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Library Blog

Information on events, library related happenings, and other deep thoughts from our library staff.

Hammering for Freedom

I'm not sure how I missed this one when I was working on my February 7th Black History Bios blog.  Luckily, I stumbled across it while looking for something completely unrelated in the biographies.  Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Hammering for Freedom tells the true story of one man’s skill, hard work, and resolve to keep his family together.  Established in 2000, the New Voices Award encourages writers of color and Native nations to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent.

Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story by Rita Lorraine Hubbard (September 4, 2018)
The true story of William “Bill” Lewis, a man born into slavery who wouldn’t rest until his whole family was free. Bill and his family were enslaved in Tennessee, where they worked long days in Col. Lewis’ fields. Bill was a young boy when Col. Lewis decided to make him a blacksmith, and Bill became very good at it. Col. Lewis rented him out, a common practice, and started letting Bill keep some of the money. Bill saved his coins and decided to ask Col. Lewis to let him rent himself. Col. Lewis agreed, for a large yearly fee. Bill paid the fee and opened his own blacksmith shop, becoming the first African-American blacksmith in Chattanooga. He worked long days and saved his money, with a goal in mind. Over time, he bought his wife’s freedom, and then their son’s, and then, one by one, the rest of his family’s. The text skillfully includes details about laws governing the lives of enslaved people (Bill travels with a white escort; he buys his wife’s freedom first so that their future children will be born free) while keeping readers hooked through every step of Bill’s plan. Rich illustrations help readers imagine life in the 1800s and show the complexity of Bill’s situation. Readers will root for Bill to the utterly satisfying end. [from Kirkus Reviews]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Woke Baby

For all the littlest progressives, waking up to seize a new day of justice and activism.

Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne (December 31, 2018)
Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world.
Watch the book trailer filled with adorable woke babies.


A reminder to all black children that they are beautiful and worthy of a life well-lived.

Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel (January 22, 2019)
A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane's wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.
Read an article by the author to learn more about why she wrote this powerful book.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Two for Teens!

Teen Book Club
Monday, February 25, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Join Anna Beth for a discussion of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  You'll also help choose the book for March's meeting.

Adulting 101: Cleaning Skills
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Wendy, teen librarian and Queen of Clean, will share favorite cleaning tips to make your life easier.  It will probably keep your parents off your back, too.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Today, February 18, 2019, is Pluto Day.  It celebrates the day Pluto was designated a planet way back in 1930.  Of course, in 2006, Pluto was downgraded from a full sized planet to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union.  Which means August 24, 2019 will be another Pluto-themed obscure holiday.  This new book works for whichever you choose to honor.

A Place for Pluto by Stef Wade 
Pluto got the shock of his life when he was kicked out of the famous nine. His planet status was stripped away, leaving him lost and confused. Poor Pluto! On his quest to find a place where he belongs, he talks to comets, asteroids, and meteoroids. He doesn't fit it anywhere! But when Pluto is about to give up, he runs into a dwarf planet and finally finds his place in the solar system. This feel-good picture book combines a popular science topic with character education themes of self discovery, acceptance, and friendship.  

For more information on Pluto the dwarf planet, take a peek at Dewey Decimal number 523.48 in the Kid Zone nonfiction collection.

The Parent Trap gets a modern makeover in this entertaining and endearing middle-grade novel about two 12-year-old girls, one camp, and a summer that will bond them for a lifetime.

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer (February 12, 2019)
"Avery, an aspiring writer from New York, and Bett, a California surfer girl, are the lights of their respective single father’s lives—and each is very much used to it. So the news that their gay dads fell in love at a conference and have been secretly dating for three months does not sit well with either of them. Worse still, the girls are bundled off to a nerd camp where they are expected to bond like family while their dads head off on an eight-week motorcycle adventure in China. Sloan and Wolizter make strategic use of their tale’s epistolary (or rather email) format to create two disparate yet familiar-feeling three-dimensional characters who are from very different worlds. That they will eventually become sisters feels inevitable, but that does not diminish the enjoyment of watching Avery and Bett bond over animals at camp, gradually growing toward each other and then with each other. Their increasing closeness is tracked in the evolution of their correspondence, which becomes littered with nicknames and discussions of everything from periods and pet phobias to boys. " [from Kirkus Reviews]

Coretta Scott King Awards: 50 Years Strong

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards.  The awards commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and honor his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.  The awards serve as a guide for parents, librarians and caregivers for the most outstanding books for youth by African American authors and illustrators that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and affirm universal human values.

The Hoover Public Library has compiled a list of all winning titles that are available on our shelves.  The list includes call numbers to make it easy to find the book you want to read.  You can pick up a physical copy on the octagonal display cart in the Kid Zone, or you can access the printable online copy by clicking here.

Katiem's picture

Jory John Is a Good Egg

From the bestselling creators of The Bad Seed, a timely story about not having to be Grade A perfect!

The Good Egg by Jory John, illustrated by Pete Oswald (February 12, 2019)
Meet the good egg. He’s a verrrrrry good egg indeed.  But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol’ rotten.  As the other eggs in the dozen behave badly, the good egg starts to crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect.  So, he decides enough is enough! It’s time for him to make a change.

Watch the book trailer!

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Books for Young Inventors

This was another blog derailed by the flu.  It may no longer be National Inventors Day (February 10, 2019), but I bet there are still curious, hands-on kids in need of inspiration.

The Boo-Boos That Changed the World : A True Story About an Accidental Invention (Really!) by Barry Wittenstein
E  617.13  WIT
1920s cotton buyer Earle Dickson worked for Johnson & Johnson and had a klutzy wife who often cut herself. The son of a doctor, Earle set out to create an easier way for her to bandage her injuries. Band-Aids were born, but Earle's bosses at the pharmaceutical giant weren't convinced, and it wasn't until the Boy Scouts of America tested Earle's prototype that this ubiquitous household staple was made available to the public. Soon Band-Aids were selling like hotcakes, and the rest is boo-boo history.

Chilly da Vinci by J. Rutland (This author/illustrator used to work right here at Hoover Public Library!)
While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet!  When Chilly's latest invention, the Good Bird crashes into the penguins' home iceberg, it separates a chunk of ice and sends the penguins drifting out to sea. Can Chilly invent a machine to get them home before a hungry orca nibbles the ice away?

Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce
Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can't wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit's birthday nears, Ellie doesn't know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit's mom talking about her present--the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don't get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet, all while keeping a secret from Kit?

Epic Fails: The Wright Brothers: Nose-diving Into History by Erik Slader & Ben Thompson
Although Orville and Wilbur Wright are celebrated today as heroes for their revolutionary contributions to science and engineering—they are acknowledged as the first men to successfully achieve powered, piloted flight—their success was hard-earned. (Spoiler alert: there were a lot of nosedives involved.) In fact, it took the self-taught engineers years of work and dozens of crashes before they managed a single twelve-second flight!

Ethan Marcus Makes His Mark by Michele Weber Hurwitz
Ethan and Erin Marcus may only be eleven months apart age-wise, but they are a million miles apart in every other respect. Ethan’s laid back and takes things in stride. Erin’s a little more…intense and doesn’t really like to go with the flow. So when these two polar opposites are both invited to attend a prestigious invention/maker camp during winter break it seems almost impossible.

How to Build a Hug: Temple Gradin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Guglielmo & Jacqueline Tourville
As a young girl, Temple Grandin loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses, and building lean-tos. But she really didn’t like hugs. Temple wanted to be held—but to her, hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world; like a tidal wave of dentist drills, sandpaper, and awful cologne, coming at her all at once. Would she ever get to enjoy the comfort of a hug?  Then one day, Temple had an idea. If she couldn’t receive a hug, she would make one…she would build a hug machine.

Inventions: A Visual Encyclopedia by John Farndon
J  609  FAR
From the humble wheel to electricity, computers to robots, Inventions: A Visual Encyclopedia covers a range of areas organized by theme: transportation (including cars and bicycles), communication (such as pens, TVs, phones, and cameras); home (from toilet paper to microwave ovens); work (the lathe and the microscope), health (including vaccinations and prosthetic limbs); and space (inventions that were made for astronauts and that are now used on Earth, such as smoke alarms and memory foam). 

Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters by Andrea Beaty
You loved the bestselling picture books starring Rosie Revere, Ada Twist, and Iggy Peck. Now you can follow The Questioneers' further adventures in brand-new chapter books! The first installment, Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters, is a spirited story about the power of teamwork and the true meaning of home.

Up and Away!: How Two Brothers Invented the Hot Air Balloon by Jason Henry
Back in 1782, in Ardèche, France, lived Joseph Montgolfier, a dreamer and an inventor who liked to learn about how everything worked. When one day a gust of wind blew his papers into the fireplace, he noticed that something lifted the pieces into the air—and he realized that heat could make things rise.  With the help of his brother, Étienne, he began to experiment . . . and created a new kind of flying machine: a hot-air balloon! This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of how the balloon came to be, King Louis XVI’s visit to see it fly, and the three animals—a rooster, a duck, and a sheep—who became its very first passengers


Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

How to Eat Pizza

This blog was supposed to debut on February 9, 2019 -- National Pizza Day!  But today is my first day back from the flu, so it missed the mark.  The good news is that pizza cannot be contained to a single day!

Do you know what I think of when I think of pizza?  Is it the cheese?  Nope.  I don't like the stuff.  Is it the crust?  The sauce?  The endless choices of toppings?  No, no, and no.  I think of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, especially Michaelangelo.   And that lean mean green pizza-eating machine is no doubt celebrating today because it's National Pizza Day!  Whip up your own creation or pick up a pie from your favorite pizza place.  Then sit down and read this book.

How to Eat Pizza by Jon Burgerman (November 6, 2018)
E  BUR  NEW BOOK (also available as ebook)
How do you eat pizza? Do you pick the biggest slice? Add hot pepper flakes? Use your hands? Do you know how your pizza slice feels about that? He thinks it's disgusting. There are so many other things you could eat -- that aren't him. Listen up. He's got ideas.  Bright, bold artwork and real-kid humor create a recipe for laugh-out-loud, finger-licking fun.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Black History Bios

February is Black History Month.  It's an opportunity to explore the trials and achievments of our African-American brothers and sisters.  Unfortunately, it falls in the shortest month of the year.  There may not be enough days to read all the books you want.  But -- good news! -- there is no need to limit your reading to February.  After all, Black history is American history and should be part of our entire year . . . every year.  There are so many books available here at Hoover Public Library, but here are some of the newest biographies.  I suggest starting with one of these.

Black Women Who Dared by Naomi M. Moyer (2018)
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker (2018)
Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome (2018)
George Washington Carver for Kids: His Life and Discoveries, with 21 Activities by Peggy Thomas (2019)
Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter by Nadia L. Hohn (2019)
Little People, Big Dreams: Josephine Baker by Isabel Sánchez Vegara (2018) [in a series]
Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington's Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away by Erica Armstrong Dunbar (2019)
No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas by Tonya Bolden (2018)
Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito (2018)
Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil Tyson DeGrasse by Kathleen Krull (2018)
The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just by Mélina Mangal (2018)
What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton (2018)
Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen? by Sherri L. Smith (2018)

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture