Librarians are true heroes, if you ask me. Their skill set is incredible, they are filled with patience, and they can ALWAYS find a book that will suit your fancy. I’ve been using my library’s drive through window for a year now, and recently one of the librarians noticed the books I had on hold and gave me three incredible book recommendations. It’s truly magic.
Here are some of our favorite librarians and library works of bookstagram, along with a book recommendation that they think you should check out!
Anna (@thebooksinmylapp) says: “An incredible book for middle grade readers is Jacqueline Woodson’s Harbor Me. It follows several children who come to rely on each other as they share about their lives — from a parent’s incarceration, a family’s fear of deportation, financial hardships and racial profiling. Woodson manages these heart-breaking topics with such care and attention, and it’s a book about kids having the space to talk to each other without adult intervention, giving them autonomy and breathing room for growth.”
Brooke (@book.appetit) recommends The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. “This is a book in verse that tells the story of Xiomara, a high school student living in Harlem. Throughout the book, Xiomara discovers her voice through slam poetry and attempts to make sense of her life in the pages of her journal. I recommend this book to all of the young reluctant readers and avid readers alike. It never disappoints.”
Jessica (@justagirlwithabook) says: “I work as a public school librarian at a junior high school (7th- and 8th-graders) in Northwest Arkansas, and one of my favorite books to recommend to our teens is Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani. I love this award-winning but not-very-well-known book for its fast pace; its intelligent, quick-thinking main character, Claire Takata; the unexpected twist and resolution at the end of the book; and, more than anything else, the author’s Japanese-American heritage that she seamlessly incorporated into the storyline and her characters, making this debut not only informative but one to be especially valued and appreciated. In all the times I’ve recommended this book, not once has a student come back with a negative response!”
Erin (@redhead_reads) says: “I especially enjoy recommending books based on other materials patrons check out. When I see them with music CDs, I like to recommend They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, a book of music essays by Hanif Abdurraqib. Abdurraqib’s passion and love for the artists he covers is evident in his exquisite writing. I was never a Fall Out Boy superfan, but reading his piece on the band resonated deeply with me as a music lover. Anyone who appreciates good writing and cultural commentary will like They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us.”
Bobbie (@booknerdbobbie) says: “Lately, I have been recommending Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho to friends, family, co-workers … everyone. It reads just like watching Acho’s video series of the same title (I also recommend). I think readers will appreciate the way the book is structured and how difficult topics are presented as if having an actual in-person conversation. And there is a young reader’s edition, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy, due out soon, so even young people can join in on this conversation of racism and its effects.”
Ari (@bookslibrariesalsocats) says: “Recommended For You by Laura Silverman is one of my 2020 favorites that I’ve been recommending non-stop to teens & YA readers of all ages! This YA holiday rom-com follows two rival teen booksellers competing for a holiday bonus — and falling for each other along the way! It’s also wonderfully diverse: The two main characters are Jewish, and there’s a number of BIPOC, queer & trans, and disabled characters throughout the book. It’s a heart-warming book that feels like a love letter to book nerds.”
Soleil (@soleilreads) recommends: Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of YOU by Rachel Brian: “This graphic novel approaches the topic of consent with simplicity and humor. Consent can seem like a daunting topic of conversation, but Consent (for Kids!) breaks it down so it’s accessible and age-appropriate for young readers. It’s also great for grown-ups! As a parent, I appreciated the simple explanations and realistic scenarios I could discuss with my 6-year-old.”
Nel (@bookish_nel) says: “When I’m at the reference desk, I give recommendations based on what a patron loves. Romance? You got it! Need some sci-fi? I have plenty! But when a teen is in a reading rut or can’t figure out their reading *~mOod~*, I always recommend The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. It has a little of everything, heist adventure, fantasy, magic, historical fiction, and great representation!”
Kit (@kitonlit) recommends A Last Goodbye by Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim. “The most frequent request I get from caregivers is for books to help young readers when they are experiencing grief and loss. This picture book explores the way various animals (including humans) mourn, opening the door for important conversations about the universality of death and offering comfort that readers aren’t alone in their sadness. With its spare and tender prose and spectacular diorama illustrations, A Last Goodbye brought me to tears and is my go-to recommendation for grieving families.”
Laura (@librarianmsg) recommends All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat. “I could not put this award-winning nonfiction book down! If you have students who like survival stories or feel-good human interest books, give them THIS one.”
Forrest (@favoritelibrarian) says: “As a Reference Librarian, I am surrounded by canons and volumes of great literature. My favorite novel is Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo by Ntozake Shange. This multi-generational tale of three sisters and their mother from the low country areas of Charleston, South Carolina is packed with beautiful illustrations of the Black Arts Movement, Pan-Africanism, Gullah/Geechee culture, Blackness and Folk Medicine and Magical Realism. Additionally, my additional go-to recommendation would have to be Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Whether you enjoy the short story or novel of brilliant work of science-fiction, follow Charlie, a compassionate man with a learning impairment. Through an experiment to improve his intelligence, readers can explore the beautiful illustrations of humility, compassion, disabilities and how one man and mouse contributed to science and society. Each suggestion is great for any high school scholar or area of higher learning, or for readers looking for a great novel.”
Hawa (@hawa.reads) says: “A book I like to recommend to patrons is Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes. Although it’s a memoir, it’s written so beautifully that fans of fiction and nonfiction will both be drawn in by the story.”
Quinn (@theromanticace) says: “One book I recommend to patrons quite often is actually one of my favorite books from last year, which is The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo! I’m not a fantasy reader, but I picked this up on a whim because of its stunning cover and it blew me away! It’s a short book (~120 pages) so it is accessible to everyone but is so well done that it feels like a full length novel, and it has elements to intrigue readers of all interests and backgrounds.”
Cynthia (@cynthiasreadinglist) says: “Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is action-packed, and the mystery surrounding Bree’s magical abilities will keep readers enthralled. It even made me go down a rabbit hole googling Arthurian legends! Perfect for any fantasy lover.”
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.