Black History Month

We have class visits from local schools during the week, and recently, one of the classes was studying important figures for Black History Month. While I had books on people like Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, there was a definite gap in fiction to put out. Books written by African American authors, and books that represent young people of colour are something that should be easily found on the shelves.  Books like:

brownBROWN GIRL DREAMING, a National Book Award Winner in 2014 by Jacqueline Woodson, is middle grade fiction, telling the story of Woodson’s life, in verse.

pointePOINTE by Brandy Colbert was named Best Book of the Year in 2014 by many of the larger magazines and book reviewers. It’s got the ballet world to draw from, but also contains secrets and the darker side of life, perfect for those YA readers who are looking for something a bit gritty and true to life.

chaosTHE CHAOS by Nalo Hopkinson is the story of Scotch, a sixteen-year-old who feels like she doesn’t fit into any category…even more so when her skin becomes covered with a black, sticky substance she can’t remove. Fans of fantasy will enjoy this YA read.

Most of these books and more are available to download as eBooks through OverDrive, using your library card and PIN. Drop by the library today if you need help logging in, or choosing a great selection to celebrate Black History Month!

Diversity for our Readers

While we were at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference, one of the big themes I seemed to come across was the excitement surrounding books for LGBTQ readers. This is not a category that has been well stocked in the past, but it seems that more and more authors are writing for this group, and there are plenty of amazing books out there just waiting to hit library shelves.

If you’re not familiar with this acronym, LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual or Questioning. People want to see themselves in books, no matter who they are, what they believe in, or where they come from. Books in the LGBTQ category are popular and serve a great need for our readers, and it’s wonderful to see such great choices coming out of the publishing houses.

I attended a session devoted to the best LGBTQ Reading Recommendations for Teens, hosted by Dewey Divas and the Dudesa wonderful group of people who keep librarians (and readers) up on all the latest and important happenings in the book world. They talked about their favourite books, both from the recent past and upcoming reads that they felt our readers would love to get their hands on, and I must admit, I came away from the session with a long list of books we’d be thrilled to have on our shelves.

askASK THE PASSENGERS by A. S. King was one of the trendier reads, about a teen named Astrid who copes with her small town’s narrow-mindedness by sending out wishes to all of the passengers in planes flying overhead.

beauty

BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray has been a popular read on our shelves for the past few years. This witty read has lots to offer any reader, dealing with the tribulations of fifty beauty contestants who are stranded on an island after a plane crash. Fun!

sunJandy Nelson’s I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN has been a must-read for anyone interested in YA books. Nelson’s gorgeous writing deals with the sensitive subject matter in a way only she could, bringing a difficult topic to mainstream readers.

These are just a few of the suggestions for teen readers who might be looking for something beyond the traditional read. We’ll most likely be adding many from the list to our collection in the future. Are there any favourite LGBTQ reads for teens you’d suggest? Tell us about them!

Blind Dates are Fun!

We’re doing it again…a Blind Date with a Book! During the month of February, drop into the library and pick up one of our expertly wrapped books. You won’t know what you’re taking out until you get it home and unwrap it, but this year, we’ve given you a few clues to help you along.

20150202_132218Once you read the book, there is a fun “Rate Your Date” card inside the book. Fill it out and bring it back to the library with the book. We’ll post it on our Date Board so everyone can see how the dates have been going.

20150202_132211Don’t worry, this is a lot less risky than meeting someone new at a restaurant, and a lot more fun! If you don’t like the book, it’s no big deal. Bring it back, and try again if you like. We’ll have lots to choose from all month long!

Book Clubs, Craft Nights and March Break!

We’ve been busy planning all kinds of new, fun things for 2015. And now that we’re back into the swing of things, we hope you’ll join us for some new programming!

1(Hint: these beautiful cave paintings found in Lascaux, France, have something to do with our March Break plans. No…we’re not planning a trip. Stay tuned!

