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This year’s One Book, One Community titles were chosen because they offer an opportunity for individuals and families to discuss some compelling issues that we’re all facing right now. We hope the themes resonate with you as we all continue to live with a global pandemic and other issues that challenge us to cope with situations outside of our control, manage feelings of isolation and find new ways to connect with our families and communities.

In addition to Room, please take a look at some staff-recommended books with a focus on the theme of resilience.

Book River
Book River Title
One Book, One Community Reads
Book River Items

I Am Darn Tough (2020)

by Licia Morelli

I am Darn Tough by Licia Morelli is an inspiring picture book story of one child's determination and resilience to overcome the obstacles and challenges of a long distance race. – Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian

The Stars Are Fire (2017)

by Anita Shreve

Based on the largest fire in Maine's history, this story opens with a young wife and mother, Grace, who must protect her two young children as well as the one she is carrying when her husband joins the volunteers fighting the fire. After the fire subsides Grace must forge ahead unclear of the fate of her husband, her home in ashes, and her children frightened and hungry. In the blink of an eye she is left with no one to depend on but herself, and she resolves to find a way to survive. – Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager

An Untamed State (2014)

by Roxane Gay

Mireille lives a life of privilege as the daughter of wealth with a loving husband and young son, but on a visit to Haiti to visit her family her world is disrupted when she is kidnapped and held for ransom. As she waits for her father - a proud man unwilling to cower to demands of "animals" - to pay, she endures dehumanizing violence that not only tests but at points nearly obliterates her will to live. This is not an easy read, but ultimately Mireille's strength and courage in the face of the unspeakable is a testament to the power of the human spirit. – Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager

The Splendid and the Vile : a Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (2020)

by Erik Larson

A very focused biography. Most biographies of Churchill are a complete study of his political/historical life. His family are usually supporting players in the background. This work pays more attention on his relationship with his wife and family during the London blitz. – John Ericson, Hoffman Estates Branch Manager

Dancing at the Pity Party : a Dead Mom Graphic Memoir (2020)

by Tyler Feder

Tyler Feder was 19 when her mom was diagnosed with cancer, and in this graphic memoir she shares her story of losing her mom and how she copes with grief. I found this graphic novel to be truly comforting with its honest, awkward, and sometimes funny moments of what it looks like to grieve, and showing the resilience it takes to keep going after a loved one has died. – Allison Riggs, Teen Librarian

Sweep : the Story of a Girl and Her Monster (2018)

by Jonathan Auxier

For fans of historical fantasy, this is a story about a girl and her monster that combines Jewish folklore with Victorian labor history – which was not kind to poor orphans. Nan Sparrow is an 11-year-old chimney sweep who has been forced to work for a cruel master after her kind mentor vanished. She is nearly killed when she gets stuck in a flue and is saved by a golem she names Charlie. The two make a home together and Nan must hide and protect Charlie from harm. This is a story about friendship, sacrifice and hope aimed at middle-grade readers that you won’t be able to put down. – Gail Tobin, Hanover Park Branch Manager

A Long Walk to Water (2010)

by Linda Sue Park

A story of resilience and strength, A Long Walk to Water tells the stories of two children growing up in Sudan, North Africa. Nya's story takes place in 2008, and details the struggle she and her family go through for clean drinking water. Each day, Nya has to make two trips that take two hours each to get to water. Salva's story takes place in 1985, when he escapes his home in Sudan during war and is separated from his family. Both Nya and Salva's stories converge in a moving way, and show the reader how the long walks Nya and Salva take shape their lives. A heart-wrenching and important read. – Gretchen Schulz, Tween Librarian

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2015)

by William Kamkwamba

A memoir adapted for young readers, William Kamkwamba's story is inspiring. It tells of the invention he made in his home country of Malawi, a country in East Africa. When a terrible drought dries up his family's farming land, William's interest in science, and his love of books and libraries brings to fruition a solution: a windmill. An awesome and encouraging book for kids! – Gretchen Schulz, Tween Librarian

First They Killed My Father : a Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (2000)

by Loung Ung

A gripping story of resilience, community and familial love, the author recounts in vivid detail her experience with Cambodia's notorious Khmer Rouge and the long road she and her siblings traveled to begin new lives in the United States. – Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director

My Name is Konisola (2020)

by Alisa Siegel

My Name is Konisola by Alisa Siegel is based on the true story of nine-year-old Konisola and her mother's immigration to Canada. Forced to leave a difficult situation in their homeland of Nigeria, they arrive in Canada with only each other. Illness strikes and Konisola if left to fend for herself. Her future remains uncertain. Can she find her way? – Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian