Before the First Page . . .

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of opening a book and plunging into a new story! However, before getting to the meat of the book, there may be some pages of introductory material. Should I read these or not? Prefaces are optional to me, depending on the type of book. I love any book that has a map in the front, and I’ll definitely take the time to look over any list of characters that’s provided (thank you Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall). One of my favorite items to look for is an epigraph. Epigraphs are those short quotations or sayings that usually fall right after the dedication page. Epigraphs often serve as a sort of teaser, a foreshadowing of the book’s theme. The epigraph gives me something to ponder as I begin the book and I often go back after finishing the book to see how this quotation relates to the story.
It turns out that epigraphs are popular items to collect on the Internet. Here are just a couple of the web pages I found with collections:

As an example, the epigraph from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury seems to be a favorite with many people:
“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” — Juan Ramón Jiménez

With epigraphs on the mind, I searched through the New Release shelves at the Aurora Public Library and found these examples. I hope that they will inspire you to check out one of these books.

The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” – Oscar Wilde

Cleopatra’s Shadows by Emily Holleman
“But even on her the Fates
The gray everlasting Fates rode hard.” – Sophocles, “Antigone”

body in the birches     cleopatra's shadows

The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas
“Never along that range is ease:
Things are warped that are too near heaven.” – Belle Turnbull, “Forward”

The Killing Kind by Chris Holm
“Never is there any law more just, than that he who has plotted death shall perish by his own plot.” – Ovid

last midwife    killing kind

The Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates
“The annihilation is not the terror. The journey is the terror.” – Elihu Hoopes

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
“A particularly beautiful woman is a source of terror.” – Carl Jung

man without a shadow    pretty girls

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
“I don’t think I’d love you so deeply if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret.” Boris Paternak from Doctor Zhivago

Find a Way by Diana Nyad
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mark Oliver from The Summer Day

Never Broken: Songs are Only Half the Story by Jewel
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

guest room    find a way    never broken

Teen books do not seem to use as many epigraphs. Perhaps the authors just want the readers to dive right in! Here are a few examples from teen books either on the New Release Shelf or the Eliot Rosewater shelf.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
“I thought I could organize freedom. How Scandinavian of me.” – Bjork

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
“It was not darkness that fell from the air. It was brightness.” – James Joyce from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
“As you get older, it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.” Ernest Hemingway

rest of us    out of darkness    forgive me

Does the book you’re reading now have an epigraph? If so, post it in the comments for us. Happy reading!

The Day the World Came to Town on 9/11 by Jim DeFede

 Book_DayWorldCameToTown Jim DeFede

I had the pleasure of reading The day the world came to town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim Defede.

The vague title only hints at the depth of a story about the patriotic cohesiveness of a small town that opened its heart to survivors of the September 11th disaster.    Journalist Defede calls our attention to a sidelight of the September 11th  events, when Gander, Newfoundland (pop.10,000) was overwhelmed by more than 6,500 air travelers grounded when US airspace was shut down.

This story includes many details of the town’s tireless efforts to comfort and reassure the survivors. The townspeople opened their homes to survivors to use showers and freely gave them clean clothing,  as well as toiletries, clean sheets and towels for their use in the shelters.  The Canadian Tire Store manager became the coordinator of a huge toy drive so each child would have a toy of their own.  The local Walmart store opened their doors to the survivors for whatever they needed without any question of payment.   Prescription medicines were refilled free of charge for survivors.  Every person in town contributed food and time for food preparation to feed the survivors.  One of the survivors lodged in a church, woke about 3am one morning to find the pastor awake and sitting by the door.  When the pastor was asked why he was awake and sitting by the door, he replied  “we felt we should watch over everyone”.   In the Publisher’s Weekly book review it says, “They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked nothing in return”.  The townspeople were never concerned with the gender, race, religion, age or nationality of the survivors.  Everyone’s primary concerns were making sure that the survivors were able to obtain lodging, food, clothing, toiletries, medicines, as well as communication links to their families. Some of the townspeople even retrieved the animals from the cargo hold of the jetliners, providing them with food, shelter, and clean bedding.

The day the world came to town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland is truly an inspiration to anyone who feels that the American people have lost their caring spirit when it comes to others.  You will be spell-bound from the book’s beginning and as each chapter unfolds.  This story will definitely restore your faith in humanity.

Step through our Doorway and Step out into Hoosier Wilderness

Our state parks give us an opportunity to explore nature, see the many different vistas of Indiana, and enjoy the outdoors.  Thanks to our colleague, Bill Buckley from Mooresville Public Library, we are debuting our first video from the Library.  The music and photos take you on a journey to many of our state parks.  Start planning your first or next trip today.

