Walker's Bookshelf

COVID-19 Resources

What is COVID-19? How can I protect myself and my family? Where can I find accurate updates on Coronavirus? Here are some helpful resources to stay informed.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus which was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in other countries, including the United States.

For some, the respiratory virus causes mild symptoms like the common cold or influenza (flu), for others it can cause severe pneumonia that requires medical care or hospitalization.

The virus is named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes is named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

**Definition of COVID19 taken from the website.

Three most common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent COVID-19. From the websites mentioned, here are some helpful tips that may reduce your risk of getting or spreading the virus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Use facemasks only when caring for someone who is affected by COVID-19 or when you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Please visit the resources listed above for more information about COVID-19.

Walker's Bookshelf

International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day. To celebrate, here is a list of debut novels written by diverse female authors.
To request our copy, please contact us at 207-854-0630 or

Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham

Abraham’s fierce debut follows four Nigerian siblings living in Lagos from childhood in 1996 through early adulthood in 2015. Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike, and their younger brothers, Andrew and Peter, spend their early years in a relatively stable middle-class family. Then their mother loses her government job and their father wastes the rest of the family’s savings in a get-rich-quick scheme. Soon after, their mother leaves for New York, their father takes off for parts unknown, and the kids are left in the care of their grandmother. As the girls grow up, Ariyike becomes involved in a Pentecostal church and eventually marries its charismatic leader, while Bibike takes a series of more secular jobs. Both are sexually exploited time after time. The chapters involving their brothers focus on the horrors of life in a boarding school—incessant bullying by the older students, food deprivation—which the sisters can’t attend because they must work to support the family. The novel’s strength lies in its lush, unflinching scenes, as when a seemingly simple infection leads gradually but inexorably to a life-threatening condition, revealing the dynamics of the family and community along the way. Abraham mightily captures a sense of the stresses of daily life in a family, city, and culture that always seems on the edge of self-destruction. (Feb.) –Staff (Reviewed 11/11/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 45, p)

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Anappara’s witty, resonant debut tracks a series of child disappearances from an Indian slum through the  eyes of a nine-year-old boy. Jai lives with his friends Pari and Faiz in a slum next to a rubbish dump and the  crowded Bhoot Bazaar, part of an unnamed city constantly beset by smog. An opening tale of a local benevolent ghost named Mental introduces the  children’s shared magical thinking. When Jai and his friends learn that one of their classmates, Bahadur, has been missing for several days, Jai, a fan of police shows, decides that he and his friends will do their own detective work and find Bahadur since the  police show little interest in the  matter. Jai’s carefree nature lends a lighthearted tone to an increasingly grim tale as more children disappear and his team of sleuths find evidence pointing to a serial killer. His quest is aided by Pari’s voracious reading habits, which make her the  better detective, and Faiz’s Muslim faith, which helps them stay on  course when his community is blamed for the  kidnappings. Interspersed with the  trio’s investigation are single chapters devoted to each of the  disappeared children. The  prose perfectly captures all the  characters’ youthful voices, complete with some Hindi and Urdu terms, whose meanings, if not immediately obvious, become clear with repetition. Anappara’s complex and moving tale showcases a strong talent. (Feb.) –Staff (Reviewed 12/09/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 50 , p)

The Eight Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung
*COMING SOON: March 17, 2020

Meet Alexa Wú, a brilliant yet darkly self-aware young woman whose chaotic life is manipulated and controlled by a series of alternate personalities. Only three people know about their existence: her shrink Daniel; her stepmother Anna; and her enigmatic best friend Ella. The perfect trio of trust.

When Ella gets a job at a high-end gentleman’s club, she catches the attention of its shark-like owner and is gradually drawn into his inner circle. As Alexa’s world becomes intimately entangled with Ella’s, she soon finds herself the unwitting keeper of a nightmarish secret. With no one to turn to and lives at stake, she follows Ella into London’s cruel underbelly on a daring rescue mission. Threatened and vulnerable, Alexa will discover whether her multiple personalities are her greatest asset, or her most dangerous obstacle.

