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Celebrate “Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week”

By Laura Ransom, Children’s Librarian

“Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week” is an annual event that promotes reading to all Kansas children from birth through age five. Parents, librarians, and caregivers are encouraged to read the chosen book during the week of November 16-22.

funI am especially excited about this year’s selection, Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. Three happy cows and a frustrated chicken bounce through the pages of this light-hearted picture book. We love promoting this event at Manhattan Public Library, and each child who attends a storytime during the week will receive a free book! Funding for the free books is generously provided by the Manhattan Library Association.
My love for books began when I was very young. I have such fond memories of sitting in my mom’s lap while she read Don Wood’s The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear to me night after night. She later told me that she had the book memorized since I requested it so many times. What a patient parent! Another of my all-time favorites is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. I remember chanting along with that brave engine, “I think I can, I think I can!” These engaging books stirred a desire in me to learn how to read the words on the pages.
readaloudAs a children’s librarian, I obviously endorse reading aloud to children, but research supports it, too. One example is a study by the U.S. Department of Education, which concluded with these words: “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” This quote is from The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, a wonderful book filled with read-aloud suggestions and helpful tips for parents. Books include a wider vocabulary than we often encounter in television shows or everyday conversations. Even though children are unfamiliar with these new words, exposure to them is a stepping stone to reading independently. If they have heard the word before, they will be better equipped to know how to read it on the printed page.
A love for reading is just as important as the actual reading process. The fancy name for the desire to read is called print motivation. This is one of six skills children need in order to read successfully. The other skills are: Notice Print All Around; Talk, Talk, Talk; Tell Stories About Everything; Look for Letters Everywhere; and Take Time to Rhyme, Sing, and Play Word Games. These skills were originally identified by the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read Program. Johnson County Public Library modified the information that program first developed, and they renamed it “6 by 6: Six Skills by Six Years.” Many of these skills are things parents already practice with their children without taking much time to consider the educational benefits. Things like pointing out the letters on a stop sign or words on a billboard can actually help children notice that words are all around them. Little habits like this can truly make a big difference in a child’s attitude toward reading.

Our librarians love to help children discover the joy of reading. Come visit us at the library for great book recommendations and resources for growing readers.

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, library services, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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National Family Literacy Month

by Mary, Adult Services Librarian

I’m a novice Grandma and so excited about helping my little guy fall in love with reading.

Fun activities that involve books and interactive reading can begin the first steps toward this love affair.
index6DNGOOOZA new book that has helped me form new ideas about reading to my grandson is:
Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in the Digital Age–From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything In Between by Jason Boog is a wonderful new book that helps parents learn the advantages of interactive reading.
National Family Literacy Day just passed us by but we are barely into National Family Literacy Month. This November take advantage of the ideas on the familieslearning.org website to enjoy fun times with books. They have an idea for each day that can make reading and learning about literature a game. Try the idea on Day 2-Draw pictures of your child’s favorite book characters and turn them into puppets for dramatic play. Day 10 – Create Picture Stories. Take a photo or draw a picture of your child doing a favorite activity. Write a story together, using the pictures as illustrations. Picture books help children develop critical thinking skills, as their brains take in the picture and the text and make connections between the two.

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Learn about Thanksgiving with these titles!

The holiday season is upon us and we’re counting down to Thanksgiving. I like Thanksgiving; for a major holiday, it remains relatively straightforward and uncomplicated. It’s comparatively free of the cumbersome traditions, frenetic activities, and crippling expenditures that come with some holidays (I’m looking at you, Christmas!), big stressors that can get in the way of fundamental enjoyment, not to mention spiritual gratification.

Granted, Thanksgiving does have its own daunting potential for stress – travel and logistical chaos, inter-personal and family drama, intensive food prep and consumption, hours of digestive recovery, and overwhelming kitchen clean-up! But the day can also be celebrated with a simple shared meal, quiet reflection and rest, even solitude or a private getaway, and when it all comes together well, Thanksgiving can be deeply meaningful and spiritually strengthening.

Our celebration of the Thanksgiving feast as a national historical event also has its baggage, a mythology of Pilgrims and Native Americans that is rooted in history but that has grown over time to barely resemble the actual event. As is nearly always the case with history, the truth turns out to be far more complicated and vastly more interesting than the myth. This year, pick up one of the following books to help you sort out the real story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and broaden your understanding of our country’s fascinating history.

philbrick   “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick details the history of the Pilgrims as religious Separatists in England and as political refugees in Holland, then follows them through their voyage on the Mayflower, the settlement and early years of the Plymouth colony, and the meeting of European settlers and Native Americans. Philbrick adds depth to what we know of familiar historical figures like William Bradford, Chief Massasoit, Squanto, Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullins, John Alden, Edward Winslow, and numerous secondary characters, revealing unexpected and surprising historical details.

In “Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World,” another richly detailed history, author and Englishman Nick Bunker writes about the Mayflower Pilgrims as Englishmen themselves, and places them in the context of the political world in which they lived. An exhaustively detailed recounting of the first years of settlement, this book tells a stirring tale of “indomitable courage, religious faith, commercial ambition, international rivalry, and domestic politics” (Publishers Weekly).

indexH4IDI2ML   If you only have time for a short read and want a more condensed recounting of the Mayflower Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, Glenn Alan Cheney has hit the high points and given a broad overview in his well-researched and -organized history of 1620-1621, “Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims’ First Year in America.” An easy-to-read and enjoyable page-turner, it is nevertheless written in evocative, descriptive prose. As one reviewer said, the book is “full of surprising information, and sympathetic to the humanity of all the participants.”

“The Mayflower Papers: Selected Writings of Colonial New England,” edited by Nathaniel and Thomas Philbrick, is a compilation of 17th century primary source material about the Pilgrims, the Mayflower voyage, and the founding of the Plymouth Colony. It contains “Of Plymouth Plantation” by Governor William Bradford, the seminal first-person account of the early days of the settlement. Written in the Elizabethan English of the times, it is not easy reading but it nonetheless is a detailed, emotional recounting of an enterprise that took immense courage, devotion, and fortitude. In addition, this anthology contains “Mourt’s Relation,” an account of the colony’s first year in New England and the original story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in autumn 1621, and “Good News from New England,” a continuation of the history, both by Edward Winslow.

times     “The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony” by leading Plymouth archaeologist James Deetz is a social history that is especially strong in its descriptions of the daily lives and society of the colony. Drawing on the archaeological evidence, it touches on crime, food, sexual and social relationships, legalities, and material culture, and upends many of our misconceptions about Pilgrim society.

 

 

 

 

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October is National Reading Group month!

by Rhonna, Adult Services

Hopefully you’ve noticed that we have some options for gathering to talk about books here at the library  but even if you prefer to create your own book group, we’re here to help you out.
Two databases are available to help you. Novelist Plus is the go-to tool for exploring all information about books, including helpful discussion guides for some titles. BookBrowse also offers discussion questions, but goes beyond that to provide advice for starting and running a book group, book recommendations, and author interviews. Both resources are available from the library Research Page .
readingIt can be difficult to get enough books for your entire group to read. Fortunately, some libraries in Kansas have created book group kits, including several books and often a discussion guide. The Kansas Library has provided a list of all of the sets available in the state. If you find something that works for you, contact our Interlibrary Loan department at 785-776-4741 ext. 139.
We also have some books that might be helpful for you: Read It and Eat: A Month-By-Month Guide to Scintillating Book Club Selections and Mouthwatering Menus by Sarah Gardner, Reading Group Choices: Selections for Lively Book Discussions, and Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason.

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2014 Teens’ Top Ten

Keri Mills, Young Adult Librarian

The Teens’ Top Ten is a teens’ choice list sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Each year, teens nominate their favorite books from the previous year. Nominations are posted in April, and teens ages twelve to eighteen can vote on their favorite titles. The winning books will be announced on October 20, so teens still have one more week to vote for their favorites at http://www.dogobooks.com/book_clubs/teens-top-reads. As usual, there are a wide cross-section of genres represented on the list, so if your teen is looking for something to read, this list is a good place to start. Many of the titles have crossover appeal to adults, as well. Here are a few of my picks from the list of nominees this year:siege

“Siege and Storm” by Leigh Bardugo
This is the last book of an excellent trilogy, so be sure to start with the first one, “Shadow and Bone,” or you will be lost. Alina and Mal, who have been best friends since childhood, are soldiers in the First Army of Ravka. Ravka is a harsh place, ravaged by war and currently split in two by the Shadow Fold. The Fold is a place of darkness and danger, where creature called volcra snatch and eat men who attempt to cross through to the other side.  While attempting to cross the fold, Mal is gravely injured and Alina manifests the rare ability to summon light in order to save Mal’s life. Alina is immediately taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, those who can wield magic, and swept up in the intrigue of the court. Those who enjoy fantasy or historical fiction (many elements of the story were based on Russian myth and culture) should give this one a try.

“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell
I put off reading this book even after hearing all the buzz about it, thinking it was just another typical romance. However, this turned out to be one of those rare books that sticks with you, long after you are done reading it. The year is 1986, and Eleanor is the new girl in town. She is forced to walk the gauntlet of the school bus where she is exposed to taunting and bullying because she is overweight and dresses strangely. She ends up sitting next to Park, who is half-Korean and something of an outsider at school. This is definitely not love at first sight. For awhile the two completely ignore each other, but gradually throughout the course of the year, they begin bonding over comic books and music. Eventually, they fall in love, but there is likely no happily ever after to this story. Park gradually learns about Eleanor’s poverty and her volatile family situation, which finally explodes.steel

“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson
This is a fun, fast-paced superhero story that is the first in a projected series. In this story, superheroes are the villains. Twelve years ago when the Calamity came, Epics were created, giving random humans incredible powers (and of course weaknesses). These Epics began subjugating the rest of humanity and taking over different parts of the world. Ten years ago, David’s father was killed by one of the most powerful Epics, named Steelheart. Ever since, David has made it his life’s mission to study the Epics and find their weaknesses. His one goal is to avenge his father’s death and take down Steelheart.

