Today is Valentine's Day so it seems a good time to talk about love stories. The Reminders by Val Emmich is not your typical love story but it is full of the best kinds of love. Ten year old Joan has a highly superior autobiographical memory, a fancy way of saying she remembers everything that ever happened to her. Name a date and Joan can tell you what she did that day, what she was wearing, and sometimes even the conversations that happened around her. This sounds great but some days this kind of memory is almost a burden too hard to bear.
Gavin is a 30 year old TV actor and friend of Joan's parents who just lost his partner, Sydney, to a heart attack. Gavin comes to stay with Joan and her family and strikes up an unlikely friendship with the young girl. Does Joan know the truth about Sydney's final months? Will knowing the truth ease the pain of Gavin's loss?
This lovely book is about the way the love of family and friends can help us heal and about the unreliability of memory, even perfect memory. The Reminders joined our collection in July 2017 and is available for check out now.
In the first week of May, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. King wanted to organize peaceful protests against Jim Crow laws but many adults were afraid of losing their jobs if they protested. Instead, thousands of children and teens volunteered to march in the place of their parents.
Known as the Children's Crusade, on May 2, 1963 these children headed out into the streets of Birmingham to protest peacefully. One of their goals was to talk to the Mayor about segregation in their city. On the first day of the protest, hundreds of children were arrested. On the second day, police officers sprayed children with high powered fire hoses, hit them with batons, and threatened them with police dogs. Video footage and photographs of these events ran on evening news broadcasts throughout the United States and the world, leading to a broad outcry against such treatment. On May 10, 1963 city leaders agreed to desegregate businesses in Birmingham and release all who had been imprisoned during the protests. Only one month later, President John F. Kennedy went on television to call for civil rights legislation. Many people consider the Children's Crusade one of the pivotal events of the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Some of the children who participated in the protests were as young as 7 years old!
Let the Children March is an excellent introduction to the Children's Crusade and the concepts of civil rights. It is full of colorful pictures and inspiring quotes from Dr. King and President Kennedy. The book contains a helpful timeline and bibliography for readers and families interested in learning more about civil rights. In addition, the book imparts the important message that you are never too young to stand up for what is right and make a difference in the world. I highly recommend this beautiful and challenging book for elementary aged students.
What if you knew the exact date of your death? Does having that knowledge become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy? These are the questions asked in Chloe Benjamin's wrenching new novel, The Immortalists. In the middle of the boring part of a hot summer, the Gold siblings, 13 year old Varya, eleven year old Daniel, nine year old Klara and seven year old Simon, trek across town to visit a fortune teller who reportedly has "powers". They pool their pocket money to pay for whatever secret knowledge she might bestow on them. Each sibling visits the fortune teller alone and guards the information she gives them - the exact day of their death.
But what does such information do to the trajectory of a person's life? Do the siblings even believe what the fortune teller told them? They all claim to be too rational but the decisions they each make seem to prove otherwise. Young Simon lives like he's running out of time in pre-AIDS San Francisco. Klara becomes obsessed with the her date. Daniel's life becomes all about safety and security and Varya, the oldest, devotes her career to studying how to extend her life. But is a life spent thinking about death really a life at all?
The Immortalists is both a family love story and the story of a generation asking questions about destiny and choice, what is real and what is imagined. This book arrived on the new books shelf in January 2018.