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Library Blog

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

Virtual Field Trip: Botanical Gardens

Looking for a way to beat the winter blahs?  Take a virtual stroll through some beautiful botanical gardens!

New York Botanical Garden
This giant urban retreat in the Bronx encompasses 50 specialty gardens and contains more than one million plants. A new content hub, "NYBG at Home," invites online visitors to embark on a number of virtual tours and digital experiences. 

The U.S. Botanical Garden
Located in Washington, DC, near the Capitol Building, this is the country's oldest garden, currently celebrating its 200th anniversary. The garden has created an interactive virtual tour with the help of Google Street View, providing 360-degree imagery of its outdoor plants and inside its 30,000 square foot conservatory. 

Portland Japanese Garden
This peaceful refuge in Portland, OR, has eight separate gardens, each inspired by Japanese gardening traditions.

Missouri Botanical Garden
Located in St. Louis, this 80-acre park is home to an extensive collection of rare orchids and features the Climatron, the first geodesic dome to be used as a conservatory, and Seiwa-en, one of the largest Japanese Gardens in North America at 14 acres.

Longwood Gardens
This expansive garden in Kennett Square, PA, has more than 1,000 acres of forests, meadows, and greenhouses.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This large oasis in Brooklyn is well known for its cherry blossoms.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
This 50-acre park in Richmond, VA, has a more than a dozen themed gardens, including a rose garden, a native plant area, and a cherry tree walk.

Keukenhof Tulip Gardens in Holland
I was lucky enough to visit this amazing place while I was living in Germany in elementary school.  There are a variety of 800 different tulips spread across 80 acres -- more than 7 mllion flowers!

Don't forget about local possibilities, like Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Aldridge Gardens!  And don't forget to grab these books from Hoover Public Library!

The Big Book of Blooms by Yuval Zommer (2020)
Botanicum by Kathy Willis & Katie Scott (2017)
Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri (2018)
Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara Levine (2019-ebook & audiobook on Hoopla)
Flowers by Gail Gibbons (2019)
Flowers by Grace Hansen (2016-ebook on Hoopla)
Flowers by Rebecca Pettiford (2015-ebook on Hoopla)
Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray (2015)
Plants Can't Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch (2016-ebook on Hoopla)
Trees, Leaves, Flowers & Seeds: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Plant Kingdom by Sarah Jose (2019)

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Gone to the Woods with Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen is a living literary legend, and his middle grade memoir gives readers a new perspective on the origins of his famed survival stories.

Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen (01/12/21)
His name is synonymous with high-stakes wilderness survival stories. Now, beloved author Gary Paulsen portrays a series of life-altering moments from his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story. If not for his summer escape from a shockingly neglectful Chicago upbringing to a North Woods homestead at age five, there never would have been a Hatchet. Without the encouragement of the librarian who handed him his first book at age thirteen, he may never have become a reader. And without his desperate teenage enlistment in the Army, he would not have discovered his true calling as a storyteller.

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Concrete Rose

Revisit Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (01/12/21)
If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison.  Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control.

Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.  When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can't just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

Watch the book trailer.

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Rick Riordan continues his mission to introduce young readers to amazing mythology.  The latest book is an adventure based on ancient Mesopotamian mythology that features gods, goddesses and Muslim heroes.

For years, my coworkers have been singing the praises of author Julia Quinn and her Brigerton series of romance novels.  Eight siblings, all alphabetically named and tied together by love.

Story (Screen)Time: Busy Mice

Welcome to the second week of storytime!  This week's theme is Busy Mice.  Access the official handout for additional activities and book recommendations.  Supplies for this week's Triangle Mice 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, January 12
Join Miss Emma for a fingerplay about a tiny mouse. 

Stories in Motion Storytime - Wednesday, January 13
Join Miss Christine for a hide-and-squeak story and a classic mouse nursery rhyme.

Curious University Short- Thursday, January 14
Join Miss Katie Jane for a Curiosity Break involving magnetic mice mazes.

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins (ebook on Overdrive & Hoopla)
Honk! Splat! Vroom! by Barry Gott (ebook on Hoopla)
Mice by Kari Scheutz (ebook on Hoopla)
Mine! by Jeff Mack (ebook on Overdrive & Hoopla)
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young (audiobook & movie on Hoopla)
Squeak!: 100 Fun Facts about Hamsters, Mice, Guinea Pigs and More! by Rose Davidson (ebook on Overdrive & Hoopla)

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

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Graphic Novels in the Classroom

It's 2021.  It's time, people.  Time to accept that graphic novels are real books with literary value.  They are worthy of the classroom.  Your students will thank you.  And you will thank me for encouraging you to take that leap of faith.  You'll also thank me for gathering all of these resources to help you introduce graphic novels to your class.

