Archive for January, 2013

What Do I Read Now??

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

book sale storeFeeling a little let down after you closed the cover of that really amazing book? Does that book make you want to go back to the beginning and read it again because it was JUST THAT GOOD? Aren’t sure you can find anything quite like it ever again?

Never fear. KDL has some great resources to help you find that next GREAT read!

Check out the BOOKS & MORE section of our website for links to read-alike suggestions, lists of award winners and picks from our incredibly well-read staff!  We also offer suggestions for Teens and Kids.

One of our newest resources is our Popular Authors by Genre. This section of our website includes lists of  authors in categories such as Mysteries, Classics, Chick Lit, etc., to help you find your next favorite book.

Happy Reading!


Posted by:

Short Story Contest: Last Day to Vote!

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

WriteMichigan-RGBToday is the final day to vote in our inaugural Write Michigan short story contest. If you haven’t maxed out your allowed votes, go to and vote today for up to one adult and one youth entry.

Grand prize winners will be announced tomorrow, and an awards ceremony featuring Wade Rouse — bestselling (and hi-LAR-ious) West Michigan humorist and memoirist — will be held at the Grand Rapids Public Library on March 19.

All finalists’ stories will be included in a collection published by Schuler Books & Music.

Nearly 600 people entered the contest this year — a tremendous turnout. You can write, Michigan!

Posted by:

Early Lit Bits: Music Minute

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Singing goes hand-in-hand with reading aloud to a child as one of the five practices that help children get ready to read and write. Many authors have created engaging, beautiful and educational picture books that are also set to music.

Author/illustrator Jane Cabrera has published some wonderful versions of classic nursery rhymes like Old MacDonald Had A Farm, Ten in the Bed and The Wheels on the Bus.

Sandra Boynton has created original songs in her fun and entertaining books like Dog Train, which includes a CD.

Check out this list for more suggestions of books that will have you and your child singing together!



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.


Posted by:

Staff Picks — Best of 2012

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Here is a list of some of our Staff Picks for the Best of 2012!  Place a hold or stop by your local branch to check one out.

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (2012)

At the turn of the 20th century in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a gentle solitary orchardist, Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots. Then two feral, pregnant girls and armed gunmen set Talmadge on an irrevocable course to save and protect, and reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill (2012)

Reluctantly abandoning her crime-reporting job to accompany her family to her mother’s newly acquired holiday camp on Thailand’s Gulf of Siam, Jimm Juree investigates a morbid local mystery in the hopes of revamping her career.

True Sisters by Sandra Dallas (2012)

Joining the ranks of emigrants responding to Brigham Young’s edict to move to Salt Lake City with two-wheeled handcarts as their only mode of travel, four women share a grueling journey of survival that tests the bonds of their friendship and faith.

Hologram for the King by David Eggers (2012)

A struggling American businessman travels to a rising Saudi Arabian city with the hopes of securing a contract that will earn him a commission large enough to stave off his economic woes and hold his family together.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green  (2012)

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock (2011)

Once confident and ambitious, Noelle had become crippled by anxiety, lacking the courage required even to attend a dinner party—until inspiration struck one day in the form of a quote: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

Home Front by Kristin Hannah (2012)

From a distance, Michael and Joleen Zarkades seem to have it all: a solid marriage, two exciting careers, and children they adore. But after twelve years together, the couple has lost their way. Then the Iraq war starts. An unexpected deployment will tear their already fragile family apart.

Dog Stars by Peter Heller (2012)

Surviving a pandemic disease that has killed everyone, a pilot establishes a shelter in an abandoned airport hangar before hearing a random radio transmission that compels him to risk his life to seek out other survivors.

A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson (2012)

A powerful saga of three generations of women, plagued by hardships and torn by a devastating secret, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of family.

Does this Church Make Me Look Fat? by Rhoda Janzen (2012)

After reconnecting with her roots and her family in Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, the author describes her newfound faith and interesting experiences hanging out with Pentecostals after she begins dating a churchgoer.

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson (2012)

In 1923, devout Eva English and her not-so-religious sister Lizzie embark on a journey to be missionaries in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar.

A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller (2012)

Three elderly men are gunned down over their coffee at a local diner in Ackers Gap, West Virginia, and seemingly half the town is there to witness the act. Still, it happened so fast, and no one seems to have gotten a good look at the shooter. Was it random? Or was it connected to the spate of drug violence?

The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber (2012)

Jo Marie Rose opens the Rose Harbor Inn bed and breakfast in Cedar Cove in order to start a new life, but the inn and its first guests bring surprises into Jo’s life.

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (2012)

When a peaceful monastery in Quebec is shattered by the murder of their renowned choir director, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Surete du Quebec are challenged to find the killer in a cloistered community that has taken a vow of silence.

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts (2012)

Working alongside his mother and brother restoring a historic hotel in Boonsboro, Maryland, Owen Montgomery falls for a childhood friend.

Come Home by Lisa  Scottoline  (2012)

Rebalancing her life and career after a painful divorce, pediatrician Jill learns that her ex has died from an alleged overdose that her former stepdaughter believes was actually murder.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (2012)

When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (2012)                                                         In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must do to survive while keeping secret all that she can.


Posted by:

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 🙂



Posted by:

2013 ALA Youth Book Awards

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

The American Library Association announced yesterday the yearly awards for youth books and media for 2013. The complete list can be found on the ALA site. The book awards were as follows:


The 2013 Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature was awarded to The One and Only Ivan, written by Katherine Applegate (it should be noted that Katherine grew up in Grand Rapids!). Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage



The 2013 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children was awarded to This Is Not My Hat, illustrated and written by Jon Klassen. Five Caldecott Honor Books also were named: Creepy Carrots! illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds; Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett; Green, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo and Sleep Like a Tiger, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue.


Lastly, the 2013 Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults was awarded to In Darkness, written by Nick Lake. Four Printz Honor Books also were named: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Dodger by Terry Pratchett, and The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna.




Be sure to look for these books at your local KDL branch!

Posted by:

A Must-Have for Newborns: A Library Card

Monday, January 28th, 2013

KDL Day of ServiceEight volunteers from Grand Rapids legal firm Miller Johnson visited the KDL Service Center on January 21 and put together 1,000 KDL “Play-Grow-Read to Your Baby” bags, which will be distributed to new moms in Kent County through a partnership with First Steps Kent. The bags are paid for through donations from Huntington Bank, the Blodgett Foundation and individual donors.

KDL is thrilled to have community partners who recognize how crucial early literacy is to lifelong literacy.

The findings of a recent public opinion study showed that most people in Michigan think the state should invest more in early childhood education. Governor Rick Snyder, in his State of the State speech on January 16, called for “a major budget commitment” to early childhood education.

Literacy development begins in the first three years of life, and even babies as young as six weeks old are developmentally ready to begin early literacy activities.

A few KDL programs that target early literacy: Early Childhood Essentials programs aimed at giving parents and childcare providers tools for success, a monthly Early Lit Bits eNewsletter packed with practical literacy advice and Babytime storytimes aimed at encouraging children’s love for reading and imagination at a time when their brains experience such crucial development. And KDLville play spaces in all our branches do not have a minimum age restriction.

It’s never too early for a library card.


Posted by:

Yes, We’re Open!

Monday, January 28th, 2013


It’s a snow day for lots of kids in the area,
but KDL branches remain OPEN!
All programs will take place as scheduled.

Please drive carefully if you choose to visit us today.

Posted by:

Khaled Hosseini’s Upcoming Novel is Announced!

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

After a six-year wait, the bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns is announcing his follow-up novel, And the Mountains Echoed. According to his website, this title will be released on May 21, 2013. KDL cardholders can begin placing holds now.

“Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.”  –Penguin Group



Posted by:

New Languages from Mango

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Now there’s even more Mango to choose from! Our online language learning resource, Mango Languages, recently announced that they’ve added even more new languages to their program:

  • Arabic (Egyptian)
  • Arabic (Modern Standard)
  • Romanian
  • Swahili

Mango Languages is FREE to all KDL cardholders, and is an easy, effective way to learn to speak a foreign language. Courses are currently available in 49 foreign languages and 15 English as a Second Language (ESL) courses:

  • Arabic (Egyptian)
  • Arabic (Levantine)
  • Arabic (MSA)
  • Chinese (Cantonese)
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dari
  • Dutch
  • Farsi (Persian)
  • Finnish
  • French
  • French (Canadian)
  • German
  • Greek
  • Greek (Ancient)
  • Greek (Koine)
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hawaiian
  • Hebrew
  • Biblical Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Norwegian
  • Pashto
  • Pirate
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Slovak
  • Spanish (Latin American)
  • Spanish (Spain)
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog
  • Tamil
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese
  • ESL for Arabic (Egyptian) Speakers
  • ESL for Chinese (Cantonese) Speakers
  • ESL for Chinese (Mandarin) Speakers
  • ESL for French Speakers
  • ESL for German Speakers
  • ESL for Greek Speakers
  • ESL for Italian Speakers
  • ESL for Japanese Speakers
  • ESL for Korean Speakers
  • ESL for Polish Speakers
  • ESL for Portuguese (Brazilian) Speakers
  • ESL for Russian Speakers
  • ESL for Spanish (Latin American) Speakers
  • ESL for Turkish Speakers
  • ESL for Vietnamese Speakers


Once you’ve signed up for an account through KDL, you can even access Mango Languages on-the-go with free mobile apps for iOS and Android!

Watch the video below to see Mango Languages in action, then start using it today!


Posted by: