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Virtual Reading Challenges on Beanstack
From Summer and Winter Reading Programs for all ages, to Read Woke and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, BCLS offers you the option to log reading and complete challenges on our Beanstack web page or the Beanstack Tracker app!
Michigan Notable Books 2021
Black Bottom Saints
An enthralling literary tour-de-force that pays tribute to Detroit's legendary neighborhood, a mecca for jazz, sports, and politics, Black Bottom Saints is a powerful blend of fact and imagination reminiscent of E.L. Doctorow's classic novel Ragtime and Marlon James' Man Booker Award-winning masterpiece, A Brief History of Seven Killings.
From the Great Depression through the post-World War II years, Joseph "Ziggy" Johnson, has been the pulse of Detroit's famous Black Bottom. A celebrated gossip columnist for the city's African-American newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, he is also the emcee of one of the hottest night clubs, where he's rubbed elbows with the legendary black artists of the era, including Ethel Waters, Billy Eckstein, and Count Basie. Ziggy is also the founder and dean of the Ziggy Johnson School of Theater. But now the doyen of Black Bottom is ready to hang up his many dapper hats.
As he lays dying in the black-owned-and-operated Kirkwood Hospital, Ziggy reflects on his life, the community that was the center of his world, and the remarkable people who helped shape it.
Inspired by the Catholic Saints Day Books, Ziggy curates his own list of Black Bottom's venerable "52 Saints." Among them are a vulnerable Dinah Washington, a defiant Joe Louis, and a raucous Bricktop. Randall balances the stories of these larger-than-life "Saints" with local heroes who became household names, enthralling men and women whose unstoppable ambition, love of style, and faith in community made this black Midwestern neighborhood the rival of New York City's Harlem.
Accompanying these "tributes" are thoughtfully paired cocktails--special drinks that capture the essence of each of Ziggy's saints--libations as strong and satisfying as Alice Randall's wholly original view of a place and time unlike any other.
City of Champions: A History of Triumph and Defeat in Detroit
The changing fortunes of Detroit, told through the lens of the city's major sporting events, by the bestselling author of Soccernomics, and a prizewinning cultural critic
"City of Champions is a sweeping' gripping' and delightfully unconventional history of one of this nation's most important cities' told via its most glorious and heartbreaking moments in sports. We come to understand more about ourselves and this city than we ever imagined."
--Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
From Ty Cobb and Hank Greenberg to the Bad Boys, from Joe Louis and Gordie Howe to the Malice at the Palace, City of Champions explores the history of Detroit through the stories of its most gifted athletes and most celebrated teams, linking iconic events in the history of Motown sports to the city's shifting fortunes.
In an era when many teams have left rustbelt cities to relocate elsewhere, Detroit has held on to its franchises, and there is currently great hope in the revival of the city focused on its downtown sports complexes--but to whose benefit? Szymanski and Weineck show how the way Detroit has fared in its stadiums, gyms, and fields is echoed in the rise and fall of the car industry, political upheavals ushered in by the depression, World War 2 and the 1967 uprising, to its recent bankruptcy and renewal.
Driven by the conviction that sports not only mirror society but also have a special power to create both community and enduring narratives that help define a city's sense of self, City of Champions is a unique history of the most American of cities.
The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X
A revisionary portrait of the iconic civil rights leader draws on hundreds of hours of interviews with surviving family members, intelligence officers and political leaders to offer new insights into Malcolm X’s Depression-era youth, religious conversion and 1965 assassination.
Grief's Country: A Memoir in Pieces
Gail Griffin had only been married for four months when her husband’s body was found in the Manistee River, just a few yards from their cabin door. The terrain of memoir is full of stories of grief, though Grief’s Country: A Memoir in Pieces is less concerned with the biography of a love affair than with the lived phenomenon of grief itself—what it does to the mind, heart, and body; how it functions almost as an organism. The book’s intimacy is at times nearly disarming; its honesty about struggling through grief’s country is unfailing. The story is told "in pieces" in that it is ten essays of varying forms, punctuated by four original poems, that examine facets of traumatic grief, memory, and survival. While a reader will perceive a forward trajectory, the book resists anything like a clear chronology, offering a picture of deep grief as something that defies the linear and explodes time. "A Strong Brown God" tells the story of two of Griffin’s significant relationships—with her husband, Bob, and with the Manistee River—and includes the history of what drew them all together. "Grief’s Country" follows Griffin from the morning after Bob’s death through the first disoriented, fractured months of PTSD. "Heartbreak Hotel" takes Griffin on a tragicomical flight the first Christmas after Bob’s death to a Jamaican resort—which includes an unscheduled stop at Graceland—where she contemplates the notions of home and haven. Grief’s Country will speak directly to anyone who has lost a dearly loved one, offering not one story but ten different faces of grief to contemplate. It will also appeal to general readers of memoir, including teachers and students of nonfiction, especially as it includes a variety of formal models. Those interested in the subject area of death and dying will find it useful as a book that bypasses recovery narratives, truisms, and "stages of grief" to get as close as possible to the experience itself.
Growing up, identical twins Paula and Artis speak in one voice--until they can't. After years apart, with lives, partners, and children of their own, they are reunited on the occasion of their father's funeral. Seeking to repair the damage wrought upon their relationship by outside forces, the twins retrace their early lives to uncover what happened--but risk unraveling their carefully constructed cocoons.
Written in spare,lyrical prose,Halfis an achingly beautiful story of intimacy and loss, revealing the complexity--and cost--of sharing your life entirely with someone else. Sharon Harrigan deftly explores how fierce lovecanalso be the very thing that leadsto heartbreak and betrayal.
I Have Something to Tell You
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A moving, hopeful, and refreshingly candid memoir by the husband of former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg about growing up gay in his small Midwestern town, his relationship with Pete, and his hope for America’s future.
Throughout the past year, teacher Chasten Glezman Buttigieg has emerged on the national stage, having left his classroom in South Bend, Indiana, to travel cross-country in support of his husband, former mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Pete’s groundbreaking presidential campaign. Through Chasten’s joyful, witty social media posts, the public gained a behind-the-scenes look at his life with Pete on the trail—moments that might have ranged from the mundane to the surprising, but that were always heartfelt.
Chasten has overcome a multitude of obstacles to get here. In this moving, uplifting memoir, he recounts his journey to finding acceptance as a gay man. He recalls his upbringing in rural Michigan, where he knew he was different, where indeed he felt different from his father and brothers. He recounts his coming out and how he’s healed from revealing his secret to his family, friends, community, and the world. And he tells the story of meeting his boyfriend, whom he would marry and who would eventually become a major Democratic leader.
With unflinching honesty, unflappable courage, and great warmth, Chasten Buttigieg relays his experience of growing up in America and embracing his true self, while inspiring others to do the same.
Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
A coming-of-age tale about a boy who discovers a love of poetry after finding his late father's journal. Adapted from a story that first appeared in Flying Lessons & Other Stories and perfect for fans of The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson.
Isaiah is now the big man of the house. But it's a lot harder than his dad made it look. His little sister, Charlie, asks too many questions, and Mama's gone totally silent.
Good thing Isaiah can count on his best friend, Sneaky, who always has a scheme for getting around the rules. Plus, his classmate Angel has a few good ideas of her own--once she stops hassling Isaiah.
And when things get really tough, there's Daddy's journal, filled with stories about the amazing Isaiah Dunn, a superhero who gets his powers from beans and rice. Isaiah wishes his dad's tales were real. He could use those powers right about now!
Kelly J. Baptist's debut novel explores the indomitable spirit of a ten-year-old boy and the superhero strength it takes to grow up.
"Isaiah's optimism, drive, and loyalty to friends and family make him a hero to cheer for." -Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
NPR Book of the Year 2020
Electric Literature: One of 55 Books by Women and Nonbinary Writers of Color to Read in 2020 | Lit Hub & The Millions: Most Anticipated Books of 2020 | Ms. Magazine: Anticipated 2020 Feminist Books | Refinery29: Books by Black Women We are Looking Forward To Reading | One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated Reads of 2020 | Amazon Book of the Month Pick | Audible Editor’s Pick | Essence’s Pick| Glamour’s Must Read | Ms. Magazine’s Anticipated Read of 2020
A startling debut about class and race, Lakewood evokes a terrifying world of medical experimentation—part The Handmaid’s Tale, part The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
When Lena Johnson’s beloved grandmother dies, and the full extent of the family debt is revealed, the black millennial drops out of college to support her family and takes a job in the mysterious and remote town of Lakewood, Michigan.
On paper, her new job is too good to be true. High paying. No out of pocket medical expenses. A free place to live. All Lena has to do is participate in a secret program—and lie to her friends and family about the research being done in Lakewood. An eye drop that makes brown eyes blue, a medication that could be a cure for dementia, golden pills promised to make all bad thoughts go away.
The discoveries made in Lakewood, Lena is told, will change the world—but the consequences for the subjects involved could be devastating. As the truths of the program reveal themselves, Lena learns how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the sake of her family.
Provocative and thrilling, Lakewood is a breathtaking novel that takes an unflinching look at the moral dilemmas many working-class families face, and the horror that has been forced on black bodies in the name of science.
The Mason House
After her father's untimely death, Theresa faced a rocky and unstable childhood. But there was one place she felt safe: her grandmother's house in Mason, a depressed former copper mining town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Gram's passing leaves Theresa once again at the mercy of the lasting, sometimes destructive grief of her Ojibwe mother and white stepfather. As the family travels back and forth across the country in search of a better life, one thing becomes clear: if they want to find peace, they will need to return to their roots.‚ ‚
The Mason House is at once an elegy for lost loved ones and a tale of growing up amid hardship and hope, exploring how time and the support of a community can at last begin to heal even the deepest wounds.
A People's Atlas of Detroit
Developed from a community-based participatory project, this book narrates the lived experiences of people engaged in political battles central to Detroit's future and that of urban America. Featuring contributions by over fifty figures from movement-building efforts in Detroit, it speaks to the challenges of fighting for land and housing justice, food sovereignty, economic democracy, accountable governance, and the right to the city. It weaves together maps, poetry, interviews, photographs, essays, and stories to critique status quo urban governance while elucidating radical visions for change.
R E S P E C T: The Poetry of Detroit Music
While there have been countless books written about Detroit, none have captured its incredible musical history like this one. This collection of poems and lyrics covers numerous genres including jazz, blues, doo-wop, Motown, classic rock, punk, hip-hop, and techno. Detroit artists have forged the paths in many of these genres, producing waves of creative energy that continue to reverberate across the country and around the world. While documenting and celebrating this part of Detroit's history, this book captures the emotions that the music inspired in its creators and in its listeners. The range of contributors speaks to the global impact of Detroit's music scene--Grammy winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and poet laureates all come together in this rich and varied anthology, including such icons as Eminem, June Jordan, Fred "Sonic" Smith, Rita Dove, Jack White, Robbie Robertson, Paul Simon, Nikki Giovanni, Philip Levine, Sasha Frere-Jones, Patricia Smith, Billy Bragg, Andrei Codrescu, Toi Derricotte, and Cornelius Eady.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul
From a creative team with multiple Caldecott Honors comes this vibrant portrait of Aretha Franklin that pays her the R-E-S-P-E-C-T this Queen of Soul deserves.
Aretha Franklin was born to sing. The daughter of a pastor and a gospel singer, her musical talent was clear from her earliest days in her father’s Detroit church where her soaring voice spanned more than three octaves.
Her string of hit songs earned her the title “the Queen of Soul,” multiple Grammy Awards, and a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But Aretha didn’t just raise her voice in song, she also spoke out against injustice and fought for civil rights.
This authoritative, rhythmic picture book biography will captivate young readers with Aretha’s inspiring story.
The Ship We Built
*"Everyone should read this remarkable, affecting novel."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Tender and wise, The Ship We Built is about the bravery it takes to stand up for yourself--even to those you love--and the power of finding someone who treasures you for everything you are.
Sometimes I have trouble filling out tests when the name part feels like a test too. . . . When I write letters, I love that you have to read all of my thoughts and stories before I say any name at all. You have to make it to the very end to know.
Rowan has too many secrets to write down in the pages of a diary. And if he did, he wouldn't want anyone he knows to read them. He understands who he is and what he likes, but it's not safe for others to find out. Now the kids at school say Rowan's too different to spend time with. He's not the "right kind" of girl, and he's not the "right kind" of boy. His mom ignores him. And at night, his dad hurts him in ways he's not ready to talk about yet.
But Rowan discovers another way to share his secrets: letters. Letters he attaches to balloons and releases into the universe, hoping someone new will read them and understand. But when he befriends a classmate who knows what it's like to be lonely and scared, even at home, Rowan realizes that there might already be a person he can trust right by his side.
The Wicked Sister
She thought she'd buried her past. But what if it's been hunting her this whole time?
From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Marsh King's Daughter comes a startling novel of psychological suspense as two generations of sisters try to unravel their tangled relationships between nature and nurture, guilt and betrayal, love and evil.
You have been cut off from society for fifteen years, shut away in a mental hospital in self-imposed exile as punishment for the terrible thing you did when you were a child.
But what if nothing about your past is as it seems?
And if you didn't accidentally shoot and kill your mother, then whoever did is still out there. Waiting for you.
For a decade and a half, Rachel Cunningham has chosen to lock herself away in a psychiatric facility, tortured by gaps in her memory and the certainty that she is responsible for her parents' deaths. But when she learns new details about their murders, Rachel returns, in a quest for answers, to the place where she once felt safest: her family's sprawling log cabin in the remote forests of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
As Rachel begins to uncover what really happened on the day her parents were murdered, she learns--as her mother did years earlier--that home can be a place of unspeakable evil, and that the bond she shares with her sister might be the most poisonous of all.
Wolf Island: Discovering the Secrets of a Mythic Animal
The world's leading wolf expert describes the first years of a major study that transformed our understanding of one of nature's most iconic creatures
In the late 1940s, a small pack of wolves crossed the ice of Lake Superior to the island wilderness of Isle Royale, creating a perfect "laboratory" for a long-term study of predators and prey. As the wolves hunted and killed the island's moose, a young graduate student named Dave Mech began research that would unlock the mystery of one of nature's most revered (and reviled) animals--and eventually became an internationally renowned and respected wolf expert. This is the story of those early years.
Wolf Island recounts three extraordinary summers and winters Mech spent on the isolated outpost of Isle Royale National Park, tracking and observing wolves and moose on foot and by airplane--and upending the common misperception of wolves as destructive killers of insatiable appetite. Mech sets the scene with one of his most thrilling encounters: witnessing an aerial view of a spectacular hunt, then venturing by snowshoe (against the pilot's warning) to photograph the pack of hungry wolves at their kill. Wolf Island owes as much to the spirit of adventure as to the impetus of scientific curiosity. Written with science and outdoor writer Greg Breining, who recorded hours of interviews with Mech and had access to his journals and field notes from those years, the book captures the immediacy of scientific fieldwork in all its triumphs and frustrations. It takes us back to the beginning of a classic environmental study that continues today, spanning nearly sixty years--research and experiences that would transform one of the most despised creatures on Earth into an icon of wilderness and ecological health.
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