Ever wish you could ask a librarian what books they recommend and what to read? I can do this any day I choose because I have sisters that are twins and both are school library media specialists. They are sharing Librarians’ favorite books for adults and kids.
A Librarians Delight to Read and Share Books
When I asked my sisters to answer my questions on favorite books for kids, adults, and personal favorites, they both said, “we have so many book ideas that we could go on with much detail.” Let’s just say I asked the right source. Reading and books are their jobs and it’s fun.
They could not just write a list but wanted to describe the book to you too. I had to limit them, so these are the top books they thought of at the moment I asked.
Sisters, Diane and Donna
Diane is a library media specialist for two elementary schools in Rochester, Minnesota, and reads middle-grade books to help determine which ones to recommend. She also has a blog where she reviews books. If you want more details about the books she reads, then check out her blog and subscribe to it with this link. https://23books.blogspot.com/
Donna is a library media specialist in a kindergarten to a 12th-grade rural school in Minnesota. She reads a variety of books for all ages. Both spend many hours reading in their past time and always have book suggestions. I quit giving them books because they have read most of them. They have always given our family many books to read.
Diane’s Adult Reading List for 2020
Giver of Stars by Jo Jo Moyes Historical Fiction – This book is about Appalachian Pack Horse Librarians. This was my favorite book for 2020.
The Mother-in-law by Sally HepworthContemporary
Fiction/Mystery – Who killed the Mother-in-law? This book is set in Australia.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Historical Fiction – Appalachian Pack Horse Librarians and Blue People.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Fantasy/Historical Fiction – There are doors into other worlds in this book.
Westering Women by Sandra Dallas
Historical Fiction – It’s about a wagon trail headed to California with all single women.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Historical Fiction – Follows the life of one little girl who was an orphan on the train and was adopted.
Donnas Adult Suggested Reads
Where the Crawdad Sing by Delia Owens.
All of the hype is real. Everyone who reads it loves it.
William Kent Krueger’s books: This Tender Land and Ordinary Grace are stand-alone books. His other books are Court O’Connor thrillers. They are set in MN and both men and women would enjoy it.
Donna’s Favorite Personal Read
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is my favorite all time adult book.
It is a love story based on the book of Hosea in the Bible, set during the California gold rush. The first time I confessed this was my favorite book, I felt strange, but then I found more people who felt the same way. The genre is historical fiction, and Christian.
It is being made into a movie and it’s the first novel by Rivers. She dedicated it to God when she wrote it and all of the profits would go to charity. It is her most successful book.
Diane’s 2020 Middle-Grade Reads
The Line Tender by Kate Allen
Realistic Fiction – MN author and MN Middle-Grade Book of the Year – It’s about Sharks, Grief, and Friendship.
The Giant Pumpkin Suite by Melanie Heuiser Hill
Realistic Fiction – MN author – They are growing a prize-winning pumpkin for the state fair and are playing the cello.
Village of Scoundrels by Margi Preus Historical
Fiction – MN author – Based on a true story of teenagers in a French village who helped to save Jews.
White Bird by R. J. Palacio
Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel – A story about a Jewish girl who was hidden by a family in French Village in WWII
The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser
Realistic Fiction – Book 3 out of 4 about a family of kids in Harlem, NY. In this one, they have to save their mother’s baking business.
City Spies by James Ponti
Adventure/Mystery – A group of teenagers are part of a secret spy agency and are located in Scotland.
Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis
Historical Fiction – A Native American young girl’s reservation has been ordered non-existent by the government and so the family relocates to LA and tries to start over.
Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
Realistic Fiction – A girl who was struck by lightning and becomes a Math genius goes to public school for the first time since it happened.
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Realistic/Fantasy – A young black boy is shot by a police officer and he becomes a ghost who gets to follow the events after the shooting.
When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson
Graphic Novel/Biographical Novel – True story of two boys who were Somali refugees in Kenya.
Donna’s Kids/Middle Grade Reads-
Village of Scoundrels and the Littlest Voyageur by MN author, Margi Preus These are her two newest releases but I have enjoyed many of her books over the years. She usually writes historical fiction and sometimes I think I am not interested in that book, yet when I read it, I am fascinated by it.
Gordon Korman is the author that I always suggest students read.
He writes exactly the opposite of Margi Preus. His books are contemporary adventures with middle school kids. They have fun and humor and interesting “what if” plots. He started writing when he was a teenager! I loved the Mastermind Trilogy about kids who are in a large experiment to see how they will turn out in a perfect environment even if they have the DNA of notorious criminals in jail.
Kate DiCamillo is known for her book, Because of Winn- Dixie and Newbery winner The Tale of Despereaux
I enjoy the work of this MN author. I met her before she won the Newbery award and became so busy with writing and speaking. DiCamillo writes contemporary books for all elementary ages. She sometimes has quirky characters like the girls in Raymie Nightingale. She continues to give the other two characters their own novels with Beverly, Right Now, and Louisiana’s way home. DiCamillo calls upon her childhood growing up in Florida.
New Release Favorite
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare. This book isn’t really in my wheelhouse, but I read it this summer and it still sticks with me. A rural Nigerian girl wants to go to school and become a teacher but instead, she is sold by her father to be married so the man can have male offspring.
Adunni manages to escape this difficult situation only to find herself in one as equally challenging working for a flamboyant wealthy woman in Lagos. Be warned the English at the beginning is written just like she would speak and it takes a few pages to get used to it until you realize that as time passes and she keeps studying English is easier to read in the novel. Dolly Parton said this was her favorite read this summer too!
Favorite author- Lucy Maud Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables Series. Set in Prince Edward Island in the 1900s.
Donnas Picture Book Favorites
I enjoy all picture books by Patricia Polaccio. They are all heartwarming, beautifully illustrated and many are based on true stories and reinforce values for children and adults.
Diane’s Picture Book Recommendations
Finally, I don’t usually review picture books but I wrote a few titles down. There are so many picture books out there…it is wonderful. Yet it always makes me smile when the bestselling picture books on Amazon are usually older copyright dates. I think people buy books that are familiar to them.
Ho Ho Homework by Mylisa Larsen
Diane records books on spark and youtube and here is a link to a few of her reads. Link to this book. https://spark.adobe.com/video/AGBewoeXfTi1W
Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond
Link to Diane reading the book. https://studio.youtube.com/video/AsipVjSKiLc/edit
Dasher by Matt Tavares
Dozens of Doughnuts by Carrie Finison
Mother Bruce Ryan T. Higgins
Inspired to Read a New Book
I hope you were inspired by the librarians to buy a new book or head to your library to get a new book to read this week. Remember we are modeling reading to our kids and everyone around us. There are so many books to read and so little time. March 2nd is National Read Across America Day. Read, just do it one book at a time.
Blogs with Book Ideas
If you would like some other book ideas from past blogs, here are some links to my recommendations. Summer Reads and Family Favorites. Summer Reading Ideas. Bible Studies and Spiritual Growth Ideas. “Gotta Give it to God!” Picture Book Review. “Sissy Goes Tiny” By Minnesota Authors
If you have any favorite books or book series, please share in the comments.
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