Audrey Heil

Dec 312019

“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson looks at people, even teenagers, on death row. He has made it his job to make sure justice is served. The dignity and respect with which Mr Stevenson speaks about his clients provide the rays of hope we need to work to change the system. This nonfiction book may be represented on the screen soon. Definitely worth a read!

“The Boy in the Black Suit” by Jason Reynolds.
Reynolds is a good writer. His characters seem to escape the page. He captures the grief and poignancy of being lost in a wilderness of pain after the death of a loved one. However, the ending seems a bit rushed.

“The Doughnut Fix” by Jessie Janowitz.
An imaginative story showcasing how determination and creativity allow a family moving from the big city to a small town to make it their home (albeit unwillingly in some cases). Using a light touch of comedy, the author shines a soft light on each character’s flaws while also emphasizing their strengths. Entrepreneurship and the stress children are sometimes under due to academics and changing friendships are also issues laid bare.

“Home in the Woods” by Eliza Wheeler

This gorgeously illustrated picture book looks at a family living in the country and trying to survive during the Great Depression. This is a wonderful way to introduce the topic.

Nov 212019

If you follow instagram, twitter, or booktube, you might have heard of a reading challenge called “Nonfiction November”. Four prompts were given or you can just try to read more nonfiction than you usually do.  See announcement here:

Keeping in the spirit, you could easily combine National Native American Heritage Month with Nonfiction November by reading some of the following:

Louise Erdrich is well-known for her many fiction titles; however, this short little look at her reading life and culture is one of my favorites.


While it is worthy of its classic status and one of my all-time favorite reads, it does leave you with a pretty bleak view of the future state of Native American tribes and nations.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present ??

This is definitely on my TBR list (To Be Read)!  It is on the 2020 Carnegie Medals shortlist!!  If you have a nonfiction lover to buy a present for this December, this might be a great selection!

Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving

Bruchac is a great storyteller and this is a great way to include all of those present at the first Thanksgiving.


Nov 132019

This is my favorite of the Kendra Michaels’ series. Fun, action-packed romance. This is a series you will want to read in order or all will be a muddle.

The Angel Experiment: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 1)

Genetically-modified teen “angels” duke it out with the bad guys in this angsty dystopian book. The teens make up a tight “family” group as they try to survive. There are hints of a potential romance between two of the main characters. Told in the first person, this fantasy has a few inconsistencies and a very vague plot line although this is the first in the series so it might get stronger as it continues.


A unique story with fabulous characters and a great plot. Korman wins again with his mix of comic one-liners and serious topics.  What would we do if we were given a second chance to be a better person?

Neck & Neck

Leopold the giraffe is accustomed to adoration and snacks galore so when a cheerful, bouncy interloper threatens his realm, Leopold decides to clear the field. The kids loved the bright pictures and found the story quite humorous.