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Library Blog

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

More Riordan: The Trials of Apollo

"Even after so many books on Greek mythology, I am constantly discovering stories I didn't know. While writing Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, I came across two myths about Zeus punishing Apollo by turning him mortal. The idea fascinated me. I decided to subject poor Apollo to that punishment for a third time and write a series from his point of view as a newly outcast 16-year-old mortal. This gave me a completely fresh angle on Percy Jackson's world. It was insanely fun to write." --Rick Riordan

And that, my eager Riordan readers, is why we have the first in another five-book series about ancient gods in a modern world.  The series is called The Trials of Apollo, and the title of the first book is The Hidden Oracle.  It debuts TODAY, May 3, 2016!  Click on the blue title to place your hold.

How do you punish an immortal? By making him human. After angering his father, Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the 4,000-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus' favor. But Apollo has many enemies - gods, monsters, and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

The next Magnus Chase book, The Hammer of Thor, is coming out in October.  Stay tuned to the blog this fall for more information.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Bicycle Libraries in Africa

May is National Bike Month!  Why not hop on your trusty two-wheeler and head to Hoover Public Library to check out a great story called In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton?  It is inspired by the many bicycle libraries that have opened all across Africa.  

"A dusty road leads to a schoolhouse nestled under a canopy of giant trees. A little girl stays in to do her homework at lunch, because by the time she walks the long way home, it will be too dark to see. Thus we are welcomed gently into Anna’s world in rural Tanzania, where the big event is the arrival of a heap of bicycles on a truck, in a cloud of dust. Although Anna is too late to get her own bike, she happily helps her friends learn to ride theirs, and soon she is bumping home on the back of Mohammed’s bike. And then he does something unexpected, and the joy at the center of this story unfolds. [This] is a simple, quiet book that resonates with all the ways that Anna’s life is different from ours. The modest gift of a bicycle makes a profound change in her daily life, and a note at the back of the book gives information about the many bike charities that bring bicycles to Africans. But the bicycle is only the jumping-off point for what this book is really about: the spirit of community that shines through as Anna and her friends help each other. Brian Deines’ drawings are saturated with color and full of movement: his wobbly bicycle riders struggle to keep their balance and you can almost see the wheels spinning when one of them tumbles to the ground. "

To learn more about bicycle libraries in Africa, take a look at this reading guide.  It includes websites for worldwide bicycle organizations.  It also recommends other books that are a perfect match for National Bike Month.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Happy 20th, Día!

El día de los niños / El día de los libros is an initiative to connect children to diverse books and experiences at their local library.  Día is sponsored by the Assocation for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Assocation), and April 30, 2016 marks the 20th anniversary.  Here's to another twenty years of emphasizing the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds!

If you want to expand your reading horizons, try one of these picture books.  These are my favorite recently published titles that incorporate Spanish into the story.
2016 = Giddy-Up Buckaroos! by Shanda Trent
2015 = Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
2014 = Gazpacho for Nacho by Tracey Kyle
2013 = Poco Loco by J.R. Krause
2012 = Fire! 
¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos by Susan Middleton Elya
2011 = The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos

In December 2015, I did a series of blog posts about S.T.E.A.M. titles for children, inspired by an amazing resource available on the 
Día website.  The 2016 titles are now available!  Take a look!

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

I had already planned to write a blog about International Jazz Day (April 30, 2016), focusing on an amazing new book called Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgil.  But then I read a fantastic article in Children & Libraries, the journal for the Assocation for Library Service to Children -- These Books Are Not Quiet: Bebop, Blues, Swing, and Soul: Jazz in Children's Books by Darwin L. Henderson, Brenda Dales, and Teresa Young.  And now I can't help myself from also sharing some of the jazz books they loved.  "Music and musicians are represented in visual and textual styles that mix and balance, amplify and absorb, like the sound that jazz makes . . . . It is a combination of cultures, elements, and vibrations that embrace the soul."   Sounds good, doesn't it?

  • Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History by Lesa Cline-Ransome (2014)
    J  781.65  CLI
  • Celebrates the 1936 debut of the Benny Goodman quartet with Teddy Wilson in Chicago, considered to be the first widely seen integrated jazz performance.
  • Bird & Diz by Gary Golio (2015)
  • When sax player Charlie "Bird" Parker and trumpeter John "Dizzy" Gillespie make music together, they toss notes back and forth like a game of tag and chase each other with sounds.
  • The Cosmo-biography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka (2014)
    JB  SUN
  • A one-hundredth birthday tribute to the late jazz artist explores his observations about humanity's discriminatory and violent behaviors as well as his efforts to forge world peace through music with the Sun Ra Arkestra.
  • Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney (1998)
    JB  ELL
    A brief recounting of the career of this jazz musician and composer who, along with his orchestra, created music that was beyond category.
  • How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz by Jonah Winter (2015)
    JB  MOR
    Riffs on the language and rhythms of old New Orleans to focus on one of America's early jazz heroes
  • Jazz by Walter Dean Myers (2006)
    E  MYE
    Celebrates the roots of jazz music.
  • Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgil (2016)
    J  811  ORG
    When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn't own a good camera, didn't know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians' mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer's day. Francis Vallejo's vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author's note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane's famous photograph. 
  • Jazz on a Saturday Night by Leo and Diane Dillon (2007)
    J  781.65  DIL

    Bright colors and musical patterns make music skip off the page in this toe-tapping homage to many jazz greats. From Miles Davis and Charlie Parker to Ella Fitzgerald, here is a dream team sure to knock your socks off.
  • Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World by Marilyn Nelson (2009)
    J  811  NEL
  • A look at a 1940's all-female jazz band, that originated from a boarding school in Mississippi and found its way to the most famous ballrooms in the country, offering solace during the hard years of the war.
  • Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews (2015)
    E  920  AND

    Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.

The title of this blog is the title of a new book of poetry by Bob Raczka.  It is filled with shaped poetry, meaning the words on the page convey the outline of objects.  But Raczka takes it a step further -- using letter arrangements and shapes in each poem's title, too!  Students will never look at concrete poetry or "word paintings" in the same way again after reading Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems.

The title of this blog could also imply that there will be more than one book of concrete poetry featured in this post.  That's why I made sure to also include the following titles.


Gordon Korman, king of comedy writing for kids, did an awesome guest spot on Booklist's master class, Publishing U.  Read it and weep . . . with laughter . . . and learn how he keeps his humor fresh.  Then read his newest novel, Slacker.

"Cameron Boxer is very happy to spend his life avoiding homework, hanging out with his friends, and gaming for hours in his basement. It's not too hard for him to get away with it . . . until he gets so caught up in one game that he almost lets his house burn down around him. Oops. It's time for some serious damage control--so Cameron and his friends invent a fake school club that will make it seem like they're doing good deeds instead of slacking off. The problem? Some kids think the club is real--and Cameron is stuck being president. Soon Cameron is part of a mission to save a beaver named Elvis from certain extinction. Along the way, he makes some new friends--and some powerful new enemies. The guy who never cared about anything is now at the center of everything . . . and it's going to take all his slacker skills to win this round."

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Cleopatra . . . In Space?

Did this blog title totally mess with your brain?  Then you must not know about Mike Maihack and his graphic novel series called Cleopatra in Space.  Which is a shame because it is awesome. 

"Zapped away as a teenager from her home era of 52 BC, Cleopatra VII found herself in the middle of a centuries’ long war in the far, far, really far, far future. Now she fights alongside P.Y.R.A.M.I.D. (Pharaoh Yasiro’s Research And Military Initiative of Defense), both human and alienkind’s only hope against the evil Xaius Octavian. An ancient scroll prophesies that Cleopatra is destined to become the savior of the Nile galaxy; finally freeing its worlds from the tyrannical rule of the technologically advanced Xerx race. With help from her best friend and feline teacher, Khensu, Cleo is learning what it takes to be the great leader she is destined to become while still trying to figure out how she’s ever going to pass military school, make friends, avoid detention, and all of the other important things that come with being a reckless, fifteen-year-old future queen of the universe."

The third installment comes out this week!  Get your hands on all three as soon as possible!

  1. Target Practice (also available as ebook)
  2. The Thief and the Sword
  3. Secret of the Time Tablets
Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Talk Like Shakespeare Day

Saturday, April 23, 2016 is Talk Like Shakespeare Day.  I bet you think I'm going to use this an an excuse to write a blog about reading Shakespeare's classic plays.  Well, I'm not.  I can do better than that, my friends!  I'm going to focus on a new nonfiction book about Shakespeare's effect on our speech.  Then I'm going to throw in a new Where's-Waldo-esque book involving the settings of Shakespeare's work and add a couple new teen novels inspired by the Bard.

  • Will's Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe
    When Jane Sutcliffe sets out to write a book about William Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, in her own words, she runs into a problem: Will's words keep popping up all over the place! What's an author to do? After all, Will is responsible for such familiar phrases as "what's done is done" and "too much of a good thing." He even helped turn "household words" into household words. But, Jane embraces her dilemma, writing about Shakespeare, his plays, and his famous phrases with glee. After all, what better words are there to use to write about the greatest writer in the English language than his very own? As readers will discover, "the long and the short of it" is this: Will changed the English language forever.
  • Where's Will?: Find Shakespeare Hidden in His Plays by Anna Claybourne
    J  793.73  CLA
    Spot Will Shakespeare and a selection of colorful characters from ten of his best loved plays! Can you pick out Puck in the magical midsummer night? Will you spy Cecilia hidden in the Forest of Arden? And can you see Shakespeare making a cameo in every scene? First, get to know each play by reading a snappy synopsis of the plot and meeting the main characters. Next, hunt for the characters, who are hidden in the detailed and beautifully illustrated pictures of the plays settings. (art by Tilly)
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston
    This recent release reimagines The Winter’s Tale in a contemporary setting with cheerleaders. Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black. In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.
  • The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters
    This thrilling reimagining of Hamlet tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten. 1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather. The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.
Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Dancing Duo

National Dance Week is April 22 - May 1, 2016!  Celebrate dance and promote fun fitness with these two titles!

  1. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder (2015)
    JB  PAV
    The world is big. Anna is small. The snow is everywhere and all around. But one night, her mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. 
  2. Tommy Can't Stop by Tim Federle (2015)
    E  FED
    Tommy has worn out his parents and sister with his bouncing, clomping, and leaping, but when they convince him to try tap dancing, he finds it the perfect outlet for his energy.

Humans aren't the only creatures dancing during NDW 2016.
Bee Dance by Rick Chrustowski (2015)
E  595.79  CHR

Stay tuned to the blog this summer for a much longer book list about dance.  One of our nonfiction summer reading lists is called TRAIN YOUR BRAIN: DANCE & MARTIAL ARTS.


Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

More Science Poets

I introduced you to Irene Latham in an earlier blog post.  Now it's time to meet more science poets!  I was inspired to write this blog after reading an article in Booklist called Playing Tag with Science Poets.  The author, Sylvia M. Vardell, made an excellent case for connecting science and poetry.

"Poetry and science may seem, at first glance, to be strange companions, but they offer interesting connections for children who view all the world with wonder. They need both information and inspiration to understand what they see, hear, touch, and learn. As Victor Hugo observed, 'science is a ladder . . . poetry is a winged flight.' Surely we can provide both to the children we reach."

Vardell also pointed out that "scientists and poets both observe the world closely and describe their observations in distinctive ways."  The proof is in these books!  Check one out today!


Target Age: 
Katiem's picture