Jewish American Heritage Month

May is Jewish American Heritage Month. Each May, we celebrate and learn more about the varied experiences of American Jewish life from the start of the United States to the present. The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History has put together a website full of resources focused on Jewish American Heritage Month.

All descriptions are provided by the publishers.

Nonfiction

American Baby: a mother, a child, and the shadow history of adoption  by Gabrielle Glaser

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Exploring American Jewish History Through 50 Historic Treasures by Avi Y. Decter

Exploring American Jewish History through 50 Historic Treasures offers students and general readers new perspectives on the rich complexity of Jewish experiences in America. As one of America’s most fascinating and enduring minorities, American Jews have played key roles in every era of American history and every region of the country.

The 50 treasures are depicted in full color and range from a family cookbook to a college campus and include items that are iconic, ordinary, and whimsical. Each of the treasures is described in historical, material, and visual contexts, offering readers new, unexpected insights into the meanings of Jewish life, history, and culture. – Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

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Koshersoul: the faith and food journey of an African American Jew by Michael Twitty

The James Beard award-winning author of the acclaimed The Cooking Gene explores the cultural crossroads of Jewish and African diaspora cuisine and issues of memory, identity, and food.

In Koshersoul, Michael W. Twitty considers the marriage of two of the most distinctive culinary cultures in the world today: the foods and traditions of the African Atlantic and the global Jewish diaspora. To Twitty, the creation of African-Jewish cooking is a conversation of migrations and a dialogue of diasporas offering a rich background for inventive recipes and the people who create them. 

The question that most intrigues him is not just who makes the food, but how the food makes the people. Jews of Color are not outliers, Twitty contends, but significant and meaningful cultural creators in both Black and Jewish civilizations. Koshersoul also explores how food has shaped the journeys of numerous cooks, including Twitty’s own passage to and within Judaism.

As intimate, thought-provoking, and profound as The Cooking Gene, this remarkable book teases the senses as it offers sustenance for the soul. – Amistad

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Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman

A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats. 

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history’s most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma. – Pantheon

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Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood by Mark Oppenheimer

A piercing portrait of the struggles and triumphs of one of America’s renowned Jewish neighborhoods in the wake of unspeakable tragedy that highlights the hopes, fears, and tensions all Americans must confront on the road to healing.

Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, is one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in the country, known for its tight-knit community and the profusion of multigenerational families. On October 27, 2018, a gunman killed eleven Jews who were worshipping at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill–the most deadly anti-Semitic attack in American history.
 
Many neighborhoods would be understandably subsumed by despair and recrimination after such an event, but not this one. Mark Oppenheimer poignantly shifts the focus away from the criminal and his crime, and instead presents the historic, spirited community at the center of this heartbreak. He speaks with residents and nonresidents, Jews and gentiles, survivors and witnesses, teenagers and seniors, activists and historians.
 
Together, these stories provide a kaleidoscopic and nuanced account of collective grief, love, support, and revival. But Oppenheimer also details the difficult dialogue and messy confrontations that Squirrel Hill had to face in the process of healing, and that are a necessary part of true growth and understanding in any community. He has reverently captured the vibrancy and caring that still characterize Squirrel Hill, and it is this phenomenal resilience that can provide inspiration to any place burdened with discrimination and hate.  – Knopf

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The Cost of Free Land: Jews, Lakota, and an American inheritance by Rebecca Clarren

An award-winning author investigates the entangled history of her Jewish ancestors’ land in South Dakota and the Lakota, who were forced off that land by the United States government

Growing up, Rebecca Clarren only knew the major plot points of her tenacious immigrant family’s origins. Her great-great-grandparents, the Sinykins, and their six children fled antisemitism in Russia and arrived in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, ultimately settling on a 160-acre homestead in South Dakota. Over the next few decades, despite tough years on a merciless prairie and multiple setbacks, the Sinykins became an American immigrant success story.

What none of Clarren’s ancestors ever mentioned was that their land, the foundation for much of their wealth, had been cruelly taken from the Lakota by the United States government. By the time the Sinykins moved to South Dakota, America had broken hundreds of treaties with hundreds of Indigenous nations across the continent, and the land that had once been reserved for the seven bands of the Lakota had been diminished, splintered, and handed for free, or practically free, to white settlers. In The Cost of Free Land, Clarren melds investigative reporting with personal family history to reveal the intertwined stories of her family and the Lakota, and the devastating cycle of loss of Indigenous land, culture, and resources that continues today.

