New Playaway Bookpacks!


(Pictured is Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy, I Survived Hurricane Katrina, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Upside Down Magic, and I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor)

We just received a bunch of new Playaway Bookpacks! If you haven’t checked them out before, they are kits with Playaway preloaded audiobooks that also come with a text copy of the book. This way you can read along with the narrator as you listen! Some of the new ones are pictured, but you can find all of the Playaway Bookpacks next to the Launchpads, behind the Children’s internet computers. If you haven’t taken a look at them before, now’s a great time to try them out, especially if you are signed up for our winter reading program and want to mark off the “Listen to a Book” snowflake. You are signed up for the reading program, right?? If not, you can pick up a log from the Children’s desk or print one off from the front page of the library website.

Miss Jessica



5 on Friday



Hi there! For 2019, we’re trying something new on our blog. On the first Friday of every month, I’m going to post 5 things that have caught my attention and share them with you. I’ve (very creatively) titled this series 5 on Friday. It might be my 5 favorite books for storytime, 5 books that are being adapted into movies this years, or like this week’s theme: 5 kidlit-related articles I’ve come across.

    1. Read Brightly has some excellent suggestions for encouraging kids of all ages to read more: read it here!
    2. School Library Journal discusses the difficulty in cataloging #ownvoices books here. There’s plenty of food for thought here – I had never even considered adding the tag to the catalog where patrons could find it, but Elizabeth Bird makes a good case for it and explains why it is both useful and tricky.
    3. 7-year-old Nicholas Buamah recently had his book Kayla & Kyle The Walking Dictionaries: Election Day added to the Library of Congress! Described as “an animated book that helps elementary-aged school children build their vocabularies,” it’s also available for sale at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. What an accomplishment! You can read more about Nicholas and his book here.
    4. If you like spooky books, odds are you’ve already read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and both of the sequels. I loved the stories as a kid, but it was the art that really gave me the creeps. I wasn’t the only one, since not only is Guillermo del Toro making it into a movie this year, but a new tribute anthology is being published by HarperCollins early this year!! Edited by Jonathan Maberry and featuring numerous awesome horror writers, I’m so excited to see what they come up with.
    5. Learning how to regulate their emotions is tough for little ones, and when they are unable to express themselves they may resort to chomping down on their nearest and dearest. Most picture books I’ve seen about biting are pretty straightforward and not very fun, but now thanks to Lisa Wheeler and Ryan T. Higgins we have a couple really good ones that kiddos will also enjoy.

And that’s a wrap! Check back in next month, same bat-time, same bat-channel for the next 5 on Friday!

Miss Jessica

If You Loved The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

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Miss Jessica

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M. T. Anderson

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From the publisher: “Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom — from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Spurge’s host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them — and war for their nations. Witty mixed media illustrations show Brangwain’s furtive missives back to the elf kingdom, while Werfel’s determinedly unbiased narrative tells an entirely different story.”


I’ve been in something of a reading slump lately. Nothing sounds interesting and everything I’ve been reading just doesn’t grab me. Fortunately I’ve heard a lot of buzz about The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge and since fantasy is smack dab in the middle of my reading comfort zone, I decided to check it out. And I’m glad I did since it kicked me right out of my book slump! This fantasy adventure/odd couple buddy comedy/spy thriller is witty, exciting, and an excellent look at the effects of propaganda without resorting to a boring lecture about morality. Similar to some of Brian Selznick’s popular books, The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge is an illustrated novel, with the art (excellently done by Anton Yelchin) showing Spurge’s magical reports of his experiences in the goblin kingdom sent back to his fellow elves. However these reports are influenced by his cultural misunderstandings and prejudice against the goblins and so frequently contradict the text, which is from the kind and brave goblin Werfel’s point of view. It did take awhile for me to get the hang of understanding the illustrations, but for the kids willing to work through the initial confusion it’s well worth the effort. Kirkus Reviews described it as “Monty Python teams up with Maxwell Smart for a wrestling match with Tolkien,” which is a spot on analogy (that will likely go over its target audience’s heads, unfortunately). Recommended for ages 10-14.

Check it out on the catalog here!

Children’s Books to Celebrate Hanukkah

Hanukkah Sameach! Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish celebration which takes place this year from December 2 – 10. Here are 8 books to curl up with during the Festival of Lights.



All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins

Hanukkah Moon by Deborah de Costa

Hanukkah by Rachel Grack

The Story of Hanukkah by David Adler

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko

Hanukkah by Rebecca Pettiford

The Best Hanukkah Ever by Barbara Diamond Goldin

Miss Jessica