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Library Blog

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

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

Today is the day!  Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero is out on DVD!

This animated feature film is based on the incredible true story of America’s most decorated dog.  After being rescued off the streets by a young soldier on the eve of America’s entry in World War I,  Stubby is given a home, a family, and the chance to embark on the adventure that would define a century.

Want to learn even more about Stubby?  Read Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog by Ann Bausum.  There's also a novel about his life called Stubby by Kate Klimo.  It is in the popular Dog Diaries series.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Magoon and Maldonado

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon (October 16, 2018)
This memorable novel about three African-American boys in small-town Indiana opens with a trade: Bobby Gene and his little brother, Caleb, swap their baby sister for a sack of fireworks. Though the child is returned immediately, the brothers (ages 11 and 10) get to keep the fireworks. But what to do with them? Enter Styx Malone, a charismatic teen (who’s “sliding through the world like the air around him was greased”), who tells the siblings, “You just gotta learn how to make people give you things.” Styx convinces them that the trio can make a profit on the fireworks and, through a creatively convoluted trade-up sequence (involving old car parts, a lawn mower, and some Harley-Davidson memorabilia), could end up owning a snazzy moped. Beneath the entertaining shenanigans runs an affecting emotional current: Styx has ricocheted from one foster home to another and aches for a loving home; narrator Caleb grapples with the fear that he is “ordinary” and feels smothered by his overprotective father. Interweaving themes of risk taking and trust, betrayal and forgiveness, Magoon crafts a novel that is genuinely funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting—extraordinary, in fact. [from Publishers Weekly]

Tight by Torrey Maldonado (September 4, 2018)
The complex emotional lives of young boys of color are portrayed through a nascent friendship. Bryan is constantly teased for being "soft," thanks to his preference for comics, drawing, and spending quiet moments with his mom. Through his mother's work at a Brooklyn community center, he meets Mike, an older, "harder" schoolmate whom he's never socialized with before and is apprehensive about befriending. Slowly, Bryan finds they have much in common and begins spending more time with Mike. When Bryan's recently paroled father is re-incarcerated, Mike offers him an emotional outlet in the form of ditching school, the first of several exploits the pair undertake. Pushing of boundaries as an emotional response to trauma, vulnerability, and societal pressures is an overarching theme of the novel, pressing readers to consider the impetus of what is deemed "bad behavior." [from School Library Journal]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Wake Up, Santa!: Our Annual Christmas Musical

The holiday tradition continues!  Our talented staff will once again star in an original musical filled with holiday hilarity.  In fact, it's the show that started it all.  Join us for Wake Up, Santa! in the Library Theatre.  There are three shows open to the public.

Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, December 14, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
[This event takes place after the library is closed.]
Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

Seating in the Library Theatre is restricted to 250 guests.  All guests will be seated on a first come, first served basis by library staff.  All parties must be present to be seated.  Saving seats is not allowed.  Please arrive early to ensure your spot!

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

I've talked about Brightly before.  It is an amazing resource for parents, teachers, and anyone passionate about connecting kids with books.  They have a new educator's guide about building empathy with books that is absolutely stellar.  And all of the books featured are available from Hoover Public Library!

Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno (also available as downloadable audio)
Lemons by Melissa Savage (also available as ebook and downloadable audio)
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (also available as book-on-CD)
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty (also available as ebook and downloadable audio)
The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones by Wendelin Van Draanen

Looking for a new favorite Christmas story?  Take a peek at 2018's holiday picture books!

All-⁠Of-⁠A-⁠Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins
The Broken Ornament by Tony DiTerlizzi
The Christmas Extravaganza Hotel by Tracey Corderoy
Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo
Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Rinker
Cookiesaurus Christmas by Amy Fellner Dominy
Finding a Dove for Gramps by Lisa J. Amstutz
I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-⁠Morrison
If You Ever Want to Bring a Pirate to Meet Santa, Don't! by Elise Parsley
Last Stop on the Reindeer Express by Maudie Powell-⁠Tuck
Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg
Merry Christmas, Little Elliot by Mike Curato
Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins by Sue Fliess
Oliver Elephant by Lou Peacock
One Christmas Wish by Katherine Rundell
Pete the Cat's 12 Groovy Days of Christmas by Kimberly & James Dean
Santa Bruce by by Ryan T. Higgins
Tough Cookie : a Christmas Story by Edward Hemingway
A Unicorn Named Sparkle's First Christmas by Amy Young

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

You better watch out.  You better not cry.
Better not pout, I'm telling you why.
Santa Claus is comin' to town.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town . . . specifically to the Plaza at Hoover Public Library . . . on Saturday, December 8, 2018! He'll be available for official pictures (and a holiday happy) beginning at 10 a.m.  At 12 noon he will have to return to his workshop.  This is a come-and-go program, but we will have holiday snacks available.

The Library Plaza is easy to find.  When you enter the building, take the hall on the left.  About halfway down the hall, take a right.  You should see two brown pillars beneath a large sign saying The Plaza.  Santa will be in position for pictures on the Plaza stage.  

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

The Colorful Life of Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World by Gary Golio, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez (September 4, 2018)
Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Carlos Santana grew up worshipping his father, a mariachi musician who taught his son to play the violin and encouraged him to follow in his footsteps. However, the future icon grew to resent the music that took his father away from the family for months at a time. After a family move to Tijuana, young Santana heard rhythm and blues on the radio and it became a siren song to him, a call to play the electric guitar and fuse this music with the traditions that he learned as a child. While the text tells a fairly straightforward and detailed account of Santana's life, it is the artwork (created by the same artist who did cover art for Santana's Shaman album) that is full of vivid, flowing colors that shine as it captures the soul of Santana and his work.

