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National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans with roots in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively.

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ICPL Recommends

The Middle Ages : a graphic guide book cover
The Middle Ages : a graphic guide book cover

The Middle Ages : a graphic guide

Eleanor Janega

940.1 /Janega
Nonfiction, History

"The Middle Ages: A Graphic Guide busts the myth of the 'Dark Ages', shedding light on the period's present-day relevance in a unique illustrated style. This history takes us through the rise and fall of empires, papacies, caliphates and kingdoms; through the violence and death of the Crusades, Viking raids, the Hundred Years War and the Plague; to the curious practices of monks, martyrs and iconoclasts. We'll see how the foundations of the modern West were established, influencing our art, cultures, religious practices and ways of thinking. And we'll explore the lives of those seen as 'Other' - women, Jews, homosexuals, lepers, sex workers and heretics. Join historian Eleanor Janega and illustrator Neil Max Emmanuel on a romp across continents and kingdoms as we discover the Middle Ages to be a time of huge change, inquiry and development - not unlike our own."--

Illustrations are my jam. Any creatively rendered true story is going to grab my attention. I've been reading a lot of business and conflict management books lately, so this one is a nice reprieve where I can sit and enjoy an artist interpreting history. -Melody

The swerve : how the world became modern book cover
The swerve : how the world became modern book cover

The swerve : how the world became modern

Stephen Greenblatt

940.21 /Greenblatt
Nonfiction, History, Philosophy, Biographies

In this work, the author has crafted both a work of history and a story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius, a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions. The copying and translation of this ancient book, the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age, fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.

I'm a little late to this book, but I am so glad that I am reading it (on the recommendation of Natalie Haynes, for you podcast lovers!). This book so eloquently relays an important aspect of the humanism movement--that of finding and preserving and making known again--works from the Romans and Greeks. In this case, our questing hero goes by the name of Poggio, and he re-discovers a text by the Roman thinker Lucretius, who had been heavily influenced by Greek philosopher Epicurus. It's a layer cake of scrumptious meditation on how to live, combined with juicy details of the lives of Romans and Florentines--a real treat! -Candice

The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I book cover
The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I book cover

The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I

Lindsey Fitzharris

OverDrive Audiobook
Literary Nonfiction, History, Biographies

From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: mankind's military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. Bodies were battered, gouged, hacked, and gassed. The First World War claimed millions of lives and left millions more wounded and disfigured. In the midst of this brutality, however, there were also those who strove to alleviate suffering. The Facemaker tells the extraordinary story of such an individual: the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies, who dedicated himself to reconstructing the burned and broken faces of the injured soldiers under his care. Gillies, a Cambridge-educated New Zealander, became interested in the nascent field of plastic surgery after encountering the human wreckage on the front. Returning to Britain, he established one of the world's first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction. There, Gillies assembled a unique group of practitioners whose task was to rebuild what had been torn apart, to re-create what had been destroyed. At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero, but losing a face made him a monster to a society largely intolerant of disfigurement, Gillies restored not just the faces of the wounded but also their spirits. .

This book is devastating and hopeful at the same time. It is a story that starts out harrowing, but after hard work and ingenuity by a few individuals, things change for the better. The Facemaker, a history of World War I facial reconstruction, sets the scene: how World War I was fought in new and horrific ways. It was industrial. There were a lot of advancements in weapons of war. (And of course, for what?) Lindsey Fitzharris describes this moment in time very well. Then there are the people put in the trenches and at sea and in the air, not to mention the civilians, facing this new weaponry. Fitzharris makes these stories personal and individual, the pain experienced both inside and out. She picks a number of individuals that came home with significant facial injuries and how they viewed their lives as over. Enter Harold Gillies, an ears, nose, and throat doctor, who is about to become the leading expert in facial reconstruction. If you love compelling histories of war or medicine, I recommend this book. As an aside, the audio version was excellently narrated. -Anne M

Everything I need I get from you : how fangirls created the Internet as we know it book cover
Everything I need I get from you : how fangirls created the Internet as we know it book cover

Everything I need I get from you : how fangirls created the Internet as we know it

Kaitlyn Tiffany

302.23 /Tiffany
Music

"A thrilling and riotous dive into the world of superfandom, One Direction, and the fangirls who shaped the social internet"--

Even if you aren't a One Direction fan, you're probably a fan of something else, musical group or TV show or movie franchise, and you will recognize a lot of yourself and fellow fans in this book about the effect fandom has on the internet. A fun read! -Amanda

Alone book cover
Alone book cover

Alone

Megan E. Freeman

jFICTION Freeman Megan
Kids, Dystopian

Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town. When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She's alone--left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned. With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten. As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie's most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie's stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?

I love reading survival stories, and this children's fiction book was particularly intriguing with an eerie science fiction element. An "imminent" but unknown threat forces the entire western United States to evacuate, leaving behind a 13-year-old girl in the confusion of sharing homes with divorced parents. I also love novels written in verse, and this story keeps you hooked with this unique storytelling style and the constants threats she encounters as she learns how to live in a completely abandoned town with little survival experience and no way to contact the outside world. -Mari

On the other side of the forest book cover
On the other side of the forest book cover

On the other side of the forest

Nadine Robert

jE Robert
Picture Books

What's on the other side of the forest? A young rabbit and his father are determined to find out in this modern picture book that feels like a classic, calling to mind the tender work of Beatrix Potter. Some say that wolves, ogres, and giant badgers live in the forest beside Arthur's house. That's why no one ever goes in there, to see what's on the other side. But one day, Arthur's dad has an idea--a magnificent idea! Build a tower to look over the treetops! But a magnificent idea takes a lot of work. Will the villagers join and help them? And when the tower takes shape, what will they see on the other side? This wonderful, heartwarming story by Nadine Robert--with illustrations by Gérard DuBois reminiscent of classic children's books--shares the importance of community and cooperation to achieve a big dream.

I am breaking out of my nonfiction and fiction groove to recommend the literally loveliest thing I've read all year. Kids who have the patience to sit down and listen to a good story, well told, will cuddle up with you to enjoy this picture book. But not my kid! As a 6yo, he thinks books like this are for preschoolers. Joke's on him, tho, these beautiful books are also for art-appreciating adults. Gerard Dubois's illustrations feature clean and elegant lines with expert level coloring. If you love fantastic illustrations and an uplifting story about the strength of a community and the wonder of our world, you will love this picture book. -Melody

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