What are Texans reading these days, you ask?

“'Tis education forms the common mind; just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.”

Lone Star Lit has your monthly roundup of regional reads from The Twig Book Shop, a leading independent bookseller in San Antonio. Click on any title for the buy link.

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2021

 

Artisans of Trabajo Rústico, 19: The Legacy of Dionicio Rodríguez (Rio Grande/Río Bravo: Borderlands Culture and Traditions) (Texas A&M University Press) BY Patsy Pittman Light, And Kent Rush (Photographer)

 

As documented in Patsy Pittman Light’s award-winning book, Capturing Nature, Mexican artisan Dionicio Rodríguez arrived in San Antonio in the 1920s and created concrete bus stop shelters, park benches, footbridges, and other structures in the style known as faux bois, or trabajo rústico. Following on the success of that previous work, Light, with photographer and artist Kent Rush, presents a comprehensive look at the legacy of Rodríguez as reflected in the works of those whom he trained, mentored, or influenced.

 

Rodríguez captured nature in his work, but he also continues to capture our imagination. Drawing these artistic creations out of the urban landscape, Artisans of Trabajo Rústico makes the nearly invisible fully visible to the critic, the historian, and especially to the casual viewer. Light asserts that San Antonio has the largest concentration of this art form in the country and includes copious full-color photography of the work of Rodríguez and other artisans.

 

This handsomely illustrated and painstakingly documented work offers the broadest possible panorama for the craft and endearing familiarity of this form. Inspired by nature, built by hand, and placed in the service of the public, these “rustic works” continue to provide enjoyment, convenience, and a touch of artistic elegance to public and private landscapes in San Antonio and beyond. Light and Rush’s work affords a fresh and wide-ranging look at this important artisanal tradition.

 

 

The Vanished Texas Coast: Lost Port Towns, Mysterious Shipwrecks and Other True Tales (History Press) by Mark Lardas

 

People may associate Texas with cattle drives and oil derricks, but the sea has shaped the state's history as dramatically as it has delineated its coastline. Some of that history has vanished into the Gulf, whether it is an abandoned port town or a gale-tossed treasure fleet. Revisit the shipwreck that put Texas on the map. Add La Salle's lost colony, the Texas Navy's forgotten steamship and Galveston's overlooked 1915 hurricane to the navigational charts. From the submarines of Seawolf Park to the concrete tanker beached off Pelican Island, author Mark Lardas scours the coast to salvage the secrets of its sunken heritage.

 

Cook Once Dinner Fix: Quick and Exciting Ways to Transform Tonight's Dinner Into Tomorrow's Feast (Simon & Schuster) by Cassie Joy Garcia

 

Never throw out your leftovers again with these delicious and healthy meals designed to transform into an entirely different dish the next night from best-selling author Cassy Joy Garcia.

As a busy mom of two, Cassy Joy Garcia, the best-selling author of Cook Once, Eat All Week, has limited time to get food on the table. With this book, she shares a fresh approach to preparing dinner in a hurry. These 120 easy, delicious recipes are designed to use the leftovers from one recipe to quickly cook a completely different meal the next day.

While most meal-prep cookbooks require you to plan your entire week ahead of time and spend hours in the kitchen (and a small fortune on groceries), Cook Once Dinner Fix shows you how to utilize the leftovers from one meal to create an entirely new creation for the next. The leftover Roasted Garlic Turkey Breast transforms into Spiced Turkey Potato Soup, and Dry-Rubbed Barbecue Brisket becomes crowd-pleasing Cheesesteak-Stuffed Peppers. No matter your favorite flavor profile or dietary restrictions, this book is packed with recipes the whole family will enjoy.

The Cook Once Dinner Fix solves the “what’s for dinner” question without requiring enormous amounts of time, energy, skill, or money. Now dinnertime can be fun, fast, affordable, and sustainable.

 

 

Snow in our Potties! (The Storm Made Us Do It) (Maya Noronha Duff  ) by Maya Duff

 

What happens when two massive winter storm systems collide in an area that rarely sees snow? From sledding in laundry baskets to jumping into frozen pools to rescue dogs, this book recounts the experiences of one family as well as individuals across the state of Texas. This rhyming book with the right amount of (snow in our) potty humor will leave you smiling and hopefully feeling grateful for the everyday luxuries we typically take for granted. Because we were left with deep gratitude for the every day wonders of access to food and clean water, a portion of proceeds from this book will be donated to the Central Texas Food Bank and Water Mission.

