Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cast Your Vote!

February is American Heart Month, Black History Month, Library Lovers' Month, National Children's Dental Health Month, National Wild Bird Feeding Month and here at the Lansing Public Library, it's the month to cast your vote for your favorite Rebecca Caudill book and/or favorite Monarch book!
The Monarch Award is Illiniois' kindergarten-third grade children's choice award. Kids must read 5 of the 20 nominated books and can then cast their votes for their very favorite. Last year's winner was My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza.
The Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award is an annual award given to the author of the book voted most outstanding by students in 4th-8th grade. Students are required to read at least 3 of the nominated titles before they vote. The winner for 2006 was Eragon, by Chirstopher Paolini, and is already a successful motion picture.
Please visit our Youth Services Department online or the lower level of the library for a complete listing of the Monarch and Caudill nominees. There's still time to read, read, read and then vote, vote, vote!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"The man of a million lies"

The Adventures of Marco Polo by Russell Freedman is a beautiful new book summarizing one of the most famous and popular books of the Middle Ages, Marco Polo's The Description of the World (also known as The Travels of Marco Polo). Marco was a 17-year-old living in Venice and wondering what had happened to his father and uncle -- merchants who had been away on a business trip for years -- when, one day in 1269, they returned. They had been all the way to China, to the court of the great Khan there, and had been asked by him to return with a hundred Christian scholars, to explain the Christian faith to him. The two Polos, father and uncle, agreed, and soon set off again for the east, this time with young Marco along. (The hundred scholars never materialized. Two friars who started the journey soon turned back and went home.)

The three men were gone for 24 years. They traveled overland on foot, by horse, and by camel across the whole of Asia, and once in China saw cities, markets, and palaces far larger and richer than anything they were accustomed to in medieval Europe. When the Polos finally returned to Venice for the second time and Marco published his stories of this completely different world, people did not believe them. They called him "the man of a million lies." But they still read his book ... and we still do, too.

Just a sampling of the books on Marco Polo at Lansing library:
Marco Polo and the Medieval Explorers
The Adventures of Marco Polo
Marco Polo: a Journey Through China
Marco Polo: a Story of the Middle Ages

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

the Amazing Life of Birds

Here's a fun and quick read about everyone's favorite topic: puberty! The Amazing Life of Birds (The Twenty-Day Journal of Duane Homer Leech) is a humorous book written from the perspective of a 12 year old boy. Duane is just as confused about the changes around and inside him as any preteen but manages to find the humor in it and shares it with the reader. His clumsiness that seems most profound when he is in public and a pretty girl is nearby, his battle with zits as well as other body changes and his realizaton that girls really aren't all that bad is sometimes painful to witness but the reader holds out hope that Duane will survive. You can thoroughly enjoy this book of 84 pages from cover to cover in one evening and will come away with a new understanding of what young boys are going through. (I had a 13 year old read it and heard him laugh through most of it!) Author Gary Paulsen, a puberty survivor, has written many critically acclaimed books for young people. Hatchet is another great story of a young boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash in the wilderness and discovers an inner strength he didn't know he possessed.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Sea of Monsters

I found this book by mistake. Actually, I was looking for something else and the title caught my eye. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, intrigued me from first glance. I love the cover. But that's just the start of finding a great book to read. The real test is the first page. If the author doesn't catch me with the first page, then I won't read the book. And the first page is all about nightmares and a friend who happens to be a satyr. What more could you want? It gets better. The kid who is telling the story is a child of the sea god, Poseidon. Percy Jackson is a half-blood. He's half mortal and half god. And all he wants is to go back to camp Half-Blood for the summer. That's the beginning of a great adventure. This is actually the second book in the series. This has happened more than once to me. I find a great book, but it's the second or third one in the series. Well, don't let that stop you from reading it. You can go back and read the first one later. I intend to do just that.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A rousing tale of dauntless pluck ....

Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space. By Philip Reeve

The premise of the comic fantasy Larklight is that space travel was already possible by the early 1700s, and that by 1851 (when the novel opens), the British Empire had colonized most of the solar system. The (very properly British) Mumby family -- father, brother Art, and sister Myrtle -- are living quietly in their space-ship home, Larklight, orbiting the moon and missing their long-dead wife and mother, Amelia. Then something dreadful happens: Larklight is invaded by space spiders intent on galactic conquest, and also very interested in something in the Mumby family's past that will help in that quest. Mr. Mumby is rolled up in a spider web. Art and Myrtle must flee to the moon, to Venus, to Mars and beyond, in order to stay one step ahead of the bizarre creatures who pursue them, to intercept the spiders' plans for total domination, and to learn what secrets they themselves have been guarding without even knowing it. Along the way they are helped by the dashing boy-pirate Jack Havock and his alien crew; sparks fly at once between rude Jack and the very clean and ladylike Myrtle.

The combination of space adventure with a Victorian setting (and a few real historical characters), plus the wildly imaginative plot twists, make for a unique story. I was a little disappointed in the main characters, who seemed uninteresting in spite of all the action. Still, fans of classic science fiction might also enjoy the inside jokes sprinkled through the book, and feel almost as superior as Myrtle while doing so ... it's a good read!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Personal Collections

Do you have a collection you'd like to show off? LPL is always looking for something new to display in our glass cases to share with our patrons. Some of the previous collections on display in the Youth Services Department have been race cars, Care Bears, Disney Princesses, model airplanes, miniature doll houses and even Pez dispensers! All you have to do is call, email or stop in and leave a brief descrpition of your collection and we will keep it on file. When we think it's a good time to display it, you can come in and set it up, lock the case and let it be admired! We usually change the display every month and try to coordinate it with whatever is going on in the library at that time. Some upcoming events: Black History month in Feb., Dr. Seuss night in March and our summer reading program Mission Read: To the Library and Beyond!