Archive for May, 2012

Walker Adult Book Discussion Group

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

By popular demand the Walker branch of the Kent District Library will continue holding an Adult Book Discussion group this summer!  Please join us for a friendly, informal discussion and good company. 

Tuesday, June 12, 10:00 AM

“A” is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Tuesday, July 10, 10:00 AM

The Quilter’s Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini

Copies of the books are available for checkout at the Walker branch.  This will also be an excellent time to sign up for the Adult Summer Reading Club

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Early Lit Bits: “Boy + Bot” Book Review

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman

After a chance meeting in the woods, a boy and robot become fast friends.  Later when Bot’s power switch is accidentally bumped, Boy believes Bot is sick and tries his best to mend him.  The roles are reversed when Bot discovers Boy asleep, and tries to “reactivate” him. 

The humor of the mix-up will be a hit with adults and children, and the pictures are large enough to share with a group.  With vibrant illustrations and a heart-warming story of friendship, this book begs repeat readings. 

As you are reading, pretend you are a robot and talk in your best robot voice.  Ask your child what kind of robot he or she would like to be.  Would a robot be a nice playmate?  Break out the cardboard and duct tape and construct a robot costume together.  Pretend play is an excellent way for children to practice telling stories, which also gets them ready to read!  

This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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Guys Read: Aric Davis

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Our Guys Read program at KDL is designed to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers. We want boys to know that reading is cool! One way we can do that is by introducing them to men that love to read.

Meet author and really cool guy Aric Davis:

“Reading can be risky, edgy, and dark, in the best of ways.”

Favorite books:
The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale
Blue Belle by Andrew Vachss

Aric is the author of two books – Nickel Plated for teens and A Good and Useful Hurt for adults.

Photo credit: Megan Davis

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KDL’s Music Collection

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Caledonia Music Display

Looking for some good music?  KDL has a wonderful and varied collection of Music as shown in this display at the Caledonia Township Branch.  Music CDs, Music DVDs, and books highlight the variety of KDL’s collection.  Stop into your local branch to check out some new music or pick up some old favorites.  Some of our music categories include:

Stop in today or log in the Freegal downloadable music service using your KDL library card number and download your favorite songs from among hundreds of thousands of recordings offered by Sony Music Entertainment.


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KDL Top Ten – 5/11/2012

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Do your kids dig music?  Pick up fresh new tunes to bounce to at your library!  To view 10 of the most checked-out Children’s Music CDs at KDL this year, click on the link to the KDL Top Ten List!

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Summer Reading @ KDL is Coming Soon!

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Summer Reading is just around the corner! Starting June 1, the whole family can sign up for Summer Reading @ KDL and have fun reading this summer! This year, the program runs from Friday, June 1 through Friday, August 31.

With activities for babies, kids, teens and adults, KDL’s Summer Reading Program really does offer something for everyone! There’s Summer Reading for Babies for babies 0-24 months, Dream Big Read for kids 24 months through 5th grade, Own the Night for teens grades 6-12, and Between the Covers for adults. Our new Experience Summer online badge component will encourage kids to learn not only through reading, but also through seeing, going and experiencing. Meet your reading goals and enter to win great prizes such as gift certificates, get-aways and even an Amazon Kindle!

KDL is also offering an exciting line-up of summer programs including Bubbleology with Geoff Akins, Geocaching, John Ball’s Traveling Zoo, Super Sub Sampler and so much more! 

Not only is KDL’s Summer Reading Program a great way to have fun this summer, but it’s also an important step in helping to prevent what’s known as summer reading loss. Studies show that “students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation.” We aim to help prevent summer reading loss by providing programs and activities that encourage learning while children and teens are away from school. By developing these habits now and making learning fun, we hope to help people succeed in school and in life. 

Sign up for Summer Reading @ KDL starting June 1 at any of KDL’s 18 branch locations.

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The Wild Rumpus Ends

Friday, May 11th, 2012

The Wild Rumpus Ends.

Author Maurice Sendak died on Tuesday, May 8th from complications from a stroke.

I could talk about how the Holocaust affected his young life. I could talk about the fact that he was gay. I could talk about his terrible illness that confined him to his bed when he was young. I could talk about his influences. I could talk about how he changed picture books for kids.  I could talk about all these things that anyone can find on Google or Yahoo or MSNBC. If those are the things you want, let me suggest you go to those sites. I want to talk about my relationship with Maurice Sendak.

How can I describe a lifelong relationship with a man I have never met, never spoken to and never seen in person? Granted this relationship was one way, he never knew about me or who I was. This relationship was one sided. He gave and I took. But that is what authors do. They leave words for the reader, and get nothing back from them. It seems a lonely way to communicate.

I met Maurice Sendak when I was a kid at the Walker Memorial Library in North Muskegon. I may have been three. I may have been five. My mother introduced him to me, and both of my grandmothers approved. I have strong memories of all three reading the story of Max to me.  I remember only a few titles from when  I was that age — The Littlest Angel, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Where the Wild Things Are. I have enjoyed those titles from time to time as I rediscover them. But I come back to Max and the Wild Things more often that any of the others. I often look at the book just to remember it and enjoy it again. I like the way Max takes charge of the monsters and shows no fear of them. I remember the last page of the book and the final line “and it was still hot,” referring to the supper that Max’s mom had relented on and brought to his bedroom at the end of the adventure.  Forgiveness is always possible even for wild things. 

I look back on the journey of my life and how I have left Max and come back to him several times.  Whenever I read to the students that my wife teaches, I always start and end the year with the Wild Things. And because I love the book, they love the book and ask if I can still read it by heart. I can.

I flirted with other authors who have entertained me with new stories about different monsters, real and imagined.  I have discovered other picture books and have fallen in love with them, looking forward to sharing them with my family. But I always came back to Sendak’s story of a naughty boy dressed in a wolf suit and making mischief of one kind or another.

I have amassed a large collection of Wild Things toys, puzzles, posters and fuzzy figures given to me by friends, family and folks cleaning out the backroom or closet of their library. (Thank you Krause Memorial and East Grand Rapids!) Every kid in my life knows the reason they own at least one copy of the Wild Things is because Uncle Jim always has copies to give away. Some copies are new for babies, some are used for older kids and adults, some are tattered copies that have been removed from the library to be used for crafts and to make pictures to hang up. But I find them all homes. Every wild thing needs a good home.

I am not normally one to follow celebrity lives and deaths. I was disappointed when Robert B. Parker died, but only because that meant no more stories about Spencer and Hawk. I was sad when John Candy and Chris Farley died because I will no longer see new works from them, but life goes on rather quickly.

But when Maurice Sendak died, I really took it hard. I lost a friend. Sure he was a friend that never knew me, but I knew him. He had been in my life for more than 40 years. I miss him.

Thank you Maurice for showing us that the monsters can be kept at bay.

Thank you for telling the truth to kids; childhood can be tough, but it can be survived.

And thank you for Max and his wolf suit. And for the mischief he made.

Written by Jim Dewald Jr., Circulation Manager at the Kentwood branch


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Kentwood Branch Closed Sunday, May 13

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

The Kentwood branch will be closed Sunday, May 13, for a power line upgrade. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Our Cascade Township, East Grand Rapids, Plainfield Township, and Wyoming branches will be open their regularly scheduled hours of 1:00 – 5:00 PM that day.

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The Best of the Best Books of 2011

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

How does a person decide what to read next?

It’s an important question to me.  I’m already 57 years old and there are a lot of great books out there!  About fifteen of them are piled on my dresser right now, as well as one in my car, a couple at work, and a few on my e-reader, downloaded from KDL.  Not to mention the dozens on my “to read” list on  I don’t have a lot of time to waste on characters I don’t like and stories that bore me.  The choice makes me nervous—will it be one of those books that everybody says is wonderful, but I will immediately hate it, like Lonesome Dove?  

Speaking of what everybody says is wonderful, you really must check out the 2011 “All the Best Books Compilation” on Blogging for a Good Book. Librarians from the Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia recorded “The Best Books of 2011″ lists from 237 different sources (magazines, newspapers, blogs, web sites, award lists, etc.)  They put the books in order by number of mentions each book received.  They claim that the list, in an Excel spreadsheet, “includes various genres and nonfiction subject areas to provide the most balanced look we can possibly give of which books were most loved in 2011.”

Take a look at the list  and let us know what you think of the choices! How many of the 3328 titles have you read?

Best General Fiction


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Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Window Greenhouse:

Growing a garden is a wonderful way to help children learn about the world around them. Gardening teaches patience, nurturing skills, and even builds vocabulary as children learn the names of different vegetables and plants. Here’s an easy garden craft to make with your child.


  • Seeds (fast growing seeds such alfalfa work best)
  • Sponge (dampened with water)
  • Empty clear salad container

To Make:

  • Sprinkle seeds on damp sponge and place into the clear plastic salad container and place in a sunny window.

To Use:

  • Observe the seeds sprouting and growing.
  • Label the greenhouse with the plant’s name and have your child draw a picture of the plants.
  • As the seeds sprout, talk about the different parts of the plant: the roots, stem and leaves.
  • If your plant is edible, talk about how the plant tastes.

Other Ideas:

  • Consider planting seeds in other fun containers such as old shoes, empty egg cartons, and even empty egg shells.
  • Plant edible herbs and vegetables and encourage your child to taste them.  

This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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