My name is Chris Skoglund, and I am the librarian at Willard Elementary School in Evanston, where I have worked for almost thirteen years. I am an avid reader of books for both children and adults (which made picking only five books really difficult), so I consider myself to have the best job in the world!
1) Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2016)
An extraordinary mix of historical fiction and science fiction, this novel drew me in and would not let me go. Full of elegant imagery and characters that will linger in your mind long after the story is finished, each element worked seamlessly together.
2) It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas (2016)
Set in California during the Iran Hostage Crisis, this coming-of-age novel offers a poignant yet humorous glimpse of a young girl’s search for identity in a rarely explored time period.
3) The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (2015)
This novel combines a strong, clever protagonist with dark folktales elements to make a deliciously creepy adventure for all ages.
4) The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (2016)
A creepy adventure, a fantastical mystery, a historical look at science, religion, and gender… this novel can be explored on so many levels. After I finished, I just had to sit and admire how each piece of the book fell completely and satisfyingly into place.
5) Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (2016)
This nonfiction examination of racism in America was thought-provoking and dynamic. Superbly organized and researched, the author captures the depth and tragedy of racist policies and thought in America and how this history informs and affects society today.