Electrifying and breathlessly compulsive, The Eighth Girl is an omnivorous examination of life with mental illness and the acute trauma of life in a misogynist world. With bingeable prose and a clinician’s expertise, Chung’s psychological debut deftly navigates the swirling confluence of identity, innocence, and the impossible fracturing weights that young women are forced to carry, causing us to question: Does the truth lead to self-discovery, or self-destruction? — Publisher’s Description

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

Daré’s captivating first novel opens with  14-year-old Adunni hearing the  devastating news from her father that, instead of returning to school as she has longed to for three years, she has been sold in marriage to a much-older neighbor in their Nigerian village. Adunni is distraught, as life with  a husband, his two other wives, and his unrestrained young children is exactly the  fate from which, according to her deceased mother, having an education would spare her. Desperate to improve her life, she flees to the  city, where to support herself she accepts employment as a rich family’s servant. But why was the  position vacant? The  reasoning behind her predecessor’s departure is just one of the  things Adunni seeks to learn while in Lagos. Daré’s arresting prose provides a window into the  lives of Nigerians of all socioeconomic levels and shows readers the  beauty and humor that may be found even in the  midst of harrowing experiences. Although the  problems and antagonists Adunni faces would challenge even capable adults, she defies almost everyone’s expectations and not only survives but thrives. — Nicole Williams (Reviewed 1/1/2020) (Booklist, vol 116, number 9, p35)

The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Nguyen

Nguyen’s lyrical, sweeping debut novel (after the  poetry collection The  Secret of Hoa Sen) chronicles the  Tran family through a century of war and renewal. As middle-aged writer Huong revisits her native Hanoi in 2012, she reflects on the  lessons shared by her late grandmother Diệu Lan (“The  challenges faced by Vietnamese people throughout history are as tall as the  tallest mountains . If you stand too close, you won’t be able to see their peaks”) and chronicles their journey of survival during the  Vietnam War. Huong was 12 when bombs encroached on Hanoi, where she lived with Diệu Lan after her mother, Ngọc, a physician, left to search for her father, a soldier in the  NVA. After an evacuation to the mountains , Diệu Lan “opened the  door of her childhood” to Huoung with stories of being raised by a wealthy family to pursue an education and resist old customs such as blackening her teeth. Diệu Lan also describes the  harrowing truth of the  Việt Minh Land Reform, during which her family’s land was seized in the  spirit of resource distribution, encouraging her to question what she’s been taught in schools. Grandma and Huong return to Hanoi and find their house decimated, and Ngọc, who survived torture and rape while imprisoned by South Vietnamese soldiers, comes home without Huong’s father. In a subtle coda, Nguyễn brilliantly explores the  boundary between what a writer shares with the  world and what remains between family. This brilliant, unsparing love letter to Vietnam will move readers. (Mar.) –Staff (Reviewed 01/06/2020) (Publishers Weekly, vol 267, issue 1, p)

Walker's Bookshelf

Monster, She Wrote

Authors Lisa Kroger and Melanie Anderson’s Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction highlights female writers who have greatly contributed to the horror genre ever since its inception. From the classic gothic tales of Margaret “Mad Madge” Cavendish (the 17th century Kardashian), Ann Radcliffe, and Mary Shelley to the contemporary and modern stories of Anne Rice, Helen Oyeyemi, and Jewelle Gomez, Monster, She Wrote provides a glimpse of horror’s evolution as a genre and how each female writer helped cement the tropes that we understand to be horror and speculative fiction.

Monster, She Wrote is divided in eight parts, separating authors by the theme they were exploring and the era in which they were writing. Each of the author has a brief but very informative biography. Additionally, at the end of each biography, Kroger and Anderson provide a reading list that helps connect works by different authors as well as expand the wealth of authors already mentioned in the book.

Monster, She Wrote has the fascinating and informative aspect of a reference guide as well as the fun quality of reading an illustrated book. It is a good introduction to those who are new to horror and speculative fiction and a good starting point for long-time fans who are looking to expand their repertoire of books in the genre.

Besides, if you’re a Jessica Fletcher fan, how could you not love the play on the title?

Walker's Bookshelf

Black History Month

New Titles: Black History Month

The Missing American Book Cover

The Missing American 
by Kwei Quartey

Fans of Quartey’s Darko Dawson series ready for another armchair visit to Ghana will be pleased to meet Emma Djan, introduced here in the  same riveting blend of mystery a literary travel guide. After a horrifying #MeToo moment brings an abrupt end to Emma’s police career, she is taken on by a private detective agency.

Infatuated middle-aged widower Gordon Tilson sends money to a young Ghanaian woman he met online when she tells him her sister has been in a car accident. He then flies off to Ghana to meet her in person, only to find he has fallen prey to an online scam and subsequently finds himself caught up in the  deadly world of sakawa, a bizarre underground of con men who believe themselves armed with special spiritual powers bestowed by fetish priests. Tilson’s son is concerned when he loses contact and reports the missing American  to the  police, who do nothing, so he employs Emma’s agency.

There is an amazing force to be reckoned with behind her veil of politeness, and readers will want to hear more from Emma. Unlike Mma Ramotswe in McCall Smith’s celebrated series, Emma experiences violence and encounters dangerous criminals, but, like her Botswana sister, she is driven by a determination to honor her late father and is surrounded by an equally appealing cast of characters. — Jane Murphy (Reviewed 11/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 116, number 5, p25) 

Biased Book Cover Image

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do 
by Jennifer L Eberhardt, PhD. 

An internationally renowned expert on implicit racial bias breaks down the science behind our prejudices and their influence in nearly all areas of society and culture. MacArthur Fellow Eberhardt (Psychology/Stanford Univ.; co-editor: Confronting Racism, 1998) challenges the idea that addressing bias is merely a personal choice. Rather, “it is a social agenda, a moral stance.”

Relying on her neuroscientific research, consulting work, and personal anecdotes, the author astutely examines how stereotypes influence our perceptions, thoughts, and actions. Stereotypes, such as “the association of black people and crime,” are shaped by media, history, culture, and our families. A leader in the law enforcement training movement, Eberhardt recounts high-profile cases of police shooting unarmed black people, and she documents her own fears as a mother of three black sons. Though “more than 99 percent of police contacts happen with no police use of force at all,” black people are stopped by police disproportionately and are more likely to suffer physical violence. Only a tiny fraction of officers involved in questionable shootings are prosecuted, and convictions are rare.

Through her work, the author teaches officers to understand how their biases inform their interactions with the communities they are charged with protecting and serving. She shares informative case studies from her work with Airbnb and Nextdoor, an online information-sharing platform for neighbors, when bias among the sites’ users led to racial profiling and discrimination. Eberhardt also looks at bias in the criminal justice system, education, housing and immigration, and the workplace.

A chapter on her visit to the University of Virginia after the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is, much like the book  as a whole, simultaneously scholarly illuminating, and heartbreaking. Throughout, Eberhardt makes it clear that diversity is not enough. Only through the hard work of recognizing our biases and controlling them can we “free ourselves from the tight grip of history.” Compelling and provocative, this is a game-changing book  about how unconscious racial bias impacts our society and what each of us can do about it. (Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2019) 

All Blood Runs Red Book Cover

All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy 
by Phil Keith & Tom Clavin  

This dazzling biography, drawing on the subject’s unpublished memoir, explores the incredible life and times of the first African-American fighter pilot: Eugene “Gene” Bullard. At 12, he ran away from Columbus, Ga., to escape the vicious racism of the early-20th-century South for France, the country revered by his formerly enslaved father.

He crossed the Atlantic straight into minor fame as a boxer in Liverpool and Paris, and experienced partial freedom from the scorn and hatred of whites. In WWI, he joined the French Foreign Legion, fighting for his adopted homeland as a pilot. After a brief interwar interlude as a nightclub band drummer, manager, and owner—rubbing shoulders with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, and Pablo Picasso, and spying on Germans for the French—he volunteered again with the French military when WWII broke out.

After being injured as the Germans advanced into France, military and consular personnel advised him to flee the country to avoid being executed by the Nazis. He settled in New York City with his teenage daughters and became variously a longshoreman, a traveling salesman of French perfumes, and an elevator operator at Rockefeller Center.

Keith vividly describes Bullard’s experiences—including his medal-worthy military exploits, the luck that allowed him to cheat death repeatedly, and the bizarre parallels between his life and the movie Casablanca. This may be a biography, but it reads like a novel. (Nov.) –Staff (Reviewed 09/02/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 35, p)

Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights Book Cover Image

Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights  
by Dovey Johnson Roundtree  

The life of African-American civil rights lawyer Roundtree (1914–2018) is chronicled in this inspirational, history-rich memoir, a project coauthored by National Magazine Award–winning writer McCabe. Roundtree grew up in Charlotte, N.C., during the Jim Crow era: “Never for one moment of my life under Jim Crow did I grow accustomed to being excluded, banned, pushed aside, reduced,” she writes.

