•  DVD and Books 1

    Here’s an unpopular opinion for you – sometimes the movie really is better than the book.  There is nothing like the experience of reading a good book, but there are certain stories that are just better when adapted for the screen. Whether that be by streamlining a story, bringing hard-to-imagine worlds to life, or by picking up and running with an author’s original idea. Here are some movies we think are better than the books that inspired them. 

    4.1 The Lord of the Rings DVDTHE LORD OF THE RINGS
    Directed by Peter Jackson
    (2001 – 2003) 

    Based on the novels: THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    By J.R.R. Tolkien

    J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS is a genre-defining epic fantasy series, but Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy is one of the most successful film adaptations of all time. It is a film series that manages to succeed in every way that the original novels fail – largely because of the careful and deliberate screenwriting that turns a sprawling “history” of Middle Earth into a hero’s journey focused on a ragtag team of heroes. 


    4.1 Mary Poppins DVDMARY POPPINS
    Directed by Robert Stevenson

    Based on the novel MARY POPPINS
    By P.L. Travers

    The winner of 5 Academy Awards and perhaps the most iconic live-action Disney film ever released, MARY POPPINS introduced us to a beloved character who is practically perfect in every way. Julie Andrews’ Oscar winning performance solidifies Mary Poppins as the kind, attentive, and magical caretaker that the Banks’ children need – a sharp departure from the book character who is stern, cross, and a little scary. Chalk it up to personal preference, but the magic of MARY POPPINS is never quite matched in its source material. 


    4.1 The Wizard of Oz DVDTHE WIZARD OF OZ
    Directed by Victor Fleming

    Based on the novel THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
    By L. Frank Baum

    The iconic film, THE WIZARD OF OZ, is a pop cultural landmark famous for its use of Technicolor, soundtrack, and memorable characters. It is hard to imagine a world without THE WIZARD OF OZ. It may be unfair, then, to compare it to the book which provided it its inspiration. THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, which is the beginning of a series of fifteen books, is a long, dark, American fairytale believed by some to be an extended allegory for populism. The movie adds considerable vim, vigor, and brightness to a story too easily bogged down by gloom, gore, and a little bit of oddity.


    4.1 A Little Princess DVDA LITTLE PRINCESS
    Directed by Alfonso Cuaron

    Based on the novel A LITTLE PRINCESS
    By Frances Hodgson Burnett

    As a movie, A LITTLE PRINCESS differs greatly from the book on which it is based, so much so that it is almost unfair to compare the two. It is also a little hard to talk about the differences between the two without MAJOR  SPOILERS because the ending of the two works are so vastly different. While the movie captures all the best parts of the book – mostly that Sarah Crewe is the best child in literature – it goes above and beyond in creating a lush, visual paradise and a fabulously dramatic, tear-jerking ending. 


    4.1 Fantastic Mr. FoxFANTASTIC MR. FOX
    Directed by Wes Anderson

    Based on the novel FANTASTIC MR. FOX
    By Roald Dahl

    Wes Anderson is an odd choice to direct an adaptation of a popular children’s novel, which may be why his stop-motion exploit into the world of Roald Dahl is so successful. He manages to create a family film that appeals to both children and adults without feeling a need to dumb anything down or add unnecessary jokes hoping they’ll “go over the heads” of younger viewers.

  •  rainbow books

    You may have been told not to judge a book by its cover, but for today we’re encouraging it.  Book lovers know that there is nothing quite like an aesthetically-pleasing, well-organized book shelf. One of the most abiding trends in book organization is sorting your books to look like a rainbow and we’re here for it. While we won’t be reorganizing the library shelves into a rainbow anytime soon, here are some great and colorful reads if you want to make your own shelves a little more ROY G BIV 

    3.2 The Wedding DateTHE WEDDING DATE
    By Jasmine Guillory


    3.2 Me Before YouME BEFORE YOU
    By Jojo Moyes


    3.2 Green Eggs and HamGREEN EGGS AND HAM
    By Dr. Seuss


    3.2 The Poisonwood BibleTHE POISONWOOD BIBLE: A NOVEL 
    By Barbara Kingsolver


    3.2 GhostGHOST
    By Jason Reynolds


    3.2 WatchmenWATCHMEN
    By Alan Moore


    By Kate Moore


    3.2 Evvie Drake Starts OverEVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER: A NOVEL
    By Linda Holmes


    3.2 Why Not MeWHY NOT ME?
    By Mindy Kaling


    3.2 All The Light We Cannot SeeALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE: A NOVEL
    By Anthony Doerr


    3.2 An Absolutely Remarkable ThingAN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING: A NOVEL
    By Hank Green


    3.2 EchoECHO
    By Pam Munoz Ryan


    3.2 That Inevitable Victorian ThingTHAT INEVITABLE VICTORIAN THING
    By E.K. Johnston


    3.2 Toil and TroubleTOIL & TROUBLE: 15 TALES OF WOMEN & WITCHCRAFT
    By Tess Sharpe

  • Snow Mittens 

    There is something about winter that makes it seem perfectly pleasant to stay indoors cozied up with a favorite book. It helps, of course, that we live in a place with cold, snowy winters. But there is something undeniably nice about turning the pages of a book during the shorter days of winter. For me, it is a soothing and calming activity during a time of year that can often feel hectic, and not only during the holidays. 

    We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite wintry (but not Holiday-centric) picture books that beg to be enjoyed by families on a long winter night. 

    1.4 Before MorningBEFORE MORNING
    By Joyce Sidman
    Illustrated by Beth Krommes

    This peaceful poem expresses a child’s wish for an overnight winter storm so mighty that it stops the world. I refuse to believe that this child and I are the only ones who have ever wished for a big blizzard that makes the busy world stop. This longing sensation, a decidedly wintry one, is perfectly expressed by Newbery medalist, Joyce Sidman and is perfectly matched by gorgeous scratchboard illustrations from Caldecott medalist Beth Krommes. This is a quiet, slow and mesmerizing book perfectly suited for a winter bedtime. 


    1.4 CozyCOZY
    By Jan Brett

    Nearly any of Jan Brett’s books could be on this list, because her signature artistic style is so associated with winter reading (if you haven’t read her version of THE MITTEN you really ought to). But COZY, her newest book, is an especially sweet story of winter friendship. Cozy is a young musk ox in Alaska, named for his especially silky coat. When he is separated from his herd during a harsh winter, his coat protects him from the winter chill. Soon, a growing number of animals seek shelter in his coat which prompts Cozy to set some “house rules” so everyone will get along. If you know Jan Brett, you know to expect beautiful illustrations and incredibly detailed side panels that young readers will spend hours exploring, 


    1.4 Katy and the Big SnowKATY AND THE BIG SNOW
    By Virginia Lee Burton

    Virginia Lee Burton is a classic children’s author and illustrator who wrote lots of stories of personified things, but KATY AND THE BIG SNOW holds a special place in my heart, and not just because it’s perfectly wintry. Katy is a tractor with a snow plow attached to her front who only gets brought out on very snowy days when the town needs her the most. She waits, and waits, and waits until a big snow storm arrives and then she happily goes to work clearing the streets so that people in the town can get where they need to go. Truck-obsessed children will love seeing Katy at work, and the vintage illustrations make such excellent use of white space that this book can be read over and over and still be charming – especially on a snowy day after seeing a snow plow at work! 


    1.4 Goodbye Autumn Hello WinterGOODBYE AUTUMN, HELLO WINTER
    By Kenard Pak

    This is part of Kenard Pak’s series of books showing two children saying goodbye to one season and welcoming another. The entire series is beautiful, but this entry holds a special spot in my heart. We follow the two children on a long walk as we watch the season start to turnover. We see the tell-tale signs that autumn is ending – like piles of leaves and crisp early evenings all moving towards the inevitable snowfall. The text in this quiet and inviting book is sweet, but the illustrations and how they manage to really feel like the change in seasons are what will make this book a delight to read over and over again – especially as we prepare for a snowfall. 


    1.4 Snowflake BentleySNOWFLAKE BENTLEY
    By Jacqueline Briggs Martin
    Illustrated by Mary Azarian

    There are a surprising number of Caldecott winners about winter, which made it a difficult choice to recommend just one. But in the end, I had to pick this nostalgic favorite – a picture book biography about Wilson Alwyn Bentley. Bentley, or Snowflake Bentley, was a self-taught scientist who studied the microscopic world of snowflakes by photographing thousands of flakes to study their form and prove that no snowflake is alike. The incredible illustrations in this book are done with woodblock and hand-tinting to evoke the snowy 19th century Vermont town where Bentley lived. This is a simple but beautiful book that could act as an invitation to explore snow science with children.

  • BB 2016 FB

    The Night GardnerTHE NIGHT GARDENER
    by Terry and Eric Fan

    This book was SO CLOSE to being added to our best books of the year list. It is one of my favorite books from the year. In fact, if you want to know just how much I love this book; take a look at my blog post from it back in March of 2016. It is about a boy who notices a gardener who trims trees at night—which cause quite the response the next day since the trees turn into owls, dragons, and other fun creatures. The story is good, but the pictures are amazing! The subtle changes from what the street feels and looks like before the night gardener comes to afterward is just amazing—to the point that by the end it is hard to think that life wasn’t so bright and happy throughout the whole book. Honestly, this is one book that will not soon be forgotten, and it is one that almost (ALMOST!) made it onto my best books list this past year. If I could have added one more picture book, this would have been it! 


    by Nathan Hale

    I love the Hazardous Tales graphic novels! They are clever, full of fun facts, and well done. The only reason that this did not make the list is that it is the 6th book in the series. I figured that many people already knew about the Hazardous Tales (and how amazing they are). So this almost made the list…but I opted to add the new graphic novels that were the first in a series instead. So this particular tale tells about the heroes that lived and died at the Alamo (and those who escaped or fought against the Alamo which is why we know so much about that event). There are bits of backstory mingled with humor and jokes (and readers can still laugh at the Provost and the Hangman). Seriously, such great non-fiction put together in one happy package. ALAMO ALL-STARS, if I had one more spot you would have been on the best books list! 


    When the Sea Turned to SilverWHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER
    By Grace Lin

    I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. The reason this book did not make our final list is because there were just too many exceptional middle grade novels this year (as if there can ever ACTUALLY be too many). This is the story of the Storyteller’s granddaughter – Pinmei. After the Tiger Emperor kidnaps her grandmother, Pinmei must journey to find the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night – the only thing that might persuade the Emperor to change his mind and release his prisoner. When the Sea Turned to Silver is the third installment in a story that began with WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON but can easily stand alone.  This is not usually the type of book that I would choose for myself - I was definitely reading out of my comfort zone – but I loved this beautiful story even more because of it! I fell in love with the magical and yet familiar world that was crafted in this novel and the way the story weaved together and revealed itself at the end. This book is for everyone to read and enjoy while it warms you like a fuzzy blanket. Too many good books is a problem I like to have but, unfortunately, it means this book just barely missed our best books list. 


    By Steve Jenkins

    When I was a kid, I don’t remember that there were an excess of really well done informational books. So, I was as surprised as anyone to realize how tight the competition for best non-fiction would be this year. Let me just say, leaving this book off my final list was not a decision I came to easily. ANIMALS BY THE NUMBERS graphically shares all kinds of interesting facts and figures about all kinds of different animals. This book is seriously informative with very simple, straightforward, “good to know” infographics. The minimalist illustrations make the book even more user friendly and they are, frankly, unbelievably striking. If I had space for anymore informational books, this one would be included – no doubt. In the end, ANNIMALS BY THE NUMBERS was beaten out by some very stiff competition. 


    The Thank You BookTHE THANK YOU BOOK
    By Mo Willems

    Easy Readers have come a long way recently, mostly thanks to Mo Willems. So, Mo, THANK YOU! This book was left off the final list in part because this is the last in a series and I was hoping that everyone would already know and love Elephant & Piggie. Unfortunately, this book was nudged off the list is because even though it is Mo Willems being excellent, it is not quite as excellent as Mo Willems can be. (We hold him to his own standard). Elephant Gerald & Piggie say goodbye and thank you to their friends, the reader, and each other in this very sweet book that fans of the series will love. If our list for best books could be even one book longer, THE THANK YOU BOOK would be a part of it! 



  • BB 2017 FB

    Each year we put together a list of the top 60 best children’s books (according to our children’s librarians). As we have been whittling down our lists some titles are harder to take off—almost painful because they are great books. These five books are fantastic! Truly amazing! Yet they just didn’t make the list. If it was the 65 best children’s books, these titles would have been on there.

    As we keep you in suspense as to our top 60 books (which we will reveal at our Best Books program next Tuesday), take a look at these books that almost made the cut.

    2.14 The Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsTHE LEGEND OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS
    By Drew Daywalt
    Illustrated by Adam Rex

    This is a great picture book—and I liked it so much that I even bought it! Really, it is a good book. It tells the story of Rock (who lives in the Kingdom of the Backyard) and is the strongest in the land. No one could beat Rock in any challenge. Then (in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office) there lived another warrior named Paper. Once again in this empire there was none who could best Paper. In a third place (the Kitchen Realm) there lived a warrior named Scissors who could not be beaten in all of her challenges. Daywalt and Rex put together a hilarious tale as to why these three warriors battle together (and thus explains the rock, paper, scissors game that children all over the world play). Seriously, this is a pretty funny book. 


    2.14 Orphan IslandORPHAN ISLAND
    By Laurel Snyder

    It is not often that you find a Juvenile Fiction title as divisive as this one, or one that can get as many people talking. Orphan Island tells the story of Jinny, a girl who has grown up on a secluded island populated only by nine orphans. Each year, a boat arrives to deliver a new child and the oldest is expected to leave without knowing what awaits them on the boat. But when Jinny’s boat comes, she doesn’t leave and the island – once a perfect, nurturing home – begins to change. This book is in many ways a classic “coming of age” story, but also it isn’t. This book, its setting and its plot are wildly imaginative and are bolstered by truly skillful writing – providing lots of opportunities for discussion. It’s hard to discount the buzz surrounding this book – it’s a National Book Award Longlist Title and it’s on the Mock Newbery list of anyone who has such a list – but it’s also incredible divisive with vocal people arguing about it either way. While this wasn’t one of our favorite books of the year, it’s been discussed too much to leave off our list completely. 


    2.14 Real FriendsREAL FRIENDS
    By Shannon Hale
    Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

    Shannon Hale joins up with LeUyen Pham (who also illustrates Shannon’s PRINCESS IN BLACK series) in this graphic novel memoir about making and keeping friends. Shannon and her best friend Adrienne have been best friends since they were little, but when Adrienne becomes friends with the most popular girl in school, things begin to change between them and Shannon questions whether or not she and Adrienne will be able to stay friends. This story is one that most readers will be able to identify with – whether they’ve been bullied by the popular kids or not.  Also, since Shannon Hale is a local author, it’s set in Salt Lake City which is sort of extra fun for kids from Utah. This story is honest and a little heartwarming, and though it didn’t make our final list is a great choice for Raina Telgemeir or Cece Bell fans. 


    by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

    This is a great nonfiction title (which follows up the brilliant book Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth). Bang and Chisholm explain how water moves around the world thanks to the heat of the sun—both through the sun’s part of the water cycle and due to the sun heating various currents in the oceans. This is a book full of information and facts presented in a picture book format so even the younger scientists can understand how water works and how the sun plays a major part to what happens to the water. 


    2.14 Harry Millers RunHARRY MILLER'S RUN
    By David Almond
    Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbin

    Most juvenile intermediate books are formula books—ones where they are part of a series and you can predict that the book will (re)introduce the characters in chapter one, throw in a bit of conflict (usually of the same variety as previous books in the series) in chapter two, etc. Not Harry Miller’s Run. This book is a stand-alone story that is beautifully written AND happens to be a juvenile intermediate book. Liam needs to train for an upcoming race and so he talks to his older neighbor (Harry Miller) who happens to have run the same race when he was younger. This is a great story about something seemingly insignificant (like talking to an elderly neighbor) can actually be interesting, fun, and helpful. Plus, the way Harry Miller tells his tale, readers will almost feel like going out for a jog themselves. Almond has written yet another great story—and lucky for us this one is an intermediate book!

  • NaNoWriMo

    There are two kinds of bookish people in the world. Those who read a novel and think “Hey, I should write my own novel!” and those who finish a book and think “wow, I am so glad that someone else wrote that book for me to read!” 

    Those in the first camp look forward to NaNoWriMo every year, or National Novel Writing Month which challenges authors to write an entire novel during the month of November. For those of you trying to complete your own NaNoWriMo this year, our adult reference librarians have planned virtual write-ins throughout the month to help get your word count up and keep you on track. Meanwhile, for those of us more interested in reading finished products while we watch authors hard-at-work – here are some of the best novels that started as WriMo projects. 

    11.9 FangirlFANGIRL
    By Rainbow Rowell

    Cath is starting college on un-easy footing. Her twin sister, Wren, has decided they need to live in separate dorms, leaving Cath trapped with only an exceptionally acerbic roommate and the comfort of her favorite book series (and the hugely popular fanfic site she runs) to keep her company. And then of course there’s her roommate’s ex – the floppy-haired Levi, who insists on pushing Cath out of her comfort zone. If 2020 has you wanting to read something light, I cannot recommend FANGIRL enough. This is rom-com turned coming-of-age story with chapters of Cath’s fanfic scattered throughout. This is one of those books that sounds like it won’t work, but all the different elements come together beautifully. 


    11.9 The Night CircusTHE NIGHT CIRCUS
    By Erin Morgenstern

    In a 20th-century circus, which mysteriously arrives and disappears by night, a girl named Celia, the magician’s daughter, is caught in a magical battle against the apprentice of a rival magician. As Celia and the boy, Marco, sharpen their magical skills over the years, they are propelled towards two inevitable results – their epic battle of magic will kill one of them, and they will surely fall in love. As a reader who is usually adverse to fantasy, I was caught up in the world of this novel from the very first page. THE NIGHT CIRCUS is an enchanting and rapture-filled historical setting for a dramatic fantasy to take place. Perhaps one of the most famous NaNoWriMo books, THE NIGHT CIRCUS is an obvious first-read for someone wanting to get caught up in a dramatic setting.   


    11.9 Anna and the French KissANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
    By Stephanie Perkins

    Were you, like so many, disappointed by EMILY IN PARIS? The remedy comes in the form of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. 17-year-old Anna Oliphant has big plans for her senior year until her romance novelist father ships her off to boarding school in Paris, France. Though she is at first unhappy about spending her senior year abroad, she quickly becomes enchanted with Parisienne life and with a boy named St. Clair – the only problem? St. Clair has a girlfriend. This is a perfect escapist novel for when you want some romance, a happy ending, and a reminder that home is people, not a place. 


    11.9 With Fire on HighWITH THE FIRE ON HIGH
    By Elizabeth Acevedo

    Emoni Santiago has a lot on her plate. She’s a senior in high school, a single mother to a two-year-old daughter, works part-time, and still manages to carve out time to do what she loves most – making near-magical dishes in the kitchen that transport her diners. With high school drawing to a close, Emoni signs up for an elective culinary arts class her senior year that will bring her one step closer to the path she wants to be on, but makes her uncertain how she will continue to care for her daughter. This is an introspective and touching novel from an author who won a Printz medal and National Book Award for her debut novel. Though this book is anything but light reading, it is a stunning and steadfast look at growing up and figuring out life.

  • Easy Readers 2

    One of my favorite things I get to do at work is ordering the Easy Reader Nonfiction books (JENF for short). These books are nestled in with the Easy Reader and Very Easy Reader section, but I think they are extra special. These books are a great way for curious minds to learn about all the things they might be interested in – in a language they can read for themselves. 

    Our JENF books are in the red Easy Reader corner of the Children’s Department and are eager to be discovered. Here are some great new JENF series to go hunting for: 


    9.6 Rookie National ParksZION NATIONAL PARK
    By Jodie Shepherd

    Rookie is a series of books from Scholastic, and within the Rookie series there are a lot of series on all kinds of topics – and I don’t think that they are all good, but the National Parks series (new this year!) is definitely worth reading. Each book in this series has facts about the flora and fauna of the National Park in question, the geographical formation, and must-sees within the parks – all on pages full of stunning photographs from inside the national parks. If you have young explorers, definitely bring these books home. 



    By Tedd Arnold

    Sometimes informational books with popular characters thrown in can seem a little gimmicky, but the Fly Guy Presents series has none of that. These informational books on a variety of topics (everything from Sharks to the White House) have all the fun of Fly Guy stories but with a ton of great facts as well. I love these books, which follow Fly Guy and Buzz on various field trips and are filled with Tedd Arnold’s signature funny illustrations and cool photographs throughout.     



    By Trey King

    I have to confess that I am not a big Transformers fan so I cannot personally speak to how cool these books are, but my elementary school aged cousins tell me that these books are cool and I’ll take their word for it. From a librarian perspective, this series is great because even though it is fairly new it is already covering a good range of topics (firefighters, monster trucks, under the sea). The pages are a good mix of photographs and illustrations and these books are full of good information. 



    9.6 I wish I was a GorillaI WISH I WAS A GORILLA
    By Jennifer Bove

    I grew up reading Ranger Rick magazines and this new series of Easy Readers carries all the same good parts of Ranger Rick magazines, but in a compact, focused design focused on beginning readers. This series of books includes volumes focused on other animals like orcas and lions and all are really well done. This book is filled with a ton of information about gorillas – where they live, what they look like, what they eat, and how they care for their families. Plus there are incredible photos courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation.  



    9.6 Jesse OwensJESSE OWENS
    By Laurie Calkhoven

    If your little readers are curious about real people and the interesting lives they lived, this series is one of my favorites. These books tend to focus on figures that young readers may not have learned about yet (i.e. not another Thomas Edison or Abraham Lincoln bio). This book, about Jesse Owens the African American runner who caused a sensation at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is well written with little readers in mind. Other books to look out for include Mae Jemison and a group biography Women in Science. 


    Did we miss any of your favorite Easy Reader Non Fiction sections? Tell us in the comments!

  •  Woods

    As any intrepid hiker knows, there is one thing all adventurers need to keep an eye open for while exploring in nature – the creature known as Bigfoot. You may be thinking that in Utah we don’t need to worry about Bigfoot, after all, most reported Bigfoot sightings have occurred in Washington state and California. You may be thinking that there are bigger threats in nature than the largely unknown cryptid. You might even be thinking, “There’s no such thing as Bigfoot.” But for the true believers, there is no better time to learning about sasquatch than in your childhood. Here are some good reads to get you started, just in time for hiking and camping season.

    11.18 LemonsLEMONS
    By Melissa Savage

    After her mother dies, Lemonade Liberty Witt is sent to live with a grandfather she’s never met in Willow Creek, California – Bigfoot Capital of the World. She’s sure that she’ll be able to move back to San Francisco to live with her teacher Miss Cotton soon, and so Lem doesn’t bother to try to make friends in her new, weird town. Especially not with Tobin, her neighbor and the president and founder of Bigfoot Detectives Inc. Reluctantly, though, Lem agrees to help Tobin hunt for the elusive Bigfoot. This is a humorous and heartwarming read for Bigfoot believers and deniers.


    11.18 BigfootBIGFOOT
    By Erin Peabody

    Let’s dive into the big question – does Bigfoot exist? For young cryptozoologists, this book is the best place to start. This middle grade informational title explores the legend of Bigfoot from all angles – explaining famous sightings, big hoaxes, and the mythological roots of the creature. With an easy-to-read narrative, plenty of elementary school humor, and black and white illustrations, young Bigfoot hunters will eat this book alive.   


    By D.L. Miller

    If you stop and think about it, hunting for Bigfoot is sort of like LARPing a Seek and Find book. So what better way to get in the Bigfoot spirit than with a book full of seek-and-find challenges featuring our favorite monster on vacation all over the world? And, if you’re dying to be on vacation, this book also includes fun facts about vacation destinations to help transport you. Be sure to also check out BIGFOOT GOES BACK IN TIME


    By Jill Esbaum

    Did you ever stop to wonder if maybe we got it all wrong? Maybe Bigfoot is out there – and maybe he also just wants to be your friend. Elwood Bigfoot is three things – he is very big, very loud, and very lonely. All he wants is to befriend the little birdies who come near is cave, but whenever he tries to ask them to “STAY!” they fly away frightened. Elwood tries everything before realizing that his BIG personality might be scaring the birds away. You’ve never seen a cuter Bigfoot than Elwood, or had a better way to get your littles hooked on Bigfoot.

  • disney

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

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

    By Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville
    Illustrated by Brigette Barrager

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


    By Dinah Williams

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


    By Doreen Rappaport

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


    By Xavier Atencio

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


    1.28 Keymasters QuestTHE KEYMASTER’S QUEST
    By Jason Lethcoe

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

  • BFYR 3

    The Books for Young Readers Symposium is a pretty exciting event when we get to have some big names in Children’s literature come and visit our library. It’s always wonderful to have authors in our library, but it’s even more exciting when we get to have famous, local authors like Tess Hilmo stop by. 

    Tess Hilmo is a Southern California native who attended Brigham Young University where she studied Communications. She had a few different careers before becoming a published author here in Utah and then in California, where her family moved when her husband started medical school. What is so impressive about Tess Hilmo’s career is that even though she didn’t start as an author, once she decided to write she was very persistent. 

    She started her first novel while pregnant with her second child, and it took twelve years for WITH A NAME LIKE LOVE to be published. This debut novel achieved critical acclaim—receiving both a Kirkus and Booklist starred review. Since then, Hilmo has written two other middle grade novels, each met with positive critical attention. 

    Tess Hilmo’s repertoire is impressive—each of her three novels is unique in setting, and you could read all three back to back without a feeling of repetition. Her stories are engaging and interesting, and all feature likable characters who are easy to identify with but still different from one another. 

    To read more about Tess Hilmo and her journey to become a successful author, check out her website! You should also check out a few of these great books owned by the Provo Library: 

    7.6.17 With a Name Like LoveWITH A NAME LIKE LOVE
    Tess Hilmo

    Thirteen-year-old Olivene Love gets tangled up in a murder mystery when her itinerant preaching family arrives in the small town of Binder, Arkansas in 1957. 



    7.6.17 Skies Like TheseSKIES LIKE THESE
    By Tess Hilmo

    While visiting her eccentric aunt who lives in Wyoming, twelve-year-old Jade befriends a boy who believes he is a descendant of Butch Cassidy. 




    7.6.17 Cinnamon MoonCINNAMON MOON
    By Tess Hilmo

    Historical fiction about two siblings and a friend trying to find a new family and a home after the Great Chicago Fire.




  • Browsing Library Book Shelf 

    We get it. Sometimes you just want to know what books are new. If you come into the library you can find new book sections throughout our library. In children’s, we have shelves designated for new picture books, new fiction, and new informational books. In the adult department, we have two displays for new adult fiction and new nonfiction as well as designated shelves for new YA titles. Any of these places are great to browse if you just want something new to read. 

    But if you can’t come into the library in-person, where can you find new titles? 

    One easy way is to do a catalog search and limit your search results to a specific “new” section. So, let’s say that I want to see all the new children’s fiction titles. 

    Start by pulling up the library catalog. 

    What s New 1


    Next, jump down to the “Collection” filter (it will be all the way at the bottom on the left side) 

    What s New 2


    Select “View All” to see all your options 

    What s New 3


    Then scroll until you find the collection you want, we want J New Fiction but you can also look up J New Picture Book, J New Informational, NEW BOOKS – FICTION, NEW BOOKS – NONFICTION, New Books – Young Adult, NEW LARGE PRINT, or New YA Nonfiction to find new books in those areas. 

    What s New 4


    Click “Include” in the top right corner and you’ll pull up a list of all the books that are currently in our J New Fiction section – even if they’re checked out! 

    What s New 5


    You can read book summaries and place books on hold without leaving the comfort of your own home.

  • Discovery Kits are a curated selection of themed books, toys, and activity ideas appropriate for kids ages 3-5. Each Discovery Kit checks out for three weeks so you have plenty of time to do all the Discovery Kit things included. Curious about Discovery Kits? Here are some of the nitty-gritty details:

    discovery 01 1

    To make your own Discovery Kit reservation, go here.

  •  Robert Burns

    I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that my first exposure to Robert Burns came in 2003 from an episode of Lizzie McGuire. Ever since then, I’ve been interested in Bobbie Burns (as he’s called in his native Scotland) and in Burns Night, one of the more random celebrations you’re likely to learn about. Every January 25th, people all over the world (okay mostly in Scotland) celebrate the life of Robert Burns on Burns Night by hosting a Burns Supper where you eat Scottish food and act Scottish and celebrate Scotland (people in Scotland are clearly very into being Scottish).

    So, for those who don’t know, who was Robert Burns? And how can you celebrate your own Burns Night?

    Robert Burns, who lived from 1759-1796, is definitely the most famous Scottish poet of all time, and there is something so distinctly Scottish about his writing that he is often regarded as the national poet of Scotland. His poetry is famously written in the Scots language (so it’s a little hard to understand) but it also deals with themes that are important to the Scottish people—life, death, loyalty, country, agriculture, etc.

    For these reasons and others, people were eager to keep the Spirit of Robert Burns alive after he died—and so Burns Night came into existence. Burns’s fanboys are divided on exactly what Burns Night should be; for some it is a night of drinking and revelry, for others it is a somber academic endeavor. Some aspects, however, are non-negotiable.

    1.24 Classic Recipes from ScotlandCLASSIC RECIPES FROM SCOTLAND
    By Tom Bridge

    To properly celebrate the Great Robert Burns, you need to eat like him. Though haggis and blood pudding are traditional, you can probably get away with meat pies instead. 


    By Karen Jo Shapiro

    A key part of any good Burns Night is the reading of poetry inspired by, about, or even satirizing good ol’ Bobbie. This children’s book has goofy parodies written in the style of a lot of well-known poets including Burns. 


    1.24 WhiskeyWHISKEY
    By Michael Jackson

    Most die-hard fans agree that Burns Night is not complete without scotch—and this definitive guide will tell you all you need to know about how to pick the best scotch, bourbon, or whiskey. Of course, if that isn’t quite your speed, this book is also a great novice guide to learn about how scotch is distilled. 


    By Robert Burns
    Edited by Allan Cunningham

    Ultimately, and despite what people may say, the one thing you truly need to celebrate Burns Night is a reading of his poetry. Luckily, you can check out the Complete Works of Robert Burns with your Overdrive account so you can have them wherever you go. I’m personally partial to “To a Haggis” or the near-epic “Tam O’Shanter” because of how decidedly Scottish they are. 



    And of course, if you are unsure how to end your Burns Night, the traditional ending is with the singing of his most famous song – Auld Lang Syne. You can download lots of versions of this song for free from Freegal using your Provo City Library Card.

    Image from page 337 of "Hill's album of biography and art : containing portraits and pen-sketches of many persons who have been and are prominent as religionists, military heroes, inventors, financiers, scientists, explorers, writers, physicians, actors, via photopin (license)
  •  Mother daughter cooking

    I have always loved Thanksgiving. Every year, I view it as welcome break to spend time with family, express gratitude for the blessings and privileges I enjoy, and eat yummy foods that for some reason we only make once a year (if anyone wants to normalize making cranberry sauce and stuffing year-round I will support that crusade). But, like everything good, Thanksgiving will probably look pretty different this year. Here’s hoping that we are all still able to express gratitude for all that we do have, and eat some delicious food with our families. 

    As you prepare for Thanksgiving, here are some of the best kid-lit chefs to get you in the mood to cook up a delicious feast of your own. Be warned – better not to read while hungry!

    11.23 Measuring UpMEASURING UP
    By Lily LaMotte

    Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle with her parents and is still trying to adjust to her new school and country. More than anything, she misses her grandmother back in Taiwan. When she sees an advertisement for a kids’ cooking contest with a cash prize, Cici cooks up a plan to win the prize money and bring A-ma to Seattle for her 70th birthday. It seems easy enough, until she meets her assigned competition partner – the intimidating Miranda who works in her family’s fancy restaurant and insists that they won’t win the competition by making Taiwanese food. This new middle-grade graphic novel focuses on Cici while she figures out where she fits in.  


    11.23 From the desk of Zoe WashingtonFROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON
    By Janae Marks

    The summer before seventh grade, 12-year-old aspiring pastry chef Zoe Washington, plans to spend her free-time preparing to audition for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge by interning at a local bakery. But when she receives a letter from her father who’s been imprisoned for murder since before Zoe was born, she secretly begins a correspondence with him. As Zoe gets to know her father better, she learns about inequality in the criminal justice system and strives to get her dad’s verdict appealed – all while perfecting a recipe for a signature cupcake. This book balances discussion of social justice, family connections, and mouthwatering descriptions of treats.  


    11.23 Pie in the SkyPIE IN THE SKY
    By Remy Lai

    Jingwen has just moved to a new country -- but it feels like he’s landed on a new planet. School is torture, making friends is impossible because he doesn’t speak English, and he keeps getting stuck babysitting his very annoying little brother Yanghao. To distract himself, Jingwen plans to make fancy cakes like his dad used to make before he died. The only problem is, his mom won’t let the brothers use the oven while she’s at work, so Jingwen and Yanghao bake cakes in secret – carefully eating all the evidence before she returns home. This middle grade novel with spot-illustrations is a hilarious and heartwarming immigrant story filled with some tasty looking cakes. 


    11.23 Jasmine Toguchi mochi queenJASMINE TOGUCHI, MOCHI QUEEN
    By Debbi Michiko Florence

    Jasmine Toguchi’s family is gathering to celebrate the new year and make mochi, sweet rice cakes from Japan. Though Jasmine is considered too young to help with the mochi-making like her older sister Sophie, she is eager to help out. Jasmine becomes determined to involve herself in the mochi-making process, despite being too young and a girl, and commits herself to proving to her family that she is strong enough to help the men pound out mochi – even lifting weights with her cousins. This intermediate chapter book is all about food, family, and togetherness – with instructions for attempting your own mochi to boot. 


    11.23 Bilal Cooks DaalBILAL COOKS DAAL
    By Aisha Saeed

    Bilal and his dad are making his favorite dish for dinner – chana daal – and Bilal invites his friends Morgan and Elias to help. Though the boys are excited to help prepare the classic South Asian dish, they begin to express a little uncertainty that it smells and looks funny. Bilal becomes worried that his friends won’t like his favorite food and spends the day worried as the boys play and wait for the daal to cook. When the meal is finally ready and the friends sit down to dine – the daal’s a hit! This foodie picture book is perfect for young food obsessed readers interested in exploring new cuisine and includes a daal recipe to try making your own at home.

  • Caldecott

    Most readers are (at least somewhat) familiar with the Caldecott award – given to “the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children” each year. But deciphering which books are Caldecott eligible can be a little tricky. Because this is an award for American picture books, the artist who wins needs to be either a citizen or resident of the United States. So, some of our favorite international illustrators can’t win a Caldecott award – unless they want to move to the States. 

    With this in mind, here are five of our very favorite picture books from 2019 that won’t get any Caldecott recognition – because they can’t. 

    12.30 Just BecauseJUST BECAUSE
    By Mac Barnett
    Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

    Mac Barnett is the author of two Caldecott Honorees; EXTRA YARN and SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE, both of which were illustrated by Jon Klassen. His latest picture book, JUST BECAUSE, is a beautiful bedtime book about a curious young girl and her patient father who answers her pre-sleep questions with fantastical answers. The illustrations, which make use of black, white, and grey with accent colors in muted tones, are appealingly retro. These illustrations, a real highlight of this book, come to us courtesy of Isabelle Arsenault, a native of Quebec who still lives and works in Montreal. Don’t expect to see any Caldecott awards attached to the cover of this one, but make sure you don’t miss this one either. 


    12.30 Small in the CitySMALL IN THE CITY
    Written and illustrated by Sydney Smith

    I don’t often say that a picture book gives me chills, but this one does that and more. To reveal everything that makes this book so special would be a real disservice to the calm, patient, and very sweet ending, but I will say that this book is very deserving of all five of its starred reviews. A little boy, alone in a big city, speaks as first-person narrator telling the reader everything he knows about being small in the city. We follow this little boy as he travels through his beautiful-ugly city brought to life. The illustrations in this book are incredible. Period. Sydney Smith is a native resident of Canada so this book won’t win a Caldecott, but don’t let that keep you away.   


    By Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali
    Illustrated by Hatem Aly

    On the first day of school, Faizah is excited to see her older sister Asiya wear hijab for the first time. Faizah sees Asiya as a princess, and her bright blue headscarf is her crown. At school, not everyone understands Asiya’s hijab and classmates whisper and shout ignorant insults. But Asiya keeps her head held proudly in her bright blue hijab. The bold, royal blue fills the pages of the book literally and metaphorically as a sweeping reminder of pride and respect for hijab. These triumphant illustrations, from Hatem Aly who illuminated THE INQUISITOR’S TALE, are bold, bright, and self-assured. Because Hatem Aly was born in Egypt and lives in Canada, this excellent new book won’t get a Caldecott nod, but should not be missed. 


    12.30 The Last PeachTHE LAST PEACH
    Written and illustrated by Gus Gordon

    Australian author-illustrator Gus Gordon is back in a new picture book about two bugs debating who gets to eat the last peach of the summer. As the two bugs (who you will fall in love with) go back and forth debating who gets to eat it, all the other bugs try to remind them that the last peach of summer always looks good but doesn’t taste good – they shouldn’t eat it. This is a fun read-aloud type book where alternating font colors bring the bugs to life. These illustrations are fun – lots of white space with cut-paper collage adds to the lively nature of the book and perfectly accents the big, beautiful, last peach. A surprise twist ending will have readers eager to re-read this one and look for hints. 


    12.30 Little Doctor and the Fearless BeastLITTLE DOCTOR AND THE FEARLESS BEAST
    Written and illustrated by Sophie Gilmore

    Little Doctor lives all alone in the deep, dark forest treating crocodiles of their various ailments. The fearsome creatures come from all over to receive reptilian treatment in exchange for stories. One day, Little Doctor is visited by Big Mean, the biggest, meanest crocodile of all; a particularly grumpy patient who won’t open up to Little Doctor – literally. Another picture book that packs a surprise punch, the climax of this book will keep readers guessing. Seeing Big Mean twist and curl and contort to fit into the pages of this book is enticing and the repeating ovular shapes and cool greyish-green makes for a beautiful and lush read. Sophie Gilmore’s debut picture book should keep her name in readers’ minds for a long time, but, born in New Zealand and residing in Italy, don’t expect to see her name on Caldecott lists this year.

  • fashionable

    Working at a library as a grown-up, I’m often really jealous of kids who get to read books I would have loved when I was their age but which didn’t exist yet. These days, kids interested in fashion have a bevy of books to choose from—something I will always be jealous of. Here are my favorite books for fashionable kids. 

    By Philip Hopman

    This dual biography of Hubert de Givenchy (who passed away just last week) and his most famous client, Audrey Hepburn, is a beautiful, fashionable, and colorful story of two best friends. Young readers may not appreciate the depictions of a fish-out-of-water Audrey in famous movie costumes yet, but will still enjoy the water colors of beautiful dresses. 


    By Kyo Maclear
    Illustrated by Julie Morstad

    This new picture book biography is about Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion designer known for creating innovative dresses that were works of art. This book is inspiring—reminding young readers that they can accomplish great things and “bloom” into something beautiful—and filled with illustrations of flowers and dresses in Elsa’s signature shade of hot pink. 


    By Steven Guarnaccia

    In this fashionable and “mod” retelling of Cinderella, the titular character is transformed into haute couture by a fairy godfather who looks suspiciously like Karl Lagerfeld. Fashion aficionados will love the references to some recognizable styles of the 20th century (the end pages will help you identify them) and little fashionistas will love the bright and unique illustrations. 


    By Chesley McLaren and Pamela Jaber

    This ABC book takes kids on a simple tour through the history of fashion mentioning ruffs, chopines, flappers, and more. The swirly, often silly, illustrations enhance the goofy (and true) stories about high fashion through time. This book is a must for fashionable readers and the pink cover definitely adds to the kid appeal. 


    By Jennifer Croll
    Illustrated by Ada Buchholc

    This is the only book on my list that isn’t a picture book, but it is still filled with illustrations of fashionable ladies and the clothes that made them famous. This book tells the story of famous women who made history because they were well-dressed and not in spite of it. Slightly older readers with an interest in celebrity and fashion will love this in-depth look at the power of clothes.

  • gilmoregirls

    All true Gilmore Girls fans can relate to my excitement about two things – the Netflix revival series responsible for bringing our girls back to the screen, and the feeling every time I can cross another book off of 339 books either read or referenced during the original series. In celebration of the revival, and the twenty-one books added to the list in the new four-part series, here are five of my personal favorite Rory-books.  

    Me Talk Pretty One DayME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY
    by David Sedaris

     It is pretty unsurprising to me to find this book on a Gilmore girls reading list – because the Gilmores and David Sedaris have one very important thing in common, they are very funny and far cleverer than I can ever hope to be. For those of you who watch Gilmore girls for the humor, I’m including this one.


    Northanger AbbeyNORTHANGER ABBEY
    by Jane Austen

    Northanger Abbey is by far my favorite Jane Austen novel and I’m glad to see that Rory took the time to read it as well. This is Austen’s most obviously satirical novel, and I think that Rory and Lorelai would definitely appreciate Austen’s cynical humor and her references to popular novels of her day. Plus, like many books on Rory’s list this one features a strong female character.

    Wuthering HeightsWUTHERING HEIGHTS
    by Emily Bronte

    Maybe Rory read too much into the love story between Catherine and Heathcliff and so her own relationships seemed less dysfunctional as a result. Or maybe, like so many other books on her list, she read it because it features a strong (if unlikable) female character. I’m including it because I think it is cool and atmospheric – even if the characters are pretty unlikable.  

    Fahrenheit 451FAHRENHEIT 451
    by Ray Bradbury

    This is novel is another classic that seems right at home on Rory’s list. Lovers of books love this story, set in a dystopian world where firemen start fires to burn books and book lovers are exiled. I’m including this because I am a proud book-nerd and think others should be as well.  


    charlottes webCHARLOTTE'S WEB
    by E.B. White

    I’m including this book for two reasons. First, Wilbur and Charlotte share one of the greatest friendships in literature and Gilmore girls is about nothing if not friendship. Second, to prove wrong the impression that in order to be “well-read” like Rory Gilmore you can only read classic, sophisticated, adult books and definitely not books written for children.  

    BONUS: recently the internet has compiled a list of all the movies referenced in the series as well. Those of you who identify more closely with Lorelai than Rory, or who have somehow already finished Rory’s booklist can get started on this one.      

  • favoritefavorite 1

     Anyone who reads a lot can empathize with the pressure I feel, as a librarian, to pick a favorite book. It’s often the first question people ask me when I tell them that reading is my favorite hobby. The problem, of course, is that I don’t have a favorite book.  

    Or rather, I have way too many! I could easily come up with a categorized list of about 400 favorite books separated into genre, age group, guilty pleasure books, etc. But, if I had to pick, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is my favorite book on my long list of favorite books. The story is fun and classic and well-known enough that you don’t seem pretentious when you say that you love it. And, like many childhood classics, there are always new interpretations to explore.  

    Here are a few favorite books based on my official favorite book:  

    Alices Adventures in WonderlandAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
    By Lewis Carroll
    Illustrated by Anna Rifle Bond

    The illustrations in Alice have always been one of the best parts for me, and while hundreds of artists have taken the time to illustrate Wonderland, this edition offers a unique interpretation of a magical and fantastic world. Every page in this book is pretty and cartoonish, offering a fun new journey to Wonderland alongside Lewis Carroll’s original and unabridged text.  


    By Marissa Meyer

    In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Lady Catherine is reluctant to marry the King of Hearts, especially once she finds love with the king’s mysterious new jester. Marissa Meyer crafts her own beautiful version of Wonderland filled with romance and a little bit of darkness. I love this new look at Wonderland.  




    Queen of HeartsQueen of Hearts  
    By Colleen Oakes

    This book offers another exploration into Wonderland before Alice, but here the future Queen of Hearts is called Princess Dinah, and she has yet to learn about the darkness that fills her future kingdom. I was not expecting to enjoy two new Queen of Hearts origin stories in the same year, but this book – the first in a new series – convinced me that there should be even more.  



    There are so many Fractured Wonderland stories that it was hard to pick out a few favorites (obviously). Are there other favorites that we missed? 


  • pete seeger

    For any 10-year-olds with an interest in the folk music of the 1960s, this blog post is for you!***crickets***Okay, okay. I know how it sounds, but one of the fascinating things about biographies written for children is that many are written about people that most children aren’t initially interested in. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be books about Einstein, Disney, and Muhammad Ali. But some of the real gems of our biography collection are about people that may not have obvious “kid-appeal” in 2017.Take Pete Seeger. I became a fan of his music as a sophomore in college when I became a little more politically active, a little more frustrated at “modern life,” and a little more convinced that the 1960s was the time to live. Ask me as a ten-year-old who Pete Seeger was, though, and I would have had no answer. I think the same is probably true of most kids.Still, for whatever reason there have been four well-written, fairly acclaimed children’s biographies about Pete Seeger published in the last year. Perhaps it is because he passed away in 2014 and publishers are eager to capitalize on a chance to make new biographies. Or perhaps it’s just because the stars aligned. We may never know. But if you’re interested in teaching your child the value of folk music and peaceful political activism – which might not be such a bad thing – here are all the Pete Seeger books our children’s department has to offer:

    10.13 Who Was Pete SeegerWHO WAS PETE SEEGER? 
    By Noel MacCarry

    The newest installment in a series of books that has written a biography for everyone. This book provides a good amount of detail and presents a charming caricature of the artist.




    By Anita Silvey

    This book provides a lot of good information about the life of Pete Seeger and the causes that were important to him – enough for kids to go out and explore more on their own.



    By Leda Schubert
    Illustrated by Raul Colon

    This is my favorite of the bunch—mostly because I like picture book biographies. But also because it shows the influence Pete Seeger had in unexpected ways. Plus, it includes the titles of all his songs, which is fun for fans.


    By Susanna Reich
    Illustrated by Adam Gustavson

    This one is a little text heavy for a picture book biography, but it does maybe the best job of explaining the oppression that Pete Seeger sought to overcome by making a statement with his music. 

    10.13 AbiyoyoBONUS: ABIYOYO 
    By Pete Seeger
    Illustrated by Michael Hays

    This picture book version of Seeger’s own ballad was a Reading Rainbow pick back in the day and is an adaptation of a South African folktale. With a note from Seeger in the front of the book, this is perhaps the best way to introduce young music fans to Pete Seeger.


  • frozen

    I spend a little time babysitting for my niece each week. She is happy, fun, really cute, and I love spending time with her. The only downside is that, like many kids her age, she could easily spend the whole day watching FROZEN. I love Disney movies, but even I can’t bear to listen to “Let it Go” as many times as she would like. 

    Here’s how the library helped me (and how it can help anyone else with little Disney Princess fans) to get a break. 

    1. Find a different Disney movie. The Provo City Library has a ton of great options, including older films that are harder to find (anyone else remember THE RELUCTANT DRAGON? Just me? Cool). Give yourself a break and see what hidden gems you can find on the shelf.

    2. Branch out from movies and look into some original source material. If this solution seems blindingly obvious, I apologize. But really, if you’ve gotten a little tired of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Sven, consider reading THE SNOW QUEEN. The story is different, but some fans might like seeing how different the story used to be.

    3. Take a craft break. Always a good solution, consider checking out one of the many kids craft books in our collection. I’m a fan of ICE PRINCESS CRAFTS, to stick with the FROZEN theme, but there are plenty of other options to spark creativity.

    4. Learn to draw! If crafting isn’t your strength, try your hand at learning to draw – we even have LEARN TO DRAW DISNEY FROZEN if you want to stay on-brand.

    5. Grab a snack. Really this should be my first solution, because who doesn’t love food? Plus, our fairly sizable collection of children’s cookbooks is a real highlight of the J Informational section. There are a ton of fun ones to pick from like SWEET TOOTH!: NO-BAKE DESSERTS TO MAKE AND DEVOUR which has a tons of yummy treats, including some that are frozen (Forgive me. I had to do it).

    6. Check out a Discovery Kit. If you have preschoolers who are into themed fun (with, I promise, fewer bad jokes than this list) look into borrowing a DISCOVERY KIT from the Children’s Department. These kits are filled with books, toys, and a binder full of fun ideas all focused on a particular topic. 

    These ideas should buy you at least one Elsa-free afternoon. Go make the most of it!

  •  If I Went to the Moon

    If I went to the moon infographic

  • Aladdin

    aladdin 01 

    Find them in the catalog:




  • girl power biographies 01

    Find them in the catalog: 




  • Female Jazz Biographies 01


    Find them in the catalog: 




  • illustrated songs 01


    I listen to a lot of music. I always have. I grew up listening to music on road trips with my family, I listen to music when I am with friends, and I almost always listen to music when I am alone. Even though I am not really musical, I love music and I love listening to music because I love the lyrics. I love to sing along with songs even when I don’t know them very well. The lyrics are the best part of a song for me, and I often feel like if people would only read songs and not hear them they would still like them just as much – maybe more.

    One trend in picture books that I really like are books that do just that – illustrated song lyrics, just for reading. These can be a good way to introduce kids to classic songs, and a good way to really appreciate some of your favorites. There are dozens in our picture book section but here are some favorites.

    forever youngFOREVER YOUNG
    by Bob Dylan
    illustrated by Paul Rogers



    what a wonderful worldWHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
    by  Bob Thiele & George David Weiss (Most famous as a Louis Armstrong song)
    illustrated by Tim Hopgood


    coat of many colorsCOAT OF MANY COLORS
    by Dolly Parton
    illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes



    octopuss gardenOCTOPUS’S GARDEN
    by Ringo Starr (Most famous as The Beatles song)
    illustrated by Ben Cort




    Plus, you can always use Freegal to listen to and download any of the new songs you discover for yourself!

  • Rom Com 

    There are certain things I will never apologize for and one of those is my unabashed love for romantic comedies. I grew up watching and re-watching favorites like LEGALLY BLONDE, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, and YOU’VE GOT MAIL and as a grown-up I will jump to watch any movie described as “the best rom-com since 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU.” But, if I’m being honest, there are just not a lot of rom-com movies out recently to sufficiently scratch an itch. There are dozens of online news stories about the decline (and recent resurgence) of romantic comedies since the golden age of rom-coms. Here are my suggestions for book – to – movie romances (because no one wants a CLUELESS reboot. 

    By Rainbow Rowell

    Fans of the genre will know that the best rom-coms are able to bring a tear to your eye (I’ll refer again to 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU) and this one balances the emotions of a failing relationship with all the tingly, giggly laughter of young love. It’s clear that Georgie’s marriage may be at its end when her husband heads to Nebraska for Christmas with her kids and without her. Then, Georgie discovers she has a chance to reconnect with her husband Neal – through a magical rotary phone that calls the Neal of 15 years earlier. Speaking with younger Neal the week before he proposes may be just the ticket to save their marriage. It is one of life’s greatest injustices that there is no screen adaptation of this deeply satisfying romantic comedy. 


    5.13 Twenties GirlTWENTIES GIRL: A NOVEL 
    By Sophie Kinsella

    I will put Sophie Kinsella on booklists as long as I am making booklists because she is queen. And because our world is unfair, only two of her books have been adapted for the screen: CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC and the still-in-production CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? This book, TWENTIES GIRL, is the story of Lara and the ghost of her great-aunt Sadie who won’t rest until her treasured necklace is returned to her. As Lara – busy with relationship drama, a struggling business, and a busy life in London – helps Sadie to find peace, Sadie is more concerned with setting Lara up with the dreamy (but living) American named Ed. Seeing ghost-Sadie decked out in flapper wear on the streets of modern London as she meddles in Lara’s personal life (for the better) is the movie we all deserve – please, someone, make it. 


    5.13 The Hating GameTHE HATING GAME: A NOVEL
    By Sally Thorne

    This one doesn’t quite belong on this list, because a film version is currently listed as “in development” on IMDB – but until I have a cast-list and trailer I’ll be begging for a movie of this book. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are top-notch executive assistants to the CEOS of the new Bexley-Gamin Publishing company and they each hate everything about the other. Things start to really come to a head when both Lucy and Josh are put up for an executive level promotion and Josh takes advantage of the new tension to explore some other more romantic tension. Be advised that this book is not the “cleanest read” on this list, but it is a banter-filled riff on a classic love story - one totally ready for the Hollywood treatment. 


    5.13 Tell Me Three ThingsTELL ME THREE THINGS
    By Julie Buxbaum

    After her father elopes, Jessie is uprooted from Chicago to live in “the Valley.” Jessie is still mourning the death of her mother two years earlier when she suddenly has to cope with a stepfamily, a giant mansion, a new prep school, and mean girls at school. When she receives an anonymous email from “Somebody/Nobody” (“SN”) offering to guide her through the ins and outs of her new school Jessie is suspicious at first, until she accepts she might need help. This book lays its cards out pretty quickly, but even this familiar teenage rom-com ground is filled with heartfelt lessons about love and loss. In the same vein as SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA or YOU’VE GOT MAIL this tale of young online love would be fun to see playout on screen. 


    By Anne Tyler

    In this retelling of a classic romantic comedy, Kate Battista is the daughter of a scientist who is convinced he is nearing a breakthrough but only if he can hold on to his research assistant Pyotr. Pyotr’s visa is about to expire and Dr. Battista is desperate to keep him – desperate enough to propose a green-card marriage between his older daughter and his thickly-accented Russian assistant. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is familiar rom-com territory, but this laugh-out-loud-able reimaging deserves its day on the silver screen.

  • Own Voices 

    Over the last few years, I’ve set a personal reading goal to read more #ownvoices stories. This hashtag movement, started on Twitter, is used “to recommend kidlit about diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group.” As a children’s librarian, I love to remind parents that reading fosters empathy and boosts emotional intelligence. Reading, especially reading stories about characters different from ourselves, helps us become compassionate people who understand others better. 

    Now, as much as ever, it is important to find books that provide a window into a world that is different than our own. In a predominately white community, like our own, they can be an especially important gateway to empathy. As you have discussions with your children about racism, turn to #ownvoices stories like these, from Black authors, that encourage anti-racism and teach readers (of all ages) compassion. 

    6.8 Ghost BoysGHOST BOYS
    By Jewell Parker Rhodes

    Any book by Jewell Parker Rhodes could easily fit on this list, but GHOST BOYS is especially timely. This emotionally-charged book tells the story of 12-year-old Jerome from Chicago. At the beginning of the book, Jerome is playing with a toy gun in an empty lot when he is shot and killed by a white police officer. As a ghost, Jerome meets the ghosts of other boys whose lives were cut short by bigotry and racism, including Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till.

    This book is a visceral representation of the Black Lives Matter movement, and though I first read it almost two years ago, it has stuck with me. The story, inspired by the real-life death of Tamir Rice, handles themes of implicit bias and police brutality in a direct and honest way. This thoughtful book is a great way to start discussions with middle grade readers. 


    6.8 A Good Kind of TroubleA GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE
    By Lisa Moore Ramée

    Shayla would be happy for things to stay the same in middle school, but as soon as school starts she and her diverse group of friends are pulled in different directions and Shay’s older sister criticizes her for not spending more time with the other black kids at school.  After attending a protest over the wrongful shooting of a black man by a white police officer, Shay decides to wear an armband to school to speak up for Black Lives Matter – in violation of her school dress code. Though Shay is shy by nature and usually hesitant to speak up, she realizes that standing up for things that are important to her matters more than following the rules. In her debut novel, Lisa Moore Ramée touches on a lot of powerful subjects through the eyes of a believable, young narrator.  This book is perfect for readers who aren’t quite ready for THE HATE U GIVE


    6.8 New KidNEW KID 
    By Jerry Craft

    All Jordan Banks wants is to draw cartoons in his sketchbook and go to an arts school -- instead, his parents insist he attend the prestigious Riverdale Academy Day School. This means that Jordan has to ride a bus from his apartment in Washington Heights all the way to R.A.D. where he is one of a handful of black students and where his homeroom teacher keeps calling the black students by the wrong name -- because she can’t tell them apart. This book, the first graphic novel to win a Newbery award, deals very realistically with the microaggressions and overt racism that students face everyday in school. Likable, three-dimensional characters bring this story to life. This is a humorous and engaging graphic novel, but one that opens the doors to deeper discussion. 


    6.8 Genesis Begins AgainGENESIS BEGINS AGAIN 
    By Alicia D. Williams

    This is the powerful story of Genesis Anderson – a middle schooler who keeps a list of the 96 reasons she hates herself, believing that if only she was light-skinned with “good hair” then her life would be easier. When her family is evicted (again), Genesis moves to a new neighborhood and finds a way to navigate the pain she carries by singing.  This is a book that sensitively deals with very heavy subjects in an age-appropriate way. Genesis’ hateful self-image is a shocking reminder of the hate we often project onto others. Alicia D. Williams, in one of the most decorated children’s books of 2019, approaches Genesis’ story with a “day in the life” lens that gives readers an opportunity to appreciate experiences that may be different than their own. 


    6.8 From the Desk of Zoe WashingtonFROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON
    By Janae Marks

    On her 12th birthday, Zoe Washington receives a surprise letter from Marcus – her biological father who’s been imprisoned for murder since before Zoe was born. Against her mother and stepfather’s wishes, Zoe secretly begins a correspondence with Marcus with the help of her maternal grandmother. As Zoe gets to know Marcus, he proclaims his innocence which prompts Zoe to learn about inequality in the criminal justice system, and how, because of systemic racism, black people like her and Marcus are more likely to be wrongfully convicted. Another incredible debut novel that will facilitate conversations about racial profiling with middle grade readers.

  • Own Voices

    It is never too late or too early to have conversations with your children about racism, diversity, and inclusivity. If your kids are older, then you already know that they are eager for answers – especially as they are exposed to information they may find hard to process. Having open and honest discussions with your children about racism will encourage them to come to you with questions and worries. 

    Here are more recommendations of #ownvoices stories from Black authors to help foster those conversations in your family. And, by reading stories that center Black characters, you can fight against racial bias in the media your family consumes. Reading stories that feature complex Black characters can help confront harmful racial stereotypes. 

    7.6 The Only Black Girls in TownTHE ONLY BLACK GIRLS IN TOWN
    By Brandy Colbert

    Brandy Colbert, best known for her award-winning YA novels, makes her Middle Grade debut with this story about two girls who become fast friends in their quiet California beach town. Alberta is used to being the only Black girl in town, but she is thrilled when her dads bring home the news that a Black family with a daughter her same age is moving in across the street. As a goth from Brooklyn, Edie is pretty different from Alberta, but the two become friends while bonding over shifting family dynamics, microaggressions at school and middle school mean girls hurling racist taunts. Their bond is strengthened when they find some mysterious old journals in Edie’s attic and work together to uncover a major secret. 

    This friendship story centers two well-characterized Black girls in a way that is realistic and wholly welcome. And, the added mystery of the old journals is able to introduce events central to Black history in a way that transcends time. 


    7.6 Just South of HomeJUST SOUTH OF HOME
    By Karen Strong

    Sarah is expecting the worst when she finds out her cousin Janie is being sent from Chicago to spend the summer in Sarah’s rural Georgia hometown. Sarah wanted to spend the summer studying astronomy and bossing around her younger brother, not dealing with Janie and her proclivity for shoplifting. Things go from bad to worse when Janie steals a necklace from the ruins of Creek Church, an old church burned down by the Ku Klux Klan, and accidentally awakens the restless spirits buried there. The three kids, along with their friend Jasper, must help their town acknowledge it’s unsettling and racist history to allow these ghosts, called haints, to rest. 

    This ghost story is just the right amount of spooky while helping readers understand how ignoring a painful past can come back to haunt us.  


    7.6 The Parker InheritanceTHE PARKER INHERITANCE
    By Varian Johnson

    After her parent’s divorce, Candice and her mother are spending the summer at her late grandmother’s home in Lambert, South Carolina. While digging around her grandmother’s old things, she finds a letter that offers a hint to why her grandmother, as city-manager, tore up the town’s tennis courts in pursuit of buried treasure – ultimately losing her job. Now Candice, with her bookish neighbor Brandon, is on a quest to find the treasure, restore her grandmother’s reputation, and uncover a decades-old mystery that includes acts of racial violence against a Black family that threatened the status quo. 

    This is a perfect mystery for any reader who loved THE WESTING GAME and gives compelling arguments against standing by and doing nothing. This Coretta Scott King honor book is a satisfying exploration of racism that gives young readers a lot to discuss about injustice. 


    7.6 So DoneSO DONE
    By Paula Chase

    After a summer apart, Tai is excited for her best friend Jamila to return from her aunt’s house in the suburbs. Tai and Mila have been inseparable since they were toddlers, but lately Mila has been acting weird. And though Mila is happy to be home with her dad and brothers, she sort of wishes her dad would send her to live in the suburbs forever like her older sister – that way she wouldn’t have to stress about her dance audition for the new Talented and Gifted Program or about accidentally revealing her secret to someone. Especially to Tae. 

    Told in dual-perspective with alternating chapters Tai and Mila come to life in a way that reminds readers that we don’t usually know the whole story. This is a brave book that doesn’t shy away from real issues that worry many young people. But this #ownvoices story (and its follow-up DOUGH BOYS provides a window into a very different world. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds or Angie Thomas. 


    7.6 What LaneWHAT LANE?
    By Torrey Maldonado

    Stephen has always thought of himself as “mixed” – but it hasn’t really mattered that much before. But recently, Stephen feels caught between two lanes and then he starts to notice that some people treat him differently than his white friends. Then, Stephen discovers the Black Lives Matter movement at school, and begins to realize the racism he experiences everyday in interactions with strangers, shopkeepers, or his best friend Dan’s racist cousin Chad. Stephen does his part to make his classmates aware of injustices Black people face everyday while trying to avoid being cornered into one lane. 

    This slim novel is at times hopeful and heartbreaking. As a white reader, this book was eye-opening – following along with a biracial boy as he comes to the realization that people will hate him because of the color of his skin and that hate can bring dire consequences. This book is a great conversation starter about racial profiling, police violence against Black people and allyship – through the eyes of a brave, young protagonist.

  • Moon Landing

    By now, most people are probably aware that 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20, 1969. Many moments in history are forgotten or their anniversaries are overhyped. Other moments, like the moon landing, really are a Big Fat Deal – even fifty years later. As we celebrate this lunar anniversary, here are some books all about the moon landings for even the youngest readers. 

    7.22 Rocket to the MoonROCKET TO THE MOON!
    By Don Brown

    This nonfiction comic book tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission, and not just the story of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. This well-illustrated book is more than an introduction to lunar travel – it takes readers on a journey through the history of rockets and fleshes out the story with less-known details of the famous mission. All of this rolled into a bite-sized graphic novel good for kids or older readers. 


    Apollo 8 The Mission That Changed EverythingAPOLLO 8: THE MISSION THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
    By Martin W. Sandler

    This book is a little different, because it isn’t about Apollo 11 – the mission that resulted in the first lunar landing. Instead, this is the story of Apollo 8 the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and circle the moon. With a good overview of the Cold War and space race, this book gives historical context to the lunar missions that young readers may not know. This book is also filled with full-color photographs including the famous Earthrise. 


    By Alexander Irvine
    Illustrated by Ben Bishop

    Another nonfiction comic book, this very small little number focuses almost entirely on the third member of Apollo 11’s crew – Michael Collins, the one who never set foot on the moon. He doesn’t always get a lot of credit, but this book honors his essential role in the mission; orbiting the moon, keeping the command module functioning, and getting everyone home safely. In a limited palette of black, white, and deep purple we see the details of the moon landing play out with stark reality. 


    By Pamela Dell

    We might forget, fifty years later, that the world was watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take their first steps on the moon. We might forget that for so long this had seemed completely impossible – it was a moment that changed the world. The photograph of Buzz Aldrin in his spacesuit on the moon was called one of the 100 photographs that changed the world by Time magazine. This book is all about the legacy of that picture and just what it took to get there. A totally unique lens through which to view the past. 


    7.22 Reaching for the MoonREACHING FOR THE MOON
    By Buzz Aldrin
    Illustrated by Wendell Minor

    Written in first person by Buzz Aldrin, this book has a personal touch that few books about the lunar landing can offer. This picture book autobiography is an unusual look at space travel told with lots of personal detail and heart. Illustrations throughout offer new vantages on an iconic moment in history, all culminating with the words left by Aldrin and Armstrong on the moon: 


    “Here men from the planet earth
    First set foot upon the moon
    July 1969. A.D.
    We came in peace for all mankind.”

  • Little Girls Holding Hands

    It is so important for young readers to see themselves and their experiences represented in the books they read. But it is just as important for children to read about experiences of people who are different from them. Reading diversely can help readers understand different cultures and challenge their own racial biases. 

    Still, no one said that these conversations are easy. In our community, many of us are fortunate that we don’t need to think about how our race affects how people see us. It’s easy to want to keep young children innocent from the uglier realities of the world, but often innocence makes children susceptible to misinformation. If you’re struggling to initiate discussions about racism and hate with your children, know that books and media can help. Books can make difficult conversations feel less threatening and are a good way to naturally bring up issues like race and diversity. Here are our recommendations from Black authors to help facilitate those conversations. 

    10.2 SulweSULWE
    By Lupita Nyong’o
    Illustrated by Vashti Harrison

    Sulwe, whose name means star, has skin the color of midnight. She has the darkest skin in her family and the darkest skin of anyone in her school. She longs to be light and bright like her sister and mother and does everything she can think of to lighten her skin until her mother, and a magical journey into the midnight sky help her see her own brightness. Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o handles racism and colorism in a picture book begging to be a bedtime read aloud. This book can help facilitate important conversations about systemic racism and how it affects the self-worth of others. 


    10.2 Going Down Home with DaddyGOING DOWN HOME WITH DADDY
    By Kelly Starling Lyons
    Illustrated by Daniel Minter

    Alan is excited for his family reunion and the chance to see his cousins and great-grandmother, but he’s also hesitant because he knows he’ll have to find a way to contribute to the family celebration. As he spends time with his family and appreciates their property and crops that they own, he realizes that the best tribute he can offer his family is to celebrate their heritage. Gorgeous Caldecott Honor winning illustrations enrich this story about African American history. 


    10.2 The Day You BeginTHE DAY YOU BEGIN 
    By Jacqueline Woodson
    Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

    When a new student, an immigrant from Venezuela, joins Angelina’s class she is keen to show him that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider. Jacqueline Woodson’s poetry reflects the apprehension that kids feel on the first day of school and the joy of a new friendship and is matched by big, bright illustrations filled with flowers and swirling vinery. At the center of the book, Angelina finally sees value in the places she’s visited via books and a rich imagination. This is a great back-to-school book, and a non-didactic message about being kind to classmates who may look or act differently than you. 


    10.2 I Am EnoughI AM ENOUGH 
    By Grace Byers
    Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo

    The simple text of this self-affirming picture book begs to be read over and over. The message here is clear and straightforward – no matter who you are or what you look like, you are enough. This book focuses on young girls of every color being celebrated just for being themselves – and insists that what makes girls beautiful is how they are different. This book belongs in the hands of all young readers, but it is an especially good conversation starter for talking about racism. 


    By Tricia Elam Walker
    Illustrated by April Harrison

    Zura loves her grandma, Nana Akua, more than anyone in the whole universe. But she is still not excited to bring her grandmother to school for Grandparents Day. She worries that her classmates or their grandparents might laugh at the marks on Nana Akua’s face – placed there when she was a child to designate her tribal family according to Ghanaian tradition. Nana Akua handles it in stride, explaining to Zura’s classmates the importance of the symbols she wears on her face and inviting the kids and grandparents to choose their own symbols. This wonderfully inclusive book is a bright and heartwarming story of heritage and inclusion. Zura’s diverse classmates are welcoming of Nana Akua’s culture and eager to learn more for themselves – a good model for kids learning to celebrate differences.

  • movies worth waiting

     Did you know that our library has over 14,000 DVDs in our collection? Even if you don’t, I’m sure you do know that you can check out 8 DVDs at a time, including new releases, classics, mind-blowing documentaries, and all of your guilty pleasures. The best part? You can, of course, borrow these DVDs for free!  

    With so many different movies in our collection, it isn’t hard to walk in and find something to suit your movie night fancy. But, just like some of our favorite books, there are some movies that seem like they’re ALWAYS CHECKED OUT – even if they aren’t new releases!  

    Sometimes the sweetest things in life require a little bit of patience.   So, the next time you stop by the Provo City Library, consider asking your friendly neighborhood librarian to put one of these movies on hold for you (because you know that every copy will be checked out):  

    Singin in the RainSINGIN' IN THE RAIN 

    The movie that needs no explanation. It’s classic, it’s funny, it’s romantic, and best of all it’ll be stuck in your head for a week. It doesn’t surprise me that we have a hard time keeping this movie on our shelf—It’s worth the wait.





    If you are surprised that this movie is always checked out, you probably haven’t seen it. Because even though all the STAR WARS movies are pretty popular, there is something special about the first one.  




    A Little PrincessA LITTLE PRINCESS 

    I was on hold for this movie when I thought about writing this post. It’s pretty different from the book, but is a classic for a reason—I used to beg to watch this movie every weekend when I was little, and I’m not surprised that it is still in high demand.  




    Shes the ManShe’s the Man 

    This adaptation of W. Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT is much funnier than you might think. It’s insanely quotable, laugh-out-loud funny, and will be even more enjoyable once you finally get to check it out.  




    If you’ve never put an item on hold before, ask a librarian to help explain the process. It’s pretty convenient, and I think it is so rewarding when you finally get to check out a movie or book you have been waiting for. (I won’t compare it to Christmas morning… but if you think that comparison is apt then I wouldn’t disagree.)


  • Movie Theater Chairs

    At this point, it’s hardly a surprise that some of the Greatest Films of All Time have been based on books. The Oscars even gives an award to the Best Adapted Screenplay every year—because movies based on books are awesome. This year I was surprised that more of the Oscar nominations for Best Picture aren’t based on books. It’s easy to guess that as long as movies are being made and books are being written, we’ll see book adaptions winning Best Picture. As we approach the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4th, here is a look back at some of the great books that have gone on to become Oscars’ Best Picture winners. 

    2.28 Oliver TwistOLIVER TWIST
    Charles Dickens

    It’s not surprising that one of the greatest novels of all time would be adapted into a Best Picture winner, it’s more surprising that that film is OLIVER! – a larger than life, musical retelling of the classic Victorian novel featuring songs such as “Food, Glorious Food.” 


    2.28 Out of AfricaOUT OF AFRICA
    Isak Dinesen

    Often counted as one of the greatest nonfiction books of all time, OUT OF AFRICA tells the true story of Karen Chistentze Dinesen and her life on a Kenyan coffee plantation. The film adaptation, also called OUT OF AFRICA, stars Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in a sweeping romance filmed on location outside Nairobi. 


    F.X. Toole

    This collection of short stories, originally published as ROPE BURNS, is based on the real-life experiences of boxing trainer Jerry Boyd (using the pen name F.X. Toole), and was adapted into the Best Picture winner MILLION DOLLAR BABY. The film, directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, is an emotional story about a female boxer and the bond she forms with her coach. 


    J.R.R. Tolkein

    This beloved and larger-than-life epic fantasy series was given the Hollywood treatment in the early 2000s with films that have become legendary in their own right. Though the first and second installments in the series were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, only the third – LORD OF THE RINGS, THE RETURN OF THE KING clinched the win. 


    2.28 Forrest GumpFORREST GUMP: THE NOVEL
    Winston Groom

    Maybe this is more common knowledge than I thought, but I was surprised to learn that FORREST GUMP was a book before it became a Best Picture winner. The fictional story of a kind man with a low IQ who happens to be present for the most significant moments in 1960s, 70s, and 80s without realizing the significance of his actions. FORREST GUMP is a heartwarming look at modern American History. Oh, and the movie stars Tom Hanks.

  • Little Girls Holding Hands

    If you’re wondering whether your child is old enough to talk about diversity, equality, and racism -- they probably are. Little kids are keen observers and will start to notice and point out differences in people they see around them at a younger age than you might think. As a parent, you can encourage your children to recognize and celebrate differences in others and let them know that they can ask you questions. 

    Encouraging children to celebrate diversity can start at home, by choosing books written by Black authors featuring Black characters in lots of different settings. It is important for children to be exposed to a wide range of people, experiences, and cultures, and, while every family will handle this topic in their own way, the earlier families start having conversations about race the better. Here are books to help you do just that. 

    9.23 The UndefeatedTHE UNDEFEATED
    By Kwame Alexander
    Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

    This powerful picture book is an anthem to the courage, strength and triumph of Black Americans throughout history. This evocative book is a celebration of how far we have come and a reminder of how far we still have left to go. This powerful text is matched with gorgeous illustrations against stark white pages. This book was the recipient of the 2020 Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards as well as a Newbery honoree.   


    9.23 Magnificent Homespun BrownMAGNIFICENT HOMESPUN BROWN
    By Samara Cole Doyon
    Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

    A celebration of the color brown – in all of its many expressions. Never has the color brown seemed more multi-faceted than to hear it described as feathery, amber, radiant, cozy, and thundering. This book is a celebration of inclusivity with illustrations showing girls with a variety of families, and with all shades of brown skin. This celebratory book is filled with expressive, poetic text well-suited for a quiet lap-time read aloud and is a must read for how it makes ordinary things seem magical. 


    By Derrick Barnes
    Illustrated by Gordon C. James

    One of the most celebrated books of 2017, this book was a Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King honoree for both the text and illustrations. This book portrays a significant moment for a young black boy – visiting the barbershop to have his hair cut. As he sits in his barbershop throne, he is transformed and imbued with self-esteem, self-pride, and all the confidence a fresh cut gives you. For Black boys, this book is an affirmation of their importance. But all readers will benefit from the visual splendor of this triumphant book.


    9.23 You MatterYOU MATTER
    By Christian Robinson

    An affirmation that all people, especially children, should hear but too few do. “You matter” is a quiet reminder and a rallying cry in this new picture book that makes use of bright, colorful, wonderfully inclusive cut-paper illustrations -- characteristic of Christian Robinson’s work. Told from the perspective of lots of different people and creatures, the very simple text shows how humanity is connected now, throughout history, and into the future. This is a book that is both simple and sophisticated and will provide an easy opportunity to talk about race, diversity, and the importance of saying “Black Lives Matter” with your children. 


    9.23 Black is a Rainbow ColorBLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR 
    By Angela Joy
    Illustrated by Ekua Holmes

    This uplifting book explores what it means to be Black for a child. A young Black girl, realizes that though there is no black in the rainbow, being Black is its own rainbow filled with people with different background and lived experiences.  Like other books on this list, this story is directed to young readers and is a beautiful celebration of Black culture – sharing the poetry, music, and art of Black Americans and acting as an introduction to Black history as well. The incomparable Ekua Holmes uses stained-glass inspired art featuring Black figures with all shades of Black skin to support Angela Joy’s debut book for children. 

  • reading hacks


    Like a lot of librarians, I love books – really and truly I love books. I have blown off plans with friends THREE times in the past week so that I can finish a book I’m in the middle of. But guys, believe me when I say this: I am the laziest reader around.

    I recently vetoed a book club suggestion because it was 480 pages long – I got tired just thinking about all the work it was going to be to read that WHOLE book. Sometimes I’ll lie on my bed for hours doing literally nothing because I’m not jazzed about the book I’m supposed to be reading. Like, seriously, I will sit on my bed and stare at a book instead of reading it because that is how lazy I am. 

    Unfortunately, I am a glutton for punishment, so I set my Goodreads reading goal for the year at 250 books. (A goal which, as Goodreads is happy to remind me, I am currently about 44 books behind schedule on.) Even more unfortunately, I am also a children’s librarian who can’t just admit to younger library patrons that sometimes I am too lazy to read books. Can you imagine the horror if a ten-year-old heard a librarian admit this? 

    Instead, I’ve developed a few hacks for reading more and reading better. 

    1. Get it out of your head that you are a smarter, morally superior, prettier, stronger, or a downright better person by reading those critically acclaimed books that are soooo good but that you have no interest in. Sure, there is merit to challenging yourself through reading, but there is no merit in doing something you hate to impress people. Seriously, no one cares. Stop reading books you don’t want to read. 
    2. Middle grade fiction is where it’s at. When I told my book club that a 480 page book sounded really long, they laughed at me—so I laughed it off by pointing out that I read a lot of books intended for eleven-year-olds. I’ve been feeling bad that I was so apologetic about it because I am not. Middle Grade fiction—books aimed at children ages 8-12—is usually shorter, more concise, and much more straightforward than a lot of adult literary fiction. But don’t be deceived into thinking that you are losing quality: Some of those books are good! Like life-changing, stare-at-the-page-for-a-full-twenty-minutes-in-total-awe-good. If you’re still reluctant, ask yourself why you became a reader. I guarantee it was not by forcing yourself to finish a 19th Century Russian novel you hated; it probably started when you were in elementary school. Why not return to your roots? 
    3. This is the hardest thing for me to suggest, but if you are halfway through a book and you really can’t power through – step away. Maybe not forever. Don’t be afraid to shelve that book as “did-not-finish.” If you regret not knowing the ending, you can always come back.
    4. Go fangirl over a favorite book. Do you love Harry Potter? Don’t be afraid to read ALL the books and watch ALL the movies and DO ALL THE THINGS that fans do. Go hard. Maybe it will just last for a few days, but what a glorious few days they will be. 
    5. Sometimes my biggest problem is the amount of text on a page. My most recent reading funk was broken by trying to read more graphic novels. Switching up my genres helped me get back into reading and find a new way to identify with the youths. The same thing has happened when I’ve decided to read more infographic-heavy nonfiction, magazines, short stories, or whatever it is. 

    These are my tips for lazy readers. Have more? Let us know!

  • Audiobook

    With so many good books coming out each year, it can be easy to feel pressured to only read the latest releases – after all, there is always a new, buzzy book to read. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still read (or re-read!) the classics. My favorite way to rediscover a classic is by approaching it in a new way – on audio! Luckily, there are tons of new audiobooks coming out each year with *famous* narrators and cool productions. Here are some favorite children’s books with audios worth seeking out.

    5.20 Phantom TollboothTHE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH 
    By Norton Juster
    Narrated by Rainn Wilson

    THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH is the story of Milo, a little boy who is bored by everything. Then one day, a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room and, because there’s nothing else to do, he drives through it and into a world where everything seems different. This contemporary classic, first published in 1961, is a beloved and imaginative novel that is only enriched by Rainn Wilson, best known as Dwight from THE OFFICE, and his captivating narration. This book is a little odd, but in a way that children and adults can admire.


    5.20 CharlotteCHARLOTTE’S WEB 
    By E.B. White
    Narrated by Meryl Streep with a full cast

    Does Charlotte’s Web really need an introduction? This perennial favorite tells the story of Wilbur – a runt pig destined to become the famer’s Christmas dinner. In a bid to save his life, Wilbur’s best friend, a spider named Charlotte, constructs elaborate webs lauding Wilbur’s virtues. This new audiobook is nothing short of magical with a full cast of characters (including local favorite Kirby Heyborne as Wilbur) and narration by the incomparable Meryl Streep. This new version is a perfect way to rediscover this terrific, radiant, humble book.


    By Lewis Carroll
    Narrated by Jim Dale

    I’ve written on this blog before about my love for ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece is an absurd one filled with nonsense and enough humor to make it enjoyable. This classic gets the Jim Dale treatment, who brings the same incredible knack for characterization and magic that he brought to the beloved HARRY POTTER audiobooks. He recounts Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole into a magical world that is unlike anything she’s ever seen. If you’ve never read ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, now is the time – and be sure to start with this book on CD.


    5.20 MatildaMATILDA
    Available on Overdrive 
    By Roald Dahl
    Narrated by Kate Winslet

    Is there any better book than MATILDA? In fact, is there any book character better than Matilda? The incredible Kate Winslet brings them both to life alongside all the other famous characters in this Roald Dahl classic. Never has Miss Honey seemed so sweet or Miss Trunchbull felt so villainous and never has Matilda’s triumph over the terrible adults in her life felt so well-earned. Share this remarkable retelling widely.


    5.20 The Mouse and the MotorcycleTHE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE 
    By Beverly Cleary
    Narrated by B.D. Wong

    Did you forget how much you love Ralph S. Mouse? Now is the time to remind yourself. B.D. Wong, a prolific actor, who I personally know best for his voicework as Li Shang in Disney’s 1998 MULAN, narrates this classic children’s novel about an adventurous mouse who befriends a young boy visiting the hotel where he lives. Wong brings the humorous antics of Ralph S. Mouse to life.

  • clements

    I was really saddened to hear of the passing of Andrew Clements on November 29, 2019. In his career as an author, Andrew Clements wrote more than 80 books for young people including picture books, young adult novels, and, of course, his school stories. 

    When I was in elementary school, I started reading school stories. I loved reading books about real kids in real situations having believable adventures. As a child, I was a reader who disliked book series, didn’t enjoy fantasy novels, and longed for a little more reality in my books. I still read a lot of realistic fiction, but for me there will always be one author who wrote these stories better than anyone else, and that is Andrew Clements.

    frindle The first time I read FRINDLE I was instantly hooked. Here was a book about real kids who were funny, smart, and clever and made the smallest silliest change in the world just by changing the word pen to frindle. As a kid, I was too much of a teacher’s pet to even think about pulling pranks like Nicholas Allen – but I knew if he was in my class I would have started calling all of my pens frindles.

    Though I’m sad to hear of the passing of one of my favorite authors, I’m so glad for a chance to look back on his career with gratitude for the role he played in building my love of learning. One of my favorite quotes from Andrew Clements is about why he likes to write stories even though he admits it’s difficult for him to do:

    “Three days ago on a windy, drizzly day in New England, I stacked firewood for five hours straight, three cords of wood — had to be a couple tons of the stuff. It was difficult, but all winter now, there will be a cheery fire in the fireplace, and toasty warmth from the stove in my writing shed in the back yard. I like cheery fires and toasty stoves enough to want to do the hard work of stacking wood.

    "I know from my own experience that reading a good book can be a life-changing event. So I'm willing, actually happy, to do the work of stacking all those words so they'll give off some heat and light in another's life on a winter afternoon or a summer night. And if I have the ability to perhaps make that happen, then the work becomes fun.”

  • Witchy

    ‘Tis the season for truly bewitching stories. Here are our picks for new graphic novels filled with witches, magic, curses, and more! 

    10.12 The WitchesTHE WITCHES
    By Roald Dahl
    Illustrated by Penelope Bagieu

    Real witches are all around us. You might never know it, though, because they’re in disguise. They wear gloves to hide their crooked fingers, wigs to cover their scaly bald heads, and perfume to cover the stench of the thing they hate most – children! In this full-color graphic novel adaptation of Roald Dahl’s darkly humorous classic, an eight-year-old boy travels to a seaside resort with this grandmama where he encounters all of the witches in England and goes head-to-head with the Grand High Witch. Eisner-winning artist Penelope Bagieu brings a quirky sense of child-like fun to a classic spooky story. 


    10.12 Witches of BrooklynWITCHES OF BROOKLYN
    By Sophie Escabasse

    In the middle of the night, Effie, who has just lost her mother, is brought to live with her elderly aunts she’s never met. Her aunts, named Carlota and Selimene, run a holistic healing practice from their Brooklyn home, specializing in acupuncture, healing herbs, and more. Not long after Effie arrives, the aunts get another surprise visitor – Tilly Shoo, the biggest pop-star on the planet, who has been cursed with a bright-red face and needs their help. Luckily, Carlota and Selimene are more than just healers – they are witches, and it apparently runs in the family. A heartfelt series opener and a celebration of good witches everywhere. 


    10.012 Beetle and the HollowbonesBEETLE & THE HOLLOWBONES
    By Aliza Layne

    Beetle is a 12-year-old goblin who has grown pretty tired of staying at home learning goblin magic with her grandma, the town witch. She longs to go to school to learn sorcery – like her old friend Kat Hollowbone, who has just returned from a prestigious boarding school. Beetle and Kat struggle to pick up where they left off, as new feelings seem to change the relationship between the two girls. This is only made more complicated by Kat’s aunt, Marla, an ambitious and powerful sorceress who longs to return their town to the way it was generations before – with a Hollowbone as town witch and the Hollowbone home on the site of the town mall. The mall to which Beetle’s best friend Blob Ghost is tied. For older middle grade readers, this is a colorful and unexpected coming of age story featuring a diversely witchy world. 


    10.12 The Okay WitchTHE OKAY WITCH
    By Emma Steinkellner

    Moth is… a little obsessed with witches. So imagine her excitement when she discovers that witches are real, and she is one! In fact, Moth is descended from a long line of witches in her hometown of Founders Bluff, Mass. Her mother, a witch who gave up her own powers during the witch hunts in 1692, warns Moth never to use her powers. In an act of rebellion, Moth decides to teach herself magic by stealing her mom’s diary which inadvertently transports her to the magical realm of Hecate where their family’s coven escaped. Touching on serious topics like racism and misogyny, this middle grade graphic novel is as sophisticated as it is fun. Moth is a relatable and winning narrator and her familiar (a talking cat) adds comic relief throughout. 


    10.12 Grimoire NoirGRIMOIRE NOIR
    By Vera Greentea
    Illustrated by Yana Bogatch

    Blackwell was supposed to be a safe haven for witches. In Blackwell, women hold magical powers and their powers are protected by law, as long as they never leave Blackwell. Things seem idyllic. Then, fifteen-year-old Bucky Orson’s little sister Heidi goes missing. His dad, the town sheriff, can’t work around town politics to investigate the case and his mother becomes so bereaved that torrential downpours start to flood Blackwell – a side effect of powers. With the help of his estranged friend Chamomille, Bucky takes the investigation into his own hands and uncovers centuries of hidden secrets in the meantime. This is a spooky and atmospheric witch-read, well suited for fall. As the title suggests, the story takes on a Noir quality with artwork to match – mostly black and white with dabs of colors. Appropriate for middle school readers and older.

  • Beach Reads

    For me, one of the best things about living in Utah is appreciating a dramatic change in seasons. I love bundling up to see the Midway Ice Castles in Winter and cooling off at the Provo Rec Center poolside with a Diet Coke in the summer. The downside of seasons, though, is that even though I mostly love the winter – it’s cold, it’s snowing, and my cabin fever is bad enough that I might be willing to sell my most prized books in exchange for a 90 degree day at the pool. 

    What I’m trying to say here is – I wore a cardigan over a sweater to work today and I am dreaming of summer vacation. Here are some choices for beach reads to help us all escape the snow if only in our dreams

    For Middle Grade Readers 

    3.18 Secret Sisters of the Salty SeaSECRET SISTERS OF THE SALTY SEA
    By Lynne Rae Perkins

    For the first time in their life, Alix and her sister Jools are going on a real-life vacation. One where they aren’t just going to visit cousins and stay with family – and they even get to go to the real ocean for the first time. This is an episodic novel that focuses on the extraordinary ordinary things that happen over a summer vacation and the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of the beach are perfectly described in this quick read. 


    For Young Adults 

    3.18 The Summer I Turned PrettyTHE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY
    By Jenny Han

    ***A quick round of applause for the master of YA Romance Ms. Jenny Han.***

    Fans of TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE will love this summer-centric trilogy about Belly and the boys she loves at the beach – Jeremiah and Conrad. If you take the time to look up “YA Beach Reads” this book will often show up on the list because it is so synonymous with summer. Each book in this series focuses on summers at the beach house owned by Belly’s mother’s best friend Susannah because as Belly reminds us – everything important happens from June to August. This book has some emotional depth (divorce, parents with cancer, etc.) but it is filled with the kind of warm, poignant writing that makes a beach read satisfying. 


    For Fans of Light and Fluffy 

    3.18 My Not So Perfect LifeMY (NOT SO) PERFECT LIFE: A NOVEL
    By Sophie Kinsella

    Listen, Sophie Kinsella is the Queen of Chick-Literature and whenever I want a nice romantic-comedy to make me think of warmer times she is the first lady I turn to. This book is the story of Katie Brenner who quickly learns that a “perfect” life might not actually exist after she is fired from her London advertising job and forced to return to her family farm – where her parents are attempting to create a luxury “glampground.” Then of course Katie’s former boss Demeter shows up at the family farm causing Katie’s two worlds to crash and collide with hilarious results. It we want to get technical, this book is more of a spring-farm than summer-beach read, but I’ll allow it. 


    For Fans of the Dark Side 

    3.18 First We Were IVFIRST WE WERE IV
    By Alexandra Siroway

    Sometimes you just want to read a dark, pulpy, page-turning thriller and this is the book for you. Four best friends form a secret society to call out misbehaving adults in their small sea-side community and solidify their bond as a group. The group of four soon learn that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and something good can easily turn catastrophic. This is a jet-black mystery thriller with an ocean setting that makes for a perfect dark beach read. 


    For Celebrity-stalkers 

    3.18 This Will Only Hurt A LittleTHIS WILL ONLY HURT A LITTLE
    By Busy Philipps

    As is my advice with all celebrity memoirs, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who isn’t at least a casual fan of Busy Philipps. But if you are a fan of Busy – from DAWSON’S CREEK, FREAKS AND GEEKS, or her remarkably relatable Instagram – her autobiography is filled with the best (and at times worst) of Busy. She is well-known to her internet fans for her impressive candor and this book is lacking none of that – she shares her personal experiences with betrayal, body shaming, and bullying in a voice that is totally and undeniably her own.  

  • millenial pink

    If you don’t know what Millennial Pink is, don’t feel bad. As a millennial—and being self-described “basic”—I make sure that I keep up to date on all of the latest trends. And since I love pink, I’m obviously all about this fad.

    For the un-initiated, Millennial Pink is that one shade of pink that seems to be popping up everywhere these days – hipster restaurants, indie album covers, food (Starbucks’ pink drink anyone?), crushed velvet ballet flats, etc. It’s that not quite peach, not quite coral, not quite Pepto Bismal hue that you’ve seen all over the place whether you realize it or not. If you google “Millennial Pink” you’ll find dozens of articles trying to over-explain its appeal to youths – and they will confirm one thing: it is in.

    Millennial Pink has even crept its ways into publishing houses and libraries – there are a ton of Millennial Pink covered books that have been published recently. I can’t say for sure whether or not you’ll understand young people better by reading a book with a visually appealing cover, but I can say that your Instagram will look a lot better.

    Here’s a list of books in our collection – some old, some new – to help you achieve that Millennial ~aesthetic~

    8.10 Alex and ElizaALEX & ELIZA: A LOVE STORY
    By Melissa De La Cruz






    8.10 Dear Fang With LoveDEAR FANG, WITH LOVE
    By Rufi Thorpe






    8.10 Tell Me How This Ends WellTELL ME HOW THIS ENDS WELL: A NOVEL

    David Levinson






    8.10 White FurWHITE FUR: A NOVEL
    By Jardine Libaire






    8.10 The Rules Do Not ApplyTHE RULES DO NOT APPLY: A MEMOIR
    By Ariel Levy





    8.10 Girl In PiecesGIRL IN PIECES
    By Kathleen Glasgow






    8.10 The Husbands SecretTHE HUSBAND’S SECRET
    By Liane Moriarty






    8.10 Rebel BelleREBEL BELLE
    By Rachel Hawkins






    8.10 Broken Hearts Fences and Other Things to MendBROKEN HEARTS, FENCES AND OTHER THINGS TO MEND
    By Katie Finn





    8.10 The LuxeTHE LUXE
    By Anna Godbersen





    8.10 PrettyPRETTY
    By Justin Sayre






    Hopefully these recommendations will make your #bookstagram a little more pink and a little more basic. Be sure to tag the Provo City Library in any of your #booksofinstagram finds!

  •  Book Browsing

    Have you ever heard of Novelist? If you haven’t, get ready to learn about one of the best hidden gems your library card can access. Novelist is an amazing database filled with both fiction and nonfiction books and is one of my favorite ways to find book recommendations 24/7. 

    You have free access to Novelist with your Provo City Library card. To access, go to If you scroll down you will find a link to Novelist Plus and Novelist K-8. Both databases are awesome, but Novelist K-8 is helpful if you’re only looking for children’s and YA books.


    Novelist has a lot of content so it can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. One place I like to look is the Recommended Reads Lists on the left side of the page. You’ll find a bunch of different booklists on different topics including my current favorite “Reading During Pandemic.” 

     Novelist 2


    Pick your favorite poison, and Novelist will pull up a list of recommended books for you based on the parameters you chose. I decided I wanted a list of “funny and lighthearted” fiction and Novelist provided. 


    Since I tend to read a lot of lighthearted fiction, I have already read a lot of the books that Novelist recommended to me. Personally, I love when this happens because it makes me feel like Novelist is on the right track. It can also help me find more titles I love. Novelist recommended THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by Abbi Waxman which I read last year and loved, and I’d really like to read a read-alike. You’ll notice you can also search by author read-alike or series read-alike. 


    By clicking on “Title Read-alikes” I’ll get a printable list of title-specific recommendations that include a short explanation of why Novelist is recommending the title.


     As you’re browsing, you can have Novelist keep track of the titles that catch your eye by clicking the “plus” sign at the top of a title entry. 

    alt="Novelist 7" />

    Then you can go to your folder to see the complete list of titles you found. 


    This barely scratches the surface of all you can do with Novelist, but if you are in need of a quick book recommendation try your hand at Novelist to find a new read!

  •  Hammock 1

    Confession – I first drafted this blog post months ago when the world was a very different place. I planned to write a post about coping with travel envy as I anticipated the influx of “perfect” vacation photos from my social media friends. I was expecting to see Instagrams of people at Disneyland or the beach or in Europe and be frustrated to be going to work every day. Little did I know that I (like many of you) would be feeling so incredibly desperate for some normalcy and an escape. 

    Even though no one’s going anywhere anytime soon, reading a book is the perfect thing to transport you to a destination and help you feel like you’re on vacation. Here are some recommendations of what to read if you need an escape.


    4.27 Wedding NightWEDDING NIGHT
    By Sophie Kinsella

    Lottie is certain that her long-time boyfriend Richard is finally going to propose. But when his big announcement is that they are going to use their frequent flyer miles and take a trip instead, Lottie has had enough. Just then, her old flame Ben reappears and reminds her that they agreed to get married if they were both still single at thirty.  The two rush into marriage and jet off to the Greek island where they first met to celebrate their honeymoon – with Lottie’s sister Fliss, and Ben’s business partner Declan following after to sabotage the marriage. Everything you love about a good Sophie Kinsella book in a fabulous Greek setting, this book is bound to take your mind off things.


    4.27 IdahoIDAHO
    By Emily Ruskovich

    Escapist reads don’t necessarily need to be uplifting, and this literary thriller is proof of that. In 2004, Ann and Wade live in near isolation in the mountains of northern Idaho. Wade is showing early signs of dementia that allow him to finally forget about his haunting past: his first wife, Jenny, murdered their young daughter and has spent years in prison. The couple’s other daughter, June, ran into the woods and was never seen again. Ann spends her days caring for Wade and trying to piece together the decades-old family history. If you’re looking for a light, happy read then look elsewhere. But this haunting, heartbreaking story is beautifully told and the sparse mountainous setting is rendered so authentically that readers will feel transported.


    4.27 The Giver of StarsTHE GIVER OF STARS
    By Jojo Moyes

    We’re partial to stories about librarians around here, so this fictional story inspired by the Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky is especially appealing to us. Raised to be a proper Englishwoman, Alice Wright is starry-eyed when she meets and marries the handsome American Bennett Van Cleve – hoping that in America she’ll finally be free. Instead, she finds that in America she is restricted by a set of social rules she doesn’t understand. When volunteers are requested to start a traveling library, Alice jumps at the chance and is introduced to Margery – a fiercely independent woman who leads the group. Part dramatic historical fiction and part sweeping romance, this story brings Kentucky to life with lush descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains.


    4.27 The Paris WifeTHE PARIS WIFE
    By Paula McLain

    In Chicago in the 1920s, Hadley Richardson falls in love with the charming, young, Ernest Hemingway. The two lovers marry and move to Paris to indulge in the glamorous lifestyle of American ex-patriates in this golden age. Though it is quickly made apparent that this marriage is doomed (primarily because it is inspired by the actual true story of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage), Hadley is an impressive character willing to give up her own comforts and desires in order to support her husband’s promising literary career. In this story, Ernest Hemingway is pushed to the background (no easy feat) and Hadley and Jazz Age Paris are pushed to the forefront, bringing the city to life with unflinching honesty.


    4.27 The VacationersTHE VACATIONERS
    By Emma Straub

    Every member of the Post family is eager to escape Manhattan for Mallorca. Franny and Jim; their daughter Sylvia, a recent high-school graduate; their son Bobby, along with his girlfriend Carmen; and Franny’s best friend, Charles, and his husband Lawrence, all have their own secrets as they settle into the idyllic Spanish island for two weeks. Anyone who has ever been on a crowded family vacation will recognize the inevitable drama and humor as secrets come to light and tensions rise. The perfectly sun-soaked setting feels familiar and realistic – the next best thing to being in Mallorca.

  • when I grow up

    I like to tell people that working at the library is the dream job I never knew I wanted. Let me explain. 

    I grew up coming to the Provo City Library – it has been my library since it moved to Academy Square, and even before that I remember going to the old library on Center Street. My family would visit the library at least once a week, and we would leave with armfuls of books and VHS tapes. My mom was a stickler for “summer learning,” and so once school let out we would come by even more often – we would earnestly participate in the summer reading program, we checked out educational videos (I’m not kidding - my mom was really invested in expounding on our intellect during the summer), and my sister and I would go to library programs to make crafts – some of which my parents have still saved.

    I think the library meant more to me than my siblings - when they all got interested in sports, I stayed interested in books. When they grew up and went to college and stopped visiting the library, I would still find reasons to go. I stopped reading as much, as people tend to do when life gets busier, but even then I would still come and check out CDs or DVDs regularly. This library has always been a special place for me. I still have a copy of my favorite book from childhood – BOSTON JANE by Jennifer L. Holm– that I won at a children’s program when I was in fourth grade. When I was choosing my prize, I remember the librarian in charge of the program guiding me towards that particular book –

    “You’ll really like this one,” she told me, “since you like historical fiction.”

    She was right. 

    Now that I work at the library, I strangely feel like my life has come full circle. I like to sit at the reference desk and smile at the families leaving with arms full of books and DVDs (some things do change) and I love recommending books to readers in the hopes that I’ll manage to find a new group of kids their favorite novel. I really do love watching the kids running around the children’s section or coming into the programs I teach and hoping that someday they will learn to love books and this library in the way that I do.

    I never imagined myself as a librarian, but after all the good the library has done for me it only seems fitting that I would feel right at home working here. The dream job I never knew I wanted, if you will. 



  • frankenstein 01


    The first time I ever read Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN; OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS I knew it would always be one of my favorite books. I, of course, found the monster terrifying and was excited by the storyline but more than anything I was fascinated by Dr. Victor Frankenstein – the young, curious, brilliant scientist who accidentally created a monster. It’s a scary thought – trying to do something noble and instead doing something absolutely terrible.

    This January marks the 200th anniversary of the first publishing of Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN and in honor, here are some reading recommendations for Dr. Victor Frankenstein:

    By Jane Miller

    In the novel, we learn that Dr. Frankenstein spent two years alone at college experimenting before he was able to animate his monster, and one of the main themes of the book is what happens when people get lonely. Dr. Frankenstein definitely needed some companionship, but maybe all he needed was a nice fluffy puppy to focus his attention on. I mean… who would want to spend all night in a spooky laboratory when this guy was waiting at home?

    via GIPHY


    01.22.2018 Sewing EssentialsTHE NEW SEWING ESSENTIALS
    By The Singer Company

    So let’s say that you’re Victor, and you’re past the point of no return. You’ve already assembled all the necessary… parts… to create your monster, and you’re in the building stage. You’re certainly going to need some instruction in sewing to make sure that your finished product is the best that he can be. He may still behave like a “wretch,” but he doesn’t need to look like one.


    By Ross W. Greene

    While we’re talking about “the wretch,” I don’t want to imply that the monster is somehow responsible for all of Victor’s problems. (If you’ve read the novel then you know that all the monster wants is to be loved.) But the monster sure does make things hard for his creator. It seems like Victor could use some parenting guides to help him treat his creation with love and compassion – even when the monster is being super angry and threatening to destroy everything Victor holds dear. (I mean – what teenager hasn’t said some version of that to their parents?)


    By Dr. Sue Johnson

    At the climax of Frankenstein’s sad story, he refuses to make a female monster to keep his creation company and “the wretch” promises Victor he’ll be there on his wedding night. This is especially inconvenient because Victor is so ashamed of what he’s created that he doesn’t tell anyone—INCLUDING HIS WIFE—about the monster systematically killing his loved ones and ruining his life. Then, because Victor is certain he can keep everything secret from his bride, he leaves her alone in their wedding bed to confront the monster himself. Not realizing that the monster is after the bride and not the groom – duh. I prescribe some open conversation between Dr. and Mrs. Frankenstein—preferably before a murderous creature intervenes.


    01.22.2018 My Man JeevesMY MAN JEEVES
    By P.G. Wodehouse

    Dr. Frankenstein is clearly in need of some self-help books. I also don’t think it helps that he is known to carry around a copy of John Milton’s PARADISE LOST – maybe that’s even where his obsession with creation began. Frankenstein really needs some light reading, and I’dr ecommend the King of the Comic Novel: P.G. Wodehouse. Sure, this book won’t make any of his problems go away, but at least he’ll have something to laugh about.


  •  Jo March 2

    Like a lot of you lit-fans out there, our librarians have been starry-eyed over the recent film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel LITTLE WOMEN. Like any good adaptation, this movie has given us lots to talk about. Weighing our favorite moments from the book versus the film, judging the adaptation as a whole, deciding whether the new movie did our faves dirty. All this talk about the March girls had me thinking about what books I might recommend to the sisters. Here are my picks for Jo. 

    8.14 The Pocket Book for Daring GirlsTHE POCKET DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS
    By Andrea Buchanan

    From the first chapter of LITTLE WOMEN, we know that Jo is driven by her sense of adventure. This pocket-size version of THE DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS is filled with ideas to create, craft, explore, and discover. This is exactly the kind of guide that I can imagine a young Jo March devouring. 


    8.14 Writer to WriterWRITER TO WRITER: FROM THINK TO INK
    By Gail Carson Levine

    What Jo needs more than anything else, is a good writing guide. This writing manual from the beloved children’s author of ELLA ENCHANTED is a great place to start. This writing guide is a children’s staff favorite – it offers a little more than a beginner’s guide might, and is a perfect home for Jo’s literary ambitions. 


    By Soraya L. Chemaly

    One of the most memorable scenes from LITTLE WOMEN is when calm, patient Marmee tells Jo that she also gets angry all the time – but she’s learned to control her temper. Though Jo tries to follow Marmee’s guidance, she never becomes as calm or patient as Marmee. I spent a lot of time thinking about which anger management guide to recommend to Jo before I had my epiphany – it’s 2020 and we don’t need to tell Jo March to pretend she’s not angry. There are a lot of things that women can be angry about, and in 1868 there were even more. Rather than telling Jo to control her anger, this book will teach her to harness her anger and promote change. 


    8.14 Not for TouristsNOT FOR TOURISTS GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY 2019
    By Not For Tourists

    When Jo relocates from Orchard House to New York City she suddenly becomes a little fish in the Big Apple (as Pam from The Office might say). What Jo needs for this phase of her life is the definitive local’s guide to NYC featuring subway and bus maps, restaurant recommendations, and must-see experiences. Of course, most of these places weren’t open when Jo lived in New York, but who’s counting? 


    8.14 SistersSISTERS
    By Raina Telgemeier

    To be honest, I’m not really sure how Jo would feel about graphic novels, but if she’s going to read one it might as well be one written by Raina Telgemeier. And really, who is more in need of a heartwarming story about sisters with a difficult relationship than Jo March? Raina and Amara’s combative relationship filled with jealousy, battles, and realistic sisterly love should ring familiar to Jo for its similarities to her relationship with her own sister Amy.

  • belle 01


    I know, I know – Belle is already a big reader, but even the biggest readers need recommendations nowand again. Besides, given her penchant for reading the same books over and over, who knows if she’ll ever get around to these:

    By Peter Boxall

    Listen, far be it from me to judge Belle for re-reading some of her favorite books (I am beyond guilty of that), I’m just saying the girl might do well to have a little variety. At the very least, this book will definitely give her some guidance for where to start reading in her new library from the Beast.  



    first time managerTHE FIRST-TIME MANAGER
    By Loren B. Belker

    There are few things quite as hard as finding yourself suddenly put into a position where you need to act as a supervisor over your friends. While Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, and even Chip have been tremendous friends to Belle, the transition to a boss-employee relationship now that Belle is the lady of the castle has the potential to be difficult. This book is here to help.  



    By Virginia Morris  

    We all know that Belle is a loving, caring, thoughtful daughter to Not-Crazy (yet?) Old Maurice, but I’m anticipating possible future tension in recommending this book to Belle. After all, it can’t be easy to adjust to your new life with someone you love while also remaining the primary caregiver for a father who spends a little too much time closed up with his inventions (and, let’s be honest, their fumes).  


    sun kingTHE SUN KING
    By Nancy Mitford  

    To be frank, Belle is a lovely and refined young lady – but she is not a born aristocrat. I can only imagine that now that the Beast is a prince again, court functions will be required of the young couple and Belle should be prepared for the intricacies of the French Court in the 18th century.    



    By Newt Scamander and J.K. Rowling  

    I think that Belle clearly misunderstood the title of this book – and, without reading it, mistook it for a dating guide. (It is not. At all. In the slightest.) Once she takes the time to read this book, I think she will love this magical guide to magical creatures – especially now that her life includes a bit more magic than it did before.  




    I think that Belle would be a big fan of the Provo City Library - a beautiful building filled with books and people who love to read! What other books would you recommend to our most bookish princess?