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Book Madness Update: We have our Elite Eight!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on March 28th, 2015

BookMadness

The votes are in! Below are the titles and beloved book characters that are our 2015 Book Madness Elite Eight!

Be sure to visit the Library this weekend to vote for your favorite book(s) to advance to the Final Four! We’ll update the brackets on Monday!

If you can’t make it to the Library this weekend, you can vote on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @ICPL using the #ICPLBookMadness hashtag! We’ll accept social media votes until 8:30 a.m. Monday.

And if anyone knows how to choose between Island of the Blue Dolphins and Charlotte’s Web in the Books That Got You Hooked on Reading category, please let us know. It’s too hard!

You can find the list of all books in this year’s Book Madness literary competition here. We also have extra brackets at the Children’s Desk, Help Desk and Info Desk if you’d like to pick one up as a reading list.

Book Madness 2015: Adults and Teens

HUMOR ME

  • How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey

BOOKS THAT BLOW YOUR MIND

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

BIG BOOKS WORTH THE EFFORT

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

IOWA WRITERS

  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
  • The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas

Book Madness 2015: Children’s

BELOVED CHARACTERS

  • Percy Jackson
  • The Pigeon

BOOKS THAT GOT YOU HOOKED ON READING

  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

BEST SERIES

  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Elephant and Piggie

WORDLESS PICTURE BOOKS

  • Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
  • Chalk by Bill Thomson

Art Quilts of the Midwest: Tuesday April 13th

by Beth Fisher on April 13th, 2015

art quiltsAccording to Wikipedia, Art Quilts are an art form that uses both modern and traditional quilting techniques to create art objects.

Local author, magazine writer, blogger, and quilter Linzee Kull McCray’s new book “Art Quilts of the Midwest” showcases the work of 20 artists whose works were inspired by life in the Midwest.

Tuesday evening, April 13th, Linzee will be here at ICPL to discuss the research and creation of her book.  Astrid Hilger Bennet, who wrote the forward, will talk about art quilts and the fabrics used in them. Erick Wolfmeyer, the only Iowa artists included in the book, will show a 10 minute film about his work.   Both Astrid and Erick will have quilts on display at the event.    This event begins at 7:00 pm in Meeting Room A and is cosponsored by ICPL and Prairie Lights Books.

So I’m rereading Harry Potter…

by Ella Von Holtum on April 9th, 2015

hpThe 15th anniversary has come and gone, and I myself haven’t read a word of Harry Potter since I finished The Deathly Hallows in 2007. The teens in Iowa City’s Home School Assistance Program have a monthly book club in the library, and we’ve been discussing Harry Potter books every other month. A lot of small things have accreted to plant the seed. Last weekend I got a cold and I decided it was finally time to reread Harry Potter.

We have all the books (and Ebooks!) here at ICPL, so after work on Friday I grabbed the first two. I’m on book three, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s great how little time it’s taken me to get this far – the books are an effortless read, and hours zip by as chapters unfold. Admittedly, the books are about to get long, so I’m savoring these fast reads while I can.

hp4Part of what makes them an easy read for me is the ways they are so familiar.I came to Harry Potter a little late, starting in 2003, and was too old to have grown up with them. I was an adult living in Scotland, and after some P.G. Wodehouse and Stephen Fry it felt like a logical leap. Winter in Glasgow was really the perfect moment for the story to take root in me, but it’s been awhile since I started and finished the series. So I was less surprised at how many details and plot points I’ve forgotten. Things as major as who opened the Chamber of Secrets or as small as the name of the Weasleys’ perpetually exhausted owl were all new to me this time through. I can’t wait to see what surprises await me as I continue reading!

It’s funny, too, how many conversations I’ve had in the last week about my re-read, entirely with people in their 20′s, who grew up with the books. One friend is rereading them for the first time too, and loving it. Another friend had been pondering a reread and posed an interesting question: “how do you think HP’s gonna age?” Not the character, but the series. How will it weather in the cannon?Will it be for kids in the next few generations and beyond like The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia were for me? Will children get excited when they are finally tall enough to reach the shelf where the books live on their parents’ shelves? Will people read them to their young ones as they fall asleep, maybe skipping over the real nightmare material? Or will they fade away, another momentous but momentary cultural phenomenon, something that people who were kids at a certain time remember so well, and everyone else just doesn’t get -what’s all this fuss about Quidditch and Wingardium Leviosa?

hp2I gave my copies away the last time I moved – they were just so much book to haul around from apartment to apartment – so I won’t be loaning them off my shelves. And I wonder too how appealing the series would be to a hesitant young reader when they can clearly see just how long the last four books really are. Maybe only the most dedicated will undertake the quest. On the other hand, they are still so ubiquitous, and so much has been made of Harry Potter’s role in introducing reading to so many kids of a certain generation. And the series still circulates in all the libraries I’ve visited. These marks are indelible for now, and I do wonder, how indeed will HP age?

An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War

by Kara Logsden on April 8th, 2015
An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War Cover Image

Patrick Taylor’s newest installment in the Irish Country Doctor series provides background information about many of the beloved characters in the stories. An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War moves between Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly’s service on the HMS Warspite battleship during WWII and two decades later in the iconic Irish village of Ballybucklebo.

I enjoy the Patrick Taylor books on many levels. The very basic level involves storytelling. I listen to these audiobooks and the narrator, John Keating, is awesome. His Irish brogue adds an element to the story that makes it come alive. There are many layers to the stories and Patrick Taylor weaves plots, details, and resolutions through chapters and decades.

The stories also have a strong sense of place and great character development. In my mind I know what Ballybucklebo looks like and, if I could visit, I would expect to find the publican, the town counselor, and the other assorted characters just as they are described in the books. Although the village is a bit iconic, it adds to the enjoyment of the story.

And finally, I like these stories for the pure enjoyment of the experience. I listen, I laugh, and I think about traveling to Ireland someday. I affectionately tell my son he’s a “buck eejit” and he smiles because he’s listened to the stories and also enjoys them.

Poetry Month events at ICPL

by Beth Fisher on April 8th, 2015

.poetry

April is National Poetry Month

ICPL is hosting a variety of programs to celebrate:

 

cawelti

Landscape Iowa:

Poems of James Hearst, Sung.

Wednesday, April 8th  7:00 p.m.

Meeting Room A

Dr. Scott Cawelti explores the life and poetry of Iowa farmer-poet James Hearst.  Dr Cawelti puts the poetry of James Hearst to music, accompanying himself on accoustic steel-string guitar.   *This event is sponsored in party by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

TweenPoetryWorkshop

Totally Tweens: Poetry Workshop

Saturday, April 11th 2:00 p.m.

Meeting Room A

Tweens are invited to write their own peoms and learn about various poetic forms from haiku, concrete poems, acrostic poems, limericks, etc. Participants may share their poems aloud with the group if they wish. All mateirals will be provided. Refreshemnts will be served.  A poetry slam will take place the last 15 minutes of the workshop, with parents invited.  Registration is required, click here  or  call the library at 319-356-5200 to register.

 

Poetry Month Open Mic Night

Monday, April 13th 7:00 p.m.

Meeting Room A

Read your favorite poem.  It can be your own work or the work of another poet you admire.  Limit of 5 minutes per reader.

Where in the World:  Places in Poetry

Tuesday, April 28th, Noon

Meeting Room A

Members of the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center group “Reading Aloud” will be reading poems about places.  * This event is cosponsored by the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.

Stop by and check out the Library’s Poetry Month displays on the first and second floors,  or express yourself with our giant magnetic poetry game on the 2nd floor.

 

The Maine Coon’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen

by Katherine Habley on April 1st, 2015
The Maine Coon’s Haiku                                                                                                                                     by Michael J. Rosen Cover Image

The Main Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers is a 2015 new poetry book for children that I checked-out in preparation for the library’s annual Poetry Workshop for Kids coming up Saturday, April 11th, from 2:00–4:00 p.m.  I enjoy facilitating this program for tweens each April in honor of National Poetry Month and am always amazed at the creative poems kids write.  We talk about haiku, originally a poetic form from Japan describing a moment in nature in 17 syllables (5-7-5) written in three lines.  Nowadays we take lots of poetic license in the writing of haiku as illustrated in this new collection of poems by Rosen who gave us The Cuckoo’s Haiku in 2009.  Each of the twenty haiku are about a particular kind of cat.  For example, in the haiku entitled “Burmese,” it goes like this:  “Only the blazing/forsythia blooms rival/the Burmese cat’s gaze.”  Another poem I enjoy is “Maine Coon” written in three simple lines of verse:  “Crouched before the couch,/suddenly, cat has all night/for just one sound–mouse.” Haiku is a great form of poetry to teach because it’s short and understandable for young readers and writers. Children can use their imagination to think of a scene in nature that for one brief moment is worthy of notice and describe it in a haiku.  It is personal, reflective, and quiet poetry that relies on eliciting  feelings, emotions, and wonder.  The illustrations in this book are by Lee White and are done digitally in muted colors.  A bonus in The Maine Coon’s Haiku is the thumbnail description and image from the book of the breed.  Don’t forget to register your 3rd-6th grader for the Poetry Workshop and we’ll talk more about haiku and write some of our own.  In the meantime, check out this book on the New Book Shelves and celebrate National Poetry Month!

Winter Bees by Joyce Sidman

by Katherine Habley on April 1st, 2015
Winter Bees by Joyce Sidman Cover Image

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold written by Joyce Sidman is a lovely new picture book of poems suitable for grade K to grade 4.  Although there are only a dozen poems included, they are very descriptive of animals surviving in the cold long winter.  The author sometimes uses unfamiliar words in her poems but there is a brief glossary of 22 definitions in the back of the book that defines words children might not know.  Some poems rhyme but most do not.  Two of the poems are in a particular poetic form–a pantoun and a triolet–adding to the reader’s knowledge of the poetic structure used.  Sidman has certainly done her research on each animal of the frozen North she writes about.  She lives in Minnesota and has observed these creatures first hand; but the addition of a paragraph of information about each hardy animal living in the winter is something that will appeal to animal lovers, parents, and teachers who choose to share this book in the classroom.  Some of the animals included are the tundra swan, a big brown moose, winter bees, a vole, and wolves.  The aspect of this new volume of poetry that I particularly love are the beautiful illustrations by Rick Allen, another Minnesota native.  He is a printmaker and has employed his considerable skills in printing from linoleum blocks and then adding color by hand.  The prints were then digitally scanned, composed, and layered to create the artwork for the poems.  Winter Bees is a book for those who love the natural world.  And even though the poems depict winter scenes, the book ends with the coming of Spring.  Hallelujah!

A Big Book Worth the Effort

by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on March 31st, 2015
Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Since this is my very first blog ever, I’d like to recommend my most favorite book of all time:  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  This epic novel is not in our Book Madness bracket, most likely because I forgot to submit it.  Because it was originally serialized, each chapter is full of action and the book reads more like modern-day authors David Baldacci and Brad Thor.

Before he became The Count, Edmond Dantes was a naive merchant sailor with a life full of happiness.  That changes when he is sent to the foreboding Chateau d’If for reasons unknown to him.  After his “release”, he methodically wreaks vengeance on those he deems responsible, but also helps others he believes are worthy.

If you don’t have the time for 117 chapters or are just a bit daunted, we have a 4-part TV mini-series (starring Gerard Depardieu; 1998) and the 2002 theatrical version (starring Jim Caviezel).  There are also many revamped versions including:

Since I am a fervent fan, I’ve also read The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss.  This is a biography of Alexandre Dumas’s father who served as an inspiration for the novel.

Edmond Dantes is a complex character and the plot is quite intricate – with every re-reading I discover something new.  The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic because its themes still resonate today.

Veggie Recipes for Big Batch Cooking

by Melody Dworak on March 31st, 2015
Veggie Recipes for Big Batch Cooking Cover Image

If it takes 90 days to create a new habit, then by-golly I may have just succeeded at one of my New Year’s Resolutions. This resolution was inspired by that 5 o’clock HANGRY feeling.

You get off work, drained from the day, and you have no energy or patience to deal with making cooking decisions. Eating–a core function of sustaining your existence–takes the backseat to meal prep, or arguing about meal prep, or whining about why you can’t ever eat the salad greens before they turn to slime.

The solution? Big batch cooking on the weekend, or whatever days off you might have. I’m happy to say this has worked for me for 13 weeks in a row. I use recipes from library cookbooks to shake up the flavors, only repeating my favorites. And I’ve started collecting these recipes by scanning the pages with Evernote’s Scannable app (Apple) and saving them to the Evernote Food app (Andoid, Apple).

Here are a few of the books and recipes that have allowed me to conquer the 5 o’clock HANGRY.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sensory Storytimes to Go

by Vickie Pasicznyuk on March 30th, 2015

Teeth pic

New in the Children’s Room—Sensory Storytime Kits! These kits are now available to check out and are shelved in the Storytime Kit collection. Designed to make storytimes accessible and enjoyable for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory disorders, or other special needs, these kits include books, props, music cd’s, puppets, flannelboards, fidget toys, and information on presenting Sensory Storytimes. Though created with a specific audience in mind, all children will enjoy the interactive components of these kits. Choose from Good Morning, Good Night; Teeth!; What’s the Weather?; and Pick a Pet. Kids will enjoy getting a monkey all dressed for his day, brushing giant teeth, matching clothes to the weather, voting on which pet to get, playing with puppets, and more. If you’d like to share stories with high audience participation, you’ll want to check out the Sensory Storytime Kits. Many thanks to the Pilot Club of Iowa City, which provided grant funding for this project.

Must Have Baby Books Chosen By Library Staff

by Bond Drager on March 30th, 2015

I count myself among the lucky few: I work at Iowa City Public Library. The staff here are truly dedicated to what they do, and their knowledge of books is formidable. Since I’m expecting my first child in a few weeks my coworkers threw me a wonderful baby shower. I was completely overwhelmed with new books.

Because their choices are so considered, I thought others might be curious to know just what books library staff think someone should have for a new baby’s library. Here’s a list of what they chose. Most, if not all of these books are available in our collection or Prairie Lights Bookstore.

Board Books
Giraffes Can't DanceGiraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
MadelineMadeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Barnyard DanceBarnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
HippopotamusBut Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
doggiesDoggies by Sandra Boynton
moo baaMoo Baa La la La by Sandra Boynton
snuggle puppySnuggle Puppy! by Sandra Boynton
caterpillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
monkeysFive Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
carlGood Dog Carl by Alexandra Day
rainbowPlanting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
rabbitLittle White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
belly buttonWhere is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz
zoom zoomZoom, Zoom, Baby! by Karen Katz
boogieBaby Loves to Boogie! by Wednesday Kirwan
boom boomChicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
book of sleepA Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na
tiggy winkleThe Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle by Beatrix Potter
tom kittenThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter
hop on popHop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
circleCircle by Justine Smith
dinosaurThat’s Not My Dinosaur by Fiona Watt
napping houseThe Napping House by Audrey Wood

Picture Books
snoozefestSnoozefest by Samantha Berger
mittenThe Mitten by Jan Brett
click clack mooClick, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
motherAre You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
imogeneImogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming
princess knightThe Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke
mooseThis Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
purple crayonHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
library lionLibrary Lion by Michelle Knudsen
put me in the zooPut Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
hey diddle diddleHey Diddle Diddle and Other Nursery Rhymes (Stories in Stitches) Illustrated by Dawn Mitchell
just go to bedJust Go to Bed by Mercer Mayer
ducklingsMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
wild thingsWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
baby woodlandYou Are My Baby: Woodland by Lorena Siminovich
abcABC by Dr. Seuss
green eggs and hamGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
tailsTails by Matthew Van Fleet
catCat by Matthew Van Fleet
one night far from hereOne Night, Far From Here by Julia Wauters




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