Find your next great read in our deck of 52 Reading Recommendation Cards! For the Whatcom County Library System 75th Anniversary year, we will be announcing a reading recommendation each week. Our recommendations will be from many genres, both adult and youth, and categorized by suit. Plan your 2019 reading with our 75th Anniversary Reading Recommendation Deck!
♣ Clubs = Belonging
♦ Diamonds = Strength
♥ Hearts = Love
♠ Spades = Growth
View the Cards
The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe Thorpe’s reflective and very human account chronicles the year she spent with the Newcomers, a class of immigrant teens, revealing the abundant challenges of cultural assimilation and resettlement. Check it out!
Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, Illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic Hoping to participate in this year’s family New Year’s Day mochi celebration Jasmine is building up her muscles and mental strength. Will it be enough? Check it out!
Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle A priest called to work with gang members in LA shares his experiences giving and receiving truly unconditional love in at-risk communities, and the renewal these encounters bring. Check it out!
27 Magic Words by Sharelle Byars Moranville When Kobi’s parents disappear she invests 27 post-its her mother left behind with the magic to bring them back. But as time moves on their magic is wearing thin. Check it out!
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley Three sisters and a difficult father must reconcile loyalty with self-worth, in Smiley’s King Lear-inspired study of what it means to belong to a family, a club one does not join intentionally. Check it out!
If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth Lewis’s life on the reservation is hard but when a new boy arrives at the local Air Force base Lewis finds an unlikely friend. Is their friendship strong enough to survive a vicious bully? Check it out!
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao Though the cruelty of others pulls them apart, Poornima and Savitha strive to overcome poverty and distance in this powerful ode to love’s indissoluble bond. Check it out!
Grizzly Boy by Barbara Davis-Pyles A child’s contrary, Grizzly Boy persona refuses to cooperate but when his mother pursues the same kind of freedom they both grow in understanding. Check it out!
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Kate’s place in the community is tested when she decides to become the first girl to run the Scorpio Races, an annual race of fantastical, carnivorous water horses. Check it Out!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon Thrust into an unknown place and time, Claire Randall navigates conflict in the Scottish Highlands with fierce strength, even as she worries about her husband back in her own time. Check it Out!
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert Step-siblings Suzette and Lionel build a bridge of love, connecting them in the face of struggles with mental health, race, and sexual identity. Check it out!
This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel The brave, warmhearted story of an unconventional family making its way demonstrates an essential truth: that life is both exactly what you think, and everything you never expected. Check it out!
There There by Tommy Orange Exploring the lived experience of Urban Indians, twelve people head to the Big Oakland Powwow, trailing personal baggage and fueled by hope they will find a sense of belonging there. Check it out!
March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell Senator John Lewis, an architect of the Civil Rights Movement, begins his compelling life story in the first of his award-winning graphic autobiography series. Check it out!
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez Illuminating the wide range of the human experience, Henriquez deftly weaves the love story of Maribel and Mayor together with the complexities of living as an immigrant in modern America.Check it out!
All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez A grandfather and granddaughter explore the circles they encounter, seeing them as metaphors for the world they’re building together. Check it out!
Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh Years before Brown v. Board of Education eight-year-old Sylvia Mendez fought bigotry in the courts, winning the right to attend the school of her choice. Check it out!
IQ by Joe Ide This Sherlock Holmes-inspired tale with a gritty, modern vibe introduces readers to Isaiah, a genius who channels personal trauma into solving crime and seeking justice. Check it out!
Alan Cole Is Not a Coward by Eric Bell Alan’s brother threatens to out him, blackmailing him into a torturous competition, but Alan finds strength in the care of his stalwart, albeit goofy friends. Check it out!
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson “If I had my life to live again …” Ursula Todd is born over and over into different versions of herself. But can she change the course of history? Check it out!
The Stranger in the Woods The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel Finkel’s mesmerizing account of Christopher Knight, who disappeared into the Maine woods to live alone for 27 years, dissects the impact of solitude on the search for greater meaning. Check it out!
Bull by David Elliott The myth of the Minotaur gets a contemporary verse reworking told from varied perspectives in a bunch of poetic forms. Searing, woeful, and debauched. Check it out!
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders Grief is the logical ending of love. This bold work of supernatural historical fiction imagines the aftermath of the death of Lincoln’s son and the all-encompassing grief enveloping the President. Check it out!
Their Great Gift by John CoyCourage, Sacrifice, and Hope in A New LandPhotographs by Wing Young Huie Lyrical language and breathtaking photography celebrate the immigrant experience, and the strength and beauty it represents for us as a nation. Check it out!
The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs The experts at America’s Test Kitchen furnish more than 100 recipes for young chefs to practice and perfect, because kids belong in the kitchen. Check it out!
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesWith searing frankness, Coates lays bare his experience as a black man in America through an open letter to his son, challenging readers to confront slavery’s legacy in present day. Check it out!
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alamaddine As a translator, books have been Aaliya’s life. Now elderly, having lived through the Lebanese Civil War, she is left pondering her life’s meaning as she tentatively reaches out for companionship. Check it out!
The Old Man by Sarah V., Illustrated by Claude K. Dubois A little girl encounters a man living on the street and offers him a gift of love and hope. Check it out!
Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) by Keith Negley A series of archetypal tough guys–knights, ninjas, wrestlers, and robots–own their feelings and proclaim the power to show and share them. Check it out!
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin As children, four siblings learn the exact date of their deaths. While that knowledge binds them to one another, it also shapes each of their lives in dramatically different ways. Check it out!
What Can a Citizen Do by Dave Eggers, Illustrated by Shawn Harris A diverse cast of kids sets out to build a towering machine of social concord and in the process exults the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Check it out!
Stardust by Neil Gaiman This fairy-tinged tale illustrates the power of love, as besotted Trystran Thorne ventures outside his village into an otherworldly realm to retrieve a fallen star – and finds more than he expected. Check it out!
Pachinko by Min Jun Lee When you live in exile, is anywhere truly home? This sprawling story of identity and loss follows one Korean family from teenage indiscretion to a hard-won life of possibility in Japan. Check it out!
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz This luminous coming of age novel paints two indelible portraits of very different young men coming to know themselves and find belonging in each other. Check it out!
The Round Houseby Louse Erdrich After a violent crime traumatizes his mother, 13-year-old Joe struggles for emotional maturity to help bring the perpetrators to justice in this suspenseful story set on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation. Check it out!
The Airport Book by Lisa Brown On its surface this encyclopedic nonfiction catalogs elements of contemporary air travel. A closer examination reveals the relationships that send us up in the air. Check it out!
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love Julián knows he is a mermaid, and dreams of swimming with the fishes. His Abuela understands, and provides the next best thing. Check it out!
Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown Belonging does not mean “fitting in”. True belonging requires us to be who we are and to embrace uncertainty in order to fully connect with one another. Check it out!
The Goat by Anne Fleming Is there a mountain goat on top of Kid’s Manhattan apartment building? Will seeing it bring seven years good luck? Kid and Will are going to find out. Check it out!
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley Ted’s most enduring relationship is with his elderly dachshund Lily. With Lily’s well-being threatened, Ted is jolted out of ambivalence to save his friend, in this magical and heart-wrenching gem. Check it out!
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore Moore reveals the hidden story of women poisoned by their employers’ greed, who found the courage to fight for vindication and justice in the face of insurmountable odds. Check it out!
#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Charleyboy Indigenous women tell their stories in a variety of forms–essays, interviews, pictures, poems–asserting their presence with fearless dominion. Check it out!
Designing Your LifeBy William Burnett This personal growth guidebook shows you how to use design thinking to create a life in which you can thrive – no matter what stage of life you’re in. Check it out!
Holi Colors by Rina Singh This beguiling board book celebration of color centers on the Hindu spring festival and the triumph of love it represents. Check it out!
Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved, Illustrated by Charlotte Pardi Check it out! When Death comes for their grandmother, four children detain him with coffee, and Death tells them an important story about loss and resilience.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid Seeking to flee their war-torn country, young lovers Nadia and Saeed decide to step through a magical door into the unknown. But will they find peace on the other side? Check it out!
Coach Wooden and Meby Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Abdul-Jabbar’s thoughtful memoir about working with Coach John Wooden during the Civil Rights era evokes the struggles society still confronts, even as their lifelong friendship shows a way forward.Check it out!
The Smell of Other People’s Housesby Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock Four teens tell alternating stories about their interconnected lives in Alaska, learning about one another, and themselves.Check it out!
The Little Barbarianby Renato Moriconi In this wordless charmer a little barbarian undertakes an adventure, foiling foes hither and thither, but it turns out he’s really just one of us.Check it out!
A Gentleman in Moscowby Amor Towles House arrest for the rest of his life inside Moscow’s luxury Metropol Hotel isn’tenough to prevent Count Rostov from becoming a man of purpose, even as societychanges around him.Check it out!
Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall Set in Texas during the Mexican Revolution, this retelling of Romeo and Juliet combines star-crossed love with drama, suspense, and contemporary relevance.Check it out
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fineby Gail Honeyman Eleanor Oliphant may have convinced herself that she’s fine, but for this quirky loner, true happiness comes with growth, when she opens herself to a world of possibility and connection.Check it out!