The Library is now open the following hours Monday-Friday 10:00 am - 7:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 am - 10:00 am for at-risk/seniors. Curbside is still available.
The Library is now open the following hours Monday-Friday 10:00 am - 7:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 am - 10:00 am for at-risk/seniors. Curbside is still available.
 

 

Children's Books

  • librariansgivethanks

    A few things our children’s librarians are grateful for:

    • Stickers
    • Amazon.com
    • Brightly-colored cardstock
    • Oriental Trading Company
    • Puns
    • Secret stashes of candy
    • Tech guys
    • The circulation staff
    • Cheesy puppets
    • and books!  

    Each of our children’s librarians shared one book that they are grateful for:  

    Andrea is grateful for THE PAIN AND THE GREAT ONE by Judy Blume. As a kid, it taught her compassion for differing perspectives and helped her understand her siblings better.

    Jackson is grateful for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. This book taught him that although bad things happen and some people will do terrible things, there are people who are just plain good through and through, people who will stand up for what’s right. Atticus is one of his heroes.

    Claire is grateful for I SPY Books by Jean Marzollo because they keep the 3-yr-old she babysits busy for hours.

    Joella is grateful for the Grimms’ collection of fairytales because they helped her understand that there is magic in reading. She’s a reader because of fairytales.

    Kelly is grateful for THE HIDING PLACE by Corrie Ten Boom. She read it as a teenager, and it is one of the books that has impacted her the most. It gives her perspective and helps her be grateful for her life, including her trials.

    Jen is grateful for CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E. B. White because it was the first chapter book she remember reading, and it reminds her to be kind when she squishes spiders.

    Caroline is grateful for THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE by Mary Pope Osborne. It was one of the very first chapter books she read in first grade, and she loved the story so much that she didn't stop reading the entire afternoon until she had finished it—she had to know how it ended! The next day she went to her school library and checked out the following three books in the series. That was when she really started to love reading by herself.

    Bethany is grateful for FORGIVE ME, I MEANT TO DO IT by Gail Carson Levine because the sarcastic wit speaks to her soul.

    Donna is grateful for THE EMPTY POT by Demi. This book taught her that what may seem to be failure in the eyes of the world, may really be a success in God’s eyes.

    Jeanne is grateful for THE BOXCAR CHILDREN by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This is the first book she remembers loving. It pulled her into the story and opened up the world of reading.

    This post is dedicated to Jeanne who only got to work with us for a short time but made an awesome librarian. We’re grateful for her!

  •  Halloween Costumes

    I love children’s books and dressing up, so what could be more fun than dressing up as a character from a book? 

    Every year when I went to the store to pick out a costume for Halloween I was always disappointed. I never liked the choices that I found.  I also didn’t like seeing my costume again and again on everyone else. I love having a costume that is unique to me and my personality. But I also didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on something I was only going to wear one day out of the year. Another frustration in picking a costume was what to be and what person to dress up as.

    Then one year I discovered literary characters. I love books so why not choose my favorite book character and dress up as that particular character! For the last 5 years or so I have had some really fun costumes and most of the time people know who I am. I get lots of comments like, “That is one of my favorite books”, which makes me happy.           

    Usually a book character costume doesn’t require much. I was surprised at how many things I had at home to use for my costume. Sometimes I would have to hunt for an accessory that I needed or make an item or two for my costume but usually it was just hanging in my closet waiting to be put together. I have over the years added to my wig collection but that is something that can be used again and again. I also bought a latex witch nose and I have used that many times to change the look of my face.   

    This year because I have so many ideas and options to choose from my struggle is deciding which character I want to be. I thought it would be fun to share five of my favorite literary costumes and hopefully inspire you to also dress up as a literary character.

    10.15 Fancy NancyFANCY NANCY: FANCIEST DOLL IN THE UNIVERSE
    By Jane O’Conner
    Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
    (2013)

     

    Fancy Nancy

     

    10.15 Amelia BedeliaAMELIA BEDELIA
    By Peggy Parish
    (1963)

     

    Amelia

     

    10.15 Miss Nelson is MissingMISS NELSON IS MISSING!
    By Harry Allard and James Marshall
    (1977)

     

    Viola Swamp

     

    10.15 Lillys Purple Plastic PurseLILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE
    By Kevin Henkes
    (1996)

     

    Lilly

     

    10.15 The WitchesTHE WITCHES
    By Roald Dahl
    (1983)

     

    Witch

     
  • fun reading aloud

    Have you ever wondered how you could make reading aloud at home as fun as it is at the Library?  Even if you don’t have puppets or other props, reading can still be fun at home. Looking for a bonus? Since our new Winter Reading Challenge tracks minutes read rather than books, all the time you spend reading to your kids can count as reading time for you as well!

    Here are a few ideas for making your read-aloud time as fun at home as it is during story time.

    1. Read the book first so that you know what the story is about and you won’t have any surprises you aren’t prepared for as you are reading.
    2. Have a designated area in your home where you can go to read aloud. It can be a special carpet, the couch or a reading tent that you build together. A special place for reading makes the time together more magical.
    3. Look at the book cover together and try to guess what the book is going to be about before you even start reading.
    4. If you are reading a picture book make sure that they can see the pictures. Turning the book so you can read the text and then showing them the pictures is not fun for little ones. They like to really study the pictures. If you have read the book previously you already kind of know the text which can help. You can also add to the text to make the story funny. Most small children won’t be following the text so they won’t know if you change it just a bit. Don’t be afraid to insert things like your children’s own names. It will help them love the book even more if they think it was written just for them.
    5. Read with enthusiasm and with different voice inflections. If you have listened to audiobooks the reader gives each character a different voice to distinguish them. This adds so much to the story for little ones. Don’t be afraid of being silly with your children: it helps them develop their imaginations as they listen to the story. Give it all you've got – add hand motions, facial expressions, and sound effects; this only adds to the experience and makes it fun for your children. Even older children enjoy hearing stories read in a fun way. It will transport the audience into the story in a more vivid way.
    6. Notice how your audience is reacting to the story. If the story has long text that is boring, make up your own text that goes along with the pictures or shorten the text by telling it in your own words. If they are bored they start to associate reading with boredom. Make reading enjoyable.
    7. Children love to ask questions, but stopping too frequently during the story interrupts the flow so try to wait until the end to answer any questions. It's always fun to discuss the book after it is over to see how everyone felt about it.
    8. Just have fun!  

    Here are some of my favorite picture books to read aloud.

     

    12.13 Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsTHE LEGEND OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS
    By Drew Daywalt
    (2017)

    Everyone has played the game Rock Paper Scissors, but learning how this legendary game started is not for the faint of heart. This is a hilarious book that tells the point of view of each of the warriors – Rock, Paper, Scissors – who have never been defeated in battle. It’s a great book to read aloud because each warrior has its own personality and you can use voice inflections to really make the story come alive. Be prepared to read this book out loud again and again. It’s a real favorite.

     

    12.13 Bark GeorgeBARK, GEORGE
    By Jules Feiffer
    (1999)

    This is an older book, but it’s become one of my favorite read-aloud books because you can have everyone who is listening participate in the reading. George has lost his bark and can’t seem to figure out how to get it back. He meows like a cat and moos like a cow, but he just can’t seem to bark like a dog. Younger listeners will love helping you make all the animal sounds as you read this book together.

     

    12.13 True Story 3 PigsTHE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS
    By Jon Scieszka
    (1989)

    Everyone knows the story of the three little pigs, but have you ever heard it told from the point of view of the poor wolf? He wasn’t actually a bad guy. He just needed to borrow a cup of sugar to make a cake for his dear old granny, but no one would loan him some sugar. This classic tale can be read with so many different voices and you can have help from your listeners to make all of the sound effects in the story. They can help you knock on the door, blow and sneeze like the wolf, and make the crashing sounds as the house falls down.

     

    12.13 Book with no PicturesTHE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES
    By B.J. Novak
    (2014)

    This book, as the title states, has no pictures. You would think that a book like that would be very boring for someone to read, but it’s the language in the book that makes everyone laugh. As a child, you don’t get to hear adults say silly ridiculous words like “blurp,” but this book is all about saying the ridiculous. This is also a favorite book for many children and one that will be asked for again and again.

     

    12.13 Sam and Dave Dig a HoleSAM & DAVE DIG A HOLE
    By Mac Barnett
    (2014)

    Best friends Sam and Dave decide one afternoon that they are going to dig a hole all the way to China. They are planning to have lunch in China and then come home for dinner. Children are captivated by this story because who doesn’t enjoy digging a nice big hole? The character that gets the most attention in this story, however, is the dog. Pay close attention to what he is doing as you read this fun story. There are a lot of details in the illustrations that make this a fun book to look at together. 

     
  • 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
    (2018) 

    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
    (2019)

    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
    (2019)

    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
    (2019)

    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
    (2020)

    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
    (2020) 

    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
    (2019) 

    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
    (2018) 

    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
    (2018) 

    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
    (2020) 

    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.

     
  • As I commute to work I listen to a lot of audiobooks. I can listen to several books back to back, but then I need a palate cleanser of sorts. Sometimes this comes in the form of turning on the radio for a couple of days or listening to a few podcasts before starting a new book. Other times, I can get out of my listening rut by starting a middle grade novel. 

    I have found that middle grade fiction is perfect to listen to in the car because the books are extremely engaging, yet if I miss something while I’m paying attention to the road; it usually it isn’t hard to figure out what I missed. As an added bonus, middle grade novels are often perfect for the whole family to listen to together. 

    Here are seven—it was hard to narrow this list down—of my favorite middle grade audiobooks. Try one out on your next road trip, commute, or errand run! 

    1.30 EchoECHO
    by Pam Munoz Ryan
    (2015)

    This was by far my favorite read of 2016! I sang the praises of this audiobook in this blog post and continue recommending this book to anyone looking for an amazing audiobook.  

