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Spot Readathon

Newsletter, Nov 18th 2022

Spot Readathon!

I've been thinking about starting a loyalty program. You know, the kind where each purchase earns you points which gets you freebies in future. It seems to me though that more than getting people to shop, the bigger challenge is getting people to read, either due to lost interest or lack of time! So how about instead of spending, I award points for reading?

Anytime you have an extra 10 mins - before or after gym, waiting to get skates sharpened, waiting for dance class to end, in between errands - stop on over, pick a book and read for 10 mins. Read to yourself, read out loud to a child - however you want to do it. Every 10-min read gets you a stamp. 4 stamps in a month gets you 20% off one entire purchase next month! That's it, no purchase necessary!

Let's get reading and see how many minutes/hours we can accumulate by end of year, shall we?

And now the event we've all been waiting for! Super excited to welcome you all and

Celebrate our one-year Anniversary Friday Nov 25th 2022 Early bird special 10-noon, get 20% off your entire purchase. Cake cutting at noon ! Other specials and details on the event page.

Thursday 11/24 - STORE CLOSED - HAPPY THANKSGIVING Party continues on 11/26 - Small Business Saturday

  • Saturday 11/26 7p - Standup comedy by Matt Kessen - come unwind with us. After a weekend of shopping and chasing deals, this will be just the thing. The topic is “ A Minnesota Bestiary” - The North Country’s rich and diverse imaginary fauna – monsters from Ojibwe and Dakota legends, lumberjack tall tales, the Paul Bunyan stories, and modern cryptozoology and UFOs!

  • Sunday Dec 4 2p - In conversation with Jessica Nordell Author of End of Bias: A beginning

  • Friday Dec 9th 5p - Ben Orlin and Math Game Night is back! This will be a fun family holiday evening outing! We will also have all the other board games out for you to check out.

Book Clubs

  • Sunday 11/20 2p - Science Book Club - meeting to discuss section 1-3 of Joy of x by Steven Strogatz.

  • Sunday 12/11 4p - Middle Grade Bookclub - meeting to discuss Animal Rescue Agency #1. The team has picked - Always, Clementine - as our January read. If your child is interested in either one, please reach out.

  • The Master Naturalist Book club meets once a month at the Spot. They are currently reading “Secret Life of Fungi”. Please reach out if you are a master naturalist and interested in joining them.

  • Nicole Udseth is a licensed K-8 teacher and a science-based reading tutor who runs some of her 1-1 tutoring sessions at The Spot. She is running a formal reading comprehension focused book club for the younger readers starting Tuesday Nov 29th. This is a paid program. Please reach out for details if interested.

Science News

  • You've probably heard by now, but all the stars finally aligned for NASA's Artemis mission with the successful launch of the Orion spacecraft on Wednesday Nov 16th! It's a 25 day mission but all signs are pointing towards success so far. You can stay up-to-date on the mission at NASA's Artemis blog.

Book Recs

The American Booksellers Association has put out a “2022 Children’s Group Best Books for Young Readers” catalog. As before, we will not have all the books in-store due to our STEM focus, but I can special order ANY of these books. Alternatively, you can use our Bookshop page to purchase any books from this catalog. Speaking of Bookshop, they are offering 15% off all of the books in their own gift guides this holiday season with code GIFT15. The code is active November 3 - December 18.

See below for new releases this week and some additional recommendations. As a reminder, if you ever want to go back to any of my previous newsletters, they are all available on the Blog page, including all past books recs.

Happy Reading and see you at The Spot soon, Rima.

New or Upcoming Titles Recommended For You

Wolves, Coyotes & Foxes

By Stan Tekiela

November 15th 2022; Nature / Animals / Wolves; LOCAL AUTHOR

Award-winning author and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela presents a fascinating study of wolves, coyotes, and foxes in a collection of photographs and information. Celebrate the kings of the canine world with this collection of photographs and information by award-winning author and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela. Their beauty strikes us. Their mystique enchants us. Wolves, coyotes, and foxes are beloved, appreciated, and misunderstood. A sighting in nature is rare, which serves to enhance our fascination with these magnificent animals. Award-winning author, naturalist, and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela believes that wolves, coyotes, and foxes are mystical and elusive. He spent more than 20 years traveling across the United States and Canada to observe and photograph the various species, from Gray Wolves and Arctic Foxes to Coyotes and Red Wolves. He documented every aspect of the canines’ secret lives: major events such as mating, as well as everyday activities including hunting, playing, and socializing. The result is a striking portrayal of these mammals in Wolves, Coyotes & Foxes. Stan’s extraordinary photographs depict the creatures in a new, unique fashion. His fascinating text, drawn from detailed research and personal observations, provides information about every aspect of their lives. Presented with headings and short paragraphs, the coffee-table book is pleasurable to browse and easy to read. “Their presence commands respect and attention,” says Stan. “They are nature’s perfect model of a family.” Unmatched by any other book on the market, Wolves, Coyotes & Foxes is a must-have for lovers of wildlife and nature. Naturalist, wildlife photographer and writer Stan Tekiela is the author of more than 190 field guides, nature books, children’s books, wildlife audio CDs, puzzles and playing cards, presenting many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, trees, wildflowers and cacti in the United States. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History from the University of Minnesota and as an active professional naturalist for more than 30 years, Stan studies and photographs wildlife throughout the United States and Canada. He has received various national and regional awards for his books and photographs. Also a well-known columnist and radio personality, his syndicated column appears in more than 25 newspapers and his wildlife programs are broadcast on a number of Midwest radio stations.

The Future Is Analog

By David Sax

November 15th 2022; Social Science / Future Studies

Bestselling culture writer David Sax lays out the case against a false digital utopia—and for a more human future In The Future Is Analog, David Sax points out that the onset of the pandemic instantly gave us the digital universe we’d spent so long anticipating. Instant communication, online shopping, virtual everything. It didn’t take long to realize how awful it was to live in this promised future. We craved real experiences, relationships, and spaces and got back to real life as quickly and often as we could. In chapters exploring work, school, religion, and more, this book asks pointed questions: Is our future inevitably digital? Can we reject the downsides of digital technology without rejecting change? Can we innovate not for the sake of productivity but for the good of our social and cultural lives? Can we build a future that serves us as humans, first and foremost? This is a manifesto for a different kind of change. We can spend our creativity and money on building new gadgets—or we can spend them on new ways to be together and experience the world, to bake bread, and climb mountains. All we need is the clarity to choose which future we want. David Sax is a writer, reporter, and speaker who specializes in business and culture. His book The Revenge of Analog was a #1 Washington Post bestseller, was selected as one of Michiko Kakutani's Top Ten books of 2016 for the New York Times, and has been translated into six languages. He is also the author of three other books: Save the Deli, which won a James Beard award, The Soul of an Entrepreneur, and The Tastemakers. He lives in Toronto.

Houses That Can Save the World

By Courtenay Smith

November 15th 2022; Architecture / Buildings / Residential

An inspirational sourcebook of innovative and unexpected green design solutions for our homes in a rapidly changing world. Nothing short of a design revolution is underway as architects, designers, engineers, self-builders, and artists confront climate change, polluting plastics, global migration, rapidly expanding cities, and an ageing population. Part handbook, part manifesto, Houses That Can Save the World shows how creative thinkers are embracing the new challenges we are all facing. Featuring nineteen home-building and design strategies that are direct, original, and often surprisingly simple, this inspirational sourcebook presents a mix of new technology and time-tested vernacular methods that will change the way we think about “home.” Each strategy features carefully selected and generously illustrated projects that put ideas into practice, offering real-world solutions regardless of location or size. With ideas and houses that span the globe, including developing regions in Asia, Africa, and South America, this highly illustrated volume shines a spotlight on everything from new techniques to creative reuse of existing buildings and materials. Whether you are planning a self-build or are simply looking for ways to make your home more environmentally friendly and efficient, this book is packed with innovative ideas that can help to make our homes, and the world, a better place to be. Courtenay Smith is a freelance curator of contemporary art and design whose international exhibitions include "Shanghai Surprise" and the exhibitions and accompanying books for "Lucy Orta: Body Architecture" and "Xtreme Houses." She has held numerous curatorial positions in museums and galleries in the United States and Germany. Sean Topham has contributed to various publications, exhibitions, and seminars and has written on design for magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Dwell, The Independent, The Guardian, and Icon.

Tree Glee

By Cheryl Rickman

Tree Glee fuses nature writing and self-help guidance on wellbeing/resilience with scientific details about trees. It combines three growing trends: rising interest in the natural world, practical activities to boost wellbeing/manage mental health and the concepts of rewilding (land and ourselves). Trees and humans essentially want the same thing – to live good, happy, purposeful lives and to flourish. We are inextricably bound. Trees provide us with the necessities of life – they clean the air we breathe, fill us with awe as we walk through forests and provide timber for the houses we live in, yet there are deeper reasons for our arboreal admiration that go beyond utility and beauty. Tree Glee looks at the psychology behind our fascination with trees, examining exactly how they comfort, restore and revitalise us and what we can learn from the wisdom of woodlands to improve our own wellbeing. It explores the importance of trees in our leafy suburbs and urban landscapes, sharing magical stories of remarkable ancient trees across the globe and inviting readers to reflect on their own personal 'treestory'. Featuring captivating photos and with chapters on forest bathing and nature therapy, woodland wellbeing and tree mythology Tree Glee explores how by deepening our appreciation and connection to trees and by celebrating and protecting them, we can flourish together. Cheryl Rickman is a positive psychology practitioner, proud tree-hugger and advocate for the power of nature as a healer and energy-giver. Cheryl Rickman is an unashamed tree-hugger and advocate for the power of nature as a healer and energy-giver. She is also a Sunday Times best-selling author and a qualified positive psychology practitioner. Cheryl specializes in writing empowering, practical books to help people fret less and flourish more and is a wellbeing ambassador for the Network of Wellbeing. She owns her own parcel of ancient woodland and runs WildWood (Ad)Ventures - a 32-acre rewilding and conservation project in the Hampshire countryside. Cheryl resides in Hampshire, UK.

As Gods

By Matthew Cobb

November 15th 2022; Science / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics

The thrilling and terrifying history of genetic engineering In 2018, scientists manipulated the DNA of human babies for the first time. As biologist and historian Matthew Cobb shows in As Gods, this achievement was one many scientists have feared from the start of the genetic age. Four times in the last fifty years, geneticists, frightened by their own technology, have called a temporary halt to their experiments. They ought to be frightened: Now we have powers that can target the extinction of pests, change our own genes, or create dangerous new versions of diseases in an attempt to prevent future pandemics. Both awe-inspiring and chilling, As Gods traces the history of genetic engineering, showing that this revolutionary technology is far too important to be left to the scientists. They have the power to change life itself, but should we trust them to keep their ingenuity from producing a hellish reality? Matthew Cobb is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester. He is the author of six books: The Idea of the Brain, Life’s Greatest Secret, Generation, The Resistance, Eleven Days in August, and Smell: A Very Short Introduction. He lives in England.

Battle of the Brains

By Jocelyn Rish

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection! This hilarious companion to Battle of the Butts examines the way animals use their brainpower for survival in the wild and encourages readers to rank animals based on their intellectual prowess. Birdbrained. Pigheaded. Batty. Bullheaded. When humans want to insult the intelligence of another person, they often compare them to an animal. But animals are smart. Really, really smart. There are animals that use tools. Others that can solve complex problems. Some have excellent memories. A few can even talk to us! With animals having such mighty minds, the question is: who has the best brainpower of them all? That’s for you to decide! Full of fascinating facts throughout in a fun "battle of the minds" format, The Battle of the Brains includes a glossary and links to sources and activities at the end, making it the perfect read for any curious mind. Jocelyn Rish is a writer and filmmaker who never imagined her cheeky sense of humor would lead to a book about animal butts, let alone to a sequel about animal brains. When she’s not researching fun facts, she tutors kids to help them discover the magic of reading. Jocelyn has won numerous awards for her short stories, screenplays, short films, and novels and lives in South Carolina with her dogs. David Creighton-Pester is an illustrator and designer from Hamilton, New Zealand. Inspired as a child by picture books, animation, and all things arty, he spent endless hours drawing crazy characters and coming up with silly stories. And still does now! David is also the owner of Scorch Design, a graphic design company he started in 2009. You can see more of his illustration work at

What's Up, Pup?

By Kersten Hamilton

November 15th 2022; Juvenile Nonfiction / Animals / Dogs; Ages 3 - 6

This adorable nonfiction picture book is about the language of dogs and how we humans can better understand them. If you watch very closely . . . you’ll see your pup talk! Dogs are communicating with us all the time—even without words, they can tell us that they want to play, get scritches, or say I love you! From sniffers and ears to muzzles and rears, from tail wags to tongue flicks and everything in between . . . what is your pup trying to say? This rollicking rhyming picture book by Kersten Hamilton, with lively illustrations from Lili Chin, explores all the ways that dogs express themselves, perfect for pup lovers of all ages. Kersten Hamilton is the author of numerous books for children, including the picture books First Friend, Red Truck, Yellow Copter, and Blue Boat. She lives in New Mexico. Visit her website at Lili Chin is an illustrator known for her pet-centric art and her dog body language infographics, which are used by animal behavior experts and advocacy organizations around the world. She also authored and illustrated Doggie Language: A Dog Lover’s Guide to Understanding Your Best Friend. She lives in Los Angeles and is the parent of one dog and two cats. Visit her at and on Instagram and Twitter at @lilita_yaya.

What the Macaw Saw

By Charlotte Guillain

November 15th 2022; Juvenile Nonfiction / Animals / Birds; Ages 8 and under

Told in gentle rhyming verse, this non-fiction picture book follows the story of a flock of colorful macaws as they live their lives in the Amazon rainforest. Includes information on on endangered macaws, the importance of the rainforest, and the causes of deforestation, as well as what we can do to help.Told in gentle rhyming verse, this beautiful non-fiction picture book follows the story of a flock of colorful macaws as they live their lives in the Amazon rainforest. Through the voice of one of the macaws, we hear about the bounty of the rainforest, as well as the challenges they have faced – threatened by the destruction of their home through machinery and forest fires to make room for vast plantations. Still, there are some areas where the land is protected and they can live a life of freedom among the trees... perhaps in the future, humans will learn the true value of the forest once again? Accompanying non-fiction pages at the end of the book include information on on endangered macaws, the importance of the rainforest, and the causes of deforestation, as well as what we can do to help. Charlotte Guillain writes fiction and non-fiction for children, including the George's Amazing Adventures series, illustrated by award-winning illustrator Lee Wildish and featured on CBeebies Bedtime Stories. Her non-fiction picture book The Street Beneath My Feet was shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards and selected by the Guardian as one of 15 'modern classics'. Charlotte lives in Oxfordshire. Sam Usher has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize and the Red House Children's Book Award and longlisted for the Kate Greenaway medal. He is particularly admired for his technical drawing skill and prowess with watercolour. Sam lives in Somerset.

Awesome Human Body Science Experiments for Kids

By Orlena Kerek

November 15th 2022; Juvenile Nonfiction / Science & Nature / Experiments & Projects

A new addition to our Awesome S.T.E.A.M. Projects series: 40 S.T.E.A.M. activities for kids ages 5 to 10 that teach the workings of the human body and its systems. Activities and experiments that would include things such as: constructing working lungs; demonstrating how the heart pumps blood, building a digestive tract; center of gravity experiments; sensory experiments, and more. Help kids learn how the human body works—hands-on experiments for ages 5 to 10 The human body is amazing! We use it to move, smell, taste, and speak—but how? Kids will uncover the answers with this book of 40 at-home science experiments. They’ll see body systems in action with activities like building a digestive tract from socks and pantyhose, sculpting red blood cells, and making vocal cords out of rubber bands. Get kids thinking like a scientist as they answer questions during each experiment and take notes on what they learn. Best of all, kids will see their knowledge grow as they apply their new skills to progressively more challenging activities.

  • Kid-friendly instructions—Step-by-step guidance and detailed diagrams make these projects easy enough for kids to do with minimal supervision.

  • No special equipment required—These projects use inexpensive, everyday items like cotton balls, glass jars, and vinegar, so kids can get started right away.

  • The S.T.E.A.M connection—Discover how each activity fits into the world of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

Pick up this book today and help answer tons of questions about the human body for kids. ORLENA KEREK, MD, is trained as a pediatric doctor. She teaches moms and their families to lead healthy lives in a way that is easy and fun. Check out her podcast, Fit and Fabulous at 40 and Beyond, and her book, Building Simple Habits to a Healthy Me. Her sons, Galen and Dante, were 13 and 11 when they helped Dr. Orlena write this book. They love math, science, and playing computer games, so working on this book was great fun for them!

A Rover's Story

By Jasmine Warga

October 4th 2022; Juvenile Fiction / Robots; Ages 8 - 12

The One and Only Ivan meets The Wild Robot in this unique and deeply moving middle grade novel about the journey of a fictional Mars rover, from the Newbery Honor–winning author of Other Words for Home. The tale of a small machine with a big heart. Meet Resilience, a Mars rover determined to live up to his name. Res was built to explore Mars. He was not built to have human emotions. But as he learns new things from the NASA scientists who assemble him, he begins to develop human-like feelings. Maybe there’s a problem with his programming…. Human emotions or not, launch day comes, and Res blasts off to Mars, accompanied by a friendly drone helicopter named Fly. But Res quickly discovers that Mars is a dangerous place filled with dust storms and giant cliffs. As he navigates Mars’s difficult landscape, Res is tested in ways that go beyond space exploration. As millions of people back on Earth follow his progress, will Res have the determination, courage—and resilience—to succeed… and survive? Jasmine Warga is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Other Words for Home, a Newbery Honor Book and a Walter Honor Book for Younger Readers, and The Shape of Thunder. Her teen books, Here We Are Now and My Heart and Other Black Holes, have been translated into over twenty-five languages. She lives in the Chicago area with her family. You can visit Jasmine online at

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