 

Paletero Man (Harper Collins) by Lucky Diaz, and Micah Player (Illustrator)

 

A vibrant picture book celebrating the strength of community and the tastes of summer from Latin Grammy-winning musician Lucky Diaz and celebrated artist Micah Player.

 

Ring! Ring! Ring! Can you hear his call? Paletas for one! Paletas for all!

What’s the best way to cool off on a hot summer day? Run quick and find Paletero José!

 

Follow along with our narrator as he passes through his busy  neighborhood in search of the Paletero Man. But when he finally catches up with him, our narrator’s pockets are empty. Oh no! What happened to his dinero? It will take the help of the entire community to get the tasty treat now.

 

Full of musicality, generosity, kindness, and ice pops, this book is sure to satisfy fans of Thank You, Omu! and Carmela Full of Wishes.

 

Includes Spanish words and phrases throughout, an author’s note from Lucky Diaz, and a link to a live version of the Lucky Band’s popular song that inspired the book.

 

 

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SEPTEMBER 2021

West Side Rising: How San Antonio's 1921 Flood Devastated a City and Sparked a Latino Environmental Justice Movement (Maverick Books) by Char Miller 

West Side Rising is the first book focused squarely on San Antonio's enduring relationship to floods, which have had severe consequences for its communities of color in particular. Examining environmental, social, and political histories, Char Miller demonstrates that disasters can expose systems of racism, injustice, and erasure and, over time, can impel activists to dismantle these inequities. He draws clear lines between the environmental injustices embedded in San Antonio's long history and the emergence of grassroots organizations that combated the devastating impact floods could have on the West Side.

 

Here We Go Loop De Loop (Atmosphere Press) by William Jack Sibley

Here We Go Loop De Loop by William Jack Sibley has greed, lust, sexuality, spiritual enlightenment, more lust, xenophobia, and the meaning of a life worth living, all woven into a single, outrageous knot in the insulated town of Rita Blanca, Texas. The author, a fifth-generation Texan and a resolute seeker of wisdom, truth, and the occasional virtuosic lie, with humor and reflection, has wrought a story of humanity through characters doing the best they can - just not terribly well.

 

Nepantla Familias: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature on Families in Between Worlds ( Wittliff Collections Literary ) (Texas A&M University Press) edited by Sergio Troncoso

Nepantla Familias brings together Mexican American narratives that explore and negotiate the many permutations of living in between different worlds—how the authors or their characters create, or fail to create, a cohesive identity amid the contradictions in their lives. Nepantla—or living in the in-between space of the borderland—is the focus of this anthology. The essays, poems, and short stories explore the in-between moments in Mexican American life—the family dynamics of living between traditional and contemporary worlds, between Spanish and English, between cultures with traditional and shifting identities. In times of change, family values are either adapted or discarded in the quest for self-discovery, part of the process of selecting and composing elements of a changing identity.

 

Once Upon a Camel (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books) by Kathi Appelt and Eric Rohmann (Illustrator) 

Zada is a camel with a treasure trove of stories to tell. She’s won camel races for the royal Pasha of Smyrna, crossed treacherous oceans to new land, led army missions with her best camel friend by her side, and outsmarted a far too pompous mountain lion. But those stories were from before. Now, Zada wanders the desert as the last camel in Texas. But she’s not alone. Two tiny kestrel chicks are nestled in the fluff of fur between her ears—kee-killy-keeing for their missing parents—and a dust storm the size of a mountain is taking Zada on one more grand adventure. And it could lead to this achy old camel’s most brilliant story yet.

 

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna (Sourcebooks Young Readers) By Alda P. Dobbs

Based on a true story, the tale of one girl's perilous journey to cross the U.S. border and lead her family to safety during the Mexican Revolution. It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna's mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows to him that she will care for the family she has left--her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito--until they can be reunited. They flee north through the unforgiving desert as their town burns, searching for safe harbor in a world that offers none. Each night when Petra closes her eyes, she holds her dreams close, especially her long-held desire to learn to read. Abuelita calls these barefoot dreams: They're like us barefoot peasants and indios--they're not meant to go far. But Petra refuses to listen. Through battlefields and deserts, hunger and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border--a life where her barefoot dreams could finally become reality.