She recounts her time at Spelman College in the 1930s, when Atlanta was a “racial hell,” and tells of joining the newly established Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during WWII, when she fought for the rights of black soldiers and attained the rank of captain. She later pursued a law degree at Howard University, where she was one of five women in her class; was sworn into the Washington, D.C., bar in 1951; and started a law firm.

In straightforward, somewhat dutiful prose, she covers her many transformative moments, including being in the courtroom as a spectator when Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned in 1954, and winning a critical travel-discrimination case in 1955 that helped end the segregation of bus passengers in America. This eye-opening, accessible book  documents the life of a trailblazing human rights advocate. (Nov.) –Staff (Reviewed 08/12/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 32, p) 

Think Black Book Cover Image

Think Black : A Memoir of Sacrifice, Success, and Self-loathing in Corporate America  
by Clyde W Ford  

In this powerful memoir, Ford (Whiskey Gulf) tells the story of his father’s tenure as IBM’s first black systems engineer. Though he was recruited in 1947 by the company’s founder, Thomas J. Watson Sr., John Stanley Ford endured 25 years of racism from his white coworkers, who repeatedly tried to get him fired. “Like Robinson, my father had also stepped into a role elevating him as a symbol much larger than his individual self,” Ford writes.

Writing with a potent sense of outrage, Ford portrays his father as more conciliatory than he would have been when he himself was hired by IBM in 1971 and brought with him an African nationalist pride. Throughout, Ford details IBM’s racist history supporting both the Nazis and apartheid, and how his father, in his stoicism, fought back against the company’s racism (he obtained a document that contained answers to questions on IBM’s entry exam and gave it to black  applicants).

Ford came to see his father as a fighter who made his life as a black man better. “Whenever I hear the blips and beeps, the whines and whirs of a computer,” Ford writes, “I recall what I learned from my father about these machines, about being a man who’s Black, and about being first.” Ford’s thought-provoking narrative tells the story of African-American pride and perseverance. (Sept.) –Staff (Reviewed 08/12/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 32, p) 

Haben Book Cover Image

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law   
by Haben Girma 

With wit and passion, Haben , a disability rights lawyer, public speaker, and the first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law, takes readers through her often unaccommodating world.

Born in the Bay Area in 1988, Haben  spent summers in her family’s homeland of Eritrea, in the capital Asmara, where her deafblind older brother hadn’t been allowed to attend school. While living in the U.S. afforded her more opportunity, she missed out on assignments, jokes, and life’s nuances: “It’s a sighted hearing classroom, in a sighted hearing school, in a sighted hearing society. In this environment, I’m disabled.”

At a young age, Haben  vowed to change that environment and pushed beyond her own comfort zones: dancing salsa, helping build a school in Mali, and climbing an iceberg. At Lewis & Clark College she advocated for a braille cafeteria menu; at Harvard Law, she developed a text-to-braille system, which allowed a second party to communicate details to her during classes, in court, and at a White House Americans with Disabilities Act celebration, where as guest speaker she was “starstruck around all these heroes who paved the way for Generation ADA.”

This is a heartwarming memoir of a woman who champions access and dignity for all. (Aug.) –Staff (Reviewed 04/08/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 14, p) 

Overground Railroad Book Cover Image

Overground Railroad: The Green Book & Roots of Black Travel in America  
by Candacy Taylor

Many African American families possess a cache of generational travelogues, packed tight and out of sight. These reminiscences, shared sparingly, if at all, do not for a moment romanticize the adventures of the open road.  

They are nothing short of horror stories: The great uncle threatened at gunpoint and run out of a segregated sundown town; the father who racked up hundreds of miles to keep moving and avoid the potential indignity — or fury — of being turned away from lodging.  

In the opening pages of her meticulously examined history, “Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America,” Candacy Taylor relates one of her own family’s hard-won testimonials. It’s a memory so specific yet strikingly familiar.  

Her stepfather Ron, then a child, rides in the back seat of the family car — a shiny, fully loaded 1953 Chevy sedan. When a sheriff orders his father to the side of the road, the day shifts from bliss to dread. The questions land fast: “Where did you get this vehicle? What are you doing here?”  

The father’s answers, rehearsed and ready, are all fiction: It was his employer’s car, and he’s a hired driver. His wife is the employer’s maid.  

“Where is your chauffeur’s cap?” the sheriff demands.  

Ron’s father gestures to a hook above the backseat. “Until that day, Ron never paid attention to that cap,“ Taylor writes, “but now he realized that it wasn’t just any hat. It was a ruse, a prop — a lifesaver.”  

During the Jim Crow era and beyond, travel for African Americans was frequently yoked to humiliation or terror. Black travelers knew that even a simple road trip required props and a plan. Part of that essential prep included “The Negro Travelers’ Green Book,” a travel guide first published in 1936.  

Taylor’s new book revisits the nesting stories behind the “Green Book,” which helped black tourists navigate racial minefields implicit in a road trip — whether across counties or cross-country.  

Distributed by mail order and sold by black-owned businesses, the “Green Book” listed black-owned (or black-friendly) hotels, tourist homes, restaurants, nightclubs, haberdasheries, hair salons, barbershops and attorneys’ offices. It afforded black travelers the “courage and security” to pass through unknown territory.  

Publisher Victor Hugo Green, a black mail carrier in New York with a seventh-grade education, said he’d come to the idea while observing a Jewish friend consult a kosher guide to plan a vacation in the Catskills. Taylor, however, suspects a more complex origin story. Green, who also managed the career of his musician brother-in-law, had no doubt absorbed stories about the travails of securing safe accommodations on the road; those anecdotes would have been influential as well.  

Green teamed up with fellow postal worker George I. Smith to create the guide. “The first edition was only ten pages,” writes Taylor, “but it was a mighty weapon in the face of segregation.” Green’s brother, William, later joined Victor and his wife, Alma, to produce the guide out of their Harlem home.  

At the outset, 80% of the listings were clustered in traditionally African American communities, including Harlem, Chicago’s Bronzeville and Los Angeles’ black enclaves stipulated by racial housing covenants and held in place for decades by redlining. The “Green Book” became a trusted brand and an emotional touchstone due to Green’s vision, grit and stamina and the guide’s consistency and reliability.  

Taylor assiduously retraces the “Green Book’s” history, from 1936 to 1967, and the Denver-based writer and photographer embarked on her own cross-country road trip seeking what remains. This was a grueling, faith-testing journey of loss and heartbreak that enlarges and shapes her book’s vision. After three years of scouting nearly 5,000 locations named in the guide, she learned that fewer than 5% are still in operation. Many of the early buildings in black communities have vanished, about 75%, she reports, “destroyed in the name of urban renewal.”  

In scope and tone, “Overground Railroad” recalls Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns,” which explored the waves of the Great Migration as many African Americans moved during the 1900s from the rural South to Northeastern, Midwestern and Western cities.  

Taylor creates a vivid, multi-voiced travelogue, drawing on interviews, archival documents and newspaper accounts. Historic photographs provide context. Her contemporary images drawn from her travels — landscapes of boarded-up or graffiti-laced wastelands, empty vistas where sites once stood — also play a dynamic, before-and-after role in storytelling. At its center, the book is a nuanced commentary of how black bodies have been monitored, censured or violated, and it compellingly pulls readers into the current news cycle.  

While “Overground Railroad” honors Green’s prescience within the context of the country’s cycles of racism, Taylor asserts that the “Green Book” was never overtly political. It did, however, provide an alternative approach to creating a resilient social network. In this, Green’s dream provided a way to work within the system, to manifest one’s own aspirations.  

Taylor draws a compelling map connecting the legacy of institutional racism — decades of government disinvestment, redlining and the fight for adequate schools — that has left neighborhoods as discards or afterthoughts. She advocates for readers to use these stories as inspiration to actively build on the foundation Green laid.  

The “Green Book” was never a money-making venture. “The reward was so much more valuable than money,” Taylor writes, “because [with] every business listed he may have saved a life.”  

Review by Lynell George, The Los Angeles Times January 10, 2020 

Walker's Bookshelf

AARP Tax Aide Locations

AARP Tax Aide Locations

The AARP Foundation Tax Aide Program offers free, individualized tax preparation assistance to anyone, especially to those who are 50 years of age and older as well as for those who cannot afford costly tax prep service.

AARP membership is not required. The AARP Foundation Tax Aide Program Volunteer Team is IRS certified.

Here are the locations near the library where you can go:

    426 Bridge Street Westbrook, ME 04092
    Tax Help Schedule: Saturday 9am – 12pm
    Operating Hours: Monday thru Friday 5:30am – 9pm, Saturday 7am – 7pm, Sunday closed
    Notes: Appointment preferred. Walk-ins are acceptable, if time permits. Last appointment is at noon.
    299 Main Street Gorham, ME 04038
    Tax Help Schedule: Tuesday and Thursday 9am – 12pm
    Notes: Appointment required. Last appointment is at noon.
    257 Canco Road Portland, ME 04103
    Tax Help Schedule: Wednesday 9am – 1pm
    Operating Hours: Mon thru Sunday 7:30am-7:30pm
    Notes: Appointment is required. Last appointment is at 1pm.
    400 Deering Avenue Portland, ME 04103
    Tax Help Schedule: Tuesday 9:30am – 2:30pm
    Operating Hours: Tuesday thru Thursday 9am – 5pm; Friday 9am-3pm; Saturday, Sunday, and Monday closed
    Notes: Appointment is required.
    53 Baxter Boulevard Suite 202 Portland, ME 04101
    Tax Help Schedule: Thursday 9:30am – 12:30pm
    Operating Hours: Monday thru Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday closed
    Notes: Appointment is required. Last appointment is at 12:30pm.
    5 Monument Square Portland, ME 04101
    Tax Help Schedule: Wednesday 10am – 5:30pm
    Operating Hours: Monday thru Thursday 10am – 7pm, Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday closed

For more information about the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program and to find out about other locations, please visit

– (MD)

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Quick Review: ‘Within Plain Sight’

When a dismembered body of a young woman is found in an abandoned lumberyard at Portland, ME, Detective Sergeant John Byron is called to investigate. He notices certain similarities with murders committed by a serial killer known as the Horseman around the Boston area.

As with any good crime fiction story, there is more to the case than what it seems. This recent installment of the Detective Sergeant John Byron series has all the elements that make for a great police procedural. Within Plain Sight may be one of Coffin’s best yet.

Walker's Bookshelf

Black History Month Week 3: Graphic Novels

For Black History Month Week 3, we are featuring graphic novels that explore the life of prominent black and/or African American figures.

Josephine Baker
by Jose-Louis Bocquet

Sassy and exuberant, Josephine Baker , born Freda Josephine  McDonald (1906–75), clowned her way through her St. Louis childhood to become one of the first black stars on the world stage. Infamous originally for her Folies Bergère cabaret act wearing only a skirt of (fake) bananas, her fresh and alluring charm infused her half-century of dancing and singing in her adopted country of France and many other places. Pablo Picasso, Charles de Gaulle, Martin Luther King (who introduced a speech by Baker  at the 1963 March on Washington), Grace Kelly, and Fidel Castro all admired her. She entertained troops during World War II and spied for the Allies, adopted 12 children, and crusaded for civil rights. Bocquet (with Muller, Kiki de Montparnasse) does Baker’s  complicated life justice in both appeal and detail. A lengthy chronology anchors key milestones and a massive biographical appendix provides background about important people in the entertainer’s life. Muller’s high-contrast, black-and-white inks finesse a mostly realistic whimsy and is especially good at rendering people recognizably in few lines. VERDICT Highly enjoyable, this is a wonderful work. For teens and up; some minor nudity.—MC –Martha Cornog (Reviewed 06/01/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 10, p84)

Muhammad Ali
by Sybille Titeux de la Croix

A canny Louisville, KY, police officer guided 12-year-old Cassius Clay toward boxing when the kid wanted to whup the thief who stole his bike. One of the greatest and most popular fighters in history, Ali  (who changed his name upon converting to Islam) also fought against discrimination and the Vietnam War, becoming a symbol of black activism as well as success. This stellar account brings the details of Ali’s  life, fights, and legacy into clear focus, complete with a diagram of his boxing technique. Photo-realistic art with tan/red emphasis; tweens and up. –Martha Cornog (Reviewed 01/01/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 1, p87)

