• Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

    Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge--until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents--but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

    Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

    Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals--in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country--Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

    WINNER
    FICTION: Southern Fiction
    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
    Ballantine Books | 9780425284681
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  • Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King, Barbara Reynolds

    My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King, Barbara Reynolds

    Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR

    The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

    The Washington Post's Books to Read in 2017

    USA Today, "New and Noteworthy"

    Read it Forward, Favorite Reads of January 2017

    A Parade Magazine Pick

    "This book is distinctly Coretta's story . . . particularly absorbing. . . generous, in a manner that is unfashionable in our culture."- New York Times Book Review

    "Eloquent . . . inspirational"- USA Today

    The life story of Coretta Scott King- wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist- as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.

    Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. While enrolled as one of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, she became politically and socially active and committed to the peace movement. As a graduate student at the New England Conservatory of Music, determined to pursue her own career as a concert singer, she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs as well as shared racial and economic justice goals, she married Dr. King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, and so much more.

    As a widow and single mother of four, she worked tirelessly to found and develop The King Center as a citadel for world peace, lobbied for fifteen years for the US national holiday in honor of her husband, championed for women's, workers' and gay rights and was a powerful international voice for nonviolence, freedom and human dignity.

    Coretta's is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.

    WINNER
    NONFICTION: Biography and History
    Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King, Barbara Reynolds
    Henry Holt & Company | 9781250159939
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  • Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

    Flame in the Mist by Renee AhdiehFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of feudal Japan where Mulan meets Throne of Glass.

    The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place--she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort--a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace. Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she's within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she's appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love--a love that will force her to question everything she's ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires

    WINNER
    CHILDREN'S & JUVENILE: Young Adult
    Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers | 9780399171635
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  • Gradle Bird by J C Sasser

    Gradle Bird by J C Sasser

    Sixteen-year-old Gradle Bird has lived her entire life with her Grandpa, Leonard, at a seedy motel and truck stop off Georgia's I-16. But when Leonard moves her to a crumbling old house rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Ms. Annalee Spivey, Gradle is plunged into a lush, magical world much stranger and more dangerous than from the one she came.

    Here she meets Sonny Joe Stitch, a Siamese Fighting Fish connoisseur overdosed on testosterone, a crippled, Bible-thumping hobo named Ceif "Tadpole" Walker, and the only true friend she will ever know, a schizophrenic genius, music-man, and professional dumpster-diver, D-5 Delvis Miles.

    As Gradle falls deeper into Delvis's imaginary and fantastical world, unsettling dangers lurk, and when surfaced Gradle discovers unforeseen depths in herself and the people she loves the most.

    Gradle Bird is an unusual tale of self-discovery and redemption that explores the infirmities of fatherly love, the complexities of human cruelty, and the consequences of guilt, proving they are possible to overcome no matter how dark and horrible the cause.

    WINNER
    FICTION: Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense
    Gradle Bird by J C Sasser
    Koehler Books | 9781633932630
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  • Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

    Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

    NOW A NEW YORK TIMES, PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, INDIEBOUND, LOS ANGELES TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, CHRONICLE HERALD, SALISBURY POST, GUELPH MERCURY TRIBUNE, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER | NAMED A BEST/MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2017 BY: The Washington Post • Bustle • Men's Journal • The Chicago Reader • StarTribune • Blavity • The Guardian • NBC New York's Bill's Books • Kirkus • Essence

    "One of the most frank and searing discussions on race... a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and King's Why We Can't Wait." - The New York Times Book Review

    Toni Morrison hails Tears We Cannot Stop as "Elegantly written and powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish."

    Stephen King says: "Here's a sermon that's as fierce as it is lucid…If you're black, you'll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you're white, Dyson tells you what you need to know- what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen."

    Short, emotional, literary, powerful: Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.

    As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece "Death in Black and White," Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop- a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

    "The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don't act now, if you don't address race immediately, there very well may be no future."

    WINNER
    NONFICTION: Nonfiction
    Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
    St. Martin's Press | 9781250135995
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  • The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

    The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

    Named a Best Book of 2017 by the Chicago Public Library and the American Library Association

    “Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world.”

    - Christina Baker Kline, author of A Piece of the World and Orphan Train

    The New York Times bestselling author of the celebrated A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash’s Serena, Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood.

    Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.

    When the union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county’s biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement—a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town—indeed all that she loves.

    Seventy-five years later, Ella May’s daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the tragedy that befell Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929.

    Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early twentieth-century America—and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Wiley Cash’s place among our nation’s finest writers.

    WINNER
    FICTION: Literary
    The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
    William Morrow & Company | 9780062313126
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  • Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley

    Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley

    From the New York Times bestselling author of Circus Mirandus comes the magic-infused story of a golden gator, two cursed kids, and how they take their destinies into their own hands.

    When the red moon rises over the heart of the Okefenokee swamp, legend says that the mysterious golden gator Munch will grant good luck to the poor soul foolish enough to face him.

    But in 1817, when TWO fools reach him at the same time, the night's fate is split. With disastrous consequences for both . . . and their descendants. Half of the descendants have great fates, and the other half have terrible ones.

    Now, Tumble Wilson and Blue Montgomery are determined to fix their ancestors' mistakes and banish the bad luck that's followed them around for all of their lives. They're going to face Munch the gator themselves, and they're going to reclaim their destinies.

    But what if the legend of Munch is nothing but a legend, after all?

    Full of friendship, family, and the everyday magic and adventure that readers of Savvy and A Snicker of Magic love, Cassie Beasley's newest middle grade book is another crowd-pleasing heart-warmer—perfect for reading by yourself, or sharing with someone you love.

    WINNER
    CHILDREN'S & JUVENILE: Juvenile Fiction
    Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley
    Dial Books | 9780525428442
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  • Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

    Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

    From the author of the international bestseller The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes another novel that will have everyone talking.

    Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her (married) boss. When the affair comes to light, the popular congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins: slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics. She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. This time, she tries to be smarter about her life and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, Aviva decides to run for public office, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet and catches up—an inescapable scarlet A. In the digital age, the past is never, ever, truly past. And it’s only a matter of time until Ruby finds out who her mother was and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she knows.

    Young Jane Young is a smart, funny, serious, and moving novel about the myriad ways in which roles are still circumscribed for women, whether they are young and ambitious interns; mothers attempting to steer their daughters through a male-dominated world; political wives facing an age-old knowledge that fidelity isn’t always honored; or young girls feeling bold about their many choices before they realize the gender restrictions all around them. Gabrielle Zevin captures not only the double standards alive and well in every aspect of life for women but also the mood of our recent highly charged political season.

    WINNER
    FICTION: Women and Family
    Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
    Algonquin Books | 9781616208691
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