Get Your Cookie On!

Yes, it’s that time of year when ovens across America are heating up, sprinkles are purchased, and cookbooks are inspected for the perfect selection of Christmas cookie recipes. Whether you’re baking only for your family, or whether you’ll be gifting dozens of cookie trays, now is the time to choose your recipes and gather your ingredients. Yes, you can find individual recipes online, but why not check out a whole book?

We have great cookbooks in print at the library, and we have a nice selection of digital cookbooks, if that’s what you prefer.  Check out these seasonal selections as you plan your holiday baking. Some have cookie recipes only, but others contain a variety of items for every sweet tooth.

Cake-Mix Cookies by Camilla Saulsbury Favorite Cookies by the William Sonoma Test Kitchen The Great Christmas Cookie Swap by Good Housekeeping

Christmas Baking by Mia OhrnThe Christmas Cookie Deck by Lou Seibert Pappas Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays by Jeanne Sauvage

Betty Crocker Christmas Cookies American Cookie by Anne Byrn Christmas Cookies

Baking for the Holidays by Sarah Kieffer Christmas with Paula Deen The Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 14

    Christmas Cookies by Better Homes and GardensCookies for Christmas by FamilyFun magazine

   No-Bake Cookies by Camilla Saulsbury  Best-Ever Cakes & Cookies by Family Circle


Give a Book!

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Icelandic tradition of giving books as gifts on Christmas Eve. Jolabokaflod, literally Christmas book flood, is a national tradition since the World War II years, when paper was one of the few things not rationed. Most books in Iceland are published in the fall of the year, and on Christmas Eve, family members open their new gift books and stay up late reading and drinking hot cocoa.

It’s a lovely tradition, but of course we can do it here, too! Books are one of the best Christmas gifts: they’re easy to ship, they’re fun to share, They’re perfect gifts for any age, and the pleasure can last a lifetime. If you’re planning to buy a child a book for Christmas (I hope you are!), here are some of the best new books from 2021.

For the picture book age, a Christmas themed book is often nice. Jan Brett has a new book on The Nutcracker, and you can expect her usual intricate illustrations.  I also like The Magical Christmas Store by Maudie Powell-Tuck, because the emphasis is on giving rather than receiving gifts.

The Nutcracker by Jan Brett  The Magical Christmas Store by Maudie Powell-Tuck

If you’d like to give something seasonal, but not about Christmas, take a look at A Thing Called Snow. Other great choices for picture books are It’s So Quiet, The Panda Problem, and Sheepish.

  A Thing Called Snow by Yuval Zommer   It's So Quiet by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Sheepish by Helen Yoon  The Panda Problem by Deborah Underwood

If your child is just moving into easy chapter books, you can’t go wrong with this Sydney & Taylor series (just look at those animals) or the Diary of a Pug books.

Sydney & Taylor Explore the Whole Wide World by Deborah Hocking   Pug's Got Talent by Kyla May

If you have a child who’s not totally into the whole reading thing, but who loves sports, you might want to buy We Are Family by LeBron James. I don’t normally recommend books by celebrities, but this has had great reviews! Esquire Fox, a reformed chicken thief, now leads leads operations around the world rescuing animals in danger in Class File: Little Claws. The second book in the Animal Rescue Agency series will be published in January of 2022.

We are Family by LeBron James and Andrea Williams  Case File: Little Claws by Eliot Schrefer

Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson books, has written a modern take on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. If your child loves the Rick Riordan books, make sure you also check out the books in “Rick Riordan Presents“, a selection of books featuring other mythologies and cultures. Another good choice for mythology-lovers would be Amber & Clay by Newbery Medal winner Amy Schlitz.

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan    The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim  Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz

Looking for something the entire family can share? Bernadette Watts just published a new collection of Christmas stories, including favorites like The Little Drummer Boy and The Snow Queen. This would be a terrific gift to give a week before Christmas; you could read a story together every night. A book of Science experiments would be another great way to spend time together as a family during the school break.

   Stories for Christmas by Bernadette Watts   Amazing Science by Good Housekeeping

Whatever you, choose, I hope you make reading a treasured part of your holiday season.














Make A Holiday Ornament

Adults and teens are invited to sign up for our Pearl Ornament program. This program will be held at both the Aurora and the Dillsboro Public Libraries. All supplies will be provided, and Jessica will be talking you through the process.

You must register for this program in advance. We only have space for 10 people to attend each session, so call 812-926-0646 to sign up and reserve your place. You must be 13 or older to attend this program.



If You Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid…

Ever since Dav Pilkey started the Captain Underpants series of chapter books, kids have been crazy for books that mash together written text with cartoon-style drawings. All kids seem to enjoy these, but these books are particularly popular with upper elementary kids. Here are some other series that have the same kid appeal!

The 13-Story Treehouse series: Andy and Terry live in a treehouse. But it’s not just any old treehouse, it’s the most amazing treehouse in the world! This treehouse has thirteen stories, a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a secret underground laboratory, and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you are hungry. The treehouse goes through constant expansions, so the latest book in the series is The 130-story Treehouse.

   The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths    The 130-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Big Nate: These books follow the life and times of Nate Wright. They feature the adventures, often misadventures, of Nate as a sixth grader in P.S. 38, the setting of his comical exploits along with his teachers and classmates. The series also focuses on his home life along with his family and friends. The books are based on a comic strip by Lincoln Peirce.

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce    Big Nate Blasts Off by Lincoln Peirce

The Origami Yoda series: Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him “Captain Dwight.” But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that’s when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions. The books (6 in the series) include instructions for folding each origami character.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger    Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger

The Dork Diaries:  Follow Nikki Maxwell as she chronicles her life through text and art—her move to a new school, her battles with queen bee MacKenzie, and her zany adventures with her BFFs Chloe and Zoey by her side.

Tales from a NOT-SO-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell    Tales from a NOT-SO-Friendly Frenemy by Rachel Renee Russell

The Dog Diaries: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I’ve been waiting for ages to tell my story, and now it’s finally happening. Being Rafe’s dog isn’t always easy, but it is always EXCITING. I’ve got so much to tell you about:

  • How I protect the yard from birds, raccoons, squirrels, raccoons, mail carriers . . . and did I mention RACCOONS?
  • Sniffing pooch posteriors for the latest canine news.
  • And the terrifying monster hiding in the hall closet: the vacuum cleaner

Dog Diaries: A Middle School Story by James Patterson    Dog Diaries: Ruffing It by James Patterson

Happy Reading!

Diverse Voices

One of the hottest topics in the publishing world these days is the effort to provide books with a variety of authentic perspectives. You will sometimes see #OwnVoices used to designate books written by authors who share an identity with a main character. Often the character is part of a marginalized community. Examples would be Native Americans, people with physical or mental disabilities, immigrants, survivors of abuse, or people in the LGBTQ+ community. These authors bring the richness of personal experience to their writing, and the books often serve to challenge our preconceived ideas about people who are not like us. Reading these books can stretch us intellectually and emotionally and can also help us see the universal human traits that bind us together.

Here are some #OwnVoices selections from the library collection that are great choices for different ages.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick D. Barnes Dreamers by Yuyi Morales Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

El Deafo by Cece Bell George by Alex Gino Amina's Voice by Hena Kahn

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper Americanized by Sara Saedi

A Pure Heart by Rajia Hassib Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi  The Round House by Louise Erdrich

For help in finding just the right books for you and your family, ask one of our staff members or check out these resources.

This database from Teaching Books allows you to search for diverse books by genre, age level, or cultural identity. This resource is provided by the Indiana State Library, so just select that you are an Indiana resident to get into the database. also provides great resources for parents, teachers, and librarians, including explaining the importance of diversity in the world of books.

Bleak Books with Olivia: Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Have you ever read a book all the way through just to close it for the last time and say “wow, that was bleak”? Well, I’m here to make the case for those dark, dreary, haunting, and disturbing reads that keep you up at night long after you put them down. Welcome to Bleak Books with Olivia, your resident creepy book lover at the Aurora Public Library District.

Spooky season is upon us, friends, and you know what that means! All things thriller, horror, and cheesy 80’s slasher have returned to my reading list! After scouring the dark corners of the internet for something truly terrifying to read, I came across Riley Sager (or should I call him by his real name, Todd Ritter?). Sager hit it out the park on his first try with Final Girls, a hair-raising novel that follows Quincy Carpenter as she adjusts to her new life as a member of a club no one wants to be a part of: the “Final Girls”, or girls who survived horror movie-level murderous rampages. Just as she starts to settle into this unsettling reality, each one of the “final girls” is picked off one by one. All of his novels have a sense of that classic 80’s horror flick that I just love. I just had to see what all the rage was about, and picked up his newest novel, knowing I wouldn’t regret it.

Survive the Night follows Charlie, a college student in 1991, who is looking for a ride home, and fast. Her roommate was brutally murdered by a serial killer just a couple months ago, and she is riddled with guilt. She may have not been the one who killed her, but she did leave her roommate and best friend alone at a bar that fateful night after a massive fight, and may have even seen the killer, but she just can’t bring herself to remember their face. She posts a carpool request in the student commons and soon meets Josh, a charming older man who offers to drop her off on his way home to Ohio from Olyphant University. The journey starts off smooth, but soon, Charlie develops a suspicion that Josh isn’t who he claims he is. He may even be the Campus Killer himself.

What ensues in this novel is a rollercoaster of events that had me visibly gasping in coffee shops and gripping the armrests of my plane seats. I see lots of book reviews that say “Gripping from start to finish” or some variant of that phrase, but I never truly experienced that until this book. Considering this is my first Riley Sager novel, Id say he’s just gained a permanent fan. He knocked it out of the park on this one, and I can’t wait to read more.

Thank you for joining me on this dissection of one of my favorite Bleak Books. I hope to see you again sometime soon! Please take a look in the Adult Fiction section at the Aurora and Dillsboro Public Libraries for my favorite Bleak Books, or check out our e-books on Overdrive or Libby. If you are looking for this specific title, you can use our catalog to locate it or ask a librarian for help! If you meet me in the library and have any Bleak Books suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking for a new book to disrupt my life for a couple of weeks.

Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month. This month is the time to celebrate diverse cultures and traditions and to acknowledge the importance of Native people. We are honoring those who have been here long before us by selecting children’s books that are not only about indigenous people but are #ownvoices. These authors are Native Americans themselves and have put their culture and tradition into their stories for families to enjoy.  These stories are not only enjoyable to read, but they offer a way for children to learn about Native American culture and to understand the importance of the Native American culture.

Come and check out these titles and more at Aurora and Dillsboro!

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Mallard




Fry Bread – Kevin Noble Mallard – Part of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma tribe





Wild Berries by Julie Flett





Wild Berries – Julie Flett – Part of Swampy -Cree Metis tribe





In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III






In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse – Joseph Marshall – Part of the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux, Lakota) tribe





Brother Eagle Sister Sky by Chief Seattle





Brother Eagle Sister Sky – Chief Seattle – Suquamish and Duwamish chief





The Earth Under Sky Bears Feet: Native American Poems of the Land by Joseph Bruchac




The Earth under Sky Bear’s feet : Native American poems of the land – Joseph Bruchac –  Abenaki tribe