When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana by Michael Mahin, illustrated by José Ramirez (September 4, 2018)
From the three-way scrimmage among his great-aunt, his father, and his mother for the right to name him—his mother won—to his growth as a musician, Carlos yearns to hear the song of angels.Instrument after instrument fails to resonate within his heart until the chords of a guitar stand his arm hairs on end. "An angel's breath?" But not even his beloved guitar can drown out the English-speaking bullies in San Francisco schools, so he runs away and returns to Tijuana. His family, however disagrees. They'd left Mexico for a better life, and they will not let Carlos stay behind. Bit by bit, the city's diverse cultural harmonies become one: "the soul of the blues,…the brains of jazz,…the energy of rock and roll…the slow heat of Afro-Cuban drums and the cilantro-scented sway of the music you'd grown up with." The Santana Blues Band plays through Carlos' homesickness, plays through Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, plays through Vietnam's destruction and America's unrest, until, in front of 400,000 people in Woodstock, the angels finally sing—not to but within Carlos. Ramírez's double-page-spread acrylic-and-enamel-marker images evoke the vibrant electric energy of Huichol yarn art.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

This Moment Is Your Life

I loved this so much, I bought a copy for myself.  Add it to your holiday wish list.  (Or, maybe, to your pre-holiday wish list.  You may need this book to get through the chaos of the Christmas season.)

This Moment Is Your Life (And So Is This One): A Fun and Easy Guide to Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga by Mariam Gates
J  613.7  GAT

Don’t just do something, be here.
The key to happiness is being able to find comfort in this moment, here and now. When you are completely present and not distracted by regrets, worries, and plans, even for a little while, you begin to feel more confident and can deal more easily with everything you experience. This is mindfulness: paying attention to this very moment, on purpose and without judgment–simply being present with curiosity.  This engaging guide, packed with simple exercises and endearing full-color artwork, provides a handy starting point for bringing mindfulness into your daily life. Chapters on meditation, yoga, and mindful breathing explain the benefits of these practices, and you are free to pick and choose what to try. There are quick exercises throughout, and a more extensive tool kit at the end of each chapter. The final chapter offers satisfying five-day challenges that map out ways to pull all of the book’s mindfulness techniques together in your day-to-day life.  With the appeal of a workbook or guided journal, and full of examples relevant to tweens and teens today, this book will be your trusted companion as you begin the valuable, stress-relieving work of being still with skill.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

These Books Belong to the Night

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan
A night watchman hugs his family and goes to work, where he methodically makes his rounds through an empty construction site. His flashlight’s warm yellow beam illuminates the darkness: “He checks the doors. He checks the workshop.” Debut author Sullivan, who based the story on his own experience, illuminates the inner life of his character as well, using concise, poetic language. The watchman “thinks of his boy and girl, safe and asleep at home.” He’s alert to the beauty of the darkness, too: the big trucks’ fanciful-looking shadows (“A backhoe rises like a giant insect”), the full moon that “shines like an old friend,” the way the air fills with a sound of a train and then becomes still again. Most of all, he is kind: a stray gray kitten joins him on his rounds (“ ‘Back again?’ he asks”), and after worrying when it disappears, the watchman takes the kitten home to join his family. Yoo (Strictly No Elephants) sets a lovely mood, taking readers from sunset to dawn through washes of orange, pink, and blue, the watchman’s compassionate demeanor assuring them that all’s well. [from Publishers Weekly]

Night Job by Karen Hesse
A little boy accompanies his single-parent father to his evening job as the custodian at a large middle school in this serene, evocative story.  The unnamed boy narrates the story in present tense as the pair ride together on the dad’s motorcycle over a bridge and past a bay to the empty school. At first the boy shoots baskets as his dad mops the floor of the gym, but later the child works alongside his father as they listen to a baseball game on the radio. They eat sandwiches in a courtyard together, and then the boy reads and naps on a couch in the library while his father continues cleaning. By daybreak they are back home, falling asleep snuggled up in a cozy recliner, both dreaming of riding the motorcycle together over the water of the bay. This little boy is only 5 or 6, but he’s a real help to his dad in packing up their lunch, assisting with his duties, and cleaning out their lunchbox when they return home. Hesse’s poetic, calm text is matter-of-fact in conveying the love between parent and child and the bonding occurring through their shared work. Karas’ mixed-media illustrations, employing a soft focus and a muted, nighttime palette, help to relay this bond as well as the excitement of riding on the back of a motorcycle at night. [from Kirkus Reviews]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

What You Are Is Perfect

Giraffe Problems by Jory John
Can you guess what’s making this giraffe self-conscious? Could it be . . . HIS ENORMOUS NECK?? Yes, it’s exactly that–how on earth did you figure it out?  Edward the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he’s tried.  Just when he has exhausted his neck-hiding options and is about to throw in the towel, a turtle swoops in (well, ambles in, very slowly) and helps him understand that his neck has a purpose, and looks excellent in a bow tie. 
Read what Brightly has to say about this delightful book, too!

Rock What Ya Got by Samantha Berger
A child reminds everyone to embrace their own special something in this joyful expression of self-love.  When a drawing of a little girl comes to life, she boldly declares that she doesn't want to be erased, or put into a picture that doesn't feel like her true self. Instead, she decides to speak up in a powerful way. And she has some words of advice: embrace what you have, love yourself, and "rock what ya got."   In this affirmation of self-identity and girl power, a child's memorable mantra offers a timeless lesson, reminding readers of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities that it's okay to be yourself.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture