It’s Book Madness Time at the Library!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on March 1st, 2017

Grab your brackets and a pencil (or pen, if you’re feeling lucky) — it’s Book Madness time at ICPL!book-madness

Visit our display on the Library’s first floor to see which titles will face off in this year’s literary competition. Be sure to pick up a bracket! Anyone who returns their bracket by March 5 is in the running for a $25 gift certificate to Prairie Lights! (We’ll have two winners; one in the Children’s bracket and another in the Teens and Adults bracket).

Beginning March 6, you can vote for your favorite title in our Book Madness brackets. To start, we have 64 titles in four categories. Submit a vote for your favorite(s) – if you want to vote for just one book, you can, or you can choose 32 titles to move forward in the first round; it’s up to you! – and watch as the titles progress.

Here are the voting dates to remember:

  • First Round: March 6 through March 12
  • Second Round: March 13 through March 19
  • Sweet Sixteen: March 20 through March 26
  • Elite 8: March 27 through April 2
  • Final 4: April 3 through April 9
  • Championship Game: April 10 through April 16

The winning book in each bracket will be announced on Monday, April 17.

Here’s a list of this year’s books. Who do you think will win it all?


Banned Books

  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
  • George by Alex Gino
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  • Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  • It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris
  • A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
  • Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
  • Bone by Jeff Smith
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  • It’s a Book by Lane Smith

Best Book Artists

  • Oliver Jeffers
  • Rosemary Wells
  • Jan Brett
  • LeUyen Pham
  • Mo Willems
  • Eric Carle
  • Tomie dePaola
  • Sandra Boynton
  • Kevin Henkes
  • Jerry Pinkney
  • Lois Ehlert
  • Graeme Base
  • Jon Klassen
  • Brian Selznick
  • Pamela Zagarenski
  • Molly Idle

Forgotten Classics

  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  • Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
  • The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Half Magic (Tales of Magic, #1) by Edward Eager
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  • A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • George and Martha by James Marshall
  • Higglety Pigglety Pop! by Maurice Sendak
  • Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander

Series and Sequels

  • Big Nate by Lincoln Pierce
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Galaxy Zack by Ray O’Ryan
  • Geronimo Stilton by Various Authors
  • The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  • American Girl by Various Authors
  • Who Was … by Various Authors
  • Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Olivia by Ian Falconer
  • Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  • How Do Dinosaurs… by Jane Yolen
  • Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
  • Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
  • Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo


Dystopian Fiction

  • The Passage by Justin Cronin
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Testing Trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau
  • When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
  • The Children of Men by D. James
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • California by Edan Lepucki
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown
  • The Last Policeman Trilogy by Ben H. Winters
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Graphic Novels and Comics

  • All Star Superman by Grant Morrison
  • Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
  • Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • Locke & Key by Joe Hill
  • Palestine by Joe Sacco
  • March Trilogy by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
  • Blankets by Craig Thompson
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson & Shannon Watters
  • Epileptic by David B.
  • Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
  • Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Bone by Jeff Smith
  • Peanut by Ayun Halliday
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

Historical Fiction

  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
  • Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  • City of Thieves by David Benioff
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • The Alienist by Caleb Carr
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe


  • Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • Tell No One by Harlan Coben
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
  • Death of a Red Heroine by Qui Xiaolong
  • In The Woods by Tana French
  • Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
  • Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King
  • Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny
  • Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  • Baby Ganesh Agency series by Vaseem Khan
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Bruce Springsteen Reads Me Bedtime Stories

by Kara Logsden on February 28th, 2017
Bruce Springsteen Reads Me Bedtime Stories Cover Image

My New Year’s Resolution was to switch from listening to audiobooks via CDs in my car to listening on my smart phone. WOW! I love listening to eAudiobooks on my phone! They go everywhere with me – in the car, on a walk, while eating breakfast, and yes, to bed with me at night. More information about eAudiobooks via ICPL and OverDrive is available here.

I’m currently listening to Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and the audiobook is narrated by The Boss himself. I am not typically a biography reader, but I am loving this book. The other morning, while driving into work, the E Street Band was formed. I may have had tears. I now understand why I don’t like Springsteen’s earlier music, but I’m going to give it a new try after listening to the book. I think I’ll understand it better. Today I listened to his music while driving into to work. The songs have been bumping around in my head and I wanted a day to listen. Born to Run, Born in the  USA, Streets of Philadelphia, My Home Town, I’m on Fire … all songs from my youth and just as fun to listen to today.

If you want to take a trip down Springsteen Memory Lane, check out Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs of All Time. It’s a great tribute and there are many photographs and fun links.

Born to Run is a well written book that is fast paced and engaging. I would highly recommend it to Springsteen fans and people who grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. And yes, if you take it to bed at night, Bruce Springsteen will read you bedtime stories. Enjoy!

A new quilt book: No Scrap Left Behind

by Beth Fisher on February 26th, 2017
A new quilt book:  No Scrap Left Behind Cover Image

One of the things I like best about working at ICPL is how easy it is to walk through the new book sections. This week I found a book that I’ve added to my list to buy.

Written by quilt blogger Amanda Jean Nyberg  No Scrap Left Behind – 16 Quilt Projects That Celebrate Scraps of All Sizes made me almost giddy when I saw it.  I love quilts made up of many different fabrics – either true scraps left over from other projects, or quarter yards of fabrics purchase just because I love the fabric.

Every quilt project produces fabric scraps, but not everyone saves scraps.  Those of us who do each have our own definition of what a scrap is. For me a scrap is anything bigger than 2 square inches.  Smaller than than that hits the recycle bag.  (You did know you can recycle/compost cotton fabrics, right?)

scrapsNo Scrap Left Behind starts with a bit about Jean Nyberg herself and her quilting, then she talks about how she organizes and stores her own scraps. She leads you through thinking about a scrap project – from deciding what fabric colors you want to use to how to decide when an individual fabric does or does not work with your project. She explains color values and how context can make or break a fabric (some fabrics just do not go together.)

crazy-mom-quiltThere are all sorts of ways to sew with scraps, and Jean Nyberg has helped simplify scrap quilting by designing projects that focus on one basic shape: squares, strips, triangles or snippets.

A fun read with wonderful photographs No Scrap Left Behind is definitely something to check out if you like colorful scrap quilts.  Nyberg is also the coauthor with Cheryl Arkison of Sunday Morning Quilts (2012) and her blog “Crazy Mom Quilts” is even more fun than her books.








Remember your Boy Band obsession?

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on February 25th, 2017
Remember your Boy Band obsession? Cover Image

Mine was New Kids on the Block. Theirs were the first concert I attended (Hilton Colosseum in 1988) and, if I’m being honest, the last one, too. (My friends and I attended one of their reunion shows in Minneapolis in 2015. Nelly and TLC were the opening acts. It was the 90s all over again and it was awesome!)

My point is, you never forget your first boy band obsession. Or, if you’re Stella Samuel in Ali Novak’s The Heartbreakers, you never stop mocking your sister for her boy band obsession, also called The Heartbreakers. Stella is more indie music, not the pseudo-punk her sister loves, yet she’s on a mission to secure autographs of the hottest band around for her sister’s birthday present.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

by Tom Jordan on February 17th, 2017

One of my family’s Sunday evening rituals is watching a movie after supper.  Finding one we’re all likely to enjoy is a challenge.  The Princess Bride, The Karate Kid, and The Jungle Book are recent winners, so now my children know Mr. Miyogi and Miracle Max – that’s a real feel-good for a parent who grew up in the eighties. miracle-max

This past Sunday, we settled on Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.  It quickly became apparent that I was the only one enjoying it.  While I was laughing out loud, my eleven-year old became increasingly annoyed and started groaning and sighing and saying things like “Why is he talking like that!? Ughhghhh.” The younger two kids seemed mildly amused and said they liked it, but I think they were enjoying their older sister’s annoyance more.  My wife endured stoically…we stopped about half way through to start the bedtime routine.  Read the rest of this entry »

Did you have a super special Valentine’s Day?

by Mary Estle-Smith on February 16th, 2017

If you did, congratulations!!  Now you may be interested in some of the great books we have  to assist you through the exciting but stressful process of planning your wedding.   There are titles to help you with every kind of event from the lavish extravaganza to an intimate and/or budget friendly gathering.

home jacket blogHere  are just a few samples of the many books available to guide you through everything. Lots of information on Dresses and cake,  music and vows,  and even to who  should sit next to whom.

