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Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau by Andrea Beaty

by Katherine Habley on February 27th, 2015
Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau by Andrea Beaty Cover Image

I love hats!  I started wearing hats in my 20′s when I was in college.  I’m not talking about knitted wool hats, I’m talking fancy straw and felt hats that I would wear to complete my outfit.  I still wear hats and am almost ashamed to admit that I have nearly 200 hats that are in boxes carefully organized and labeled so I can find just the one I want to wear to church on Sunday mornings.  I love wearing hats to tea parties and I always take a couple of packable hats when I travel to give me flexibility to dress up an outfit.

As a children’s librarian, one of the best things about my job is doing storytimes for preschoolers, whether in the library or at one of our 40+ day cares and preschools we visit regularly.  I always have a theme and hats has been a favorite storytime subject; kids love the hats I bring for show and tell.

A fairly new picture book that I was happy to discover is right up my alley.  Happy Birthday Madam Chapeau by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts is one that I can’t wait to read aloud to 3-6 year-olds.  The rhyming text tells of a milliner who makes all kinds of fabulous hats but is lonely.  Once a year she dresses up and puts on a special hat and treats herself to dinner at the finest Parisian restaurant to celebrate her birthday.  This year, as she’s walking to town to dine, a crow steals her birthday bonnet!  Many onlookers offer her their hat to wear but she declines each one until a little girl offers Madame Chapeau a hat she has knitted.  The illustrations are quite humorous and extend the text very nicely; David Roberts was a former milliner before illustrating children’s books and his knowledge of one-of-a-kind designer hats is evident.  There is plenty for children to discover in the pictures that celebrate the joy of ribbons, baubles, bows, and veils.  Have fun sharing this one!

 

Trapped

by Melody Dworak on February 26th, 2015
Trapped Cover Image

Here are four new memoirs that will make the able-bodied glad we’re only trapped by crappy winter weather.

Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

A bizarre illness rendered Martin Pistorius immobile and incommunicado for 12 years. His family was told the teenager was going to die, but he survived in a vegetative state with no way to communicate. His family didn’t know he was cognizant for more than a decade. How do you cope when you are trapped inside your body? What do you do when the staff at the care center leave Barney reruns on for hours? This memoir shares his intense story. eBook available on OverdriveRead the rest of this entry »

Serendipity in the Stacks

by Kara Logsden on February 23rd, 2015

Recently we had a great conversation at the Help Desk about good movies. A patron read my blog post about the 100 Foot Journey and suggested The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I love when I get suggestions from people I’m helping – it’s a bit of serendipity in my day. There have also been many conversations leading up to the Oscars, and it’s fun to hear what others think about different movies.

One of the more interesting conversations last week was about The Grand Budapest Hotel and the facial hair of the actors. Stories from National Public Radio and Esquire Magazine piqued our interest and had me guessing which mustaches were real and which were not. According to NPR:

“They’re made of real human hair, which you buy in all different textures and colors,” says Hannon. “There’s usually five minimum colors in each mustache.”

The hairs are sewn individually into tiny holes — less than a half-millimeter in diameter — of what Hannon calls “the finest silk lace you can find. … So you can imagine the time that goes into the perfection of each.”

My holds for The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel came in before the weekend, so we had a great movie fest Friday and Saturday with a hotel theme. Although both movies were very good, they were very different. While I enjoyed the precision and scenery in The Grand Budapest Hotel, I especially enjoyed the heartwarming story and characters in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Another bit of serendipity today … when writing this post I learned the there’s a sequel to look forward to – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens in theatres on March 6th.

Give us a call or stop by if you need help finding a good movie or want to place a hold on the Oscar nominees or winners. You may discover your own serendipity in the stacks :)

Outline by Rachel Cusk

by Anne Mangano on February 19th, 2015
Outline by Rachel Cusk Cover Image

Rachel Cusks’ most recent work, Outline, follows an English author’s time in Athens teaching a creative writing class. The novel is broken up into ten chapters, each centering on a different conversation the main character has with her friends, her students, and the people she meets during her time there. The main character herself is somewhat anonymous to the reader, rarely discusses herself directly, but things about herself and her life are revealed in these exchanges. You don’t get the normal narration of what the character thinks and feels except in relation to who she meets. You get an “outline.”

If you like deep character studies and self-reflective narration, or even a complicated and evolving plot, then this isn’t your book. This is very much not your book. However, I found Outline palette-cleansing. The conversations are thoughtful and well-conceived and there are some interesting stories related to our narrator that will keep you on your toes. In one chapter, her writing class goes around the room and tells a story that involves an animal and one such story is riveting (I’m not going into detail here because it was one of the most surprising and heartbreaking segments of the book).

