Cynthia's Picks

Cynthia Claridge
Cynthia taught preschool through third grade for 28 years, so she’s our resident expert on kid’s books. She’s a voracious reader and especially enjoys history, nature, science, cookbooks, biography, historical fiction---well, as you can see, Cynthia reads a LOT! She’s also a quilter and loves to chat about quilting with customers. Cynthia has four grandchildren that live in other states, so if she’s missing, guess where you might find her. Just so you don’t think she’s the typical quilting grandmother, Cynthia has ridden an elephant through the jungle of Thailand. Wow-ask her about that one!




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The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544944831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - March 7th, 2017

This incredible book is written with such passion and fluidity that the people and places practically leap off the pages into the realm of the reader. Thomas F. Meagher, the Irishman, was an amazing man having lived an incredibly adventurous and spirited life. Growing up in a well educated and well-to- do home Meagher could have lived as a nobleman, instead he chose to question and rebel against tyrannical Great Britain whose policies forced the Irish into great poverty. Using his splendid oratory skills to demand liberty for the Irish, young Thomas was imprisoned and eventually sent to the penal colony of Tasmania. The years he lived there were spent struggling to rally the Irish to freedom. After escaping the desert island in 1852, he found a new home living among the immigrant Irishmen of New York City. Meagher discovered the Irish remembered and loved his lofty speeches concerning the plight of Ireland and soon found he could earn a living traveling around the states speaking. In the beginning Meagher chose to be moderate in his views of American slavery. Once the Civil War started, Meagher lead a brigade of Irish soldiers into battle. As he learned and saw the destruction and horror of slavery, the freeing of the slaves became as much a passion as the freeing of the Irish. Egan has once again made history come alive.

Alexander Hamilton Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143034759
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - March 29th, 2005

Upon reading the life history of Alexander Hamilton it became obvious as to why Lin-Manuel Miranda created the popular musical play. I became swept up in the extreme differences of Hamilton's humble beginnings and his incredible rise to power compared to his fellow founding fathers. Chernow writes about this astonishing life with an unbiased approach. Hamilton was a brilliant young man but also brash, hotheaded and overly ambitious, which was disdained by many leaders of the young nation. The book illustrated the feuding between founding fathers over the philosophies of how the new nation should govern. One of Hamilton's biggest rivals was Jefferson who felt strongly about state's rights and less federal intervention whereas Hamilton believed the young country would not survive without a strong central power and especially the need for a central bank. Alexander dreamed of a country that would allow young men such as him, with out the aristocratic background could rise to their full potential. Hamilton adored his family and supportive wife but took a mistress who nearly derailed his career. George Washington played a decisive role in Alexander's profession, tapping him to become his chief of staff and Hamilton in turn played an extensive part supporting Washington both during the war and presidency. Later in life Washington came to care for Hamilton much like a father. Of course everyone knows the of duel that ended Hamilton's life at the hands of Aaron Burr, but Chernow brings this story to life with the detailed background history. Many historians believe that without Hamilton's strong and competent financial administration, the US may not have survived in those early years. This is an incredible book concerning the beginning of our nation and the men who shaped the country we've become.

Americanah Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307455925
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 4th, 2014

Being a black immigrant in present day America isn't an easy transition as Adichie shares with us in her novel. Both a love story and an immigrant's story told on three different continents, Americanh richly illustrates many narratives.   Ifemelu and Obinze having both been born and grown up in Nigeria meet in college and fall in love. Coming from very different backgrounds they discover a gentle and loving support for one another and their differences. Ifemelu has long desired to challenge herself with a life in the US. Obinze moves to Great Britain and after several attempts to create a life he discovers he has made a disastrous choice and returns home to Nigeria. Struggling to find her way in America, Ifemelu encounters a variety of failures and successes both professionally and personally but all the while missing both her homeland and the relationship she had with Obinze. Often darkly funny but also tender this novel is a powerful tale with fascinating characters and a view into American culture through the eyes of an immigrant.

Applesauce Weather Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763675769
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 9th, 2016

This is a touching poetic novel for young people of a story bringing family together. The lyrical writing shares a family's love of apple picking season, but also serves as a time to remember a family member who has passed away. Brother and sister, Peter and Faith, wonder if their beloved Uncle Arthur will return to the farm during apple season since his wife, Lucy has died. Faith is positive that when the "first apple falls" Arthur will be by their sides. With his gift for storytelling and love of tricks, Arthur helps the family remember their love for Aunt Lucy and her love for them. Frost uses each characters reflection of their thoughts and feelings to advance the story forward. The lovely and detailed pencil drawings by Amy June Bates reflects a simple time in children's lives as they interact with one another and their cherished apple orchard. This is a gentle story dealing with the death of a loved family member.