Blogs

New Displays @ the Library

This week our displays are featuring titles on race, privilege, black womanhood and peace.  Check them out when you stop by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library Website Maintenance

The library's website, www.elpl.org/, will be down for maintenance on Wednesday, July 13, at approximately 12 noon, for 1-2 hours.  During the maintenance window the following services will still be available:

  • Library catalog
  • Online renewals, holds, etc.
  • Hoopla, Cloud Library, Zinio, and Overdrive
  • MeLCat
  • Public Computers at library

Thank you for your patience while we upgrade our systems.

Books on Tap - July 2016

Learn about the history of man as told through the history of drinks! Visit Jimmy's on July 12th at 6:30pm and join our discussion of A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage!

"Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. 

Babies Learn Language Through Social Interaction

I’m always on the lookout for more information on how little ones learn through play and interaction, and this article on gaze shifting in babies recently caught my eye (no pun intended!). Based on a study that appeared in Developmental Neuropsychology, it discusses evidence for the idea that we can gauge when babies are making mental connections for later in life based on tracking their eye contact, especially as it shifts between objects (such as toys and books), and the adult they’re with.

So what does that mean for how little ones learn? According to the study’s coauthor Rechele Brooks, “Our findings show that young babies’ social engagement contributes to their own language learning—they’re not just passive listeners of language. They’re paying attention, and showing parents they’re ready to learn when they’re looking back and forth. That’s when the most learning happens.”

There are many implications for this information, especially as it pertains to learning and language development (including foreign language building) in children, but it particularly reminds me of the importance of the services libraries offer for families and children. Libraries are a great place for little ones to interact and play, both with their grown-ups and other children, on their own or at storytimes and playgroups, all in a rich literary environment. And this study confirms it: “Babies learn best from people,” Brooks says. “During playtime your child is learning so much from you. Spending time with your child matters. Keeping them engaged—that’s what helps them learn language.”

So when you bring your babies to the library for storytimes, read and play together, and spend quality time interacting and sharing, you’re not only fostering a strong relationship with your little one, you’re setting them up for a lifetime of learning, literacy, and growth!

The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

This story is full of well rounded characters, earth-shattering perils, and a laundry list of fantasy tropes. TL/DR: If you like High Fantasy (as opposed to the gritty stuff currently popular) then read this and be pleased.

Tolkien is visibly present in this book. He is there in the "mortal races band together to fight evil god they already beat once-also, elves are better at everything, and there is a proud race of horse riders on the plain", and "lets have an prolog that tells a thousand years of history". Lewis is there in the "young people from our world turn out to be important in a fantasy world". There are also snips and snails from various European myths and folktales, justified in canon since Fionavar is the the "first of all worlds", so our tales are just echoes of the originals. There is an Action Girl, a High King, a Lovable Rogue, and more.

Kay has said that the book is supposed to be derivative, since he wanted to see how much emotional and moral depth he could explore within the constraints of High Fantasy, but for me the similarities were jarring. Also, the use of overly pompous syntax got on my nerves. In-book, that would have read 'On my nerves, did grow the use of overly pompous syntax'. Thankfully, it was mostly present in the only a few plot lines, those taking place in the High Kingdom (because of course there's a High King), and when the plot is on the plains with the horse-riders the writing is much more naturalistic.

The characters are this book's saving grace. Kay is a master at breathing life into his characters, giving them both noble traits and flaws, deeply held beliefs and contradictions held just as strong. If a figure comes across as one note, it's usually because we just haven't gotten to the reveal yet. There is emotional depth to the characters, and an exploration of morality, of courage and choice, and duty. One character is wracked with guilt, and must struggle to overcome it, Another is filled with shame and anger, none of them are what they seem at first introduction. They must all deal with what they learn while in the other world. I just wish the heroes, college students from our world, weren't so good at doing the fantasy stuff right away, especially the city kid who is suddenly a great warrior on horseback.

Just beware that this is Book 1 of a trilogy (Fionavar Tapestry), and forgive the fact that some characters just seem to be introduced and then do nothing, and that it ends on a non-ending. It was never meant to be a truly stand-alone work.

If you love this book and want to discuss Kay's decision to create a derivative work, join Eric and the other members of the Out of This World book club as they discuss a new science fiction or fantasy title each month.

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

When I read something by a “new to me” author that I really like, I want to read all of the books that they have written!  So this weekend after reading As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds, I put myself on hold for his book All American Boys, and checked out The Boy in the Black Suit and When I Was the Greatest

I liked everything about As Brave as You – the characters, plot, writing style, even what the author had to say about himself on the flap!  The story centers around two brothers who go to stay with their grandparents while their parents go on a vacation to try to work out some of their issues.  The youngest, Genie, is worried about them getting divorced. 

The boys get to know their grandparents and life in Virginia, which is very different than life in Brooklyn!  Ernest and Genie have a whole list of chores to do every day and they don’t even have an internet connection!  The story takes a lot of different twists and turns, and focuses on the sweet relationship that is blooming between Genie and Grandpop.  I don’t want to give out too many details, but I highly recommend this book.  I'll keep you posted on his other titles.

There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith

I picked this book up as I was going through my semi-regular scouring of the lists of potential 2017 Caldecott Award contenders (which is a great way to stumble across new and wonderful picture books). Out of the most recent stack I checked out, There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith was by far and away my absolute favorite. I expected to like it (I’ve been a fan of Lane Smith’s work since my own childhood when he teamed up with Jon Scieszka to illustrate several of his books, including The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs), but even with that expectation, I was blown away by just how beautiful and touching this book turned out to be.

The premise of the book is straightforward enough: we see an unnamed, leaf-clad child in nature as he encounters different groups of animals and learns the names for their various communities (a pod of whales, an unkindness of ravens, and so on). We watch him join in with these different communities and take part in their rituals and experiences before moving onto the next. What initially seems like it might be a disparate set of encounters turns out to be his journey as he eventually makes his way towards his own group, a – you guessed it – tribe of kids. And although it’s clear that his path is designed to take him towards this tribe where he belongs and recognizes himself in its others members, we still see him joyfully experiencing life among the other groups of animals as he makes his way there, even if they aren’t his own tribe.

The text is sparse while still being engaging, and the illustrations elevate this book to something really beautiful and immersive. They are rich, textured, and whimsical, with so many things to discover that you almost have to go back to certain pages. From his very first meeting with a colony of penguins, I was hooked on this gorgeous celebration of nature, communities, and the joy we can feel while immersed within both those things.

Find it here at ELPL.

Michigan Activity Pass (MAP) Program Is Open

Did you know that your library card can be your best travel companion? Discover hundreds of Michigan's cultural destinations and natural attractions with your Michigan library card! You can "check out" FREE or discounted admission passes (or other exclusive offers) to hundreds of Michigan state parks, campgrounds, museums, trails, arts & cultural destinations, seven National Park Service venues, and more.

Welcome to Summer Reading!

 

 

 

Welcome to 2016’s Summer Reading Program at East Lansing Public Library! Our theme this year, On Your Mark, Get Set, Read! focuses on games, sports, and activities – a great opportunity to try out a new sport, get outside, play your favorite games, and of course, read! With the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro coming up, this summer is the perfect opportunity to exercise our bodies and our minds.

Why should you take part in the summer reading program? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Summer reading is for everyone! Kids, teens, and adults can all sign up and win prizes every week. Even little ones from birth to age three can take part in our SRP Jr. program!
  • It helps fight the “summer slump,” the decline in reading skills that can occur while kids are out of school for the summer. Setting aside time to read on a regular basis during the summer helps your family stay on top of their reading skills so they can come back to school in the fall at the top of their game and ready to learn. Plus, it’s fun!
  • Weekly prizes! Each week you participate, you can earn a new reward.
  • A chance to get out in the community! We’re partnering with lots of local groups and organizations to offer fun, free weekly programs and activities all around East Lansing.

So what does our Summer Reading Program (SRP) involve?

Starting June 13th, you can sign up and win a cool new prize every week you complete our weekly challenge. Weekly challenges involve reading, answering trivia questions, attending library programs, and more.  You can complete challenges online at elpl.org/summer-reading, or get a paper form from the library.

We’ll also have a fun, free event each week centered on a different sport or game, as well as weekly storytimes and more. Make sure to pick up our summer newsletter to find out when and where they all take place, or visit our online calendar of events at elpl.org/content/events.

And don’t forget to join us at our Summer Reading kickoff party on Tuesday, June 14 at 5:30 p.m. for games, crafts, team sports demonstrations, and more. Plus, bring a picnic dinner, or purchase one from the Grand Grillin’ food truck that will be on site. We can’t wait to see you there and get started on another great summer!

Find out everything you need to know about SRP here: elpl.org/summer-reading

Avatar the Last Airbender The Rift

I can't just review this volume without singing the praises of the whole Avatar series. It's a world full of richness and depth, where themes more commonly found in adult entertainment (war, the loss of loved ones, the pain of being an outsider), can be exlpored in a kid-friendly manner. This volume, in particular, brings up the question of balance between tradition and progress, whether one must necessarily be sacrificed for the sake of the other. It also deals with the reunion of estranged family members, and how we form the images of those we love. Oh, and there are giant rock monsters fighting each other. This volume is best enjoyed only if you've seen the cartoon or read the comic adaptation, since it concerns characters established in the past, but really, watching Avatar is a reward in itself. (The animated series, not the movie. I repeat, avoid The Last Airbender movie).

Beginning Reader Kits

The transition to easy readers can often be difficult for young children who are reading their very first words.

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