Maroon Library

at Champaign Central High School

Author Spotlight: Neal Shusterman


Each week we will highlight a different author that your should know from our library collection.

This week’s author is Neal Shusterman.

Neal Shusterman is an author, screenwriter and television writer. We have a large collection of his books available at the Maroon Library. Sophomores get a chance to read his book, Unwind during their Dystopia unit in English class. Many of his books have made it on ALA best books and his book, Challenger Deep won the National Book Award. His books are eerily realistic with some dystopia and fantastical elements. Check out one of his books today!


Neal Shusterman.” Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2016. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 26 Aug. 2019

Shusterman, Neal. “Home.” Neal Shusterman, Accessed 26 Aug 2019.

Author Spotlight : Toni Morrison


Each week we will highlight a different author that your should know from our library collection.

This week’s author is Toni Morrison.

Toni Morrison was an author, book editor and professor. Her book, Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988. She was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature for novels that give “life to an essential aspect of American reality.”  Ms. Morrison passed away August 5th, 2019. We have a collection of her books, here at the Maroon Library. Check one out and learn more about this amazing author.


“Toni Morrison.”, A&E Networks Television, 6 Aug. 2019,

Williams, Andreá N. “Morrison, Toni.” World Book Advanced, World Book, 2019, Accessed 20 Aug.

March 2019 New at the Maroon Library

What’s New at the Maroon Library?

We have more new books in time for Spring Break! Pick a book and read something for fun.

Memoir & Biography


More New Nonfiction Books


Fantasy/Science Fiction
Here is just a sample of the new books we have in this category.

More New Fiction Books

What’s New at the Maroon Library

What’s New at the Maroon Library?

Here is a list of our new books divided by topic & genre. You can find them at our new book display!

Memoir & Biography

Sports celebrities, the daughter of Steve Jobs and a youtube star. Coming soon: Becoming by Michelle Obama and Unpresidented: A biography of Donald Trump.

Science & Technology

We also have the DVD The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Art & Graphic Novels

We have some great art books and graphic novels. Be sure to check out A Year Without Mom by fellow Urbana alumni, Dasha Tolstikova!

History & Social Issues


Aside from some new cookbooks we also have a subscription to Food Magazine. (Tasty cookbook is coming soon). Check it out!

Fantasy/Science Fiction


Realistic Fiction/Historical Fiction/Sports/Romance

Here’s the rest of our amazing books. Stop by the library soon!

The Lincoln Award



The Lincoln Award is an Illinois student choice award. That means only students in high school across the state of Illinois can decide which books wins.

Students that read at least four books from the Lincoln Nominees list of 20 books, get to vote in March for the book they think is the best.



Welcome Back!

The Maroon Library is open! Here are some things you will want to know about our space:

FOUR WEEK checkout
That’s right! When you check out a book, you now have 4 weeks to get it back to us.

The library is a choice for students in advisory. If you are getting all As and Bs in your classes, you can select the library or study hall.

6th hour Open Lunch
6th hour is your one break in the day. If you want a quieter atmosphere to read or get some work done, the library is a great choice.

Chrome Depot
Having an issue with your Chromebook? Stop by Chrome Depot. The office is just past our magazine section. Chrome depot is open from 7:45am-1pm and 3:20-3:45pm.

Welcome back to your Maroon library!

My 2017 Favorite Books

Each December, I like to look back at what I read and share those books that I personally thought were the best. I can never have just one favorite, so it is a list. Luckily, an app like Goodreads, helps me keep track of what I read. I highly recommend everyone to keep track in some way whether it is through an app or a journal or list.

Here are my top 10 favorite books of 2017. Books are in order by the author’s last name, not in any recommended order.


The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

This book is not for everyone. I enjoy Kostova’s writing but it is very slow and meticulous. Her books are ones that you should take your time with. This novel was set in Bulgaria during the present-day but there is a lot of history and mystery to this book.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

This book reminded me why I love young adult books and had everything I like about books in general: Action, adventure, mystery, romance with the added bonus of pirates. So much fun! Enjoy!

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

This book was a comfort read. It follows the life of Penelope Keeling. She is nearing the end of her life and reflecting on all the things that have happened in her past and the present. Reading the synopsis, I was a little skeptical and therefore was amazed by how much I loved this book. Pilcher is a good writer and if the premise is remotely interesting to you, you will like this book.

The Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

This book is told in verse, so it doesn’t take as much time to read, but wow, it definitely is just as emotionally draining as his other books. Will’s brother just died and he is out for revenge. While he is taking the elevator down, gun in hand, he runs into ghosts from the past.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

This is a book about mother and daughters, a traditional mountain village turning into a modern town and a young woman who had to give up her daughter and find her own way. There was so much to like about this book, including the hopeful ending.

The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas

You can believe the hype about this book. The characters felt real and authentic and the situations these characters found themselves in seem all too real. I believe this book is so important because I think a lot of people will find themselves represented in some way in this book and I believe a lot of people can use this book as a window to see a glimpse of what life can be like. Books have the power, not only to show us who we are but also the power to help us understand and empathize with others. This book should be required reading for everyone.

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Don’t let this book slip below your radar. I loved this book and the main character so much. I think what makes this book unique is that it focuses on the microagressions (indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group) that young women of color face. She goes to a good school with good teachers, and yet, is overlooked for a trip. She has a mentor who has good intentions but even though they are both African-American, her mentor comes from a affluent family and does not always understand Jade and they have a tenuous relationship. She gets random comments from men on the street about her body. She hides food because she is overweight and feels and experiences judgement from others over what she eats. But through all of this, Jade finds a way to make a difference and figure out who she is.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

I listened to this book while doing an inventory of the library. It took a while to get used to how the story was being told but the writing was very well done. The subject of slavery is always hard to read. Even though this was a work of fiction where the underground railroad is an actual railroad it was apparent how thorough the research was. There was a lot more I had to say about the book at the time, so my New Year’s Resolution is to review  a book right after I read it. Just like the Shadow Thieves and The Tea Girl books, this is not a fast-paced book, so be willing to take some time with it.

Gem and Dixie by Sara Zarr

This book did a good job on showing how poverty, especially food insecurity affects students. The book follows two sisters, Gem and Dixie and their complicated relationship with each other and their parents. Their father comes back into their lives after years of being away and it effects the family in different ways. I don’t read a lot of realistic fiction but I felt this book was sympathetic and honest about their characters.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Fabiola and her mother immigrate from Haiti to Detroit where her aunt and cousins live. In New York, her mother is detained and Fabiola has to continue alone. The book delves into the immigrant experience, life experience in a poor neighborhood, life for students that go to a private school far away from their neighborhood. It is just as important as the other books on this list, important as a mirror and a window.


Student Activists

I love my new book display
Student Activists: Real life and fictional heroes
Check one out today!



It’s Orientation Season at the Maroon Library!

Beginning of the school year means library orientation for our Freshmen and Sophomore students and short library refreshers for our Junior and Senior students. What that really means is I see every. single. student before September 15. Here’s what YOU need to know about our library:

We’re open from 7:30-3:45
We want to meet you!
We have more than books (but our books are amazing!)

We have board games available for checkout, like Catan, Forbidden Island….games2games1

A favorite spot for students and staff is the Calm Coloring Corner


We want to be a resource for you! Checkout books, get research help, volunteer, be a part of YOUR Maroon Library!


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