Materials We Have

400 Years Since Shakespeare

Saturday, April 23rd, marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. In his lifetime, Shakespeare wrote nearly 40 plays and more than 150 sonnets, and since his death in 1616 at the age of 52, his work has been translated into every major language in the world.

Prince

The sudden news of Prince's death has shocked us all, and as tributes to the multi-award winning musician, singer, songwriter and producer continue to spread purple across the world, we simply have to take a look back at the extraordinary contribution he made to the music industryCelebrated as one of the most unique and diverse artists of all time, Prince sold over 100 million 

Happy National Library Week!

In honor of National Library Week, we are displaying media for all ages featuring libraries and librarians. You can browse our selections in meatspace (on the shelving unit to the left of the new books) or online via our "National Library Week" community tag!

Grantchester

The highly anticipated second series of Grantchester is currently airing on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery on Sunday evenings, and since its first season aired, many have been encapsulated by the stories originally penned by James Runcie. Runcie's mysteries follow the life of Canon Sidney Chambers, a thirty-two year old Anglican minister in the village of Grantchester, who enters a world of murder and intrigue after cracking a murder case involving one of his parishioners. After realizing that Sidney is capable of acquiring information that he cannot, Inspector Geordie Keating decides to team up with him on a series of investigations in order to get the evidence he needs to convict his suspects. Sidney soon discovers that juggling a career as a clergyman and sleuthing in his spare time is downright exhausting, but with the help of his best friend, Amanda Kendall, a curator at the National Gallery of Art, and discussions with Georgie over regular sessions of backgammon at the local pub, Sidney finds that he has a gift for discovering the guilty party.

Runcie's mysteries are written in a short story format. Each book contains a string of who-dunits that are true to the time period, featuring stories of jazz clubs, jewelry thefts, and post-war espionage. But those who may not be captivated at the thought of a murder investigation will still have plenty to keep them reading. Runcie has captured a period in history in which many were attempting to rebuild their lives, and though Sidney has the compassion of a clergyman, he is not immune to the everyday struggles of life. As he manages his demons from a war-torn past, attempts to keep the peace with his housekeeper, and realizes that he has fallen in love too late, he becomes not just likeable, but relatable. 

Expecting its fifth installment in June, the Sidney Chambers series is sure to please anyone seeking an entertaining story with compelling characters. 

Sidney Chambers in Print

Sidney Chambers on DVD

Spring Reads for Kids

Spring has finally sprung! Ready for a great read about all things spring? Check out the following titles available here at ELPL!

Babies and Toddlers
Baby Loves Spring! by Karen Katz

Preschool and Kindergarten
Springtime In Bugland by David A. Carter
Spring Surprises by Anna Jane Hays
When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes
Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub
999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura
The Thing About Spring by Daniel Kirk
Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson
Poppleton In Spring by Cynthia Rylant
Carrot Soup by John Segal
 

1st – 3rd grade
Melody and the Sea Dragon by Katy Kit
Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies by Erica Silverman
Almond Blossom’s Mystery by Kay Woodward
 

4th - 6th grade
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall (ebook)
Persephone by Sally Pomme Clayton
Tales From A Not So Dorky Drama Queen by Rachel Renee Russel
The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music by Pendred Noyce

 

The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield

"The bear realized that no matter where he went, or what he did, they would always be there, watching from afar."

The Bear and the Piano is the sort of title that will jump out at you from a display, stop you in your tracks, and ultimately make you marvel at the sheer quality of picture book illustrations these days. Or, at least, that was my reaction. Author/Illustrator, David Litchfield has an established career in the art world, and has created illustrations for major publishers like Penguin Random House and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. But this week, he is sending his illustrations out into the world, matched with a story of his own, and what a beautiful story it is. 

The story of the bear and the piano unfolds through richly illustrated pages that are nothing short of magical. Litchfield's story is simple at first - a young bear discovers a piano in the forest and through the years, he learns to play the piano well, and more importantly, it makes him happy. Bears from all around the forest gather to listen to his music until one day, bear receives the chance of a lifetime when a little girl hears him play. She offers to bring his talents to the city where he can play for large audiences, and he accepts the opportunity. Fame and fortune follow, and before long, the bear's face appears on billboards, he plays in concert halls to sold out audiences, and even releases albums that go platinum. But as he experiences the wonders that success can bring, thoughts of the forest begin to filter back into his mind, and bear is drawn back to the place that matters most. 

Litchfield's debut is a beautiful tale about following your dreams, and although the paths you take may put distance between yourself and those you love, home will always be there. In the end, no matter how long he is away, bear will always be loved. 

Finding Your Next Great Tween Read

Within the world of youth literature, we all know that there is a robust selection of beginning books out there for new readers, and young adult titles for teenagers are receiving more and more attention every day. But what about books for the kids who are in between those categories? Those who are too old for picture books, but not yet ready for the world of YA? Sometimes it seems like those titles – books for tweens – don’t receive as much attention as those for other age ranges.

Luckily, ELPL features a wide range of books for readers in grades 3 through 8, and more and more publications are making booklists and recommendations for tweens, making it easier than ever to find a new middle-grade title to read. School Library Journal just published a new list, Hitting Shelves Now: 40 New Middle Grade Titles Out in March, featuring lots of titles you can find here at ELPL, including two of their selections with starred reviews, indicating a stand-out read.

All Rise For the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
"Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home.

When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?"

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
"Jules adores her older-by-one-year sister, Sylvie.

Sylvie: beautiful like their mother.
Sylvie: supreme maker of tiny snow families.
Sylvie: faster than fast.

Sylvie: gone.

Into thin air, Sylvie goes missing, and as Jules stumbles in grief, a fox cub is born. A shadow fox, spirit and animal in one. From the minute the cub opens her eyes, she senses something very wrong. Someone—Jules.

Jules: steadfast like their father.
Jules: supreme maker of tiny snow foxes.
Jules: collector of rocks.

Jules: heartbroken.

Who is this Jules? Who is this Sylvie she cries out for? And why does the air still prickle with something unsettled? As that dark unknown grows, the fates of the girl Jules and the fox cub, laced together with wishes and shadowy ties, are about to collide."

Check out the School Library Journal’s full list of new tween titles available this spring, and find your next favorite tween read here at ELPL

(Book summaries from GoodReads.com)

Louise Rennison

Earlier this week I was saddened to learn that one of my favorite authors of young adult fiction, Louise Rennison, had passed away on February 29th. Her best-selling True Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series has won multiple awards, was translated into over 30 languages, and was made into a movie, and it also holds a special place in my heart as one of my favorite series of all time. I still remember reading a review of the first book in the series, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging in one of my copies of Seventeen magazine when it came out in 1999, where it was recommended with the caveat that you might not want to read it in public because you’ll be laughing so hard. My curiosity was piqued; I checked it out from my local library, and I was immediately hooked. To this day, all ten books in the series have a place of prominence on my bookcase at home, and I find myself re-reading (and re-re-reading) them maybe more than is normal.

The books are sometimes compared to Bridget Jones’ Diary only aimed at teens, due to their similar format (humorous first-person diaries), although they have a spirit and sense of humor that is entirely their own. Georgia is a hilarious, mad-cap character who is prone to embarrassing moments, being a bit self-involved, and absolute silliness, which is the source of almost all the laugh-out-loud moments (and believe me, over the course of ten books, there are too many to count). But more than that, she’s a real person, and beneath all her goofiness, she has a good heart.

But I think what I like most about these books is that they remind me that the “normal” lives of teenage girls – not necessarily ones who are trying to save the world or overthrow a corrupt dictator or who can talk to ghosts, but just normal girls trying to get through their teen years while navigating friends, family, and first loves – can be just as interesting and extraordinary as those of your Katnisses and Trises. Maybe even more so.

Start with Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging and work your way through all ten installments in the series. There are also three books in a related follow-up series starring Georgia’s younger cousin, The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey. Find all our materials by Louise Rennison here at ELPL.

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