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Best Non-Fiction of 2017

Every year the Canton Public Library staff name their favorite book of the year.  This list is a mixture of  Adult, Teen, Tween, and Children's Non-fiction published between December 2016 - December 2017.

When Swedish-born Linda McGurk moved to small-town Indiana with her American husband to start a family, she quickly realized that her outdoorsy ways were not the norm. In Sweden children play outside all year round, regardless of the weather, and letting young babies nap outside in freezing temperatures is not only common--it is a practice recommended by physicians. In the US, on the other hand, she found that the playgrounds, which she had expected to find teeming with children, were mostly deserted. In preschool, children were getting drilled to learn academic skills, while their Scandinavian counterparts were climbing trees, catching frogs, and learning how to compost. Worse, she realized that giving her daughters the same freedom to play outside that she had enjoyed as a child in Sweden could quickly lead to a visit by Child Protective Services. 

Traveling to 41 countries in 2015 with a backpack and binoculars, Noah Strycker became the first person to see more than half the world's 10,000 species of birds in one year.  In 2015, Noah Strycker set himself a lofty goal: to become the first person to see half the world's birds in one year. For 365 days, with a backpack, binoculars, and a series of one-way tickets, he traveled across forty-one countries and all seven continents, eventually spotting 6,042 species--by far the biggest birding year on record. This is no travelogue or glorified checklist. Noah ventures deep into a world of blood-sucking leeches, chronic sleep deprivation, airline snafus, breakdowns, mudslides, floods, war zones, ecologic devastation, conservation triumphs, common and iconic species, and scores of passionate bird lovers around the globe. By pursuing the freest creatures on the planet, Noah gains a unique perspective on the world they share with us--and offers a hopeful message that even as many birds face an uncertain future, more people than ever are working to protect them.

"When the Nazi Blitzkrieg subjugated Europe in World War II, London became the safe haven for the leaders of seven occupied countries--France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Norway, Czechoslovakia and Poland--who fled there to avoid imprisonment and set up governments in exile to commandeer their resistance efforts. The lone hold-out against Hitler's offensive, Britain became a beacon of hope to the rest of Europe, as prominent European leaders like French general Charles De Gaulle, Queen Wilhelmina of Holland, and King Haakon of Norway competed for Winston Churchill's attention while trying to rule their embattled countries from the precarious safety of 'Last Hope Island'"--Provided by publsher.

From the host of MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell , an important and enthralling new account of the presidential election that changed everything, the race that created American politics as we know it today.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * In these "urgently relevant essays,"* the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me "reflects on race, Barack Obama's presidency and its jarring aftermath"*--including the election of Donald Trump. "We were eight years in power" was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America's "first white president." 

The Year of the Pitcher is the story of the remarkable 1968 baseball season, which culminated in one of the greatest World Series contests ever, with the Detroit Tigers coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cardinals in Game Seven of the World Series. In 1968, two remarkable pitchers would dominate the game as well as the broadsheets. One was black, the other white. Bob Gibson, together with the St. Louis Cardinals, embodied an entire generation's hope for integration at a heated moment in American history. Denny McLain, his adversary, was a crass self-promoter who eschewed the team charter and his Detroit Tigers teammates to zip cross-country in his own plane. For one season, the nation watched as these two men and their teams swept their respective league championships to meet at the World Series. 

"A journalist channels her ice-cream obsession, scouring the United States for the best artisanal brands and delving into the surprising history of ice cream and frozen treats in America. For Amy Ettinger, ice cream is not just a delicious snack but a circumstance and a time of year--frozen forever in memory. As the youngest child and only girl, ice cream embodied unstructured summers, freedom from the tyranny of her classmates, and a comforting escape from her chaotic, demanding family. Now as an adult and journalist, her love of ice cream has led to a fascinating journey to understand ice cream's evolution and enduring power, complete with insight into the surprising history behind America's early obsession with ice cream and her experience in an immersive ice-cream boot camp to learn from the masters. From a visit to the one place in the United States that makes real frozen custard in a mammoth machine known as the Iron Lung, to the vicious competition among small ice-cream makers and the turf wars among ice-cream trucks, to extreme flavors like foie gras and oyster, Ettinger encounters larger-than-life characters and uncovers what's really behind America's favorite frozen treats. Sweet Spot is a fun and spirited exploration of a treat Americans can't get enough of--one that transports us back to our childhoods and will have you walking to the nearest shop for a cone"--Provided by publisher.

Also available in: print | e-book | audiobook

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white working class Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis--that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

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