“A Big Mooncake for Little Star” by Grace Lin
Enchanting illustrations in this Caldecott Honor-winning picture book underscore this fable about the cycles of the moon. Little Star just wants the tiniest of nibbles from the big mooncake her mama placed in the night sky to cool. Night after night, Little Star returns to the tasty big mooncake for nibble after nibble, until the big mooncake finally disappears.
“Front Desk” by Kelly Yang
Recently emigrated from China, Mia and her parents struggle to make the American Dream their reality. As immigrants, they face the harsh reality of racism, unrelenting hard work and poverty. However, the family’s love and belief in one another bolsters them through the toughest situations. Mia’s indomitable optimism, spunkiness, resilience and great customer service, inspire her family and everyone she meets.
“Dear Ally, How Do You Write a Book?” by Ally Carter
For teens wanting to become writers, Carter has created a blueprint to help young writers on their journey. It is filled with practical guidance not only from Carter, but also from many other notable young authors in the current teen-lit and young adult landscape including David Levithan, Zoraida Cordova, Marie Lu and more. This is a handy and insightful resource filled with top-notch advice.
“Darius the Great is Not Okay” by Adib Khorram
Growing up in Portland, Darius has never felt he belongs. He doesn’t relate closely to his Iranian mother’s culture. In fact, he prefers speaking Klingon over speaking Farsi. He never seems to make his demanding white father happy. He’s bullied at school and has few friends. On top of going through the normal teen angst, he has been diagnosed with clinical depression. When his family decides to travel to Iran to visit his dying grandfather, Darius finds he’s also an outsider there. But the experience changes his perspective about himself, his family and what it means to belong.
— Josephine Caisse, Deschutes Public Library community librarian
“The Other Americans” by Laila Lalami
A hit-and-run death is at the crux of this quietly powerful novel, which is equal parts mystery, social commentary and character study. When Moroccan immigrant Driss Guerraoui is killed, his family fractures. Nora is convinced the act was deliberate while her mother and sister are ready to accept it as an accident and move on. Told through multiple perspectives, we see the past and present struggles of the Guerraoui family, as well as of those around them. A suspenseful read that explores important topics in an engaging, restrained manner.
“The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present” by David Treuer
If you enjoyed Ron Chernow’s “Alexander Hamilton,” consider this excellent new history for your summer reading. Treuer, of the Ojibwe tribe, gives us a compelling modern history of Native Americans told not from a perspective of defeat, but of resilience and triumph in the face of the overwhelming governmental and societal odds stacked against them. Meticulous research is combined with personal anecdotes to create a rich and captivating narrative that will likely upend some things learned in school and, hopefully, shift some long-held stereotypes.
— Jenny Pedersen, Deschutes Public Library community librarian