I know what you’re thinking: a book about the history of tennis shoes won’t be a very interesting or exciting read. Well, you would be wrong, my friend! Author Amber Keyser has written a page turner of a book about everyone’s favorite comfortable footwear. The book is a quick read loaded with riveting bits of trivia and intriguing origin stories for some of the famous brands we all know and love. Keyser also discusses the history of the rubber sole, how the activity of jogging created a clamouring for tennies, and the culture of sneaker collecting. This title will appeal to teens and adults alike many of whom will find themselves reading passages out loud to share all of the random and bizarre facts with their friends and family.
I’ll get you started with a few of my favorite “did you know” tidbits:
- that Keds began in 1916 as a shoe for children? The shoe was made of white canvas with a rubber sole and that classic blue rubber rectangle on the heel. The product name “Keds” comes from a combination of kids and ped, which is the Latin root word meaning “feet.”
- the slang term for Converse sneakers comes from a young basketball player named Chuck Taylor? In 1921, Taylor was playing in the NBA which was not nearly as profitable as it is now! Taylor was hired by Converse to promote their shoe across the country to high school and college athletes. Along the way Taylor suggested improvements to the shoe, and in 1924 Converse added his signature to that iconic patch on the ankles of their high tops. Hence why everyone calls their Converse shoes Chucks or Chuck Taylors.
- that two large modern day tennis shoe manufacturers, Adidas and Puma, were created because of a disagreement amongst, two German brothers, Adi and Rudolf Dassler. The brothers had started a sports shoe company in 1924, to design cleats for runners. You’ll want to read the full account of how Hitler, the 1936 Olympics and Jesse Owens lead to two brands of iconic sneakers.
School Library Journal recommends this title for grades 5 and up.
–Emily M., Headquarters
Hey, did you know that June is GLBT Book Month? While I think we should celebrate diversity every day, I was especially motivated to read books about teens in the LGBTQ community this month. I read a lot of good novels, but one really stood out to me.
Adam Silvera’s “More Happy Than Not” chronicles a few months in the life of Aaron Soto, a kid living in the Bronx with his mom, brother, friends and girlfriend. Although Aaron has had some struggles in the past, specifically the suicide of his father and his own attempt to take his life, Aaron seems to be healing. He loves his mother, he gets along well with his friends, and he and his girl, Genevive, are at the point where they can say “I love you.”
But Aaron meets a new friend, Thomas. And when Aaron realizes that his feelings for Thomas are extending past the point of just friendship, he doesn’t quite know what to do.
Add to all this that Aaron lives in a world mostly like ours, except there is a company that is able to erase people’s memories. In fact, a kid from his block has gone through the procedure after his brother was killed. As Aaron struggles more and more with his feelings and how they could hurt those around him, he starts to think that this procedure could be the answer to his problems.
Adam Silvera, who is only 25, has written an amazing first novel here. Aaron is such a great character and you really do want the best for him. There is so much going on here—Aaron struggles with his sexuality, the violence in his neighborhood, and his mental health all at the same time—but I never once felt like this book was over the top or too heavy handed. Instead, I wanted to read the entire book in one sitting!
If you enjoyed the movie “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” or you enjoy books about a heartbreaking romance, get your name on the list for this new book right now! And hopefully, it will leave you more happy than not :)
School Library Journal recommends this book for grades 9 and up.
–Samantha D., WR/TF
Did you see Claire’s review of “Let’s Get Lost” on Monday’s blog? Wondered if there were more books like it? Well, you are in luck, my friends! YA authors love to write books about roads trips. I’ve gathered a few for you here for your reading pleasure. Also check the library’s Road Trip board on our Pinterest page. Happy Reading!!
“Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” by Morgan Matson
“Paper Towns” by John Green
“Don’t Stop Now” by Julie Halpern
“Jerk, California” by Jonathan Friesen
“Going Bovine” by Libba Bray
“Perfect Escape” by Jennifer Brown
“Vivian Apple at the End of the World” by Katie Coyle
“There Will be Lies” by Nick Lake
Seventeen year old Leila’s road trip in her glaringly red, beat-up car to the Northern Lights in Alaska brings her into the lives of four young strangers that she encounters along the way. In five vignettes, readers meet each of these characters as Leila blazes into their lives for just one epic night.
Bree: an aimlessly hitchhiking orphan who ran away from her overbearing older sister
Elliot: who is just barely surviving after being blown off by his long-time crush on prom night
Hudson: a mechanic with a bright future who gets smitten with Lelia
Sonia: who needs help sneaking across the Canadian border to stop a wedding disaster
Leila inspires each of them to “seize the Tuesday” and live their lives boldly as she pursues her childhood memory of the Northern Lights and learns about her self along the way. Filled with heartache and hope, this sweet story is a fantastic coming-of-age summer read.
“Let’s Get Lost” will appeal to fans of John Green, Sarah Dessen, Rainbow Rowell, and Stephen Chbosky.
School Library Journal recommends this book for grades 8 and up.
-Claire, guest blogger
In May, Samantha did a post about her favorite superhero comics for teens. Since the theme for the teen summer reading club this year is “Unmask!” I wanted to get in on this superhero stuff! Here are some my favorite teen books about superheroes: traditional and unconventional.
“Sidekicked” by John David Anderson
Drew has always wanted to be a superhero though does not have a natural talent for the job. Don’t get me wrong, he has superhero potential, but his power is supersenses (heightened smell, taste, sight, etc) which is not always helpful in combat with a villian. Drew has been paired up with a former superhero legend as his mentor to learn all the ins and outs about superheroing. Problem is his mentor has given up the superhero game and wants nothing to do with Drew. Uh oh. There is a big bad terrorizing the city and superheroes keep disappearing, so it is up to Drew to save the city. Add navigating middle school to the mix, and Drew has a lot on his plate!
“Poison” by Bridget Zinn
You guys, this book is awesome! Kyra is a potions master, and when we meet her she is on the run and has been accused of trying to murder the princess, her best friend. The problem is she DID try to kill the princess, but she has valid reasons for her actions which can’t be talked about here because HUGE spoiler alert! Now all the king’s men along with her ex-boyfriend, and fellow potion master, is on Kyra’s trail. She can’t trust anyone until a mysterious stranger crosses her path.
A few other titles to try:
To see even more titles, check out our “Unmask!” booklist on the library’s Pinterest page.
–Emily M., Headquarters
Once upon a time in “Between the Lines,” bookish teen Delilah finds a children’s fairy tale book in her high school library. She is enraptured by the illustrations, the story, and the characters – most of all the dashing Prince Oliver. But there’s something different about this book – the characters seem alive in a way that Delilah has never experienced before.
Each time someone picks up this book, Prince Oliver and the other fairy tale characters act out their required roles to the reader. But this time, Prince Oliver notices that someone new, older, and different is reading his book. Could Delilah be the one who helps him break free of his endlessly repetitive fairy tale existence?
Just last month, the companion novel “Off the Page” was released! In “Off the Page,” Prince Oliver faces the complications of living in real world New Hampshire. Make sure to check out his YouTube channel where you can watch his royal adorableness figure out how to operate elevators and toasters, fit in at high school, and sigh amorously about Delilah.
This series first caught our attention because it was co-written by bestselling author Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha van Leer. Cheers to mother-daughter teams! I loved these books because they are lighthearted, charming, romantic, funny, fluffy and they blur the lines between fantasy and reality. This series will appeal to fans of Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, The Princess Bride, and Galavant.
School Library Journal recommends for grades 7 and up.
-Claire, guest blogger