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Library Blog

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

Puzzle Day

Have you noticed that many of my recent blog posts revolve around lesser-known holidays?  That's because my parents gave me an awesome new calendar that features quirky celebrations.  Guess what it said today, January 29, 2017?  Puzzle Day!  I love puzzles of all kinds, and we have tons of puzzling books here at Hoover Library.  How did I choose what to feature?  I was feeling nostalgic.  The first video game I ever played on my sister's Gameboy?  Tetris.

Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown (2016)
"It is, perhaps, the perfect video game. Simple yet addictive, Tetris delivers an irresistible, unending puzzle that has players hooked. Play it long enough and you’ll see those brightly colored geometric shapes everywhere. You’ll see them in your dreams.  Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega―game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft.  In this graphic novel,New York Times–bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, Tetris: The Games People Play tells the true story of the world’s most popular video game."

Game On!: Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft and More by Dustin Hansen (2016)
J  794.8  HAN
"This zippy primer on video game development takes readers from the arcades of the 1970s to Minecraft and the future of gaming. Short, chronological chapters introduce iconic games that represent innovations in design, story, and player experience. The well-told origin tales are a fantastic mash-up of pop and gaming culture and reveal the dedication and creativity of industry leaders such as Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. Each chapter builds on the last, tracing the development of gaming technology, including apps. Sectioning the information into easily digestible chapters, factoids, and lists and using a conversational tone, the book is accessible, even though the content is quite extensive. Visuals include screenshots and photos of consoles and controllers." 

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Can't Keep Quiet About This

According to the Chinese zodiac, today is the first day of the Year of the Rooster.  Perfect timing for announcing Carmen Agra Deedy's latest book, which comes out this Tuesday, January 31, 2017.  I got a sneak peek at the ALSC Mini-Institute in Atlanta last weekend, so I know for a fact that this story is worthy of a LOUD shout-out.

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
"La Paz is a happy, but noisy village. A little peace and quiet would make it just right.  So the villagers elect the bossy Don Pepe as their mayor. Before long, singing of any kind is outlawed. Even the teakettle is afraid to whistle!  But there is one noisy rooster who doesn't give two mangos about this mayor's silly rules. Instead, he does what roosters were born to do.
He sings: 
Carmen Deedy's masterfully crafted allegory and Eugene Yelchin's bright, whimsical mixed-media paintings celebrate the spirit of freedom -- and the courage of those who are born to sing at any cost."

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

A Squiggly Story for International Creativity Month

Did you know that January is International Creativity Month?  If not, no worries -- you still have an entire week to get creative!  Need a jumpstart?  Read this new picture book.

A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Mike Lowery (also available as ebook on Overdrive and Hoopla)
"A young boy wants to write a story, just like his big sister. But there's a problem, he tells her. Though he knows his letters, he doesn't know many words. “Every story starts with a single word and every word starts with a single letter,” his sister explains patiently. “Why don't you start there, with a letter?” So the boy tries. He writes a letter. An easy letter. The letter I. And from that one skinny letter, the story grows, and the little boy discovers that all of us, including him, have what we need to write our own perfect story.

This picture book from award-winning author Andrew Larsen playfully and imaginatively explores a young child's process of learning to express himself. It promotes the idea that stories are available for everyone to tell, whatever way we can, and will inspire pre-readers to try writing stories of their own. The lively, fun illustrations by Mike Lowery incorporate story panels with dialogue bubbles, adding visual texture. Also helpful, the boy's story is shown both as he actually writes it --- with just a few letters, some punctuation marks and typographical symbols --- and as he imagines it. Celebrating self-expression, self-discovery and imagination, this book would enhance an early language arts lesson on writing, particularly on the parts of a story. It beautifully highlights the exciting worlds that are opened up when children begin to read and write. In a sweet touch, the boy and his sister model a close and supportive sibling relationship."

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

You're Beautiful!

Today, January 24, 2017 is National Compliment Day!  And I have the perfect book to help you celebrate and help you find complimentable beauty EVERYWHERE!

Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (2016)
McAnulty and Lew-Vriethoff shatter the cultural definition of “beauty” by showing young girls of all races and abilities studying nature, dressing up as pirates, experimenting in chemistry, and more.Many folks are socially conditioned to immediately praise a little girl based on her looks or dress. It can be difficult to not squeal over ruffles or ringlet curls. Coupled with the endless fascination with princesses, sparkles, and jewels of many a young child, the world can distinctly narrow what “beautiful” means. With a text that sounds like it could have been directly lifted from a charm school handbook, McAnulty and Lew-Vriethoff upend the norm. Each phrase is paired with illustrations that show an alternative meaning. “Beautiful girls move gracefully” portrays girls playing football, soccer, baseball, and basketball (in wheelchairs). “Beautiful girls smell like flowers” is paired with young tots digging in dirt, planting a garden, and getting messy. “Beautiful girls smile sweetly” shows gleeful friends, one with uneven teeth and the other with braces, biting into juicy orange slices. Bright, bold illustrations certainly can’t show every single girl, but many will find themselves in these pages. Celebrated here for their particularity and their diversity, girls are given the space to find beauty in all kinds of ways. (from Kirkus Reviews)

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Youth Media Awards 2017

The American Library Association announced their Youth Media Awards today!  Here are the winners!  Access the full list of winners and honors here.  Many of our favorites made the cut.  And my pick won the Newbery!

Katiem's picture

Perfect Pair #30

This month's perfect pair features a classic and a soon-to-be classic.

  • A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney (2016)
    JB  KEA
    The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book. For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood.
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (1962)
    The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.  No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.  Winner of 1963 Caldecott Medal.
Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Minecraft Math

The ridiculously popular game is getting a S.T.E.A.M. treatment at Hoover Public Library on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 4 p.m.  At our next Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead event, we'll use math to recreate parts of the Minecraft Universe in real life -- with post-it notes and boxes.  This event is open to kids ages 5-11.  Don't miss it!  Sign up online or by phone (444-7830) today!

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Bad Art Is Good

Create something fantasticly terrible with a mishmash of materials at our Bad Art event on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 4 p.m.  The library supplies the mishmash; YOU supply the imagination.  You think creating Bad Art is enough to entice you to sign up online or by phone (444-7830)?  Then you'll be blown away by the next bit of info.  There will also be door prizes and food!  Woo-hoo!  This event is open to all bad artists age 10-17.  Sign up today!

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Staff Picks 2016 -- Teen Fiction

Darkness is a theme that echoes through most of our favorite teen books this year.  Is it the publishing industry, or is it us?  There is a printable list of all 46 titles available here.

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
Avenging the Owl by Melissa Hart
Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
The Crown by Kiera Cass
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
The Darkest Hour by Carolyn Tung Richmond
The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
Everland by Wendy Spinale
The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Four-Four-Two by Dean Hughes
Front Lines by Michael Grant
Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray
Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Astey
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Starflight by Melissa Landers
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters
Still Life with Tornado by A. S. King
A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
The Transatlantic Conspiracy by G. D. Falksen
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz
Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo
Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen
Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Staff Picks 2016 -- Juvenile Nonfiction

This list covers topics from deep in the ocean to high in the sky . . . and everything in between.  There is a printable list of all 58 titles available here.

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
Alpha Bravo Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes by Sara Gillingham
Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics by Steve Jenkins
Answering the Cry for Freedom: Stories of African Americans and the American Revolution by Gretchen Woelfle
Are You an Art Sleuth?: Look, Discover, Learn! by Brooke DiGiovanni Evans
Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure by Jennifer Thermes
The Deadliest Creature in the World by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spirin
Dive!: World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific by Deborah Hopkinson
Factastic: A LEGO Adventure in the Real World by LEGO World
Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights by Mary Cronk Farrell
Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine by Heather Lang, illustrated by Raúl Cólon
The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman
Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles by Philippe Cousteau & Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Meilo So
Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Giant Squid by Candace Fleming
Good Trick, Walking Stick! by Sheri Mabry Bestor
Grover Cleveland, Again!: A Treasury of American Presidents by Ken Burns
How to Build a Museum: Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture by Tonya Bolden
I Am NOT a Dinosaur! by Will Lach
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
Ibn al-Haytham: The Man Who Discovered How We See by Libby Romero
In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo
Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger by Anita Silvey
Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song by Cynthia Grady
Masters of Disguise: Amazing Animal Tricksters by Rebecca L. Johnson
Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus by John Hendrix
Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy
Ocean Animals: Who’s Who in the Deep Blue by Johnna Rizzo
Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch
The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero by Patricia McCormick
A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson
Prairie Dog Song by Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore
Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Rise of the Lioness: Restoring a Habitat and Its Pride on the Liuwa Plains by Bradley Hague
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner
Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor by Robert Burleigh
Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet
Space: Visual Encyclopedia by Carole Stott
The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk by Jan Thornhill
Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Night Sky by Howard Schneider
Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin
Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art by Michael Bird, illustrated by Kate Evans
The Way Things Work Now: From Levers to Lasers, Windmills to Wi-fi, a Visual Guide to the World of Machines by David Macaulay
We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman
Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka
When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
When the Sun Shines on Antarctica: And Other Poems About the Frozen Continent by Irene Latham
Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
Women in Science: 50 Female Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Worms for Breakfast: How to Feed a Zoo by Helaine Becker
You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford
You Should Meet Mae Jemison by Laurie Calkhoven

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture