Freedom to Live & Freedom to Read


When the world feels like a scary place, books can help us make sense of things. We've recently added a large display on Ukrainian history and regional politics, which we hope will help you feel informed. We have also ordered more works by Ukrainian writers, arriving soon, with the intention of helping you feel more connected.

On the topic of reading for understanding, book banning continues to rage across the country. The American Library Association (ALA) reports challenges have "a focus on books that address the voices and lived experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of color and LGBTQIA+ individuals." As a bookseller and a parent, I am outraged seeing books stripped from shelves because their very existence somehow threatens the status quo.

We agree with the ALA: Children need challenging books, not book challenges. In fact, we can all stand to be challenged in our reading - so this month, read out of your comfort zone. Read a work by someone unlike yourself, and choose to find some common ground within it.

— Meghan, Owner

River Bend Bookshop

Meghan's Banned Books Picks

When it comes to banned and challenged books, Stephen King's advice works for me:

"What I tell kids is: Don't get mad, get even. Don't spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don't walk, to the nearest local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know."

A few of my favorite favorite books from a long list of challenged titles are below.


The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Nobel Prize Winning Author

A classic by one of America's finest writers. An 11-year old Black girl prays for her eyes to turn blue so she can be beautiful. A must read.


Maus by Art Spiegelman

Expected back in stock next week!

This Pulitzer winner from 1986 tells the story of the author's father during WWII, depicting Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Perhaps the greatest graphic novel yet written.


Melissa (previously published as George) by Alex Gino

New edition out May 17

Melissa is finally getting to use her name in the upcoming rerelease of this award-winning middle grade novel about being who you are.


New Kid by Jerry Craft

Newbery Medal Winner

Jerry shared with us that everything in this book happened to him, or to his sons. If it is ok for them to live it, why is it not ok for other kids to read it?


What Are Your Words? by Katherine Locke

We had a great event with Katherine earlier this week, as they appeared in conversation with local author Rebecca Podos, who's From Dust, A Flame launched on Tuesday. This picture book is a Staff favorite.


Hey, Kiddo by Jarret Krosoczka

National Book Award Finalist

An exceptional graphic memoir of growing up with a drug-addicted mother, and living with grandparents, to which all too many children can relate. Brace for a happy ending!

Hot Stock! Fresh New Titles


Groundskeeping by Lee Cole


Gallant by V. E. Schwab


The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard


Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson

Virtual Book Events


Stars with Students

River Bend continues to connect top children's authors with students across the state. Check out some of the upcoming stars we've aligned.

Email us for information on how your school can get involved.

March 14
March 23

Recent Authors — Get Signed Stock While They Last

Aisha Saeed
Julian Randall
Nick Bruel

Current Staff Reads


Audrey: The Candy House by Jennifer Egan (out April 5)


Ernio: Maybe This Will Help (How to Feel Better When Things Stay The Same) by Michelle Rial


Deb: Conversations with People Who Hate Me by Dylan Marron (out March 29)


Taryn: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner


Tess: Fable by Adrienne Young


Anna: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett


Meghan: When the World Feels Like a Scary Place by Dr. Abigail Gewirtz


Audrey: The Legend of Brightblade by Ethan M. Aldridge


David: Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama by Bob Odenkirk

Author Chat with Gish Jen

If you missed Meghan Hayden chatting with author Gish Jen about her latest book of stories Thank You, Mr. Nixon, you can still enjoy the reading and discussion right on the website:

Get the Book

Spring and New Book Things

River Bend is getting the shop ready for Spring (at long last!) with books and fun gifts for St. Patrick's Day, Purim, Easter, Passover and warmer weather.

Drop by and see our new displays, book our Book Truck for your upcoming event and get ready for more to explore outdoors. 🌻

Spring Chalkboard.jpg

Hours: Monday-Tuesday 10-4, Wednesday-Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-4, closed Sunday

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter