50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission Into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman

50children

This is a true story about a very small group of people who decided to rescue 50 Jewish children from Nazi Germany in 1939-legally. The idea came from someone who was the head of a Jewish fraternal society in Philadelphia. He proposed that this society could rescue 50 children from Nazi occupied Germany and escort them to the USA where they could be fostered (both physically and financially) by other Jewish families until the rest of the children’s family could immigrate to the USA.  This size of group, coming from Germany, all children, had never been done before. The enormity of this quest was not fully realized as political (both German and American), religious, and emotional barriers all had to be overcome. Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus were the people to head up the American Calvary to rescue 50 children, and in doing so, potentially rescue 50 German families as well.  Constant worries about visas, health concerns, language differences, as well as taking these children from living parents and other siblings, weighed heavily on the Kraus couple’s mind. This book reads like a suspense novel where time is ticking away and you never know when things are going to change.  Take a read and find out if there was a happy ending! (Submitted by Jamie)

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The Burning World by Isaac Marion

burningworldReading the previous installment, Warm Bodies, (or watching the movie) isn’t a necessity. If you have, you’ll get a richer understanding, but if you haven’t, no big deal. That’s impressive, because I loved Warm Bodies, but I was sort of wary about a sequel.  Don’t worry – Marion has expanded on Warm Bodies and brought us an action-packed, philosophical, futuristic powerhouse of a story. There are zombies trying to slowly regain their humanity, there are zombies who are not nearly human, there are survivors building a new world, and there is an eerie and mysterious new “Axiom Corporation” controlling the puppet strings somewhere.  It’s a great read. Great fun, great adventure, and great writing. I loved R’s journey into self-discovery, I delighted in the mystery of the wholly unsettling Axiom Group, and I loved the band of resistance fighters scattered around what’s left of North America. The pages flew by. Definitely a must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction and The Walking Dead.

Side note: This isn’t a book for the squeamish. It is about the undead and a bunch of humans desperately surviving, and there is some gruesome stuff in here. Zombies, you know. (Submitted by Veronica)

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Beartown by Fredrik Backman

beartownIt’s been awhile since I’ve really loved a good book. Perhaps Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park was the last book that I finished and just wanted to hug. With Fredrik Backman’s Beartown, every page and every word, completely broke my heart into a million pieces.

Beartown is the name of a fictional small-town whose residents all pin their hopes and dreams on the local junior boys hockey team. We have Kevin, the team’s star player, who shoulders much of the pressure from his distant parents and all the citizens of Beartown. His best friend, Benji, is the boy with the sad eyes and a wild heart who tries to protect Kevin from anything that tries to break through their hockey bubble. Amat, whose mother Fatima works as a janitor at the ice rink, is the runty but speedy up and comer who has to battle being seen as a foreigner as well as deal with Bobo, the school bully. Then we have the coaches who constantly face the balancing act of taking care of their players and being forced to put the hockey club first. All of this buckles into a storm of emotions and events that eventually leads one teenager to raise a gun to the head of another and pull the trigger.

Beartown is filled with unforgettable characters that you will cry for, champion, be enraged at, and be inspired by. I could not put this book down, and I didn’t want it to end! A breathtaking fable of ambition, hope, and courage. (Submitted by Alan)

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

the rosie project

I forgot the last time I read a book and laughed so much. The Rosie Project sure made me smile and chuckle more than a few times. The main character, Don Tillman, has an Asperger’s syndrome – a condition that is pretty much permanent in one’s life and clearly not a laughable matter. However, once you meet Don and get to know his way of thinking and his approach to life, you begin to ease a little and think- things are not that bad for Don, actually he seems like he figured out life better than most people. Don adores order, rules, predictability and it’s easy to label him as rigid and control-loving. But, he is also a nice, smart, talented, kind, and caring person.

Fun begins when Don decides to seriously look into his “Wife Problem” (he is in his late 30s and single) and this is how the “Wife Project” gets underway. Don Tillman, being a scientist (geneticist to be exact) approaches the love aspect of life fully prepared, with scientific research and measurements. Find out what happens next! (Submitted by Mariya)

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If you fall in love with The Rosie Project, read The Rosie Effect afterwards!

 

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

all-our-wrong-todaysFrom the first page, I was hooked.  I liked it so much I actually read it aloud so others would also want to read it.  I like the short chapters and Elan’s use of language.  This book has it all, time travel, romance, family dynamics, all tied up around what would happen if an event in the past was changed by the main character.  The main character doesn’t have to wonder if he is living in the wrong timeline. He knows he is. After all, he was the one who messed it up.  Read  this book to find out why our reality is not like the Utopian future that the 1950s predicted. (Submitted by Deanna)

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Secret Path by Gordon Downie

secretpath

The Secret Path, written by Gordon Downie (from Tragically Hip) and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, devastated me, just reflecting on the tragic story of 12 year old Chanie Wenjack makes me want to cry. This book so beautifully and powerfully tells the story of his life and untimely death in October of 1966. And yet, it is books or art or the intricate dance of both, that heal and make us grateful that we allow ourselves to be tender, to feel, to cry, and to be real. To regret what was done in the past and be inspired to insure that the future is a better place for our children. My heart aches as I wish, with all of my being that I could travel through time and space, to help Chanie home: to be with his loved ones and to share Batman #189 with him in the summer of 1967.

The residential schools were a dark chapter in history, just like the concentration camps were a dark chapter in history, I am grateful for books that remind us of what I pray we as a world population moving beyond the mistakes of our past will never let happen again and inspire me for what we all can bring about in the next 150 years with respect, love and tears. (Submitted by Inti)

 

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A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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A Series of Unfortunate Events is popular, especially among pre-teens, for a reason. At first, I didn’t think I’d like the series since it seemed too odd and dreary. However, Lemony Snicket (the pen name for Daniel Handler) has such an intriguing style of writing. The series is about three orphans who try to escape Count Olaf, a relative who attempts to steal the inheritance the orphans are supposed to receive when they grow older. While I agree with others that the books in the middle of the series are repetitive, the end gets very interesting! There are so many clues and sub-plots that the books start to feel like a mystery series, and it’s very rewarding if you read every single book. It’s a clean read that’s great for people who are willing to finish something all the way through and get lost in the mystery and adventure. (Submitted by Beatrice)

You are welcome to borrow A Series of Unfortunate Events from Surrey Libraries; we have it in different formats: books, ebooks, and audiobooks.  Check it out!