Biography and Memoir
If: The Untold Story of Kipling's American Years by Christopher BenfeyWhat it's about: British author Rudyard Kipling's decade spent living in the U.S., and how the "lawless jungle" surrounding his Brattleboro, Vermont home inspired him to write his 1894 classic The Jungle Book.
Is it for you? Author Christopher Benfey doesn't shy away from his subject's racist and imperialistic views while discussing Kipling's impact on American culture -- and its impact on him.
Don't miss: Kipling's trips to the National Zoo with Teddy Roosevelt, which offered him further inspiration for The Jungle Book.
Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben GirmaStarring: disability rights lawyer Haben Girma, the first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School.
What sets it apart: Emboldened by her Eritrean refugee parents' stories of surviving war-torn Ethiopia in the 1980s, Girma has faced the setbacks of living in an ableist society with wit and optimism.
Reviewers say: "an absolute must-read" (Library Journal).
George Marshall: Defender of the Republic by David L. RollWhat it is: a comprehensive biography of revered five-star general George Marshall, whose storied military career included key roles in both World Wars and the Korean War, and two cabinet positions in President Truman's administration.
Did you know? Marshall is the only serving military officer to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Don't miss: previously unpublished letters that offer illuminating insights on Marshall's family life and sense of humor.
When I Was White by Sarah ValentineWhat it's about: Raised as the white daughter of Italian and Irish-descended parents, Sarah Valentine often fielded awkward questions about her dark skin and hair. It wasn't until she was 27 that she learned the truth -- that her biological father was African American.
What happened: Shaken by her family's betrayal, Valentine set off on a journey to discover both her biological father and herself.
Try this next: For another affecting memoir exploring issues of paternity fraud and racial identity, check out Sil Lai Abrams' Black Lotus.
The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood by Belle BoggsWhat it is: a reflective and empathetic exploration of The Gulf novelist Belle Boggs' struggles with infertility prior to her daughter's birth through IVF, peppered with detailed medical research, pop culture depictions of infertility, and interviews with others trying to conceive.
Why you might like it: Featuring a diverse list of resources that prospective parents from all walks of life will appreciate, The Art of Waiting's thoughtful tone and theme of hope in the face of adversity will resonate with many readers, parent or not.
Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon by Kelley and Thomas FrenchWhat it's about: After their "micro-preemie" Juniper was born at 23 weeks, parents Kelley and Thomas French spent a frantic seven months at the hospital as she struggled to survive.
Is it for you? Don't worry -- this heartwarming memoir has a "healthily-ever-after" ending, though the French family encounters several speed bumps along the way.
What sets it apart: the Frenches are Pulitzer-lauded journalists, sharing incisive prose in alternating chapters.
Brown White Black: An American Family at the Intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and... by Nishta J. MehraWhat it is: Nishta J. Mehra's thought-provoking essay collection on the joys and challenges of multiracial family life: she's a first-generation American born to Indian parents; her wife Jill is a white Christian; their adopted son Shiv is black.
Want a taste? "Our family doesn't fit well into boxes. We don't fit at all."
Read it for: a nuanced look at issues of identity and intersectionality; Mehra's willingness to confront her own biases and privilege.
The Warner Boys: Our Family's Story of Autism and Hope by Ana and Curt Warner with Dave BolingWhat it's about: former Seattle Seahawks running back Curt Warner and his wife Ana's difficult and moving journey parenting twin sons with autism.
Is it for you? Focusing on their faith, optimism, and a broader need for autism awareness and support, the Warners' intimate chronicle avoids discussing thornier topics surrounding autism advocacy.
Raising Ryland: Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings Attached by Hillary Whittington with Kristine GasbarreWhat it is: Hillary Whittington's emotional account of parenting her transgender son Ryland, whose transition was famously chronicled in a 2014 viral YouTube video and a 2015 CNN documentary short.
For fans of: Amy Ellis Nutt's Becoming Nicole and Lori Duron's Raising My Rainbow.
Reviewers say: "An uplifting testimonial to the power of unconditional familial love and acceptance" (Kirkus Reviews).
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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