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2019 Howard County Reads

2019 HCR Book:Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

canoeing between trees with an orange sunset. Title Where The Crawdads Sing

Kya Clark is an unforgettable young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina. She is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. When Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect her; however, Kya is not what they say.

The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

Red background with yellow highlights title the alchemist

An adaptation in graphic novel format of a modern classic about the spiritual journey of a humble shepherd boy. What starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.

An American Family by Khizr Khan

Man and woman on a black and blue background title An American Family

Muslim American Gold Star father Khizr Khan is a patriot, and a fierce advocate for the rights, dignities, and values enshrined in the American system like millions of other American immigrants.

American Like Me by America Ferrera

Red background with a series of names in dark red. Title American Like Me

A vibrant and varied collection of first person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of cultural diversity. Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on the American experience.

American Prison by Shane by Shane Bauer

Black and White image with a sepia square overlayed with the title American Prison

Investigative journalist Shane Bauer worked as an entry-level prison guard at a private prison in Louisiana for four months until his employment came to an abrupt end. He soon realized, we can't understand the cruelty of our current system of mass incarceration without understanding where it came from.

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolph Anaya

left side of an owls face with the title Bless Me, Ultima overlayed

In 1940’s New Mexico, a young boy must come to terms with his own place in the world, his faith, and the people around him. Pulled between the worlds of his father, a man of the plains and his mother, who wants him to be a priest, Antonio finds understanding with Ultima and her indigenous magic.

Calypso by David Sedaris

wood grain with knots making the shape of a face title Calypso is overlayed

A collection of essays on approaching middle age with humor and hope, Calypso stitches together the poignant and the satirical. Sedaris takes on a wide array of lighthearted topics as well as serious subjects, such as illness, addiction, and death. His wit shines no matter what he discusses. He paints a vivid portrait of his family, including his sister’s suicide and his mother’s alcoholism.

The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

Two tone purple face with prominent red lips. Title The Coldest Winter Ever is overlayed

Winter lives the high life as the daughter of a big-time drug lord, but life becomes a lot grittier when she has to make it on the street. Activist Souljah paints a realistic coming-of-age story of debauchery with a grave moral.

Educated by Tara Westover

Cartoon Pencil with the title Educated a memoir

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Westover grew up so isolated from mainstream society that she received no education. She educated herself, well enough to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, helping her to see life through new eyes, and to spur the will to change it.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

woman sitting next to a yellow fire hydrant

The author presents a guide to becoming a joyous, confident woman by breaking the cycle of negativity and burnout and pursuing a life of exuberance.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

an urban art style background with an ink outline of a female face

Xiomara Batista lets her fists and fierceness do the talking, but pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a notebook. Mami is determined to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, so Xiomara keeps her thoughts to herself. Invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she has a chance to perform her poems

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

Blue background with a man and woman's face leaning in from opposing sides. Title The Proposal is overlayed

At a Dodgers game, Nikole Paterson is blindsided by a scoreboard proposal. When she rejects the proposal, Dr. Carlos Ibarra is there to rescue her.

Racing to the Finish by Dale Earnhardt Jr

Black and white photo of Dale Earnhardt Jr with the title Racing to the Finish overlayed

When NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired from professional stock car racing in 2017, he walked away from his career as a healthy man. But for years, he had worried that the worsening effects of multiple racing-related concussions would end not only his time on the track but his ability to live a full and happy life.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

pop-art style cover with a woman's face and the title overlayed

When her mother goes missing, 15 year old Bee weaves together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past that Bernadette has been hiding for decades.

Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi

Woman with a red head cover on an icy blue blackground with roses

13-year-old Laylee has inherited the role of Whichwood’s only mordeshoor with magical skills to “wash and package the dead destined for the Otherwhere, an unappreciated task, which is sapping her body and soul. Suddenly well-meaning visitors arrive and try to help her.

About Howard County Reads

Inspired by the Washington Center for the Book’s “One Book” concept, the Howard County Reads (HCR) program was founded in 2004 to foster a sense of community through page-turning togetherness. It is an annual community-wide reading program sponsored by the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, the Greentown Public Library, and Indiana University Kokomo Library. Every year a committee of staff members from the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, the Greentown Public Library, and the Indiana University Kokomo Library as well as community members collaborate to select books and plan programs.