Banned Book Club

A Junior Library Guild Selection When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her family’s restaurant. But literature class would prove to be just the start of a massive turning point, still focused on reading but with life-or-death stakes she never could have imagined. This was during South Korea’s Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. In this charged political climate, with Molotov cocktails flying and fellow students disappearing for hours and returning with bruises, Hyun Sook sought refuge in the comfort of books. When the handsome young editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group, she expected to pop into the cafeteria to talk about Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Scarlet Letter. Instead she found herself hiding in a basement as the youngest member of an underground banned book club. And as Hyun Sook soon discovered, in a totalitarian regime, the delights of discovering great works of illicit literature are quickly overshadowed by fear and violence as the walls close in. In BANNED BOOK CLUB, Hyun Sook shares a dramatic true story of political division, fear-mongering, anti-intellectualism, the death of democratic institutions, and the relentless rebellion of reading.

Hector; a boy, a protest, and the photograph that changed apartheid

On June 16, 1976, Hector Pieterson, an ordinary boy, lost his life after getting caught up in what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Black South African students were marching against a new law requiring that they be taught half of their subjects in Afrikaans, the language of the White government. The story’s events unfold from the perspectives of Hector, his sister, and the photographer who captured their photo in the chaos. This book can serve as a pertinent tool for adults discussing global history and race relations with children. Its graphic novel style and mixed media art portray the vibrancy and grit of Hector’s daily life and untimely death. Heartbreaking yet relevant, this powerful story gives voice to an ordinary boy and sheds light on events that helped lead to the end of apartheid.

Noisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed The World – A Graphic Collection From Kazoo

In 25 distinct styles from some of the most exciting comic artists, Noisemakers makes for great Women’s History Month reading and is perfect for everyone who is not afraid to use their voice and for those who could use a little boos

The Cat Man Of Aleppo

The courageous and true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who in the midst of the Syrian Civil War offered safe haven to Aleppo’s abandoned cats. Aleppo’s city center no longer echoes with the rich, exciting sounds of copper-pot pounding and traditional sword sharpening. His neighborhood is empty–except for the many cats left behind. Alaa loves Aleppo, but when war comes his neighbors flee to safety, leaving their many pets behind. Alaa decides to stay–he can make a difference by driving an ambulance, carrying the sick and wounded to safety. One day he hears hungry cats calling out to him on his way home. They are lonely and scared, just like him. He feeds and pets them to let them know they are loved. The next day more cats come, and then even more! There are too many for Alaa to take care of on his own. Alaa has a big heart, but he will need help from others if he wants to keep all of his new friends safe.

Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre

“A graphic novel biography of Charlotte Bronte, following her and her siblings from childhood to the publication of Jane Eyre”–

Call Me American

Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies. Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it suddenly became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Abdi was left with no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee. In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America was filled with twists and turns and a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi. Now a proud resident of Maine and on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life.

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan

In 1887 in India, a boy named Ramanujan is born with a passion for numbers. This picture book biography tells the story of this mathematical genius who grew up to reinvents much of modern mathematics.

Queen Of Physics; how Wu Chien Shiung helped unlock the secrets of the atom

“When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, girls did not attend school. But her parents named their daughter “Courageous Hero” and encouraged her love of science. This biography follows Wu as she battles sexism at home and racism in the United States of America to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on how atoms split”–

Monument Maker: Daniel Chester French And The Lincoln Memorial

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, fifteen-year-old Dan French had no way to know that one day his tribute to the great president would transform a plot of Washington, DC marshland into America’s gathering place. He did not even know that a sculptor was something to be. He only knew that he liked making things with his hands. This is the story of how a farmboy became America’s foremost sculptor. After failing at academics, Dan was working the family farm when he idly carved a turnip into a frog and discovered what he was meant to do. Sweeney’s swift prose and Fields’s evocative illustrations capture the single-minded determination with which Dan taught himself to sculpt and launched his career with the famous Minuteman Statue in his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. This is also the story of the Lincoln Memorial, French’s culminating masterpiece. Thanks to this lovingly created tribute to the towering leader of Dan’s youth, Abraham Lincoln lives on as the man of marble, his craggy face and careworn gaze reminding millions of seekers what America can be. Dan’s statue is no lifeless figure, but a powerful, vital touchstone of a nation’s ideals. Now Dan French has his tribute too, in this exquisite biography that brings history to life for young readers.

Everest: The Remarkable Story Of Edmund Hillary And Tenzing Norgay

In the late morning of May 29, 1953, the sun was shining brightly and a gentle breeze was blowing on the highest elevation of the world–and two men were there to witness it for the first time ever. Their names were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and they had ascended Everest. This is the breathtaking story of how two very different, yet equally determined, men battled frost-biting temperatures, tumbling ice rocks, powerful winds, and death-defying ridges to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain. Combining fresh and contemporary illustrations by Joe Todd-Stanton with Alexandra Stewart’s captivating writing, this unique narrative tells the story of how Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made their mark on the world from birth right up to their final days and the impact they’ve had on Nepal today.