The Life of Frederick Douglass
by David Walker

The story of Frederick Douglass (d. 1895), from his birth into slavery to his celebration by dignitaries around the world, is brought to readers in this spectacular graphic novel from author Walker (Luke Cage; War for the Planet of the Apes) and illustrators Smyth and Marissa Louise. Brief chapter interludes titled “Lessons” provide context for Douglass’s experiences and reference specific writings, depicting a long and often times heartrending journey in a way that is respectful and realistic. Walker states in the introduction that he aimed to have Douglass “narrate” the book  himself by using his subject’s published works to guide the narrative voice. A range of traditional multipaneled and fully illustrated pages rendered in vivid color reveal the depth and intricacies of each scene. A comprehensive bibliography and index assist in locating references to specific people or places discussed throughout. VERDICT This thoughtfully crafted portrait will delight and inform, regardless of readers’ prior knowledge of Douglass’s life and legacy. [See Prepub Alert, 7/16/18; Martha Cornog’s “Diverse Voices and Viewpoints: Must-Have Graphic Novels for Black History Month and Beyond,”] –Tom Batten (Reviewed 12/01/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 20, p65)

Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story
by Peter Bagge

Meet Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960): anthropologist who worked with Franz Boas, folklore collector with Alan Lomax, novelist (Their Eyes Were Watching God), essayist, playwright, eccentric intellectual, life of the party, and adventurous fashionista. With friends and enemies black and white, Hurston faced criminal charges, poverty, ill health, and fickle associates (e.g., poet Langston Hughes) who didn’t always stand up for her. Bagge (Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story) bends his manic, rubbery characters around Hurston’s chutzpah for a warts-and-roses portrait of this woman who stirred up controversy both within and outside of the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston insisted on reproducing black speech idiomatically as she heard it, and Bagge follows her lead. (FIRE!! was a 1926 magazine “devoted to younger Negro artists,” including Hurston.) Hurston shouldered her way up through multiple glass ceilings, and here Bagge captures her zest, humor, frustration, brain power, and accomplishments. VERDICT Current and future fans of Hurston plus anyone interested in American literary history will be entertained as well as enlightened. (See interview with Bagge on p. 69.)—MC –Martha Cornog (Reviewed 04/01/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 6, p66)

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Keeping up with different trends for personal, academic, and professional development can be a daunting task. Here is a list of helpful resources to get you started.

LearningExpress Library

An eLearning solution for students and professionals, LearningExpress Library provides interactive tutorials, practice tests, e-books, flashcards, and articles for academic skill-building, standardized test preparations, and career development.

Digital Maine Library, Maine’s online resource provided by the Maine State Library and Maine InfoNet, grants access to LearningExpress Library. You may learn more about this resource by going to our website ( and clicking the DATABASES button.

Niche Academy

An online learning tool that provides video tutorials for several library resources. Right now, video tutorials include signing up to Facebook, using Goodreads, accessing CloudLibrary, etc.. You may access Niche Academy through Digital Maine Library.


A program of the Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina, GCFglobal offers online tutorials ranging from Microsoft Office Suite to reading, math, and science-related subjects.


edX (also known as Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs)

Founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), edX is a non-profit platform for education and learning. edX serves as an aggregator for online courses offered by other universities. Most online courses, by themselves, are free; however, if you are thinking of enrolling in any of edX’s programs and degrees, such as MicroMasters or XSeries, there are fees attached.


-by E.D.

Walker's Bookshelf

Black History Month Week 2: YA Titles


February is Black History Month. To celebrate, we are featuring books that are written by African American and black writers each week.
This week, we are highlighting young adult titles.

Who Put This Song On?
by Morgan Parker

Seventeen-year-old Morgan is struggling with depression, and her family just doesn’t understand. When she tells her doctor that it sucks being alive sometimes, he thinks it’s because she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and even though she’s in therapy following a failed suicide attempt, her mother thinks she just needs more Jesus. But when she meets David, he gets it. Within their new friend group, there is a traveling notebook where they record their thoughts, feelings, and affirmations for each other. In many ways, Parker’s debut models what introspective teens may go through when questioning the world around them. Through this  story based loosely on  her own life, she takes readers on  a journey of self-exploration, full of all the universal teenage angst and drama that surround school, identity, sex, rejection, and friendship. This  is all layered into Morgan’s coming-of-age realizations about her Blackness as she becomes interested in researching specific periods of her identity’s history, hoping to understand how it—and she—fits into present-day America. When, thanks to a terrible teacher, she makes a huge scene at school, her actions may seem familiar to readers. This  fresh read provides a positive and inclusive take on  mental health and wellness and offers readers some tools to survive on  their own. — Jessica Anne Bratt (Reviewed 9/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 116, number 1, p105)

by Akwaeke Emezi

The only world Jam has ever known is that of Lucille, a town where the angels have ostensibly banished the monsters and dismantled the structures that allowed monsters and monstrous deeds to pervade. Lucille is a post-prison, post–school shooting, post–police brutality society. A society where someone like Jam, a selectively mute transgender teen, can live with complete acceptance, support, and love. Still, she can feel the hard truths of the world, can sense them in the air, hear them in words unsaid. When Jam steals into her mother Bitter’s painting studio and unleashes Pet , a winged, horned, eyeless creature and monster hunter, from one of the paintings and into their world, life as she’s known it begins to dissolve. Jam must confront the harsh realities of her world as she tentatively partners with Pet  and ventures forward to avenge a wrong not yet discovered. This is a heart-stirring atmospheric page-turner, a terrific and terrible yet quiet adventure. Emezi spins a tale that defies categorization as strikingly as their characters, forcing readers to deeply rethink assumptions about identity, family structure, and justice. VERDICT A riveting and important read that couldn’t be more well timed to our society’s struggles with its own monsters.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ –Jill Heritage Maza (Reviewed 07/01/2019) (School Library Journal, vol 65, issue 6, p49)

Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi

Eleven years ago, King Saran cemented his grip on the throne by banishing magic from Orïsha and  slaughtering the realm’s maji—Zélie Adebola’s mother included. The maji’s descendants—dark-skinned, white-haired people called divîners—have lived under tyranny ever since, but now there is cause for hope. Thanks to information gleaned from Saran’s kindhearted daughter, Amari, 17-year-old Zélie has a chance to restore magic to Orïsha and  activate a new generation of  maji. First, though, Zélie, Amari, and  Zélie’s brother Tzain must outrun the crown prince, Inan, who is determined to finish what his father started by eradicating magic for good. Book one in the Orïsha Legacy trilogy, Adeyemi’s devastating debut is a brutal, beautiful tale of  revolution, faith, and  star-crossed love. By making tangible the power that comes from embracing one’s heritage, Adeyemi conjures a story that resonates with magic both literal and  figurative while condemning apathy in the face of  injustice. Complex characters, colossal stakes, and  a kaleidoscopic narrative captivate, and  the book’s punishing pace catapults readers to a jaw-dropping conclusion that poses as many questions as it answers. Ages 14–up. Agent: Alexandra Machinist and  Hillary Jacobson, ICM. (Mar.) –Staff (Reviewed 01/01/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 01, p)

Watch Us Rise
by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan

This is a refreshingly unapologetic celebration of young women’s voices in a format that encompasses poetry, blog posts, essays, and prose. Best friends Jasmine and Chelsea intend to start junior year at their progressive, social-justice-focused high school on a high note in their respective clubs: for Jasmine, the August Wilson Acting Ensemble and for Chelsea, the Peaceful Poets. When both are (ironically) met with resistance to new, more inclusive ideas, they decide to leave their clubs and form a new one focused on elevating women’s voices, especially those of activists and people of color. When their blog, Write Like a Girl, goes viral, the school’s administration attempts to shut them down. Watson and Hagan keep Jasmine and Chelsea’s voices distinct and allow them to resound with authenticity. Despite facing very real hardships like fat-shaming, sexism, and loss of a parent, Jasmine and Chelsea are steadfast in their convictions and relentlessly supportive of both each other and their own emotions. Readers won’t be able to help feeling empowered and uplifted by the end of the novel. — Caitlin Kling (Reviewed 4/19/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 16)

Walker's Bookshelf

Free Movie Streaming

Free TV and Movie Streaming

If you’re in a pinch and can’t go to the library to borrow a film or TV show, here is a list of streaming services where you can watch movies and/or TV shows for free without violating copyright.

All the streaming services listed below can be downloaded on compatible devices such as mobile, tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, and smart TV. For more information, please click on the following icons that will direct you to their website.


A joint venture between Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment and Sony Pictures, Crackle is a free-to-use video streaming service featuring full-length movies, TV shows, and other original programming.


The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization working towards compiling digital forms and contents all over the Internet. Their mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge.


Pluto TV is a free streaming television service that delivers 100+ channels and on-demand movies in partnership with major TV networks, movie studios, publishers, and digital media companies.


Unlike Netflix, Hulu, or HBO, Tubi TV is a free movie and TV streaming service. The contents are done in partnership with major movie studios like Paramount, Lionsgate, MGM, etc.