Ed Sheeran - X

If Ed Sheeran was a book and I judged him by his cover, I would be completely wrong.  I would probably be upset with myself for not picking up said book when I had the chance.  I will be the first to admit that the way someone looks gives you an unfair impression of who you think they are.  Sheeran’s red hair and pale skin does not fit the “look” of a crooner.  Thankfully, I heard his music before I saw him, otherwise I honestly may not have listened to his album. 

Moving beyond my blatant stereotyping of what a soulful singer should look like, I was pleasantly surprised by the vocal variety of not only Sheeran’s voice but of the album “X,” as a whole.  You will hear a mix of folk, acoustic, pop and even a decent rap tune.  This is the type of album you can listen to at work without being embarrassed by what lyrics are being sung all while being impressed by the singers varied range.

If Ed Sheeran (he is British) had an American musical twin I would liken him to Jason Mraz.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Welcome to the life of A.J. Fikry. The recently widowed owner of Island Books could be described as downright unpleasant, even on a good day. Having turned sour after the unexpected death of his wife, and even more so once his book store's profits began to dwindle, he is the sort that would scoff at the thought of reading a Grisham novel, preferring instead a reputable short story collection. When he meets his new Knightley Press publishing rep, Amelia Loman, who stops by the store one day to promote a sentimental autobiography, things do not go well. That is, until A.J. receives an entirely unexpected wake-up call, and he must fix himself in order to care for another. 

Arranged much like his prized short stories, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry touches on brief moments throughout A.J.'s life, some wonderfully uplifting, others bittersweet. Each chapter features familiar characters who are somehow tied to Island Books and its owner. Their stories intertwine with A.J's throughout, creating wholly unexpected moments, and adding the same richness to the story itself as they do to A.J's. 

Zevin, previously known for her work as a YA author, has proven her versatile writing abilities with this work. Beautifully written, cleverly compiled, and with more heart added than most, I can only hope that she continues on her path as a fiction writer. Written for book lovers and those with an interest in just what goes on behind the scenes at their neighborhood bookstore.


I'm old enough to remember when there was a SeaWorld in Ohio. When I was a teenager, we took a family weekend trip to SeaWorld and Cedar Point. That trip changed what I thought I wanted to do with my life. Seeing an orca up close - or as close as the railing and glass would let you get - was beyond amazing. There are really no words that describe how awesome it was to see. Initially, I had planned to go to college and focus on political science or pre-law. After that trip, I decided I was going to become a marine biologist and do my part to save the environments and lives of those beautiful sea creatures. Between then and now, life happened and different decisions were made. I am very happy to be a librarian, but whales will always hold a special place in my heart.

Cue Blackfish.

This is a documentary that was made for CNN documenting the life of the orca Tilikum, who has been implicated in three separate human deaths. It tells the story of how orcas were initially captured and the development of SeaWorld and other aquatic entertainment centers. The story is told through researchers, trainers, and lawyers. There is no official comment from SeaWorld in the documentary. There has come to be a lot of controversy surrounding this movie and the idea that the producer was pushing an agenda that was purely out to get SeaWorld.

Even with the controversy, this film provides an insider glimpse into how captive animals are treated and different reactions to working with one of the largest predators in the world.

For further research, you could also read Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the dark side of killer whales in captivity by David Kirby.

International Help-Portrait Day: December 6, 12-5pm

Want a nice family photo for the holiday season? Need a professional photo for

your resume? Get photos taken for free at the East Lansing Public Library on

December 6th for International Help-Portrait Day. The Creativity Exploratory at MSU College of Arts and Letters will

be set up from 12pm to 5pm capturing your photos and delivering them either digitally or in print, for FREE! 

Books on Tap - December 2014

Come to Jimmy's on December 9th at 6:30pm when we will have our final meetin of 2014! For this month, there is no official book to read. Instead, I'm asking you to bring two books to our meeting.

The first book will be one that you have read outside of Books on Tap and would like to share with the group. Be prepared to give a 2-3 minute blurb on the book - a little teaser to get people interested and possibly add to their own reading lists.

The second book will be put into a white elephant book exchange. Bring it already wrapped and we'll do a swap! It can be a book you love, a book you hate, something that will make people laugh or cringe. Nothing is off limits!

No matter what, it will be a fun night of wrapping up 2014 for Books on Tap!

Books on Tap - November Follow Up

Thank you to those who braved the cold to come discuss One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper! Most of our conversation focused on the characters and whether or not we agreed with their actions. People fell on both sides of the fence, trying to find the redeeming qualities in the main character, Silver, who was choosing to die and other people who were coming to terms with their own flaws. While the overall consensus was that no one appreciated the cliff-hanger ending, that led to a great discussion about what we thought happened afterwards. Readers seemed to appreciate the input of Silver's friends and family and their opinions of how he was choosing to deal with what might remain of his life.

For December we are doing a wrap up session and a holiday book exchange. Keep an eye out for a post on the details of this event.

Friends Board Meeting Highlights October 2014

Meeting date:  Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Minutes from September 16, 2014 approved as submitted

Treasurer’s report approved as submitted – book sale report next month

Library Director Kristin Shelley reported Maker Studio Launch Parties and ELPL Welcomes the World a success – 418 new library cards issued.

Kristin Shelley/Liesel Carlson report that the Library Board approved an Exclusionary Policy permitting the library staff to forbid entrance to library to individuals guilty of severe behavior issues or misuse of computers e.g. pornography

Thanksgiving Closures

Library closures for Thanksgiving are as follows:

  • The library will be closing at 6pm on Wednesday, November 26.  
  • The library will be closed on Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28.  
  • The exterior book drop will be open and available for patrons to use.  
  • The library will re-open at 10am on Saturday, November 29. 

The ELPL 2.0 Maker Studio in downtown East Lansing will be closed on:

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban

I loved all of the Frances books as a child.  I actually still own copies of these books that were given to me as gifts when I was a very young person. The illustrations by Garth Williams and Lillian Hoban are wonderful. I loved the little songs that Frances would make up to get her through life. Also, Frances runs away to under the dining room table, which is what I did as a kid.  



Frances, one of children's best-loved characters for over 30 years, now springs to life even more in Bread and Jam for Frances,beautifully reillustrated in sparkling full color by Lillian Hoban. In this memorable story, Frances decides that bread and jam are all she wants to eat, and her understanding parents grant her wish'at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacktime. Can there ever be too much bread and jam?

Mighty Dads by Joan Holub

A new book illustrated by the creator of the Pete the Cat series, Mighty Dads features different types of construction vehicles and their child counterparts.  On each page you see what the “dad truck” teaches their son or daughter.  Children love seeing the little version of the big truck and repeating what the dad truck is training them to do.  Very sweet for the preschool set!



A new constructacular picture book from the New York Times bestselling creator of Pete the Cat, James Dean and bestselling author, Joan Holub.

Mighty dads, strong and tall,
help their children, young and small.

They keep them safe and bolted tight
and show them how to build things right.

Inventively told through James Dean's colorful construction vehicle characters, MIGHTY DADS is an adoring dedication to hardworking fathers and the subtle ways they teach their boys and girls to follow in their tracks. The Dump Trucks learn to get dirty. Crane keeps his little one safe from harm. The busy Cement Mixer gives his daughter a hug. The Forklift cheers his son on.

A surprising and touching view of a father's love for his children, MIGHTY DADS is the perfect way to say: I'm proud of you! 

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Make Way for Ducklings, a picture book by Robert McCloskey, was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1941.  It is a wonderful, timeless story of how a family of ducks find a home on an island in the Boston Public Garden.  There is an actual bronze sculpture of the duckling family commemorating the book located in the Boston Public Garden.



This classic tale of the famous Mallard ducks of Boston is available for the first time in a full-sized paperback edition. Awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1942, Make Way for Ducklings has been described as "one of the merriest picture books ever" (The New York Times). Ideal for reading aloud, this book deserves a place of honor on every child's bookshelf.

#Giving Tuesday

Join ELPL for a Celebration of Giving with holiday music from the East Lansing High School Jazz Band, treats, an unselfie photo booth and the launch of the ELPL "At The Library" music video!  ELPL's Celebration of Giving is Tuesday, December 2 at 7pm.

Little Green Peas: a Big Book of Color by Keith Baker

While I truly enjoyed the first two books of this series-  LMNO Peas, and 1-2-3 peas, I find this one so charming!  The peas are truly adorable!  I have read this to one child and to a classroom of children and both groups enjoyed it immensely!  They liked the illustrations and pointing out all the items on each page (and thinking of other things that are the color that aren’t featured in the book!).   I highly recommend this book for reading to the 3-5 year olds in your life. 



A passel of playful peas keeps it green as they experience the colorful world around them, from red kites to yellow buses to purple mountains and more! Bright and bold illustrations fill the pages of this delightful exploration of color.

Ladder to the Moon by Maya Setoro-Ng

Ladder to the Moon is a beautifully written children's story about a young girl wanting to know more about a grandmother she never met.  The young girl and her grandmother go on compassionate adventures in her dreams. Illustrator, Yuyi Morales takes Maya Soetoro-Ng's words and brings them to life.

I enjoyed this book because of the artwork and the diversity of characters.  The way the story is told and illustrated, it transcends race.  It is difficult to pinpoint the ethinc background of each character.  As the world becomes more blended, I think it is important for children's literature to have characters that a variety of readers can look at and see themselves.

A side note about the author, Maya Soetoro-Ng is President Barack Obama's sister.



Little Suhaila wishes she could have known her grandma, who would wrap her arms around the whole world if she could, Mama says. And one night, Suhaila gets her wish when a golden ladder appears at her window, and Grandma Annie invites the girl to come along with her on a magical journey. In a rich and deeply personal narrative, Maya Soetoro-Ng draws inspiration from her mother’s love for family, her empathy for others, and her ethic of service to imagine this remarkable meeting. Evoking fantasy and folklore, the story touches on events that have affected people across the world in our time and reaffirms our common humanity. Yuyi Morales’s breathtaking artwork illuminates the dreamlike tale, reminding us that loved ones lost are always with us, and that sometimes we need only look at the moon and remember.