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"Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis" by Timothy Egan

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This is the biography of Edward Curtis, a talented photographer.  His obsession was to photograph and document the American Indian before destruction of their ways. Egan writes is a riveting story of how Curtis spent ten years, sacrificed his marriage and family, finances and health to produce a twenty volume work The North American Indian. The photographs at the end of each chapter are a good accompaniment to the text.

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

Jen's picture

If you're looking for something to brighten your dreary winter day, pick up Pancol's first English-translated novel. The plot revolves around two sisters - Iris, a glamorous, rich attorney's wife and her plain Jane, bookish sister Jo. The story begins when Jo's husband empties their joint savings account and leaves her for his manicurist, who he runs off to farm crocodiles with in Kenya. Jo is left to pick up the pieces of her life and raise her two daughters, Zoe and Hortense, on the meager salary she makes as a 12th century scholar. Iris and Jo hatch the perfect scheme - Jo will write a medieval historical novel that Iris will take the credit for, thus giving Jo the money she needs and Iris the fame she craves. As in life, things don't go quite as planned and hilarity ensues. It's chick lit done up en Francais; humorous, quite charming and perfect to curl up on the couch with and escape to bright, sunny Paris, if only for a few hundred pages.  

The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

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What were the girls of Atomic City working on?  Thousands of young women seeking jobs poured into the newly built industrial complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  They were sworn to secrecy about their new lives at Oak Ridge.  All they knew was they were working with a product called tubealloy that was part of the “Project” to build the “Gadget”. It was all classified but everyone was happy because they had work and were being well paid.

Then on August 6, 1945, the Oak Ridge workers learned what their efforts had wrought: the explosion of the “Gadget”—the first atomic bomb.  Detonated over Japan to end World War II, the “Gadget” announced to the world that the Atomic Age had arrived.  Fans of World War II will enjoy this book about the young women who helped the war effort by working to develop the first atomic bomb.

American Craftsmen, Tom Doyle

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American Craftsmen is what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined Seal Team Six. Magic workers have operated in America since its founding, sworn to protect and defend the United States as part of secret military units. Army Captain Dale Morton is one of these elite soldier-magicians—until a Persian sorcerer curses him to madness. Now, convinced that an evil from his family’s past has corrupted the highest echelons of military magic, he must hunt down the traitors that placed him in harm’s way—while protecting the innocent woman he loves and avoiding a fellow Craftsman with a family axe to grind. Fast-paced and engrossing, American Craftsmen will appeal to readers of military thrillers and urban fantasy alike.

Picture Book Selection: Each Kindness

In “Each Kindness”, award winning author Jacqueline Woodson and amazing illustrator E.B. Lewis have made a wonderful book about how treating people with kindness can help everyone. Maya is a new student and different from her other classmates with her hand-me-down clothes and old- fashioned toys.  Maya wants to make friends with Chloe and her gang of friends, but they reject her. Their teacher gives a lesson on simple kindness and Chloe realizes the opportunity for friendship that was missed, and how much better it would have been if she had been kind. 

Picture Book Selection: Earth to Clunk

What do you do when your homework is to write to your penpal named Clunk from another planet?  You write a letter and then send your annoying sister along as a present to show how much you love this assignment.  The exchange of funny letters back and forth in the galaxy will tickle your funny bone.  For ages 4 and up.    

Sweet Home Alaska

Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg is an exciting, well-written story based on true events.  Set in 1935, it tells the story of a pioneer family’s move from Wisconsin to Alaska, as part of then President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan to give loans and land to families struggling during the Depression.  Filled with humor, this book gives a good insight into life during that period of American History.  Recommended for grades 4 and up.

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