 

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AUGUST 2021

Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth (Penguin Press) by Bryan Burrough, Chris  Tomlinson, Jason Stanford
Three noted Texan writers combine forces to tell the real story of the Alamo, dispelling the myths, exploring why they had their day for so long, and explaining why the ugly fight about its meaning is now coming to a head... In the past forty-some years, waves of revisionists have come at this topic, and at times have made real progress toward a more nuanced and inclusive story that doesn't alienate anyone. But we are not living in one of those times; the fight over the Alamo's meaning has become more pitched than ever in the past few years, even violent, as Texas's future begins to look more and more different from its past. It's the perfect time for a wise and generous-spirited book that shines the bright light of the truth into a place that's gotten awfully dark.

 

Luz at Midnight (Flowersong Press) by Marisol Cortez

A genre-hopping narrative, Luz chronicles the ill-timed love between a naive academic and a manic-depressive journalist as they uncover corrupt extraction politics in South Texas.

 

The Last Butterfly/La última mariposa (Juventud Press) Regina Moya, Carmen Tafolla

A brave young butterfly, a small boy, and a dancing blue planet build a bond of love and hard work, drawing on the magic of their relationship. A delightful adventure into the migration of monarch butterflies, and the value of protecting those things we love, this touching story is told in simple but poetic language aimed at children from 5 to 99 and is beautifully illustrated with the rich colors of the Mexican forests where the monarchs head each winter.

 

Loteria Remedios by Xelena Gonzalez

With grant support from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Xelena recently developed a body of work in both children's literature and visionary fiction, inspired by the iconography of the Mexican Lotería card game. Her resultant book LOTERÍA REMEDIOS led to the creation of a television script centered on the same theme and featuring a modern Mestiza protagonist. She is currently developing the screenplay THE CARD SINGER with support from the Luminaria Artist Foundation. A member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation, Xelena is a sought-after speaker on topics such as radical self love, creative early literacy strategies, inhabiting story through music and movement, and reclaiming indigenous identity in Latinx communities.

 

Fortunate Son: Selected Essays from the Lone Star State (High Road Books) by Rick Bass

Rick Bass's Fortunate Son is a literary tour of the Lone Star State by a native Texan of exceptional talent. The essays encompass a Texas that is both lost and found, past and present. The stories reach from Galveston Bay to the Hill Country outside Austin, and from Houston in the 1960s to today. They are bound together by a deep love and a keen eye for the land and its people and by an appreciation for what is given, a ruefulness for what is lost, and a commitment to save what can be saved.

 

This is a journalist's Texas scrapbook, then: a firefighting story, a musical pilgrimage, a ramble in Texas's tiniest public wilderness (one of only five in the entire state). Fishing with my father and uncle on a lake that is partly in Texas and partly in Louisiana; flying around the borders of Texas--usually defined by water, a resource that will vanish in much of the state within our lifetime; hanging out at my parents' cattle farm down near Goliad; reading the work of Texans before me.--from the Introduction

 

Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards (Random House Studio) by Meghan P Browne and Carlynn Whitt (Illustrator)

"A folksy, larger-than-life picture book biography about Ann Richards, the late governor of Texas who has inspired countless women in politics today." 

 

 A Single Star and Bloody Knuckles: A History of Politics and Race in Texas (The Texas Bookshelf) (University of Texas Press) by Bill Minutaglio

A new look at the last 150 years of Texas's contentious political history, told decade by decade through the prism of the state's famous, infamous, and unsung figures.

 

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JUNE/JULY 2021

The Texas Triangle: An Emerging Power in the Global Economy (Texas A&M University Press) by Henry Cisneros, David Hendricks, JH Cullum Clark, and William Fulton 

This important new study examines the intricately linked phenomena of interwoven population growth, economic power, quality education, business leadership, and fiscal significance as exemplified in the “Texas Triangle,” a network of metropolitan complexes that are reshaping the destiny of Texas and adding a strong pinnacle in the global system of economic mega-centers.

