Haunted Creede, a Love Letter

Main Street, Creede, Colorado, December 1942. – Library of Congress; photographed by Andreas Feininger

Haunted Creede, a Love Letter

By Kandra Payne

Hi, I’m Kandra. Many of you may know me from behind the circulation desk at the La Farge Library here in Santa Fe. I was recently lucky enough to have a book published, and I wanted to share a little bit about my book and how it came to be . . .

I stood there on the snowy playground crying. I was six years old, and my first grade teacher, moved by a short story I had written for her, had just told me in a very matter-of-fact tone, “Kandi, one day you will be a writer!”  Puzzled at the sudden outburst of tears, my sweet teacher, Miss Pate, took my hand and asked me why on earth I was crying. “I don’t want to be a writer,” I sobbed, “I want to be a professional basketball player!” She hurriedly explained that I did not have to be one or the other, I could write about being a professional basketball player. This must have placated me, because off I ran to play on the merry-go-round and did not give it much more thought. This exchange has always stuck with me though. In the back of my mind, Miss Pate’s proclamation and conviction that I would one day be a writer was the first vote of confidence to spur me in that direction and was perhaps one of the most important. When my book proposal for Haunted Creede was approved by Arcadia Publishing, I thought to myself, “Well, Miss Pate, you were right, and thank you for inspiring me so many years ago!

My research for what would one day become the collection of stories contained in my book Haunted Creede started in that very same tiny elementary school in its little library at the top of the stairs. I checked out all the books dealing with anything paranormal and devoured them. At the same time, I began collecting ghost stories about my hometown. My Aunt Jennie Kay probably told me my first, and to this day, my favorite ghost story. It is in the book, so I will not spoil it for you here, but it did encourage me to continue collecting and asking to hear more about those Creede ghosts. My collection and fascination with history grew as I did, always immensely proud to be from this charming and unique little mountain town with its boomtown beginnings and claims of being one of the wildest places in the Wild West.

Three Men stand in the doorway of the Junction Saloon where East Willow and West Willow Creeks meet. – Creede Historical Society Archives

Creede is an old silver mining town high in the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado. The town had its boom in the early 1890s and was considered, in its heyday, a haven for many of the most famous characters of Wild West lore. Poker Alice, Bat Masterson, Soapy Smith, and Bob Ford, slayer of the bandit Jesse James, had all called Creede home. There was certainly no shortage of stories to be passed down about Creede at its boomtown best. The only question was whether those stories were suitable for the ears of a child. I have to say, I had a hard time believing some of the reports I was told. The sleepy little mining town I grew up in bore no resemblance to the one in the crazy tales of mayhem I was hearing—dancehalls, prostitutes, gunfights, claim jumping, brutal murders. I had a hard timing stretching my imagination far enough to believe these could have happened in my Creede or that there had once been 10,000 residents in a town that now had a population of about 300. Where on earth did all those people LIVE? What did they DO? I had many questions and there seemed to be few concrete answers. As an adult I would set out to answer those questions and solve the mysteries that had intrigued me so as a child.

The book took an unexpected step toward realization, several years ago when I took a trip with my husband Scott to Victoria, BC. While strolling through the streets we saw a sign advertising a ghost tour. I begged him to go along with me, and he, being a paranormal skeptic, protested loud and long, but finally gave in to my enthusiastic cajoling. At the end of our tour, he turned to me and thanked me for persuading him to go! Pleasantly surprised to have learned so much local history on this one hour walk and having seen some pretty spectacular places that we would otherwise have missed, he had loved the tour. The spooky tales expertly told by our guide had added an immediateness to the history, had brought Victoria’s past to life. Later that night Scott told me: “This kind of tour would work well in Creede, and you already know all the ghost stories!” The idea germinated, and I became convinced that he was right. It became one of my dreams to share Creede’s rich history by creating its very own ghost tour. In 2017, as Creede prepared for its 125th anniversary, the time was right to put the tour into action. The Creede Ghost Tour became part of that anniversary weekend celebration and enjoyed much success. Ever since that first summer, the ghost tour has shared Creede’s history with hundreds of people. This book grew from the requests of several tour guests to see these stories in writing.

Main Street, Creede, Colorado – Courtesy of the Author, Photo taken by Annie Butler

Putting my collection in writing has been a labor of love. I liken it to piecing together a jig-saw puzzle of historic facts and eerie stories, tracing personages through newspaper archives, learning who these women and men were, what they did, how they came to live in Creede, what their contributions were to the boomtown they found themselves in, and why they might still remain here in spectral form. At times I felt the ghosts reaching out to me, guiding my research, and I hope that in some small way, I can return the favor. There is a saying that every person dies two deaths, one being corporeal death, and the second and final being the last time the person’s name is spoken aloud. It is my hope that by sharing these stories and speaking these names, I am doing my part in keeping both their memory and history itself alive.

Haunted Creede is a love letter to my hometown, Creede, Colorado. We should soon be adding the book to our library catalog, so be sure to put it on your hold list and register to join in on my author talk on September 30th. This is a book that I hope others will find interesting, and maybe even entertaining. For those who are familiar with the town of Creede, I hope that you might find in the book a little something you did not know about our colorful past. And for those who have never heard of or been to Creede, perhaps these stories will inspire you to come on up and spend some time with us at 8,852 feet.