January introduced us to an Adult Crafting Club! We provide the space, you bring your crafts!  It’s a fun way to meet knew people and discover all the crafty things you have in common. We’ve had knitters so far, but anyone is welcome….sewers, scrapbookers, wood carvers (okay, I’m being silly here, but if wood carving is your thing, you’re still invited!). Drop in on the third Monday of each month from 6-7:30pm. And refreshments will be provided, so even if you come directly from work, you won’t have to sit with a rumbling stomach.

Next up is our Ancestry Database training. This was such an amazing success in the fall, we’re continuing on! If you’ve always wanted to get started researching your family tree, but didn’t know how to begin, this is one-on-one training with a staff member who has a huge interest in genealogy. Book of one our sessions, and she’ll show you how to use Ancestry Library edition, and maybe she’ll even get you started on that family tree. You must have some computer skills to do this session, or bring someone along with you who does. Make an appointment for one of our Tuesday morning sessions, or for a Wednesday evening session. You won’t regret it!

For the first time, we’re starting a Teen Book Club!  We’ll meet the last Wednesday of each month, starting February 26th, from 4-5:30pm. At our first meeting, we’ll talk about great YA books, and make some selections for the upcoming book club meetings. Registration begins today, so give us a call if you have a teen (ages 12+) who would like to attend. Refreshments provided!

And last but not least, we’re doing another writing workshop to lead into Camp NaNoWriMo in April. You don’t have to be writing a book right now to get the benefits from “Voice Choice!”, but it might give you a few new things to look at as you move forward with your writing. We have a lot of continuing writers in our group, but we always enjoy having new members. Join us on Tuesday, February 24 from 6-8pm for this interesting workshop. No registration required….and yes, there will be treats!

These are just a few things happening in February. And if you’re starting to think about the March Break, our March Break calendar will be out early this week. There is something in it for EVERYONE! Watch here or Facebook for more information, or give us as call a little later this week and we can help you find the calendar online. It’s going to be an exciting March Break!

Creative? Read this!

BuzzFeed has put together another fabulous list, this time with 37 Books Every Creative Person Should Be Reading.

creativeThere are plenty of wonderful books on this list—books for writers, books for people who like to make things, books by actors, directors, artists and business people. But don’t just pick up the books that apply to your line of work. The whole idea about creative thinking is to look outside the box and come up with new ways of doing things. There are so many great books on this list, I don’t know where to start…..maybe at #1.

Drop into the library to pick one up, if you’re interested. We have a few from the list, and we can always do an interlibrary loan for anything you might want to read. If your New Year’s resolution is to try new things or turn your creative hobby into a career, these are a must. Happy reading!

Illustrated Harry Potter

 Illustration by Jim Kay © 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Illustration by Jim Kay © 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

It seems that Harry Potter will never go out of style at the library. Each generation produces a new group of readers, and along with the movies, they are constantly in circulation. It’s about to get exciting again.

Scholastic will release a fully illustrated version of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE on October 6, 2015, will illustrations by Kate Greenaway Medal winner, Jim Kay. And just this week, the publishing house released several of the illustrations as a teaser. The one above is Hogwarts, of course.  You can see the full images here.

Scholastic plans on releasing each book in the series in an illustrated version, one per year. If the rest of the illustrations are as gorgeous as these, you might want to invest in collecting the whole series again. I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.

The Martian

One of the most exciting books I read last year was THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir, and now, it’s going to be a movie released at the end of 2015, starring Matt Damon.

18007564THE MARTIAN is about a crew of astronauts who are living and working on Mars, trying to establish the means for others to eventually inhabit the planet. But when a powerful dust storm forces them to leave suddenly, one of the astronauts–Mark Watney—is believed to be dead, and is left on the planet alone.

NASA discovers he’s still alive only after it’s too late for his crew to return for a rescue mission. So now, the world watches as Mark Watney struggles to survive while NASA scrambles to put together a rescue mission that will be years in the future.

I loved this book, even while the opening was quite technical and a little tedious at times, Weir put together a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering if they can save Watney in time. I”m very excited about the star-studded cast for the movie-version out in November of this year. This is sci-fi without the creatures and hyper-speed, totally plausible if we could get people there safely in the first place.

Have you read this novel, and are you anticipating the movie release?