With deep empathy and clarity of purpose, Clarren grapples with the personal and national consequences of this legacy of violence and dispossession. What does it mean to survive oppression only to perpetuate and benefit from the oppression of others? By shining a light on the people and families tangled up in this country’s difficult history, The Cost of Free Land invites readers to consider their own culpability and what, now, can be done. – Viking

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The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on our culture and on individual lives

You swab your cheek or spit in a vial, then send it away to a lab somewhere. Weeks later you get a report that might tell you where your ancestors came from or if you carry certain genetic risks. Or, the report could reveal a long-buried family secret that upends your entire sense of identity. Soon a lark becomes an obsession, a relentless drive to find answers to questions at the core of your being, like “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?” Welcome to the age of home genetic testing.

In The Lost Family, journalist Libby Copeland investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications. She explores the culture of genealogy buffs, the science of DNA, and the business of companies like Ancestry and 23andMe, all while tracing the story of one woman, her unusual results, and a relentless methodical drive for answers that becomes a thoroughly modern genetic detective story. Gripping and masterfully told, The Lost Family is a spectacular book on a big, timely subject. – Abrams Press

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Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew by Emmanuel Acho

From two New York Times bestselling authors, a timely, disarmingly honest, and thought-provoking investigation into antisemitism that connects the dots between the tropes and hatred of the past to our current complicated moment.

For Emmanuel Acho and Noa Tishby no question about Jews is off-limits. They go there. They cover Jews and money. Jews and power. Jews and privilege. Jews and white privilege. The Black and Jewish struggle. Emmanuel asks, Did Jews kill Jesus? To which Noa responds, “Why are Jewish people history’s favorite scapegoat?” They unpack Judaism itself: Is it a religion, culture, a peoplehood, or a race? And: Are you antisemitic if you’re anti-Zionist?

The questions—and answers—might make you squirm, but together, they explain the tropes, stereotypes, and catalysts of antisemitism in America today.

The topics are complicated and Acho and Tishby bring vastly different perspectives. Tishby is an outspoken Israeli American. Acho is a mild-mannered son of a Nigerian American pastor. But they share a superpower: an uncanny ability to make complicated ideas easy to understand so anyone can follow the straight line from the past to our immediate moment—and then see around corners. Acho and Tishby are united by the core belief that hatred toward one group is never isolated: if you see the smoke of bigotry in one place, expect that we will all be in the fire.

Informative and accessible, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew has a unique structure: Acho asks questions and Tishby answers them with deeply personal, historical, and political responses. This book will enable anyone to explain—and identify—what Jewish hatred looks like. It is a much-needed lexicon for this fraught moment in Jewish history. As Acho says, “Proximity breeds care and distance breeds fear.” – Simon & Schuster / Simon Element

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For more information, I recommend you check out the Read, Watch, Listen part of the Jewish American Heritage Month website as well as the Jewish Book Council website.

Transitions: A Mother’s Journey by Élodie Durand; translated by Evan McGorray

“I thought I was open-minded… The news of my child’s gender change hit me like a tidal wave, sweeping away all my certainties. Sweeping away the comfort of my tidy little life.” – Anne Marbot, Transitions: A Mother’s Journey

Élodie Durand has created an informative story about understanding identities in their new book, Transitions: A Mother’s Journey, translated by Evan McGorray. When Anne Marbot learns that her 19-year-old child is a transgender man named Alex, she is shocked and overwhelmed. What happened to the child she raised as ‘Lucie’? She has so many questions, wondering if she has failed as a parent and if Alex has thought this life-changing decision through. Initially Anne puts her feelings, thoughts, and emotions ahead of Alex’s, not caring what he thinks or feels. Anne’s journey to self-discovery is long and chaotic, full of tears and anger and strong emotions. Alex and Anne’s relationship goes through rough patches, but through it all Alex stays strong for himself, not letting Anne push him around, while offering resources for Anne to learn more about gender, sexuality, and trans people. After some time, Anne goes through a transformation of her own. Watching her change into a stronger mother and ally was hard yet meaningful, especially seeing how Anne thought she was well-meaning in her initial reaction, but was instead hurting Alex and destroying their relationship.

