“The Truth About Elephants: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals,” by Maxwell Eaton III
After revealing some hilarious truths about bears, hippos and dolphins in his previous books, Eaton now turns his eye towards elephants. “The Truth About Elephants” is an informative, humorously illustrated nonfiction title that makes learning about these animals a delight. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.
“A Parade of Elephants,” by Kevin Henkes
This picture book by the 2004 Caldecott Medal winner is absolutely perfect in its simplicity and charm. While traveling with five elephants for a day, young listeners are introduced to concepts such as counting and perspective. The illustrations are delightfully humorous and the ending warms the heart. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.
“The Elephant,” by Jenni Desmond
There once was a child who was reading a book about elephants and he became immersed, literally, in the story. “The Elephant” is a beautiful, fact-filled, engaging introduction to elephants. The illustrations are detailed and lifelike, fully conveying the majesty of this cherished mammal. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.
— Cheryl Weems, Deschutes Public Library youth services collection development librarian
“The Boneless Mercies,” by April Genevieve Tucholke
This female-centered retelling of the Beowulf saga features a group of four women, the Boneless Mercies, which means young women trained to kill swiftly and mercilessly. Frey, Ovie, Juniper and Runa are ready for a life beyond this sad work and turn their eyes to the challenge of slaying a monster, hoping such a feat will lead them to a different life. Each violent step on the journey reveals more about the girls’ pasts and what they hope for the future.
Tucholke’s gorgeous language and detailed story-telling shine, leaving the reader wanting more.
“A Heart in a Body in the World,” by Deb Caletti
Annabelle is running. From Seattle to Washington, D.C., she puts in a half-marathon each day. While each step moves her forward, she struggles to process the trauma she left behind. Supported by her feisty grandpa following her down the road in his creaky RV, Annabelle discovers that despite the guilt she carries, many more people are rooting for her. Caletti carefully spools out this emotional tale, drawing readers into Annabelle’s inner world and the lives of those around her.
— April Witteveen, Deschutes Public Library community librarian
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz,” by Heather Morris
This novel opens with men stuffed into cattle cars and transported across Europe to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Once they arrive at their destination, unimaginable horrors and cruelty are inflicted on everyone inside the walls. Lale Sokolov finds himself forced to tattoo numbers on each person entering Auschwitz. This piece of historical fiction is based on a true story and shows that even inside Auschwitz we can find incredible acts of compassion and love.
“Improvement,” by Joan Silber
This story wanders through New York City, the hills of Turkey and the interstates of New Jersey. The novel opens and closes with the story of Reyna, a single mother with a boyfriend in prison at Rikers Island whose money-making scheme comes with big risks. In the book, Silber plays a game of 20 degrees by connecting each segment of the book through the previous segment. The cascading stories result in a hopeful and absorbing story of modern life.
— Graham Fox, Deschutes Public Library adult services community librarian