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May Bookshelf


Rednecks, by Taylor Brown

Brimming with the high-stakes drama of America’s West Virginia mine wars of 1920-21, Rednecks tells a powerful story of rebellion against oppression. In a land where the coal companies use violence and intimidation to keep miners from organizing, “Doc Moo” Muhanna, a Lebanese-American doctor (inspired by the author’s great-grandfather), toils amid the blood and injustice of the mining camps. When Frank Hugham, a Black World War I veteran and coal miner, takes dramatic steps to lead a miners’ revolt with a band of fellow veterans, Doc Moo risks his life and career to treat sick and wounded miners, while Frank’s grandmother, Beulah, fights her own battle to save her home and grandson. The real-life, fiery Mother Jones, an Irish-born labor organizer once known as “The Most Dangerous Woman in America,” struggles to maintain the ear of the miners amid the tide of rebellion, while the sharp-shooting police chief, Smilin’ Sid Hatfield, dares to stand up to the “gun thugs” of the coal companies. Rednecks is a propulsive, character-driven tale that’s both a century old and blisteringly contemporary.

Summers at the Saint, by Mary Kay Andrews

Everyone refers to the hotel St. Cecelia as “The Saint.” Traci Eddings was one of those outsiders whose family wasn’t rich enough or connected enough to vacation there, but she could work there. One fateful summer she did — and married the boss’ son. Now, she’s the widowed owner of the hotel, determined to see it returned to its glory days, even as staff shortages and financial troubles threaten to ruin it. Enlisting a motley crew of recently hired summer help, including the daughter of her estranged best friend, Traci has one summer season to turn it around. New information about a long-ago drowning at the hotel threatens to come to light, and the tragic death of one of their own brings her to the brink of despair. She has her back against the pink-painted wall of her beloved institution, and it will take all the wits and guts she has to see wrongs put right, to see guilty parties put in their place, and maybe even to find a new romance along the way.

The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club, by Helen Simonson

It is the summer of 1919, and Constance Haverhill is without prospects. Now that all the men have returned from the front, she has been asked to give up her cottage and her job at the estate she helped run during the war. While she looks for a position as a bookkeeper or governess, she’s sent as a lady’s companion to an old family friend who is convalescing at a seaside hotel. Despite having only weeks to find a permanent home, Constance is swept up in the social whirl of Hazelbourne-on-Sea after she rescues the local baronet’s daughter, Poppy Wirrall, from a social faux pas. Poppy wears trousers, operates a taxi and delivery service to employ local women, and runs a ladies’ motorcycle club (to which she plans to add flying lessons). She and her friends enthusiastically welcome Constance into their circle. And then there is Harris, Poppy’s recalcitrant but handsome brother, a fighter pilot wounded in battle, who warms in Constance’s presence. As the country prepares to celebrate its hard-won peace, Constance and the women of the club are forced to confront the fact that the freedoms they gained during the war are being revoked.


The Light Eaters: How the Unseen World of Plant Intelligence Offers a New Understanding of Life on Earth, by Zoë Schlanger

It takes tremendous biological creativity to be a plant. To survive and thrive while rooted in a single spot, plants have adapted ingenious methods of survival. In recent years, scientists have learned about their ability to communicate, recognize their kin and behave socially, hear sounds, morph their bodies to blend into their surroundings, store useful memories that inform their life cycle, and trick animals into behaving to their benefit — to name just a few remarkable talents. In this eye-opening and informative look at the ecosystem we live in, The Light Eaters is a deep immersion into the drama of green life, and the complexity of this wild and awe-inspiring world that challenges our very understanding of agency and consciousness.




Ahoy! by Sophie Blackall

Throw the phones in the surf and the interrupters into the brig. Then join the Captain and the Kid for a wild adventure on the high seas (well, the living room) in this rollicking romp from a Caldecott Medalist-winning author that celebrates family, fun and together time. (Ages 3-6.)

If You Want to Ride a Horse, by Amy Novesky

Step on up. Hold the reins firmly, but loosely; settle in the saddle, spine to spine; and breathe. Because . . . if you want to ride a horse, you have to be willing to fly. This lovely picture book anthem is a must for horse lovers everywhere. (Ages 4-7.)

A Rose, a Bridge and a Wild Black Horse, by Charlotte Zolotow

Spare and stunning, this reimagined classic highlights the depths of a daughter’s love for her mother. Racing the fastest cars, building the biggest castle, finding the perfect rose — they’re all symbols of honor — but taming the wildest horse and then leaving it to keep Mom company, that’s real daughter love! A Mother’s Day delight. (Ages 3-7.)

Greenwild: The World Behind the Door, by Pari Thomson

Going green gets a whole new meaning in this botanical fantasy where a stray cat, a missing mother and a dandelion paperweight are Daisy Thistledown’s ticket into a world of green magic . . . even without a grassport. Perfect for fans of Morrigan Crow, Keeper of Lost Cities or The Marvellers. (Ages 9-13.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.