Wednesday, May 23, 2012

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This charming tale is made up entirely of the correspondence between Ms. Helene Hanff of New York and Mr. Frank Doel of London, England, an employee at Marks & Co Booksellers at 84 Charing Cross Road. What started as Hanff's search for inexpensive rare books evolved into a unique friendship that lasted 20 years, though the two never actually met. In an age of quick emails and text messages this book reminds us that there used to be another way to communicate, and that it was more thoughtful and personal than the path technology has led us down. And now I want to go write some letters.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Z is for Moose

A is for Apple. B is for Ball. C is for Cat and D is for Moose. Wait…what? That’s not right!

 In Z is for Moose, a hilarious new ABC picture book, one over excited Moose gets too impatient to wait for his turn in the alphabet. Sometimes alphabet books can be a little boring, but not this one. This book will have you laughing out loud at this crazy moose’s antics as he works his way into random spots in the alphabet. But what till happen when it is actually his turn?

You will have to read Z is for Moose to find out!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blogging with Children

Some people love to blog and some people do it very well and some people do it with children.                  

That is what popped into my head when I saw the cover of May's Birmingham magazine. While flipping through the Children's Department's copy, I read the article 'Mom Online"  by Carla Jean Whitley. It is a look at the growing number of local 'Moms' who are sharing their insight on everything from childcare to shopping, through blogs.

Five local blogs and bloggers are showcased in this piece: Laura Kate Whiney and; Angie Cleland and Trish Bogdanchik and; Ashley; Paula; and Christie Dedman's blog is mentioned and is found at
The article gives a little background on each of these blogs and the Moms who created them. While the bloggers are all Moms, the individual Moms' backgrounds are as diverse as are their blogs' philosophy, look, and content. A couple seem driven by ad sales; one is hosted on; a couple have a kind of artistic feel, like you're reading a journal; and one celebrates the area and events of the town it is named for. All the blogs share personal insight, experience, and offer tips. All are well done, which explains why local readers are making them popular.

Some people love to blog. Personally, I am not one of them. I find it completely intimidating, ergo the length of time between my posts on this site. But blogging is currently a popular genre of writing because it allows for the sharing  of lots of perspectives and ideas. There are a lot of blogs, but just like with any writing only some do it very well, and these Moms do it well and with children! That is impressive indeed. 

Happy Mothers Day to these Mom's and all you Moms this week. Where would we here in the Children's Department of the Homewood Public Library be without you!

Dona Smith
Childen's Librarian

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Books Groups!

We are very excited to announce our TWO new book groups! 


For more information, contact Leslie West at 332-6620 or at

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Accidental Feminist

214 pages

Pub. Date:  January 31, 2012 – Walker & Company

   I have always been a big fan of Elizabeth Taylor. I am fascinated with not only her movies, but her personal life. So when I stumbled upon a new biography of Ms. Taylor by M.G. Lord that I have not heard of, I was interested to see what else could be written about Elizabeth Taylor. The title, The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice, intrigued me. I immediately checked it out and moved it to the top of my To-Be-Read pile.

   After reading The Accidental Feminist, I realized that basically Lord had written, what felt like in my opinion, a thesis on the movie portrayals of Elizabeth Taylor and how those characters possessed feminist characteristics. She would sprinkle in tidbits of Taylor’s infamous life, but mostly the book was a critique of her movie roles. This quick read caters to those who are already familiar with Taylor’s life.

   I wish Lord would have included more of Taylor’s later philanthropic works with AIDS foundations. She does include some information about this period in Taylor’s life but the book drops off, for the most part, after Taylor’s movie roles slow down. I would recommend this book to other fans of Taylor’s who aren’t necessarily looking for a new biography of Taylor’s life, but more of a critique of her work.

Today is May 1st and the last thing I should be doing is reading a book!

Homewood Children's Summer Reading 2012 is fast approaching (online registration begins May 15th), and while I have two passes to the Tennessee Aquarium --for one lucky child who registers before May 30th-- ready to give away at our Grand Summer Kick off on May 31st at 10:30 am, there are a million other details to see to: prizes to pick up from local businesses, reminders to send to all the fabulous entertainers who will be here this summer, a blog to write and story times to plan.

Planning my story times?
Hey that is a perfect excuse--I mean "reason" to stop all this planning and read a book! And I know just the book...

Mo Willems'  latest book, The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? . When this book first arrived in our department, I tried to wrestle it out of the hands of a fellow staff member so I could read it first...unfortunately I lost and so I had to be patient and wait.  A day or two later I heard Mo Willems in an interview on National Public Radio discussing this new book and the characters... ahhh, then I really HAD to read it!

The book is about Duckling. If you don't know who Duckling is, ask a child. They will tell you Duckling is a little guy who follows Pigeon, the cranky main character of Mo Willems'  best selling Pigeon series. In this series Pigeon has to ask to drive the bus, or not share his hotdog, or to stay up late, and now in this new book Pigeon wants to know
This duckling is getting all the attention!

Ok, Pigeon can be a bit of a 'fowl-tempered' character and sometimes it seems he believes injustice surrounds him, but can you blame him? This duckling strolls in, politely asks for a cookie and gets one! To be fair, Pigeon's reaction simply reflects the frustration pigeons and kids (and heck, some adults) feel when things just don't seem fair. Duckling is adorable, polite and just a smidgen manipulative, and is now the center of attention in this new book. 

In the NPR interview Mo Willems said, "I want parents to be engaged and I want them to laugh because it is cool." He went on to say adults sometimes forget the coolest people in the world are kids. I believe Mo Willems is a genius and I love this book.

Dona Smith
Children's Librarian

Place a hold on this book here.