September Staff Picks

Joan K., Second Floor Reference Desk, recommends stories of courage and the triumph of the human spirit. 

The Last Girl
by Nadia Murad
I read this book hoping to better understand the conflicts in northern Iraq, and to find out what happened to a 21-year-old Yazidi girl and her friends and family. ISIS kidnapped Nadia Murad in 2014. She was sold, raped and beaten because she would not convert to Islam. Six of her brothers and her mother were killed and buried in mass graves. This is a frightening account by a farm girl who addressed the United Nations and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

A World of Partings
Edited by Ginny Gross, local author and research assistant at the Oshkosh Public Museum
This book presents a picture of everyday life in Oshkosh and Alabama from 1857 to 1869. Nancy Derby lived in difficult times with illnesses that have now been eradicated or are treatable. Nancy’s husband owned businesses that often took him away from home for long periods of time. Her diary entries focus on interactions with family and friends who give her the support she needs to survive. Thanks to the interesting well-researched annotations of Ginny Gross, many old Oshkosh references are explained in detail. 

The Pioneers
by David McCullough
How did they do it, I wondered? Traveling by wagon and river beginning in 1788 where there were only Native American pathways. Most pioneers were veterans of the Revolutionary War, who blazed their way into the Ohio River Valley and established communities. Epidemics were rampant and doctors were few. They brought their religion and culture with them and started new towns with schools and governments to match their colonial institutions. Included is an account of how their leadership held out to prohibit slavery in the new territory.

Teen Librarian Maggie M. shares a dozen favorites from YALSA’s (Young Adult Library Services Association) 2019 Teen Choice List. To see all the nominees and vote for your favorites, visit YALSA's Teens' Top Ten.

by Gretchen McNeil
Dee has been wrongfully convicted and sent to an island dubbed Alcatraz 2.0., where the worst criminals are murdered in terrifyingly creative ways for an app called Postman. She refuses to go down when she knows she's innocent. Can she make it out with her Death Row Breakfast Club before they're all killed off one by one?

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
by Hank Green
April May and her best friend Andy have fame thrust upon them after their video of a strange statue in New York goes viral. As the world discovers there is far more to the statues than people initially suspected, April finds herself becoming the primary source of authority concerning the statues. With her fame growing, April risks losing her relationships, her security, and her own identity.

Ace of Shades
by Amanda Foody
Enne Salta is a proper lady trained in dancing and etiquette. When her mother Lourdes disappears, Enne sets out to find her in New Reynes, the City of Sin, but is trapped in snares and plans set by the city's mafia families. As Enne is forced to play a dangerous game, she reconciles newfound secrets of her past and new decisions influencing her future.

American Panda
by Gloria Chao
A freshman at MIT, seventeen-year-old Mei Lu tries to live up to her Taiwanese parents' expectations. But no amount of tradition, obligation, or guilt prevent her from hiding several truths - that she is a germaphobe who cannot become a doctor, she prefers dancing to biology, she decides to reconnect with her estranged older brother, and she is dating a Japanese boy. Can she find a way to be herself, before her web of lies unravels?

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza
by Shaun David Hutchinson
Elena, the first scientifically confirmed virgin birth, acquires the ability to heal by touch at age sixteen the same year that people start disappearing in beams of light. Is she is bringing about the Apocalypse?

Ash Princess
by Laura Sebastian
At the age of six, Theodosia lost everything she ever cared about and was forced into a life of torture under the unmerciful Kaiser, surviving by pushing her true self down. One night, the Kaiser forces her to do something unthinkable, sparking a rebellion inside of her. She has one weapon - her mind - and she is determined to use it.

Batman: Nightwalker
by Marie Lu
Bruce Wayne is about to inherit his parents' fortune and their company, but first he must do community service. He ends up volunteering at Arkham Asylum where he meets Madeline, who is unlike anyone he has ever seen. Bruce must uncover why Madeline is there in the first place to make sure the people he cares about don't end up dead.

The Belles
by Dhonielle Clayton
Camille Beauregard is a talented belle, working to become the queen's favorite since she was born. When the queen asks her to do something that goes against all the rules, Camille must decide on the kind of person she wants to be.

Blood Water Paint
by Joy McCullough
Based on a true story, Artemisia Gentileschi is one of Italy's most talented painters, even though her father claims her artwork is his own. She had the choice when she lost her mother, to stay or to go. She chose to stay and apprentice with her father. Now, in the aftermath of a rape, she has the choice of living the rest of her life in peaceful silence or speaking up and facing the consequences of having a voice in a time dominated by men.

Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi
Zelie Adebola is a diviner, daughter of a powerful Maji. But magic died after the treacherous King Saran found out how to destroy it and killed every Maji in Orisha, including her mother. Now Zelie must fight through pain and hardship to get magic back for the sake of her people and Orisha itself.

The Cruel Prince
by Holly Black
A human raised in the world of faeries, 17-year-old Jude does whatever is necessary to rise to the top, even if it means going against her own values. As she cuts her path into the dangerous world of Faerie court, she also must make choices concerning not only her family, but also her heart.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay
by Adib Khorram
Darius doesn't feel like he fits in anywhere, not at home and not at school. When his family decides to take a trip to Iran to visit his mom's family, Darius is certain things will be even worse there than at home. Lonely and depressed, Darius feels utterly lost, until Sohrab shows up and changes everything.

We’ve expanded our children’s book recommendations to include both the choices below and a more in-depth list on our website. Thanks to Marie B., Head of Children’s & Family Outreach Services, for sharing her favorites this month.

Picture Books for younger readers

There Are No Bears in This Bakery
By Julia Sarcone-Roach 

This is a contender for favorite picture book of the year. One evening, a cat who patrols a bakery hears some new sounds that are not coming from the usual nighttime neighborhood critters. Might there be an actual bear at the Little Bear Café? The details captured about a cat’s nature are spot on. Cat in a box, anyone? That stretch pose? Sarcone-Roach's descriptions of the cat’s thoughts are very clever: “Up close, the bear smelled like old socks, cinnamon and adventure.” Without giving any more away, here’s one more detail: Cake sprinkles play a prominent role.     

Tomorrow Most Likely 
by Dave Eggers 

Will tomorrow be about repeating the same things you do every day, or will it hold new possibilities? Eggers aptly invites the reader to write and create their own tomorrow. Powerful.  

Goat’s Coat 
by Tom Percival 

Rhyming verse, charming illustrations and an exceptionally good story make this an excellent literary experience about kindness that kids will gobble up.   

Books for ages 8 - 12

Max and the Midknights
by Lincoln Peirce
Lincoln Peirce is known by kids for his popular Big Nate graphic novel series. This new, humorous work is part chapter book, part graphic novel. Readers will enjoy Max’s telling of his adventures in the Middle Ages.   

Hilo: Then Everything Went Wrong
by Judd Winick
In this fifth volume of the best-selling graphic novel series, Hilo and his Earth friends are back to amuse young readers. He’s still trying to find out where he’s from after falling to Earth from somewhere else. Hilo surprises and engages kids with his unique personality. 

The Bridge Home
by Padma Venkatraman
This fiction about four kids who are homeless in India seems like it would be very dark and depressing.  However, the details and descriptions of their day-to-day lives and how they cope are just extremely fascinating for those trying to imagine that reality.