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April 2018 Selections

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This month we’re reading books on the topic of Class & Poverty. Our goal as a community this month is to learn about how socioeconomic circumstances impact others' lives as we cultivate empathy for people in all situations. 

We know that this is a complex subject tied to so many other factors — intersectionality is an important thing to keep in mind when it comes to the topic of poverty, and we plan to offer related resources throughout the month to help build further understanding of the various factors that contribute to and perpetuate poverty.

We hope that you will join us in the journey of reading stories that help us build understanding. We are excited to dig in to this topic and learn together!

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adult fiction selection:

salvage the bones by jesmyn ward

Trigger warnings: Salvage the Bones includes profanity, sex, the N word, and dog fighting. In our estimation, the profanity is on par with that in The Hate U Give, and the role of sex and the N word is not gratuitous. One chapter ("The Seventh Day: Game Dogs and Game Men") describes dog fighting in detail, and while it does help the narrator process her feelings, the descriptions are graphic and difficult to take in. During discussion, we plan on summarizing this chapter's role in the plot for those who wish to skip this section. We believe that protecting animals is an important priority, and we also think that incorporating dog fighting in this story was an intentional and powerful choice.

From the publisher:

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; she's fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull's new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. While brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child's play and short on parenting. As the twelve days that comprise the novel's framework yield to the final day and Hurricane Katrina, the unforgettable family at the novel's heart--motherless children sacrificing for each other as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce--pulls itself up to struggle for another day. A wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, "Salvage the Bone" is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.

middle grade fiction selection:

Crenshaw by katherine applegate


From the publisher:

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.