Archive for 2013

Local Indie Spotlight: Robb N. Johnston

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

wood cutterThe Woodcutter and the Most Beautiful Tree by Robb N. Johnston
In this picture book, The Most Beautiful Tree has discovered ways of outsmarting the singing woodcutter from chopping him down through the seasons, but when winter arrives, what can the tree do to survive? This book was written and illustrated by Robb N. Johnston, who resides in Rockford and was inspired to write this story during his time teaching English in Japan. What is really fantastic about this book are the illustrations. Not only does the woodsman have a textured, wooly sweater, the tree has captivating, graphic foliage all year round. The author and illustrator has used a variety of mediums in his illustrations that bring the book to life, and also in the hearts of the readers. It is no surprise that he was inspired by the culture of Japan; his images are reminiscent of the work of Japanese artists today.
This book is best suited for children older than 5, but can be enjoyed by adults.

Johnston’s book is part of the Local Indie @ KDL collection, housed at the Cascade Township and Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branches. It was created to give independent authors, filmmakers and musicians the opportunity to be added to our shelves and to be featured by staff in order to increase viewers, readers and listeners.

Click here to browse our Local Indie @ KDL collection.


Reviewed by Emily at the Cascade Township Branch


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Holiday Closing — Christmas Eve & Day

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

The Kent District Library will be closed for the Christmas holidays Tuesday & Wednesday, December 24–25. We will resume normal operating hours on Thursday, December 26. For additional 2014 holiday closing information, please view our holiday closings page.


We appreciate your patronage and wish you Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays

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Author Janet Dailey Dies at Age 69

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Well-known romance author Janet Dailey passed away Saturday, December 14 at the age of 69.  Janet Dailey wrote over 100 books, over half of those for her first publisher Harlequin.  Her Americana series featured one book set in each state.  Her latest book, Merry Christmas, Cowboy ranked 13th on Publisher’s Weekly‘s adult mass market best-seller list in October.

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Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Due to the icy road conditions, all Kent District Library branches will be closed today, December 22.

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Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts — Cinnamon Ornaments

Saturday, December 21st, 2013


Cinnamon Ornaments

Following a recipe and working in the kitchen making cinnamon ornaments is a fun and easy way to practice both early literacy and math skills. Even very small children can help measure and stir ingredients and knead, roll and cut dough. Hang them on your Christmas tree or in your kitchen to keep the room smelling wonderful throughout the winter season. 


  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • 1  4oz bottle of cinnamon
  • drinking straw
  • colorful ribbon
  • paint markers (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Children can use hands for this. Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Make a hole at top of ornament with drinking straw or skewer. Place ornaments on baking sheet.
  2. Bake 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry, turning occasionally.)
  3. Insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. Decorate with opaque paint markers, found in arts and crafts stores, if desired. This recipe makes 12-15 ornaments.

Other Ideas:

Have older children poke whole cloves into the surface of an orange to make an old fashioned pomander ball. Tie a ribbon around the orange to hang it up to dry. Hang in a closet to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

–Anjie G. at KDL’s Walker branch



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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Short Story Collections for Teens

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

A few great choices for short stories.

With plenty of school work and extra-curricular activities, sometimes you can’t find time to read an entire book.   Or, perhaps you’re the type of reader who hates to leave that book untouched for days at a time.  Weeks?  Don’t even think about it!  The solution is short stories.  Popular teen authors frequently get together and write on a theme, bind it all together and provide quick and easy entertainment that is ready to read one chunk at a time.

The holiday season is upon us, and Christmas provides an interesting backdrop to everyday drama.  Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances is a compilation of stories surrounding the holiday and winter months, including a title by John Green, famous for his down-to-earth writing and unforgettable characters.  Joined by Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, it’s a trio of charming and hilarious quick stories about life and how love truly can be found at Starbucks.

Want to put the snow off for a while?  Heat things up with some paranormal romance in Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love.  This collection contains plenty of dark creatures, mystical spells and forbidden love.  Features stories are written by such powerhouses as Maggie Stiefvater, author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races.  She’s accompanied by plenty of other awesome authors, like Sarah Rees Brennan, Daniel Marks and Carrie Ryan.  With so much to offer in one anthology, it’s a collection to come back to time and time again.

Okay, paranormal stuff not up your alley?  This next collection will make up for it.  Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd is sure to please anyone in whole wide geekdom.  Coming from a fellow geek, I say that in the best possible way.  This collection of short stories covers many spectrums in the nerdiverse.  Headed by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci, Geektastic offers Jedi Knights and Klingons, cosplayers and fanfiction writers, science lovers and theater devotees.  You’ll be graced by the splendid writing of Garth Nix, David Levithan, Sara Zarr, Scott Westerfeld and more.  Plus, it includes illustrations from Bryan Lee O’Malley, writer and illustrator of the Scott Pilgrim series.

These three collections only scratch the surface of what’s available.  Short stories fit the nooks and crannies of the busy-reader’s life perfectly.   Now you will never have to be without a good story.


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Upcoming Natural Health Programs

Friday, December 20th, 2013

natural healthHealing with Green Smoothies
Presenter Linda Carrington demonstrates using natural plant oils with natural green smoothies to help target health challenges such as weight loss, allergies, infections, inflammation, cravings, blood sugar problems and more. Pre-registration is required and participant spots are limited. To register, click here.

Thursday, January 9, 6:30 PM – East Grand Rapids branch
Monday, February 3, 6:30 PM – Kentwood branch
Monday, February 24, 6:30 PM – Sand Lake / Nelson Township branch


Medicine Cabinet Makeover
Discover natural solutions that can be safer, cheaper and more effective than over-the-counter medications. Linda Carrington presents tips on using essential oils to alleviate colds and coughs, relieve stress and anxiety, support digestion and much more. Pre-registration is required and participant spots are limited. To register, click here.

Thursday, January 16, 6:30 PM – East Grand Rapids branch
Thursday, January 23, 6:30 PM – Gaines Township branch
Thursday, January 30, 6:00 PM – Walker branch


For branch addresses and maps, click here.


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KDL Has All the Right Ingredients

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Do you need some inspiration for that big Christmas dinner? Well do not fret; your local branch of KDL will have you covered with cookbooks. KDL even has some Christmas recipe cookbooks. Some of these just focus of sweets, such as The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook: 60 Large-Batch Recipes to Bake and Share. Or maybe you are looking to make a more traditional Christmas Tea — you could find motivation in The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, which includes a recipe for Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas pudding, which I’m sure is delectable. Want something more modern but that is still recognizable in pop culture? How about Debbie
Macomber’s Christmas Cookbook.

Maybe you need more help than just recipes and want insight into hosting your first big family Christmas gathering; there is a book all about Christmas entertaining.

No matter what your holiday plans may be, if you need help with Christmas recipes, crafts, or any other ideas, you will want to check out what is on the shelf of your local Kent District Library. Remember if you cannot find what you need, you can always put in a request to have the materials brought over.



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KDL Open 12:00 – 5:00 PM Today

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Due to weather conditions, KDL’s hours on Friday, December 20 will be from 12:00 – 5:00 PM. All branches with open hours on Fridays will not open until noon.

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Who’s Up for a Pirate Festival?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Climb aboard, mateys, and celebrate Guys Read in arrrbsolute style! Performers from the Michigan Pirate Festival will lead activities, including a treasure hunt, while swashbucklerss of all ages enjoy music by the steel drum band, Travel Strike. Sponsored by the Friends of the Cascade Library. Costumed participants welcome. For all ages.

Marrrrk yer calendarrrs for Thursday, January 2, 3:00–5:00 PM at the Cascade Township branch.

Photo courtesy of Michigan Pirate Festival.
Photo courtesy of Michigan Pirate Festival

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