Category Archives: Adults

June is Pride Month

Many of the titles on this list are from The Rainbow Book List is created by the Rainbow Book List Committee of the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association. For more information and for additional lists (and books for older children) please visit their website: We thank the librarians who have taken the time to select these titles each year.

Picture Books and Books for Lower Elementary Age

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S Brannen

Chloe is jealous and sad when her favorite uncle announces that he will be getting married, but as she gets to know Jamie better and becomes involved in planning the wedding, she discovers that she will always be special to Uncle Bobby–and to Uncle Jamie, too. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.

From Archie to Zack by Vincent X. Kirsch

Archie and Zack are inseparable, both in elementary school and outside it, but Archie is having trouble telling Zack about his love, so he writes a letter, from A. to Z.; in fact he writes a lot of letters, but they do not sound right so he hides them–and though his other friends, Zelda, Zinnia, and Zuzella, find the letters, they all understand who the letters are really for. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.

Plenty of Hugs by Fran Manushkin

This cheerful book follows a family from morning to night in lively rhyme that rolls off the tongue. There’s a buzz for each bug, and a breeze for each tree, and plenty of hugs for you and me. The toddler and mommies take a morning bike ride to a farm stand, they visit a zoo in the afternoon, and in the evening there’s the bath and storybook routine before the child is tucked cozily into bed. Recommended for ages 2 and up. Request this title.

My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal

A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.

Ho’onani : Hula Warrior by Heather Gale

An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawai?i who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

This sweet #ownvoices picture book celebrates the changes in a transgender boy’s life, from his initial coming-out to becoming a big brother. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.

My Footprintsby Bao Phi

Upset after being bullied, Thuy, a Vietnamese American, pretends she is different creatures, including an especially strong, wonderful being made up of her two mothers and herself. Includes note about the phoenix and the Sarabha. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.

A Plan for Pops by Heather Smith

In this illustrated picture book, a child helps their grandparents deal with a difficult change in abilities. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.

Neither by Airlie Anderson

Because Neither is unlike both the rabbits and birds of the Land of This and That, it sets out to find a new place where all kinds of creatures are welcome. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.

The Adventures of Honey & Leon by Alan Cumming

Determined to keep their dads safe on their trip to France, two dogs disguise themselves and follow along. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.

Chapter Books & Middle-Grade

Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

When best friends Sal and Gabi try to repair the damage they created when they altered the universe to help their families, they end up creating even more chaos. Request this title.

The Derby Daredevils by Kit Rosewater

Fifth-grade best friends Kenzie “Kenzilla” and Shelly “Bombshell” dream of becoming roller derby superstars one day, but when a junior league forms and they must recruit teammates, will their friendship survive? Request this title.

King and The Dragonflies by Kheryn Callender

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself. In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself. Request this title.

A Home for goddesses and dogs by Leslie Connor

This novel sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. An uplifting middle grade novel about recovery featuring strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him. Request this title.

Ana on the edge by A. J. Sass

Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success. Request this title.

The list of things that will not change by Rebecca Stead

Despite her parents’ divorce, her father’s coming out as gay, and his plans to marry his boyfriend, ten-year-old Bea is reassured by her parents’ unconditional love, excited about getting a stepsister, and haunted by something she did last summer at her father’s lake house. Request this title.

Drum roll, please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

 Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse. Now she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods.  Request this title.

Too bright to see by Kyle Lukoff

t’s the summer before middle school and eleven-year-old Bug’s best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn’t particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Request this title.

The best at it by Maulik Pancholy

Twelve-year-old Rahul Kapoor, an Indian-American boy growing up in small-town Indiana, struggles to come to terms with his identity, including that he may be gay. Request this title.

Elle of the ball by Elena Delle Donne

Having shot up to six feet tall over the summer, seventh-grader Elle not only has trouble controlling her limbs on the basketball court, she dreads the upcoming school cotillion. Request this title.

Books for Teens

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives. Request this title.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

In this uplifting coming-of-age novel told in accessible verse, Atta chronicles the growth and glory of Michael Angeli, a mixed-race kid from London, as he navigates his cultural identity as Cypriot and Jamaican as well as his emerging sexuality. Request this title.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend. Request this title.

Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

In this epic sequel to Once & Future, Ari and her Rainbow knights must pull off a Holy Grail heist thousands of years in the past — without destroying their own destinies. Request this title.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

“After an ancient prophecy is betrayed, a world ruled by a long line of goddesses is split in two–one half in perpetual day, and the other in an endless night–and two young twin goddesses set out on separate and equally dangerous journeys to the Breach that divides them, hoping to save their broken world. Request this title.

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves pop music work together to save humanity? A beautiful and thrilling debut novel for fans of Marie Lu and Veronica Roth. Request this title.

Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

Told in two voices, cellist Jubilee and anxiety-ridden Ridley meet at a comic con where both of their families have booths, and begin a relationship they must hide from their parents. Request this title.

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

When Alexis accidentally kills a classmate on prom night using magic, her best friends Roya, Iris, Paulie, Marcelina, and Maryam join in using their powers to try to set things right. Request this title.

Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry

Ellis Kimball, sixteen, whose anxiety disorder causes her to prepare for the imminent end of the world, meets Hannah, who claims to know when it will happen. Request this title.

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

In a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic, a desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial lady find a connection on the high seas. Request this title.

Books for Adults

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence. Request this title.

Malice by Heather Walter

A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this “bewitching and fascinating” (Tamora Pierce) retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale. Request this title.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Facing his erstwhile boyfriend’s wedding to another man, his 50th birthday, and his publisher’s rejection of his latest manuscript, a miserable midlist novelist heads for the airport…a very funny and occasionally wise book (Kirkus). Request this title.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel’s sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, it’s a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form. Request this title.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place-and realizing that family is yours. Request this title.

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

Opening up the fantasies and desires of one young woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities, You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings–for love, and a place to call home. Request this title.

No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L. Moore

Moore reminds us that liberation is possible if we commit ourselves to fighting for it, and if we dream and create futures where those who survive on society’s edges can thrive. Request this title.

The Deviant’s War by Eric Cervini

From a young Harvard- and Cambridge-trained historian, the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall. Request this title.

Real Queer America by Samantha Allen

Allen takes us on a cross-country road-trip stretching all the way from Provo, Utah to the Rio Grande Valley to the Bible Belt to the Deep South. Her motto for the trip: “Something gay every day.” Request this title.

Tomorrow Will be Different by Sarah McBride

Sarah’s story of identity, love, and tragic loss serves as a powerful entry point for readers who want to gain a deeper understanding of gender identity and what it means to be openly transgender. Request this title.

Descriptions of the books are taken from our catalog and recommended age suggestions are from resources such as Publisher Weekly and Kirkus.

National Book Festival

The Library of Congress is celebrating the 20th annual National Book Festival this weekend, September 25-27, with a theme of Celebrating American Ingenuity. One of the most prominent literary events in the United States, it brings together thousands of readers for book talks, interviews, and book signings with authors for every age and genre. (The website also includes samples of highlights from previous festivals, including a conversation with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at last year’s festival.) 

This year the festival will be held virtually, instead of in its usual Washington DC location. Another new feature to the festival is a focus on three timely topics that visitors can explore on a deeper level: Fearless Women, Hearing Black Voices, and Democracy in the 21st Century.

You can register and build a schedule to access on-demand videos and live author chats, or you can keep an eye on the Library of Congress YouTube channel

PBS is partnering with the Library of Congress to close the festival with a two-hour television special exploring the ingenuity of a diverse group of best-selling American authors – “what it means to them, how it fires their minds and imaginations and why books are so important to us in these times.” Hosted by Hoda Kotb, the special will premiere on PBS Sunday, September 27 at 6:00pm. 

No-Sew T-Shirt Bag

Have a huge collection of unwanted t-shirts that you’re not ready to part with? Check out this upcycle activity that you can do with your t-shirts using only a pair of scissors (and a marker) – 10 easy steps!

Materials Needed:

  • 1 t-shirt
  • 1 pair of scissors (need to be sharp enough to cut through cloth)
  • 1 market (optional)
  • 1 medium/large sized dish or bowl (optional)

TIP – If using a t-shirt with a logo on it, you’ll want it to be towards the middle of the t-shirt.


  • Step 1 – Lay your t-shirt down on the floor or any flat surface.
  • Step 2 – Take a look at your t-shirt and decide visually where your cut marks will go. If you have a logo, you may need to adjust where you cut.
  • Sept 3 – Turn your t-shirt inside out and lay it back down on your flat surface. Flatten it out (does not need to be ironed).
  • Step 4 – Using your scissors, cut off your sleeves (you want to cut just past the the thread marks). It is important that you only cut off the sleeves at this point.
  • Step 5 – Using your dish, place your dish on top of the neck hole. Move it down so you have a half of a circle on your t-shirt and the other half on your surface. Using your marker, draw the half circle. You can also eyeball this part as well if you’d like.
  • Step 6 – Measure 3 inches from the bottom of your t-shirt (or half of your hand). Mark with your marker where this is.
  • Step 7 – Cut out 1.5 to 2 inch strips from the bottom of your t-shirt up to your indicator line. Make sure you cut your end pieces so that the front and back are separated.
  • Step 8 – Make sure the strips are laying flat (you may need to re-smooth out your t-shirt).
  • Step 9 See how each strip has a strip underneath it? Tie those together. Do this all the way across and then double knot each one.
  • Step 10 – Fold your bag inside right – and you’re done!

Running Resources

It’s clear that more of us are out running these days!  Whether you’re a long-time runner, or just getting started, running can bring tremendous physical and mental benefits.  We’ve compiled some resources to help enrich and encourage your running journey.

Safety First!

The information provided by Scotch Plains Public Library and its employees does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information. All consumer health information should be reviewed with your health care professional for clarification about how this information may or may not apply to your unique clinical situation or overall health.

Informational Sites

Nearly all coaching sites promote fee-based resources and services.  The ones listed here provide substantial amounts of their content for free, although you may need to provide an email in some cases.

Kinetic Revolution – James Dunne, a UK-based sports rehabilitation therapist and coach, provides comprehensive resources on technique, training, injury prevention and more. There is lots of free content, with many short videos and downloadable pdf guides.

The Balanced Runner – Jae Gruenke is a Feldenkrais Practitioner who focuses on making running feel easier and more enjoyable.  Her site offers free audio lessons such as “Mobilizing Your Core to Run.”  She’s also has a series of ‘Stuck at Home Running Form Tips’ on her YouTube channel.

(You can find more Feldenkrais-based balance and strength video lessons on local instructor Yasmin Ofek’s blog!)

Better Movement – author Todd Hargrove offers evidence-based articles about movement and pain.  Topics include: pain science, the biomechanics of efficient movement, and common myths related to manual or movement therapies. Read How to Optimize Your Running Technique.

Running Communities

Even as group events and races are suspended, running clubs and online groups can still offer many of the benefits of community.  Members connect often through Facebook groups and even Zoom meetings to share advice, offer encouragement, and provide connection with others who share your enthusiasm (or your pain!) Nearly all running clubs welcome all ages and all paces, and some are formed to encourage and address the concerns of particular populations.

  • Black Girls RUN!  – created in 2009 to provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners, and “to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority.”
  • Black Men Run – formed to encourage health and wellness among African American men by promoting a culture of running/jogging to stay fit resulting.   “From first timers to advanced runners, we strive to promote increased fitness through a culture of running.”
  • Achilles International – founded in 1983 as the Achilles Track Club, this group provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support.  Able-bodied volunteers and disabled runners, including wounded military personnel, veterans, and kids, come together to train in an environment of support and community. 


Keeping Track – Three Olympians (Alysia Montano, Molly Huddle and Roisin McGettigan) host conversations about race, motherhood, women in coaching, and more.

The Real Science of Sport -sports scientist Professor Ross Tucker and journalist Mike Finch break down the myths, practices and controversies from the sporting world. Running-related topics have included recovery science, Nike’s controversial shoes, misinformation on weight and performance, and more.

The Way of the Runner – award-winning author Adharanand Finn interviews an eclectic mix of runners “to try to uncover what it really is that gets us out there running around in big, pointless circles. And why we love it so much.”

Read about Running

Runner and reader Seth Cayley’s Books about Running site has a compilation of his many entertaining running book reviews!

Read current and past issues of Runners World and other fitness and health magazines on Flipster!

Armchair Travel

text: explore your world from home, image: map background with outline drawing of an armchair

We’ve compiled different ways for you to tour the world, right from the comfort of your home. Take online virtual tours, listen to travel books, and watch documentaries…with a little help from your local library.


We Want To Hear From You!

Scotch Plains Public Library mission: to welcome and support our entire community with resources and services that enhance lifelong learning.

While the library building is closed to the public, we are still working hard to fulfill our mission. The Adult Services Department wants to make sure that we are providing programs and services that you can use, even without access to physical materials and space. We invite you to respond to our survey and let us know how we might best meet your needs during this time.

Citizen Science

Did you know that you can easily make meaningful contributions to scientific research—while staying home and staying safe?

  • Scientific research depends on data–much of which is based on observations that can be done more effectively and more quickly by the ordinary human eye and brain than by computers.
  • By harnessing the power of the crowd, research can advance much more quickly than if scientists had to do this work on their own!

Citizen Science is a way for all of us to use our ordinary powers of observation to advance real scientific research.

The best place to start your Citizen Science journey is

  • Scistarter is a portal for finding projects and tracking your contributions.
  • Once you’ve created an account, you can easily search for projects that appeal to you.

Use the Project Finder to search for projects that interest you and can be done safely from home!

Even a few minutes of your time every now and then can create valuable data for scientists! Here are some examples of the different types of projects you can get involved in right now:

The Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event during which bird watchers count birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are located around the world.

Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where birds are. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.

Anyone, from beginning bird watchers to experts, can participate in the The Great Backyard Bird Count.” The 2021 count is being held February 12-15.

Learn how to participate by watching this program recorded on February 1, 2021. Scotch Plains Fanwood High School teachers Matthew Ritter and Zachary Rittner cover some birding basics and clearly explain the process of contributing to the Count.

View the presentation slides with links to their recommended resources:

Penguin Watch

Count penguins and chicks in remote locations from your home computer!

Penguin Watch is an easy and fun project that will provide scientists with data they need— in time to understand why penguin populations are declining. Seabirds like penguins are considered to be ‘sentinel’ species, meaning that changes in their behavior and populations can provide early warning of risks to key ecosystems, and by extension to humans.

Seabirds are declining worldwide; under threat from climate change, pollution, disturbance and competition with fisheries. We want to monitor, understand and protect these species, but we have lacked the ability to collect data on a large enough scale

Why Are We Doing It?

Galaxy Zoo

You can tell a lot about a galaxy just from its shape!

The Galaxy Zoo project is done from your computer by viewing photographs from powerful telescopes, and answering a series of questions about their shape. Understanding galaxies helps scientists learn about the past, present and future of the Universe as a whole.

You can answer these questions without any specialist knowledge— the ordinary human brain can perform these pattern recognition tasks better than any computer!


Make important contributions to biodiversity science from your own backyard or neighborhood!

iNaturalist is an easy-to-use app that lets you upload a picture of any wild plant, animal, or fungus. Over 80,000 daily users in over 240 countries can connect with other by helping to identify sightings. Your contributions can create research quality data for scientists who are working to better understand and protect nature. Every observation becomes part of a growing record of Earth’s biodiversity!

You can also view what others have seen in your area! Wondering if there are wild turkeys—or coyotes—in our vicinity? Use the Explore option to find out! (Yes, there are!)

Here’s a great introduction to getting started with iNaturalist.

Smithsonian Transcription Project

Nothing is better than the human eye for transcribing handwriting.

Do your interests lie more in history? Citizen Science has projects for you, too!

The Smithsonian Transcription Center has thousands of letters, diaries and records at that need your eyes to reveal their treasures! Enter the world of American artists in Paris between 1860 and 1930 through their letters. Bring to light the experiences of formerly enslaved men and women during Reconstruction by transcribing records from the Freedman’s Bureau. You’ll learn about historical events in a completely different way, and bring valuable human stories to light for researchers and the public .

Stall Catchers

A Citizen Science project that feels like a game–but is actually advancing Alzheimer’s research!

Stall Catchers is a game-like project—the object is to “catch” stalls by looking at movies from the brains of mice and scoring blood vessels as “flowing” or “stalled.” The stalls indicate the reduced blood flow that’s associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Even the most powerful computer technologies can’t perform this task accurately enough—and without the help of the crowd, the research process could take decades.

With the efforts of Citizen Scientists, a treatment could potentially be developed quickly enough to help people who have the disease now! Stall Catchers can be done from any type of computer or connected device.

This short video explains the science behind Stall Catchers:

Visit our website for information on joining the Library’s Stall Catchers team–let’s see how much we can contribute by working together!

Would you like to read more about the fascinating world of Citizen Science?