Friday Faves

  • dk books

    Can you have a favorite publisher? I certainly do! DK (Dorling Kindersley) is a British publishing company that specializes in illustrated reference books for adults, teens, and children. They produce (in my humble opinion) the best nonfiction books of any other publisher.

    I’ve loved flipping through DK books since I was a little girl. I’d check the library Juvenile nonfiction shelves for a title that piqued my interest. Then after reading the interesting facts and looking at the awesome pictures, I’d turn to the end pages. On the inside front and back cover (of the Eyewitness books specifically) the end pages show the covers of even more DK books. I couldn’t wait to get more from the library!

    The Provo City Library has 1,499 books published by DK! DK has a book on nearly every nonfiction subject you could want from travel, cooking, arts and crafts to history, science, gardening and more. Here are just five that I think are absolutely fabulous.

    6.23.17.PredatorsPREDATOR 
    By David Burnie
    (2011)

    This is one of those awesome Eyewitness books! This book talks about the predatory behavior of hundreds of animals and how that behavior has changed over time. Using short blocks of text and plenty of pictures you learn the ways these animals stalk, lure, trap, and store their prey as well as how these animals fit into the food chain. As a bonus, this book has a clip art CD-ROM filled with many of the photographs used in this book.

     

    6.23.17.Super Cool TechSUPER COOL TECH: TECHNOLOGY, INVENTION, INNOVATION 
    By Ian R. Graham
    (2016)

    This book is just what it says it is, all about super cool technology! I had so much fun flipping through this book and telling my co-worker all about the interesting details found in the book. From 3-D printers, and RFID tags in football helmets to an Icehotel in Sweden and self-healing concrete this book is fascinating!

    6.23.17.How To CookHOW TO COOK: DELICIOUS DISHES PERFECT FOR TEEN COOKS 
    By Maggie Mayhew
    (2011)

    While I am far past my teen years, this book is awesome! It begins with basic information on healthy eating, food safety and hygiene, and discusses recipe abbreviations and how to weigh your ingredients. Then each recipe takes you step by step on how to make each delicious dish. The recipes have pictures and illustrations to help the reader visualize the process. From soup to dessert, this book is a winner. I’m excited to try out several of the recipes and techniques featured in this book!

    6.23.17.Paper CraftPAPER CRAFT
    By Christy Lusiak, editor
    (2015)

    Feeling crafty? In its brightly colored pages, this book has 50 projects that transform your favorite paper into gorgeous decorations, cards, flowers and more. No matter your skill level, there is a project perfect for you. With step by step photographic instructions, anyone can make something beautiful using this book.

     

    6.23.17.Big HistoryBIG HISTORY 
    By David Christian
    (2016)

    Bill Gates is quoted on the cover of this book saying, “BIG HISTORY provides a framework for understanding literally all of history, ever…” That’s a pretty big statement! However, after looking through this massive (439 pages to be exact) book, he’s not wrong. This book follows earth’s history from the creation to the present day discussing geology, biology, physics, anthropology, sociology and more to tell the story of human existence. Covering 13.8 billion years of history is no small feat, but this book has done just that in a visually pleasing and interesting way.

    It was so hard for me to choose just five, so be sure to keep an eye out for other great DK books next time you’re in the library.

  • Always available audiobooks

    I have previously confessed to my somewhat worrisome addiction to audiobooks on Overdrive. I keep a very robust wish list, and as soon as a hold comes in, I place another so that I am never in want of something great to listen to.

    However, there are times when nothing on my wish list is available and my holds are still pending. When this happens, I long for Jedi powers to “encourage” other listeners to hurry up, finish their audiobooks, and return them to Overdrive so I can start listening to them already. When this doesn't work, I am grateful for the 175 audiobooks that are always available on Overdrive.

    Here are the top five titles I’m keeping in my back pocket. Titles I want to listen to and will download when the new stuff is unavailable.

    balanced and barefootBALANCED AND BAREFOOT: HOW UNRESTRICTED OUTDOOR PLAY MAKES FOR STRONG, CONFIDENT, AND CAPABLE CHILDREN
    Angela Hanscom
    (2016)

    I am not a parent. However, I LOVE reading parenting books. It’s weird. And, at this year’s Best Books of 2016 event, one of our other librarians (who isn’t a parent either, just saying) put this book on her list and I’ve wanted to listen to it ever since. In it, a pediatric occupational therapist explains why unrestrained movement and outdoor play are vital for children’s cognitive development. I’m hoping its just a really good argument for playing in mud because that sounds fun.

    emperor of all maladiesEMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES: A BIOGRAPHY OF CANCER
    Siddhartha Mukherjee
    (2010)

    I am just realizing this has been on my “To Read” list for 6 years! Sigh. Maybe this year I will finally get a chance to listen to it. This is a “biography” of cancer, from its origins to the epic battle to cure, control, and conquer it. Also, it won the Pulitzer Prize, so it is probably well written and full of good things to know.

     

     

    hemingses of monticelloHEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO: AN AMERICAN FAMILY
    Anette Gordon-Reed
    (2009)

    While this book hasn’t been on my official list, it is one that has been on my radar. I love reading history books and last year I read AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie which is about Jefferson’s eldest daughter “Patsy.” I was fascinated by the novel and I am looking forward to learning about the Jeffersons from a different perspective.

     

     

    bananaBANANA: THE FATE OF THE FRUIT THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
    Dan Koeppel
    (2008)

    I keep hearing about how we should enjoy bananas now because their days are numbered. I’d really like to know what that is all about. This book is a gripping biological detective story that uncovers the myth, mystery, and the endangered fate of the world’s most humble fruit. The only downside of listening to this audiobook is that I eat more when I read about food.

     

     

    surprised by joy1SURPRISED BY JOY
    C.S. Lewis
    (1956)

    Audiobooks that are read by the authors are some of my favorites. How amazing would it be to have this autobiographical book about C. S. Lewis’s journey from Christianity to atheism and back to Christianity narrated by the author himself? So, that is not possible. But it would be cool and I am still excited to listen to SURPRISED BY JOY which is one of the few C.S. Lewis books I haven’t read yet.

     

  • Always available audiobooks

    I love audiobooks. They are the only reason I can get through the number of books I do each year. I can listen while exercising, cleaning, driving, or cooking. Also, I love Overdrive. Downloading audiobooks is so much easier than having to swap discs in and out of my laptop and way safer than swapping discs while driving in my car.

    Much of the time, the books I am most excited to listen to are popular choices for other people as well. So, I put myself on hold for them and (mostly) patiently wait my turn. In the meantime, the Utah State Library has 175 wonderful audiobooks available all the time. There is a lot of variety represented here but listed below are five of my favorite titles to enthusiastically recommend.

    tidying upTHE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP: THE JAPANESE ARE OF DECLUTTERING AND ORGANIZING
    Marie Kondo
    (2015)

    If you haven’t heard about Marie Kondo’s book, let me boil it down for you. In THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP you will learn that if something doesn’t bring you joy, you probably don’t need it. Kondo’s ideas really can live up to the title and change your life if you can complete her whole process in your home. I did not manage to do that, but I did really appreciate her thoughts, and I have become much better at letting go of the extra and unnecessary things I have in my home and my life.

     

    zookeepers wifeTHE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE
    Diane Ackerman
    (2007)

    This book has been out for a while, but a new movie starring Jessica Chastain has made it very popular again. It is the true story of a Warsaw zookeeper’s wife who helped save hundreds of people and animals during World War II. I loved it when I read it years ago and am excited to see the film.

     

     

    goose girlGOOSE GIRL
    Shannon Hale
    (2003)

    This was Shannon Hale’s debut novel, and I’m so glad she kept writing. GOOSE GIRL is a wonderful retelling of a German fairy tale and the first novel in the Books of Bayern series. This is a perfect pick for listeners of all ages and is narrated by a full cast.

     

     

     

    white trashWHITE TRASH: THE 400 YEAR UNTOLD HISTORY OF CLASS IN AMERICA
    Nancy Isenberg
    (2016)

    WHITE TRASH is no fairy tale. It is actually a fairly depressing look at class history in America, from the present back to colonial times. However, taking a good hard look at our collective flaws can often lead the way to change. I learned so much while listening to this audiobook and I hope others will take the time to learn more as well.

     

     

    StiffSTIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS
    Mary Roach
    (2004)

    I love all of Mary Roach’s books, but this one is my favorite. STIFF brings to light the oddly compelling and often hilarious lives of bodies after death. Cadavers have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings and Roach explores and investigates them all. What I love most is the tone of Mary’s books. She is so fascinated with her topic that readers can’t help but be fascinated right along with her.

     

  • earthy films

     

    As I’m out and about exploring nature in the blissfully scorching summer months, I find myself reflecting on this amazing planet with a heightened sense of wonder. I often turn to documentary films to learn more about a subject that has peaked my interest and as I explore the outdoors, I like to supplement my learning by discovering unique films about our natural world. As a kid, I remember watching those slow moving, nature documentaries in school, and man could they be boring! Well, these nature documentaries are of an entirely different ilk, one that includes adventure, captivating narration, and exciting locations and themes. Now, that’s the way I like my documentaries!

     

    So if you’re in the mood to learn about our amazing planet, the creatures that inhabit it, and even the impact that humans have on the earth, these films will be right up you alley!

     

    encounters at the end of the worldENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
    dir. Werner Herzog
    (2008)

    Famed documentarian Werner Herzog visits Antarctica and the McMurdo research station to document the life of the people who work there and the volatile and beautiful landscape of the remote region. Penguins also make an appearance, and who doesn’t like a penguin?

     

    planetearthPLANET EARTH SERIES
    prod. British Broadcasting Company
    (2007)

    With 40 camera teams shooting at over 200 different locations all over the world over the span of five years, this series truly uncovers some rare and wonderful scenes of nature and animal life unlike any other nature documentary. Some of my favorites sections include those on caves and deserts!

     

    racing extinctionRACING EXTINCTION
    dir. Louie Psihoyos
    (2016)

    In a moving and well-crafted documentary, Academy Award-winning filmmakers expose the forces that are leading our planet to its next mass extinction, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species. Without implementing change, this film argues that creatures that have survived for millions of years may be wiped from Earth in our lifetime.

     

    chasing iceCHASING ICE
    dir. Jeff Orlowski
    (2013)

    In the style of an action film, nature photographer James Balog and crew set up time lapse photography stations at various glaciers to capture the receding and calving of glaciers around the world as evidence of global warming and climate change. The images are equally visually stunning and shocking and the story has a fast paced feel.

     

    If nature documentaries are not your cup of tea, we’ve surely got a different nonfiction film to suit your interests! With topics from ancient history to atoms, dance to dinosaurs, or literature to local government, we’ve got a little something for everyone!

  • easyreaders

    In recent years, the genre of beginning reading books – or easy readers – has improved leaps and bounds from the days of repetitive clunky text and boring plots (“She will run. She is fast. She will run fast.”).  

    Arguably the greatest master of the easy reader is Mo Willems, who created the beloved Elephant and Piggie series. These stories, written in conversation bubbles between the two friends, managed to offer text that was simple enough for the youngest reader but didn’t lose the natural flow of real speech, not to mention being so funny that even adults were eager to read the latest installment.  

    But now that the 25th and last Elephant and Piggie book (THE THANK YOU BOOK)  has been published, it’s time to discover new reading buddies. Here are five newly published easy reader books (each the beginning of a series) that are reminiscent of the zany humor, comic illustrations, and tender friendship we loved about Piggie and Gerald.  

    duck duck porcupineDUCK, DUCK, PORCUPINE!
    by Salina Yoon
    (2016)

    Big Duck likes to be in charge of her brother, Little Duck, but it’s usually Little Duck who ends up getting her and their friend Porcupine out of trouble.  


    pig in wigWHAT THIS STORY NEEDS IS A PIG IN A WIG
    by Emma J. Virján
    (2015)

    This silly rhyming story features Pig taking a boat ride and adding more and more fun along the way: a frog and a dog and a goat on a log!  



    ballet catBALLET CAT: THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET
    by Bob Shea
    (2015)

    Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony want to play together but the only thing Ballet Cat wants to play is…ballet. Can their friendship survive Sparkles’ totally secret secret?


     

    snail and wormSNAIL AND WORM: THREE STORIES ABOUT TWO FRIENDS
    by Tina Kugler
    (2016)

    After Snail tries less than successfully to play tag with a rock, he is delighted to meet Worm, and the two invertebrates set off on adventures.


     

    rabbit and robotRABBIT & ROBOT: THE SLEEPOVER
    by Cece Bell
    (2012)

    Rabbit meticulously plans a sleepover with his friend Robot, but things don’t go quite as planned: Robot only likes screws and bolts on his pizza, and then the remote goes missing. Can Robot save the day?

  • Fairy books

    It’s almost March, which means that at the Provo City Library it is almost time for the Fairy Tea Party. In fact, tickets for the Fairy Tea go on sale tomorrow and will most likely sell out within the first hour or so (if ticket sales are similar to how they have been for the past half a dozen years). In honor of the fairy festivities that are soon upon us, I have put together my list of my five favorite fairy books.

    1THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS
    by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton
    (2010)

    In this fabulous picture book by Julie Andrews (yes, THAT Julie Andrews) and her daughter, Geraldine desires to show everyone that she is a princess fairy. And even though she also likes things that tend to bring dirt and grime, being a princess fairy does not mean that she can’t have fun doing all sorts of activities. Geraldine is one sweet girl that little girls everywhere will love to read about again and again.

    2The Fairy’s Mistake
    by Gail Carson Levine
    (1999)

    In this retold-fairy tale the fairy Ethelinda decides to bestow two gifts on a couple of sisters. One sister is kind and good, so Ethelinda makes it so that when the good sister speaks jewels and flowers fall from her lips. The mean sister on the other hand has toads and snakes and lizards that come out when she speaks. And though the fairy’s gift was meant to punish the cruel and reward the good…it really doesn’t turn out that way. This is a fun chapter book that is really quite easy to read for those that find reading chapter books difficult, and is a great choice to read aloud to young fairy aficionados. And the fact that nothing works out the way that it is intended is sure to keep youngsters giggling.

    3FAIRIE-ALITY STYLE: A SOURCEBOOK OF INSPIRATIONS FROM NATURE 
    by David Ellwand
    (2009)

    This next book is one that those who love looking at details will quite enjoy. This book is a fairy fashion magazine. There are all sorts of fairy styles of fairy clothing—all created from different bits of nature. There are feathers and leaves and acorns and other such oddments that are crafted into fairy outfits. Those kiddos who enjoy fashion and how things are put together to make a statement will love poring over each intricate design.

    4FAIRYOPOLIS: A FLOWER FAIRIES JOURNAL
    by Cicely Mary Barker
    (2005)

    In this pretend flower fairy journal, Cicely Mary Barker tells all her secrets as to what happened in 1920 when she discovered the world of fairies. There are loads of lift-the-flaps and pretend mementos that accompany each journal entry. The book gives a nod to the flower fairies that are some of the biggest icons in fairy illustration history. Those readers who actually read the journal entries will enjoy the story of what happens to Cicely and her encounters with the fey. Those who are not as inclined to read all of the journal entries will take pleasure in reading the side-notes and facts (and looking at all the “extra” bits) included with the illustrations.

    5CINDERELLA
    by K.Y. Craft
    (2000)

    This is one of those pretty books that I can look at again and again. Not only is the text lyrical and descriptive, but the illustrations are just—well, magical. Cinderella has a hard life with her stepmother and stepsisters constantly belittling her. However, her kindness to a bluebird in the forest captures the attention of the prince (oh how I love that Cinderella and the prince meet and share a bond before the ball!). Of course, that bluebird turns out to be the fairy godmother. And this fairy looks young and strong and powerful. Seriously, this is one book to gawk at just for Craft’s amazing illustrations. 

  • fairtyaleretellings

    I love fairy tales. I especially love the quote by G.K. Chesterton, “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.” I personally think that this applies to everyone. We all have our dragons in our lives from paying bills to family drama, and sometimes it is overwhelming facing our personal dragons. Even though real life is not a fairy tale it is nice to have the hope that our own personal dragons can be conquered, and the belief that we can be the hero of our own story.

    EntwinedENTWINED
    by Heather Dixon Entwined
    (2011)

    ENTWINED is a retelling of the “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”. Left alone in mourning after their mother’s death, and their father gone off to war, Princess Azalea and her eleven sisters spend night after night dancing with Keeper, someone trapped in a magic passageway in the walls of the castle. The dances start out fun enough but soon become a nightmare.

    Golden BraidTHE GOLDEN BRAID
    by Melanie Dickerson
    (2015)

    The Golden Braid is a fun retelling of “Rapunzel”. In this story as Rapunzel and her mother are moving once again they are set upon by bandits, and are saved by a passing knight. Later down the road, Rapunzel get the opportunity to save the very knight who previously saved them. In exchange for saving his life Rapunzel makes him promise to teach her how to read. As the story goes on a lifetime of secrets are revealed. Will Rapunzel be able to free herself from a lifetime of lies and help save her kingdom?

    BeautyBEAUTY
    by Robin McKinley
    (1978)

    Beauty is a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”. In this particular retelling of the fairy tale Beauty’s father is a merchant who has recently lost everything in a storm at sea and they go west to make a new future for themselves. One day her father receives word that one of his ships survived the storm and he travels back to the city to discover what is to be recovered. On his way back to his family he gets caught in a blizzard and stays in a mysterious castle in the woods near his home. As he leaves his refuge once the storm has stopped he picks a rose from the garden of the mysterious castle igniting the Beasts anger.  For picking the rose the merchant must give up one of his daughters to live with the Beast forever. Beauty volunteers.  What will happen while Beauty is living with a mythical beast, and what will become of her?

    Saphyre SnowSAPHYRE SNOW 
    by Marci Lynn McClure
    (2009)

    Saphyre Snow is a retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”. Princess Saphyre is running for her life when her stepmother’s huntsman is ordered to kill Saphyre and rip out her heart. When she gets lost in the woods she comes across a band of seven misfits. Will they give her refuge or send her back to be subject to her stepmother’s cruelty?

    Princess of the Silver WoodPRINCESS OF THE SILVER WOOD
    by Jessica Day George
    (2012)

    Princess of the Silver Wood is a fun retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Robin Hood”. Petunia, the youngest of the dancing princesses, gets ambushed by bandits in wolves’ costume on her way to visit an elderly neighbor. Will she and her sisters finally get the chance to break the curse over their family?

  • politics

    Most novels take place in a country, but readers hardly ever hear about the intricate dance that is international politics. In honor of an unusual political season, these are my five favorite fantasy novels that explore the political ramifications of the plot. These books combine the excitement of fantasy with the sense that our heroes’ choices matter in the larger world. 

    prince of thornsPRINCE OF THORNS
    by Mark Lawrence
    (2011)

    Prince Jorg Ancrath rebels against his father after his mother and younger brother are murdered. The series follows his quest for power and allies in a dark and magic scourged Europe. 

     

    promise of bloodPROMISE OF BLOOD
    by Brian McClellan
    (2013)

    Field Marshal Tamas stages a coup against his king and the revolution that follows provokes war with neighboring countries and with the deities wakened by the death of the monarchy. 

     

    captains furyCAPTAIN’S FURY
    by Jim Butcher
    (2007)

    After years of war with the invading Canim, Tavi of Calderon, now Captain of the First Aleran Legion, uncovers information about an even greater threat, and must risk everything to forge a desperate alliance between the Aleran and Cane to take on their mutual enemy. This is the third book in the Codex Alera series, and easily my favorite. Though I would recommend reading the two books before this one (because the series is great), a new reader can still understand and enjoy CAPTAIN’S FURY on its own.    

    wolfs eyesTHROUGH WOLF’S EYES
    by Jane Lindskold
    (2001)

    The king declares that a girl raised by wolves and found in the wilderness is in truth his lost granddaughter. ‘Firekeeper’ (or lady Blyss as she is renamed by the humans) finds her return to civilization complicated by the machinations of court, the counter-intuitive nature of cutlery, and ancient magic as the nobility scrambles to take advantage of the new potential heir.   

    into the stormINTO THE STORM
    by Taylor Anderson
    (2007)

    Set in 1942, the crew of an outdated destroyer flees from the Japanese offensive in the Pacific into a storm that transports them into a primitive alternate world, populated by strange creatures. The crew finds new civilizations and makes allies and enemies as a different world war brews with entirely different stakes. 

     

    Honorable Mentions:

    WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan - Being the Chosen One is a lot more difficult when you have to wrangle countries on your way to fighting the Dark One!

    THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS by Jim Butcher - Airships, talking cats, and the possibility of war. Another book by Butcher, the semi-piratical protagonist accidentally gets drawn into the intrigue of an invasion plot.

    ELANTRIS by Brandon Sanderson - Arriving in the kingdom of Arelon to enter a marriage of state, princess Sarene discovers that her intended has died and that she is considered his widow, leaving her a lone force against the imperial ambitions of a religious fanatic.

  • football films

     It’s football season! So if you need some on-field inspiration or just a good cry (why are so many football films tearjerkers?), then here are some titles to check out at the library. *Trivia: four of the five movies listed here depict events that happened during the 1970s.

    12.8 Brians SongBRIAN’S SONG
    Directed by Buzz Kulik
    (1971)

    This movie is about the unlikely friendship between two real life Chicago Bears football players, Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, and the adversity that bonded them together. Pull out your hankie: This is always on top ten lists of films that make men cry. The library also has the 2002 remake.

     

    12.8 We Are MarshallWE ARE MARSHALL
    Directed by McG
    (2006)

    The incredible story of how Marshall University rebuilt their football program and helped heal the town a year after the tragedy on November 14, 1970, when the chartered jet carrying Marshall University's football team, coaches, and some fans crashed, killing all aboard. 

     

    12.8 Remember the TitansREMEMBER THE TITANS 
    Directed by Jerry Bruckheimer
    (2000)

    When a high school in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971 is integrated, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone. As the two coaches overcome their differences, they help the football players overcome their resentment and build a championship team.

     

    12.8 RudyRUDY 
    Directed by David Anspaugh
    (1993)

    Rudy let no one stop him from fulfilling his dream of playing on the Notre Dame Football team even when everyone said he was too small and not good enough. You will cheer along with the crowd as Rudy gets a chance to play and makes a sack against Georgia Tech.

     

    12.8 The Blind SideTHE BLIND SIDE 
    Directed by John Lee Hancock
    (2009)

    Michael Oher is a homeless African-American teenager who is who is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family. They help him fulfill his potential on and off the field and, in return, he changes their lives for the better.

     

     

  • Woman Reading

    In the process of figuring out what to write about for this post, I made a list of some of my top favorite books—the ones that are always on the tip of my tongue when someone asks me for a recommendation. As I looked at these varied books from different genres, I realized that while the stories are fantastic and beautifully done, each one of these books have some of my favorite female leads. They are strong, clever, and courageous. They make mistakes and come back stronger for it.

    Here are 4 pretty amazing books with top-notch female characters: 

    1.19 Code Name VerityCODE NAME VERITY
    by Elizabeth Wein
    (2012)

    In 1943, a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. On board are two best friends, Maddie (pilot) and Julie (spy). Julie is captured and is forced to detail the British war effort or face execution. She chooses to write her confession in the form of a novel, telling a story of friendship between her and Maddie and about how she ended up in her current predicament. The second half of the book is from Maddie’s point of view and everything that happens after her plane went down. This book does so well showing strong women in the WWII war effort. There is layered storytelling, clever intertextual devices, and unreliable narrators. There is also a prequel about Julie called THE PEARL THIEF that came out in 2017.  

     

    1.19 The Book ThiefTHE BOOK THEIF 
    by Markus Zusak
    (2005)

    This book is set in WWII and told from the point of view of Death. It’s about a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and a whole lot of thievery. Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich, scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist—books. She is taught to read by her accordion-playing foster father and the Jewish man hidden in her basement. This book is so beautifully written and told in such a way that you know what’s going to happen. Death’s point of view is a circular one, so he’s not concerned about spoilers, but that doesn’t matter because I’ve read this book at least 3 times and know what’s coming… each time is beautifully devastating.  

     

    1.19 The Eyre AffairTHE EYRE AFFAIR 
    Jasper Fforde
    (2002)

    Set in an alternative universe of Great Britain 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality and literature is taken very, very seriously. So much so that there is a special division of Literary Detectives in the police force to protect it. Enter Thursday Next (that’s our protagonist not me talking about next Thursday). While trying to capture Acheron Hades, the third most wanted man in the world, her uncle Mycroft is kidnapped for his invention that can let you enter books. Acheron Hades doesn’t use this invention to go into his favorite book but to go into the original manuscript of Jane Eyre and kidnap her half way through the book. As the book is first person, there is an uproar around the world because half of Jane Eyre is now just blank pages. Thursday has to save her uncle, save Jane, and try not to mess with the continuity of the book. This is a book (series) for people who love books. If you haven’t read Jane Eyre, that’s fine, neither has Thursday’s partner, so they will catch you up on the finer details. The writing is clever, the story is silly, and the humor is dry.  

     

    1.19 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieTHE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE 
    Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    11-year-old Flavia de Luce loves chemistry and poisons. During the summer of 1950, in the sleepy English village of Bishop’s Lacey, a dead bird is found on Flavia’s doorstep with a postage stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and sees him take his last dying breath. Flavia is appalled and delighted and decides she’s going to follow the clues to solve the crime herself… to help the police of course. This is a brilliant series with a clever protagonist that uses the fact that she’s 11 to sneak her way through her village to solve the murders.  For people already familiar with the series, the 9th book “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” is out end of this month. 

     
  •  pen names 1

    Since the publishing’s beginning, authors of children’s literature have used pen names.  Did you know that Lewis Caroll is a pen name?  His birth name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgeson.  Dr. Seuss, of course, was a pen name for Theodore Geisel, as was Theo LeSieg (Lesieg is Geisel backwards).  More recently, Daniel Handler became famous as the author Lemony Snicket.  A few children’s authors have gone even more creative with their pen names. 

    Here are 5 of my favorite funny pseudonyms: 

    11.30 CreepoverTHE CREEPOVER series
    By P. J. Night 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    11.30 Tales from the ScaremasterTHE SCAREMASTER series
    By B.A. Frade 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    11.30 Dumb BunniesDUMB BUNNIES 
    By Sue Denim (say it fast, and look at the last word in my above paragraph) 

     

     

     

    11.30 Diary of a Minecraft ZombieDIARY OF A MINECRAFT ZOMBIE series
    By Zach Zombie (of course.) 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    11.30 The Name of this Book is SecretTHE SECRET SERIES 
    By Pseudonymous Bosch

     

     

     

     

     

  • WWII nonfiction

    World War II and the Nazi Regime are endlessly fascinating subjects for historians and the public alike. Thousands of books have been written about the most violent and disturbing years of the 20th century. As time goes on, more discoveries are made in the form of newly uncovered letters, diaries, and declassified government documents. In addition, the passage of time gives us new insights and a deeper understanding of how these events have impacted our world.

    Here are 5 excellent books about World War II written in the last 8 years. 

    12.29.2017 Higher CallA HIGHER CALL: AN INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF COMBAT AND CHIVALRY IN THE WAR-TORN SKIES OF WORLD WAR II
    By Adam Makos
    (2012)

    In December 1943, American bomber pilot Charlie Brown and German ace flyer Franz Stigler met in the skies over Germany. The bomber, nearly torn to shreds and with half its crew dead, was miraculously still flying, but a few shots from the Messerschmitt would end all that. In an extraordinary gesture, Stigler, risking a firing squad if his superiors found out, let the bomber escape and even escorted it to safe airspace. Forty years later, the two men would seek each other out and their stories would finally be told. 

     

    12.29.2017 Hitlers Holy RelicsHITLER’S HOLY RELICS: A TRUE STORY OF NAZI PLUNDER AND THE RACE TO RECOVER THE CROWN JEWELS OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
    By Sidney Kirkpatrick
    (2010)

    The Nazis plundered many masterpieces of art and history during WWII, but a secret bunker held the ones that Hitler valued most: the Spear of Destiny and the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. World rulers throughout history had been obsessed with these ancient artifacts, but at the end of the War they disappeared. Revealing the story of the lost jewels for the first time, Kirkpatrick takes readers deep into the twisted Nazi ideology of medieval mysticism and world domination. 

     

    12.29.2017 Iron WindAN IRON WIND: EUROPE UNDER HITLER
    By Peter Fritzsche
    (2016)

    There has been much written about the Nazi political and military leadership, but what about ordinary German citizens? What did they think of the Nazi party, and how did they deal with the chaotic and violent actions taking place in their country? Using diaries, letters, and more, Fritzsche creates a wider and more nuanced understanding of the effects of the War on German civilians. 

     

    12.29.2017 GI BridesGI BRIDES: THE WARTIME GIRLS WHO CROSSED THE ATLANTIC FOR LOVE
    By Duncan Barrett
    (2014)

    Over 70,000 British women became GI brides, marrying American servicemen who were stationed in Britain during WWII. This is the true story of 4 of these women, who gave up everything for love and faced the challenge of making a new home in America with a husband they sometimes barely knew. 

     

    12.29.2017 BonhoefferBONHOEFFER: PASTOR, MARTYR, PROPHET, SPY
    By Eric Metaxas
    (2010)

    As Nazism spread across Germany, there were a few who were bold enough to stand up to the Regime and even attempt to sabotage it. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Now considered one of the greatest theologians of modern history, Bonhoeffer was a Christian pastor who fought against the Nazi ideology with words and actions. Using newly discovered documents, Metaxas reveals Dietrich’s extraordinary life and his courageous death.

     
  • gaslamp

    If you enjoy fantasy, historical fiction, romance, and intrigue, you may be unaware but you’re likely a Gaslamp Fantasy fan, also known as Gaslight Fantasy (but not to be confused with “gaslighting” which means to purposefully alter a person’s surroundings to make said person believe they are going crazy). Gaslamp Fantasy instead refers to stories that take place in Britain (or its former colonies) during the Regency, Victorian, or Edwardian time periods (just as gas lamp posts were being introduced to the seedy streets of London). Though similar to its Science Fiction cousin, Steampunk, Gaslamp lacks the science and machinery elements and has a firmer connection to a real time and place.

    Why would you want to read a Gaslamp Fantasy? Britain in the early 19th century combines well with fantasy elements as people still clung to their traditional beliefs at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. By using a historical setting, Gaslamp Fantasy also engenders a sense of emotional nostalgia. Add into that, witty dialogue, spirited heroes and heroines, and a bit of intrigue, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a book you can’t put down.

    So without further ado, here are some of my favorite Gaslamp Fantasy novels.

    majestysdragonHIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON
    by Naomi Novik
    (2006)

    Set during the Napoleonic Wars, this is the delightful story of stuffy yet true-hearted British Naval Captain, Will Laurence and precocious Temeraire, the dragon. While patrolling the seas, Captain Laurence and his crew take over a French frigate on its way back from the Orient and discover in the cargo an unhatched dragon egg. However, before the ship can make it back to land, the dragon hatches. Dragons must agree to be harnessed shortly after hatching or they become feral beasts. So when Temeraire agrees to take the harness from Laurence it means that he must give up the command of his ship and join His Majesty’s Aerial Corps to become the dragon’s aviator.

     

    sorcerercrownSORCERER TO THE CROWN
    by Zen Cho
    (2015)

    Set in the Regency Era and told from two characters’ perspectives, the book begins with Zacharias Wythe, a freed slave who has managed to become England’s Sorcerer Royal where he stands as Britain’s most influential magician. However, a national shortage of magic, tense relations with other magical world leaders, racial prejudice, and rumors that Zacharias murdered the previous Sorcerer Royal combine to endanger his position. The novel then switches to the perspective of Prunella Gentleman, the daughter of an English magician and an unknown Indian woman. She lives at a school where well-bred young ladies learn to subdue their magical abilities. Convention forbids these “gentlewitches” from practicing magic, as their weak frames could never withstand sustained magical effort. When Zacharias visits the school and witnesses both Prunella’s immense talent and the dangerous methods of suppression used there, he begins to question the longstanding ban.

     

    jonathanstrangeJONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL
    by Susanna Clarke
    (2004)

    Practicing English magicians have all but disappeared as the 19th century begins to unfold. Replacing practicing magicians are an aristocratic breed of theoretical magicians who dedicate their lives to studying magic but would never dream of sullying their family names by actually participating in a spell. Unbeknownst to these magicians, one lone man, Mr. Norrell, has decided to serve his country by bringing magic back to England. He is soon joined by Jonathan Strange, a young man who seems to have a natural gift for magic. Together, these two magicians set events in motion that could spell doom to the entire British Empire.

     

    shadesmilkandhoneySHADES OF MILK AND HONEY
    by Mary Robinette Kowal
    (2010)

    Jane and Melody are two sisters hoping to make advantageous marriages. A notable young lady in Regency England must not only be beautiful and carry herself with deportment but be accomplished in music, art, and magic by being able to weave the subtlest of glamours into her home and personage. It must not be anything too garish, just simple things like making the fire glow a little brighter or swaying trees in a painting. So how do two sisters find advantageous matches when Jane has all the talent and Melody has all the beauty?

     

     

    queenvictoriaQUEEN VICTORIA’S BOOK OF SPELLS
    edited by Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling
    (2013)

    Not ready to take the full plunge into the Gaslamp Fantasy sub-genre? Check out this anthology of short stories to explore a wide range of settings, characters, and themes by both newcomers and experts in the Gaslamp Fantasy realm.

  • caldecott

    As you may or may not know, the winner of the Caldecott medal (given to the most distinguished picture book of the year) will be announced this weekend during the American Library Association's Midwinter Conference. Our Library Director, Gene Nelson, has served on the Caldecott committee in the past, and this Friday we've asked him to pick his five favorites to win the medal or to be named honor books. Here are his picks; we'll see how close he gets! 

    1Drum Dream Girl
    written by Margarita Engel, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
    (2015; acrylic )

    Based on the true story of young girl breaking down the gender barrier in drum playing in Cuba, this bright surrealistic picture book is eye catching

     

    2Waiting
    written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
    (2015; ink, watercolors, colored pencil)

    Previous Caldecott winner Henkes assembles an unlikely group of very patient characters waiting, but for what?

     

    3If You Plant a Seed
    written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
    (2015; oil)

    Coretta Scott King winner deftly uses oils in creating a colorful fableish tale of planting seeds.

      

    4Lenny and Lucy
    written by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead
    (2015; mixed media)

    The 2011 Caldecott Winner is back with a story about apprehension and friendship.

     

    5The Whisper
    written and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
    (2015; mixed media)

    Magical and whimsical in color and style, Zagarenski does it again with a heart-warming story about story.

     

  • gilmoregirls

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

    Me Talk Pretty One DayME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY
    by David Sedaris
    (2000)

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

     

    Northanger AbbeyNORTHANGER ABBEY
    by Jane Austen
    (1817)

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

    Wuthering HeightsWUTHERING HEIGHTS
    by Emily Bronte
    (1847)  

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

    Fahrenheit 451FAHRENHEIT 451
    by Ray Bradbury
    (1953)

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

     

    charlottes webCHARLOTTE'S WEB
    by E.B. White
    (1952)

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

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

  • graphic memoirs 01

     

    I didn’t grow up reading comic books or comic strips in the Sunday paper, but when I picked up my first graphic novel a few years ago I was hooked! I like that graphic novels tell a story through words and images – similar to comic books – but I love that the stories are contained to one publication rather than multiple issues. Within the graphic novel genre, I’ve found that I particularly enjoy graphic memoirs. It is so interesting to read about an author’s life, and to see their emotions in a way that words sometimes just can’t match. So whether you’re just getting into the graphic novel genre, you’ve read them all your life, or you just like good books about fascinating people here is a list of my five favorite graphic memoirs!

     

    MausMAUS
    by Art Spiegelman
    (1991)

    MAUS was one of the first graphic novels I read, and I absolutely loved it! Art Spigelman tells his father’s story of imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp. At the same time, Spiegelman tells his own life story which bears the marks of his father’s emotion burdens. This Pulitzer Prize winning graphic memoir was one of the first of its kind, and it is an absolute must read!

     

     

    PersepolisTHE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS
    by Marjane Satrapi
    (2007)

    In PERSEPOLIS, Marjane Satrapi describes growing up in Tehran in the 1980s during the Islamic Revolution. While Satrapi describes the upheaval of living in a war torn country, she also tells her own coming of age story through universal challenges that girls from any country can relate to. I think this is such a great book because Satrapi gives readers a unique and intimate look at life in a region that most know little about.

     

     

    VietnamericaVIETNAMERICA: A FAMILY’S JOURNEY
    by G. B. Tran
    (2010)

    Tran is the son of Vietnamese immigrants who came to America during the fall of Saigon. Tran’s memoir focuses on his family’s trip back to Vietnam many years later and all that he learns about his parents, his ancestors, and the effects of the Vietnam War. If I ever wrote a memoir, I’d want it to be something like this! I love Tran’s story; it is fascinating and the art is beautiful!

     

     

    RelishRELISH: MY LIFE IN THE KITCHEN
    by Lucy Kinsley
    (2013)

    Most of the books on my list deal with heavy topics, but Kinsley’s RELISH is just pure fun. Raised by a chef, food has always been important to Kinsley, and in her memoir she shares stories from her adolescence that have a significant tie to food. This is a great book, and I especially enjoyed the illustrated recipes included at the end of each chapter. Her chocolate chip cookie recipe is fantastic!

     

     

    American WidowAMERICAN WIDOW
    by Alissa Torres
    (2008)

    Eddie Torres started working in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 10th, 2001. The next morning he and three thousand others were killed in a terrorist attack. At the time, Eddie’s wife, Alissa, was 7 1/2 months pregnant. In this beautiful book, Alissa tells and shows her struggle to cope with this unimaginable tragedy. AMERICAN WIDOW is available as a library book club set, so if you’re part of a book club or thinking about starting one, check it out!

  •  comic

     

    Our graphic novel festival is just around the corner! Here's a list of some of our favorite graphic novels to get you ready for a weekend of 'comic' relief.

     

     scott pilgrimSCOTT PILGRIM'S PRECIOUS LITTLE LIFE
    by Brian O’Malley
    (2004)

    The first book in the Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe series, Precious Little Life introduces the captivating juxtaposition of real life problems with bizarre video game style rules and mechanics.

     

    mcninjaDR. MCNINJA
    by Christ Hastings
    (2013)

    Originally started as a webcomic, Dr. McNinja runs on the rules of whatever is funniest and craziest goes. From his first adventure rescuing his family of ninjas from pirates, to his gorilla receptionist fighting the undead, Dr. McNinja is entertaining from start to finish.

     

    hedge knightHEDGE KNIGHT
    by GRR Martin
    (2004)

    Adapted from his Knight of the Seven Kingdoms series, Hedge Knight offers a look at the world of Game of Thrones a century before the events of the main series. Following a wandering knight by the name of Dunk, the series shows the struggle of good man trying to live his code in a world that considers honor a liability.

     

    justice leagueJUSTICE LEAGUE NEW 52
    by Geoff Johns
    (2012)

    Part of the New 52 reboot, the Justice League series introduces the core collection of superheroes as they try to work together to save the earth from an alien invasion. For new readers to DC’s universe, this is a great place to start as you get to know the characters.

     

    nimonaNIMONA
    by Noelle Stevenson
    (2015)

    Nimona follows the titular villain’s sidekick as she and Lord Blackheart try to upset the balance of good and evil by proving the kingdom’s heroes aren’t as shiny as they pretend. Great for younger and older audiences alike, Nimona demonstrates both complexities in morality as well as in the well-developed female protagonist. Also, Dragons!

  • BW Comedies

     

    In the words of Uncle Albert in MARY POPPINS, “I love to laugh”. Comedies are some of my favorite films to watch. I remember being a little kid and just loving to watch the Three Stooges on my dad’s lap. I think this is where my love of black and white films and comedy started. So in the spirit of April Fools and April being National Comedy Month, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite black and white comedies.

    Arsenic and Old LaceARSENIC AND OLD LACE
    Directed by Frank Capra
    (1944)

    This comedy follows the story of Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), a confirmed bachelor who has written many books on the evils of marriage, on his wedding day. He comes home to find his two old maid aunts have killed a Mr. Hoskins and hidden him in the window seat until they could hold a proper Christian funeral in the basement where they keep the other bodies. 

     

     

    Malice in the PalaceMALICE IN THE PALACE
    Directed by Jules White
    (1949)

    MALICE IN THE PALACE is a beautiful slap stick comedy where the Three Stooges are running a restaurant in the middle of the Arabian Desert. My favorite scene of the entire short is when they are trying to eat sausages and there is a cat and a dog under the table coincidentally reacting perfectly with what is going on in the room. It makes me laugh every time.

     

     

    Duck SoupDUCK SOUP
    Directed by Leo McCarey
    (1933)

    Freedonia goes bankrupt so who better to run the country than Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx)? All mayhem ensues when Chicolini and Pinky are unable to find incriminating evidence against Firefly. DUCK SOUP is a beautifully ridiculous comedy, and as honestly as I love Groucho Marx, for me Harpo is the one who steals the show in this particular case. He never has any lines, but he does a beautiful job making a crowd laugh based only on his antics.

     

    Some Like it HotSOME LIKE IT HOT
    Directed by Billy Wilder
    (1959)

    This is the story of two musicians who see too much of a mob hit so they join an all female jazz band bound for Florida. This story is so funny as you watch these two men trying to behave like women. Of course they have the classic scenes where they have a rich gentleman who finds one of the guys attractive. The other snag is one of the musicians is trying to get Sugar ( Marilyn Monroe) to fall in love with him. Such a funny movie.

     

    HarveyHARVEY
    Directed by Henry Koster
    (1950)

    HARVEY is the story of a gentleman, Elwood P. Dowd, who insists that his best friend is a six foot tall white rabbit. EIwood lives with his sister Veta and his niece. Veta is trying desperately to get her daughter married and so she is trying to get her brother committed to get him out of the way. This story is so fun  and one of my favorite scenes is when they have the cab driver look up the definition for a Pooka. 

     

     

     

  • great musicals

    So anyone who knows me knows that I love most every musical that I have come across. The only one I have seen so far and do not like is Carousel. I love the signature song but hate the plot. Musicals have a lot of different backgrounds for their stories. There are musicals like MAMMA MIA that were written to fit the music, or there are some like SHREK and THE ADDAMS FAMILY that were based off of a movie or a television show, and there are some like THE MUSIC MAN that are a representation of life experiences.  But did you know that there are many musicals that are either loosely or strictly based off of a book? Oh yes! This makes me so happy because it combines two of my most favorite things. So let me share with you some of my favorite book to musical adaptations.

    9.15 Oliver TwistOLIVER TWIST
    By Charles Dickens
    (1838)

    OLIVER!: This is one of the few cases where I loved the musical more than I liked the book. I think that Charles Dickens helped try to start a revolution of change that sadly did not really start rolling until much later, but it is such a sad story with not a particularly happy end. I love how the musical keeps the spirit of how desperate things are and then brings hope for Oliver at the end.

     

     

    9.15 Alexander HamiltonALEXANDER HAMILTON
    By Ron Chernow
    (2004)

    HAMILTON: So weirdly enough I loved this musical. I say weirdly because 99.99% of the time I HATE Rap music. It does absolutely nothing for me and I don’t enjoy it. But I love the story/ tragedy of Alexander Hamilton. Even more than his story I love the story of his wife Eliza. She was the one who really worked to make sure that her husband’s legacy lived on and that he was a name that people would recognize in the history books.

     

     

    9.15 A Little PrincessA LITTLE PRINCESS
    By Francis Hodgson Burnett
    (1905)

    A LITTLE PRINCESS: My favorite song from this Musical is "Good Luck, Bonne Chance." I love how they bring out the storytelling talent that Sarah Crew has in the book paring it with a fun, catchy tune. I love this story so much! I like stories where people are still good and kind even when life kicks them while they are down, then karma comes and bites everyone else, and then good things happen to the main character.

     

    9.15 The Wizard of OzTHE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
    By L. Frank Baum
    (1900)

    THE WIZARD OF OZ: So if you didn’t know The Wizard of Oz is an entire series of books. There are 14 books written by L. Frank Baum which all provide a different facet of the world of Oz. The first book came out almost 40 years before Judy Garland played as Dorothy. I love the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." It has always been one of my favorite songs.

     

     

    9.15 The Scarlet PimpernelTHE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
    By Baroness Orczy
    (1905)

    THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: This is one of my all-time favorite stories in almost every single version I have ever seen. Each version is slightly different, but consistently my favorite part is when Percy finds out that Marguerite loves him and never betrayed him. I love how they adjust that part of the story every time.

     

     

  • IMG 0398

    Often when a children’s librarian thinks of an illustrated novel, the first thing that comes to mind is Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  There are a plethora of recent children’s books have that cartoon style illustration, but what about books with a more traditional style of illustration?  In the J Fiction section there are some books with amazingly beautiful illustrations.  Of course there are wonderfully illustrated versions of most of the children’s classics like Peter Pan, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, but there are more contemporary books that also have great illustrations.   Here are some illustrated children’s novels that are worth taking a peek at.

     

    searchforwondlaTHE SEARCH FOR WONDLA
    by Toni DiTerlizzi
    (2010)

    This captivating storyline is set apart by fabulous illustrations that give a whole new level of dimension to the adventure. Living in isolation with a robot on what appears to be an alien world populated with bizarre life forms, a twelve-year-old human girl called Eva Nine sets out on a journey to find others like her. Features "augmented reality" pages, in which readers with a webcam can access additional information about Eva Nine's world.

     

     

     

    dinotopiaDINOTOPIA: A LAND APART FROM TIME
    by James Gurney
    (1998)

    In 1862, after being shipwrecked in uncharted seas, Professor Arthur Denison and his twelve-year-old son Will find themselves washed up on a strange island where people and dinosaurs live together peacefully. This fun storyline is enriched with colorful, intricate illustrations that give vibrant insights to the new discoveries Arthur and Will encounter at every turn as they embark upon their own separate journeys to unearth the mysteries of Dinotopia.  

     

    motelofthemysteries

    MOTEL OF THE MYSTERIES
    by David Macauley
    (1979)

     It is the year 4022; all of the ancient country of USA has been buried under many feet of detritus from a catastrophe that occurred back in 1985. Imagine, then, the excitement that Howard Carson, an amateur archeologist at best, experienced when he stumbles upon a still-sealed burial chamber! This is an amusing satirical tale of how a future anthropologist would interpret what we view as contemporary civilization, complete with meticulous illustrations to give life to the story as Carson attempts to unravel the mysteries of the past.

     

    harrypotterandthesorcerersstoneHARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
    by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
    (2015) 

    By now, we're all familiar with the tale of the young orphan who discovered he had magical powers, was whisked away to wizarding school, and fought against forces of evil. This best-selling book has entirely enchanted readers since it was first published in 1999-- but this new illustrated version is even better! With whimsical illustrations by Jim Kay, an already classic novel is colorfully reframed in this vivid telling of Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts.

     

    marvelsTHE MARVELS
    by Brian Selznick
    (2015)

    The journey begins on a ship at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the stage. Nearly a century later, Joseph Jervis runs away from school and seeks refuge with a reclusive uncle in London. Albert Nightingale's strange, beautiful house, with its mysterious portraits and ghostly presences, captivates Joseph and leads him on a search for clues about the house, his family, and the past. This book is told both in both beautiful pictures and striking words, where the two stories collide and connect in a way that makes it a powerful, memorable read.

  • winter indoor

     

    If you like snow in Provo, you’re in luck! It’s everywhere! If you prefer to stay warm inside instead of venturing into our winter wonderland, here are some of my favorite indoor winter activities.

    READ!

    We’re a library, we gotta recommend reading! If you aren’t sure of what you’d like to read, the library maintains three rotating displays in addition to the ones for new materials. They are located in front of the 1st and 2nd floor reference desks as well as in the south east corner for YA materials. If you don’t see anything that jumps out at you there, come to the reference desk, we would love to recommend something just for you!

    BOARD AND CARD GAMES

    If you don’t have your own (or are just sick of always playing host), come to the library on Friday nights; from 5 to 9 we have a host of games to choose from and plenty of tables to use.

    LEARN TO DRAW (OR ANYTHING ELSE...)

    In our nonfiction sections, we have a myriad of hobby, art, and skill manuals geared for all ages. Try looking in call number 741 for drawing tips or 736 for sculpting. 787 has music and instructions for playing the guitar, and general hobby texts start at 790.

    TABLETOP RPGS

    This one requires some friends and know-how, but if you’ve got dice and paper you can make it work! While it’s most famous for DnD, there are a ton of systems and game styles out there. Roleplaying at its core is just collaborative storytelling.  If you aren’t sure of where to begin, our teen librarians are hosting an introduction to roleplaying activity on January 17th, and we’d love to see you there!

  • informational dvds family 1

    It’s a new year and a great time to learn something new! Did you know that we have informational DVDs just for kids? Here are a few titles just added to the Children’s collection that your whole family might enjoy:

    2.2 Shark LadySHARK LADY: THE TRUE STORY OF HOW EUGENIE CLARK BECAME THE OCEAN’S MOST FEARLESS SCIENTIST
    (2017)

    Jess Keating’s picture book comes to life in this video about the real life adventures of Dr. Keating, who studied sharks and other sea life. DVD includes read along subtitles.  

     

    2.2 Drawing with MarkDRAWING WITH MARK
    (2014)

    In this series of videos, former Disney illustrator Mark Marderosian takes kids on adventures, showing them how to draw the things they see. Mark and the gang visit museums, zoos, and more. Check out all six DVDs in the series.  

     

    2.2 Good Night YogaGOOD NIGHT YOGA: A POSE-BY-POSE BEDTIME STORY
    (2017)

    This film adaptation of Mariam Gate’s picture book demonstrates yoga poses to help children calm down in preparation for bedtime. You can also try GOOD MORNING YOGA to start the day.  

     

    2.2 Born in ChinaDISNEYNATURE: BORN IN CHINA
    (2017)

    Disney’s annual Earth Day film celebration follows the lives of a panda, a golden monkey, and a snow leopard in China.  

     

    2.2 Six DotsSIX DOTS: A STORY OF YOUNG LOUIS BRAILLE
    (2017)

    This animation of Jennifer Bryant’s book shows the determination of a blind boy who wanted to read so badly that he invented his own alphabet.

     
  •  interactive picture books

    I have memories from when I was about two or three of my grandpa reading me MR. BROWN CAN MOO by Dr. Seuss. I vividly remember him doing all the fun noises Mr. Brown does when the book itself poses the question, “Can you?” A child can’t help themselves: They have to make the noises too. The words in this book are multi-colored, enlarged, and enticing. Words like “M-O-O-O-O-O” are drawn out to make the sounds come alive on the page. When it’s time to “whisper, whisper” like a butterfly, the letters are light and tiny, visually signifying how to make the noise. I’ve made these sounds once again as an adult while reading “Mr. Brown” to my children, and I hope they cherish the memories as I have.

    Picture books are often about more than just reading—and sometimes about even more than just the pictures and the story. Children learn with all their senses. This is what makes interactive picture books so much fun for them. They involve touching, listening, seeing, moving and experiencing all at the same time. They facilitate play on many different levels: some are even specifically meant to be a game. My kids love when I bring home interactive picture books. They make sure they each get a turn reading and playing.

    These are some of our favorite Interactive picture books: 

    8.8 The Monster at the End of this BookTHE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK
    By John Stone
    Illustrated by Michael Smollin
    (1971)

    This classic continues to live on. I remember this book being read to me when I was little and feeling torn as to whether we should really turn the page, since Grover pleads so adamantly not to. Grover remains his lovable self throughout and, although intense in the middle, it turns out ok in the end. 

     

    8.8 Press HerePRESS HERE
    By Hervé Tullet
    (2010)

    Tullet has created a fun, interactive experience that requires no screens! The reader is empowered to change what happens as they touch the dots. Each page gives instructions of when and how to touch the dots and it is exciting to see what happens. 

    8.8 This Book is MagicTHIS BOOK IS MAGIC
    By Ashley Evanson
    (2017)

    Although I believe reading is always magic, a child can become a true magician as the pages instruct the reader to “wave their hand” and recite specific magic words. As each page turns the magic is revealed! 

     

    8.8 Tap the Magic TreeTAP THE MAGIC TREE
    By Christie Matheson
    (2013)

    It begins with a tree that has no leaves. The reader is instructed to tap a certain amount to give the tree different qualities. The tree and its leaves then change through the season, each phase having its own beauty. 

     

    8.8 Bunny SlopesBUNNY SLOPES
    By Claudia Rueda
    (2016)

    You get to help the bunny go on a ski trip. You are required to turn the book at certain points to make sure the bunny goes where she is supposed to. Children and adults alike will enjoy becoming an integral part of the character’s experience. 

     

  • joseph smith

     Today, April 6th, is the anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The history of the LDS church is unescapably tied to the history of Utah and also Provo and it can be a fascinating topic to delve into.  In celebration of the 1830 founding of this influential religion, I have compiled a list of key works that explain more about its founder and first prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr. 

    Each of these books illuminates a different perspective of this complex and visionary man who, while born into humble circumstances, started a movement that would touch the lives of millions.  Even if you think you already know a lot about Joseph Smith, I guarantee you will discover a wealth of new details in the following volumes.

    4.6 Witness to the MartyrdomWITNESS TO THE MARTYRDOM
    By John Taylor
    (2017)

    On June 27, 1844, John Taylor, was in Carthage Jail along with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and was severely wounded during the fatal altercation with the mob. He recovered his health and put into writing his recollections of the Prophet's final days on earth. John Taylor's detailed first-person account of the Martyrdom is a witness to the goodness and deep faith of the leading Brethren of the restored Church. 

     

    Rough Stone RollingJOSEPH SMITH: ROUGH STONE ROLLING
    By Richard Lyman Bushman
    (2005)

    While many “experts” continue to view Joseph Smith as a controversial figure, renowned scholar (and Latter-day Saint) Richard Bushman locates Joseph in his historical and cultural context, fleshing out the many nuances of nineteenth-century American life that produced such a fertile ground for emerging religions.

     

    The History of Joseph Smith by his MotherTHE HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH BY HIS MOTHER
    By Lucy Mack Smith
    (2004)

    In this incomparable classic, Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the prophet Joseph Smith, Takes a tender look back at the extraordinary life of her son. She relates with stirring personal detail the events that shaped his character, as well as the visions and miracles of the gospel restoration that reshaped the world.

     

    4.6 Precept upon PreceptPRECEPT UPON PRECEPT
    By Robert L. Millet
    (2016)

    Latter-day Saint doctrine is based on the restoration of a correct understanding of God's "character, perfections, and attributes." In Precept upon Precept, esteemed Latter-day Saint scholar and speaker Robert L. Millet explored how the restoration of one truth led to questions that led to answers and the restoration of more truths—line upon line, precept upon precept.

     

    5.6 Joseph Smith PapersJOSEPH SMITH PAPERS
    Compiled by various historians and The Church Historian’s Press
    (2008)

    And finally, for those who want access to it all, we have the JOSEPH SMITH PAPERS.  This project “is an effort to gather together all extant Josephs Smith documents and to publish  complete and accurate transcripts of those documetns with both textual and contextual annotations.”  Print volumes available at the library include documents, histories, revelations and translations, and journals.

     
  •  Journals

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love to read journals and diaries. I grew up reading every single Dear America book I could get my hands on as well as any of the Royal Diaries books. I learned the other day what the difference is between a diary and a journal - technically a diary is simply a record of events as they happen in someone’s life, where a journal is a book that is a bit more personal and goes through a person’s thoughts and feelings and the evolution thereof. Super cool! Who knew? 

    I personally love the perspective a journal gives about a person’s life and what they were going through.The following are a few books which are written in a journal or diary format. What are some of your favorite journals and diaries to read?

    7.6 Book of a Thousand DaysBOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS
    by Shannon Hale
    (2007)

    Dashti is a fifteen year old who is sworn to obey her sixteen year old mistress, the Lady Saren. This story records the years of Saren’s punishment locked in a tower, then records her going to another's lands and posing as a kitchen maid in order to stay alive.

     

    7.6 Diary of a Young GirlTHE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL
    by Anne Frank
    (1947)

    This is the record of a wonderful young Jewish girl, who was triumphantly human and herself through the ordeal of life before her family was taken to a concentration camp.

     

    7.6 The Perks of Being a WallflowerTHE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
    by Stephen Chbosky
    (1999)

    This book follows the life of Charlie, who is a freshman in High School. Though he is not the weirdest kid in town, he is not popular. This book discusses the unique perspective of a life lived on the fringes, but then learning to step away from the wall and live on the dance floor.

     

    7.6 These is My WordsTHESE IS MY WORDS
    by Nancy Turner
    (1998)

    This story follows Sarah Agnes Prine, beginning in 1881, when her father decides the family needs to move their horse ranch from Arizona to Texas. Sara is 17 and is a tomboy, though she would love nothing more than to be gracious and beautiful like other women. Follow the story of Sarah’s family as Sarah is the one person that often saves them from certain death.

     

    7.6 Go Ask AliceGO ASK ALICE
    by Anonymous
    (1971)

    This book follows the story of a 15 year old girl who develops a drug habit and runs away from home.

     
  •  junior mysteries

    Last year I went to different schools around Salt Lake doing book fairs. It was a dream and a panic induced nightmare because while I was excited to tell the students about all the books we had available, it also meant that I was expected to know a lot of books in all the genres. (Not much has changed in my current librarian position.)

    Unfortunately no one has asked me for mystery suggestions lately, so I am offering them to you now. These are some of my favorite mysteries which we had at the book fair that are also at the Provo Library!

    4.27 HostageHOSTAGE
    By Willo Davis Roberts
    (2016)

    Kaci comes home in the middle of the school day to find her house getting robbed. The thieves take her hostage and when her nosy neighbor suspects something is wrong and starts nosing around the outside, she gets taken as well. Kaci discovers that her neighbor has more to offer than spying on her neighbors and they must band together to escape.

    Willo Davis Roberts has written a slew of other mysteries that also includes Babysitting is a Dangerous Game. I really enjoyed both of these and would absolutely recommend her. She does a great job creating suspense without it being too intense. 

     
     

    4.27 Tell Tale StartTELL TALE START: THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLEN POE
    By Gordon McAlpine
    (2013)

    Think the Weasley twins. Ultimate tricksters who are able to read each other’s minds. In the first chapter Edgar and Allan Poe get kicked out of school for some legendary pranks. When their beloved cat is kidnapped and transported to the Midwest, they convince their guardians to take them on a road trip. Mayhem and mysteries ensue as they go on their adventure as well as more questions. This series has great witty banter and fun literary references.

     
     
     

    4.27 Wait till Helen ComesWAIT TILL HELEN COMES: A GHOST STORY
    By Mary Downing Hahn
    (1986)

    Twelve year old Molly is not happy when her mother remarries and is less thrilled that they are moving into an old converted church. The graveyard behind the church gives Molly the creeps, but her new stepsister Heather is drawn to it. Heather meets a lonely ghost who realizes that she doesn’t have to be lonely if she lures the lonely Heather to a similar death. It is up to Molly to thwart Helen’s plan.

     
     
     

    4.27 Friday BarnesFRIDAY BARNES, GIRL DETECTIVE
    By RA Spratt
    (2016)

    Friday Barnes, girl genius, solves a bank robbery and decides to use her reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country- and discovers a hotbed of crime! She starts investigating cases from disappearing homework to a yeti haunting the school swamp.

    It’s a great book full of mystery, adventure and great characters.

     
     
     

    4.27 Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieSWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE
    By Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    11 year old Flavia de Luce loves chemistry and poisons. In the summer of 1950 in a sleepy English village of Bishop’s Lacey, a dead bird is found on her doorstep with a postage stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and sees him take his last dying breath. Flavia is appalled and delighted and decides she’s going to follow the clues and solve the crime herself, to help the police of course.

    This is a brilliant series with a clever protagonist that uses the fact that she’s 11 to sneak her way through her village to solve the mysteries.

    The 9th book “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” came out the end of January. This book is technically not in junior or YA fiction. It’s regular adult mystery, but I still can’t help but recommend it to older readers that have an interest 

     
  • k pop

    If you get to know me, you’ll quickly discover that I love K-pop (Korean pop music). My desk is on the verge of becoming a Hallyu shrine. EXO, SHINee, BTS, and Kim Soo Hyun all stare at me as I work. It’s glorious!

    With a bit of urging, the Library has slowly been increasing its K-pop collection. I know very well how hard it can be to find some full K-pop albums without actually buying one, so I did the work for you. Of what we have available, here are my favorites.

    ssai 6 kap6 GAP PT. 1
    by Psy
    (2012)

    Who doesn’t know Gangnam Style? Psy really thrust K-pop into the international spotlight with this catchy song and hilarious music video.  This is the album it originally came out on. There’s also a track on here I particularly like featuring G-Dragon of Big Bang.

    Girls GenerationTHE BOYS
    by Girls Generation
    (2012)

    As one of the most popular K-pop girl groups, I’m really glad we have something from Girls Generation. This is the international version of the album that includes the English version of the title track, as well as several remixes. I also especially like Mr. Taxi. Overall it’s a very fun, upbeat album.

    EXO XOXO First AlbumXOXO
    by EXO
    (2013)

    As one of today’s hottest idol groups, I’m really happy to be able to put EXO on this list. This is the Kiss (Korean) version of the album, rather than the Hug (Chinese). There are so many amazing tracks that it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. Of all the K-pop albums that the library has, this might just be my favorite.

    Super JuniorA-CHA
    by Super Junior
    (2011)

    This is the repackaged version of Super Junior’s fifth album, Mr. Simple. I love catchy music that makes me want to get up and move, and this album has some of my favorite tracks including Superman, A-Cha, Mr. Simple, and Opera.

    BIGBANG Hot IssueHOT ISSUE
    by Big Bang
    (2007)

    Big Bang is the group that first got me interested in K-pop, and they keep getting better with each new album. While this isn’t my favorite collection of theirs (released only a year after their debut), it’s the only one the library currently has, so it’s on my list by default.

    BONUS ROUND

    k pop ost best choiceK-POP OST BEST CHOICE
    by Various Artists
    (2012)

    I’m putting this here for the K-drama lovers. Several times I’ve come across people watching K-dramas at the library. I didn’t want to be creepy and say anything, but I’ve always felt a kind of kinship with them. These are some of the hit songs from dramas and movies that were quite popular just a few years ago.  

    Freegal

    If you search for K-pop on Freegal you’ll find a lot of subpar covers and karaoke tracks, but there are some original tracks too. EXID, Crayon Pop, and Lee Min Ho (the actor) are just a few of the artists with songs available. There’s not a lot, but it’s worth a look and maybe they’ll add more in the future. Fingers crossed!  

  • bugs poetry

     

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

    insectlopediaINSECTLOPEDIA
    poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
    (1998)

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

    unbeelievableUNBEELIEVABLES
    poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
    (2012)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Librarian Sleuths

    You can be quite sure that librarians love books. For most of us, books are what drew us to a library career in the first place. We like to read books, talk about books, recommend books, and find great books to buy for the library. If you read the bios of Provo City librarians, you can see that we have a lot of other interests, too: we travel, sew, play Minecraft, cook, go to Comic Con, love pets. 

    Most of us also find that hunting down a hard to find piece of information is part of the thrill of being a librarian, too.  The information age has made research even more interesting and challenging. With so many resources available librarians have an essential role in sorting through the 2,900,000 Google results you get from a query like “What happens when you swallow a piece of gum?” And we can provide access to high quality information in resources the library subscribes to on behalf of our patrons and teach search strategies for using them.

    Since librarians are such interesting people, with skills for hunting down information from a variety of sources, it’s no wonder that a few smart authors have turned librarians into crime solvers.  Combine all our interests and talents with stumbling onto a crime scene and suddenly your local librarian can become a private investigator, too. Here are some of my favorite librarian sleuths:

    BOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
    by Jenn McKinlay
    (2011) 

    Author Jenn McKinlay has a degree in library science. So she isn’t making it up when she puts in details about libraries and the work librarians do.  Lindsey Norris, the star in McKinley’s Library Lover’s mystery series, is director of Briar Creek Public Library in Briar Creek, Connecticut.  She loves crafts, has a dog named Heathcliff who eats cookies, and her best friend is Beth, the Teen and Children’s librarian. She uses long words like pteromerhanophobia and makes insider jokes about being a librarian such as “working in a library must be lovely because it is so quiet.”

    SEW DEADLY
    by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
    (2009) 

    Elizabeth Lynn Casey features librarian Tori Sinclair in her Southern Sewing Circle series. Tori is a recently divorced Yankee transplant to Sweet Briar, South Carolina and works at the Sweet Briar Public Library.  She is slowly getting to know members of the community as they come in to the library. And her new friends in the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle fill her in on local gossip and help her solve mysteries. 

    REAL MURDERS
    by Charlaine Harris
    (1990) 

    Librarian “Roe” Teagarden is the sleuth in Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series. Recently widowed, she keeps her house immaculate since the death of her husband. She is famous for helping solve the mystery of a serial killer in Lawrenceton, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. She is a member of a local club called Real Murders, which meets once a month to discuss famous crimes.

    LENDING A PAW
    by Laurie Cass
    (2013) 

    Laurie Cass portrays librarian Minnie Hamilton as kindhearted, loyal, and resourceful in the Bookmobile Cat Mystery series. Minnie has a degree in Library and Information Science and works as the assistant library director in Chilson, MI. She lives on a houseboat. One of her secret hobbies is spending time in cemeteries where she encountered a stray cat she named Eddie after he followed her home. Because of her passion for sharing books, the library now has a new bookmobile to serve areas outside of the town. Eddie sneaks into the bookmobile, obviously determined to come along for the daily ride. Without Eddie, Minnie would probably never have become involved in murder cases.

    CURIOSITY THRILLED THE CAT
    by Sofie Kelly
    (2011) 

    In author Sofie Kelly’s Magical Cats mysteries, librarian Kathleen Paulson leaves Boston and moves to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, where she is supervising the restoration of the Mayville Heights Free Public Library, a Carnegie Library built in 1912. Along with the building restorations she is updating the collections and computerizing the card catalog. Lucky for her, stray magical cats, Owen and Hercules have insinuated themselves into her life, or she might have found herself behind bars for murder.

  • picturebookdiggie

     

    I love reading books to little kiddos. And I love libraries. So it will probably come as no surprise that I have some favorite books that I read to little ones that are about libraries and books. If you like reading about reading or libraries, you may enjoy these as well.

     

    library

    THE LIBRARY
    by Sarah Stewart; Illustrated by David Small
    (1995)

    Elizabeth Brown loves to read. She reads and reads and reads. But as she continues to collect books to read, she realizes that she has an overwhelming collection and she must do something! Find out what Elizabeth Brown does in this charming picture book.

     

    library lion

    THE LIBRARY LION
    by Michelle Knudsen; Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
    (2006)

    Something is a little different in this particular library—they have a lion! Not just a pretend lion, a real lion that likes to listen to story time and read books. Only, when the lion breaks a library rule in order to help a friend, he knows he must face the consequences. What is the lion (or the library) to do?

     

    book book book

    BOOK! BOOK! BOOK!
    by Deborah Bruss; Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
    (2001)

    When all of the children go off to school the animals on the farm are bored. Finally a chicken comes up with an idea to head to town. While there the animals discover a library. However, the librarian can’t understand the animals so doesn’t know quite how to help them—until the chicken figures out the perfect way to ask for help.

     

    mimiMIMI
    by Carol Baicker-McKee
    (2008)

    Mimi is an adorable little pig who spends the day going to the library, the park, and back home. She loves all the things she does…but she is also thinking about her pet roly-poly bug that has been missing. This is a sweet story that mimics everyday life for little ones. And little ones will enjoy recognizing the similarities between Mimi’s day and their own.

     

    boy who was raised by librarians

    THE BOY WHO WAS RAISED BY LIBRARIANS
    by Carla D. Morris; Illustrated by Brad Sneed
    (2007)

    Of course I couldn’t make a list of library-related books without talking about this one. The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians was written by a Provo City Library librarian! This book talks about a boy who felt like the library was his home-away-from-home. In fact, he was at the library so much it seemed that he was raised by librarians. This book explains the joy that comes when a youngster discovers the joy of feeling at home in his neighborhood library. This is one library book you don’t want to miss—especially since it was based on a story that happened here in Provo!

     

     

  •  magic books 1

    The arrival of autumn brings the changing of the leaves, the smell of pumpkin spice, and perhaps a little magic on the crisp evening air. Fall was once a time for traveling magicians to breeze through town, mystifying and delighting the carnival-going masses. We may be short on traveling magicians, but the library has some great books that can bring the world of legerdemain to you. Snuggle up with a blanket, a hot beverage, and a book about magic!  

    10.6 Carter Beats the DevilCARTER BEATS THE DEVIL
    By Glenn David Gold
    (2002)

    This is one of my very favorite books of all time. In 1920, Charles Carter, known as Carter the Great, who became a master illusionist out of loneliness and desperation, creates the most outrageous stunt of all, involving President Harding--one that could cause his downfall. Somewhere in between historical fiction and biography, Carter’s tale of his rise and fall in the entertainment world of the roaring 20s is pure gold.  



    10.6 The IllusionistsTHE ILLUSIONISTS
    Rosie Thomas
    (2014) 

    An artist, his model, and two magicians are thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked: the fortune of one depends on the fortune of the other. And as Eliza gets sucked into the seductive and dangerous world her strange companions inhabit, she risks not only her heart, but also her life. 

     

     

    10.6 Jonathan Strange Mr. NorrellJONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL
    By Susanna Clarke
    (2004) 

    In nineteenth-century England, all is going well for rich, reclusive Mr. Norrell, who has regained some of the power of England's magicians from the past, until a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears and becomes Mr. Norrell's pupil.

     

     

     

    10.6 The PrestigeTHE PRESTIGE
    By Christopher Priest
    (1995) 

    A 19th century feud between two English stage magicians involves electricity, duplicity, obsession, and illusion both on and off the stage. Fans of Christopher Nolan’s 2007 film of the same name may be surprised at the differences between book and movie, but will delight in the same sinister tone. 

     

     

     

    10.6 The Secret Life of HoudiniTHE SECRET LIFE OF HOUDINI: THE MAKING OF AMERICA’S FIRST SUPERHERO
    By William Kalush
    2006 

    Confession—when I was in high school, I went through a stage magician phase where I could not get enough magic in my life. I devoured books and movies about stage magic and its history. This book is to blame. When I read this in high school, I was blown away at how interesting Harry Houdini is. Included in this biography are Houdini's secret work as a spy for the United States and England, his post-war efforts to expose the fraudulent activities of spiritualist mediums, and the plot organized by Arthur Conan Doyle to have him murdered.

     

  •  magicalworld

     

    The success of the latest Harry Potter adventure shows that people are always fascinated by magic. Since even Harry’s kids are getting in on the magic phenomenon, here are five of our favorite magical series.

     

    mistbornMISTBORN
    by Brandon Sanderson
    (2006)

    An orphan, a pack of thieves, and an omnipotent God-ruler come together to make a fantastic epic. Underlying the Mistborn series are two detailed and well-thought out magic systems that run on consuming or touching metal. Sanderson’s works are all enhanced by the complexity of his magic systems, and the engaging plot of the Mistborn series makes it an all-time favorite.

     

    name of the windNAME OF THE WIND
    by Patrick Rothfuss
    (2007)

    As an adult, Kvothe is a washed-up innkeeper with a dark secret. When he’s discovered by a famous scribe, he tells the story of his youth as a storied magician and warrior who one day will be known as “the King Killer.” Kvothe’s magic is more subtle than others on this list; he’s primarily concerned with learning the name of the wind, which will allow him to control it. Rothfuss’ books are rich and complex, with a developed mythos and story-telling tradition.

     

    eye of the worldWHEEL OF TIME
    by Robert Jordan
    (2011)

    Most magic makes the lives of its users better, but for Rand al-Thor and the other men in Wheel of Time, magic causes insanity and death. The epic series follows Rand as he transforms from a simple farm boy into the hero who can defeat the Dark One. Wheel of Time is great because of its twin magic systems and diverse cast of characters. Unusual for a male author, some of the best developed and admirable of these are women.

     

    dresdenfilesTHE DRESDEN FILES
    by Jim Butcher
    (2000)

    A blend of fantasy and noir, the Dresden Files feature Harry Dresden, Wizard PI. Operating in Modern Chicago, Harry solves mysteries, fights off vampires, and tries to pay his rent. This series uses magic in a way that fans of the “other Harry” will recognize; the limits of wizards are only the limit of their imagination. This series is one of my personal favorites; you can pick it up with the first book, STORM FRONT, but the long-term plot gets really good in book 3.

     

    promise of bloodPROMISE OF BLOOD
    by Brian McClellan
    (2013)

    Inspired by the French Revolution, Promise of Blood follows Field Marshall Tamas as he overthrows a greedy monarch and tries to establish a free republic. Greedy allies, vengeful gods, and foreign cabals of mages are pitted against his unusually talented powder mages: men and women who draw their power from gunpowder.

     

     

  • bookfilms

    The book is better than the movie. We book-lovers all accept this as an almost universal truth. But every once in a while, a movie comes along that does justice to—and maybe even rivals—the book it was adapted from. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does the combination of seeing a book I absolutely love brought to life in front of my eyes just like it did in my mind is pretty magical. So here is my list of magical movies that were just as good as and maybe even better than the book they were based on.

    nocountryforoldmenNO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
    by Cormac McCarthy
    (2005)

    Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, finds men shot dead, a load of heroin, and more than $2 million in cash. Only after two more men are murdered is Sheriff Bell lead to the carnage out in the desert, where he realizes how desperately Moss and his young wife need protection. This is a harrowing story of a war that society is waging on itself, and an enduring meditation on the ties of love and blood and duty that inform lives and shape destinies. In 2007 the Coen brothers adapted this book into an Academy Award winning film. The complete lack of a soundtrack and the haunting performance by actor Javier Bardem—who plays the unforgettable, unrelenting antagonist Anton Chigurh—made this adaptation as mesmerizing as it is unsettling. The Coen brothers are fantastic directors, and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN just might be my favorite movie of all time.  

    themartianTHE MARTIAN
    by Andy Weir
    (2014)

    Stranded on Mars by a dust storm that compromised his space suit and forced his crew to leave him behind, astronaut Mark Watney struggles to survive in spite of minimal supplies and harsh environmental challenges that test his ingenuity in unique ways.   This adaptation was released just last year. The production design and special effects brought this science fiction story to life even more completely than my own imagination could. I thought the pieces of the story that the filmmakers cut out were understandable and forgivable, and I liked that the film gave the audience a little more resolution than the book did.  

    the helpTHE HELP
    by Kathryn Stockett
    (2009)

    In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, there are lines that are not crossed. With the civil rights movement exploding all around them, three women start a movement of their own, forever changing a town and the way women—black and white, mothers and daughters—view one another.   This movie came out in 2011, and although it is a bit older than some of the others on my list, it is still one of my favorites. The acting in this film is what really sets it apart. Emma Stone was the perfect casting decision for the spunky and stubborn Skeeter Phelan, and Octavia Spencer definitely earned her Academy Award for such a heartbreaking and inspiring performance. This movie was also one of the first standout roles for Jessica Chastain, who just gets better and better in each role I see her in.

    i am not a serial killerI AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
    by Dan Wells
    (2010)

    Dead bodies are normal to John Wayne Cleaver. He actually likes them. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.   This book is one of the most unique and fantastic horror stories I've ever read, and Billy O'Brien's film adaptation is no less chilling. Anyone who has read the book knows that this story contains quite a twist, and I was so pleasantly surprised at how well the movie portrayed it. My only criticism of this film is that I missed the insights into John's mind that I got through the book, but I give a lot of credit to the actor who played John for portraying so many of those complex thoughts through actions alone.

    sleeping giantsSLEEPING GIANTS
    by Sylvain Neuvel
    (2016)

    A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand's code.   I’ve kind of cheated on this final entry. SLEEPING GIANTS hasn’t yet been made into a film. However the movie rights were sold to Sony Pictures before Neuvel even got a publishing deal. Because of the completely unique and intriguing plot, I’m predicting this will be an excellent movie—but I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see. 

  • chapter books to films

    Children who can read chapter books independently open up a whole new world for themselves—and provide enjoyment for the whole family. I remember thinking that when my oldest son learned to read, it was equally as magical as when he learned to speak. As a family you can have extended activities that go along with reading. It can add some variety to the normal routine or inspire a child who doesn’t particularly love reading. You can create a family book club where each child reads the book, and after having a discussion about the book, everyone can watch the movie. You can also choose a fun read-aloud and as a family when you finish the book, watch the movie. Of course, the book and movie might be very different, but the discussion that comes will be enjoyable, and everyone can participate because they read the book or had the book read to them! Last year I wrote a post on movies inspired by picture books. Consider today’s post a follow-up with a list of our family’s favorite longer chapter books that have inspired movies.  

    3.9 Charlottes WebCHARLOTTE’S WEB
    By E. B. White
    (1952)

    Fern saves the runt of a litter of pigs and cares for it as her baby. When Wilbur, the pig, gets big enough, she takes him to her uncle’s farm. It’s easy to fall in love with both Wilbur and Fern. She is easy to relate to and the reader can feel happy and sad right along with her. Wilbur has to find a way to prove to the farmer it is worth keeping him around and he finds a true friend to help him on his quest. 

     

    3.9 Charlottes Web DVDCHARLOTTE’S WEB
    (1973)

    This cartoon classic is perfect for younger chapter-book readers. There is some sadness, but children can gain empathy for future experiences from both books and film. There is also humor throughout. The characters are lovable and it is an inspiring story of friendship children can learn from as they go through their elementary school years. 

     

    3.7 The Tale of DespereauxTHE TALE OF DESPEREAUX
    By Kate DiCamillo
    (2003) 

    This Newbery winner begins when a kingdom famous for its marvelous soup encounters tragedy. A rat falls into the queen’s soup, causing her to have a heart attack and die. Soup and rats are then outlawed. A smaller-than-average mouse with large ears, a big heart, and incredible bravery starts his adventure to return happiness and peace to the land, save a princess, and do other heroic things brave mice usually end up doing. 

     

    3.9 The Tale of DespereauxTHE TALE OF DESPEREAUX
    (2009)

    It seems that children identify with small creatures that defy the odds and are courageous in fighting for what they believe in. Despereaux is just such an inspirational character. Adults and children will enjoy this family friendly adventure. 

     

    3.9 HolesHOLES
    By Louis Sachar
    (1998)

    Yet another Newbery winner is perfectly crafted to include a mysterious curse that spans generations. Stanley Yelnats is framed for a crime he did not actually commit, but he serves the time at a camp for troubled youth. The campers dig holes to help build their character. Stanley meets a fellow camper who helps him solve the mystery of Kissin’ Kate Barlow and the real reason they spend every day digging those holes. 

     

    3.9 Holes dvdHOLES
    (2003)

    The film has something for everyone. It can be tricky to find a movie that everyone in the family truly enjoys, but this is it. Mystery, romance, and humor are all there and well done. There is seamless transition from present to past and back again. All the characters are well-developed and my favorite, of course, is Sam the onion seller. 

     

    3.9 The Lion the Witch and the WardrobeTHE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
    By C. S. Lewis
    (1950)

    Four siblings are sent to live with their uncle. They play hide and seek one day and find a mysterious world, Narnia, on the other side of the wardrobe. The people of Narnia are under the terrible reign of an evil queen. The children go on a crusade to bring peace back to the land. 

     

    3.9 The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe dvdCHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
    (2006)

    It seems every child has an inner hope to enter a magically secret world and escape the mundane regular world. The characters, costumes, scenery, and especially the music of this film bring to life the land of Narnia. It truly feels magical. 

     

    3.9 The BFGTHE BFG
    By Roald Dahl
    (1982)

    I remember reading this in the fifth grade, and it’s a classic that continues to make my kids laugh. Dahl has created characters that readers can really relate to. He understands what school-agers find hilarious. The detail he uses really helps the reader create a picture in their mind. 

     

    3.9 The BFG dvdTHE BFG
    (2016)

    There are some amazing things about technology. Creating a computer-generated Big Friendly Giant is definitely one of them. The giant really comes to life in a way that previous technology would not allow. My favorite is definitely the scene where the giant visits the queen. The magnitude of having a giant come to dinner is so fun to be a part of.

     
  • favoritefavorite 1

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

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

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

    Alices Adventures in WonderlandAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
    By Lewis Carroll
    Illustrated by Anna Rifle Bond
    (2015)   

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

     

    HeartlessHeartless
    By Marissa Meyer
    (2016)   

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

     

     

     

    Queen of HeartsQueen of Hearts  
    By Colleen Oakes
    (2016)   

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

     

     

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

     

  • blogfood

    It's no secret that I love fall!  This is my favorite season as the leaves start to turn, the weather starts to get chilly, and I can break out my collection of scarves and gloves that have been neglected for too long.  Looking at some of the season's new cookbooks is equally enjoyable for me – the lovely roasts and stews on the covers, treat ideas to share on special occasions, and plenty of ideas to create new memories with the people you love.  Here are a few recently purchased cookbooks to get your autumn groove on:

    Purely PumpkinPURELY PUMPKIN: MORE THAN 100 WHOLESOME RECIPES TO SHARE, SAVOR, AND WARM YOUR KITCHEN
    by Allison Day
    (2016)

    This book definitely ushers in an excitement for all-things pumpkin!  In Purely Pumpkin, blogger Allison Day celebrates the most famous vegetable of the season with savory and sweet recipes that take advantage of pumpkin’s many incarnations: pumpkin flesh, puree, seeds, spice, even pumpkin seed oil.  Simply flipping through this book will warm your chilly fingers and have you wondering if the scent of cinnamon is in the air.

    Hungry Fans Game Day CookbookTHE HUNGRY FAN'S GAME DAY COOKBOOK: 165 RECIPES FOR EATING, DRINKING, & WATCHING SPORTS
    by Daina Falk
    (2016)

    I don’t think we can talk about fall cookbooks without mentioning game-day treats and tailgating with friends.  This book celebrates the art of feeding hungry sports fans from Wisconsin-style Fried Cheese Curds (go Packers!) to Chipotle Chicken Potato Skins.  Daughter of legendary sports agent David Falk, Daina Falk presents more than 100 recipes as well as tips on planning menus, packing, along with fun facts and team trivia.

    Caramel Caramel and More CaramelCARAMEL, CARAMEL & MORE CARAMEL!: SWEET AND SAVORY RECIPES FOR CREATIVE CARAMEL CUISINE
    by Michal Moses and Ivana Nitzan
    (2016)

    You may have been expecting the caramel-covered apples on the cover, but did you see the Salmon with Soy Caramel Sauce coming?  This book covers it all, with fifty recipes covering caramel candies, bars, cakes, desserts, and even savory dishes.  If you’ve ever been intimidated by creating your own caramel this book will walk you through the basics, and for more experienced caramel-makers, there are some truly inventive recipes that will make your mouth water.

    Best Cobblers and Crisps EverBEST COBBLERS AND CRISPS EVER: NO-FAIL RECIPES FOR RUSTIC FRUIT DESSERTS
    by Monica Sweeney
    (2016)

    Take full advantage of all of those end-of-summer fruits and orchard offerings with this delicious book on cobblers and crisps.  It even boasts a few pumpkin creations and sauce recipes that will have you glazing and whipping with the best of them.  If the changing leaves outside have you craving a pie in the oven to fill your home with the smell of nutmeg and ginger, you can spend a fraction of the time instead and have a lovely crispy-topped cobbler to show for it!

    Modern PotluckMODERN POTLUCK: BEAUTIFUL FOOD TO SHARE
    by Kristin Donnelly
    (2016)

    Let’s face it – this is the season of potlucks.  From holiday parties to office celebrations to elaborate weekend family dinners, we’re cooking for crowds these days.  One thing that I love about this book is that it will help you to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets that inevitably come up amongst large groups.  This is also a gorgeous, pleasing book to flip through, and will reward you with extras like tips on event planning and packing food for travel.  These extras are a real bonus, as it’s no fun to spend hours to prepare for guests only to mildly hate them when they finally arrive!  Here you’ll find help to not only cook for the season, but to enjoy those moments with your loved ones more.

  • classics for kids

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

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

    9.29 Doctor DolittleTHE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE
    Hugh Lofting
    1920 

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

     

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

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

      

    9.29 Treasure IslandTREASURE ISLAND
    Robert Louis Stevenson
    1882 

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

    9.29 Black BeautyBLACK BEAUTY
    Anna Sewell
    1877 

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

     

     

  •  Boy Reading

    One of the joys of being a Children’s Librarian is sharing both new and classic picture books with kids during our programs. Even in our Library Kids, Jr (ages 5-8) craft program and our Lego Crew (ages 5-8) program, we always start by reading a picture book aloud. 

    Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of laughs, a lot of “awwws,” and a lot of funny or deep questions from my audience. I’ve had to learn which books appeal to adults but not necessarily to kids, and vice versa. I’ve been surprised by the children’s comprehension of subtle humor and their ability to recall specific details of stories we read weeks before. 

    While each child, of course, has their own individual tastes in reading, and while both boys and girls enjoy the following books, I have found that the following five picture books have a special appeal for young boys. They feature epic battles, outrageous humor, over-the-top situations, exaggerated technical and imaginative details, and funny voices.  

    3.2 If I Built a HouseIF I BUILT A HOUSE
    By Chris Van Dusen
    (2012) 

    Jack describes the house of his dreams that he plans to build, complete with self-cooking kitchen, indoor racetrack, and a scuba diving room. 

     

    3.2 Im a SharkI’M A SHARK!
    By Bob Shea
    (2011) 

    This shark is not afraid of anything! Not the dark, not giant squids, not big mean bears. But the reader begins to suspect that there is one thing that Shark is scared of. 

     

    3.2 Mustache BabyMUSTACHE BABY
    By Bridget Heos
    (2013) 

    Baby Billy is born with a mustache. The doctor says that only time will tell if it’s a good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache. At first Billy’s cowboy mustache and cop mustache help him bring justice and order. But soon his mustache starts curling at the ends… 

     

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

    Inspired by the childhood game of rock, paper, scissor, this is an outrageous and hilarious depiction of the original epic battle between the three mighty warriors. 

     

    3.2 Shark vs. TrainSHARK VS. TRAIN
    By Chris Barton
    (2010) 

    Shark and Train pit themselves against each other in one competition after another, including swimming, bowling, pie eating and more. Who will win?

     
  • ireland

     

    I visited Ireland for the first time when I was 19 years old…and I loved it! It was a beautiful country that really had all sorts of different variations of the color green peppered throughout the landscape. The people were nice, the landscape was memorable, and it was a country that partially stole my heart (which is why I couldn’t help but buy a Claddagh ring while there). Ever since there has been a somewhat soft-spot in my heart for all things Irish—including the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Granted, in the US the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is a little more commercialized and rowdy than any celebration in Ireland…but I still love thinking of that wonderful place and the color green. So, in honor of my happy memories I am going to share my five favorite picture books (that the Provo City Library owns) that celebrate or take place in Ireland.

    wishing of biddy maloneTHE WISHING OF BIDDY MALONE
    by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Christopher Denise
    (2004)

    This is a book with fairy folk all over it. Basically Biddy Malone is a girl who often gets frustrated because she can’t dance and sing as well as she would like. One day she gets so angry that she runs out of the house and down to the river. There she meets some fey folk. One in particular asks what three wishes she would ask for. He then says that those things would be hers, which in turn changes her life. I love the determination of Biddy as well as the bit of romance that comes from this fun Irish tale.

     

    jamie o rourke and the big potatoJAMIE O’ROURKE AND THE BIG POTATO: AN IRISH FOLKTALE 
    by Tomie DePaola
    (1992)

    Jamie O’Rourke is the laziest man in all of Ireland. One day he captures a leprechaun. Instead of a pot of gold, the leprechaun convinces Jamie O’Rourke to let him go in exchange for a potato seed that will grow to be the biggest potato he has ever seen. And of course, the leprechaun is a tricky fellow and his potato seed causes more trouble for Jamie O’Rourke. This is a humorous Irish tale that has leprechauns to boot—so it is perfect to read to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

     

    irish cinderladTHE IRISH CINDERLAD 
    by Shirley Climo
    (1996)

    I love the tale of Cinderella! It is probably my all-time favorite tale. This version obviously takes place in Ireland (I am telling about it for this list after all). The other change is that the main character is a boy (thus the Cinderlad instead of Cinderella). Basically a boy who has a mean stepmother and stepsisters goes off and rescues a princess. Of course they then fall in love…because I am all about the happily ever after that comes in my favorite picture books!

     

    fionas luckFIONA’S LUCK
    by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
    (2007)

    This is one of my favorite tales that have to do with leprechauns! Fiona is a girl who lived in Ireland—a place where luck used to be free and as plentiful as sunlight. But the leprechaun king didn’t like that big people could get all that luck, so he ordered all the other leprechauns to capture it. After that life became hard and miserable for people—the land wouldn’t provide food, animals wouldn’t provide eggs or milk, and life was just plain hard. Fiona decided that something must be done. So she created a clever plan that would (hopefully) get some of that luck back from the leprechaun king. This is seriously a happy book. It is clever (or at least Fiona is!) and shows the tricky characters of leprechauns. This is a good one to read just before St. Patrick’s Day.

     

    brave margaretBRAVE MARGARET: AN IRISH ADVENTURE 
    by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
    (1999)

    This is one of my all-time favorite folk tales (though it is little known). Margaret is a girl who longs for adventure. One day Simon, the “son of the King of the East”, came to ask for some food for his ship full of men. Margaret agrees to give him her cows in exchange for letting her go with them. While at sea a monster came and demanded that Margaret be sacrificed. Simon refused but Margaret bravely snuck away to save Simon and all his men—and of course she then outwitted the monster, though it cause Simon’s men to be swept out to sea while Margaret ended up in even greater danger. Of course there is a load of romance and adventure (though unlike most traditional tales it is always Margaret—the woman—who goes about doing the saving and having the greatest bit of adventure). Seriously, this is one folk tale that screams, “Girls can do anything!” And that is why it is one of my favorite Irish picture books.

     

  • picture book films 01

    It’s exciting when a movie is announced that’s about a book you have read. Often, people are eager to criticize a movie for not being “as good as” a book. My husband has a film degree and loves movies, so in our family there is less of a debate between which is better. He brings up the fact that each is a different art form; so instead of debating, we discuss how the story was portrayed differently. What had to be changed for the story to make sense in a new medium? What details had to be described in the book in detail, but were easily portrayed in film? Either way, it’s possible to enjoy both formats, book and movie, no matter who you are. It’s fun to see how someone else interpreted the book you enjoyed. 

    In our family, even the youngest loves watching movies that were made from books. Young children can have a picture book read to them, and then enjoy a family-friendly movie. You can easily make a family activity out of reading the book, watching the movie, then discussing which elements were the same or different. Even though a full-length movie can only be inspired by a picture book, it’s fun to see what elements are still present. Here are a few of our favorites . . . 

    11.3 JumanjiJUMANJI
    By Chris Van Allsburg
    (1981) 

    This is the Caldecott winner for 1982. The illustrations have amazing precision and detail. They look like black and white photos. The idea is so clever and imaginative, a game where the creatures and plants appear in real life when it falls on your turn. 

    11.4 Jumanji movieJUMANJI
    1995

    I grew up watching this movie and have always enjoyed it. We recently watched it as a family and it’s nice to find a movie that the parents enjoy watching as much as the kids. It does involve action an adventure, with some intense jungle scenes, but it also has a lot of comedy weaved throughout. 

     

     

     

    11.4 The Night at the MuseumNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
    By Milan Trenc
    (1993)

    Larry is excited for his new job as a night guard at the Natural History Museum. His first night on the job his duties end up being different than he expected! This story is fun with cartoon drawings and geared for even the youngest children. 

     

     

    11.4 Night at the Museum movieNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
    (2007)

    This is a movie I didn’t realize was inspired by the book! There are so many fun characters and lots of fun and adventure. Again, it is fun to watch with the whole family and the kids will laugh out loud. 

     

     

     

    11.4 ShrekSHREK
    (1990)
    By William Steig

    Shrek is an ugly, fire-breathing ogre, who encounters a witch who predicts he will go on a journey and find a princess who is even uglier than he, and he will marry her. There is poetry throughout his epic journey. The story is funny, but more suited to older children who will understand the humorous situation. 

     

    11.4 Shrek movieSHREK
    (2001)

    This will forever be my sister’s favorite movie! Some of the jokes will go above the heads of children, but the message in the end is positive, and it’s fun that it is different than the normal “happily ever after”. 

     

     

     

    11.4 Curious GeorgeCURIOUS GEORGE
    By H. A. Rey
    (1941)

    I have linked to the library’s copy of a collector’s edition printed from H. A. Rey’s original watercolors, with an introduction that discusses the life and experiences of H. A. and Margaret Rey. They had to escape During World War II and come to the United States where they were able to publish the classic Curious George books. 

     

    11.4 Curious George movieCURIOUS GEORGE
    (2006)

    The whole family can go on an adventure with fun, lovable George.

     

     

     

     

    11.4 Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsCLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
    By Judi Barrett
    Illustrated by Ron Barrett
    (1978)

    A grandfather tells a tall tale to his grandchildren that involves a world filled with food that falls from the sky instead of rain. It works at first, but it starts to be overwhelming and the people of the town eventually have to leave their town of food. 

    11.4 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movieCLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
    (2010)

    Inspired by the book there is a town that has food come from the sky, but it is because one of an inventor’s many machines gets stuck up in the clouds and drops food from the sky. This is exciting at first, until the machine starts malfunctioning and has to be stopped! This one is definitely more fun for the kids, lots of silliness and jokes meant for them.

     

     

     

  • pp

    The book that I have read (and re-read) more than any other is Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I started reading this masterpiece just over two decades ago and have never stopped loving the text.  This book uniquely captures my attention, tempting me away from reading all the other new, shiny books from the library’s “new” bookshelves. Such is my love for this book that I not only revisit Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s story in the original form—but I also read all the various (many) retellings that are published. Here’s a list of my five favorite Pride and Prejudice re-makes.

    1EPIC FAIL
    by Claire LaZebnik
    (2011)

    This young adult retelling has a flair for drama and wit—just like many high school relationships—fitting for fans of a high school Elizabeth and Darcy.  

    2THE MAN WHO LOVED JANE AUSTEN
    by Sally Smith O’Rourke
    (2006)

    One part time-travel, one part contemporary fiction, and one part historical fiction, this story truly questions just who Mr. Darcy could be and what truly is the power known as love. 

    3AN ASSEMBLY SUCH AS THIS: A NOVEL OF FITZWILLIAM DARCY, GENTLEMAN
    by Pamela Aidan
    (2003)

    Jane Austen does a fantastic job of letting readers know what is going through Elizabeth Bennet’s head. Aidan takes the events of Austen’s novel and shows what might have happened through Darcy’s perspective.  

    4ME AND MR. DARCY: A NOVEL
    by Alexandra Potter
    (2007)

    Since Emily has had it with modern-day romance,  she plans for an Austen-inspired guided tour of Europe to see if she can fall in love with the fictional Mr. Darcy.    

    5AUSTENLAND 
    by Shannon Hale
    (2007)

    Thanks to a wealthy relative’s bequeathment, Jane heads off to a regency-inspired home to “pretend” to live her Jane Austen-dream. But is period-life all that it is cracked up to be? 

  • nonfiction favorites

    Several years ago, I joined a book club. A friend invited me because I had told her that I wanted to read more books, but life had gotten in the way. It seemed that having a deadline and a group of people to hold me accountable was just what I needed. 

    The group read almost exclusively fiction novels. And for my first few choices, I had us read fiction too until someone outside our book club recommended a nonfiction book to me that sounded really interesting, which I devoured. The Authors had taken mountains of research and turned it into a nicely condensed book that kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the night. The book was filled with information that changed the way I thought about everyday life—my mind was blown, and I loved it.

    On my next turn, I had the book club read nonfiction. Since then I have chosen non-fiction every time, which has elicited a few eye rolls. The fact that I enjoy non-fiction has become characteristic of my personality.

    There are non-fiction authors who can keep the reader on their toes the same way intense fiction can. It is good to stretch outside your comfort zone now and then. Find a topic you love and read a nonfiction book about it. You will never turn back.

    Here are a few of my favorite recommendations to help you get started:

    NutureShockNURTURESHOCK: NEW THINKING ABOUT CHILDREN
    By Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
    (2009)

    Each chapter devotes itself to interesting child development ideas that are different than you would expect because Bronson and Merryman claim that many common strategies for nurturing children are backfiring. I have changed the way I speak to my children based on these ideas.

     

     

     

    female brainTHE FEMALE BRAIN
    By Louann Brizendine
    (2006)

    This book is good for women as well as the men who spend a lot of time with them. So many sections left me in awe of how accurate it described the way I think and experience life.

     

     

     

    FreakonomicsFREAKONOMICS: A ROGUE ECONOMIST EXPLORES THE HIDDEN SIDE OF EVERYTHING
    By Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
    (2006)

    This book is a far cry from a boring economics lesson: My mind was blown. This book uncovers the real human desires that drive economics. The authors shared research and conclusions I would have never expected, and I was especially interested in the section on what parents choose to name their children.

     

    habitTHE POWER OF HABIT: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO IN LIFE AND BUSINESS
    By Charles Duhigg
    (2012)

    You probably already know that habits are important, but Duhigg shows that habits are even more important in our lives than we previously thought. He explains why we are compelled to continue a habit that we want to get rid of and how to attempt to rethink why we do what we do.

     

     

     

    quietQUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN’T STOP TALKING
    Susan Cain
    (2012)

    Introversion can be a confusing subject. As an introvert, this book helped me understand myself as well as the positive side of being an introvert. It’s good to know that introverts can be leaders too. It is more about where you get your energy from, quiet introspection or being with other people. Group brainstorming and group projects are not always as productive as society makes them out to be. I felt validated for being myself.

     

  •  re reads 1

    As much as I enjoy discovering a new book or author, re-reading an old favorite is like sitting down with a dear friend for a long-overdue visit. For this Friday Faves, I wanted to share the top five stand-alone titles that I love to re-read. Happy Reading (and rereading)!

    The Red TentTHE RED TENT
    by Anita Diamant
    (1998)

    This reimagining brings the ancient account of the Book of Genesis to life through the eyes of Jacob’s only daughter, Dinah. In a family of a dozen sons, Dinah is sole heiress to the traditions and knowledge of her mothers. Honest and genuine as she shares her epic journey, you’ll feel as though Dinah were a life-long friend.

     

     

    Till We Have FacesTILL WE HAVE FACES: A MYTH RETOLD
    by C.S. Lewis
    (1985)

    Few books have affected me as much as this gorgeous retelling of the Psyche and Cupid myth. The story centers on Orual, the infamously ugly eldest sister of Psyche, whose astounding beauty earns her the wrath of the goddess Ungit. Lewis’ take on this age-old story explores love in all its forms – familial and romantic, possessive and selfless, destructive and nurturing – as Orual grapples with the divine for understanding and justice.  

     

     

    The Two Princesses of BamarreTHE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE
    by Gail Carson Levine
    (2001)

    You’ve probably heard of ELLA ENCHANTED (another great one to re-read), but you may not have heard of this charming tale. These two sisters couldn’t be more different; Addie is fearful and shy, while brave Meryl longs for adventure. Their world is turned upside down when Meryl contracts the mortal plague known as Gray Death. Desperate to save her sister, Addie takes up a quest to cure the incurable. Can she face her fears – not to mention monsters and other dangers – before it’s too late?  

     

    Good OmensGOOD OMENS: THE NICE AND ACCURATE PROPHECIES OF AGNES NUTTER, WITCH
    by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
    (1990)

    In short, this is one of the most hilarious books ever written. The End Times are upon us, but never fear, Arizaphale and Crowley are on the case. You’ve definitely heard of them, if not by name; you know, that angel with the flaming sword at the gate of Eden and that demon, aka “the serpent,” who tempted Eve? That’s them. They’ve been living among us a long time and quite like things as they are. All they have to do to stop the Apocalypse and dodge the forces of both Good and Evil and find the Antichrist - but that darn kid isn’t where he should be…  

     

    The Importance of Being EarnestTHE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
    by Oscar Wilde
    (1895)

    If you’ve never experienced the unparalleled wit and sass of Oscar Wilde, start with this side-splitting play. John has invented a younger brother named Ernest, a debt-ridden scoundrel, to use as an excuse (and alias) to go to London whenever he likes. Complications arise when he falls for the lovely Gwendolyn, cousin to his friend Algernon, and wants to propose – but her mother, the formidable Lady Bracknell, will have none of it. Mistaken identity, romance, family secrets, stress eating – this play has it all. When you’re finished reading, check out the delightful film adaptation starring Collin Firth, Rupert Everett, Frances O’Conner, Judy Dench, and Reese Witherspoon. 

  • romance classics

     Romantic classics you might not have heard of but should give a try this Valentine’s Day.

    random harvestRANDOM HARVEST
    Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
    (1942)

    The story of an amnesiac WWI war casualty (Ronald Colman) who is nursed back to health by a lovely showgirl (Greer Garson). They marry and share three years of happiness until he is in accident and his memory returns. If you are crier, you might want a hankie handy. My favorite film of Greer Garson’s; I like it even more than her Oscar winning film MRS. MINIVER.

     

     

    enchanted cottageTHE ENCHANTED COTTAGE
    Directed by John Cromwell
    (1945)

    After a crash disfigures WWII pilot Oliver (Robert Young), he hides from his family and friends in a seaside cottage where he befriends the homely maid Laura (Dorothy McGuire). Along with Random Harvest, this is my all-time favorite romantic film. Great supporting cast—Mildred Natwick is a gem in whatever film she does—a wonderful music score, and a plot that describes how love truly is blind, in a good way. A must watch film.

     

     

    ghost and mrs muirTHE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR
    Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
    (1947)

    At the turn of the century, a young widow (Gene Tierney) and her daughter move into a cottage on the English coast. The cottage is haunted by the ghost of the previous owner (Rex Harrison), a former sea captain, creating a humorous and romantic storyline. Look for a young Natalie Wood playing the daughter.

     

     

    major and minorTHE MAJOR AND THE MINOR
    Directed by Billy Wilder
    (1942)

    Frustrated with living in the city, a young women (Ginger Rogers) decides to return home to the country. She realizes she doesn’t have enough money for the train fare so disguises herself as a youngster in order to get a cheaper ticket. What she doesn’t count on is finding herself in a whole heap of grown-up trouble when she hides out in a compartment with Major Kirby (Ray Millad), and he insists on taking her to his military academy after the train is stalled. You have to suspend belief a bit to think Rogers is younger than she appears, but it is entertaining fun! Great moments like the parable of the light bulb and new takes on how to use military strategy as a pick up line make this film memorable.

     

    come live with meCOME LIVE WITH ME
    Directed by Clarence Brown
    (1941)

    When beautiful Austrian political refugee "Johnny" Jones (Hedy Lamarr) is about to be deported, her married lover comes up with the solution of a marriage of convenience to a flat-broke writer Bill Smith (James Stewart). But before Stewart grants her the divorce, he asks her to accompany him to his grandmother’s house out in the country. You will never look at fireflies the same way again.

     

     

     

  • russian folk

    There’s a reason why folktales today remain popular even though the oral storytelling traditions of the past have faded. Folktales have enchanted people for centuries and they help us understand human nature and explain our world.

    Russian and Slavic mythology contain a rich vein of folktales with their dark and often tragic stories of Baba Yaga, Father Frost, Vasilisa the Beautiful, Rusalka, and more. Recently, many of these stories are being explored and made into modern day adaptations, which are told from new angles or set during historical, real-world events such as the Bolshevik Revolution or the Soviet Union.

    Here are five of my favorite recent Russian or Slavic inspired folktales.

    11.10 The Bear and the NightingaleTHE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE 
    By Katherine Arden
    (2016)

    For generations, the noble Vladimirovich family has lived a difficult but peaceful life on the edge of a Russian forest. The family and the local villagers praise God in church on Sunday and leave offerings for the magical household who watch over their homes and stables throughout the week. Young Vasilisa Vladimirova has a peculiar gift, however. She can see and talk with these friendly spirits. When her new, fiercely devout stepmother arrives shortly after a captivating young priest, they demand that the villagers stop their idol worship and abandon their traditional practices. But as a particularly harsh winter sets in and the village nears starvation, Vasya knows she must ignore the wishes of father, stepmother, and priest to embrace her own power and seek the help of creatures from deepest folklore to help in her fight against the growing strength of the Bear.

    11.10 UprootedUPROOTED 
    By Naomi Novik
    (2015)

    A mysterious wizard known as the Dragon selects a young woman from a rural village near his tower every 10 years as payment for protecting the region from the malevolent influence of the evil Wood. Agnieszka, always muddy and disheveled, never thinks that she will be chosen, but when she is selected to serve the Dragon, she soon discovers she has a rare and powerful talent for magic. As Agnieszka's magic grows, her journey sends her on a deadly quest where she will experience the terrible intrigue of the royal court, a true and unbreakable friendship, and even a little romance.

     

    11.9 The Crowns GameTHE CROWN’S GAME 
    By Evelyn Skye
    (2016)

    In 1825 Russia, with unrest among the Kazakhs and the Ottoman Empire pressing from the South, the Tsar needs more help than his army and advisors can provide. Though few still believe in magic, Russia still has the ability to call an Imperial Enchanter. The problem is there are currently two enchanters, Vika Andreyevna who has been training her entire life to become Imperial Enchanter and Nikolai Karimov, best friend to the Tsarevich, Pasha, but who does not know of Nikolai’s ability. Because their powers come from the same source, only one can become Imperial Enchanter and wield this incredible power. To decide who will become Imperial Enchanter, the Tsar sets in motion the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill where each enchanter must show his or her inventiveness and strength. The victor will be declared the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. For the loser—instant death.

    11.10 Vassa in the NightVASSA IN THE NIGHT
    By Sarah Porter
    (2016)

    Set in a darkly magical version of a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, Vassa’s mother is dead and father gone. She lives with her uncaring stepmother and two stepsisters. In Vassa's neighborhood, magic is to be avoided and the nights have mysteriously started lengthening. One night after all their lightbulbs burn out, Vassa is sent by her stepsister to buy more. Baba Yaga, known as Babs, owns a local convenience store known for its practice of beheading shoplifting customers. So when Babs accuses Vassa of stealing, Vassa makes a deal to work as an indentured servant for three nights. During her time in the shop, Vassa begins to suspect that Babs’s magic may be connected to the growing imbalance between day and night affecting the city.

    11.10 Shadow and BoneSHADOW AND BONE 
    By Leigh Bardugo
    (2012)

    Alina and Mal were orphans, raised together after their parents died in the constant border wars in Ravka. Now they are in the army where Mal is an expert tracker and Alina a mediocre mapmaker. Their once great friendship isn't what it used to be. Their land is surrounded by enemies and divided by the Shadow Fold, a mysterious, magical darkness that seethes with flesh-eating monsters known as volcra. When a perilous mission takes them into the Shadow Fold, Alina manifests a powerful and rare ability to summon light that sets their whole world spinning and catches the attention of the Darkling, the head of the magical Grisha. Although Alina refuses to believe she has any power, she is taken to Os Alta, the capital, to learn to use her special gift. As her distance from Mal grows quite literally, she finds herself pulled into a more complex situation than she ever expected and must find if the light within her is strong enough to combat all the powers of darkness.

  • friday faves

     

    I have a confession to make: I’m a reluctant self-help reader. Fiction is typically my preference over nonfiction, and I’ve been especially resistant to self-help books. I thought they weren’t really my thing, and I think I had a vague, unfair assumption that most self-help books would be unscientific psychobabble. Over the last few months, though, I’ve been devouring self-help books, and these favorites have actually improved my quality of life.

     

    willpowerWILLPOWER: REDISCOVERING THE GREATEST HUMAN STRENGTH
    by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
    (2012)

    This book is the one that had me completely rethinking my attitude toward self-help books. You won’t find any pseudoscience or vague personal ideas here. Instead, research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and science writer John Tierney lay out what scientists have learned about the nature of willpower through decades of research. They offer concrete steps individuals can take to improve their self-control and share fascinating related anecdotes. Best of all, though, they back up every claim by describing the experiments and studies that scientists used to understand how to exercise and build willpower. This was an engrossing read for me, and I have been actively applying its ideas in my life. I also can’t stop sharing interesting details from it with my friends and coworkers.

     

    declutterTHE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP: THE JAPANESE ART OF DECLUTTERING AND ORGANIZING
    by Marie Kondo
    (2014)

    This book really did change me. I wrote a glowing review of it last summer, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Though The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up isn’t as scientific as some of the others on the list, it is based on the strategies used by the author, a wildly popular professional organizer from Japan. Her basic principle is that you go, category by category, through every item in your home, hold it close and decide whether or not it “sparks joy.” If it doesn’t, you toss it. As hokey as that might sound, it radically changed the way I look my belongings. I now buy less to begin with, get rid of anything I don’t need and love, and keep my home tidier than ever before.

     

    switchSWITCH: HOW TO CHANGE THINGS WHEN CHANGE IS HARD
    by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
    (2010)

    As the subtitle suggests, Switch explains how individuals and organizations can motivate and implement change. Even when we want to change something, human nature makes us resistant. The authors dedicate each chapter to a specific strategy for overcoming that resistance. I loved how organized and easy to follow Switch was.

     

    habitTHE POWER OF HABIT: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO IN LIFE AND BUSINESS
    by Charles Duhigg
    (2012)

    Even though this book was a bestseller, I didn’t love it nearly as much as the others on the list. The structure was confusing, a lot of the book seemed like filler, and I felt like the authors were defining “habit” as everything and anything. In spite of those frustrations, I’m including The Power of Habit because the first three chapters and especially the appendix were fantastic. If you read just those sections, you’ll come away with a much better understanding of how our habits shape us and how we in turn can shape our habits.

     

    gritGRIT: THE POWER OF PASSION AND PERSEVERENCE
    by Angela Duckworth
    (2016)

    I’ve just started reading this book, so I can’t fully recommend it just yet. I think it’s going to be a good read, though. We often assume that those who achieve incredible things must have some kind of native genius; naturally talented, they were born to be Olympic gymnasts, concert pianists, political masterminds, or exceptional writers. Duckworth argues instead that extraordinary achievements result not from unusual intelligence or talent, but from what she calls “grit,” a mix of passion and persistent effort.

     

     

  • downton

    Does anyone else have a Downton Abbey-sized hole in their heart? [If you are really into the Downton Abbey thing PCL has made a pinterest board for you- list upon lists specifically inspired by the lives and drama around that famous place.] I definitely miss that show, so I have to be content with rewatching and discovering other similar shows that fit my fancy. These are a few that I have really enjoyed. I’m still working on my husband and close friends to fully appreciate these kinds of shows; they are my top favorite genre, with RomComs in a close second. I probably got into this genre because my parents like these sorts of books and always encouraged me to read the classics. They are not big movie or TV watchers, but when they do it’s usually a period piece.  Do you have more recommendations for me, (I need them please!)? How did you first fall in love with the PBS/BBC/Masterpiece Collection/ period pieces?

    8.11 Far from the Madding CrowdFAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
    Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
    (2015)

    This film is absolutely stunning. The music, acting, countryside landscapes, and cinematography.  I love the spunk, independence, and feminist thinking of the character of Bathsheba Everdeen and Carey Mulligan brings her to life.  I hadn’t heard much about the film when it came out and a friend sent me the trailer, inviting me to go. As I sat in class,  I couldn’t watch the trailer with sound, but even just the short trailer without sound got me hooked.

     

    8.10 North and SouthNORTH AND SOUTH
    Directed by Brian Percival
    (2005) 

    The tension between English northern and southern traditions and personalities during the Industrial Revolution, mirrored in John Thornton and Margaret Hale’s relationship, is awesome. When you watch it, I dare you to try to NOT hum along to the swelling intro music. 

     

     

    8.11 Pride and PrejudicePRIDE AND PREJUDICE
    Directed by Simon Langton 
    (1995)

    Now this is the looooong one, so you really have to commit. If you are a first timer or new to the P&P cult, then brace yourself. Colin Firth is an amazing Mr. Darcy. This Elizabeth is not my favorite but she does a good job. It follows the book closely which I like, since so many movies do a poor job representing the book. Since P&P fans tend to be very judgemental on that front, I think it speaks for itself that the film has been so beloved for so long. I think Jane Austen would be proud. What’s your top P&P rendition?

     

    8.11 Jane EyreJANE EYRE
    Directed by Susanna White
    (2006)

    The first time I saw this film it was with my classics-loving parents during a really terrible thunderstorm in Colorado. Much of the film is also rather emotionally volatile, accompanied with turbulent, dreary weather and, you guessed it, thunder and lightning storms! So as I watched the film and got more into it, perplexed by the characters’ behaviors (hoping against all hope that there would be a happy romantic ending...), the actual storm got worse outside. Right during a thunderstorm scene in the film the power went out at our house! It was SO ironic and hilarious because we all wanted to finish the film!

    8.11 The Young VictoriaTHE YOUNG VICTORIA
    Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée 
    (2010)

    I’m not sure why there has been such a surge of Victoria shows over the past few years, but I’m not complaining. This was the first I ever saw of her, and Emily Blunt with Rupert Friend is phenomenal. They totally capture the beauty and romance between Victoria and Albert. With so many Victoria shows out and more on their way, be sure to check them out here and here! PS that second one- I’m really excited about the movie coming out because Judi Dench is such a powerful actress! Which one is your favorite version?

     

     

  • ffthrowback

     

    I’m always a little surprised when I come across a book on the shelves in the Children’s Department that I completely loved as a child…especially some of the ones that I thought only I would still remember. Because let’s face it, it’s been a really long time since I was in elementary school, and I wasn’t always reading the classics. But it happens! And suddenly I can still recall whether it was a book I read with a flashlight under my blanket, or while swinging in the wicker egg chair that hung from my bedroom ceiling, or if it was read aloud by my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, down in the great state of Texas. Here are a few of the stories that have stayed with me for over—(gulp)—35 years! Some you may recognize, and some you might not, but when reading a book creates an experience that you remember for decades (and decades)…well, I think that’s something worth talking about.

    mrspigglewiggleMRS. PIGGLE WIGGLE 
    By Betty MacDonald
    (1947)

    Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has a cure for everything! The Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders Cure, The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure, and of course, The Radish Cure. She’s fun, quirky, and kind. She loves children and she smells like cookies. What more could you want? She’s the plump, eccentric woman I wished lived down the street from me as a kid…and to this day, she’s still popular enough to warrant a reboot series for yet another generation. Book 1 is hot off the presses with Book 2 due to arrive in 2017!

     

    girl with silver eyesTHE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES 
    By Willo Davis Roberts
    (1980)

    I’ll be honest, when I stumbled on this one in our collection I gasped. I adored this book as a kid. It was one of my super special—Apple paperback—Scholastic Book Fair finds. Katie was quiet, bookish, and felt like she was different. I’m sure it’s shocking that, as an 11-year-old girl, I completely identified with her. And who doesn’t dream of having special powers? I mean eventually we got Harry Potter, but back in the 80s, silver eyes and telekinesis were pretty darn intriguing.

     

    littleprincessA LITTLE PRINCESS
    By Frances Hodgson Burnett
    (1905)

    You know those days when you just want to read a book with all the feels? Well for my 10-year-old self, this was it. Another of my treasures from the school book fair (remember when those were actually affordable?), Sara Crewe’s riches-to-rags orphan tale captured my imagination and my heart. Through exotic glimpses of India, the atrocious boarding school headmistress Miss Minchin, the loss of Sara’s father, and the consistent manifestation of Sara’s noble and kind heart, Burnett weaved a heartwarming and enchanting story. While it never garnered quite the same recognition as THE SECRET GARDEN (which also has a recently-published continuation tale, this beloved book is what likely began my love for Victorian literature. Be sure to catch the delightful film version as well!

     

    scarletslippermysteryTHE SCARLET SLIPPER MYSTERY
    By Carolyn Keene
    (1954)

    Nancy Drew anyone? A consummate classic, and I definitely read far more than this single installment. While the specific plot points may not be seared in my memory, the Nancy Drew mysteries were and still are a fantastic, tame entry into the realm of mystery fiction for those looking for an innocent spine tingler. If the original Mystery series seems too dated for your taste, several recent spinoffs (with a more independent, cell-phone-carrying, hybrid-electric-car-driving Nancy) have been published, including The Nancy Drew Files, Girl Detective series, and Nancy Drew Diaries.

     

    intothedreamINTO THE DREAM
    By William Sleator
    (1979)

    This. Book. This was the book that my 5th grade teacher read aloud that was driving me crazy because I could not for the life of me remember the title. But I LOVED this book. I know you know how it is because you come to the reference desk and do the same thing— “Do you remember a book from the 80s about a boy and a girl that’s really, really good? It has something to do with a ferris wheel, a UFO, and ESP?” Yep, that was me. And let me tell you, when I finally figured out what it was, I literally did a happy dance in the Children’s Department. Unfortunately this title is not currently in our collection (hopefully it will be soon—we’re working on that), but it is available on Amazon, and you’d better believe that thanks to Prime, it’ll be on my doorstep the day after tomorrow!

     

  • time travel

     

    The idea of time travel has fascinated readers since Mark Twain published A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT (though the earliest time travel novel was a Russian work, THE FOREBEARS OF KALIMEROS by Alexander Veltman). A common theme of time travel stories is the notion of free will, and if people and timelines can change. It’s common to wonder what life would be like if not for a single decision, be it large or small. So, in the spirit of existential exigencies, here are my top five time travel stories  

    invisible libraryINVISIBLE LIBRARY
    by Genevieve Cogman
    (2016)

    Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen. These librarians travel not only through time, but through alternative versions of Earths to achieve their objectives.  

     

     

    16321632
    by Eric Flint
    (2008)

    Time travel on the scale of a whole community. The small town of Grantville, USA finds itself carried through time and space to 17th century Germany, the epicenter of the Thirty Years War. Caught in the middle of one of the bloodiest wars in history, members of the town must struggle to reinvent and uphold the democratic values they treasure to endure a storm no one could foresee.  

     

     

     

    into the stormINTO THE STORM
    by Taylor Anderson 
    (2008)  

    Time travel on an evolutionary scale. A crew of sailors from the Second World War find themselves in a world where humans never evolved; instead the Earth (whose map is largely identical to our own) is populated by the endearing Lemurians, a race of sapient felinoid monkeys, and the terrifying Grik, a race of sapient velociraptors. The crew of the USS Walker must figure out how to survive in a world at war for survival itself.  

     

     

    timelineTIMELINE
    by Michael Crichton
    (1999)  

    A secretive corporation allows a group of archeologists to use their time machine to rescue a colleague lost in the year 1357. They have 37 hours to find him and come back, or they’ll be lost in the past forever!  

     

     

     

    time machineTIME MACHINE
    by HG Wells
    (1895)

    When a turn-of-the-century scientist builds a time machine, his perilous journey into the far distant future leads to the discovery of a strange and terrifying new world.  

  • travel writing favorites

     

    As one stricken with seemingly unquenchable wanderlust, when I can’t be out exploring the world myself (because we all have to work sometimes, right?) I like to read about other’s travels, and thusly live vicariously through their experiences. That’s why one of my favorite genres is travel literature.

    In general, travel literature consists of descriptive accounts of a person’s travels, both near and far, as well as people they meet, cultures they encounter, and often a mix of humor, history, science, and speculation. I always learn something new about the locations authors write about as well as some dos and don’ts for visiting a place and being a conscientious traveler, overall.

    In the 900s and beyond, we have a good selection of travel writing and travel books to peruse, including travel guides as well as travel literature. Here is a list of travel literature available at the library that I would recommend for those interested in exploring the genre.

    patagoniaIN PATAGONIA
    by Bruce Chatwin
    (1977)

    Considered a travel masterpiece, this account of Chatwin's journey through Patagonia will make you want to add this destination to your list for new reasons. It includes some history and a search for Butch Cassidy’s cabin, extraordinary descriptions of a seemingly wild place, and a lot of soul searching.

     

    secretknowledgeofwaterTHE SECRET KNOWLEDGE OF WATER: DISCOVERING THE ESSENCE OF THE AMERICAN DESERT
    by Craig Childs
    (2001)

    In the desert, water is life, and knowing how to find it can determine whether you survive. While Childs wanders the American deserts in order to map water, he shares his scientific knowledge and waxes philosophical about the meaning of water in relation to life and death, in a place where the resource is so sparse.

    motorcyclediaries2THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES: NOTES ON A LATIN AMERICAN JOURNEY
    by Che Guevara
    (2003)

    Before Che Guevara was a revolutionary, he was a med student who started out on a motorcycle journey to experience South America with his best friend, Alberto Granado. Through his experience and reflections on this journey, you can see the beginnings of his revolutionary leanings as he encounters social injustices and hardships of people throughout the country.

    sunburned countryIN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY
    by Bill Bryson
    (2001)

    Famed and funny travel author Bill Bryson relishes the reader with stories of his travels in Australia where he encounters interesting natives and spouts facts about the deadly and peculiar animal and insect inhabitants. Bryson is a wonderfully insightful and beloved travel author, so picking up any of his books will not disappoint.

    prisoner of zionPRISONER OF ZION: MUSLIMS, MORMONS, AND OTHER MISADVENTURES
    by Scott Carrier
    (2011)

    Scott Carrier, a journalist and radio producer living in Utah, travels around the world in search of stories. In this book, Carrier writes thoughtfully about what it means to be an outsider traveling through areas of religious fanaticism in both Afghanistan shortly after 9-11 and amongst the Mormons in Utah.

     

     

    Honorable mentions:

    TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY: IN SEARCH OF AMERICA by John Steinbeck

    THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR: BY TRAIN THROUGH ASIA by Paul Theroux

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