Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

Feel free to comment on posts, re-blog and enjoy. To ensure a civil and focused discussion, comments will be held for a brief period before being published.



Recent Posts
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Making Magic

The Summer of Imagination is wrapping up, but there is still plenty of fun and sunshine to soak up outside! Join Miss Tess in creating four different garden crafts - a butterfly feeder, a bird feeder, painted rocks and a nature collage suncatcher!

These crafts are inspired by crafts from "Let's Get Gardening: 30 Easy Gardening Projects for Children" by DK, Busy Toddler and Hands On As We Grow.
For more ideas, check out "Let's Get Gardening" here, Busy Toddler's website and Hands on as We Grow's website.

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Aug 03, 2020 at 1:50 PM
  

Game on!
Game reviews by Brandon, Elizabeth, Kristin, and Stacy 

Hello everyone! We hope you’ll enjoy these recommendations. These are games we all found soothing for stressful and difficult times. These games cost money and/or require consoles, so they’re for more serious gamers than our last free game review. We hope you enjoy them! 

Today's theme
Relaxing games to help you de-stress.

Game One

Journey 

A $19.99 game on the Playstation Store 

Journey

Get ready for this one, because this is my favorite piece of media of all time. That includes books, movies, shows, and other games. Some games are made to put us against each other. You must beat your opponent! Long have we been tasked in video games to look out for only ourselves, and to beat our games as fast as possible. What if a company decided to oppose these ideals? How about a game that is created for the sake of helping one another, and to journey together as a team, and not to fight against each other as enemies? Let the game be the journey itself, let the game be the reward, not just the finality of it, and enrich the whole experience. ThatGameCompany reached for the stars with this goal and have succeeded reached true ascension, as players who play the fantastic PSN title “Journey” will discover.

In Journey you awake a stranger, cloaked in red. The Controls are simple, yet somehow refined and feel natural, almost as if they were an extension of your body. You guide the camera with the gyroscope in your controller and you move forward with the left analog stick. The circle button acts a little chirp or call that changes tone depending on how hard and fast you press the button. The use for this is not made immediately known, but it is revealed very soon. You walk up a slight cliff, to see a massive mountain. This mountain is both tremendous in size, and intimidating. “What awaits me up there, and will I like what I discover?” It is shortly after you discover your scarf. Glyphs are scattered around the game and if you find them you will increase the length of your scarf, allowing you to fly for short durations of time with the X button.

These gameplay mechanics, while great on their own, take a backseat to the gorgeous environment of the game. This game’s setting is a character in itself. Waterfalls of golden sand cascade behind you as the game suddenly transitions into 2D seamlessly showing you the warm backdrop of the sun from afar. Did I just name an old dream of yours? That will happen to you, as Journey is a game that you do not stop thinking about when you put the controller down. This is thanks to the multiplayer and the effect it will have on you,

The Multiplayer of Journey is Unique in two amazing and innovative ways. The first being that, the guy on the screen with you, he’s your friend, and by the end of the game, you will do anything possible to make sure they finish their journey with you. I honestly do believe that if more individuals play this game, they will find peace with themselves and perhaps find a deeper appreciation for the loved ones in their lives. Feelings are warm and close, and never rude or obtuse thanks to the second innovative factor of Journey.

You cannot converse with your fellow player in any language you may have learned throughout your life. Yes, the game strips usernames away (until after the credits) and gives you only the option of chirping to communicate with the other player. After playing this game at least over 25 times, it seems that the Journey members are starting to form their own language as I find myself having a easier time understanding my new friends every time I play.

ThatGameCompany have created their masterpiece. They have not created a game, but an experience. Ever since finishing Journey I have found a new appreciation for the ones I hold dear to me in my life, and I think every day about how I want to live my Journey and who I want to accompany me on my Journey. Give this game a shot, as I guarantee you will watch the ending of this game unfold and find yourself feeling something very different from your usual video game; at peace.    -Brandon
Game 2
Fez
A $10 game (give or take) available for purchase on the Playstation Store, Xbox via the Microsoft store, Windows and Mac via Steam.
Fez

Fez follows the story of player-character Gomez after he is mysteriously gifted a red fez and watches as  his cozy 2D way of life is ripped apart by a tear in the fabric of space and time, revealing to him a previously unknown 3rd dimension. Now you with your mystical red fez must explore this new 3D world with the goal of restoring the universe by collecting shards of cube fragments. Released in 2012 by indie game companies Trapdoor and Polytron Corporation, this is a game that has remained very dear to me for it’s bright and memorable aesthetics, it’s unique gameplay mechanics, and it’s overall unforgettable experience!

A “stop and smell the roses” type of game that is less focused on plot and instead promotes  relaxed exploration and puzzle solving. Fez encourages it’s players to explore each world to its fullest by offering a unique rotation mechanic that moves the player’s camera around the seemingly 2D plane, often revealing new pathways and exposing access to previously inaccessible platforms and items. To further promote relaxed exploration, Fez has no enemies, no bosses, or even hard consequences – when the player dies, typically by falling, they are respawned and able to continue the level freely. 

I was originally drawn to this game by it’s pixelated game design and chill electronica music, but stayed for it’s compelling world and calming atmosphere! The protagonist is a small marshmallow man with a bright red fez – his minimal design allows for maximum engagement with the worlds which are ultimately the real draw towards a game like Fez. Each world vibes similarly with one another – they are easy on the eyes with soft colors and reflect the same upwards gameplay movement. However, each world is unique both in looks and experience, while following the same foundational structure: ultimately each it’s own large puzzle comprised of four different 2D planes that connect and respond with one another as you travel up through the world! 

I highly recommended this game upon it’s release nearly a decade ago and I continue to highly recommend it to this day! It’s such a favorable experience and well executed game, definitely worth the time and commitment. - Stacy  

Game 3
Fe
A $20 game available on Switch, PS4, XBox and PC.
Fe

Fe is an exploration-based open world adventure starring a spiky little forest creature who can sing to other forest animals to learn their powers. The world has a dark and blocky aesthetic that works for it, casting things in stark shadow and light and highlighting spaces with splashes of vivid colors. It’s relaxing and not particularly linear, challenging you with some moderate puzzle-solving and lots of climbing and exploring. The sounds are immersive—the music comes and goes for emphasis, similar to Breath of the Wild, but the game is typically filled with deep chimes or strings, animal calls, rushing water, and rustling trees. It’s very soothing to play. 

As you progress, you quickly gain new powers that give you an incredible freedom to explore right off the bat. Unlike many platformers, you get a glide ability fairly early and much of the game design is based on using it. There’s no combat in Fe, but there are stealth sections which can be a bit tense. There aren’t heavy penalties for failure, though, and dying merely sets you back to an earlier physical location as a checkpoint. If you ever get stuck, you can call a bird to show you where to go next. 

Overall, Fe is a very relaxing and rewarding game to play. The frustrations are minimal, every secret can be discovered without a guide, and it’s hard to ever get completely stuck. It’s a shame that the coolest power is only unlocked after there are no more objectives, but it’s definitely a reward worth earning. Fe also has one section in particular that makes the game worth buying all by itself. I won’t spoil it, but between the visuals, the challenge, and the swelling music, it was full of the same awe-inspiring wonder I experienced playing Shadow of the Colossus for the first time. I definitely recommend it.    -Kristin
Game 4
Everything
Available on PS4, Switch, and Steam for PC and Mac [here]

everything

Sometimes, you just want to do absolutely nothing. A game with goals? Exhausting. TV and a plot? No thanks. Sometimes, you just want to float around in a polygon world while listening to calm music and the drone of a philosophy lecture. Don’t worry! When you really, really need to relax, the game Everything can help. 

In the game Everything, you can be, well, everything: a pig, a planet, a twig, a tree, and everything in between. You can talk to everything, too. Try listening to a narcissistic dragonfly or a con artist blade of grass (“come on! I’ll give you 1%! Okay, 2%!”). One pinecone in my game lamented that it couldn’t whistle, while a horse informed me it was mad at the sun and would stay mad until the weather changed.
Mostly, though, you just roll around: getting smaller or bigger, switching between species and things as the mood strikes. Sometimes you sing, and nearby creatures sing with you; sometimes, you join a crowd, or leave a crowd, or dance. I left some raspberries whirling in circles around my screen for a bit, adding a new one every so often until the whole screen was covered in fruit. You can even leave the game on autoplay and come back to wonder why you’re suddenly two rattlesnakes exploring the desert.

There’s an encyclopedia to fill out, but that’s not really the point. I’m not sure what the point is: that philosophy lecture, probably, but I’m tuning that out. I’m too busy dancing. - Elizabeth
Tell us what you think!

What are your comfort food games? Did you buddy up and explore the vast world of Journey or enjoy a few hours being everything and anything in Everything? Let us know in the comments!
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 31, 2020 at 1:55 PM
  
Fantastical Reimaginings

Fantastical Reimaginings: Rapunzel
by Nicole S.
 
Rapunzel

Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your golden hair! Do you remember the story of Rapunzel? A beautiful girl trapped in a tower with nothing to do but tame her long, long, LONG golden locks? Some of you may have watched the Disney story of Rapunzel in the movie “Tangled”. Did you know the original tale of Rapunzel was much darker than its Disney counterpart? And there were no frying pans in the original? “Frying pans – who knew right?!?”  
History
Like many of the darker fairy tales, the tale of Rapunzel was published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. They adapted the story of Rapunzel from Friedrich Schulz, which he had published in 1790. However, all these versions were inspired and adapted from the 1698 fairy tale “Persinette” by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force. 

Rapunzel

The Original
 
The original story of Rapunzel starts with a lonely couple who are desperate for a child of their very own. The couple finally gets their wish and while pregnant, the wife experiences weird cravings and longs for the Rapunzel (type of greens) that grows in their neighbor’s walled garden. She refuses to eat anything else and starts to wither away. The husband finally steals away to the garden and steals the Rapunzel to make a salad for his wife. She eats it but isn’t fully satisfied and asks her husband for more. When the husband attempts to sneak into his neighbor’s garden a second time, his neighbor, who happens to be a sorceress, catches him and accuses him of thievery! The husband begs and pleads with the sorceress who in returns lets him take more of the Rapunzel on one condition: when the baby is born the sorceress gets to claim her. The husband agrees. The wife gives birth to a baby girl who is given to the sorceress and named after the greens, Rapunzel. As Rapunzel and her golden hair grows, she is locked up in a tower with no stairs, no doors and only one window. One day a prince hears her singing and learns how to visit her by using the same chant the sorceress does to have Rapunzel let down her hair to climb. The prince visits Rapunzel many times and they fall in love and he asks her to marry him. As they hatch a plan to escape Rapunzel discovers she is pregnant. The sorceress is furious when she finds out and proceeds to cut Rapunzel’s long hair and banish her into the wilderness. The prince comes back and climbs Rapunzel’s hair only to discover the sorceress has tricked him. After she tells him Rapunzel will never be seen again he leaps/falls from the tower landing in a thorn bush that scratches his eyes and blind him. For many years he wanders the country yearning for his lost love until he eventually finds Rapunzel with twins, a boy and girl. Upon seeing her prince, she cries tears of joy on his face, restoring his vision. He takes Rapunzel and their kids to his kingdom to live happily ever after. 
Rapunzel Retellings
So, how much has this classic fairy tale changed over the years? Are the retellings similar or impossibly different? Find out more about similar tales below!