In the spirit of our Booked Solid in Santa Fe Blog, here is a list of books that have inspired me both as a reader and a writer:

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

American Ghost by Hannah Norhaus

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston

Author Talk with Kandra Payne



September 30th


Register here https://tinyurl.com/y22fnybq

Hispanic Heritage Month – September 15-October 15

by Ann B.

September 15-October 15h, we honor the impact and contributions of the Hispanic culture and community. According to the US Census Bureau, “Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture. The observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a month long celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15” (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2020/hispanic-heritage-month.html , accessed 09/16/2020).
Below, you will find some of our favorite people, books, and resources related to the rich history of Hispanics in America.

Marie V.’s Favorites

Frida Kahlo The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self Portrait

Ana Castillo   So Far from God

Gloria Anzaldua  Borderlands La Frontera

Pablo Neruda   100 Love Sonnets

Laura Esquivel  Like Water for Chocolate

Jose Andres   Vegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook

Clarissa Pinkola Estes  Women who Run with the Wolves

Make sure to check out santafelibrary.org for more books and media celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

While we have only been observing Hispanic Heritage since 1968, Hispanic Americans have been serving in Congress much longer. “Since 1822, when Delegate Joseph Marion Hernández of Florida became the first Hispanic American to serve in Congress, a total of 128 Hispanic Americans have served as U.S. Representatives, Delegates, Resident Commissioners, or Senators” (https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/HAIC/Hispanic-Americans-in-Congress/ , accessed 09/16/2020). For more information, including a list of past and current members, check out Hispanic Americans in Congress.

My Hispanic Hero/Heroine: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress, taking office at age 29. The issues she ran on—a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, a federal jobs guarantee, abolishing ICE—are animating a new generation of voters at a time when confidence in capitalism is declining, especially among progressive millennials. (Jess G.)

Here are a few more sites to explore during Hispanic Heritage Month

Check out Google’s Doodle Celebrating Felicitas Mendez to start this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hispanic Month this site contains tools, resources, and videos along with history and fun facts.

Stop by The Oprah Magazine for articles as well as a couple of book lists to explore: Spanish Authors and Latinx Read-a-thon Books.

Patriot Day – 9/11

by John P.

Today marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11.  The event continues to haunt America.  At this point though, one could be 19 years old, and would have no knowledge of it except, through videos, conversations, and of course books. Much has been written about it, and it seems likely much will continue to be written about this event.  The Santa Fe Public Library contains quite a number of books and videos about 9/11.

Insofar as books, one title that is on most “best of” lists is The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11  by Lawrence Wright. “A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright’s remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.”

Going into the background of how it came to occur there is Holy war, Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden by Peter Bergen. “On September 11, 2001, the world in which we live was changed forever. The twin towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down, one side of the Pentagon burst into flame, and more than six thousand men, women, and children lost their lives in the most deadly terrorist attack on American soil. As shocking as it was, it had been long in the making: The assault was the most sophisticated and horrifying in a series of operations masterminded by Osama bin Laden and his Jihad group — an organization that CNN’s terrorism analyst Peter Bergen calls Holy War, Inc.”

Afterwards, the 9/11 Commission released their own report, which I have found worth reading just for background on the 19 accomplices if nothing else. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. “In November 2002 the United States Congress and President George W. Bush established by law the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission. This independent, bipartisan panel was directed to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks, identify lessons learned, and provide recommendations to safeguard against future acts of terrorism.”

For a more recent history that benefits from being 10 years after, with consequently more documentation, and classified material being available is The Eleventh Day: the Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden by Anthony Summers. “For most living Americans, September 11, 2001, is the darkest date in the nation’s history. What exactly happened? Could it have been prevented? How and why did so much acrimony and bad information arise from the ashes of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a quiet field in Pennsylvania? And what remains unresolved? What is certain: Discord and dissent continue to this day. Beginning with the first brutal actions of the hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11, The Eleventh Day tracks the precise sequence of events and introduces the players: pilots, terrorists, the airliners’ passengers, and the innocents who died on the ground. Drawing on previously classified records and raw transcripts, Summers and Swan investigate the response of President Bush and the U.S. military that day, and the failure to intercept the hijacked airliners. They document the untruths told afterward by U.S. officials and, as a counterpoint, thoroughly consider the contentions of the “9/11 truth” movement. With meticulous research, they examine the personalities of the men behind the onslaught, analyze the motives that drove them, and expose the U.S. intelligence blunders that preceded the attacks. They note how afterward–without good evidence–the Bush administration persisted in trying to link  9/11 to Iraq. And they confront, finally, the question the 9/11 Commission’s report blurred: Were the terrorists backed by powerful figures in another foreign nation–one the U.S. had long viewed as a friend? Riveting, revelatory, and unforgettable, thoroughly sourced and complete with extensive endnotes, The Eleventh Day is the essential one-volume work on a pivotal event in our history. “

For more background going back to the War in Afghanistan, Bin Laden,  and  the CIA’s involvement in that time, there is Ghost Wars: the Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll. Comprehensively and for the first time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll recounts the history of the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and sowed the seeds of the September 11 attacks. Based on scrupulous research and firsthand accounts by key government, intelligence, and military personnel both foreign and American, Ghost Wars details the secret history of the CIA’s role in Afghanistan (including its covert operations against Soviet troops from 1979 to 1989), the rise of the Taliban, the emergence of bin Laden, and the failed efforts by U.S. forces to find and assassinate bin Laden in Afghanistan.”

There are many photography books about 9/11 and the aftermath of the attack. One of the more poignant ones is Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17 by Francesc Torres. “Torres creates photographs that turn twisted steel or smashed ambulances into objects of contemplation and wonder. Accompanying his chilling photography are several pieces of writing that address the question of what place the memory of 9/11 will take in the history of the United States and the world. Newsweek senior editor Jerry Adler writes the primary text of the book, explaining how the remains of Ground Zero came to be carried to Hangar 17 and what happened to them there. Torres himself, at home in lower Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001, writes a memory piece on that day and his feelings in the presence of the twisted remains months later. Yale historian David Blight offers a piece on how 9/11 will reshape American history. The book also includes a statement by the curator of the forthcoming 9/11 Museum at the World Trade Center, where some of these pieces will be displayed.

Photo by Thomas Svensson on Pexels.com

Concerning the World Trade Center itself, highly recommended is City in the Sky: the Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center by James Glanz. “-The definitive biography of the iconic skyscrapers and the ambitions that shaped them-from their dizzying rise to their unforgettable fall. More than a year after the nation began mourning the lives lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center, it became clear that something else was being mourned: the towers themselves. They were the biggest and brashest icons that New York, and possibly America, has ever produced-magnificent giants that became intimately familiar around the globe. Their builders were possessed of a singular determination to create wonders of capitalism as well as engineering, refusing to admit defeat before natural forces, economics, or politics.No one knows the history of the towers better than New York Times reporters James Glanz and Eric Lipton. In a vivid, brilliantly researched narrative, the authors re-create David Rockefeller’s ambition to rebuild lower Manhattan, the spirited opposition of local store owners and powerful politicians, the bold structural innovations that later determined who lived and died, master builder Guy Tozzoli’s last desperate view of the towers on September 11, and the charged and chaotic recovery that could have unraveled the secrets of the buildings’ collapse but instead has left some enduring mysteries.”

Another photo essay book  worth discovering is Watching the World Change: the Stories Behind the Images of 9/11 by David Friend.   “A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year. The attack on the World Trade Center was the most watched event in human history. And the footage seen of that day came not only from TV cameras, but also from workers, tourists, and passersby, each of whose lives would change dramatically when confronted with the sight of the attacks. David Friend has uncovered the stories behind those images – from the street-level shots of the north tower crumbling to firefighters raising the American flag over the rubble. In Watching the World Change, he traces the images back to their sources and charts their impact over the next seven days. That week was the beginning of a digital age, a moment when all the advances in television, photography, and the Web converged on a single event. A brilliant chronicle of how we process disaster.”

For a photo book that contains many of the major images associated with 9/11 there is September 11: a testimony. “September 11: A Testimony is an extraordinary photographic testament to those who lost their lives on 9/11/01, those who fought to save them, and those working to rebuild. Focused on documenting scenes of endurance and resolve, it brings together the most powerful images of 9/11, as captured by Reuters photojournalists worldwide.”

One other history that keeps turning up on” best of” lists on 9/11 is Fall and Rise: the Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff. “This is a 9/11 book like no other. Masterfully weaving together multiple strands of the events in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Fall and Rise is a mesmerizing, minute-by-minute account of that terrible day. In the days and months after 9/11, Mitchell Zuckoff, then a reporter for the Boston Globe, wrote about the attacks, the victims, and their families. After further years of meticulous reporting, Zuckoff has filled Fall and Rise with voices of the lost and the saved. The result is an utterly gripping book, filled with intimate stories of people most affected by the events of that sunny Tuesday in September: an out-of-work actor stuck in an elevator in the North Tower of the World Trade Center; the heroes aboard Flight 93 deciding to take action; a veteran trapped in the inferno in the Pentagon; the fire chief among the first on the scene in sleepy Shanksville; a team of firefighters racing to save an injured woman and themselves; and the men, women, and children flying across country to see loved ones or for work who suddenly faced terrorists bent on murder. Fall and Rise will open new avenues of understanding for everyone who thinks they know the story of 9/11, bringing to life–and in some cases, bringing back to life–the extraordinary ordinary people who experienced the worst day in modern American history.

There are quite a number of films, documentaries that have been created dealing with all aspects of 9/11. Here are just three that are among the best:

9/11: Inside the Pentagon – PBS, [2016]. On September 11, 2001, 184 people lost their lives when American Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon. Today, people are surprised to hear that the Pentagon was ever a target. Few know about those who escaped, many terrifyingly close to the impact zone. This is the most complete telling of what happened at the Pentagon on a day that forever changed the world.

United 93  : Universal Studios Home Entertainment, c2006. “Knowing the US’ tendency towards eternal optimism, it’s no surprise American filmmakers have grasped upon the act of collective heroism that transpired on Flight 93 to indicate human resilience in the face of terrorism. British director Paul Greengrass notably opted for unknown actors – and even some of the traffic controllers who were actually involved on 9/11 – in this powerful, real-time drama that walks the aesthetic tightrope between documentary and fiction.”

Zero Dark Thirty:  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2013]. One of few 9/11-related movies that managed to garner box office success and critical acclaim at the same time, Zero Dark Thirty brings the hunt for Osama Bin Laden to an end in toned-down yet spectacular fashion. Nearly three hours long, methodical and researched to the bone, Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to Oscar winner The Hurt Locker opens on a black screen. A 90-second audio montage of emergency calls made from inside The World Trade Center impresses upon us the pressure and importance of finding the al-Qaeda leader.

However you choose to mark this day, remember those who lost their lives. Those in the towers, the passengers, those in the Pentagon, the first responders. Never forget.

Photo by Lars Mulder on Pexels.com

September 8th – International Literacy Day

by Callie S.

September 8th is International Literacy Day and libraries and literacy go hand in hand.  It’s a perfect time to celebrate the books about books that make you love reading books! So enjoy a short list with titles that explore libraries, books, and the joy that is reading. Here are a few favorites:

The Library Book by Susan Orlean – This treasure is part memoir, part crime, and part library history beautifully interwoven to create not just an informative read, but an engaging one.  

My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul  – Written by the editor of the New York Book Review, this one is for all of you who love keeping track of the books you read. Isn’t it a joy to look back and remember reading “The Joy Luck Club” on the beach in September, right before the storm blew in? Pamela Paul gets you.

I’d Rather Be Reading by Ann Bogel – Mrs. Bogel is known in the blogging  world as “The Modern Mrs. Darcy” and she walks us through the daily pleasures and toils of being bookworms in the modern world.  

Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading by Maureen Corrigan – Ms. Corrigan is the book critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air” and her reflection on a life lived with books is filled with spice and opinions as well as the love of reading.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical reading by Nina Sankovitch – After a traumatic event, Ms. Sankovitch reads a book a day for a year. She shares how reading can help in times of anxiety and depression.  

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry  by Gabrielle Zevin – This work of fiction is a tribute to the love of books in general, but it reignited my love for short stories in particular.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fford – I read this well over a decade ago, but I will never forget the absolute joy and wonder of discovering you can create a world where people interact with literary characters.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – If any book can make you realize how precious a book really is, this one can.

Labor Day & National Beer Day

by Ann B.

According to History.com, “Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American works and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September” (https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1 ).  It also marks the end of the summer and is a time for backyard barbecues, grilling, and celebrations.  It seems appropriate as well that this year Labor Day coincides with National Beer Lover’s Day. Cook outs and beer definitely go hand in hand for this holiday.

You’ll find some books below that celebrate the art of brewing as well as guides to pairing with food or cooking with beer.  So maybe find a book on beer to celebrate Labor Day this year.  I think it’s safe to say that this has been a strange and stressful year.  We are all in need of a good party . . . with safe, social distancing and, of course, designated drivers. Please drink and celebrate responsibly.

The Oxford Companion to Beer edited by Garrett Oliver

 The Beer Bible by Jeff Alworth

Cervezas de todo el mundo by Simone Pilla

Beer Pairing: the Essential Guide From the Pairing Pros by Julia Herz

If you’re interested in the making and crafting of beer along with its societal impacts, try Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World by Christopher M. O’Brien or a DVD such as How Beer Saved the World.

These are only a few of the many books on this topic available at the library. So if you’re looking for a way to add some literature to your Labor Day, explore the books above. You may find a new beer or recipe to add to the day or you may find a way to “save the world”!

Also, if you’re interested in supporting local businesses, check out these breweries and pubs in Santa Fe.

September Celebrations

by Ann B.

We could all use a little celebration right now and September, like all months, has something for everyone. The individual holidays and special days are numerous and varied so you’re sure to find something worth celebrating. According to Holiday Insights.com (http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/september.htm) it’s Classical Music Month and National Piano Month.  It’s also Baby Safety Month and Self Improvement Month.  Oddly enough, it’s also International Square Dancing Month, too. Who knew?

Read on for a variety of days to celebrate or commemorate.

September is National Library Card Sign Up month so remind your friends about the many resources that can be found at their local library. There are plenty of titles to choose from at any library for National Read-A-Book Day or International Literacy Day.

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th through October 15th. According to census.gov, “Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture.” (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2020/hispanic-heritage-month.html).

In September, we remember VJ Day (9/2) as well as 9/11 Remembrance Day. Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on 9/16 and both Citizenship Day and Constitution Day on 9/17. We celebrate International Peace Day and World Gratitude Day on 9/21. . . both of which we need more!

On the more light hearted side of things, there are plenty of food days to celebrate, too! There’s National Cherry Popover Day, Cheese Pizza Day, National Salami Day, National Chocolate Milkshake Day, National Cream-Filled Donut Day, and many others to feed your inner foodie. There’s also National Play Doh Day and International Talk Like a Pirate Day. However my favorite is 9/22 which is Hobbit Day.

If you’re looking for a day to celebrate, you are sure to find one! Enjoy the month and celebrate the days!
Check out these websites: Holiday Insights, National Today, and Holidays-and-Observances.com.

Children and Juvenile Santa Fe Public Library Anti-Racist Materials

Photo by nappy from Pexels

Check out these Children & Juvenile books in our catalog!
All books are linked to our online catalog and can be put on hold for curbside pickup.

1. BIPOC History, Biographies, and Experiences

This list is primarily of books that explore historical events, people, movements, and experiences. Most of the books in this section are nonfiction; however, some books (especially those for older kids and young adults) are historical fiction and explore fictional characters from pivotal time periods in BIPOC history.

Ages 0-5:

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison

Underground by Shane W. Evans (Winner: Coretta Scott King Award)

Ages 6-8:

I Am Harriet Tubman by Brad Meltzer

Big Papa and the Time Machine by Daniel Bernstrom

Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and Oge Mora

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renée Watson

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks A Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson

The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney

John Henry: An American Legend retold by Ezra Jack Keats

Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes

Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story by Rita Lorraine Hubbard

The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Side by Side / Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/La Historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Hidden Figures (Picture Book Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

Ages 9-11:

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford (Caldecott Honor Book)

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons: An Enslaved Woman Fights for Freedom by Gwendolyn Hooks

A Child’s Introduction to African American History by Jabari Asim

The Civil Rights Movement by Eric Braun

This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award)

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (historical fiction)

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Newbery Medal Winner) (historical fiction)

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz (historical fiction)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (National Book Award Winner, Newberry Honor Book, and Coretta Scott King Award Winner)

Ages 12+:

March (Graphic Novel!) by John Lewis

Hidden Figures (Adapted for Young Readers) by Margot Lee Shetterly

Stolen Justice: The Struggle for African American Voting Rights by Lawrence Goldstone

Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream by Blair Imani

Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (historical fiction)

Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequality by Alison Marie Behnke 

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything American History Textbooks Get Wrong (Young Readers’ Edition)  byJames Loewen/ Rebecca Stefoff

A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Rebecca Stefoff

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (historical fiction)

Malcolm X (film)

Do the Right Thing: a Spike Lee Joint (film)

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (film)

2. Antiracism and Contemporary Currents

These books are primarily about learning antiracism, understanding current events, and participating in present-day antiracist movements. These books teach directly about racism and antiracism, or explore contemporary characters that grapple with these issues.

Ages 0-5:

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

M is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose

Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing

All the Colors We Are (Todos Los Colores de Nuestra Piel ) The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color by Katie Kissinger

What is a Refugee? by Elise Gravel

Sesame Street: We’re Different, We’re the Same (and We’re Wonderful!) by Bobbi Jane Kates

Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin

Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights by Rob Sanders

Babies Around the World by Puck

Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins

Ages 6-8:

Something Happened In Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard 

Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller

The Big Box by Toni Morrison

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester

What Makes Us Unique? Our First Talk About Diversity by Dr. Jillian Roberts

Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border by Mitali Perkins

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, Carolyn Choi

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson (also available in Spanish)

I Am Enough by Grace Byers (Goodreads Choice Awards)

Hands Up! By Breanna J. McDaniel

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka

Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor (also available in Spanish)

Same, Same, But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

If You’re Going to a March by Martha Freeman

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien

I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez (A Mighty Girl’s Book of the Year)

We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands/Tenemos El Mundo Entero en las Manos by Rafael López

Say Something! by Peter H. Reynolds

The Homesick Club by Libby Martinez & Rebecca Gibbon

I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas & Pauline Young

Real Sisters Pretend by Megan Dowd Lambert

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons (Caldecott Honor Book)

You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith 

Here I Am by Patti Kim and Sonia Sánchez

Ages 9-11:

Dealing With Racism by Jane Lacey

Taking Action for Civil and Political Rights by Eric Braun

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée (novel)

Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Eleanor Shakespeare 

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (novel)

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams (Newbery Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Award) (novel)

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World by Caroline Paul

New Kid (Graphic Novel!) by Jerry Craft

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes (novel)

For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama Lockington (novel)

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros (novel)

Ages 12+:

I Am Alfonso Jones (Graphic Novel!) by Tony Medina

This Book is Antiracist by Tiffany Jewell

Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott

Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults) by Bryan Stevenson

Dear Martin by Nic Stone (novel)

This is My America by Kim Johnson (novel)

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers) by Trevor Noah 

Things That Make White People Uncomfortable (Adapted for Young Adults) by Michael Bennett

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Printz Honor Book) (novel)

The Hate U Give (film)

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (novel)

Slay by Brittney Morris (novel)

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (National Book Award Winner and Coretta Scott King Honor Book) (novel)

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (Coretta Scott King Award Book) (novel)

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro (novel)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (novel)

Light It Up by Kekla Magoon (novel)

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (novel)

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones (novel)

Black, White, Other by Joan Steinau Lester (novel)

The Black Lives Matter Movement by Peggy Parks

Dear White People (film)

Dear White People (TV series)

3. Representation Matters: BIPOC Protagonists in Stories That DON’T Center Around Racial Trauma

This list is inspired by articles like this, this and this: showcasing books with “kids of color NOT fighting bigotry, discrimination or enslavement” but instead staring in everyday stories, exploring their world, and relishing the joy of life. Rumaan Alam writes that we need to not only promote books about racism, but also promote more books “in which little black boys push one another on the swings, in which little black girls daydream about working in the zoo, in which kids of every color do what kids of every color do every day: tromp through the woods, obsess about trucks, love their parents, refuse to eat dinner.” “Such children,” Alam writes,  “are a paltry fraction of the body of literature for children…Blackness, any sort of difference, is not a burden. Relegating blackness or other sorts of difference to serious books that explicitly engage with issues creates a context in which it can seem like one. Yes, of course, we all benefit from reading about Rosa Parks or the horrors of slavery” but “we also need more books in which our kids are simply themselves, and in which that is enough.”

Ages 0-5:

ABC What Can She Be? by Sugar Snap Studio

Whose Knees Are These? byJabari Asim

Once Upon a World: Snow White by Chloe Perkins

Once Upon a World: Cinderella by Chloe Perkins

Cuánto Mamá Te Quiere by Terry Pierce

El Sueño by Gabriela Keselman

Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride by Carole Lexa Schaefer

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse

Hush a Bye, Baby by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Look at Me! ¡Mírame! by Rachel Fuller

One Love by Bob Marley

Ages 6-8:

The Hike by Alison Farrel

Firebird by Misty Copeland

A Way with Wild Things by Larissa Theule

Here and Now by Julia Denos

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (Newbery Medal Winner, Caldecott Honor Book)

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Reading Beauty by Deborah Underwood

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Doña Flor by Pat Mora

My Singing Nana by Pat Mora

Ariba: An Old Tale About New Shoes by Masha Manapov

A Girl Like Me by Angela Johnson

Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isable Quintero

Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel

Come Back to Earth, Esther by Josée Bisaillon

Treasure by Mireille Messier & Irene Luxbacher

A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Saturday by Oge Mora

My Very Own Room (Mi Proprio Cuartito) by Amanda Irma Perez

Rainbow Weaver: Tejedora del arcoiris by Linda Elovitz Marshall

A Big Bed For Little Snow by Grace Lin

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yan

Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn (also available in Spanish)

Love Is by Diane Adams

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting

City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo

The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty (also available in Spanish)

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty (also available in Spanish)

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck

How to Be a T. Rex by Ryan North

The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker

Ages 9-11:

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Regan Barnhill

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

Love Sugar Magic: A Mixture of Mischief by Anna Meriana

Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoond

The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley

Ages 12+:

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomo Adeyemi

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (National Book Award Winner)

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Beyond the Catalog:
Anti-Racist Resources

Here is a list of resources beyond our catalog that we recommend for parents, kids, and teens.

Resources for Parents

Talking About Race: Helpful resources from the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

How Adults Can Support the Mental Health of Black Children: Psychologist Riana Elyse Anderson explains how families can communicate about race and cope with racial stress and trauma.

Rubbing Off: Allison Briscoe-Smith explains how kids learn about race—and how their parents can help them make sense of difference.

How to Talk with Your Kids About Donald Trump: Trump is creating fear and confusion in children, especially kids of color. Here are three suggestions for talking with kids about race and racism in the media.

How to Read Racist Books to Your Kids: Should parents ignore or excise racist imagery in children’s books? Jeremy Adam Smith offers another way, guided by research.

How Adults Communicate Bias to Children: A new study suggests preschoolers can “catch” prejudice from grown-ups through nonverbal behavior—and it hints at solutions.

Five Ways to Reduce Racial Bias in Your Children: How do we combat racial prejudice? New research reveals how parents influence the formation of bias in children.

How to Raise Kids Who Are More Tolerant Than You: How can we avoid feeding hate and distrust in our children?

Helping Kids Process Violence, Trauma, and Race in a World of Nonstop News: Common Sense Media: A conversation with Drs. Allison Briscoe-Smith, Jacqueline Dougé, and Nathan Chomilo.

EmbraceRace At EmbraceRace, we identify, organize – and, as needed, create – the tools, resources, discussion spaces, and networks we need to meet 4 goals:

  • Nurture resilience in children of color
  • Nurture inclusive, empathetic children of all stripes
  • Raise kids who think critically about racial inequity
  • Support a movement of kid and adult racial justice advocates for all children

Beyond the Catalog: Things to Watch with Your Child

Sesame Street: Color of Me Song

Sesame Street: Song: I Love My Hair

Systemic Racism Explained

Discrimination Explained for Kids

Sesame Street Explains Racism and Protesting

Woke Read Alouds: Wings

Kids Talk About Segregation

A Kids Book About Racism

A Kids Book About Belonging


Students Learn A Powerful Lesson About Privilege

Black Parents Explain How to Deal with the Police

Beyond the Catalog: Things to Watch with Your Teen

These 26 New York Times mini-films for students

Crown Candy

Speeches and Interviews of James Baldwin

Santa Fe Public Library Anti-Racist Materials

Image by DWilliams from Pixabay

Check out these books in our catalog!
All books are linked to our online catalog and can be put on hold for curbside pickup.


The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Broken on All Sides

Dear White People, a film about a group of African-American students as they navigate campus life and racial boundaries at a predominately white college.

Dear White People, a TV series about a group of African-American students as they navigate campus life and racial boundaries at a predominately white college.

The Hate U Give, a film based on the YA novel offering an intimate portrait of race in America

Malcolm X


I am Not Your Negro

P.S. I Can’t Breathe

The Talk: Race In America



Adult Non Fiction

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Dear White People: a Guide to Inter-racial Harmony in “post-racial” America by Justin Simien

Biased by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt

Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey

Waking Up White by Debby Irving

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady

Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens The Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era by Jerry Mitchell

They Were Her Property by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice by Fania Davis

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Black Food Geographies by Ashanté M. Reese

Race for Profit by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran

Stamped from the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X Kendi

Nobody: Casualties of America’s war on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill

Warriors Don’t Cry: a Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High by Melba Pattillo Beals

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

When Affirmative Action Was White: an Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson

How to be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal M. Fleming

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea Ritchie

killing rage: Ending Racism by Bell Hooks

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Cullors

They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lower

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene A. Carruthers

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Our Black Sons Matter: Mothers Talk About Fears, Sorrows, and Hopes Edited by Yancy George

Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment by Angela Davis

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie Glaude

Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett

Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Davis

A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing: the Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland by DaMaris Hill

The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne

We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape our Multiracial Future by Deepa Iyer 

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective Edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens, Jasmine Syedullah Ph.D.

My Vanishing Country: a Memoir by Bakari Sellers 

White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert P. Jones

We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy

Assassination of Fred Hampton : How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Hass.

Adult Fiction

Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi

An American Marriage: a Novel by Tayari Jones

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

If Beale Street Could Talk: a Novel by James Baldwin

Beyond the Catalog:
Anti-Racist Resources

Here is a list of resources beyond our catalog that we recommend.


Crown Candy

Clint Smith’s How to Raise A Black Son in America TedTalk

Roots of Justice Front Porch Conversation

Speeches and Interviews of James Baldwin

What Matters: #BLM Documentary series

White Like Me




  • My podcast episode with Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, and Bryan Stevenson about Just Mercy
  • Still Processing, a New York Times culture podcast with Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morrison
  • Seeing White, a Scene on the Radio podcast
  • Code Switch, an NPR podcast tackling race from all angles
  • Jemele Hill is Unbothered, a podcast with award-winning journalist Jemele Hill
  • Hear To Slay, “the black feminist podcast of your dreams,” with Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom
  • Pod Save The People, organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson explores news, culture, social justice, and politics with analysis from fellow activists Brittany Packnett, Sam Sinyangwe, and writer Dr. Clint Smith III
  • The Appeal, a podcast on criminal justice reform hosted by Adam Johnson
  • Justice In America, a podcast by Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith on criminal justice reform
  • Brené Brown with Ibram X. Kendi, a podcast episode on antiracism
  • Come Through, a WNYC podcast with Rebecca Carroll
  • The Kinswomen, conversations on race, racism, and allyship between women, hosted by Hannah Pechter and Yseult Polfliet

Mental Health Resources

Training & Courses

Resources for Parents

“Talking About Race.” Helpful resources from the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

How Adults Can Support the Mental Health of Black Children: Psychologist Riana Elyse Anderson explains how families can communicate about race and cope with racial stress and trauma.

Rubbing Off: Allison Briscoe-Smith explains how kids learn about race—and how their parents can help them make sense of difference.

How to Talk with Your Kids about Donald Trump: Trump is creating fear and confusion in children, especially kids of color. Here are three suggestions for talking with kids about race and racism in the media.

How to Read Racist Books to Your Kids: Should parents ignore or excise racist imagery in children’s books? Jeremy Adam Smith offers another way, guided by research.

How Adults Communicate Bias to Children: A new study suggests preschoolers can “catch” prejudice from grown-ups through nonverbal behavior—and it hints at solutions.

Five Ways to Reduce Racial Bias in Your Children: How do we combat racial prejudice? New research reveals how parents influence the formation of bias in children.

How to Raise Kids Who Are More Tolerant Than You: How can we avoid feeding hate and distrust in our children?

Helping Kids Process Violence, Trauma, and Race in a World of Nonstop News, from Common Sense: A conversation with Drs. Allison Briscoe-Smith, Jacqueline Dougé, and Nathan Chomilo.

EmbraceRace At EmbraceRace, we identify, organize – and, as needed, create – the tools, resources, discussion spaces, and networks we need to meet 4 goals:

  • Nurture resilience in children of color
  • Nurture inclusive, empathetic children of all stripes
  • Raise kids who think critically about racial inequity
  • Support a movement of kid and adult racial justice advocates for all children

National Book Lovers Day – August 9, 2020

Ann B.

The question was asked of Santa Fe Public Library staff, “What book have you read a dozen times over?  What book was the one that lit you up and made you that lifelong reader?”  The responses were many and varied:  classics to science fiction, mysteries to politics.  The titles are as diverse as the librarians and staff themselves.  This variety and diversity is one of my favorite things about libraries.  There is something for everyone.  You may not know it, but there is a book for you. 

