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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Let's Read Some Poetry

Cover of April is Poetry Month
April is Poetry Month

Did you know that National Poetry Month has been around since April 1996?  It was launched by the Academy of American Poets to remind "the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters." Since I don't read much poetry, I try every April to challenge myself to read some poetry. To help myself (and you) out I've put together some lists of poetry from last year and some new titles from the the first quarter of this year.

Mar 29, 2021

The humanity in history

Cover of A Light in the Darkness: J
A review of A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust by Janusz Korczak

Albert Marrin has crafted a gripping narrative of the life and death of Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jewish doctor in the Warsaw Ghetto. He was not only a physician, he ran an orphanage in Warsaw for Jewish children. As the horrors of the Nazi regime moved closer, Dr. Korczak was given numerous opportunities to escape, but he would not go without his charges. Ultimately, he led them to Treblinka Camp, dying by gas along with the children in 1942.

Mar 26, 2021

A hard-earned happily ever after

Cover of Work For It
A review of Work For It by Talia Hibbert

In the current romance publishing climate, it’s not unusual for ‘debut’ authors to have multiple titles in print through self-publishing houses before they’re picked up by conventional publishers. While the quality of self-published titles are definitely hit-or-miss in terms of quality, self-publishing gives authors the possibility of publishing stories that traditional publishers pass on or to hone their writing chops in different directions.

Mar 23, 2021

Grateful all year long

Cover of We are Grateful: Otsalihel
A review of We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

Otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Otsaliheliga is a reminder to celebrate blessings and reflect on struggles. This picture book follows a year of Cherokee celebrations, starting in fall and ending in summer. Seasonal events pictured include playing in the leaves, dancing at the Great New Moon Ceremony, making corn husk dolls, gathering wild onions, and planting strawberries. 

Mar 22, 2021

John McClane meet Aubrey Sentro

Cover of Water Memory
A review of Water Memory by Daniel Pyne

I know channel surfing is becoming a thing of the past as more and more of us are moving to streaming at will, but I'll date myself and admit I'm still a frequent surfer. And when I'm bouncing around the dial (for the kids reading: a dial is what we used to have to physically move on the tv to change channels) there are a few movies that will always make me stop and watch. One of those? Die Hard starring Bruce Willis as a New York cop loose in a skyscraper where terrorists have taken his wife and a bunch of her co-workers hostage.

Mar 17, 2021

The doodles are alive

Cover of Doodleville
A review of Doodleville by Chad Sell

Drew's art club takes a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago and something unexpected happens. The doodles in her notebook come alive and run away. Her doodles are imaginative and playful and have the best personalities. But they aren't super well-behaved and get into trouble. 

Mar 15, 2021

Dreaming in powwow

Cover of Bowwow Powwow = bagosenjig
A review of Bowwow Powwow = bagosenjige-niimi'idim by Brenda Child

Bowwow Powwow  by Brenda Child (Red Lake Ojibwe), is about imaginative Windy Girl, and her dream of an amazing powwow. Her dream melds stories from Uncle with her own powwow memories. Under the beat of the drum, Windy Girl dreams about traditional dancers “dancing their style” and grass dancers “treading the northern earth”. She also dreams about swirling colorful costumes and powwow fast food stands – selling things like blueberry sno-cones, fry bread, and popped maize. Her dog friend, Itchy Boy, wakes her from the dream so she can enjoy the real powwow right in front of her.

Mar 8, 2021


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