Multicultural

Cover photo of the book Slay

Slay

4
Rated by
Oct 30, 2020

By day, Kiera is one of three Black girls at her private high school as well as an honor roll student on the path to a HBCU, a historically Black college or university. However, Kiera has a massive secret. By night, Kiera is Emerald, the developer of SLAY, an online role-playing game created to be a safe space to express and celebrate Black culture. But when a teenager is murdered in real life over a dispute in the game, SLAY is revealed to the world and immediately targeted as exclusionary and racist. Kiera is forced to defend her life’s work and her culture in Brittney Morris’ literary debut

Oct 28, 2020

Piecing Me Together by Renèe Watson is a realistic fiction novel about the main character Jade and her story of friendship and longings. Jade is interested in art as she makes pieces out of anything she can find, like fabrics, and creates it into a masterpiece. She doesn’t live in the best part of town but is invited to come to a private school through tuition. She looks forward to their Study Abroad program which she hopes to get into. Upon her acceptance to the private school, she has to leave her best friend Lee Lee, who stays a good friend throughout the whole book. She meets a girl named

Picture of a woman with only lower face shown, dressed in a 1950's style gown that is coral in color. The title is printed on the lower part of her full skirt, with an image of the skyline of the city of Havana on the very lower edge of her skirt.

Next Year in Havana

By Chanel Cleeton
4
Rated by Lisa H
Oct 21, 2020

The historical fiction novel Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton is a fascinating look into Cuba before and after Castro comes into power. The novel is told in split timelines with stories about two women in Cuba: one facing a revolution that would tear apart everything she knows, another facing a Cuba she has only heard about in family stories.


In Cuba 1958, Elisa Perez is a nineteen-year-old sugar heiress when she meets Pablo at a dinner party. Their chemistry is immediate and undeniable. It is love at first sight and the relationship is doomed from the start due to Elisa and Pablo

Why Do We Cry?

By Fran Pintadera
5
Rated by Heather McCartin
Oct 15, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has left many searching for a way to cope with daily struggles.  Fran Pintadera’s picture book on the concept of crying serves as a unique tool to explain to all audiences how tears are an essential outlet for facing the various stages and phases of life.  With exquisite full color illustrations by Ana Sender, there is an aura of compassion in the poetic text as a mother explains to her young son why people cry. 


Young Mario spends an afternoon with his mother at the park.  When he asks the all-important question of why people cry, his mother closes her eyes

Photo of sunrise coming over hundreds of shanties built on top of a huge public dump in Cambodia

The Rent Collector

By Wright, Camron Steve
5
Rated by Lisa H
Oct 7, 2020

When I saw the book cover of The Rent Collector, with a photo of tin and cardboard shanties built on a HUGE mound of garbage, I was curious and intrigued. The book cover was well worn, as it seemed to be a book that had been checked out and read by many. After reading The Rent Collector, it is now one of my favorite reads of the year.


The Rent Collector, by Camron Steve Wright, is a fictionalized account of a real family who live on the Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in Cambodia. Sang Ly and her husband Ki Lin are pickers at the dump, scavenging recyclables to sell to earn

Jul 24, 2020

Frank Li lives with his Korean-immigrant parents in California, growing up with American culture and feeling like his parents don't understand. As he starts to fall for Brit Means, a white girl his parents would never approve of him dating, Frank pretends to date Joy Song, a family friend who is in the same situation. But everything Frank knows about his life is much more complicated than it seems, especially high school dating. 


I think the most compelling aspect of the book is that it's not just filled with love and romance, but navigating that romance for the first time. In most novels

Akata Witch

By Nnedi Okorafor
5
Rated by admin
Jun 9, 2020

“Lesson one,” Anatov said. “And this is for all of you. Learn how to learn. Read between the lines. Know what to take and what to discard.”
― Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch


This young-adult culturally diverse fantasy, set within the modern times, centers on Sunny Nwazue, an adolescent born to Nigerian parents in the United States. A couple of years before our story begins, Sunny's family moved back to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, where our primary woman of steel currently lives with them just outside a tiny town. Sunny “confuse[s] people,” she explains in her own voice, not only thanks

American Dirt

By Cummins, Jeanine
5
Rated by Lisa H
Jan 23, 2020

Listed as one of the top 10 most anticipated books of 2020 by Goodreads members, American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins tells the fictional story of Lydia and Luca, a mother and her young son, as they flee from Acapulco Mexico and attempt to cross the US border. Lydia’s journalist husband, Sebastian, publishes an expose about Javier, the head of the drug cartel, which causes all 16 members of their family to be brutally killed. Lydia is acquainted with Javier through her bookstore and knows she and her son were also supposed to die with the rest of her family. As Lydia and Luca journey north to

Dec 5, 2019

Jay Reguero, a Filipino-American high-school senior, is living a comfortably mundane life in Michigan. When he learns of his cousin and childhood best friend Jun's murder as a part of Duterre's drug war, regret and a thirst for truth propels him to travel to Manila to discover the truth of Jun’s suspicious death. This poignantly written novel about identity, loss, and heritage will touch hearts everywhere - a must-read for any age!


As one of the "hyphenated" (Peruvian-American), this book touched my heart. The guilt the main protagonist feels for his comfortable life in America and his

An Unkindness of Ghosts

By Rivers Solomon
5
Rated by Chris K.
Aug 22, 2018

I give An Unkindness of Ghosts a clear 5 stars for characters, worldbuilding, and social commentary. I would go with 4 stars for plotting and pacing. Though it certainly doesn't lack for excitement and intrigue, it reads a bit episodically, with an underlying emphasis on each episode illustrating an experience more than carefully crafting a narrative. But what they illustrate is powerful and significant.


"This isn't about how I feel, officer, and this isn't a personal matter. It's a Matildan matter. Our social order depends on our ethical order, and our ethical order depends on

Hate to Want You

By Alisha Rai
5
Rated by Hebah A.H.
Jun 29, 2018

I think I would have come around to romance novels years earlier if I had only realized how much angst could precede the genre's requisite happy endings. Hate To Want You nailed both angst and satisfaction.


This steamy tale follows Livvy and Nicholas, once-lovers separated by family disapproval and time, who find that years of miscommunications and misunderstandings loom as large as ever . . . but so does the sizzling chemistry between them. I started out feeling somewhat lukewarm toward the characters but had heard enough praise of Alisha Rai's books to keep me going. I was a little afraid

Behold the Dreamers

By Mbue, Imbolo
5
Rated by Kari E.
Apr 5, 2018

Behold the Dreamers tells the story of two different families who were brought together by the Lehman Brothers collapse. Jende and Neni Jonga emigrate from Cameroon, Africa to New York City with their young son, Liomi. Jende is a loyal chauffeur who does not talk about what he hears his boss say in the car. Jende is proud of the car he drives and his ability to support his family. Coming to America is everything Neni dreams of and more. The Edwards family give Neni a job helping out during the summer at their home in the Hamptons. Cindy Edwards is a socialite, nutritionist, and mother who says

Assassin's Creed: Origins

By Ubisoft
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Mar 3, 2018

The latest in the Assassin's Creed juggernaut, Origins (available for PS4 and XBoxOne) is immediately striking due to the sheer amount of pretty.  The vast expanses of desert, the detail in the cities, the shining pyramids, the stars in the sky...this game is gorgeous.  Happily, it's more than just a pretty face!


The controls are a little bit smoother in this iteration, although you'll still have moments of climbing the wall right next to the ladder you were intending to use.  After this many games, I'm fairly certain that's a feature by now, not a bug.  The weapons/armor system reminds me

Dec 8, 2017

As the follow up to Milk and Honey, I had low expectations for Rupi Kaur's second book, The Sun and Her Flowers. Having existed in the poetry community, I am familiar with the conflicting opinions about Kaur and her poetry. "Too simple," some say. "Fake deep," others say, rolling their eyes. Parodies sprung up across the internet, poking fun at Kaur's short, loaded style. However, many others nearly worshiped Kaur, resulting in her immediate climb to the top of The New York Times Bestseller list. Yet, I have stood on a middle ground, owning and dog-earing Milk and Honey, but also understanding

Wind River (DVD)

By Taylore Sheridan
5
Rated by Zachary C
Dec 3, 2017

On the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a tracker and hunter of threatening wildlife on the reservation, protecting the people from dangerous animals. Cory finds the corpse of a teenage girl when patrolling the reservation. Young FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent in to investigate. New, inexperienced, and idealistic, Jane is quickly in over her head trying to solve the murder while adjusting to the culture shift on an Indian reservation. Cory knows the land and the people of Wind River, and Jane enlists his help. To say more would start to

Léon the Professional

By Luc Besson
4
Rated by Scott S.
Oct 28, 2017

Léon: The Professional tells the story of a child-like hit man named Léon and his relationship with (and subsequent training of) a 12 year-old named Mathilda who is orphaned at the hands of insane, corrupt New York cop Norman Stansfield. It features that unique French mixture of absurdity and realism: In what world does a 12 year-old boldly shoot a handgun out of a window without consequence? How is that Léon and Mathilda's relationship is simultaneously creepy and sweet? How can a cop so violently corrupt as Stansfield not be in federal prison? This constant contradiction of everyday minutiae

Oct 14, 2017

We know the media story of the West African Ebola outbreak of 2014, but we don’t know the other story. Author, Dr. Steven Hatch focuses less on the virus itself, which was the subject of Hot Zone by Richard Preston, and instead focuses on stories of daily life under the stress of the epidemic. Less is mentioned about the specific symptoms, and more time is spent on the remarkable strength of those touched by the virus: those confirmed with it, those who help them, and everyone else affected by its contagion.


Inferno adds a steady voice to a subject that needs a calm and clear telling. That

The Buddha in the Attic

By Julie Otsuka
2
Rated by Sam S.
Jul 19, 2017

The Buddha in the Attic is a short novel depicting the lives and struggles of Japanese mail-order brides arriving in America in the years leading up to World War II. It is not one central story that follows a single character--or even a few. Instead, the author uses the first person plural narrative style (through the use of "we" and "our") to tell the stories of countless, mostly nameless women. The narrative begins on the boats, as the young girls share their dreams for the unknown future, and continues with their lives in America as they struggle to adapt to a new land and a new language

Persona 5 (PS4)

By ATLUS
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Jul 3, 2017

Have you ever wanted to execute a massive heist?  How about pretend to be a Japanese high schooler?  Explore Jungian psychology?  You're in luck!


This may be the fifth game in the Persona subseries of the Shin Megami Tensei games, but no prior knowledge is required (although it helps to catch references, and maybe a little foreshadowing).  You play as a student shipped off to big-city Tokyo from the country on criminal probation for assault, but you only find this out a little ways into the game, which begins in mid-heist.  You're quickly apprehended by police, informed that you were

Out of Darkness

By Ashley Hope Perez
5
Rated by Emily D.
Jun 30, 2017

Out of Darkness is a heartbreaking and powerful read. This is a story about racism, disaster, love and hope.


Naomi is a 17-year-old Mexican living with her half siblings and white stepfather in New London, Texas, in 1937. Naomi is in danger of her stepfather's wrath and abuse, but she'll do anything for her siblings.


Wash is a black teen who's been living with racism his whole life; he goes to a inferior black school while the white kids go to the state-of-the-art school down the road, and he's tired of keeping his eyes to the ground. Naomi and Wash fall in love. It's against the rules-

Oct 1, 2016

The title of Love, Loss and What We Ate is what sparked my interest: what could be more relatable? I knew nothing about Padma Lakshmi and didn’t even recognize her name. But it doesn’t matter; anyone can find aspects of her story engaging. She writes with honesty and simplicity about the events of her life. Although she has been a model, actress, foodie, and was even married to the likes of Salman Rushdie, we can relate to her tales of cooking, childhood, career moves, relationships, and motherhood. She writes with a curious blend of candor and self-consciousness, which is both endearing and a

Sep 28, 2016

Ah, if only I'd read this last summer or fall, sometime before my five-month-old was born, because I'm quite drawn to many of the ideas. Some I'd already claimed as my own, some were vague notions that have now been articulated and solidified for me, and some still feel rather surprising and foreign. I'm not one to unquestioningly adopt any model--parenting, leadership, eating, or what you will--without tweaking it and making it my own, but I believe considering and practicing these ideas will make me a more effective parent.