“In the Shadow of Blackbirds” by Cat Winters
Mary Shelley Black, age 16, has been sent to live with her aunt in San Diego. Like many cities in 1918, it is not only dealing with World War II, but also the Spanish flu pandemic which is killing millions all over the world. Surrounded by loss many have turned to spiritualism in an attempt to speak with dead loved ones. Taking advantage of this is Julius, the older brother of Mary’s love Stephen, who claims he can capture ghosts in photographs. Soon after finding out that Stephen has died, Mary begins being visited by his tormented ghost, who talks about the blackbirds who tortured and killed him. Mary embarks on a quest to learn the truth about Stephen’s death.5th

5th Wave by Rick Yancey
There couldn’t be a teen list without some post apocalyptic fiction. This one is the best of the bunch. This time the earth has been decimated by an alien invasion through four separate waves: an electromagnetic pulse, tsunamis, the Red Death, and Silencers (humans who were implanted with alien intelligence as fetuses). One of the rare survivors, Cassie, armed with an M16 and her brother’s teddy bear, is trying to reunite with her brother while escaping Silencers and the 5th Wave.

Posted in: For Teens, Mercury Column, News

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Book Discussions at MPL

by Janet Ulrey, Adult Services Librarian
The “Good Books Club” is off and running. If you have a desire to join great book discussions with other book lovers, come talk about books with us! This fall we are launching a monthly Thursday night book discussion series. The meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in the Groesbeck Room of the Manhattan Public Library.

revolThe October “Good Books Club” is scheduled for Thursday, October 30th. It features Diane Eickhoff’s book, “Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women’s Rights.” Eickhoff tells the story of Clarina Nichols, a charismatic Kansas suffragist and abolitionist, who helped pave the way for revolutionary changes. Author Eickhoff will join us for this book discussion.

Diane Eickhoff has been a writer and an editor of educational materials for children and young adults for many years. She received her MA in history from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Diane has been involved with the Kansas Humanities Council since 2003 and joined the Council’s Speakers Bureau in 2009. She spent six arduous years studying and analyzing Nichol’s writings and papers. In fact, her biography of Clarina Nichols was named a Kansas Notable Book for 2007. Her insight and expertise in history will greatly enhance this discussion. It will be a privilege and honor to have Diane Eickhoff here with us, and we hope you will join us in welcoming her to Manhattan. (more…)

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Library Tips and Tricks: Readers Advisory at the Library

By Judi Nechols, Adult Services Librarian

Have you ever finished a book and, with a sigh, thought you would never be able to find another author whose writing appealed to you as much? Or have you walked into the library and wandered in the stacks of books, with no idea how to choose a book you might enjoy? Readers’ Advisory is our way to connect readers to new authors or books to enjoy. 

There are several Readers’ Advisory tools available at Manhattan Public Library to help you to find the perfect book!

  • Novelist is an addition to our online catalog that makes it easy to find writers or stories of a similar style to one you’ve enjoyed. Just look up a book you have read in our catalog. Click on “Full Display” on the right. Scroll down the page and you will find a section with “Suggestions and More,” where both Authors and Titles are listed that are written in a similar style. Novelist makes recommendations for both fiction and nonfiction books.
  • BookTALK_homepage_iconThe BookTalk link is located on our home page (www.mhklibrary.org). BookTalk is a searchable collection of book reviews written by Manhattan Public Library staff members, with reviews of fiction and non-fiction books as well as DVD’s. Just click on the box titled BookTalk on our home page. The most recent reviews will appear first. Scroll down and you can browse through hundreds of reviews, or search for reviews for books by a favorite author or genre.

 

  • The Readers’ Advisory Table is located near the Information Desk and has lots of lists for genres, series and read-alikes for authors—pick one up and head to the stacks to find a book.

A Personalized Reading List form can be completed online or in a paper form (available on the Readers’ Advisory Table). Just tell us your favorite authors or subjects, why you enjoyed a certain book, and we will provide you with a list of titles that we hope you will enjoy.

 

blood bedlamLocated on our genre display cases, we have books available to help you find a new author or series. The Genreflecting Advisory series includes several titles, such as “Blood, Bedlam, Bullets, and Badguys : a reader’s guide to adventure/suspense fiction”, “Historical Fiction : a guide to the genre”, “The Real Story : a guide to nonfiction reading interests” and “Genrefied Classics : a guide to reading interests in classic literature.”

  • Library Staff members are avid readers and are always willing to assist fellow readers in finding new authors or titles—just ask us! We are glad to show you how to find and use our Readers’ Advisory materials and staff may also tell you about the most recent good book that they have read!! MPL Librarians are skilled at providing Readers Advisory and are here to help you find your way to your next favorite book or author!

With so many resources for finding books to suit your preferences, we’re sure you can find something new and enjoyable at Manhattan Public Library to suit your reading preferences.

 

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The Reader’s Bill of Rights

Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager

books

 

I  sometimes think we take reading a tiny bit too seriously. Several years ago, in Daniel Pennac’s witty and entertaining book “Better Than Life,” I was delighted to discover his Reader’s Bill of Rights, a declaration of independence from worn-out constraints and rules that change reading from a pleasure to a chore. This list has stuck with me ever since. Here, in Pennac’s view, are your rights as a reader:

 

 

 

1. The right to not read.
2. The right to skip pages.
3. The right to not finish.
4. The right to reread.
5. The right to read anything.
6. The right to escapism.
7. The right to read anywhere.
8. The right to browse.
9. The right to read out loud.
10. The right to not defend your tastes.

If you’re reading for pleasure, definitely read what you love and bypass all the “shoulds.” Read whatever appeals to you at the moment without regrets or excuses. Reading can be many things — fun, inspiring, empowering, entertaining, enlightening – but it shouldn’t be a chore, and you certainly shouldn’t have to conform to someone else’s arbitrary standards. Read trash or treasure, or whatever else you want, with no apologies necessary – see #6 above.
If you’re reading a book that doesn’t capture your attention, or if reading it is simply not an enjoyable experience, by all means stop! Unless you’re going to be tested on it later, don’t read another page. There’s no rule anywhere that says you have to finish every book you start. Life’s too short. Close that book. See Right #3 above.
You should also feel free to use a perfectly acceptable reader’s technique that I like to call “skimming for the good parts.” This can include checking out the photos in a biography, reading the table of contents to get the gist of the book, enjoying the illustrations, looking for the most food-stained pages in a cookbook, going straight to the hot scenes in a novel, or skipping ahead and reading the last page to see how it all ends. We can do this! No one needs to know! See Rights #2 and #8 above.
I exercise my right #7 (the right to read anywhere) by having something to read with me at all times (or trying to remember to). A book in your pocket or bag is a lifesaver when waiting in the dentist’s office, being delayed in an airport, calming a fractious child, or eating a quiet meal alone in a restaurant. Reading anywhere can help the time pass and keep you self-contained and content, inoffensive to others, an island of calm and purpose. I love Right #7.
But in the end, in spite of Pennac’s Right #1 above (The Right to Not Read), I do hope reading is a vital part of your life. If you’re looking for good books at Manhattan Public Library, library staff are always delighted to help. Just ask!
So, what’s your favorite reader’s right?

 

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Ready for Fall

By Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager

The new school year always brings with it a barrage of children’s book publications. It’s a wonderful time to fill shelves and backpacks with brand new books. Here are a few seasonal picture books that arrived just in time for falling leaves, pumpkin patches, and getting settled into another school year.

Fall Leaves“Fall Leaves” by Loretta Holland, with enchanting illustrations by Elly MacKay, is the perfect book to discuss the season. Each spread is centered on a two word phrase, such as “Fall arrives” and “Leaves leave.” Further description gives meaning to the phrase and sometimes a simple scientific explanation of what happens as the season moves from September to December.

“Otis and the Scarecrow,” a new Otis the tractor book by Loren Long, will be a popular choice. Otis is a good-natured tractor who loves his farm, and he is not sure what to do with the new arrival who doesn’t “smile or say hello,” but just stands there with “a sour look on his face, staring at the cornfield.” How does one make friends with a scarecrow? Leave it to Otis to come up with a way. (more…)

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Book Discussions this Fall at MPL!

If you or your book club would like to join us for book discussions this fall, check out the books and start reading!

ghostSeptember 25 at 7:00 pm, we will discuss The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. This is the K-State Book Network’s Common Read for 2014, and the devastating effects of cholera and the search for the cause of this deadly disease is written about in this book–a fascinating look at scientific investigation in the Victorian era.

 

October 30 at 7:00 pm we will have the exciting opportunity to discuss the book Revolutionary Heart with the author, Diane Eickoff! The main character of this book is a charismatic suffragist who helped pave the way for change for women.

 

 

carriedNovember 20 at 7:00 pm, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien will be discussed with a guest discussion leader. Sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, this discussion is part of the events planned for the Manhattan Big Read of this poignant and fascinating look at American soldiers in Vietnam.

 

We hope you can join us for any or all of these discussions!

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