Staff Picks – March 2021

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, recommended by Trish
This story hits all the marks. A story of self-discovery, determination, love for family and home, hardship and survival during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. A must read.

The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling, recommended by Georgia
A story that the author told her own children as they grew up, with illustrations by children from across the globe. This reimagined story of the Yeti gives a commentary on the dangers of ruling a kingdom, fictitious or otherwise, built upon lies and deceit and the satisfaction that in the end, common people can positively affect their destinies. 

The Scorpion’s Tail: A Nora Kelly Novel by Douglas J. Preston, recommended by Dennis
A mummified body with an old Spanish gold cross is discovered in a ghost town. Who was he and how did he die? Where did the cross originate, and why was someone digging in the area? All these questions and more are answered as FBI agent Corrie Swanson and Santa Fe archaeologist Nora Kelly investigate. Tales of lost Spanish gold and links to an event that was frightening and transformative in American history come together as they solve this mystery.  

Deacon King Kong by James McBride, recommended by Diana
In September 1969, Deacon King Kong, known as Sportcoat, entered the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn and shoots the project’s drug dealer in in plain view. Sportcoat’s burst of violence and its consequences bring to life the story of this tightly knit community, affecting the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops, Italian mobsters, church members, and Sportcoat himself.

As the story grows, the characters’ lives overlap in unexpected ways, showing us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden. That the best way to face change is without fear, but with love, hope and compassion. I thoroughly enjoyed this book with its twists and turns and unexpected diversions.

Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy by Leslie Brody, recommended by Megan
Since its publication in 1964, thousands of older children and preteens have fallen in love with the adventurous, stubborn, very funny Harriet Welsch, the protagonist of Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy. However, for readers interested in knowing more about Harriet’s creator, it was difficult to know Louise herself – she never did book signings or tours, and she died too young in the 1970s. Now, using letters, interviews, and journals, Leslie Brody draws back the curtain on this temperamental artist – from her confused childhood, her exodus from Memphis, her ambitions to be a painter and later an author, and the women she loved throughout her life. As Ole Golly says to Harriet, “You’re an individual, and that makes people nervous” – and what an individual Louise was!