• kenneth oppel things


    In case you haven't heard, award-winning author Kenneth Oppel will be here at the Provo City Library on Wednesday, May 4 (that's one week from today!). You can get tickets at our First Floor Reference Desk, or online. While you're waiting, here are 10 things you might not have known about Kenneth Oppel!

    • He was born on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
    • He decided to be an author when he was 12 and when he was 18 got his first novel published.
    • His first novel was published because he had a friend who was the friend of Roald Dahl.  Dahl read his manuscript and sent it on to his own publisher.
    • He double majored in college in Cinema Studies and English.
    • He has lived in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada; Oxford, England (while his wife was doing a PhD in Shakespeare Studies); and Dublin, Ireland.
    • It took about 8 months for him to write each of his Silverwing books, but 18 months to write Airborn.
    • All the different kinds of bats in his Silverwing series are based on real bat species.
    • He has written 14 novels, 9 early readers/chapter books, and 6 picture books.
    • When he is not writing he likes to travel, often by train.
    • Every morning when he wakes up, he tries to write down what he dreamed during the night. He uses material from his dreams in some of his books.

    Pick up Kenneth Oppel's books at the library, and then come and meet him next Wednesday!

  • sanderson header


    International best-selling author, Brandon Sanderson (MISTBORN, ALCATRAZ VS. THE EVIL LIBRARIANS) spoke at the Provo Library Wednesday, February 1, 2017 with the Children’s Literature Association of Utah and spent much of the evening encouraging young writers.

    “You aren’t going to sell many books at first, but don’t panic—it’s a slow burn,” said Sanderson. 

    Sanderson explained that he wrote 15 books before he ever sold 1. But he believes that this “slow burn” helped him in the long run. 

    “I wanted to be a writer but I had no idea how to do it. I was really bad at this when I started. It doesn’t sound like an advantage but it really was,” said Sanderson. 

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    By the time was he good enough to sell his books, he had already tested ideas and learned how to bring stories together. He was able to hit the ground running when he began publishing his books which helps him write more steadily than authors who might just be starting out. 

    Sanderson said that the low point in his career came after he had published nearly 11 books but still wasn’t selling very many.  

    “I started wondering, am I just wasting my life?” Sanderson remembered. “Maybe I really am just terrible at this and nobody will tell me.”

    Sanderson was told that his books were too long, with stories that weren’t gritty enough and worlds that were too weird. 

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    “I had this soul searching moment where I thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’ And the answer I got was that I like telling stories. I legitimately love writing these books,” explained Sanderson. 

    Even if he couldn’t make a living from writing books. Sanderson said he would still want to write them. 

    “I really wanted to make a living with my writing but at the end of the day that’s not why I was doing it. I love doing it,” said Sanderson.  

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    To view upcoming visits from authors, check out our schedule or subscribe to our AuthorLink Newsletter

  • cressida cowell header


    Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON series, spoke at the Provo Library Monday, November 14 on the inspiration for dragons and writing that she received as a nine year-old girl. 

    “How to Train Your Dragon is sort of is a true story from my childhood, which seems a bit unlikely,” says Cressida. “When I was nine years old, I was always writing, I was always reading, but I didn’t know that being a writer was something I could be.”

    Growing up in London, Cressida spent every summer of her childhood with her parents on a deserted island off the west coast of Scotland. 

    cowell 1

    “A long time ago, real Vikings came down the coast from Norway and lived on that island,” explains Cressida. “I used to play and imagine what it would be like to be a Viking and that the storm was the sound of the dragon waking up.”

    The Vikings believed that dragons existed and the stories they left behind sparked young Cressida’s imagination.  She credits the mysterious stories of dragons in the caves she explored and the very real, strange creatures she met while fishing in the ocean as the source of her storytelling because the task of a writer is to make the reader believe that the story is true. 

    “Writing is like telling a really big lie. The more detail you put into the lie and the more you base it in a tiny vein of truth the more it comes to life,” says Cressida. “You have to treat your fantasy as if it’s real.” 

    cowell 2

    While she loves “lying” and making up worlds around her stories, her favorite part of writing is reading the stories of children and encouraging their imaginations. 

    As child, Cressida wanted to be an illustrator. She would try to copy Snoopy, but no matter how hard she tried, she could never draw him as well as the real Snoopy. 

    “I thought, ‘Oh No! That means I’m not going to be an illustrator!’ But it didn’t mean that. It meant that I was nine,” says Cressida. “Don’t forget that you have plenty of time to grow.”

    cowell 3

    To view upcoming visits from authors, check out our schedule or subscribe to our AuthorLink Newsletter.

  • yang


    On Friday, September 16 we kicked off our first ever, annual Graphic Novel Festival: Get Graphic. Our keynote speaker, Gene Luen Yang, comic book author and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (appointed by the Library of Congress, Every Child A Reader, and the Children’s Book Council), explained the educational value of comic books. 

    As the son of immigrant parents, Yang says he grew up in a house full of stories.

    “Immigrant parents tells stories to their children as a way of connecting them to the culture that they left,” says Yang. “I grew up telling stories, and I also grew up drawing.”

    As a child, Yang fell in love with cartoons because they proved that you could use drawings to tell a story. He dreamed of one day becoming a Disney animator. When Yang discovered a Marvel comic book, that all changed and soon he grew from comic book reader to comic book creator.


    “One of my favorite things about comic books is that the dividing line between who’s a fan and who’s a creator is really thin,” says Yang. “If you want to become a comic book creator all you need are some pens, some paper and maybe like a healthy ignorance of your own artistic limitations.”

    Even though Yang’s been creating comics for a long time, he’s only been at it full time for about a year and a half. Before that, he was also a high school teacher, and he would bring up comics with his students hoping to seem cool—it didn’t work. As a high school teacher, he often felt like Batman, living with two separate identities, keeping his comic and his teaching life separate. 

    However, comics began to take on a more pivotal role in his life when one day he needed a substitute teacher. His first solution was to videotape lectures, which he describes as an utter disaster.

    “Mr. Yang we thought you were boring in person, but on video, you are just unbearable,” said his students.  

    In a desperate second attempt, Yang drew his lectures as comics. To his surprise, they were a hit and a preferred means to Yang in person. 


    Surprised that a generation that grew up with screens would prefer reading lectures on a page over a screen, he looked into why comics were working. 

    He found that comics in the classroom was not such a novel idea. Comics have been used all over the world for nearly a century in classrooms all around the world. He realized that comics as a single, unified, multimedia experience give the reader complete control of information transfer rather than the creator. 

    “When I was giving them the comic lectures it was like I was giving them a remote control. If they didn’t understand something in my lecture, they could just read it again, or go more slowly. If I was talking about something they already understood, they could skip over it,” says Yang. “That’s only true of comics. That’s the only visual narrative medium that has that quality.”

    Comics have as much a place in the classroom as a book because, for many reluctant readers, comics lead to a love of reading.  

    After addressing this audience of parents and educators, Yang signed books; on Saturday, he offered a keynote address especially for those hoping to make comics. Look for that recap next week!

  • jennifern recap


    Last month, we were privileged to hear and experience the mind of Jennifer Nielsen, author of THE FALSE PRINCE, for the launch of her latest book, THE SCOURGE.  

    Nielson began the night by introducing a game based on her new novel, THE SCOURGE. She divided the audience into teams, the pinch worms vs. the grubs, which represent the two conflicting classes in the book. The teams were then tasked to complete a series of games such as Cupcake Stacking and Tic-Tac Shaking—as to whether or not these events are also based on the book, you’ll have to read it.  

    Nielsen went on to explain that the idea behind THE SCOURGE, a children’s book, came from the least kid-friendly topic she could think of—Leprosy.

    “In the 20th century, we knew what Leprosy was. It was a disease we could cure, but the stigma on it was so bad that it was still legal to force people away from their homes,” said Nielsen. “The injustice of that just floored me. There are still today places where leprosy victims are living in colonies completely healed, but they have no home left to return to.”

    She explained that she considered that if a person in power manipulated the fear people have of disease, that person would have an incredible about of power over the population. Thus, THE SCOURGE was born.

    Despite the novel’s dark topic, Nielsen claims that through writing for children and crafting their characters, the book became one of the funnier books she’s written.

    To view upcoming visits from authors, check out our fall schedule or subscribe to our AuthorLink Newsletter.

  • J Donaldson

    Julianne Donaldson, author of EDENBROOKE and BLACKMOORE spoke at the Provo Library not of writing advice in a technical sense but of chasing your dreams on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

    She explained that when she first began writing nearly a decade ago, she was already running an eBay business and teaching piano lessons to keep her family afloat while her husband attended law school.

    “Life felt really hard,” Donaldson says. “Every time I went to the grocery store I had to pay with my food stamps card and I just wanted to tell people in line that it’s not going to be like this forever. One day, I’m going to have enough money to buy my own groceries.”

    DSC 5524Over 300 readers came to hear Donaldson speak

    She turned to books like the Regency romances of Georgette Heyer, but found that there weren’t many stories like the ones she wanted to read. So, washing dishes while her three children smashed goldfish on the kitchen table, her own stories and characters began to take form.

    “I was writing this story, with no thought that it would ever be published one day. I was just doing it for myself,” said Donaldson. “I loved the experience of escaping to a place where there was a lot of romance, there were no kids, and both my hero and heroine are filthy rich because it’s fantasy.”

    As an English major, Donaldson had focused on studying literature and had never taken a creative writing class, but began writing what she did know, the Regency romance of those she had studied.

    “I had this moment where I was like, ‘Oh! This is my talent. This is what I was given to do, to write a romance,” says Donaldson.

    She realized that this talent was special and couldn’t be ignored simply because she was already a mother—she had more to do. As she became more passionate about her work she dreamed of traveling to England to begin seriously researching the book she wanted to write.

    “It was this whirlwind adventure of me driving through England, in a rental car, hugging the wrong side of the road,” says Donaldson. “Every time we came to a roundabout I couldn’t stand the terror of going around, so we just kept driving in a circle.”

    DSC 5549She'll be signing for hours!

    When she was able to overcome her fear of right turns, Donaldson set out to experience the grandeur that her characters might experience and she felt inspired to write specific scenes that were more closely focused on the Regency world she wished to make accessible. She took pictures, talked with locals, researched and taped pictures of the attractive men she based her heroes on to her computer while writing and rewriting her books.

    After Donaldson’s many years of hard work and perseverance, her labor of love, EDENBROOKE was finally published, but more importantly, Donaldson felt like she was able to write her way towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

    “I found that pursuing the talents that I had been given and using them to create really helped me to feel better about myself and my life,” Donaldson says. “It’s always the right time to pursue your dreams and it doesn’t matter what they are.”

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    To view upcoming visits from authors, check out our fall schedule or subscribe to our AuthorLink Newsletter.

  • Rosemary Wells

    International best-selling children’s author and illustrator Rosemary Wells (MAX AND RUBY Series, NOISY NORA, and YOKO) spoke at the Provo City Library on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, about art in children’s books. 

    Rosemary explained that over her 40-year career she has refined her process as an illustrator by committing to perfection. She tries to start every day painting perfectly. 

    “I take a piece of line art and I color it in from beginning to end perfectly. I color it perfectly. If I make a mistake, I throw it away and start again. What this exercise does is keep my eyes sharp and my hands steady,” says Rosemary. 

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    Rosemary then showed a video of how she paints and explained the various types of media in her artwork: rubberstamps, pencil, pastels, watercolor, and even sometimes rice. She believes it’s important that every child understands the process and the significance behind art to better enable a child to create art themselves.

    “I believe that every child can be an artist and has something of an artist in them even if they don’t grow up to be one like me,” says Rosemary. 

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    Although Rosemary considers herself a professional illustrator, writing is one of her favorite things to do. She believes that taking the time to teach children to write and to keep them motivated in writing is what will allow children to have the most success. 

    “Writing is the hardest thing that any child will ever learn. It’s harder than physics; it’s harder than calculus. You have to learn to produce valuable material into a readable whole. That is difficult. And it’s particularly difficult for young children," says Rosemary.

    To view upcoming visits from authors, check out our schedule or subscribe to our AuthorLink Newsletter


    The library’s AuthorLink series makes it possible for you to connect with all kinds of authors, from New York Times Bestsellers to great up-and-coming talent. So you won’t want to miss our March 30th event when we’ll be hosting YA author Rosalyn Eves just after the release of her debut fantasy novel, BLOOD ROSE REBELLION.

    Rosalyn Eves pursued a degree in English at BYU before going on to achieve both an MA and Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition at Penn State, one of the most prestigious programs in the country.

    I meet Rosalyn as a sophomore in one of her writing courses at Southern Utah University, where she and her Chemistry professor husband were teaching. She was the first to introduce me to the field of rhetoric, which has now become the emphasis of my graduate coursework. Needless to say, she was a passionate and engaging teacher. In fact, she tends to leave an impression wherever she goes—I can vouch that quite a few members of the BYU English department faculty still brag about her.

    A Ph.D. in rhetoric isn’t a direct route to a hit YA fantasy novel. Like many authors, Rosalyn found a talent for writing early in life, but it wasn’t until after her second child was born that she decided to devote more time to creative writing. After seven years of research, writing groups, and online contests, Rosalyn’s manuscript has been through a lot of hard work and tears. She connected with a great agent (a process those who attend the event may want to learn more about), and the book quickly sold to a publisher. It’s available on Amazon March 28th!

    I asked Rosalyn about her writing process, and she shared that she had to do quite a bit of research to write BLOOD ROSE REBELLION. This book may be fantasy, but it’s set in historical Hungary. Even though Rosalyn has spent some significant time in that country, she had to learn a lot before she could dive into the story.

    “I typically do research until I have enough information to start writing, then I do research as needed as the story progresses," explained Rosalyn. "Sometimes you find you really need to know if men wore top hats into a church, for instance, and there's no real way to anticipate needing to know that type of thing beforehand.”

    Check out the AuthorLink page for the book’s official abstract, and plan on attending this wonderful author event!

    blood rose rebellionBLOOD ROSE REBELLION
    Rosalyn Eves

    In this first book in a fantasy trilogy, social prestige is derived from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic. However, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place. Sent from England to her family's once powerful but now oppressed native Hungary, Anna Arden finds herself in the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani. She must choose to either deny her unique power and cling to the life she's always wanted, or embrace her gift, spark a rebellion, and change the world forever.


  • As you may know, we love hosting authors here at the Provo City Library! This month we've got visits planned from Julie Berry and Darren Shan, and next month we'll welcome Kenneth Oppel and David Wiesner. Get full event details on our AuthorLink page. 

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  • Reichs Dashner FB

    The Provo Library will soon host two amazingly awesome authors, James Dashner and Brendan Reichs. They will be visiting March 25 at 7:30 PM in The Attic (Located on the 4th Floor of the Academy Wing at the Provo City Library). If you are as excited as I am for their visit you might like to learn a little bit more about these great writers.

    James Dashner

    James Dashner was born in 1972 in Austell, Georgia, one of six children. He was an avid reader and, by the age of 10, started to write stories on his family’s old typewriter. He graduated from high school in Georgia, then came to Utah to attend BYU where he got a master’s degree in accounting in 1991. He worked as an accountant for a while but continued pursuing his interest in writing. In 2003, his first book, THE DOOR IN THE WOODS, was published by Cedar Fort, the first in the Jimmy Fincher Saga. That series was followed by the popular 13TH REALITY series. Dashner’s international fame was assured with the MAZE RUNNER series, the first book of which made the New York Times bestseller list for 100 weeks. MAZE RUNNER was, of course, made into a hit movie. Dashner loves his career as a writer and doesn’t miss accounting at all. He lives in Utah with his wife, Lynette, and four children. 

    Brendan Reichs

    Brendan Reichs is also a southerner, born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He had an interesting childhood. His mother, Kathy Reichs, is a forensic anthropologist and a New York Times bestseller adult mystery writer. She is also a writer for the long-standing TV series BONES. Brendan Reichs attended WakeForest University in North Carolina and then received a law degree from George Washington University. He worked as a litigation lawyer for three years but left law to co-write the VIRALS series with his mother. His new solo YA series, NEMESIS, is coming out this year. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Charlotte, two children, a dog, and two ferocious cats.

    door in the woodsThe Door in the Woods
    by James Dashner

    From Duluth, Georgia, fourteen-year- old Jimmy Fincher sets off on a quest that takes him across the country and to other, sometimes terrifying, worlds, armed with a powerful gift and a mission: to prevent the evil Stompers from destroying Earth.




    journal of curious lettersTHE 13TH REALITY: THE JOURNAL OF CURIOUS LETTERS
    By James Dashner

    Thirteen-year- old Atticus "Tick" Higginbottom begins receiving mysterious letters from around the world signed only "M.G.," and the clues contained therein lead him on a journey to the perilous 13th Reality and a confrontation with evil Mistress Jane.




    maze runnerTHE MAZE RUNNER
    by James Dashner

    Sixteen-year- old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.




    ViralsTHE VIRALS
    by Kathy and Brendan Reichs

    This series spins off of the Bones TV show that Kathy Reichs wrote. Tory Brennan, Temperance Brennan’s niece, and her friends must race against time to solve a murder after being exposed to a virus that gives them animal-like abilities.



