Blind and Low Vision Book Characters in Honor of Louis Braille

Louis Braille, who was born on January 4, 1809, and died on January 6, 1852, was a blind French educator who developed the braille printing and writing system to make reading and writing accessible for individuals who are blind or experience low vision. Celebrate his memory this month with these books that feature characters who are blind or have low vision:

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr
DB 79182, LB 08913, BT 13561 (physical braille), BR 23326 (e-braille)

AOSAWA MURDERS by Riku Onda
DB 99103, BRG 04470 (e-braille)

ARRANGEMENT by Mary Balogh
DB 77497

DEAREST ROGUE by Elizabeth Hoyt
DB 81933

FORTUNE FAVORS THE WICKED by Theresa Romain
DB 85434

GREEK LESSONS: A NOVEL by Kang Han
DB 114737

IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND: A NOVEL by Edward Hoagland
DB 87210, LB 09100, BR 21809

SIGN FOR HOME: A NOVEL by Blair Fell
DB 116605, BR 24152

SONG OF THE SHANK by Jeffery Renard Allen
DB 79514

SUMMER GUEST: A NOVEL by Alison Anderson
DB 85713

SURRENDER, NEW YORK: A NOVEL by Caleb Carr
DB 86567

WHAT IS VISIBLE? by Kimberly Elkins
DB 78666, BR 20466

TBP Book Club Title Announced for January 2024!

Please join us on Tuesday, January 30 at 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) for our Book Club discussion of ANTHROPOCENE REVIEWED: ESSAYS ON A HUMAN-CENTERED PLANET by John Green (DB 103903, LB 13412). In this collection of personal essays adapted and expanded from his podcast, the author reviews the contradictions found within humanity. He discusses how mankind is both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough and covers topics ranging from the QWERTY keyboard to Canada geese. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2021

We host our Book Club meetings via Zoom, however all you need to participate is a telephone! If you have a land line, we will provide a telephone number for you to dial. If you have a smartphone, we will email you an easy “one click” number you can use to join the discussion. We will also email a Zoom invitation to those who prefer to use a computer. This information will be sent to all patrons who RSVP a week prior to the book club meeting.

To RSVP, please call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605 or email us at tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or large print copy, or if you prefer to download it from BARD. Also, please let us know if you would like a reminder via email, phone-call, or both.

Accessible StoryWalks for National StoryWalk® Week

November 12-18, 2023 is National StoryWalk® Week, sponsored by Let’s Move in Libraries and the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services! This is the third annual week-long event that, as noted in the Let’s Move in Libraries blog, celebrates “the inspiring work of libraries who spearhead StoryWalk® programs—promoting literacy, reading, health, exercise, and movement in communities and neighborhoods across the United States and the world.”

What even is a StoryWalk®? A StoryWalk® is a permanent installation incorporating a children’s story that has been deconstructed, with each page displayed separately along a path for participants to read and enjoy. It is a wonderful way to promote literacy and movement. Libraries are increasingly working to make these StoryWalks® more accessible to individuals of all abilities. Let’s Move in Libraries includes some tips for making StoryWalks® more accessible in their blog post about National StoryWalk® Week. Here are some things to consider when creating a StoryWalk®:

  • Use braille overlays on top of the book displays.
  • Incorporate an audio reading of the story into the StoryWalk®.
  • Provide audio or braille descriptions of the story’s pictures. Depending on the style of your StoryWalk®, you could even outline the pictures with puffy paint for a tactile design that can be felt!
  • Consider the location of your StoryWalk®. Places that are wheelchair accessible with a wide, paved walkway are preferable to uneven, narrow ground.

If you are in Austin, you can visit a braille enhanced StoryWalk® presented through a partnership between the Texas Talking Book Program and Austin Public Library (APL), located at APL’s Windsor Park Branch (833 Westminster Drive). Currently the APL Windsor Park StoryWalk® tells The Three Billy Goats Buenos story by Susan Middleton Elya. You can read more about this braille enhanced accessible StoryWalk® at the Talking Book Program’s June 6, 2023, press release about the launch of this partnership.

Learn more about accessible design and allyship with these books available through the Talking Book Program, and don’t forget to celebrate National StoryWalk® Week!

ACCESSIBLE AMERICA: A HISTORY OF DISABILITY AND DESIGN by Bess Williamson (DB 94027; BR 22552)

WHAT CAN A BODY DO?: HOW WE MEET THE BUILT WORLD by Sara Hendren (DB 100228; BR 23245)

DEMYSTIFYING DISABILITY: WHAT TO KNOW, WHAT TO SAY, AND HOW TO BE AN ALLY by Emily Ladau (DB 105481; BR 23987)

Remembering Louise Glück

Louise Glück, the Jewish American poet who wrote deeply personal poems focusing on themes such as religion and nature, died at the age of 80 on Friday, October 13, 2023. Throughout her decades long career she was awarded practically every honor available, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1993), U.S. Poet Laureate (2003-2004), and the National Book Award (2014). Notably, Louise Glück was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first American poet to earn this honor since T.S. Eliot in 1948.

Here are the works by Louise Glück available in the Talking Book Program collection:

POETRY COLLECTIONS:

TRIUMPH OF ACHILLES (BR 06473)

WILD IRIS (DB 37600)     

MEADOWLANDS (DB 43058) 

FAITHFUL AND VIRTUOUS NIGHT (DB 101237, BR 23465)

POEMS 1962-2012 (DB 79850)

WINTER RECIPES FROM THE COLLECTIVE (DB 106655)

ESSAY COLLECTION:

AMERICAN ORIGINALITY: ESSAYS ON POETRY (DB 101223, BR 23461)         

You can read news articles remembering Louise Glück, including:

The New York Times

The New Yorker

The Guardian

The New York Book Review

You can also listen to a Bookriot podcast that honors Louise Glück by remembering her 2020 Nobel Prize.

TBP Book Club Title Announced for September 2023!

Please join us on Thursday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m. (Central) for our Book Club discussion of BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOLS by Jillian Cantor (DB 106770).

We host our Book Club meetings via Zoom, however all you need to participate is a telephone. If you have a landline, we will provide a telephone number for you to dial. If you have a smartphone, we will email you an easy “one click” number you can use to join the discussion. We will also email a Zoom invitation to those who prefer to use a computer. This information will be sent to all patrons who RSVP a week prior to the book club meeting.

To register, please call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605, or email us at tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov.

BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOLS is available by mail as a digital cartridge. It is also available to download on BARD.

We ask that everyone remember the following:

  • Be courteous and respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.
  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.

BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOLS by Jillian Cantor: Reexamines THE GREAT GATSBY (DB 16147) through its female characters. Jay Gatsby is shot dead in his swimming pool. It appears to be a murder/suicide when the body of George Wilson, a local mechanic, is found in the woods nearby. Then a diamond hairpin is discovered, and three women fall under suspicion. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

We look forward to having you join us on September 21!

2023 Pulitzer Prize Winners

The 2023 Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced! The Pulitzer Prize, established in 1917 by provisions in the will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, is a prestigious award with 21 categories honoring achievements in journalism, literature, and music. For the first time in its 105-year history, two books were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction! Check them out, along with the other literature winners, through the Talking Book Program:

Fiction
DEMON COPPERHEAD by Barbara Kingsolver
DB 110786, LB 14284

TRUST by Hernán Díaz
DB 107949

History
FREEDOM’S DOMINION: A SAGA OF WHITE RESISTANCE TO FEDERAL POWER by Jefferson Cowie
DB 112071 (IN PROCESS)

Biography
G-MAN: J. EDGAR HOOVER AND THE MAKING OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY by Beverly Gage
DB 111434

Memoir or Autobiography
STAY TRUE: A MEMOIR by Hua Hsu
DB 110669

General Nonfiction
HIS NAME IS GEORGE FLOYD: ONE MAN’S LIFE AND THE STRUGGLE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE by Robert Samuels
DBC 26540, LB 14083

Short Stories for Shorter Days

Winter is here. The days are shorter, and you’re still recovering from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, so ease back into reading with these quick and accessible novellas and short story collections:

TENTH OF DECEMBER: STORIES by SAUNDERS, GEORGE (DB 76097, BR 19818; 5 hours 46 minutes)
Collection of ten short stories by the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant winner. In “Home” a veteran deals with reuniting with family members who have no clue about the man he has become. In the title story a suicidal cancer patient crosses paths with an imaginative boy. Strong language. Bestseller. 2013.

SWIMMERS: A NOVEL by OTSUKA, JULIE (DB 107007 and LB 13711; 4 hours 8 minutes)
The swimmers are unknown to one another except through their private routines (slow lane, medium lane, fast lane) and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY: STORIES by ARIMAH, LESLEY NNEKA (DBC 27201; 5 hours 20 minutes)
A collection of stories exploring the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers, and friends to one another and to the places they call home. Commercial audiobook. Adult. Unrated.

CAT WHO SAVED BOOKS by NATSUKAWA, SOSUKE (DB 106176 and LB 13877; 5 hours 8 minutes)
Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears and demands the teenager’s help in saving misused books. Translated from the original 2017 Japanese edition. Unrated. 2021.

WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS by OYEYEMI, HELEN (DB 85048 and BR 23506; 7 hours 42 minutes)
Themes of keys and locks abound in this collection of nine loosely linked short stories. In “Books and Roses,” a baby is left at a monastery with a golden key around her neck. Some strong language. 2016.

BEFORE THE COFFEE GETS COLD by KAWAGUCHI, TOSHIKAZU (DB 102743; 6 hours 54 minutes)
In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop also offers the chance to travel back in time. Over the course of one summer, four customers hope to make that journey. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

FIVE TUESDAYS IN WINTER: STORIES by KING, LILY (DB 106197 and LB 13872; 6 hours 12 minutes)
A collection of short stories both fresh and previously published from the author of WRITERS & LOVERS (DB 98766) and EUFORIA (DB 103589). The author explores themes of desire and heartache, loss and discovery, moments of jolting violence, and the inexorable tug toward love. Unrated. 2021.

HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by ADAMS, DOUGLAS (DB 18339 and BR 14438; 5 hours 49 minutes)
When the Earth is demolished to make room for a galactic freeway, sole earth survivor Arthur Dent is forced to take up a life of hitchhiking around the cosmos with the aid of an alien friend and a book called “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Deadpan science fiction parody.

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE: STORIES by ELLIS, HELEN (DB 83382; 3 hours 48 minutes)
A collection of short stories exploring the dark world of domesticity, and featuring, among others, murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and a bra fitter. The story settings include a haunted prewar apartment building, a book club initiation ritual, and a pageant princess’s getaway car. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2016.

GIRL WHO READS ON THE METRO by FERET-FLEURY, CHRISTINE (DB 97251 and BR 23536; 4 hours 49 minutes)
One morning in Paris, Juliette walks through a rusty gate wedged open with a book, into the bizarre and enchanting lives of Soliman and his young daughter, Zaide. Soliman hires Juliette to take used books into the world and match them with readers. Translated from the 2017 French edition. 2019.

Remembering Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn, known as the “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 4, 2022, at the age of 90. Though she never had any formal music training, Loretta made her name in country music, writing songs that drew from her own life experiences growing up in a loving but poor family as one of eight children in a Kentucky mining town. Loretta earned many accolades throughout her music career, including three Grammys, eight Country Music Association Awards (among them the honor of being named the first female artist to win the Entertainer of the Year Award), and member of the Grand Ole Opry.

We have compiled a reading list of books in the TBP collection that will give readers a peek into the life and legacy of Loretta Lynn:

ME & PATSY, KICKIN’ UP DUST: MY FRIENDSHIP WITH PATSY CLINE by LYNN, LORETTA (DB 99902 and LB 12843)
A country music legend looks back on her friendship with fellow icon Patsy Cline, who died at age thirty-one in 1963. They met when Lynn’s career was just getting started, but Cline was a star. Cline became a friend and mentor who was taken too soon. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

LORETTA LYNN: COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER by LYNN, LORETTA (DB 47599)
The country music star from Butcher Holler, Kentucky, recalls her life from rags to riches. Lynn emphasizes the importance of her twenty-five-year-old marriage and her faith in people and in God.

STILL WOMAN ENOUGH: A MEMOIR by LYNN, LORETTA (DB 54166)
Country singer continues her autobiography begun in COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER. Includes reminiscences of her career and friendship with Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, and other entertainers; her stormy marriage to her late husband, Doolittle Lynn; and her relationships with her children. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2002.

COUNTRY MUSIC: A HISTORY by DUNCAN, DAYTON (DB 96527)
Companion to the PBS documentary series chronicles country music from its roots in the American South to the modern commercial successes of the genre, which encompasses a wide range of sounds and styles. Profiles and interviews some of country’s biggest stars (including Loretta Lynn). Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

SING ME BACK HOME: LOVE, DEATH, AND COUNTRY MUSIC by JENNINGS, DANA ANDREW (DB 68110)
New York Times editor explains the ways the classic country music of the 1950s to 1970s resonated with the rural, working-class lives of his New Hampshire family and neighbors. Discusses legendary musicians like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn and their effect on audiences. Strong language. 2008.

CLASSIC COUNTRY MUSIC: A SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION by MALONE, BILL (available for download though BARD: DBM 03645. For a physical cartridge contact the NLS Music Division: nlsm@loc.gov or 800-424-8567 ext. 2)
A Smithsonian Folkways recording. “The recordings presented [here]… are intended to be both historically representative and esthetically appealing; thus, the listener can enjoy hearing the music and at the same time gain an understanding of its sources, evolution, styles, and meaning. The set accurately documents country music’s past and offers a good cross-section of the newer performers and styles”—Publisher’s note (includes “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn and “After the Fire is Gone” by Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty).

