June means reading in the garden with an ice cold drink next to you (or a paddling pool to splash in!). This month, our librarians have got an array of top reads for you. From the history of libraries, the importance of friendship, how much girls have rocked throughout history, to dogs and magic and the age old question: is it a duck or a rabbit?
Top non-fiction, chosen by Karen: The Library: An Illustrated History by A. P. Murray
As libraries around the globe stand empty and fall more silent than they’ve ever been, how might we show our appreciation for them? Take this virtual ride through some of the most revered, stately, and visited bibliographic institutions in the world for a start. This work is an empowering reminder of the social, psychological and ‘life-altering’ boost a library -our ‘collective memory’- has gifted humanity since the earliest known collection at the palace of Assurbanipal. The library is a physical and virtual space for unity, democracy and opportunity which “The People” value amongst their greatest treasures, today more than ever.
Top fiction, chosen by Tania: Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce
Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce is a real gem of a novel. I can’t recommend it enough as a touching and endearing, as well as entertaining and funny, testament to true friendship in difficult and frightening times. It is set in London during the early part of the Second World War and is based on two women’s lifelong friendship. Their relationship undergoes an extreme test due to the terrible bombing going on and the subsequent tragedy which affects their lives. It is an uplifting book full of courage, humour with a thread of wisdom and kindness running through each page.
Top audio book, chosen by Ella: What Would Boudicca Do? Everyday ProblemsSolved by History’s Most Remarkable Women by Elizabeth Foley and Beth Coates
This is a fun, feminist book with short, easy-to-dip-into chapters. A response to the #MeToo movement and modern feminism, each chapter looks at a strong woman from history to see what we can learn from them today. Examples include well known women like Rosa Parks and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as lesser known activists and leaders. It’s a nice reminder that there have always been innovative, powerful women, but they did not always make it into the history books.
Top children’s fiction, chosen by Andy and Bill (aged 3 1/2): Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and TomLichtenheld
Is it a duck or a rabbit? This is an enjoyable and visually stimulating picture book, which is great for encouraging discussion. An optional ‘read-along’ feature is available, if you want to use it; this will start the audio narration, the pages will turn themselves and the words on the pages will be highlighted when read out by the narrators. Bill found Duck! Rabbit! funny and said that it made him think. He also liked the twist at the end, but I won’t give away any spoilers.
Top children’s non-fiction, chosen by Alex: Storm Hound by Claire Fayers
This book is absolutely brilliant. The author has found the right mix of magic, reality and lovely warm humour. It was a pleasure to read. It feels like it was written with glee. Set in beautiful, Wales, the story follows our hero Jessie as she builds a new life after her parents separation. There are lots of dogs, lots of magic and a clever narrative where anything can happen and, it does. I understand now why it is Short listed for this years East Sussex Children’s Book Award. A very good choice. More of this please!
You can still vote for your favourite ESCBA book