Completing your Winter of Reading activities? Visit Mementos from Home, an audio-visual exhibit created by the Services to Immigrants and Refugees team of the Denver Public Library, as one of your five.
Enjoy these books about the power of mementos, heirlooms, and keepsakes.
It's the holy month of Ramadan, and twin sisters Amira and Lina are about to graduate high school in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. On the precipice of adulthood, they plan to embark on a summer of teenage revelry, trying on new identities and testing the limits of what they can get away with while still under their parents' roof. But the twins' expectations of a summer of freedom collide with their older brother's return from prison, whose mysterious behavior threatens to undo the delicate family balance.
Art historian, Yasmine, is restoring an unsigned portrait of a strikingly beautiful girl from the Napoleonic Era, when she discovers that the artist has embedded a lock of hair into the painting, something highly unusual. The mysterious painting came into the museum's possession without record, and Yasmine becomes consumed by the secret concealed within this captivating work.
Ashia Ajani is the product of migration. From Bentonia, Mississippi to Detroit, Michigan to Denver, Colorado, Ajani's family has carved out small sanctuaries for themselves among roses, concrete and urban gardens. Built of resilience, Ajani's family persisted, grew, fragmented, expanded, came back together. All the while, as members found themselves marred by history and placelessness, we passed down our stories, recipes, love of plants, old school wisdom. This story is one of how nature and humans are inextricably tied to one another and in fact, need each other to survive.
Misty Copeland made history as the first African-American principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre. Her talent, passion, and perseverance enabled her to make strides no one had accomplished before. But as she will tell you, achievement never happens in a void. Behind her, supporting her rise was her mentor, Raven Wilkinson, who had been virtually alone in her quest to breach the all-white ballet world when she fought to be taken seriously as a black ballerina in the 1950s and 60s.
In 2016, Rob Delaney's one-year-old son, Henry, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The family had moved from Los Angeles to London with their two young boys when Rob's wife was pregnant with Henry, their third. The move was an adventure that would bind them even more tightly together as they navigated the novelty of London, the culture clashes, and the funhouse experience of Rob's fame. Henry's illness was a cataclysm that changed everything about their lives.
Young Miriam is born into a world where women carry houses stitched to their backs, while men carry keys with the power to unlock them. Miriam's nomadic family moves from clearing to clearing within a dark wood, but no matter how deep into the forest they travel, the haunted calls of Wild Things follow. As precious family heirlooms disappear and Father roams through the woods later and later into the night, Mother slowly loses her memory and Miriam begins to understand that her family might not be as human as it appears.
Though some elements of our identities may persist, they are not static. None of us is the same person today that we were yesterday or will be tomorrow. Some of us leap into a hopeful future, some cling to our former selves, some wander obliviously through the minefields and poppies of change. For all that is gained, something is lost. Moments, mementos, relationships are discovered or rediscovered, left behind or let go. Things remembered, things forgotten. Journey with twenty-three speculative fiction authors through the seasons of life to capture the memories and examine the power of self-identity as they encounter the undiscovered country of their own journeys.
As a child, Meryl Frank was the chosen inheritor of family remembrance. Her aunt Mollie, a formidable and cultured woman, insisted that Meryl never forget who they were, where they came from, and the hate that nearly destroyed them. Over long afternoons, Mollie told her about the city, the theater, and, above all else, Meryl’s cousin, the radiant Franya Winter. Franya was the leading light of Vilna’s Yiddish theater, a remarkable and precocious woman who cast off the restrictions of her Hasidic family and community to play roles as prostitutes and bellhops, lovers and nuns. Yet there was one thing her aunt Mollie would never tell Meryl: how Franya died. Before Mollie passed away, she gave Meryl a Yiddish book containing the answer, but forbade her to read it. And for years, Meryl obeyed.
Born in Italy, Anna Francese Gass came to the United States as a young child and grew up eating her mother's Italian cooking. But when this professional cook realized she did not know how to make her family's beloved meatballs--a recipe that existed only in her mother's memory--Anna embarked on a project to record and preserve her mother's recipes for generations to come.
In Heirloom Kitchen, Anna brings together the stories and dishes of forty strong, exceptional women, all immigrants to the United States, whose heirloom recipes have helped shape the landscape of American food.
In her kitchen, Joseph Geha's mother took special pride in the Arabic dishes she cooked, cherishing that aspect of her heritage that, unlike language, has changed very little over time and distance. With this book, Geha shares how the food of his heritage sustained his family throughout that cultural journey, speaking to them--in a language that needs no translation--of joy and comfort and love.
Jeanie Masterson has a gift: she can hear the recently dead and give voice to their final wishes and revelations. Inherited from her father, this gift has enabled the family undertakers to flourish in their small Irish town. Yet she has always been uneasy about censoring some of the dead's last messages to the living. Unsure, too, about the choice she made when she left school seventeen years ago: to stay or leave for a new life in London with her charismatic teenage sweetheart. So when Jeanie's parents unexpectedly announce their plan to retire, she is jolted out of her limbo.
Mickie Lambert creates "digital scrapbooks" for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren't forgotten or lost. When her latest client Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman's last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d'art. A music box, a hair clip, a keychain -- twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country. They mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been getting threatening messages from a long-dormant serial killer to leave Nadia's past alone.
Exploring Black design through 17 homeowners, the pages of AphroChic resonate with stories of resilience and resistance. Owning a home might represent the American dream, but it's long been out of reach for a large portion of Americans. With tours that feature striking interiors filled with art and cherished heirlooms, stories that explore memories about family and community, and historical sidebars that touch on the obstacles to homeownership many Black Americans face today, AphroChic honors the journey, celebrates success, and envisions the future.
An accessible collection of creative bookbinding projects using different techniques for cutting and folding as well as stitches such as ladder, string of pearls, and chain. Projects include The Slit Book, Concertina with Pockets, and Multi-Section Softback, which can then be developed further to create unique and personal handmade notebooks, books and keepsakes that are not only fun and satisfying to make, but also make wonderful gifts.
Andrew Peardew collects things dropped or left behind by others and writing stories about them. He does this as a tribute to the fiancée who died the day he lost one of her keepsakes. When a dying Andrew bequeaths his estate to his assistant, Laura, she begins to bond with new neighbors while attempting to reunite the objects with their owners.
The Blaire children carry with them a host of issues, but perhaps the biggest one is that it has been more than 30 years since the accident that took their mother, Lillian, and brother, Daniel, from them. When a beloved keepsake of Lillian's, a Fannie Farmer cookbook, is discovered ruined, it is considered a travesty. As the Blaire family grapples with the present and the past, readers learn about the enigmatic Lillian, an aspiring writer, and the struggle she faced in reconciling who she wanted to be with who she needed to be.
In a dystopic future of unregulated gene editing, a woman named Emily wakes up on the wrong side of the universe as an octopus thanks to rogue 'designer genes' run amok. One of thousands of clones generated from a genetic code sequenced from a lock of hair saved from the original Emily Dickinson, the ersatz Emily resembles an octopus but harbors the soul of a human poet and navigates her life in a lagoon as a bumbling 'rogue soul' enamored of black spice cake, botanical monographs, and gingerbread recipes, while romanced by personified moonlight.
To Julie Metz, her mother, Eve, was the quintessential New Yorker. It was difficult to imagine her living anywhere else except the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In truth, Eve had endured a harrowing childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna, though she rarely spoke about it. Yet after her passing, Julie discovered a keepsake box filled with farewell notes from friends and relatives addressed to a ten-year-old girl named Eva, her mother.
In 1850s South Carolina, just before nine-year-old Ashley was sold, her mother Rose gave her a sack filled with just a few things as a token of her love. Decades later, Ashley's granddaughter Ruth embroidered this history on the bag--including Rose's message that 'It be filled with my Love always.' Historian Tiya Miles carefully follows faint archival traces back to Charleston to find Rose in the kitchen where she may have packed the sack for Ashley.
Based on the popular podcast, Asylum Speakers is a collection of 31 stories of migration, from those leaving everything they know behind them, to those working alongside them. Here are the voices that often go unheard: the humans behind the statistics and the headlines. From Syria to Venezuela, Eritrea to Afghanistan, Asylum Speakers will transcend borders, nationalities, religions, and languages, connecting you to the people with whom we share this world.
It's happened to all of us: we're reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover. Eventually the book finds its way into the world - a library, a flea market, other people's bookshelves, or to a used bookstore. But what becomes of those forgotten bookmarks? What stories could they tell?
Acclaimed historian and museum curator Richard Rabinowitz tells the story of his immigrant Jewish family through the everyday objects in their lives, from chairs and bottle openers to jars of perfume. Vivid, absorbing, and powerfully honest, this is a story of one family and one community but also of the simple heirlooms that anchor us all.
In this groundbreaking and beautiful cookbook, Matthew Raiford pays homage to the cuisine that nurtured his family for seven generations. In 2010, Raiford's Nana handed over the deed to the family farm to him and his sister, and Raiford rose to the occasion, nurturing the farm that his great-great-great grandfather, a freed slave, purchased in 1874. In this collection of heritage and updated recipes, he traces a history of community and family brought together by food.
Everyone can name a teacher that had an impact on their life. Educators not only open our minds to new ideas, but they also help us recognize our potential and our passions. However, they rarely get credit for the life changing work they do, and they may not have any idea how that work can impact a student all the way into adulthood. In Lessons Learned and Cherished: The Teacher Who Changed My Life, renowned ABC journalist Deborah Roberts curates a collection of essays, letters, and musings from celebrity friends and colleagues alike that share how teachers changed them and helped them get to where they are today.
When Melanie Barnett discovers an ancestor's journal, the cherished heirloom opens up a century of secrets, in this bittersweet story about family, the hard truths of womanhood, and self-discovery.