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teacup books

It was my thirteenth birthday. The present from my grandmother was heavy and thick; it felt like a book. My favorite. I knew that it was going to be something important and special. Something that would change my life. I ripped open the wrapping paper. And there it was. LITTLE WOMEN. I opened it immediately and started to read. I have no memory of the rest of the party, or even the day. I just remember being in Concord, Massachusetts with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.  

Few other books have molded my childhood like this one did. I immediately saw myself in Jo. I wanted to be a writer like she did. Like Jo, I got frustrated at the unfairness in the world. And also like Jo, I loved my family deeply. If Jo, despite everything, could achieve her dreams,  then so would I. She was the reason I came to love books so much, why I would become an English major. She was why I would teach and eventually become a librarian.  

And I’m not the only one who has been influenced by Little Women and especially by Jo. Writer and director of SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, YOU'VE GOT MAIL, and JULIE AND JULIA, Nora Ephron and her sister Delia grew up reading the book and taking turns playing Jo. Stephanie Meyer cites it as one of her earliest inspirations to become a writer. And the list goes on of women who were particularly inspired to write because of reading this book: Cynthia Ozik, Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley, Anne Tyler, Mary Gordon, Margaret Atwood, and Jhumpa Lahiri are just a few.  

What is it that makes this book published in 1868-1869, 150 years ago, resonate with girls and women in the 21st century? Maybe it is the strong female characters that each must face her own challenges growing up. Maybe it is portrayal of sisterhood during war and hard economic times that speaks to our modern sensibilities. Whatever it is seems to touch our hearts and makes us long to be better and to be more.  

Is it time for you to discover or rediscover this classic? For all things Little Women, check out these offerings from our catalog. 

2.6 Little WomenTHE ANNOTATED LITTLE WOMEN
By Louisa May Alcott
Edited by John Matteson
(2015)

Pulitzer Prize-winning Alcott biographer John Matteson illuminates the world of Little Women and its author.

 

2.6 Meg Jo Beth and AmyMEG, JO, BETH, AMY: THE STORY OF LITTLE WOMEN AND WHY IT STILL MATTERS
By  Anne Boyd Rioux
(2018)

In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women. 

 

2.6 Little Women DVDLITTLE WOMEN
Directed by Gillian Armstrong
(1994)

A beloved film adaptation starring Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and Susan Sarandon.

 

2.6 Little Women 2018LITTLE WOMEN
Directed by Clare Niederpruem
(2018)

A modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott's novel. The story details to the passage from childhood to womanhood of Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy who are all sisters. Despite hard times, they cling to optimism. As they mature they face blossoming ambitions and relationships, as well as tragedy, while maintaining their unbreakable bond as sisters.   

 

 oldies

"New Release!"

"Add this new book to your list!"

"Don't miss these books in 2019!"

"This year is already turning out to be a great year for books so don’t delay, read today!"

Have you ever been caught in that trap? I have. In fact as a librarian I often feel like I should only read books that are new and current that way I stay on top of what is new. As a result I neglect to read books that have been around for a while and I know that I miss out on some really amazing books.

I decided that I needed to broaden my reading realm and add some of the classic older books to my long reading list along with new and current titles. I started thinking about authors who have been writing for a number of years and who have won awards in the past, and one day as I was going through a section in the library I happened to come across a section of books written by the Newbery author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

As I stopped to look at the shelves of books that she has written, I was surprised. I had not realized she had written so many books. She has written over 135 childrens books as well as Young Adult books.  Her books range from historical fiction to fantasy to humor and everything in between. I decided I needed to read one of her books so I checked out one that I had never read before called BLIZZARD'S WAKE. I loved it. She is such a great storyteller and I found myself drawn into the story very quickly. It wasn’t a long book but it was excellent and I found myself devouring it. I knew Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was a renowned author but it was good to be reminded again that her books shouldn’t be discounted or forgotten just because they were not written in the past year.

