Are These the Best Books?

It’s that time of year—time for the “Best Of” lists you’ll be reading all over the internet. But we LOVE book lists, so this is always welcome. The Washington Post just released their ‘Best Books of 2016’ list, which holds a whopping 100 titles. They say the top 10 are especially wonderful. What do you think?

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Anne Will Be Back!

Anne of Green GablesOur former head librarian, Janet, loves Lucy Maud Montgomery’s ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. I feel pretty safe in saying I’m sure she’ll be excited to hear that Netflix has picked up the CBC version of the book, and will air it with a two-hour premiere, followed by eight more episodes! 2017 is going to be a good year for fans of this series!

While the traditional series followed Anne Shirley, a precocious and delightful young girl who turned into an equally delightful young woman in Prince Edward Island, the new Netflix series promises an update, to include more current themes, such as racism, identity, bullying, and more. Hopefully, it will resonate with a new generation of Anne fans.

A New Picture Book!

It wasn’t too long ago that local author Natasha Peterson debuted her picture book, GAYLE THE GOOSE GOES GLOBAL. Well, she’ll be back this month with her second book called BUTTY NEIGHBOURS!

Nutty Neighbours picture bookJoin us in welcoming her to the library on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 11am for a reading of the new book, and to get a signed copy. This is another delightfully illustrated book, with a cheery, rhyming text, featuring some super cute chipmunks. You won’t want to miss it!

Watch a book trailer for NUTTY NEIGHBOURS here!

There is no cost for this event, but Natasha will have copies of her book available to purchase on the day of the event.

Lego for Adults? Of course!

Since tomorrow is one of our PA Day Lego Drop-Ins, I’ve been thinking about Lego today. Wasn’t it a fun surprise to come across this book which is new at our library—aimed entirely at adults who still love Lego, but want to make more “mature” designs.

Lego Crafts for adultsGEEKY LEGO CRAFTS: 21 FUN AND QUIRKY PROJECTS by David Scarfe, is a fun-filled book that has 21 challenging projects for adults. Sometimes, they’re just for fun, and other times, they actually make something practical. But guaranteed, you’ll be fighting over Lego blocks with your kids!

You can place a hold on this book using your library card and PIN on our website!

Have You Read a Picture Book?

blue2As someone who sees a lot of picture books come through the library, I can tell you—there are good picture book authors, and those who haven’t quite figured it out yet. While most of the picture books out there that get published have fantastic stories, or amazing illustrations, it’s often the language that gets overlooked. And language is everything, especially when a book is geared toward small children who have attention spans of about three seconds.

So, when I came across an amazing post by Tracy Marchini, who is a literary agent, an editor, and a picture book author herself, I knew that she “got” it. Her post, “How Can You Tell If You’re Using Picture Book Language?” hits all the high points. Seriously, I think this should be required reading for anyone out there who is considering writing a picture book. It’s one of the MOST difficult things to do, even though it seems like it would be easy. The concepts not only have to be large and exciting, the language must cover no more than the anticipated reader can handle. With 40+ listeners all under the age of five at our library each week, I can tell you that a book must grab the child from word one, or you’ll lose them. And while a sleepy child on your lap might sit through a long drawn out descriptive book, most kids want to get in and get out. Tell them the story, make it entertaining, and sneak in a lesson if you can. That’s it.

So, what are some of the great concepts Marchini discusses in her post? Minimal dialog, minimal descriptions…basically, minimal everything. While it’s fine to write a book that you think will suit Kindergarten to Grade 2…keep in mind that most kids reading picture books are heading out of that age group. They’ll be wanting to read books on their own, and heading into chapter books. Your prime audience, then, is age 4 and under.

If you’ve ever contemplated writing a picture book, you’ll be wise to read the article. Not only will it save you the heartache of rejection when it comes time to try to publish, but you will set yourself apart from all of the other would-be authors out there who haven’t figured out the concept yet. And maybe I’ll end up reading your book at storytime one day!

That’s a Real Job?

28119463Toronto artist Danielle Meder has a job that many of us probably did not even know existed: she attends fashion shows and draws the clothes. Danielle is a Fashion Illustrator.

While fashion illustrators have been around for a while, they often do very different things. Sometimes, they’ll draw clothes from a live event, such as the fashion shows during New York Fashion Week, or maybe they’ll work with a client to design an outfit to take to a seamstress. Some sell their work to galleries, and others are use their work to teach others.

Danielle tells her story that begins in smalltown rural Ontario, and ends up with her new book called DRAW FASHION NOW, in an interesting interview over on Yes and Yes.

While some of her life is spent at the glamorous fashion shows, a lot more of it is quiet and detailed and solitary. Her new book explains the techniques used in fashion illustration, and how you can get started doing the same thing. While the drawings are simple and gorgeous, I am sure the act of creating something along those lines is not quite as easy as it looks. There is much more involved than just being able to draw a reasonably good image of a model in an outfit–as Meder explains, she knows a lot about fabrics, and how clothes are put together, which helps her to translate what she sees onto the page.

It’s a fascinating read, and I’m sure the book would also be a great gift for anyone who might be working toward a career in the visual arts, and especially for someone who loves clothes. Now, sit down and try to draw what you’re wearing right now….it’s not easy at all!

Iraq in 2103? Imagine it!

downloadWe’re often so focused on the news that we can’t see beyond the present. But when award-winning Iraqi writer Hassan Blasim and Bristish publisher Ra Page asked Iraqi writers what they thought their country would look like one hundred years from now, the results were part sci-fi, fantasy, fairy tale and even satire.

The resulting anthology of stories was published in the UK, entitled IRAQ + 100, and sounds like a fascinating mix. It is hard to imagine how people in country so embroiled in warfare right now could be anything else, but leave it to the people with imaginations to see a different view.

You can read the article on the BBC website about the concept, and what the authors came up with right here. Maybe we could all take a page out of this book and open our minds to a different world.