This is part three of a three-part series spotlighting some of the best books to read while passing time during the COVID-19 quarantine.
If you’re looking for something empowering while you’re stuck at home, try “Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights” by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe. During the Civil Rights Movement, Roundtree was an attorney who not only helped her clients but also took on a racist system in North Carolina and nationally. Another book to find is “Race Against Time” by Jerry Mitchell. As a reporter, Mitchell opened Civil-Rights-era crimes, and this is his story.
You might not find “The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh” by Candace Fleming in the adult biography section of your library or bookstore. You may find it in the Young Adult section, but that doesn’t mean this book is just for teens. Adults will thrill to the story of Lindburgh, his feats and accomplishments, his life and tragedy, and the beliefs he held that tarnish his legacy today.
Civil War buffs will want “Not Even Past: The Stories We Keep Telling About the Civil War” by Cody Marrs close by. Here, Marrs takes a look at that which has been written and told for generations, and why those tales still matter. Also look for “Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War” by S.C. Gwynne. The title is appealing, all on its own.
World War II buffs will thoroughly enjoy reading “Inge’s War” by Svenja O’Donnell. It’s the story of a story that O’Donnell learned as an adult, when she reached out to her grandmother and discovered family secrets, triumphs, and villainy.
Speed demons in need of a little zoom will want to find “Faster” by Neal Bascomb, a book about a race car driver who was the victim of racism; an automaker who was the victim of financial mayhem, and an heiress who dreamed of her youth. Add in a bit of history, Nazi Germany, and a fast-paced story and really, how can you resist?
If you love reading slice-of-life historical tales, then look for “The Jamestown Brides: The Story of England’s ‘Maids for Virginia’” by Jennifer Potter. It’s the true story of the women who left their homes in Great Britain in 1620 to join settlers in Jamestown, Virginia, the hardships they endured, and what it was like to live in America at the country’s very infancy.
OK, so you’re up for something unique now, and you can’t go wrong with “Uncomfortable Labels” by Laura Kate Dale. What makes it different is that Dale is a gay trans woman who is also autistic and this book is about her self-discovery and her life.
Here’s a book for parents, and for transgender readers: “What We Will Become” by Mimi Lemay, a story of a little girl who knew she was a boy, and his mother, an ultra-Orthodox Jew who loved her child enough to give up her old life.
Maybe when this is all over, a bit of poetry is what you’ll need, and “Daddy” by Michael Montlack will be what to look for at the end of this virus’ run. Some of the poems are musings, some are heartfelt, others read a bit like individual paragraphs, all are compelling. You’ll find “Daddy” available in later April.
Books are great antidotes to being cooped up for weeks, and “Johnny’s Pheasant” by Cheryl Minnema, illustrated by Julie Flett is a good one to have. It’s the story of an injured bird, a grandma’s love, and a boy with dreams. Another goodie for little readers is “Bedtime for Sweet Creatures” by Nikki Grimes, pictures by Elizabeth Zunon. It’s a tale of goodnight, and it’s perfect for little sleepyheads.
For the middle-grader who worries about the earth, “Bugs in Danger” by Mark Kurlansky, illustrated by Jia Liu is a great find. This book looks at climate change, environmental issues, why the bug population has declined over the past few years, and what we can do to stop it. Another book to find is “Wildlife Adventure” by Coyote Peterson. It’s a book with facts and activities and it might make the time go a little faster.
Little biography lovers will be happy to sit home with Work It, Girl bios, like “Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama” or “Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison,” both by Caroline Moss, illustrated by Sinem Erkas. These books offer a great story, plus learning, plus an update on the lives featured. For the 9-to-13-year-old, a bio couldn’t be better.
The child who loves to people-watch will enjoy reading “Hmong in Wisconsin” by Mai Zong Vue, even when there aren’t a lot of people around. This is a story of immigration, bravery, war, and learning in two different cultures.
The young adult with a growing interest in politics will enjoy “Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice” by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Whitney Gardner. It’s a graphic-novel-style biography on Justice Ginsburg, from her earliest years to her current battles.
A lottery ticket and all that comes with sudden wealth are at the root of “Jackpot” by Nic Stone. When Rico Danger finds a winning ticket and shares with “Zan” Macklin, it seems like every problem either friend has ever had might be over – but money changes things, especially relationships. Another book to look for: the coming-of-age “If Anyone Asks, Say I Died from the Heartbreaking Blues” by Philip Cioffari. It’s the story of an 18-year-old, first love, and doing what’s right.
If the quarantine lasts a while, there’ll be time to read “Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio” by Derf Backderf. It’s a graphic-novel sort of history book about what happened on that horrible day in 1970, but be patient: this book releases on April 7, so look for it.