Louisiana institution, where thousands of people were stripped of their civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly quarantined throughout the entire 20th century. At first she hopes her exile will be brief, but those sent to Carville are more prisoners than patients and their disease has no cure. Instead she must find community and purpose within its walls, struggling to redefine her self-worth and reimagining her future.

What the Fireflies Knew

Dr. Kai Harris

Audience:

Adult

Told from the perspective of 11-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB), this coming-of-age novel follows KB and her teenage sister, Nia, as they are sent by their overwhelmed mother to live with their estranged grandfather in Lansing, Michigan after their father passes away from a drug overdose. Over the course of a single, sweltering summer, KB attempts to get her bearings in a world that has turned upside down. Pinballing between resentment, abandonment, and loneliness, KB is forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice. As she examines the jagged pieces of her recently shattered world, she learns that while some truths cut deep, a new life--and a new KB--can be built from the shards.

Coqui in the City

Nomar Perez

Audience:

Pre-K to 1

Miguel's pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo's story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people. But when he and Mamá go exploring, they find a few familiar sights that remind them of home, and Miguel realizes there might be a way to keep a little bit of Puerto Rico with him--including the love he has for Coquí--wherever he goes.

Sugar in Milk

Thrity Umrigar

Audience:

Grades 2-4

A young immigrant girl joins her aunt and uncle in a new country that is unfamiliar to her. She struggles with loneliness and a fierce longing for the culture and familiarity of home, until one day, her aunt takes her on a walk. As the duo strolls through their city park, the girl's aunt begins to tell her an old myth, and a story within the story begins. A long time ago, a group of refugees arrived on a foreign shore. The local king met them, determined to refuse their request for refuge. But there was a language barrier, so the king filled a glass with milk and pointed to it as a way of saying that the land was full and couldn't accommodate the strangers. Then, the leader of the refugees dissolved sugar in the glass of milk. His message was clear: Like sugar in milk, our presence in your country will sweeten your lives. The king embraced the refugee, welcoming him and his people.

When Stars are Scattered

Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed

Audience:

Grades 5-8

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day. Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It's an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

Furia

Yamile Saied Méndez

Audience:

High School/Young Adult

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life. At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father. On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university. But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus.

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