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May/June 2017 Collection Spotlight

Here are some great titles for your reading and viewing pleasure as selected by the staff of Collection Development Services. Highlights include children’s books featuring a graphic novel about the unicorn of the sea; a book about birds and their nest making; and, a moving book of poetry about slavery in 1828. Watch documentaries about African giraffes and a Panamanian sloth named Velcro. Teen fiction selections include a Civil War story with the dream for freedom and a story of grief and blended families. For adult fiction, time travelers that end up in the world of Jane Austen and a new fantasy series launch. Nonfiction readers will learn about one couple’s struggle for survival in the Amazon, how to build courage and willpower through grit, a portrait of alcoholism un the U.S. from the 17th century to today, and a travel guide planner for each month of the year. For graphic novel fans, a new dark sci-fi series set in the near future. Our Spanish nonfiction selections include biographies of Jenni Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

Find more reading suggestions at Books & Media.

 Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea book jacket

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

Narwhal and Jelly (yes, it’s a jellyfish) are truly an odd couple of friends. They share the “best book ever" and then proceed to create the story by themselves. Goofy, funny, and endearing whether you are new to the graphic novel format or a practiced reader.

Children's Graphic Novel

 Birds Make Nests book jacket

Birds Make Nests by Michael Garland

A beautifully illustrated album of many different kinds of bird nests and the eggs and chicks that temporarily call them home. Fun to peruse and wonder at the variety. Also available in: eBook.

Children's Nonfiction

 Freedom Over Me book jacket

Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan

Using an actual property inventory from 1828 which included a list of people held in slavery, Bryan imagines their inner and outer lives, expressing their feelings and dreams through poetry and illustration. Not to be missed. Also available in: eBook.

Children's Nonfiction

 Giraffes: Africa's Gentle Giants book jacket

Giraffes: Africa's Gentle Giants by None

Dr. Julian Fennessy has spent the last 20 years studying giraffes - finding they are disappearing. Fennessy is rounding up some of the world's rarest giraffes to get them to safety. The stakes are high in this daring mission against poachers, but if successful, the reward will be a brighter future for an animal we have overlooked.


 A Sloth Named Velcro book jacket

A Sloth Named Velcro by None

In 2000, journalist Ana Salceda travelled to the wilds of Panama and became the caregiver for a orphaned baby sloth named 'Velcro'. This is the story of Ana's return to Central and South America to see how much has changed. Sloths, once largely ignored, have become a hot topic of scientific researchers. New studies show they're not so sloth-like after all.


 Crossing Ebenezer Creek book jacket

Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden

Freed from slavery, Mariah and her young brother Zeke join Sherman's march through Georgia, where Mariah meets a free black named Caleb and dares to imagine the possibility of true love, but hope can come at a cost. This award-winning author sheds light on an unknown moment of the Civil War to readers in a searing, poetic novel about the dream of freedom. Star Reviews

Teen Fiction

 Speed of Life book jacket

Speed of Life by Carol Weston

Missing her mother who died last year, fourteen-year-old Sofia finds an anonymous outlet for her personal questions and deep, dark secrets in the Dear Kate advice columnist, until, much to her horror, Sofia's father starts dating Kate. The heartbreaking, heartwarming story of a girl who thinks her life is over when really it's just beginning with love, family, grief, and growing up. Great read for tweens to adults. Star Reviews. Also available in: eBook.

Teen Fiction

 The Jane Austen Project book jacket

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn

Arriving in 1815 London, two time travelers from a technologically advanced future, one a disaster-relief doctor and an actor-turned-scholar posing as wealthy West Indies planters, infiltrate Jane Austen’s inner circle to recover a suspected unpublished novel. But when a special friendship forms between them all, they must make a tough choice. Good choice for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors. Also available in: eBook and eAudiobook.

Adult Fiction

 Red Sister book jacket

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Entering a convent at nine years old to be trained for combat, Nona begins learning the ways of blade and fist. When her violent past is revealed, she finds herself at the center of a battle for a crumbling empire in a dying universe. Recommended for George R.R. Martin fans, you will find excellent writing in this new fantasy series launch providing magic, swords, politics, religion and great characters. Teen crossover. Also available in: eBook.

Adult Fiction

 Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre de Dios book jacket

Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre de Dios by Holly Fitzgerald

Holly FitzGerald and her husband, Fitz set out on a yearlong honeymoon adventure of a lifetime, backpacking around the world. Five months into the trip their plane crash lands in Peru and their blissful, romantic journey turns into a terrifying nonstop labyrinth of escape and survival. On a small raft that quickly becomes their entire universe through dangerous waters alive with deadly animals and fish and with no choice but to continue on, despite the rush of insects swarming them by day and the sounds of encroaching predators at night. Without food or means of communication, with no one to hear their cries for help or on a search-and-rescue expedition to find them, the author and her husband make their way, fighting to conquer starvation and navigate the brute force of the river, their only hope of survival to find their way east to a large riverside town before it is too late. Also available in: eBook and eAudiobook.

Adult Nonfiction

 Getting Grit: The Evidence-Based Approach to Cultivating Passion, Perseverance and Purpose book jacket

Getting Grit: The Evidence-Based Approach to Cultivating Passion, Perseverance and Purpose by Caroline Adams Miller

Caroline Miller writes an information-rich and practical guide for developing the qualities needed to persevere over obstacles—not just toughness and passion, but also humility, patience, and kindness. Grit—defined as our perseverance and passion for long-term goals—is now recognized as one of the key determinants for achievement and life satisfaction. In an age that provides us with a never-ending stream of distractions and quick-and-easy solutions, Getting Grit offers readers self-assessment tools, daily exercises and life tips to help reinforce their capacity for courage and willpower – “grit” – without stubbornness or self-aggrandizement.

Adult Nonfiction

 Drunks: An American History book jacket

Drunks: An American History by Christopher M. Finan

A portrait of one of America’s great liberation movements, a social history of alcoholism in the U.S., from the 17th century to the present day, introduces the colorful cast of characters who dedicated their lives to helping others achieve sobriety, such as a remarkable Iroquois leader named Handsome Lake, who dedicated his life to helping his people renounce hard liquor; and Carrie Nation, the wife of an alcoholic who destroyed bars with an ax in her anger over what alcohol had done to her family, as well as the idealistic and energetic Washingtonians, reformed drunks who led the first national movement to save men like themselves; and Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, the two drunks who helped each other stay sober and created Alcoholics Anonymous. Also available in: eBook and eAudiobook.

Adult Nonfiction

 Su nombre era Dolores book jacket

Su nombre era Dolores by Pete Salgado

This is a biography of Jenni Rivera told through her ex-managers. Esta es una biografía de Jenni Rivera, contada a través de su ex-gerentes. Also available in: eBook and eAudiobook.

Spanish Nonfiction

 Frida Kahlo: una biografía book jacket

Frida Kahlo: una biografía by Maria Hesse

This is an illustrated work of Frida Kahlo’s life and art. Este es un trabajo ilustrado de la vida y arte de Frida Kahlo. Also available in: eBook.

Spanish Nonfiction

 Lonely Planet's Where to Go When: The Ultimate Trip Planner for Every Month of the Year book jacket

Lonely Planet's Where to Go When: The Ultimate Trip Planner for Every Month of the Year by Lonely Planet Publications

Where to Go When answers the perennial question of the traveller - where is the best place to visit during every season of the year? Using a combination of infographics and insights from Lonely Planet's network of expert authors, the book will resolve travel dilemmas and present inspiring ideas for the best places to go throughout the year.

Adult Nonfiction

 Spill Zone 1 book jacket

Spill Zone 1 by Scott Westerfeld

Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. The Spill claimed Addison's parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn't spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone's twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death--or worse. When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits--and it seems to be calling Addison's name. Also available in: eBook.

Teen Graphic Novel