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Library Blog

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

Bird Watch

The creator of several interactive picture books, including Tap the Magic Tree, has merged basic math concepts with elements of a treasure hunt in a delightful new seek-and-find book.

Bird Watch by Christie Matheson (February 26, 2019)
E  MAT  NEW BOOK
From 10 black-capped chickadees to a single great horned owl, a countdown seek-and-find presents common birds.  Matheson imitates actual bird-watching with this deceptively simple “I spy”–type outing that goes from morning through night, through sun and shower, ending on the following day. Each spread contains birds (and sometimes other creatures) hidden among the kinds of trees and plants where North American readers with access to the wooded outdoors might find them in real life. It requires significant patience and persistence to find them all; the reward is a special surprise. The author opens with a “birding checklist,” invites readers to “go outside and look carefully,” and describes the chickadees as “your first treasure.” A short accompanying text uses generic names for the birds to look for and gives readers some clues. The birds pictured can be found in San Francisco, the home of the author, but because she has chosen widespread species, most readers from all over the continent will recognize most of them. Besides the chickadees and owl, she hides bluebirds, sparrows, wrens, robins, warblers, doves, and hummingbirds. Complete common names for the actual birds shown are given in an afterword, and for each she includes a short paragraph of other information about appearance and behavior as well as a suggestion for further resources. The author/illustrator used watercolor and collage for her carefully painted images, which are a good combination of reasonably realistic and satisfyingly challenging.  Fun and surprisingly successful as an invitation to look closely at the natural world. [from Kirkus Reviews]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Say Something

This is not the blog I had originally slated for this day.  Today was supposed to be Zen Happiness.  I was going to promote the new Jon J. Muth book, but then I learned that title is merely a collection of inspirational quotes featuring the artwork from Jon's other amazing Zen books.  I decided to fill this spot with something else.  But what?  I looked through all the stuff I've loved recently, all the notes I've been collecting about materials I most want to share with my readers.  And the answer was so obvious.

Say Something! by Peter H. Reynolds (February 26, 2019)
E  REY  NEW BOOK
In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are... what you are thinking... and what you believe. And how you'll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!

If you'd like a sneak peek of the book and access to an educator's guide and activity pack, visit the publisher's official website.
If you'd like to see the book trailer (and, trust me, you'd like to), visit YouTube.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead to Marble Egg Art

The final Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead event of this school year is fast approaching.  Don't miss your chance to create Marble Egg Art with Miss Alyssa on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 4 p.m.  The paint marbling technique she will be using involves a surprising ingredient -- nail polish!  This event is for 7 to 12-year-olds and is limited to 30 students.  Sign up online or by phone (444-7830) today.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Stead & Stead

This amazing husband and wife duo have created a new book . . . with a brand-new baby in their house.  I am even more impressed with them than usual!  Follow the journey they made on the book's official website.  And make sure you read the book, too.

Music for Mister Moon by Philip C. Stead & Erin E. Stead (March 26, 2019)
In making amends for a thoughtless act, a shy young cellist finds just the right audience.
So afflicted with performance anxiety that her parents’ mere suggestion that she might play in an orchestra one day makes her flushed and sweaty, Harriet Henry retreats to her room and transforms it into a small, isolated house in which she can practice unheard. But when the teacup she throws through a window to silence an annoying owl knocks the moon down from the sky, Harriet—introducing herself, with a deft bit of gender fluidity, as “Hank”—makes a wagon and responds to the wishes of “Mister Moon” by wheeling him first to the hat maker (a bear) for a warm hat, then down to the lake to listen to water and a distant bell buoy (“There is so much music down below,” he comments. “It is so quiet up in the sky”), then finally back to the sky to play for the moon, who has promised not to cheer or even watch. The illustrations, as spare and harmonious as the prose, are pale constructs of lightly applied pencil over misty ink monoprints featuring a large, gently glowing moon with human features, a comically tiny wagon, and a serious-looking, pigtailed child (white, like her parents) barely if at all taller than her instrument. The ability of Harriet/Hank to remake her surroundings at will not only enhances the episode’s dreamlike quality, but should also strike a chord in retiring or introspective readers.
A low-key, atmospheric encounter a-glimmer with verbal and visual grace notes. [from Kirkus Reviews]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Lumber Jills

In World War II–era Britain, young women on the homefront replaced fighting men by volunteering for service in the Women’s Timber Corps.  Learn a bit of their story with this new picture book.

Lumber Jills: The Unsung Heroines of World War II by Alexandra Davis, illustrated by Katie Hickey
E  DAV  NEW BOOK
Each “with two hands willing to work and one stout heart,” the Lumber Jills pull woolen socks up to their knees, bid their families farewell, settle into primitive bunkhouses, and learn how “to chop and saw and split” England and Scotland’s trees and haul them from forest to mill. Overcoming blisters and bunkhouse boredom, the Lumber Jills cheerfully perform their work in sun and snow to provide timber crucial for the war effort. The cadenced, repetitive text appropriately echoes the rhythmic tempos and motions of chopping, cutting, and sawing. Sprightly, busy watercolor illustrations showcase sturdy, smiling, white Lumber Jills clad in gum boots, green berets, green sweaters, and green trousers while toting axes and logs and capture the forest venue as well as wartime atmosphere. Inclusion of background posters promoting women’s participation in war work adds relevant period detail while a concluding historical note offers commentary on the vital role women played in the lumber industry during the war.  A rousing, upbeat introduction to the camaraderie and contributions of the “unsung heroines of World War II” who cut 10 million trees for Britain. [from Kirkus Reviews]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Every Month Is a New Year

In the United States, we celebrate the New Year on January 1.  But did you know that many other countries and cultures celebrate New Year on a different day?  Today, March 21, 2019 is Nowruz, the Persian New Year.  In Iran, new year begins with the advent of spring, and most everyone in the country observes it by doing a deep clean of their homes, celebrating a season of new life, and wishing for good luck in the year ahead.  Would you like to find out more about other New Years around the world?  Of course you would!  You're a curious kid!

Every Month Is a New Year by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Susan L. Roth 
Fittingly taking the shape of a calendar, this graceful grouping of more than a dozen poems showcases new year celebrations, both secular and religious, from across the globe and throughout the year. Lines from “Smashing the Pots,” about the Kemetic holiday of Wep Ronpet, crystallize the book’s intent: “Everyone believes in a different beginning./ But what is true and what is clear/ is that all of us hope for a luminous year.” The poems are framed by calendar-style grids filled with thematic collage elements, and dramatic scenes of shared meals (for Nowruz in Iran), flying kites (for Matariki in New Zealand), and other festivities appear in the main images above. Closing notes thoroughly explore the holidays Singer introduces, closing out a lovely collection that both looks back at tradition and forward to new beginnings, wherever one might live. [from Publishers Weekly]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
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Katiem

Spring After Spring

Today, March 20, 2019 is the first day of spring!  For many, springtime is the time for new beginnings.  And spring cleaning.  I prefer to focus on the former.  And my favorite type of beginning?  Starting a new book!  I recommend a title that the National Science Teachers Association named both a 2019 Outstanding Science Trade Books selection and a 2019 Best STEM Books selection.

Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson
JB  CAR
As a child, Rachel Carson awoke to a symphony of birds, and she listened, watched, and wrote as other animals joined in. Innovative, appealing illustrations show Rachel in comic-book panels, vignettes, and full- and double-page spreads as she explores, observes, and deeply appreciates nature. A profusion of dialogue balloons reproduces the vocalizations of the animals around her. As a student, Rachel intends to write but instead focuses on the microscopic world in a drop of water, which in turn leads to underwater scientific study and, later, well-received books about the sea. However, it’s when she realizes that the symphony she loves has grown quiet—effectively represented by both the absence of sound bubbles and negative-space outlines of creatures now disappeared—that she makes her greatest contribution by revealing the destruction caused by pesticides in her book Silent Spring, which contributed to the formation of the EPA and the environmental movement. Resilience and dedication are strong underlying themes here; relevant details, such as her mother’s background in music, are seamlessly incorporated; and while the focus understandably stays on her work—her overwhelming success as an activist and scientist in a field dominated by men goes unmentioned—there is certainly room for outside discussion. [from Kirkus Reviews]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Internment

I loved Samira Ahmed's debut novel Love, Hate & Other Filters (2018).  So, naturally, I was excited to hear she had penned a new book.  Once I learned about the subject matter, I was still eager to read it, but I don't want to use the word excited anymore.  That implies enthusiasm.  How can I be enthusiastic about a future, even fictional, that is filled with such hate?  But it's an important book.  Watch Samira talk about it.  Then read it.  Please.

Internment (March 19, 2019)
Layla was a regular American teenager until the new Islamophobic president enacted Exclusion Laws.  Muslims are being rounded up, their books burned, and their bodies encoded with identification numbers. Neighbors are divided, and the government is going after resisters. Layla and her family are interned in the California desert along with thousands of other Muslim Americans, but she refuses to accept the circumstances of her detention, plotting to take down the system. She quickly learns that resistance is no joke: Two hijabi girls are beaten and dragged away screaming after standing up to the camp director. There are rumors of people being sent to black-op sites. Some guards seem sympathetic, but can they be trusted? Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America, Ahmed’s (Love, Hate & Other Filters, 2018) magnetic, gripping narrative, written in a deeply humane and authentic tone, is attentive to the richness and complexity of the social ills at the heart of the book. Layla grows in consciousness as she begins to understand her struggle not as an individual accident of fate, but as part of an experience of oppression she shares with millions. This work asks the question many are too afraid to confront: What will happen if xenophobia and racism are allowed to fester and grow unabated? [from Kirkus Reviews]

Want to learn even more about the book?  Read a conversation with both Samira Ahmed and Monica Hesse.  Hesse's new book, The War Outside, centers around family internment camps in the United States during WWII.  And, since I know you'll be wondering, yes . . . it is definitely on my to-read list.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
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Katiem

Spring Break 2019

Hoover City Schools will be on Spring Break March 25-29, 2019, so we're taking a break from our regular programming to host a series of special events.  And we're going retro, taking it old-school, people.

Join us for a Family Movie in the Library Theatre on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.  We'll be showing the recently re-released 1953 Disney animated version of Peter Pan.  Admission and refreshments are free!  Teens can drop by the Youth Program Room for Open Gaming at 4 p.m.  We're featuring video games (of course), but we'll also have board games and card games.

You don't need a magic feather to take flight at Dumbo's Big Top on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.  Simply follow the stars to a circus party inspired by the classic (and current) film.  There will be games, crafts, and tasty treats.

Kids of all ages can bring a blanket and their favorite stuffed animal to a Teddy Bear Picnic on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 9:30 & 10:30 a.m.  This storytime will feature two storytellers, classic kid lit and songs, and Teddy Graham crackers.  Older kids (ages 8-12) can sign up to create some crazy delicious food inspired by classic book character friends at Character Chopped! at 4 p.m.   Registration opens 03/21.

Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout for This Teacher Guide!

Brightly has done it again!  Seriously, I cannot rave enough about this website dedicated to exploring the wild and wonderful world of books and reading.  If you want to keep up with their latest educator resources, take a look at their Teach Brightly website.  When you do, you'll find a new educator guide for one of my favorite nonfiction books of 2017 -- Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by Brian Pinkney.

A collection of McKissack’s favorite childhood games, songs, poems, and stories, Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout details the historical — and sometimes hidden — meanings in everything from “Miss Mary Mack” to the backstory of “Amazing Grace,” all through the lens of African American culture and history.  Brightly's free Educator’s Guide is filled with discussion questions, activities, and resources that help bring history to life while inviting students from all cultures to see similarities among their traditions and bring in songs, rhymes, and games from their own lives.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem

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