Fiction for Young Stargazers

One of the simple joys of summer is looking up and finding the familiar pattern of the Big Dipper in the night sky. Stargazing can bring you a moment of serenity, a sense of wonder, and an appreciation for the cosmos. That feeling has been perfectly captured in these inspiring books for children and teens. Each features a character who studies the heavens and discovers their own unique place in the universe. See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng.(Grades 5-7) Alex, a space-obsessed eleven-year old, dreams of building a rocket and launching his iPod into space. He takes his dog, Carl Sagan, and leaves home to attend a rocket festival in another state. But as the journey unfolds, it becomes clear that Alex’s desire to leave home is based on more than a love of rocket science. He is essentially alone in the world, until he meets a group of fellow travelers who help find hope for the future. (Also available as an audiobook) We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly (Gr 4-6) It’s 1986, a few weeks before NASA’s Challenger launch. Excitement is building about the mission, which will include a female teacher as part of the crew. Twelve-year-old Bird dreams of joining NASA and commanding a space shuttle. She loves science. Her siblings couldn’t be more different. Her twin, Fitch, has anger issues and spends his afternoons at the arcade.Their older brother, Cash, fails seventh grade and is dropped from the basketball team. At home, their parents fight constantly,  belittling each other and the children, unaware of the damage their words are inflicting. When tragedy strikes, the siblings are surprised to find hope in an unlikely place – each other.   (Also available as an audiobook) Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy (Gr 8-12) An asteroid is hurtling toward earth, threatening to destroy life as we know it. Yuri Strelnikov, a 17-year-old Russian physics genius, arrives in the U.S. to help avert global disaster. Unfortunately, his fellow scientists don’t take him seriously because of his age. Yuri is frustrated and alone until he meets Dovie Collum, an artistic high-school student who helps him think outside the box and gives him a reason to defy his superiors in a last minute attempt to save the world. The Year We Fell From Space by Amy Sarig King. (Gr 5-7) Liberty creates star maps. She has a passion for astronomy. It’s something she inherited from her father. But increasingly she’s worried that she may have inherited something else from him: mental illness. Liberty’s dad moved out months ago and hasn’t talked to her since. Now her little sister refuses to go outside and her mom is acting like everything is fine. Things are no better at school, where she is plagued by bullies and her friend group rejects her. Liberty finds comfort in talking to a meteorite she found shortly after her life began to spin out of control, but soon realizes that she needs to talk to someone other than a rock. Will she be able to map a new course for herself and her family? (Also available as an audiobook in Hoopla) Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass (gr 4-6) Ally loves science and astronomy. Bree dreams of becoming a model. Jack is a loner. They have nothing in common, except they are all unhappy about changes taking place in their lives. In a story told from alternating perspectives, an unlikely friendship unfolds as the trio meets to witness a rare solar eclipse. The Center of the Universe by Ria Voros (gr 9-12) Grace, an aspiring astrophysicist, has nothing in common with her celebrity mother. The two of them can’t seem to communicate. But when her mother disappears, Grace learns things about her mother’s past that make her question whether she really knew her at all. Was her mother abducted, or did she just leave? -Karen deWilde, Teen Librarian

“Run” With These Books

Scientific research proves that regular exercise (150 minutes per week, which is about 30 minutes, five times per week)—and running in particular—has health benefits that extend well beyond any pill a doctor could prescribe.  Running can reduce stress, improve heart health, help you live longer, sleep better and prevent many other unpleasant disorders.   Racking up miles can also help vastly improve the quality of your emotional and mental life Especially under our current stay at home conditions, running in a park or around your neighborhood (of course with the recommended precautions) can provide that much needed touch of nature, and leave you feeling invigorated. For this post I started by looking at titles on running as a physical activity; I then decided to have some fun with it and look for books with run or running in the title. As it turns out, books with run/running in the title are way more common than you would think. Here is an assorted selection of ebooks that includes fiction thrillers, running guides, and memoirs by runners.  The commonality here is that the characters in all these works are either running towards or away from something ,or maybe, they are just running! Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. Always Running La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. by Luis J. Rodríguez The award-winning memoir of life in an LA street gang, by one of the most acclaimed Chicano writers of his generation. spares no detail in its vivid, brutally honest portrayal of street life and violence.   Running Blind by Lee Child Jack Reacher races to solve the perfect crime in the fourth novel in Lee Child’s New York Times bestselling series.       Born to Run by Christopher McDougall In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner McDougall sets out to discover the secrets of the blissful Tarahumara Indians who have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. . In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels Provides an expert training and racing blueprint for dedicated runners of all abilities. Containing a complete, updated system, this new edition simplifies the physiology of training to facilitate every runner’s quest for peak performance.     Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek & Steve Friedman Jurek,a dominant force in ultrarunning, opens up about his life and career as a champion athlete with a plant-based diet and inspires runners at every level. Full of stories of competition as well as science and practical advice—including his own recipes—the book will motivate readers and expand their food horizons. Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton The former middle distance Olympic runner and high-end escort speaks out for the first time about her battle with mental illness, and how mania controlled and compelled her in competition, but also in life.   The Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal Sagal reflects on the trails, tracks, and routes he’s traveled, from the humorous absurdity of running charity races in his underwear—in St. Louis, in February—or attempting to “quiet his colon” on runs around his neighborhood—to the experience of running as a guide to visually impaired runners, and the triumphant post-bombing running of the Boston Marathon in 2014.  This is a commentary and reflection about running with a deeply felt personal story. Run Away by Harlan Coben You’ve lost your daughter. She runs.  And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line.     Running Home: A Memoir by Katie Arnold Over the course of three tumultuous years, Katie  ran alone through the wilderness, logging longer and longer distances, first a 50-kilometer ultramarathon, then 50 miles, then 100 kilometers. She ran to heal her grief, to outpace her worry that she wouldn’t live to raise her own daughters. She ran to find strength in her weakness. She ran to remember and to forget. This is her story and also a story of fathers and daughters, grief and renewal, adventure and obsession, and the power of running to change your life. Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron This story follows Jean Patrick Nkuba, a gifted Rwandan boy, from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life, a ten-year span in which his country is undone by the Hutu-Tutsi tensions.   See How They Run by James Patterson Outside New York City, the palatial home of Dr. David Strauss’s parents is attacked by gunmen during a glittering party. As he watches helplessly, his wife is murdered. In Los Angeles, Strauss’s brother is killed during the Academy Award ceremonies. In Manhattan, his past sweetheart, Alix Rothchild, is running for her life. Dr. David Strauss is soon obsessed with finding the explosive secret behind the murders of his family members. His dangerous odyssey takes him across Europe, and finally to the Olympics, where one of the most shattering surprises in suspense fiction will take place. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami While training for the New York City Marathon,

Reads for “Homebodies”

The health crisis we are facing has made homebodies of most of us. Whether you live in an apartment, house, mansion or cabin, home is where we are spending a significant amount of our time right now, whether we are working, working out, staying glued to our devices, finding solace in our backyards or a myriad other things. In her book, “Home Comforts: the Art and Science of Keeping House” Cheryl Mendelson writes, “Home is the one place in the world where you are safe from feeling put down or out, unentitled or unwanted.” Here are some ebooks/audiobooks centered around the home, our private places of residence and refuge. Some explain the joys and essential elements of a home; quite a few give practical advice on making our abodes more comfortable, clean, organized, and less cluttered.  Others show how our homes can be a warm and inviting place, despite the chaos and messiness of daily life. American Cozy: Hygge-Inspired Ways to Create Comfort & Happiness by Stephanie Pedersen This book demonstrates the Danish phenomenon of hygge—comfort, togetherness, and well-being—to bring coziness and ease to readers’ homes, work, and lives. Filled with charming four-color illustrations, it explores organization and home décor, entertaining, cooking, creating a happier, more productive work life, decluttering, and slowing down. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson A fascinating history of the modern home, with Bryson taking us on a room-by-room tour through his own house and using each room to explore the vast history of the domestic artifacts we take for granted. As he takes us through the history of our modern comforts, Bryson demonstrates that whatever happens in the world eventually ends up in our home, in the paint, the pipes, the pillows, and every item of furniture. The Complete Book of Clean: Tips & Techniques for Your Home by Toni Hammersley From establishing routines, making schedules, and  DIYing green cleaning solutions to help keep every area of your home neat, safe and spotless—find it all here. Learn the best seasons to tackle home projects, storage solutions to simplify the process and teach even the messiest kids to clean up after themselves. The Complete Book of Home Organization: 200+ Tips and Projects by Toni Hammersley From storage solutions and cleaning tips to secret space-saving methods and expert strategies, this book is packed with the tips and shortcuts you need to effectively organize your home. Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff by Myquillyn Smith; read by Lisa Wright A step by step guide on making purposeful design decisions for your home. You’ll have the tools to transform your home starting with what you already have, and using just enough of the right furniture and decor to create a home you’re proud of in a way that honors your personal priorities, budget, and style. Elegant and Easy Rooms: 250 Trade Secrets for Decorating Your Home by Dylan Landis Covers everything from how to arrange furniture in comfortable and imaginative ways to how to choose a color to create a certain mood or period The Elements Of A Home: Curious Histories behind Everyday Household Objects, from Pillows to Forks by Amy Azzarito Reveals the fascinating stories behind more than 60 everyday household objects and furnishings.  With tales from the kitchen, the bedroom, and every room in between, these pages expose how napkins got their start as lumps of dough in ancient Greece, why forks were once seen as immoral tools of the devil, and how Plato devised one of the earliest alarm clocks using rocks and water-plus so much more. Feeling at Home: Defining Who You Are and How You Want to Live by Alexandra Stoddard Focuses on this most essential aspect of decorating: creating a home that is truly your emotional center. Every room and object should answer your needs and make you feel more human and whole. Stoddard gently leads us through a process of self-attunement and self-expression in which we discover not only our practical needs, but also our yearnings–perhaps a sunny spot for reading; a colorful nook for ironing; an inviting place for paperwork. Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin “Of all the elements of a happy life,” thought Rubin, “my home is the most important.” In a flash, she decided to undertake a new happiness project, and this time, to focus on making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love. How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets by Dana K. White Bring your home out of the mess it’s in—and learn how to keep it under control. How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century by Bella DePaulo This book challenges our old concepts of what it means to be a family and have a home, opening the door to the many diverse and thriving experiments of living in twenty-first century America. Across America and around the world, in cities and suburbs and small towns, people from all walks of life are redefining our “lifespaces”—the way we live and who we live with. Lou Manfredini’s House Smarts: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Buying, Maintaining, and Living Comfortably in Your Home by Lou Manfredini In his fun, friendly, fully illustrated guide for both inexperienced and seasoned homeowners, Manfredini takes you through your entire house and around the yard, showing you how it all works and what to do when it doesn’t The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life by Joshua Becker One of today’s most influential minimalist advocates takes us on a decluttering tour of our own houses and apartments, showing us how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. He both offers practical guidelines for simplifying our lifestyle at home and addresses underlying issues that contribute to over-accumulation in the first place. The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have