Scholastic Graphix Teaching Guide
This is the newest version of the resource that helped me begin to appreciate graphic novels back in 2015.  I received a paper copy at a session at the American Library Association's annual conference in San Francisco.  There are also two excellent supplements from their Teach Graphix Week this past October, one for elementary and one for middle school.

Notes from the Field: Graphic Novels in the Curriculum
Learn from the experiences of two Louisiana librarians who are passionate advocates for this form of visual storytelling: Soline Holmes is a librarian at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Lower School, and Alicia Schwarzenbach is a librarian and instructor at Delgado Community College. Both are based in New Orleans.

Newbery & Coretta Scott King Award-Winning New Kid
Jerry Craft's New Kid won both the 2020 Newbery Medal and the 2020 Coretta Scott King Author Award.  Access two different discussion guides on the author's website. 

Experiencing the Surreal and Sublime through Dog Man
Dog Man is crazy popular.  And, yes, the premise is far-fetched and the humor is not exactly subtle.  BUT it is still an excellent way to engage your students while teaching literary concepts.

Graphic Novel Book Club Possibility
Get inspired by the Comic Book Club created in partnership with the Maumee branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library and their local middle schools.

Want to get your hands on some graphic novels?  Of course you do!  We have a large collection here at Hoover Public Library, and we are happy to help you find the very best ones for your classroom.  Just ask!

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The Sea in Winter

I loved Christine Day's 2019 debut novel I Can Make This Promise.  Named an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book and inspired by her family's history, it tells the story of a girl who uncovers family secrets and discovers her own Native American identity.  Her sophomore novel comes out today, and I'm really eager to read it.  I'm also thrilled that Christine contributed a story to Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, a short story collection edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith that will be published in February 2021.  She also has a biography in the works, She Persisted: Maria Tallchief, which will come out in November 2021. 

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day (01/05/2021)
It’s been a hard year for Maisie Cannon, ever since she hurt her leg and could not keep up with her ballet training and auditions.  Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels. With everything she’s dealing with, Maisie is not excited for their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up.  But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. How can she keep pretending to be strong when on the inside she feels as roiling and cold as the ocean?


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Is joining a new book club a New Years Resolution?

Thursdays are huge book club days here at the Hoover Library! On the first Thursday of each month, we read a fiction selection voted on by all active members. Tomorrow we will be discussing Jennifer Weiner's Mrs. Everything at 10 am. On the second Thursday, we meet at the same time to discuss another fiction title. Overall, 12 books are chosen for the year and are rotated between the two groups. Virtual meetings on Zoom have become the norm for gathering, discussing and dissecting the author, characters and plot of a given book. I have had many participants tell me that they read the chosen book and would never have selected it for themselves but enjoy getting outside of their comfort zone! We try to read current hot reads, classics, and we cross genres frequently to stretch our muscles. For January's second Thursday, we will be reading Chris Bohjalian's new thriller The Red Lotus. If you'd like to be clued in on all of the library's book groups, please visit  We have a variety of fiction, nonfiction, true crime and genre book clubs all led by awesome and knowledgable staff.  Zoom details can also be obtained by visiting this website!  If you'd like to keep up with what we are reading, join one of our monthly newsletters -- perhaps some of the titles will make it to your "To Be Read" pile!

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Ideas for Monthly Reading Challenges

It's a new year, which means our Youth Department staff is taking on a new Reading Wildly Challenge.  2021's attempt to expand our reading horizons includes diversity (African American, Asian American, Latinx, LGBTQ+, Muslim, Native American, social justice, and translated works), different formats (collective biography, first chapter, and narrative nonfiction), and a handful of topics we need to brush up on (animals, foster care, mindfulness, sports, and STEM).  How will YOU broaden your reading horizons this year?  Would you like to take on a monthly challenge?  Brightly has plenty to get you started!

January = Bookish Fun for Winter

February = For the Love of Stories

March = March Your Way to the Bookshelf

April = Shower Your Shelf with Books

May = Bookshelves in Bloom


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