April is National Humor Month!

National Humor Month was conceived as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor. Laughter and joy – the benchmarks of humor – lead to improved well-being, boosted morale, increased communication skills, and an enriched quality of life.

It’s no coincidence that the month begins with April Fool’s Day, a day which has sanctioned frivolity and amusement for hundreds of years.

Humor as a tool to lift ailing spirits is an established notion supported by scientific research. The curative power of laughter and its ability to relieve debilitating stress and burnout may indeed be one of the great medical discoveries of our times.

The library is ready to keep you laughing all month with joke books, funny fiction, and great comedy films. Stop in and tell us a joke (a clean one) and maybe we will have one for you. For more information on National Humor Month visit http://www.humormonth.com/

 

Young People’s Poet Laureate

What is a Poet Laureate? Did you know we have 2 in the United States? Poet Laureates are designated by nations or groups and are frequently expected to compose poems for special occasions. The Librarian of the United States Congress designates a poet annually to work toward increasing our nation’s appreciation of poetry. This position is currently filled by Tracy K. Smith.

The Poetry Foundation, since 2006, has selected a Young People’s (or Children’s) Poet Laureate for two-year terms. The chosen poet works on a variety of projects to help instill a lifelong love of poetry among the nation’s developing readers.

Margarita Engle has held this position since 2017. Previously this position was filled by Jack Prelutsky, Mary Ann Hoberman, J.Patrick Lewis, Kenn Nesbitt, and Jacqueline Woodson.

I love this excerpt from her poem “Tula”, found in the book The Lightning Dreamer.

Books are door-shaped 

portals

carrying me

across oceans

and centuries,

helping me feel

less alone.

Engle may be best known for her novels in verse, especially those focusing on different aspects of Cuban history. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I will tell you that you need to give these books a try! Engle has a true gift for highlighting episodes in history that are not well-known.

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle   The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle

The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle   The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle

We also have some books for younger kids that feature poems by Engle.

Orangutanka by Margarita Engle  Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle

Bravo: Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle

I am very excited about Bravo: Poems About Amazing Hispanics, our newest addition by Engle. This book is located in our juvenile biography area and is perfect for families and classrooms!

Diversity is a huge focus in children’s literature and there was so much in this book that was new to me!

You can read more of Engle’s poetry on the Poetry Foundation’s web page.

The Iron Druid Series

Fans of Kevin Hearne are excited and heartbroken (if it is possible to be both) at the announcement of the final installment in the Iron Druid series. Fans of  mythology, talking Irish wolfhounds and great storytelling will love this series. It is set in our world (the first couple of books are set in Tempe, Arizona) where supernatural creatures exist, such as witches, vampires, werewolves, as well as gods and goddesses from various mythologies. The series is told in the first-person point-of-view of Atticus O’Sullivan (aka. Siodhachan O Suileabhain), a Druid who owns and runs an occult bookshop, Third Eye Books and Herbs, as he gets embroiled in the day-to-day struggle of gods and goddesses and other supernatural creatures. I have truly enjoyed this series. I will certainly mourn the loss of Atticus and his dog Oberon. Visit Kevin’s webpage at https://kevinhearne.com/ for more entertaining antics and info written by the dog.

The following open letter is from Kevin to his fans announcing SCOURGED:

Hey there, Spiffy Humans!

It’s a bit bewildering to be writing this letter to you. When I began writing Hounded in 2008, I had no idea that I was beginning a ten-year odyssey that would see the publication of nine Iron Druid novels, five novellas, and myriad short stories. I wrote Hounded to scratch several itches: the desire to present Irish paganism in more depth than a couple of its more popular goddesses, while simultaneously presenting all faiths as equally valid; to geek out about pop culture one moment and Shakespeare the next; speculate about what a long life would do to the psyche of humans and gods; and to indulge my boundless affection for doggies and their infinite appreciation of simple things.

I figure we could all stand to be reminded that simple pleasures are the best, and that’s part of the reason why Oberon the Irish wolfhound has become so popular. What’s not to like about sausage and gravy? Or poodles, for that matter. Belly rubs and naps. And maybe just a dash of conspiracy theory for drama, like the absolute fact that squirrels are most definitely planning to kill us all, and somewhere on the outskirts of Seattle, a scientist in a secret lab has created the Triple Nonfat Double Bacon Five-Cheese Mocha. Living in the present for such pleasures is the key to achieving a hound’s best life, and Oberon reminds Atticus that despite the trials of his past, much remains to be loved today-right now!-and we, too, could use a friend like him to point out that even in the midst of a rather rough world, there is still plenty in this moment to savor and cherish.

I certainly hope you’ll savor the last book of the Iron Druid Chronicles, Scourged, which wraps up many of the series’ long-running conflicts and leaves us with the possibility of revisiting the world later on. I’m currently working on two other series (The Seven Kennings and the Tales of Pell with Delilah S. Dawson), but there is room for further adventures should my schedule (and the Muses) allow. But this particular story arc with Atticus has been building to a head for a long while. Seeds of the final conflict and its resolution can be seen not only in the previous books, but in short stories like “The Chapel Perilous” that I originally wrote for an anthology, novellas like Grimoire of the Lamb, and most especially “Cuddle Dungeon,” a story I wrote for the Besieged collection.

It’s been a tremendous privilege to write these books and I thank you all for reading. May harmony (and sausage) find you.

Peace & whiskey,

Kevin Hearne