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My mom and I bought Broadway in Birmingham season tickets this year.  We've seen three amazing musicals -- The Addams Family, Hello Dolly!, and Memphis.  The fourth and final show, War Horse, is tonight.  It's a powerful World War I drama based on the book by Michael Morpurgo.  It was recently adapted for the big screen by Steven Spielberg.  The stage play, which features the breathing, galloping, full-scale horses created by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, debuted in Great Britain in 2007.  It crossed the pond to the United States in 2012.  Now, in 2014, it is finally here in Birmingham.  I cannot wait to see it.
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (also available as a book-on-CD)
Farm Boy by Michael Morpurgo
War Horse on DVD
War Horse on Blu-Ray

When the first Rising Above book came out in 2016, I only heard one complaint about it: "Where are the women?!"  The Zuckerman family's newest release is the answer to that question.

Rising Above: Inspiring Women in Sports by Gregory Zuckerman with Elijah & Gabriel Zuckerman
(February 20, 2018)
A reader does not have to be a sports fan to be inspired by these compelling minibiographies of athletes who conquered considerable adversities to realize great achievements.Neglected by a single mother with alcohol and drug addictions, Simone Biles went to live with her grandparents and discovered balance beams and gymnastics mats, which set her on the path to Olympic glory. Serena and Venus Williams overcame racial barriers to become tennis legends. Elena Delle Donne battled Lyme disease while working to become a star WNBA player. Bethany Hamilton continued her career as a professional surfer after losing her left arm in a shark attack. The Zuckermans close with the dramatic story of gymnast Kerri Strug, who, despite a severe injury, executed a gold medal-winning performance in the 1996 Olympics that made her a national sports hero. Other athletes profiled include Mo'ne Davis, Carli Lloyd, Wilma Rudolph, Ronda Rousey, and Swin Cash. Whether it was racism, humiliation for their unique body types, or serious medical issues, all the athletes profiled overcame their imposing obstacles through fierce determination and, the Zuckermans are careful to note, with the help of coaches, counselors, mentors, and therapists. They all refused to blame others for their difficulties and accepted responsibility for their successes and setbacks, a lesson that is delivered firmly and naturally. An inspiring, empowering collection of true stories of perseverance and resolve. (from Kirkus Reviews)

"Do, or do not.  There is no try."  Make sure you apply Yoda's words of wisdom when you visit Hoover Public Library TODAY, May 4, 2017.  It's Star Wars Day, and we're celebrating with a variety of come-and-go activities from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Fold an Origami Yoda.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." -- Yoda
  • Construct a lightsaber from a pool noodle and duct tape.
    "This is the weapon of a Jedi knight.  Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Guide R2-D2 through an obstacle course.
    "Don't get technical with me." -- C-3PO
  • Snap a selfie in our Star Wars photo booth.
    "Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking . . . nerfherder!" -- Princess Leia
    "Who's scruffy-lookin'?" -- Han Solo
     

Do you love games like I Spy and books like Where's Waldo?  Did you know you can combine those interests AND learn about incredible works of art?  You can with Masterpieces Up Close by Claire d'Harcourt!  This book features full-color reproductions of over 20 paintings that provide the perfect hunting ground for over a hundred details. Can you find them hidden in each painting?  Lift-the-flap keys at the end of the book provide the answers (in case you get stuck), and informative text helps young readers learn why these paintings have intrigued us for centuries. As they journey through the world's most famous paintings from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, they will see some familiar faces, like Leonardo's Mona Lisa and Warhol's Marilyn, and meet some that may be new to them, like the princess in Velzquez's Las Meninas and the mysterious little girl in Rembrandt's Night Watch.   Before you can see masterpieces up close, you have to use your eyes to find the book on the shelf.  Look in the Kid Zone's nonfiction collection under J  750.1  DHA.

The last time we had a Minecraft party, the response was overwhelming.  If you build it, they will come.  That's why, this time around, we're throwing two parties for our Minecraft "block"heads.  We'll be bringing the popular building game to the real world with life-size games: Defeat the Snow Golem, Help the Piggies Home, and Creepers in the Forest.  We will also have the video game set up for recreational play in the program room and on the department iPads.   Will there be crafts?  Yes!  Make a Creeper hat and a diamond sword or pickaxe (you choose).  Will there be Minecraft-themed snacks?  Of course!   Registration is required and begins on October 5.  Click on the blue to sign up for the mayhem that's right for you.  You can also call 444-7830.

Minecraft Mayhem (grades 1-3)
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Minecraft Mayhem (grades 4-6)
Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Lois Lowry's Number the Stars was published in 1989 and won the Newbery Medal in 1990.  For the last twenty-five years, the story of Annemarie and her best friend Ellen have tugged the heartstrings of endless young people.  The story is set in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen in 1943.  Ten-year-old Annemarie becomes part of the Danish Jews rescue movement when her best friend moves in with her, pretending to be a member of her family.  And that is just the beginning.  The 25th anniversary edition of the book includes an introduction by the author, who traveled to Copenhagen to do research and conduct interviews before she wrote the story.  She also took the picture of the girl featured on the cover of the book.  If you'd like more information on the author, take a look at this webpage.  It also includes a discussion guide, writing prompts, a vocabulary guide, and an extension activity.  

May 4, 2018 is Star Wars Day!  The Kid Zone will have some Star Wars-themed activities for children from 12 noon to 5 pm on that day.  These are all designed to be done on a come-and-go basis, so stop by anytime during the time span.  You can get a Jedi in Training sticker and unleash your coloring force on some official Star Wars coloring sheets.  You can also make a light saber bookmark and a Chewbacca paper bag puppet. 

"WAGRRRRWWGAHHHHWWWRRGGAWWWWWWRR."

 Sorry, Chewbacca wanted to jump in and tell you it will be awesome.  Anyway, back to the blog.  There will also be an I Spy with My Jedi Eye scavenger hunt.  Hope to see you there.  And May the Fourth be with you.

It's the final week in our nonfiction summer reading series.  This week we're learning that humans have already done some big, world-changing things with Information Foundations: Activists & Changemakers.  Maybe their true stories will inspire you!  This post features just ten of the titles available on the full list.   Click here for the printable list complete with call numbers.

Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle
J  973.0468  ENG

Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by Doreen Rappaport
J  323.3  RAP

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History by Walter Dean Myers
JB  DOU

Gandhi: A March to the Sea by Alice B. McGinty
J  954.03  MCG

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai & Patricia McCormick
JB  YOU

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
JB  GIN

Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Peter Seeger by Anita Silvey
JB  SEE

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
J  323.1196  PIN

Strike!: The Farm Workers' Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner
J  331.892  BRI

We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman
J  943.086  FRE

Banned Books Week is here!  Defend the First Amendment and read a banned book September 25-October 1, 2016.  You can choose from the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2015 (click here to watch the video) or one of the titles featured on the many lists available on the official Banned Books Week website.  They have lists about frequently challenged children's books, teen books, books by authors of color, books with diverse content, and classics.

That's the title of the third book featuring a motley crew of video-gaming heroes.  In 20,000 Nerds Under the SeaNeil and his crew have reunited at Reboot Robiski's video-game convention in order to try the brand-new underwater game, Captain Jolly's Shark Hunt. Except that their win only leads to trouble. Neil, Sam, and Biggs are captured by the real Captain Jolly, who needs their video-game skills so she can destroy the world.  Can the nerds handle the high seas and save the day before everything is KO'd?

Don't miss the first two high-tech adventures!
The Nerdy Dozen by Jeff Miller (also available as ebook)
Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind

 

Hotel Transylvania 3 hits the big screen on July 13, 2018.  And Hoover Public Library is throwing a Villains on Vacation party to celebrate on Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 4 p.m.  You'll have a chance to knock a vampire off his surfboard with beach balls and compete against a mummy at mini golf.  You'll search the sand for bones and try to reassemble them into a skeleton.  Want to help a classic monster catch a few rays?   Make a Frankenstein suncatcher.  Want to blend in with the villains on vacation?  Make a monster visor.  And don't forget to snap a picture at the beach . . . with a coffin.  This event is for kids that are 6 to 12-years-old.  If you want to be part of the fun, you can register online or by phone (444-7830).

Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War by Debbie Levy (2017)
J  973.7  LEV

"This true story of the uniting power of music takes readers to the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. In the aftermath of the Confederate victory, Northern and Southern troops settled into their winter camps and fought a different kind of battle, volleying competing songs back and forth across the Rappahannock River. Through soldiers’ letters and journal entries and song lyrics of the day, readers learn of duty and heartbreak, of loyalty and enemies, and of the peace and common ground only music can provide.  This book can be a unique introduction to the Civil War, or an engaging part of a larger study. It also provides good opportunities to launch exploration of primary sources, prompt discussion and comparison about letter writing and other forms of communication, and offer lessons in researching the story—and history—in song." 

Access the official teacher guide by clicking here.

Have you seen these yet?  They are not exaggerating when they say ultimate.  Check one out today.  See if it's a good addition to your holiday wish list.

National Geographic Ultimate Explorer Field Guides are the perfect companion for backyard or field trips, camping or vacation.  They contain tons of info and interactivity prompts.  Plus they're durable and portable -- just right for your pocket or backpack!

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Birds
J  598.2  BEE
This photo-filled, fact-packed bird guide will make kids stop, look and listen to find the feathered friends right in their own backyards. From ducks to hawks, sparrows to sandpipers, kids will learn how, where, and when to spot birds all over the United States. 

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Night Sky
J  523.8  SCH

This photo-filled, fact-packed night sky guide will encourage kids to stop and look up to spot stars and planets right from their own backyards. From Mars to meteor showers, Scorpius to satellites, kids will learn how, where, and when to spot these space-dwelling phenomena in the night sky at any time of year.

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Reptiles and Amphibians
J  597.9  HOW

This photo-filled, fact-packed guide to reptiles and amphibians will make kids stop and look for all kinds of scaly and slimy creatures right in their own backyards. From turtles to geckos, red cornsnakes to toads, kids will learn how, where, and when to spot these animals all over the United States (and how to keep a safe distance when necessary).

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals
J  552  HON

This photo-filled, fact-packed guide to rocks and minerals will get kids outside to discover the amazing world underneath their feet. Created for the ultimate explorer, this book gives kids the knowledge and skills they need to identify just about anything they dig up—and become true rock hounds.

Natalie Standiford is one of my favorite un-sung authors.  She's not super famous, but she should be!  I'm very excited about her newest book, The Only Girl in School.  

When Claire’s best friend, Bess, moves away, she becomes the only girl left in her entire school. At first, she thinks she’ll be able to deal with this -- after all, the girls’ bathroom is now completely hers, so she can turn it into her own private headquarters and draw on the walls. When it comes to soccer games or sailing races, she can face off against any boy. The problem is that her other best friend, Henry, has begun to ignore her. And Webby, a super-annoying bully, won’t leave her alone. And Yucky Gilbert, the boy who has a crush on her, also won’t leave her alone. It’s never easy being the only one -- and over the course of a wacky school year, Claire is going to have to make it through challenges big and small. The boys may think they rule the school, but when it comes to thinking on your feet, Claire’s got them outnumbered.

Don't miss these other winning Natalie Standiford titles!

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