Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Long Beach Leaders are Readers M. Lissette Flores, Past President and Board Member

Long Beach Leaders are Readers is our new series in which leaders in our community share recommended reads. In celebration of Latino Heritage Month, M. Lissette Flores has shared the following reading recommendation. Enjoy!

The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, first published in 1984

It’s a novel of short stories. The stories are both heart wrenching and warming all at once. They are about a young girl name Esperanza coming to terms with her culture, and finding, defining and inventing herself along the way.

I first read this book in college and remember for the first time that what I felt and saw around me was real and not a figment of my imagination – women being held back by inequality, how racism prevents certain communities from opportunities which often leads to poverty and violence, which are the tenets of social inequity. All these feelings I could never articulate I found present in The House on Mango Street.

My favorite story is titled Sally: “Sally, do you sometimes wish you didn’t have to go home?… and maybe your feet would stop in front of a house, a nice one with flowers and big windows and steps for you to climb two by two upstairs to where a room is waiting for you. And if you opened the little window… all the sky would come in. There would be no nosy neighbors watching, no motorcycles and cars, no sheets and towels and laundry. Only trees and more trees and plenty of blue sky. And you could laugh, Sally. And you could go to sleep and wake up and never have to think who likes and doesn’t like you. You could close your eyes and you wouldn’t have to worry what people said because you never belonged here anyway and nobody could make you sad and nobody would think you’re strange because you like to dream and dream… without someone thinking you are bad, without somebody saying it’s wrong, without the whole world waiting for you to make a mistake when all you wanted, all you wanted, Sally, was to love and to love and to love and to love, and no one could call that crazy.”

This book changed my life and allowed me to find my voice. I continue to find my voice on my equity, diversity, and inclusion journey. I love that this book is now introduced at the high school level. The young girl’s voice, Esperanza, will always remain in my heart. There is hope.

Love & Happy Reading,
M. Lissette Flores
LB Public Library Foundation Board Member

“Ser Cultos Para Ser Libres.”
Translated: “To be educated is the only way to be free.”
A quote attributed to José Martí, a Cuban poet.

Long Beach Leaders are Readers — Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach Executive Director

Long Beach Leaders are Readers is our new series in which leaders in our community share recommended reads. In celebration of the Library’s Summer Reading program sponsored by the Port of Long Beach, Mario Cordero, Port Executive Director, has shared the following reading recommendation available in the Library’s collection.

Shoe Dog, A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight

Vision. Determination. Hard Work. Success.

These are the driving factors behind the true story of the creator of NIKE, Phil Knight. Shoe Dog is a great American success story driven by innovation and an unwavering commitment to make one’s dream come true. Through hard work and determination to build something unique, this memoir serves to inspire all those with unconventional dreams. I highly recommend.

Long Beach Leaders are Readers — Mayor Robert Garcia

Long Beach Leaders are Readers is our new series in which leaders in our community share recommended reads. In celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has shared the following reading recommendation.

SupermanSon of KalEl (Volume 1) by Tom Taylor, art by John Timms

I’ve loved comic books ever since I was a kid and Superman has always been my favorite character. As an immigrant to this country, seeing the story of someone who was also born somewhere else — on another planet — grow up to protect people and make the world a better place was something that really spoke to me. In this new series, Superman’s son takes up his father’s mantle and I think really takes the story in an exciting, progressive direction. One of the main ways this happens is through Jon Kent coming to terms with his LGBTQ+ identity. Even as an adult now, it still feels really impactful to see this kind of representation — especially through a medium I grew up with. I am excited to recommend this comic as a part of the Leaders are Readers program, and I hope people enjoy this heroic journey and new direction for such a classic franchise.

Long Beach Leaders are Readers — Anil Pandya

Long Beach Leaders are Readers is our new series in which leaders in our community share recommended reads available in the Long Beach Public Library’s collection. In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2022, Library Foundation Board member, Anil Pandya, has shared the following reading recommendation.

As I am currently involved in a research project for a book I wish to write, my recent readings involve economics and politics, including some biographies of writers on these subjects, and have not read anything for pleasure. However, a few months ago at the urging of my wife, I read The Lady and the Monk by Pico Iyer.

To my surprise the book turned out to be highly pleasurable. It is a brilliant and moving biographical, personal, and cultural account of a highly accomplished and well-published itinerant travel writer, of Indian origin, who meets a remarkable Japanese woman in Kyoto Japan and marries her, while on an exploration of one of the world’s most beautiful cities— Kyoto. This is a marvelous book; easy to read, beautifully written, and sensitive and nuanced. It is also funny and sad but also insightful. My reaction when I read the book, which still lingers with me is the intelligence of the writer who has been able to observe a culture so different from that of the West, and so understandable from my own Indian cultural background from an Asian perspective and yet very different! Although, published in the 1990s, it is a very contemporary work. The LA Times Book Review on the back cover reads “A beautifully written book about someone looking for ancient dreams in a strange modern place.” And the blurb at the back states that it is “… a marvelously ironic yet heartfelt book that is at once a portrait of a cross-cultural infatuation- and misunderstanding—and a delightfully fresh way of seeing both the old Japan and the very new.” True, but it is also much more than seeing Japan. I strongly recommend the book to the young, the old and also the cynical among us, that you will love the book.

A few biographical notes:
Pico Iyer lives in Japan and has a home in Santa Barbara. His mother Nandini Nanak Mehta, until recently, taught Religion at a local university; his father studied and taught Philosophy at Oxford. Pico’s name is Siddharth Pico Raghavan Iyer. His parents grew up in India, then went to England and later moved to the US. His name is a combination of the Buddha’s name, Siddharth, and the 15th century Italian philosopher Pico della Mirandola, the writer of The Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the Renaissance Manifesto. European Renaissance eventually led to enlightenment in Europe as it emerged out of religious and political conflict and violent middle ages. Pico Iyer’s other books include Video Night in Kathmandu, The Global Soul among several others, and his essays have been published in Time, Harper’s BAZAAR, the New York Review of Books, and the New York Times.

Long Beach Leaders are Readers — Ryan Ballard

Long Beach Leaders are Readers is our new series in which leaders in our community share recommended reads available in the Long Beach Public Library’s collection. In celebration of National Library Week 2022, Library Foundation Board President Ryan Ballard has shared the following reading recommendation.

My book recommendation is Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates. I consider him to be my contemporary and the book is, in fact, a letter written to his teenage son, a scenario to which I can completely relate. Not only do I have three sons of my own but at the time of its publishing, my oldest was nearly the same age as the author’s son, for whom the book was written.

The book offers a window into the author’s life experiences, the challenges he’s faced that may mirror those of his son as he traverses through life as well as recommendations from a father to his son. What a tremendous legacy to leave your son that will have permanence and can be appreciated indefinitely. I can only hope to do the same for “my three sons.”