Welcome, or welcome back, to SJPL Rec News, an occasional publication featuring recreational and recommended reading from our SJPL Librarians. Last month, we had a 'mega issue' with more than the usual two booklists per age group to help encompass the large celebrations in February: Black History Month and Valentine's Day. This month we'll have a few less lists, but we're looking at two different national months to help guide our reading, for the most part anyway.
As far as "National Month" celebrations go, March has a few of them- Irish-American Heritage Month, Social Worker Awareness Month, National Sauce Month, National Noodle Month, National Craft Month. It is also Peanut Month, Celery Month, Umbrella Month, Cheerleader Safety Month, and Nutrition Month. While no doubt we have books to help you celebrate every one of these national months, from the silly to the serious, March is also National Women's History Month and National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and I have some booklists to help you celebrate women as well as understand the perspective of people with developmental disabilities through literature.
Women's History Month got it's start as Women's History Week in 1981, and it grew through congressional support and was made Women's History Month in 1987. Celebrating Women's History acknowledges the importance of women's achievements and contributions to history throughout time, and while this is a national celebration we look at girls' and women's achievements from around the world. Celebrating Women's History also puts remarkable girls and women in the spotlight, inspiring and empowering new generations of those identifying as girls and women to follow the footsteps of the mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmas, and girlfriends that came before, and to be unafraid of their own willpower and success.
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month encompasses many different initiatives that take place in March to raise awareness of those navigating the world with developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities is an umbrella term that encompasses a large array of conditions, including but not limited to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome, Spina Bifida, as well as other learning, physical, and intellectual conditions. By reading books featuring protagonists with disabilities, we can combat ableism and spread empathy and understanding it its stead.
As promised, for our Kids Picks we have a number of books relating to our national celebrations.
Ability Diverse Books
First up, we have Ability Diverse lists for both picture books as well as elementary chapter books. While March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month, and people with developmental disabilities are certainly represented here, not all of the characters on the Ability Diverse list will fall into the developmental disability category; there are other categories of disability represented here as well. This list features a cross-section of children with different disabilities, both of consequence to the story and not. Regardless of what read you pick, these stories can help anybody appreciate a different point of view, and shines a spotlight on the different ways we all navigate this world together.
Discover all sorts of incredible girls and women from around the world, and learn about their achievements! This list has books for a mix of ages. including several anthology style tomes that will contain many stories of different women, both in similar and varied fields. There are also a number of picture book biographies for those hoping to get to know a particular historical lady a little more in-depth.
Teen & Adult Picks
Our Teen and Adult Picks offerings this month are similarly related to national celebrations; the lists we have are age-specific versions of one another, so I'm combining our Teen & Adult picks into one section this month.
Ability Diverse Fiction
As with Kids Picks, for our Teen and Adult Picks we also have booklists with ability diverse representation. Again, as with the Kids' list, people with developmental disabilities are represented on this list, but not all of the characters here will fall into the developmental disability category; there are other categories of disability represented as well. This list features a cross-section of characters with varying abilities, both protagonists and side, having adventures and facing trials in multiple genres, showing that people with disabilities can be space explorers, cyborgs, magic wielders, caregivers, mediums, heroes, villains, and heart throbs, too.
Biographical/Historical Fiction Featuring Women Throughout History
If, like me, you're not big into non-fiction and biographies, you might try celebrating Women's History Month through fiction with these reads, instead. They say well behaved women seldom make history, but you may be surprised by some of these not-very-well-behaved women that, well, you haven't heard of. That's not to say their stories aren't as awesome, just not as well-known. Of course, this list does feature fiction about many famous figures in history, as well as some infamous figures. Each of these books features a character based on a real historical woman, both notable and notorious.
SJPL Picks: Quick Links
If this month's featured reads aren't your favorite themes, or you're looking to expand your browsing, try checking out any and all of the lists from our librarians on our SJPL Picks team. All our lists will be labeled "SJPL Picks" or "SJPL Recommends".
If you're looking for further recommendations and aren't in the mood to browse, let us do the browsing for you! San José Public Library's 5forU team offers personalized recommendations via email. You can also fill in the profile on someone else's behalf and we can find just the right titles - perfect for caregivers looking to recommend books to their children, for book clubs stumped on what to discuss next meeting, or if you're hoping to give the gift of literature. Just fill in the profile and we'll do the rest - and remember, the more information you give us in the profile, the better and more tailored your recommendations will be! Hearing exactly why you love or hate a book gives us more clues to find your new favorite. Requests will be answered within 5 business days. Ready to begin your 5forU journey? Start your 5forU request!