"Model" seems the best word I can think of to describe what

Jul 27, 2016

Habo is an albino, but where he lives in Tanzania, albinos are hunted because their body parts are thought to bring good luck. But soon he must leave his family, he is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete willing to do anything to track him down.


Golden Boy is a thoughtful story about a current human rights issue. I had not really heard about albinism or the issues surrounding it until I read this book. I understood Habo's struggle to reject the lie so many were telling him and truly believe he is worth as much as anyone else, and then his frustration when the world wouldn't

Jan 28, 2016

In Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love, Lara Vapnyar brings the lives of recent immigrants to New York into crystal clear focus. Using the universal language of food, Vapnyar illustrates the sadness of Nina’s wilting marriage with the broccoli in her refrigerator; Sergey’s loneliness cured, not by companionship, but by Borscht; Katya crafts her memory of puffed rice and meatballs specifically for her lover’s entertainment.


In these, and other stories, Vapnyar illustrates both experiences unique to Russian immigrants, as well as those universally shared. It’s reminiscent of Will Eisner

A Thousand Nights

By E. K. Johnston
4
Rated by Dawna O.
Nov 30, 2015

Johnston weaves a beautiful tale of sisterhood and love, while re-creating the story A Thousand and One Nights. Similar to the original story, this is a desert setting and the king has taken 300 wives, one from each village, before coming to the village of our unnamed heroine. She asks her sister’s mother to help ready her for the king. She wants to take the focus off of her sister and offer herself to the king instead, in order to save her sister. She is swept away with the king, as he has chosen her, and taken to his palace. Each night the king comes to her to listen to her tell stories of

5 to 1

By Holly Bodger
4
Rated by Peggy H.
Oct 28, 2015

The year is 2054 and India has a ratio of 5 boys to 1 girl. Girls have now become valuable assets. To combat the selling of daughters to the highest bidder, a group of women have founded a closed country they named Koyanagar. In Koyanagar, young men are chosen to compete for a chance to marry a girl. It is now Sudasa's turn to witness the testing of five young men and then choose one to become her future husband. Sudasa does not want a husband, she does not want to marry and bear children. She wants the opportunity to decide her own future, but that's not an option for her at this time. 

When the Moon is Low

By Nadia Hashimi
2
Rated by Katie S.
Sep 27, 2015

Imagine that food is scarce, money is even scarcer, education is not an option for women and freedom of anything - speech, religion, choice - no longer exists. This is Afghanistan in the 1990s, the world in which Fereiba now lives and she is desperately seeking a way out. She grew up in a better time where she was able to go to school, teach and live a respectable but free life. She recounts her childhood and growing up in a middle-class family while remembering her first love and how heartbroken she was when he married her sister. But now she is married herself to a wonderful man who supports

The Art of War

By Sun, Tzu
5
Rated by Nancy B.
Jun 1, 2015

Often considered one of the best management strategy books of all time, The Art of War, by Tzu Sun, is as pertinent today as when it was compiled thousands of years ago. “Work smarter, not harder.” “The best battle is the one never fought.” “A boss says 'go.' A leader say’s 'let’s go.'” These sentiments are not new. The basis for each can be found in Tzu Sun’s writings. The Art of War applies to conflicts on all levels; from battlefields to board rooms. Sun stresses the virtues of patience, strategy and outthinking one’s opponents.


I picked The Art of War because it was short at 172 pages. 

May 30, 2015

Bless This Food is a collection of graces from many traditions - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. I came across this title in my quest to find dinner prayers that were more resonant with my family than the standard one I had been taught as a child or the simpler ones that I had prayed with my own children when they were younger.  Adrian Butash begins by beautifully describing the intimate relationship that humans have with food and the God or gods who are the source of that food and explains why saying grace and giving thanks is a universal phenomenon.  Bless This Food is

The Hundred-foot Journey

By Mirren, Helen
5
Rated by Melody M.K.
May 16, 2015

The movie The Hundred-foot Journey begins in India where an Indian family that loves cooking has a family restaurant. Touched by tragedy during a fire in their restaurant, the head of the family decides they should move to a new country. After some trial and error in finding just the right spot, they come to a lovely village in the south of France and happen upon an empty restaurant for sale. The sale is made and they begin restoration, moving in with not one thought of the 3-star French restaurant across the road from them. Then begins the lovely story of the Indian young man and the French