***
Rapunzel
 
Disney’s “Tangled”
Available on Hoopla

A more recent retelling of this fairy tale is from Disney in the movie “Tangled”. In this story a queen is pregnant and is starting to die due to sickness. There is a legend of a golden flower somewhere on their kingdom’s island that has said to have healing powers. However, many years before a sorceress discovered the flower first and uses its powers to stay young and beautiful. Eventually the golden flower is discovered by the king’s guards and brought to the queen. She is healed and gives birth to a golden haired baby girl they name Rapunzel. One night the sorceress breaks into the kingdom and steals the baby girl. She hides Rapunzel away in a tower in the middle of the woods and uses the power of the golden flower through Rapunzel’s hair to stay young and beautiful by singing a chant while brushing her hair. As Rapunzel grows up she longs to see the world outside her tower but her mother strictly forbids it. By now, Rapunzel’s hair has grown and grown and her mother uses it to come and go from the tower. One day a thief, Flynn Rider, happens upon the tower while escaping the royal guards for stealing a crown. Rapunzel and Flynn strike a bargain – Flynn will show Rapunzel the world and Rapunzel will give back the crown he stole. Rapunzel explores the kingdom and learns about the traditions of the lanterns the kingdom does in honor of their lost princess. In this version, Rapunzel is a lost princess and her love interest is a thief, not a prince. 

***
 Cress

“Cress” by Marissa Meyer
Available on Hoopla as a digital audiobook

This is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Cress has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with net screens as her only company. Thanks to this she has become an amazing hacker and is forced to work for Queen Levana. Her orders though are to track down Cinder and her accomplices. Cress has an opportunity at her freedom but it comes at a high cost. This story is a continuation of Cinder a cyborg mechanic we learn about the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, “Cinder”. Each book focuses on a different fairy tale character with whom Cinder comes into contact. 

***

 Bitter Greens

“Bitter Greens” by Kate Forsyth
Available on Hoopla as a digital audiobook

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens. After Margherita's father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.
Inspired by Charlotte’s writings that first penned Rapunzel, this retelling weaves historical fiction, fairy tales and romance into one story. The story features narratives from each of the three leading females in the story: Charlotte, Margherita and Selena.

***

Now that you know the real story check out these and other Rapunzel retellings on Hoopla!
o “The Golden Braid” by Melanie Dickerson
“My Name is Rapunzel” by K.C. Hilton
o “Reign of Shadows” by Sophie Jordan
o “Towering” by Alex Flinn
o “Golden Curse” by M. Lynn

“Go. Live your dream.”- Tangled

Picture credits: Disney, Trina Schart Hyman, Hoopla

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 31, 2020 at 11:54 AM
  
Create & DIY for adults

Harry Potter Wands
with Ollivanders and Head Mistress Julie

Swish and flick! Take a behind-the-scenes trip to Ollivanders and learn how to make your own wand!

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 29, 2020 at 12:54 PM
  
Read It!

Family Book Club
with Tess

 The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards

"The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles" - Part 3 (Chapters 1-8 + Epilogue)
- What is your favorite creature that the Potters and Professor meet in Whangdoodleland?
- Were you afraid they would never make it to the castle?
- Were you surprised that the Prock finally allowed them to meet the Whangdoodle?
- What did you think of the Whangdoodle?
- Did you think the Professor's experiment would work?
- How did you like the ending? 
- How did you like the book overall?

Activity: Create your own Whangdoodle creature and send me a picture at tjjones@auroragov.org!


August Family Book Club

August's book is "One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia, a work of historical fiction and the winner of the Newbery Medal Winner & Corretta Scott King Award Winner in 2011.

One Crazy Summer

Summary:
In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Oakland, California to spend a month with the mother they barely know, Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet, is resentful of their intrusion and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

The reading schedule will be posted on Monday, Aug. 3. Be sure to get a copy! Call the Tallyn's Reach Library at 303.627.3050 or visit in person for a physical copy. It is also available as an audiobook via RBDigital Audiobooks and as an eBook via Overdrive (Libby) and HooplaDigital. Access all three digital platforms with your library card.
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 27, 2020 at 1:15 PM
  
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