S. R. Ranganathan theorized the Five Laws of Library Science two of which relate to our book choices:

Books are for use.
Every reader his or her book.
Every book its reader.

Save the time of the reader.
The library must be a growing organism.

These laws have gone through several iterations since they were first established in 1932.  Sometimes the word “information” is substituted for book or “learner” for reader.  But my favorites are the ideas that every book has a reader waiting for them and every reader has a book, they just maybe haven’t found it yet.  This is why my response to the statement “I don’t like to read” is “You just haven’t found the right book yet!” 

Here you will find some of our favorites; some of our books that set us on the path to be readers and bibliophiles.  Here are a couple of moments that inspired us to find “our book” or, in most cases, “our books” that keep us longing for more to read. 

Michele R.

Forever – Pete Hamill
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
Transatlantic – Colum McCann

Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren
All of a Kind Family – Sidney Taylor
Nancy Drew – Carolyn Keene

Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger
The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander
In A Different Voice – Carol Gilligan
Composing a Life – Mary Catherine Bateson

Elizabeth M.

One of my all-time favs is P.S. Your Cat Is Dead by James Kirkwood.  I worked in New York in the late 80’s, and was out walking on my lunch hour one day, and saw it in the window of a book store, and was taken by the title alone, and had to have it.  Bought it on the spot, and loved it!  Read it every year for a while, definitely overdue for another read.  Dark, raunchy comedy, some parts made me laugh until I cried.  Originally published in 1972.

Callie S.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Jane Eyre


Harry Potter

Marjorie Morningstar

Amy P.

I became a lifelong reader when my aunt gifted me the first three Nancy Drew books as a young girl. I couldn’t quite read them on my own but they inspired me to work hard at it then once I was able to read them, I became inspired by the new world the books gave me. While I have had many favorites since, I still look back on that moment as pivotal in my life. 

Chelsea V.

Angela’s ashes

Catcher in the Rye

Memoirs of a Geisha

Anna Karenina

Flowers in the Attic


Louis D.

The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O Wilson.

Jeff D.

The Borrowers

The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings

The Crying of Lot 49

Sweet Thursday

Childhood’s End

A Pattern Language


The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai

Adam R.

The Frog and Toad Treasury by Arnold Lobel

It by Stephen King

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Be Not Content: A Subterranean Journal by William J . Craddock

And the best book I’ve read in the past year has been The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I’ve also enjoyed experiencing the Harry Potter series one book per year reading them to my son. I missed them the first time around by being too cynical and thinking myself to be too old to enjoy them.

Marie V.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

I know this much is True by Wally Lamb

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Stiff by Mary Roach

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda

The Shining by Stephen King

Carrie by Stephen King

Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches by
Audre Lorde

Massacre of the Dreamers by Ana Castillo

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ann B.

My first books I read over and over again were the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I still have them. But I also had a great example of book love in my mother who always had a book in her hand . . . and still does!

Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre

Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

David Eddings – Belgariad series

Stephen King – It

Larry Niven – Ringworld series

Happy Reading!

August is National Read-A-Romance Month

by Ann B.

A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone

Mary Jo Godwin

In the past, romance novels have had a contentious relationship with libraries.  Whether their content was seen as immoral or of limited (zero) literary value, romance novels have had to struggle to find their place. The derogatory term of “bodice rippers” is commonly used to refer to traditional mass market romance novels.  This was probably due to the cover art depicted on such titles.  However, those days are, for the most part, gone.  But what makes a book a Romance novel?   According to Romance Writers of America, there are “two basic elements comprise every romance novel:  a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending”  (https://www.rwa.org/Online/Romance_Genre/About_Romance_Genre.aspx, accessed 07/28/2020).   

The romance genre has an active fan and reader base who consume these novels at a voracious rate.  The genre is also expanding across genres and there are a number of subgenres of romance spanning from mystery and suspense to supernatural and historical.  The following subgenres are taken from Romance Writers of America’s definitions:

1. Contemporary Romance – 1950 to present
2. Historical Romance –   set prior to 1950
3. Romantic Suspense – novels containing suspense, mystery, or thriller elements
4. Erotic Romance – “strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline.”
5. Romance with Spiritual Elements – the religious and/or spiritual aspect of the story is essential to the plot and may reflect any belief system
6. Paranormal, Sci-Fi, or Fantasy Romance – fantasy, science fiction or paranormal elements
7. Young Adult Romance – teen and young adult life is a core component of the plot

Some readers may just not appreciate the romance genre . . . and that’s okay. We have a large number of titles and genres from which to choose! If romance isn’t your thing, we can help you find the perfect mystery or adventure or literary fiction title that will spark your imagination or deeply engage your thoughts. Or maybe we’ll find that intriguing true crime book or a beautiful book on Monet. But maybe you want to try something new. A crossover romance with elements of suspense or science fiction will open a new world for you. You never know . . .

Check out Goodreads for some great lists!  *Reader beware – these are romance novels and some may be intense so make sure to read those descriptions and choose for yourself.*





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