If you are looking for a quick, yet literary and provocative read, then I recommend you check out Outline.

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

by Kara Logsden on February 18th, 2015
Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod Cover Image

I dream of Paris. I’ve only traveled to Southern France, so my ongoing travel to Paris is vicarious through books. Author Janice MacLeod also dreamed of Paris and made her dream a reality through planning, checklists, and determination.

Janice MacLeod was “living the dream” working as a copywriter in Southern California. Unfortunately her life was more of a nightmare as she faced 12-hour work days, burnout and exhaustion. One day she doodled on a notepad, “How much money does it take to quit your job?”

Soon she was writing lists and making plans in her journal. Her first step was to save $100 per day, her estimated cost for what an escape to Paris would cost. To meet this goal she changed social plans (instead of dinner, let’s go on a hike and have a picnic), weeded her wardrobe (goal: all clothes fit in one suitcase) and downsized everything that tied her to California.

Soon the journey to transform her life became an adventure as she sets out for Paris. Along the way, and through continued journaling, she created a new life through words, art and friends … oh and a cute Polish dude she met while sitting in a cafe writing.

Paris Letters was a fun book to read … determination and serendipity along with some great letters.

Thinking Ahead to Summertime

by Ella Von Holtum on February 7th, 2015

Days like this, when the sun is out, the snow is melting, and people are out walking with no coats on, make me wish summer was a little nearer. Sure, it may be February. And maybe the temperature’s going to drop again next week, but for one sunny Saturday we can pretend, right?

We have some great titles in the Young Adult collection that can keep you in that summer frame of mind.  When it gets cold again, this is what I recommend!

white bicycle

The White Bicycle by Beverly Brenna: “Taylor Jane Simon, an eighteen-year-old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, travels to France, as she struggles to become independent of her controlling mother and meets a new mentor.”

vast

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd: “The summer after graduating from an Iowa high school, eighteen-year-old Dade Hamilton watches his parents’ marriage disintegrate, ends his long-term, secret relationship, comes out of the closet, and savors first love.”

swimSwim the Fly by Don Calame: “Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year’s? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time–quite a challenge, given that none of the guys has thenerve to even ask a girl out on a date. But catching a girl in the buff starts to look easy compared to Matt’s other summertime aspiration: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) as a way to impress Kelly West, the sizzling new star of the swim team”

thatsummer

That Summer by Sarah Dessen: “During the summer of her divorced father’s remarriage and her sister’s wedding, fifteen-year-old Haven comes into her own by letting go of the myths of the past.”

boyfriend

The Boyfriend League by Rachel Hawthorne: “Being a tomboy did not prepare Dani for romance. But new boyfriend potential opens up when her and her best friend’s families host a summer league of baseball players.”

alltheright

All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers: “The summer after his absentee father is killed in a random shooting, Paul volunteers at a Harlem soup kitchen where he listens to lessons about “the social contract” from an elderly African American man, and mentors a seventeen-year-old unwed mother who wants to make it to college on a basketball scholarship.”

 

empress

Empress of the World by Sarah Ryan: “While attending a summer institute, fifteen-year-old Nic meets another girl named Battle, falls in love with her, and finds the relationship to be difficult and confusing.”

 

All of these books are available upstairs at ICPL, in the Young Adult collection. If you find yourself dreaming of warmer days, come check one out!

 

Watch My Baby Grow

by Anne Mangano on February 6th, 2015
Watch My Baby Grow Cover Image

There are many books on infant development that contain pages and pages of text. Authors use word after word after word after word to explain the science behind this and the philosophy behind that. These books are great. They are fascinating and I want to read them someday. But if you are a new parent, your attention span is limited. You are tired, overscheduled (or unscheduled), and if you have extra time, it’s probably not devoted to reading anything extensive. However, there is a natural curiosity to know what is happening and what is coming up next. It is an exciting time of rapid development with changes occurring weekly. That is why I really like DK’s Watch My Baby Grow. This book provides week by week (for the first month) and month by month information on developmental milestones during the first year. But, like any DK book, it also has a lot of visuals, charts, and photographs. It provides a perfect mix for a tired, but curious mind.

The book follows the growth of one baby, Melisa, through her first year. The editors took a picture of Melisa at regular intervals to depict her development. The photographs are beautiful and well-laid out with Melisa in a white infant bodysuit amongst a white background. For scale, a white rabbit stuffed toy was placed next to her for each shot. The photographers had specific photos they wanted to capture in their depiction of infant development. Not all of them worked and there are little blurbs about what they wanted to photograph and why they were babyunable to do so. You will also find dedicated sections on newborn life, the development of the senses, physical and intellectual growth, communication, and personality.

Watch My Baby Grow is a fun and rewarding book. If you want to dive deeper, there are many great infant development books in our parenting section.

100 Foot Journey

by Kara Logsden on February 5th, 2015
100 Foot Journey Cover Image

I love books made into movies. I like to compare the two, think about which one I like better (it’s usually the book), and talk to others about what they think.

The 100 Foot Journey (Book and Movie) is a coming of age story of Hassan, a young aspiring chef from Mumbai with a loving family who has experienced great tragedy, and Madame Mallory, a Michelin-starred French chef who experiences a spiritual awakening after involvement with one of the tragedies experienced by Hassan and his family.

I didn’t discover the book, published in 2010, until I read a review for the 2014 movie. I was intrigued so I asked the Library to purchase the book on disc. I LOVED it – listening felt like a vicarious trip to Mumbai, England and the French countryside. There was strong character development, a strong sense of place, and a compelling story with memorable characters. After listening, I wanted more from the author Richard Morais.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to watch the movie with my family and everyone enjoyed it. The movie was produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey for DreamWorks Pictures. Just like the book, there were memorable characters and a strong sense of place. Helen Mirren was a perfect Madame Mallory and I especially liked Om Puri as the PaPa.

Knowing I’d read the book, my family was curious if I liked the book or the movie better. In this case, and just like To Kill A Mockingbird, I liked both. I enjoyed each in different ways, and would definitely enjoy reading the book or seeing the movie again.

If you watch the movie or read the book, I’d like to hear what you think. Enjoy!

Best in Books for Teens

by Brian Visser on February 5th, 2015

printz award

Earlier this week, the  winner of the 2015 Michael L. Printz Award was announced.  The award honors the best book in young adult literature each year as decided by the Printz Committee.  They also name honor books, which are the close, but no cigar books of the year.  Personally, I usually like the honor books more than the book that wins each year.  Here are this year’s books:

2015 Winner

I’ll Give You the SunI'll Give You the Sun

By Jandy Nelson

Published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company Once inseparable, twins Noah and Jude are torn apart by a family tragedy that transforms their intense love for each other into intense anger. Timelines twist and turn around each other in beautifully orchestrated stories of love and longing.

2015 Honor Books

And WAnd We Staye Stay

By Jenny Hubbard

Published by Delacorte, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., a Penguin Random House Company.

Reeling from her boyfriend’s dramatic suicide, Emily hides her anguish at a new boarding school, where she finds healing through poetry. Hubbard’s gem-like prose beautifully balances Emily’s poetry.

 

The Carnival at BrayCarnival at Bray

By Jessie Ann Foley

Published by Elephant Rock Books.

In 1993, Maggie is dismayed to leave Chicago and her beloved Uncle Kevin behind when she moves to a small Irish town. Yet it is within this evocative setting that Foley unwinds Maggie’s exceptional coming-of-age tale, where Maggie discovers music and forgiveness as antidotes for grief.

 

GrGrasshopper Jungleasshopper Jungle

By Andrew Smith

Published by Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

Historian Austin Szerba is in love with his best girl friend, Shann. He is also in love with his best boy friend, Robby. Mastermind Smith takes these tender facts and swirls them into a whirlwind tale of carnivorous praying mantises, the history of the world, the role of the individual, and the end of all we know.

 

This One SummerThis One Summer

By Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Published by First Second

Adolescence in its precarious first bloom is the subject of this sensitive graphic novel. The team of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki show and tell us of one special summer in Rose’s life, in a brilliant flow of pictures and text.

And the winner is….

by Vickie Pasicznyuk on February 3rd, 2015
And the winner is…. Cover Image

On Monday, February 2, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2015 Newbery and Caldecott award winners.  These books have won the most prestigious prizes in children’s literature.

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:  The Crossover by Kwame Alexander–Twin brothers Josh and Jordan are basketball stars and great friends, until a girl gets in the way.  A middle grade story of brotherhood and basketball told in a variety of poetic styles.

Newbery Honor Books: El Deafo by Cece Bell and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, written and illustrated by Dan Santat–An imaginary friend sets out on a journey to find a real child to befriend.

Caldecott Honor Books: Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo, The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPre, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet, and This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki.

For other award winners, see the full list.

 

 




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