Did you know that kids need nature? They do! Research shows that children who spend time outside are more creative and are better problem solvers. They’re healthier, more physically fit, more confident, better test takers, and less stressed!  So plan a trip with a child in your life and get the same side benefits for you!

Stop by the Library and check out one of our park passes for a week.

See our FAQs for more information.



Picture Books for all Ages

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that when your child can read a simple chapter book, he needs to stop reading picture books! Reading ability and the content of the book are very different considerations. Yes, you and your child’s teacher will want to see progress in the length of books your child reads. Reading chapter books is an important step in helping your child to build comprehension skills. However, there are many picture (or illustrated) books that are most appropriate for older elementary students or even older. In fact, the first book I want to highlight is a favorite book of many adults. It’s funny and sweet and very moving. Preschool kids may think it’s silly, but probably won’t really “get it.”

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

love you forever

Some picture books may require kids to have a certain level of prior knowledge before they can understand what makes the book amusing. Fractured fairy tales are a great example of this type of humor. Unless the child already knows the original fairy tale version, you’re going to spend a lot of your story time explaining why the book you’re reading is supposed to be funny. Here are a couple examples of that genre:

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs  by A. Wolf as told to Jon Sciezska and Peeping Beauty by Mary Jane Auch.

true story    peeping beauty

Picture books often provide a gentle way to introduce children to difficult subjects. The following books discuss 9/11, the Underground Railroad and refugee families in a war zone. The careful phrasing of the text within picture books can keep these topics from becoming too overwhelming and opens the possibility for further discussion if your child has questions.

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

14 cows

A Good Night for Freedom  by Barbara Olenyik Morrow. This picture book would be a wonderful one to use in a fourth-grade classroom because it introduces the Underground Railroad along with a famous Hoosier (Levi Coffin).

good night

Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting. Kids may have heard the adults in their lives discussing refugees. This book can help kids understand what a refugee is.

gleam and glow

Here are three books that are perfectly fine to share with young children, but they have a more sophisticated humor that will really be appreciated by older kids (and by older kids, I also mean teens and adults).

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black

pig parade

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt


My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown


Finally, picture books provide an amazing variety of art styles. For some kids, the artwork is the hook to get them to pick up a book. Help your kids to recognize the different art styles and to look for other examples of that type of illustration. Then provide art supplies at home so your kids can have fun creating! Here’s an example of a beautiful book that works best for grades 3 and up; it’s a bit wordy for preschool kids, although your child may be an exception. The Raft by Jim LeMarche will be a winner with kids who love exploring nature or drawing animals.


It’s Oscar time.

Books-Oscar-2016-nominations-are-based-onNominees have been announced, and excitement builds as everyone rushes to watch the most recent prospects still in theaters. But did you know 9 of the movies were based on books? I love going to the theater to see a movie, it’s a special treat in my family, one we don’t do very often. Popcorn with butter, soda, and sometimes candy and we settle in to immerse ourselves in another persons’ life for 90 minutes or so. Reading gives me the same thrills, chills, joy and excitement, and when you use your public library, is much more affordable than a cinema.

All five nominees for the best-adapted screenplay were based on or inspired by books.

  1. Brooklyn directed by John Crowley, boasts three nominations; Best Picture, Best Actress and of course, Best Adapted Screenplay. The novel was written by an Irish author, Colm Toilin.
  2. Carol tells the story of Therese, a young stage designer in a department store, and her passionate affair with Carol, a housewife entangled in a hostile divorce. The book is titled The Price of Salt  by Patricia Highsmith.
  3. The Martian , written by Andy Weir, and the movie starring Matt Damon.
  4. Room written by Emma Donoghue was the basis for the movie of the same name and has earned 4 nominations; Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The other 4 books that made their way to the big screen and to the Oscars are The Danish Girl, written by David Ebershoff, Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson, The Revenant by Michael Punke and last but not least the film Embrace the Serpent, a story based on diaries written by two scientists, Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evans Schultes, who spent 40 years in the Colombian Amazon in search  of an elusive healing plant.

The Big Short starring Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale is based on the book of the same name written by Michael Lewis.

So before you settle in to watch the 88th Academy Awards on February 28th come see us at the library and check out the books. The movies will be available for check out as soon as they are released on DVD.


The Literary World Lost a Great Author : Harper Lee


Harper Lee author of To Kill a Mockingbird died on Friday at the age of 89. When she published To Kill a Mockingbird it became an instant Modern American Classic. In mid-July 2015, her second novel Go Set a Watchman was published.

“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

My first experience with Harper Lee was when we read it in high school English class. While I couldn’t relate to many of the events that Scout recounts I was able to relate to her character trying to figure out the adult world from her perspective as a child. Another part of the book that stuck out to me was Atticus Finch and his quest for justice. His wisdom in guiding Scout & Jem (his two children) is a moral standard that many could live up to. In the novel, he shares his thoughts with Jem on courage. Atticus tells Jem that courage is “when you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what”.

The lessons in this novel are just as relevant to us today as they were in the 50s when the novel was published. If you have yet to read this novel pick it up today and get to know this classic 20th century author.

The Indiana State Park Centennial Annual Pass Library Check-Out Program

BrookvilleLakeThe Aurora Public Library District is excited to announce The Indiana State Park Centennial Annual Pass Library Check-Out Program, a partnership with Indiana Public Libraries, the Indiana State Library and the Indiana State Parks.  2016 is an exciting year combining the Indiana Bicentennial and the Indiana State Parks Centennial.  The two state organizations envisioned 2016 as a year to encourage and introduce Indiana residents to our beautiful state parks.  The Indiana State Library purchased one Annual Entrance Permit, referred to for this program as the Park Pass, and distributed the Park Pass to each public Library.  Libraries were able to purchase additional Park Passes to make the passes available to patrons at each building in a Library District. Check out one of the Aurora Public Library District’s Park Pass and begin to explore.

I want to challenge APLD patrons to check out a pass and visit or revisit a state park.

I enjoy exploring Indiana parks 

I grew up visiting the Versailles State Park on family camping trips.  Sometimes a hike to Bat Cave, which always scared me to death, was the memory maker.  I never entered the cave, way too scary for me.  We enjoyed campfires with campfire pies and smores at night while singing around the fire.  I remember getting to meet other campers on walks around the campgrounds and throughout the park.  Versailles gave me the opportunity to get a sunburn at the beach, catch a fish at the dam, and visit the horses waiting for a rider to take them onto a trail.

After college, I went to visit my college roommate and her husband.  We then went for the weekend to Potato Creek State Park to camp.  This Park is in northern Indiana and I didn’t realize how flat Indiana can be.  I keep waiting for the nestling feeling that I get in southern Indiana.  But without northern Indiana flat areas farming in Indiana would be very different.  So I learned to embrace that we have many different geographic areas and that is great to explore.

When I was a school librarian on the west side of Indiana, I spent some weekends at Turkey Run State Park and love the covered bridges.  To me, covered bridges bring a sense of calm and peaceful protection so I love traveling through them.  I remember the hiking through the trees and ravines.  A special spot was along Sugar Creek.

I worked with Kathy, a special ed teacher whose passion was Indiana History. Kathy and I would  take weekend drives around west central Indiana and she would share what happened on that land throughout Indiana’s history.  My favorite was when I learned about Tecumseh, the Shawnee Indian, and his brother Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) who were living where the Tippecanoe River meets the Wabash near the town of Battle Ground northeast of Lafayette.  The story takes place in 1808, Tecumseh wanted to persuade tribes to join his coalition to stop their common enemy.  Tecumseh left Tenskwatawa to speak to the tribes gathered while he continued to travel and meet other tribes. Since Tenskwatawa told the story of what was going to happen he became The Prophet and they called the settlement Prophetstown. William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory, became alarmed at the number of people at Prophetstown and sent troops to be nearby.  Prophet was afraid the troops were going to attack so he decided to strike first.  (The next part is my favorite part of the story) Prophetstown was on a flat area nearby a hill with rocks.  Prophet explained to his people that he was going up on the rock and would chant.  As long as they could hear him chant they would be safe and protected.  Unfortunately, this did not go well for the tribes peoples, but Prophet had positioned himself where he could make an escape.  (Now for the amazing news) In 1970s, I visited Prophetstown many times and once while visiting and walking to the rock where Prophet chanted those many years ago, Prophet’s spirit jumped into me and when I hear his name or the story I can’t help myself and the chanting takes over.  Prophetstown State Park now allows this area to be preserved and the story retold.  Perhaps, you can take a trip and see the rock and the field.  When you come back, if you didn’t hear The Prophet come see me and we will see if his chanting reconnects with me.

While working at APLD, I have attended meetings held at Brown County State Park, Clifty Falls State Park, Hardy Lake, and Spring Mill State Parks.  These meetings remind me how beautiful southern Indiana really is and something we should see as through a child’s eyes.

Last summer, while fighting cancer, my husband bought us a small motor home and we went to Brookville Lake and the Whitewater Memorial State Park.  We met my daughter and son-in-law to camp, rest and again enjoy a campfire.  Michaela and Gunnar went on several walks and Mike let the artist in him come out while I rested and gained strength.  It was a beautiful park and a wonderful time.

Thanks for listening to me meander through Indiana and their parks again.  I would love for you to share with me your park experiences you make this year.  Email me your trips and I will build a blog post later this year of our APLD Patrons Exploring Indiana Parks During the Bicentennial.

Bounty Hunters, Detectives and P.I.’s, OH MY!

humor/crimeIf you are searching for a good series to read, don’t overlook the lighter side of the mystery/crime genre. Authors like Janet Evanovich, Darynda Jones and Lee Goldberg know how to write a book with a LAUGH OUT LOUD GUARANTEE !

Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter from a working-class neighborhood in Trenton, New Jersey, who frequently finds herself on the hunt for low-lifes and barely respectable folk. Her family is a constant annoyance but also anchor her crazy life: a mother who meddles and makes an amazing pot roast, a grandmother who is “two cans short of a six-pack,” and Lula, a reformed ‘ho and Stephanie’s sometimes partner.  With twenty-two books in the series so far, I hope Janet Evanovich never stops writing this hilarious series. Start with One for the Money, hang on and enjoy the ride, be forewarned every character is armed and unbelievably funny!Stephanie Plum Series

Take Stephanie Plum and add a heart of gold, ADHD and the supernatural and you have Charlie Davidson. Charlie has seen ghosts since the day she was born, as she grew-up her cop father realized she could help solve cases (she can ask the “stiff” who killed him). Now Charlie is all grown up and running her own P.I. business, with a caffeine addiction and a wardrobe that consists of t-shirts with sayings like “better to see dead than be dead” and “I’d have a longer attention span if there weren’t so many shiny things”. Lighthearted, nonsensical, silly and sexy. The Charlie Davidson series by Darynda Jones is currently nine books long, Dirt on Ninth Grave was just released, and I got mine that very day!Charley Davidson

Most of us have seen or heard of Monk the television series, but have you read any of the Monk books written by Lee Goldberg? Adrian Monk is an obsessive-compulsive sleuth, these novels are hysterically funny with devilishly clever plots. You’d be hard-pressed to find another series  that provides so many hip and humorous moments.

All three of these outstanding series are available to borrow in print, digitally as an e-book and as an audio book.

Let’s Go Around the World

The children who are visiting our libraries now will be growing up in a society that is more and more multicultural. They will need to feel comfortable interacting with people from around the world in a variety of settings. As parents, it’s never too early to introduce your children to the idea that not everyone will speak the same language, look the same or have the same experiences that we do. Books can help introduce the concept of diversity. At the same time, books help us understand that people everywhere have much in common. For example, all children have a need for food and safety and friends. Where can you find books that do all of this? Why, at your Public Library, of course!

This first book is a favorite of Mary Alice Horton, our director. We love to share this with school groups because of the great message. No matter what our hair and our clothes and our skin look like, we all have the same range of feelings and the same need for love. Thank you, Mem Fox, for the timeless book Whoever You Are.


Norah Dooley wrote a group of books about a diverse neighborhood, using food to highlight differences and similarities:

Everybody Cooks Rice, Everybody Bakes Bread and Everybody Serves Soup.


Peter Sis used a similar theme in Madlenka as the heroine of the story takes a trip around her New York City neighborhood.


I have always found that children enjoy learning about different cultures, especially about other children in far-away countries. We have a new series of books by Nancy Loewen that will open up lots of possibilities for discussion.

food    homes

people of the world    clothing

Singing is an important part of getting a child ready to learn to read. Songs can soothe, can comfort, and can also be part of a child’s play. Here are two great books with rhymes and songs from a variety of countries. Try some of these along with the songs you normally sing with your children.  Have fun with your kids as you prepare them to become global citizens!

my village    skip

Tech Tip Tuesday #6


Today I thought I would bring to you a list that details some of my all time favorite video games from growing up. Almost all are still purchasable and playable today. Some are even free. You can’t go wrong with any of these so give them a try, hopefully you’ll get as much out of this list as I did.

Morrowind – An awesome role-playing game (RPG). I still play this game today. It’s not free but it’s one of the few games that can be played on Windows, Mac, and Linux by utilizing an open source project called OpenMW. This game has a bit of a learning curve and many people will find it frustrating early on.

Battlezone – A first person tank shooter game, in space, with some real-time strategy components. It’s free! This game is simple but yet has so much depth because it’s not just a bunch of tanks in a death-match. You have to lead your army, build your base, and manage resources.

Total Annihilation – Incredible real-time strategy. In my opinion the best. The sheer number of units, community mods, and components to this game will keep you enjoying it for a long time to come.

Descent – A wonderful space flight sim / fighter game. This one will really raise your pulse when the clock is ticking. Unfortunately, I don’t know where you can obtain a copy.

Fantastic Contraption – This game really teaches you to think outside the box, and it’s a free browser based game. Honestly, this is a great game for kids or adults who like puzzles and building. People have come up with some really brilliant solutions to these problems, it’s amazing to see what can be built.