Bethany

  • books of christmas

     

    Yes, any countdown in December must start at 12. Here’s our own 12 Days of Christmas picture book countdown:

    12 BOATS A BLINKING

    12 Washington

     

    THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON 
    by John A. Nez  

     

     

    11 WRAPPINGS RUMPLED

    my puppy gave to me

     

    MY PUPPY GAVE TO ME
    by Cheryl Dannenbring   

     

     

     

    10 LABS A LEAPING

    12 days christmas dogs

     

    12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS DOGS
    by Carolyn Conahan 

     

    9 MERMAIDS SINGING

    12 pirates christmas

     

    A PIRATES 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Philip Yates 

     

    8 MAIDS A MILKING

    12 Days of Christmas African

     

    12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Rachel Isadora (African Illustrations) 

     

    7 SQUIRRELS SKIING

    12 Days Cabrera

     

    THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Jane Cabrera 

     

     

     

    6 TROMPOS GIRANDO

    pinata pine tree

     

    A PIÑATA IN A PINE TREE
    by Pat Mora 

     

     

    5 GOLDEN RINGS

    12 Days Pham

     

    THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by LeUyen Pham (around the world)   

     

     

     

    4 CALLING BORGS

    12 bots christmas

     

    THE TWELVE BOTS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Nathan Hale 

     

     

    3 THISTLE DUSTERS

    firefly fir tree

     

    A FIREFLY IN A FIR TREE
    by Hilary Knight 

     

     

     

    2 TAWNY TABBIES

    12 cats christmas

     

    THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS CATS
    by Don Daily 

     

     

    AND A STINKY BABY MESSING WITH THE TREE

    12 worst days

     

    THE WORST TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen 

     

     

     

  • 6 Books for Boys 01

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you. 

    Here are six classic books that boys love to read!

    DEAD END IN NORVELT
    by Jack Gantos
    (2011)

    Unfortunately for Jack Gantos, at any sign of trouble or stress he instantly gets a nose bleed. Since there’s no money to fix his nose, Jack just has to deal with being different. A series of events and an overprotective mother leave Jack grounded from everything except helping the old lady next door—a professional obituary writer. But this depressing start to summer soon takes off with a bang in this wacky coming of age story.  

    PAPERBOY
    by Vince Vawter
    (2013)

    Victor Vollmer has long accepted he’s a little different. His stutter makes talking a huge chore, but he has his tricks and can make it through most days without too much trouble. When summer comes, however, his best friend asks Victor to take over his paper route for a month. It seems like a simple way to make a little extra money and help out a friend, but Victor is in for both a heart-warming and terrifying lesson in human nature and his own self-worth.  

    SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS
    by Wilson Rawls
    (1967)

    Jay’s twin sister is a cripple, but the family is too poor to do anything about it. One summer Jay discovers that a family of escaped circus monkeys has taken residence down by the river. With the help of his grandfather, Jay plans to capture the monkeys and claim the reward—making his family rich. Humorous and heartfelt moments abound in this slightly fantastical story.  

    BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON
    by Sid Fleischman
    (1963)

    Jack and his butler, Praiseworthy, seek to restore the family’s lost riches in the California gold rush. Two gentlemen couldn’t be further out of their element from the moment they set foot on the steamer ship headed west from Boston. This rip-roaring bit of historical fiction features its fair share of interesting factoids and tall tales.  

    THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
    by Mark Twain
    (1884)

    Twain, the king of tall tales, hits a home run in this classic story of roughing it down the Mississippi river. Huck and the escaped slave Jim find themselves meeting a panoramic jumble of the good, the bad, and the ugly in this surprisingly thoughtful look at the way people treat each other. 

    LITTLE BRITCHES: FATHER AND I WERE RANCHERS
    by Ralph Moody
    (1950)

    When he is 8-yrs-old, Ralph Moody’s family moves from New Hampshire to rough it on a cattle ranch in Colorado, a place where the wild west wasn’t that long ago. Ralph, nicknamed “little britches,” comes of age in this true story about giving your all, being a man, and enjoying the little things while you have them.

  • 6 degrees header 01

    dinos and moose

    ELOISE AND THE DINOSAUR MUSEUM
    (2007)
    By Lisa McClatchy

    Precocious Eloise’s boring tutor takes her to the dinosaur museum, but she’s determined to have an exciting time.

     

    FANCY NANCY HAIR DOS AND DON’TS
    By Jane O’Connor
    (2011)

    Nancy, a precocious little girl, has picture day at school, and she needs the perfect look. She realizes that her hair-do will be critical for such an important day, so she sets out to curl, style, and trim until it’s flawless.

    MOOSESTACHE
    By Margie Palatini
    (1997)

    Mr. Moose has more mustache than he can control. It causes all sorts of problems until the day he meets Ms. Moose, a lady with luscious locks to rival his facial hair.

    TOO MANY MOOSE
    By Lisa M. Bakos
    (2016)

    Martha wants a pet, so she orders a moose. When her new pet arrives, they have such a marvelous time together that she throws caution to the wind and begins ordering moose after moose.

    WHAT PET SHOULD I GET
    By Dr. Seuss
    (2015)

    Even though a little boy and his sister want every pet in the pet store, they get to choose only one. Told in Dr. Seuss's characteristic rhyming style.  

    DINOSAURS LOVE UNDERPANTS
    By Claire Freedman
    (2008)

    Do you really know why dinosaurs are extinct? Rhyming text reveals it was because of the Mighty Underpants War.

     

  • EVES FB

    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
    (2017) 

    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.

     

  • BFYR 7

    In the library world we sometimes don’t expect our favorite authors to also be jocks. But notable Books for Young Readers guest Matt de la Peña got his bachelor’s degree paid for on a full basketball scholarship from the University of the Pacific. Matt later went on to receive his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University, which pacifies our authorial expectations a bit.

    Matt has certainly drawn on his life experiences to write his books. He has said that growing up, he could never have imagined becoming an award winning author: “Me and books? Reading? Nah, man, I was a working class kid. A half-Mexican hoop head. I spent all my after school hours playing ball down at the local pick-up spot off Birmingham. I dreamed of pretty girls and finger rolls over outstretched hands… But age has a way of giving a guy perspective.”

    But a glance at Matt’s picture will show that he isn’t very old for the success he’s had as an author. However, much of his writing has filled an important niche, often featuring under-privileged ethnic children who have to learn to navigate life and a system that seems to be pushing against them. The books have made such an impact that during his career he has won many awards, including New York Times Bestseller, ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Notable Book for a Global Society, Junior Library Guild Selection, Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Literature Blue Ribbon List, NYC Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age, Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, and, of course, the 2016 Newbery Award. His debut novel, BALL DON'T LIE, was even made into a movie in 2011 starring Ludacris, Nick Cannon, Emelie de Ravin, Grayson Boucher, and Rosanna Arquette.

    Matt’s 2016 Newbery Award was especially distinctive and rare since Last Stop on Market Street is a picture book, a format that rarely receives this award. Of this book and his others, Matt said in his Newbery acceptance speech, “sometimes when you grow up outside the reach of the American Dream, you’re in a better position to record the truth. That we don’t all operate under the same set of rules. That our stories aren’t all assigned the same value in the eyes of decision Makers.”

    We are so happy to host Matt de la Peña at the library during BYU’s Books for Young Readers symposium, and hope you’ll take the chance to check out some of his books before his visit. Here are a few that can get you started:

    PICTURE BOOKS:

    7.13 Last Stop on Market StreetLAST STOP ON MARKET STREET
    By Matt de la Peña
    Illustrated by Christian Robinson
    (2015)

    “A young boy, CJ, rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.”

     

     

     

    A nations hopeA NATION’S HOPE: THE STORY OF BOXING LEGEND JOE LOUIS
    By Matt de la Peña
    Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
    (2013)

    “Biography of boxer Joe Louis and his historic fight with German Max Schmeling.”

     

     

     

    YA NOVELS:

    7.13 Mexican White BoyMEXICAN WHITEBOY
    By Matt de la Peña
    (2008)

    “Sixteen-year-old Danny searches for his identity amidst the confusion of being half-Mexican and half-white while spending a summer with his cousin and new friends on the baseball fields and back alleys of San Diego County, California.”

     

     

     

     

    7.13 The LivingTHE LIVING
    By Matt de la Peña
    (2013)

    “After an earthquake destroys California and a tsunami wrecks the luxury cruise ship where he is a summer employee, high schooler Shy confronts another deadly surprise.”

     

     

     

     

  • childrens collection 01

  •  Fountain Pen

    Cricket

    Snickerdoodle

    Preposterous

    Cannonball

    Nose

    Lovely

    Partition

    Heuristic

    Mud  

    Words are awesome.

    But, add a little syntax, and you can string them together into sentences that, if possible, are even more awesome. I can appreciate a good line, so I always have my eye out for exceptional sentences. And while perusing the books over on the children’s side, I’ve discovered plenty of opening lines that make me want to read on. Can you guess which of our popular children’s chapter books begin with these intriguing first words?  

    1. There is a witch in the woods. There has always been a witch.

    2. Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.

    3. There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

    4. The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!

    5. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

    6. You wouldn’t think we’d have to leave Chicago to see a dead body.

    7. I am on my mountain in a tree home that people have passed without ever knowing that I am here.

    8. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.

    9. Long ago, on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish Viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow.

    10. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

    11. Once upon a time, many years ago— when our grandfathers were children— there was a doctor, and his name was Dolittle— John Dolittle, M.D. “M.D.” means that he was a proper doctor and knew a whole lot.

    12. When Mrs. Frederick C. Little’s second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than a mouse.

    13. That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.

    14. I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It’s not as easy as it looks.

    15. Prince charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn’t know that, did you? 

    Answers:

    1. THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill

    2. THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan

    3. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

    4. THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin

    5. HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE by J.K. Rowling

    6. A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO by Richard Peck

    7. MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George

    8. HOLES by Louis Sachar

    9. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON by Cressida Cowell

    10. THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER by C.S. Lewis

    11. THE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE by Hugh Lofting

    12. STUART LITTLE by E.B. White

    13. ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine

    14. THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate

    15. THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM by Christopher Healy
  • adult kid books 

    There are plenty of books in the children’s department here at the Provo City Library that adults love to read. The same is true in reverse. We often send our smaller patrons over to the adult’s department to find a specific title they are interested in. Here are 5 of my favorite titles that kids can enjoy, but which can’t be found in our Juvenile Fiction collection.   

    10.05.2018 SweetnessTHE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE
    by Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    A new favorite character among readers, Flavia de Luce is a witty 11-yr-old sleuth and an aspiring chemist. Previously, Flavia’s time has been spent trying to make her sisters’ lives miserable and being made miserable in return. That’s until she finds a dead man in the garden and realizes she’s finally found something to truly put her mind to. This is the perfect book for young mystery-lovers that need to be challenged just a bit.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: While only 11, Flavia often speaks, thinks, and acts like an adult. There is also a smattering of swearing and the occasional Agatha-Christie-esque murder.   

     

    01.05.2018 Book ThiefTHE BOOK THIEF
    by Markus Zusak
    (2005)

    As soon as it was published, The Book Thief became an instant classic. The tale of young Liesel Meminger and her hodge-podge family is narrated by Death. He is a thoughtful and beautiful storyteller, following the little “book thief” during the first half of WWII in Nazi Germany. This is a great read for anyone, but especially for the many kids who love WWII historical fiction.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: The Book Thief can at times be both a little slow and very sad. It touches on themes of wartime violence and Nazi philosophy. It also has quite a bit of language in it both in English and German. I enjoyed listening to this book because the reader gave those words the appropriate color.   

     

    01.05.2018 To Kill a MockingbirdTO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    by Harper Lee
    (1960)

    With over 3 million reviews on Goodreads, most people are familiar with Lee’s tale of childhood antics and the cancer of racism. Scout is an adventurous but naive character who only experiences racism from a distance until it’s thrust violently into her life. Seeing the small southern town through Scout’s eyes can be a wonderful, if gradual, first step into an eye-opening recognition of injustice.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: The main conflict of this book is the accused rape of a white girl by a black man. Both the racism and the believability or un-believability of the girl are sensitive topics. There are also the obvious racial slurs, other language, and violent scenes.   

     

    01.05.2018 Hitchhikers GuideTHE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
    by Douglas Adams
    (1979)

    Arthur Dent discovers his good friend is actually an intergalactic hitchhiker when he’s plucked from earth just moments before it’s destroyed. Hilarious and very British, chaos ensues as a ragtag group travels the universe. While this one may be a bit of a stretch for some kids, many enjoy both its hilarity and thoughtfulness. 

    Why it’s on the adult side: To be fair, this is an adult book. It’s both witty and, at times, philosophical. Be prepared for a smattering of language and sexual innuendos of varying degrees.   

     

    01.05.2018 Michael VeyMICHAEL VEY: THE PRISONER OF CELL 25
    by Richard Paul Evans
    (2011)

    At our library, this book is cataloged as “young adult,” but it’s enjoyed by all ages. 14-yr-old Michael Vey has Tourette's syndrome, but he also has incredible electrical powers. After discovering that one of the most popular girls in school (and his crush) has similar abilities, the two embark on a quest to discover the origin of their mutation. This story is action-packed and a lot of fun.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: Although plenty of kids love this series, I was surprised at the amount of violence. There is also moments of psychological torture that, if really considered, can be quite emotional.   

     
  • audiovisual experience

     

    Every once in awhile patrons will come in looking for a book that has both a paper and an audio version. Sometimes this approach helps struggling readers who can follow along with the narration. Sometimes patrons just want to enjoy the experience of both reading and hearing a great story. Either way, here are a few of my favorite book/audiobook combos from the children’s department.

    terrible twoTHE TERRIBLE TWO
    by Mac Barnett and Jory John; illustrated by Kevin Cornell
    (2015)
    Audiobook voice artist: Adam Verner

    “When master prankster Miles Murphy moves to sleepy Yawnee Valley, he challenges the local mystery prankster in an epic battle of tricks, but soon the two join forces to pull off the biggest prank ever seen.”   This is a great audiobook, but you don’t want to miss out on the amazing and helpful illustrations in the paper copy.

    emerald atlasTHE EMERALD ATLAS
    by John Stephens
    (2011)
    Audiobook voice artist: Jim Dale

    “Kate, Michael, and Emma have passed from one orphanage to another in the ten years since their parents disappeared to protect them, but now they learn that they have special powers, a prophesied quest to find a magical book, and a fearsome enemy.”   This mash-up of Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia is narrated by the same guy who did the Harry Potter books. It’s awesome!

    heros guide to saving kingdomTHE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM
    by Christopher Healy; illustrated by Todd Harris
    (2012)
    Audiobook voice artist: Bronson Pinchot

    “The four princes erroneously dubbed “Prince Charming” and rudely marginalized in their respective fairy tales form an unlikely team when a witch threatens the whole kingdom.”   This hilarious book is accompanied by hilarious illustrations. The narrator of the audio book (available on Overdrive) has some of the best range of voices I’ve ever heard. Don’t miss this pairing!

    flora and ulyssesFLORA AND ULYSSES
    by Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by K.G. Campbelle
    (2013)
    Audiobook voice artist: Tara Sands

    “She is a natural-born cynic! He is an unassuming squirrel! Together, Fora & Ulysses will conquer villains, defend the defenseless, and protect the weak, or something.”   Another book with some great comic style illustrations that lend well to the story. The audiobook adds some of the excitement befitting a superhero squirrel.

    the book thiefTHE BOOK THIEF
    by Markus Zusak
    (2005)
    Audiobook voice artist: Allan Corduner

    This book is technically not in the Children's Department... but it's about a child! “Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel—a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.” Reading or hearing this book is a life-changing experience. Doing both would somehow be even better. Delve into Liesel’s world with the paper copy, but get some help with all those German words and overall emotion by listening to the audiobook.

     

  • bilingual

    Provo Library carries quite a few Spanish materials. On the children’s side, we often get parents wanting bilingual books in Spanish and English to help younger patrons learn a second language while they’re small. Like our patrons, our Spanish collection isn’t the biggest, but we’re growing! We even have bilingual board books to start breaking language barriers early. Here are five bilingual board books you can find in the children’s Spanish section.

    baby animalsBABY ANIMALS - BEBÉS ANIMALES
    by Say and Play Bilingual
    (2012)  

    This adorable board book taught me that “duckling” in Spanish is “patito.” Cute in both languages! This board book keeps it simple: each page has one baby animal with both its English and Spanish name.

    oink moo meowOINK, MOO, MEOW - OINK, MUU, MIAU
    by Say and Play Bilingual
    (2012)

    Another by Say and Play Bilingual, but this book takes it to the next level. Each page still features one animal, but it’s focused on the animal sounds. Learn that the frog says Ribbit! in English, but la rana dice ¡Croac! en Espanol. It’s a great intellectual exercise to realize that even animal sounds are portrayed differently in different languages and countries.  

    mis numerosMY NUMBERS - MIS NUMEROS
    by Rebecca Emberley
    (2000)

    This simple board book introduces readers to numeros uno a diez. As a bonus, each number corresponds with an everyday object. Five carrots becomes cinco zanahorias and seven stars becomes siete estrellas.  

    a color of his ownA COLOR OF HIS OWN - SU PROPIO COLOR
    by Leo Lionni
    (2016)

    The Chameleon realizes every animal and plant can claim a color except him. He feels pretty lonely without a color to call his own until the day he meets another chameleon who explains that they can change color together! This classic story is told in English with Spanish translations on each page.  

    don quixoteDON QUIXOTE: A SPANISH LANGUAGE PRIMER
    by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver
    (2015)

    These BabyLit classics crack me up! In board book format, each “classic” uses a notable literary work to explain a simple concept. Some focus on counting or opposites; this one highlights Spanish. You’ll learn that Don Quixote is a man or el hombre, that windmills are also los molinos de viento, and that the faithful Sancho Panza is Don Quixote’s friend or amigo. The illustrations in this series are some of my favorite.

     

  • kenya

    Do you have an upcoming trip? Whether it’s for business or pleasure, there’s a sure fire way to increase the awesomeness of your travel experience: Check out a book. 

    But not just any book. Check out a book that was written about the place you’re going. Whether you’re headed to Rome, Hong Kong, or St. George, we have a book that will help you connect with that place, its culture and its history. 

    A couple years ago I spent a few months at a girls school in Kenya. I had a wonderfully immersive experience made only better by the fact that while I was there I was pretty dedicated to reading literature written by people who actually lived, or had lived, in Kenya. Doing this helped broaden my perspective of this young, postcolonial country that I was trying to understand. Here are 5 of my favorite Kenyan books: 

    7.21 Out of AfricaOUT OF AFRICA
    By Isak Dinesen
    (1937)

    This is one of the most familiar Kenyan literature titles thanks to the movie featuring Meryl Streep. Karen Blixen (pen name, Isak Dinesen) writes her biographical memoir of life on a Kenyan coffee farm when Kenya was still a British colony. She was one of many Danes who migrated to Kenya, where the Danish presence remains strong to this day. Her home has been converted into a historical memorial and museum, and while the area that was once her plantation has become part of Nairobi, the locals still refer to the entire area as “Karen.” Blixen’s views are decidedly white-washed, but she still gives a lovely and honest account of what it was like for an educated, single (married but separated) white woman to take up living in a completely foreign environment. 

    7.21 West with the NightWEST WITH THE NIGHT
    By Beryl Markham
    (1942) 

    This is another Kenyan colonial memoir. I picked this up because I was told by a fellow literature BA that it had some of the most beautiful prose she’d ever read. She wasn’t wrong. Both Markham and Dinesen paint a beautiful picture of the fantastic Kenyan landscape that is so foreign to many of us living in the US. This is also another great feminist tale as Markham shares her experiences as a single, woman pilot in the African bush. One of her most intense scenes involves an elephant hunt with a murderous bull elephant. While reading this, the locals had already made sure I was scared to death of these big, beautiful creatures, but this scene solidified that fear. Interestingly enough, if you read Out of Africa and wonder where Blixen’s husband is, you can find him hanging out with Markham in this tale, proving how close knit the white settlers were at this time. 

    7.21 UnbowedUNBOWED
    By Wangari Maathai
    (2006) 

    There’s no way my reading list would be complete without this amazing autobiography by Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Prize winner for her work with the Green Belt Movement. She was the personal hero of many of the girls on campus, and her views gave me important insight into both the environmental and political crises facing the country. Unbowed is the perfect title for this book about a woman who never stepped back from a fight if she knew the cause would help her country.  

    Unfortunately, the Provo library doesn’t own the following two books, but they are still worth looking up. 

     

    7.21 A Grain of WheatA GRAIN OF WHEAT
    By Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo
    (1967) 

    Even though the Provo library doesn’t currently own any of the fictional works of renowned Kenyan writer, Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo, we do have his autobiography, BIRTH OF A DREAM WEAVER: A WRITER'S AWAKENING. A Grain of Wheat is worth a read if you’re at all interested in the Kenyan independence movement of the 50s. It’s an emotion-driven tale of the controversy that overshadowed the personal lives of everyone leading up to Uhuru. For me, this was an important glimpse into the feelings of someone who actually lived through these turbulent times and the resulting aftermath. 

     

    7.21 The River and the SourceTHE RIVER AND THE SOURCE
    By Margaret A. Ogola
    (1995)

    I read this book in tandem with the girls at the school where I was living. This amazing tale follows a family through 4 generations, spanning from tribal life in the bush, through university degrees and life in the city. This tale covers love, loss, disease, and political instability as the family tries to survive and stay true to their roots. Akoko, the first protagonist, is heralded throughout as the matriarch of the family, the source of the river.

     

     

  • 2.16 Presidents Day Mount Rushmore

    I know we’re all excited for the long President’s Day weekend, so to celebrate George’s B-day, here are a few fiction faves for kids featuring our first president.   

    2.16 Rush Revere and the PresidencyRUSH REVERE AND THE PRESIDENCY
    By Rush H. Limbaugh
    (2016) 

    Rush and his friends head back in time on the back of their talking horse, Liberty, to see what it was like when our first presidents had to make tough decisions.   

     

    2.16 Revolutionary War on WednesdaysREVOLUTIONARY WAR ON WEDNESDAY
    By Mary Pope Osborne
    (2000) 

    Join Jack and Annie once again as they try to keep history on the right track—this time they are helping General Washington cross the Delaware.   

     

    2.16 George Washingtons BreakfastGEORGE WASHINGTON’S BREAKFAST
    By Jean Fritz
    (1969) 

    George Washington Allen is named after a pretty incredible person, and George is determined to learn everything about his famous namesake—even what he had for breakfast!  

     

    2.16 Oh Say I Cant SeeOH SAY, I CAN’T SEE
    By Jon Scieszka
    (2005) 

    The Time Warp Trio is at is again—this time they manage to inspire George Washington to sneak attack the Hessian army on Christmas night.   

     

    2.16 George Washingtons SocksGEORGE WASHINGTON’S SOCKS
    By Elvira Woodruff
    (1991) 

    Another great time travel tale—via magical rowboat—allows Matthew, Quentin, Hooter, Tony, and Katie to experience some of the realities of the Revolutionary War first hand.

     
  • bugs poetry

     

    There are a lot of books about bugs. There are a lot of books about poetry. But only the best are about both. These 5 children’s books are a unique way to learn interesting facts about insects while simultaneously enjoying the beauty of poetry. Learn about the different parts of a moth, what the praying mantis eats for lunch, or the genealogy of a cockroach. Young readers can easily vocalize these simple verses and will be transfixed by the photography and illustrations of our favorite creepy crawlers.

    insectlopediaINSECTLOPEDIA
    poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
    (1998)

    The poems in this book never contain more than a few words per line and often just one. Youthful and slightly abstract paintings by the author accompany each poem.

    unbeelievableUNBEELIEVABLES
    poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
    (2012)

    By the creator of INSECTLOPEDIA, simple poems are offset by brightly colored paintings in Florian’s signature style. As an added bonus, each poem is followed by an informative paragraph about that insect.

    bug offBUG OFF! CREEPY, CRAWLY POEMS
    by Jane Yolen, photographs by Jason Stemple
    (2012)

    Vibrant fullpage photographs rather than illustrations cover this volume. Like UNBEELIEVABLE, Yolen includes interesting facts about each bug after every poem.

    nastybugsNASTY BUGS
    Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Will Terry
    (2012)

    This book is covered in colorful, cartoony artwork by the talented Will Terry. His adorable artwork moves the reader through poems by a variety of authors. This volume includes an illustrated index in the back with information on each bug mentioned.

    facebugsFACE BUG  
    poems by J. Patrick Lewis, photographs by Frederic B. Siskind, illustrations by Kelly Murphy
    (2013)

    The poetry in this book was motivated by a series of photographs featuring the faces of bugs up close and personal. Each poem is accompanied by the seemingly alien photo that inspired it. As if that wasn’t cool enough, illustrator Kelly Murphy covers the rest of the page in black and white cartoons that take the reader on a comical journey. Like NASTY BUGS this book also includes a simple index with facts about each bug’s life cycle.

  • classics for kids

    We’ve got a lot of old stuff here in the children’s library, and I’m not talking about the carpet and the computers—I’m talking about old books. Some of which are so burned into our cultural consciousness that they still get a lot of attention, such as LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott, which was first published in 1868; or the BOXCAR CHILDREN books by Gertrude Chandler Warner that started publication in 1924. Unfortunately, from my perspective as a children’s librarian, much of our older stuff doesn’t get enough attention.  

    It’s understandably hard to sift through everything there is to read. There are now ELEVEN Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and Rick Riordan has written THIRTY-FOUR kids’ titles! So I understand that it can be hard to branch out if your kid wants to keep reading familiar stuff. But maybe it’s worth avoiding the next new series for awhile (who wants to wait a year between installments anyway) and pick up something a little more classic. Kids may find they actually like reading “old stuff.” Here are four of my favorite classic children’s novels that withstand the test of time. And if you need more ideas, come in and get one of our “Classics for Kids” booklists.    

    9.29 Doctor DolittleTHE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE
    Hugh Lofting
    1920 

    The idea that Doctor Dolittle taught himself to speak to animals was beyond amazing to me as a child, and the writing style of this story is just “old-fashioned” enough to make it sound “true.” Kids reading this may come away with a hopeful belief that if they just study hard enough, they can learn to talk to animals too! Doctor Dolittle’s adventures both in England and on the African continent supply all sorts of wild entertainment that will still interest kids in the 21st century. The second installment in the doctor’s adventures, THE VOYAGES OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE, won the Newbery medal in 1923.   

     

    9.29 The Call of the WildTHE CALL OF THE WILD
    Jack London
    1903 

    As a kid I was pretty typical: I loved books about dogs. Buck, this story’s protagonist, is a mix of whatever breeds create a dog big enough and hardy enough to survive both the dog fighting arena and the Alaskan wilderness. This book is a great place to learn about the harms of animal cruelty, as well as the reality of how harsh the Klondike gold rush was on would-be millionaires. The story is told from the dog’s perspective, so readers are bound to fall in love with this gentle canine giant, urging him on through thick and thin. And don’t worry, Buck gets a happy ending.

      

    9.29 Treasure IslandTREASURE ISLAND
    Robert Louis Stevenson
    1882 

    This feels like the pirate story that started them all. I mean, if there’s a muppet show about it, it must be good. And what child doesn’t want to join the intrepid Jim as he takes to the high seas? Trying to navigate the complicated relationship between Jim and the friendly but deadly John Silver can teach a hard but necessary lesson about the problem of attempting to see life in black and white, good and evil. On a lighter note, TREASURE ISLAND has all the fantastical elements, adventure, and daring that any fan of Percy Jackson could hope for.   

    9.29 Black BeautyBLACK BEAUTY
    Anna Sewell
    1877 

    As many 10-year-old girls do, I went through a serious horse phase. In my opinion, horse stories have produced some great classic reads for kids, and BLACK BEAUTY has to take the cake. Like CALL OF THE WILD, this book contrasts animal care with animal cruelty. The overall message is that an animal treated well will be loyal to it’s human, but there’s a deeper message about the importance of friendship in any situation. Readers will cheer on Black Beauty and come out a little bit better for it.

     

     

  • g is for missing

     

    One of my assignments in the children’s department is to keep track of all our missing books. No matter how detail-oriented our lending program is, sometimes books just wander away. When that happens, librarians get into our cataloging system and mark the item as missing so that patrons won’t try to check it out. Inexplicably the letter code used to mark a book as missing is the letter ‘G’.

     Regularly, I get into our system and generate a list of all the missing books. Then I go looking for them. More often than not, the books show back up in a day, a week, or a month. I suspect that well-loved library books—like well-loved librarians—sometimes need a vacation. But they return before too long, quietly slipping back onto the shelf and leaving us wondering where they’ve been. When I find these books I change the status from ‘G’ for missing to ‘I’ for checked-in. 

      However, there is another type of library book. The kind that feels they must go out into the world and find themselves. As is the common result of such trips, these books never attain fulfillment and can’t face returning to their home in the same cover they left in. I give these books several months to return. When it’s clear that they refuse, I change the status from ‘G’ for missing to ‘UN’ for unavailable. Now the book won’t appear in the catalog at all, and after a couple weeks the record is removed from our system, making space for us to acquire a replacement copy.

    We love our library books and want them all to be healthy, happy, and safe. If you ever find one of our books wandering alone in the wide-word, sit down with it. Let it express its feelings and don’t be afraid to share yours in return. Then, when both of you are feeling better, bring it back home to the library. Because deep in their hearts, library books love the library just as much as we love them.

     

  • Untitled 1

    ...oh wait, maybe I'm not.

    Disclaimer: I’m no expert on speed reading. I’ve just been accused of it. As a child, my parents and friends started to notice that I’d finish books faster than everyone else around me. I grew increasingly aware of my super power when Harry Potter books took hours to complete instead of days, and when a book series took less time to absorb than a TV season binge. Then I learned about something called “speed reading.” I found out that rather than reading every word, many “speed readers” simply skim the page, their eyes skipping around to take in only key information.

    That’s when I went meta.

    Meaning I started to pay attention to the way I was reading. I was surprised to find that I didn’t actually read every word. I’d find myself only actually reading every few words, sometimes skipping by whole phrases and letting my brain fill in the gaps. I was reading more by page than by sentence—I was pretty impressed with myself.

    My brain had developed the ability to read junior and YA fiction quickly because the words and themes were familiar and a step below my actual reading level. Not only that, but my purpose for reading these books was purely to take in a fun story: it was easy entertainment and easy to absorb. Not too long after that, however, I entered college and things slowed down drastically. I found myself painstakingly reading my college level texts word by word, trying to glean deeper meanings, enjoying the overall artistry of each phrase.

    In the children’s section of the library, it’s common for parents to complain about children who are consuming books at incredible speeds. While I’m excited that they’re reading so much, I worry that it may be causing them to become stagnant in their reading progression as they read only what is familiar and easy. It’s tricky to find higher level novels with content that children enjoy, but I recommend helping them break into some more difficult content every once in awhile: Don’t be afraid to push them.

    If you have no idea where to start, here are some well known “classics” that are often overlooked by our younger patrons but can be found in the children’s department:

    WHITE FANG
    by Jack London
    (1906)

    THE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE
    by Hugh Lofting
    (1997)

    TREASURE ISLAND
    by Robert Louis Stevenson
    (1911)

    THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
    by Mark Twain
    (1948)

    LITTLE WOMEN
    by Louisa May Alcott
    (1989)

    BLACK BEAUTY
    by Anna Sewell
    (1996)

    THE JUNGLE BOOK
    by Rudyard Kipling
    (2012)

    THE SECRET GARDEN
    by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    (1911)

    ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
    by L. M. Montgomery
    (1998)

    SHERLOCK HOLMES
    by Arthur Conan Doyle
    (1996)

    THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE
    by C. S. Lewis
    (1986)      

  • christmas carol1 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    A CHRISTMAS CAROL illustrated by Robert Ingpen

    A CHRISTMAS CAROL illustrated by P.J. Lynch

    QUENTIN BLAKE'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL

  • Our juvenile Spanish collection has a great selection and is always growing. Whether you want authentic literature, a translation of your favorite English title, or more bilingual books, come check out our materiales en Español.

    spanish english picture books 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    MY DIARY FROM HERE TO THERE/ MI DIARIO DE AQUI HASTA ALLA

    GOOD DREAM BAD DREAM/ SUEÑO BUENO SUEÑO MALO

    DON QUIXOTE: A SPANISH LANGUAGE PRIMER

  • imposter syndrome 01

     

    It’s called Imposter Syndrome. The feeling that you’re not actually good at what you do, and you’re going to be found out. Even the most expert professionals can have this feeling, and librarians are no different. The key is to just smile and pretend to totally know what the heck is going on. Sometimes my time at the library feels like a string of conversations similar to these:

    Child: “Who is the author of [insert super popular book I haven’t read but should totally know] ?
    Me: Smiling so wide my ears touch at the back of my skull “Oh that’s one of the best books in the whole world! The author is..” frantic surreptitious googling “... Jones!”

    Parent: Can you tell me where this [insert name of super popular library program I’ve never heard of but should totally know] program is?
    Me: The person who nows that information is away from the desk… I’ll just stall.“That’s an excellent hat you’re wearing today. They will love that up at [said program]. You know, I think that you’re going to enjoy [said program] so much when you go. It’s so popular! And I’m going to tell you where it’s at… right…. now…

    Teen: “The computer is broken.”
    Me: I have a degree in literature¨ and it takes me 15 minutes to sign into Twitter. Big smile.“I’ll come turn that off and back on for you.”

    Parent: “Can you recommend your favorite book for a 10-year-old boy who likes legos but hates baseball and I think liked Harry Potter and has read everything you could possibly recommend but he’s super picky so make sure there’s no girls in it unless they have red hair and a talking pet mouse and the boy needs to be 4’11” and and a technology genius no more than 12 years old unless he’s the apprentice to a pirate king.”
    Me: …
    Me: I just read a cinderella knockoff about a 15-year-old girl… but it did have a talking mouse...

    Child: “I read a book about dogs once.”
    Me: “How wonderful!”
    Child: “I want to read it again.”
    Me: “I think you should.”
    Child: “Where is it?”
    Me: Ah. Now we come to the heart of the problem.

    However, no matter the questions or confusion, the right programs get found and the right books get recommended. It’s not a seamless process, but I take it a day at a time.

  • imposter syndrome 01

     

    It’s called Imposter Syndrome. The feeling that you’re not actually good at what you do, and you’re going to be found out. Even the most expert professionals can have this feeling, and writers aren’t exempt.

    It’s easy to pick up your favorite novel and believe that the author must have sat down with their coffee one morning and typed in a fit of impassioned genius. No regrets. They finish and sit back, basking in the glory of their magnificent creation.

    However, anyone who has somehow managed to earn money for the writing they do will tell you their process isn’t actually so different than that of the college student writing a critical essay for that one hardnosed professor: a lot of self doubt, hope, and drowsy confusion.

    I identify as a writer no matter which bathroom I use. This is probably because I read a book once by some guy PhD that said anyone could be a writer. “Whisper it to yourself right now,” he said. So I did. Now when people come around asking what I do I whisper dramatically, “ I’m†a†writer†.” I just can’t seem to shake that whispering bit.

    Of course you can’t just say—or dramatically whisper— something like that without people assuming you are the wellspring of all things writerly, especially grammar. I would conceive of an esoteric jest in regards to my scanty competency in the usage of English linguistics… but I’m still working out phrases and clauses.

    If you’re like me, full of nice dreams but only the pale imitation of an accomplished writer, take a moment to google the lives and writing processes of your favorite authors. You’ll see that selfdoubt is king on their todo list: right before and after “Write the next great American novel.” So the next time you feel like the writing muse just pushed you off your bike and ran away with your ex, remember that it’s normal. Not fun, just normal. Keep admiring the verse and prose of the professionals. Embrace Imposter Syndrome and just write.

  • kids being kids

     Is there anything better than a story about a child who saves the world from evil? Who doesn’t love reading about a 12-year-old Percy Jackson fighting off the minotaur with no training, or an 11-year-old Hermione Granger being the brains behind a death-defying magical operation during her first year of wizarding life?

    But I will admit that sometimes I get a little tired when yet another character just happens to have memorized the entire internet by age 10, or becomes the best marksman in the kingdom after only a few weeks of practice with a bow.  

    So here’s to all the kids that act like kids and to the authors that know the difference between precocious and PhD. Here’s to characters that have to wait for their muscles to develop before becoming a knight or who care more about their sibling rivalries than the fate of the world. And here are just a few of my favorite characters who are happy being young:   

    11.21 Three Times LuckyMo and Dale from THREE TIMES LUCKY
    By Sheila Turnage
    (2012)

    Mo, orphaned by hurricane Katrina, lives in an eclectic adopted family in Tupelo Landing, NC. She and her bumbling best friend Dale open a “detective agency” when Dale’s no-good father starts causing trouble. Mo’s hilarious southern metaphors, combined with Dale’s constant misunderstanding of sarcasm make them a delightful team. This series is a tribute to small town troubles and the joys of childhood capers. I’d recommend listening to the first book in this series to enjoy a fun rendition of Mo’s southern drawl. (The narrator changes for book two, so read that one.)  

     

    11.21 CoralineCoraline from CORALINE
    By Neil Gaiman
    (2002)

    Coraline is a bored 11-year-old who feels a little neglected by her work-from-home parents. Since they’ve recently moved to a new house, she puts on her explorer’s cap (literally) and tries to whittle away the hours. It’s not too long before Coraline discovers a little door in the living room that sometimes appears bricked up, but sometimes is a portal to the “other” world. One of the reasons I love this spooky read so much is that Coraline approaches everything with a very childlike perspective. She takes what she can see at face value and, at the end of the day, wants what every kid wants: her mom and dad’s love and attention. This book is also a great listen and quite short.  

     

    11.21 The War That Saved My LifeAda from THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE 
    By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    (2015)

    Nine-year-old Ada has been a cripple since birth and is abused by her mother because of it. During World War 2 when many children were shipped out of London, Ada sneaks out of her house against her mother’s wishes and joins her little brother to travel to the countryside. I think Bradley did a wonderful job of showing the fixed determination of a child who’s had very little going for her in life. With the necessary love of the new adult in her life, Ada learns to walk, ride a horse, and deal with the consequences of abuse.

     

  • dan santat

     

    Dan Santat is coming to the library for Children’s Book Festival on April 28th & 29th!    

    If you’re like me, it’s easy to rattle off a long list of fiction authors. Unfortunately, the names of picture book authors and illustrators are often more elusive. I think the pictures distract me. However, Dan Santat is one name worth remembering.  

    A bit of research uncovered that Santat’s parents originally hoped he’d become a doctor. With this goal in mind, Santat attended the University of California, San Diego where he graduated with a degree in Biology. Fortunately for us, he decided to embrace a different passion. He went on to study illustration at the Art Center College for Design and graduated with honors.  

    Santat is widely known as one of the most hardworking in his field, churning out an incredible number of illustrations yearly. He has revealed on several occasions that one of the factors that helped him work so tirelessly was trying to support a family on an artist’s paycheck. At one point, Santat was offered a position as a google doodler—a dream job. This would have finally given him financial stability, but he also knew it would take all of his time away from illustration. Incredibly, he turned the offer down.  

    Santat’s work ethic pushed him to his emotional, physical, and creative limits. THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE was the book that changed everything for him. It is one of the few books that Santat both authored and illustrated, and its tone is a little more simple and sweet than his usual style. In fact, even the main character’s adorable name, Beekle, has an adorable story: it was how his son first learned to say “bicycle.” When Santat heard the Caldecott committee was looking at Beekle, he couldn’t believe it. When the Caldecott medal was officially awarded to him in 2015, he admits that he broke down in tears.  

    We can’t wait to hear from this amazing artist! Here’s just a couple of the titles we have by him that you can check out before his visit:  

    beekle

     

    THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE : THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND
    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2014)  

     

     

    sidekicks

     

     

    SIDEKICKS
    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2011)    

     

     

    hensel and gretel ninja chicks

     

    HENSEL AND GRETEL, NINJA CHICKS
    Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2016)  

     

     

    ricky ricottas mighty robot

     

    RICKY RICOTTA'S MIGHTY ROBOT 
    Written by Dav Pilkey, Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2014) 

     

     

     

     

  • overdrive

     Can we say it enough? Overdrive is awesome! So here’s another shameless plug.

    Even though I use Overdrive almost daily, I’ll be the first to admit that the process of signing into the app and actually downloading titles isn’t the most user-friendly. But don’t give up! Overdrive provides a platform for ebooks and audiobooks, complimenting and expanding the library’s physical collection.  

    Here’s a beginner’s guide to using this great library resource:

    Overdrive Logo1- Download the Overdrive app onto your favorite device.

    Overdrive can be accessed on a desktop computer, but the easiest way is to download the app onto a phone or tablet.

     

     

     

    Overdrive 22- Sign into the app using the “SIGN IN” option.

    Your account was created when you signed up for a library card since the state of Utah has paid for the use of Overdrive for all Utah library card holders. The Provo library uses some of its budget to make additional items available to Provo City Library patrons. 

    You will be asked to sign in with your library card number and PIN.

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 3.33 - Sign into Utah's Online Library.

    Once you’ve selected your library and signed into the app, you will be asked to use the same information to sign into Utah’s Online Library. This is the database Overdrive draws from.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 44 – Find your bookshelf.

    After all that signing in, you can tap on the 3-line menu icon in the upper left corner and go to your bookshelf. It will be empty and waiting.  

    If you choose “Add a title,” you will be taken back to Utah’s Online Library to search for materials.  

    When items have been downloaded, they will conveniently appear on this Bookshelf page. 

     

     

     

     

    Overdrive 55 – Search for something amazing.

    The easiest way to find something on Utah’s Online Library is to type the title directly into the search box.  

    If you are just browsing, you can search collections by tapping the menu icon in the upper right corner.  

    If your search brings up too many possibilities, you can filter results. My favorite way to narrow down results is to filter by type, ebook or audiobook, and then by availability.  

    Tap interesting titles to see a summary, or to read/hear a sample. 

     

     

    Overdrive 66- Check something out.

    Just like a physical book checked out from the library, materials available through Overdrive usually have a limited number of copies.  

    If a title is available, you can choose “borrow,” and the screen will send you to the Loans page where the item can be downloaded to the app for reading or listening.  

    If a title is unavailable, you can choose “place a hold,” and will be directed to the Holds page. When a book becomes available that you have put on hold, it will be automatically checked out to you.  

    One of the great things about overdrive is you never have to worry about late fees. When the lending period has expired, the ebook or audiobook is automatically returned.  

    *NOTE: you can have 10 items checked-out and 5 on hold at any one time

    Now you can use this amazing resource! Please come visit the library with further questions or to get great recommendations. Remember that the library’s online catalog will list if an item you're searching for is available on Overdrive. 

  • picking favorites 1

    I recently went through a ghost stories phase that lasted for months. To share some of the knowledge I gained from that experience I wrote a post about trends in scary children’s literature, which you can access here. For each trend I gave a couple examples and ended up sharing over 10 book recommendations. That’s when I noticed something—I’ve read a lot of creepy kid’s books. But no matter how much fun I had reading all of them, only a few were actually excellent.

    So what makes the difference between “fun” and “favorite”? When it comes to my library reads, I try to judge a book against some standard criteria before putting it on my favorites list. Here are a few of the things I look for when reading children’s books:

    • The characters (whether they have special powers or not) act like actual children.
    • The writing style is smooth and engaging.
    • I can follow the first chapter without feeling frustrated by the introduction of too many unexplained characters or situations.
    • The author knows how to add depth by including several dimensions to the central problem without being overwhelming.
    • The motivations and reactions of the characters feel real.
    • Descriptions add to my imagination’s picture rather than confuse me.
    • If it’s trying to be funny, it actually succeeds.

    If a book fulfills these requirements, then there’s a good chance it has some other great characteristics that will make it a favorite. So which of my scary reads made it on the list? Well I’ll give you one: CORALINE, of course! You may have seen that one coming, but if you haven’t read it yet, check it out. Neil Gaiman is a master of his craft. This book meets all of my criteria; plus, it’s freaky.

    7.26 CoralineCORALINE
    By Neil Gaiman
    (2008)

     

     

     

     

     

  • strategic browsing

    One of our children librarians, Hunter, posted a video in April called SPINES . The video itself is simple—A dizzying montage featuring thousands of shelved books, spines facing outward.

    So. Many. Books.

    This video has inspired me to both voice a concern and offer a solution to a problem that many of us are suffering from: One moment you’re walking into the library feeling fine, excited to delve into your next literary escape; the next thing you know, you’re curled up on your couch watching your 7th instantplay netflix episode in a row and wondering how you ended up like this.

    There are some fortunate few that have mastered the art of the book find. They can walk into the library at any time and on any day and walk out with the perfect book. But what if you, like me, aren’t one of the lucky ones? Well, this often means one of two scenarios: either I wander into the stacks with only a vague notion that I’d like something “good.” OR, I know exactly what I want, and I want it fast. Refusing to be distracted, like a 5th grader who needs the 2nd DORK DIARIES book. It’s DORK DIARIES or die.

    In both situations, the results can be disastrous. Either the sight of too many spines defeats my dwindling energy reserves, or I find that my book is checkedout and a hold list of 45 just doesn’t seem worth it. I go home defeated.

    Unfortunately, this type of behavior can become chronic if left unchecked, so I prescribe some war room type strategic browsing.

    Scenario: You wander into the library thinking it’s time to read Harry Potter for the 6th time. You have this theory that reading all seven books seven times will inspire the headmaster to finally send you your letter. You check with the librarian… No copies available and a 4 week wait. You drift towards the intimidating shelves thinking it’s time to just head home.

    Pause! Take a minute to realize that you’re past the Hogwarts entrance age anyway and should probably read something else. Now go through these steps:

    One: Have A Destination
    Head for your original target. Don’t worry that it’s not on the shelf because now you have a purpose.

    Two: Keep Your Eyes Peeled
    WWII bombers knew when they’d reached their target by spotting the lights of the cities, hence the blackouts. Luckily books aren’t that clever. While you walk, start scanning. No need to panic, just watch the shelves waiting for something to catch your eye.

    Did you see it?

    Three: Examine The Target
    Pick up the book and leaf through it. Interesting? If not, set it aside and pick up something nearby. If nothing else looks interesting, move on. Just be brave enough to touch the eyecatching volumes.

    Four: Do A Fly By 
    You’ve reached your destination but already know it’s not on the shelf. Start closely scanning everything near your original target. Let this be the only truly thorough part of your mission: just two minutes of real work. Pick up anything that looks remotely interesting taking comfort in the fact that the rejects can be thrown on the reshelving cart without a second thought.

    Five: Head Home
    Circle back to the front. Take the long way and skim the titles as you go. By the time you’ve made it to checkout, you’ll have a small pile of success in your arms and not a shred of anxiety, unless it’s the fear that you may not speak to another human for 4 days while you enjoy the spoils of your victory. But that’s OK. Revel in your conquest. You earned it.

  •  Readers Advisory Header

    When someone becomes a librarian at the Provo City Library, they are trained to do something we call "reader's advisory." This means that we read an awful lot, and what we don't read ourselves we find out about from others (and the internet). So if you ever feel in a bind about what to read next, just ask a librarian. Chances are, we know the perfect book.

    Sad dog

    sad bear

    shocked cat

    challenge accepted

     

  • Wells FB

     

    Rosemary Wells is coming to visit the library! I mentioned to our children’s department head, Joella, that this is kind of a big deal. She corrected me: This is a VERY big deal. Rosemary Wells has been one of the big names in children's literature for over four decades. And even if you don’t immediately recognize that name, you know her illustrations. 

    rosemary wells characters

    Of her craft, Rosemary said,

    “Very early on I knew I would be an artist one day. Drawing and painting was what I loved to do best in the world. Not until I was in my twenties did I think I would be a writer too. Almost all children with drawing talent discover it early, as I did. Most writing talent shows up quite late in a person’s growth because you have to read a ton of books to understand how to use the language well and you have to have lived a little bit to have something to tell others.” (from RosemaryWells.com)

    For Rosemary, the creative process is just that: a process. She spends careful time planning and outlining a project before beginning to write. Interestingly, she says that she usually ends up cutting out about half of what she’s written once she starts adding illustrations “because now the drawings can tell much of the word story by themselves.” After the writing and drawing is done, she carefully cuts and pastes together a mock-up of the book before showing it to her publisher. The publisher inevitably has a few suggestions, which require changes before the final product is published. 

    Speaking about her illustrations, Rosemary says,

    “Once the story is there, the drawings just appear. I feel the emotion I want to show; then I let it run down my arm from my face, and it goes out the pencil. My drawings look as if they are done quickly. They are not. First they are sketched in light pencil, then nearly rubbed out, then drawn again in heavier pencil. What appears to be a thick ink line is really a series of layers of tiny ink lines. When I finish these lines, the drawing is ready for color.”

    Rosemary’s picture books feature whimsical animal characters and are often lit with a kind of golden glow carried over from her own happy childhood. Growing up, her home was filled with art and encouragement, creating the perfect environment for a child to explore life’s daily ins and outs. She also drew much of her inspiration from watching the antics of her two daughters. “Authors,” she says, “are accomplished eavesdroppers, and have wonderful selective memory.” 

    Many people may not know that some of Rosemary’s picture books aren’t self-illustrated, allowing her words to take shape in another artist’s imagination. She has also delved into longer works, writing juvenile fiction for a slightly older audience. Basically, Rosemary Wells is a pretty talented woman. Come see her at the library on February 28th (tickets will be available online and at the Children's Reference Desk beginning on February 14). 

    Here are just a few examples of the many titles we carry by this amazing author and illustrator:  

    timothy goes to school

     

    TIMOTHY GOES TO SCHOOL
    (1981)

    Here’s an example of a Rosemary Wells classic. Little Timothy navigates the real concerns that children have on their first week of school.  

     

     

    ruby scores a goal

     

    RUBY SCORES A GOAL
    (2009)

    Some of Rosemary’s works have been written and adapted for young readers that are ready to move past storytime and start reading on their own. This Max and Ruby tale is just one of many Rosemary Wells easy readers in our collection.  

     

     

    following grandfather

    FOLLOWING GRANDFATHER
    (2012)

    This sweet tale deals with loss and remembrance. It is also a great example of a picture book written by Rosemary Wells but not illustrated by her. We have quite a few books like this in our collection.  

     

     

    on the blue comet

     

    ON THE BLUE COMET
    (2010)

    On The Blue Comet is historical fiction with some time-traveling magic thrown in for good measure. It is one of a handful of chapter books authored by Rosemary Wells in our juvenile fiction section.  

     

     

     

  • sorrynotsorry

     

    It’s not uncommon for patrons to apologize when they approach the reference desk. They apologize for asking me to remind them of an author’s name. They apologize when they return to the desk for the second or third time with questions. They apologize when they’re not sure how to navigate the catalog or where to find a book. They apologize when I get up to walk them to the right items. They apologize when I make a trip to the back room to try and find something on the sorting shelves. They apologize when the iPads are dead or the computers are acting up.

    "Sorry. Sorry. Sorry."

    But here’s what those patrons don’t know: when they aren’t asking me questions, I wish they were. When the library is quiet, I sit and wonder, “Where is everyone? I miss them.”

    If we look busy sitting up there at the reference desk, it’s because we are. Busily ordering new books and going through our current collections to check for wear, tear, and relevance. We are busy planning and preparing library programs and displays. We are busy creating booklists and doing a thousand other things that keep a library running. But when a person wakes up one day and decides to become a librarian, it’s because they’ve been dreaming about helping patrons, not staring at computer screens. 

    So don’t feel bad about coming up to the reference desk, or stopping a librarian who’s busily walking by. Our patrons are the best! And finding ways to help them out never makes me sorry. 

     

  • summer scares

    Thinking about dark, blustery autumn nights may tempt you to consider October the best time of year for a good scare. And I’ll admit that sitting in the glow of my neighbor’s orange Halloween lights is great for reading Poe. But if we’re all being perfectly honest with ourselves, summer is way scarier. This is the time of year for summer camp hazing rituals, midnight dares, and campfire stories. There’s really nothing to compare with the thrill of being out in the woods after dark, cut off from the rest of the world, when someone starts sharing their most recent nightmare or otherworldly experience. 

    In the spirit of the season I’ve been reading a lot of ghost stories, but as a children’s librarian, my book selections are pretty much anchored in juvenile fiction. Even darkly tinted kids books tend to be rather charming, so I’m not breaking any fear records with my choices. However, for those who are starting to anticipate some summer scares like I am, here are 5 themes I’ve noticed in “scary” supernatural children’s literature. This list is by no means complete, but hopefully it will give you some things to consider as your family prepares their summer reading lists. 

    1- Evil stepmothers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

    The evil stepmother trope is so familiar to us that it’s almost more common now for authors to subvert it. If you’re interested in reading books that make stepmom the hero, children’s horror isn’t a bad place to go. Why? Because it’s never the obvious suspect. The book may start with the protagonist suspecting his or her stepmother of malicious intent, but ultimately they realize they misjudged their stepmother and end up working together. Two of my favorite stepmothers appear in THE CROSSROADS and NIGHTMARES!

    2- Silliness is stronger than the bonds of death

    Not all ghosts are scary, even if they appear to be initially. There are plenty of children’s books that feature protagonists who make friends with the hilarious and often pessimistic dearly departed. These books are especially fun because they are light-hearted enough to make you laugh but have just enough spooky to keep you reading. A couple of good ones include GHOSTHUNTERS AND THE INCREDIBLY REVOLTING GHOST and THE HAUNTING OF GRANITE FALLS

    3- The fate of the world will always, inevitably, lie in the hands of an 11-yr-old

    I don’t know the actual percentage, but if I had to guess, I’d say 70% of the books on the children’s side feature some heroic/chosen kid that has to save the world… or at least their neighborhood. This theme definitely sticks in supernatural fiction, often because kids are the only ones who can see the ghosts/monsters or because they make terrific bait. I’ve mentioned several titles that fit this description already, but two more are THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE and HOW TO CATCH A BOGLE.  

    4- No one would believe me… and by no one I mean no grown-ups

    An already familiar theme in supernatural fiction is that someone usually dies because no one believes the protagonist is actually being haunted, hunted, cursed, etc. In children’s literature, those disbelievers are the adults. Either a child assumes the adults in their life won’t listen, or they get no helpful response after explaining a supernatural situation. Two good reads that stick with this theme are DOLL BONES and THE SHADOWS

    5- Good ol’ rip-your-face-off scary

    No book on the children’s side will ever be as scary as some of the more intense stuff in adult literature, but that doesn’t mean we don’t hold our own. I mean, who isn’t terrified by CORALINE? Interestingly, some of the scariest stuff on our side comes from short story collections that are great for adapting to a campfire setting. A good example is HAUNTED HOUSES. Other authors, probably chasing after the success of the Goosebumps series, have written longer stuff for those kids that just love to be terrified. These authors create material with all the makings of a hollywood horror movie, just minus all the sexiness and plus a lot of intense pre-teens. My new like is SHADOW HOUSE SERIES, BOOK ONE: THE GATHERING.  

  •  lemony snicket

    Everybody knows Lemony Snicket, the pen name of author Daniel Handler, but few people can name any of his books outside of A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. I was certainly in this boat until a few months ago when I came across his ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS series when finding another book for a patron. Intrigued, I did a quick google search and was surprised at how many titles he’s written beyond his most famous series. I was especially delighted to find that the library owns a handful of his picture books.  

    That day I quickly checked out the following three picture books and discovered that the Lemony Snicket wit is perfectly suited to such a short, fun format.  

    The DarkTHE DARK 
    by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
    (2013)   

    Are you afraid of the dark? Laszlo is; but unfortunately, the dark lives in his big, creaky old house with him. Sometimes it hides in the closet or behind the shower curtain. But mostly the dark stays in the basement where it belongs. One night, however, the lightbulb on Laszlo’s nightlight burns out and the dark comes to visit his bedroom. Fortunately, the dark is very helpful when it comes to finding a replacement bulb.   The way the dark is imagined in this book is so clever! It’s a fun way to think about this “dark” that children are often so afraid of.  


    13 Words13 WORDS  
    by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman
    (2010)   

    Admittedly this book is a little off the wall. But kids will laugh at the funny situations and adults can appreciate the absurdity. I think it’s great. At first glance it seems as if Snicket has created a picture book to help children learn new words and place them inside sentences, a common children’s book theme. However, the words he chooses, such as haberdashery and goat, create a chaotic tale that just makes me laugh every time. Kalman’s illustrations are bright and fun and a perfect addition to the meandering text.  


    The Composer is DeadTHE COMPOSER IS DEAD 
    by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Carson Ellis 
    music by Nathaniel Stookey and the San Francisco Symphony
    (2008)

    This is one of my FAVORITE picture books. Although I’ll admit that it doesn’t hurt that I’m a bit of a band/orchestra nerd. This book has an accompanying CD with a narration by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) himself. The voice performance is awesome and is accompanied (literally) by some orchestral music that is pretty crucial to loving this story.  

    The book opens with a dead Bach-esque composer who is “De-composing.” The very handsome and intelligent inspector must question each section in the orchestra to determine who did it and chaos ensues. I think it’s a wonderful way to teach children a little about orchestral music while having a great time.  

     

  • overheard 01

    Librarians tend to notice if someone proclaims their love for a book. Despite our best intentions, we can’t read everything on our shelves, so we pick up clues about books other people like in order to flush out our recommendations to patrons. I probably wouldn’t have picked up THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM by Christopher Healy, if my little brother hadn’t belly laughed every time he sat down to read it—now it’s on my favorites list. Here are a couple of inadvertent recommendations I’ve gotten recently:

    Fires of InventionTHE FIRES OF INVENTION
    by Scott Savage
    (2015)

    While stuck on a houseboat during a rainstorm on Lake Powell, I watched as one of my brothers finished THE FIRES OF INVENTION. As he shut the book he proclaimed, “That was awesome!” Then he promptly flipped the book over and started reading it again. I figured that was a pretty good sign, so now I recommend the book to all sorts of patrons, especially 11-yr-old boys who are dying for something with a dragon in it. I actually haven’t read it yet because this steam-punk fantasy is never checked in.

     

    The Sisters GrimmTHE SISTERS GRIMM
    by Michael Buckley
    (2005)

    If I get asked to find the same thing multiple times, I get really curious about it. The Sisters Grimm is one of a dozen or so series I’ve looked into because I keep pulling it off the shelves for patrons. I recently checked out book one, THE FAIRY-TALE DETECTIVES, and I really enjoyed it. This modern fairy-tale spin-off is very reminiscent of the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Grimm, just a little more kid friendly. I’ll admit I now have to finish the entire series because I need to know what happens to Sabrina and Daphne. 

     

    Genuine SweetGENUINE SWEET
    by Faith Harkey
    (2015)

    I have a little sister who isn’t too fond of reading, so I perked up when I overheard her telling our mom about a book that she loved so much it made her cry. Intrigued, I asked if I could borrow it. GENUINE SWEET isn’t the best written piece of literature I’ve ever picked up, but what it lacks in powerful prose it makes up for in, dare I say, sweetness. It’s nice to pick up such a genuinely tender tale of hope and forgiveness—with a little bit of magic thrown in. 

     

     

    Echo   Blog SizeECHO
    by Pam Muñoz Ryan
    (2015)

    One day, while at the reference desk, I eavesdropped on a fellow librarian’s conversation with a patron. He was explaining that while ECHO was a great read, it had blown him away as an audiobook. As a lover of audiobooks, I was hooked—especially after I found out that it was essentially historical fiction (with a touch of fantasy), spanning the decades from the beginnings of the Nazi party in Germany through the Japanese internment in the US. After listening to the amazing (and musical) performance, I was every bit as impressed as my coworker had been. 

     

    So, what great books have you found by eavesdropping?

     

     

  • “Metacognition” is a favorite word of mine that essentially means thinking about your thinking. It’s trendy now to refer to all sorts of things as “meta.” We can teach about teaching, read about reading, or write about writing. Well, today, I’m going to blog about a blog: it’s all very meta.

    The Children’s Book Review Blog is the place to get a virtual librarian’s help finding something great to read. Every day, one of the children’s librarians is assigned to highlight a great book from the children’s collection. So, of course, there’s a lot of great stuff on there.

    As a new librarian who just hasn’t gotten around to reading everything in our collection, I often use the children’s blog instead of the catalog when I’m trying to find a great recommendation for a patron. Here’s how it works:

    When you go to the blog’s homepage, you’ll find a simple layout with the most recent post appearing first. However, in the far top left corner is a search box where you can type in a book you’re curious about to see if anyone’s reviewed it yet. OR you can use the handy dandy list of labels to the right of the posts. If you have a budding paleontologist in your family, click the “dinosaur” label, and suddenly you’ll have a great list of some of our favorite books featuring dinos.

    Sometimes, I’ll have patrons who want recommendations about topics a little tougher than dinosaurs, but that’s ok because we also have labels for things like “family,” “friendship,” or “education.” Although, dinosaurs are cooler than any of those things.

    Check out the The Children’s Book Review Blog! And don’t be surprised when you find your next great read. 

     

  •  

    words

    You might not believe it, but librarians are all real people too. We have typos in our emails (or sometimes even our posters!), we turn our books in late, and sometimes we even forget words. Here's one librarian's description of that moment when we're reaching for a word and just. can't. get. it. 

    Everyone has those moments in life when words completely fail. Like that moment when I can’t seem to think of the right word but the word I’m looking for is “paper,” or “sleep,” or “food,” or my best friend’s name. Or how about those moments when people casually slip a word I don’t know into a conversation. There I am, little miss 2-degrees-in-English, faced with an impossible choice: humble myself and ask for the definition even though I have a nagging suspicion that I’ve looked that one up 14 times, OR just nod along and throw another equally esoteric word back at them in hopes that they are the first to pull out a dictionary app. 

    However, thinking of the right word or knowing what the right word even means isn’t the height of my communication problems: It’s biology. My mouth just wasn’t created to say certain things. Consider the toddler asking for ciminon on their bed or buhsghetti in their bow. It’s like that. And every evening I get a chance to prove my ineptitude: As one of the evening librarians in the children’s department, I’m tasked with closing up at the end of the night. Unfortunately, that means that as I exit the building, I have to call security and simply say, “Children’s is done.” Oh that it really were as simple as it sounds. In reality, I sound like a drunken southern hobo: “chilluns is done,” “chilrensss done,” “chileansflkjs@#! …. DONE!” 

    So I’ll forgive my mom for calling me Panda (the dog’s name), if she’ll forgive me for staring blankly at the main dish for over 30 minutes during the last family party trying to come up with “turkey.” And I’ll forgive my friend for using that word I resisted looking up and now can’t remember,  if she’ll forgive me for the slobbering mess that I became trying to say “christmas carols.” Words are tough, but they’re all we’ve got. 

  • petethecat 01

     

    You may have liked flannel before it was cool, and you may have been chill about the 2016 election. You may even have perfected your look of uninterested intellectualism, but Pete the Cat is still more hipster than you’ll ever be.

    But what makes Pete the Cat our favorite cat at the library? His devotion to his friends, and his ability to roll with it when life throws curve balls. Here’s a few books I would recommend to Pete if he came to visit us in the children’s department:

    batmansguidetobeingcoolBATMAN’S GUIDE TO BEING COOL
    by Howard Dewin
    (2016)

    This new addition to our comics collection is a companion to the new Lego Batman movie that’s coming out. I think Pete the Cat would be thrilled to hear someone else’s thoughts on increasing coolness, especially if that someone is a superhero! Knowing Pete, I’m just worried he would try out a few Batman-like stunts. It could end disaster, but I’m sure he’d have fun.

     

     

    splatthecatSPLAT THE CAT
    by Rob Scotton
    (2008)

    I think we can safely call Splat one of Pete’s contemporaries. Splat certainly isn’t as cool and chill as Pete, but I think they would still be good friends. The Splat the Cat series is about as large as the Pete the Cat series, and I think it’s about time that these two kittens got to know each other.

     

    coolpoemsYOU CAN WRITE COOL POEMS
    by Jennifer Fandel
    (2012)

    Pete skateboards, plays guitar, and wears awesome sunglasses. I think it’s just a matter of time before he gets serious about poetry, and this book just might get him started. Plus, it’s cool!

     

    hipsterfashionHIPSTER FASHION
    by Karen Latchana Kenney
    (2014)

    Anyone who knows Pete the Cat knows that he cares about how he looks. I think he’d love trying out the tips in this fashion book.

     

     

     

    friendshipcraftsFRIENDSHIP CRAFTS
    by Helen Skillicorn
    (2010)

    Pete would be thrilled to get his paws on a book like this, and he’d instantly want to try out all of the crafts with his friends.

     

     

    whenIgrowupWHEN I GROW UP: A YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO INTERESTING & UNUSUAL OCCUPATIONS
    by Jessica Loy
    (2008)

    Can you imagine Pete growing up to get a nice secure office job with a retirement plan? Neither can I. This guide will help Pete begin exploring some of the awesome occupational options that exist, including guitar maker and bug scientist!

     

  • marktwain

    What was the first book you ever read? Don’t remember? Neither do I.

    This is probably because it was some random easy reader from an elementary school cupboard: really exciting at the time but not fundamentally life changing.

    What was the first book you ever loved? That question might be easier to answer, but it’s still a tough one. Are we talking picture books or chapter books? Read to us or read on our own? Was it Amelia Bedelia or Redwall?   Like I said, it’s a tough question.

    However, for me, it’s easy to pinpoint the book that launched me into a love of literature much deeper than my previously passive enjoyment of reading: The book was THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN and the year was 2007.

    This assigned high school reading was, admittedly, poorly taught; however, I’ll never forget my wonder when I realized that not only does Jim’s dialogue sound dramatically different than Huck’s when read aloud, but Twain wrote it that way on purpose!

    As time went on and I was assigned to read the book twice more in my studies, I did exactly what Twain tells his readers never to do—found a deeper meaning. I got to relive this simply powerful presentation of growing up and understanding the world, experience the very human confusion that surfaces when practicality collides with belief, and wander in and out of the beautiful southern landscape. I discovered the joy of connecting with a text and allowing it to shape my perspective.

    The wonderful time spent with Huck and Jim on the river acted as a gateway into further literary criticism and, eventually, two university degrees.

    My story might not sound even remotely like your story, but book lovers are book lovers for a reason. So take a minute to consider how your own literary journey has been impacted by great written works.

     

    adventuresofhuckfinnTHE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
    by Mark Twain
    (1885)