 

River, Sing Out (Blackstone Publishing) by James Wade

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into a sinister and sanguinary world, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

 

San Antonio a Photographic Journey (Farcountry Press)

Celebrate the Fiesta City with this colorful collection of photographs! Enjoy a stroll past the shops and restaurants of the famous River Walk. Marvel in the iconography and history of the Missions Concepción, San Francisco de la Espada, San José, San Juan Capistrano, and of course, The Alamo. Explore the area’s many parks, historic districts, and architectural wonders and experience its rich Mexican American culture and food! Vibrant, full-color photographs are accompanied by fun, informative text—making this the perfect keepsake for any San Antonio fan.

 

On Juneteenth (Liveright Publishing Corporation) by Annette Gordon Reed

The essential, sweeping story of Juneteenth’s integral importance to American history, as told by a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and Texas native.

In its concision, eloquence, and clear presentation of history, On Juneteenth vitally revises conventional renderings of Texas and national history. As our nation verges on recognizing June 19 as a national holiday, On Juneteenth is both an essential account and a stark reminder that the fight for equality is exigent and ongoing.

 

Juneteenth (Revised) (Vintage International) by Ralph Ellison

Here is Ellison, the master of American vernacular—the preacher’s hyperbole and the politician’s rhetoric, the rhythms of jazz and gospel and ordinary speech—at the height of his powers, telling a powerful, evocative tale of a prodigal of the twentieth century.
 
“Tell me what happened while there’s still time,” demands the dying senator Adam Sunraider to the Reverend A. Z. Hickman, the itinerant Negro preacher whom he calls Daddy Hickman. As a young man, Sunraider was Bliss, an orphan taken in by Hickman and raised to be a preacher like himself. His history encompasses camp meetings where he became the risen Lazarus to inspire the faithful; the more ordinary joys of Southern boyhood; bucolic days as a filmmaker; lovemaking with a young woman in a field in the Oklahoma sun. And behind it all lies a mystery: how did this chosen child become the man who would deny everything to achieve his goals?

 

Juneteenth: The Story Behind the Celebration (State House Press) by Edward T. Cotham, Jr.

This is the first scholarly book to delve into the history behind Juneteenth. Using decades of research in archives around the nation, this book helps separate myth from reality and tells the story behind the celebration in a way that provides new understanding and appreciation for the event.

This book will captivate people interested in the history of emancipation and African American history but also those interested in Civil War and Texas history.

 

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MAY/JUNE 2021

The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez (Blackstone Publishing) by Rudy Ruiz

1950s: In the border town of La Frontera, young love blooms at first sight between Fulgencio Ramirez, the son of impoverished immigrants, and Carolina Mendelssohn, the local pharmacist's daughter. Their bonds will be undone by a force more powerful than they could have known. Thirty years later Fulgencio Ramirez, RPh, is conducting his daily ritual of reading the local obituaries in his pharmacy office. After nearly a quarter of a century of waiting, his nemesis, the husband of Carolina Mendelssohn, has died. Fulgencio strives to succeed in America, break a mystical family curse, and win back Carolina's love after their doomed youthful romance.

 

All Things Left Wild (Blackstone Publishing) by James Wild 

After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb's moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill. Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.

 

Valentine (Harper Perennial) by Elizabeth Wetmore

It's February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town's men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow. In the early hours of the morning after Valentine's Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead's ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field, an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences.

 

All God's Children (Europa Editions) by Aaron Gwyn 

In 1827, Duncan Lammons, a disgraced young man from Kentucky, sets out to join the American army in the province of Texas, hoping that here he may live, and love, as he pleases. That same year, Cecelia, a young slave in Virginia, runs away for the first time. Soon infamous for her escape attempts, Cecelia drifts through the reality of slavery until she encounters frontiersman Sam Fisk, who rescues her from a slave auction in New Orleans. In spite of her mistrust, Cecelia senses an opportunity for freedom, and travels with Sam to Texas, where he has a homestead. In this new territory, where the law is an instrument for the cruel and the wealthy, they begin an unlikely life together, unaware that their fates are intertwined with those of Sam's former army mates, including Duncan Lammons, a friend, and others who harbor dangerous dreams of their own.

 

Tigers, Not Daughters (Algonquin Young Readers) by Samantha Mabry

In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award-longlisted novel, All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves a magical, romantic, own-voices novel about three sisters shadowed by guilt and grief over the loss of their oldest sister, who still haunts their house.

 

Nacho's Nachos: The Story Behind the World's Favorite Snack (Lee and Low Books) by Sandra Nickel, illustrated by Oliver Dominguez 

The delicious true story of an inventive chef and the serendipitous events that led to the creation of the world's favorite snack, nachos!

 

Elatsoe (Levine Querido) by Darcy Little Badger, illustrated by Rovina Cai

Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear, or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

 

Crooked Hallelujah (Grove Press) by Kelli Jo Ford 

Crooked Hallelujah tells the stories of Justine, a mixed-blood Cherokee woman, and her daughter, Reney, as they move from Eastern Oklahoma's Indian Country in the hopes of starting a new, more stable life in Texas amid the oil bust of the 1980s. However, life in Texas isn't easy, and Reney feels unmoored from her family in Indian Country. Against the vivid backdrop of the Red River, we see their struggle to survive in a world of unreliable men and near-Biblical natural forces, like wildfires and tornados, intent on stripping away their connections to one another and their very ideas of home.

 

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APRIL/MAY 2021

Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers (Viking) by Doug J. Swanson

A twenty-first-century reckoning with the legendary Texas Rangers that does justice to their heroic moments while also documenting atrocities, brutality, and corruption. The Texas Rangers rode into existence in 1823, when Texas was still part of Mexico, and continue today as one of the most famous of all law-enforcement agencies. In Cult of Glory, Doug J. Swanson offers a sweeping account of the Rangers that chronicles both their epic, daring escapades and how the white and propertied power structures of Texas have used them as enforcers and protectors.

 

 

Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico: Portraits of Soldaderas, Saints, and Subversives (Trinity University Press) edited by Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, Jennifer Speed 

Much ink has been spilled over the men of the Mexican Revolution, but far less has been written about its women. Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, and Jennifer Speed set out to right this wrong in Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico, which celebrates the women of early Texas and Mexico who refused to walk a traditional path. The anthology embraces an expansive definition of the word revolutionary by looking at female role models and subversives from the last century and who stood up for their visions and ideals and continue to stand for them today.

 

 

Lonesome Dove (Simon & Schuster) by Larry McMurtry

Twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American classic of the American West that follows two aging Texas Rangers embarking on one last adventure. An epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America.

 

 

Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt's Search for Freedom and Identity in New York's Greenwich Village (Scribner) by Jan Jarboe Russell
Hundreds of books have been written about FDR and Eleanor, both together and separately, but yet she remains a compelling and elusive figure. And, not much is known about why in 1920, Eleanor suddenly abandoned her duties as a mother of five and moved to Greenwich Village, then the symbol of all forms of transgressive freedom—communism, homosexuality, interracial relationships, and subversive political activity. Now, in this fascinating, in-depth portrait, Jan Russell pulls back the curtain on Eleanor’s life to reveal the motivations and desires that drew her to the Village and how her time there changed her political outlook.

 

 

Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson (Scribner) by Jan Jarboe Russell

Expertly researched and written, Lady Bird draws from rare conversations with the former First Lady and from interviews with key members of Johnson's inner circle of friends, family, and advisers. With chapters such as "Motherless Child," "A Ten-Week Affair," and "LBJ's Midlife Crisis," Lady Bird sheds light on Mrs. Johnson's childhood, on her amazing acumen as a businesswoman, and on the central role she played in her husband's life and political career. A vital link to the Kennedys during LBJ's uneasy tenure as vice president and a voice of conscience on civil rights, Jan Jarboe Russell reveals Lady Bird as a political force. In this intimate portrait, Russell shows us the private Lady Bird--not only a passionate conservationist but a remarkable woman who greatly influenced her husband, his administration, and the country. 

 

 

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II (Scribner) by Jan Jarboe Russell

During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. Jan Jarboe Russell focuses on two American-born teenage girls, uncovering the details of their years spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists. Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp, from the ten-foot-high security fence to the armed guards, daily roll call, and censored mail, have never been told.

 

 

I Am Skye, Finder of the Lost (A Dog's Day #5) (Albert Whitman & Company) by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Francesca Rosa

Spend a day in the life of a search and rescue dog Skye the border collie has spent her life comforting people after disasters. Lately, she's also been training to help find people who have gone missing in her national park. But is Skye ready to make her first rescue? Told from the dog's perspective, this story also includes back matter about the breed and role of the working dog.