Secretive Students

School is back in session, so what better way to celebrate than by reading books about elite schools and universities full of students who are definitely harboring secrets and are maybe involved in dangerous escapades? Knowledge certainly is power in these novels:


THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt (DB 35868)
When Richard Papen is accepted at a small Vermont college, he gladly leaves his boring California identity behind. After he makes up an appropriate past, Richard is allowed to join an elite group of students who take all their classes from one professor. Richard learns that the clique is hiding some odd secrets—and one deadly one. The members trust Richard, but they are not so sure of one of their own. Strong language and violence.

ACE OF SPADES by Faridah Abike-Iyimide (DB 103918)
Shortly after the announcement that Devon and Chiamaka will be part of an elite school’s Senior Prefects, someone who goes by the name Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that threaten to turn their lives upside down. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.

WE WISH YOU LUCK by Caroline Zancan (DB 98209)
The students in Fielding’s MFA program are fascinated by Leslie, Hannah, and Jimmy. The trio do not take well to new visiting professor Simone—a bestselling author and former model—and plot revenge against her for reasons unknown to the other students. Unrated.

BRADSTREET GATE by Robin Kirman (DB 82108)
When a Harvard student is murdered, Professor Rufus Storrow is the prime suspect. Three of his students—Georgia, Charlie, and Alice—are in disbelief. Their own relationships are a tangled mess, and as they sort through their lives, they bear witness to each other’s and Storrow’s highs and lows. Unrated.

CATHERINE HOUSE by Elisabeth Thomas (DB 99407)
Catherine House, a college secluded in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, offers students an elite education, free of charge. The only catch is students must remain completely cut off from the outside world for three years. New student Ines Murillo arrives at Catherine House hoping to escape her past. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS by Marisha Pessl (DB 63286)
Blue Van Meer, erudite daughter of an itinerant professor, settles into Stockton, North Carolina, for her senior year in an elite high school. But she is unprepared for the deaths of a student and a favorite teacher. Some strong language.

BLACK CHALK by Christopher Yates (DB 89950)
As played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University, what was meant to be a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares evolved into a vicious struggle with tragic results. Fourteen years later, the remaining players must play the final round. Strong language.

LONG BLACK VEIL by Jennifer Finney Boylan (DB 91470)
In 1980, six college students sneak into the dilapidated ruins of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. When the friends get lost and separated, the terrifying night ends in tragedy. Decades later, the dogged detective investigating the cold case charges one of them—a celebrity chef—with murder. Strong language and some violence.

THE LYING GAME by Ruth Ware (BR 22055 and DB 88914)
Isa became fast friends with Kate, Thea, and Fatima while they all attended boarding school. Seventeen years later, Kate summons the others back to Salten, where they learn that the lying game, they used to play had very real consequences. Strong language and some descriptions of sex.

THE CLUB by Takis Würger (DB 99521)
After the death of his parents, Hans is sent to boarding school until his Aunt Alex summons him to the university she works at in Cambridge. She needs him to infiltrate a secretive institution known as the Pitt Club. Unrated.

THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides (DB 103810)
Mariana Andros is a brilliant—but troubled—group therapist who becomes fixated on the members of a secret society of female students at Cambridge University known as The Maidens. When a friend of her niece is found murdered, she is convinced that charismatic professor Edward Fosca is responsible. Unrated.

BUNNY by Mona Awad (DB 95562)
Samantha Heather Mackey is an outsider in her master’s program because she’s a scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to the company of people—especially the clique of women who call each other “Bunny.” But then she is drawn into their world. Unrated.

Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer, coinciding with the alignment of the constellation Sirius with the sun from July 3-August 11, are upon us. The dog days of summer are typically the hottest days of the season, so lean into the heat with these summer reads for adults and youth:

ADULT FICTION

SAG HARBOR by Colson Whitehead (DB 69066; BR 18616)
Long Island, 1985. Upper-middle-class African American teenager Benji spends another summer at the beach with his brother and his parents, a Manhattan doctor, and a lawyer. Benji finds relief from prep school and a part-time job and learns a few lessons on growing up. Strong language. 2009.

DANDELION WINE: A NOVEL by Ray Bradbury (DB 12385)
Evocative novel of childhood set in a small Illinois town during the summer of 1938. A boy marvels at his discovery that he is alive and acutely aware of the life about him.

PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by Emily Henry (DB 103191)
Travel writer Poppy and her friend Alex could not be more different, but they bonded on a road trip home from college and afterwards took annual vacations together. Unfortunately, their last vacation ruined everything between them. Two years later Poppy talks Alex into one more trip together. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2021.

SUMMER ON THE BLUFFS: A NOVEL by Sunny Hostin (DB 103563)
Thirty years ago, Amelia Vaux Tanner and her husband built a house in Oak Bluffs, an exclusive African American enclave of Martha’s Vineyard. She invites her three goddaughters to spend the summer, as she decides which woman will inherit the house. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.

MALIBU RISING by Taylor Jenkins Reid (DB 103564)
In the summer of 1983, Nina Riva was hosting her annual celebrity-filled party, despite the impending end of her marriage. Nina and her three siblings, all connected to the world of surfing, might have survived their unconventional upbringing, but each is hiding secrets. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2021.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by Andre Aciman (DB 65344; BR 22904)
Each summer Elio’s parents host a scholar in their home on the Italian Riviera. Oliver, a young academic from America arrives, igniting in seventeen-year-old Elio a passionate longing and desire. Years later Elio recollects his search for intimacy during that transformative season. Some descriptions of sex. 2007.

LIFEGUARDS by Amanda Eyre Ward (DB 107638)
Whitney, Annette, and Liza have raised their children together for fifteen years. Their friendship is as safe as the Austin neighborhood where they’ve raised their sweet little boys. Or so they think. One night, the boys share a secret that will shatter the perfect world their mothers have so painstakingly created. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

LOVE IS A REVOLUTION by Renee Watson (DB 102792)
Harlem teenager Nala is looking forward to a summer of movies and ice cream until she falls in love with the very woke Tye and pretends to be a social activist. For senior high and older readers. 2021.

BLACKOUT (DB 104186)
Six interconnected short stories of warmth and electricity of Black teen love in New York City during a summer blackout. Acclaimed, award-winning authors include Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.

SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS by Ann Brashares (DB 53252; LB 04827; BR 13765)
Four fifteen-year-olds, “Bridget the athlete, Lena the beauty, Tibby the rebel, and Carmen, the one with the bad temper”, have been friends since childhood. During this first summer apart, they share a pair of used jeans that magically fits each of them perfectly and helps them through tough times. For senior high readers. 2001.

WHAT IF IT’S US by Becky Albertalli (DB 92949)
When Arthur, a summer intern from Georgia, and Ben, a native New Yorker, meet, it feels like fate. But after three failed attempts at dating, they wonder if the universe is pushing them together or apart. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2018.

HARLEM SUMMER by Walter Dean Myers (DB 65655; BR 17320)
Harlem, 1925. Sixteen-year-old saxophone-playing Mark Purvis is hired by an African American magazine one summer. But when he does a shady delivery job for his idol, musical genius Fats Waller, something goes wrong, and gangster Dutch Schultz comes after Mark for money. For senior high readers. 2007.

WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart (DB 79109; BR 20594)
Spending the summers on her family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts with her cousins and a special boy named Gat, teenaged Cadence struggles to remember what happened during her fifteenth summer. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2014.

JUVENILE FICTION

HOLES by Louis Sachar (DB 47444; LB 04941; BT 03955)
Stanley Yelnats IV finds himself in a detention center for possessing stolen property that he didn’t take. While digging holes under the summer Texas sun, he sees a fellow inmate running away—and follows him. Legends, loyalty, and buried treasure are revealed as Stanley learns to survive. Newbery Medal Winner.

THREE WILLOWS: THE SISTERHOOD GROWS by Ann Brashares (DB 68648)
In the summer before ninth grade, three longtime friends explore separate paths. Jo deals with her parents’ divorce, her interest in an older boy, and an awkward visit from Polly. Meanwhile academic-minded Ama feels out of place on a wilderness trip learning to rock climb. For grades 6-9. 2009.

GIRLS OF JULY by Alex Flinn (DB 95793)
Four girls—Britta, Meredith, Kate, and Spider, only two of whom had met before—spend an unforgettable July with Spider’s aunt in the Adirondacks. Told in separate voices. Commercial audiobook. For grades 6-9 and older readers. 2019.

MARE’S WAR by Tanita S. Davis (DB 70850; BR 18763)
Teens Octavia and Tali reluctantly take a cross-country road trip with their eighty-year-old grandmother. But Mare’s stories about growing up black in 1940s Alabama and running away from home to join the army during World War II make the journey worthwhile. For grades 6-9. Coretta Scott King Honor Book. 2009.

Stay cool, and happy reading!