Thursday, April 29, 2010

"We Love Homewood Day" One Day Book Sale

We Love Homewood Day is Saturday! We will be handing out $1 off coupons at Homewood Park to spend in the Friends Bookstore THAT DAY ONLY from 10-4, 1721 Oxmoor Road! Come shop for a bargain and have FUN!

Early birds! Download a coupon here.

Deborah Fout, our Director, will be riding in the parade in a cool automobile thanks to Crown Pontiac (who, BTW, provides a vehicle every year!). She will be throwing candy to the parade goers ;^D

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

If your child liked Fancy Nancy or Eloise....

If your child liked Fancy Nancy or Eloise then they will love The Duchess of Whimsy by Randall de Séve. This delight fairytale is a love story, but there is a sweet moral behind it. The Duchess of Whimsy is known throughout the land as the greatest hostess there ever was! Her extravagant soirées are equally matched by the outlandish and stunning costumes that the Duchess of Whimsy adorns. The Duchess of Whimsy is loved by all, especially the Earl of Norm, who is hopelessly in love with her. He presents her with extraordinary gifts and goes to extreme lengths to impress the Duchess of Whimsy, but she was never impressed.

On the eve of one of her grand galas, the Duchess’ cook became sick. All the guests tried to make elaborate dishes for the delightful dinner, but all they made is a mess! It was the Earl of Norm’s simple grilled cheese sandwich and glass of milk that won the Duchess over. How could something so simple as grilled cheese be so delightfully delicious? Not only did the Duchess see grilled cheese sandwiches in a new light, but she also saw the Earl differently as well. De Séve reminds the reader that sometimes the most extravagant of people need a little simplicity in their life and a dash of over-the-top never hurt anyone. The Duchess of Whimsy is simple extraordinary!

The illustrations, which are done by de Séve’s husband, reminded me of King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood. The character’s costumes, especially those of the Duchess, are what initially drew me to this precocious picture book. They are elaborate, ostentatious, flamboyant, and beautifully drawn. The Duchess of Whimsy has the glitz and glamour of Fancy Nancy, but with more heart and definitely more style.

Click here to put The Duchess of Whimsy on hold!

~ Miss Judith ~

Monday, April 19, 2010

Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino

Tamara Ann Simpson is one tough kid, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have feelings too. She is devastated when her best friend Kebsie, a neighborhood foster child, suddenly moves away. Tamara becomes so wrapped up in her own loneliness that she makes life for the new foster kid a real nightmare. She ironically nicknames the scrawny newcomer Muscle Man McGinty when he comes to take Kebsie’s place at the foster home next door. His outlandish lies and incessant strutting drive Tamara to distraction as she watches him win over the affection of all the kids and adults in the neighborhood. Who would ever believe that he was actually training for the Olympics or that he was a former Broadway star!? The lie that really sends Tamara over the edge is when he says that Neil Armstrong is his uncle. No matter how hard she tries to put him in his place, Muscle Man always takes abuse with impossibly good humor. The story progresses to reveal much more going on than a classic case of bully versus wimp.

Behind all the hurt and the humor of the text lie a lot of lessons for readers. This book is a historical fiction set around the first moon landing and the Vietnam War. Readers get to see the effects of the war from the point of view of a kid alive at the time. There’s no history lesson hidden here, you can just see the sorrow of a neighborhood mourning the loss of beloved young son, drafted and killed in the war. Readers also get a lesson in compassion as they see the hidden tragedy in Muscle Man’s past and the indifference between Tamara and her parents. It’s unusual for a kid’s book to be written from the point of view of a bully that is so filled with humor, compassion, and depth. This book manages to make readers sympathize with the Tamara and Muscle Man as the story reveals their hidden pain and insecurities. This is a humorous, educational, and touching book about understanding and redemption. I would recommend this for readers who enjoyed books like The Mostly True Adventures of Home P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick, The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, or Blubber by Judy Blume. This is a really great book for understanding the motives of a young bully.

Click here if you would like to place a hold on this book.

Miss Mollie

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dennis Nichols @ the Southern Writers Luncheon

Dennis Nichols, President, Alabama Library Association (and Adult Services Dept. Head @ HPL) is presiding over The Southern Writers Luncheon @ Alabama Library Association 2010 Convention in Huntsville, AL. The authors seated from left to right are: Hester Bass, children's author, Austin Boyd who writes about faith issues related to technology and business, Susan Gregg Gilmore who has a flair for writing Southern stories with humor interjected, and Jeri Landers, author, artist/illustrator.


I think the major advantage the iPhone has over every other mobile device is the iTunes environment. It doesn't really matter how great the hardware is on the other phones, the ease with which you can plug in your iPhone and one-click sync all your digital media from one interface is hard to beat.

I have the Motorola Droid, which runs the Google Android OS, and one of the major frustrations I had was that to manage music, pictures, or video, I had to mount my phone like a USB drive and click and drag anything I wanted onto or off of the phone, which can take some time if you're working with several gigabytes of media(the Droid comes with a 16GB card).

doubleTwist is free software that is an attempt to bring this convenience to the rest of us who don't use Apple's phone or mp3 players.

It looks very similar to the iTunes UI. Here's a screenshot from the doubleTwist website, click on the pic for a larger view:


As you can see on the left under the "DOUBLETWIST" heading, you can search and subscribe to podcasts.

Click the "MUSIC STORE" link, and you'll find that doubleTwist integrates with the Amazon mp3 store, where most of the time you'll find music much cheaper than on iTunes or Zune, DRM free.

In the "LIBRARY" menu you'll be able to view and manage the digital media on your machine. doubleTwist also allows customizable playlists.

In the "PREFERENCES" menu, you can change media locations, set to automatically sync when your device is attached, or set custom syncs for only the media you want moved to your device.

doubleTwist is worth checking out if you use your mobile phone as your main media player, and have more than a few GBs of media to manage. It has a very light learning curve if you're at all familiar with iTunes.

You can download doubleTwist beta for free at the doubleTwist website, and it works with Mac or PC.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Mom & child studying in the Children's Dept.

This photo was taken on Snapshot Day: A Day in the Life of Jefferson County Libraries of two people who enjoy the Children's Dept. on a regular basis.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Missing by Beverly Lewis Seasons of Grace, two

Yonnie is good with animals and is a hard worker who has decided he wants to work with Judah Byler. Much time is needed to help Willow return to health and literally get on her feet again. Yonnie has good ideas and great patience with the ailing horse. While working at the Byler farm he is giving attention to Grace, also. But she is distracted with worry about her mother who disappeared one night over a month ago. Lettie had been restless for some time and then one night Grace happened to see her leave with a suitcase. No one knows why she left or where she went. Her parents, Adah and Jakob have been whispering between them. They suspect she has gone somewhere in Ohio but are not telling why they think this. The local bishop and the church members are beginning to talk about what they will do if Lettie does not return soon.

Heather Nelson is staying with the Riehl family who are neighbors of the Bylers. She is working on her thesis in this less stressful location. And her doctor at home has given her a diagnosis of non Hodgkin's lymphoma. Because her mother suffered so during her traditional cancer treatments and died anyway, Heather has made an appointment with Dr. Marshall, a naturopath, to learn about alternative treatment. Heather's father has purchased land in the area and plans to build a home for himself and Heather. He doesn't know yet about her medical status.

In this lovely place Amish and "fancy" people are meeting and learning the ways of each other. Maybe they can help one another during this difficult period while Lettie is missing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

If you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid...

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one of the most popular children's book series around today. I've seen a lot of kids who have read the entire series five or six times, and they have no intention of stopping. For those of you who haven't read it, it is a series of journals chronicling the life of Greg Heffley, a seventh grade nobody trying to navigate the choppy waters of adolescence. This is a great series that identifies with kids in that awkward tween stage of life with humor and compassion without talking down to them or belittling their difficulties. The new movie is only fueling the fires of interest as more kids (and adults, too) become interested in Greg's world. But, those of you that have already exhausted the series; DO NOT FEAR! I have some great suggestions for you!

Click here if you'd like to place a hold on this book.

Dear Dumb Diary by Jim Benton is a series that is very similar. There are nine books in the series so far and more coming out all the time. This is also in diary format. Unlike Diary of a Wimpy Kid, it's following the life of a twelve year old girl named Jamie, so readers get to see middle school through the eyes of a girl for a change. In the first installation called Pretend This Never Happened, Jamie tries to deal with her troll-like baby cousin, avoid socially devastating nicknames, and ruminate over ways to overthrow Angeline, the most popular girl in school. A feature that Wimpy Kid fans are sure to love is Jamie's drawings which add a great deal of humor to already amusing situations. These books might be more appealing to girls who are more likely to understand the importance of lip gloss and cute hair, but boys are still sure to appreciate the clumsy, clever, and downright ludicrous antics of Jamie as she tries to reach 10 on the popularity scale.

Click here if you would like to place a hold on this book.

Another series that I recommend is How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. So far there are eight books in this series. Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this series has also been adapted for the silver screen. It reads like a Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but for Vikings. Also written in diary format from the point of view of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III the "Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans" Hiccup is the son of Stoick the Vast, the leader of the Viking tribe. Unfortunately, Hiccup is having trouble following in his father's heroic footsteps as he and his peers struggle to capture, train, and control dragons for the first time. In this world a wimpy kid like Hiccup is exiled into the wilderness forever if he fails to fit in. Apparently stakes are a little bit higher for Viking kids. The first book of the series is about Hiccup and his self-centered, disobedient, and minuscule dragon, Toothless. The pair manages to save the day by using their wits rather than muscles when a gargantuan dragon threatens to devour the tribe. This series also has really amusing illustrations that add a lot of humor to the text.

Click here if you would like to place a hold on this book.

Miss Mollie

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dawn's Prelude Song of Alaska, one Tracie Peterson

Lydia Gray was a teenager when she married a cruel man because her father had made a business deal. She was the second wife of Floyd Gray after his first wife, Charlotte, had died mysteriously. Lydia lived in fear of Floyd and his abuse. When he died her life was some better except that his grown children treated Lydia badly. They were afraid she was going to take their money and their home. Fortunately, the lawyer appointed to help Lydia handled Floyd's will for her and her father's lawyer handled the trust left to Lydia about the same time. After the will was read as Floyd had directed, his children began scheming about how to get Lydia to break the will for their benefit, not hers. For some time Lydia had wanted to visit her aunt in Alaska and this was a good time to go. Lydia arranged for her travel without telling anyone but the lawyer and without taking much of anything with her. Her new life in Sitka, Alaska with her Aunt Zerelda was good. It was peaceful and relaxing. Until Marston Gray discovered her location and determined to take her back to Kansas City or kill her. From that point on Lydia and her new husband knew no peace or real happiness. After Lydia was shot she didn't even remember who she was or anything about her life. How could Marston be held accountable for all he had done?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dogs by Emily Gravett

If your family loves dogs than you need to check out Emily Gravett’s new picture book, Dogs. You can certainly tell that the author and narrator love dogs, whether they are big dogs or small dogs, tough dogs or soft dogs, and stripy dogs or spotty dogs.
This lovable book is simple, but still quite entertaining. There is even a surprise ending that will sure to put a smile on you and your child’s face! Gravett, author of Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears, will warm your heart with the different illustrations and sweet expressions. The pencil and watercolor drawings by Gravett show the different characteristics of each breed. Gravett even includes an index of the breeds that are portrayed in her charming book. Dogs is recommended for ages 2 to 8, but I agree with writer Sue Magee’s recommendation for the age group of 2 to 102 or any dog lover.
Not a dog lover? That’s okay! Check out Posy by Linda Newbery and Catherine Rayner. This picture book follows Posy, a mischievous kitten with a tendency for trouble. She bounces and pounces and possesses all the endearing qualities that children and adults love about kittens. The frenzied sketches are quite different Gravett’s Dogs, but still heartwarming.