National Days in April

April 1 is April Fool’s Day, and the Aurora Public Library District has plenty of books available to help you come up with jokes and pranks to play on your friends and coworkers. But did you know that there are a bunch of other national holidays in April that celebrate reading and writing, too?

April 4 is National School Librarian Day

I bet everyone of us can conjure an image of our old school librarian. School librarians play a huge part in a child’s literary life, whether we realized it at the time or not. Take the time to reach out and thank your old school librarian or your child’s school librarian. (I hear gift cards to bookstores and Amazon are completely acceptable.)

April 5 is National Read a Road Map Day

You might be thinking, “Does anyone even read road maps anymore with Google Maps and GPS?” Maybe not as many people do anymore, but it’s still important to instill a sense of direction in your life. And the Aurora Public Library District has plenty of road maps and atlases you can peruse at your leisure, plus all of the Online Resources we have for travel, as well. Maybe you’ll be inspired to take a road trip!

April 9-15 is National Library Week

Stop in and see us throughout the three branches in the Aurora Public Library District so we can celebrate our wonderful patrons who make our jobs worthwhile. The patron (That’s you!) is the most important person within the Aurora Public Library District, and we hope you feel that way every time you walk through our doors. Come celebrate with us this week by checking out books, audio books, and movies. Ask us all of your questions so we can research and find information for you. We love helping our patrons!

April 10 is National Encourage a Young Writer Day

Where would we be without the authors of our favorite books? But prominent writers all had to start somewhere! Encourage the young writers in your life (We have several on staff at the Aurora Public Library District!) now so that they will have the confidence and drive to pursue writing in the future.

April 11 is National Library Workers Day

The staff at the Aurora Public Library District LOVES being able to help you. Help us celebrate this day by stopping in the library and checking out your favorite book or movie! We would love to see you!

April 17 is National Poem in Your Pocket Day

Poetry can be a wonderful way to get you to think a little deeper without having to read so much. The Aurora Public Library District has dozens of books of poetry, whether you’re looking for an Easy picture book to read to your child or a book to read to yourself. You can use our public copy machines to copy your favorite poems for $.10 per copy to carry around with you.

April 23 is National Talk Like Shakespeare Day

If you need to brush up on your Elizabethan English, the Aurora Public Library District has plenty of William Shakespeare’s plays that you can read by yourself or with a group of friends. You can also check out biographies and other background materials on the famous playwright to completely immerse yourself in the period. You can be a real Shakespeare aficionado before the month is over!

Celebrate these April holidays with us at the Aurora Public Library District all month long! We can’t wait to see you!

Happy Reading!

Books Adapted for the Big and Small Screens in 2017

2017 is gearing up to be a great year for awesome books to be adapted into movies and TV shows, whether you watch on streaming platforms, like Netflix and Hulu, or on regular cable. In the past, we’ve all seen some amazing (and not-so-amazing) shows and movies that had previously been a book or book series, such as Game of Thrones, Outlander, Orange is the New Black, The Vampire Diaries, and the Twilight, Harry Potter, Divergent, and The Hunger Games sagas. But if you want to read the book before you watch the movie or become invested in a show, then the Aurora Public Library District has just what you need!

Television and Streaming

Here are some new series coming to the small screen in 2017 that were books first:

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket became available for streaming on January 13 on Netflix, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Patrick Warburton.

Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies began airing on HBO on February 19, starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley.

The highly-anticipated Young Adult novel 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher will become available to stream on Netflix on March 31.

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale will become available to stream on Hulu on April 26, starring Alexis Bledel and Elizabeth Moss.

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods fantasy series will premiere on Starz on April 30.

Other shows coming later in 2017:

Charlaine Harris’ Midnight, Texas series on NBC

Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects on HBO

Dan Simmons’ The Terror on AMC

BBC: Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass series and J.K. Rowling’s (as Robert Galbraith) Cormoran Strike series

Film

There are plenty of wonderful books coming to the big screen this year, almost too many to count!

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly was released on January 6 (One of the most amazing movies I have ever seen!).

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane was released on January 13.

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron was released on January 27.

Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James was released on February 10.

The Shack by William P. Young and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver were both released on March 3.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman will be released on March 31.

The Circle by David Eggers will be released on April 28.

Other books-to-movies coming in 2017:

May 19: Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything

June 2: Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants

July 14: Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel

July 28: Stephen King’s The Dark Tower

September 8: Stephen King’s It

October 13: Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman

November 17: R.J. Palicio’s Wonder

November 22: Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

TBD:

Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle

Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach

Author Biographies: Anne Rice

anne-rice

Anne Rice was born in New Orleans on October 4, 1941 as Howard Allen Frances O’Brien to devout Catholic parents. She only changed her name to Anne when she started Catholic school and a nun asked her what her name was; she replied “Anne” because she thought the name was pretty and her mother didn’t correct her. Her name was legally changed in 1947.

Her mother was an alcoholic until she died when Anne was fifteen. Her father remarried and moved the family to northern Texas, where she met her future husband, Stan Rice, in a journalism class they had together. Rice completed her freshman year of college at Texas Woman’s University and then transferred to North Texas State College, but dropped out when she ran out of money. She then moved to San Francisco with friends and began taking night classes at the then-all-boys San Francisco State University. She received her Bachelor’s in Political Science as well as her Master’s in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.

interview-with-the-vampire

Anne and Stan married in 1961 and had their daughter Michele in 1966. In 1972, she passed away from a form of leukemia. Soon after, Rice developed OCD. As therapy for her OCD, Rice attended a creative writing workshop, where she met her future literary agent. In 1976, her first novel, Interview With The Vampire was published. In 1978, the Rice’s had their son Christopher.

Rice is known for her popular vampire series, The Vampire Chronicles, but she has also written other works both under her name and under her two pseudonyms, A.N. Roquelaure and Anne Rampling. She has written over thirty novels in genres ranging from Christian literature, gothic fiction, and erotica. It is said that Rice’s vampire writing has had a major impact on later vampire fiction because she identifies with the vampire instead of the victim. Start with Interview With The Vampire.

Every Bibliophile’s Dream

Mechthild Glaser captured and envisioned every bibliophile’s dream with this one singular novel. Translated from German to English, the Book Jumper follows Amy Lennox from Germany to Stormsay Island. Where she learns she has a unique gift: she’s a book jumper. Quickly after arriving at Stormsay, she learns every book jumper has a job. They must protect the literary world, and all the characters inside. Within her first few jumps, she learns not all is right with the literary world: someone is stealing the unique ideas that makes all the stories classics, from the Wizard of Oz’s cyclone to Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit. In doing so, all the stories are changing and causing chaos in the outside world. Amy must come to terms with herself as a book jumper and she must find out who is stealing the key ideas to the stories . So she teams up with another book jumper named Will and Werther from The Sorrows of Young Werther, and begins her search of finding the thief and saving the literary world.

The cover of this book fits the story perfectly. Isn’t it beautiful?

 

If only webibliophile’s could jump into books, meet all our favorite characters and live the story as they do!

We’ve Been Reading Young Hoosier Books!

Library staff have been reading some of this year’s Young Hoosier Books. Young Hoosier books are selected each school year by a committee of Indiana School Librarian Educators. There are approximately 20 books chosen for each of three age ranges. All three lists are available on the Indiana Library Federation web page. Our local elementary schools and middle school participate in this program by making the books available and letting students vote for their favorite. The Aurora Public Library District has most of these titles in at least one of our branches. Reviews for the books our staff members read are shown below.

Thanks to Amy for reviewing Dog Vs. Cat by Chris Gall. “I had the pleasure of reading Dog Vs. Cat. It’s a wonderful children’s book. It has all the learning elements, like not getting along with your siblings. Typically you fight and don’t get along until one day you realize how much you really have in common. At the end of the book, the Dog and Cat have to join forces to build the ultimate fort against the new baby, whom they both hate. Then Dog and Cat drink a class of  lemonade together for all their hard work.”

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig was reviewed by Mary Margaret. “This story shows how to be invisible without playing the game of Hide and Seek.  Brian is invisible to the rest of his classmates just by being himself.  When his classmates choose members for kickball teams, Brian is never noticed or chosen.  Brian is never invited to other classmates’ parties or included at their lunch table. One day a new student named Justin joins Brian’s class.  He is different because he likes to eat Korean food.  He uses chopsticks instead of silverware. Brian was eating lunch by himself at a separate table when he noticed the other students laughing and making fun of Justin and his food.  Brian wondered which was worse, having the class laugh at you or feeling like you were invisible.  He understood how Justin felt. What happens that makes Brian no longer invisible?  What makes the other classmates stop laughing at Justin and making fun of his food?  You will have to read the story to find the answer.”

 

Another book from the Picture Book category was read and reviewed by Rose. “The book I choose was A Perfectly Messed-Up Story written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. Mr. McDonnell’s realistic illustrations keep young readers turning the pages to see what Louie will find wrong on the pages of his book. A humorous book to keep any young child entertained.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to see the look on a child’s face when they think that peanut butter or jelly has been spilled on the pages.”

The next set of books are for either chapter books or non-fiction readers and would be good choices for kids in elementary school.

I chose to read Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper, a renowned writer and educator who lives in Cincinnati. On her web page, Ms. Draper states, “I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching.” Here’s my review for Stella by Starlight. “Stella is a character all kids can relate to. She has trouble in school, she dislikes doing chores, and she is trying to find her identity. She also witnessed activities by the KKK while out walking at night. Stella’s family and the other African-American families in town are alarmed that the Klan is resuming activities and struggle to keep their children safe. While not as gut-wrenching as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor, this book also illuminates many of the problems of the Jim Crow South. What stands out is the humanity of the characters as Draper avoids easy stereotypes. Stories as a cultural touchstone is a primary theme and adds both humor and emotional depth. In particular, the teacher’s retelling of a “Flying African” folktale is exquisitely touching. The power of words is also shown as Stella struggles to put her thoughts on paper with a typewriter given to her by a neighbor. This needs to be shared with families and classrooms and provides many jumping off points for discussions on racism, voting rights, and community values. It might be interesting to pair the “Flying African” passage with the picture book Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.

  

Patty thought that The Zoo at the Edge of the World  by Eric Kahn Gale was a fantastic read. “A young boy named Marlin who stutters and his older brother Tim live with their father who owns an exotic zoo at the edge of the world in Guiana. Wealthy people from all over the world come to visit the zoo. Marlin’s brother is a bully and is always tantalizing him and trying to outdo him. Marlin helps to tend the animals and when he gets a flesh wound, a black jaguar heals the wound and also gives Marlin the power to talk to and understand animals. When Marlin is talking to the animals, he does not stutter and this makes him feel better about himself, although he doesn’t understand how or why. The zoo is going through difficult financial situations and the father is forcing the animals to perform dangerous acts. Marlin takes it upon himself to protect the animals. This book has plenty of suspense and shows sensitive relationships between the animals and the humans.”

Kim chose to read The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, because she is a big fan of horror books by Stephen King and John Saul. Kim found this title to have a very good story-line with lessons in courage and the ability to see yourself through an other’s eyes. However, she cautions that the plot is a bit grim at times. Her opinion matches perfectly with the Young Hoosier Committee who placed this book on the list for Middle Grades, making it most suitable for students in grades 6 and up.

  

The review of Greenglass House comes from Bobbie. Greenglass House is a smuggler’s inn where Milo is expecting to spend his holiday relaxing. Unexpected and odd guests keep showing up and then things start to go missing. With the help of Meddy, Milo finds the courage to go snooping around where he’s not supposed to, looking for the missing items. Well thought out characters in an exciting mystery with a few unexpected twists and turns. This book is great fun!

Jessica also selected The Selection, another book from the MiddleGrade Young Hoosier list. “The first book in Cass’s five-part series is set in a dystopian United States now titled Illéa. Illéa is ruled by a monarchy with its subjects being divided into castes. Right from page one, we are endeared by the main character’s honesty and teenage defiance. America, named after the former USA, enjoys her life as a Five, which means that her and her family make their money by being artisans or entertainers. America plays music or sings with her mother to entertain at parties for Threes and Fours, but every day she cannot wait for nightfall and her secret and illegal rendezvous with Aspen, a neighbor boy and a Six. For two years, the couple have kept their relationship hidden from their families because it is unseemly for a woman to marry down in caste. The certainty of their future is a question left unanswered, and when the royal family requests an entry into The Selection from all of the eligible maidens of Illéa, the young couple’s consistent relationship is disturbed. The Selection is a “Bachelor” style competition of 35 girls vying for the heart of Prince Maxon, the crown, and status as a One for the winner and her family. Kiera Cass creates a dynamic world of rules and betrayal, love and hatred, honor, and disgrace. America’s authentic voice and surprisingly sophisticated balance of altruism and selfishness keep the reader entrenched in the surreal reality of the fantastical Illéa. America’s narrative and the unpredictability of the tale make The Selection impossible to put down, and the anticipation for what unfolds in the following four books is palpable.”

We hope you will join the Library Staff in choosing a book from this year’s Young Hoosier list!

Author Biographies: Eloisa James

eloisa-james

The name Mary Bly might not be one you are familiar with, but you might have heard of her alter-ego Eloisa James. Eloisa James writes romance fiction set in England’s Regency and Georgian periods, while Mary Bly is a tenured professor of Shakespeare at Fordham University in New York City. Mary Bly is also the Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department as well as the head of the Creative Writing Program at Fordham University. So how in the world does she find the time to write novels between her staggering academic workload?

Mary Bly is the oldest of four children born to the poet Robert Bly and the short story writer Carol Bly. The family did not own a television; instead they had over 5000 books. At a young age, Mary Bly became hooked on romance novels and convinced her father to let her read one romance novel for every classic novel she completed. Mary Bly graduated with her Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, went on to receive a Master’s of Philosophy from Oxford, and then her doctorate in Renaissance Studies from Yale.

ugly-duchess

Bly only began writing romance novels when her husband wanted to postpone having a second child until they had paid off their student loans. She wrote Potent Pleasures and had two publishers fighting over it, which allowed her to receive a sum of money that paid off her student loans in full. Bly decided to write under the the pseudonym Eloisa James because she was worried that her colleagues wouldn’t take her seriously as an academic if they found out she wrote romance novels.

Bly disguised herself by wearing contacts instead of glasses when she was Eloisa James. When one of her novels made it onto the New York Times Bestseller List, Bly decided to “out” herself at a faculty meeting on February 16, 2005. Once she had revealed herself, she wrote a piece for The New York Times defending the romance genre.

Currently, Bly still works as a professor as well as writing her novels, which allude heavily to Shakespearean themes. She still continues to write under her pen name. Currently, we have several available print and digital books available by James. Start with Much Ado About You.

Happy Reading!

Movie Days are Back!

The Aurora Public Library District will be hosting two family movies during the South Dearborn Spring Break weeks. Join us at the Dillsboro Public Library on Tuesday, March 21st at 2 PM for Surf’s Up 2: Wave Mania. All ages are invited to come watch this family movie (rated PG). The following week, on Wednesday, March 29th, we will be showing Moana (PG) at the Aurora Public Library at 2 PM.

Let’s Take a Moment: Almost Innocent

almost-innocent

Jane Feather has been one of my personal favorites since I first read: Almost Innocent. It’s such an amazing tale. It draws you in and keeps you interested. It makes you want to put it in your to-read-again pile.

The story begins with the Duke of Lancaster and his mistress, Isolde, who also happens to be with child. Throughout the first few paragraphs you can tell something is about to happen; I personally heard gloomy music in my mind as I continued to read. It turns out that Isolde was trying to poison the Duke and he instead poisons her. While she lays dying, the child within her begins to push its way into the world. He thinks about leaving the child there with her dying mother, but instead decides that there was too much death in the room.

Magdalen grows up believing the Lord of Belair is her father. The lord isn’t particularly rude or nasty but almost indifferent to the young girl, mainly because he believes she is ‘tainted by her birth.’ In just a few short-lived moments, we meet the hero: Guy de Gervais.  He arrives to stand-in for his nephew for Magdalen and him to marry. He takes her under his care. She meets her real father, and though he doesn’t mean to, the Duke is cruel and flings her away from him because of the “eyes of her mother.”

Guy’s wife dies, and even at such a young age, Magdalen believes herself to be madly in love with Guy. So she tells him she shouldn’t marry Edmund, his nephew, she should marry him. Guy tosses it away as the naivete of a young girl. She and Edmund marry and Magdalen is sent back to her old home.

Following this, we see Magdalen grown up and see Guy falling in love with her despite himself and everyone else.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not only was I sympathetic to Guy and Magdalen but I was moved by their passionate love for each other.  There was equal drama and action as well as love and romance. It was just the perfect amount of everything that it didn’t give too much or too little.   I do think there could have been some improvements, but nothing too serious. If you aren’t one to read romance novels because of their specific scenes, then this story is perfect for you.

five-out-of-five

Reviews:

“An accomplished storyteller … rare and wonderful.”
Daily News of Los Angeles

Click here to check out ALMOST INNOCENT!!

Jamming in our Jammies!

We are looking forward to seeing all our families for the 2017 Bedtime Storytime! Join us for stories, a craft and some milk and cookies. Bring the entire family and cuddle up for some quality time together. Peggy has some fun picture books picked out and there will be some additional activities for older siblings. Come in your pajamas and bring a stuffed animal along if you like. This event will be offered at both branches during Spring Week:

At the Aurora Public Library on Thursday, March 23rd at 6:30 PM

At the Dillsboro Public Library on Monday, March 27th at 6:00 PM

 

Author Biographies: Rick Riordan

rick-riordan

Rick Riordan was born in San Antonio, Texas on June 5, 1964. After graduating high school, Riordan first attended North Texas State for the music program because he wanted to pursue a music career, as he was the lead singer of a folk rock band. He then transferred to the University of Texas in Austin, studying English and History. He received his teaching certificate from the University of Texas in San Antonio. Riordan taught middle school English and Social Studies at Presidio Hill School in San Francisco for eight years. Riordan married his wife on June 5, 1985, as they shared the same birthday.

While he was still teaching, Riordan wrote an adult hard-boiled mystery series about Texan private eye Tres Navarre. However, the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series is what really put Riordan’s name on the map. The story began as a bedtime story Riordan told his youngest son, Haley, who was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, just like Percy and the other heroes at Camp Half Blood. When he completed the first novel, Riordan had some of his students read it and give him feedback, offer suggestions, and help him come up with the title.

percy-jackson

Riordan has also gone on to collaborate with other authors to write the 39 Clues series. He has also turned some of the books from various series into graphic novels, as well as crossover short stories and tag along books to his different series that add more depth and background information to characters and myths.

Having been a history teacher, it is no wonder that Riordan’s children series are steeped in Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse myths. Each of his series allow children to learn about ancient cultures while they think they are reading just for fun. Each series includes believable and lovable characters, as well as crossover characters and references to other series. It really is interesting to see how the individual series work together and add more depth to Riordan’s writing. And in case you couldn’t tell, he’s my favorite author! Start with The Lightning Thief.