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Library Blog

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

Torpedoed by Heiligman

Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set sail for Canada with one hundred children on board.  When the war ships escorting the Benares departed, a German submarine torpedoed what became known as the Children's Ship. Out of tragedy, ordinary people became heroes. This is their story.

Heiligman is one of my favorite authors of nonfiction for youth.  She is a dedicated researcher who unfolds events in a truly compelling way.  Horn Book recently referred to her as a nonfiction maestro.  I agree.  And so will you.

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship" by Deborah Heiligman (10/08/19)

 

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

World Homeless Day

October 10, 2019 is World Homeless Day.  The purpose is to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness worldwide.  There are several new middle grade titles that tackle this very issue.

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman (02/05/19)
J  VEN
Life is harsh in Chennai's teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter--and friendship--on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city's trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

The Great Jeff by Tony Abbott (03/19/19)
J  ABB 
Life hasn't been great for Jeff Hicks. After years at his beloved St. Catherine's, he's forced to spend eighth grade in the public middle school, which he hates. He's no longer speaking to his former best friend, Tom Bender, because of "that burned girl" Jessica Feeney. But worst of all, his family is changing, and it's not for the better.  When his mom comes home announcing that she's lost her job, Jeff begins to worry about things far beyond his years: How will they pay the rent? Will his absentee dad step up and save the day? Is his mom drinking too much? And ultimately, where will they live?

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen (09/11/18)
J  NIE
Twelve-and-three-quarter-year-old Felix Knutsson has a knack for trivia. His favorite game show is Who What Where When; he even named his gerbil after the host. Felix's mom, Astrid, is loving but can't seem to hold on to a job. So when they get evicted from their latest shabby apartment, they have to move into a van. Astrid swears him to secrecy; he can't tell anyone about their living arrangement, not even Dylan and Winnie, his best friends at his new school. If he does, she warns him, he'll be taken away from her and put in foster care.  As their circumstances go from bad to worse, Felix gets a chance to audition for a junior edition of Who What Where When, and he's determined to earn a spot on the show. Winning the cash prize could make everything okay again. But things don't turn out the way he expects. . . .  Susin Nielsen deftly combines humor, heartbreak, and hope in this moving story about people who slip through the cracks in society, and about the power of friendship and community to make all the difference.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Can You Crack the Code?

Can You Crack the Code?: A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography by Ella Schwartz (03/26/19)
J  652.8  SCH
This fun and flippable nonfiction features stories of hidden treasures, war-time maneuverings, and contemporary hacking as well as explaining the mechanics behind the codes in accessible and kid friendly forms. Sidebars call out activities that invite the reader to try their own hand at cracking and crafting their own secret messages.

Code Girls: The True Story of the American Women Who Secretly Broke Codes in World War II by Liza Mundy (10/02/18)
J  940.54  MUN
More than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II, recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to the nation's capital to learn the top secret art of code breaking.  Through their work, the "code girls" helped save countless lives and were vital in ending the war. But due to the top secret nature of their accomplishments, these women have never been able to talk about their story--until now.  [This is the Young Readers Edition.]

Explorer Academy: Code-Breaking Activity Adventure by Gareth Moore (05/07/19)
J  652.8  MOO
In the first activity book based on the Explorer Academy, kids test their knowledge of ancient codes and ciphers in a series of head-scratching puzzles designed to outwit even the most clever cryptographers. When kids successfully navigate the codes, they are rewarded with a first-class tour of the Academy.  Kids will have a blast, teaming up with the characters from the series and learning firsthand from the world's most renowned scientists, explorers, conservationists, photographers, and journalists. It's a far-flung adventure, too, traveling to historic and majestic locations around the globe.

Samuel Morse, That's Who!: The Story of the Telegraph and Morse Code by Tracy Nelson Maurer (06/25/19)
JB  MOR
Back in the 1800s, information traveled slowly. Who would dream of instant messages? Samuel Morse, that’s who! Who traveled to France, where the famous telegraph towers relayed 10,000 possible codes for messages depending on the signal arm positions―only if the weather was clear? Who imagined a system that would use electric pulses to instantly carry coded messages between two machines, rain or shine? Long before the first telephone, who changed communication forever? Samuel Morse, that’s who!

 

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Jim Kay has taken another beloved J. K. Rowling book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and made it even more spectacular.  Seriously, you can practically feel the dragon's breath coming off the page!  The full-color illustrations combined with the 464-page length make this a weighty read, so don't try to read it while lying on your back in bed.  That's a surefire way to get a broken nose.  Instead, spread it before you on the table, the floor, or your lap, and immerse yourself in the magical wonder.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling & Jim Kay (October 8, 2019)
Harry Potter wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in this case, different can be deadly.

Our spooky October Full Steam Ahead also has an Alabama twist!  Join Miss Anna Beth for Scary Stories to Tell in the Library on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 4 p.m.  She'll introduce you to the work of legendary Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham, give you a sampling of one of her "Jeffrey" ghost stories, and get a few victims (whoops, I meant volunteers!) to act out a portion of a tale.  Using Windham as inspiration, you'll also write a short scary story of your own!  If you want to share your tale with the group, you can.  If you want to keep it to yourself, you can do that, too.  This event is geared for students 8-12 years old.  Sign up online or by phone (444-7830) beginning 10/08.

Want to read more of Kathryn Tucker Windham's tales?  Head to the tallest bookcases in the Kid Zone and look for Dewey Decimal number 133.1.

KJ's Reader Getaways

So I think most of you know that my name is Katie Jane.  And that I like books.  I also like to talk about books.  And, when I go into the schools, I'm always having teachers and parents say they'd love to sit down and talk books with me somewhere that isn't school.  I have good news!  I'm taking my show on the road!

I'm launching a new outreach initiative for adults who want to talk about kid lit.  KJ's Reader Getaways will take place once a month.  The day of the week and the time of day will change, in order to fit into a variety of people's schedules.  The location will also change.  I'll be stopping by a variety of local eateries all over our great city.  I'll buy a tasty treat, sit down, and talk about books.  Which ones will I talk about?  Whatever everyone else is interested in discussing!  The first one is fast approaching, so mark your calendar!  I'll go ahead and give you a sneak peek for the other fall Getaway, too.  Click on this link to access a printable flyer complete with addresses.

KJ's Reader Getaway - I Scream for Ice Cream and Books!
Friday, October 11, 2019 at 4 p.m.
The Whole Scoop

KJ's Reader Getaway - Wild About Books
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 4 p.m.
Wild Roast Cafe

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Villains Vs the Library

My favorite Disney villain of all time is Maleficent.  So I cannot wait to see the new movie starring Angelina Jolie!  Maleficent: Mistress of Evil hits theaters on October 18.  In celebration, we're hosting a Villains Vs the Library event the week before.  Join us on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. for Hide and Seek with Cruella de Vil and Poison Apple Toss with the Evil Queen.  Make pirate hats with Captain Hook and manuever an obstacle course filled with your favorite villains.  And mine.  Don't forget mine!  No need to RSVP for this villainous affair.  Simply follow the stars through the Kid Zone.

Want to re-watch the first Maleficent movie?  Look in the Kid Zone under J  MAL  DVD.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Human Body Helpers

Learn about different devices people sometimes use to help them see, hear, move around, and do other important tasks with the new Human Body Helpers series by Harriet Brundle.  There are four so far with more on the way!  Some of the titles have a darling animated book trailer.  Click on the title to see it!

Using a Wheelchair
J  617.033  BRU

Using Hearing Aids
J  617.89  BRU

Wearing Braces
J  617.643  BRU

Wearing Glasses
J  617.752  BRU

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

A Wiles Anthem

Deborah Wiles has been keeping us in suspense for a LONG time.  Her Sixties Trilogy opened in 2010 with Countdown.  The sequel, Revolution, came out in 2014.  And now, FINALLY, we have the conclusion.

Anthem (October 1, 2019)
It’s 1969.

Molly is a girl who’s not sure she can feel anything anymore, because life sometimes hurts way too much. Her brother Barry ran away after having a fight with their father over the war in Vietnam. Now Barry’s been drafted into that warand Molly’s mother tells her she has to travel across the country in an old schoolbus to find Barry and bring him home.

Norman is Molly’s slightly older cousin, who drives the old schoolbus. He’s a drummer who wants to find his own music out in the worldbecause then he might not be the “normal Norman” that he fears he’s become. He’s not sure about this trip across the country… but his own mother makes it clear he doesn’t have a choice.

Molly and Norman get on the busand end up seeing a lot more of America that they’d ever imagined. From protests and parades to roaring races and rock n’ roll, the cousins make their way to Barry in San Francisco, not really knowing what they’ll find when they get there.

As she did in her other epic novels, two-time National Book Award finalist Deborah Wiles takes the pulse of an era… and finds the multitude of heartbeats that lie beneath it.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Homeschool Hub's Feathered Friends

Our next Homeschool Hub features feathered friends from the Alabama Wildlife Center!  Join us for Raptor 101 on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 2 p.m.  This introduction teaches students how to recognize birds of prey based on the adaptations that all raptors share.   Review the basics of their biology, learn about behavior and training, and discover other interesting facts about these amazing animals.  You'll also get to meet three or four glove-trained raptors up close and personal!  You won't want to miss this one!  Register online or by phone (444-7833) beginning 10/02.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

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