Episode 51: Laura's March 2021 Reading

On this week's dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, your host Laura shares the books she read in March 2021. They include #middlegrademarch, mysteries, recommendations from friends, books with Persian and Scheherazade-style storytelling, and some thought-provoking non-fiction. I'd love to hear about what you've been reading! 

Follow Library Laura Podcast on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Books mentioned on today's episode on the Library Laura Bookshop. 

Middle Grade March

My Name is Layla by Reyna Marder Gentin - A school and family story about a girl with undiagnosed dyslexia. I talked about the Open Dyslexic font when discussing this book on the podcast. 

The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan - A quirky story about a Turkish American girl whose mother is separated from her family due to immigration paperwork, an autistic Mexican American girl who meet an old man who won the lottery and they buy an elephant. Sounds weird but it's a really sweet story. 

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day - A quiet and beautiful story about a Native American girl who loves ballet but can't dance right now due to a knee injury. Same author as I Can Make This Promise 

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart - I got to re-read this in preparation for a mid-week review episode over at the Big Kids Book Club.This is one of my all-time favorite middle grade books. A road trip story of grief and healing with a fantastic cast of characters / found family.

Graphic Novels

Strong Female Protagonist Book One and Book Two by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag —I heard about these from Brenna the producer of What Should I Read Next. There was a crazy weather event that wound up giving kids who were about to be born biological anomalies such as super strength, ability to shrink, being part cat, etc. SFP follows one called Mega Girl as she grapples with justice, heroism, and social issues. Really thought provoking and interesting. These are older teen books and are more “superhero comic” style than some other ones I’ve read. 

No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant - A story about a homeschool girl who works on the grounds crew in Portland for a summer and gets her eyes opened to her own privilege. I related a lot to the story as I was also homeschooled. This touches on several major issues but doesn’t dive too deeply on any of them. 

The Tea Dragon Tapestry by K. O'Neill - the third and final book in the Tea Dragon Society series. My library somehow had this book even though the release date isn’t until June 2021? I love this series and the third book is just as good. 

Recommendations From Friends and Guests

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami - I've been hearing about this book for quite a while from Anne Bogel over at the What Should I Read Next Podcast. It's a quiet, odd little story about a 38-year-old lonely woman who connects with a Sensei from her past. From the publisher: "Strange Weather in Tokyo is a moving, funny, and immersive tale of modern Japan and old-fashioned romance."

Outside In by Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by Cindy Derby (2020 Caldecott Honor Book)  with beautiful watercolor illustrations and a message of appreciating nature inside and outside our homes.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - An epic fantasy story that I put off reading for months but thoroughly enjoyed. If you like Harry Potter or high fantasy this book is for you. Thought provoking and great. Recommended to me by Leigh Ann on Episode 16 and I finally read it. I talked about it a bit on this episode about fantasy with the Big Kids Book Club. 


Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai (Same author as Inside Out and Back Again) - Recommended by my knitting friend Kelly. A Vietnamese girl travels to America to try to reunite with her younger brother. She joins forces with a wanna-be cowboy. 


Ink and Shadows by Ellery Adams (most recent book in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society series)  I love this series and was excited to read the most recent book. This one is sufficiently spooky for a halloween or fall read, but was also great to read in March. You definitely want to start with the first book in the series. Cozy mysteries with great character development.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (found on this list by Anne Bogel) A fascinating start to a series of British mysteries. This one has a lot of backstory about Maisie, including her childhood and young adulthood that led to her becoming a PI. The mystery develops more in the second half of the book. Excited to read more in this series!

Persian and Scherezade Inspiration

Everything Sad is Untrue: A True Story by Daniel Nayeri - The 2021 Printz Award winning story of a boy who leaves Iran with his mother and sister and moves to Oklahoma. Told in anecdotal stories that weave together beautifully...and include insights on faith, family, immigration, loss, school, poop and blood. (Seriously.) I was shocked by how much I loved this YA book, and it spurred on lots more reading, as you can see below.

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher - Daniel Nayeri refers to Scheherazade throughout his narrative, weaving in aspects of her storytelling as he tells his own story. This book was my introduction to Scheherazade when I was in grade school and I just had to re-read it. It was every bit as good as I remember. 

Darius The Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram - I read this book after reading Everything Sad is Untrue and in some ways this story is the opposite...A Persian boy who has been raised in America goes back to Iran for the first time to see his ailing grandpa. Addresses mental illness, learning a new culture, making friends, father-son relationships, etc. A few awkward teenage boy moments thrown in here as well. 

Telephone Tales by Gianni Rodari, illustrated by Valerio Vidali, translated by Antony Shugaar - A collection of 70 stories told by an Italian businessman to his child over the phone while he's travelling. In the style of Scheherazade and 1001 Nights. It's a beautifully laid out book as well. There are flaps with illustrations that flip or open up to a 3-page spread. It's very cool. 


That Sounds Fun: The Joys of Being an Amateur, The Power of Falling in Love, and Why You Need a Hobby by Annie F. Downs - This was totally the right book at the right time for me. I really look up to Annie F. Downs personally and she's a great storyteller as well. I found especially meaningful her reflections on being an enneagram 7 during a pandemic, as well as her observations about hobbies and being an ameteur. I was a total ameteur when I started podcasting this year, but I have loved it and learned so much. I've also really been leaning into the hobby of knitting and it is totally something I do for love not money. I knew it was important to me, but Annie articulates why! 

Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage by Anne Lamott (Also author of Help, Thanks, Wow...one of my all-time favorite books on prayer.) Anne Lamott's newest book, reflections on marrying, aging, spiritual growth, hope, etc. I love Lamott's ability to have me deeply musing one moment and giggling the next. In all of her quirkiness and struggle, she finds hope. She's one of the people I look up to and look forward at when I think about life several decades from now. 

Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Petersen - I didn't love this book. A solid 3 star rating on this one. I am still interested in reading and learning more about burnout in my generation, but I think other authors are offering more of the perspective I was hoping to find in this book. I mention specifically The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer and Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge that have taught me some things about burnout but have been better for my soul. I'm also interested in reading Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

I'd love to hear about what you read in recently! Drop a comment below or come hang out with me on social media.

With lots of literary love from my library to yours,

~Library Laura 


My photo
Library Laura
Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


The Library Laura Podcast


Affiliate links disclosure

As an Amazon Associate and Bookshop.org Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through links on this blog. Thanks for your support!

Popular Posts

Laura 's Goodreads bookshelf: read

The Slug Queen Chronicles: Season One
Christmas Night 1776
A Perilous Undertaking
The Mostly Invisible Boy
Please Close It!
On the Bright Side: Stories about Friendship, Love, and Being True to Yourself
The Giving Tree
At Home in Mitford
The Last Year of the War
The Goblin Emperor
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Goodnight, Anne
Such a Fun Age
Every Heart a Doorway
The Underground Railroad
The Hate U Give
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
A Kind of Paradise

Laura Miller 's favorite books »

@library.laura on Instagram

The Library Laura Podcast on Facebook

Laura's Profile

Contact Form


Email *

Message *