Wishtree by Katherine Applegate


Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: The neighborhood oak and all the stories she has witnessed and watched over in her 200 plus years.

What made me pick it up: I’d seen it recommended on Twitter.

My favorite parts: I love that it’s from the point of view of a tree. This is such a sweet story of friendship and community and how things so simple, like friendship and acceptance, are so difficult for humans to attain sometimes. It also has a wonderful theme of environmental conservation and protection. Not only is the tree character great, but there is a whole menagerie of wild animals to meet as well including one very precocious crow. I also enjoyed that this book is fairly short and quick, being middle grade. An excellent reminder to all ages to build bridges and foster appreciation.

Who it’s great for: Middle grade readers on up, especially fans of The Giving Tree.

Erica’s rating: four and a half shells

Last Stop On Market Street by Matt De La Peña


Originally published in: 2015

What it’s about: A young boy and his grandma taking the bus through their city.

What made me pick it up: I actually got a few pages into this a year or so ago but didn’t get to finish it. When I saw it available in our Overdrive collection I checked it out.

My favorite things: This has vibrant illustrations and a powerful message of community. I liked the grandmother’s openness to all the people around them and how that rubbed off on her grandson. It is a simple, beautiful story.

Who it’s great for: Littles who want things they can’t afford. Anyone seeking a story of community. Readers who try to find beauty wherever they look.

Erica’s rating: four-shells

Find this book on Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.



Image created by beloved Charlottesville store Rock Paper Scissors. Learn more at: https://www.thinkrpscville.com/

As we all begin to move forward after the horrendous Charlottesville violence of August 12, Abby and I thought we would share some books that might make for good reading to further inform on issues of racial and social justice.

Books We Have Reviewed Before
Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color by Marilyn Nelson
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram Kendi
March (series) by John Lewis

Other Titles We Recommend
The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson
Voice of Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
The Crunk Feminist Collection by Brittney Cooper
Hidden Figures by Margot Slatterly
Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Homegoing by Yaa Gayasi
Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon

Enjoy these books and pursue other reading that opens you up to new ideas and the experience of people different than you. Most importantly going forward, treat each other with understanding, kindness, and love.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman


Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: A socially inept, recently single woman in her sixties tries to find purpose something to do where people are so she won’t die alone and not be discovered for a week.

What made me pick it up: I loved loved loved Backman’s debut so I placed a hold on all his recent and upcoming releases. As I listened to that, and highly enjoyed it, I sought the audio for this as well (and I again recommend it).

My favorite things: I’m consistently amazed at this author’s ability to write curmudgeonly characters with grace and humor. The humanity he imparts makes it feel like someone in your community or family for that matter. Britt-Marie is marvelous but so is the supporting cast in this small town novel. While not as funny as A Man Called Ove, this certainly has its moments. I also enjoyed the running thread of soccer as metaphor. As a lifelong soccer player this spoke to me as much as any character. The ending is a bit more ambiguous than Ove but if you liked how that played out, with the character coming to a realization, then you will like this as well.

Who it’s great for: Those who want to read about simple, sweet characters and relationships as they go through real life situations. Readers who enjoy everyday warmth in their stories. Fans of Fredrik Backman.

Erica’s rating: four-shells

Find either of Backman’s books using our Amazon affiliate links: A Man Called Ove; Britt Marie Was Here or check your local library.


Tribe by Sebastian Junger


Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: Junger examines tribal societies and ponders if that closeness of community might be missing from our new industrialized lives.

What made me pick it up: Someone I follow posted it on Instagram. I checked out the audio and then realized it was only three hours long. Win!

My favorite things: This book is brief, which makes it to the point from the beginning. The opening anecdote made me tear up it is so powerful. Junger makes the great point that we need to belong, so much so that the lack of it in our lives is definitely harming us.

Who it’s great for: Adults who are looking for a quick, but deep read. Fans of Junger’s work. Anyone who feels like they don’t belong and wonders why. Those who have left a place where they did belong and miss it entirely and wish it back.

Erica’s rating: four-shells