Some of the books that made us fall in love—with an author, an illustrator, a character . . .
I love Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love because it’s a beautiful story where Julián can be exactly who Julián is meant to be.
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn because it shows how complicated motherhood can be and how love and identity make us human.
There, There by Tommy Orange because you can connect with each character, and the novel highlights the diversity of indigenous identity.
I love The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld because it conveys an expansive range of emotion in an accessible and realistic way.
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holy Black because it is clever and funny. As soon as I finished reading it the first time, I immediately started rereading it again.
Look Both Ways because it surprised me. Anything Jason Reynolds writes is amazing.
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand: I love animals and animal stories, and Seabiscuit is one of the best. Three men bet their lives, and one his fortune, when they rally around an undersized, underdog race horse with a gigantic heart, who in the end is the one who saves their lives.
News of the World by Paulette Jiles: I love quirky and unusual characters and the portrayal of relationships that just shouldn’t work out. Captain Kidd and Joanna travel 400 dangerous miles through Texas, a trip to which Joanna was absolutely opposed. In the end, their survival depends on mutual trust, and a very close relationship is cemented. I love Jiles’s writing as well as the originality of her plot.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa: I love the simplicity and power of Ogawa’s prose and the trusting relationship that blossoms between the housekeeper and the professor she is charged to care for. I love the fact that a close-knit family does not need to be defined by biology.
~ Mary Fran