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Library Blog

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

Pennypacker Presents Pax

There have been lots of good books about a boy and his dog.  This good book is about a boy and his . . . fox.

"Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild. At his grandfather's house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own."

Pax is written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon Klassen.  Their collaboration is "a viscerally affecting story of war, loss, and the power of friendship.  The black-and-white drawings by Klassen offer a respite for readers, while adding to the haunting atmosphere.  With spare, lyrical prose, Pennypacker manages to infuse this tearjerker with a tender hope, showing that peace and love can require just as much sacrifice as war."  (from School Library Journal)

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Dance Dance Underpants

Ballet Cat is back!  And, once again, she's trying to get a friend to dance.  Butter Bear is about to make her ballet debut.  Ballet Cat wants her to leap.  Butter Bear just wants to point her toe.  What's holding her back?  Silly underpants!  Get ready to roll on the floor with laughter when you read Bob Shea's Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!

Don't miss the first funny book in this series!
Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Black History Month: New Titles Worthy of Extra Celebration

2015 was a great year for juvenile nonfiction books, and many of those titles are perfect for Black History Month.

2016 already looks like it will be an equally great year for books about African-American history!

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

No Jacket Required – “Presidential Biographies,” January 2016

HPL’s genre group discussed Presidential Biographies in January.

The titles and websites presented are listed below.

  • Woodrow Wilson by H.W. Brands
  • Lyndon B. Johnson by Charles Peters
  • No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • The Roosevelts: An Intimate History DVD by Ken Burns
  • Dead Wake by Erik Larson
  • Thomas Jefferson Landscape Architect by Frederick Doveton Nichols and Ralph E. Griswold
  • The Unfinished Presidency by Douglas Brinkley
  • A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter
  • Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
  • Young Mr. Obama by Ted McClelland
  • The American Journey of Barack Obama by Life Books
  • "The Fix’s List of Best Presidential Biographies" from The Washington Post
  • Essential Books I, II, and III on the right side of the page from Dead Presidents blog

Please join us on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 for a discussion of Poetry. The group will be held in the Theatre Level Meeting Room C at 10:30 a.m. Call Nonfiction at 444-7840 for more information.

Target Age: 
Denio's picture

Kung Fu Panda 3: The Weight Is Over

The weight is over.  I mean, the wait is over.  Kung Fu Panda 3 hits the big screen this weekend!

When Po's long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious (and cute!) new panda characters.  But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible -- train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas.

Find the first two movies and the spin-off TV episodes in the Kid Zone DVDs, under K.


Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Some Kind of Courage

Dan Gemeinhart blew me away in 2015 with his debut novel, The Honest TruthIt was a story of steely resolve and undying friendship . . . told by a dying boy.  Gemeinhart's sophomore story is called Some Kind of Courage.  I better make sure the tissues are well within reach.  

"Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he's ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he's lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her. Joseph can sure enough get her back, though. The odds are stacked against him, but he isn't about to give up. He will face down deadly animals, dangerous men, and the fury of nature itself on his quest to be reunited with the only family he has left. Because Joseph Johnson may have lost just about everything. But he hasn't lost hope. And he hasn't lost the fire in his belly that says he's getting his Sarah back-no matter what."

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Two Ways to Share the Love

  1. Valentines for Children's Hospital
    January 31-February 9, 2016

    Bring in a signed valentine, homemade or store-bought, for a patient and receive a treat.  Valentines cannot include candy, balloons, rubber bands, religious messages, or tiny objects.  This is at the request of Children's Hospital.  Please turn in your valentines to the preschool desk.  
  2. Be Our Valentine
    Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

    Enjoy a fun night of Valentine crafts, games and snacks for the whole family.  Follow your heart (and the starred hallway) to the program room.
Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

The Only Girl in School

Natalie Standiford is one of my favorite un-sung authors.  She's not super famous, but she should be!  I'm very excited about her newest book, The Only Girl in School.  

When Claire’s best friend, Bess, moves away, she becomes the only girl left in her entire school. At first, she thinks she’ll be able to deal with this -- after all, the girls’ bathroom is now completely hers, so she can turn it into her own private headquarters and draw on the walls. When it comes to soccer games or sailing races, she can face off against any boy. The problem is that her other best friend, Henry, has begun to ignore her. And Webby, a super-annoying bully, won’t leave her alone. And Yucky Gilbert, the boy who has a crush on her, also won’t leave her alone. It’s never easy being the only one -- and over the course of a wacky school year, Claire is going to have to make it through challenges big and small. The boys may think they rule the school, but when it comes to thinking on your feet, Claire’s got them outnumbered.

Don't miss these other winning Natalie Standiford titles!
The Secret Tree (also available as ebook)
Minty's neighborhood is full of mysteries. There's the Witch House, a spooky old farmhouse on the other side of the woods from where Minty and her best friend, Paz, live. There's the Man Bat, a seven-foot-tall half man, half bat who is rumored to fly through the woods. And there are the Mean Boys, David and Troy, who torment Minty for no reason, and her boy-crazy older sister, Thea, who acts weirder and weirder. One day Minty spots a flash in the woods, and when she chases after it, she discovers a new mystery -- a Secret Tree, with a hollow trunk that holds the secrets of everyone in the neighborhood. Secrets like: I put a curse on my enemy. And it's working. I'm betraying my best friend in a terrible way. No one loves me except my goldfish.
Switched at Birthday
Lavender and Scarlet are nothing alike. Scarlet is tall, pretty, and popular -- the star of the soccer team and the queen of the school. Lavender is . . . well, none of these things. Her friends aren't considered cool, her hair is considered less than uncool, and her performance at the recent talent show is something nobody will ever forget -- even though she really, really wants it to be forgotten. There's only one thing Lavender and Scarlet know for sure they have in common: the same birthday. They've never had parties together. They've never swapped presents. But this year, because of two wishes that turned all too true, they are about to swap something much bigger than presents. Because the morning after their birthdays, Lavender is going to wake up in Scarlet's body . . . and Scarlet is going to wake up in Lavender's. But in order to change back, they're going to have to figure out how to be someone completely opposite of who they ordinarily are.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

TJI: Book Oscars

We're in an "awards" season -- Newbery Award, national college football championship, Golden Globes, Super Bowl 50, etc.  So our new-books book club for grades 4-6 created Book Oscars for the books we read.  Take a look!
Ananya = Divergent by Veronica Roth (winner of Book Oscar for Best Mind-Blowing Action)
Austin = Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen (winner of Book Oscar for Best Action Book OF ALL TIME)
Carlie = Ever After High: Once Upon a Pet by Suzanne Selfors (winner of Book Oscar for Best Book about Animals)
Carson =The Inquisitor's Mark by Diane K. Salerni (winner of Book Oscar for Best Innovative Plot Book)
Gregory = Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney (winner of Book Oscar for Best Dumbest Book Ever)
J.P. = Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling (winner of Book Oscar for Best Illustrated Remake)
Kendyl = Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (winner of Book Oscar for Best Realistic Fiction Novel in 2016)
LaDonna = Rainbow Magic Fairies series by Daisy Meadows (winner of Book OScar for Best Problem and Solution Episode Series of Books)
Liam =  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney(winner of Book Oscar for Best Book of Comedy)
Mahdis =Stick Dog Tries to Take the Donuts by Tom Watson (winner of Book Oscar for Best Book about Dog Adventures)
Nyemah = The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York by Geoff Rodkey (winner of Book Oscar for Best Daring Scavenger Hunt)
Selma = Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Perfect Pet Sitter by Rachel Renée Russell (winner of Book Oscar for Best Book about Adventures in Puppy-Sitting)
Miss Katie Jane = Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hood Adventure by Kekla Magoon (winner of Book Oscar for Best Multicultural Futuristic Classic Reimagining)

This Just In! will meet again on Monday, February 22, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.  Read a book published in the last 6 months (our new book section will help with that), register online or by phone (444-7830), and join us!

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Let's Talk Books!: How to Booktalk

My number one job here at the Hoover Public Library is getting the right books in the right hands.  Sometimes, the kid is reluctant to try reading something new.  Sometimes, the teen doesn't like reading at all.  Sometimes, the girl thinks she doesn't like sports books.  Sometimes, the boy doesn't want to read a book with a character who isn't exactly like him.  That's when I have to use my well-honed superpower: the persuasive booktalk.  I use it at the Kid Zone desk, in the Teen Spot stacks, in the schools . . . basically everywhere I go.  Now, here's my confession.  Lean in close, I don't want everyone to know.  YOU have the same superpower.  Or, at least, you CAN have it if you follow these tips.

  • As you read a book, take notes on elements like eccentric characters, key story details, and humorous or suspenseful scenes.  Use these notes to draft your booktalk.
  • Your booktalk should convey something about the book that your audience will remember -- like a specific detail, character, or scene that made a vivid impression on you -- and include one or two lines about the plot (without giving too much away!).  
  • 150-200 words is the perfect length for a short booktalk.  The shorter the talk, the more books that can be covered in a short time.
  • Practice delivering the booktalk.  While you don't need to memorize it, a booktalk is more effective if you can deliver it without reading.  (Trick: Stick a Post-it note on the back of the book to remind you of key details.)
  • Be enthusiastic!  

Need specific examples?  No problem.  Here are a couple sample booktalks of new titles.
Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu
It cannot be real, Silly thinks.  Her sisters have not uncovered some sort of magic in their bedroom closet.  But when Astrid and her twin sister, Eleanor, invite Marla and Silly into their secret world, huge changes descend on the household.  You see, magic can be wonderful and healing and golden.  Unfortunately, it can also be dark, demanding, and dangerous.  And Silly seems to be the key to how the magic will ultimately affect her entire family.  Can she save Marla and her parents from the effects of a darker magic?
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
It's not an insult, not a cuss word.  It is a fact.  Willowdean, will for short, is fat.  Her mother's nickname for Will, Dumplin', is a subtle reminder that Will is not the type of young woman who would normally enter a beauty pageant.  The pageant in question is the Miss Texas Blue Bonnet Pageant, the same pageant Will's mother won when she was a young woman, and the one Will elects to enter now.  She has a point to make: you don't have to win a pageant to wear a crown.  And sometimes the fat lady gets to do more than sing before the story is over. 

* These hints and sample booktalks are courtesy of HarperStacks.  Take a look at their website for more great reading resources.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture