Literary Feats & Fall Treats
October is always a busier month for us than you might think: we're preparing for the holiday weeks ahead, working hard on our end-of-year holiday picks, and taking part in some great events around town—including the Cape Cod Marathon Kids Fun Run!
We're excited to say this is our second year as the Kids Fun Run Headquarters. The run will take place Sunday, October 27 at 8:45 am, and we can't wait to cheer on and celebrate these runners once again! In honor of Marathon weekend, we also have some reading recommendations in this month's newsletter that we think are true storytelling feats.
Izzy has been a bookseller with us since the summer of 2018 and is currently in her senior year of high school. She's become one of our most enthusiastic Eight Cousins Instagram account users, which she now oversees and posts to regularly. She's passionate about the power and reach of social media, saying "it's fun to get closer to our community in a different way." She also loves the creative side of the platform, such as coming up with fun captions and cute ways to display gifts (see: our latest post about socks).
Izzy's October recommendation is Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry (available October 8, 2019). She describes it as a quick read, and emphasizes "the important way it focuses on LGBTQ+ topics." And, though it was a heavy story, Izzy is happy to report that by the end she felt uplifted.
Julien joined Eight Cousins as a bookseller in 2013 during the summer and holiday seasons and is staying into the fall this year. This past summer, he took on a new role helping to coordinate our recent collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, from assisting with the initial transition period to now making regular visits to the museum gift shop where he takes inventory and merchandises the books they have on hand.
This month, Julien recommends The Perfect Pie. Notorious for his cookbook knowledge, Julien says "you can't go wrong with America's Test Kitchen," who publishes the book, and that it's "perfect for Thanksgiving time and baking any sort of pie." He also makes sure to highlight the exciting crust recipes it includes and the pie pops pictured on the back cover!
What We're Recommending . . .
From our vantage point of 100 years, it’s hard to imagine how strong and vehement the opposition to women’s suffrage was during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Yet even after the achievement of women’s suffrage, the United States lags behind many other countries that have elected women as their leaders, and the Equal Rights Amendment has floundered in limbo for a number of years. The default thinking could be that we have not come very far, very quickly. However, as Tina Cassidy details in her book, Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait?, the push for women’s suffrage was a formidable battle that took many years to win.
This battle for women’s suffrage often became violent, and so the women committed to gaining women’s right to vote had to be tenacious and fierce as well. None could be more so than Alice Paul, who was inspired to lead the suffrage movement in the United States after hearing the Pankhursts (mother and daughters) speak at rallies while she was a student in England.
Opposing women’s suffrage was President Woodrow Wilson. Their backgrounds could not have been more different. Alice Paul was raised in New Jersey by Quaker parents who stressed education—even for women, equal treatment for all, and women’s rights. Woodrow Wilson was a segregationist who grew up in Georgia in a household with slaves and whose father, a minister, was able to find evidence in the Bible that supported the institution of slavery.
These two Americans, on opposite sides of the suffrage movement, are contrasted in Cassidy’s book as she traces the events leading to the eventual passing of the 19th Amendment. Alice Paul’s place in American history has not been documented to the extent that Wilson’s has been. I enjoyed learning about this woman who had essentially been written out of our history. Cassidy portrays Alice Paul as a heroine of the suffrage movement, a woman who dedicated her life to the cause of women’s rights. Following the trajectory of Alice Paul’s life, we realize that achieving women’s equal rights was, and is, a long and sometimes harrowing struggle, but as Tina Cassidy notes in quoting Frederick Douglass in a preface: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
It’s 1941 in Berlin, and Hitler’s regime is slowly taking over the city. Lea’s father has been killed outside his shop, and Lea’s mother realizes that she must get her 12-year-old daughter out of Berlin. Hanni, Lea’s mother, cannot accompany her daughter, so she seeks the aid of her Rabbi. However, it’s the rabbi’s daughter Ettie who performs the miracle of creating a golem, in the person of Ava, whose one duty is to protect Lea. Under Ava’s watchful eyes, the three—Ettie, Lea, and Ava—flee to Paris. However, Paris is becoming dangerous and the three must again flee the Nazis. Temporary sanctuary is found in a convent school in western France, where the nuns have hidden a number of Jewish girls. However, even this remote school turns out to be dangerous.
At each “safe place,” the girls are on the edge of Nazi encroachment. I held my breath at their many narrow escapes, and cheered Ava as she shielded the two girls. I am not a fan of fantasy and magical realism, yet in the hands of Alice Hoffman, I believed completely in Ava, the mythical golem, and I gave myself up to Hoffman’s narrative. The World That We Knew is a fable of good vs. true evil, of loss and the redemption of love. What was the price paid by those who survived the Holocaust, who lost parents and siblings as well as friends and a way of life, and those who sacrificed their lives so others would live? Alice Hoffman treads this ground carefully as she presents characters who are challenged as evil pursues them. The World That We Knew is an adventure story, a history lesson, and a love story. Above all, it is a testament to the power of love and the sacrifices that this love demands.
In Children's Books:
Eight Cousins is proud to be sponsoring the Kids Fun Run during the Cape Cod Marathon again this year. The Kids Fun Run encourages outdoor activity, family togetherness, and community fun. We're all about outdoor activity (beach reading!), family togetherness (reading picture books together), and community fun (book clubs!). We also believe in play and adventure, both physical and mental. In addition to cheering on young runners during the course, we will have activities (puzzles, games, coloring) in store on Sunday, October 27 during the marathon until 1 pm. Activities are for young cheering squads who are waiting for their own marathon runner, but of course anyone is welcome to join in the fun. Imaginative play and creative thinking go hand-in-hand for early learners. All that time your family spends playing games, making up stories, singing, running, laughing, being together? You think you're just having fun, but there is no just about it. Having fun by connecting with family and friends helps kids develop valuable critical thinking skills. Play! Run! Read! Take an adventure. Together.
In honor of the Kids Fun Run, I'm delighted to once again highlight Jason Reynolds's Track Series. Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu are the four newest members of the Defenders track club. In Ghost, the first of the series, we meet Ghost, but also get a glimpse of the other three members and then each one gets to tell their own story in the next three books. Each story is a stand-alone, but my guess is that once you read one, you're going to want to read all four. Lu, the fourth book in the series, will be available in paperback on October 8, 2019. The entire series will be available in a paperback box set on October 22, 2019, just in time for Marathon weekend!
Fans of Jason Reynolds will be excited to know that he has a new middle grade book coming out on October 8 as well. Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks is as amazing as you would expect a book written by Jason Reynolds to be. It's ten stories about kids (single and in groups) walking home from school. I cried a little. I laughed. I proudly noted the various connections between the characters and stories and I really thought I understood what was going on until I was completely surprised by a key point that I had definitely missed. Each story has a little twist and the whole book forces you to, well, to look both ways. A literary feat to be sure.
As for fall treats, we have some old favorite Halloween books in stock, such as Room on the Broom, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, Little Blue Truck's Halloween, Los Gatos Black on Halloween, and Eek Halloween, but there are also some great new books this season, particularly 1, 2, Let's Say Boo, which is as adorable as a book filled with kittens, puppies, guinea pigs, etc. dressed in Halloween costumes should be.
In the opening chapter of Red at the Bone, we meet sixteen-year-old Melody who is arguing with her mother, Iris, about the music she has chosen for her coming-of-age ceremony. The language in the lyrics upsets Iris. This interaction sounds typical, but we soon learn Iris was a very young teenage mother and their path to this day has not been typical. Told through the voices of the various people close to Iris, we learn about their pasts and how these histories affect their reactions to Melody’s birth. This book isn’t only about the difficulties of teen pregnancy—it illustrates the love, respect, dignity, and raw emotion among the characters.
Woodson is a prolific writer. Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn are two other books I enjoyed reading. She has spent her career augmenting diversity in books, to publishing and to her community. Here is a New York Times article that tells more about her.
What better combination to pair with a good book than stuffed reading buddies and cozy socks? These adorable plush rice monsters by Noodoll are anything but scary—though, being monsters, they fit right in during this spooky season! Each one is unique, and you can be sure they won't interrupt your quiet reading time. An added bonus: every monster is hand-stuffed and sewn!
The next time you come in take a look at our new selection of socks as well—from seasonal designs to dogs, cacti, cats and more—there's a pair for everyone in your life (including yourself!).
Available for Pre-Order:
In Children's Books: