Author Archive

Guys Read Welcomes You

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Guys ReadBoys are falling behind girls when it comes to reading. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education, boys have scored worse than girls in every age group, every year, for the last 30 years on reading tests. This has prompted KDL to join the national Guys Read initiative by launching our own program here in Kent County. Our goal is simple but ambitious — to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.

In order to accomplish this goal, we have launched a new Guys Read section of our website, complete with booklists, blog entries, videos, and a whole lot more. Perhaps most important is a page where guys can sign in and write their own book reviews to share with others. In addition to the website, we will host a series of programs throughout the winter, including a variety of book groups for guys, and a Kick-Off party at the Cascade Township branch on Sunday, January 29, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m

Please take some time to explore the site and check out this brochure for more details. Listen to the WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin on Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. for more information about the initiative, or email us if you have any questions. Here is a brief clip of Jon Scieszka, the man behind the national Guys Read movement, and former “National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature” introducing our guys book groups:


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Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Are you a teen artist or writer?  Thinking about doing it professionally?  If so, this is the opportunity for you.  The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is a nonprofit organization meant to “identify teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent and bring their remarkable work to a national audience.” 

They just opened submissions for this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, which is an opportunity for you, if you are in grades 7-12, to have a chance to shine.  Your art will be judged by industry leaders and will be reviewed for “recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarship opportunities.”  Deadlines vary based on entry type, but you have until at least mid-December to enter.  Check out their website for more details and start creating!

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2011 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

Monday, May 16th, 2011

The KDL staff would like to extend a huge thanks to all of the teens that submitted entries for our 2011 Teen Poetry Contest.  We had over 300 entries that our staff had a great time reviewing.  Once we narrowed down the entries, our judge selected the 10 winners.  A PDF of the winners and their poems is available on our teen page for your enjoyment.  Congratulations to the winning poets:

1. “We Have No Use For It Anymore” by Olivia Ezinga

2. “Impression, Sunrise” by Amy TenHoor

3. “Place of No Return” by Cassie Villarreal

4. “Contemplations” by Alicia Czarnecki

5. “The Girl In The Shadows” by Kara Montgomery

6. “Notebook Teens” by Evanne Zainea

7. “Dusk” by Mollie Stahl

8. “When I am With You” by Kaly mBula

9. “The Secret Life” by Jessica Dion

10. “Free Verse” by Issac Younker

We would also like to extend a special thanks to our judge, David Cope.  David is a creative writing professor at Grand Rapids Community College as well as the current Grand Rapids Poet Laureate.  We appreciate his expertise and his willingness to judge our contest again this year.

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Grandville Reads

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Having recently been a part of the successful community reading program entitled Grandville Reads, KDL’s Grandville Branch would like to thank the Grandville community for all of their tremendous support. Through this initiative, the library, along with Grandville schools, local business, and residents were encouraged to read and discuss the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, or the children’s book Listen to the Wind.

The event featured a variety of programs and activities, such as a visit at GVSU from Greg Mortenson, and school visits from Susan Roth, illustrator of Listen to the Wind.  The schools used the books in their classes and made related art projects, while the library had discussion groups and a photo contest.  The community also rallied together to raise over $8000 for Pennies for Peace, a fundraiser for the Central Asia Institute, an organization dedicated to building schools for women in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Below is a brief slide show featuring photos of event-related activities.

 If you participated in Grandville Reads, we’d love to hear what you think!

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Super Smash Bros. Brawl Tournament

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

It’s time for another round of our popular KDL Wii Tournament series, and this time we decided to go back to everyone’s favorite tournament game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  If you like to brawl please join us on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 12:00-4:00pm at the Plainfield Twp. Branch (2650 5 Mile Rd. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525).


In an effort to answer a few questions before they are asked, here are a few details of the game play:

  • It will be single player, with most battles consisting of 4 players.
  • The battles will be 3-minute timed battles.
  • There will be a few prelim battles before the top 28 participants are placed in the tournament bracket.
  • Wiimotes and nunchucks will be provided, but if you wish to use a classic remote or Gamecube controller you may bring one with you.
  • Some but not all of the characters and levels have been unlocked on the systems, but if any are unlocked throughout the tournament game play they may be used.
  • Items will be set to random throughout the event.
  • There will of course be prizes for the winner and runner-up as well as refreshments for all.

Let’s Brawl!

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What’s Your Favorite Banned Book?

Monday, September 28th, 2009


This week (September 26 – October 3) is Banned Books Week, an annual event each fall where we celebrate the right to read.  It is a great time to pick up a good book, and just enjoy your right to read it. You can read more about the week at the following sites.

In the hopes of helping each other find good titles, I thought we could share some of our favorite banned books or authors with each other.  I will start us off. One of my favorite banned books of all time is Fahrenheit 451, which I am currently re-reading in graphic novel form.  A favorite author of mine, who regularly finds his books facing challenges across the country, is Chris Crutcher.

What are your favorites?

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Teen Poetry Contest Winners

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

poetry.jpgThis year’s poetry contest was a huge success. We had about 200 entries from all of you and there were so many good ones that we had a very hard time narrowing them down. However, we did narrow them down and our judge has picked the 10 winners and 1 honorable mention. Among the winning poems there is a little something for every reader, as you will find poems about love and loss, city life, a rough day, playing on a sand dune, and even a poet who suspects his brother just might be a robot! 

We have a PDF available for download on the KDL Teen page with all the winners and their poems for your enjoyment. Take a minute to check them out, and join me in congratulating these wonderful poets!  If you entered and did not make the cut this year, I want to encourage you that there were many, many other poems that could have won and narrowly missed out. So keep writing and be ready for next year.

Also, a special thanks to our judge, David Cope. David is a creative writing professor at GRCC and a published poet. His expertise makes it possible for us to host this contest each year. In regards to this year’s winners, David wrote that they “were quite good, largely written in free verse that stuck to its subject and let the details speak for themselves.” His advice to those who didn’t make the cut is to avoid “rhymes that distort phrasing and often lead to grammatical inversions” because “rhyme is an ornament, not a necessity, and ‘either use no ornament or good ornament.’”

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Where’s Your Band?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009


The Grandville Branch is looking for talented local teen bands to perform at our Amped @ the Amphitheatre concert this summer.

(Held on Thursday, July 30, at 6:00 p.m.)

Teen bands interested in performing should complete a registration form by Friday, May, 15, 2009. Forms and complete guidelines are available at the Grandville Branch, or online. Email or call Josh at 647-3895 for more info.

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Word Wise – Teen Poetry Contest

Friday, March 27th, 2009

npm_logo.jpgWith spring finally upon us (fingers crossed), and March drawing to an end, National Poetry Month is just around the corner.  Every year since 1996, April has been declared National Poetry Month, making it a prime time to read and reflect upon a great form of writing as well try your hand at some of your own. 

As such we would like to introduce Word Wise, KDL’s sixth annual poetry contest for teens.  Starting on April 1 you will be able to submit your poems online or at your local KDL branch.  By mid May winners will be annoucnced and will recive a $50 gift card to Schuler Books and Music.  The winning poems will also be made available on our website.  Check out the teen page for complete rules and an online entry form.  If you are looking for some inspiration, feel free to check out this list of KDL staff’s favorite teen poetry books, or stop into the library and ask for a recommendation.

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Thumbs Up 2009 Teen Vote

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

thumbsup.jpgWant to have a voice in picking this year’s Thumbs Up! Award?

“The Thumbs Up! Award was established in 1986 to recognize the excellence in, and to celebrate the uniqueness of, Young Adult Literature. A committee, consisting of Young Adult and Teen Librarians, meets several times during the year to determine the winner. Winners are selected from books published in the U.S. during the previous year.

Beginning in 2001, the Thumbs Up! Committee has included a teen vote. Teens that are 12 to 18 years old are asked to help select the 2009 Thumbs Up! winner. The list of titles has been narrowed to twenty.”

So, now’s your chance.  The list has been narrowed down to the top 20 and now you have until May 30 to read as many of the following books as you want, then submit your vote for the best book of 2008.  Ballots are available at your local KDL branch, or simply send an email with your top choice to

Here are your choices: (click here for an interactive list)

Anderson, Laurie Halse – Chains

Bodeen, S.A. – The Compound

Brothers, Megan – Debbie Harry Sings in French

Collins, Suzanne – The Hunger Games

Connor, Leslie – Waiting for Normal

De La Pena, Matt – Mexican WhiteBoy

Doctorow, Cory – Little Brother

Gaiman, Neil – The Graveyard Book

Galante, Cecilia – The Patron Saint of Butterflies

George, Jessica Day – Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

Goldman, Stephen – Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about The Grapes of Wrath

Green, John – Paper Towns

Harmon, Michael – The Last Exit to Normal

Katcher, Brian – Playing with Matches

Krovatin, Christopher – Venemous

Lockhart, E. – The Disreputable History of Frankie Landeau Banks

Scott, Elizabeth – Living Dead Girl

Scott, Elizabeth – Stealing Heaven

Stratton, Allan – Chandra’s War

Zarr, Sarah – Sweethearts


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