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April Book Club

📚✨ This month’s Better Together book club picks help create a safe and inclusive environment for LGBT youth.

 

prince-and-knight
Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack. A charming picture book with a Prince who discovers his knight in shining armor. This beautifully illustrated book makes room different sorts of love stories.
 

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Star-Crossed, by Barbara Dee. Mattie is a twelve year old who’s sorting out her newfound crush on Gemma, the girl cast as Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo & Juliet. It all comes to a head when Mattie’s cast as Romeo because the boy playing the part drops out. A fun, lightly played midgrade novel.

 

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Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, by Jaye Robin Brown. When Joanna’s Dad’s new marriage moves the family from Atlanta to Rome, Georgia, she agrees to “lie low” and not be quite the out and proud lesbian she had been at her Atlanta high school. But then she starts to fall for Mary Carlson– and maybe Mary’s falling for Jo too? We love this book and author Jaye Robin Brown! Her newest book, The Meaning of Birds, will be out this spring, and she’ll be here at Little Shop on April 24th.

 
jack-not-jackie

Jack (not Jackie), by Erica Silverman & Holly Hatam. Big sister Susan is excited to have a new baby sister, someone she share fun things like dresses and fairies with. But as Jackie gets older, Susan struggles with her sibling identifying more as Jack than Jackie. This picture book is great for anyone, but particularly families looking for an excellent introduction to the issues of gender identity.

 

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Becoming Nicole, by Amy Ellis Nutt. This nonfiction biography of actress and activist Nicole Maines, by Pulitzer prize-winner Amy Ellis Nutt, is not only a fantastic portrait of an extraordinary young woman and her exceptional family, but is also a great resource for families looking for the voices of those negotiating the world of gender identity questions and issues when you have a child in transition.

 

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Every Day, by David Levithan. Every day, the character “A” spends their life as a different person, and they’ve gotten used to it over time. Then, one fateful day, A meets Rhiannon, and now they’ll do anything to get back to her. But, when A does, can Rhiannon accept that A will look like a different person every day? This is a modern classic of YA literature, by a giant of the genre.

 

From Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board:

Creating a safe and supportive environment for LGBT youth

Statistics from the Human Rights Council’s recent report, Growing Up LGBT in America, indicate there is much work to be done to create more inclusive and hospitable communities for LGBT-identified youth. According to the report:

  • 80 percent of LGBT-identified youth are harassed at school.
  • 73 percent of LGBT youth report that they are more honest about themselves online than when they are engaging with others in the real world.
  • 92 percent of LGBT youth declared that they hear and read negative messages about being LGBT at school and from their peers.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are twice as likely as their peers to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved. School environments that lack a sense of belonging and are riddled with teasing and bullying have a significant impact on students’ ability to learn and emotionally thrive.

Since 1996, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has annually sponsored a Day of Silence on the third Friday of April to generate greater awareness about the horrendous effects that bullying and harassment have on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students.

That’s why the Better Together Advisory Board and Little Shop of Stories are partnering this month to present a collection of books that can aid us as we work to create safer and more supportive schools in Decatur. We hope that you will learn more about the history of the Day of Silence and use it as an opportunity to read one of the outstanding books recommended this month. You can find all of them at Little Shop of Stories, 133 E. Court Square, or online at littleshopofstories.com/shop-online.

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Read along all month long with book club picks from Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board and Little Shop of Stories that celebrate Women’s History Month. This week: Stories that put the HER in hero. 📚✨

 

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Not One Damsel in Distress by Jane Yolen (7 and up). Famed fantasist and children’s book author Jane Yolen has collected folk tales and legends from around the world that highlight strong females who are rescuing themselves (as well as a prince or two!). This newest edition contains new stories, as well as beautiful illustrations by Susan Guevara. It is written for elementary school students, aged 7-10 or so.

 

From Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board:

We hope that you will use this March as an opportunity to learn about and discuss the myriad of ways women enrich our communities, our nation, and the world.

Some discussion questions to consider, while reading or just thinking:

  • Are women and men (or, more broadly, people of different genders) different? If so, how should we as a society respond to such differences?
  • Who is a woman you admire? Talk with a friend or family member about why (or tell her!).

 

Books are available for purchase at Little Shop of Stories, 113 E. Court Square. littleshopofstories.com

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Read along all month long with book club picks from Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board and Little Shop of Stories that celebrate Women’s History Month. This week: Mary Beard’s manifesto – More power to her. 📚✨

 

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Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard (Adult non-fiction). Mary Beard is one of the smartest historians publishing today, and yet, as a woman, she has gotten frequent attacks, threats, and trolling, particularly online. In this slim manifesto, she examines the nature of power and how it has been defined to exclude women through history. Ultimately, she lays a case for how we should rethink what leadership and power look like if we stop redefining it to exclude women.

 

From Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board:

We hope that you will use this March as an opportunity to learn about and discuss the myriad of ways women enrich our communities, our nation, and the world.

Some discussion questions to consider, while reading or just thinking:

  • Are women and men (or, more broadly, people of different genders) different? If so, how should we as a society respond to such differences?
  • Who is a woman you admire? Talk with a friend or family member about why (or tell her!).

 

Books are available for purchase at Little Shop of Stories, 113 E. Court Square. littleshopofstories.com

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Read along all month long with book club picks from Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board and Little Shop of Stories that celebrate Women’s History Month. This week: Women’s history for little learners. 📚✨

 

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Little Dreamers: Visionary Women from Around the World by Vashti Harrison (Children). This follow-up to last year’s brilliant Little Leaders book is even more charming and delightful! Chock-full of both well-known and less-recognized historical figures, Little Dreamers exposes readers to a host of women who made huge impacts on the world. It is a picture book aimed for younger children, ages 3 and up.

From Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board:

We hope that you will use this March as an opportunity to learn about and discuss the myriad of ways women enrich our communities, our nation, and the world.

Some discussion questions to consider, while reading or just thinking:

  • Are women and men (or, more broadly, people of different genders) different? If so, how should we as a society respond to such differences?
  • Who is a woman you admire? Talk with a friend or family member about why (or tell her!).

 

Books are available for purchase at Little Shop of Stories, 113 E. Court Square. littleshopofstories.com

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Read along all month long with book club picks from Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board and Little Shop of Stories that celebrate Black History Month. This week: Deep dive on Douglass. 📚✨

 

frederick-douglass

 

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight. The first major biography of Douglass in half a century, this is a powerful tome revealing all new insights into one of our nation’s most revered orators and writers. An absolute must-read for any history buff, especially those interested in the great abolitionist and his times.

 

Books are available for purchase at Little Shop of Stories, 113 E. Court Square. littleshopofstories.com

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Read along all month long with book club picks from Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board and Little Shop of Stories that celebrate Black History Month. This week: Meet your heroes. 📚✨

 

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Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson, illustrated by Andrea Pippins. A quintessential Who’s Who in Black History for readers ages 9 and up. Featuring an impressively wide range of figures, including Martin Luther King Jr., Nina Simone, W.E.B. Dubois, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this book celebrates the depth and breadth of black excellence throughout history, as well as present day.

 

Books are available for purchase at Little Shop of Stories, 113 E. Court Square. littleshopofstories.com

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Read along all month long with book club picks from Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board and Little Shop of Stories that celebrate Black History Month. This week: Inspire young minds. 📚✨

 

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison. Charmingly illustrated and chock-full of facts, this book provides a survey of trailblazing black women who have or are currently making American history. Short bios and engaging pictures invite sharing and are certain to foster conversation with young readers and future leaders!

 

Books are available for purchase at Little Shop of Stories, 113 E. Court Square. littleshopofstories.com

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Books for December

Reading Suggestions from Decatur’s Better Together Advisory Board

One of December’s gifts to us is the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and begin planning to make the new one more purposeful than the last. And with the ushering in of festive celebrations like Christmas, Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice and several other religious and spiritual holidays, this time of year presents an opportunity to learn about and engage with a myriad of faith-based cultures and traditions that make our multicultural world kind and joyous.

In The Good Heart, the Dalai Lama argues that the primary purpose of all our major religious traditions is to transform our hearts into temples of goodness and compassion. He concludes that there is tremendous value in exploring and honoring other religious traditions because every dominant religion has the potential to create opportunities for genuine compassion and a spirit of harmony.

We hope you will use this December as an opportunity to engage with the spiritual beliefs of others while you find peace and love in a deeper connection with your own culture and traditions.

The Better Together Advisory Board (BTAB), in partnership with Little Shop of Stories, offers a small contribution to that effort with the following recommendations.

 

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Why Religion? A Personal Story
by Elaine Pagels (Adult)

This memoir of a scholar of religion explores the commonalities and differences of various faiths through the lens of her grief at the loss of her husband and son. She extends these thoughts to how spiritual practices and traditions continue to shape our lives as individuals and as a group, whether religious or not.

 

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One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship
by Mary Pope Osborne (8 years and up)

The author presents the many ways children around the world practice faith. Each chapter places a major religion in historical context and includes how practices and beliefs specific to that religion have shaped and influenced laws and customs, the arts, literature, music, and education.

 

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The Three Questions
by Jon J. Muth (Children)

Based on a story by Tolstoy, this book tells the story of a young boy seeking the answers to three questions: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? Under the guidance of a wise old turtle, he learns the precepts shared by all faith traditions – service to others, love, and compassion. The Three Questions is a wonderful way to foster a discussion about embracing all that we share in our spiritual beliefs – that we are more alike than we are different as we strive to be fully present in the world.

 

You can find these books and many others at Little Shop of Stories, 133 E. Court Square, or online at littleshopofstories.com/shop-online/. Happy Holidays from the Better Together Advisory Board and Little Shop of Stories.

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