Diverse Books for Kids and Teens

February 17th, 2016

Educator Rudine Sims Bishop wrote of literature as “mirrors” and “windows” where we can both see ourselves and see the lives of other people (you can read her full thoughts here). Reading a wide variety of authentic books about different people can help kids and teens connect with others and with a global society. Here are just a few of my recommendations:


Picture Books:

martin's big wordsMartin’s Big Words

February is African American History month, and this picture book biography helps celebrate this champion of human rights.





to marketTo Market! To Market!

Take a trip to an Indian market with this picture book. Its unique size and layout is great for talking about artistic choices with children and its vivid colors and typography create an interactive reading experience.



Chapter Books for Kids:

turtle of oman

The Turtle of Oman

Aref is a third-grader living in Oman when his father is accepted at the University of Michigan for graduate study. But Aref is heartbroken at leaving his home in Oman and his beloved Siddi, his grandfather. Will Aref be able to hold on to everything he loves about Oman while still looking forward to a new life in Michigan?




one crazy summer

One Crazy Summer

Combining humor with a vivid portrayal of growing up African American during the 1960s and the Black Panther movement, Rita Williams-Garcia tells the tale of the intrepid and spunky eleven-year-old Delphine and her two sisters as they navigate their relationship with their mother and learn a few things about themselves. Follow it up with more tales about the sisters in the sequels P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama.



Books for Teens:

tequila wormThe Tequila Worm

Fourteen-year-old Sofia lives in a beloved close-knit Mexican community in Texas but also dreams of a world outside her home. She works hard to prove herself and ends up being accepted to a prestigious boarding school in Austin. The storytelling traditions of her family and community help her to face racism, an unfamiliar world, and growing up in this nuanced and rich novel based on the author’s personal experiences.




march book 1March: Book One

Based on Congressman John Lewis’s experiences in the Civil Rights Movement, this graphic novel is the first in a planned trilogy capturing the images and words of a movement that changed American history and one that still sparks calls to action for human rights and dignity today. Continue the story with March: Book Two.




American Born Chineseamerican born chinese

This graphic novel illustrates three intertwining tales that come together in a powerful demonstration of belonging and identity. With Gene Luen Yang just appointed the U.S. National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, it’s a great time to read or reread his work!




1919 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East

Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet with Israeli and Palestinian ties, shines a light on the Middle East, its conflicts, and the voices and hopes of its people in this collection of poetry.





Check out this booklist for more recommendations or ask a librarian!



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“Show me a hero”

February 16th, 2016

"Show Me a Hero"

How does an American city become racially segregated and, more importantly, how does it reform itself in order to tear down, in however small a way, that divide? The new DVD set, “Show me a hero”, from HBO and the producer/writer David Simon (“The wire”), is a powerful 6 episode mini-series that dramatically recreates the second half of that question. Based on the non-fiction book by Lisa Belkin, the story spans a five year period, from 1987 to 1992; the setting is Yonkers, New York, just north of New York City. The issue—seemingly small perhaps from some folk’s perspective, but really an epic conflict that represents, in a local way, such fights in numerous times and places—was over housing. More exactly, could residents of a crime-ridden housing project on the “wrong side of town” be moved into their own houses on the other side of town—the side that happened to be predominantly white and middle-class? Simon and director Paul Haggis (“Crash”) plunge us into the heart of this fight, and in that center, slowly changing his mind as he sees the writing on the wall, is Mayor Nick Wasicsko, played with amazing energy and focus by Oscar Isaac.  Starting before the twenty-something Wasicsko becomes mayor, the story begins with a federal court order compelling the city to build the affordable housing; the rest of the episodes, stretched out over five hours, dramatize the aftermath of that decision—the wrangling, the voting, the backstabbing, the stubbornness and blindness of both city councilmen and residents utterly against this change.  Yet true to his journalist’s credentials, Simon attempts to humanize, at least to a certain extent, even those who would fight against the court order. Catherine Keener gives a quiet, understated performance as one of those forced to take a hard look at the nature and future of her fight.  Though the show packs its biggest emotional punch in its first three hours—it brought me to tears—it’s essential to watch it through to the end, to take in the whole, sad tale of one American city.

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Seed Library Volunteer Opportunity

February 15th, 2016

SeedLibraryLogoWe need your help! We are looking for people who are willing to help pack and distribute seeds for the KDL Seed Library. This is your chance to help people learn to grow their own food and learn to save seeds. Refreshments will be provided.

Volunteer opportunities will take place at the KDL Service Center (814 West River Center Dr. NE in Comstock Park) from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Friday, February 26 and from 12:00 – 5:00 PM on Monday, February 29. More information and the sign-up link can be found here. Please note that you will have to create a simple user account to sign up. If you have questions, please contact Brett at bdahlberg@kdl.org.

We hope to see you there!

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Humor is All You Need

February 12th, 2016

Sorry Paul McCartney, but sometimes love humor is all you need! Here are a few picks for when you just need a laugh.


Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead



Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb

Dr Strangelove

The Royal Tenenbaums


Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

me talk pretty one day

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

hyperbole and a half

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink

Welcome to Night Vale

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Color of Magic Discworld #1 by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic

Stand-Up Comedy

“Ask Me About My New God!” by Maria Bamford

“Mr. Universe” by Jim Gaffigan

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KD aLe Wrap Up Party

February 11th, 2016

gb12Celebrate another successful season of KD aLe at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, February 24 at Gravel Bottom Brewery (418 Ada Dr. SE, Ada). On tap will be the winning brew from our KDL Home Brewing Competition, as well as a re-release of the scotch ale Gravel Bottom brewed for KD aLe last year. Food, beer, music, door prizes and more will make this an all-around fun and exciting evening. Be there!



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If You Like “Downton Abbey,” Try These…

February 10th, 2016


As the Downton Abbey series finale approaches, (the very last episode is only a month away!) you may want to prepare yourself and your library card. KDL has just the medicine for some serious Downton Abbey withdrawal. Check out these other British series for more scheming villains and suspenseful family drama. As the Dowager Countess of Grantham says, “Stop whining and find something to do.”


The Forsyte SagaForsyte Saga

Based on the Nobel Prize-winning novels by John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga is an epic and highly praised series spanning three generations of the powerful Forsyte family at the turn of the 20th century. Beneath the family’s imposing veneer lies a festering core of unhappy and brutal relationships.

Indian Summersindian summers

Set against the sweeping grandeur of the Himalayas and tea plantations of Northern India, this epic drama tells the rich and explosive story of the decline of the British Empire and the birth of modern India, from both sides of the experience.

Mr. SelfridgeMr Selfridge

Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, Harry Selfridge created a theater of retail for early 1900s Londoners where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining-or sometimes just eccentric-was showcased. Based on the book Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge by author Lindy Woodhead.


Ross Poldark rides again in a swashbuckling new adaptation of the hit series that helped launch Masterpiece in the 1970s. Captain Poldark is a redcoat who returns to Cornwall after the American Revolution and finds that his fighting days are far from over.

The Way We Live NowindexC6W0EA6V

This satire of Victorian society in London, shows the trials and tribulations of young love, the pettiness of upper class life, the raw energy and excitement of the most powerful city the world had ever seen, and the greed and corruption that lay just below its glittering surface.

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Win Tickets to Marvel Universe Live!

February 9th, 2016

Marvel Universe Live***Winners have been selected and emailed.

We are excited to offer you the chance to win a family four-pack of ticket vouchers to Marvel Universe Live! It’s easy (and fun!) to enter. Leave us a comment on this blog post and answer this question: If a librarian had a super power, what would it be? Please submit your comment by 8:00 AM on Monday, February 22. Two lucky winners will be contacted by email.

Marvel Universe Live will be playing at the Van Andel Arena March 31 – April 3. Vouchers can be redeemed at the box office for tickets to any of the following shows:
Thursday, March 31, 7:30 PM
Friday, April 1, 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 2, 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM or 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 3, 1:00 PM or 5:00 PM

Good luck!

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Tax Resources and Information

February 8th, 2016

TaxesWe are here to help make submitting your taxes a bit easier. Visit the Tax Resources and Information page on our website for all kinds of valuable information, including links to popular forms.  Library staff can assist you in finding and printing tax forms, although legal and ethical codes prohibit staff from giving income tax advice or opinions. Normal printing and copy fees will apply to all tax forms printed from the internet or photocopied.

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Listen to Love Songs

February 8th, 2016

Hoopla is more than just movies – you can listen to music, too! Hoopla has created a collection of albums that can be the perfect soundtrack for Valentine’s Day. Music albums check out for 7 days, and the albums are always available with no hold lists or overdue fines. You can stream content directly through your internet browser or download items to the Hoopla app on your mobile device. Simple instructions are here.  While you’re at it, download 5 free songs each week from Freegal. They’re yours to keep! A search for “Love Songs” from the Freegal site will bring up another terrific collection of music for Valentine’s Day – or any time.

Hoopla Valentine's Day

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The newest Woody Allen

February 5th, 2016

For a long time Woody Allen has been interested in the ideas of morality, justice and punishment. Going back at least as far as his masterpiece “Crimes and misdemeanors”, the writer/director has explored numerous times the idea that crimes are committed and, seemingly, there is no cosmic or divine judgement that falls on perpetrators. His most recent film on DVD, “Irrational man” is another (mostly) satisfying entrée in what we might call his “big question” series. Joaquin Phoenix is the driving force as Abe Lucas, a depressed and probably alcoholic professor who lands a teaching job at a small, New England college, a sort of world unto itself that appears wealthy and insulated and not used to outlandish characters. Emma Stone plays a student of his who also becomes deeply involved with him, finding, in her own rebellious way, a means to be her own person.  As usual with Allen’s films—and this is where that “mostly” qualifier comes from—people in perfectly stable relationships always seem to be utterly blind to the danger inherent in spending large amounts of time with someone other than their significant other, as if they are immune from such dangers as adultery or at least unfaithfulness. And the danger in “Irrational man” is not simply in relationships, but extends to violence as well.  Allen returns to his pet themes in more ways than one, and chance—simply being in the right place at the right time—is the axle on which the plot moves very swiftly and satisfyingly forward. For Abe finds a way out of his slump, a way to move beyond the seemingly stale and pointless discussions of philosophy that take up his time in the classroom.  Of course I will not give away anything more than that, other than to say that this time, if I may dare a theological speculation, there seems to be a bit more light in the story than we’ve seen before. To fully understand that reference, you’ll have to watch the movie. Then get back with me and tell me what you think.

This movie is rated R for one brief scene and some strong language.

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