Posted in Award Winners, Fiction, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12, Staff Picks, Uncategorized

Code-Switching in Children’s Literature

Code-switching is becoming an increasingly popular practice in writing children’s literature.  Code-switching happens when one moves fluidly between two languages within written or spoken dialogue.  It is often used when a word cannot be directly translated or loses meaning in translation, or as a way of better illustrating themes where another language may describe something better or be more appropriate than English. Spanglish is a common word used when referring to the code-switching between English and Spanish.

Children’s books are an enjoyable way to introduce your child (or yourself) to another language.  If you are looking to incorporate a second language into your daily life or to keep a language alive in the home, books that use two languages are a good place to begin.  They often include a glossary with translations and use repetition to emphasize words that are in the language other than English. These books can be found in a variety of languages, but the most common are English to Spanish.  Below are a selection of favorites from Mead Public Library’s children’s collection (descriptions provided are taken from the book publishers):

La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya

The Princess and the Pea gets a fresh twist in this charming bilingual retelling, winner of the Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration.

El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree.

The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too . . .

Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

Continue reading “Code-Switching in Children’s Literature”
Posted in Adult, Kids 5-12, Teen & Young Adult, Uncategorized

Back to School!

Summer continues to simmer as we fall into Autumn. Our students, teachers, parents and caregivers prepare for another new and unusual year of learning, returning to a school schedule into a new grade – all while still navigating the pandemic. This year brings us a mixture of school anxiety and excitement as we build relationships and grow as we learn together. We wanted to share some books from our Monarch system, as well as local and national online resources to assist in making the transition to this new year a little easier with enjoyable, engaging tools sprinkled in. The books listed below are available for request through the Monarch library catalog. (Descriptions provided are taken from the book publishers.) Be sure to take a look at the additional resources we included as well. We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable school year!

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

Continue reading “Back to School!”
Posted in Adult, Nonfiction, Science, Teen & Young Adult

Fall Reading Challenge: Conservation!

Starting September 1 and running through September 30, Mead Library is teaming up with the Glacial Lakes Conservancy on their 25th anniversary for a fall Reading Challenge! Watch for it to appear in Beanstack (the same website/app our Summer Reading Program uses). Read books, explore the outdoors, and earn tickets for prize drawings! And mark your calendar, because the challenge will wrap up with an outdoor anniversary celebration from 10am-2pm on Saturday, October 9 at the Willow Creek Preserve.

Below, I’ll share some books pulled together by my coworker, Erica, that would be perfect for this challenge. There are separate sections for adult books and teen books; descriptions have been taken from our catalog or the publisher. If you’re looking for children’s books, check out this previous blog post by Bree, Love Your Mother Earth!

Books For Adults

Wild Wisconsin Notebook by James Buchholz

Featuring 144 short and fascinating nature essays grouped by season, this beautifully illustrated volume serves as a trailside companion year-round. Find out about black bears and blackbirds, walleyes and woodchucks, snow geese and snow fleas, all in your own backyard. Nature lovers of all ages will appreciate Buchholz’s breezy style and wealth of outdoor knowledge.

Continue reading “Fall Reading Challenge: Conservation!”
Posted in Adult, Bingo 2021, Biography & Memoir, Bookish Bingo, Nonfiction

Bookish Bingo: Memoir of a Female Adventurer

Summer is winding down, and now is the perfect time to mark off another square on your Bookish Bingo card! Whether you’re looking for a title to carry to the beach or a page-turner to carry you away while on a staycation, these books are sure to take you on an adventure.  From the Midwest to Mongolia, from caves deep beneath the sea to flights 30,000 feet in the air, these authors have seen it all—and lived to write the tale.

Starting close to home, Melanie Radzicki McManus’s Thousand-Miler: Adventures of Hiking the Ice Age Trail details her experience walking 1,100 miles of ancient trails throughout the state of Wisconsin.  McManus is not on a leisurely stroll; she is endeavoring to set the record for a female thru-hiker on this trail.  With humor and compassion, she shares stories of her fellow thru-hikers, describes communities near the trail, and digs into the history of the trail.  You’ll see our state through a different lens and might be inspired to walk a mile or two on the Ice Age Trail.

