by Morgan Reeves on November 29th, 2014
Two dads, four boys, one dog, one cat, and one invisible cheetah. The Family Fletcher is preparing for a new school year, the first school year where all four of the very different boys will be in school. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Levy follows this unique, and at the same time totally normal, family throughout the year as they deal with their individual problems. Twelve year-old Sam is a soccer player, a cool kid looked up to as the example for his younger brothers. Can he transfer his talent for storytelling into a part in the school play, and more importantly still be cool? 10 year-old Jax thinks Sam is the coolest, and wants to be accepted as part of the same crowd, now that he’s in the same school building. But with a changing friendship and a school project hanging over his head, Jax might end up more behind than ever. Eli, also 10 (but a couple of months younger), is starting a new, expensive, academically minded school, trading familiar faces for scholarly challenges. When his new school turns out to be less amazing than he had hoped, he struggles with the his ability to admit he made a mistake. Six year-old Froggie (not Jeremiah) is excited to start kindergarten with Flare, his invisible cheetah. His biggest problems are asking for kittens, turtles and convincing his family that his new friend Ladybug is real girl.
Even with all of their individual issues to work through, the whole family comes together for the biggest Halloween party ever, camping trips, and convincing their grumpy neighbor Mr. Nelson that they mean no harm. With loving support from both Papa and Dad (who have some misadventures of their own), the Fletchers work together to overcome all obstacles that come their way. This is a fun romp that just happens to have a diverse family at the heart of it.
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on November 24th, 2014
“3 weeks 2 sisters 1 car” Perfect for the holidays—the quintessential family road trip!
I’m not generally a fan of graphic novels, but author and illustrator Raina Telgemeier does a great job of convincing me to broaden my horizons. I just read her newest title, Sisters, which explores the complexity and humor of sibling rivalry and family relationships. Sisters evokes a universal familiarity. Who doesn’t remember the family road trip as the perfect time to fight and bond?
Telgemeier’s first autobiographical novel, Smile, continues to be incredibly popular. Booklist described it as “possibly the only universally embraced graphic novel on the planet.” Sisters continues Raina’s story, sharing how she and her sister Amara fight their way to common ground, against the backdrop of a family reunion, also filled with family fights and affections. Sisters left me with a smile and warm memories of my own sisters…and wishing for more. Perhaps Telgemeier will turn me into a graphic novel fan yet!
Sisters and Smile both have hold lists on them at the library, but they are worth the wait. (And the lists aren’t too long!) While you’re waiting, you could check out a couple of my other favorite sister books, touching picture books great for all ages: Big Sister, Little Sister by LeUyen Pham and Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols.
This week I get to see one of my sisters, and I’m excited to share Sisters with her. We can relate–it’s surprisingly like our story!
by Casey Lambert on November 18th, 2014
This season has been chock full of sequels to some of my favorite wordless picture books from 2013.
“The Journey Continues” in Aaron Becker’s Quest. Fans of the Caldecott Honor winner Journey will be delighted and enthralled from the moment they open this second installment in the Journey Trilogy.
From Quest by Aaron Becker
Becker picks up exactly where the friends left off and immediately readers are taken on an incredible journey to save a king and his kingdom. With vivid imagery, vibrant colors and an expert hand at illustration, Becker draws readers into his world and simultaneously ties it to our own.
Hank Finds an Egg, by Rebecca Dudley has been joined this month by the sequel, Hank Has a Dream. Dudley’s work continues to amaze me, she works in diorama and photography–everything seen in any of the Hank books has been made by hand. Her craftsmanship and abilities as a storyteller are truly incredible.
Hank’s Home, Storywoods
One of my favorite additions to this work is the map of “Storywoods”, Hank’s world, within the endsheets. Another addition to this work, is words: Dudley juxtaposes Hank and his friend acting out the dream with an image of the dream itself on the opposite page. Honestly, everything about this work is beautiful, inspiring and original. Rebecca Dudley is a singular artist and definitely an author to watch!
Last, but certainly not least is another Caldecott Honor winner, Molly Idle, with her latest book about Flora. After dancing in the cherry blossoms with her pal the Flamingo, Flora gets ready for winter and ice skating with her pal Penguin. In what is becoming her signature wordless style, Molly Idle combines beautiful color illustrations, fun characters and flaps to tell a wonderful friendship story. The bodily expressions of Idle’s characters tell the story and lead the reader through the growing friendship between Flora and the Penguin. Though things may get frosty, the two find a way to not only make their relationship work but have a ton of fun doing it.
Quest, Hank has a Dream, and Flora and the Penguin are great reads for the young and young at heart that leave us wanting more and excited about what’s to come from these amazing Author/Illustrators.
by Karen Gordon on November 14th, 2014
This time of year, a time when so much of our culture is fast paced and commercially focused, I’m reminded about how thankful I am of all the outreach I get to do each week. Visiting schools and daycares grounds my soul. At each visit, the kids teach me so much about living in the moment.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so naturally my visits in November are about being thankful. I ask the kids what they are thankful for. Some kids don’t understand this concept, so I start with a few examples: “I’m thankful for the time I get to spend visiting them at school” or “I’m thankful for the sun shining.” The kids catch on quickly. They are thankful for their birthday, snow, toys, trains, and more toys! By now they’re totally enthusiastic, so this is when I get the kids to settle down with one of my favorite books to read this time of year.
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson is a sweet story about sharing, friendship, and giving thanks. Bear is bored and wants to throw a party for his forest friends. Each of his friends arrives with delectable gifts, and a repeated line encourages audience participation (“…and Bear says, ‘Thanks!’”). Sadly, Bear finds his own cupboards are bare! But his friends remind him not to fret–there’s no need for more food, because Bear’s got his own gift of stories to share, “…and they all say, ‘Thanks!’”
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 7th, 2014
The Iowa City Public Library’s Kids Chess Tournament will be held from 1 to 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, in Meeting Room A at the Library, 123 S. Linn St.
A staple of the Library’s tween programming, the tournament is held in honor of Steve Young, who was active in the community’s chess population until his death in 2012.
This is a free event, available to students in third through sixth grades. Younger children may participate if they are a member of the United States Chess Federation.
Registration is required. Children can register at the Library the day of the event from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or by e-mailing Eric Vigil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please call the Library at (319) 356-5200.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 5th, 2014
The Iowa City Public Library invites children to kick off the holiday season by giving at Read to Feed.
Stop by the Storytime Room anytime between 2 and 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, to donate non-perishable items for The Crisis Center of Johnson County. Then stick around for stories, songs, snacks, and activities.
The Crisis Center’s Food Bank provides weekly food assistance to Johnson County residents. Of all the households served, one third has children in the home. The Food Bank always welcomes donations of peanut butter and canned meat, pasta and rice, soups and stews, canned vegetables, toilet paper, baby formula, diapers, and laundry detergent. Read to Feed also will collect new children’s books for The Crisis Center.
Read to Feed is sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library and Rock & Read volunteers from RSVP, Elder Services, Inc.
For more information, please call the Library at (319) 356-5200.
by Morgan Reeves on October 30th, 2014
Not since first picking up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone have I read a book that started off full of so much life and mystery. But this is just how Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt begins. As dramatic as any play, the scene is set when a letter arrives inviting Max Starling’s actor parents to visit the Maharajah of Kashmir. His parents say Max will be coming too, but when the steamship leaves, Max is left behind. Determined to be independent until his parents return, he decides to find a job. But jobs for twelve year old boys don’t pay very well, so Max uses his experience of growing up in the theater to disguise himself and act older. To his surprise, he discovers he has a talent for solving problems for other people. He is not quite a detective and not quite a life coach, but something in between, a Solutioneer, as he calls himself. Cases start rolling in, a lost dog, a lost Baron, even a lost spoon, Max finds the solution to them all. This wonderful beginning of a trilogy weaves tricky problems and spirited characters into the the overarching story of what has happened to his parents. A story that leaves readers both satisfied with Max’s solutions and eager to find out more about Mister Max, Solutioneer.
Mister Max: The Book of Secrets is the recently released second title in the trilogy, which follows Max on his most important case yet. The problems are bigger and more complex, but Max is sure he can handle them. Fires have been springing up in small businesses, but no one will talk to the police, and with a visit from the Royal family approaching, the Mayor is desperate stop the fires without a fuss. Enter Mister Max and his ability to get people talking without knowing who they are really talking to. But with the appearance of an old schoolmate, for the first time he must deal with the possibility of being recognized, which could ruin Max’s independent lifestyle. Help is provided in the form of his librarian Grammie; his tutor Ari; and the sometimes irritating, very talkative Pia, who insists she is his assistant. All the while Max continues to receive troubling hints on the whereabouts of his parents. A great follow-up to the first, this story manages to leave some solutions open-ended while setting up the last book and what readers will hope to be Max’s reunion with his parents.
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on October 30th, 2014
With November just around the corner, I am starting to think about FOOD! Holiday menus, edible gifts, cookie exchanges, hot chocolate…and Read to Feed!
Read to Feed is a library program that gives your family an opportunity to kick off the season with true holiday spirit—by giving! Join us in the Storytime Room on Wednesday, Nov. 12, anytime between 2-4 pm for stories, songs, activities, and snacks—and a food drive for The Crisis Center of Johnson County, hosted by The Iowa City Public Library and Rock & Read volunteers from RSVP, Elder Services, Inc. Did you know that one third of the people in households served by the Food Bank are children? Read to Feed gives kids a chance to show they care.
Take advantage of a no-school day (for students in the Iowa City Community School District) for some mid-week entertainment. Rock & Read volunteers will share some of their favorite books, and library staff will lead the group in campfire songs and chants. Throw in some fall snacks, and it’s sure to be a great time!
Drop in anytime and stay as long as you can! The only admission requested is a donation for The Iowa City Crisis Center, such as nonperishable food items or new children’s books. We invite you to join us—partnering together to feed the minds and bodies of Johnson County!
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 13th, 2014
Halloween costume designs, chess and holiday crafts are part of the Totally Tweens lineup at the Iowa City Public Library.
Totally Tweens is a once-a-month program featuring hands-on activities specifically for students in third through sixth grades.
Monday, Oct. 20: Tweens are invited to join Morgan in the Storytime Room for Totally Tweens: They’re Alive. Tweens can paint and decorate a mask to bring their Halloween costume to life. The program begins at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 15: The annual ICPL Kids Chess Tournament will be held from 1 to 5:15 p.m. in Meeting Room A. Students in third through sixth grade are invited to complete; younger children are welcome if they are a member of the United States Chess Federation. You may register the day of the event from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or e-mail Eric Vigil at email@example.com. Registration is required.
Wednesday, Dec. 10: Tweens are invited to get crafty at Totally Tweens: Holly Days Crafts. Supplies will be provided for tweens to create unique holiday crafts to take home. The program begins at 3:30 p.m. It will be held in the Storytime Room.
Tween Minecraft at ICPL
In addition to these special Totally Tween events, the Library also has Tween Minecraft Time from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3, and Monday, Dec. 1.
Registration is required for Tween Minecraft Time. You can register online at calendar.icpl.org by clicking on the date of the event you wish to attend. Each participant may only register for one time slot.
Tweens need to have a Minecraft account to play in multiplayer mode. Players without an account may use a library account, but these are limited and first come first serve. Otherwise players without an account may still play in single player mode.
For more information about any of the Totally Tween events, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 10th, 2014
The Iowa City Public Library’s annual Popo’s Puppet Festival from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 25, in Meeting Room A is a Halloween special featuring our favorite clown, Popo. He will be joined by Bony Legs and the Jester Puppets.
Join ICPL staff and puppeteers Deanne Wortman, Dave Panther, Kevin Coble, and Buffy Quintero for a delightfully haunting morning full of jumps, squeals, laughter and activities.
Halloween costumes are optional.
This event will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 10.
For more information, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.