Archive for June, 2013

Check Out These Short Story Collections

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Have you ever found yourself hungry for something to read, but are unable or unwilling to commit to something formidable? Short stories are an excellent alternative, and can be read during breaks between summer projects. Books of short stories rarely turn up on lists of best sellers, but many of today’s most popular authors honed their craft on small gems such as these, often while completing their degrees. And although books of short stories are not usually winners of major prizes, Lydia Davis was recently awarded the Man Booker International Prize for her short story collections.

Happy Families                       Vampires in the Lemon Grove                        The Complete Stories of Truman Capote

Karen Russell, a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for her debut novel Swamplandia!is a master of the short story, and her St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Vampires in the Lemon Grove are both available at KDL. Also, those who have enjoyed Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory would also like his Complete Stories. Readers who want to take a quick trip to Latin America for the summer might enjoy Happy Families by Carlos Fuentes. Be warned, however, that those families are not all happy.

Many of these short story collections and more are available for download as eBooks.

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Summer Reading Club Memories

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

BarbBarb, our wonderful youth librarian at the Byron Township branch, shares her childhood memories of Summer Reading Club:

I grew up in the country and didn’t have many kids to play with in our area.  My sisters were 8 and 12 years older than I was, so they really didn’t want to play much.  My oldest sister started college the same time that I started kindergarten. 

My favorite thing to do was read, and I absolutely loved Summer Reading Club.  One year the program included a chart with the presidents on it.  I can still remember wondering what color president I would have for my chart.  There were about five colors and we didn’t get to choose a color. The following year the theme was states, and again I couldn’t wait to fill in my chart. 

I went to the library every Saturday, and once in a while during the week as well.  I can remember the end of the SRC parties to this day.  I can even remember what the library smelled like.  I read every Nancy Drew book even though the librarian didn’t consider them quality literature. When I ran out of those books, I read biographies and I believe that started my love of American history.  I majored in American studies at college and still love biographies.

Summer Reading Club is a passion of mine;  I want to connect children with the many joys I experienced each summer at the library.  I love SRC and have participated in over 30 of them!

We want to hear your memories too! Please leave us a comment and share your memories of participating in Summer Reading as a child.


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KDL Top Ten — 6/14/2013

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Celebrate Audiobook Month! This week’s Top Ten features 10 of the most popular Teen Audiobook Fiction titles on CD this month at KDL. To view these, click on the link to the KDL Top Ten list!

Top Ten Teen Audiobook 6-14-2013

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YUMMY… A Tasty Storytime

Friday, June 14th, 2013

gummy wormsA storytime that includes snacks… what could be better? Get the Dirt on Great Desserts will take place at many KDL branches this summer. Kids of all ages are invited to dig into great dirt dessert ideas and use their imaginations to create fun edible messes. It’s sure to to be fun and tasty! Pre-registration is required and spots are limited. Register online or call 616-784-2007.

Tuesday, June 18, 10:30 AM – Grandville branch
Monday, June 24, 10:30 AM – Alto branch
Saturday, June 29, 1:30 PM – Sand Lake / Nelson Township branch
Wednesday, July 10, 2:00 PM – Gaines Township branch
Wednesday, July 10, 6:30 PM – Alpine Township branch
Monday, July 15, 2:00 PM – Krause Memorial branch
Thursday, July 25, 6:30 PM – Wyoming branch
Tuesday, July 30, 4:00 PM – Spencer Township branch
Tuesday, July 30, 6:30 PM – Englehardt branch
Thursday, August 1, 2:00 PM – Walker branch
Thursday, August 1, 6:30 PM – Plainfield Township branch
Tuesday, August 6, 6:30 PM – Comstock Park branch
Wednesday, August 7, 10:30 AM – Comstock Park branch
Saturday, August 10, 11:30 AM – Tyrone Township branch
Tuesday, August 13, 2:00 PM – Byron Township branch


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Krause Memorial Branch to Open Late on 6/15

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Krause Memorial branchThe Krause Memorial branch will open at 1:00 PM on Saturday, June 15, in order to accommodate the Rockford Start of Summer Celebration. The branch normally opens at 9:30 AM on Saturdays.





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Drop Off Old or Damaged U.S. Flags

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

American flagBring old or damaged American flags to the library for proper disposal. From Friday, June 14 (Flag Day), through Saturday, July 6, all 18 Kent District Library branches will accept them, and in cooperation with local Boy Scout troops, they will be properly disposed of during flag retirement ceremonies.

This KDL Gives Back initiative is part of the KDL Happiness Project, an 18-month campaign aimed at promoting happy, healthy and helpful attitudes and actions to staff and patrons at our 18 branches. The effort, modeled after the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, includes programs for all ages and community involvement projects.


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To the Lighthouse… of HAPPINESS

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

With summer in full swing, here are a few titles that will bring you safe passage to Happy reading.  Follow the light, to these enlightened lighthouse-themed titles.


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman tells the story of Tom, a World War I veteran  who takes his new bride to a lighthouse posting off Australia’s western coast. Deeply in love and captivated by their island home, they long for a child. When a boat washes up on shore carrying a dead man and a live baby girl, they bury the man and raise the child as their own. But Tom is haunted by their choice, and the possibility of the child’s other relatives, until he makes a fateful decision. Stedman’s lyrical writing evokes the island’s charm and utter isolation, as well as Tom’s heartbreaking dilemma.


The Edge of the Earth by Trudy Schwarz  follows Trudy Schroeder, raised in middle-class Midwestern comfort and frustrated by the tidy life plan laid out for her. When Trudy escapes to a lighthouse off the coast of California, she discovers the unpredictable beauty of a world entirely different from her own.




Lighthouse Bay by Kimberely Freeman, set in 1901, a ship sinks off the coast of Lighthouse Bay in Australia. The only survivor is Isabella Winterbourne–escaping her loveless marriage and the devastating loss of her son. One hundred years later, Libby Slater leaves her life in Paris to return to her hometown of Lighthouse Bay.  In this adventurous love story spanning centuries, both Isabella and Libby must learn that letting go of the past is the only way to move into the future.



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Thumbs Up! Award Top Ten

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

ThumbsUpThe Michigan Library Association (MLA) Thumbs Up! Award committee has released the Top Ten Books and votes will be taken through August 31st.  Each year a committee of dedicated professionals from around Michigan read tons of teen books and then discuss and vote on favorites until the top ten are picked.  After a teen participation vote, the committee will select one winner and at least one runner up book.

TEENS: Read as many of the books from the list and then visit the MLA website to vote!  The top teen vote counts toward the book that will receive the Thumbs Up! stamp.


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Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts — Digging for Treasure Sensory Activity

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Digging for Treasure Sensory ActivityPlay-Grow-Read

Young children learn by seeing, hearing, touching and talking. Stimulate a child’s senses and help develop fine motor skills at the same time with this simple and fun activity.


  • An empty wash basin or plastic bowl
  • Uncooked oatmeal or uncooked rice
  • Toddler toys, plastic letters, or natural objects such as pine cones
  • A plastic shovel, spoons or old paintbrushes


Scatter the toys into the basin or bowl and add enough oatmeal  or rice to cover the toys. Have children dig in the rice with their hands, or a small shovel and try to find all of the toys in the basin.

Other Ideas:

Bury small toys in an outdoor sandbox and have children dig for the treasures. Have children count how many items they have found and name each item. Try using various materials with different textures in which to hide animal toys, letters, or shapes. You can try birdseed, dried lentils or beans.



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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Local Indie Spotlight: Patricia Kiyono

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

The Samurai's GardenThe Samurai’s Garden by Patricia Kiyono is set at the beginning of the Meiji Era in Japan, around 1875. The time of daimyo rule and the samurai class has come to an end, leaving hundreds of displaced samurai with skills no longer required by a nation recouping its losses. Ronin — rogue samurai — are now a plague to the nation that once revered them. This is the setting in which we find Hiro, an ex-samurai searching for peace, and Hanako, a farmer whose husband was killed by a band of ronin. Under the guise of pretending to be her husband-to-be, Hiro assists Hanako in the day-to-day labor on the farm, where he finally finds the peace he was craving, and more so. However, this tranquility is not destined to last if a shadow from Hiro’s past succeeds in his plot.

The Samurai’s Garden is a quick read, with the story lasting 206 pages, with a novella in the last pages of the novel. It is written in a straight-forward style, and at a quick pace that keeps the readers hooked. The storyline is interesting and readers will grow to care for Hiro and Hanako. A concern for interested readers would be that some general knowledge about the time period would be useful, as the book does not explain what a daimyo is, or the customs of etiquette appropriate for the time period. A read-alike for this novel would be Ron Rash’s The Cove, simply in the style of the writing, but for others set in historical Japan, the novels of Gail Tsukiyama and Memoirs of a Geisha by Andrew Golden are similar.

Kiyono is continuing the story of the Hanakas through their succeeding generations, in The Plum Blossom Covenant. No release date has been set as of this writing.

Kiyono’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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