You can also visit this site for venues, and other services available both locally and in the surrounding  area.


New Children’s Nonfiction Books to Celebrate Black History Month

by Mari Redington on February 10th, 2017

bhmFebruary has been a busy month for the Children’s Room. Well, it’s pretty much always a busy time for us, but with Valentine’s Day, the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten anniversary, and the One Book, Two Book festival coming up, we wanted to be sure to offer some great programs and resources for children to learn about black history in our country. For upcoming programs for kids and adults, see our Black History Month series in the calendar. And be sure to check our Black History Month book display and the Behind the Beat: African American Music display by the African American Museum of Iowa, both located in the Children’s Room. Here are some of my favorite newer nonfiction books I’ve been reading this month to learn more.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Couple Next Door

by Heidi Kuchta on February 9th, 2017

If you are feeling a bit blah these February days, why not pick up a thriller? The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena was just what I needed to get me out of a winter reading rut. The book introduces us to young professionals Anne and Marco, who arcouple-next-doore struggling to adjust to life as new parents. Marco convinces Anne to step out for a dinner party at the couple’s house next door. Begrudgingly, Anne agrees, and goes to the party with her baby monitor and hopes of turning in early. Later that evening when they go home, their baby girl Cora has been kidnapped. From there, events move quickly, unfurling a spiral of secrets. This fast-paced tale is part mystery, part psychological thriller. It is a quick read which you will likely find difficult to put down!

Brooklyn Then and Now

by Elyse Miller on February 9th, 2017

This morning IPR began a “one-day” fundraiser at 6:00 am. One of the musical segues was “How Deep is Your Love,” by the Bee Gees. Corny, and not altogether appropriate for the circumstance, I thought. We are “living in a world of rules breaking us down,” but public radio fundraising is not that world.

And, I could not get the song out of my head. Dylan, my two-year old silver standard poodle, pricked up his ears as I sang out loud, a capella. Not pretty. Not sure he liked it. And I started thinking about the movie from which the song emanated, “Saturday Night Fever.” I came to work, went to the movie area on the 1st floor, retrieved, and checked out ICPL’s copy of the 30th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition. I plan to immerse myself in the song and eliminate its worminess. At least that is my hope.

I asked a number of staffers if they had seen SNF, and, being alot younger than I, to a person all had not seen the movie. And I was a bit disheartened. I was asked if it was about dancing. And it is about dancing. And it is John Travolta’s breakout role. But it is also, and more importantly, about socio-economics, and finding a way out of the neighborhood, in any way you can. In this case, the neighborhood is Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. In the 70’s. When it was not hipsterish to live there. When it was a place one yearned to leave by whatever means possible. Paint store clerk loser by day, dance floor king at night.

Times have changed. Now Brooklyn (okay, I was born there) represents the arts, and craftiness, and cooldom. But I like to think the spirit of Tony Manero lives on, despite Brooklyn’s renaissance and emergence as the hippest place to be (okay I was born there).

So I’m gonna go home, put on the 30th anniversary edition, remember where I came from, and how it used to be, and dance my a off.



So Big by Edna Ferber

by Anne Mangano on February 8th, 2017
So Big by Edna Ferber Cover Image

Selina Peake doesn’t have a lot of options when her father, a professional gambler, is killed by a stray bullet in a Chicago gambling parlor. This being the turn-of-the-century, Selina, armed only with an education and enough money for two dresses (one in burgundy cashmere), decides to become a school teacher and takes a position in the Dutch farming community of High Prairie just outside of the city. Let’s Read the rest of this entry »