This story is a must-read for families and friends who are struggling to reconcile their old assumptions about gender identities with new truths. Élodie Durand has taken Anne and Alex’s stories and shown them to readers with grace and sensitivity. They take care to include research and to draw as much as possible from personal experience. There is a list of resources at the end of the book, plus ample footnotes and resources mentioned throughout.

Charm City Rocks by Matthew Norman

Are you looking for a contemporary fiction book with a dash of romance? One that doesn’t have romance as the major theme? If so, I recommend Charm City Rocks by Matthew Norman. While there is romance, there are other themes and relationships focused throughout which, in my opinion, lean this title more about friendships and family and less about romance.

Billy Perkins is an independent music teacher working out of his apartment above Charm City Rocks, a record shop in Baltimore. He’s happy. He loves his job and loves being a single dad to his nerdy teenage son, Caleb.

Margot Hammer is the former drummer of the band Burnt Flowers. They used to be famous until Margot had an infamous meltdown on television. Now she is a recluse living alone in New York City. After a new music documentary is released highlighting Burnt Flowers, Margot finds herself somewhat unwillingly thrust back into the spotlight. When a new publicist assigned to her by her label shows up on her doorstep, Margot knows she’s in for quite the life change.

Billy and Caleb have been watching this new music documentary together. When Billy mentions to Caleb that he has always had a crush on Margot, Caleb gets an idea. You see, Caleb is having difficulty choosing what college to go to because he thinks that Billy is lonely. Late one night, Caleb works out a plan to get Margot to visit Charm City Rocks.

In the cold light of day, Caleb thinks his plan is a dream, but imagine his surprise when Margot and her publicist show up in Baltimore. Her label has decided that she needs the publicity, so when the opportunity to play with a young band in Baltimore pops up, they jump at the chance. When they arrive however, they are greeted by Caleb, Billy, and the very confused owner of Charm City Rocks. This messy introduction puts Billy and Margot on a collision course to figuring out what really makes them happy.

What set this book apart for me was its unique storytelling. Norman writes from the perspectives of multiple different characters: Billy, Caleb, Margot, and more. Supporting characters are so much more in this book – readers get a glimpse into their lives and how fully they impact and interact with each other. This was a quick, charming, quirky read, one that is humorous, relatable, and goofy. This book doesn’t focus only on romantic love, which was a relief. Norman writes about family, both found and ones you’re related to, as well as finding yourself and discovering what you really need. Pick up this feel-good contemporary romance for a palette cleanser.

Prepare for the spelling bee!

The Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place from May 28-30, 2024, near Washington, D.C. Our region’s representative at the competition this year is Partha Katreddy, of Bettendorf, a seventh-grader at Pleasant Valley Junior High School. Details about watching the spelling bee broadcast can be found at https://spellingbee.com/watch.

Brush up on your own spelling skills and the history of spelling bees with these items from Davenport Public Library’s collection.

Beeline : what spelling bees reveal about generation Z’s new path to success by Shalini Shankar (2019) – Generation Z — youth born after 1997 — seems to be made up of anxious overachievers, hounded by Tiger Moms and constantly tracked on social media. One would think that competitors in the National Spelling Bee would be the worst off. Shankar argues that, far from being simply overstressed and overscheduled, Gen Z spelling bee competitors are learning crucial twenty-first-century skills from their high-powered lives, displaying a sophisticated understanding of self-promotion, self-direction, and social mobility. She examines the outsize impact of immigrant parents and explains why Gen Z kids are on a path to success. — adapted from jacket

A Champion’s Guide to Success in Spelling Bees : fundamentals of spelling bee competition and preparation by Ned G. Andrews (2011) – Comprehensive yet concise, A Champion’s Guide to Success in Spelling Bees is essential for any spelling bee contestant, whether serious or casual, as well as for study assistants such as parents, teachers, and tutors. By following this guidebook’s tactics and strategies, you will use every available resource – including but not limited to your time on stage, your existing knowledge, other study materials, and the effort that you will invest throughout your preparation – as effectively and efficiently as possible. — provided by the publisher

Painless Spelling by Mary Elizabeth Podhaizer (2011) – Analyzes sound and letter patterns, diphthongs, silent letters, homophones and homographs, compound and abbreviated words, contractions, prefixes, suffixes, and base words to teach spelling skills. — provided by the publisher

Spellbound (2002) – The documentary Spellbound chronicles the 1999 spelling bee season. Eight teens and pre-teens, along with their teachers and parents, are followed through daily practice, regionals and finally the televised spelling bee. This is the documentary that made me fall in love with documentaries. While it’s an oldie, it’s a goody! It is available for streaming through Kanopy or on DVD in RiverShare.

Cyclopedia Exotica by Aminder Dhaliwal

Aminder Dhaliwal has created a comic detailing the day-to-day of the minority cyclops community within the two-eye majority in Cyclopedia Exotica. This graphic novel is so relatable and heart-breaking. These comics were originally published on the artist’s Instagram page. Her drawing style is cartoonish, yet realistic, reminding me of some of my favorite comics.

The characters in this book come from the cyclops community and are pictured doing daily life. Some are using dating apps, others have families, some have jobs, and others are trying to figure out their identity. The cyclops are an immigrant community with physical differences from the two-eyes majority. Microaggressions occur in doctor’s offices, public transportation, museums, and every other place they visit. Despite the hardships they face, they are all just trying to live normal lives. Coexisting is hard. Being ‘othered’ is hard. Trying to find yourself is hard.

This comic is witty and full of social and cultural critiques. Even though this graphic novel is fiction, it handles real issues faced by marginalized groups today. It’s full of thought-provoking ideas. Characters face xenophia, highlighting disability, sexuality, race, and gender issues that can easily transfer to real life. Dhaliwal outlines cyclops passing as two-eyes, fetishization of cylops, interracial relationships between cyclops and two-eyes, and representation/misrepresentation of cyclops in the media. Cyclops are used as a metaphor for these issues, but this content is relatable to anyone and everyone. They are dealing with their own unique struggles, but are trying to live their daily lives the best they can while dealing with intense hate. Additionally this graphic novel has a large cast of characters, but the artist makes them all individuals and gives them all their own intriguing storylines. Cyclopedia Exotica is thoroughly engaging and full of social commentary.

Oprah’s Latest Book Club Pick: Long Island by Colm Tóibín

Join Simply Held to have certain celebrity book club picks automatically put on hold for you: Reese Witherspoon, Jenna Bush Hager, and Oprah Winfrey. While Reese and Jenna generally announce a new title each month, Oprah’s selections are more sporadic. She has announced her newest selection: Long Island by Colm Tóibín. Reminder that if you join Simply Held, you can choose to have these titles automatically put on hold for you.

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Oprah Winfrey has selected Long Island by Colm Tóibín.

Curious what Long Island is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

From the beloved, critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author comes a spectacularly moving and intense novel of secrecy, misunderstanding, and love, the story of Eilis Lacey, the complex and enigmatic heroine of Brooklyn, Tóibín’s most popular work twenty years later.

Eilis Lacey is Irish, married to Tony Fiorello, a plumber and one of four Italian American brothers, all of whom live in neighboring houses on a cul-de-sac in Lindenhurst, Long Island, with their wives and children and Tony’s parents, a huge extended family that lives and works, eats and plays together. It is the spring of 1976 and Eilis, now in her forties with two teenage children, has no one to rely on in this still-new country. Though her ties to Ireland remain stronger than those that hold her to her new land and home, she has not returned in decades.

One day, when Tony is at his job and Eilis is in her home office doing her accounting, an Irishman comes to the door asking for her by name. He tells her that his wife is pregnant with Tony’s child and that when the baby is born, he will not raise it but instead deposit it on Eilis’s doorstep. It is what Eilis does—and what she refuses to do—in response to this stunning news that makes Tóibín’s novel so riveting.

Long Island is about longings unfulfilled, even unrecognized. The silences in Eilis’ life are thunderous and dangerous, and there’s no one more deft than Tóibín at giving them language. This is a gorgeous story of a woman alone in a marriage and the deepest bonds she rekindles on her return to the place and people she left behind, to ways of living and loving she thought she’d lost. – Scribner

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Join Simply Held to have Oprah, Jenna, and Reese’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

May is Mystery Month!

One of my favorite months of the year is May, which is Mystery month!  With dozens and dozens of new releases out this spring, below are a few noteworthy releases.  As this is just a sampling, visit Reading Recommendations on the library’s website for many more mysteries.  This is the perfect time to check in with your favorite author and see if a new title is on the horizon.

Close to Death by Anthony HorowitzIn this novel, the fifth installment of the Hawthorne and Horowitz series, Detective Hawthorne is called on to investigate the apparent murder of an unpopular resident who resides on a quiet street inside a gated community.   The residents of the community have paid large amounts of money to feel safe and secure, seemingly protected from the outside world.  The murder victim was a known troublemaker and strayed from the strict community rules which made him very unpopular with his neighbors.  Was someone mad enough with him breaking the rules to resort to murder?

 

Clock Struck Murder by Betty WebbExpat Zoe Barlow is at it again in 1920s Paris in the second book in the Lost in Paris series.  During the weekly poker game hosted at her apartment, a fellow player accidentally breaks Zoe’s beloved vintage clock.  On a quest to find a replacement in the Montparnasse neighborhood flea market, Zoe finds the perfect replacement clock and purchases it immediately from her favorite shopkeeper, Laurette.  Upon arrival at home, Zoe discovers her clock is wrapped in the most beautiful Chagall canvas, which Zoe recognizes immediately.  Almost more impressed with the artwork, Zoe is desperate to find out more about the paintings and tracks down the vendor only to find her murdered!  With police resources scarce, Zoe turns into an amateur detective and finds out the paintings are stolen and may have been played a role in the murder of Laurette.

 

Death in the Details by Katie Tietjen  – A historical mystery based on the life of the “mother of forensic science”, Katie Tietjen has written a unique mystery where a skilled creator of doll houses uses her talent to recreate crime scenes in miniature.  In the years after WWII Maple Bishop is still learning to live without her husband, Bill, who was killed in the war.  She soon learns that he has left her with no income and she risks losing their family home in Vermont.  Maple has no choice but to turn to her natural talent to earn a living – making miniatures for dollhouses.  On her way to make a delivery to her first customer, she discovers his lifeless body in a barn.  She decides to make a miniature of the crime scene in the hopes of putting the pieces together as an amateur sleuth.  She teams up with a new police officer to get to the bottom of the crime before she risks becoming a victim herself.

 

Locked in Pursuit by Ashley Weaver  – Electra McDonnell’s safecracking skills have made her indispensable to the British Government in this fourth installment of Ashley Weaver’s Electra McDonnell series set in WWII London.  Electra gets wind of a series of burglaries carried out by expert thieves and contacts her elusive handler, Major Ramsey, who just happens to be a member of the British government in order to garner more information. The two of them start on a journey that leads to Portugal and includes the delivery of a mysterious package that could break the case wide open.  As the group of thieves grow bolder, Electra and Ramsey hope to outwit the thieves with their own game.

 

Other exciting mystery titles coming out this spring :

Murder in Rose Hill By Victoria Thompson

Patchwork Quilt Murder by Leslie Meier

Nest of Vipers by Harini Nagendra

The Last Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal

The Comfort of Ghosts by Jacqueline Winspear

Dead Tired by Kat Ailes

 

 

Those Who Fight Monsters

The scariest monsters are the ones who hide in plain sight.    Unsuspecting men with a penchant for casual cruelty.   Murder-for-hire, extortion, and lurid sex crimes bought and sold by doughy dweebs, trusted father figures, and secret millionaires operating in the public library stacks.   This book is nonfiction.

Tracers in the Dark: the Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency is  a globetrotting technological thriller, from Bangkok to far flung data centers in Scandinavia.

Shortly after cryptocurrency’s birth in 2009, its inability to be traced financially made it a bastion for purchasing unspeakable acts on the darkweb.
Who can find and vanquish these faceless ghouls?  Enter a cast of intrepid heroes seemingly plucked from a technological Homeric tradition.   We have Tigran Gambaryan, the forensic IRS agent born into abject Soviet poverty.  Sarah Meiklejohn is  the computer scientist weaned on cryptographs.  At the age of ten she hunted in Mom’s law office for patterns among cancelled checks.  She beat the NYTimes Crossword daily by 14 and became obsessed with the Rosetta stone and cracking ancient languages.  She’ll do nicely.  And then, of course, Michael Gronager – Cofounder of Chainalysis. The man who turned cryptocurrency from assumed anonymity to a permanent breadcrumb trail back to far-flung dens of villany.  All savant superheroes in their own regard.
Evil was outrageously outmatched.

It’s satisfying to hear how this crew uses their powers…impossible to pity the ones that get caught.

7 books about motherhood from our Literacy and Learning Collection

The Literacy and Learning Collection features a wide range of topics to help you navigate family life with infants through teens and beyond. Here are seven books that focus specifically on the experience of being a mom. (Descriptions from the publishers.)

The 30-minute money plan for moms : how to maximize your family budget in minimal time by Catey Hill – Catey Hill has created smart, simple strategies to help you maximize your money in minimal time. Drawing on extensive research on the actual cost of raising a child at each age, she’ll show you how to save in every area of your life, from lowering your grocery bill (without coupons!), to saving on education and childcare, to dealing with high-interest credit card debt, and more. And she’ll show you how to do all that in less than half an hour.

Being happy, raising happy : the empowered mom’s guide to helping her spirited child bloom by Maureen Lake – Being a mom is a lot of work. Being a mom of a spirited child can be exceptionally challenging. Moms who want to change their stress and anxiety levels and make a difference in the lives of their children and family need to take steps towards wellness. Being happy, raising happy is for loving and caring moms who somehow forgot about their own needs, desires, and the impact they want to make in the world and want to start their journey towards revitalizing the mind, body, and spirit.

The Better Mom : growing in grace between perfection and the mess by Ruth Schwenk – Mothering is messy. Our joy and hope in raising children doesn’t change the reality that being a mom can be frustrating, stressful, and tiring. But just as God is using us to shape our children, God is using our children and motherhood to shape us. In The Better Mom, author Ruth Schwenk, herself a mother of four children, says there is more to being a mom than the extremes of striving for perfection or simply embracing the mess. We don’t need to settle for surviving our kids’ childhood. We can grow through it.

Brave new mom : a survival guide for mindfully navigating postpartum motherhood by Jessie Everts – Brave New Mom brings a mindfulness-based approach to new parenthood that encourages self-exploration, self-compassion, self-care, and connection. It incorporates findings from research on postpartum mental health, practices for feeling your best after having a baby, and a warm and compassionate voice for new mothers everywhere. This book gives new moms permission to see, feel, and celebrate their amazing abilities and to gather the support they need.

Help, I’m failing as a mom : the survival guide to raising a child with a mood disorder by Tanya Trevett – Written for parents who want to learn how to live with their child’s mood disorder in a healthier way, author Tanya Trevett shares what she has learned in her fifteen-year journey. Among lessons learned: The secret to letting go of guilt so they can be a better (and happier) parent; Understanding the complexities of mood disorders and why it takes a village; Methods and activities for hope and healing; Rediscovering the joy, pride, and the unconditional love moms have for their children.

The Little Book of Support for New Moms – Doula Beccy Hands and midwife Alexis Stickland know what a challenge it can be to balance self-care with motherhood. In The Little Book of Support for New Moms, they bring together decades of experience to share invaluable tips and tricks to boost confidence and calm frazzled nerves-plus answers to all those questions new moms may be too embarrassed to ask. Tackle the fourth trimester with easy recipes to nourish your postpartum body and five-minute fixes to restore your sense of humor.

Mom Babble : the messy truth about motherhood by Mary Katherine Backstrom – In Mom Babble, Mary Katherine (MK) Backstrom offers up hope, humor, and spiritual inspiration to families in the trenches of parenthood. With laughter, crying, and eye-rolls MK’s, oh so, real essays about raising littles will delight all the not perfect, not always holy, not completely normal, messy, honest and wonderful moms that read them. MK’s conversational approach connects with readers like dear friends cozied up on a coffee date.

 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Month 2024

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated each year from May 1–31. Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander voices through reading. Log your reading and activities here to earn badges and tickets all month long. Enter your tickets into our drawings for a chance to win prizes!

This reading challenge is live on Beanstack from May 1, 2024 to May 31, 2024. Curious what you need to do? Sign up on Beanstack today either online or on the app!

Needs ideas about what to read? Try any of these Asian American and Pacific Islander books.

Juvenile Nonfiction

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

Fall down seven times, stand up eight by Jen Bryant

From the Tops of the Trees by Kao Kalia Yang

Sakamoto’s Swim Club by Julie Abery

Seen and Unseen by Elizabeth Partridge

Adult Nonfiction

Asian American histories of the United States by Catherine Ceniza Choy

Breaking the Model: Stories of Asian American History and Presence

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob

A Living Memory by Nicole Chung

The Loneliest Americans by Jay Caspian King

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong

Speak Okinawa by Elizabeth Miki Brina

Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong