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List: Most Frequently Challenged Authors of Color

We celebrate our own freedom to read during Banned Books Week, but it is also right to champion those who bravely compose those very stories. Non-white authors receive more than half of book challenges each year — even though they are allowed much less of the publishing market! The reasons vary, and we can become distracted by the complaints, but what shouldn’t be lost are the vibrant creations of writers who deepen our understanding of the world.

The Bluest Eye book coverThe Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different.
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian book coverThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Color Purple book coverThe Color Purple
by Alice Walker
Two African American sisters, one a missionary in Africa and the other a child-wife living in the South, support each other through their correspondence, beginning in the 1920s.


Kite Runner book coverThe Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant’s son in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings book coverI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
A black woman recalls the anguish of her childhood in Arkansas and her adolescence in northern slums in the 1930s and 1940s.
Bless Me Ultima book coverBless Me, Ultima
by Rudolfo Anaya
A coming-of-age story set in post-World War II New Mexico, in which an old woman with healing powers comes to live with a boy’s family the summer before he turns seven.


Book Discussion Questions: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidyin Up book coverTitle: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Author:  Marie Kondo
Page Count:  pages
Genre: Nonfiction, Organizing, House and Home
Tone:  Matter of fact, Casual

This best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.


These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2016 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. Give me only one word to describe what you thought of this book.

2. Marie Kondo is like a popstar in Japan and she can’t even take the subway any more. Why do you think this book was such a hit in Japan? Why has it been such a hit in America?

3. Before reading this book what did “tidying” mean to you? How is her meaning of tidying different?

4. Did Kondo seem like an unusual kid to you? Why?

5. What are some of Kondo’s key principles found in the book?

6. How does her Shinto belief system play into her tidying? Do you need to agree with someone’s religious beliefs to find value in what they say or do?

7. Which of her ideas did you find most helpful?

8. For those who read the entire book, have you begun tidying? Why was this motivating for you? What were your results?

9. For those who didn’t finish the book, did you do any tidying? Why or why not?

Alison Stewart, author of Junk: Digging Through America’s Love Affair with Stuff says, “Accumulation has been going on for a couple of decades, but we’re just hitting the tipping point, because of demographics. You have the Depression-era people who were taught to save everything – it was a matter of survival. Then in the 1950’s they were taught to buy everything. That’s a dangerous combination. In the 1980s and ‘90s there was all this money, and also the free flow of cheap stuff. But Millennials might swing the pendulum back the other way.” (Publishers Weekly, March 21, 2016)

10. Do you have examples in your own life/house of this?

11. How is organizing and storing a downfall for Americans?  Check out these statistics.

–“There are more storage facilities in America than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined.” (Huffington Post, 4/21/2015)

–There is 7.3 sq. ft. of self-storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation; thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand – all at the same time – in a self-storage facility. (

  • –I was fascinated that a very American response to all this junk is to make business out of it, whether it’s self-storage, which is a $24 billion dollar business, or junk-removal companies, or personal organizing, or the Container Store. There’s this thought that organizers support the Container Store and the Container Store supports the organizers. But some professional organizers, on the down-low, say “I’m not sure it’s a great thing” Making it pretty doesn’t make the problem go away. (Publishers Weekly, March 21, 2016, Q&A with Alison Stewart)

12. Why do we as Americans have so much stuff?

13. How did the Great Depression affect that generation and subsequent generations in relation to holding on to things?

14. You may be asking the question, why would you throw away something that’s perfectly good? What would Kondo say?

15. What is so hard about paring down?

16. How do you deal with items from your grandparents/great grandparents? Will your kids want these antiques you’ve saved? There is an interesting article by Marni Jameson a nationally syndicated home design columnist, author and speaker. It’s called “Memo to Parents: Kids Don’t Want Your Stuff.” ( Now that’s not always true, but she gives advice and considerations when deciding what to pass on or let go.

17. How many of you have downsized moving into a smaller place? What was the hardest thing about doing that? Was there anything freeing about it? How is your life now different from before?

18. Some of you have dealt with the grief and aftermath of losing your parents. How did you deal with going through and disposing of all their stuff? Was there a lot of it? How long did it take to finish?  

19. What will your children’s experience of dealing with your stuff be? Do you have more or less than your parents did? Will you leave it for them to deal with or will you choose to take intentional action to deal with it yourself? Where will you begin? When will you begin?

20. What lessons did you learn or have affirmed in this book? What steps have you taken or will you take after reading and discussing this book?


Blog article: “8 Decluttering Lessons Learned from Marie Kondo”
Q&A on Reddit
People to People discussion questions
Google talk (video)
The Atlantic article, “The Economics of Tidying Up”


The Things That Matter book coverSoulSpace book coverJoy of Less book cover







The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus
SoulSpace by Xorin Balbes
The Joy of Less by Francine Joy






List: Young Adult Books for Adults

Every Thursday afternoon on Twitter, library staff across the nation standby to answer requests for book suggestions using the hashtag #AskaLibrarian. A question posed last week was, “how old is too old for Young Adult books?” Our answer? As long as you are enjoying the books, there is no old that is too old for Young Adult books! Below are some titles that may strike an additional chord with adult readers.

Breakfast Served Anytime book cover Breakfast Served Anytime
by Sarah Combs


Pointe book coverPointe
by Brandy Colbert
Shadowshaper book coverShadowshaper
by Daniel José Older
The Boy in the Black Suit book coverThe Boy in the Black Suit
by Jason Reynolds


The Wrath and the Dawn book coverThe Wrath and the Dawn
by Renee Ahdleh
Written in the Stars book coverWritten in the Stars
by Aesha Saeed








Graphic Novel: Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

Daytripper book cover“It’s a story about death.”
“It’s really about life…but death has a big part in it.”

Brás de Oliva Domingos makes his living writing obituaries. From the facts of death and the moments of life, he recreates stories. Sifting through the existences of others makes a man contemplate his own. What moments had greatest impact? Were they beginnings? Endings? Which choices led to one or the other? Rarely are those answers simple, and Daytripper is an ethereal, meditative exploration of possibilities.

Authors Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá gracefully lead readers back and forth within Brás’ life, illustrating key experiences and variations on his death. Though moments are heart-wrenching, the sum total is strangely uplifting, and what remains even after multiple scenarios is a sense of wonder at the meaning one life may hold.

4 Fiction Books to Read for Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month Header ImageRead a book in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz book cover Damas, Drams, and Ana Ruiz
by Belinda Acosta
A story about family and growing up, Ana Ruiz is determined that throwing her daughter the perfect quinceañera will help mend a weakened relationship.
Lost City Radio book cover Lost City Radio
by Daniel Alarcón
Norma hosts a weekly radio show in post-war South America, reading the name of the missing to help them be found again, when a boy shows up who may have clues to her own missing husband.
The Heart Has Its Reasons book cover The Heart Has Its Reasons
by María Dueñas
When learning her husband had an affair, college professor Blanca chose to uproot her life in Madrid and move to San Francisco.
We the Animals book cover We the Animals
by Justin Torres
Poetic and intense, this short story follows three biracial boys growing up in the midst of their mother and father’s rocky relationship.



Book Discussion Questions: Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier

Falling Angels book coverTitle:  Falling Angels
Author:  Tracy Chevalier
Page Count: 324 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Social Commentary
Tone:  Evocative, Dramatic, Strong Sense of Place

In a novel of manners and social divisions set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century England, two girls from different classes become friends, and their families’ lives become intertwined in the process.

These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2016 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. With which character did you empathize most? Do you think this was the author’s intent?

2. Did you find the characters believable? If so, what made them ring true?

3. How entrenched is the novel in London during the Edwardian era? Why was this time/place chosen?

4. What details of time period brought the story to life? Did you respond favorably to the degree of description?

5. Could this story have worked in a different time setting? A different place? Does it have something to say to contemporary audiences?

6. Gertrude describes Kitty this way: “a vein of discontent runs through her that disturbs everything around her…She thinks too much and prays too little.” Is this a fair representation? What was your reaction?

7. Is Kitty a bad mother? What about Gertrude’s indulgence?

8. What does Simon add to the story? Some criticism complains that his continued friendship with the girls and their families is the least believable. What do you think?

9. Is someone to blame for what happened? Who bears most responsibility, who shares it, or is it simply circumstance?

10. Which other characters made significant impressions either on the events of the story or on your experience of it? Explain.

11. The New York Times Book Review wrote, “This is Tracy Chevalier’s singular gift: through the particular perspectives of a few finely drawn characters, she is able to evoke entire landscapes…there are no stock characters here, none who are perfectly comfortable in the niche society has assigned them.” Would you agree that there are no stock characters? Was no one in the story comfortable in his/her role?

12. How might you describe the gender dynamics of the story? Were the men uniform in how they viewed and treated women? Were they challenged in these perceptions?

13. Was the title aptly chosen? In which passages are falling angels referenced or illustrated? Other angel imagery?

14. Chevalier has said, “I used to make all sorts of pronouncements [like] ‘Men and women [are] absolutely equal.’ Now…I understand how things aren’t equal.” What in this book supports this view? Do you agree?

15. What did you think of Caroline Black? Of how the suffrage movement was depicted?

16. The cemetery is a recurring symbol, a “site of beginnings as well as endings”. What are examples from the story that support its importance? What message is the author trying to convey?

17. Which events would you consider most significant to the characters? Did these seem important as you read them?

18. What is gained by having multiple narrators? Were there narrators you enjoyed more than others? Would you personally have preferred the story told by one person?

19. Chevalier has earned a reputation as a novelist who expertly articulates the way women negotiate the demands of society. Is this true in Falling Angels?

20. Did you enjoy the author’s style?

21. People characterized the book as “a thoughtful exploration of the ways people misread each other by being trapped in their own perspectives.” Would you agree? Would you have described it with a different theme?

22. How did you feel at the end of the book?

23. What do you think happened to the characters after the book ended?

24. Was this book what you expected?

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!


BookPage feature on release of Falling Angels
IndieBound interview with author Tracy Chevalier
The New York Times review of Falling Angels
Background, review, and questions from Reading Group Guides
The Independent‘s “General History of Women’s Suffrage in Britain
BBC Radio4: Tracy Chevalier and Audrey Niffenegger tour Highgate Cemetery


Park Lane book coverPark Lane
by Frances Osbourne

Wayward Winds book coverWayward Winds
by Michael Phillips

Foxs Walk book coverThe Fox’s Walk
by Annabel Davis-Goff

Staff Pick: Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, narrated by an all-star cast!

Picture of ColleenTreat your ears to a feast and check out Grimm’s Fairy Tales produced by Listening Library. Whether you are new to listening to audiobooks or a seasoned veteran, the award-winning cast of narrators is bound to impress.  Standouts include Katherine Kellgren’s Rapunzel, January LaVoy’s Cinderella, Jim Dale’s Rumpelstiltskin, and Alfred Molina’s The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces.

Fiction: Books with Airplane Trouble

Air travel requires a great deal of faith in both the plane and its crew. The odds are in our favor, but sometimes things go wrong. Opening in theaters today is the story of Sully, the heroic pilot who executed an emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in January 2009. Not all crises in the skies have the assurance of a happy ending, and in fiction it is that very tension which keeps those pages turning. If you’re looking for excitement and drama, try one of these stories of airplane trouble — some accidental, some intentional — and find out if a hero emerges.


Before the Fall book coverBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley

In one of the standout releases of 2016, the stories of ten wealthy victims of a plane crash intertwine with those of a down-on-his-luck painter and a four-year-old boy, the tragedy’s only survivors, as odd coincidences surrounding the crash point to a possible conspiracy.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy BlumeIn the Unlikely Event book cover

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life — when a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving her community reeling.

Blackout book coverBlackout by John J. Nance 

On a routine flight to Hong Kong, a Boeing jet is rocked by an explosion that leaves one pilot dead and the other blinded. An investigation is called and as it proceeds, FBI agent and terrorism specialist Kat Bronsky is assigned to hunt down the crew of a Global Express business jet spotted nearby just before the explosion.

Seat Beside Me book coverThe Seat Beside Me by Nancy Moser

That strange, snoring, legroom-invading person next to you on the airplane — have you ever imagined owing your life to him? This is the gripping story of five passengers and their seatmates who get casually acquainted — then plunge headlong into an icy river in a sudden plane crash.

Mayday book coverMayday by Thomas Block

When a jumbo jet is struck by a missile twelve miles above the Pacific Ocean, three brave passengers attempt to land the plane.

Skid book coverSkid by Rene Gutteridge

Hank Hazard, a homeschooled mime for his family’s troupe, takes a new job as an airline company spy on Atlantica Flight 1945 and encounters a cast of quirky crew members and passengers, plus some unexpected turbulence.

Human Error book coverHuman Error by Tom Casey

When a plane bound for Paris crashes, killing forty-five of the people on board, the personal and professional life of the pilot, Captain Hugo Price, comes under intense official strutiny, as both the government and Price himself try to determine if he is at fault for the fatal accident.

Ask for more suggestions online or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk on the second floor!