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April Bookshelf


Homecoming, by Kate Morton

The highly anticipated new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a sweeping saga with a thrilling mystery at its heart tracing a shocking crime whose effects echo across continents and generations. On Christmas Eve, 1959, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tumbeela becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia. Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost 20 years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Stella, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital. When Jess visits her in the hospital she learns Stella had been distracted in the weeks before her accident, and that she fell on the steps to the attic — the one place Jess was forbidden from playing when she was small. At loose ends in Stella’s house, Jess does some digging of her own. She discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime — a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. For a journalist without a story, a cold case is the best distraction of all.

Symphony of Secrets, by Brendan Slocumb

From the author of The Violin Conspiracy comes a gripping page-turner about a professor who uncovers a shocking secret about the most famous American composer of all time — that his music was stolen from a young Black composer named Josephine Reed. Determined to uncover the truth and right history’s wrongs, Bern Hendricks will stop at nothing to finally give Josephine the recognition she deserves. As one of the world’s preeminent experts on the famed 20th-century composer Frederick Delaney, Hendricks knows everything there is to know about the man behind the music. When Mallory Roberts, a board member of the distinguished Delaney Foundation and a direct descendant of the man himself, asks for Hendrick’s help authenticating a newly discovered piece, he jumps at the chance. With the help of his tech-savvy acquaintance Eboni, Hendricks soon discovers that the truth is far more complicated than history would have them believe. In Manhattan of the 1920s, Josephine Reed is living on the streets and frequenting jazz clubs when she meets the struggling musician Fred Delaney. She’s a natural prodigy who hears beautiful music in the sounds of the world around her. With Josephine as his silent partner, Delaney’s career takes off — but who is the real genius? In the present day, Bern and Eboni begin to uncover clues that indicate Delaney may have had help in composing his most successful work. Armed with more questions than answers they move heaven and earth in a dogged quest to right history’s wrongs.


Without Children, by Peggy O’Donnell Heffington

In an era of falling births, it’s often said that millennials invented the idea of not having kids. But history is full of women without children: some who chose childless lives, others who wanted children but never had them, and still others — the vast majority, then and now — who fell somewhere in-between. Modern women considering how and if children fit into their lives are products of their political, ecological, and cultural moment. History also tells them that they are not alone. Drawing on deep research and her own experience as a woman without children, Heffington shows that many of the reasons women are not having children today are ones they share with women in the past: a lack of support, their jobs or finances, environmental concerns, infertility, and the desire to live different kinds of lives. Understanding this history — how normal it has always been to not have children, and how hard society has worked to make it seem abnormal — is key, she writes, to rebuilding kinship between mothers and non-mothers, and to building a better world for us all.


Hard Boiled Eggs for Breakfast, by Jack Prelutsky

April is poetry month and what better way to celebrate than with some silliness by a poetry master? From tree-sitting cows to antelopes with fans, these fun poems, with illustrations by Ruth Chan, will delight and inspire young poets to create some of their own silliness. (Ages 5-10.)

Peek-A-Boo Haiku, by Danna Smith

This adorable board book is filled with haiku about hidden woodland animals with lift-the-flap illustrations on each page. It’s the perfect way to celebrate poetry month with little ones. (Ages 1-3.)

Twenty Questions, by Mac Barnett

What’s on the other side of the door? Who committed the dastardly deed? What happened here? These and other ponderances are presented in this fun book of questions from the Caldecott Award-winning team of Barnett and Christian Robinson. (Ages 5-adult.)

Slow Down and Be Here Now: More Nature Stories to Make You Stop, Look, and Be Amazed by the Tiniest Things, by Laura Brand

Frog tongues, dandelion puffs, snowflakes — all wonders of the world and all worth an extra minute of time in your day. This charming giftable nature guide/storybook encourages readers to slow down and enjoy all the amazing things in the natural world. (Ages 4-10.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.