The Big Library Read is Here!

Beginning on May 15th, patrons of hundreds of participating Indiana libraries can download The Four Corners of the Sky in Kindle, EPUB, PDF formats via their library’s OverDrive eBook catalogue. Notable libraries participating in the The Big Library Read include The Indianapolis Public Library and the eIndiana Digital Consortium, which consists of 78 Evergreen Indiana libraries. Patrons will have unlimited access (no holds or waiting lists) to the selected title throughout the duration the pilot program.

Patrons only need a valid library card and an electronic device (personal computer, tablet, Smartphone, eReader, etc.) connected online to participate. In an effort to promote a global community of readers, patrons are encouraged join the conversation on Twitter at #BigLibraryRead and “Like” Michael Malone on Facebook.

Holiday Books for Family Reading

What’s your favorite holiday book to read as a family? Need some ideas for holiday books to read together?

Three of everyone’s favorite children’s room staff members have compiled their five favorite holiday books to read with families or children. Check out Laura’s, Jan’s, and Brenda’s lists below:

The Night Before Christmas
Silent Night: A Mouse Tale
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Small One
Who is Coming to Our House?

Helping Santa: My First Christmas Adventure with Grandma
The After-Christmas Tree
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus!
The Money We’ll Save

Polar Express
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Santa’s Crash-Bang Christmas

 Have you ready any of these books? Add your favorites in the comments below!

Every Child is an Artist!

Every Child is an Artist!

There’s an art wall by the project table in the Children’s Room, where kids can always find supplies to sit down and make something creative. They can take their projects home, leave them to display, or make two, one to take and one to display.

The projects that go on the table are great for tactile learners and creative kids. They all support one of more of the five practices of the Every Child Ready to Read Initiative of the American Library Association.

The leaf project was to decorate a paper leaf with colorful paper bits. It’s amazing how different they were from each other! It tied in with the Writing aspect of the initiative. Picking up the mosaic bits and working with a glue stick helps develop the fine motor skills needed to write, and reading and writing go hand in hand.

 There’s a lot to do in the Children’s Room these days. When kids visit the library they can CREATE (project table,) DO (crawl through the giant caterpillar, play a board game,) READ (book, magazine,) PLAY WITH (train table, computers,) LISTEN TO (snuggle up with together on a cozy couch,) or ATTEND something (a library program- see what there is for your child!).

Banned Books Week 2012

Banned Books Week is Sunday, September 30 – Saturday, October 6, 2012. 

Books are banned for all sorts of reasons. Should people be able to ban books, or should everyone have the freedom to choose what they want to read?

Your library supports your freedom to read. Check out this video, by many of your favorite library staff members:

What’s your favorite banned book? Why was it banned, and what is it your favorite?

Welcome to Our Neighborhoods!

It has just gotten easier to locate items in the children’s room through the creation of Neighborhoods. Some of the books and movies are being shelved together by topic rather than classified as fiction, non-fiction or format (such as DVD). The first Neighborhood created was based on the most popular requests from children of their Favorite Characters. These include Barbie, Clifford, Dora, Star Wars and Thomas. For children who love the airplane or train books, we have a Transportation Neighborhood with sub-categories of In the Air, In the Water, and On Land. Coming soon will be Neighborhoods on Holidays and the Town Values.

The call number on the spine of the book/DVD has not changed; the only changes are the location of the item on the shelves and listed in the Evergreen on-line catalog, plus the addition of a color-coded spine label. An example of a location change in the Evergreen online catalog will be “Children: Favorite Characters: Dora” instead of “children picture book”.

We hope these Neighborhoods make it easier for you and your child to locate the items you want. Please be patient with us as we take the time to transfer the items into Neighborhoods. If you need assistance finding items or have suggestions for improvements or additional Neighborhoods, please tell any of the children’s room staff.


Reading Aloud to Kids

Obviously I love reading. I read on a daily basis and one of my goals is to spread the joy of reading. I decided, even before my oldest son, Tim, was born, that my kids would grow up to be readers. I bought Tim Dr. Seuss books when he was 2 months old. Last year, I think my youngest son, Zeke, was the youngest child enrolled in Summer Reading, as he was born the day after summer reading started! His room is even decorated in Dr. Seuss illustrations.

However, despite all of this, I was unsure of how to read to my kids, so I went on a library adventure to find a book on the subject. What I found was The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. This is just me talking, but I feel as though this is the definitive guide on reading to your kids. Here are some tips that I use everyday that I gleaned from this book:

Start early, but better late than never! Story time is a lot of fun, but you don’t have to be elaborate if you don’t want to be. A short book before bed is a great way to “ease into” the idea of reading together on a regular basis. I read with both my boys before Zeke goes to bed, and then I read with Tim again before his bedtime, as he listens to the story and doesn’t chew on the books like his brother. The only problem I ever have is when Tim throws a fit for me to read him another story. I suppose if I have to pick a problem to have, this would be it.

Read your own material in front of your kids.
Don’t allow them to think that adults don’t read! For example, you can read the newspaper at breakfast, and perhaps read aloud part of a story that may be interesting to them. You could read a recipe while cooking. Read a novel that you just picked up from the library on the couch. Kids learn by example, so show them that reading isn’t just for kids in school.

