Thursday, March 30, 2017

New of Youth

The Best Bear in all the World by A. A. Milne
This book is a treasure for both young new Pooh lovers, and those who want to re-capture a moment from their childhood with old friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. Written by four authors to celebrate Pooh’s 90th birthday in the style of A. A. Milne, and artwork in the style of E. H. Shepard, this collection of four stories brings us four new tales from the Hundred Acre Wood in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. 

The Journey
by Francesca Sanna
This is a stunning picture book of immigration, both the illustrations and the plot line. A child and her family lived in a city and spent summers at the beach-but then a war came. What follows is a journey through many countries, by lands and sea, across borders, with fear present almost all the time. While at the end, the family has yet to reach the place where they will be safe, there is a hopeful feeling that they will be there soon. This story is unique in that the reader doesn’t know what war the family flees from, what country they leave, or where their destination is-it simply shows the story of A family, fleeing and hoping to find a better life. It is widely encompassing of the immigration experience without being generic. The text is sparse and perfectly complimented by illustrations that reflect the feelings of the family as they flee. Highly recommended to help children understand what immigration is and feels like, without being too dark or scary for the younger readers.

Sachiko, A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson
This is a haunting work of non-fiction, telling the story of the 6-year-old girl who survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The author does not pull back from relating the horror of the bomb being dropped, but does avoid being too graphic. Sachiko’s narrative is broken up with historical documentation of the politics going on in both Japan and America, including blurb about the pilot who flew the plane that dropped the bomb. These interruptions are done seamlessly, and add to the narrative, rather than distract from it; and in fact are a relief, reading about the more impersonal historical facts, and giving the reader a break from the emotional pain that stems Sachiko’s narrative. Sachiko has lived a full life since that time, drawing inspiration from Heller Keller, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, JR as she went through difficult times in her teens through her 40’s. Highly recommended for discussions about war and racism, historical study of World War II, and to show older children history from a different perspective. Be warned that it can be difficult to read the descriptions of death, pain and suffering-make sure your children are ready for such content and be prepared for discussion about things such as radiation sickness and more.

Tallulah: Mermaid of the Great Lakes by Denis Brennan
While not an earth-shattering story, it definitely is worth a read as a local-interest story! This picture book is about Tallulah, a mermaid with a dull tail. All the mermaids in the ocean find gemstones that match their colorful tails, but Tallulah doesn’t find one to match her tail-so Turtle suggests that she search the Great Lakes. The story follows Tallulah as she searches the Great Lakes, finally ending up in Lake Michigan and finding the Petosky stone, with a beautiful sunburst pattern. Though many of the landmarks are Canadian, downstate or in Wisconsin, Tallulah visits a few well-known U.P shorelines, making this story worth checking out for locals.

The Storyteller by Evan Turk
This is a visually stunning story, worth reading for the illustrations alone. Set in the kingdom of Morocco, a young boy discovers the power of storytelling and stories themselves. To say much more would give away too much- but for those who love stories and gorgeous artwork, this picture book is highly recommended.

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
This picture book is just plain awesome. It is a great book to introduce concepts, perspective and sight words. In the story, a child sees a cat. The cat moves on and sees, and is seen, by many different animals. The illustrations show how perspective changes how the same object (in this case a cat) is seen and known. For example, a mouse sees a huge, scary monster. A bird flying overhead sees a smaller creature below almost lost in the tall grass. And the worm underground “sees” the cat through the vibrations the cat makes while walking on the surface of the ground. At the end, the illustrations show how the cat sees itself in the reflection of a pond. Very cool book.

--Sarah Rehborg, Youth Services Librarian

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Non-fiction - Mixed Bag

I was looking through the New non-fiction books, wondering which ones I should suggest. I realized how daunting this task was going to be due to the never ending number of new non-fiction books, as well as the endless variety of topics to choose from. So, here are 6 books that I hope you will enjoy.

For the train enthusiasts, Twelve Twenty-Five, The Life and Times of a Steam Locomotive would be a great read. For all of us who long for the sound of a train whistle or seeing the steam pouring from the engine, the author, Kevin P. Keefe, brings the steam locomotive to life. It contains the great history of the steam locomotive, but also the restoration of the Pere Marquette locomotive 1225. So, sit back and listen to the train whistle calling your name as it steams its way down miles and miles of track. It takes me back to my childhood, watching the trains go by through our town. There wasn’t any steam, but my imagination took care of that.

ZIKA The Emerging Epidemic by author and New York Times science reporter, Donald G. McNeil Jr., sets the facts straight as far as its origin goes, how it’s spreading, the race for a cure and what we can do to protect ourselves from a terrible disease that has reached our American soil. Zika was once considered mild, but as early as August 2015 that notion changed. What is being done and how far north will it travel? This book definitely is an eye opener.

Ever wonder how or why people start off raising a few chickens on their small property and end up with a full-fledged farm? I know it isn’t for everyone, but I know there must be some chicken lovers out there in our small community. Even if you aren’t sure you want to own and run a medium to large chicken farm, you will find this book very interesting. Lucie B. Amundsen, author of Locally Laid used a lot of humor and candor to chronicle her family’s efforts to bring some sanity back to the food system. She keeps you in stitches and it is said that this particular non-fiction account will even keep you from going to bed; it’s that funny.

Spring is around the corner, somewhere, and thoughts of flowers have been on my mind. Replacing the snow and cold with beautiful and colorful flowers can’t come soon enough for me. The Reason for Flowers, by Stephen Buchmann, writes about their history, their culture and how they can change our lives. According to the author, flowers exist for more than just their beauty and fragrance. Flowers and people are interdependent. This is more than just a gardening book. You will learn how our lovely flowers came to be, how they evolved, how their interplay with insects and other animals, like humans came about. With Spring weeks away, why not browse through this wonderfully written book and then you too will be able to see and smell those roses.

There is a hidden kingdom that dominates life on our planet earth and Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes, the microbes within us and a Grander View of Life, has managed to make the invisible and the tiny both visible and mighty. This book will change how we look at the world around and in us. Mr. Yong uses humor and erudition in order to prompt us to look at ourselves and our fellow animals in a very different way. Microbes are vital. They sculpt our organs and defend us from disease and grant us tremendous abilities. You will learn just how important they are. The author makes this read very interesting and you will not nod off, trust me.

Here in the U.P. we are surrounded by trees. Be they tall, short, thin, wide, fruit baring, shade producing or just a plain old tree, trees feel, they communicate and they have a life not so visible to us humans. Well, that’s what Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of TREES tells us. This author spent over 20 years working for the forestry commission in Germany and then put it into practice. Questions about how trees thrive against terrible odds for hundreds of years may be answered in this wonderful book that reminds us to slow down and tune into the language of nature. We have a white pine tree in our yard that it’s thought to be well over 150 years old; it’s gigantic. So just how did this tree and many others manage to live so long and why are we wanting to preserve them? So all of you tree huggers and those that just adore trees, come on over to the library and grab this book and find out before someone else beats you to it.

--Nicki Malave, Network Coordinator

Monday, March 13, 2017

Books, soon to be movies

In 2017, Hollywood will continue the trend of producing movies based on books.  Check out these books, both fiction and nonfiction, to expect on the big screen in the next year.  Is the book better?  Find out for yourself!

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - When Germany invaded Poland, Warsaw was destroyed, including the city’s zoo.  Zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages and their villa. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, hid ammunition and explosives. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its remaining animal inhabitants while living with the overwhelming fear of discovery.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – Middle Grade students will be thrilled to see this popular novel play out on the big screen.  Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school.  Auggie tells the story of the taunting from and fear of his classmates as he just tries to live as another student.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann - After discovering a hidden trove of diaries, Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century": what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization.  Thousands had died looking for the concealed El Dorado, leaving many convinced that the Amazon was too great a feat for humankind. Fawcett embarked with his son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization--which he dubbed "Z"--existed. Then he and his expedition vanished. Fawcett's fate became an obsession for those who followed him.

The Circle by Dave Eggers When Mae Holland is hired to work for the most powerful internet company in the world, she feels she's landed her dream job. The Circle links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.   Mae is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. Mae can't believe her luck to work for the most influential company in the world--even as life beyond the campus grows distant and a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken.

The Dinner by Herman Koch - It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. The conversation remains a polite discourse.  But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said.  Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by a single horrific act that destroyed the comfortable worlds of their families.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier – Beautiful Rachel descends on the great Cornwall estate of Philip Ashley. Despite his suspicions, she soon charms him. In this tale of good and evil, Philip must uncover the motivations of the mysterious widow of his cousin. 

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin - On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport.  When the last outgoing flight is cancelled, Ben finds a charter plane that can drop him in Denver to catch a connection.  Ben offers the extra seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently.  The unthinkable happens leaving them stranded on one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - When sober, Jeannette's father captured his children's imagination, teaching them how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo - After the first snowfall of the year, a boy wakes up to discover that his mother has disappeared. Only one trace of her remains: a pink scarf now worn by the snowman that inexplicably appeared in their yard earlier that day. Inspector Harry Hole suspects a link between the missing woman and a suspicious letter he's received.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer - Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. Previous expeditions all ended in tragedy with the exception of the first.  This is the twelfth expedition. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimen, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another.  Above all, they must to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

--Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Genealogy Resources

The library has an abundance of genealogy resources for anyone interested in tracing their family history.  You’ll find yearbooks, city directories, obituaries, cemetery records, and several new books about how to organize and archive your research materials.  We also have two new books of historical maps in the Genealogy Reference section.  Genealogy resources can be found on the upper level of the library.

Family Photo Detective by Maureen Taylor (2013)- 929.1072 TA –is an update of two previous books about dating photographs: Uncovering your History Through Family Photographs  – 929.1 TA and More Dating Old Photographs – 929.1 MO, also written by Taylor a.k.a. The Photo Detective.  Photo identification relies on period dress and hairstyles going back to 1840, as well as furniture props used in studio portraits and other investigative tips.  These books include worksheet templates for listing who is pictured in a photo and when it was taken. 

How to Archive Family Photos (2015) by Denise May Levenick – 771.46 MA - consists of step-by-step instructions for organizing photos and storing them digitally.  Levenick, a.k.a. The Family Curator, lists easy methods to organize and back up your digital photos, using up-to-date photo software to safely store your materials. She also shares 25 creative project ideas to preserve and display family photos. 

Organize your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher by Drew Smith (2016) – 929.1 SM – is very comprehensive, including setting up physical and online workspaces, using the best tools for organizing your ancestry materials, and easy-to-use checklists to enhance research.  Smith encourages genealogists to be organized and efficient by using online tools such as calendars, bookmarks, and blogs, while also promoting field trips to collect documents from local facilities.  His previous publication, Social Networking for Genealogists  (2009) – 929.1028 - highlighted the use of blogs, RSS feeds, and wikis to collaborate with other genealogy researchers.

The Family Tree Historical Maps Book by Allison Dolan (2014) – R912.73 DO – is a state by state atlas of U.S. history from 1790 to 1900 with full-color historical maps of all 50 states in alphabetical order.  It also includes panoramic maps of key cities from the nineteenth century.  These maps will put your research into geographical context by identifying the changing names and shifting borders of each state over a period of time.  Many of the maps are from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection and the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, which can both be referenced online.

The Family Tree Historical Maps Book Europe by Allison Dolan (2015) – R912.4 DO -  traces the borders of European countries through wars that change borders from the 1700’s to the 1900’s.  The countries are grouped by region, and rotate from Great Britain to mainland Europe to Scandinavia and back again.  These maps should help genealogists find ancestors in a particular country at a particular time.  There’s also a listing of states, regions, provinces, and municipalities of each country in the back of the book.

--Lynette Suckow, Reference Desk