Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee's Search for Home by Mondiant Dogon with Jenna KrajeskiWhat it's about: In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, three-year-old Bagogwe Tutsi Mondiant Dogon fled with his family from their native Congo, spending the next 20 years in refugee camps.
What happened: Dogon's early attempts to return home resulted in his forced recruitment as a child soldier; he later sought an education at the University of Rwanda and New York University, becoming an activist.
Read it for: a sobering and thought-provoking story of survival.
The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II by Judith MackrellWhat it is: an engaging collective biography spotlighting six women journalists during World War II who braved the front lines -- and workplace sexism -- to break barriers in their profession.
Why you might like it: This evocative you-are-there account offers a richly detailed portrait of wartime courage, supplemented with diary entries, private correspondence, and other archival materials.
For fans of: Katherine Sharp Landdeck's The Women with Silver Wings.
Cokie: A Life Well Lived by Steven V. RobertsWhat it is: an upbeat biography of beloved journalist and writer Cokie Roberts, written by her husband of 53 years, Steven V. Roberts.
What's inside: chapters divided into the roles Roberts played in her public and private life, including wife, mother, journalist, friend, storyteller, and believer; moving remembrances from colleagues and loved ones.
Further reading: Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR by Lisa Napoli.
Orwell's Roses by Rebecca SolnitWhat it's about: how Nineteen Eighty-Four author George Orwell's love of nature and gardening informed his life, work, and antifascist politics.
Read it for: a fresh perspective on an influential writer, featuring lyrical and thought-provoking insights from author Rebecca Solnit (Recollections of My Nonexistence), including a visit to the Hertfordshire cottage where Orwell planted roses in 1936.
Reviewers say: "A fine Orwell biography with equally fine diversions into his favorite leisure activity" (Kirkus Reviews).
1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei; translated by Allan H. BarrWhat it is: a revealing family history chronicling Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei's early life in exile alongside his father, poet Ai Qing, during Mao Zedong's regime, as well as his commitment to creative freedom in the face of political authoritarianism.
Why you should read it: Ai's moving memoir explores the pair's artistic evolution as they navigated the turbulence of the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath.
Featuring: reproductions of some of Ai's artwork.
Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian BroomeWhat it is: Brian Broome's compelling coming-of-age memoir recounting his experiences growing up Black and gay in 1980s Ohio.
Featuring: chapters framed around the stanzas of Gwendolyn Brooks' classic 1960 poem "We Real Cool."
Book buzz: A New York Times Editors' Pick and winner of the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, Broome's candid debut has earned comparisons to Kiese Laymon's Heavy and Saeed Jones' How We Fight for Our Lives.
Dog Flowers by Danielle GellerWhat it's about: After the death of her mother, "Tweety," Navajo writer Danielle Geller used her training as an archivist to reconstruct Tweety's life and help her make sense of the loss.
What's inside: diary entries, letters, photographs, calendars, and Geller's own childhood drawings.
Is it for you? Geller's heartwrenching account of grief doesn't shy away from the darker parts of her mother's life, including her neglect of her children and battles with addiction.
My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría HudesWhat it's about: Pulitzer Prize-winning In the Heights playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes' Jewish Boricua upbringing in 1980s West Philadelphia.
Topics include: Hudes' struggles to embrace her mixed-race identity; tensions over her white-passing privilege; finding her creative voice.
Read it for: an evocative portrait of the community that inspired Hudes' art; a lyrical and resonant exploration of family, identity, and memory.
Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure by Menachem KaiserWhat it's about: journalist Menachem Kaiser's quest to reclaim his Polish Jewish grandfather's apartment building, which was seized by Nazis in the early days of World War II.
Who it's for: Fans of family histories that reveal long-buried secrets will appreciate Kaiser's compelling account.
Reviewers say: "Superbly written, this page-turner reads like a gripping adventure novel" (Publishers Weekly).
And Now I Spill the Family Secrets: An Illustrated Memoir by Margaret KimballWhat it is: illustrator Margaret Kimball's candid account of her family's history of mental illness.
Art alert: Realistic black-and-white illustrations, which often depict empty interiors, complement the tension and intimacy of Kimball's prose.
For fans of: Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Santa Clarita Public Library
23743 Valencia Blvd.
Santa Clarita, California 91355