Current books to read featuring the work of the Barnard community
When We Were Bright and Beautiful
by Jillian Medoff ’85
Medoff narrates a feverish family drama from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in which the ultrawealthy and seemingly perfect Quinn family exposes its deep fissures when the youngest son, Billy, is accused of assaulting his former girlfriend. As family members strive to defend Billy at all costs, they risk revealing their hidden guilt to the public.
Honey and Me
by Meira Drazin ’98
In this coming-of-age story set in a modern Orthodox Jewish community in an American suburb, Drazin introduces readers to sixth-grader Milla Bloom and her best friend, Honey Wine. Unlike Milla’s emotionally reticent family, Honey’s enviably loving one exudes a charming confidence. The two girls undergo dramas at school and at Jewish holidays while Milla struggles to cast off Honey’s shadow and define her own strengths.
I AM Stories: Up at the Retreat
by Francine Weber Shaw ’69
A group of American spiritual seekers settle in at a Swiss chalet for a weeklong summer retreat in Shaw’s most recent book, which strings together 10 short stories that incorporate joy, humor, mindfulness and genuine transformation.
Six Days in Rome
by Francesca Giacco ’09
This debut novel follows Emilia, a young artist reeling from recent heartbreak, on her journey toward self-discovery and an understanding of the ways in which her musician father’s successes and betrayals have overshadowed her own identity. Giacco celebrates the beauty of Rome and the joys of Italian food, music, and art as Emilia wanders through the city in contemplative reverie.
by Cecily Wong ’10
In Wong’s second novel, the Brightons, a biracial Chinese American family who’ve built a shopping empire known as Kaleidoscope, grapple with themes of identity, family, grief, and the particular bonds of sisterhood. After a sudden, tragic loss, younger sister Riley sets off on a journey with an unlikely companion to look for the truth about the people she thought she knew, including herself.
Dandelion Salad in Brooklyn
by Carol Falvo Heffernan ’65
Heffernan’s account of her early life in an Italian-American family in Brooklyn during the 1940s and ’50s provides rich content in feasts and foodways, including the recipes that help define her culture’s traditions and roots. Her memoir reminds readers that each wave of immigrants confronts prejudice and barriers while striving to become American.
Day to Day the Relationship Way: Creating Responsive Programs for Infants and Toddlers
by Alice Sterling Honig ’50
Honig — an accomplished psychologist, professor emerita, and author — and co-author Donna S. Wittmer examine how early childhood relationships with educators influence and further babies’ socioemotional and intellectual development.
The Out-of-Sync Child, Third Edition and A Year of Mini-Moves for the In-Sync Child
by Carol Stock Kranowitz ’67
With a focus on sensory-motor development and activities, A Year of Mini-Moves (co-authored by Joye Newman) provides parents with digital pages detailing two weekly schedules that incorporate quick movement activities into everyday life. And in the most recent edition of The Out-of-Sync Child, Kranowitz aims to provide both children with sensory processing differences and their parents with the support they need regarding such topics as oversensitivity, undersensitivity, and confusion.
Normal Family: On Truth, Love, and How I Met My 35 Siblings
by Chrysta Bilton ’07
This insightful memoir recounts the author’s origins — her single lesbian mom decided a man she met at a Beverly Hills salon would be the sperm donor of the child for which she yearned — and her calamitous childhood with her unstable mother and mysterious father. Bilton shows unwavering love for her unconventional, fascinating family through compassionate storytelling.
Protecting Mama: Surviving the Legal Guardianship Swamp
by Léonie Rosenstiel ’68
Protecting Mama is Rosenstiel’s deeply personal account of her 14-year battle with the court-appointed guardian of her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. The book is her attempt to help others find their way through the complicated morass that legal guardianship can be.
The Insider: The Life of Virginia C. Gildersleeve
by Nancy Woloch
A history professor and a writer, Woloch skillfully recounts former Barnard dean Virginia C. Gildersleeve’s contradictory career in academia and public life while serving at Barnard College from 1911 to 1947. This biography examines Gildersleeve’s devotion to higher education, her ambitious striving for influence in the academic arena and in the world of foreign affairs, and her opposition to demands for women’s equal rights, grounding her story in the histories of education, international relations, and feminism.
Book of Dinosaurs: 10 Record-Breaking Prehistoric Animals
by Gabrielle Balkan ’97
This informative and fun dinosaur picture book serves its readers abundant knowledge through interactive guessing games and touch-and-feel skeletons. Balkan cleverly arranges the 10 dinosaurs so that a connection among the animals is established, while myriad other resources are highlighted for curious readers.
Sniffy the Beagle
by Rita S. Eagle ’55
In her debut children’s book, Eagle, a clinical psychologist, tells a story that celebrates exceptionality and respecting others’ differences. While Tommy wants a dog who plays and fetches, Sniffy is focused on sniffing at all times. The tale resolves when Tommy finds a creative way to put Sniffy’s talents to good use.
What the Bread Says: Baking with Love, History, and Papan
by Vanessa Garcia ’01
In this heartwarming picture book based on the author’s early life, Vanessa learns about her roots while baking with Grandpa Papan on Saturdays during the hours her mother is at yoga class. Garcia ingeniously weaves through the timelessness of baking, history, and family connection, and Vanessa starts to rethink her present, her future, and the power of family while contemplating her grandfather’s life adventures.
There Are Still Woods
by Hila Ratzabi ’03
Ratzabi’s first poetry collection observes the beauty of life while simultaneously commenting on the instability of our planet due to the climate crisis. Themes of mortality and uncertainty position the reader to meditate on climate change and its irreversible effects.