There are many authors like Naylor who have written award winning books but because it has been a few years since they have written a book we tend to forget about them. There are so many great books out there to read so don’t be like me and forget about some of the oldies but goodies. Go and find a book that may have been written a decade ago, or find one that you have been meaning to ready for years and get swept away in a wonderful story. Here are a few of my favorite books written by some time honored authors

2.4 The WitchesTHE WITCHES
By Roald Dahl
(1983)

This is one of my all-time favorite read-alouds. “This is not a fairytale. This is about REAL WITCHES.” Grandmamma loves to tell stories about witches and shares her knowledge with her grandson. When he comes face to face with the grand high witch herself he learns just how dangerous she can be, but he is clever and plots against the witches. Fun read for all ages.

 

2.4 The Magicians NephewTHE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW 
By CS Lewis
(1955)

I loved reading all seven volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia but my favorite was The Magician's Nephew. The creation of the world of Narnia was monumental and I loved the message in the book. The explanation of how the world of Narnia came to be and the role Aslan played in the creation was captivating to me. I have to admit that the explanation of how the wardrobe became tied to Narnia and became a portal to return one to this magical land helped me understand the rest of the stories better.

 

2.4 The Witch of Blackbird PondTHE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND
By Elizabeth George Speare
(1958)

I have read this book many times, and I’ll admit that I don’t do that very often. I still think my experience reading this book for the first time as a fifth grader was magical. I had just started reading books for pleasure instead of for school work when I read this story. It made the witch trials come alive for me in a very real way. Puritan life in colonial times was difficult, but when Kit befriended the local witch, Hannah, she was able to find a friend to confide in and to help her through the difficult times.

 

2.4 Where the Red Fern GrowsWHERE THE RED FERN GROWS
By Wilson Rawls
(1961)

Read this book with a box of tissues (I still can’t read it without crying). The author, Wilson Rawls, had a way of creating a world that was so real to me as a young reader. I sat at night listening to this story as my dad read it to me and I was transported into the Ozark mountains. I ran alongside Billy as he taught his dogs how to chase coons and hunt and become some of the finest hunting dogs around. 

 

2.4 Tale of a Fourth Grade NothingTALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING
By Judy Blume
(1972)

How many of us have experienced the trials of a younger sibling! This humorous book about Peter and his little brother Fudge is a book that many of us can relate to. I remember laughing out loud at some of the funny things Fudge did and said in the book, from throwing mashed potatoes to dumping his food on his head. A quick fun read.

 

Downtown Provo

I don’t know about you, but I love adventures. I love going to new places and trying new things. However, I do not have an endless supply of money or time off. Some would say that this is a problem. I say that limited resources are the opportunity for creativity.

Thanks to my frugal adventuring, I’ve found a few hidden gems on Provo Center Street:

THE SOAP FACTORY
54 W Center Steet

This business is located above the Lotus Garden, and getting there requires ascending a slightly hidden and fairly narrow staircase beside the Lotus Garden’s entrance. You could miss it if you’re not careful.

Believe me.

I missed it.

This endearing entrance is only a precursor to the fun activity inside.

At The Soap Factory you can make your own soap, lotions and scrubs. This involves choosing a mold, smell, and color.  I made a blue Millennium Falcon soap bar with an orange scent. The staff is great, the pricing is reasonable ($5 entrance fee + $.05/gram for your product), and the ingredients are all-natural. If you’re looking for a fun activity to do, I would recommend visiting The Soap Factory

FOXGLOVE FLOWERS AND GIFTS
366 W Center Street

I went in to get a simple bouquet for a friend. I came out not only with a beautiful bouquet but with a significantly higher expectation of floral arrangements.

The friendly staff asked me what my vision was for the bouquet (I went with a winter wonderland theme). It was made right in front of me and they worked with my price range. To top it all off, the presentation of their flowers is amazing: think twine, parchment paper, and a ribbon. That extra step of thoughtful staging makes a bouquet more elegant and desirable. I’m tempted to go back and buy some flowers for myself.

HRUSKA'S KOLACHES
434 W Center Street

What is an adventure without good food? A kolach is a sweet or savory Czech pastry. If you want your life to be filled with love and goodness, I suggest you make the time to try one.

I purchased two kolaches when I went: sweet Nutella and savory sausage. You know that feeling you get when you fill up your car tank and you see the gas gauge a little above full? These pastries taste better than that.

I should warn you about the determination and will power it takes to purchase a kolach.  Their business hours are 6:30 AM –sellout, and the line can rival the crowd at a midnight showing of Star Wars. But don’t let that deter you. It is worth getting up early and standing in line for these pastries. You’ll be happy you tried them.

PIONEER BOOK
450 W Center Street

What kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t advocate for a bookstore? Pioneer Book has gently used books at reasonable prices. I was fortunate to find a signed copy of My Fair Godmother when I went in. That was one of my favorite books in high school, so I obviously bought it.

Not only do they have lovely books, but they also have several sales a year. Their desk made out of books is something from a fairy tale and their displays are enough to make a book addict salivate. As an added bonus, they also sell fountain pens.

disney

When I was growing up, my family was always a “Disneyland family.” You know, some families take trips to Disney theme parks and some don’t – mine was always in the first category. In fact, some of my fondest family memories are from trips to Disney parks. Even as an adult, I have something of a reputation for being a Disney person – that may be because I have an Annual Pass to Disney World (yes, in Florida) even though it is 2,321 miles away from the Provo City Library. 

I like to think that all of these trips over the years were training me for the day that a patron would walk into the Library and ask “we’re planning a trip to Disneyland. Do you have any books to help get our kids excited?” The answer, of course, was yes. Here are my five favorite recommendations, from the unofficial Disney Expert at the PCL, to anyone who has the same question. 

1.28 Pocket Full of ColorsPOCKET FULL OF COLORS: THE MAGICAL WORLD OF MARY BLAIR, DISNEY ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE
By Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville
Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
(2017)

This book is actually one of my favorite recent books, even for non-Disney fans. It is all about Mary Blair, the most famous Disney animator you’ve never heard of. In the 1950s she worked as a concept animator for films like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Cinderella before leaving to work in advertising. She was then brought back by Walt Disney himself to design It’s a Small World. This  book is filled with lots of Disney goodness and will make even the most reluctant willing to board “the happiest cruise that ever sailed.” 

 

1.28 Secrets of DisneylandSECRETS OF DISNEYLAND: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL FACTS ABOUT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
By Dinah Williams
(2013)

When I was a kid visiting Disney, the best part was bugging my parents and older siblings with secret, hidden, little-known facts and tidbits I had collected (I was a youngest child who would grow up to be a librarian, what can I say?). This book is filled with all kinds of behind-the-scenes information that kids will be excited to share. If you’re headed to Florida instead of Anaheim there is also a Disney World version – SECRETS OF WALT DISNEY WORLD: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL FACTS ABOUT THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH

 

1.28 Walts ImaginationWALT’S IMAGINATION: THE LIFE OF WALT DISNEY
By Doreen Rappaport
(2018)

If you’re trying to get excited for a Disney trip, there is no better place to start than with the man himself. This new picture book biography explores the life of Walt Disney for young readers with beautiful illustrations featuring Walt, Mickey Mouse, and other familiar faces.   

 

1.28 PiratesPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
By Xavier Atencio
(2017)

Let’s be honest, no Disney trip preparation is complete without a little Disney music. Pirates of the Caribbean is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland and this picture book captures the magic of the ride with original illustrations to accompany everyone’s favorite pirate song. 

 

1.28 Keymasters QuestTHE KEYMASTER’S QUEST
By Jason Lethcoe
(2017)

For older readers looking to get in on some pre (or post) Disneyland action, this adventurous series of Middle Grade novels is a good place to start. Set in the worlds of Disney’s Adventureland (The Enchanted Tiki Room, the Jungle Cruise, etc.) this book follows Andy Stanley as he ventures deep into the jungle to keep magical artifacts from falling into the wrong hands. It’s an adventurous story made better by some good puzzles and Disney magic.

 

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