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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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.

DiverseBooks.org also provides great resources for parents, teachers, and librarians, including explaining the importance of diversity in the world of books.

Donating Used Books

I know how hard it is to say “Goodbye” to a book that you’ve enjoyed. And yet, there are always times when our personal libraries need to be pared down. When that happens, the Aurora Public Library District is happy to accept donations of your gently used books. As we receive donations, a staff member looks through the items to see if  any items should be added to our collection. Other items are sent to the used book sale at the Dillsboro Public Library, if they are in good condition.

There are some items that we do not accept. We have a limited amount of space and these items can not be sold:

  • Old encyclopedias
  • Textbooks
  • VHS tapes
  • Anything dirty, moldy, or with mildew or bugs.

Just keep in mind that if you wouldn’t want to read it, probably other people feel the same way. Older non-fiction is also not a good thing to donate. We just don’t want our book sale customers to get bad information. The best-selling items in our book sale are children’s books and adult books by popular authors.

We are happy to give you a receipt stating how many bags or boxes of items you donated, but we cannot put a value on the donation.

If you have multiple boxes of items to donate, consider taking them directly to the Dillsboro Public Library, if possible. Otherwise, we have to re-box them to send out to Dillsboro.

Thanks for letting us pass your used books on to other readers! The next $1 per bag sale will be on Friday, November 20th and Saturday, November 21st.

 

 

Fall Reads

Fall is my most favorite time of the year. With the days getting shorter and the temperature getting cooler, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book. The changing colors of the leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween and Thanksgiving are things that embody fall. My favorite genre to read during this time is mystery/thriller with a little bit of science fiction. Here are some of my recommendations!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Classic monsters are everywhere during Halloween. Frankenstein is a classic monster but what if the image of Frankenstein was different that what you have been told? Published in 1818, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus follows Victor Frankenstein as he defies the laws of nature and assemble body parts together to make a monster. This is my all time favorite book. At only 200 pages, this is a quick read and is a great start for those who want to read more classics. Mary Shelley’s writing is simplistic and beautiful and she wrote this novel when she was only 18. She is also one of the pioneers of science fiction/horror. Once your finished, watch the 1931 Frankenstein film, starring Boris Karloff and you will be amazed at how many changes there are.

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky The Mary Shelley Club – Goldy Moldavsky

This was a recent read for me. Being a big fan of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, I went into this one with pretty high expectations and I was not disappointed. I found this to be a very enjoyable, fast paced read, and I read it in two days. This follows a girl named Rachel Chavez. She loves horror movies and they help her cope with things that she does not wish to remember. She is recruited by the mysterious Mary Shelley Club. This club does very elaborate pranks or what they call “Fear Tests”. Whoever has the scariest prank wins. The pranks escalate into something more deadly.  Think of this one as Gossip Girl meets Scream and I think that this one is perfect for the fall and spooky season.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson Truly Devious – Maureen Johnson

I am a sucker for a private school mystery. This story follows a girl named Stevie Bell, who is invited to be apart of Ellingham Academy. The academy was founded by Albert Ellingham, who wanted to make the school a place for bright thinkers, artists and inventors. When his wife and his daughter go missing, the only clue is a letter signed by “Truly Devious”, a mocking riddle that lists different methods of murder. Stevie’s first year at Ellingham starts with one goal in mind, to solve the cold case. This is the first book in this series, the following books continue Stevie’s story. This is a great mystery for Halloween. The other books in the series are The Vanishing Stair, The Hand on the Wall and The Box in the Woods.

 

Non-Fiction for Teens

The Shadow of the Fallen Towers by Don Brown

We’ve been working to make it easier for our teen readers to find the non-fiction books they enjoy! Now, at both the Aurora and the Dillsboro Public Libraries, there are special collections of non-fiction books written especially for a teen audience. You’ll find a wide variety of topics in these collections – history, crafts, biographies, poetry, social issues, science, and much more. Teen non-fiction even includes some books written in a graphic novel format!

We’ll be adding more books to these areas, so make sure you let us know about your reading preferences. Or, if you want to let us know anonymously, look for the paper surveys in the Teen areas.

Here are a few selections in some of the categories.

History

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

Crafts

The DIY Guide to Tie Dye Style by Welker and Spendlove Print Workshop by Christine Schmidt Rip It by Elissa Meyrich

Science

Phieas Gage by John Fleischman  The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose  The Secret of the Yellow Death by Suzanne Jurmain

Social Issues

Teen Guide to Student Activism by Stuart Kallen  Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community by Robin Stevenson  Parkland Speaks edited by Sarah Lerner

Of course, these books are great for adults, too! I’ve found them to be very readable, and they often provide me with just the right amount of information on a subject.

Happy Reading!

Thanks for Sharing Your Talent!

Collage of Children's Books

Already in 2021, the world of children’s book publishing has lost some iconic authors and illustrators. Through the stories they wrote and the illustrations they created, our lives have been enriched beyond measure. Here’s a short statement about each of these imaginative people and some book covers to illustrate their work.

Eric Carle: Both an author and an illustrator, his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold more than 50 million copies in 66 languages. His illustrations were primarily collage, featuring hand-painted papers. He also founded the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art to ensure that picture-book illustrations, as an art form, would be celebrated around the world.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Beverly Cleary: Millions of kids have romped through the pages of Cleary’s books with Henry, Beezus, and Ramona. Cleary drew the inspiration for her chapters books from the kids in her neighborhood and the kids she served during her years as a librarian.

Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

Floyd Cooper: Cooper illustrated for some of the best-known children’s authors including Nikki Grimes, Walter Myers, and Carole Boston Weatherford, mostly in books that portrayed the African-American experience. His distinctive painting style created luminous illustrations in earthy tones as he helped to bridge the racial gap in children’s literature.

The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas and Floyd Cooper Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds and Floyd Cooper

  • Lois Ehlert: Author and illustrator, Ehlert was inspired by the beauty of the natural world. Her artwork featured brightly colored snips of paper as well as “found” objects such as buttons or feathers. She related how her parents encouraged her to be creative in her autobiographical picture book The Scraps Book. Her  book Rrralph is not her most beautiful, but it always makes me laugh! Some of Ehlert’s artwork reminds me of the work of Cincinnati graphic artist Charley Harper.

Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

Patricia Giff: Giff was a long-time favorite with children making the leap to chapter books. She also won critical acclaim with her historical fiction for older children.

Zebra at the Zoo by Patricia Giff Water Street by Patricia Giff Lily's Crossing by Patricia Giff

Norton Juster: Please don’t ask “Who is Norton Juster?” His book The Phantom Tollbooth has been a favorite of elementary students and teachers for many years. Filled with puns and other wordplay, it’s been compared to a modern Alice in Wonderland. Juster’s picture book The Hello, Goodbye Window earned a Caldecott Medal for illustrator Chris Raschka.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster

Kathleen Krull: Krull was the queen of the juvenile biography. I liked to select books for the library by Krull, because I always knew they would be accurate and highly readable. Her books cover people from a wide span of history and popular culture.

Charles Darwin by Kathleen Krull No Truth Without Ruth by Kathleen Krull  The Brothers Kennedy by Kathleen Krull

Ted Lewin: Both an author and an illustrator, Lewin paid for his art studies at the Pratt Institute with a side gig as a professional wrestler. Ted and his wife Betsy Lewin, also an illustrator, took much of their inspiration from their travels to exotic locations. When writing this blog, I was surprised to find that Ted Lewin did the illustrations for The Island of the Blue Dolphins, work reminiscent of the book illustrations of N.C. Wyeth.

Look! by Ted Lewin Horse Song by Ted and Betsy Lewin Balarama by Ted and Betsy Lewin

Ann Rinaldi: Rinaldi is well-known for her historical fiction written for upper elementary school students. Although she didn’t publish any new books in the last years of her life, she remained popular with students. In addition to many stand-alone titles, she also contributed two books to the Dear America series.

The Second Bend in the River by Ann Rinaldi The Redheaded Princess by Ann Rinaldi Girl in Blue by Ann Rinaldi

It’s never too late to discover these fantastic authors and illustrators!

Nature Magazines for Kids

I hope that you and your family are having lots of fun exploring the world of animals during our Summer Reading Program “Tails and Tales.” We have so many great animal books, but don’t forget to check out the nature magazines we also have for kids. These magazines all feature lots of amazing photographs, fun facts, and short articles. They’re perfect for sharing together or for your children to read on their own. The format makes a magazine an especially appealing choice for reluctant readers of all ages.

 

Reading about nature with your children will encourage their curiosity and increase their vocabulary. That can be reinforced with a nature walk around your community. Another option would be completing the Library’s Animal Scavenger Hunt (for Aurora or Dillsboro).

In addition to our printed magazines, you can also read digital magazines through the Indiana Digital Download Center. Just select the Aurora Public Library District and login with your library card number (no spaces) and PIN. Then look for the Collections tab and select Magazines. All of our digital magazines are simultaneous use, so no waiting ever! You’ll find National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, and Animal Tales.

If you ever need help using our digital resources just call 812-926-0646, and we can talk you through the process.