DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

Books

Picture books about immigration and refugees allow us to experience the feelings of fear, courage, and hope that are part of the journey from one’s homeland to a new country. In these 11 picture books, young protagonists find themselves leaving old lands and journeying to new ones, where hope and promise live side-by-side with memories of what has been left behind.

We Came to America by Faith Ringgold

Award-winning author-illustrator Faith Ringgold offers a timely look at the diverse makeup and backgrounds of the American people and celebrates the country’s diverse immigrant heritage. Ringgold’s poetic text and vibrant art affirm the message that diversity enriches us all.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself. But later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider. A beautiful and inclusive story that encourages children to find the beauty in their own lives and share it with the world.

Mustafa by Marie-Louise Gay

A young boy named Mustafa has traveled a long way to this country from his old one, where the trees were dusty and gray and there was not a lot of extra food. Here, he visits a park near his new home and finds beautiful flowers, ladybugs, fall leaves, and finally, a friend.

Islandborn by Junot Díaz

Lola was just a baby when her family left the Island. When she has to draw it for a school assignment, she asks her family, friends, and neighbors about their memories of her homeland. However, their memories of home are not all happy – there is also a remembrance of struggles.

Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera

When Juan Felipe Herrera was very young, he picked flowers, helped his mama feed the chickens, slept under the starry sky, and learned to say goodbye to his amiguitos each time his migrant family moved on. When he grew up, he became a poet. This beautifully illustrated poem encourages children to imagine all that they might one day be.

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say

A Japanese-American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America, which he later undertakes himself. He also describes the feeling of being torn by a love for two different countries. The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

In warm, sparkling prose that moves easily from English to Spanish and back, Caldecott Honor artist Morales traces the journey that she and her small son took in 1994, when they emigrated from Mexico to the United States. Many books about immigration describe the process of making new friends and fitting in; this one describes what it’s like to become a creative being in two languages, and to learn to love in both.

A Different Pond by Bao Phi

This beautiful tale about a father and son’s fishing trip in Minneapolis shows the interconnectedness of family. The story, told from the boy’s perspective, begins when his father wakes him before dawn. Although the child enjoys the outing as a special adventure, they are fishing for food, not sport. The quiet time together provides opportunities for the father to talk about his long-ago life in Vietnam.

Marwan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias

A child fleeing conflict walks across the desert, recalling the home he left behind and promising to return to it someday. As he walks, the simple and poetic text brings readers along on this heartbreaking journey: “I walk, and my footsteps leave a trace of ancient stories, the songs of my homeland, and the smell of tea and bread, jasmine and earth.”

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? In this beautiful, powerful book, a mother and her two children set out on such a journey – a journey filled with fear of the unknown, but also great hope for what lies ahead.

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

The story recounts the author’s great-grandmother’s arrival in this country from Eastern Europe. Her dress and babushka become part of a quilt that is been handed down from generation to generation. This book is most notable for the family traditions and the changes that it describes, and for the intergenerational love it portrays.

{ 0 comments }

Afrofuturism is an art form that allows black people to see themselves in the future despite a sometimes distressing past and present. Through these science fiction and fantasy works, authors re-imagine the past and generate box-breaking black life in the future. We’ve put together a list of eleven titles featuring black characters living in fictional universes brimming with magic, technology, and time travel.

Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor

A timid thirteen-year-old girl undertakes a dangerous quest into the Forbidden Greeny Jungle.

Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

Larkin describes the broken world of 2032, as war racks the North American continent and a religious crusader becomes president.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The sole continent of the earth is threatened by murder, betrayal, a super-volcano, and overlords who use the planet’s power as a weapon.

The War With the Mein by David Anthony Durham

The ruler of an idyllic empire hides the truth from his four children, until an assassin from the Mein, an exiled race, strikes him down and frees his children.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zâelie and her family fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

After the rich abandon the city, those without money must adopt the old ways of farming, barter, and herb lore. Then the moneyed return seeking a harvest of bodies.

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

This collection of short stories includes the novella, “Bloodchild,” a parable about the treatment of women throughout history.

Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

Journeying to Bellona, where only criminals and madmen remain, The Kid wonders at the strange portents that appear in the city’s cloud-covered sky.

47 by Walter Mosley

In 1832, a 14-year-old slave meets Tall John, who teaches him magical science and the meaning of freedom.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

The only one of her kind ever invited to study at Oomza Uni, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy, Binti uses her intellect to fight for herself and her people.

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

A con artist masquerading as a street musician meets a wealthy man intent upon opening a portal to another dimension.

{ 0 comments }

With Halloween approaching, your children may be asking for spooky stories. While some younger readers love thrills and chills, others are more sensitive to things that go bump in the night. If you’re looking for a gentle scare, we’ve put together a list of 13 books that provide safe places for children to learn about the world and their own emotions.

Bad Kitty, Scaredy-Cat by Nick Bruel

A group of monsters shows up on Bad Kitty’s doorstop. Kitty is scared until she decides to take matters into her own paws!

Click, Clack, Boo! by Doreen Cronin

Farmer Brown doesn’t like Halloween, so he draws the shades and climbs into bed. However, the barnyard animals have other ideas. Big surprises are in store for Farmer Brown!

Herbert’s First Halloween by Cynthia Rylant

Herbert is worried about his first Halloween – but with help from his dad, a special tiger costume, and some roaring practice, Herbert finds confidence on Halloween night.

How to Scare a Ghost by Jean Reagan

Want to know how to scare a ghost? This book will provide young readers and listeners with all the tips they need to lure in and frighten a phantasm!

Tacky and the Haunted Igloo by Helen Lester

It’s Halloween, and Tacky the Penguin’s friends have prepared the scariest igloo in the Arctic. It’s the best Halloween ever, until a a group of ghostly hunters show up demanding treats. How will Tacky save the day?

Duck & Goose, Honk! Quack! Boo! by Tad Hills

Duck and Goose go trick-or-treating, but what will they do when they hear a swamp monster is looking for them?

Fright School by Janet Lawler

In this story, school-age zombies, ghouls, and ghosts learn how to scare trick-or-treaters. But what in the world scares monsters?

The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael by Bonny Becker

When the Thirteen bus pulls up one stormy evening, Michael boards it despite some grave misgivings. Creepy and funny, with a surprise twist!

It’s Halloween, Chloe Zoe! by Jane Smith

It’s Halloween, but one house is way too frightening to visit. With the help of her friends and her dad, Chloe Zoe finds the courage to discover what treat is behind its foreboding front door!

Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl

Peep can’t wait to go trick-or-treating, but Egg thinks Halloween is too scary! What will convince Egg to brave the night?

Samurai Scarecrow: A Very Ninja Halloween by Rubin Pingk

Yukio loves Halloween and his sister loves him. When Yukio carves a pumpkin, Kashi carves one much like it. When Yukio maps out his evening, Kashi’s map looks veeery similar. Upset, Yukio says some things he doesn’t really mean. What can save their Halloween?

Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting

In this atmospheric book, mysterious green eyes watch from the darkness as trick-or-treaters pass by. But to whom – or what – do the eyes belong?

Halloween Good Night by Rebecca Grabill

In this rhyming bedtime story, werewolves, witches, zombies and other cuddly monsters will help you count down the minutes until bedtime.

{ 0 comments }

The baseball season allows fans of the game to keep one foot planted in summer. The only problem is, once the final pitch of the World Series is thrown, they are suddenly cast out of that hot, sunny season and left standing at the threshold of winter. Looking for a way to prolong the season’s afterglow just a bit longer? We’ve assembled a list of 16 books to help you better enjoy the postseason.

The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth by Leigh Montville

Babe Ruth was the biggest performer on the biggest stage of his time. Montville explores the facts, as well as the myths and legends, of the man some claim saved baseball after the Black Sox Scandal.
 
 
 

The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America by Joe Posnanski

Buck O’Neil, the breakout star of Ken Burn’s famous baseball documentary, was a friend and teammate of Satchel Paige, as well as a historian and advocate of the game. He and Posnanski traveled America in search of his baseball history.
 
 
 

In the Time of Bobby Cox: The Atlanta Braves, Their Manager, My Couch, Two Decades, and Me by Lang Whitaker

A devoted fan’s perspective on the Braves’ long run of championships and heartbreak.
 
 
 
 

Rickey And Robinson: The True, Untold Story About The Integration Of Baseball by Roger Kahn

Any Roger Kahn baseball book deserves attention. In this work, Kahn delves into the efforts of Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson to integrate major league baseball.
 
 
 

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen

A more nuanced portrayal than once could be found of the first great Georgia-born baseball player.
 
 
 
 
 

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

The story of the 2003 Oakland A’s, whose groundbreaking front-office practices took the team to the postseason despite a limited payroll. Brad Pitt played the lead in the movie.
 
 
 
 

Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig

Eig’s book is an in-depth look at the quiet superstar who resided in Babe Ruth’s shadow for most of his career.
 
 
 
 

Baseball: A History of America’s Favorite Game by George Vecsey

A solid, one-volume history of the game. The Louisville Courier Journal said “This book is an instant classic – a highly readable guide to America’s great enduring pastime.”
 
 
 
 

Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Players and All-Black Professional Teams by Robert Peterson

A powerful account of the history of the Negro Leagues and the conditions under which the games were played.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Click here for the rest of the list and you’ll be taken into our catalog, where you can view (and request!) one (or more!) of these books.

{ 0 comments }

Reese Witherspoon  (RW) loves to read!  She has her own production company that recently put together the Emmy nominated Big Little Lies series on HBO.  Big Little Lies was based on Liane Moriarty’s very successful book by the same title.  Many of her picks have ended up oThe Alice Networkn the big screen.  She recently starred in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle which will be out next year some time.  Reese Witherspoon has many connections to the literary world.

Her RW book club selection for July was The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.  I don’t know if it will end up on the big screen like some of her other projects.  One can hope!  There was a poll for her readers and The Alice Network was picked.

I recently read this book. The Alice Network tells the story of Eve Gardiner and Charlie St. Clair.  Each has a very important mission.  Charlie goes to Eve for help finding her cousin Rose Fournier.  Rose’s last known location was Limoges, France.  She worked at a restaurant for a character named Rene Bordelon.  Eve and Charlie journey to France with Eve’s driver Finn.  They start looking for answers to what might have happened to Rose.  Questions arise as you read such as, What will happen when Charlie finds her? Will it be a happy reunion or a chance to mourn an important loss?  Charlie’s clues help Eve find what she has been looking for since the First World War. Eve worked as a spy in Rene’s restaurant Le Lethe in Lille, France.   What does the future hold for both of them?

I enjoyed this book.  What interested me initially is the story of Eve becoming a spy during World War I.  I was not as interested in Charlie’s history until her path and Eve’s intertwined.  Kate Quinn also did a great job of showing the historical facts of that time period.

There is a lot to discuss in The Alice Network.  What will your next book club read be?  Reese’s next selection for the RW book club in August is The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.  You can follow the RW bookclub here.

Visit the catalog for :

The Alice Network  by Kate Quinn

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle

The Lying Game  by Ruth Ware

{ 0 comments }

For me, there is one Disney princess that stands out from the rest and that is Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I identify with her because she is a princess who reads. I also like how the movie discusses appreciating people for who they are as opposed to what they look like.Belle

Bob Thomas, in his book Disney’s Art of Animation, discusses Walt Disney’s beginnings in film with characters such as Mickey Mouse and Snow White (the first princess). Last Christmas, I watched a documentary about how Snow White was made into the first feature film for Walt Disney. It discussed in length the process of getting to the finished result.  The journey continued after Walt Disney passed on with The Little Mermaid and then Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid was the first feature made after Walk passed and Beauty and the Beast the second. Thomas goes onto to share the updates of animation and storyboarding in the process of making Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast was adapted from the original story by Ms. Jean Marie Leprince De Beaumont.  We have some versions of the translation here at the library. In the original, there was no Gaston or animated inanimate objects that acted like servants.  Did you know that Belle actually had sisters?  These sisters were considered Belle’s enemy instead of Gaston.  The character of the beast is different as well.  He was more polite and not like the Disney version of the  character. Beauty and the BeastThe finished product  of  1991 Beauty and the Beast is a personal favorite of mine.  It is also a DVD we carry in the DCPL system.   I still remember all the words to songs like “Belle” or “Be Our Guest.”  I revisited the movie over the weekend and enjoyed it just as much as the first time seeing it in the theater.  We have a special edition DVD of the 1991 movie which includes a preview of the live action Beauty and the Beast that is in theaters now.

Be Our Guest and check out these fabulous books and media about Beauty and the Beast:

Beauty and the Beast 1991 movie

Beauty and the Beast soundtrack

DISNEY’S ART OF ANIMATION:  From Mickey Mouse to  Beauty and the Beast by Bob Thomas

Beauty and the Beast by Ms. Jean Marie Leprince De Beaumont (There are also other versions of this story in the DeKalb Library System)

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast by A.L. Singer

{ 0 comments }

Mar 30 2017

The Eternal Jane

by Dea Anne M

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine.”northanger

Upon reading this sentence, the first in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, during my second year of college – I was hooked and from that moment forward I joined the legions of passionate Jane Austen fans. “Janeite” is a term coined and taken up during the late nineteenth century by a group of male literary critics and publishers and the label carried a clubby sort of aura. It denoted a privately held enthusiasm, almost on the order of a guilty pleasure, sort of how some people nurture a secret fondness for mayo and peanut butter sandwiches or for playing the lute. Now, “Janeite” often carries mansfielda pejorative meaning (though not always) for those who move in the rarefied academic world and tends to refer to people who indulge in the campier side of Jane Austen fandom such as costuming and reenactment events. Me? I just love the books. From the popular, much beloved and often filmed Pride and Prejudice to the undeniably problematic Mansfield Park – I can’t get enough Austen. I admit that I’ve yet to read Lady Susan – an early work of Austen’s which has been adapted for the screen by Whit Stillman as Love and Friendship (see it – it’s fun!) – but I look forward to doing so soon.

Make no mistake, I’m not one of those readers who swoon over Mr. Darcy (although there’s nothing wrong with it if you are!). My appreciation for Austen is tied up more with her consistently acute observation of what was, admittedly, a fairly narrow slice of the world and with her ironic sense of humor. Indeed, I’ve read most of Austen’s novels more than once and never fail to find them newly entertaining. I also remain fascinated with the offshoots and culture that have grown up around Jane Austen’s life and work. From the weird (but kind of wonderful) to the knitsearnestly correct there appears to be something for everyone in Austenland (which, incidentally, is the title of a 2013 feature film based on a Shannon Hale’s 2007 novel). I encourage you to explore and find your own cozy niche. Are you into needlework? Don’t miss The Best of Jane Austen Knits: 27 regency-inspired designs. Do you fancy a stirring love story mixed in with your epic struggle against the undead?  Be sure to check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the classic Regency romance – now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem.

Of course, apart from Austen’s own novels, there’s a plethora of fiction inspired by it. Here’s a very abbreviated list.

Longbourn by Jo Baker (Pride and Prejudice told from the household servants point of view)

longbornEmma: a modern retelling by Alexander McCall Smith ( from the creator of the wonderful Mma Precious Ramotswe series)

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict: a novel by Laurie Viera Rigler (A modern woman’s time travel leads to amusing complication…and culture shock!)

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron (the first in a mystery series featuring Jane Austen as sleuth)

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (an engaging YA romp set at an exclusive girl’s academy)

The works of Jane Austen have also inspired a host of non-fiction books. Here’s a few that provide an unusual approach to the material.

A Jane Austen Education: how six novels taught me about love, friendship and the things that really matter by educationWilliam Deresiewicz

The Jane Austen Handbook: a sensible yet elegant guide to her world by Margaret C. Sullivan

At Home With Jane Austen by Kim Wilson

Jane Austen Rules: a classic guide to modern love by Sinead Murphy

Do you like Jane Austen? What’s your favorite of her novels? If you’ve never read her books and want to see what they’re all about, I would recommend starting with Pride and Prejudice – to my mind still her best – although I can’t help putting in a plug for my first Austen crush, Northanger Abbey. It’s one of her shorter novels, and most important, it’s very, very funny. Enjoy!

{ 1 comment }

VictHow many of you have watched the PBS series Victoria? This show is based on Queen Victoria of England. She was one of England’s longest reigning monarchs. At the library we have many opportunities to explore the various lives of women. Daisy Goodwin has, in her latest book Victoria, created a great a companion to the PBS program.

I find it so fascinating to read about another life. One that I will never experience. What is it like to be royal or a head of state? What constrictions does it place on one’s life? Can they truly have the freedom to marry who they choose or live where they want to?

 

Victoria became queen after her two uncles died with no heir. Her early life was spent at Kensington Palace. Where she often felt like a prisoner. Upon her uncle the King of England’s death she achieved the throne and her independence. What kind of monarch would she become? Who would her husband be?

Ms. Goodwin also introduces us to other characters such as: Lord Melbourne (Lord M), the Duchess of Kent, Sir John Conroy, King Leopold of Belgium, and Prince Albert. There are many others as well.

Readers will fly through the pages of the fabulous book on Victoria. The library has other books on Victoria listed here:

Victoria A Life by A.N. Wilson

We two: Victoria and Albert Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

Queen Victoria At Home by Michael De-La-Noy

We also hYoung Elizabethave books that follow the lives of other monarchs of England who also are featured on current television shows, such as The Crown and The White Princess.  If you are not familiar with The Crown it follows the rise of Elizabeth II to the throne of England.  It also delves into the personal lives of the Queen and her family.  The White Princess on the other hand follows the conclusion of  the War of the Roses or the Cousins War.  It follows the perspective of the young princess Elizabeth of York.

 

Other titles include: 
Young Elizabeth: the Making of a Queen by Kate Wililams

Prince Philip: the turbulent early life of the man who married the Queen Elizabeth the Second by Philip Eade

 

The White Princess by Philippa GregoryPrincess of York

Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York, the mother of Henry VIII by Nancy Lenz Harvey

{ 0 comments }

How many of you check magazines and newspapers for the next best read?   Such as Red Book, Real Simple, Glamour, or USA Today?  These lists usually comprise what is currently the hottest books in the market.  I myself usually find these lists interesting to see what the selections are and which authors areThe Sun Is Also the Star included.

A website or blog has recently joined these hot magazines in offering the hottest books.  This site is Pop Sugar.  The posts are written by author Brenda Janowitz.  We currently have her latest book  The Dinner Party.  I thought it would be fun to see what titles DCPL has that were recently noted on her 50 Books of 2016 list.

So here are some titles from the best of 2016 that you can find at DCPL:

THE SUN IS ALSO THE STAR by Nicola Yoon

THE TRESPASSER by Tanya French

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Every Song Ever:  twenty ways to listen in an age of  musical plenty  by Ben Ratliff

Sons and Daughters of Ease and PlentySons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

The Lonely City: adventures in the art of being alone by Olivia Liang

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeliene Thien

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Moon Glow by Michael Chabon

Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

YOU WILL KNOW ME by Megan Abbott

And more…

Many of these books are available in audiobook format, ebook, and downloadable audio.  If you are looking for reader advisory then visit Pop Sugar for the 2017 list.  Happy Reading!

 

 

 

{ 1 comment }

Dec 7 2016

Meet Anita Hughes!

by Jencey G

I have had the opportunity to get to know Anita Hughes through her bookshughes-1135 and my personal blog Writer’s Corner.  She is debuting with us at DeKalb County Public Library with her book Christmas in Paris.  Anita is stopping by so that our readers here could have an opportunity to get to know this great author.

So Anita what are five interesting facts that readers should know about you?

I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia.

I live on the beach in Dana Point, California, and love to walk along the ocean.

I have five children! And still find time to write.

I am a huge frozen yogurt fan and have it every night for dessert.

I love 19th century British literature: Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins.”

 

christmas-in-paris_final-cover-1Since this book is set at Christmas time what is your favorite aspect of Christmas?

My favorite thing about Christmas is that the whole family is together. The children are now old enough to buy each other presents, so it is a very festive time and everyone really enjoys it. We usually spend three full days together and walk on the beach and cook and have ping pong tournaments.”

One aspect of your writing I love is how you have your heroine set in a high position in both her career and family background. This aspect reminds me of authors such as Judith Krantz and Barbara Taylor Bradford.  How have these ladies influenced your writing?

Yes! I have read everything by Judith Krantz and many books by Barbara Taylor Bradford. I am the biggest fan of Krantz’s books and Princess Daisy and Mistral’s Daughter really influenced my writing. I have always been a huge reader and devoured all the big, glossy, blockbusters.

Do you plan to continue to use exotic locations for your settings of your future stories?

Yes, my next book, White Sand, Blue Sea, is set in St. Bart’s and comes out in April. Emerald Coast, set in Sardinia, comes out next August and there will be a Christmas book set in a gorgeous location next year too.”

Has your childhood played a part in where your stories are set?

My parents were European and as a child we traveled a lot. I also grew up with a large world view, living in Australia and being exposed to different cultures. I use a lot of the places I fell in love with as a child – Lake Como, Cannes, Rome, Paris, in my books.

How much experience do you have using libraries in the various places you live?

I adore libraries. When my children were small, we were in the library almost every afternoon. I would park them in the children’s section and read everything in the fiction section. I love our local library in Dana Point, which is a block from my house.”

What is your favorite activity to do in the library?

I like to read the first couple of pages of a dozen different fiction books. There are so many authors I am interested in, but don’t get the time to read.

Why is self-discovery so important in your novels?

As a wife and mother, I know women don’t get a lot of time for introspection. But it is important to take care of oneself at every stage in life. So I think self-discovery is very important for growth and self esteem.

Do all your novels start with the character in their lowest position to rise by the end of the novel?

I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I think they all start with the character having a dilemma. And usually in solving the dilemma, she discovers her best self along the way.

Thank you, Anita Hughes, for joining us today.  I am a fan of Anita’s work and cannot wait to see more of her books at DeKalb County Public Library.  Please check out Christmas in Paris.   If you like Anita then you might also be interested in: Elin Hilderbrand, Fannie Flagg, and JoJo Moyes.

Thank you so much for the support, Jencey! And I hope your readers enjoy my books.

{ 2 comments }