     

    1.30 The Indian in the CupboardTHE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD
    by Lynne Reid Banks
    (2005)

    I remember reading this book in elementary school and feeling captivated by its magical story. I recently listened to the audiobook (read by the author) and again enjoyed this wonderful book. The series has five books in total, so if you like this story, there are plenty more. While I didn’t enjoy the movie quite as much as the book, it’s a pretty good adaptation.  

     

    1.30 The Wild RobotTHE WILD ROBOT
    by Peter Brown
    (2016)

    I loved the music and sound effects on this audiobook. I’m not usually a fan of too many extra things when listening to a book, but this one was well done. The sound effects added to the story in a very charming way.  

     

    1.30 Because of Mr. TeruptBECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT
    by Rob Buyea
    (2013)

    I read this book in print form a few years ago and really loved the story. I started listening to the audiobook the other day (maybe so I could make sure this title could be included in this list) and am enjoying the story in audio format as well. I’d recommend this book to those who liked WONDER, since it has a similar feel and both talk about bullying. This is the first book in a trilogy.

     

    1.30 Gregor the OverlanderGREGOR THE OVERLANDER
    by Suzanne Collins
    (2005)

    I enjoyed HUNGER GAMES and had heard that this book by Suzanne Collins was also very good. I started listening to this series (there are five books total) when I lived in Virginia. I loved every single book in the series and am so glad I gave these books a try.  

     

    1.30 MatildaMATILDA
    by Roald Dahl
    (2013)

    I loved this movie when it came out in the 90s! This fall I decided that I needed to listen to the book (and then re-watch the movie of course) and it did not disappoint! Kate Winslet does an excellent job narrating, and it’s perfect for all ages. 

     

    1.30 Mustaches for MaddieMUSTACHES FOR MADDIE
    by Chad Morris
    (2017)

    Add this as another book for WONDER fans. This was a very touching story which had me in tears a few times. Be sure to listen to this one with some tissues at the ready.

     
  •  mindfulness

    There is so much stress in the world. Although some aspects of stress can be motivating, too much stress, without a way to manage it, is not good. It is important to find ways to balance stress, finding time to relax and play. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own deadlines, we forget that children also need ways to wrap their growing minds around their stress. Even though their stressors are different than ours, they are real. Tools are necessary to help them manage their thoughts and combat the ever growing numbers of young children experiencing anxiety and depression. Recently, mindfulness has become a trending topic and a way to restore the balance that is needed in this busy world. 

    The ideas surrounding mindfulness recognize that hard things happen and storms rage, but with practice, thoughts can be controlled and managed to find peace inside, despite surrounds that cannot be controlled. Each individual can make a difference for themselves and others. Gaining the knowledge and making time to exercise the mental capabilities that make peace possible will benefit all. These are a few picture books published recently geared specifically to children and mindfulness. 

    5.9 I am PeaceI AM PEACE
    By Susan Verde
    Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
    (2017)

    Simply looking through this book makes me happy. The warmth of the pictures brings the peace that is described in the book’s pages. This is the perfect introduction to mindfulness. As the book is read calmness enters the reader and the listeners of the story. As it progresses and peace increases, the empowerment to share the kindness and peace that results is invited. 

     

    5.9 Meditate with meMEDITATE WITH ME: A STEP-BY-STEP MINDFULNESS JOURNEY
    By Miriam Gates
    Illustrated by Margarita Surnaite
    (2017)

    Gates gives specific instructions to guide a classroom of preschoolers or one-on-one guidance to teach children to recognize the sensations, feelings, and emotions they are experiencing and how to process them. Breathing, relaxing, and listening are the important elements. 

     

    5.9 Breathe and BeBREATHE AND BE: A BOOK OF MINDFULNESS POEMS
    By Kate Combs
    Illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen
    (2017)

    The poems are written in a Japanese poetry form called tanka, an earlier version of haiku, as described in the back of the book. Many of the poems contain analogies of nature to help the reader transform their thoughts in the mindfulness experience.

     
  • 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
    (2019) 

    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
    (2018)

    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. 

     

    7.22 The Far Side of the MoonTHE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON: THE STORY OF APOLLO 11’S THIRD MAN
    By Alexander Irvine
    Illustrated by Ben Bishop
    (2017) 

    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. 

     

    7.22 Man on the MoonMAN ON THE MOON: HOW A PHOTOGRAPH MADE ANYTHING SEEM POSSIBLE
    By Pamela Dell
    (2011) 

    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
    (2005) 

    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.”

     
  • Springtime Tree Blossoms

    A couple of weeks ago, I shared a few classic comfort reads that bring me the same happy feelings as L.M. Montgomery’s ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series. In that post, I especially wanted to highlight books that have flown under the radar a bit - while their authors might be well-known, the books aren’t necessarily household names. BUT, they should be if you love sweet, timeless stories of everyday life and love.

    For today’s post, I wanted to share more Anne Shirley read-alikes, but some of these titles will likely be familiar. Some you might have read before, but if you haven’t and you’re a Green Gables fan, you’ve been missing out! And even if these are old favorites, this long weekend’s the perfect time to cozy up with a beloved reread. 

    5.22 These Happy Golden YearsTHESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS
    By Laura Ingalls Wilder
    (1943)

    Of all the books on the list, the Little House series are the ones I’m actually rereading currently, having recently finished LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS and begun LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Though Laura’s life likely seems far more rustic than Anne’s, the two series are actually set in the same time period of the 1870s (the Anne miniseries from the 1980s move things forward to the early 1900s).

    That aside, the thing I loved about the Little House books as a kid is the thing I love as an adult – the detailed descriptions of daily work and family life on a homestead. The whole series is a delight, but These Happy Golden Years feels the most similar to the Anne books to me, particularly because it features Laura’s coming of age years. 

     

    5.22 Little WomenLITTLE WOMEN
    By Louisa May Alcott
    (1868)

    This is my favorite book of all time, so I had to feature it here. Hard work, family love, heroines with literary aspirations, charming boys next door, sweetly funny writing – this book has all the same merits that I adore in L.M. Montgomery’s writing. Like the Anne books, it makes me want to be a better person.

    And if you haven’t seen the new film adaptation yet, go place it on hold now, because it captures the individual personalities of the March sisters (especially Amy!) beautifully. 

     

    5.22 GuersneyTHE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
    By Mary Ann Shaffer
    (2008)

    This is a relatively recent release compared to the other books on this list, but Guernsey was one of those rare books that was so charming I wanted to crawl inside the story and live there. The story brings a young female journalist from post-war London to the British island of Guernsey, which had been under German occupation throughout the war. There she uncovers wartime secrets, but also friendship and love. With a winning cast of characters and delightful scenes of small town life, it’ll be a hit with most Anne fans.

     

    5.22 The Secret GardenTHE SECRET GARDEN
    By Frances Hodgson Burnett
    (1911)

    This is another of those classic “girl’s books” that tends to come in sets with Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and BLACK BEAUTY, but with good reason. As the book opens, we learn that 10-year-old protagonist Mary Lennox has been both spoiled and emotionally neglected during her childhood in India. In the wake of a cholera outbreak, she’s sent to an uncle’s house in England. When she discovers a hidden, walled garden and makes a friend, her sickliness and sour attitude gradually melt away.

    If you love the tender friendships and sweet descriptions of nature that pepper L.M. Montgomery’s books, this is a book for you. And while you’re at it, go read A LITTLE PRINCESS too.

     

    5.22 I Capture the CastleI CAPTURE THE CASTLE
    By Dodie Smith
    (1948)

    Take it from J. K. Rowling: “This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I’ve ever met.” It stars Cassandra Mortmain, a seventeen-year-old who recounts her life in daily journal entries in the 1930s. She lives in a dilapidated castle with her father, a novelist dealing with years-long writers block, her beautiful older sister, and her step-mother, an eccentric artist’s model. Though the ending is more ambiguous than most of these happily-ever-after books, the colorful cast of characters and Cassandra’s wry observations are sure to win you over.

     

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

    I read this book over and over again in my teenage years. In 1687, Heroine Kit Tyler is a smart and brave teenage girl who sets off from her Barbados home to live with her New England relatives after her grandfather dies. There she struggles to fit in with the Puritan lifestyle of her aunt, uncle, cousins, and neighbors. She ends up befriending a Quaker woman who is outcast from the community and a handsome young sailor, setting off a series of dangerous events in the small town.

    The setting – 1680s Connecticut – is far earlier than the other books on this list, but it has a similar feel nonetheless. Like many of the other characters in these blog posts, Kit discovers family, work ethic, and love in a community where she feels out of place.

    If you like The Witch of Blackbird Pond, I also recommend CALICO CAPTIVE, a book by the same author about a young woman taken captive by the Abenakis tribe during the French and Indian War. Elizabeth George Speare only wrote four books, but she’s a two time Newbery medalist and one-time honoree, so her books are all worth reading.

     
  • Kid Explore Nature Science 

    Have you ever heard, “I’m bored!” or, “There’s nothing to do.” I dread hearing those words and I have heard them many times at my house. Keeping our kids happy and occupied is our goal as parents or caregivers but it’s not always an easy job. Here are a few tips and tricks as well as some resources you can use to keep your kids engaged during the summer. 

    Make challenges at home using stuff you have lying around like, a plastic cup tower, or a structure made with index cards and tape.  If you gather supplies from around your house and keep them on hand, when you hear the, “I’m bored!” statement, you can encourage your children to build or experiment with the items they find in your supply box. You might be surprised at what they can create and the fun they can have while doing it. If you need ideas for projects or challenges, here is a list of books with ideas to keep the fun going all summer long. 

    6.22 Curious Creatable CreaturesCURIOUS CREATABLE CREATURES: 22 STEAM PROJECTS THAT MAGNETIZE, GLIDE, SLINGSHOT, AND SOMETIMES SCOOTCH
    By Sam Haynor
    (2019)

    Experiment and learn as you create creatures that bubble, honk, and light up. This book will guide you step by step as you create some monstrous fun. 

     

    6.22 Moana Idea LabMOANA IDEA LAB
    By Niki Ahrens
    (2020)

    Make crafts, projects, and activities like glowing water or an island in a jar with a STEAM approach that is based on the Disney Movie Moana.  

     

    6.22 Cooking with SteamCOOKING WITH STEAM
    By Annette Gulati
    (2019)

    Learn to cook some simple recipes like yummy eggs and Fizzy-licious lemonade while doing some science. 

     

    6.22 Mason Jar ScientistMASON JAR SCIENTIST: 30 JARRING STEAM-BASED PROJECTS
    By Brenda Priddy
    (2018)

    Create some fun experiments from plants and biomes, earth and space science, to chemical reactions, all in a mason jar. Great hands-on experiments based on STEAM activities.

     
  •  oldies

    "New Release!"

    "Add this new book to your list!"

    "Don't miss these books in 2019!"

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

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

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

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

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

    2.4 The WitchesTHE WITCHES
    By Roald Dahl
    (1983)

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     
  • Percy

    What teen or pre-teen hasn’t read the PERCY JACKSON novels? They're fast paced and full of fun characters bursting with attitude and heart. Luckily, there is a lot to read about in the Percy Jackson world; 5 books in the first series, 5 in the second, and three so far in the TRIALS OF APOLLO spin off, not to mention THE KANE CHRONICLES and the adventures of MAGNUS CHASE.

    But like all good things, there is an end to the wonderful books of Rick Riordan. So if you or your child have read all of them, what do you read next? Here are my top five Rick Riordan read-alikes. 

    1.21 Lokis WolvesLOKI’S WOLVES
    By Kelley Armstrong
    (2013)

    Matt Thorsen is a direct descendant of the order-keeping god Thor, and his classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke are descendants of the trickster god Loki. When Ragnarok--the apocalypse--threatens, the human descendants of the gods must reconcile their differences and fight monsters to stop the end of the world. 

     

    1.21 Aru ShahARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME
    By Roshani Chokshi
    (2018)

    Aru Shah's mother is the curator of a museum of Indian antiquities. She has always told Aru that the old lamp in one of the exhibit rooms is cursed, and if someone lit it a demon would appear. Aru doesn't believe her, of course, until one day when "friends" dare her to light the lamp. With her one bad choice, Aru is swept into a world of the Hindu gods, and discovers more about her family than she had ever imagined. 

     

    1.18 The Serpents SecretTHE SERPENT’S SECRET
    By Sayantani Dasgupta
    (2018)

    Up until her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala considered herself an ordinary sixth-grader in Parsippany, New Jersey, but then her parents disappear and a drooling rakkhosh demon shows up in her kitchen. Soon she is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, talking birds (very annoying), and cute princes--and somehow Kiranmala needs to sort it all out, find her parents, and basically save the world. 

     

    1.21 Where the Mountain Meets the MoonWHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON
    By Grace Lin
    (2009)

    Minli lives in a poor village suffering from a long standing drought. When she buys a magical goldfish, she is swept away on a quest with a dragon who cannot fly to find the Old Man of the Moon. Only he can tell her how to bring life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River. 

     

    1.21 Mark of the ThiefMARK OF THE THIEF
    By Jennifer Nielson
    (2015)

    When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones. He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great caesar, filled with a magic once reserved for the gods--magic some Romans would kill for. 

     
  • Sick Day

    Let’s face it. We all know what it’s like to be sick. Headaches, runny nose, chills, etc. All you want to do is curl up in a ball. You wonder if this awful feeling will last forever and if your left nostril will ever work again. It’s times like these that I enjoy pulling out a few books to distract myself from my misery, and to remind myself that I at least have a great excuse to read. 

    THE MASQUERADERS
    By Georgette Heyer
    (1928) 

    A fellow librarian recommended this book to me, and I’m so glad she did. This book revolves around a pair of siblings, Prudence and Robin. Certain circumstances require Robin to disguise himself as a woman. However, it would be most improper to have two women gallivanting around without protection. Thus, Prudence dawns the disguise of a man. The two then enter high society London and hilarity ensues.

    DEALING WITH DRAGONS
    By Patricia Wrede
    (1990) 

    This book first graced my to-read-when-sick list in the fourth grade. It is one of my favorite books ever written. What’s not to love about a sassy princess who volunteers to work for a dragon?  Princess Cimorene is not like other princesses. She is tall, dark haired, and would rather practice magic than a swoon. When her parents decide to marry her off to a prince she isn’t interested in, she decides to run away.

    STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED
    By Jeff Strand
    (2017)

    I recently listened to this book and I loved it. The story is fun, cute, and is just the thing to lift your spirits when you’re not feeling 100%. I honestly laughed out loud a few times. This book follows the life of 15-year-old Marcus. Due to a bet made by his great-grandfather, Marcus must perform an incredible magic trick in front of a large audience. There are only a few problems: he has stage fright, an evil magician is out to get him, and he needs a shark.

    NOT MY TYPE
    By Melanie Jacobson
    (2011) 

    Yes, I admit it. My guilty pleasure is Covenant Communications romance novels. I just love a clean romance with a flourish of silliness. It gives me hope for a better world. And when I’m ill, I need all the hope I can get. In this story, Pepper Spicer is unlucky in love. After two failed engagements she takes a new job to repay her accrued debts. Unfortunately, her new job requires her to experience and write about online dating (this is only available as a book on CD).

    HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
    By J.K. Rowling
    (1997) 

    Of course Harry Potter is on this list. What better way to help soothe the soul than to be reminded of childhood? Adventures with wizards and witches will always cheer me up (especially the story of Harry Potter). An 11-year-old boy finds out he’s a wizard and leaves his extended family to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  The more he learns about the wizard world, the more secrets he uncovers.

  • picking favorites 1

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

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

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

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

    7.26 CoralineCORALINE
    By Neil Gaiman
    (2008)

     

     

     

     

     

  • Utah History

    Here in Utah, Pioneer day is July 24th, so I thought this might be a good time to mention some pioneer stories you could read with your family. Children are naturally curious about pioneers and the lives they lived. They often wonder what children in the past did for fun, what kind of food they ate, what kind of chores they did, and what their families were like.

    One of the best ways to answer those questions and more is by reading historical fiction stories together. If your child is especially interested in pioneer girl stories, here are a few of the best.

    7.23 Hattie Big SkyHATTIE BIG SKY
    By Kirby Larson
    (2006) 

    It’s 1917 and 16-year-old Hattie Brooks has just inherited her uncle’s homesteading claim in Montana. Hattie, an orphan, decides she must make a home for herself and travels from Iowa to Montana to become Hattie Homesteader. Once there, she finds out that in order to keep the place, she must prove the claim with enough fencing and farming to satisfy government specifications. This is a great story with an amazing and determined character who will steal your heart.

     

    7.23 The Evolution of Calpurnia TateTHE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE
    By Jacqueline Kelly
    (2009) 

    Callie Vee Tate wants to be a naturalist and study science, but girls in 1899 didn’t become scientists. With the help of her grandfather she figures out why the yellow grasshoppers in her backyard are so much bigger than the green ones and she imagines a future much grander than a life spent in the kitchen making meals for her husband.

     

    7.23 The Ballad of Lucy WhippleTHE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE
    By Karen Cushman
    (1996) 

    California doesn’t suit Lucy Whipple. She enjoys the comforts of her home in Massachusetts but moving out West was her mama’s dream and she finds herself, with her family, in California during the American Gold Rush. Lucy is suddenly thrown into back-breaking work, and worst of all, days with no books. But slowly Lucy begins to understand that home isn’t just where you live, it’s being around the things you love and the people you love.

     

    7.23 May BMAY B
    By Caroline Starr Rose
    (2012) 

    Written in verse, this is a beautiful story about a strong new heroine who is determined to find her way home again. May is helping out on a neighbor’s homestead in Kansas until Christmas. But when the couple she is staying with disappears, May finds herself all alone in a blizzard. She must somehow find a way to make the fifteen-mile journey back home.

     

    7.23 Our Only May AmeliaOUR ONLY MAY AMELIA
    By: Jennifer Holm
    (1999) 

    Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, Jennifer Holm gives us a beautifulll crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humor, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience. May Amelia will touch your heart.

     
     

    7.23 Caddie WoodlawnCADDIE WOODLAWN
    By Carol Ryrie Brink
    (1994) 

    This is a story about a young girl who has to make her own place in the world. Caddie is living on the open plains of 1860 Wisconsin with her family. She isn’t your ordinary girl who likes to spend time sewing and baking like her sisters. Caddie is a bit of a tomboy and would rather hunt, swim or visit the Native Americans. This is a look into her life as a young pioneer girl.

     
  •  Mock combined

    Every year the Provo Library gets together to try to guess what books will become the winners of the coveted Caldecott Award and the Newbery Award both given by the American Library Association’s ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) division. The Caldecott Award is given for the best illustrations in a children’s book for the year. The Newbery is given for the best writing in a children’s book for the year. There was a lot of discussion (and passion) for different books; however, these are the books that rose to the top. What are your picks for the best children’s book or children’s book illustrations? 

    2.12 Blue Sky White StarsMock Caldecott Winner: BLUE SKY WHITE STARS
    By Sarvinder Naberhaus
    Illustrated by Kadir Nelson 

    In this patriotic book Naberhaus compares the United States flag to the country—both the people and the land. The blue sky and white stars could be a part of the flag—or it could be the blue sky full of white stars above the Statue of Liberty. There are “sea waves” that lap against our shores or we can “see waves” of the flag as it flutters in the breeze. Each page depicts a different part of patriotic zeal associated both with the symbols of the United States and with the parts and people of the country. And of course we have to talk about the illustrations! These illustrations are quite stunning. Nelson has managed to depict scenes that one Mock Caldecott attendee described as a “modern day Norman Rockwell type of illustrations.” Needless to say many in our group were quite enamored with the details and expressions in the pictures. 

     

    2.12 Grand CanyonMock Caldecott Honor: GRAND CANYON
    By Jason Chin 

    This is one of my favorite books of the year. In it Chin talks about the different parts of the Grand Canyon—one of the most iconic landscapes in North America. Not only does it tell about how the canyon was formed, but it also goes into detail about the geological layers, the flora within the different regions of the canyon, and what fauna can be found there. Also, this information all comes about through the well-written text. But the true star of the book is in the illustrations. The main illustrations depict a story all on their own of a girl and her father as they camp and hike through the Grand Canyon. Plus those illustrations look like they are placed on top of animal or nature field guides that showcase the various wildlife and plant life and habitats within the area. If that wasn’t enough, the illustrations also have some cut outs—which help to show readers the past life of fossils or rocks that the characters see while on their trip. The illustrations give a life and purpose to knowing all the facts and details listed in the text—and it increases a reader’s desire to visit that great National Park! 

     

    2.12 TriangleMock Caldecott Honor: TRIANGLE
    By Mac Barnett
    Illustrated by Jon Klassen 

    This is a tale of two shapes that are friends. Triangle lives in a triangle house among shapes that are triangles for a landscape. Square lives in a square house in a place with square shapes all around. One day Triangle goes out on a quest to play a “sneaky trick” on Square. And he succeeds in scaring Square—which in turn causes Square to want to retaliate by playing a trick on Triangle. The beauty of the illustrations of this book are most prominent in the shapes themselves—specifically the expressiveness in their eyes. These little oval spheres with black dots convey such emotion! How in the world Klassen can indicate what each shape is thinking just through the eyes is remarkable. And one of the main reasons as to why this was one of our Mock Caldecott Honor picks.  

     

    2.12 UndefeatedMock Newbery Winner: UNDEFEATED: JIM THORPE AND THE CARLISLE INDIAN SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM
    By Steve Sheinkin 

    Sheinkin tells the story of how Jim Thorpe, Pop Warner, and many others changed the way football is played today. Most people know about Jim Thorpe as a football player, but the background of where he came from, the atrocities that he and his classmates endured, and those other teammates that shaped the game of football are less known. The beauty of this book is that even though this is a book full of facts and bits of history it doesn’t read like a boring textbook. In fact, many of the Mock Newbery participates don’t even like football—yet they really liked this book! With phenomenal writing and a good story it isn’t a surprise that this book was a strong contender.  

     

    2.12 Tumble and BlueMock Newbery Honor: TUMBLE & BLUE
    By Cassie Beasley 

    This is the story of Blue (who no matter what loses at anything he tries) and Tumble (a girl who more than anything wants to be a hero to save the day). When Blue is dropped off at his grandmother’s house just before a magical chance to change their fates—if they figure out how to meet a crocodile with magical abilities—he is hopeful that this will be the beginning of good things. Tumble does not believe in all the fate/destiny talk that Blue’s family is certain of, yet she does believe in helping Blue navigate his bad luck. This magical realism story is well-written for the intended audience. The discussion, comments, and love that we had for this book made it quite a strong contender. Some of the strengths that we especially liked were: the characters, the setting, the pace, the dialog—well, just about everything! It was refreshing to see not only the main characters grow throughout the story, but the minor characters seemed well-developed as well.  

     

    2.12 Beyond the Bright SeaMock Newbery Honor: BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA
    By Lauren Wolk 

    Crow is uncertain where she comes from. She knows that Osh rescued and has raised her—and she loves him. Only, she can’t stop wondering about her past. When Crow starts looking into the history of an island that housed a leper colony she finds more mysteries and danger than answers. We not only knew Crow and Osh and Miss Maggie, but we knew the Elizabeth Islands and the historical setting when the story takes place.  Along with the characters and the story, particular phrases and sentences stuck with us long after we read the book. Wolk is a master wordsmith. And this book received quite a bit of love at our Mock Newbery event.

     
  • mock caldecott 01 

    We have a tradition here at the Provo City Library to do a Mock Caldecott—both to help us understand the process that the real Caldecott committee goes through to pick "the most distinguished book in children’s literature," and to help us get to know and love the picture books that came out in the past year. The Caldecott is awarded specifically to illustrators of children's books, and only American illustrators are eligible (check out a few of our recent favorites from international illustrators here).

    This year our group of 26 children’s book friends picked one winner and four honor books.

    Winner:

    1.22 Bear Came AlongBEAR CAME ALONG
    Written by Richard T. Morris
    Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
    (2019)

    This book is about a bear that goes on a journey down a river. The story is fun, but the illustrations were what made the book for our Mock Caldecott group. First of all, we loved the color. You may notice that the bear at first is not even fully colored. It is only when he goes to the river that he becomes the rich brown bear that is depicted in the rest of the book. Plus, if there are also other details that show that the closer to the river something is, the more color there is on that thing. The use of color tells as much of a story as does the actual story.

    We also loved the use of line and motion for the book. The way that the river jogs through the pages is brilliantly done and it gets us to want to turn the page to see what is happening next. Speaking of page turns, the one where readers know that a waterfall is coming is pure perspective brilliance.

    Yeah, we really liked this book. 

     

    Honor Books (in alphabetical order by title):

    1.22 Field Trip to the MoonFIELD TRIP TO THE MOON
    Written and illustrated by John Hare
    (2019)

    In this story a young astronaut goes on a field trip (on a spaceship school bus) to the moon. However, once there, the moon-visitor gets distracted and starts coloring with crayons on a notepad. There is so much to draw that soon the spaceship school bus leaves, stranding the young cosmonaut. He ends up meeting a group of aliens who are enthralled with the box of crayons he uses for art. This wordless picture book is full of brilliant colors that pop against black, grey, and white backgrounds. 

     

    1.22 Fry BreadFRY BREAD: A NATIVE AMERICAN FAMILY STORY
    Written by Kevin Noble Maillard
    Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
    (2019)

    This picture book tells the story of a Native American family that spends time together making fry bread. The illustrations are beautiful. We loved the vivid expressions on the characters' faces, the diversity of the family (they don’t all look like the stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans, which is a breath of fresh air), and the extra details that add so much to each illustration. Plus, for added happiness there is a recipe in the back! 

     

    1.22 Rabbit and the MotorbikeRABBIT AND THE MOTORBIKE
    Written by Kate Hoefler
    Illustrated by Sarah Jacoby
    (2019)

    This story is about Rabbit who always stays close to home, prefering to listen to his friend Dog's stories of adventure on a motorbike. But one day, Dog is gone and leaves his motorbike to Rabbit. Our group loved the details and the lines of motion in this story. We especially loved the full-page spreads that showed the emotions connected to all of Rabbit’s feelings and adventures. 

     

    1.22 A Stone Sat StillA STONE SAT STILL
    Written and Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
    (2019)

    Stone doesn’t go very far—and yet there is so much that happens. From the various creatures that come and use the stone to all the light and dark moments there is a lot that happens in one small place. Our group loved how the illustrations depicted so much—each illustration has a unique feeling that matches the various moments for the stone. These are illustrations that beg to be looked at multiple times so that you can see all of the things hidden in the pictures.

     
  • BFYR

    For many years, the Provo City Library has been the venue for BYU’s Books for Young Readers Symposium. This is an amazing event. BYU invites some of the most famous children’s and teen authors and illustrators to speak to conference participants in large combined sessions and smaller breakout classes. They talk about their lives, inspiration and creative processes, and they often have multimedia presentations to accompany their talks. Copies of the presenters’ books are offered for sale, and there are times provided for Q&A and book signings. It is enough to make a children’s librarian do a less-than-dignified fan girl squeal!  The two-day conference is open to any adult for a fee through BYU Continuing Education and this year it will take place on July 13-14. 

    To welcome our distinguished guests, the Children’s Department’s librarians create special displays to highlight each author/illustrator. We start putting them in a month before the conference, and several are already in place. Watch for more coming soon. This year’s guests are:

    We will be posting about each of these amazing people in upcoming blog posts. Stay Tuned!

  • displays

    Lining the entrance of the Children’s Department are ten glass display cases. These display cases are one of the ways we keep things interesting over here—with a six week rotation schedule, they are changing all the time.  

    Some of the display cases show off what’s going on in our kids’ programs. One case shows the crafts for Library Kids Jr and Sr. as well as the Monday night crafts that are scheduled for the month; while another is used for our boy and girl book clubs. We have a LEGO club display case too—you can tell how popular it is by the amount of fingerprints on the glass! Sometimes we’ll even use a display case as an I Spy passive program where children can earn a prize by finding hidden items. 

    The other display cases are dedicated to books. Each librarian thinks of a theme or topic or genre to tie together their book selections. This can be anything from the Super Bowl to fairies to the works of a visiting author. Anything goes! We then find at least a dozen related books that we think are worth reading to fill up the shelves. Finally, we get snazzy. Using tape, fishing line, wrapping paper, hats, action figures, stuffed animals, die cut letters, tassels, bunting, and anything else we can get our hands on, we try to make our displays look fun and exciting.  

    When the display case is filled in and locked up, we write all about it in a post on the Provo Library Children’s Book Review Blog. If you click on the “display” tag on the right side of the site, you’ll see every display case we’ve created over the last few years. 

    Most importantly: Please, feel free to ask a librarian if you want to check out a book from a display! We are happy to help you. Tell us what caught your eye and we’ll unlock the case, hand over the book, and find a new one to fill in the empty space. Think of our display cases as a recommendation from us to you: just another way to show how much affection we feel for our patrons.

  • 11.27 Raising Readers

    Reading aloud to children leads to children being able to read themselves. It is necessary to have books available at home for children to pick up on their own to read and explore. 

    It may be obvious to state, but each child has different books that interest and engage them. My son loved the MAGIC TREE HOUSE series by Mary Pope Osborne, so I bought the first half of the series. When my daughter got to the age of beginning chapter books I tried to convince her to read the Magic Treehouse books (since we owned the numbers in order!), but she was just not interested. She was obsessed with JUNIE B. JONES by Barbara Park instead. Her twin sister would have nothing to do with Magic Treehouse or Junie B Jones. She would only read the PRINCESS IN BLACK series by Shannon Hale 

    I decided buying books for all of my children wasn’t going to work. They are unique individuals interested in completely different books. There are times they get in a groove and read multiple books in a day. My budget can’t keep up. I would be so bold as to say, to raise an avid reader without the library would be nearly impossible. 

    Thank you to the library. We have literally checked out hundreds of books and plan to check out thousands more.

  •  Reading Together Final

    The Provo City Library is excited to announce our new collection of Read Along Books! Each Read Along Book comes with an attached audio player—that way young listeners can hear the audio recording of the book, complete with page turn signals, as they read. We were so excited about our new collection that we wanted to show you what Read Alongs are, where they are located in the library, and how you can find them in our catalog.

    WHAT READ ALONGS LOOK LIKE

    Be aware that some of the book covers for these Read Alongs may look different from what you are used to with regular library books. For example, the dust jacket (that paper that covers the hard bit of the book) for COME HOME ALREADY looks like this:

    10.16 Come Home Already Regular Cover

     

    While GIRAFFES CAN'T DANCE looks like this:

    10.16 Giraffes Cant Dance

     
     

    The Read Alongs look a little bit different, like this:

    10.16 Come Home Already Vox Cover

     

    or this:

    10.16 Giraffes Cant Dance Wonder Cover

     
     

    This is different from the regular book covers in that they have either this Vox Books sticker:

    10.16 Vox Sticker

     

    Or a Wonder Book sticker:

    Wonderbook Sticker

     
     

    HOW THEY WORK

    Vox Books and Wonder Books are two different companies that create Read Along books. Just like there are different book publishers for regular books, there are different publishers for Read Along books.

    The Vox Books player that produces the audio for the book looks like this:

    10.16 Inside a Vox Book

    On the side of the Vox player is where you can turn on the device.

    10.16 Side of a Vox Book

    You can press play on the top part of a Vox Book here:

    10.16 Vox Press Play

     
     

    The Wonder Books are similar; here is what a Wonder Books device looks like:

     10.16 Wonder Device

    Here is  the power button for a Wonder Book:

    10.16 Wonder Power Button

    And this is where you would press “play” for a Wonder Book:

    10.16 Wonder Press Play

     
     

    WHERE TO FIND THEM

    These fabulous Read Alongs are located in the Children’s Department on our Audio/Visual shelves.

    10.16 Read Along Shelf Sign

    just above the hanging book/cd collection.

    10.16 Read Along Shelf

     
     

    HOW TO FIND PICTURE BOOK READ ALONGS IN THE CATALOG

    As you can see, there aren’t that many books on the shelf right now—most of them are all checked out! So, you can find out which read alongs are available in the library catalog by:

    1. Pulling up the library’s website.

    2. Looking in the upper right hand corner of our website to find the catalog search box. Then type “jrp” (which stands for “Juvenile Read Along Picture Books”) and hit enter.

    10.16 Enter JRP in catalog

    3. Once you hit enter, a search results page will open. Scroll down. On the left hand side there is a string of ways to “Limit Search Results”. The very last (on the bottom) of these is the way you can limit by “collection”. Check the box that is by the “JRP” as a collection type.

    10.16 Collection JRP

    4. Press the “Include” button.

    10.16 Collection JRP Include

     
     

    HOW TO FIND EASY READER READ ALONGS IN THE CATALOG

    The second type of Read Alongs that we have are the Juvenile Read Along Easy Readers, like DINOTRUX GO TO SCHOOL.

    10.16 Dinotrux Easy Reader Wonderbook Cover

     

    To find these in the catalog you would do the exact same thing that I described above, only you would:

    1. Enter “jre” in the catalog search box (instead of “jrp”).

    10.16 Enter JRE in Catalog

    2. Down at the bottom of the “Limit Search Results” boxes you would find the limit by “collection” box and check the box by “JRE” as a collection type.

    10.16 Collection JRE

    3. Then press the “Include” button.

    10.16 Collection JRE Include

     
     

    There is a limit of two Read Alongs that can be checked out on a library card at any given time. So just remember  that if you have multiple holds come in all at once you are still limited to only checking out two Read Alongs at a time. Like other library materials, this collection can be checked out for three weeks.

    There you go. Hopefully now you know more about the brand new Read Along collection, a little bit about how they work, and how to find them in the library and in the catalog. We hope you enjoy this fun new way of interacting with books!

    Forgive me for such a long blog post! I just want to make sure I give you all the information about this fun new collection! If you still have questions after this lengthy post, please feel free to talk to a Children’s Librarian about the Read Alongs.

  • read to travel

    As far as my favorite literary vacation spots so far I have talked about Hannibal, Missouri and Rome, Italy. This next one has EVEN MORE literary references than the other two destinations (if you can believe it). I mean, how could it not!?! Today I am talking about London, England, number four on my countdown of six favorite literary vacations. 

    4. London, England

    Tower of London

    The first time that I went to this city it was part of a college Literary Tour. And the fact that it was introduced as a major stop in literary history means that every time I go back I can’t help but think of all the great books that are set there. 

    Seriously, this one city has totally spoiled me for literature. One of the first stops my friends and I made was to go to see some signs of SHERLOCK HOLMES around Baker Street. Granted, we didn’t find the famous sleuth (or Benedict Cumberbatch—sigh!), but we did enjoy looking at London from the “perspective” of Holmes and Watson. 

    Also, while traipsing around London I happened to find the home of Charles Dickens. This literary mastermind set a lot of his novels in jolly old England—London in particular. And as I spent hours walking around (potentially getting a little lost once or twice…) I started getting hungry—not only for good spots to remind me of good books, but for actual food. “Please, sir, I want some more.” Thankfully, unlike OLIVER TWIST, I had plenty of options to choose from so I could keep wandering around town. 

    One magical place to go is to Kensington Gardens. There—after quite a bit of meandering—we were able to find the PETER PAN statue. Because this is where James Barrie wrote and perhaps was inspired to write the famous play. And with this fun statue of Peter, of course there is an invitation to celebrate the imagination of this masterpiece that has had such an impact around the world—and I can’t help but imagine that Wendy, John, Michael, or Tinkerbell might appear beside Peter as I walked around the garden. 

    Peter Pan

    And, who can go to London without going to the Globe Theater—the replica of all things William Shakespeare—who may justifiably be considered the master of all things literary! While at the Globe we saw JULIUS CAESAR (which helped me love my literary journey in Rome that I talked about last time). We got the cheap tickets, so we had to stand for the entire play. And we were out in the elements so when it started to drizzle rain/slush on us…it was a little uncomfortable; however, it was an experience that I will never forget! I felt like I could be in the 1600s listening to the Bard. I don’t think my love for Shakespeare has ever been the same. 

    Yowzer! London has so many literary greats! It is no wonder that this one city has hit my list of places I wanted to see and visit because of works I have read. And I haven’t even talked about Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. Or HARRY POTTER—which has some scenes in London… Yeah, if you love reading, then you have to visit London on vacation. It is basically a must! 

    Joella Reading a book in a bookshop on vacation 1

    Keep reading to see what other vacations I thought were reading havens!

  • read alouds

    We recently began reading chapter books to my four-year-old daughter and she has just fallen in love with them. I love hearing the words, “One more chapter, Daddy, please?” every night. I have often said that my wife and I are very imperfect parents and our daughter has her flaws (when will she just stay in her bed all night?!), but at least our daughter loves books! We have enjoyed reading to her since the very beginning, even before she could really track objects. But more than once throughout her four years of life we, like many parents, have struggled to consistently make the time to read to her and have wondered how important it really is. Time and time again we are reminded that, yes, it is that important! 

    Throughout the years there have been many studies published that discuss the benefits of reading to children. One such study published last year that was discussed in Time emphasized yet more benefits to reading to small children. It seems that many studies have been done about the behavioral and educational benefits of reading to children, but there is still much research to be done in the area of brain activity in children while being read to. It was discovered that reading to children was linked to “brain activation in areas connected with visual imagery and understanding the meaning of language" (Worland, 2015). Add that to the long list of other benefits highlighted in other studies, not to mention how much fun it is to read in general, and we find many reasons why it is that important to read to our kids and to start early.

    In case you are wondering what we have been reading to our daughter, here are two of her favorites so far: MERCY WATSON: SOMETHING WONKY THIS WAY COMES by Kate DiCamillo (she loved the whole series), and THE STORY OF DIVA AND FLEA by Mo Willems (yes, the Mo Willems). 

    Read-Alouds are so much fun that we have put together a booklist of several of our favorite ones. This list will be made available on the Provo City Library website in the near future and will be found here.

    Reference

    Worland, J. (April, 2015).  Reading activates an important part of a child's brain. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/3836428/reading-to-children-brain/

  • IB Readers FB

     Have you ever thought about how readers can change the world? For example, just the other day I needed to do some minor home repair. I read about the problem and what needed to happen—then I fixed the weather stripping on my front door. If I couldn’t read about how to fix the problem (and thankfully this was easy as far as home repair goes), I would still be paying a lot of extra money in heating and cooling bills. Being able to read changed my world. And that is just one example! Here is a list of (a few) other things that readers can do (and in turn how they can change their world):

    • Read travel directions (and then travel)
    • Read about election candidates and their opinions (and then vote)
    • Read music (and then play music)
    • Read how-to manuals for hobbies or repair
    • Read instructions for homework assignments
    • Read directions for cooking recipes
    • Read up about health issues/symptoms/remedies
    • Read about different cultures or languages

    If you think about it, readers can do so many things—they really can change their world and the world of those around them!

    So what does this mean in terms of the Provo City Library? Basically, we believe that we should provide materials and experiences that promote reading. That is why we have so many children’s programs like story time. We show that reading is important (and fun). That is why we have afterschool programs based on crafts, STEAM, or other interesting subjects that we have read about (in books or online). And during the summer (or right now) that is why we have a Summer Reading Program—to encourage people to become readers which in turn will change lives.

    Readers are empowered to learn about anything, to become anything, to be anything. I am a reader! Are you a reader? Do you change the world? Do you believe readers change the world? If so, join me in signing up for the Summer Reading Program. Secondly, read with us all summer. Finally, if you are a reader, then tell all your friends why reading and libraries are important to you. Because we believe that readers change the world!

  • 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
    (2019)

    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
    (2020)

    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.

     

    5.20 AliceALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND 
    By Lewis Carroll
    Narrated by Jim Dale
    (2008)

    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
    (2013)

    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
    (2007)

    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.”

  • Wells FB

     

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

    rosemary wells characters

    Of her craft, Rosemary said,

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

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

    Speaking about her illustrations, Rosemary says,

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

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

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

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

    timothy goes to school

     

    TIMOTHY GOES TO SCHOOL
    (1981)

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

     

     

    ruby scores a goal

     

    RUBY SCORES A GOAL
    (2009)

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

     

     

    following grandfather

    FOLLOWING GRANDFATHER
    (2012)

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

     

     

    on the blue comet

     

    ON THE BLUE COMET
    (2010)

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

     

     

     

  • worth the wait

    A recent trend in children and teen fiction is for books in a series to be released one after another in quick succession.  This is one of the motivations behind popular multi-author series like 39 CLUES and SPIRIT ANIMALS.  If you have more than one author working on the series, the books can be released more rapidly.  I am always interested, therefore, when a book in a series comes out way (I am talking many years) after the previous book was published.  An author has to have a pretty dedicated readership if they are willing to wait that long to know what happens next in the story.  Here are some children/teen book series that that came out over a long period of time, but were well worth the wait. 

    10.18 The Queens ThiefTHE QUEEN’S THIEF
    By Megan Whelan Turner

    The Queen’s Thief series kicked off in 1996 with THE THIEF, which was an instant hit. This series contains a current total of 5 books spanning 21 years! The most recent addition, THICK AS THIEVES, was published just this year. This series is clever, action-packed, and always ready with a twist. It was worth the wait.

     

     

     

    10.18 ShilohSHILOH
    By Phyllis Naylor

    Naylor introduced us to the beloved beagle in 1991 with SHILOH. A subsequent two books were published a couple of years apart in the 90s. We thought that was the end of the famous dog until finally, in 2015, she delighted us again with A SHILOH CHRISTMAS. That’s 24 years from first book to last! 

     

     

     

    10.18 The GiverTHE GIVER
    by Lois Lowry

    THE GIVER has been a popular required school reading since its publication in 1993 and subsequent Newbery award. Many don’t realize that Lowry ever gave us more to the story that ended on such a cliff hanger, but there are actually 3 more books to this saga. The final book (at least for now) is SON, which wasn’t published until 2012, giving this series an impressive 19 year publication span.

     

     

     

  • star wars

    I have a 10-year old son who is a serious Star Wars fan. Per his request, in the recent weeks I have watched A NEW HOPE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RETURN OF THE JEDI, and ROGUE ONE. I have Star Wars on the brain. Working in the library, I end up checking out anything I come across that is Star Wars themed. If Star Wars is your thing, there are some fun books we have available. If you’re a fan, but fall short of obsession, let the library help you truly eat, breathe, and live this fandom. Not only can we extend Star Wars into more aspects of your life, we can also help convert fans from the youngest ages. There is truly a Star Wars book of some sort for everyone: board books, easy readers, comic books, and novelizations. Here are a few examples:  

    The Empire Strikes Back Board BookTHE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK 
    by Jack Wang
    2015

    This board book is for the fans who don’t even know they are fans yet. This epic yarns series is geared toward very young children with only one or two words on a page, yet the plot line is still present in these few pages, which is fun for parents, too. Each page is an intricate movie scene created from felt.  

    Goodnight Darth VaderGOODNIGHT DARTH VADER 
    by Jeffrey Brown
    2014

    No need to imagine what it would look like if Darth Vader was reading a story to Luke and Leia as children, trying to get them to settle in and go to sleep. Jeffrey Brown has imagined it for you and created this entertaining story. There are many characters from all the Star Wars movies doing silly things as the Vader’s story continues to lull Luke and Leia off into dreamland.  

    Star Wars Galactic MapsSTAR WARS GALACTIC MAPS: AN ILLUSTRATED ATLAS OF THE STAR WARS UNIVERSE 
    by Emil Fortun, illustrated by Tim McDonagh 
    2016

    I am learning more about Star Wars all the time. Having all the maps laid out together has really helped my mental image of how all the planets and moons in their universe look. All the characters are listed, including those in Rogue One, with a brief description of each.  

     

    Star Wars Craft BookTHE STAR WARS CRAFT BOOK 
    by Bonnie Burton
    2011

    From puppets and pillows to holiday decorations this craft book is an excellent source for helping your fandom get to the next level. There are simple crafts for young children and more complex crafts that even adults will find a challenge. I have several crafts on the waiting list and have made one trip so far to the fabric store. This has been a hit with my little Star Wars fan.  

    Star Wars Cook BookTHE STAR WARS COOK BOOK: WOOKIE COOKIES AND OTHER GALACTIC RECIPES 
    by Robin Davis
    1998

    This cookbook is perfect for planning a Star Wars party. The name of each item is Star Wars themed and frankly quite clever. “Yoda Soda” and “Boba Fett-uccine” were my favorites. The “TIE Fighter Ties” are the cutest, little hotdogs with breadsticks wrapped around in the shape of TIE Fighters.  

     

    Art2 D2s Guide to Folding and DoodlingART2-D2'S GUIDE TO FOLDING AND DOODLING 
    by Tom Angleberger
    2013

    This is a companion guide to the juvenile fiction Origami Yoda series. Angleberger has tutorials to make Star Wars finger puppets, step-by-step instructions to draw Darth Vader’s mask, and other various doodling and folding ideas.  

     

     

     

    Star Wars A Musical JourneySTAR WARS A MUSICAL JOURNEY: EPISODES I-VI 
    music by John Williams, arranged by Dan Coates
    2007

    Even if you aren’t an accomplished pianist this sheet music is “easy piano,” so if you have been wanting to learn, this will help motivate you! The music of Star Wars will fill your home over and over. The classic Star Wars main title is included, as well as The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme), along with several others.

     

     

  • summer scares

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

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

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

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

    2- Silliness is stronger than the bonds of death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • africa

    Sometimes life seems full of little annoyances; forgot to charge the phone, battery in the car key fob runs out, the microwave is on the fritz. It is easy to let the little things get us down and to forget the wonders that we enjoy every day.  A sure cure for our “first world” woes is to read about people who live with much less every day. I have recently read three books set in Africa that show what life is like for children in some of the world’s poorest countries. Despite the lack of basic comforts—sufficient food, clean water, indoor plumbing—they bravely push on, clinging to hope for a better life. All three books are well written and would be great to share with older children who might need their own healthy dose of perspective. 

    6.1 Aumas Long RunAUMA’S LONG RUN
    By Eucabeth A. Odhiambo
    (2017) 

    Auma lives in a small village in Kenya. Her father works in Nairobi and makes enough money that she and her siblings can attend school. Then one day her father comes home feeling ill.  When, after weeks he only gets worse, Auma is afraid that he has the “new” sickness that has taken the life of so many in her village. This is a sobering, but inspiring, look at the fate of many children in Africa who have been left to fend for themselves because of the AIDS epidemic. 

     

    6.1 The Red PencilTHE RED PENCIL
    By Andrea Pinkney
    (2014)

    Amira lives in a farm town in Darfur and helps her mother care for their farm animals and her younger siblings. One day, the Janjaweed come burn her town and kill her father. She must flee with her family to a refugee camp. Although the camp is crowded and the food and living conditions are horrible, Amira gets her first chance to learn to read and write. This story is written in crystalline free verse which allows Pinkney to show the reader only brief flashes of disturbing images, and linger on descriptions of life on Amira's farm and in the camp. The story is illustrated with black and white drawings, done in a child-like hand, that show how Amira sees her world as she draws with her cherished red pencil.  

     

    6.1 A Long Walk to WaterA LONG WALK TO WATER
    By Linda Sue Park
    (2009)

    This historical novel based on a true story follows the lives of two children from Sudan. In alternating chapters the reader watches Salva, who in 1985 flees civil war to become one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan, and Nya, who in 2009 spends eight hours a day walking to and from a pond to get water for her family. Salva ends up spending a decade in various refugee camps and sees terrible war atrocities. Nya sees her little sister get sick from contaminated water during the dry season when the pond becomes muddy. Both of their stories come together in a wonderful and hopeful ending.

     
  • bsc fashion header 

    The 80s and 90s have been making a major comeback in fashion. Not so coincidentally, the same can be said for media and entertainment. With the new Babysitters Club TV show headed our way, and the resurgence of the book series with updated covers and in graphic novel form, the nostalgia for everybody’s favorite girl gang has been real. Each of the original five taught young girls so much about how to deal with everyday problems and how to be true to themselves—lessons which are still applicable today. They’re excellent role models, and each was unique in both style and personality.

    Below, I’ll give examples of how these five amazing babysitters might dress today, if one wanted to emulate their favorite babysitter.

    KristyKRISTY

    Kristy would take full advantage of the growing athleisure trend. Our fearless leader is all about true comfort, and not budging even an inch in the interest of fashion. Luckily for her, she can look put-together but still laidback in modern styles so as not to draw the critical eyes of her best friends, Stacey and Claudia.

    Kristy is far too athletic to care if everything matches perfectly, or fits quite right. She’d stick to neutrals to keep it simple, and she’s not into matching sets—that’s a little too cute for her. Starting with a simple pair of actual athletic leggings, in black, Kristy would wear a plain tee on top, but it would be a true basic with a simple fit. Functional tennis shoes in a fun color on bottom, and a denim jacket tied around her waist for when she’s out late playing games keep her ready to get active at any time. And of course, her signature baseball cap over her ponytail so she doesn’t have to do her hair.

     

    ClaudiaCLAUDIA

    Claudia will forever be that cool artsy girl whose style we didn’t dare copy, even though we all wished we could. She’s sophisticated, but not as sleek as her best friend Stacey. Her style tends more towards funky, stylish, trendy, and colorful. She’s known for little pieces that pull her look together, like a scarf that has all the colors of her outfit, or earrings that match a bracelet, or something else that gives her look, which might be a little crazy, a nice touch.

    Claudia would embrace every inch of the latest cool, trendy styles, but with her ever-present flair for vintage and thrifted goods. The current overalls obsession would entice her instantly. But she wouldn’t just wear the most basic of denim overalls. No, she’d find the ones with the funky print or the pinstripes. And of course, she wouldn’t wear them with anything neutral. She’d pick a brightly colored blouse with a menswear touch, via a necktie. The mules trend would work really well with her style, so she’d find a funky pair of velvet embroidered ones. To top off her look she’d match her earrings to her shoes and call it a good day.

     

    DawnDAWN

    Dawn has always been our laid-back California girl. While she exudes casual cool, she’s never been one to work too hard on her outfits. She likes it simple and comfy, but she’s far less into athletics than Kristy. If it’s too tight, or too girly, or too sporty, it won’t do. She likes to be able to run to the beach at any time, and not have to worry too much about her clothes.

    Dawn would be all over the boyfriend jeans trend. They’re loose and comfy, but she looks cool in them. Despite her rejection of trendy clothes, she likes looking cool. She’d pair her loose jeans with an equally loose shirt, preferably a relaxed button down in some color reminiscent of her pastel-studded childhood. On her feet would be some sort of sporty sandal in a fun color that she can look nice in on the boardwalk, but also won’t be ruined if she just can’t resist getting her feet wet. On both her wrist and in her long, blonde hair, we can assume she’d have a velvet scrunchie, as they’re the easiest and coolest way to remind us of the original BSC.

     

    StaceySTACEY

    Stacey has always been the more sophisticated companion to Claudia’s wild style. She wears a lot of black, she always looks put-together and a little older than her friends, and she is perfectly in style at all times. Stacey would never leave the house looking anything less than flawless.

    Starting with her signature color, black, Stacey would wear a sleek midi pencil skirt. On top, she’d wear a black slouchy turtleneck, which is a nice update to the turtlenecks of her childhood. She’d wear it in a half tuck so that she keeps the lines of her skirt, while maintaining her casually sophisticated style. For accessories she’d keep it simple with a simple gold pendant necklace with an S on it. On her feet, nude slides would keep with her sleek theme and will be comfy enough to keep up with her likely busy life.

     

    Mary AnneMARY ANNE

    Mary Anne is our resident sweetheart. She’s kind and loving, and very responsible. And it shows in her clothing. Mary Anne would love touches of the twee styles that have become mainstream in the last few years, although she’ll never be truly converted. She’s far too sensible to lean too far into fashion. She might be convinced to wear a sweet Peter Pan collar dress or shirt, but she’ll always return to the fashion basics that keep her looking preppy, girly, and professional.

    Mary Anne would rock a simple sweater in a neutral color with a collar underneath. The simplicity of it keeps her looking grounded and not too fashionable, but looks nice and classic with the addition of a collar. Mary Anne loves a good pair of basic, dark wash jeans, with zero holes, and a sleek cut. A pair of classic brown ankle boots round out her look and provide her with a pop of color and the ability to jet around and get things done. And of course, she must wear a watch.

     

    The BSC helped inspire young girls to make their mark on the world. And we love them so much, we still want to be like them today. If you choose to dress like your favorite babysitter, don’t forget to emulate her best qualities too!

  • overheard 01

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

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

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

     

    The Sisters GrimmTHE SISTERS GRIMM
    by Michael Buckley
    (2005)

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

     

    Genuine SweetGENUINE SWEET
    by Faith Harkey
    (2015)

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

     

     

    Echo   Blog SizeECHO
    by Pam Muñoz Ryan
    (2015)

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

     

    So, what great books have you found by eavesdropping?

     

     

  • reading aloud

    Getting a child “ready” to start school seems to be on every parent’s mind as they look at preschool registration. There are plenty of ideas about what children need to be ready to learn. Parents often ask, "What do they need to know? Have I taught them all the things the teacher will expect?"

    What if I told you the absolute best thing you can do to prepare a child for Kindergarten is read to them from the day they are born? Really. No need to spend time using flashcards when they are toddlers or preschoolers in a drill and kill fashion. Just start reading to your child early on—every day. If you don’t have a routine yet or didn’t start early, start now: read stories and books 15-20 minutes each day. Spend time engaging with your child by asking questions, pointing to pictures, laughing and crying at wherever the story leads.

    Research has shown time and time again the success of children who have been read to. Children who were not read to spend years making up for lost time. From ages 0-3 the brain of a child is forming, making connections, and soaking up all the information and experiences in life. The best time to start exposing children to reading and new vocabulary is during these early years. Do you need more information to help you start? These will get you going . . .

    1.31 Read Aloud HandbookTHE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK
    By Jim Trelease
    (2013)

    You know when a book is on its 7th edition that it must have some good information! Jim Trelease has continued to update the statistics of his handbook that was originally released in 1982. He answers the why, when, and how of reading aloud. He includes stories of people who have been impacted by experiences with reading aloud to their children. There is a treasury of read aloud books in the back which Trelease updates in every edition, especially for those who are new to the idea of reading aloud and are wondering what books to start with. 

     

    1.31 Reading MagicREADING MAGIC: WHY READING ALOUD TO OUR CHILDREN WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER
    By Mem Fox
    (2001) 

    Fox’s enthusiasm for reading to children is contagious. This quick read is a perfect jump-start to inspire parents and educators to implement more reading aloud. If you already have been reading aloud to children, it is the reminder that what you are doing is important. When a child is between the ages of 0-3 the benefits are not always as obvious right away; it is reassuring to know that spending the necessary time reading aloud to children is worth it. 

     

    1.31 Thirty Million WordsTHIRTY MILLION WORDS: BUILDING A CHILD’S BRAIN: TUNE IN, TALK MORE, TAKE TURNS
    By Dana Suskind
    (2015)

    This is a heavily research-based guide on the importance of speaking and engaging with children in the early years. Suskind, a medical doctor, has found through her practice that the success of cochlear implants depend on the involvement of parents who spend time talking and interacting with their children. It doesn’t matter if the children have the ability to hear if there is no one helping them exercise those new abilities. Suskind started an initiative to educate parents, using what she has learned about the importance of her easily implemented “Tune in, Talk More, and Take Turn” program. Every child benefits when they have caregivers who know how powerful these simple ideas are in the life of a child.

     
  • wordless picture books 1

    I have a confession. I am not always the most thorough reader—I’m a bit of a skimmer. I’ve actually found myself on so many occasions having to go back in books because I missed a crucial detail that I had decided wasn’t worth paying attention to at the time. It’s a horrible habit, and I don’t recommend it.

    However, if I am reading a book out loud to someone, it’s then that I am able to take in the full extent of the story. This is especially poignant in picture books. There are fantastic illustrations that narrate far more than you might realize that I have a habit of skipping over. For a long time, wordless picture books were particularly difficult for me because I wanted to skim them like I do everything else. And then I discovered why I love wordless picture books:

    1. It forces me to slow down and look at each illustration, to really focus on how it tells the story.

    2. Depending on the reader, there could be a different narration or interpretation.

    3. The illustrations can evoke a significant emotional response.Here are some of my favorite wordless picture books: 

    3.15 BluebirdBLUEBIRD
    By Bob Stakke
    (2013)

    This book is about a lonely boy wandering in New York City. A bluebird follows him and becomes his friend. When the boy is bullied by some kids in the park, the bluebird goes to protect him but is struck with a stick and dies. Saddened by the loss of his new friend, the boy is soon joined by a flock of birds that lift him to the sky while he lets the bluebird float away. I love this book. It handles many issues beautifully: loneliness, friendship, bullying, and loss. 

     

    3.15 The SnowmanTHE SNOWMAN
    By Raymond Briggs
    (1978)

    This is a beautifully illustrated book about a boy that builds a snowman who comes to life. The snowman comes into the house, tries on the father’s clothes, creates some disaster in the kitchen, and then goes flying off into the night with his creator on an adventure around the world. They return home, and the next morning the boy runs outside to find the snowman melted on the ground. Another great book about friendship, imagination, adventure, and loss.

     

    3.15 JourneyJOURNEY
    By Aaron Becker
    (2013)

    This story is the first of a trilogy about a lonely girl that draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and escapes into a world of wonder, adventure, and danger. With her red marker, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carries her on her journey. It’s a wonderfully illustrated story full of imagination and adventure. I accidentally read the third one first and was so impressed with the expanse of story without text that I immediately found the rest. It has such a strong visual narrative that it can appeal to a wider age range. 

     
  • 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
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Dear Fang With LoveDEAR FANG, WITH LOVE
    By Rufi Thorpe
    (2016) 

     

     

     

     

     

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

    David Levinson
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 White FurWHITE FUR: A NOVEL
    By Jardine Libaire
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The Rules Do Not ApplyTHE RULES DO NOT APPLY: A MEMOIR
    By Ariel Levy
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Girl In PiecesGIRL IN PIECES
    By Kathleen Glasgow
    (2016) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The Husbands SecretTHE HUSBAND’S SECRET
    By Liane Moriarty
    (2013) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Rebel BelleREBEL BELLE
    By Rachel Hawkins
    (2014) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Broken Hearts Fences and Other Things to MendBROKEN HEARTS, FENCES AND OTHER THINGS TO MEND
    By Katie Finn
    (2014)

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The LuxeTHE LUXE
    By Anna Godbersen
    (2007) 

     

     

     

     

    8.10 PrettyPRETTY
    By Justin Sayre
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    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!

  • Dog

    I want a pet. I don’t care if it’s a cat, dog, or hedgehog. I just want one. Unfortunately, I can’t get one right now. If you’re in the same boat, never fear. I have some books that will help you feel the love of having a pet without needing the finances or time to take care of one. 

    5.29 StormySTORMY
    By Guojing
    (2019) 

    STORMY is a wordless picture book about a dog. Each page shares a snapshot of the dog’s life alone. Will the sweet pup find a forever home? 

     

    5.29 TrumanTRUMAN
    By Jean Reidy
    (2019) 

    Truman is the most courageous and noble turtle you will ever meet. When his girl leaves for her first day of school, he is distraught. All he knows is that she’s missing. And what do the most courageous and noble turtles do when their girl goes missing? Brave the untold dangers of the living room to find her. 

     

    5.29 Wildwood DancingWILDWOOD DANCING
    By Juliet Marillier
    (2007) 

    If you like amphibians, then you may want to read this retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In this version, one of the princesses owns an unusual frog that may be more important than anyone realizes. Or maybe not. 

     

    5.29 Because of Winn DixieBECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE
    By Kate DiCamillo
    (2000) 

    Those wanting to spend a summer in Florida with a big ugly dog won’t want to miss this read. BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE follows India Opal Buloni and her summer spent with her lovable mutt. 

     

    5.29 Pom Pom AnimalsPOM POM ANIMALS
    By Trikotri
    (2018) 

    If all the books above just make you want a pet even more, then that’s ok. You can make one. Follow the directions in this book to create your own cute pet using wool. You can make up to 45 different animals! From bears to cats, you’re sure to find an animal craft to soothe your heart as it pines for an animal friend.

     
  • A 12-ish year old boy came up to the desk with full purpose and asked my coworker- “What is your favorite book?”

    I was busy helping another patron and I didn’t hear much about that conversation besides that and didn’t expect him to return because he got his answer.

    A couple minutes later he came back to the desk in full stride and full purpose again, stood before me and asked, “what’s your favorite book” like it was a grand request and pronouncement.

    This isn’t a difficult question but not really one I get often, at least not so directly. People usually ask for suggestions or books like: Diary of a Wimpy Kid/Harry Potter/Percy Jackson. My mind went blank and all I could suddenly think of were princess/fairy tale retellings which felt way too girly to suggest to this young teen boy.

    I did pull out “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman because that is one of my standard go-to’s but seriously- my mind blanked outside Ella Enchanted and Beauty. I told him this and he said he didn’t mind, he just wanted to get a variety. He went home with a stack of Louis L’Amour, Boy by Roald Dahl, The Graveyard Book and Goose Girl. It was a great stack but I’m annoyed at my brain for shutting off when he asked me a simple question.

    And in typical Amanda-fashion, as soon as he left my brain flooded with ideas of books I could have suggested. I really wished I could have found him again so I could tell him my actual suggestions.

    So here is a list of my *favorites I should have suggested- that I haven’t already written about already.

    *Listing a favorite book is subjective. I have the right to change this opinion at will and am catering more to age of patron asking.

    8.3 The Indian in the CupboardTHE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD
    By Lynne Reid Banks
    (1980)

    On Omri’s birthday his best friend gives him a little plastic Indian toy. Disappointed, he puts the toy in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that belonged to his great-grandmother. He finds out when he turns the key it transforms the toy into a real live man from a different time and place. I read this book a few times as a kid and loved the adventure and friendship between this boy and his little friends.

     

    8.3 HolesHOLES
    By Loius Sachar
    (1998)

    Stanley Yelnats is under a curse- a curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has followed the Yelnats family. Stanley is unjustly sent to a boys’ detention camp where they are required to dig holes all day long- five feed wide, five feet deep. Stanley realizes they aren’t just building character- that the Warden is looking for something as a mystery of the past unfolds before these campers. This was a really fun intriguing mystery. I love seeing how the past intertwined with the present and the “ah-ha” moments when they came together.

     

    8.3 SurvivorsSURVIVORS: EXTRAORDINARY TALES FROM THE WILD AND BEYOND
    by David Long
    (2017)

    This is a fantastic collection of 23 true stories of men and women who have survived seemingly impossible circumstances from a plane crash to quicksand. The stories are fascinating and the illustrations are fantastic. I would like to own this for my own book collection and give it to everyone. 

     

    8.3 A Monster CallsA MONSTER CALLS
    By Patrick Ness
    (2011)

    Twelve-year-old Connor O’Malley is dealing with a lot. A school bully, an estranged father, strict grandmother and a sick mother. One night at 12:07 am, a tree-like Monster comes to his window and tells Connor it is going to tell three stories over three nights- three truths and on the fourth night Connor had to tell the monster his truth. I love this book. It is beautiful and sad. If you read this I highly highly suggest getting the illustrated copy. It really adds to the story and is illustrated by Jim Kay, who is illustrating the Harry Potter series.

     
  • curved shelves

    “Do you have anything new?”  That is a question Children’s librarians hear all the time.  For several years new picture books have been marked with a yellow “New” label and put on their own shelf to make it easier for kids and parents to find the latest thing.  Starting this summer, the Children’s Department has “New” labels for children’s novels and nonfiction books as well. There is a shelf for new nonfiction (or as we say in Children’s “informational”) books at the beginning of the J Informational section, and a shelf for new J Fiction at the beginning of the J Fiction section.   

    So what is new?  Here are some books I am excited about that will be coming out in the next few months that will be getting those bright “New” stickers. If you see anything you like, ask a librarian to get you on the hold list today! 

    8.23 Lights Camera Middle SchoolLIGHTS, CAMERA, MIDDLE SCHOOL
    Babymouse, Tales from the Locker #1
    By Jennifer Holm
    On the shelves now!

     

     

     

     

    8.23 The Empty GraveTHE EMPTY GRAVE
    Lockwood & Co #5
    By Jonathan Stroud
    Coming out in September 

     

     

     

     

    8.23 Magnus ChaseTHE SHIP OF THE DEAD
    Magnus Chase #3
    By Rick Riordan
    Coming out in October 

     

     

     

     

    8.23 The Silver maskTHE SILVER MASK
    Magisterium #4
    By Holly Black
    Coming out in October 

     

     

     

     

    8.23 Harry PotterTHE PRISONER OF AZKABAN 
    Harry Potter #3 – The illustrated edition!
    By J.K. Rowling
    Illustrated by Jim Kay
    Coming out in October

     

     

  • Witchy Reads

    My fascination with all things witchy dates back to September 27th, 1996 - more than 20 years! Any guesses what inspired it?

    Ever since then, I've loved the idea of witchcraft, though not in a serious way. There's just something appealing about potions, spells, animal familiars, and covens of powerful women. Thanks to this fascination, fiction books with witchy protagonists inevitably catch my eye. In honor of the season, I thought I'd share a few exciting titles that feature wonderful witches.

    10.12 The Witches of New YorkTHE WITCHES OF NEW YORK
    By Ami McKay
    (2017)

    After reading several starred reviews of Ami McKay's new book, I knew I had to read it. It did not disappoint. THE WITCHES OF NEW YORK tells the story of Adelaide and Eleanor, two magical women who run Tea and Sympathy, a shop that offers tarot readings and herbal remedies in addition to tea and biscuits. When a naive young woman named Beatrice joins them as an assistant, mundane and magical forces combine to endanger the shop and the women who run it. A warning for cautious readers that this novel does include occasional sex and violence.

     

    10.12 The Girl Who Drank the MoonTHE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON
    By Kelly Barnhill
    (2016)

    This Newbery winner is an absolute delight. In this children's novel, the people of the Protectorate abandon a baby in sacrifice to the witch who lives outside their village. Little do they know that Xan is a kindly witch who is baffled by their offerings. Each year she takes the babies to a loving family across the forest, until one night she accidentally enmagics one of her charges. She then raises Luna alongside a swamp monster and a perfectly lovable, perfectly tiny dragon.

    THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON tells a lovely story and features the most charming and playful writing I've encountered aside from J.K. Rowling's. Even better, the audiobook reader gives what may just be my favorite narration of all time.

    10.12 The Black WitchTHE BLACK WITCH
    By Laurie Forest
    (2017)

    I've written about my love for this book before, but I had to include it again here. In THE BLACK WITCH, teenager Elloren Gardner leaves her small village to attend an international boarding school. She's the daughter of the Black Witch, Gardneria's rescuer and one of the most powerful mages of all time. When Elloren arrives at school, however, she discovers that the history she's been taught may not be accurate, and that the prejudices she's been raised with are undeserved and even cruel. THE BLACK WITCH deals with difficult topics in a complex but relatable way and in my opinion deserves every starred review it received.

     

    10.12 The Rules of MagicTHE RULES OF MAGIC
    By Alice Hoffman
    (2017)

    Full disclosure here: I haven't actually read this yet. After all, it only came out two days ago! Fans of Hoffman's 1995 book PRACTICAL MAGIC will be thrilled to know that she has returned to the story of the Owens family. For the members of this magical clan, love is a curse that inevitably results in death and heartache. THE RULES OF MAGIC follows an earlier generation of Owens siblings - Franny, Jet, and Vincent - as they navigate the heady days of the 1960s. I've read a few of Hoffman's other works, and her three-dimensional characters, detailed plots, and lush, lyrical writing never disappoint. And based on early reviews, this prequel is every bit as magical as its predecessor.

    Bonus: If you can't get enough fictional witchcraft, check out basically anything by Sarah Addison Allen. Within the pages of her sweet books, you're sure to find romance and magic in a small southern town.