Books in the Park

suggestions from the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library at Pinellas Park


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2017 Adult Summer Reading Challenge

From June 3 – July 21, 2017, adults get extra chances to win prizes when they diversify their reading lists.

Get a raffle ticket for each* book you check out that satisfies at least one of these challenges:

  • It has a main character that doesn’t look or live like you.
  • It’s on a topic you don’t know much about.
  • It’s in a format you don’t normally use.
    Valid formats: graphic novel, play, poetry, book on CD, e-book, e-audiobook, digital magazine

* Up to three books per visit.

Where to get your raffle tickets:
Visit the Information desk and show your check-out receipt or the digital item on your device.

Where to submit your raffle tickets:
Place your tickets inside the hollow globe at the Check Out counter.

Don’t know what to read? We have plenty of suggestions. Click here for a list or see staff at the Information desk for a copy.


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This Day in June, by Gayle E. Pitman

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book with a simple rhyming pattern throughout the book. With these short, sweet, simple rhymes, Pitman conveys the feelings of the Pride Parades that are held annually in June to celebrate the LGBT community.

As you pick up and open This Day in June, the first thing that catches your eye are the gorgeous illustrations by Kristyna Litten. The style is very charming and expresses joy, love, and pride throughout the book. Each page shifts in hue, reflecting the colors of the rainbow. 

In addition to the story, the book includes a note to parents and caregivers. It gives suggestions for talking to children in different age groups (3-5, 6-12, and 13-18) about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways. It also includes a reading guide that explains the historical events and figures mentioned throughout the book.

With Pride fast approaching pick up a copy of This Day in June to get the party started early!

 


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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 

Ari Mendoza is fifteen years old during the summer of 1987. He lives in El Paso, TX and has few friends. His mother is a teacher and his older siblings are grown up and out of the house. His twin sisters are mothers and are 12 years older than him. His brother is in prison. His father is a Vietnam veteran, though he never speaks of his time in the war and he and Ari rarely speak at all. Life for Ari is pretty isolated until he decides to make a decision that is his and his alone after going with the flow or just doing nothing for his entire life. He rides his bike to the public swimming pool, despite not knowing how to swim. It’s there that he meets Dante.

Dante is unlike anyone that Ari has ever met. He is intelligent, kind, and adores his mom and dad. Like Ari, Dante is also Mexican-American. Their shared cultural background and loner status are just a few of the similarities that ignite their initial friendship. The relationship between Ari and Dante flourishes throughout the summer until they go back to school. They don’t attend the same school and won’t see each other again until the following year. During their time apart they grow in different ways. Ari has taken a job and has become an angry teen. He wants to know more about his brother, who he barely remembers. He learns to drive and spends time alone star gazing in the desert. Dante, spending the year in Chicago, starts to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood.

During this gap between being a child and an adolescent, Ari and Dante learn about friendship, acceptance, sacrifice, and love. As a teen centered LGBT novel, it deals with the themes of coming out in a place and time where being gay was not seen as an easily acceptable concept. It also goes into gender roles, specifically masculinity, as well as artistic expression, family secrets, and intellectualism.

The book chronicles the summer, school year, and following summer from the perspective of Ari as he exists between the universe of being a boy and a man. It is one of the purest and most sincere relationships to have graced the pages of a YA novel.  Sáenz’s characters are well written and fleshed out and their story is so realistic that you might question whether or not you are truly reading a work of fiction.

The audio book is narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. The attitude and inflection with which he reads the story truly feels like an auditory glimpse at the life of two teens in 1987.

Check the PPLC catalog for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 


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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie 

AlexieThere are a lot of things you should know about Junior Spirit. He lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation, he plays basketball, he speaks with a lisp (and a stutter), his best friend is named Rowdy, his grandmother is the nicest Indian on the reservation, and he has big dreams of becoming a cartoonist. Dreams, he realizes, that will never come true if he stays on the reservation.

To help him realize his dream, Junior has enrolled in a school in Rearden: the mostly white upper-middle-class town twenty miles away. He is nervous about what his neighbors will think of it, he is nervous about what the white kids will think of it, and he is very worried that Rowdy won’t like it, but Junior knows that if he ever wants to be a famous artist in the White world, he needs a White education.

There are two things that I love about this book: one is that Junior’s experience is completely relatable to high schoolers everywhere, and two is that Junior’s experience is not at all relatable to anyone who isn’t Indian. In True Diary, Alexie manages to perfectly capture the primal feelings that every young adult experiences. In this way any reader will understand and love Junior’s story.

Nevertheless, Alexie never lets the reader forget that Junior is a Indian from the reservation. True Diary examines not only common teen experiences, but ones that were true for an author who grew up on the real-life Spokane Indian Reservation. Partly biographical, True Diary details what it is like to live in real poverty in a country that seems to have forgotten you, and your people.

True Diary is an amazing story that I would recommend to pretty much everyone. Thought-provoking and heartfelt, Alexie has created a masterful YA novel that examines differences and creates empathy.

Check the PPLC Catalog for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.


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June Book Group Selections

Evening Book Club

Wednesday
June 14, 2017
6:30 p.m.

Choose any title by Rita Mae Brown

From the author’s website: Rita Mae Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series (which she writes with her tiger cat, Sneaky Pie) and the Sister Jane novels, as well as Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, Six of One, and the memoirs Animal Magnetism and Rita Will. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia, with cats, hounds, horses, and big red foxes.

Afternoon Book Discussion

Thursday
June 15, 2017
2:00 p.m.

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

Description from publisher: Honor Bright, a modest English Quaker, moves to Ohio in 1850–only to find herself alienated and alone in a strange land. However, Honor is drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, where she befriends two surprising women who embody the remarkable power of defiance.


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The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo, by Drew Weing

Charles could not be more appalled by his situation. His family has moved him from their sleepy suburban home to the expansive, and statistically unsafe, Echo City. The city is dirty, his new bedroom is too small, and the Asian market on the corner doesn’t sell his brand of chicken nuggets! To make matters worse, Echo City appears to be infested with ghosts, trolls, and an endless variety of monsters, all of which would not be opposed to taking a bite out of Charles.

Enter Margo Maloo: Monster Mediator. Her job is to resolve conflicts between children and monsters, and Charles is about to find out that she does not always rule in the child’s favor.

One reason I love this graphic novel is that Charles is learning and changing during the story. Charles starts out as a spoiled, self-centered, and small minded brat. When he asks for Margo’s help, she has some bad news; the monsters causing his problems were there before he was, and he needs to respect that. He can’t just barge into a place and bulldoze the existing tenants, because she won’t let him. After some tough-love lessons from Margo, Charles learns how to respect others and live in a diverse world.

This book features some impressively subtle metaphors. While not directly teaching lessons, The Creepy Case Files will expose readers to the dynamics behind heavy topics such as imperialism, manifest destiny, and modern gentrification. Hopefully, stories like these will give kids the groundwork to fully grasp these topics when they are older.

Check the Pinellas Public Library Catalog for this item.


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I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

I will raise my hand and say that, while I love adventure stories, I’m not the biggest fan of mysteries or crime stories. When I picked up I Am Princess X after seeing it recommended in our #ReadersUnite video I was drawn to the fierce Princess X character on the cover and decided to give it a shot.

The book hooks you instantly by detailing the curious friendship of Libby and May. Their friendship grows from one of circumstance to one of true sisterhood. They seem to spend every minute together creating their character, Princess X. The creative process stopped, however, when tragedy struck. Libby and her mother died in a car accident. May could no longer bring herself to write Princess X and her story died with Libby…

Or so May thought. One day, May sees a sticker with a princess character that looks exactly how Libby had drawn Princess X. Then she sees another, and another, and another. She finds out from someone sporting a Princess X patch on his bag that it’s from a popular web comic.

After reading the comic, May knows in her heart that Libby must be alive somewhere and creating more Princess X stories. With the help of a computer savvy friend, she tries to track down the creator to see if it really is her friend or someone who bought the stories from the thrift store where Libby’s father had sent all of his daughter’s belongings. What she finds is an adventure worthy of Princess X herself that puts May, her friends, and family into harm’s way.

Panels of the web comic are sprinkled throughout the novel to help guide the story, so I highly recommend reading the book instead of the audio book! The panels are wonderfully illustrated by Kali Ciesemier.

Pick up a copy of I am Princess X to find out what happens!