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Library Blog

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

Muslim Voices

We're well into our Youth Department staff's 2021 Reading Wildly initiative.  (Remember, I talked about this in my blog post about Jewish literature?)  One of the genres we're focusing on this year is Muslim literature, and I thought that Ramadan would be the perfect opportunity to share some of the newest titles by Muslim authors and featuring Muslim characters.  Islam is practiced by more than 1.8 billion people worldwide.  It is a very diverse, multiethnic religion that has been under-represented in the publishing industry until recently.  There has been an increase in publishing Muslim-centric titles in the last five years, especially with the launching of Salaam Reads.  Founded in 2016, this imprint aims to introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families and offers Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works. I have read most but not all of the titles on these lists.  Each book flyer includes links to the library catalog plus information on availability via Overdrive/Libby or Hoopla, our library's downloadable services.  If there's a great book that I overlooked, let me know.  I want to read it!

Muslim Voices - Picture Book 1
Muslim Voices - Picture Book 2
Muslim Voices - Juvenile Fiction 1
Muslim Voices - Juvenile Fiction 2
Muslim Voices - Teen 1
Muslim Voices - Teen 2
Muslim Voices - Nonfiction

Want to learn more about Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year.  The Islamic calendar follows the phases of the moon, commonly known as the lunar cycle. As a result, the Holy month of Ramadan falls approximately 10 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar. The Ramadan start date for 2021 is expected to begin on Monday, April 12, 2021, following the sighting of the new moon over Mecca. Lasting for 30 days, Ramadan will end on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, with the celebratory days of Eid al-Fitr starting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.  Make sure you check back with us in a few weeks!  The Hoover Public Library will be distributing a Ramadan craft/information sheet similar to what we did for Hanukkah 2020.

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Story (Screen)Time: Rainy Days

Welcome to the fourteenth week of storytime!  This week's theme is Rainy DaysAccess the official handout for additional activities and book recommendations.  Supplies for this week's Umbrella craft will be available for pickup in the Kid Zone beginning Monday morning at 9 a.m. These supplies are on a first come, first served basis.  Remember, storytimes will post to our HPL Kids Facebook page at 10:30 a.m. on each of these days. 

Off We Grow Short- Tuesday, April 13
You'll need all the fingers on your two hands for Miss Lindsay's rhyme about 10 Little Raindrops!

Stories in Motion Storytime - Wednesday, April 14
Join Miss Christine for a puddle-splashing story and a mouth-open-rain-catching song.
featured book = Rain by Linda Ashman (ebook on Overdrive & Hoopla)

Curious University Short- Thursday, April 15
Join Miss Traci for a Curiosity Break science experiment -- shaving cream rainbow rain clouds!

Bruce’s Big Storm by Ryan T. Higgins (ebook on Hoopla)
Down Comes the Rain by Franklyn M. Branley (ebook on Hoopla)
Miss Bindergarten and the Very Wet Day by Joseph Slate (ebook on Overdrive)
Rain by Erin Edison (ebook on Hoopla)
Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls (ebook on Overdrive)
Rain School by James Rumford (ebook on Overdrive)
Thunder & Lightning by Andrea Rivera (ebook on Hoopla)

Don't forget to access the current issue of Stroller Coaster, our early childhood newsletter!

Target Age: 
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I've been doing a daily blog for over nine years now.  And I have a system.  I like to plan posts in advance, and I start working on them well before the scheduled publishing date.  But I made a boo-boo this month.  I somehow managed to skip Friday, April 9 when I was making my blog schedule.  And I didn't notice right away.  So I was kind of scrambling to find something awesome and timely to plug into the schedule.  And then something magical happened.  I learned that April 9 is National Unicorn Day.  And unicorns are having a moment in the children's publishing world.

Grumpycorn by Sarah McIntyre (2020)
How the Crayons Saved the Unicorn by Monica Sweeney (2019)
How to Catch a Unicorn by Adam Wallace (2019-ebook on Overdrive, audiobook & movie on Hoopla)
If I Had a Unicorn by Gabby Dawnay (2020)
It's Okay to Be a Unicorn! by Jason Tharp (2020)
Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows by Jessika von Innerebner (2019)
Little Unicorn Is Scared by Aurélie Chien Chow Chine (2019-#1)
Margaret's Unicorn by Briony May Smith (2020)
Pete the Kitty and the Unicorn's Missing Colors by Kimberly & James Dean (2020)
Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood (2019)
This Is the Glade Where Jack Lives: Or How a Unicorn Saved the Day by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis (2020)
The Twelve Unicorns of Christmas by Timothy Knapman (2020)
Unicorn and Yeti: Sparkly New Friends by Heather Ayris Burnell (2019-#1-ebook on Overdrive)
The Unicorn Came to Dinner by Lauren DeStefano (2020)
Unicorn Club by Suzy Senior (2019)
Unicorn Day by Dianna Murray (2019-ebook on Overdrive & Hoopla, audiobook & movie on Hoopla)
Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All by Bob Shea (2019-audiobook on Hoopla)
Unicorns 101 by Cale Atkinson (2019)
Unicorns Are the Worst by Alex Willan (2020-ebook on Overdrive)

Camping with Unicorns: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (2020-#11-ebook on Overdrive & Hoopla)
Cutiecorns: Heart of Gold by Shannon Penney (2019-#1)
Dave the Unicorn: Welcome to Unicorn School by Pip Bird (2020-#1)
Pearl the Magical Unicorn by Sally Odgers (2020-#1-audiobook on Hoopla)
Sparkleton: The Magic Day by Calliope Glass (2020-#1-ebook on Overdrive)
Unicorn Academy: Sophia and Rainbow by Julie Sykes (2019-#1-ebook & audiobook on Overdrive)
Unicorn University: Twilight, Say Cheese! by Daisy Sunshine (2021-#1)
Unicorn Diaries: Bo's Magical New Friend by Rebecca Elliott (2020-#1-ebook on Overdrive)

Target Age: 
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Last year, I was privileged to put together a poetry series for the Hoover Library featuring original poems by Birmingham poets.  The HPL Poets Society brought over twenty readers reciting original works or their favorite poems virtually.  (All of these recordings can be found on the Hoover Library YouTube channel.)  In doing this series, my passion for poetry was reignited.  My favorite poet, Mary Oliver, p

Are you ready for the follow-up to the Newbery Medal–winning novel, Merci Suárez Changes Gears?  Of course you are! 

Dragonfly & Honeybee

Spring has sprung, which means I've got bugs on the brain.  Insects are absolutely AMAZING, and so are these books about them!

Dragonfly by Aimée M. Bissonette (2020-ebook on Hoopla)
E  595.733  BIS
This vividly illustrated science picture book is full of fascinating facts about dragonflies. Sometimes referred to as naiads, these creatures have been on earth for 300 million years. At one point, their wingspan measured more than two feet across. Today, dragonflies are much smaller; their wingspans range from half an inch to seven and a half inches. The insects begin life in ponds and streams, fighting to survive. As they grow, dragonflies molt (split their skins) up to 17 times before they are ready to emerge from the water and begin their journey on land.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming (2020-ebook on Overdrive)
J  595.799  FLE
Robert F. Sibert Medal, Orbis Pictus Honor
A tiny honeybee emerges through the wax cap of her cell. Driven to protect and take care of her hive, she cleans the nursery and feeds the larvae and the queen. But is she strong enough to fly? Not yet!  Apis builds wax comb to store honey, and transfers pollen from other bees into the storage. She defends the hive from invaders. And finally, she begins her new life as an adventurer.  The confining walls of the hive fall away as Apis takes to the air, finally free, in a brilliant double-gatefold illustration where the clear blue sky is full of promise-- and the wings of dozens of honeybees, heading out in search of nectar to bring back to the hive.  Eric Rohmann's exquisitely detailed illustrations bring the great outdoors into your hands in this poetically written tribute to the hardworking honeybee. 

Target Age: 
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The Cost of Knowing

Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End in this gripping, evocative novel about a Black teen who has the power to see into the future, whose life turns upside down when he foresees his younger brother’s imminent death.  Don't miss the latest book from the acclaimed author of SLAY.

The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris (04/06/21)
Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.  It’s hard to for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.  And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.

With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present.

Read a preview from Entertainment Weekly.

Target Age: 
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Story (Screen)Time: Frog Pond

Welcome to the thirteenth week of storytime!  This week's theme is Frog PondAccess the official handout for additional activities and book recommendations.  Supplies for this week's Party Blower Frog craft will be available for pickup in the Kid Zone beginning Monday morning at 9 a.m. These supplies are on a first come, first served basis.  Remember, storytimes will post to our HPL Kids Facebook page at 10:30 a.m. on each of these days. 

Stories in Motion Short- Tuesday, April 6
Miss Grace sings a countdown song about Five Green and Speckled Frogs!

Off We Grow Storytime - Wednesday, April 7
Join Mr Justin, Miss Lindsay, and Miss Kayla for froggy fingerplays and a story about a tadpole's journey.
featured book = The Teeny Weeny Tadpole by Sheridain Cain

Curious University Short- Thursday, April 8
Join Miss Katie Jane for a Curiosity Break about building spring-loaded frog jumpers! 
featured activity =

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack (ebook on Overdrive)
Becoming a Frog by Grace Hansen (ebook on Hoopla)
Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel (ebook & audiobook on Overdrive, ebook & audiobook on Hoopla)
Frog or Toad? by Kirsten Chang (2020-ebook on Hoopla)
Froggy’s Lemonade Stand by Jonathan London (audiobook on Hoopla)
The Life Cycle of a Frog by Colleen Sexton (ebook & audiobook on Hoopla)
Poison Dart Frogs by Rachel Grack (ebook on Hoopla)
Ribbit by Rodrigo Folguiera (ebook on Overdrive)
Tad and Dad by David Ezra Stein (ebook on Overdrive)

Don't forget to access the current issue of Stroller Coaster, our early childhood newsletter!

Target Age: 
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Get Ready for National Library Week!

April 4-10, 2021 is National Library Week!  This year's theme is WELCOME TO OUR LIBRARY . . . and we hope you know that you are most definitely welcome!  Stop by to say hello, check out some books/movies/boardgames/etc, and maybe tune in to some virtual and live programs.  We'll be focusing on frogs in our virtual storytimes, and we're starting back with our in-person storytimes (weather permitting).  Our Outdoor Storytime on the Patio will resume on Mondays and Fridays at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.  Our Storytime at the Park will resume on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.  Go to our website to register. I'll also be hosting a KJ Reader Zoomaway on Monday, April 5 at 7 p.m.  It's a great opportunity for adults to talk about the latest and greatest in kid lit.  Click here to register.  And the Nonfiction Department is hosting their annual Library Peeps Show Diorama Contest!  There's lots of ways to make National Library Week special.  Of course, I'm sure you know what I think makes it the MOST special.  Books!  Here are my favorite new titles featuring libraries.

Book's Big Adventure by Adam Lehrhaupt (2021)
When a little girl outgrows her favorite book and it is donated to the library, Book worries it will never be read again. It sits alone and neglected on a library shelf, and one unlucky day, Book falls from its perch and lands behind the shelf out of sight. How will anyone find it now?

Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built by Angela Burke Kunkel (2020)
In the city of Bogatá, in the barrio of La Nueva Gloria, there live two Josés. One is a boy who dreams of Saturdays– that’s the day he gets to visit Paradise, the library. The second José is a garbage collector. From dusk until dawn, he scans the sidewalks as he drives, squinting in the dim light, searching household trash for hidden treasure . . . books! Some are stacked in neat piles, as if waiting for José.  Others take a bit more digging. Ever since he found his first book, Anna Karenina, years earlier, he’s been collecting books–thick ones and thin ones, worn ones and almost new ones– to add to the collection in his home. And on Saturdays, kids like little José run to the steps of Paradise to discover a world filled with books and wonder.

Such a Library!: A Yiddish Folktale Re-imagined by Jill Ross Nadler (2020)
Steve craves quiet in the library, so he asks the librarian for help.  Miss Understood isn't your typical librarian; she's magical!  And she knows just what Steve needs . . . even if it isn't what he asked for.

Where Is Our Library?: A Story of Patience and Fortitude by Josh Funk (2020)
Curious Patience and steadfast Fortitude wait every morning to greet visitors of the New York Public Library―and slip away every night to read in the Children's Center.  But one day, Patience and Fortitude find the Children's Center empty! The two lions set out into the city to locate their missing books and encounter some literary landmarks along the way.

Yasmin the Librarian by Saadia Faruqi (2021-ebook on Hoopla)
It is library day and helper Yasmin is busy shelving books.  But, suddenly, she discovers that her own special book is missing, prompting her to calmly retrace her steps.


And, I just can't help myself, here are even more amazing books about libraries!
At the Library: A Shine-a-Light Book by Heather Alexander (2019)
Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter (2010)
The Book Without a Story by Carolina Rabei (2019)
Books! Books! Books!: Explore the Amazing Collection of the British Library by Mick Manning & Brita Granstrom (2017)
Building Books by Megan Wagner Lloyd (2018)
Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro (2017)
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter (2005)
Librarian on the Roof!: A True Story by M.G. King (2010-ebook on Overdrive & Hoopla)
The Library Book by Tom Chapin & Michael Mark (2017)
Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's First Bookmobile by Sharlee Glenn (2018-ebook on Hoopla)
Little Libraries, Big Heroes by Miranda Paul (2019-ebook on Overdrive)
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp (2016-ebook on Hoopla)
Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile by Gloria Houston (2011)
Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children by Jan Pinborough (2013)
My Librarian Is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World by Margriet Ruurs (2005)
The New LiBEARian by Alison Donald (2018-audiobook on Hoopla)
The Night Library by David Zeltser (2019)
The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora (2016)
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise (2019-audiobook on Hoopla)
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford (2017-audiobook on Overdrive & Hoopla)
Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock (2013)
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown (2011-ebook on Overdrive)
You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Libraries! by Fiona Macdonald (2018)

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While you wait for Four Winds, check out other great historical fiction novels!

Kristin Hannah’s new book, The Four Winds, has been highly recommended by every librarian’s resource and anxious friend that wants to spread the word. When I went to check on the status of my holds, I found that I was number 66 on hold for the e-book on Overdrive/Libby – and that is for 32 copies that we own! In light of that, I want to find something to tide me over until it becomes available. 

Historical fiction is my chosen genre. When all else fails, I can almost always find satisfaction in historical fiction. This genre explores the inner lives of individuals across time and place – often illuminating untold stories that transport the reader. By bringing the past to life, the reader can, to a certain extent, understand the surroundings and customs described within.

The Four Winds is set in 1921 – before the Great Depression but after the “Great War”. Women may have had exceptional interior lives but opportunities for them outside the home were limited. Wife and mother were the expectation. I often wonder what my own life would have been like in 1921 Alabama. Would I have had the courage to be childless as I am today? Would I have been able to find a similar role as “librarian” back then? Would I even have had the opportunity to read as I do today? These are questions I pose to myself when reading historical fiction – what would I have done?

Basically, there are seven elements to historical fiction writing: character, dialogue, setting, theme, plot, conflict, and world building. An author needs to tackle each in order to convey, successfully, the spirit of the chosen time and characters. Most authors seem to thrive in the minutia of research needed to write convincingly of another time and place. What newspapers or tabloids were written and available? What type of food would have been made then? All of the details come together to transport the reader.

So, while waiting for The Four Winds, grab another of my favorite titles and relax. Whether you want a hardback copy or e-audio, those holds will call your name before long!


The Four Winds / Kristin Hannah. Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life.

I Will Send Rain : a novel / Rae Meadows. Annie Bell can't escape the dust. It's 1934 and the Bell farm in Mulehead, Oklahoma is struggling as the earliest storms of The Dust Bowl descend. As the Bells wait for the rains to come, Annie and each member of her family are pulled in different directions.

The Last Ballad / Wiley Cash. Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has.

Stormy Weather / Paulette Jiles. Oil is king of East Texas during the darkest years of the Great Depression. The Stoddard girls—responsible Mayme, whip-smart tomboy Jeanine, and bookish Bea—know no life but an itinerant one, trailing their father from town to town as he searches for work on the pipelines and derricks; that is, when he's not spending his meager earnings at gambling joints, race tracks, and dance halls.

Some Luck : the last hundred years trilogy, a novel / Jane Smiley. On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father's heart.

The Victory Garden / Rhys Bowen. As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

The Well and the Mine : a novel / Gin Phillips. In a small Alabama coal-mining town during the summer of 1931, nine-year-old Tess Moore sits on her back porch and watches a woman toss a baby into her family's well without a word. This shocking act of violence sets in motion a chain of events that forces Tess and her older sister Virgie to look beyond their own door and learn the value of kindness and lending a helping hand. As Tess and Virgie try to solve the mystery of the well, an accident puts their seven-year-old brother's life in danger, forcing the Moore family to come to a new understanding of the power of love and compassion.

Target Age: 
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