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    by Carrie | Oct 17, 2018
    • ACPL Writers' Series: Romance Writing 101
    • Sunday, November 4, 2018
    • 2:00 - 4:00 pm
    • Main Library, Meeting Rooms B & C

    Romance is one of the hottest selling genres on the fiction market. But how do you turn your story into page turner? This class will focus on adding the fine details to make your romance into a book readers can’t put down. Whether you’re new to writing, new to romance, or looking to strengthen your skills, this class can help take you to the next level.

    This workshop is part of the ACPL Writers' Series.


    Jennifer Ann Coffeen

    Jennifer Ann Coffeen is the author of several regency-era romance novels and short stories with The Wild Rose Press and Musa Publishing, including her most recent, A Deal with Lord Devlin. Jennifer is also the Festival Director and an instructor at StoryStudio Chicago. Her short story “Tooth” (published with Streetlight Magazinewas nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize. She's currently working on a historical mystery.


    by Dawn S | Oct 16, 2018

    Welcome to our weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! Today's post is by Carrie, who works with children and families at our Waynedale Branch Library.


    ouline of child dancing
    During Storytime, I like to move a lot. Our group ranges in age from infants up to about age 5, and we have a lot of energy first thing in the morning. We certainly read a book or two and do some fingerplays, but we also spend a lot of time stretching and dancing around. We use ribbons or scarves weekly as we twirl and jump. Sometimes we pretend they are different objects. Can you use your scarf like a hat? Can you fly it like a kite? Can you toss it in the air and catch it like a falling leaf? How would it look as an elephant’s trunk?
    outline of child dancing

    We try to do at least one activity which crosses the midline each week, too. By moving your hands or feet across an imaginary line down the center of your body, you are developing skills useful in writing and reading. You are building connections between the two sides of your brain. You are also building motor skills necessary in daily tasks like writing and tying your shoes. Can you hold your scarf in your right hand and swish your left shoulder? Can you hold it in your left hand and tickle your right foot? Can you stretch your right arm all the way out to your side, sweep it up, up, up into the air over your head, and down to the left shoulder? Can you pass it into your left hand and try to stretch that one out and up, up, up and over to your right shoulder?
    outline of child dancing

    I like to follow up all the stretching and bending with a dance to expend some energy. A favorite is The Freeze by Greg & Steve. We dance along with the music however we want, but when the music pauses, we try to freeze in place! It’s a lot of fun, and I love to see the amazing dance moves each person invents. Dancing with the scarves and ribbons is fun, and it fills the room with color. You should give it a try!

    image fo pile of scarves

    We use these scarves, but you could easily use handkerchiefs, inexpensive squares of patterned cotton material, or any other lightweight fabric.

    As the weather turns cold and rainy, turn up the music and dance around! It’s good for your brain!

    by Craig B | Oct 15, 2018

    Book Review: Peter Taylor's winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, A Summons to Memphis

    Wikipedia uses the term “ruminations” to describe some of the working of themes in A Summons to MemphisPeter Taylor’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Summons to Memphis, a term I always associate with the grinding, less than moderately paced “chewing of the cud” by cows (probably because cows are literally “ruminants,” who practice “rumination;”  the same word, differently numbered definition).  And there certainly is a “chewing of the cud” pace to this novel allowing for these “ruminations” to develop over time, which I do appreciate, but even at only 209 pages I’m not sure the narrative is dynamic enough to really make this a great novel.  See this post’s title.  But no! It’s fine, it’s fine.  Who am I to disagree with the Pulitzer Board?  I mean, I certainly enjoyed the book on some levels, but it also made total sense to me that Peter Taylor is better known as a short story writer (during his career he wrote several collections of short stories and only three novels of which “Summons” is his second) because of the way the story is paced and “ruminates” and especially the way it ends with an image that is open to interpretation and doesn’t tell us anything directly; a sort of slow zoom out by the writerly camera while “ruminating” on things that seem less-than-directly related to the events we’ve just witnessed (ah, the power of metaphor?).  All of this smacks of short story writerisms, writerisms that often work powerfully in the condensed, tense nature of a short story, but perhaps only make for a sleepy novel, confusing at the end, because in novels we are mostly concerned about what happens whereas in short stories we invest in mood, in atmosphere (someone else has said that surely, I’m remembering that from somewhere, I did not pluck that out of the aether, not me, the master of the run-on sentence) and are delighted by obtuse metaphors and languid commentary on the human condition. 

    Anyway … no biggie.  I enjoyed reading the novel and now I know who Peter Taylor is and I enjoyed reading about Nashville, a city with a special place in my heart (good old Franklin Pike) and Memphis, a city I’ve yet to visit.  Speaking of, I bet Taylor’s got a slam-bang whopper of a short story about Memphis.  Can anyone vouch for “A Walled Garden?”  That really may be right up my alley. 

    Craig B author Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Craig B | Oct 12, 2018
    cover for Eminem's album, KamikazeI quite appreciated the stereo effect that made my ears feel full of bubbles at the beginning of "The Ringer," the opening track for Eminem’s newest album, Kamikaze.  I also was quite taken with the confrontational cleverness Mr. Mathers employs to make his point about what he thinks of his critics, though I personally try to err on the other extreme in my responses to “constructive” criticism.  All of that said, though, I still think, that for self-destructive, frustrated lyricism I’d have to turn to the Old 97s album, Wreck Your Life, which is probably mostly a subjective personal preference, and yet, if my memory serves, Wreck Your Life is an album that is objectively easier to listen to with the windows down.

    Suggested Use: I had an instructor in college once who seemed to find Eminem’s music quite cathartic in its “to the fore” aggressiveness and I think this album manages to keep that tradition alive.  So, had a bad day?  Filled with rage at something you heard on the news?  Hesitant to shout expletives into the air or practice your primal scream?  Pop Kamikaze into your dashboard (roll the windows up!) and lose yourself in congested, traffic-filled road construction, too cool to care about having to be anywhere, unlike that Celica that cut you off yesterday and that Sunday-Driving Datsun in front of you now; you’ve got Eminem to do the shouting for you.


    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Dawn S | Oct 11, 2018
    We're getting some great new media for kids! Here is just part of the collection.
    And don't forget, each of these items is available in other formats as well, like print books and ebooks, or downloadable music.
    books on cd sign
    cover image for unbelievably boring bart cover image for the third mushroom
    cover image for school for crooks cover image for so done
    cover image for royal crown
     books on playaway sign  cover image for adventures in wild space
    cover image for judy moody and the right royal tea party
    cover image for squirm cover image for life according to og the frog cover image for otherwood
     music cds sign cover image for dog on the floor
    cover image for kidz bop christmas
     cover image for wiggle pop  cover image for keep it real
    cover image for the pit hits
    by Kayla W | Oct 10, 2018
       A Retrospective: Telltale Games

    Clementine: He's just always blaming me for stuff

    Lee: Like what?

    Clementine: Puttin’ a bug on his pillow…

    Lee: Did you do that?

    Clementine: ...Yes.
    - The Walking Dead: Season 1

    telltale-games-restructuringjpgoptimal-1135096-1280x0

     

    This is going to be a long and confused one.

    I am really struggling to find meaning behind the loss of so much potential, and even more than that, the loss of actual, really good moments of genuine storytelling magic. Of course, it would be callous to first not acknowledge the loss of the livelihoods of many employees in a company that has folded - be it as (allegedly) toxic an environment as I have heard it is - in an industry that these people have fought tooth and nail to get into.

    In case you haven’t heard, Telltale Games is shutting down, only fulfilling work they are contractually obligated to make for Netflix with a skeleton crew, and then will disappear into the ether of time. They are stopping production of their last project in the works, the final season of
    The Walking Dead.

    Honestly, some of this stuff is so genuinely aggravating and heart breaking that it helps to think of the things that remind you of why you cared about a company in the first place.

    I’ll say what has, to me, to be the greatest accomplishment of this soon to be defunct game studio, which is to center the crown jewel of their game series around a character who is simultaneously one of my favorite female characters as well as my absolute favorite child character, in the form of Clementine. She is a character of color and has multiple moments in the game I played (the First Season) that show her vulnerability, her strength, her sense of humor, and her personality.

    Make no mistake: when
    The Walking Dead: Season 1 debuted in 2012, Clementine was a revelation, not only in terms of being a video game character, but in the general culture as well. Before Alloy, the return of Lara Croft, and a year before Ellie would shock an industry by putting a non-objectified female protagonist on a video game box cover art not just alongside a man, but in front of him, Clementine proved to a world that shouldn't have needed the confirmation that female characters have complex and engaging stories to tell in this medium. And it wasn’t just a small portion of people who thought this as well. In an industry dominated by people, both in the business and its consumers, who believe enjoyability relies on big budgets, male-coded protagonists, and graphics that go above and beyond, a tie-in game for The Walking Dead that is known largely because of the strength of its girl protagonist became the dark horse winner of multiple Game of the Year awards from many gaming publications in the year it released.

    This game came after the (to me) disappointing tie-in games for both Jurassic Park as well as
    Back to the Future, a fact that deserves notice. The game should have been more than a victory lap for a game studio I had never even heard of before playing this game – it should have been like that moment in a sports’ movie where the protagonist is raised up to be carried off into the sunset while the credits roll.

    But they didn’t stop there. They followed up with a great party game collection like The Jackbox Party Pack, and truly great tie-in, such as The Wolf Among Us (a game that lead me to the comic book series that it acts as a prologue into, the truly ground breaking Fables), Tales from the Borderlands, and even a Batman tie-in game that I have heard fantastic things about. They did so much work and told a variety of different stories that it boggles the mind. Heck, I just learned they did a LEGO tie-in that’s also a Star Wars tie-in!

    Alas, the problem with their closure has been one that I have seen coming for a while now. In the same way that figuring out where to start with explaining why this company matters, explaining what will cause this company to join the list of tragedies I have lived through that originate from being a gamer is not easy.

    The top off the list has been easy to spot for someone who played The Walking Dead: Season One back when it first came out. Even back in 2012, the game is far from intuitive, the system it touts about being able to make a significant impact with your choices on the game’s narrative is a pretty blatant lie, and the engine it had kept on life support even for that time was showing its many failings. I may have pointed out five of their games that I have played and can confirm or otherwise have it on good authority that they are true gems, but they have more than four game series under their belt that are chores to play or are otherwise just not good. That's not a great track record, to be half great and half bad, if not outright terrible. I know awfulness is relative, but from what I have heard, people who love the games I have pointed out earlier felt varying degrees of disappointment from or outright anger towards the following titles: Guardians of the Galaxy,
    Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future

    Keep in mind: all of this came after the 2012 success of The Walking Dead: Season One. They did all of this in the five years and some change between that game and this year.

    And then there’s the curious case of Minecraft: Story Mode.

    It is a game that fatigued me so much that I did not have the will to seek out
    Tales from the Borderlands or Batman. This is the game that I would point to as proof positive of the inherent failings of the Telltale system. Also, I love The Wolf Among Us, but when it came time to put the controller down and the end credits rolled, I got the feeling that the story wasn’t fleshed out enough, but the big problem was the wheezing game engine it relied on. Cue Minecraft, a game I picked up because I felt nostalgic for Telltale Games’ work and out of curiosity for how they could re-invent another game's world.

    At first, it’s a dizzyingly fascinating experience. Some of my favorite comedians, in the form of Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn fill out starring roles, and there’s a gentle comedy to the whole thing. But it quickly becomes apparent that the game engine has been pulled over from the Playstation 3 era into the next, and it works as well as you would imagine it would. Which is to say that it doesn’t. Lag eats into time you need to make split decisions and into scenes meant to be action-packed or emotional. The mood of the narrative doesn’t know if it wants to be lighthearted, which would fit the context of the game and the game’s community it has taken from, or bizarrely emotional. For all of the lagging and the misunderstanding of Minecraft’s appeal which is, understandably, crafting, the major problem of the game came from a complete dissonance between the perceived mood of the narrative and what it actually is – and should have been.

    I do hate spoilers, and I am sorry, but the only way to explain the problem is by spoiling the end of Minecraft: Story Mode, so you have been warned. Spoilers abound for the following two paragraphs(!)

    There is a scene in the game where the comic relief pet pig, Reuben, dies. Mind you, this is after the events of the game have lead to some apocalyptic doing, which lead to the destruction of a lot of stuff as well as what can be surmised to be the deaths of many – human – characters. But when the protagonist, Jesse, finds his pig dramatically dying, not only does he have an emotional breakdown that he has lost his best friend, but this pig is given a funeral that would be fitting for a major political figure. In light of the deaths of many people.

    Oh. My. Word. I don’t even understand how a writer could think that this is an appropriate idea to have in a Minecraft game, but here we have the death of Reuben the Pig to act as an appropriate metaphor for the whole debacle. Potential buried beneath mediocrity that had no reason to be there, then topped off with something that pulls you out of the experience so hard you remember it (ironically enough) years later.

    And then there was the non-surface level “oops” of this company, in the form of being overly zealous in a way that reminds me of an novice player of any city builder sim and expanding too bleeping much too bleeping fast with no infrastructure in place to support it, getting the rights for every hot property imaginable to make a game out of it all at once, and then the cherry on top – its (allegedly) very Konami-like mistreatment of workers. That last one hurts especially, because I envision people making things I like not having to do so in an uncomfortable, toxic – damaging – environment.

    On top of it being a bad environment to produce in, this was a company apparently well-known for implementing the industry plague known as Crunch. Crunch is a term that encompasses the practices of working overtime on a project – typically to the point where it interferes in a person’s life, taking away their sleep and personal life. The funny thing is that there are believers in Crunch who think that it somehow results in a better end product. I don’t see how pushing people or a group of people like an abused beast of burden is going to make anything good, especially if it is something that is a piece of art or something that requires craftsmanship to produce. You end up getting a sub par product, and it’s no small collateral that the people who made it become disillusioned or burn out.

    Yes, the burn out in this company is legendary, much like CD Projekt Red, apparently where starry eyed workers were being chewed up and spit out through this system so fast it could make your head spin. To boot, the company went out on a nasty note because it had apparently hired a lot of new people the previous week, and then all of their workers were let go without any severance pay. Whoa.

    The final insult seems to be that as soon as the end came, the final season of The Walking Dead was killed halfway through, leaving people who paid for the full season hanging in the wind. Guys, paying for something like this up front is sometimes a bad idea. I’ve heard of a lot of people losing money they gave game projects on things like Kickstarter, but I am not surprised that one of these Season Passes that video game publishers have been hawking has turned out to be a bad choice. After all, a game company, whether it’s the work of one guy or hundred – thousands – of people is basically the same thing. I would also not be surprised if a few somebodies sue the ex-heads of this company for their treatment of their workers as well as charging customers for a product they never deliver on. Update: while writing this, I found out that the ex-employees are currently in the process of suing their old bosses.

    If there’s extra insult to injury, it has to be the fact that people who have invested themselves emotionally into The Walking Dead will get absolutely no closure, besides the second episode of the season. Update: while writing this, apparently the last season is due to be given to another studio to finish. A bad reminder, perhaps, that this game meant so much to its players and to many of the people who made it, but that at the end of the day, it was still a product and was discontinued like Crystal Pepsi.

    Wow. This went on a lot longer than I expected. I was more emotional and had deeper concerns on this subject than I thought I did when I started.

    I am honestly very interested in hearing what you have to say about this. Do you have any good memories of the company? Do you think this is a pattern that might spread to more of the game industry?

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Susan | Oct 09, 2018

    Welcome to our new weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! Today's post is by Susan,who leads the Music and Movement Storytime at our Dupont Branch.

    cover image for the busy little squirrel
    At a recent Music and Movement Storytime we read the book The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri. The children made the animal sounds as each asked Squirrel to play. But, the answer was always the same "He was so busy!" This repeated phrase makes it a great book for shared reading (parts for you to read and parts for your child). Read it together to find out why Squirrel was so busy!

    We enjoyed doing this flannelboard chant, too. Especially, the CRUNCH at the end!
    image of flannel board tree with worm and apples

    Five Little Apples Hanging in a Tree

    from perpetualpreschool.com

    (chanted to Five Little Monkeys)

    Five little apples hanging in a tree,

    Teasing Mr. Slinky worm, can’t eat me, can’t eat me!

    Along comes Mr. Slinky worm quiet as can be…

     …CRUNCH!

    Continue with 4, 3, 2, 1

    by Emily M | Oct 08, 2018

    Join us for a free showing of Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation!

    Count Dracula and company participate in a cruise for sea-loving monsters, unaware that their boat is being commandeered by the monster-hating Van Helsing family.

    hoteltransylvania3

    What: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
    When: Tuesday, October 30, 6:30 pm
    Where: Main Library Theater, Lower Level 2
    Free admission
    Limited seating. First-come, first-seated.
    Doors open at 6 pm with cartoons.

    by Evan | Oct 08, 2018

    A Sand County AlmanacYou read to get beyond your regular life, right? Fun, learning, excitement -- going somewhere beyond your usual routine. 

    Yet, there's a special thrill when what you read does connect to your life. The novel's main character likes your favorite wine. The biography is about someone your grandfather knew. The history mentions a martyr of your faith.

    The lure for me is places I have been -- or been near. Travel writing goes there directly, of course. (Miles from Nowhere, anyone?) Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon novels take me to national parks I have seen. Same for anything about the battlefields or cities I have visited. If I can connect even a small part of my life to what I am reading, the reading becomes more of me.

    The latest catch is a classic -- Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, one of those books I've been intending to read, since I lived, as a young man, near where it takes place. That would be Sauk County, Wisconsin, a lovely land of green hills and farms and bits of sandy Wisconsin River banks including Prof. Leopold's. 

    Leopold died 70 years ago, right after writing the book. The almanac and his other writings helped give the wilderness preservation movement more ability to compete with land development than it had in his day. Sauk County was also where I was introduced to the idea that hunters are conservationists -- or at least can be. And it was where I interviewed a preservationist about his tiny new project -- the International Crane Foundation, which is now a world-renowned force for wildlife. 

    So, reading A Sand County Almanac more than 40 years later was bittersweet, as I wish I had read it then, learned from it, and maybe visited Leopold's land. But maybe I will yet take that trip, and create an even closer bond between great writing and my own life experience.



    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Kay S | Oct 05, 2018
    As autumn slowly creeps its way toward us, it's time to once again look at some fiction books which will be making their appearance soon. Sometime between September 15 and October 14, 2018 these books will be making their appearance. And, my little Petunias, what do I always say? These are publishing dates, not the dates they will appear on your library shelf.

    Historical Romance
    Kelly Bowen Kelly Bowen

    Last Night with the Earl
    The Devils of Dover series
    September 25 
    Shana Galen Shana Galen

    Theresa Romain

    Mrs. Brodie's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies
    September 18
    Jo Goodman Jo Goodman

    A Touch of Flame
    Cowboys of Colorado
    September 19
    Julia Justiss Julia Justiss

    A Most Unsuitable Match
    Sisters of Scandal series
    September 18
    Joanna Shupe Joanna Shupe

    A Notorious Vow
    Four Hundred series
    September 25


    Historical Fiction

    Juliet Blackwell Juliet Blackwell

    The Lost Carousel of Provence
    September 18 
    Bernard Cornwell Bernard Cornwell

    War of the Wolf
    Last Kingdom series
    October 2
    Hazel Gaynor Hazel Gaynor

    The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter
    October 9


    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction/Women's Fiction/New Adult

    Marie Force Marie Force

    Five Years Gone
    Mainstream Fiction
    October 9 
    Lynne Hugo Lynne Hugo

    The Testament of Harold's Wife
    Mainstream Fiction
    September 25
    Christine Morgan Sarah Morgan

    The Christmas Sisters
    Women's Fiction
    September 25
    Kiki Swinson Kiki Swinson
     
    The Hunt Is On
    Cheaper to Keep Her series
    Contemporary Romance
    September 18


    Mystery/Thrillers/Romantic Suspense/Suspense

    EJ Copperman E J Copperman

    Bird, Bath, and Beyond
    Agent to the Paws Mystery series
    Mystery
    October 9
    Angie Fox Angie Fox

    Pecan Pies and Dead Guys
    Southern Ghost Hunter Mystery series
    Mystery
    September 18
    Robert Galbraith aka jk Rowlings Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling

    Lethal White
    Cormoran Strike series
    September 18
    Andrew Gross Andrew Gross

    Button Man
    September 18
    Anna Huber Anna Lee Huber

    Treacherous Is the Night
    Verity Kent series
    September 25
    Perry Carol J. Perry

    Bells, Spells, and Murders
    Witch City Mystery series
    September 25


    Paranormal Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Horror

    Paula Brackston  Paula Brackston

    The Little Shop of Found Things
    Paranormal Romance
    October 2 
    Grace Draven Grace Draven

    Phoenix Unbound
    Fallen Empire series
    Fantasy
    September 25
    Jennifer Estep Jennifer Estep

    Kill the Queen
    Crown of Shards series
    Urban Fantasy
    October 2
    Heather Graham Heather Graham

    Echoes of Evil
    Krewe of Hunters series
    Paranormal
    September 18
    Candace Osmond Candace Osmond

    The Siren's Call
    Dark Tides series
    Paranormal
    September 24
    Anne Rice Anne Rice

    Blood Communion
    Vampire Chronicles series
    Paranormal/Horror
    October 2
    Rene Rossner Rena Rossner

    The Sisters of the Winter Wood - debut
    Fantasy
    September 25
    Harry Turtledove Harry Turtledove
     
    Through Darkest Europe
    Fantasy/Alternate History
    September 18

    Young Adult/Teen

    Becky Albertalli  Becky Albertalli

    Adam Silvera

    What If It's Us
    October 9 
    CC Hunter C C Hunter

    Two Feet Under
    Mortician's Daughter series
    October 1
    Julie kagawa Julie Kagawa

    Shadow Of The Fox
    Shadow of the Fox series
    October 9
    Mackenzie Lee Mackenzi Lee

    The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
    Guide series
    October 2

    Maniscalco Kerri Maniscalco

    Escaping From Houdini
    Stalking Jack the Ripper series
    September 18


    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream

    Hubbard Charlotte Hubbard

    A Simple Christmas
    Simple Gifts series
    September 25

    Amy Lillard Amy Lillard  
     
    A Wells Landing Christmas
    Wells Landing series
    September 25
    Emily March Emily March

    The Christmas Wishing Tree
    Eternity Springs series
    September 25




    kayKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.
    by Angie Fetters-Nitza | Oct 03, 2018

    The Design It! program, which offers children the opportunity to create projects based on different themes, has expanded this school year into Build It Wednesdays. Each session we use open-ended projects encouraging children to use their imaginations as they build creative thinking and problem solving skills.

    Build It Wednesdays
    Build It Wednesdays take place on Wednesday afternoons in Children’s Services at the Main Library from 3:30pm-4:30pm.

    The first Wednesday of each month is Construction Zone. During Construction Zone, kids are able to build almost anything they can imagine using a variety of materials such as K’Nex, gears, straws and connectors, Brain Flakes, magnetic tiles, Mega Blocks and even plastic cups.

    The second and fourth Wednesday of each month are when we offer our Design It! program. The theme changes each time. Please check the schedule listed below for themes through the remainder of the year.

    The third Wednesday of each month is Block Play! This is a great time for kids to come build with our big blue blocks and our Keva planks.

    Design It! Schedule:

    October 10 – Build a Boat That Floats
    October 24 - Mixed Media Collage
    November 14 - Animation Flip Books
    November 28 - Musical Instruments
    December 12 - Paper Hats and Wigs
    December 26 - Build a Tower




    by Nancy | Oct 03, 2018
    The Great American Read logo

    Are you watching "The Great American Read" on PBS on Tuesday nights at 8pm?  They will be covering some of the 100 favorite books as voted by Americans.  You can vote here.  If you watch the show, they also offer phone numbers at the end of the broadcast if you you wish to cast your vote that way. 

     

    PBS will reveal the winner on October 23rd's episode.  I'm curious which book will win.  I have my suspicions, and my hopes.  I've already tried some books off the list that I had never read and I know I will try more in the days and months to come.  They were good!!

    The fall episodes will look at books surrounding different themes.  The "Who am I" episode features my favorite book of all time (so far): John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.   It will probably be tough listening to someone else talk about why they love this book.  It's never quite my reason why! (Yes, I know.  How lucky am I that my favorite book is on the list so I can vote for it!  Granted, none of my other top 5 are on there and so your absolute favorite may not be either.  But perhaps an author you love is on the list, or a book from your top 10?)

    I've read 3 other books on this "Who am I" list.  One was so-so but interesting, and another I absolutely loved; so it may be a good list for me to embark on.  Maybe in watching the show, one of their celebrity readers will convince you to try their favorite.  Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  has persuaded me to pick up Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

    In case you want to get cracking, Hoopla, one of our 24/7 digital services where titles are always available with no wait, lists which "Great American Read" titles they offer on audio and ebook here.

    So enjoy the show but more importantly, enjoy a book!

     

    by Erin | Oct 02, 2018

    Welcome to our new weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! Today's post is by Erin, a children's librarian at the Main Library.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    One of my favorite things to do in Family Storytime is share a flannelboard activity! Flannelboards can help tell a story, provide visuals for a song, or even be made into a game! One of my favorite flannelboards to share during the month of October is Five Little Monsters Jumping on the Bed.

    I place each monster on the flannelboard (usually asking the children to help me count them), then I sing the song. As each monster falls off of the bed, I remove one monster from the board.

    Five Little Monsters

    Five Little Monsters Jumping on the Bed
    [to the tune of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed]

    Five little monsters jumping on the bed.
    One fell off and bumped his head.
    Mama called the doctor, and the doctor said.
    No more monsters jumping on the bed!
    --keep counting down until there are no little monsters jumping on the bed

    Jumping, counting, and monsters - Happy October!

    by Kayla W | Oct 01, 2018

    Book Review: Damn Fine Story

     

    Each answer creates more questions and problems. Put differently, every answer to every question – every solution to every problem – has consequences. Questions have answers, and answers lead to more questions.  These chain together, ultimately, into a story. And they chain together in a way that is consequential – meaning, they’re not simply this happens, then this, then this, but rather, each effect is preceded by a cause.  – Chuck Wendig

     

    Damn Fine story

    As someone who has read more than a handful of books on the craft of writing fiction, I can say that they tend to fall in a couple of directions through the execution of creating a narrative.  For example, Stephen King errs on the side of inspiration for the newbie with a healthy dose of “here’s who I am and how I work”, Larry Brooks will tell you the secret that screenplay writers have known for – well, forever – which is to embrace the formula and methodology.  Wendig presents some intriguing writing advice told in a conversational tone, as though he were your friend and he’s gonna skip all the needless formalities to tell you the truly important aspects of writing fiction – with some side tracks along the way.  What he wants to teach you is the heart of what it means to tell a narrative.

    Wendig believes that the way you tell a story is the most crucial aspect of a narrative. This strikes true in a way – people will remember the way you react to them more than they will remember the content of what you say to them. I have had numerous conversations with people over what it is that draws them to a specific narrative, genre, or creator, and a lot are honestly drawn to what they end up loving because of the way those narratives are packaged. To Wendig, his heroes in storytelling are people like his father, who could tell the story of how he lost his finger and spin it into a legendary and entertaining yarn. In the author’s view, the best storyteller is one that can cut through to the point in the most entertaining manner possible, while also seducing his audience to keep coming back for more.

    It’s a refreshing view on storytelling, getting back to the basics in a way that appeals to both new creators and old alike. Much of his beliefs on what makes a narrative worthwhile have held true, long before stories were ever written down, and they feel like ones that he has battle-tested after having written numerous stories. Even if you don’t agree with everything that Wendig says, it’s hard to not respect the care that he has taken for the benefit of his readers. At the very least, much like what Wendig believes is the most important aspect of telling a story, the book itself is very entertaining.

    My major problems with the book lie in the fact that, the middle of it, he focuses on personal stories relating to his children that weren’t particularly enlightening, nor were they funny. However, getting through even that middle slog that has a lot of strange focuses on its chapters, as well as the personal stories that go nowhere, will lead you to a final checklist that ought to make your ears perk up if you’re like me and are a fan of Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers. It provides a welcome, clarifying end after a book full of useful and enlightening advice.  The focus on creating and telling a narrative in a manner that draws an audience in likewise makes this guide worth reading even for people who aren’t writers.  After all, the people that often end up the most respected in whatever tribe they’re a part of are the ones who can spin the best stories.

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Emily M | Sep 28, 2018
    Looking for a book recommendation? Look no further! Here are a few good books I've enjoyed lately...

    The Child FinderThe Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

    Naomi is the country’s top private investigator for missing children, and her work is her entire life.  She has no spouse or children, and she can count her friends on one hand.  She doesn’t even have her own home, but works out of a hotel room in whatever town her current case is based. 

    In The Child Finder, Naomi has returned to the area where she grew up to work two cases: a five-year-old girl who has been missing for 3 years, and a baby who went missing a month earlier.  Told from multiple perspectives, The Child Finder not only follows Naomi’s investigation of the two missing children, but finds Naomi reluctantly facing truths from her own past that have long stayed buried.  While the subject matter of The Child Finder is dark, the writing is lovely, and the ending hopeful.    

     

    The NewcomersThe Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe

    Journalist Helen Thorpe spent a year in an English Language Acquisition Class at South High School in Denver, Colorado.  This class is for students who have little or no English language skills – recent immigrants and refugees from various countries around the world.  Thorpe gets to know these students from Iraq, Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador and many other countries by observing them in class, interviewing them outside of class, and, in some cases, spending time with them and their families in their homes.  Over time, the students open up to Thorpe, sharing with her their stories, and she, in turn, gifts them to us. 

    Thorpe soon discovers most of these students have experienced warfare or trauma, have been or still are separated from members of their immediate family, or have spent months or even years as refugees in countries other than their own before coming to the United States.  She observes their struggles as they wrestle with learning English and understanding American culture.  She learns about the process of coming to the US and how much and what kind of support they receive.  She ponders and hypothesizes on why some students (and their families) seem to thrive while others flounder.  Ultimately, Thorpe humanizes the individuals who are so often thought of as only “immigrants” or “refugees” and shows the unique potential they have and challenges they face, while also demonstrating the immense undertaking our schools are tackling in educating students who enter the building without the English language skills necessary to succeed.  The Newcomers is both eye-opening and highly readable, and I recommend it to anyone interested in either immigration or education in the United States. 

     

    The Time Travelers WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

    Fifteen years ago everyone was talking about this book, but somehow I never got around to reading it until now.  If you also missed it the first time around, I’ll tell you why you might like to give it a shot. 

    Henry DeTamble is a music-loving librarian who has been involuntarily time-traveling since the age of five.  Henry finds himself thrust forward and backward through time, often landing in scenes of his own past or future life, always naked and hungry.  While the time travel in this story is well done, at its heart, The Time Traveler’s Wife is a romance, telling the story of Henry, and his wife Clare, who first meets him as a child, as over and over again Henry finds himself thrust back in time and landing in the meadow behind Clare’s rural Michigan home.  This book is not without faults (despite being the titular character and approximately half the book being from her point of view, Clare’s character is surprisingly underdeveloped), but the time travel, and the way Henry’s life story and Henry and Clare’s romance is revealed in circular timeline is so interesting, that the faults are easily overlooked, making The Time Traveler’s Wife hard to put down. 

    What about you?  What good books have you read recently?


    EmilyLong before becoming a librarian, Emily was an avid library patron. She enjoys reading fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, biographies, and classic children’s literature. Her favorite book is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

     

    by Dawn S | Sep 27, 2018
    Time for pumpkin spice and every book that's nice...and spooky. Try one out today!
    cover image for sammy's spooktacular halloween cover image for thomas and the runaway pumpkins cover image for fright school
    cover image for a fall for friendship cover image for peppa pig and the halloween costume
    cover image for bone soup a spooky, tasty tale
     cover image for costume quest: invasion of the candy snatchers  cover image for disney 5-minutes halloween stories
    cover image for take us to your sugar
    cover image for halloween adventures cover image for how to scare a ghost cover image for ghoulia
     
       

    by Kay S | Sep 26, 2018
    Book Review:  Come Back to Me by Josie Litton

    That’s not really true, romance novels weren't the only historical book reference I ever 676565used, but who knew people were so clean in the days of Vikings? The Vikings in Josie Litton’s Viking series all seem to have saunas. These are clean Vikings, not the dirty ones you see on television.

    It’s time for Rycca, aka Super I-Hear-the-Truth Girl’s book, Come Back to Me. This is Josie Litton’s third installment in this series, and she has redeemed herself. Just for the record, I liked the first book and third book in the series, not so much the second.

    Rycca is running away; she doesn’t want to marry the Viking her family is forcing her to marry. She hatesssssss dirty Vikings; she doesn’t know about the sauna. She disguises herself as a boy, one of my least favorite themes, and traipses off to Normandy – or tries to traipse. Her plan is to sneak on board a ship and then try to find her twin brother. Sounds suspiciously like a Romanceland plan.

    Dragon Hakonson is also strolling around the countryside. He’s delaying his return to his brother’s stronghold because Dragon is about to be married. What do you think the chances are that Rycca and Dragon are going to cross paths? Dragon is a different kind of Viking, he likes women. He's not the kidnapping, raping, pillage kind of Viking; he’s more of an Alan Alda kind of Viking. He respects women and he will go to great lengths to protect them if he thinks they need his help. He’s just not in any hurry to tie the knot. Then he crosses paths with the boy who turns out to be a girl. Because Dragon is the helpful, honorable kind of Viking, he insists that he take Rycca to her boat safely. Rycca hides her true identity from Dragon. She has a few trust issues. As the two embark on their road trip, they become romantically involved. Friendship blossoms, trust on both sides appears. Then they discover that they are in fact betrothed to each other. They are not happy campers, at least for a while.

    Dragon and Rycca worked as a romance couple. Dragon was an alpha male with a soft spot for women. He liked being around them and he loved being with Rycca. He knows Rycca is in some kind of trouble. He knows she is hiding something from him and he uses oodles of charm trying to find out what. As they continue on their road trip, they become close. Eventually the truth about Rycca’s problems become known and they work together to find a solution.

    All the characters from the other two books make an appearance, each trying to solve the continuing mystery from the other books. Sometimes the appearance of characters from other books is irritating, but in this one they add to the narrative. Besides that, it was a pleasure to see them again. The villains are exposed and all is right with the world.

    Josie Litton’s Viking series ends on an up note. I believe this was my favorite of the three and I do recommend Come Back to Me. It’s been a pleasure reading Josie Litton, aka Maura Seger, once again.

    Time/Place: Vikings, Alfred the Great time
    Sensuality: Hot


    kayKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.
    by Lici | Sep 25, 2018

    Welcome to our new weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! We hope you're enlightened and inspired by what you read each week!
    Today's post is by Lici, a children's librarian at the New Haven Branch.

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    Last week, our Family Storytime theme was “Let’s Get Messy!” We read some really fun books about getting into giant messes. And then proceeded to make a few ourselves during Let’s Get Social, our program for crafts and playtime that directly follows storytime.

    Our Stories:
    cover image for mucky duck

    Mucky Duck loves so many things! Like painting, gardening, and playing soccer—but the one thing Mucky Duck does not like is taking a bath. This is a great read aloud book for any reluctant bath taker, duck lover, or all around mess maker extraordinaire!

    cover image for stuck in the mud
    In Stuck in the Mud, by Jane Clarke, Mother Hen’s 10th little chick has gone missing—AGAIN! And this time, he’s stuck in the mud. All the farm animals (and the farmer himself!) lend a helping hand in this hilarious read aloud with a surprise ending the kiddos will never see coming.

    cover image for i aint gonna paint no more
    Always a crowd pleaser, I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont is a book that’s just begging to be sung as you read it aloud. With cliff hanger page endings that give listeners time to fill in the missing rhymes with the next body part to be painted—this book is sure to elicit giggles and gasps from adults and children alike. This story is also a great segue into messy crafting (or crafting with less mess) and a great way to encourage children to keep messes to a minimum by asking participants whether or not our little paint enthusiast is making a good decision by painting on himself. (Ask the kiddos where they’re supposed to paint at the end of the story. You’ll get a resounding answer of “ON THE PAPER!”—it’s adorable.)

    For playtime, we made our own puffy paint!
    image of supplies to make homemade puffy paint

    If you’re interested in making your own Puffy Paint, you will need:

    • Shaving cream
    • Liquid glue
    • Paint (or food coloring) of your choice
    Mix the Shaving Cream and glue together in a 2:1 ratio and then add your desired color. Mix well for a solid color, mix less for a marbled look. If you glob the paint on, it will retain its puffiness once dry. It does take up to 24 hours for this puffy paint to dry completely.
    by Aisha H. | Sep 24, 2018

    If you’re like me, you sometimes start singing random songs from the tiniest prompt. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing something that caused my cat to look at me in disbelief, and I said, “I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.” And then for a good two hours after that, I kept singing, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”.

    Last week, while cleaning my cat’s litter box, I started singing, “I’m a Little Teapot”. The line “Just tip me over and pour me out!” popped into my head while scooping. After singing it for way too long, I started to think quite a bit about the song. Why is “I’m a Little Teapot” a children’s song? Was there a need to inform children en masse of how teapots work? Were millions of children just standing around in kitchens not knowing what to do while teapots whistled? What was going on with this song?

    Luckily, I’m a librarian and well-versed in looking up information. Though to me (and as it turns out, others), something about the song makes it seem like it was written a couple of hundred years ago, it was written in 1939 by George Harry Sanders and Clarence Kelley. Kelley ran a dance school in New York City that specialized in teaching a dance step that younger children were having trouble learning. Sanders was his piano accompanist. In need of something to teach the children for a dance recital, Kelley and Sanders wrote “I’m a Little Teapot” so the children could sing the song and do a simple dance. The dance was a hit with the parents, and Kelley and Sanders published the song.

    It was found by a bandleader who recorded it, a tea company put a free tea coupon in the record envelope, and Kelley and Sanders waited for the song to become a hit. It did not. While the song wasn’t played on the radio, it did become a children’s classic, recorded many times and used by summer camps and nursery schools. Anthologists of children’s songbooks were surprised the authors were still alive, thinking as I had that the song was very old, and had to request permission to reprint it. And that is the basic history of “I’m a Little Teapot”.

    If song history is of interest to you, here are some books that might satisfy your curiosity.

    33RevolutionsPerMinute

    33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, From Billie Holiday to Green Day by Dorian Lynskey

    AnatomyofaSong
    Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B, and Pop
    by Marc Myers

    GoldenAgeofNoveltySongs
    The Golden Age of Novelty Songs by Steve Otfinoski

    OnMyJourneyNow
    On My Journey Now: Looking at African-American History Through the Spirituals
    by Nikki Giovanni

    SleighRidesJingleBells
    Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells, and Silent Nights: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs by Ronald D. Lankford, Jr.

    ThisLandThatILove
    This Land That I Love: Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, and the Story of Two American Anthems by John Shaw

    Aisha’s favorite authors are Lisa Lutz and Lorrie Moore. After years of resisting the librarian who owns a cat stereotype, she found Otis, the best giant little kitty ever created, and is now never without a cat hair somewhere on her clothing.
    by Craig B | Sep 21, 2018

    cover for Larry McMurtry's novel, Lonesome DoveBook Review: Larry McMurtry's winner of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Lonesome Dove

    One of the more interesting things about Larry McMurtry’s 1986 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Lonesome Dove, is that it started out as a screenplay.  Peter Bogdanovich wanted to do a Western with McMurtry after he successfully adapted McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show in 1971, so the two collaborated on a little piece they called Lonesome Dove.  Well, actors (John Wayne included) didn’t like it and so, after 12 years of the project being stalled, McMurtry bought the rights back for something like $35,000 and turned it all into the novel I just finished ... and found to be quite good.  Later the story did get its movie magic makeover, of course, with Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, so it all came full circle, but again the really interesting thing is this failed-screenplay-to-novel thing.  I guess this can’t be the first time something like that has happened, but, to me, it does feel like it; it feels like some sort of landmark keyed into our culture’s transition from print media-centricity to the YouTubers of today.  Sort of like, anecdotally, Fido is the first “regular” movie I ever “streamed,” and now some of the best stuff is made by streaming services and not the traditional studio system.  The Handmaid’s Tale anyone?  I doubt the traditional studio system could have handled Margaret Atwood's dystopian tale so well, though I could be wrong.  It's happened before.

    But back to the title.  Born and raised in Texas, McMurtry certainly seems to have the chops to write about desolate landscapes, geographical and otherwise.  (I guess it really is like the song says, "If you’re gonna play in Texas you gotta have a fiddle" … born in Texas.)  Human failings and achievements, the seeming meaninglessness of it all, giant distances and punishing geography are all captured here, but don’t get me wrong, this novel seems to be asking questions not just diatribing on whatever it is that gives existentialism its fuel.  Within the novel it seems that there might be hope and room for optimism; McMurtry just stops short of including such things.  Part of the reason there seems to be room, though, is because of the depth of the characterization in figures like Woodrow F. Call and Lorena Wood.  The characters make one sort of want to know what happens to them, even at the risk of a sequel that would probably end up being a cliché-fest full of fan service and wish-fulfillment.  But, good news!  There is hope!  For there is a sequel and from the plot points I saw enough characters die in the intervening time between the novels that it might just summon enough conflict to be operational.  Maybe I’ll have to give McMurtry’s The Streets of Laredo a go is what I’m saying.  At the very least that novel is shorter than Lonesome Dove making the time commitment less of a problem.  I mean, some of our calendars are just not as desolate as the Texas llano and the conversational stylings of a certain former Texas Ranger.  Page count must simply be a central consideration when deviating from one’s reading list into sketchy sequels with possibly unsustainable narrative arcs.  Of course the strictness of that admonition leaves me feeling a little desolate and without hope.  What is life without a little chance?

       

    Craig B author Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.