If you enjoy John Sanford, Vince Flynn, Lee Child, or David Rosenfelt try one of these suggestions of gripping mysteries with great characters. Many are part of ongoing series.

American spy : a novel by Lauren Wilkinson
Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook

It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant, but she's also a young black woman working in an old boys' club. Her career has stalled and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she's given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes.

Bad monkey by Carl Hiaasen
Also available in: e-book | audiobook

Andrew Yancy--late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff's office--has a human arm in his freezer. There's a logical explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. For more Andrew Yancy, check out Razor Girl.

Reader Wearing a Medical Mask - Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash

 

 

 

During this pandemic year, some of our book club members found that they had extra time to do extra reading, while others found themselves suffering from a lack of focus. Some discovered new formats and found books to help them on new journeys, while others turned to old favorites. Regardless of the reading challenges of 2020, here are the recommendations from the Lunch and a Book Club of some of the best books they read this year.

 

 

Masked Reader - Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash

Fiction

Sometimes we just want to read about what's familiar or what's possible. Here are some suggestions for books that feature a high level of realism. You probably won't find many dragons or wizards or outer space adventures here. Books are suggested for Sixth Grade, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level.

Amal unbound by Aisha Saeed
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook | large print

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when--as the eldest daughter--she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens--after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt.

Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook | large print

Some people can do their homework. Some people get to have crushes on boys. Some people have other things they've got to do. Seventh-grader Zoey has her hands full as she takes care of her much younger siblings after school every day while her mom works her shift at the pizza parlor. Not that her mom seems to appreciate it. At least there's Lenny, her mom's boyfriend--they all get to live in his nice, clean trailer. Can Zoey find the courage to speak up, even if it means risking the most stable home she's ever had?

Sometimes we just want to read about what's familiar or what's possible. Here are some suggestions for books that feature a high level of realism. You won't find many dragons or wizards or outer space adventures here, but you will find stories about things that really could happen. Books are suggested for Fifth Grade, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level.

To some kids, school means homework, bus rides, or band practice. To others it means bullies, tough teachers, or pranking the substitute. In this collection, authors describe a standout story from their school days. 

Crush by Svetlana Chmakova

Jorge seems to have it all together. He's big enough that nobody really messes with him, but he's also a genuinely sweet guy with a solid, reliable group of friends. The only time he ever really feels off his game is when he crosses paths with a certain girl... But when the group dynamic among the boys starts to shift, will Jorge be able to balance what his friends expect of him versus what he actually wants?

Sometimes we just want to read about what's familiar or what's possible. Here are some suggestions for books that feature a high level of realism. You won't find many dragons or wizards or outer space adventures here, but you will find stories about things that really could happen. Books are suggested for Fifth Grade, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level.

Crush by artist 1979- Svetlana Chmakova

Sometimes we just want to read about what's familiar or what's possible. Here are some suggestions for books that feature a high level of realism. You won't find many dragons or wizards or outer space adventures here, but you will find stories about things that really could happen. Books are suggested for Fourth Grade, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level.

Best buds under frogs by Leslie Patricelli
Also available in: e-book

When Lily throws up on her first day at a new school, she is sure she will never make friends, but eventually she and Darby get together and even start their own club, in spite of Darby's former best friend, Jill.

Eleven-year-old knuckleball pitcher Vivy Cohen, who has autism, becomes pen pals with her favorite Major League baseball player after writing a letter to him as an assignment for her social skills class.

Sometimes we just want to read about what's familiar or what's possible. Here are some suggestions for books that feature a high level of realism. You won't find many dragons or wizards or outer space adventures here, but you will find stories about things that really could happen. Books are suggested for Third Grade, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level.

Cupcake cousins by Kate Hannigan

During a family vacation at Lake Michigan, nine-year-old cousins Willow and Delia, desperate to avoid being flower girls in their aunt's wedding, try to demonstrate that they would do better as chefs for the reception.

The friendship code by Stacia Deutsch
Also available in: e-book | audiobook

Looking forward to joining the new coding club at school so that she can develop her app idea, Lucy is disappointed by the lukewarm reception she receives from the club's other members, who work with her to decipher mysterious coding notes.

Sometimes we just want to read about what's familiar or what's possible. Here are some suggestions for books that feature a high level of realism. You won't find many dragons or wizards or outer space adventures here, but you will find stories about things that really could happen. Books are suggested for Second Grade, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level.

Ana and Andrew: The perfect pet by Christine A. Platt

Ana & Andrew are getting a new pet! They research different pets before choosing the best pet for their family. Then they pick a name for it! Read more about Ana and Andrew.

Carlos and Carmen want to make this Mother's Day special. But they need a little help from Papá. Everything is going great until their fluffy, yummy surprise sinks right before their eyes. Luckily, the twins have a great idea that turns their mistake into a really special Mother's Day surprise. Read more Carlos and Carmen.

 

Sometimes we just want to read about what's familiar or what's possible. Here are some suggestions for books that feature a high level of realism. You probably won't find many dragons or wizards or outer space adventures here.  Grade levels are suggested, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level. Under each grade is a link for even more titles.

Kindergarten

Mary had a little glam by Tammi Sauer

Mary shares her glamorous style with all of her classmates.

 

Enjoy a series of playlists that will make you want to grab a dance partner and get on your feet. Dancing is a great way for all ages to have fun together and build gross motor skills. Try one of our themed playlists to get yourself in the mood to get moving! Playing Spotify playlists does require a free Spotify account.

 

Other fun playlists to try:

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