 

 

I Am Tucker, Detection Expert (A Dog's Day #6) (Albert Whitman & Company) by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Francesca Rosa

Spend the day in the life of a detection dog Tucker the beagle is more than just a friendly face at the airport. As part of the "Beagle Brigade," he helps keep out invasive species that could hurt the environment. It's a job that would be almost impossible for humans--but for Tucker, it's all in a day's work. Told from the dog's perspective, this story also includes back matter about the breed and role of the working dog.

 

 

 

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MARCH/APRIL 2021

 Alamo Tree (Girasol Publishing LLC) by Tana Holmes, illustrated by Mahfuja Selim

If ancient trees could talk, what stories they could tell! Alamo Tree is a true story about a real place. The monumental events surrounding the siege and famous battle at the Shrine of Texas Liberty are told by an old live oak that still thrives in the courtyard of the mission in San Antonio. The tree explains that during those dark days there was the love of families, the courage of heroes, the teamwork of citizens from all over the globe, and leadership that ensured their losses were not in vain. Rhyming text and beautiful illustrations will make your child want to hear Alamo Tree again and again. It is said that even the Daughters of the Republic of Texas recommends this book. That says something!

 

Greenlights (Crown Publishing Group) by Matthew McConaughey 

“I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.” Drawing on the Academy Award-winning actor's journals and diaries, this book presents a uniquely McConaughey approach to achieving success and satisfaction.

 

 The Eyes of Texans: From Slavery to the Texas Capitol: Personal Stories from Six Generations of One Family by Melvin E Edwards

Once you meet Isaac Bladen, you'll never forget him. Melvin E. Edwards, award-winning newspaper reporter/columnist and a former legislative speechwriter for long-time Texas Lt. Governor and Governor Rick Perry, conducted thirty years of genealogy research that confirmed family stories that had been told for decades, exposed some that weren't accurate, and discovered details that had long been buried. These "first-person" accounts will capture your attention and take you on a drive-by of the last two hundred years of American and Texas history.

 

Simon the Fiddler (William Morrow & Co.) by Paulette Jiles 

In March 1865, the long and bitter War between the States is winding down. Till now, twenty-three-year-old Simon Boudlin has evaded military duty thanks to his slight stature, youthful appearance, and utter lack of compunction about bending the truth. But following a barroom brawl in Victoria, Texas, Simon finds himself conscripted, however belatedly, into the Confederate Army. Luckily his talent with a fiddle gets him a comparatively easy position in a regimental band. Weeks later, on the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the conflict. There the quick-thinking, audacious fiddler can’t help but notice the lovely Doris Mary Dillon, an indentured girl from Ireland, who is governess to a Union colonel’s daughter. After the surrender, Simon and Doris go their separate ways. But Simon cannot forget the fair Irish maiden, and vows that someday he will find her again.

 

 News of the World (William Morrow & Co.) by Paulette Jiles

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd drifts through northern Texas, performing live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain once made his living as a printer, until the War Between the States took his press and everything with it. At a stop in Wichita Falls, Captain Kidd is offered an astonishing $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives near San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders viciously killed Johanna Leonberger's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently recovered by the U.S. Army, the inconsolable ten-year-old with blue eyes and hair the color of maple sugar has once again been torn away from the only home and family she knows. The captain's sense of duty and compassion propels him to accept, though he knows the journey will be difficult. [Read the Lone Star Review here.]

 

Celis Beer: Born in Belgium, Brewed in Texas (History Press) by Jeremy Banas 

A former milkman in the small village of Hoegaarden, Belgium, Pierre Celis opened a brewery that brought back the extinct witbier style of his native Hoegaarden and rejuvenated an old-world tradition throughout Belgium and Europe. Following a devastating fire in his native country, the godfather of witbier set up shop in Texas, where his passion took fresh shape in the form of Celis Beer and influenced an entire generation of beer lovers. His legacy continues under the stewardship of his daughter, Christine, who revived the brand in 2017, along with his granddaughter, Daytona, who brews there now. Author Jeremy Banas relates how the Hoegaarden legend founded Austin's first craft brewery.    

 

 Pearl: A History of San Antonio's Iconic Beer (History Press) by Jeremy Banas 

"The finest flavored beer in the market. Be sure and try, and you will be convinced. Warranted to be the same at all times. Ask for it, drink no other." In 1887, these were bold words about the City Brewery's new beer with the pearly bubbles, considering how the recent flood of German immigrants to Central Texas brought along expert fermentation. As that business evolved into the San Antonio Brewing Association, XXX Pearl Beer became the mainstay of the largest brewery in the state. Its smokestack formed an intrinsic part of the San Antonio skyline. A regional powerhouse for more than a century, it was the only Texas brewery to survive Prohibition. It also endured the onslaught of a president's scandalous death and Lone Star's fierce rivalry. Grab a pint and join author Jeremy Banas for a tour of Texas's most iconic brewery.

 

San Antonio Beer: Alamo City History by the Pint (History Press) by Jeremy Banas 

Brewing history and beer culture permeate San Antonio. The Menger Hotel and its bar, notoriously frequented by Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, began as the city's first brewery in 1855. The establishment of San Antonio Brewing Association and Lone Star Brewery at the close of the nineteenth century began the city's golden age of brewing. Decades later, the Volstead Act decimated the city's brewing community. Only one brewery survived Prohibition. Those that bounced back were run out of business by imports coming in on the new railroad. The 1990s saw a craft comeback with the opening of the oldest existing brewpub, Blue Star Brewing Company. Today, San Antonio boasts a bevy of new breweries and celebrates its brewing heritage. Grab a pint and join authors Jeremy Banas and Travis E. Poling for a taste of Alamo City's hoppy history.

 

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FEBRUARY/MARCH 2021

The Four Winds (St. Martin’s Press) by Kristin Hannah

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli, like so many of her neighbors, must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. (Lone Star Lit review)

 

Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico: Portraits of Soldaderas, Saints, and Subversives (Maverick Books) by Kathy Sosa (Editor), Ellen Riojas Clark (Editor), Jennifer Speed (Editor), Dolores Huerta (Foreword by), Norma Elia Cantú (Afterword by), Kathy Sosa (Illustrator), Lionel Sosa (Illustrator)

Much ink has been spilled over the men of the Mexican Revolution, but far less has been written about its women. Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, and Jennifer Speed set out to right this wrong in Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico, which celebrates the women of early Texas and Mexico who refused to walk a traditional path. The anthology embraces an expansive definition of the word revolutionary by looking at female role models and subversives from the last century and who stood up for their visions and ideals and continue to stand for them today. Eighteen portraits provide readers with a glimpse into each figure's life and place in history.

 

Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century (Cutthroat, a Journal of the Arts) contributors include Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Octavio Solis, Gary Soto, Alberto Rios, Demetria Martinez, Rosemary Catacalos, Denise Chavez and many more. Editors: Luis Alberto Urrea, Beth Alvarado, Carmen Tafolla, Octavio Quintanilla, Terry Acevedo, and Edward Vidaurre

Cutthroat, A Journal Of The Arts and the Black Earth Institute collaborated to publish this historic collection of writings about Chicanx culture. The writings span all topics from the rasquache to the refined. In these pages is writing that goes deep into Chicanx culture and reveals heritage in new ways. This is work that challenges, that is irreverent, that is defiant and inventive. That is Puro Chicanx. The idea of Puro Chicanx is rooted in Mexican ancestral heritage, is about attitude and may overlap with other Latinx cultures.

 

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems (Cinco Puntos Press) by David Bowles

In Spanish, “Güero” is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Anglo. But make no mistake: our red-headed, freckled hero is puro mexicano, like Canelo lvarez, the Mexican boxer. Güero is also a nerd—reader, game

The Twig Book Shop began its evolution in San Antonio in 1972. Currently located at the former Pearl Brewery on the Museum Reach of the Riverwalk, the Twig provides newly released books for children and adults as well as award-winning classics. The space at Pearl has become a venue for local and national poets and authors. The Twig makes books available for book clubs, schools, and conferences. The Texana collection makes the Twig a destination for history lovers near and far. Hardcover and softcover books can be purchased from their website, the database for which accesses a national distributor for independent bookstores. Libro.fm audio and Kobo electronic books are also available.

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