Friday, September 30, 2011

Morgan Hits the Terrible Twos!

If you are a close follower of Hoosier library spokescritter blogs, you will have seen that Morgan the Library Bunny is celebrating a second birthday next Friday, October 7, 2011, at 3:30 p.m., at Morgan County Public Library in Martinsville, Indiana.

Morgan the Library Bunny
(Photo Courtesy of Morgan County Public Library)

This is THE party of the month, possibly of the entire Fall season, so you owe it to yourself to be there, or be square.  News flash--there WILL be cake!  Possibly other treats that we felines particularly enjoy, eh, Ms. Alyssa, who is setting up the big birthday bash.  Just saying.

If you plan to attend, you must RSVP to Morgan County Public Library.  Click here to go to the MCPL online event calendar to register your spot at this gala event.  If you're unable to attend, please send Morgan your birthday wishes by commenting on the Bunny Blog.

Now I've got to think of a birthday present to give Morgan.  How about carrots?  Always a winner with the hopper crowd.

No birthday is complete without the Beatles singing "Birthday," from the "white album" (1968).

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Broadway Gal Puts the Scare On!

Broadway Gal, or Her Spirit?
(Or Just a Blurry Photograph?)

Our favorite Youth Services Librarian, Miss Suzanne, whom I call "Broadway Gal," because she is a gifted stage and screen performer, is going to scare you silly!  On October 28, 2011, at Mooresville (Indiana) Pioneer Park (8:00-9:00 p.m.), join Broadway Gal to hear some of the scariest Halloween stories you have ever heard.  These tales of terror will send chills down your spine!

This program is appropriate for grades 4 and up, along with their parents or guardians.  It is NOT--repeat, NOT--suitable for younger children.  We don't want any tears from tiny tots or early grade schoolers.

Join us, if you dare!  Please register online through our website calendar, or call the Library at (317) 831-7323.

Sharing Spooky Halloween Stories

In keeping with the haunted Halloween spirit(s) (just a little ghostly joke there), here's a book trailer of a true-life ghost story collection.  Pretty scary!  Remember, I'm a black cat, so I love this stuff.

Click Play Button (in middle of picture) to Start Book Trailer

Your Roving Reporter On The Ghostly Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Banned Books Week Promo Trailers

For the past couple of years, our favorite Library has been making "promo trailers" announcing ALA Banned Books Week.  We hope they have made viewers think about what censorship means and why our freedom to choose what we read must be defended against those who would try to control our access to information.

2011 MPL "Banned Books Week" Promo Trailer

2010 MPL "Banned Books Week" Promo Trailer

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Censoring Stevenson's Masterpieces

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote many fine books, but his two classic tales were Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Both have been included in the juvenile collections at many public libraries and school libraries for over 100 years.

Some grown-ups have attempted to ban both books from school and public libraries because of their violent subject matter (pirates in Treasure Island and a scientist's evil alter ego in Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde) and encouragement of immoral behavior (again, by pirates and an evil dude).

During ALA Banned Books Week, or any other time, for that matter, you may find out for yourselves whether or not these books are too dangerous for you to read.  Talk with your parents, other family members, teachers, or friends to see if they have read the books and get their opinions.  But, ultimately, you can decide for yourselves if you want to read these novels.  We have prepared two book trailers to help summarize the plots, so you can decide if they sound interesting to you.

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Monday, September 26, 2011

Forbidding a Secret Place

We talked about The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, in a previous posting. There have been attempts to ban this book in schools and libraries. To celebrate ALA Banned Books Week, you might want to watch our book trailer to see if you would like to read this book.

Why have some grown-ups tried to remove The Secret Garden from libraries and schools?  They argue that the book is too depressing for children ages 9-12, because it talks about death, sadness, and loneliness.  But most kids have experienced the death of an elderly relative by the time they are reaching the upper elementary school grades, so this subject is hardly outside their personal experiences.  The book is mostly about finding new friends and a special place where they can bring their secret garden back to life, and, at the same time, bring happiness back to their lives.  The book's message is overwhelmingly positive.

Other adults who want to censor The Secret Garden criticize the author's portrayal of the wealthy uncle to whom Mary Lennox is sent after her parents died in India.  Apparently, the grouchy old man upsets these grown-ups, because they think it unfairly portrays how the rich care for their kin.  But the uncle has his own sorrows, and he, too, must find his way back to happiness, and Mary and her friends will help him.  Again, readers feel good about how these people cope with their heartbreak and learn to live full lives again.

The best way to decide whether or not you should read a book is to give it a try.  If, after reading 30 or 40 pages, you decide that the book isn't for you, then return it to your favorite library, wish it well, and send it along its way to the next reader.  However, you may find yourself engrossed in the book, and that is always worthwhile.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Sunday, September 25, 2011

When Magic Goes Wrong

Day two of ALA Banned Books Week brings another recommended read for those in grades 4-6.

The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks (illustrated by Brock Cole) was first published 31 years ago, and it has been a favorite among readers ages 9-12 and older.  Some grown-ups have even read it to their preschoolers.  Watch our book trailer (above) to see if you'd like to read this book.

Why has The Indian in the Cupboard been challenged or banned in schools and libraries?  Some adults think that Native Americans are stereotyped in the book, but the author extensively researched Iroquois life during early American colonial days, and her portrayal of Little Bear is historically accurate.  Other adults think there is too much violence in the book, but that's difficult to understand.  Any violent actions in the book are mild compared to anything on television or at the movies to which children are routinely exposed.  Lastly, some grown-ups say there is bad language in the book, but, frankly, I can't remember reading any.  If there are any "swear words" in the book, they're nothing compared to what kids hear daily from their elementary school classmates.

Readers ages 9-12 are old enough to understand and learn from the problems that Omri, Patrick, Little Bear, Boone, and the other characters encounter.  Mostly, it is a fun adventure you should enjoy.  Look for it in our favorite Library's Evergreen Indiana catalog.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Read a Banned or Challenged Library Book This Week

The American Library Association's Banned Books Week (Sept. 24 through Oct. 1, 2011) begins today, and to celebrate  we are recommending a week's worth of banned or challenged library books for young readers.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, is often considered to be a children's book geared for readers ages 9-12.  It may be a bit tough for preteens, but it is certainly worth reading.  It is full of silliness, imagination, and peculiar ways of looking at the world, which the author intended to make readers smile and laugh.  Grown-ups find lots of hidden meanings in the book, but James Thurber, a famous 20th century American writer, felt that it was simply an entertaining story that you could read for fun.

 The book has been challenged or banned in school or public libraries because of the "hidden meanings" it supposedly contains.  You've probably already seen director Tim Burton's movie version (2010), so some of whatever "hidden meanings" may be in the book have already made it to the big screen and millions of kids.

 I recommend reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland if you want to enjoy a fun ride through the imagination.  We have it at your favorite Library in our Evergreen Indiana catalog.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Best Teacher Ever!

Good-Bye, Mr. Chips, by James Hilton, is a heart-warming story about an English school teacher who learns as much from the boys he instructs as they do from him.

You will laugh and cry--sometimes at almost the same time--but you will never forget Mr. Chipping and the boys of Brookfield School.

The book was written for young readers between ages 9-12, but this is a book that everyone can enjoy.  Look for it in my Library's Evergreen Indiana catalog by clicking here.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coming Together During Hard Times

Where the Lilies Bloom, by Vera Cleaver and Bill Cleaver, looks at life in the mountains of western North Carolina, at a time when poverty was a common experience.

Many rural Americans, especially during the Great Depression, experienced hard times and deprivation, but the experience made them stronger without crushing their spirits. As Mary Call struggles to hold her family together following the death of their father, she is determined to remain independent and self-sufficient, but she must learn that there is no shame in accepting the goodwill and help of her friends and neighbors.

The book is recommended for young readers ages 9-12, but older readers will enjoy it, too.  Come to our favorite Library with your Evergreen Indiana card, and you may check it out, or place a hold online by clicking here.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Golden Cats

Cats have been running the show since ancient Egyptian times. For proof, you need look no further than Hieroglyphs: Solve the Mystery from Ancient Egypt, by Sean Callery (Kingfisher, 2010) (ISBN 9780753464113). Readers learn to interpret historical codes, symbols, and pictograms to follow clues and find answers.

In Hieroglyphs, author Sean Callery presents the reader with a museum displaying one golden Egyptian cat statue. Its mate has gone missing. It's up to the reader to find it. Starting with a display case, the reader searches for clues and must learn to interpret ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to solve the mystery. The key to Egyptian history, the hieroglyphic record, comes alive in this interesting test of the reader's reasoning skills. There is an accompanying CD disc.

The book is recommended for readers ages 9-12. Our book trailer below tells the tale (or tail, since we're talking about cats):

Yep, I'm descended from Pharaohic felines of Bastet Temple. (Bastet was an Egyptian sun goddess who was the Pharaoh's guardian and was symbolized by cat figures.) Guess I'm royalty, pretty much. You may serve me my tuna-in-oil now. In a crystal dish, with garnish, thank you very much.

Deserving Royal Treatment,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Preschoolers Learn to Draw Like Picasso

Preschoolers who like to draw pictures (and their grown-ups) will enjoy Draw With Pablo Picasso, by Ana Salvador (Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2008).  Young readers (ages 4-8) will learn some of the famous artist's basic drawing styles.  "All children are artists," said Picasso.  You, too, can draw and have fun!

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Every Library Should Have a Cat Like Dewey

Have you heard about Dewey Readmore Books, a cat who lived at Spencer (Iowa) Public Library from 1988 to 2006?   Many books have been written about him, but here's one especially for readers ages 9-12.

The book is available in our Evergreen Indiana catalog, for E.I. library card holders.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Monday, September 19, 2011

Avast, Ye Swabbies!

ARRRRRRRRR!  Shiver me timbers!

Today (September 19) is Talk Like a Pirate Day.  You've probably seen the popular Disney movies, but have you read the book that started the whole pirate craze?

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, is an exciting adventure from mid-18th century English seafaring days.  Once you've started reading it, you won't be able to put it down.  Generations of young readers (ages 10 and up) have been thrilled by the search for buried treasure.  You will be, too.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

A Major Force in World Cycling

Marshall W. Taylor was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Nov. 26, 1878. His family moved to Indiana from Kentucky following the Civil War. As a teenager, Marshall worked for a bicycle shop, performing stunts while wearing a soldier's uniform as a costume. This earned him the nickname "Major."

During the next few decades, "Major" Taylor set several world records and won many cycling championships. He was a world champion cyclist and athlete, and he was, and continues to be, an inspiration to anyone seeking to overcome racial prejudice and bigotry. Indianapolis belatedly honored Taylor in 1982 when it opened the Major Taylor Velodrome near Marian University (formerly, Marian College).

You can find out much more about this great cyclist, inventor, and athlete in his biography, Marshall "Major" Taylor: World Champion Bicyclist, 1899-1901, by Marlene Targ Brill (21st Century Books, Trailblazer Biography Series, 2007; ISBN 9780822566106). We have this book in the MPL Youth Bio collection. You may place a hold on it in the online Evergreen Indiana (E.I.) catalog, if you have an E.I. library card.

Another good biography is Major Taylor: the Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World, by Andrew Ritchie (Van der Plas/Cycle Publishing, 2nd ed., 2009; ISBN 9781892495655). This book is available in the MPL Indiana Room, and E.I. library cardholders who would like to read it may place an online hold here.

Ritchie took part of his book's title from Taylor's self-published 1928 autobiography, a copy of which is difficult to obtain today.

Hoosier fourth grade students interested in Indiana history should learn about "Major" Taylor, especially if they need to write a book report about a famous Hoosier.  Taylor led a fascinating life and achieved greatness by overcoming enormous barriers.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Everyone Deserves to be Loved

Corduroy, by Don Freeman, takes place in a big department store in which Corduroy, a stuffed teddy bear, has a button missing from his clothes.  Nobody will buy Corduroy because he's a "damaged product" (missing that button), and so at night, when toys come alive and explore, Corduroy sets off in search of a replacement button.  He has some boisterous adventures.  There's a happy ending, which I always like.  The theme, or message, of the book is good, too:  Everybody deserves to be loved, no matter how they look.

Grown-ups will enjoy reading Corduroy to preschoolers, and young readers (in grades 1-3) will have fun reading the book on their own. The illustrations are lively and cheerful, and readers will keep reading to discover where Corduroy's button search leads him.  There are some cute surprises along the way.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

P.S.  Did you click on the hyperlinked word boisterous above?  It takes you to the dictionary for a definition.  Boisterous is a cool action word that you could add to your vocabulary.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Miss Jaymi & Toucan Sammy Now on YouTube

The other day I blogged about Miss Jaymi and Toucan Sammy's new early literacy blog.  They talk about learning to read, which everyone should do.  The blog has loads of great information for young readers and their grown-ups, and it is terrific fun, too.  There are videos included in the blog postings, and, as of today, four of these are available on the Library's YouTube Channel.  (A complete video playlist is available.)

Enjoy Miss Jaymi and Sammy the Toucan in action!  They're really funny, plus you learn some neat new stuff.

Miss Jaymi & Sammy the Toucan Introduce Themselves

The Letter A

The Letter B

The Letter C

Great stuff there, Miss Jaymi and Sammy!  I can't wait till next week, when we see what's in store for the Letter D.  (Is D for dog?  Well, I call them slobberdogs, because they slobber, you know.  But that's okay.  Slobberdogs are great pals and will help and protect you. That's nice.)

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Ginormous Library Book Sale!

Ginormous isn't really a proper word, but that's what you'd get if you combined gigantic and enormous.  Our library book sale is that big!

Come to Mooresville Public Library on Saturday, October 8, 2011, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., for our Friends of the Library Book Sale in the Community Room.  You'll find loads and loads of great books at bargain prices.  How cool is that?

The sale is sponsored by the Friends of the Library, who are working hard to get the books ready.  Once again, there will be bags of books for just a few dollars.  You just can't beat that!

Hope to see you at the book sale.  Save some "Mr. Washingtons" in your piggy bank (either quarters or dollar bills) so you can buy a bunch of wonderful books.  What could possibly be more fun than that?

All proceeds from the book sale go to the Library for programs and technologies, as well as more books, videos, and games for our collections.  You get to buy some terrific books PLUS support the library.  It's a "win-win" scenario for everybody.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Magic of Mythology, Popping Up Everywhere

Pop-up books are fun. The pictures jump right off the page at you! If you like fairies and other magical creatures, you're sure to enjoy Encyclopedia Mythologica: Fairies and Magical Creatures Pop-up, by Matthew Reinhart & Robert Sabuda (Candlewick, pop ed., 2008). The book is recommended for children ages 4-8. Grown-ups will have fun reading along to their youngsters, and it is a good "challenging" book for early readers (to expand their reading skills). There is something magical about mythological beings. I know a little bit about that myself (wink).

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Join the Adventure, 80,000 Years Ago

As you can see from our book trailer, The Quest for Fire: a Novel of Prehistoric Times, by J. H. Rosny, is pretty exciting. If you're interested in the ancient past, when humans hunted mammoths and struggled against giant predators, then you won't be able to put this book down once you've started reading.

What's more, there were different species of humans living simultaneously. There were the Neanderthals, who were shorter, more muscular, and hairier, and the Cro-Magnons, who were an earlier version of modern humans, like you (but not me, since I'm a feline). My ancestors were the giant cats that hunted the people!

By far, the greatest dangers to our heroes in the Oulhamr tribe come from other human tribes competing for resources and living space. Central to the story, of course, is the quest for fire. This drives the Oulhamrs (as well as the plot), and we can't wait to discover what happens next. It is a classic adventure that anyone age 9 or older should enjoy.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Scooby-Doo!

Today (Sept. 13) is Scooby-Doo's birthday!  Celebrate by checking out some of our Scooby-Doo books and videos.  Search our Evergreen Indiana catalog by typing Scooby-Doo in the search line and then click the Go Button.  Our favorite Library has at least 84 Scooby items alone, so you should find something interesting.

Happy birthday, Scoob!

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster & Jules Feiffer

Here's a book trailer created by "Hudfy 668," who is one of our Library staff, featuring The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster (illustrated by Jules Feiffer).  Readers ages 9-12 will be captivated by the imaginative story and intriguing twists and turns of the plot.  There is also quite a bit of humor throughout, which is always fun.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life (or Afterlife) as a Soul Catcher

Paranormal stories with haunted houses are a staple of fantasy fiction.  Radiance, a novel by Alyson Noël, was written for "tweens," which includes readers ages 9-12, or those in grades 5-8 (which is probably more in the 11-14 age range).  It depends upon who is defining the audience scale.

Most "tweens" have enough trouble dealing with the struggles of everyday life and growing up with all the physical and emotional changes that happen.  Imagine if those challenges continued in the afterlife!  For Riley Bloom, there's just no escaping the fact that we grow and change, whichever side of the veil we're on, and so we need to learn to adapt to the challenges of living, either in body or in spirit.

The ghost story aspect of the book is simply a plot device.  What the author really wants us to think about is being a "young adult" or a "tween" and coping with life's changes and difficulties.  Whether Riley, Bodhi, Buttercup, and Radiant Boy are "alive" or "dead" (in the ordinary sense of the words) is not as important as how they feel, think, and act, and how they mature with experience.  Can we understand and sympathize with what they're going through?  Do we care what happens to them?  If so, then the author has connected with us, and reading her book should be enjoyable and worthwhile.

I wouldn't recommend this book for readers under age 10--it is probably too intense--but for anyone in grades 5-8, it should be smooth sailing, even if the story's a little scary at times.  But isn't that what ghost stories are supposed to be?

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

P.S.  We have a second book trailer for Radiance--same graphics, different soundtrack.  Which one do you like better?  Please let me know in the comments section.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sleds Worth Their Weight in Gold

When Nazi Germany invaded Norway in 1940, the country was taken by surprise.  The Norwegian government knew that the Nazis would take the nation's gold reserves, which amounted to over $9 million. So a daring plan was devised to secretly smuggle the gold past the occupying German forces onto a ship bound for America.  Could Norwegian children and their sleds sneak the gold out of the country right under the Germans' noses?  

Snow Treasure, by Marie McSwigan, was based on a true story during the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II.  Depending upon the source, the book is recommended for readers ages 8-10 or 9-12. I would suggest the 8-10 age range, but that doesn't mean that older readers won't enjoy it, too.  If you like true-life adventure fiction, this book will keep you riveted.  You won't want to stop turning the pages until you've reached the very end.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Mary Lennox has known her share of tragedy in her young life. At the beginning of The Secret Garden, a novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Mary's family has died of cholera while living in British colonial India.  After British officers discover her, she is sent back to Great Britain to live on an uncle's estate.

Mary is sad and angry about losing her parents and being forced to live with her uncle, but her curiosity is sparked by this place.  There are many intriguing mysteries to investigate.
  • Who is crying in the middle of the night down a long corridor of the manor house?
  • How does Dickon, her new friend, communicate with and charm animals?
Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, and, suddenly, her desire to reclaim what she has lost is ignited.

This is a book recommended for readers "ages 9 and up," and it may truly be enjoyed by preteens, young adults, and adults alike. The novel concludes with a resoundingly positive message.  I like happy endings, especially when they remind us that, no matter how sad our lives may be, we will find happiness again, if we learn to trust our friends and loved ones, and we are willing to help ourselves and others.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat