Roald Dahl was a spy, a pilot, a chocolate historian and an inventor!
He was also a beloved author of many original and entertaining children’s books.
Roald Dahl was born in Wales on September 13, 1916 to Harald Dahl and Sofie Hesselberg. His parents named him after the first man to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen.
His mother sent him to several boarding schools in which many bizarre events happened and later were written in his autobiography, Boy. At one of his boarding schools, the pupils were invited to test chocolate bars which helped inspire Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
His lust to travel took him from Canada to East Africa until the start of World War II where he enlisted into the Royal Air Force at 23 years old. After receiving severe injuries in the Western Desert, and after recovering from those injuries in Alexandria, he returned to the fight by taking part in the Battle of Athens. Afterwards, he became a spy for MI6.
In 1961, he wrote James and the Giant Peach, which was quickly followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also wrote several screenplays and adult novels. In 1970, a year before the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released, he published Fantastic Mr. Fox.
In the early 80s, he published The Twits, The BFG, and The Witches. Matilda was published in 1988 and Esio Trot in 1990.
Many of his works have been adapted as films and will forever entertain children and adults for generations to come!
To help us celebrate Roald Dahl, stop by the library on Roald Dahl Day (September 13) and check out some his works and adaptations!
Well, she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. She is “a librarian by training and a book lover at heart”. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and many kitties.
What does she write?
Tessa Dare writes amazing historical romances that are just to die for. She mixes emotion, love, sensuality, romance, and drama together and creates amazing stories and characters that will stay on your mind for years to come! Her stories are generally set in the regency time period (1811-1820), so no outrageously poofy dresses or white wigs.
Why is she different than other historical romance authors?
She creates unique heroines who engages in ‘unladylike’ pursuits from paleontology to beer-making. She also dreams up strong-willed heroic men who find their hearts captured by these heroines.
Girl Meets Duke is a new series Tessa Dare is writing that can also be read as stand-alone. Each book features a new couple and a new story line. Each male character is a Duke while the ladies each venture into a new world of sin….romance…and love. So far there are three published works with another title in the works!
Can I check them out?
Luckily for you, the Aurora Public Library has purchased them in both hardback and eBook! The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game can be found in our adult fiction in the D’s. The Wallflower Wager can be found on our New Releases shelf.
Eloisa James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a mother and a wife. When Eloisa isn’t writing novels, she is a Shakespeare professor.
What does Eloisa James write?
Eloisa James writes historical romances. Occasionally, you can find some Shakespearean themes within her stories.
Why is she different than other historical romance authors?
Eloisa James uses her own experiences as a mother in her stories. From a miscarriage to her own daughter’s problems as an infant, she connects each of her stories to herself in some unique way.
The Wildes of Lindow Castle is a series Eloisa James has began in 2017. The series follows the large family of the Duke of Lindow and is set in a castle. Think of Modern Family with a little of Downton Abbey mixed in. The stories are all set in the Georgian time period; yes, that means big wigs and poofy skirts! This also marks the beginning of the celebrity culture due to the printing press.
Where can I read them?
Print books by Eloisa James can be found in the Large Print collection or the Adult Fiction area under “J” for James. There are even more choices in our digital library.
Pamela Lyndon Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff on August 9, 1899 in Australia. Her poetry was first published when she was a teenager when she began working briefly as a Shakespearean professional actress. Upon emigrating to England, she changed her name to Pamela Lyndon Travers when she was twenty-five in order to act on the stage. In 1933, she started writing the first of eight Mary Poppins novels under the pen name P.L. Travers. Mary Poppins was published in 1934, followed by seven sequels, the last of which was published in 1988.
Travers traveled to New York City during World War II while working for the British Ministry of Information, and it was there that Walt Disney first contacted her about selling the rights to Mary Poppins to Disney Studios for a film adaptation of the novel. After nearly twenty years of contact, which included visits to her home in London, Disney did obtain the rights, resulting in the release of the popular film Mary Poppins in 1964, which pulled elements of the novels Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back. Travers famously disliked the adaptation of her novel, from the musical numbers to the added animation, and consequently ruled out any future films. The 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks is based largely on this period of her life.
Travers never married or had any biological children, but instead adopted a baby boy at the age of 40 from Ireland she named Camillus Travers Hone, who was the biological grandson of Joseph Hone, poet W.B. Yeats’ first biographer. He was unaware of his parentage until his twin brother arrived on his doorstep at the age of seventeen. Travers was later appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1977. She died on April 23, 1996 at the age of 96.
Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 Disney film, Mary Poppins, will be released on December 19, 2018. This film will bring to life the magical nanny for a whole new generation of children (and adults).
The 2018 Olympic Games will take place February 9 through 25 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Some popular events include figure skating, skiing, curling, ice hockey, luging, snowboarding, and speed skating. The Aurora Public Library District has plenty to offer to get you as excited as you can about this global tradition.
Rome 1960: The Olympics that Changed the World by David Maraniss
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold in the 1936 Olympics by Daniel Brown
A Skating Life: My Story by Dorothy Hamill
Relentless Spirit by Missy Franklin
Miracle on Ice by the Staff of the New York Times
The Treasures of the Olympic Winter Games by Martha McIntosh
I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez
Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand
Olympic Portraits by Annie Leibovitz
6 Below by Eric LeMarque and Davin Seay
Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
Swift Edge by Laura A.H. DiSilverio
Winners by Danielle Steel
The Games by James Patterson
Gold by Chris Cleave
Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin 1936 by Jeffrey Deaver
Eddie the Eagle
Be sure to check out the Olympics display featured at the Aurora Public Library on the stairwell between the first and second floors! What’s your favorite event of the Olympics?
Winston Graham was born Winston Grime on June 30, 1908 in Manchester, England. He changed his name to “Graham” after he began publishing his novels. At the age of seventeen, he moved the Cornwall where he lived for thirty-four years. He had always known he wanted to be a writer, so after his father died, his mother supported him while he wrote novels by hand and attempted to get them published. He published his first novel (a thriller), The House with the Stained Glass Windows, in 1925.
In 1939, he married Jean Williamson, whom he had known since she was thirteen years old. She helped him with book ideas and details until her death in 1992. It is said that his famous character Demelza, Ross Poldark’s wife, is based off of her. Graham died on July 10, 2003 in London at the age of ninety-five. His autobiography was published the same year as his death.
Graham is best-known for his Poldark series, a gripping family saga that begins just after the end of the American Revolution. The first book in the series was published in 1945, with the last book published in 2002. A remake of the popular television series has just finished its third season on PBS. In addition to the twelve-book series, Graham also published thirty-two additional titles in his lifetime. His books have been translated in twenty-seven languages.
The Aurora Public Library District owns copies of the first two seasons of the television show on DVD, as well as many of the books as physical and digital copies on the Indiana Digital Download Center. If there’s a title you want that we don’t have, we would be happy to get it for you through our Interlibrary Loan services.
Monday, July 31 was an extremely important day:
Harry Potter — the Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived– turned 37 years old. This means that the Battle of Hogwarts took place 19 years ago (Do you feel old yet?). July 31 was also J.K. Rowling’s birthday! To her, we Potterheads are eternally grateful.
Joanne Rowling writes under the pen names of J.K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith. She was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1965 and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a writer. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Exeter University in French and Classics. The idea for Harry Potter came to her in 1990 while waiting for a train, and she began writing immediately when she got home. Over the next five years, she planned the seven books in the series and continued to write mostly in notes on napkins and scraps of paper. Rowling wrote whenever she could, finishing the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1995. Rowling was initially rejected by publishers, but the first book in the series was finally published in the United Kingdom in 1997.
Rowling is best-known for the Harry Potter series, but she has also written novels for adults, screenplays, spinoff novellas, and essays. She is a philanthropist who is involved in numerous charities and organizations, as well as founding Lumos, an international children’s charity. She has received numerous awards for her writing and charity work. Currently she lives in Edinburgh with her husband and children.
It isn’t often that a children’s series can influence generations of readers, but Rowling has managed to do just that. Stop by the Aurora or Dillsboro branch today to relive, re-read, or enjoy for the first time the Harry Potter series. You can also check out audiobooks of the series or DVD’s based on the series. Or you can check out the books Rowling has written for adults, too! And don’t forget the Indiana Digital Download Center to take your favorite books and audiobooks with you on the go!
Happy Birthday, J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter! And Happy Reading!
Rita Mae Brown was born on November 28, 1944 in Hanover, Pennsylvania to an unwed, teenage mother and her married boyfriend. Brown was left at an orphanage by her mother before she was rescued and adopted by a cousin of her mother’s and her husband.
In 1962, Brown attended the University of Florida at Gainesville, but in 1964 she was expelled from the university for participating the the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the ’60’s, Brown was involved in a number of movements, such as the Feminist, Anti-War, and the Gay Liberation movements.
Between 1964 and 1969, Brown lived (sometimes homeless) in New York City as she attended New York University. She received a degree in Classics and English. She also received a certificate in cinematography from the New York School of Visual Arts. Brown also went on to achieve a doctorate in Literature from Union Institute and University as well as a doctorate in Political Science from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.
Brown has written poetry, novels, nonfiction, fiction, and screenplays. In 1982, Brown wrote a parody screenplay poking fun at horror films, but producers took the film seriously and released a movie into theaters for a limited time. She has been nominated for an Emmy and has won other awards regarding her screenplays. Brown writes in a variety of genres, but one of her most well-known works is the Mrs. Murphy mystery series, which she co-authors with her tiger cat, Sneaky Pie. Start with Wish You Were Here.
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.
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.
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.
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.