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Rosemary Wells: A ‘beary’ special author reading

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 1st, 2015

Like most kids, I had a lot of stuffed animals when I was little, but there was one who was my favorite.

Peabody the bear with the book that inspired his name.

Peabody the bear with the book that inspired his name.

Peabody came into my life shortly after I woke up from having my tonsils removed the year I was in first grade. He was given to me by Dr. Marner, and remained by my side during the next week of Jell-O, ice cream and watching cartoons on the couch. About this same time, one of my brothers received a copy of the picture book Peabody by Rosemary Wells.

Comparable to The Velveteen Rabbit and Pixar’s Toy Story, Peabody is the story of a teddy bear who is given to his person, Annie, on her birthday. They have a great first year together. They ski in the winter, plant a garden in the spring, and collect seashells during their summer vacation. Peabody shows some wear and tear from these adventures, but Annie assures him that he isn’t growing old; he’s growing in.

Soon it’s Annie’s birthday again, and she receives doll (Rita) that walks and talks. Peabody can’t compete with Rita and is put on a shelf, where he is eventually forgotten. Luckily for him, Annie has a mischievous little brother, Robert, who plays with Rita when he shouldn’t and breaks her. (Reading this story now, I see definite similarities between Annie and Robert, and Wells’ popular brother-sister bunny duo, Max and Ruby.)

Losing Rita reminds Annie of how much she loves Peabody, a toy who doesn’t require bells and whistles to bring her joy, and the friends are reunited.

I named my bear Peabody after this book. I took him to camp. I took him to college. He moved with me to my first grown up job after college — and every job since. He now has a place of honor on my nightstand. His nose and smile are long gone, one plastic eye is scratched from a tussle with a dog, and his neck flops around after years of being lovingly choked while I slept.

He is the greatest stuffed bear in the world. And on Sunday, I’ll meet the author of the book that inspired his name.

Rosemary Wells will be at the Iowa City Public Library from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday in Meeting Room A. Her visit, which is co-sponsored by Prairie Lights Books, will include a video tour of her studio, as well as her thoughts about reading, writing and illustrating. Prairie Lights will have copies of her books for sale before and after the presentation.

Peabody is no longer in print, but I still have the copy I swiped from my brother years ago (Sorry John!) and look forward to asking her to sign it.

Peabody will be so happy.

Author Rosemary Wells at ICPL on Dec. 6

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 25th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library and Prairie Lights Books are pleased to welcome children’s author and illustrator Rosemary Wells to the Library at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, in Meeting Room A.

Wells is the creator of many popular children’s book characters, including Max and Ruby, Yoko, and McDuff. She is known for using animal characters rather than humans in her stories, telling the children’s journal Stone Soup that this allows her to “address sophisticated, controversial topics in way children can understand and adults can accept.”yoko

Wells’ presentation at the Library will include a video tour through her studio, as well as her thoughts about reading, writing, and illustrating. There will be a book signing afterwards. Copies of Wells’ books will be for sale at the event and at Prairie Lights Books prior to the event.

This author reading is co-sponsored by the Library and Prairie Lights Books, and will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

Author Jane Smiley at ICPL on Oct. 26

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 12th, 2015
Author Jane Smiley at ICPL on Oct. 26 Cover Image

The Iowa City Public Library and Prairie Lights are pleased to welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley to the Library on Monday, Oct. 26.

Smiley will read from her latest novel, Golden Age; the much-anticipated final volume in her Last Hundred Years trilogy, at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A. Following Some Luck and Early Warning, Golden Age follows the next generation of Langdons in the 1980s as they face economic, social, political and personal challenges.

Smiley was born in California, but grew up in a suburb of St. Louis. After getting her BA at Vassar College in 1971, she traveled in Europe for a year before moving to Iowa City, where she subsequently earned an MA (1975), MFA (1976), and PhD (1978) at the University of Iowa. In 1981, she went to work at Iowa State University, where she taught until 1996.

She published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980. Her fifth novel, A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a movie of the same name in 1997, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Jason Robards and Colin Firth.

Prairie Lights will have Smiley’s books available for purchase at the event.

Smiley’s reading will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

Little Free Library Tour Ends at Iowa City Book Festival

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 30th, 2015

On a Sunday afternoon in June of 2013, I watched as my daughter’s Girl Scouts troop filled two Little Free Libraries with books from their bookshelves. It was the last step in their year-long Silver Award project and a way to leave a legacy at their North Liberty elementary schools as they made the transition to junior high.Little Free Library

Those girls are in high school now, but the Little Free Libraries they installed at Garner and Van Allen elementary schools remain, both an ever-revolving selection of books for the students who walk by them every day.

The Take a Book, Leave a Book movement got its start in Hudson, Wisc., in 2009 when Todd Bol built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.

Today, there are more than 32,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 70+ countries.

Bol, executive director of the Little Free Library movement,  and Margret Aldrich, author of The Little Free Library Book, are two of this weekend’s Iowa City Book Festival featured speakers. Their presentation will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in Meeting Room A.

This appearance is Bol’s last on his Iowa leg of his Little Free Library Across America Tour. Rachael Carlson, director of operations for the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, says Bol will build a Little Free Library is the Pedestrian Mall before and after his talk. For anyone who has considered building their own Little Free Library, Saturday’s event is the perfect time to learn more about it.

The Iowa City Book Festival begins Thursday and continues through Sunday. For a complete list of events, including those happening at the Library, visit iowacitybookfestival.org.

Volunteers are still needed for this year’s festival. To sign up, click here.

Equal Before the Law Book Discussion at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 10th, 2015

On April 3, 2009, a decision by the Iowa Supreme Court made Iowa the third state in the nation to permit same-sex couples to marry. E

Equal Before The Law: How Iowa Led Americans to Marriage Equality by award-winning reporters Tom Witosky and Marc Hansen tells the stories behind this issue and traces the decisions impact.

Witosky and Hansen’s research and interviews with dozens of key figures – politicians, lawyers, and the people personally involved — show that no one should have been surprised by the 2009 decision. Iowans have a long history of leadership on civil rights, as illustrated by the state motto adopted in 1847: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”

Join Witosky and Hansen for a book discussion from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 21, in Meeting Room A.

This event is sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library and University of Iowa Press. It is free and open to the public, and will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, cable channel 20.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Author Michael Perry at ICPL June 3

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 26th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library and Prairie Lights are pleased to welcome New York Times bestselling humorist Michael Perry to the Library on Wednesday, June 3.jesus cow

Perry will read from his first fictional novel, The Jesus Cow, a story about how Harley Jackson’s low-key life was turned upside down after a calf in his barn bears the image of Jesus Christ. Does he try to hide the calf from the media circus pounding on his barn door or does he gamble anonymity for fame and fortune?

A review in Publishers Weekly states that “Perry’s novel wrestles with some big issues — religion, environmentalism, community — but he resists letting his narrative get too bogged down in them. The result is a purposeful story that doesn’t overwhelm, an often charming read that rarely takes itself too seriously.”

Perry’s reading will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Library. Prairie Lights will have copies of The Jesus Cow available for purchase at the program.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Author Jon Katz: “Iowa got to me”

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 7th, 2015

The Library and Prairie Lights were pleased to host New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz at the Library this week. We were the last stop on his self-organized book tour for Saving Simon.

Author Jon Katz

Author Jon Katz

As the host of numerous author readings, film screenings, events and presentations every year, the Library strives to plan programming that speaks to our community. Patron feedback guides future programming and we are grateful for the comments we receive. However, being curious people, we sometimes wonder what kind of impression we — the Library, our community, the city and our beloved state — make on outside visitors.

That’s why reading Katz’s blog post about his trip to Iowa is so rewarding. Katz made three stops in Iowa — Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City — and writes that he and his wife were charmed by what they saw.

“The people were the nicest and warmest people I have met anywhere – they really love authors and books and strangers – the food was as good as any we have eaten in New York City.” According to him, Iowa City “is the state’s proud answer to the East Village or Brooklyn.”

Thank you, Jon Katz, for including Iowa and the Iowa City Public Library on your tour. We’re happy you had a great visit and that you got the chance to experience firsthand what makes our state so great. We hope you’ll visit again soon!

 

 

 

Author Jon Katz at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 29th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library and Prairie Lights are pleased to welcome New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz to the Library Tuesday, May 5.simon

Katz, the author of The Last Housewife: A Suburban Detective Mystery and The New Work of Dogs: Tending to Life, Love, and Family, will read from his newest book: Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion.

In the spring of 2011, Katz received a phone call from an animal control officer. She had found a neglected donkey on a farm in upstate New York and hoped Katz and his wife, Maria, would be willing to adopt him. The recovery process was long, but as Katz helped Simon heal, the two formed a bond that illustrates the wondrous ways animals make humans wiser and kinder.

The author reading will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Library. Prairie Lights will have copies of Katz’s books available for purchase at the program and will donate 10 percent of the sales made that night to the Iowa City Animal Shelter.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Iowa City Book Festival Celebrates Books and Literature

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 24th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library is thrilled to be one of the sponsors of the 2014 Iowa City Book Festival, which will be held Oct. 2 through Oct. 5.ICBF-logo_webheader1

Now in its sixth year, the annual celebration of books and writing leverages the unique mix of local resources that helped Iowa City earn the UNESCO City of Literature designation.

The festival will include readings and discussions at multiple locations throughout Iowa City. Below is a list of events that will be held at the Library:

Panel: Writing in a Country at War

12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in Meeting Room A

What are a writer’s duties, privileges and obligations when his or her country is at war? What should writing be when a day is measured in units of life and death—whether in the place one lives, or, as importantly, when the writer is safe from the ongoing fighting? Panelists are International Writing Program participants Mujib Mehrdad (Afghanistan), Sadek Mohammed (Iraq), and Boaz Gaon (Israel).

Author Reading: Scott Phillips and Jon McGoran

10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in Meeting Room A

Authors Scott Phillips (Hop Alley) and Jon McGoran (Deadout) read from and discuss their latest books.

Author Reading: Sean Strub and Terrence Holt

11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in Meeting Room A

Authors Sean Strub (Body Counts) and Terrence Holt (Internal Medicine) read from and discuss their new books.

Irish Poetry Reading

1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in Meeting Room A

In this second of three programs presented in partnership with the Dublin City of Literature, three Irish poets — Siobhan Campbell, Joseph Woods, and Stephen James Smith — will read from their work.

Author Reading: Edward Carey

1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Teen Center

Edward Carey reads from and discusses his new YA novel, Heap House.

A Tribute to Donald Justice

2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in Meeting Room A

Ten years after his passing, the work of Donald Justice continues to resonate. A panel of poets, led by 2013 National Book Award winner Mary Szybist reads from and discusses the work of the late poet in this special event.

Author Reading: Jessie Ann Foley

2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Teen Center

Jessie Ann Foley will read from and discuss her 2014 Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize-winning novel, The Carnival at Bray.

Author Reading: Paddy Woodworth and Jeff Biggers

4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in Meeting Room A

Paddy Woodworth (Our Once and Future Planet) and Jeff Biggers (Reckoning at Eagle Creek) will read from their work and discuss the idea of regeneration as it relates to climate change.

Panel: At Language’s Edge

3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, in Meeting Room A

International Writing Program participants Natasha Tiniacos (Venezuela) and Sabata-Mpho Mokae (South Africa) join poet Marilyn Chin and Waukon-based translator Mary Jane White in a discussion about what it means to translate, and to have their work translated into other languages.

Panel: Religion and Writing

4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, in Meeting Room A

International Writing Program participants Binayak Banerjee (India), Gerður Kristný (Iceland), Enrique Serrano (Colombia), and Abdullah Al Wesali (Saudi Arabia) discuss how religious heritage shapes an author’s writing.

For a full schedule of events, visit www.iowacitybookfestival.org/schedule/.




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