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Staff Picks: Books

One Family

Families come in many configurations. And what better way to celebrate families in all their individuality and complexity than this wonderful picture book One Family, by George Shannon.

Simple enough for even very young children, One Family has charming illustrations by Blanca Gomez. Cheerful looking families (and their pets) are shown going about their daily activities. This title has the added benefit of being able to be used as a counting book. I love the little details in the pictures that add to the overall theme- one world, one family.

Maker Resources for Kids

We're having so much fun with our maker programs this summer. Process and learning are our focus, rather than an end product! At our maker programs we offer a selection of supplies and tools on a theme like circuitry or painting. Then we let the kids explore and make what they want to make. There is no right or wrong! It's a beautiful thing. I find inspiration everywhere I go but some of my favorite resources are on our shelves at KPL. I love Pinterest and blogs for ideas but there are also some really standout books on our shelves at KPL with great visual inspiration and expanded instructions for techniques. My current favorites for maker ideas for kids include: Tinkerlab150+ Screen-free Ideas for Kids, and The Artful ParentAll of these books offer great ideas for making and creating that can be more or less complex depending on age and ability of the child (and caregiver!). I hope you'll make something with us at the library soon! It's so fun to see what we come up with together! 

True Stories, Well Told

In commenting about his piece “Two on Two,” author Brian Doyle advises that writers take their ideas and feelings "out for canters on the open beach of the empty page and see what happens.” This seems to be just what Doyle did in writing about playing two-on-two basketball in the dining room with his children, then four and younger. He captures a precious moment in time, a moment of complete appreciation for his kids and his interactions with them. It’s one of my favorite pieces in this book.

I confess. It was the book cover that drew me in. Yes, I judged the book by its cover, even though we are warned not to do so. I was further intrigued by the title: True Stories, Well Told: from the first 20 years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine. I hadn’t considered the concept of ‘creative nonfiction’ much, though I can say now, after reading the book, that I find it quite compelling. This collection includes some of the magazine's best pieces.

If you, too, are drawn to creative nonfiction, there’s much at KPL to explore, as a reader and/or potential writer!

Remodeling Resources

Both home owners and those renting should browse our various interior decoration and architecture books if they're looking for ideas for renovations or room-specific make-overs. I am contemplating refreshing my kitchen's look and as I browsed our new books section on the first floor, I stumbled across this new book, My Cool Kitchen. There's plenty of applicable ideas jumping off the pages in this page turner of a book that features different approaches to organization, color and design.

The Orchardist

The Orchardist is set in Washington State at the beginning of the 20th century, where William Talmadge lovingly cultivates his orchards of apples and apricots. Talmadge, a reclusive and sorrowful man, unexpectedly becomes a foster father of sorts to two adolescent girls who escape from a brothel owner who has enslaved them.

This novel, a favorite of many book groups with much to discuss, explores the human character, what makes a family, and to a lesser extent, the history of the region.

Many reviewers consider this a strong debut novel from Coplin, with hopefully more to follow. I agree.

Make Way for Ducklings(1)

 Don’t you love Mr. and Mrs. Mallard?  They work so hard to find the perfect place to build a nest and raise their ducklings; Robert McCloskey’s life-like illustrations are perfect.  Make Way for Ducklings has been a favorite at our house for a long time.  Recently I’ve seen two other “duckling” books that are such nice companions for the Mallard family. . . Little Ducks Go by Emily Arnold McCully, and Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore.  Take a look at these recent books and share them with the duckling-lovers at your house. 



The Series Series: Very Short Introductions

This is probably the most aptly named series ever published. Each book in the series is short (96-224 pages) and provides a brief introduction to a complex. These books are written to be very readable to those new to the topic and provides a balanced prospective. If you are looking to learn about a brand new topic, this is a great place to start.

Very Short Introductions include:
Indian philosophy
The Bible

Emmanuel's Dream

Emmanuel’s Dream, written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls, tells the true story of Ghanaian athlete Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, who was born with only one healthy leg (the other was severely deformed). Where Emmanuel grew up, most kids with disabilities couldn’t go to school, but Emmanuel hopped back and forth two miles each way. He also played soccer and learned to ride a bike – in fact, he became famous after he cycled 400 miles across Ghana, raising awareness that people with disabilities can still greatly contribute to society. My 5 year-old daughter enjoyed this story and the illustrations very much. I highly recommend checking out the list of books in our catalog by illustrator Sean Qualls -- his artwork is exquisite!


Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed

“Why don’t you have kids?” That’s a question that not many people have to respond to. However, there are a few who have begun to be more vocal in providing, thoughtful, deeply considered perspectives on why they’ve chosen to not have children. Are they selfish and self-absorbed? Not likely. That’s a spun out media and cultural stereotype that has little substance according to most of the writers collected in this new anthology Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: 16 Writers on the Decision to Not Have Kids. The childless are a diverse lot and so their reasons and motivations for not having a family are similarly varied. This is a nice grouping of cleverly conceived and intelligently executed essays that will function as a much needed corrective to the specious accusations that many childless people have had to endure.

Crusade for Justice

The Google Doodle that marks Ida B. Wells’ 153rd birthday today begins by reporting that the American journalist was a voracious reader, consuming all of Shakespeare and Dickens before she turned twenty. As a journalist and newspaper editor she was a prolific writer and truth teller even in the face of racial inequality and mob violence. When thugs destroyed her printing press because they opposed her newspaper’s message against segregation, Wells kept on. 

The library has several biographies of Ida B. Wells along with her memoir, Crusade for Justice. Wells was married to fellow journalist Ferdinand L. Barnett who went on to practice law and became the first black state's attorney in Illinois. Their daughter, Alfreda M. Duster, edited Crusade for Justice. At its publication in 1970, Elizabeth Kolmer wrote: "Besides being the story of an incredibly courageous and outspoken black woman in the face of innumerable odds, the book is a valuable contribution to the social history of the United States and to the literature of the women's movement as well."