Archive for February, 2013

Run Away with These Groundbreaking Titles

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Five titles, recently released, set against the turbulent backdrop of the Civil War, slavery and America in the 1800s.  Each novel tells a unique story, from various perspectives of  the people affected.

Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier 

Forced to leave England and struggling with illness in the wake of a family tragedy, Quaker Honor Bright is forced to rely on strangers in the harsh landscape of 1850 Ohio and is compelled to join the Underground Railroad network to help runaway slaves escape to freedom.


Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites  

This is the story of a young widow trying to survive the violent world of Reconstruction Alabama, where the old gentility masks a continuing war fueled by hatred, treachery and still-powerful secrets.



Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini

This novel illuminates the extraordinary friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former slave who won her freedom by the skill of her needle, and the friendship of the first lady by her devotion.


House Girl by Tara Conklin  

Virginia, 1852:  Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004: Lina Sparrow, first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a  highly sensitive assignment: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.


Wash by Margaret Wrinkle

When a troubled Revolutionary War veteran requires his slave, Washington, to become a breeding sire, Washington’s resolve to stay faithful to his West African spiritual legacy leads to a loving relationship with an enslaved healer woman.



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“Lost on the Lady Elgin” Program Cancelled

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Due to poor weather conditions, the Lost on the Lady Elgin program scheduled at the Sand Lake Branch tonight  (Monday, February 11 at 6:30 PM) has been cancelled.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we hope to offer the program again in March.

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KDL on WGVU Radio

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Morgan at WGVUEach month KDL staff join Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show to talk about what’s going on at the library. This month, listen to East Grand Rapids branch Youth Specialist Morgan Doane talk about all the great Early Literacy resources KDL offers, including PLAY-GROW-READ!, KDLville and more.


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Download WGVU2-7-13.mp3

(photo courtesy of Shelley Irwin)






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Endearing Audiobook Series for Teens

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

The Ruins of GorlanSometimes a series comes along that just gets better with each book.  The characters become friends and the next books feels like a reunion.  The Ranger’s Apprentice series has been that type of series for me.  I really did like the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan, but the second and third books have just made the whole series that much better!  Each book has a lot of adventure and action and the main characters — Will, the apprentice, and Halt, the ranger — just get more interesting to read about.  Plus Bloody Jackthe audiobook version really draws the reader into the action!

For a great audiobook series the might have more appeal for girls (since the main character is a girl), try Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer.  What really makes this series great is the reader of the audiobooks, Katherine Kellgren.  The books just come alive because she vocalizes the songs and spunkiness of Jacky.  This is a historical fiction series so Jacky has to disguise herself as a boy to join the British navy.

Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy books everywhere you go and can be shared with a friend!

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Early Lit Bits: Book Review — “Mice”

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Mice by Rose Fyleman

Do you think mice are nice? Featuring Lois Ehlert’s signature paper collage illustrations, this new book shares some of their endearing qualities. The rhyming text is spare, which allows for plenty of conversation as you and your child read together. Ask if he or she can guess the next rhyming word. This book would also work well in a group setting, as the pictures are vivid and large.

In a one-on-one setting, point to various objects in the collages and see if your child recognizes items of use to the mice. Notice that each item is labeled, encouraging word association and expanding vocabulary. As an extension, cut circles, rectangles and triangles out of scrap paper and have your child create a unique mouse collage. Allowing them to do the cutting also encourages fine motor skills, which is an excellent way to get ready to write!



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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KDL Top Ten – 2/8/2013

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Dearest KDL,

What books make your heart go pitter-patter?  Please share suggestions for great romantic reads below.  Want to see titles others in your community are smitten with?  Click on the link to the KDL Top Ten List!  These are 10 of the most popular Adult Romances at KDL right now.

Top Ten Adult Romance Fiction 2-8-2013


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More Short Stories

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Has the Write Michigan contest whetted your appetite for more short story reading? Fear not — there are many collections for your enjoyment! Here are a few I have enjoyed lately:

Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is funny and deadly serious at the same time; these 31 stories of varying lengths all deal with the modern experience of being a Native American in a white-dominated culture. Available in print.


Astray by Emma Donoghue

These 14 stories use historical vignettes from Britain and the U.S. as a starting point to explore what it feels like to be set adrift in a different culture, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
Available in print, on CD and as a downloadable e-audiobook.

“Straying has always had a moral meaning as well as a geographical one, and the two are connected. If your ethical compass is formed by the place you grow up, which way will its needle swing when you’re far from home?”


Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro

These 14 thoughtful stories are mostly set in small Ontarian towns near Lake Huron and feature quiet lives that are irrevocably altered by chance encounters or twists of fate.
Available in print and on CD.


Voice of America by E. C. Osondu

A few of these 18 stories showcase the experience of Nigerians living in the U.S., but most portray the wide variety of life experiences in modern-day Nigeria. Osondu won the 2009 Caine Prize for African Writing.
Available in print.


Catch Me When I Fall by Patricia Westerhof

This satisfying book leaves the reader with an appreciation for the complexities of life and love as the author uses 11 interconnected stories to explore the depths and struggles of faith and life in a close-knit community of Dutch-Canadian families in rural Alberta. Available in print.






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KDL Closed Until 12:00PM Friday

Friday, February 8th, 2013

All branches will be closed until 12:00 PM today (Friday, February 8), but will then resume normal hours. All morning programs and activities for Friday are cancelled.

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Emergency Closing (5:00 PM Thursday)

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Due to hazardous weather conditions, all Kent District Library branches will be closing at 5:00 PM today (Thursday, February 7.) All evening programs have been cancelled.
We will resume normal business hours as the weather permits.

Thank you for your patronage and we hope to see you soon.

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Craft Party for the Whole Family

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

heartcraftIt’s our Heart to Heart Craft Party, just in time for Valentine’s Day, with snacks and crafts, no less. Stop by these branches and let your kids get their crafties on:

Monday, February 11, 10:00 AM – Plainfield Township branch
Monday, February 11, 6:30 PM – Byron Township branch
Tuesday, February 12, 10:00 AM – Alpine Township branch
Tuesday, February 12, 10:30 AM – Sand Lake/ Nelson Township branch
Tuesday, February 12, 6:30 PM – Comstock Park branch
Tuesday, February 12, 6:30 PM – Krause Memorial branch
Wednesday, February 13, 10:00 AM – Plainfield Township branch
Wednesday, February 13, 10:30 AM – Comstock Park branch
Wednesday, February 13, 7:00 PM – Alpine Township branch
Thursday, February 14, 10:00 AM – Plainfield Township branch
Thursday, February 14, 10:30 AM – Englehardt branch
Thursday, February 14, 5:00 PM – Tyrone Township branch
Thursday, February 14, 7:00 PM – Caledonia Township branch
Thursday, February 14, 7:00 PM – Cascade Township branch
Saturday, February 16, 2:00 PM – Gaines Township branch


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