Take It, Make It: March

Beginning on Monday, March 1st, we will have a spring inspired Take It, Make It Activity available at both branches! Take It, Make It activities are projects that can be done at home with materials you can pick up at the library! You can also request curbside pick up. Just call 812-926-0646 (Aurora) or 812-954-4151 (Dillsboro) and let us know how many of the activities you need for your family!

Stop by the Aurora or Dillsboro Library anytime in March to pick up the supplies to make this cute spring scene! All the pieces are included in your packet, but you will need glue to attach everything, and markers to color in the banner.

If you want your craft to be featured on our social media, send a picture to Ms. Stephanie at stephanie@eapld.org. Please be sure to include if we have permission to share your picture and name on our Facebook page. Pictures must be submitted by March 24, 2021.

Must Read Teen Fantasy

Some of these series have been around awhile and others are much newer. Whichever you prefer, these are great choices for teens and adults who enjoy reading fantasy.

Laini Taylor made a huge splash in the publishing world with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. She followed these books with Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

After a long pause, Kristin Cashore has returned to the Graceling Realm series this month with the publication of Winterkeep. Graceling was the first book written, but Fire is described as a prequel-companion book.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore Fire by Kristin Cashore Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

Leigh Bardugo describes the fantasy world she created for her Grisha trilogy as influenced by Imperial Russia, rather than medieval England, and as more repeating rifles rather than broadswords. Start now, and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in this world before the Netflix series premieres in April. Bardugo has other related books that are also set in this fantasy world.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy by Traci Chee is described as intricately plotted and culturally diverse with a lyrical writing style. It’s a swashbuckling world filled with pirates and assassins!

 The Reader by Traci Chee The Speaker by Traci Chee The Storyteller by Traci Chee

Here are some more “first books” in great fantasy series. Let us know which you like, and what new fantasy book you’re looking forward to.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir  Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

 

The Brontes Live On

If you love classic literature, you probably already know that there are many, many recent novels that tie into the plots created by Jane Austen. Novelists have also taken the opportunity to rework or reimagine the novels of the Bronte sisters, with Jane Eyre probably the most common source material. The books range from prequels to novels about the Brontes to modern updates. Let us know which of the original Bronte novels you love, and which retelling you enjoy!

Adele by Emma Tennant  The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Jane by April Lindner My Plain Jane by Hand, Ashton, and Meadows Jane Steele by Lyndsay Fay

The House of Dead Maids by Clare Dunkle The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Together We Read

For the next two weeks (February 10-24), you have the opportunity to participate in an online community of readers all reading Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. This title is available through The Indiana Digital Download Center (IDCC) with no waitlists or holds! It’s available as both an ebook and audio-book, and we also have print copies at the library. The IDCC also has special features like an author interview, discussion questions, and the chance to participate in discussion with other readers.

This romance is a perfect choice for February!

One of the most beloved romantic comedies of 2020, Love Lettering is a heart-melting and touching story that fans of Tessa Bailey, Jen DeLuca, and Emily Henry cannot miss. In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts a woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy.

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing custom journals for her New York City clientele. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Knowing the upcoming marriage of Reid Sutherland and his polished fiancée was doomed to fail is one thing, but weaving a secret word of warning into their wedding program is another. Meg may have thought no one would spot it, but she hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid.

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other, both try to ignore a deepening connection between them. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late.

Virginia Rep Presents Harriet Tubman

The Aurora Public Library District has been missing the opportunity to watch performances by the Virginia Repertory Theatre , since they have been unable to travel during the Covid pandemic. Now you have the opportunity to watch one of their most popular performances from the comfort of your home. Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad will be a perfect activity for you and your family to watch, especially during this month when we celebrated African American History.

To watch Harriet Tubman, just go to https://vimeo.com/477784116. You’ll need to sign in using the Pass Code: D#sp5M 

This link and pass code will be active through the month of June, so watch as many times as you like.

You can also watch the Cast’s question and answer session at: https://va-rep.org/show_harriet_extras.html

harriet Tubman with a lantern

 

Don’t forget to learn about some of the great library books we have on the Underground Railroad, by checking out my previous blog.

 

Love Monsters in the Library??

It’s time to pick up your February Take-It Make-It craft kit. The kits are available at both the Dillsboro and the Aurora Public Library.

We’d love to share your creation on the Library’s social media pages. If you’re willing to share, just send a photo of your completed craft to stephanie@eapld.org and tell her it’s OK to post this picture!

The Underground Railroad

As we begin African-American History Month, you may want to consider some picture books to share with your family. One of the topics that is popular with our Library patrons is the Underground Railroad. Students often study this in school, so a Library book on the same topic is a perfect way to expand on their classroom activities.

A Good Night for Freedom by Barbara Olenyik Morrow

 

A Good Night for Freedom is especially noteworthy because it is set in Indiana at the home of Levi Coffin, a Hoosier who helped thousands of slaves escape to freedom. The Levi Coffin House, located in Fountain City, Indiana, is now a registered National Historic Landmark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The journey to freedom was extremely hazardous, and slaves relied on the North Star to point the way to Canada. Deborah Hopkinson also uses the common belief that slaves looked for safe houses designated by certain quilt patterns in her book, Under the Quilt of Night.

Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah HopkinsonFollow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter

 

 

 

Shane Evans uses minimal text in Underground, but the illustrations brilliantly show the danger of escape and the triumph of arriving in a place of freedom. Moses by Carole Weatherford focuses on the religious faith which led Harriet Tubman to become the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad.

Underground by Shane Evans Moses by Carole Weatherford

If your children become really interested in this topic, we also have some chapter books that would be great to read together.

Trouble Don't Last by Shelley Pearsall River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury Bright Freedom's Song by Gloria Houston

 

The Imaginative Worlds of Chris van Allsburg

You are probably already familiar with author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg from his best known children’s books: The Polar Express and Jumanji. Both have been turned into extremely successful feature films. They also both earned Van Allsburg a Caldecott Medal for best illustrated children’s book in the year they were published.

Van Allsburg’s work features detailed drawings in a limited range of colors and with unusual perspectives. Look closely and you’ll almost certainly find something surprising, or even other-worldly. Although his books are usually in a picture book format, they are suitable for older kids and adults, as well. You’ll need to spend some time on each page, soaking up the words and the illustrations, to appreciate the richness of the art form.

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi by Chris van Allsburg Jumanji by Chris van Allsburg

Queen of the Falls by Chris van Allsburg Just a Dream by Chris van Allsburg Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg

The Widow's Broom by Chris van Allsburg  Ben's Dream by Chris Van Allsburg

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg and others

 

In 1984, Van Allsburg published an unusual book called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, consisting almost entirely of strange and haunting illustrations. These illustrations were often used in schools as writing prompts. In 2011, a group of young adult authors were asked to write a collection of short stories based on the Harris Burdick illustrations. You can read the stories in The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

 

 

 

Bleak Books with Olivia: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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.

So, you’ve just finished reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (or maybe you’ve seen the movie instead, I don’t judge!) and you’re on the hunt for another gripping thrill ride full of mystery, intrigue, and tons of dark academia themes. Why not reach for another Tartt novel? This sprawling narrative about a young man’s desire to just be something other than ordinary takes our main character, Richard, to dizzying highs and deep, deep valleys of low points as he tags along with quite possibly the most interesting people on campus: the tight-knit group of Classics students at Hampden College and their enigmatic professor, Julian Morrow.

The beginning of The Secret History shoves us face-first into the drama of it all: one of the Classics students has been murdered, and it was a group effort between the rest of the Classics Clan, as I like to call them. Now, you may be saying “Whoa! Spoiler Alert!” but this is all made clear in the exposition of the novel, just a few pages in, and even can be read on the jacket. The big mystery of the novel is why a group of friends this close would murder one of their own in cold blood? What does he know? Donna Tartt promises we are bound to find out.

The reveal is beyond jarring. While the beginning of the novel is slow and steady, introducing each member of the Classics Clan to Richard in painstaking detail, the moment we know why our dear friend Bunny is going to be murdered, we’re sent into a tailspin. We are taken alongside Richard as he makes the journey from average college student to an accomplice to murder, and Donna Tartt makes this transition so smoothly that you don’t even think to balk at this change in demeanor. The seduction to the mysterious, intriguing, and dangerous lives of Richard’s friends makes him blind to their true natures. Only after Bunny is gone do we see the group unravel. The act tears them apart in very unique ways, as the act of murder would to any sane person. And only then does Richard realize he has never truly known these people and never will.

What is so remarkable about this book to me is how I realized slowly that I am Richard. I too am just along for the ride, so in love with these interesting students that I can’t see they have manipulated me as well. I hate to admit it, but as the book came to a close, I still found each character so intriguing that I had forgiven them for their crimes and still wanted to sit down for a cup of coffee with them in the Hampden library. How twisted is that? Now, that is good writing.

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 on the second floor of the Aurora Public Library for my favorite Bleak Books (including this one!) 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.

 

“Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement” Program

Are you a Jazz aficionado, or are you interested in learning more about this uniquely American form of music? Here’s your chance to learn not only about how Jazz evolved, but about the contributions of jazz musicians during the Civil Rights Movement. Join us on Zoom for this virtual program on Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 PM.

Galen Abdur-Razzaq is a master flute player who has performed around the U.S. sharing both his love of jazz and his knowledge of how this art form became an integral part of American culture. During the program, Galen will be performing and discussing the contributions of jazz musicians in the struggle for equal rights.

Because this program will be presented using Zoom, it’s necessary for each person to register in advance. A Zoom invitation will be sent to your email a few days prior to the performance. If you are not familiar with Zoom, feel free to call the Library and ask for Peggy. I’ll be happy to talk you through it or even do a practice session for you. You can Zoom from a computer, tablet, or smart-phone.

Spread the word and invite your friends to join also! There’s no limit on audience size. Just call 812-926-0646 to register and provide an email address for the invitation.

 

You can preview some of Galen’s music at: https://flutejuice.net/downloads

Galen Abdur-Razzaq