Batya's Picks


The ABC's of LGBT+ Cover Image
ISBN: 9781633534094
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Published: Mango - November 8th, 2016

Taking a fun dive into the evolving language of gender and sexual diversity, YouTube sensation Ashley Mardell emerges with a powerful tool in the form of this fabulous little book.  What are the differences among Trans women, demigirls, Non-binary people, Multigender people, Genderfluid people…?!  This and oh so much more is explained clearly through personal stories, pictures and diverse perspectives.  I love the ‘Gender Unicorn’ spectrum diagram, created by Trans Students Educational Resources, in which Ashley plots her own identity for us, including her Gender identity, Gender Expression, Sex assigned at birth, Physically attracted to-, and Emotionally attracted to-. This is a great book for teens, healthcare professionals, teachers, families and anyone wanting to know more about the ABC’s of LGBT+.

Waiting For The Biblioburro/Esperando el Biblioburro Cover Image
By Monica Brown, John Parra (Illustrator), Adriana Dominguez (Translator)
ISBN: 9780553538793
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Published: Tricycle Press - November 1st, 2016

Story-loving Ana, a child in rural Colombia, hungers for books after her teacher moves far away and Ana is left with only one book.  One morning, Ana awakes to the sounds of clip-clop hooves and sees a librarian with his two burros, Alfa and Beto, who are carrying a moving library on their back- a Biblioburro!  Parra’s illustrations of acrylic on board burst off of each page with colorful textured scenes of country life.  I adore this new picture book about the pleasure of reading and the power of hope through books and dreams.  Bonus- it’s in English and Spanish!

Music Is . . . Cover Image
By Brandon Stosuy, Amy Martin (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781481477024
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Published: Little Simon - October 4th, 2016

Music is everywhere and for everyone, and this sweet new board-book introduces our youngest ones to a lifelong love of listening.  With musical contrasts on opposite pages (Music Is… old/new, moving/calm, acoustic/electric, lo-fi/ hi-fi...) and dynamic illustrations on each page, this book will be loved for many years.  Bonus: Bjork (fantastic musician & artist) endorses this book!

Real Cowboys Cover Image
By Kate Hoefler, Jonathan Bean (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780544148925
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Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 4th, 2016

Written like a pretty cowboy song, this new picture book takes the rough and tough cowboy image to a different and deeper level.  Exquisite illustrations and heartfelt poetic messages are found on every page.  “Real Cowboys are gentle.  They know all the songs that keep cattle calm… Real cowboys cry… Real cowboys are as many different colors as the earth… Real cowboys are artists.  They create.  They dream. They make up stories….”  This stand-out book is a perfect gift for all genders as well as the horse-adventure-poet-nature lover in all of us. I can't read it too many times.

I Am Jane Goodall Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525428497
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Published: Dial Books - September 6th, 2016

“All of us- living things- share so much… When we realize that and look out for each other… That’s the most beautiful way to live.” This inspiring newest picture book/ graphic novel in the series Ordinary People Change the World captures Jane Goodall’s critical message.  Readers are brought along from the young animal-loving Jane to one of the world’s leading voices that she is today on the issue of climate change, a renowned primatologist, best known for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees and baboons, and a proud vegetarian.  The end of the book includes photographs and a timeline of her life- showing she is not only a character in a story, but real.  Ages 5-8+

Soldier Sister, Fly Home Cover Image
By Nancy Bo Flood, Shonto Begay (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781580897020
Availability: Special Order
Published: Charlesbridge Publishing - August 23rd, 2016

Like horseback riding down a steep red canyon, the pace of this book is both beautiful and gripping as it immerses the reader in Navajo culture.  It tells the story of Tess, a 13 year-old Navajo girl, and her relationship with her older sister who was just deployed to Iraq, her Native American grandmother, and herself, as well as her adventure with a special horse named Blue.  Filled with searing descriptions of nature, horses and her Navajo family, Tess seeks answers to hard questions, including her identity with one white and one Native American parent.  At a time when bridges to Native American culture for all children are so important, Solder Sister, Fly Home provides a poignant story of family, abandonment, horses, identity and self-confidence.  I bought this unforgettable book not just for myself, but also for my animal-loving nephew and powerful young niece.

Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship Cover Image
By Jess Walton, Dougal MacPherson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781681192109
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Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - May 31st, 2016

Australian author Jessica Walton offers us a new picture book for young children, inspired by her transgender parent and her child.  Errol’s sad teddy bear bravely tells him “In my heart, I’ve always known that I am a girl teddy, not a boy teddy.  I wish my name was Tilly, not Thomas.”  Here is a simple and loving story about gender and friendship between a child and their teddy-bear.

N'Ice Cream: 80+ Recipes for Healthy Homemade Vegan Ice Creams Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735210455
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Published: Avery Publishing Group - May 17th, 2016

I am obsessed with this beautiful new ice-cream book - as in I fall asleep looking at the pictures of Creamy Chocolate-Strawberry Ice Pops and wake up with plans to make Vanilla-Raspberry Ice Cream Cookies.  These ice-creams are made of coconut milk, fruits, nuts, cocoa and even avocados.  Bonus: all recipes are vegan and free of gluten and refined sugar! But what really gets me- you don’t have to own an ice-cream maker to make these ice-creams because the authors tell you how to make each one easily by hand as well as with an ice-cream maker.  Perfect for summer, once you start using this book everyone will be stopping by your house for Chai Milkshakes or Mint Chocolate Ice Cream!

Playing from the Heart Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763678920
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - April 12th, 2016

What a meaningful new picture book story about a boy’s relationship with his piano, his father and his own creativity.  Diving deeper, the narrative addresses a tension many of us can relate to - between our innate, inspired creativity and the pressure of serious practice and skill which can take our ‘spark’ away.  What I love in Reynold’s story is that in the end, he cheers for music to be about joy and heart over perfection and he poetically tells this story from his heart.

The Sleepy Songbird Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802736482
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Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - February 23rd, 2016

I love this book so much.  A little bird seeks a beautiful song in the deep forest and he finds the ‘dawn chorus,’ complete with a highly demanding songbird conductor!  Full of sweet yet deep messages- about self love, the wonder of being different, and how each of us has a unique and important voice that is worthy of expression.


True to Your Roots: Vegan Recipes to Comfort and Nourish You Cover Image
ISBN: 9781551525884
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Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - September 1st, 2015

Making roasted root veggies gets old by mid-winter, yet I keep bringing home bags of parsnips and carrots from my winter CSA share.  What to do?  The new True to Your Roots cookbook is all about root vegetables and it is just what I have been looking for!  Author Carla Kelly gives us 8 mouthwatering recipes for rutabagas (!) including “Rutabega pizza/pasta sauce,” “Onion, beer and rutabaga sausage,” and “Neep-y Haggis” (Scottish style mashed rutabaga).   The recipes are creative, comforting, and best of all- vegan.  Start with “Drunken Turnip Soup,” then to “Sunchoke falafel” and end with “Celeriac brownies.”  Fresh new recipes for our long root-filled winters in New England!

Visiting Day Cover Image
By Jacqueline Woodson, James Ransome (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780147516084
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Published: Puffin Books - August 11th, 2015

A little girl looks forward to visiting day, the only day each month she and her grandmother get to take the long bus-ride up to visit her daddy.  In prison.   Fabulous multi-award winning author Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming, Each Kindness) and illustrator James E. Ransome give us a beautiful new picture book that is both touching and important.  Although it is a hard story, it is one with which many children can identify, and it is written in Woodson's classic kind and lyrical style from the little girl's point of view. 

Welcome Home, Bear: A Book of Animal Habitats Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385753753
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 7th, 2015

Inspired by boredom and curiosity, Bear learns a sweet lesson about his “home” in the green forest by visiting other animals in their home habitats.  Bored waking up each morning in the same green forest, Il Sung Na’s beautiful new board book brings us on a journey with Bear as he searches for a new home too high in the trees with birds and too dirty underground with moles, on a scary steep cliff with a goat and in the paw-burning.

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe: Celebratory Menus and Recipes from New York's Premier Plant-Based Restaurants Cover Image
ISBN: 9781607746478
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Published: Ten Speed Press - September 30th, 2014

I am celebrating the newest easy holiday recipes from my favorite fancy vegan restaurant in NYC!  They have laid it out- full festive menus with cocktails & desserts for all occasions.  From Christmas & Super Bowl to Valentine’s Day & Passover. Start New Year’s Eve with a Lady Day cocktail & Blini with Crème Fraiche and Hijiki Cavier and finish with Warm Apple Turnovers and Champagne Ice Cream?!  Each recipe makes hosting easier by telling you how much you can cook in advance. And you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to make the yummy Porcini Crusted Seitan with Glazed-Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cranberry-Orange Relish and Pumpkin Cheesecake with Apple Cider Reduction, like I did this week. Any foodie or vegan (or mother of one!) would LOVE this cookbook!

A Fighting Chance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781627790529
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Published: Metropolitan Books - April 22nd, 2014

Reading Sen. Warren’s extraordinary book, you can feel the energy that she brought to her journey from small town Oklahoma to the Senate floor.  In fact, as I turned each page, I couldn’t help but feel a little lazy in my own life.  She somehow found time to gather the facts, tell her story, write her books and still bake her husband an apple pie.  Fighting unfair bankruptcy laws, the big banks, and the right wing, Sen. Warren found a way to make a difference.  Juxtaposing her personal story with the enormity of societal changes occurring from the fifties onward, Sen. Warren inspires her readers to find a way to be part of the change we need in America today.  Sen. Warren’s book speaks to women, to the middle class, to any minority group, and it certainly spoke to me.  With the example of her energy, brilliance and perseverance, perhaps we all have “A Fighting Chance.” - Geri Liemer, Customer

Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316221900
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - October 22nd, 2013

If I was stuck on a deserted island with only one cookbook, this would be it!  The newest and best cookbook from the queen of vegan chefs, Isa Chandra Moskowitz gives us an easy to follow collection of truly amazing recipes for the busy home cook to make any day of the week.    Presented in Isa’s usual witty yet simple style, Isa Does It makes healthy vegan cooking doable and fun even on weeknights.  Favorites include Warm Potato Salad with Grilled Seitan and Asparagus, Spinach & Black Bean Burrito Bowl, Red Hot BLTs and Eggplant & Breadcrumb Fettuccine.  I cannot recommend this wonderful book enough, for everyone!  

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780865716889
Availability: Out of Print
Published: New Society Publishers - September 27th, 2011

Uprooting Racism has had a profound impact on my life.  With honesty, heart and respect, Paul Kivel provides a clear and accessible toolkit for understanding, recognizing and challenging white privilege, our internal racism and the pervasive institutional racism all around us.  Through historical context, statistics, personal reflection and engaging questions, this book gave me not only the tools, but also the courage, to be a white ally, to fight against racism and to follow the lead of people of color in this movement for racial justice and equality.  White people: the time to stand up for racial justice is now, and this is just the book to get you inspired and out into the streets! 

On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608467617
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Published: Haymarket Books - April 18th, 2017

This new and enlightening collection of essays from the diverse voices of activists, rabbis, academics, ministers, lawyers and artists, wrestles with timely questions such as: What is the relationship  between antisemitism and other forms of bigotry? How can we define antisemitism in 2017? How have false charges of antisemitism been used to prevent justice for Palestinian Human Rights? I highly recommend diving into these thought-provoking essays and then expanding the conversation in your community! The informative Discussion Guide makes this the perfect book for your book club, class or organization. As the one-and-only Judith Butler writes in the forward, "When the struggle against antisemitism becomes allied with all struggles against racism, including anti-Black and anti-Arab racism, we will be surely on the way to building a world in which language still means, and justice names, the passion that motivates critique."

Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566560153
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Published: Interlink Books - March 15th, 2017

Filled with captivating interviews and photographs, this unique book comes straight from Palestinian youth who live under occupation. We hear from 11-year old Samia, "We are suffering here in Gaza because of the occupation. We have dreams like other children...I would tell about what it's like living in an occupied country and how kids suffer and dream of living in safety." 14 year old Bilan from Hebron tells us," One day, I was walking with my cousin and some settler boys sprayed something on us. I was lucky, but my cousin's hair was burned and it all fell out. What if it had hit our eyes? I want to be an astronomer and get out of Hebron." Reading this book, I am struck by both the beauty of the children's dreams shared and the heartbreak of their daily reality endured. School Library Journal gave it a starred review: " A straightforward, compelling, and eye-opening look at life in Palestine for all  nonfiction collections." Buy this book for young people you care about. (I already sent a copy to my nephews.) Bonus: it's published by local, fantastic Interlink Publishing! 

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399563249
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - October 10th, 2017

I am so grateful for this new beautiful poetry collection from beloved poet Mary Oliver!  Carefully selected poems that span over 50 years, Devotions includes older gems like “Night Flight” and all-time favorites like “Wild Geese.” As Oliver is always reminding us of our simple yet deep connections to our natural world and all the living being within it, this book feels like an anchor, or a garden we can plant roots into, to keep us mindful, alive and nourished in these difficult times.  A perfect holiday gift for all her old-time and soon-to-become fans. 

Hunter of Stories Cover Image
By Eduardo Galeano, Mark Fried (Translator)
ISBN: 9781568589909
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Published: Nation Books - November 14th, 2017

Master storyteller and Uruguayan historian, Eduardo Galeano, offers this book as his final gift, written over the last 3 years of his life.  Naomi Klein describes it as “more generous, wise and wonderful than I dared hope.”  Written in his signature short vignette form, with humor and compassion, Galeano’s stories are bursting with characters, memories, thoughts on death and the many other things that have made him a legend.  Arundhati Roy says “Galeano had a way of making realism magical without being a magical realist.”  Translated beautifully by longtime collaborator Mark Fried, this book sheds sunlight where others bury deep underground, breaks open our hearts and tells brave truths.  Read this book, give it as a special gift, and savor it for years to come. ~Batya