Author Archive

How to Find Appropriate Reading for Kids

Friday, April 11th, 2014


Finding appropriate reading material for a child is not always an easy task for a parent. Mom and Dad certainly strive to identify literature that encourages their children’s interest in reading, yet sometimes it can be difficult to determine if a book is either content- or reading-level appropriate. As much as we’d love to read everything before our kids get their hands on them, in all likelihood that’s not going to happen. Luckily, there are a couple of online resources that parents can refer to for help (in addition to talking with your local KDL librarian).

Story Snoops and Common Sense Media are two websites that are helpful tools for parents to utilize in navigating the vast amounts of books available for children. They provide reviews of a wide range of youth and teen fiction. In addition to the reviews, each website gives recommendations for what age level is appropriate for reading a particular book based on its content. Both also have some of their own unique features. For example, Common Sense Media has a “Great Handpicked Alternatives” generator that provides titles that are similar to a particular book in subject content, but might be directed to a different age- or reading-level. Story Snoops has a section for each book it reviews called “the scoop,” which describes the book’s content in a way that’s essentially a “head’s up” or “spoiler” of what subject matter a reader will encounter over the course of the story.


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New Adult Booklists

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Adult Booklists logo-page-0

Looking for something new to read during Spring Break? Check out some of the new adult booklists available through KDL:

For these lists and more, check out the KDL Recommends section under Books and More.


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New Booklists

Sunday, November 17th, 2013


Winter weather is fast approaching, so it’s the perfect time to sit back, relax and enjoy a book from some of our latest booklists:

readfireAmish Series You May Have Missed

Publishing (Yes, You Can Publish)

Middle East History, or Turmoil and War

Books to Films

Glimpses of Heaven (Near-Death Experiences)


For additional booklists, be sure to check out the KDL Recommends section on our website.


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Business Research Tips – ReferenceUSA

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

ReferenceUSACheck out some of the new features in ReferenceUSA, one of our business research databases:



For additional business research resources as well as other online materials, make sure to look in the Reference Resources section of our website.

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We’ve Updated Our Booklists

Sunday, May 12th, 2013


Check out some of the new booklists available!

World War I Nonfiction – Books about WWI events and the people involved.

Grow Happiness: Read About Gardens – Books for the “green thumb” in you!

Sure-Bet Smiles – Good stories that won’t bring you down.

To find these booklists and more, visit the KDL Recommends section on our website.


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New Booklists!

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013


Looking for something new to read? Check out 4 of KDL’s newest booklists!

Edgar Awards – Books selected by the Mystery Writers of America for their literary contributions to the Mystery Genre.

Rookie Mysteries – New and Acclaimed Mystery/Suspense series.

Imagined Lives – Biographical fiction based on the lives of real people.

Historical Fiction – An updated version with recent publications added.


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2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Gen_pulitzerColumbia University announced the 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners this week. Works receiving the award have shown excellence in various categories including newspaper journalism, literary achievement and musical composition. Here are some of the winners you can find through your local KDL branch or on the KDL eBook site:

Fiction: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

History: Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall

Biography: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

Poetry: Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

General Non-Fiction: Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King

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There’s a YouTube Video for That?

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Have you ever wanted a quick overview of a topic? Are you cramming for a big test? Check out the Crash Course Channel on YouTube. Started in 2012, the channel is hosted by brothers John and Hank Green, who present educational videos on a variety of different subjects. John covers history and literature, while Hank tackles science. Each episode lasts 7-15 minutes, and the content presented is clever, fast-paced and entertaining while acting as a supplement to subjects covered in many high school and college courses. The channel has over 100 videos and more are being added.

Here’s one of the channel’s more popular videos, which discusses the agricultural revolution:


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Grammy Awards

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

This past Sunday was the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. Over 80 separate awards were presented to the best artists in the music industry. Many of the songs and albums featured in the Grammys can be found at your nearest Kent District Library branch. Here are some to keep an eye out for:

Making Mirrors

Record of the Year

“Somebody That I Used to Know” from the album Making Mirrors by Gotye, featuring Kimbra



BabelAlbum of the Year

Babel by Mumford & Sons




Some NightsSong of the Year

“We Are Young” from the album Some Nights by Fun featuring Janelle Monáe




For many of the winners and as well the award nominees, be sure to look for them through KDL’s Freegal Music service in addition to checking them out from your local branch library.


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Stories from the Dust Bowl

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

I recently had the opportunity to watch “The Dust Bowl,” the latest documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns that was initially broadcast this past November on PBS. The series chronicles the environmental catastrophe that swept through the Great Plains during the 1930s. Farmlands were destroyed by drought as massive, deadly dust storms enveloped the plains, reducing the grasslands to barren deserts. It is considered the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.

In part of his film, Burns follows the journeys of Sanora Babb, a reporter who grew up in the Great Plains and later moved to Los Angeles with the hopes of working for a big-city newspaper. After the stock market crash effectively ended her career dreams, Babb would return to her hometown in 1934 during the height of the drought and dust storms. She recorded much of the destruction she witnessed while in the Great Plains. Returning to California in 1938 to work for the Farm Security Administration, Babb helped many of the refugees who migrated from the regions hit by the Dust Bowl. She continued to document her experiences with the hopes of publishing a novel about the Dust Bowl refugees she encountered.

Babb completed her manuscript in 1939; however, publishers refused to print her novel because a book covering the same subject had already been published. The book they are referring to: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize the following year). Babb would go on to write other publications throughout her life based upon her childhood on the southern Plains. It wouldn’t be until 2004 (only a year before she died) when Babb’s novel, Whose Names Are Unknown, would finally be published.

If you are looking for a book to complement “The Dust Bowl,” I would certainly recommend Whose Names Are Unknown. It follows a family living in Oklahoma that makes its way to the migrant labor camps in California. Struggling to survive the drought and Depression, the story of Julia and Milt Dunne gives us a glimpse into the lives of those most directly impacted by the disaster. How does it compare with The Grapes of Wrath? I’ll let you be the judge of that :-)



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