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Holding Up A Mirror

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I don’t know about everyone else, but as of late I seem to have a lot of thinking time on my hands! That is something that I for one, am not super used to; normally, I am constantly on the go from one activity to the next. So now, instead of trying to fill every moment of downtime / think-time with pure distraction (don’t get me wrong—I am still doing my fair share of that!), I am trying to challenge myself to harness that think-time for good, and use it for reflection. 

I know reflecting on our lives, the lives of others, or the world at large can seem pretty daunting and honestly like something people may not be particularly drawn to at the moment...But I think reflecting becomes a bit easier when paired with the fictitious people and wondrous places of books. Reading lets us hold up a mirror to different areas of our worlds by looking at the worlds of others. What a powerful tool to help make the world a better place! So take a look and see which books might help get you that perfect combination of losing yourself and finding some thinking time...

**Note: This list contains books for middle grades, young adult, and adult readers alike. I am quite partial to the notion that children’s and YA literature is highly beneficial for adults to read as well, but we’ll let the adult selection remain for the adult audience! 

A Wish in the Dark Cover Image
ISBN: 9781536204940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - March 24th, 2020

Follow our young protagonist Pong on a breathtaking adventure through a whimsical Thai-inspired land, where all light is given by one man—the Governor. Light that is used for cooking, powering machines, and lighting homes all comes from him. But Pong is on the run, chasing the truth about the world in which he lives, all while being chased by the daughter of a prison warden from the prison he escaped. This exciting new middle grades read is an excellent way to reflect on matters of justice and privilege in our world, while exploring a new one.

Black Brother, Black Brother Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316493802
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 3rd, 2020

Another middle grades book, this title focuses on Donte, a biracial student at the predominately white Middlefield Prep. Donte constantly feels like he is compared to his older, lighter-skinned brother Trey, and treated very differently from him. When Donte is framed and punished for something he did not do, he fights to find the courage to confront the bullies and racism he faces day to day. This fight happens to come through the disciplined art of fencing—the sport of choice for Donte’s main rival, Alan. This story is a powerful mirror to use when thinking about how we treat those we believe to be different from us. 

Tigers, Not Daughters Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616208967
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - March 24th, 2020

This YA pick gives us a bit of ghost story, a good dose of female strength, and a whole lot of room to reflect on family dynamics. This captivating novel introduces us to the Torres sisters—each unique, each looking to escape the reality of their daily lives. However, when mysterious happenings begin to unfold around their family home, the Torres girls must lean on each other and draw strength from their differences as they process the loss of their eldest sister. Tigers, Not Daughters captures the fierceness of sibling loyalty, invites reflection on family dynamics, and keeps you engaged with breathtaking narrative throughout. 

The Authenticity Project: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984878618
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - February 4th, 2020

What do you get when the journal of lonely, aging artist Julian finds its way into the hands of an uptight cafe owner, an addict on a quest for sobriety, a seemingly perfect mommy-blogger, and many more? A messy, entertaining and heartwarming look at what life can be like when we shed the pretenses of having it all together. What starts as a social experiment, turns into genuine relationships as Julian’s “Authenticy Project” journal makes its way through a loveable cast of characters. Brimming with absolute charm, this piece of adult fiction is a feel-good way to examine how we present ourselves to the world.