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Check It Out: The audacity of reading about hope

Hope inspires us to keep on plugging away and is more than just a wish that something will suddenly change.

It is an expectation that things will work out for the best. Hope motivates us to seek active solutions to problems and make positive changes to improve our circumstances. These books in the Newport Beach Public Library system provide inspirational stories about people’s hope for a better tomorrow:

“Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman — 90,000 Lives Changed,” by Dr. Hawa Abdi: In this memoir, meet Abdi, “the Mother Teresa of Somalia” and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. She is the founder of a camp for displaced people in war-torn Somalia, where people’s lives have been shattered by poverty and violence. She avidly describes the social and political history of Somalia, a country betrayed by its own people.

“The Cost of Hope: A Memoir,” by Amanda Bennett: This memoir deals with the strong and sparring love between the author and her husband, as well as the problems with the American healthcare system. Despite their access to the best medical care, they struggle with the discrepancies of the medical system in their struggles with his terminal cancer. She depicts her hope to save her husband’s life in the midst of tragedy.


“Wild Hope: On the Front Lines of Conservation Success,” by Andrew Balmford: In conservation, we tend to immerse ourselves in bad news — and with reason, given the stark realities facing nature. In addition, most people hearing this message do not translate it into changes in their own lives. Many of us tend to think of the continued environmental erosion as an inevitable process and unavoidable downside of human enterprise. This book, however, is the author’s attempt to challenge this hopelessness.

“The Hope Factory,” by Lavanya Sankaran: This story depicts modern India with the sensitive portrayal of two families. The protagonists include Anand K. Murthy, who owns his own business, and Kamala, a house cleaner who works in his home. Anand and Kamala, from two socially and financially different classes, are each aware of the other’s trials through their master-servant relationship. Despite their separate class struggles, they share the common threads of hard work and optimism.

“Hope Against Hope: Three Schools, One City, and the Struggle to Educate America’s Children,” by Sarah Carr: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many schools in New Orleans were destroyed and needed reform. Carr chronicles three charter high schools and the lives of several students. She explores the complexity of this type of school reform in which public schools operate independently of a school district. As a teacher, Carr struggles with newcomers and parent suspicions.

Hope enables us to keep trying, to look ahead for a better future. Like an anchor in stormy weather, hope is an emotion that keeps us grounded in the moment. So toss out an anchor and seek an empowered and better tomorrow.


CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.