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CHILDREN'S Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship" by Deborah Heiligman; GodwinBooks/Henry Holt, 267 pages ($19.99) Ages 10 and up. ... Deborah Heiligman, author of National Book Award finalist "Charles and Emma" and Printz Honor book "Vincent and Theo," again combines her talent for meticulous research and her gift for story…

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I never read fiction as a preteen. I had to hit puberty before I tried Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books and Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows." I loved books, anyway, even though what I kept coming back to was nonfiction. It was marvelous enough. 1. My favorite book when I was little was "The Golden Encyclopedia." I knew about Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Mike Mul…

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Elaine Sciolino’s new book, “The Seine: The River That Made Paris,” was originally going to have a chapter about the Niagara, the river that made Buffalo. But, in the end, she excised that chapter, to have been titled “River of My Childhood.” “It just didn’t fit,” she says. “It’s hard to realize when you have to cut out so much of your wonderful prose.” https://bu…

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Elaine Sciolino could see the Niagara River from the living room of her family’s second-floor flat on Busti Avenue when she was growing up in Buffalo. Her father would tell her it was a view money can’t buy. The Peace Bridge loomed down the street and she often walked across it for ballet lessons in Fort Erie when she was 13. She would always stop midway, even in the ch…

CHILDREN'S Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly; illustrations by Lian Cho; Greenwillow Books, 384 pages ($16.99) Ages 8 to 12. ... A man with horns and no eyes, a murderous giant birdwoman, ravenous creatures that claw at one's hands, an eel woman,  a vengeful mountain. These are among the terrors and wonders encountered by a 12-year-old girl who brave…

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I love driving down Washington Street in Buffalo's Theatre District. What I love about it is the result of a small and seldom remarked public art project from the Just Buffalo Literary Center that's called "Lit City." It's a series of 15 plaques commemorating 15 writers who either came from Buffalo or who spent a significant period of writing life here. It's just abo…

YOUNG ADULT Pet by Akwaeke Emezi; Make Me a World, 208 pages ($17.99) Ages 12 and up. ... This brilliant, evocative, beautifully crafted novel from Igbo and Tamil novelist Akwaeke Emezi is set in a post-revolution, post-bigotry, post-violence utopia, in a town named Lucille where "angels" have vanquished all the "monsters." "the angels banned firearms, not just…

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Three local authors are scheduled to be showcased on upcoming Saturdays at the downtown Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library announced. Buffalo News staff reporter Mark Sommer will open the library's Homegrown Author series at 2 p.m. Oct. 26 with a discussion of his new book, "Rocky Colavito: Cleveland's Iconic Slugger." A…

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Ted Gioia's "Music: A Subversive History" is one of the most important and welcome books I've encountered in the last decade. If ever there were a book the world sorely needed, it's Gioia's (Basic Books, 514 pages, $35). No one is going to pretend it's the kind of book that has "bestseller" written all over it (unlike Ronan Farrow's book "Catch and Kill"), but Gioia's t…

YOUNG ADULT The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys; Philomel Books, 512 pages ($18.99) Ages 12 and up. This enthralling work of historical fiction casts a sharp spotlight on Spain under the Fascist rule of Francisco Franco, with a particular focus on the suffering of  children and young people whose parents were imprisoned, tortured and executed for their Republica…

YOUNG ADULT SLAY by Brittney Morris; Simon Pulse, 318 pages ($18.99) Ages 12 and up. A safe space for black gamers like herself, a game celebrating black heroes and black culture, a virtual reality without trolls or racist slurs. That's the genius and genesis of SLAY, a multiplayer online role-playing card game created anonymously by a black teenager in this thrillin…

"Susan Sontag was America's last great literary star," writes Benjamin Moser, using a most un-Sontagian word -- "star." She was "a flashback to a time when writers could be more than simply respected or well-regarded, famous. ... Her success was literally spectacular: played out in public view. "Tall, olive-skinned, with strongly traced Picasso eyelids and serene lip…

CHILDREN'S Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo; Candlewick Press, 241 pages ($16.99) Ages 8 to 12. ... Fierce, stubborn, brave Beverly Louise Tarpinski will steal your heart in this heartbreakingly lovely, perfect gem of a book from the great Kate DiCamillo, the culmination of three books that began with National Book Award-nominated "Raymie Nightingale" and con…

Books

The redevelopment group that is buying the former Record Theatre complex has signed four retailers as the first tenants for space in the new $6 million mixed-use project. GObike Buffalo and Reddy Bikeshare, Gutter Pop Comics, a new record shop and Fry Baby Donut Co. will occupy more than half of the available commercial space, helping to reactivate the 33,000-square-foo…