Monday, October 3, 2022

"On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was."

 Today is Mean Girls Day! That's so fetch! Due to the slightly dorky quote to the left, October 3rd is officially Mean Girls Day. Mean Girls was directed by Tina Fey and is chock full of other former Saturday Night Live stars. So, while being totally hilarious, it also tackles a lot of issues that high school students face. While we don't condone being a "mean girl," this movie has definitely become a cult classic. This is a must watch for people of all ages. After you watch it, you just might need to embrace your inner mean girl. Try one of the books, movies, or TV shows below.


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Gossip Girl series by Cecily Von Ziegesar

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Movies and TV Series:

Monday, September 26, 2022


Who doesn't love a book with a strong female character? This character doesn't have to be the main character in order to win you over, but she does need to have some "anti-damsel in distress" qualities. She should be someone that is a fully developed character; someone that can have her own thoughts and ideas, can solve problems, and can overcome obstacles. The books listed in this week's blog post all feature female characters that you'll wish to read more of and/or feel they can hold their own anywhere.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (1st in series)

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (1st in series)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (1st in series)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Circe by Madeline Miller

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (1st in series)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1st in series)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (1st in series)

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1st in series)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Pictures from

Monday, September 19, 2022


Fall is here! For many people, this time of year is all about sports. It's the start of the season for many sports such as soccer, football, volleyball, and cross country.  Whether you are a former or current athlete, spectator, and/or a parent of an athlete, we know you will be busy over the next few months.

This week's blog post features sports books for all ages. Enjoy one today!

Children's Books
The Big Break by Megan McDonald: Taking place in the 1970s, Julie finds that the basketball team at her new school is for boys only. She is determined to earn a spot on the team. Will she get a chance to play?

Green Bay Packers by Kenny Abdo: As a library located in Wisconsin, I had to include at least one book on a local sports team. This work provides information on the team's beginnings, where they have been over the years, and highlights some of their best players.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson: This graphic novel follows a girl as she discovers roller derby.

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander: This historical fiction novel tells the story of Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali as he grows up and discovers boxing.

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas: Enith is excited for school until she finds out that the only elective available to her is Swim 101. 

Crossover by Kwame Alexander: Twin brothers, Josh and Jordan, deal with highs and lows in their lives both off and on the basketball court.

Young Adult Books
Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez: Camila is a rising soccer star in Argentina with dreams of playing professionally even if it is against the wishes of her family.

One Life by Megan Rapinoe: An autobiography of an Olympic and Women's World Cup champion.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown: This is the true story of nine working class boys who enter the 1936 Olympic games as a crew team.

Gravity by Sarah Deming: Gravity Delgado has started boxing with a legendary coach at a gym near her home. She will need to balance boxing with her homelife and relationships with her friends and family.

Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu: In this graphic novel, readers are introduced to Eric, a former figure skating champion. As he enters a new school, he must adapt to his new co-ed club hockey team while navigating a new school and new relationships.

After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay: This stories centers on two friends, one who takes a basketball scholarship to a private school and the other who is left behind.

Adult Books
Moneyball by Michael Lewis: Before the season begins, the Oakland A's are forced to give up some of its best players, and everyone assumes they will be non-contenders for the year. However, they are able to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins. How does one of the poorest teams in baseball manage to win so many games?

Under the Lights and in the Dark by Gwendolyn Oxenham: This book takes the reader inside the world of women's soccer around the world.

Bloomer Girls by Debra Shattuck: This social history follows women baseballers who organized clubs for their own enjoyment and found spots on men's teams. These players helped shape the women's rights movement and helped transform the perceptions of women's athletic capabilities.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand: This is the story of Seabiscuit, an "unpretty" horse that made racing history in the 1930s.

Dust Bowl Girls by Lydia Reeder: During the 1930s, the basketball coach of an Oklahoma college traveled around looking for hardworking young women on farms who might be interested in a better chance at life. They were offered free college tuition if they would play for his basketball team. This improbable opportunity leads to a showdown with the reigning national champions.

Monday, September 12, 2022


Banned Books Week is just around the corner, and this week's blog post is here to get you ready.  Celebrating the freedom to read, Banned Books Week is an annual event that takes place every September. This year it runs from September 18 through September 24.  The books featured during this week have all been targeted for removal and/or restriction in schools and libraries. Banned Books Week attempts to discuss the harms of censorship and promote the unifying power of stories. For more information on Banned Books Week, visit or

Place a hold on one of these frequently challenged books to read during Banned Books Week (or anytime!). 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell & Justin Richardson
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Looking for more banned book titles? Visit the American Library Association's website for a list of the top 10 most challenged books per year.

Monday, September 5, 2022


This month, our Mixed Bag Book Club will be reading any book that is shelved in our children's or young adult section. Not sure what to read? This week's post highlights some recent award winners and bestsellers for both age groups.

Children's Books

Watercress by Andrea Wang is an autobiographical picture book and the winner of a Caldecott medal. While on a drive a young girl's Chinese immigrant parents spot watercress growing on the side of the road. They stop the car in order to gather as much of it as they can. This provides an opportunity for the girl to learn about her mother's family and what life was like living in China. 

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom is another recent Caldecott medal recipient. This picture book is told from the perspective of a Native American child who is learning about the importance of defending Earth's natural resources.

Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba is a paranormal novel originally published in Japan and is the winner of the Batchelder Award. One night, Kazu sees a strange figure sneak out of his house. The next day at school, the same person is sitting in his class and all of his friends are convinced that the ghost/girl has been their friend for years. He also learns that his house is in the same spot as an ancient temple that could bring the dead back to life. Kazu sets out to discover what happened to the temple and unwittingly draws unwanted attention from his neighbor and the mysterious new classmate.

Telephone Tales by Gianni Rodart is another recent Batchelder Award winner. This collection of short and surreal stories told by a traveling salesman to his daughter over the phone was originally published in Italian.

Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisternos is a middle grade novel and winner of the Pura Belpre Award. The story follows Efren Nava as he cares for his siblings after their mother is deported.

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle is a book for beginning readers and is a winner of the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award. What happens when the book gets things wrong? This book keeps instructing readers to "see the cat." However, Max is a dog!

Stop! Bot! by James Yang is another recipient of the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award. This picture book follows a little boy and a kind doorman as they run up to each floor of the building trying to catch the boy's bot.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming is a work of nonfiction detailing the life of a typical worker bee. It is also the winner of the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal.

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera is the winner of the John Newbery Medal. This novel follows Petra who wakes hundreds of years after Earth is destroyed to discover that she is the only person who remembers Earth. 

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller is also the winner of the John Newbery Medal. Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother. While there, Lily traps a magical tiger out of her grandmother's folktales. She is offered a deal to restore her grandmother's health. Deals with tigers are never what they seem, and it is up to Lily, her sister, and her friend Ricky to face the tiger once and for all.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a New York Times Bestselling novel.  Auggie Pullman was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to live. The stories follows him as he stops home schooling and enters a private middle school where he must learn to endure taunts, fear, and misunderstanding from his classmates while trying to be like any other student. 

Refugee by Alan Gratz is another New York Times Bestseller. This novel follows Josef, a Jewish boy in Nazi Germany, Isabel, a Cuban girl in the 1990s, and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in the 2010s. All three face unimaginable dangers, and surprising connections will bring their stories together in the end.

Young Adult Books

Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez is a winner of the Pura Belpre Award. The novel centers on Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star. She dreams of playing professionally against her father's wishes and at the risk of a new romance.

If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley is a winner of the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. Leighton's hometown is overrun by thousands of crows which is not any stranger than living in a home that repairs itself every time her father loses his temper and breaks things. Her focus is not on the crows but on finishing school and leaving for her dream college. However, this dream may mean abandoning her sisters. 

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley is a winner of the Michael L. Printz Award. This novel tells the story of Daunis Fontaine as she struggles to fit in with residents of her hometown as well as on the nearby Ojibwe reserveration. Daunis witnesses a murder that thrusts her into an FBI investigation of a lethal drug. She agrees to go undercover to try and track down the source. The search for the truth is more complicated than she could have imagined.

Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri is a Michael L. Printz and Pura Belpre Award winner. This autobiographical novel is about Khosrou, who everyone calls Daniel. At the center of this book is Daniel's story of how his family became refugees.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus is a New York Times Bestselling novel. It tells the story of a high school student who mysteriously dies in front of four other students. All four students become suspects, and it is up to them to solve the murder.

You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao is another New York Times Bestselling work. Julie was in love with Sam and had planned to go to college with him, but Sam died. Julie is struggling to move on and is desperate to hear his voice one more time, so she calls his phone expecting his voicemail. However, Sam answers and their phones become the connection between them and Julie finds it impossible to let go.

Monday, August 29, 2022

On Audiobooks and Listening


Audiobooks sometimes get a bad rap from people who deem it not “real reading.” However, both reading and listening involve decoding and result in comprehension, which strengthen neuron connections related to learning in the brain. While reading allows one to slow down and process complex ideas more thoroughly, audiobooks are an art form in their own right as a narrator’s choices in interpreting the text can give insight that the written word sometimes can’t provide.  Audiobooks are amazing for the power they have to inspire non-readers, as an aid for those who have dyslexia or ADD, and it also helps almost everyone learn to be better listeners. 

Do you have any last trips planned before school starts again?  An upcoming trip has us considering some of our favorite audiobooks and what we should bring along.  Here are a few we’ve enjoyed: (These titles generally fall in the Teen section, but are ones that we think are just as captivating for adults!)

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

An annual horse race with unusual Scottish island horses has an excellent cash prize, but it is a very dangerous race.  Puck has grown up on the island and lost her parents to the horses.  She has always thought the race stupidly dangerous, but faced with mounting debts and raising her siblings, she takes on the reigning champion, who has some compelling reasons of his own he needs to win. A nailbiter with a hint of romance, danger, and excellent readers, of course.

Legend by Marie Lu

(Dystopia) Day is the most wanted criminal, June is a young rising star in the Republic’s military. When June’s brother is murdered, and Day is considered the top suspect, their paths cross and they start to realize the elaborate stack of lies the government has created to control them both. High action/suspense.

Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Olivia has grown up in an orphanage and her mother’s diary is her dearest possession, though it seems to descend into madness at the end, sending dire warnings about staying away from an unknown Gallant.  Olivia believed she had no relatives, but a letter arrives just as she comes of age purporting to be from her uncle and inviting her to their family estate, called Gallant.  Unsure whether to heed her mother’s warnings or seek the family she has so desperately wanted, Olivia’s choices are few and the dangers are real.

This woven kingdom by Tahereh Mafi

Fair warning: this is the first in a series and leaves you with a cliffhanger that may leave you screaming.  This has Cinderella allusions mixed with Persian culture and a light touch of fantasy.  Alizeh is a servant with Jinn bloodline who has ice in her blood that makes her immune to fire/heat. Her people have been hunted close to extinction and aware that her unusually colored eyes give her away, Alizeh wears a servant veil. She is the last of her royal line of Jinn and had been raised learning fighting arts and literature, but her existence was largely a secret.  When the prince of the land sees her fend off an attacker and speak eloquently, he is certain she is a spy and alerts his grandfather, but while investigating, the Prince realizes Alizeh is not who or what he thinks. Forbidden romance, court secrets, and magic entwine to create a potently addictive story.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Social Justice Graphic Novels


Social Justice Graphic Novels

Do you love graphic novels, but are looking for ones that dive a bit deeper into social justice issues? We are holding a teen book discussion for the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman in September and while it is a sweet romance, it also touches on some LGBTQ+ issues.  It also started us thinking about graphic novels that challenged us to think about the issues happening around us. Here are a few that come to mind, we’d love to hear about ones that impressed you!:

Girl on Fire by Alicia Keyes

When Lolo’s brother is stopped by a cop in
a case of mistaken identities, she discovers powers she didn’t know she had.

Messy Roots by Laura Gao

A Chinese girl who has immigrated to Texas encounters racial prejudice while discovering her queer identity.

Borders by Thomas King

A mother and son, members of the Blackfoot tribe, are detained at the Canadian-U.S. border as they refuse to claim citizenship to either, loyal to their indigenous roots. An exploration of identity, belonging and holding steadfastly to one’s beliefs, despite persecution.

Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Raised by his grandparents as his mother is an addict, this is the true story of how Jarrett survived a bad situation and how he followed his passion for art.

by Kiku Hughes

Kiku becomes unstuck in time, falling back into the 1940s to meet her grandmother and learns what she had endured in the Japanese-American concentration camps.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

A young teen who is awaiting trial for murder, imagines it as a screenplay.

I Am Alfonso Jones  by Tony Media, John Jennings, & Stacey Robinson

Alfonso is looking forward to playing Hamlet in a school play, when he is shot by mistake by a cop. Waking up as a ghost, he finds others who have had a similar journey and watches his family go through stages of grief. 

by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda has a clever sense of humor, though nobody can hear her witty takes on teachers and fellow students.  After an incident at a party, Melinda finds that others have misinterpreted what happened and she is so scarred by the event she is unable to talk, even to clear her name.