We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This non-fiction book walked through each of the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency with a focus on the experience of being Black in America. I read many passages out loud to my family and we had productive discussions about race and privilege in America. I appreciated the historical perspectives this book brought and learned about the role incarceration has played in our country along with housing practices and Jim Crow laws. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to gain understanding of the historical events that led to today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Back to Book Reviews

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson

Ryan Hart is a girl who knows how to make sunshine even when things do not go smoothly in her life – her dad has lost his job, her family has to move to a smaller home, and her older brother bosses her around. She loves concocting new recipes with her mom and spending time with her friends, all the while trying to navigate the ups and downs of fourth grade. Ryan’s parents remind her that her name means “king” and she is determined to live up to her name and be a leader. Written by the Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson, Ways to Make Sunshine is the first book in a new series set in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in Portland, Renée Watson loved reading the Ramona Quimby books as a young girl and was inspired to create her own version of Ramona. In Ryan Hart, we have a positive new voice in children’s literature with more adventures to come. Back to Book Reviews

Switch by Chip Heath

Due to COVID-19, most of us have experienced a great deal of unanticipated and, sometimes unwelcome, change. This book explored why change is hard and, even more importantly, how to help lead a group through the change process by understanding what people need to be successful at changing. I appreciated the research cited in the book as well as the actionable ideas shared by the author. Back to Book Reviews

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This novel was, at times, heartbreaking to read. It examines the roles of race and privilege in America. Told in alternating voices between a labor and delivery nurse who is Black and a white supremacist couple who lose their newborn baby in the hospital, it made me think about how I am perceived and what privileges and biases I hold. The novel had strong character development and a plot-driven focus. I’ve found myself thinking about the characters, the plot, and the themes of this novel long after I finished reading it. Back to Book Reviews