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    by Angie N. | Jan 20, 2018

    cover image for beyond the bright sea
    Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
    Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2017
    283 pages

    Crow has spent every day of her twelve years living in an isolated area of the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts, where she washed ashore in an old boat and was rescued by Osh when she was just hours old. Osh took her in and has raised her with the help of their strong willed neighbor, Miss Maggie. Crow is happy and enjoys her life with Osh and Miss Maggie, even though the other people on the island have always kept their distance from her. Crow never questioned the islanders’ treatment of her much, but as she is getting older, she begins to wonder why they act like they are afraid to be near her. She also begins to ask questions about who she really is, where she came from, and who set her adrift on the sea when she was just a newborn. Her curiosity leads her down a path where she seeks the answers to her questions, but the path proves to be a dangerous one, and Crow risks losing the only home she’s known and the people she loves.

    Lauren Wolk has crafted a beautiful story about belonging, understanding who you are and what it means to be a family. As someone who has spent a great deal of time on Cape Cod, her descriptions of the islands and the sea brought the scenery to life. One I particularly enjoyed describes the beginning of a storm, “We listened for a while to the rain having its own conversation with the sea, the wind chiming in when it had something to say.” There are so many amazing passages like this in the book, but will it rise above the others in our discussion and voting on mock election day?

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

     Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Becky C | Jan 19, 2018
    Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Wonder no more!  Here's a quick look at some books we've enjoyed this month.  Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

     Wishtree  Red Rising Jhereg 
     Yendi  What Happened  The Lost Plot
     Midnight Confessions  Freud  Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts
     The Legends Club  The Woman in the Window  The Ocean at the End of the Lane
     Judges Brief  The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes  The Generals
     PrairyErth  Les Miserables  The End We Start From
     Its All Relative  Lappart  Communicating Better
     Devotions  What Unites Us  On Tyranny
     Golden Hill  Why Bob Dylan Matters  Maisie Dobbs
       Beyond the Bright Sea  

    Want more recommendations?  Click here for previous What We're Reading posts. 

    Please let us know what books you've been reading that you've really enjoyed.  We're always looking for our next great read!

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Angie Nitza | Jan 18, 2018

    image of rolls of tape
    Do you know someone who loves to build things and who has fun doing hands-on activities? Does the Lego builder in your life set aside the directions of their Lego sets and prefer to create something new? If so, please join us in Children’s Services at the Main Library on Wednesday, January 24 at 3:30pm for our very first Design It! program called Cardboard Construction.

    We’ll provide lots of different sizes of cardboard and super colorful masking tape for the designer and builder in your life to create whatever they can imagine. They can build something tall, short, skinny or wide, create a bridge, building, statue or anything else. It’s up to your young builder to decide!

    by Cindy H | Jan 17, 2018

    The Warden’s Daughter By Jerry Spinelli
    Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017
    352 pages

    The Warden’s Daughter opens with Cammie in 2017, now an old woman, looking back on her time as the warden’s daughter. Quickly, the story flashes back to the summer of 1959, when Cammie was just a young, rambunctious tomboy desperately trying to find someone to replace her mother, who died when she was just a baby. Cammie is granted a lot of freedom while her father is at work. She loves riding bikes, playing baseball, talking to inmates, and dreaming of the future with her flamboyant and confident best friend Reggie. She also spends a lot of time in their apartment above the prison, where Eloda Pupko, an inmate and prison trustee charged with cleaning the apartment and taking care of Cammie, becomes the fantasy mother Cammie has been longing for. Eloda is a stern and cold woman, and despite Cammie’s blatant attempts to get her attention, Eloda does not seem interested in having any kind of intimate relationship. Cammie is not to be deterred, however, and will stop at nothing to get Eloda to be the mother she’s always wanted.

    I really enjoyed this book. I listened to the audio book version, and the voice actor, Carrington MacDuffie, does an excellent job of portraying the various characters, particularly the boisterous gruffness of Cammie. Despite covering some very difficult topics, like the death of a parent, the penal system, underlying racial issues, and suicide, there are some wonderful heart-warming and funny moments that keep the story from getting too dark. The characters and setting are beautifully developed, and the historical context is very engaging. This would be an excellent book for parents to read together with their children; it is sure to inspire nostalgia in adults and peak children’s curiosity about the past.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion, which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below! We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Kayla W | Jan 17, 2018

    When I saw what a black, awful joke the world was, I went crazy as a coot! I admit it! Why can't you? – The Joker, The Killing Joke


    Even as a novice Batman connoisseur, I get the impression that storylines involving Bruce Wayne or the Joker’s sanity have been done to death and back.

    I can certainly see the appeal of this storyline, but with perhaps a new point of view and a coat of paint.  However, there’s a reason it’s been used so often that it's gotten pat at this point.  This is a storyline, capable in the right hands, of standing the test of time. 

    It's an elemental tale, a parable with the two rivals on such opposites that they actually come close to touching one another because of how they've wrapped themselves fully around to come almost full circle.    And I don’t think the thin veneer between what separates a hero from their supposed opposite, in the form of their nemesis, has ever been made as clear as it can be made between Batman and the Joker.  To the point where the two can be seen as different sides of the very coin that Harvey Two-face flips. 

    One, the seemingly pristine Dark Knight, the other, the irreparably damaged and deranged parody of what was once a humble, but a nevertheless honorable man.   At the end of the day, what exactly DOES differentiate one from the other?

    Alright, I may be wrong on that point.  I have been semi-keeping up with what is considered to be the high lights of Batman’s stories, so I am by no means a professional Batman “person”, but I have seen this story done worse.  Way worse.  Batman R.I.P is a comic I will never fully understand the appeal of, for example.  It’s also the movie adaptation of The Killing Joke that has, ironically, proven to be a poor representation of its original (keeping the worse aspects of the comic and magnifying them, such as the objectification of Barbara Gordon which has become a bad joke related to the movie).

    In spite of the comic's defects, it is full of personality and color, and it feeds off of its own moral ambiguity, as opposed to drowning you in it.  That is one problem which the hardcore “dark” comics of its era were more inclined to do - point out the unfairness of the world and leave it at that.  The world's terrible and there's no real heroes - doesn't that feel bad?

    This comic's narrative is, at its core, a parable told from Alan Moore at the height of his ability.  What that translates into, however, is a story that feels like much more than what is basically being told, wealth beyond the sum of its parts. 

    The Killing Joke is story of discomforting ambiguity, and the ease for madness to consume a “good” person whole.   Of course, there is a shocking amount of depth that one can easily be lost in below the surface. That is a key reason why the comic is easily re-readable.

    To praise a comic book’s story is sometimes translated as being a backhanded compliment – after all, a good two thirds of the medium that Will Eisner once named the “sequential art” tells its story through illustration (generally).  It would also be unfair to the illustrator, Brian Bolland, who was half of the reason why this comic is as legendary as it is.

    And I am happy to say that this comic has an aesthetic that is sometimes dark, moody, and depressive, and other times it is borderline manic, brightly colored, and downright vicious and viscous.  Bolland is to thank for the comic's unique, disquieting beauty.

    The thing I have always loved about Alan Moore is how thoughtfully he he plans, with his legendarily overly descriptive instructions for what he wants his panels to look like standing as a testament to perfection and precision with character and world building.   To look at these instructions that he leaves for his artists is intense!   The tradeoff with his obsession for detail is that what seems like clutter and quick reactions builds in an intelligent manner that expresses his characters and the world they inhabit in a way I cannot say that any other writer's work has managed to.  A character in their home or place of work is depicted surrounded by the things that most value to them and say something immediate and mindful about their character. 

    By the time something terrible – and abrupt – happens, it can feel like it’s happened to someone that we feel like we know, even in a short period of time.

    So – if it is the “Dark Knight” version of Batman that you’re interested in, may I suggest that you give one of the more groundbreaking comics a chance?  It doesn’t hurt that the ACPL has multiple physical and a digital copies available.

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre. Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, and reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.
    by Mary Voors | Jan 15, 2018
    Cover image of Stormy Seas
    Stormy Seas - Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale
    Annick Press, 2017
    56 pages







    These topics are increasingly in the news. Stormy Seas – Stories of Young Boat Refugees is a very powerful collection of five stories of young people who endured risking everything, including their lives, in order to seek refuge in a new land.These are true stories of leaving everything behind in search of safety and peace.

    • Ruth. An 18-year-old who set sail for Cuba to escape the Nazis in Germany
    • Phu. A 14-year-old who takes a risky voyage on the South China Sea in hopes of finding a better life in the United States
    • Jose. A 13-year-old Cuban boy who travels on a boat to the United States.
    • Najeeba. An 11-year-old who takes a risky voyage on the Pacific Ocean to attempt to escape the Taliban in Afghanistan
    • Mohamed. A 17-year-old who is crossing the Mediterranean Sea looking for a place he can live in peace after his parents were killed in a bombing

    Heart-wrenching and compelling, these true stories are important glimpses into a world which – through the luck of my birth – I was fortunate enough to escape. It is a difficult book to read. But it is an important one. And it left me wanting to know more.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Craig B | Jan 15, 2018
    cover for SZA's studio album, CTRL

    I don’t think I really liked this album, CTRL, and yet I do have a fond appreciation for its stripped down, heartbreak vibe.  I guess I wish it could see its way to having a couple of more upbeat tracks, not in tone, just in pace/rhythm, because it’s so sleepy I was getting bored by the end.  That said, it also felt quite definite about doing what it set out to do, and consistency, my friends, is not to be underrated.

    Suggested Use: Did this year solidify a dislike of holiday music within you?  Consider taking this album and some discrete earbuds with you to your next family gathering where some crazy uncle is cranking "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" repeatedly.  CTRL’s low-key musicality and deliberate lyrics should not only allow, but even more, enable you to smile and nod at small children, small talk, and sudden bursts of questionable hilarity.  I mean don’t be rude, but we’ve all got to preserve a little of our own personal space, and there’s nothing quite as personal as another party’s heartbreak.

    by Becky C | Jan 12, 2018

    How do librarians know what titles are coming out when?  How do we decide which of those titles we'll purchase for the collection?  We have several sources, but Publishers Weekly (PW) is one of my personal favorites.  PW reviews around 9,000 books a year. 

    For this month's post, I've taken the liberty of going through the November issues of Publishers Weekly (PW) and sharing the upcoming releases their reviewers are most excited about.  Each of these titles received a starred review.  We don't have all of these titles in the collection yet -- most are due to hit the shelves in bookstores and libraries next month -- but you can place a hold on your copy now.  Or, if you're like me, and you're typically at the 5 holds per person max, you can keep tabs on your picks a couple of ways.

    My favorite way to keep track of books I want to read is through ACPL's catalog.  Heather wrote an excellent post on how to do this -- click here for the details.  Goodreads and LibraryThing are also options.

    Which of these catches your eye? 

    Fiction coming to the collection January 2018

    Walking the Bones  The Wife Between Us In the Shadow of Agatha Christie 
     The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny With a Dashing Stranger  The Bachelor Contract  How to Stop Time
     Sunburn  The Graves a Fine and Private Place  Down the River Unto the Sea
     The Bastard Legion  Heart on Fire  I Parrot
     Wild is the Wind  Beneath the Mountain  You Were Never Really Here
     Murder Has a Motive  Gnomon  This Is What Happened
     The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss  Walk in the Fire  Mood Indigo
     Olympus Bound  Tempest  

    Nonfiction coming to the collection January 2018

    The Meaning of Birds  When They Call You a Terrorist  Hawker Fare
     This Will Be My Undoing  Advice Not Given  A False Report
     The Wizard and the Prophet  The Matter of the Heart  

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Audio Reading Service | Jan 10, 2018

    Craig Smith

    Is one of your goals for the year to be more involved in our community  by volunteering? Do you enjoy reading? What if you could make a difference in hundreds of people’s lives by reading just a couple of hours a week, or only once every month or two?

    Volunteer with the Audio Reading Service, and provide a valuable service for people who aren’t able to read for themselves!

    The Audio Reading Service records volunteers reading local and area newspapers, magazines, and more; then provides that audio via radio broadcast, online streaming, and podcasts for people who have difficulty reading independently.

    Many of our listeners live with visual, physical, learning, or language challenges to reading traditional print, and this free service provides them with information they would otherwise not have access to, as well as a means to connect them with the rest of the community, improving their quality of life. 

    It’s easy and fun! Our volunteers are all ages, from all backgrounds, and all enjoy helping others through reading. We have opportunities for regularly scheduled volunteers to read for a couple of hours one day a week, periodic weekends, or as a substitute reader when your schedule allows. To see our current openings, click here – and if your skills and passions match our needs, we’d love to have you join our team of volunteers! An interview and audition is required.

    As volunteer Craig Smith (pictured above) says, “I love reading for the ACPL Audio Read Service because it combines my love of reading with my love of hearing myself talk.”

    by Business, Science & Technology | Jan 10, 2018
    Photo Jan 04, 10 02 49 AM

    As our lives are increasingly impacted by scientific discoveries and technological creations, we find ourselves eager to learn more about how things work, how they affect our lives, and what might happen next.

    Join us at our NEW Science and Technology Book Club on the third Thursday of each month. We meet at the Main Library in the Business, Science & Technology department conference room, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Our first meeting will take place on January 18th.

    In January, we'll be reading  "The Telomere Effect" by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel.  Reserve a copy here:

    This month's book, "The Telomere Effect," will make you reassess how you live your life on a day-to-day basis. It is the first book to explain how we age at a cellular level and how we can make simple changes to keep our chromosomes and cells healthy, allowing us to stay disease-free longer and live more vital and meaningful lives.

    Want to read ahead? Our next meeting will be February 15th. We'll be discussing "The Inner Life of Animals" by Peter Wohlleben. Reserve a copy here:

    by Kay S | Jan 10, 2018
    Time for some upcoming releases which will be hitting the shelves sometime between January 15 and February 14, 2018!  Keep a look-out -- I'm hearing good things about these titles!

    Historical Romance
    Tempest by Beverly Jenkins  Beverly Jenkins
    Old West series
    January 30
     A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch Suzanne Enoch
    A Devil in Scotland
    No Ordinary Hero series
    January 30
     Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath Lorraine Heath
    Beyond Scandal and Desire
    Sins for All Seasons series
    January 30

    Historical Fiction

    White Chysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht  Mary Lynn Bracht
    White Chrysanthemum
    January 30
     As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner Susan Meissner
    As Bright as Heaven
    February 6

    Contemporary Romance/Mainstream Fiction/Women's Fiction

    I'll Stay by Karen Day  Karen Day
    I'll Stay
    Mainstream Fiction
    January 30
     Kiss me, Sweetheart by Cody Gary Codi Gary
    Kiss Me, Sweetheart
    Something Borrowed series
    Contemporary Romance
    February 13
     Two Man Station by Lisa Henry Lisa Henry
    Two Man Stations
    Contemporary Romance
    January 22

    Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense

     This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong Kelley Armstrong
    This Fallen Prey
    Casey Duncan series
    January 30 
     Breaking Point by Allison Brennan Allison Brennan
    Breaking Point
    Lucy Kincaid series
     Need to Know by Karen Cleveland Karen Cleveland
    Need to Know
    January 23
     If you knew her by Emily Elgar Emily Elgar
    If You Knew Her
    January 26
     Look for Me by Lisa Gardner Lisa Gardner
    Look for Me
    Detective D.D. Warren series
    February 6
     Clairvoyant and Present Danger by Lisa Gregory Lena Gregory
    Clairvoyant and Present Danger
    A Bay Island Psychic Mystery series
    February 6
     Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt Margot Hunt
    Best Friends Forever
    January 23
     A dangerous crossing by Ausma khan Ausma Zehanat Khan
    A Dangerous Crossing
    Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak series
    February 13
     The Honorable Traitors by John Lutz John Lutz
    The Honorable Traitors
    A Thomas Laker Thriller series
    January 30
     Keep Her Safe by KA Tucker K.A. Tucker
    Keep Her Safe
    January 23

    Paranormal Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

     Aliens Abroad by Gina Koch Gini Koch
    Aliens Abroad
    Alien Novels series
    Paranormal Romance
    February 26
     Gunpowder Moon by David Pedreira David Pedreira
    Gunpowder Moon
    Science Fiction
    February 13
     Cast in Deception by Michelle Sagara Michelle Sagara
    Cast in Deception
    The Chronicles of Elantra series
    February 23
    ;The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch Tom Sweterlitsch
    The Gone World
    Science Fiction
    February 6

    Young Adult/Teen

    The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert Melissa Albert
    The Hazel Wood
    January 30 
    The Belles by Clayton Dhonielle Clayton
    The Belles
    February 6
    Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones S. Jae-Jones
    Sequel to Wintersong
    February 6
    Say you'll remember me by Katie McGarry Katie McGarry
    Say You'll Remember Me
    January 30
    The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith Amber Smith
    The Last to Let Go
    February 6
    The Dangerous Art of Blending in by Angelo Surmelis Angelo Surmelis
    The Dangerous Art of Blending In Debut
    January 30
    When Light Left Us by Thomas Leah Thomas
    When Light Left Us
    February 13


    After Hours by Aicher  Lynda Aicher
    After Hours
    Boardroom series
    January 22

    Inspirational Romance/Mainstream

    A Light on the Hill by Connelyn Cossette  Connilyn Cossette
    A Light on the Hill
    Promised Land series
    February 6
     Phoebe's Light by Fisher Suzanne Woods Fisher
    Phoebe’ Light
    Nantucket Legacy series
    February 6
     Words from the Heart by Kathleen Fuller Kathleen Fuller
    Words from the Heart
    Amish Letters series
    February 13
     A Refuge Assured by Green Jocelyn Green
    A Refuge Assured
    February 6
     The MAsterpiece by Francine Rivers Francine Rivers
    The Masterpiece
    February 6
     The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma Liz Tolsma
    The Melody of the Soul

    Kay SpearsKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.
    by Erin | Jan 10, 2018

    Amina's Voice

    Amina’s Voice
    By Hena Khan

    Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, 2017

    197 pages


    Amina has a beautiful singing voice, but she is too shy to use it in front of anyone other than close friends and family. To make matters worse, middle school is turning out to be tougher than what she originally expected: her best friend, Soojin, is both thinking about changing her name to something more Americanized and hanging out with one of the popular girls at school. How is Amina supposed to find her voice when everything around her is changing?


    While this book has all the basic components of other coming of age stories, it also deals with themes of religion, racism, and the idea of what it means to be American. Overall, this book is about a community that overcomes hurdles to join together in a time of need.



    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Kris Lill | Jan 08, 2018
    cover image for her right foot 

    Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers with art by Shawn Harris
    Chronicle Books, 2017

    Wow. This book might just rank as one of my favorite books of 2017. And…..wait for it…’s NONFICTION! That means it’s a book with facts about something real and true.

    Now, I know what you might be thinking….BOOOOOORRRRRIIINNNNNGGGG.

    But, no. Not this one. This book reads like the author is sitting right next to you, telling you about his visit to the Statue of Liberty….and this really amazing thing that he noticed about her right foot! Have you ever noticed her right foot? Well, neither had I! I thought I knew a lot about the Statue of Liberty, and there were some things mentioned in this book that I already knew, but I also learned some new things and now I want to learn more. And guess what? The author included a nice list of other books about Lady Liberty at the end of this one, so I already have some great choices for further reading.  

    Seriously. You should read this book. It’s a quick, fun, and unique read with great illustrations. And I hope the members of the Newbery committee will read it too, and consider it for the award. I think it really deserves it! 

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Craig B | Jan 08, 2018

    Book Review: James Alan McPherson's winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Elbow Room

    Elbow RoomJames Alan McPherson contributed significantly to make his family a family of firsts.  His father was the first black master electrician in Georgia and James became the first African American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  In 1978 he was awarded the prize (no, not for his first) for his last collection of short stories, Elbow Room.  Generally more of a non-fiction writer, McPherson also had a variety of powerful, if almost always bemusing, short stories to tell.

    Bemusing is not typically a compliment, but don’t get me wrong, I have no complaints.  At the beginning, the stories like "Why I Like Country Music" were so straightforward I wasn’t sure why I should care.  However, I kept reading (‘cause I’ve got to, I’ve got to read all of the Pulitzers) and McPherson slowly but surely began to mix it up so that by the time I got to “A Loaf of Bread;” that story about the mechanic, “A Sense of Story;” and the title story, “Elbow Room,” I was beginning to rethink some of my first impressions.  It’s kind of like if you put together a greatest hits album for The White Stripes and started with "We’re Going to be Friends,” “Apple Blossom,” and “Little Ghost,” you might get the wrong idea about the band and those three songs together if you stopped there. Once you’ve managed to explore “Cannon,” “Ball and Biscuit,” and “The Big Three Killed My Baby” you might understand everything you’ve heard in a slightly different way.  Or not.  Maybe that’s a terrible analogue.  Either way, never stop reading.  You know I won’t … at least until I get to that 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner.  At that 101st book (or thereabouts anyway), I may consider transitioning to the Nobels, not because, to quote The White Stripes, “my stick shift hands are swollen” or that “everything involved is shady,” more because, to quote a more ancient source, “variety is the spice of life,” or something like “variety leads to revelation … maybe.”  Persevering through the wide variety of the stories in Elbow Room seems to have worked out that way for me, anyway.  Who can tell what your various experiences might yield?

    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 Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery | Jan 05, 2018
    Art of FW - event graphice

    The Art of Fort Wayne

    January 15 - February 25

    Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery

    Opening Reception 
    January 17
    6:30-8:30 pm

    Celebrate our great city by viewing a collaborative exhibit featuring artwork inspired by Fort Wayne. This is a juried gallery show and awards will be given during the reception on January 17th.

    Admission to the Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery is free. The gallery is located on the first floor of the Main Library and is open to the public during regular library hours.


    Pieces in this gallery show were created and contributed by the following artists:

    Alison Resac
    Anita Trick
    Annette Colgrove
    Beth Meyer
    Bonnie Manning
    Brian Sirois
    Bryan Ballinger
    Carey Collie
    Carolyn Stachera
    Charles Sizemore
    C. E. Schrein
    Coleman Geiger
    Darlene Miller
    David Broerman
    Denise McQuillan
    Diana Fair
    Diane Groenert
    Donald Gagnon
    Eunice Sully
    Jerry Etnier
    Joel Fremion
    John Kelty
    Karen Bixler
    Karen Harvey
    Karen Moriarty
    Karen Starn
    Katherine Jones
    Katherine Rohrbacher
    Sarah Conrad 
    Lynne Padget
    Madelyn Foutz
    Mary Gagnon
    Michael Lott
    Molly Schenkel
    Nicholas Klein
    Phyllis Hughes
    Robert Einhaus
    Ron Patton
    Samantha Smith
    Sharmalene Gunawardena
    Sue Sells
    Tiffany Murray
    Tom Keesee
    Jon Parrent

    by Dori Graham | Jan 05, 2018

    Sensory Bottles

    Are you looking for something to do with your little ones in the coming weeks of (involuntary) indoor fun? Come to the Children's Services department at the Main Library for Toddler Fun: My Five Senses this coming Tuesday, January 9th, at 10:30 am for an hour of hands-on fun and a handful of great take-home projects and ideas. We’ll be making silly noises, spying fun things, smelling great scents, and touching all kinds of interesting textures. For example, kiddos will have the chance to play with a discovery tub full of chia water beads. This non-toxic bit of fun is free of choking hazards, and it's as simple as letting chia seeds (which you can get at most any grocery store) soak in food-colored water overnight. Not only is it perfectly safe for your little one to explore, but it’s squishy, beautiful and fun, too!

    But you don’t have to wait until Tuesday to enjoy some library sensory fun. Come in and check out some of these activity-filled books as you count down the days till Toddler Fun:

    Curious George Discovers the Senses by Natan Nuchi

    Mommy and Me Start Cooking by Denise Smart

    Senses by Jinny Johnson
    by Mary R. Voors | Jan 04, 2018
    Book cover of Vincent and Theo
    Vincent and Theo - The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
    Godwin Books, 2017
    454 pages

    Earlier this week, Teresa reviewed two nonfiction titles which we are considering for the Mock Newbery this year. And I have yet another nonfiction title – this time a biography – to highlight. This is a story of unconditional love between two brothers.

    Everyone knows about Vincent Van Gogh, the esteemed post-impressionistic artist who made such a profound and lasting impact on Western Art. Perhaps not as well-known is his brother, Theo. An important art dealer of the time, Theo was also responsible for offering unflinching support – both emotional and financial – to Vincent, which allowed his brother to devote himself entirely to his art.

    The story of the love between these two brothers is beautifully written, and seems to measure itself very well when looking at the Newbery criteria, particularly in these areas:

    • Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
    • Delineation of characters
    • Delineation of a setting
    • Appropriateness of style

    My biggest question when considering this as a Newbery contender is the intended age of the reader. The Newbery Award is designed as a children’s literature award. As stated in the criteria: “The book displays respect for children’s understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen, and books for this entire age range are to be considered.” Some of the issues (prostitution, self-harm, mental health issues) raised may be addressed in a manner more appropriate for an older audience.

    This story of brothers is well-researched with the back matter including a variety of additional resources for further study:

    • A list of people involved the brothers’ lives
    • A calendar of significant and relevant events starting with Vincent’s birth on March 30, 1853 and continuing through June 1973 when the Van Gogh Museum opens in Amsterdam
    • An extensive and illuminating author’s note
    • A bibliography including books, articles, and websites
    • End notes which detail the sources of quotes contained in the book
    • A comprehensive index

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Evan | Jan 03, 2018

    If you ever wonder what you get for the taxes you pay, check out INSPIRE. State and federal dollars come together to give Hoosiers quick and easy Internet access to a quarter-billion authoritative news and journal articles. Plus, INSPIRE helps people prepare for college and careers. 

    ACPL has a link to INSPIRE within our Research tab at the top of our website (click on Research & Learning), but you can also get there by typing in the url box on your browser. 

    Librarians often use INSPIRE to look up Consumer Reports articles about cars or appliances people are thinking about buying. We also use it to show high school and college students how to find relevant articles on their research topics.

    There is also career help provided through INSPIRE's Testing & Education Reference Center. People can use it to fill in their training gaps as they look for jobs. They can also take practice tests for jobs or college admission and create resumes.  

    Some people will figure out how to use INSPIRE right away, but librarians will be glad to help anyone get started. It's a great way to find solid information to help you in countless ways -- and you've already paid for it. 

    Evan AuthorEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Teresa Walls | Jan 02, 2018

    Informational books are also under consideration for the Newbery Medal. Two of the informational books we will discuss for the Allen County Public Library’s Mock Newbery Discussion and Election are important yet difficult books about racism and violent, painful times in the United States.


    The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum
    National Geographic, 2017
    143 pages

    The March against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum details the last protest of the civil rights era. James Meredith, an African-American man, decided to walk through his home state of Mississippi and encourage African-Americans to register to vote. It was June 1966. African-Americans had the legal right to vote, but in many areas, especially in the American South, they were kept from that right. One day into the walk, Meredith was shot and wounded in a roadside ambush. Martin Luther King, Jr., and several other civil rights leaders of the time, decided to continue the walk and encourage voter registration.

    Bausum takes an unflinching look at the historical record and presents it without censorship. The photos and quotations throughout the book add to the telling. Following a confrontation with state troopers in Canton, Mississippi, Floyd McKissick of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) told marchers: "They don't call it white power. They just call it power. I'm committed to non-violence, but I say what we need is to get us some black power." (p.88)

    Power and freedom, two words that are the rallying cries during the March against Fear, were denied to Native Americans, too.

    Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin not only tells the story of super athlete Jim Thorpe and the beginnings of American football, but it also describes the school that was designed by the U.S. government to erase Native American cultures.

    book cover of Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin

    Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steven Sheinkin
    Roaring Brook Press, 2017
    280 pages

    The treatment of Native American children in an attempt to "civilize" them was terrible. Football and other sports were ways for these children to leave the day-to-day grind of the military-style school where they were punished for such things as speaking in their native languages. Sheinkin's writing is griping, even if you aren't knowledgeable of, or interested, for that matter, in American football. The Carlisle Indians were constantly up against stereotypes, dirty players, and unfair referees.

    When a ref's call went against Carlisle, Welch [the team's quarterback] knew how to ease the anger with bitter humor. "What's the use of crying about a few inches," he'd tell teammates in the huddle, "When the white man has taken the whole country?" (p. 146)

    The Newbery Medal age range is from birth up to age 14. Both of these titles lean toward the upper range of that spectrum. Both include extensive source notes and bibliographies.

    I can't wait to talk about these books at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of these titles.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Kay S | Dec 29, 2017

    “We'll meet again
    Don't know where
    Don't know when
    But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
    ...maybe next year!
     - Hughie Charles / Ross Parker

    Yes, it's time to bid a fond farewell to 2017 and to some of the historical romance books that passed by my eyes this year. Before I do my little wrap-up of highlights, I would like to take a moment to say farewell to some romance authors we lost this year: Elaine Barbieri, Helen Cadbury, Janet Chapman, and Miranda Neville.

    A few debut romance authors crossed my radar this year.  Congratulations for becoming published: Clara Christensen, Sara Portman, Olivia Hart, Susan Cliff, Maggie Conway, Mona Kasten, Victoria Gilbert, Jessica Ellicott.

    Now for my wrap-up. This has been an interesting year for me because I found some old treasures with a lot of dust on them and they made my outstanding list of 2017. This is my outstanding list; these are book which made me laugh-out-loud and also made a few tears appear in my eyes. And, if you have not read any of these books...what are you waiting for?

    My Outstanding Historical Romance Books of 2017, in no particular order.

    ~    Loretta Chase, A Duke in Shining Armor (2017)

    ~   Mary Balogh, A Rogue’s Downfall: The Anniversary (1994), The Wrong Door (1993), and Precious Rogue (1995).  Available via Hoopla.

    ~    Mary Balogh, The Famous Heroine (1996)

    ~    Mary Balogh, Lady with a Black Umbrella (1989).  Available via Hoopla.

    ~     Mary Balogh, The Temporary Wife (1997). 

    ~     Anne Stuart, The Spinster and the Rake (1982)

    ~     Mary Jo Putney, Angel Rogue (1995) aka The Rogue and the Runaway (1990)

    ~     Anne Gracie, Marry in Haste (2017)

    ~     Caroline Linden, The Secret of My Seduction (2017)

    ~     Deborah Simmons, The Vicar’s Daughter (1995, electronic release 2017)

    ~     Lisa Kleypas, It Happened One Autumn (2005)

    ~     Karen Ranney, After the Kiss (2000)

    ~     Kelly Bowen, Duke of My Heart (2016)

    ~     Kelly Bowen, A Duke to Remember (2016)

    ~     Kelly Bowen, Between the Devil and the Duke (2017)

    ~     Julia London, Wild Wicked Scot (2016)

    ~     Julia Quinn, And A Sixpence in Her Shoe, short story from Four Weddings and a Sixpence (the stand-out in an otherwise average group of short stories.)

    h_baloghNo More Wire Hangers – Yes, it’s time for the 2017 Mommie Dearest Award. To win in this category you have to be a pretty nasty character. And, in Romanceland, there are always oodles of brothers who are in debt and their sisters are paying the bill, beautiful self-centered sisters, cold fathers, and conniving mothers. But the winner of this year’s 2017 Mommie Dearest award goes to a dead man. Yes, this year the award has to go to none other than the Earl of Riverdale from Mary Balogh’s new Westcott family series. Nothing more destructive than a bigamist marriage. And, we get to watch the fall-out caused by this callous man in a series which is just beginning.

    2017 Steve Morgan Bonehead Award. There’s nothing better than a good old rant because the hero in the book is such a blockhead. For all of you who don’t know who Steve Morgan is, check out Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage Love. Written in 1974, it is the epitome of the term bodice ripper. He is probably one of the most abominable heroes ever written. Cruel, unfaithful, possessive, jealous, etc., etc. Over the couSSL-300dpi-1-379x600rse of a book, The Bonehead hero does many unforgivable things and usually he never apologizes. The winner of this year’s bonehead award is from Julia London’s Sinful Scottish Laird. And guess what, instead of a man it’s a woman who has made it to the top bonehead status. Sometimes giving a female character male attributes to prove she is a strong, free-thinking woman doesn’t work. Women do not have to be male-vamps to be strong or to prove they have a place in a man’s world. Inconstancy doesn’t sit any better on a woman’s plate then it does on a man’s. A woman does not have to be like a man to have her own voice.

    Sidekicks, aka Secondary Characters, aka Supporting Cast of 2017
    . Yes, where would h_quinnour books be without those scene-stealers, those secondary characters who are the only thing one might remember from a book? You know what I’m talking about – sometimes those characters are so strong, they get their own fans. Fans who wait and wait for them to have their own book. And, sometimes those books work and sometimes they don’t (but that’s another story.) Here are my nominations for some memorable secondary characters I stumbled across this year. The winner for most memorable secondary character this year is dead. Yes, Julia Quinn managed to make me care a whole lot about Thomas in The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband. The interesting thing about Thomas, other than he’s dead, is that we get to know him mainly through letters, flashbacks, and the memories of others. In order to do that Ms. Quinn had to do some mighty fine writing for her secondary characters.

    Now for some special mentions. I could not let this year pass by without mentioning three memorable moments from this year. First of all, even though I had some problems with Sarah MacLean’s The Day of the Duchess, one of the best written historical romance scenes for the year appeared in this book. In case you want to know which scene, it involves riding on a horse. There is so much emotional impact in that one little scene and I was amazed at such wonderful writing. Truly brilliant.

    The second moment I want to mention is from Elizabeth’s Hoyt’s Duke of Desire. Raphael has to be one of the most angst-filled heroes I’ve ever read. This storyline was just too much, too painful. While the writing was superb, I found the storyline so disturbing I found it hard to read.

    And finally, it was a pleasure to reread one of my all-time favorite Mary Balogh books, Lady with a Black Umbrella. This little gem of a book proves beyond a doubt that Ms. Balogh can write some pretty funny stuff. A wonderful, feel-good book.

    So goodbye 2017. I’m always on the lookout for some new and exciting authors. Believe me when I say I know how hard authors work. Even when I’m am not as appreciative of your creation as you think I should be - I am after all only one voice. But, I realize you have all put a lot of yourselves into those words which are filling those pages. Here's to the authors we love and the worlds they bring us.

    kay authorKay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.