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Summer is here! And you know what that means… It’s Summer Learning Challenge time! You can find all of our amazing summer programs,  along with how to sign up in Beanstack to get started earning points. We have programming for all ages and interests that ties into our SLC theme of “Tales and Tails”!

And to get you started off right, our library staff have curated four (yes, FOUR) book lists in Beanstack that we feel have not-to-be-missed titles on them. You can find them under Recommendations on your Beanstack dashboard. Selecting “View All” will show all of the 2021 Tales and Tales book lists. 

We will be featuring each of the book lists throughout Summer 2021, so be sure to check back often to see what’s next.  This week, let’s explore the 2021 – Tales and Tails Adult List! 

(All summaries are from the publishers. Staff picks are chosen by CCPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We’d love to hear your ideas too, so write to us and tell us what you’d recommend!)

Need a library card? Please visit Get a Library Card to sign up for one today!

A Good Dog by Jon Katz

From the very beginning, Orson was a misfit. Like all border collies, he needed to work. But since there weren’t any sheep available for herding in the New Jersey suburbs, Orson instead tried to corral school buses, garbage trucks, and skateboarding kidns. So Katz pulled up stakes and moved to a farm in upstate New York. There, Orson improved dramatically–until the day he started nipping people. The nips soon turned into bites, forcing Katz to face an incredibly painful decision.

Crows by Candace Savage

Based on more than a decade of research, “Crows” offers an accurate, humorous, and wide-ranging introduction to these fascinating birds. Who would have guessed that there are more than 40 species of ravens and crows, all variations on a theme, cawing and croaking their way through the woodlands of North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and various South Sea islands? (Of the temperate continents, only South America doesn’t know the charms of these amusing, intelligent birds.) Topics explored include evolution, distribution, diet and food-getting practices (including their ingenious use of tools), social behavior (including the many crow “languages”), and impact on the human imagination, as reflected in mythology, literature, and popular aphorisms. Appealing to both the avid birder or the more casual nature lover, “Crows” is rich in insight, humor, and stories.

Dewey by Vicki Myron

Vicki Myron presents the follow-up to her successful memoir about Spencer Public Library’s cat, Dewey Readmore Books. Here she details how this small-town library cat has inspired and touched so many people’s lives.

Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-Tales From the Gulf States by Zora Neale Hurston

In this book Zora Neale Hurston records the voices of ordinary people and pays tribute to the richness of Black vernacular–its crisp self-awareness, singular wit, and improvisational wordplay. These folk-tales reflect the joys and sorrows of the African-American experience, celebrate the redemptive power of storytelling, and showcase the continuous presence in America of the Africanized language that flourishes to this day.

Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman

Two centuries ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now Philip Pullman, one of the most accomplished authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Giant George by Dave Nassar

The funny and heartwarming story of one couple’s unexpected life with the ‘runt of the litter’ puppy who grew to be the largest dog in the world…in fact ever.

Good Boy by Jennifer Finney Boylan

From bestselling author of She’s Not There, New York Times opinion columnist, and human rights activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs, a memoir of the transformative power of loving dogs. This is a book about dogs: the love we have for them, and the way that love helps us understand the people we have been. It’s in the love of dogs, and my love for them, that I can best now take the measure of the child I once was, and the bottomless, unfathomable desires that once haunted me. There are times when it is hard for me to fully remember that love, which was once so fragile, and so fierce. Sometimes it seems to fade before me, like breath on a mirror. But I remember the dogs. In her New York Times opinion column, Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote about her relationship with her beloved dog Indigo, and her wise, funny, heartbreaking piece went viral. In Good Boy, Boylan explores what should be the simplest topic in the world, but never is: finding and giving love. Good Boy is a universal account of a remarkable story: showing how a young boy became a middle-aged woman-accompanied at seven crucial moments of growth and transformation by seven memorable dogs. ‘Everything I know about love, ‘ she writes, ‘I learned from dogs.’ Their love enables us pull off what seem like impossible feats: to find our way home when we are lost, to live our lives with humor and courage, and above all, to best become our true selves.

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

Fantasy icon Jane Yolen (The Devil’s Arithmetic, Briar Rose, Sister Emily’s Lightship) is adored by generations of readers of all ages. Now she triumphantly returns with this inspired gathering of fractured fairy tales and legends. Yolen breaks open the classics to reveal their crystalline secrets: a philosophical bridge that misses its troll, a spinner of straw as a falsely accused moneylender, the villainous wolf adjusting poorly to retirement. Each of these offerings features a new author note and original poem, illuminating tales that are old, new, and brilliantly refined.

Oogy by Larry Levin

A heartwarming story of a puppy brought back from the brink of death, and the family he adopted.

Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall

The renowned primatologist shares insights from her personal life.

Ring Shout: Or, Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times by P. Djeli Clark

In this dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan’s ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan’s demons straight to Hell. But something awful’s brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up. Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?

Sophia, Princess Among Beasts by James Patterson

In a kingdom besieged by hunger, sickness, and war, Princess Sophia must do whatever it takes to protect the people she loves, even if it means she has to confront the beasts she thought only lived in her books.

Stealing Thunder by Alina Boyden

A charming dragon fantasy novel where a trans girl named Razia runs away from home, finds a community of trans women known as hijras, falls in love, and steals back her dragon. By night, Razia Khan is one of the most sought-after dancing girls in the desert city of Bikampur. Later in the night, she is its most elusive thief. When Razia finds herself dancing for the maharaja’s son, the handsome prince Arjun, she knows that she’s playing with fire. As a trans girl, known as a hijra, she can never be a wife to any man, and as the former crown prince of the Sultanate of Nizam, she guards her identity carefully, lest her father’s assassins find her. But in the dragon-riding prince of Bikampur, Razia sees not just a ticket out of the gutter, but a kindred spirit. As their romance blossoms, Razia finds herself once more thrust into the dangerous world of politics in Daryastan, and in order to survive, she will need the skills of a courtesan, a thief, and a warrior princess.

Stygian by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Trained as a slayer and predator, I learned to stay low and become a tool for evil. Until I was sent to kill a woman I couldn’t. Now I will have to travel into the very pits of Hades to try and save her.

Tell Me Where It Hurts by Nick Trout

From the frontlines of modern medicine, this is an insider portrait of a veterinarian, his furry patients, and the blend of old-fashioned instincts and cutting-edge technology that defines pet care in the 21st century. Dr. Trout, an Englishman who is a staff surgeon at Boston’s Angell Animal Medical Center, takes the reader on a vicarious journey through 24 intimate, heartrending hours in his life; his wry, companionable voice offers enlightening anecdotes about cuddly (or not-so-cuddly) pets and their variously zany, desperate, and demanding owners.

The Big Book of Classic Fantasy by Ann Vandermeer

Unearth the enchanting origins of fantasy fiction with a collection of tales as vast as the tallest tower and as mysterious as the dark depths of the forest. Fantasy stories have always been with us. They illuminate the odd and the uncanny, the wondrous and the fantastic: all the things we know are lurking just out of sight–on the other side of the looking-glass, beyond the music of the impossibly haunting violin, through the twisted trees of the ancient woods. Other worlds, talking animals, fairies, goblins, demons, tricksters, and mystics: these are the elements that populate a rich literary tradition that spans the globe. A work composed both of careful scholarship and fantastic fun, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy is essential reading for anyone who’s never forgotten the stories that first inspired feelings of astonishment and wonder.

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis

First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars – the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed when she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no power, and a new captain – Saito Ren – whom she knows nothing about. She is commanded to spy on Captain Ren by the Sisterhood, but soon discovers that working for the war effort is so much harder to do when you’re falling in love. Lito val Lucius climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus, but was defeated in combat by none other than Saito Ren, resulting in the disappearance of his partner, Hiro. When Lito learns that Hiro is both alive and now a traitor to the cause, he now has a shot at redemption: track down and kill his former partner. But when he discovers recordings that Hiro secretly made, Lito’s own allegiances are put to the test. Ultimately, he must decide between following orders and following his heart.

The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke

When seeking to understand animals, context is key. Humans have a habit of viewing the animal kingdom through the prism of our own narrow existence. Zoologist and documentary filmmaker Lucy Cooke is fascinated by the myths people create about animals to fill in the gaps in our understanding, and how much they reveal about the mechanics of discovery and the people doing the discovering. In this book she has gathered together the biggest misconceptions and mistakes made about the animal kingdom, and recounts the experiences that have opened her eyes to many surprising realities about animals and the progress of animal science.

The Unbroken by C. L. Clark

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought. Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne. Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by O, the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, Buzzfeed, Vogue, PureWow, New York Magazine and more “Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.” — Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal “A page-turner.” — O, The Oprah Magazine “Sure to be one of 2020s best and boldest.

Vagabonds by Jingfang Hao

A century after the Martian war of independence, a group of kids are sent to Earth as delegates from Mars, but when they return home, they are caught between the two worlds, unable to reconcile the beauty and culture of Mars with their experiences on Earth in this spellbinding novel from Hugo Award-winning author Hao Jingfang. This genre-bending novel is set on Earth in the wake of a second civil war…not between two factions in one nation, but two factions in one solar system: Mars and Earth.

Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and his Girl by Stacey O’Brien

Written with the same heartwarming sentiment that made the memoir “Marley & Me” a runaway bestseller, biologist and owl expert O’Brien chronicles her rescue of an adorable, abandoned baby barn owl–and their astonishing and unprecedented 19-year life together.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Summoned before the Emperor, Prince Kiem–a famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild–is commanded to renew the empire’s bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire. But Count Jainan suspects his late husband’s death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers that Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy. In the shadows of a secret past and an insecure future, Kiem and Jainan must come together to protect both of their worlds.