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We're throwing it way back to the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties, the time of Prohibition. Check out this variety of staff recommendations (children's titles, too!) for books that took place in the 1920s.

Book River
Book River Items

The Good Thieves (2019)

by Katherine Rundell

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell is the story of a ragtag gang of misfits in 1920s New York City who set upon a quest to find the valuable gem left behind in a historic Hudson River valley mansion that was illegally acquired by an unscrupulous real estate developer. Vita's grandfather once owned the mansion and now Vita must find a way to bring back his most precious memory. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian


Breaking Through : How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties (2020)

by Sue Macy

National Geographic's Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties by Sue Macy features awe-inspiring accounts of female athletes in a variety of sports. Their courage and determination changed the course of history for acceptance of women as athletes and highlights how they forged a path for women today. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian


Sugar Hill : Harlem's Historic Neighborhood (2014)

by Carole Boston Weatherford

A picture book celebration of the iconic New York City neighborhood of the 1920s, Sugar Hill: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood by Carole Boston Weatherford, highlights prominent African-American artists, musicians, activists and politicians who spent time in this vibrant enclave. Brief biographies are included. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian


The Diviners (2012)

by Libba Bray

A richly detailed setting, a bold heroine and supernatural elements make this dark murder mystery a must-read for anyone who enjoys being forced to stay up late to read with all of the lights on. — Allison Riggs, Teen Librarian


These Violent Delights (2020)

by Chloe Gong

There is a reason this book is getting all the hype on TikTok. Star-crossed lovers? Check. A gripping mystery? Check. Atmospheric 1920s Shanghai? Check. — Allison Riggs, Teen Librarian


The Chosen and the Beautiful (2021)

by Nghi Vo

Little attention is ever paid to Jordan Baker of The Great Gatsby, but this debut novel gives her a narrative in which she is a queer, Vietnamese adoptee who maintains the socialite status and impressive golf handicap of the classic while also being an immigrant who dabbles in magic. — Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager


One Summer : America, 1927 (2013)

by Bill Bryson

Charles Lindberg, Al Capone, Ruth Snyder, Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover. We know these names and may have a passing familiarity with their stories, but in the hands of Bill Bryson, whose penchant for entertaining and informative nonfiction never fails to illuminate, we see them like we never have before. — Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager


Beyond the Bright Sea (2017)

by Lauren Wolk

A historical fiction middle-grade novel set in 1925. Crow, the 12-year-old main character, was set adrift in a boat as a baby and washed ashore along the coast of Massachusetts. She is adopted by a man named Osh, a painter. As she enters her teen years, Crow is curious and determined to find out where she came from and to learn more about her birth family. Is she really from Penikese, an island that once hosted a leper colony? A powerful story about family and alternative kinships. — Gretchen Schulz, Tween Librarian


Some Like It Hot (2001)

by Ashton Productions

After witnessing a brutal mob hit in Chicago, Joe and Jerry must flee the state by disguising themselves as women and joining an all-female jazz band. Stars Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon. — Dina Ragano, Fiction, Movies & Music Department Coordinator


The Untouchables (2017)

by Inc Paramount Pictures

Based on the book by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley, this movie depicts the legendary battle between Al Capone and Chicago Treasury officer Elliot Ness. During the era of Prohibition in the United States, Federal Agent Eliot Ness assembles a hand-picked team to help him stop ruthless gangster Al Capone. Stars Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro and Andy Garcia. — Dina Ragano, Fiction, Movies & Music Department Coordinator


A Long Way from Chicago : in Stories (1998)

by Richard Peck

This 1999 Newbery Honor book follows Joey and his sister Mary Alice, two city kids from Chicago, on their annual summer trips to rural Illinois during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life Grandma Dowdel. The stories will have you laughing out loud at her antics and touched as you get to know her and realize there’s a lot more to her than her tough exterior lets on. If you like this one read the sequel A Year Down Yonder. —Gail Tobin, Hanover Park Branch Manager


The Velveteen Rabbit, Or, How Toys Become Real (1991)

by Margery Williams Bianco

Originally published in 1922, this is a timeless classic about a toy rabbit that was initially overlooked for the more flashy, expensive toys that eventually becomes a boy’s favorite, constant companion. The original illustrations are beautiful and the story about how toys will become real with enough love will make you both sad and happy. — Gail Tobin, Hanover Park Branch Manager