  • gene yang

    On the second day of our Get Graphic! Festival,  we started thinking about how to be a cartoonist. Artists like Gene Luen Yang, (AMERICAN BORN CHINESE), Jess Smart Smiley (UPSIDE DOWN: A VAMPIRE TALE), and Jake Parker (MISSILE MOUSE) held workshops on the process of making a comic. These are 7 things we learned:

    1. Yang suggested having ideas rooted in what you know. In his first comic, GORDON YAMAMOTO AND THE KING OF THE GEEKS, he tells the story of a young man with a spaceship stuck up his nose.   “This is from my life. I have never had a spaceship stuck up my nose, but I have had a lifelong struggle with sinus issues,” said Yang. “The problem with sinus issues is that it’s never anyone’s fault. But one day I began thinking, what if it was somebody’s fault? What if there was something sentient plugging up my nose?”  

    2. The characters an artist draws and even the artist’s own artistic style change as they are drawing. To overcome this, Yang says that he draws his characters over and over again till they stop changing.  

    3. Real writers organize their stories before writing. You think your subconscious can handle writing blind, but if you're anything like Yang, your subconscious is an idiot.  

    4. Smiley taught us that the job of a panel in a comic is not only to tell a piece of a story but also to get you to read the next part.  

    5. The power of symbolism changes our ideas. Because comics tell stories with words and images, these two types of communication converge to tell a story in a way that is unique to the genre.  

    6. The characters are who we experience the comic through. We need to feel bad for them, they need to be likable, they need to be be funny, says Parker.  We have to want to follow them.  

    7. According to Parker, the most important thing to remember about making comics is clarity. He would sacrifice an awesome picture for a better understanding of what’s going on.




    We have had an incredible fall! Teen Book Fest has been sooo fun with author visits from Jennifer Nielsen, J. Scott Savage, Matthew Kirby, Jennifer Jenkins, Margaret Stohl, Aprilynne Pike, and (tomorrow) Marissa Meyer. The last stop on our Teen Book Fest Tour is the Wrap Party on Saturday, November 12th.

    This teen only event will feature a book giveaway and activities starting at 6:00 pm. Each teen will go home with a brand new book of their choosing! Then at 7:00 we will be treated to an after-hours concert by the band Festive People.

    Check out their music video “Where We Are Today” to get an idea of the awesomeness we’ll experience on Saturday! 

    Wondering what you've missed? Below you'll find our recap from a recent Teen Book Fest Tour stop with YA author Aprilynne Pike. 


    Aprilynne Pike, author of the Wings series, spoke at Provo Library on Thursday, Oct. 27 about her latest novel, GLITTER, a few of the hurdles she overcame to write it and what she hopes readers will learn. 


    GLITTER is described as Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette in a near-future world where the residents of Versailles live like it’s the eighteenth century and the almost-queen, Danica, a desperate teenage girl, turns to drug dealing to save her life. 

    Aprilynne describes how her inspiration for the book started while she was watching Breaking Bad and felt slightly dissatisfied with the direction of the story. 

    “In the way that every author with a little bit of an ego does, I started thinking about how I could do it better,” says Aprilynne. “But I wouldn’t want to write Breaking Bad; I wanted to write a book about a girl with pretty dresses.”

    Thus began her story of a drug dealer and dresses infused with futuristic technology and smothered in decadent fashions from the Era of the Sun King. However, as she tried to sell her story, agents were concerned that her exotic, lavish setting was overpowering her plot. But guidance from one agent help solidify her story. 

    “You need to make your plot and your setting so intertwined that your story could not happen anywhere else except your really, really weird setting,” said the agent. ‘If you do that, we’ll buy your really, really weird setting.” 

    With this advice, Aprilynne set about grounding and making sense of the desperate choices made by her protagonist within the world she had created. In the “really, really weird setting” the protagonist, Danica and her bad choices became more defined. 


    Although Pike considers herself to be a “squeaky clean writer,” GLITTER is about a bad person. While bad characters may be fun and the audience may root for Danica as the protagonist, as an anti-heroine we know she is not admirable.

    “We don’t necessarily read books because there’s someone we want to be like, but simply because there’s a story,” says Aprilynne. “There are choices you get to think about with the protagonist, and you see consequences both good and bad that these characters are making.” 

    Writing about the bad choices made by an anti-heroine allows GLITTER to explore the purpose and moral behind the story of a girl selling drugs. Aprilynne hopes that by the end of the story, readers will learn not that selling drugs is a good choice but that you cannot put your toe into a bad world and expect it not to infect the rest of your life. 

    “It’s like putting your toe into a pond of black ink and think that you can still walk around in a white room and no one will know,” says Aprilynne. 

    To view upcoming visits from authors, check out our fall schedule or subscribe to our AuthorLink Newsletter.