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West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Staff Picks - Mitzi

Mitzi is a librarian in the Adult Services department at the Main Library. She believes that variety is the spice of life. She enjoys an eclectic variety of books and movies to stay engaged.

Such a fun age : a novel by Kiley Reid

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other. With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason

Clean getaway by Nic Stone

An 11-year-old boy confronts the realities of race relations, past and present, and the mysterious agenda of his unconventional grandmother during an unplanned spring break road trip through the once-segregated American South

Black girl unlimited : the remarkable story of a teenage wizard by Echo Brown

From age six through her high school valedictory speech, believing she and her mother are wizards helps young Echo cope with poverty, hunger, her mother's drug abuse, and much more

Hitting a straight lick with a crooked stick : stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston

"Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions." --book jacket

Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden

Savannah is lucky. The daughter of upper-class African-American parents in Washington D.C. in 1919, she lives luxuriously, with an elite education and her pick of the young men in her set. But lately the structure of her society-the croquet games, the Sunday teas, the pretentiousness-has felt suffocating. When she meets a young man from the working class named Lloyd, Savannah has a chance to see how the "other half" lives. Saddened by their situation, she is motivated to make a true difference. But suffragist lectures and socialist meetings are a radical interest for a young girl from society, and Savannah must find a way-her way-to change the world. Deeply relevant and emotionally resonant for a modern audience, this searing story reveals a girl becoming a woman in a world on the brink of sweeping change

Riot baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

""Riot Baby bursts at the seams of story with so much fire, passion and power that in the end it turns what we call a narrative into something different altogether."-Marlon James Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative and an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella-through visits both mundane and supernatural-tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down"--

Remembrance by Rita Woods

"Remembrance...It's a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy...if you can make it there. Ohio, present day. A refugee struggling to rebuild her life in America after the devastating Haitian earthquake is suddenly inexplicably bound to a mysterious old woman who is not at all what she seems. Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution. When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers. 1857 New Orleans-a city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her 18th birthday and her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper.... Remembrance"--

Hood feminism : notes from the women that a movement forgot by Mikki Kendall

"A collection of essays taking aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women"--

The worst best man : a novel by Mia Sosa

"A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn't lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina's offered an opportunity that could change her life. There's just one hitch she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials. Marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he'll be working with his brother's whip-smart, stunning--absolutely off-limits--ex-fiancée. And she loathes him. If they can nail their presentation without killing each other, they'll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina's ready to dish out a little payback of her own. Soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn't interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again." --back cover

Trouble is what I do : a novel by Walter Mosley

"Leonid McGill's spent a lifetime building up his reputation as a private investigator in New York. His seemingly infallible instinct and inside knowledge of the crime world make him the ideal man to help when Phillip 'Catfish' Worry comes knocking. Catfish is a ninety-four-year old Mississippi bluesman who needs Leonid's help with a simple task: deliver a letter revealing the black lineage of a wealthy heiress and her corrupt father. The opportunity to do a simple favor while shocking the prevailing elite is impossible for Leonid to resist. But when a famed and feared assassin puts a hit on Catfish, Leonid has no choice but to confront the ghost of his own felonious past. Working to protect his client and his own family, Leonid must reach the heiress on the eve of her wedding before her powerful father kills those who hold their family's secret. Joined by a team of young and tough aspiring investigators, Leonid must gain the trust of wary socialites, outsmart vengeful thugs, and, above all, serve the truth--no matter the cost." --book jacket

The last negroes at Harvard : the class of 1963 and the 18 young men who changed Harvard forever by Kent Garrett

"The untold story of the Harvard class of '63, whose Black students fought to create their own identities on the cusp between integration and affirmative action. In the fall of 1959, Harvard recruited eighteen "Negro" boys as an experiment, an early formof affirmative action. Four years later they would graduate as African Americans. Some fifty years later, one of these trailblazing Harvard grads, Kent Garrett, began to reconnect with his classmates and explore their vastly different backgrounds, lives,and what their time at Harvard meant. Garrett and his partner Jeanne Ellsworth recount how these young men broke new ground. By the time they were seniors, they would have demonstrated against injustice, had lunch with Malcolm X, experienced heartbreak and the racism of academia, and joined with their African national classmates to fight for the right to form an exclusive Black students' group. Part journey into personal history, part group portrait, and part narrative history of the civil rights movement, this is the remarkable story of brilliant, singular boys whose identities were changed at and by Harvard, and who, in turn, changed Harvard"--

The only black girls in town by Brandy Colbert

In a predominately white California beach town, the only two black seventh-graders, Alberta and Edie, find hidden journals that uncover family secrets and speak to race relations in the past.

When you were everything by Ashley Woodfolk

In New York City, follows the breakup of teenaged best friends Cleo and Layla, told in alternating timelines.

Stamped : racism, antiracism, and you by Jason Reynolds

"A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning"--

The city we became by N Jemisin

"Five New Yorkers must come together in order to save their city from destruction in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin. Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and othersare as new and destructive as children. New York? She's got six. When a young man crosses the bridge into New York City, something changes. He doesn't remember who he is, where he's from, or even his own name. But he can feel the pulse of the city, can see its history, can access its magic. And he's not the only one. All across the boroughs, strange things are happening. Something is threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all"--

Lakewood : a novel by Megan Giddings

"A stunning debut novel that delves fearlessly into the taboo subject of modern-day medical experimentation on African Americans"--

It's not all downhill from here : a novel by Terry McMillan

"After a sudden change of plans, a remarkable woman and her loyal group of friends try to figure out what she's going to do with the rest of her life--from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale Loretha Curry's life is full. A little crowded sometimes, but full indeed. On the eve of her sixty-eighth birthday, she has a booming beauty supply empire, a gaggle of lifelong friends, and a husband who's still got moves that surprise. True, she's carrying a few more pounds than she should be, but she's not one of those women who thinks her best days are behind her, and she's determined to prove her mother, her twin sister, and everyone else with that outdated view of aging wrong--it's not all downhill from here. But when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down, Loretha will have to summon all her strength, resourcefulness, and determination to keep on thriving, pursue joy, heal old wounds, and chart new paths. With a little help from her friends, of course"--

Caste : the origins of our discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

""As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today"--

The vanishing half : a novel by Brit Bennett

"The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, evenseparated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise"--

Property of the state by Kiki Swinson

"She killed her abusive boyfriend in self-defense. But in jail, violent female gangs paid off by her enemies keep her fearing for her life, and land her in the hospital. From there, a medical testing facility is her one dubious hope for some kind of safety. But from the moment she hits the yard, she and other prisoners are victimized by illegal medical experiments. Injected with lethal diseases and made a test subject for experimental vaccines, she's clinging to determination by the slimmest thread until she forms an alliance with a Corrections Officer." -- provided by publisher
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National Medal Recipient of the National Medal, the nation's highest honor for libraries.