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.

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Read It!

Family Book Club 
with Tess

"The Turnaway Girls" by Hayley Chewins
Chapters 23 - 31

The Turnaway Girls

- Linna wants everyone to be able to choose what they want to do (make shimmer, music, etc.). How do you feel about Blightsend being so controlling with everyone having one role assigned to them and no freedom to change it?

- The birds represent freedom. When Delphernia sings, she creates golden birds. What does Bly say they really are?

- What has Bly made and how can Delphernia's birds help him?

- Mother Nine has found Delphernia. Why do you think she has come out of the cloister?

- We are nearing the end of the book! What do you think will happen? 

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jun 22, 2020 at 2:51 PM 2 Comments
  
Making Magic: Crafts for Kids

Rainbow Paper Windchime
by Tessy

Can you make a rainbow? Create rainbow paper and string it together in a homemade windchime to catch the summer breeze!



Thank you to The Science Kiddo for letting us share their rainbow paper craft.
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jun 22, 2020 at 10:10 AM
  
Read It!
Rainbow Reads A Librarian Recommends 
by Elizabeth

Hi, everyone! Happy Pride! It may not be safe out there to hold a parade, but that doesn’t mean there’s no way to celebrate this month. Whatever your Pride flag or reading preference, the Aurora Public Library has a book recommendation for you! We’ve created several Pinterest boards based around fun themes: the LGBTQ spectrum, yes, but also books with magic, graphic novels, books as sweet as cotton candy, books guaranteed to make you laugh, books that will definitely make you find a tissue box, and more! All of the Pinterest board books are ebooks, at least at this time, so that you can enjoy them from the comfort of your own home. However, there are even more books available through our curbside pickup system! Here are five of my personal favorites: some are ebooks, some are curbside, and all of them are incredible. Bonus: they’re all summer reads! (Well, all but the first one. You’ll see.) 


Gideon the Ninth
"Gideon the Ninth" by Tamsyn Muir 
Category: Epic Fantasy and Sci-fi 
Representation: lesbian 
Available through: curbside pickup, Overdrive

I can sum up this book in three words: “lesbian space necromancers.” Either that sounds too wild for you or you’re already online ordering a copy from the library. "Gideon the Ninth" is one of those books you’ll either love or hate: I love every award-winning page, from our sword-fighting star Gideon’s ill-fated escape attempt from her dismal home planet to the summons that changes everything. Gideon and royal heir Harrow must go to a distant planet to compete in a deadly puzzle challenge for the emperor. The prize? Immortality. The problem? Gideon and Harrow hate each other, Gideon’s only faking being a bodyguard, and there’s something sketchy about this whole competition that no one’s seen fit to reveal. Everything in this book from the plot to the word choice zings with energy. If you love this book (and I hope you will!), our library has the sequel. (And I know this isn’t technically a summer read, but consider: every season could be summer, if you’re in space.) 

 
Felix Ever After
"Felix Ever After" by Kacen Callender 
Category: High School Struggles 
Representation: trans, bisexual 
Available through: curbside pickup

Felix Love has never been in love. That’s the problem, he thinks: how can he make good art in his summer school’s art program if he’s never even been in love in the first place? But when an anonymous bully posts pictures of Felix before he transitioned all over school and starts sending transphobic messages, Felix vows revenge: he’s going to catfish the most likely suspect to get some information. Life gets complicated fast: Felix’s sneaky detective Instagram plan soon turns into a complicated love triangle, and Felix begins to question whether he fits as neatly in boxes as he imagined. Kacen Callender’s an incredible author: their book "King and the Dragonflies" is a heart-wrenching read for middle schoolers, and "Felix Ever After" handles its complicated teen protagonist withgrace. If you love this book, you can check out Callender’s other work through the library


Lumberjanes 
"Lumberjanes" by Shannon Waters, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis & Brooke Allen 
Category: Magic is for Everyone, Graphic Novels, Summer Fun 
Representation: trans, lesbian, bisexual 
Available through: Hoopla, curbside, Overdrive

Sometimes, you just want a fun graphic novel about a summer camp getting hopelessly disrupted by crazy magical monsters. Lumberjanes, the fabulous comic book series by the author of the recent She-Ra reboot, is there for you. Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley don’t mean to end up fighting supernatural foxes, taking on Greek gods, and helping mermaids start a concert. That’s just how summer camp goes at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. Each of the friends brings something different to the team, whether it’s puzzles, puns, planning, or kittens and cupcakes. Before long, you’ll be wishing you could have had a summer camp experience this unique. If you love this book, you can read more in the series or check out Mooncakes for more magical creatures and shenanigans. 

 
If It Makes You Happy
"If It Makes You Happy" by Claire Kann 
Category: Summer Fun, Cooking Adventures, Romantic Comedies 
Representation: asexual, bisexual, polyamorous 
Available through: curbside pickup

Winnie has a busy summer. She’s the Summer Queen, which means public speaking (her greatest nemesis) and flirting with the impossibly cute Dallas. She’s working at her granny’s diner, and she wants to enter a cooking competition, but her grandmother won’t hear of it. She’s trying to work things out with her not-girlfriend, Kara, who doesn’t like this Dallas situation at all. She’s looking out for her little brother, and, oh yeah, she really wishes everyone would stop telling her to lose some weight. "If It Makes You Happy" would be cupcakes, if it had a flavor: sugary and impossibly sweet, colorful and fun to eat. If you love this book, try "You Should See Me in a Crown" for more “prom queen / Summer Queen” fun.  


The House in the Cerulean Sea
"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by TJ Klune 
Category: Found Families, Magic is for Everyone 
Representation: gay 
Available through: curbside pickup 

Take X-Men and make it twice as adorable, with no comic book battles and a sassy kid Antichrist, and you have The House in the Cerulean Sea, my new comfort book extraordinaire. Linus Baker is a case worker with the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, and he’ll be the first to tell you he’s boring: he’s read the book of regulations cover to cover, he always follows procedure, and he’s certain that, in his forties, every chance of excitement has passed him by. Enter Arthur Parnassus: master of an orphanage filled with particularly unusual children, like a living garden gnome, a were-dog, and Lucy (short for Lucifer). Linus’s job is to go observe this orphanage and report back, but as he visits this charming place, he realizes that maybe the organization he’s dedicated his life to might be wrong. Can Linus really find family on this too-magical island? If you love this, try "Steven Universe" for another unusual magical family on a beach. 

Thanks for tuning in! I hope you enjoy these reads - I know I did.
Please let me know if you have any that you adore, and happy Pride!  
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jun 20, 2020 at 10:06 AM
  
Read It!

Read Black Writers: Juneteenth Edition 
by Elizabeth

Happy Juneteenth! Tomorrow is the last day of #BlackoutBestseller week, a challenge to fill the bestseller list with the exceptional work of Black authors. As demonstrators across the nation seek justice for victims like Breonna Taylor and Aurora’s own Elijah McClain, the relevance of Black authors is greater than ever. But maybe, with COVID-19, you’re a little low on spending money and unable to participate in a bestseller buyout. The library can help! Here are some incredible books by Black authors, both fiction and nonfiction, serious and funny and everywhere in between, all available immediately through our library’s Hoopla account.  


"The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander 

"The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander

“More than 70 million Americans – over 20 percent of the entire U.S population, overwhelmingly poor and disproportionately people of color – now have criminal records that authorize legal discrimination for life.”  

For a well-researched look at why our justice system might need reform, check out "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander. If you want research, this book has it. Michelle Alexander is a professor, civil rights lawyer and legal scholar. Our library’s copy of "The New Jim Crow" has a tenth anniversary preface: these facts are still accurate today, which is an indictment of its own. 

Read this if: you’re looking for statistics, facts, numbers and other well-researched data to inform your knowledge of the protests 

Available through: Hoopla, curbside pickup 

If you like this, try: "When They Call You a Terrorist" by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
This memoir by a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement tells the heartbreaking story of her brother, a bipolar young man who ends up in jail instead of in a mental health care facility. His decline and inability to escape from the prison system is a difficult but eye-opening read.
Available on: Hoopla, OverDrive


"Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler 
Parable of the Sower

Before "The Hunger Games" and "The Handmaid’s Tale", there was Octavia Butler, the weirdest and coolest sci-fi writer you haven’t read yet. Octavia Butler’s got it all: vampires? Sure. Alien takeover? Absolutely. Time travel? Psychic abilities? Male alien pregnancy? You bet. And more!

Also: MAGA? Octavia Butler wrote a novel about a leader promising to “Make America Great Again” and a society haunted by violence in 1993. Those exact words. And get this: Parable of the Sower and the Earthseed series take place in the 2020s. There are two leaders in Butler’s haunted world, though: the other one is a young woman named Lauren Olamina with a special ability: hyper-empathy. She can feel other people’s pain and she believes that humans can still band together, survive and even make it into space.  

Read this if: you like weirdly prophetic science fiction novels or "Star Trek" 

Available through: Hoopla

Like this? Try that: "The City We Became" by N. K. Jemisin!
Jemisin is a literary genius and multi-award winner who writes of a New York plagued by alien invasion and saved by five ordinary people “chosen” to represent the city’s interests. Manhattan’s superpower is money; a college student in Queens saves the day using calculus, while a Bronx artist brings her best stomping boots to take out these intruders in her town. My favorite novel this year so far, which is saying something.
Available through: Overdrive, curbside pickup

 
"You Should See Me in a Crown" by Leah Johnson 
You Should See Me in a Crown

Liz Lighty isn’t really into prom. She’s got bigger plans: a fancy college, music in a famous orchestra and then a career as a doctor. Too bad that her financial aid falls through. Liz’s friends and brother come up with a new plan: there’s a scholarship for being prom queen, you see. Liz doesn’t love the spotlight: she’s poor, awkward and single, and really, aren’t prom queens for the popular crowd? But college’s a bigger goal. When Liz meets a cute new girl in the prom queen competition, she has a dilemma: chase her dreams or get the girl? Or – just maybe – both? 

Sometimes, you just want a book that’s the equivalent of a sunshine smoothie. Don’t worry. This charming rom-com will fill you from head to toe with warm fuzzies and leave you smiling.  Bonus: this is a queer book, so you can read it for Pride, or to support Black authors, or both! 

Read this if: you love fluffy, sweet teen romantic comedies and teen coming-of-age stories 

Available through: Hoopla, OverDrive

Like this? Read that: "The Field Guide to the North American Teenager" by Ben Philippe!
Norris Kaplan’s new to Texas, and he’s figuring out the playing field: Cheerleaders, Jocks, Loners. He’d rather observe these groups in their native habitats than actually jump in. But, when prom night goes horribly wrong, Norris has to reevaluate his life and choices. Maybe he’s started to make friends despite himself.
Available through: curbside pickup  

 

"Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky" by Kwame Mbalia 
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Love mythology, brave kids and heroic adventures? You’ll love "Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky" by Kwame Mbalia. Tristan’s best friend is dead and he left a glowing notebook behind. When the magical creature Gum Baby breaks into his house and steals the book, Tristan chases her into an adventure filled with mythological creatures. This story has John Henry, Brer Rabbit and Anansi, sure, but also myths you may not have heard of, all wrapped in a delicious world-saving package.  

"Tristan Strong" is published by Rick Riordan Presents, a publishing house dedicated to publishing books on every mythology in the world written by people who know that mythology inside and out. Any Rick Riordan fans know exactly what to expect here: heroes and page-turning adventures. I might like these even better than Percy Jackson, though, and I definitely like them more than Harry Potter. Check it out! 

Read this if: you’re interested in action, adventure, mythology and heroes 

Available through: Hoopla, curbside pickup

Like this? Read that: "The Jumbies" by Tracey Baptiste!
Corinne isn’t afraid of anything: not scorpions, not mean kids and definitely not jumbies. They’re just made up! But, when the jumbies try to take over Corinne’s island, she has to use all of her courage and a little magic to save her home. It’s the start of a series, just like Tristan Strong, so you’ll have plenty to enjoy!
Available through: Hoopla, Overdrive, curbside pickup  

 

"This Book is Anti-Racist" by Tiffany Jewell 
This Book is Anti-Racist

What does anti-racist mean? How can one person help in the face of terrible things? This teen-friendly book answers those questions and more. It’s interactive: readers can ask questions of themselves with 20 activities, learn all about the history of racism in multiple countries, and then find hope as they read about how people have resisted racism over the years. If you want to change the world, there are worse places to start! 

Read this: if you’re looking for a practical guide on how to deal with racism 

Available through: Hoopla, curbside pickup

Like this? Read that: "Antiracist Baby" by Ibram X. Kendi!
Ibram X. Kendi wrote the book on anti-racism, literally: his How to Be an Antiracist book is currently a number one bestseller. But if you’d rather have a friendlier picture book adaptation, accessible for kids and teens, Antiracist Baby is the way to go. This book lists nine easy ways to make a difference – and, most important, the baby on the cover is adorable.
Available through: Overdrive
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jun 19, 2020 at 5:03 PM
  

Fantastical Reimaginings

Fantastical Reimaginings: Snow White
by Nicole S.
 
Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Image from Disney
"Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go....” If you can whistle the rest of this tune then kudos to you! (I sadly cannot whistle) I bet some of you can also name at least two of the dwarfs in Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. However, did you know that the original tale of Snow White is very different than the Disney version? 

History
The original Snow White fairy tale was published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm in their collection “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” as Tale 53. In German the original title was “Sneewittchen”. The Grimms then revised the story in 1854. Later, in 1912, in the Broadway play of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the dwarfs were given individual names. These names were later changed when Walt Disney released his first full length featured animated film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937. Fun fact: The story of Snow White is not the same story as the Grimms fairy tale “Snow-White and Rose-Red”.

The Original
Snow White
Image from Story Berries
 In the original story, a queen is sitting at her open window sewing when she pricks her finger and three drops of blood fall onto the snow-covered black windowsill. She wishes to herself that she will have a daughter whose “skin is as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as night." Not much longer the queen gets her wish when she gives birth to a baby girl she names Snow White. However, the queen dies shortly after due to childbirth. Snow White’s father remarries to a woman who is beautiful but also wicked and vain as she practices witchcraft. She possesses an enchanted mirror that she asks everyday who is the fairest of them all? Each time the mirror answers back that she is the fairest of them all until Snow White gets older and the mirror changes its response. Outraged, the queen orders a huntsman to take Snow White into the woods and kill her. As proof, the queen asks that the huntsman bring back Snow’s lungs and liver so she can consume them and become as beautiful as Snow White. The huntsman doesn’t have it in him to kill Snow White so instead he lets her run away into the forest and brings back a boar’s liver and lungs to the queen to fool her. In the forest, Snow White discovers a small cottage owned by dwarfs. In this story the dwarfs demand the Snow cook and clean for them in exchange for their protection. The evil queen thinking Snow is dead asks the mirror who is the fairest. The mirror answers that it is still Snow White. Learning she has been tricked, the Queen tries three more times to kill Snow. The first time, disguised as an old peddler, she tricks Snow into trying on a corset that is so tight Snow passes out. However, the dwarfs save her by cutting up the laces. The second time, dressed as a comb seller, she tries to sell Snow a comb laced with poison which causes Snow to pass out. The dwarfs save her by taking the comb out of her hair. The third time disguised as a farmer’s wife, the queen uses a poisoned apple to do the trick. Passing out, the dwarfs believe her to be dead and place her in a glass coffin. A handsome prince comes by and wants to take her away even though they have never met. As the dwarfs carry her coffin out of their cottage to the prince they stumble and jostle the coffin causing Snow to spit out the apple that was lodged in her throat and awakes. (No kiss from the prince!) The prince asks Snow to marry him and she agrees. Together they invite everyone to the wedding including the Evil Queen. The Evil Queen asks the mirror who is the fairest and the mirror responds that the prince’s new bride is the fairest, not knowing it is Snow. She attends the wedding and is enraged when she finds Snow alive. However, for the attempted murders of Snow, the prince demands she wears red-hot iron slippers and must dance in them until she drops dead. 

Snow White 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!
***
 Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Image from hoopla digital
Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
Available on: 
Hoopla as picture book and read along book
In the Disney version of “Snow White”, the prince and Snow meet at the wishing well in the beginning of the story. She is also 14 years old. The seven dwarfs all have their own names and the Evil Queen only tries to kill Snow herself once with the poisoned apple. It is also the Prince who wakes Snow up with a kiss and the dwarfs run the Evil Queen/Old Hag off a cliff. Besides that, most of the story is the same.

***
 "Winter" by Marissa Meyer
Image from hoopla digital
“Winter” by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #4)
Available on: 
Hoopla as an audiobook and OverDrive/Libby as an eBook

In “Winter”, Princess Winter is loved for her grace and kindness by her Lunar people despite the scars marking her face. Winter deeply despises her stepmother Queen Levana and knows of her disapproval of Winter’s beloved childhood friend and palace guard Jacin. Levana believes Winter to be timid and weak however Winter has been undermining her for years. With the help of her friend Cinder, Winter attempts to launch a revolution and wage war on her evil stepmother. Can she finally get her happily ever after?
This story is in part of a larger story in the “Lunar Chronicles” series by Marissa Meyer. Each book takes the fairy tales you already know, like Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel, and gives them a futuristic sci-fi twist. 
***
 
"Mirror Mirror" by Jen Calonita
Image from hoopla digital
“Mirror, Mirror” by Jen Calonita (Twisted Tale Series)
Available on: 
Hoopla as an eBook

“Mirror, Mirror” follows the story of Snow White but what if the Evil Queen had poisoned the prince? After Snow’s beloved mother passes, her father remarries and the Evil Queen is in power. Snow does everything she can to keep her head down and out of sight. However new information comes to light about her parents’ death, and the plot to kill her backfires. Snow, with the help of some wary dwarfs, a prince and a mysterious stranger, will embark on a journey to defeat the Evil Queen and take back her kingdom. 
This story follows the Disney’s version of the fairy tale with a slight twist that creates a new timeline and path for the story. Each “Twisted Tales” story is a stand-alone for each Disney fairy tale.
***

Now that you know the real story and some newer re-tellings, check out these other Snow White re-tellings available on hoopla!
o “Snow White - And Other Examples Of Jealousy Unrewarded” by Amelia Carruthers
o “Shadow Queen” by C.J. Redwine
o “The Fairest Beauty” by Melanie Dickerson
o “Mirror Mirror” by Gregory Maguire
o “Tear You Apart” by Sarah Cross

Let us know in the comments which rendition of "Snow White" is your favorites! Hope you all live happily ever after! 

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jun 19, 2020 at 2:12 PM
  
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