Our community was settled largely by immigrants from Germany, so it seems fitting that our next stop is that country.  Schadenfreude, a love story: me, the Germans, and 20 years of attempted transformations, unfortunate miscommunications, and humiliating situations that only they have words for is perhaps the longest book title in our catalogue. Rebecca Shuman is a typical Jewish American teen when she encounters her first love—a teenaged boy with a volume of Franz Kafka in his backpack—which leads to the discovery of her real love: all things German.  For the next twenty years, Schuman visits and lives in Germany, trying in both a literal and metaphorical way to make herself understood and to understand. It’s a bildungsroman told with great wit and humor, a snapshot of a young woman discovering herself in a country that’s piecing itself back together after the end of the Cold War.

There’s a trite but rather true impression that most little girls go through a horse-mania phase.  Mine was mostly expressed by repeated readings of Black Beauty.  Author Lara Prior-Palmer, however, decided to sign up for a 1,000-kilometer (621 mile) horse race. In Mongolia. On a whim. As detailed in Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race, Prior-Palmer is nineteen and all at loose ends when she sees an ad for the Mongolian Derby—a race that recreates Genghis Khan’s horse messenger system. She impulsively decides that riding a series of 25 wild ponies across the steppe is the next logical step in her life-long love of horses and riding.  The teenager is woefully underprepared for this race, bringing along scant equipment and unable to work the GPS.  Her win is a testament to her grit, determination, and competitive spirit.  And yet, because of Prior-Palmer’s frank avowal of her foolhardiness (and her spite towards another competitor), manages to save this memoir from the all-too-familiar narrative of the gritty underdog making good.

If you want to mark two squares with one book for the Bookish Bingo Challenge, Imagine Wanting Only This is the one for you.  Kristen Radtke spins her tale in the form of a graphic memoir, relating scenes and circumstances with a combination of lyrical prose and black-and-white art. Loss of a beloved uncle combined with the unwitting desecration of a photographer’s memorial lead the author into a fascination with ruins. Traveling from Cambodia to Colorado, Radtke’s pursuit of these places reveals an existential restlessness, a fear that settling down and settling in means eventual decay into a ruin herself. If you have never thought of a comic book as an art form capable of moving and challenging its readers, Imagine Wanting Only This will shift your perspective.

Perhaps no other author on my list exemplifies the female adventurer as well as Jill Heinerth.  She led teams that discovered long-submerged ruins of Mayan civilization, and she is the first person in history to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg.  Her memoir Into The Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver detail her transformation from office drone to renowned cave diver.  Her prose is crisp yet conversational, alternately thrilling with its description of danger and charming with its depictions of underwater marvels.  From the opening sentence to the final paragraph, Heinerth sets the adrenaline rushing and the imagination free.

Other recommendations:

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir
Kristin Newman

TV comedy writer Kristin Newman spent her 20s and 30s watching her friends get married and start families.  Unwilling to either settle down or become the sad single girl, Newman instead spent months each year travelling around the globe.  She details her adventures with an easy, infectious humor and delves with equal aplomb into self-reflection.  Why is it, exactly, that every obstacle sends her on a transatlantic flight?

Lands Of Lost Borders: A Journey On The Silk Road
Kate Harris

Author Kate Harris dreamed of being an explorer when she was a young girl. Unfortunately, the world had already been discovered and mapped long before she grew up in a small Ontario town. In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris and her childhood friend decided to travel the Silk Road by bicycle.  Cycling through miles of remote countryside, Harris begins to wonder about the definition of “explorer.” It is someone who discovers something, or is it someone who lives life outside of boundaries, discovering themselves?

Without You, There Is No Us: My Time With The Sons Of North Korea’s Elite
Suki Kim

It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields– except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room. Suki Kim offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world’s most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls “soldiers and slaves.”

French Ghosts, Russian Nights, And American Outlaws: Souvenirs Of A Professional Vagabond
Susan Spano

In 1993, the New York Times debuted a new feature, the Frugal Traveler, in its pages. Susan Spano was the first columnist, and she took her readers on fascinating trips around the globe. French Ghosts, Russian Nights, and American Outlaws is a collection of some her most beloved pieces. Join Spano as she journeys from the Artic Circle to Java, from China to the Andes Mountains. Through her tales, Spano lives her philosophy of life and travel: Go forth and find meaning. And return home with a tan, whenever possible.

All The Way To The Tigers: A Memoir
Mary Morris

Mary Morris was supposed to be going on sabbatical. Instead, an accident left her in a wheelchair for three months while she endured two surgeries, extensive rehabilitation, and doubts about her ability to ever walk again. While reading Death In Venice, she was captivated by the lines, “He would go on a journey. Not far. Not all the way to the tigers.”  Morris decided then and there that she would travel all the way to the tigers.  She spent weeks over a three-year period in India, searching for the world’s most elusive predator, learning about and finding a deep connection to the wild cat. Told in over a hundred short chapters, Morris weaves a multi-layered tale of determination, family, travel, and growth.

Book descriptions are courtesy of Monarch Catalog, except Schadenfreude, a love story: me, the Germans, and 20 years of attempted transformations, unfortunate miscommunications, and humiliating situations that only they have words for—provided by Amazon.

Posted in Adult, Bingo 2021, Teen & Young Adult

Read a Book Set in a Country That Has Never Hosted the Olympics

Now that the 2021 (2020?) Tokyo Summer Olympic Games have ended we all have additional time to work on our Mead Bookish Bingo Challenge. Below, I assembled several titles that will let you cross off the square for “Books set in a country that has NEVER hosted the Olympics”.

For instance, did you know that despite having over 50 countries registered with the International Olympic Committee, there has never been a modern Olympic games hosted by any country in the entire continent of Africa? This is largely due to the extreme cost attached to hosting an Olympics. Beijing reportedly spent $40 billion to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. If that big ol’ price tag is a deterrent for wealthy nations, imagine the strain this would have on a developing country. While there is talk of the games coming to Senegal far down the road, we must make due in the meantime. 

Chile
The House of the Spirits (1982) by Isabele Allende

Democratic Republic of Congo
The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver

Guatemala
Grave Secrets (2002) by Kathy Reichs

India
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (2020) by Deepa Anaparra
The God of Small Things (1997) by Arhundhati Roy
Murder in Old Bombay (2020) by Nev March

Nigeria
Akata Witch (2011) by Nnedi Okorafor
My Sister the Serial Killer (2018) by Oyinkan Braithwaite

South Africa
Born a Crime (2016) by Trevor Noah
Cry, the Beloved Country (1948) by Alan Patton

The titles listed above represent the tiniest sliver of literature produced in un-Olympic-ed nations. From travelogues to groovy science fiction, there is a pantheon of literature to choose from to get this bingo square crossed off. 

Do you still need a Mead Bookish Bingo card? It’s not too late to complete a row. Pick up a copy at the first or second floor desk at Mead or print your own out HERE. Would you like a little more community while you work on our bingo card? Consider joining our Goodreads group HERE.

If none of the titles listed appeal, contact us for additional recommendations. Please do not hesitate to reach out for help requesting materials, troubleshooting our ebook platforms, or anything else, really.

Posted in Fiction, Kids 5-12, Uncategorized

Alternative Series for Junie B. Jones Lovers (or Haters)

I often receive requests from young patrons wanting to find Junie B. Jones books. Young readers seem to really enjoy reading her series. She has a spunky personality that kids find hilarious. Not all grown-ups seem to love her though (she is pretty sassy)! I have some alternative series recommendations from our children’s library for Junie B. Jones fans (or for those needing a break from her) that will appeal to new readers just starting to read chapter books. These are all shorter chapter books with illustrations and relatable characters that are appealing to kids building up their reading stamina. Whether you share the love for the popular Junie B. or not, we have many options your new readers will enjoy.

Ivy + Bean series by Annie Barrows

Second graders, Ivy and Bean, are a likeable pair of best friends. They have very different personalities and at first, didn’t even want to be friends with each other! They discover that their differences actually complement each other to make them a dynamic duo. You will enjoy their creative problem solving and humorous adventures, which don’t always go as planned – despite their good intentions. The large font, short chapters, and humorous illustrations will appeal to early readers of this series.

Continue reading “Alternative Series for Junie B. Jones Lovers (or Haters)”
Posted in Adult, Historical, Romance, Uncategorized

While You Wait for The Four Winds

With a whopping 200 holds on its various formats, The Four Winds has topped hundreds of people’s summer reading lists. Kristin Hannah’s tale of a woman’s struggle to keep her farm, family, and marriage alive through the Dust Bowl has hooked readers with deft writing and details of the gritty reality of 1930s rural life. But what to do if you’re still waiting for your copy to turn up?

Below are 5 titles to tide you over while you wait.

Continue reading “While You Wait for The Four Winds
Posted in Adult, Fiction

What’s Sheboygan Reading in 2021?

Today, after seeing that Where the Crawdads Sing was still showing up on various trending/bestseller lists, I began to wonder – what had been Mead’s most popular titles so far in 2021? So I looked at which books had been checked out the most times so far this year. Below, you can find the top five – if you like talking about books with other people, you’re likely to find a lot of people in Sheboygan who have read these! (Descriptions taken from catalog/publishers.)

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

Continue reading “What’s Sheboygan Reading in 2021?”
Posted in Adult, Film

Movies for Juneteenth

Juneteenth is this Saturday – and now it’s also our newest federal holiday! Falling on June 19th each year, it originally marked the abolition of slavery in Texas. It’s since expanded to commemorate and celebrate the end of slavery across the nation. More information can be found in this New York Times article. For this week’s blog post, I wanted to go a little wider than just historical/documentary movies and, instead, pick out and highlight some movies exploring the Black experience in America. Descriptions are from our catalog or the publisher:

Do the Right Thing, dir. Spike Lee

It’s the hottest day of the year in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Tensions are growing, with the only local businesses being a Korean grocery and Sal’s Pizzeria. Mookie is Sal’s delivery boy. Radio Raheem has the letters of love and hate written on his hands. He is defiant and together with a motivated Buggin Out, push Sal and his sons to their breaking point.

The cops intervene, using force and brutality to apprehend the large Radio Raheem. He is unwilling to succumb to the over-excessive brutality of the police and the racist views of Sal and his family. The overzealous police officers don’t understand the repercussions of the violence they just unleashed. The neighbors band together to protest this extreme form of pure, toxic bigotry. Mob mentality takes over and the other local non-African American store owners become threatened. Tempers flare and rage is in the air.

Continue reading “Movies for Juneteenth”
Posted in Adult, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, LGBTQI+, Teen & Young Adult

LGBTQI+ Graphic Novels to Read During Pride Month, or Anytime, Really

In a continuation of last week’s post centered on LGBTQI+ excellence in books and movies, please enjoy this list of graphic novels to celebrate Pride and the inherent talent and diversity within. Below, I highlight four graphic novels that are worth a look whether it’s Pride month or not. Book descriptions were sourced from publisher information.

Goldie Vance (2016) by Lilliam Rivera (ongoing series)

This series is what it might look like if Nancy Drew liked girls and had non-white friends. 16-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place. Her mom, who divorced her dad years ago, works as a live mermaid at a club downtown. Goldie has an insatiable curiosity, which explains her dream to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. When Charles, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery utilizing her smarts, random skills, and connections with the hotel staff and various folks in town. Available on Hoopla.

The Backstagers (2017) by James Tynion IV 

James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredibly earnest story that explores what it means to find a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast. When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Hunter, Aziz, Sasha, and Beckett become his new best friends and introduce him to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain that the rest of the school doesn’t know about, filled with strange creatures, changing hallways, and a decades-old legend of a backstage crew that went missing and was never found. Available on Hoopla. Ongoing series. 

Cosmoknights (2019) by Hannah Termpler

Pan’s life used to be very small. Work in her dad’s body shop, sneak out with her friend Tara to go dancing, and watch the skies for freighter ships. It didn’t even matter that Tara was a princess… until one day it very much did matter, and Pan had to say goodbye forever. Years later, when a charismatic pair of off-world gladiators show up on her doorstep, she finds that life might not be as small as she thought. On the run and off the galactic grid, Pan discovers the astonishing secrets of her neo-medieval world… and the intoxicating possibility of burning it all down. Available on Hoopla.

Bingo Love (2018) by Tee Franklin

When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. Available on Hoopla. 

Additional LGBTQI+ graphic novels to celebrate Pride month with:

The Authority (2000) by Warren Ellis
Fence (2018) by CS Pacat
Gender Queer (2019) by Maia Kobabe
Lumberjanes (2015) by Noelle Stevenson
Mooncakes (2019) by Susanne Walker
Runaways (2006) by Brian K. Vaughn
Smile (2010) by Raina Telgemeier

All of the above titles can be found in the Monarch catalog. Most of the titles are available on Hoopla. In fact, Hoopla is host to hundreds of comic book and graphic novel titles, so no matter one’s interest area there is bound to be something that appeals. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out for help requesting material or troubleshooting tech stuff. As always, we are thrilled to pieces to give reader’s advisory book recommendations whether it’s for Pride month or any other occasion.