Don’t be afraid to read aloud to kids of any age. It doesn’t matter if your kid is 6 or 16, you can still take 5 or 10 minutes a day to have some quality reading time.

Don’t be afraid to read aloud because you don’t think you’re good at it.
Practice makes perfect! Your child will enjoy the time you spend sharing a story even if you’re not an audiobook-quality, read-aloud, voiceover artist. At first, I was afraid that Tim wouldn’t like the crazy voices that I used for the characters in Steven Kellogg’s Jack and the Beanstalk, but now he won’t let me read it to him any other way!

Make reading aloud fun! Little kids like to read the same books over and over again. At least do yourself a favor and spice up the way you read—use silly voices, do sound effects, ask questions about the illustrations. Really get into what you’re doing, and the child will definitely follow your lead.

Take your kids to the library! PPL’s children’s department is awesome. There are zones for each age range to play, toys for little guys, puzzles and games for all ages, and a quiet area for reading. Let your child pick a book for herself. Let her grab a shopping cart and watch the books fly off the shelves! Show older kids how to search Evergreen for subjects that they enjoy.

Turn off the electronics! Television and Internet are great things in moderation. Unplug for awhile and watch your kids become more alert, imaginative, pleasant, and talkative. Maybe they’ll even do their chores without a fuss too. Okay, that’s wishful thinking.

A great adult book about reading aloud is The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma. It chronicles “The Streak” of reading aloud between a father and daughter for several years, and the profound impact it had on both of them. I only hope that the reading aloud that I do for my kids has the same effect!

Happy Reading!


Writing to an Author

Do you ever read such an awesome book you feel you just have to tell the author how much you loved their work? Yeah? Then go ahead and do it! Believe it or not, authors love to hear from you.

Recently, one of the employees here wrote to an author she’d been thoroughly enjoying, and well, it paid off! Check it out below.


From: Theresa
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:51 AM
To: Kristan Higgins
Subject: Thank you…

I haven’t finished the book “All I ever wanted”, yet, because I stop and laugh uproariously at the characters.  But just wanted to say I am thoroughly enjoying my first book.  I will definitely be reading the rest of your books.  Thank you for a breath of fresh air in the Contemporary romance genre. Please don’t ever write those awful vampire books.  Just kidding, I would read one by you it would be fantastic.


“Be who you are and say what you feel,because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
— Dr. Seuss


From: Kristan Higgins
To: Theresa
Sent: Sat, June 23, 2012 6:45:54 AM
Subject: Re: Thank you…
Thanks, Theresa! So far, no vampires…I really can’t imagine writing one of those. No sparkling here. No scintillating arms (the phrase at which I stopped reading Twilight).

You quote my favorite author of all time! He’s got a shout-out in my upcoming book…

Hope you like all the other books, and thank you so much for writing!


New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author

Nothing is Old to Young Children

There are a lot of new picture books every year, and competition for sales is intense. Many new picture books are really written to appeal to adults who shop for books, and they are sophisticated, full of references to other things and jokes that kids don’t get. It’s a good marketing strategy and everything. But… first things first.

The simple story of The Three Bears is still a new and exciting story to little kids. I read it to preschoolers because they really like it. Of course I know what will happen, and I’ve read it a thousand times! Most of the kids have never heard it though, and they don’t know.

The Gunniwolf, The Turnip, The Gingerbread Man. These books are not trying to be clever, they are just simple, interesting stories for kids. They have been around for hundreds of years because they are timeless.

Author/illustrator Paul Zelinsky says, “From the point of view of very young children, nothing is old or hackneyed. Isn’t it important for them to be exposed to the most basic forms of things? Variations should come second. And winking third.” (You can read his article here:

 My suggestion: when you are reading a traditional kind of story, start with a basic version like The Little Red Hen by Galdone. Play around with it. Read it with goofy animal voices if you do that – your child can do those parts if you don’t. Later, pretend you are the hen. “Who will help me put away these groceries?”

Next read different versions and expansions like The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Sturges. and compare the pictures and story. Guess what? Not all versions of The Little Red Hen have the same ending. Sometimes the animals get to share the bread (or cake, or pizza) with the hen and sometimes they don’t.

Then go for take-offs or parodies like The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Sciesza (which rhymes with Fresca.) Your child will have the context to get the joke then.

A young child may latch on to a favorite story and choose it over and over again until you think you can’t stand it one more time. Studies have shown that it’s normal and developmentally appropriate. (Ever watched a TV box set or movie more than once? I thought so. Me too.) Don’t worry, the child will move on eventually!

Are You Ready for Memorial Day Weekend?

Memorial Day Weekend: a time for spending with family…

…in the car…

for hours.

Why not read a book while you’re in the car?

Or are you like me, a control freak, and drive everywhere? No offense…

Or do you get carsick while reading directions when forced to be the trusty navigator?

Well here are some fabulous non-book options furnished by your fabulous library, to entertain you instead of being bored, sick, or forced to play the license plate game again.

Audiobooks: PGTPL has a fabulous collection of books on CD. Whether you like non-fiction, historical fiction, or even teen fiction and children’s books, we have something for you. Pop in a CD, and listen to great authors, actors, and professional voices read you great books. Many more audiobooks are available for download on Overdrive as well. My favorites: Beauty Queens, written and performed by Libba Bray via OverDrive; and Horton Hears a Who and other stories, performed by Dustin Hoffman available through Evergreen.

Playaways: If your trusty vehicle doesn’t have a CD player, don’t fret! We have these cute little do-dads called Playaways. You just plug a set of headphones in and listen to the story.

DVDs: If you have a fancy vehicle with DVD players, we can load you up with great movies from our collection. You can even find movies about wherever you’re going with our extensive non-fiction DVD shelves. One movie I like that’s good for all ages: IMAX Under the Sea, narrated by Jim Carrey. Popcorn not included.

CDs: Tired of trying to find a great radio station in the middle of nowhere? Grab a handful of CDs and create your own playlist. I enjoy exposing my kids to music that I like, so I don’t have to listen to the Hokey Pokey a million times. However, Barenaked Ladies have a great kid’s CD called Snacktime that rocks!

Especially for Kids:

Playaway Views: Got kids? Got kids that love Elmo, Arthur or fairy tales? We have Playaway Views in the Children’s room! These nifty handheld buddies are personal movie players. They are pre-loaded, so you don’t have to fuss with DVDs or extra pieces. Earphones can be plugged in, but aren’t necessary…unless Elmo’s voice will make the drive feel like Purgatory. My child’s favorites: Between the Lions and Strega Nona.

Kid Kits: Help yourself and help our children’s room staff flex their creative muscles by compiling a kid kit for your child. Stop by the children’s room a week or so before your trip and fill out a kid kit form. You will let the librarians know how old your child is, what his interests are, and what kind of materials he would like. Then, the librarian will pull together materials for your child to take with him on his trip! You can pick them up when convenient for you, and have all the items you need to keep your kid excited about being in the car for eight hours…well…maybe.

I hope you have a safe trip to wherever your three day weekend takes you. Me? I’m thinking a couch staycation is in order!


Teen books…not just for teens!

Hello! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Courtney, the Teen Services Coordinator. I spend the majority of my time back in area T. My job offers me the awesome opportunity to order all of the teen fiction for the library as well as plan teen programs. How cool is that? As you may’ve guessed, I’m a huge fan of teen fiction and I believe it’s a genre that can be enjoyed by other adults as well. Seriously! I’ve composed a list of my top 10-ish favorite teen books of the moment. Give one a try and let me know what you think!


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Before I tell you about this book I must confess, I’m a huge John Green fan. I love his books and his vlog that he does with his brother Hank. I could write an entire blog entry on how much I love his work. But I won’t. Well, maybe later. Anyway, back to The Fault in Our Stars. Hazel is a sixteen year old terminal cancer patient. She spends her days watching TV and being obsessed with the author of her favorite book. Her life is forever changed when Augustus Waters shows up at her cancer support group. Upon this meeting, Gus and Hazel’s life will never be the same. Be sure to check out John Green’s other books: Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – Told in a diary format, this book is a coming-of-age story about Charlie that follows him through his awkward adolescence as well as learning to cope with the tragedy in his life. Soon to be a movie starring Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – After his band plays, Nick asks Norah, a complete stranger, to be his girlfriend for five minutes to avoid his ex. This action sets off a chain of events that sends the couple all over NYC. Music fans will love this one.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Anna’s dad sends her to boarding school in Paris. Here she meets St. Clair and they become best friends, but Anna may want something more. If you like this one, be sure to check out the companion novel: Lola and the Boy Next Door.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher- Clay comes home to find a box full of cassette tapes waiting for him. On the tapes is the voice of Hannah Baker who committed suicide two weeks before. Hannah explains the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life and Clay is one of the reasons.

Heist Society by Ally Carter – Kat has always had a hand in the family business; her family just happens to be con artists and thieves. She tries to escape the lifestyle, but is pulled back in when her father is accused of stealing a mobster’s art collection. Kat’s only option is to steal the paintings back to clear her father’s name. Be sure to check out the sequel: Uncommon Criminals.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – After she dies in a car crash, Samantha relives the day of her death over and over.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – Mia is in a coma following an accident that killed her entire family. The story follows her process of deciding whether to stay or join her family.

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty – Jessica is devastated when her best friend, Hope, moves away. Now she must face the trials and tribulations of high school alone. This book is the first in a series.

The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins – At this point, who hasn’t heard of The Hunger Games, right?

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin – After Liz is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that’s very much like Earth. She has to adjust to her new life and figure out how to “live.”

Whip it by Shauna Cross – Bliss is a rebel. She’s out of place in her small Texas town and doesn’t always see eye to eye with her beauty pageant obsessed mother. Then she discovers roller derby and starts skating under the name Babe Ruthless. As a huge roller derby fan myself, I loved everything about this book. Did you know that Indiana has a number of female roller derby teams? If you get a chance, you should check out Naptown Roller Girls, or Circle City Derby Girls.

Well, that’s my top 10-ish. Let me know what you think!