The topic of March’s Senior Book Break was First Books.

The books discussed were:

Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman
The daughter of Tony Hillerman picks up the mantle after her father’s death in the saga of Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Anne brings her own stamp to the books, having Joe Leaphorn being shot in the head and Jim Chee’s wife, Bernadette Manuelito, also a Navajo policewoman, picking up the slack very ably.  The area is well known to Anne also, and you can actually visit areas where the adventures take place.

*This book is available in the Grover Beach Library

The next two books sparked a discussion of when there is a story and someone picks up the narrative at a later date, can the information be checked, and how many surprises there are in life. They were:

When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann 
Her first and only book, about her father’s history during the holocaust.  When her father died, a box with pictures was found that had never been seen by the daughter.  She found a family tree and 25 of 34 of her family had been deceased in the war.  Then began the search for the father’s history.   A very readable book.

Where Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
A coming of age story in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  A mystery well told and intriguing.

Both books were generously donated to the Grover Beach Community Library.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous  by Ocean Vuong
What it was like to grow up bi-racial and gay when it was not accepted, and attempt to make your own place in the world.  Mr. Vuong was born and grew up in Viet Nam.  Life was not easy and he was determined to make it.  Very graphic in parts.

All The Light We Cannot See By Anthony Doerr
Life under Nazi rule was not easy.  Children were often used to sneak by the regime and deliver dangerous messages and how they managed to live by their wits. An amazing book.

This book is available in the Grover Beach Community Library.

The Circuit  by Francisco Jimenez   
The first of several books written about a young child whose parents brought him across the border illegally and their life working in the fields.  Life was not easy and when he went to school, he knew no English.  He spent time in school drawing pictures and fortunately had a teacher who recognized his talent and entered him in an art competition.  He won first prize and this gained his recognition with other students, English or no English.  It takes place is our area of the Central Coast and when you read about where he is now you realize what hard work can do.

The Grover Beach Community Library has several of Mr. Jimenez’s books.
These books sparked discussions of how differently children were raised in different circumstances and how they are raised now.
Also mentioned were When Heaven and Earth Changed Places by LeLy Haislip

Half Broke Horses 
by Janette Wahl
This book is about  grandmother of the person in Glass Castle mentioned at a previous meeting,  and gave a background of the mother in that book.