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.

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June 2020 - Posts
Game on!
Game reviews by Brandon, Elizabeth, Kristin, Stacy & Justine

Hello, everyone! Below are links to paid games that you can play right now at home. All are available on PC; some are available on consoles as well. We hope you enjoy!

Today's theme
Anyone who walks into a library or reads a library blog knows the importance of stories. Today we chose to amplify the voices of black storytellers as we feature fantastic games with black protagonists. 

Game 1
Available for Switch, PS4, Xbox, iOS; available on Steam

Dandara is a gorgeous, gravity-defying platformer rooted in Brazilian culture. The main character, Dandara, is named after the historical figure Dandara dos Palmares, an Afro-Brazilian freedom fighter and master of capoeira in 17th Century Brazil. This game is sci-fi, though, not history: the world of Salt is in danger, and this game’s Dandara can warp through a gravity-less world to save it. Dandara gets new abilities by collecting memories and inspiring artists to start creating again. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a tough platformer. But it’s excellent. - Elizabeth

Game 2 
Available on Steam 

Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” meets “Groundhog Day” in this retelling of a classic. Ophelia knows there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark: she keeps reliving the same three days over and over, a mysterious assassin wants to kill her, her ex-boyfriend Hamlet keeps talking about a ghost on the castle walls and the only one who seems to know what’s going on is a strange playwright! All you can do is ask questions and share information to try to change this story’s ending. This game’s fun for Shakespeare nerds like me, but it’s also fun for fans of story games and detective games in general. There are a lot of secrets tucked away, and as you keep reliving the same day, you’ll discover that your time loop’s a lot more alarming than you originally thought.  - Elizabeth

Game 3
Telltale’s The Walking Dead series
Available on Steam, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows

Walking Dead

A crisis does two things to people. It brings out both the very worst, and the very best of mankind. This game that showcases its protagonists as people at their very best. Pictured above, you see Clementine and Lee. The two characters who you will start your journey with during the very first Walking Dead entry. This game is responsible for the modern revival of the interactive movie, if you will. A compelling story plays out where you control the choices and fates of the characters within. I personally feel that the game series is easily the greatest piece of Walking Dead media – and that is including both the comics and AMC television show. The bond between Clem and Lee will absolutely pull at your heartstrings and, as they are in danger, you will find your pulse racing right along with them. The game allows you to play the characters as you see fit, but it’s clear the most natural gameplay style is to play up to our protagonists natural inclinations; to be courageous, to be kind and to be true to one another. - Brandon

game 4
Resident Evil 5
Available on Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, and Android.
Resident Evil 5
A long running video game series such as Resident Evil is bound to have it’s fair share of great, good, and bad games. “Resident Evil 5”, despite it’s initial rocky announcement back in 2005, ended up becoming a highly successful addition to the beloved series upon it’s release in 2009.   Despite being the fifth installment, this game does not require you to have previous knowledge of it’s predecessors as the game does a great job at providing player’s with the necessary information through compelling storytelling. The plot of this game revolves around an investigation of a terrorist threat by Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance in Kijuju, a fictional region of Africa. This is the first “Resident Evil” game to depart from the series survival horror genre and start to ground itself in a more action focused genre. While that may disappoint some players, this genre change also allows for “Resident Evil’s” first co-operative game!

Players will get to play the well-known and ever enjoyable Chris Redfield from the previous games, however, they will also get to play as Sheva Alomar - an immensely smart, strong, attractive African woman. It’s unfortunate that Sheva has not made a reappearance in more games as she is not only a fan favorite, but she was also highly regarded among most critics. As with most “Resident Evil” games, the single player campaign requires that you play through and complete the game was Chris Redfield before giving you an option to play through primarily as Sheva. However, this game’s wonderful co-operative campaign allows players to play as both Sheva and Chris as their partnership grows stronger and the puzzles and maps get harder. As with other games in this series, “Resident Evil 5” is no stranger to criticism; however, the reviews for this game are very positive and this game remains in most players top five “Resident Evil” games! - Stacy

Tell us what you think!
What game is your favorite? Tell us some of your other favorite games in the comments!
Posted by  On Jun 07, 2020 at 8:41 AM

Fantastical Reimaginings

Fantastical Reimaginings is a blog series where APL staff explore some of their favorite fairy tales - from their classic beginnings to popular renditions to modern retellings and impact on pop culture. 

Fantastical Reimaginings: Beauty and the Beast
by Nicole S.

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" (Image from Disney)
Image from Disney
“Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme....Beauty and the Beast.” Who else hummed the tune when they read that? Many people can spot that line or even the melody and say what it’s from - Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast"! I am a huge Disney fan and to this day when anyone asks me what my favorite Disney movie is, it’s hands-down "Beauty and the Beast". However, did you know that Disney didn’t create that story? Or that the original story is slightly different than the one Disney depicted?


The original "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale was written by the French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in "La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins" ("The Young American and Marine Tales"). In French, the title is "La Belle et la Bête". It was then abridged, rewritten and published first by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756 in "Magasin des enfants" ("Children's Collection") and later by Andrew Lang in the "Blue Fairy Book" , part of his Fairy Book series in 1889. Most of the later variants have been inspired by either Villeneueve or Beaumont’s versions.

The Original

Beauty and the Beast (Image from SurLaLane)
Image from SurLaLune 
In Villeneuve’s version, both Belle and the Beast had a backstory to go with their tale. The Beast was a young prince whose father had died while his mother waged war to defend their kingdom. The prince was to be taken care of by an evil fairy who attempted to seduce the prince when he came of age. However when he refused her, she turned him into a beast. Belle was in fact the daughter of a king and a good fairy. The evil fairy had tried to murder Belle so her father placed her in the care of a merchant who’s own daughter had passed. The merchant had 6 sons and 6 daughters (Belle being the youngest). All the daughters were beautiful and cruel except Belle, who was kind-hearted. When the merchant asked each of his daughter’s what they would like him to bring them back from his trip to port, the eldest daughters wanted clothing and jewels and Belle asked for nothing. When prompted, she asked for a rose as there were no roses in their part of the country. On the way back the merchant loses his way in a storm and stumbled upon a castle. Seeing it empty, he sneaks in to find food and spends the night. The next day he sees a rose garden and remembers Belle’s request. As he goes to pluck the loveliest rose he can find he is confronted by the hideous Beast who attempts to kill him for stealing one of his most prized possessions. The merchant begs him to spare his life explaining the rose is for his youngest daughter. The beast agrees to let the merchant return home to give Belle the rose but only if the merchant brings back one of his daughter’s to take his place. Whoever he brings back must be fully aware of the predicament when she accepts. Belle returns to the castle to take her father’s place. The rest of the tale you have heard before. 

Beaumont’s version is shorter by excluding the backstories of the Beast and Belle, with the beginning of the story the same. However the merchant only has 3 sons and 3 daughters, including Belle. She ends up in the castle and is instead told she is the mistress and that the Beast must obey her. 

Beauty and the Beast Re-tellings
So, how much has this classic fairy tale changed over the years? Are the re-tellings similar or impossibly different? Find out more about similar tales below!

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"
Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast"
Available as picture book on Hoopla

This is the story that most people are more familiar with. In this story, Belle is an only child to the wacky inventor, Maurice. Everyone in her village thinks she is odd and longs for an adventure. The Beast was originally a spoiled prince who was transformed into this hideous form by an enchantress who he refused to give shelter in exchange for a beautiful rose. The beautiful rose is enchanted and entwined with the Beast’s human life. Each petal that falls brings him closer to his 21st birthday and once the last petal falls he will die. 
Much of this tale bares a close resemblance to the original - minus some characters and Belle’s background. However, for those that have watched the live action version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, both Belle and the Beast are given a backstory. 
 A Court of Thorns and Roses
"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas
Available on Overdrive/Libby
In "A Court of Thorns and Roses", 19-year-old Fayre is forced to hunt in the woods for her family’s survival. Humans and fae don’t get along. So much so that there is a wall that borders the human lands and the fairy lands. Fayre has a strong hatred towards Fae as there are some who travel across the wall and hunt down humans. Fayre sees a wolf and knows it is no ordinary wolf - it is Fae. Without a second thought she pierces the wolf with her arrow, killing it. Finding out one of his own was killed with no regrets by a human, Tamlin, one of the High Fae, kidnaps Fayre and brings her to the fairy land Prythian in exchange for the fae life she killed. Fayre sees Tamlin as nothing but a hideous beast, but there is more to him than meets the eye.
The premise for this story, exchanging a human life for another and forcing them to live in a castle with a “beast”, makes it very similar to the original. However, this story continues as a series and involves mythical creatures like the Fae. This is one of my favorite re-tellings!

"Beastly" by Alex Flinn
Available on Hoopla
Beastly turns the fairytale into a modern story taking place in New York City. Kyle Kingsbury is the most popular boy in school and always gets what he wants, which makes him arrogant and cruel. When he is voted homecoming prince, Kendra, the outcast, protests his victory due to it being because of his "physical beauty.” Kyle publicly humiliates Kendra and other unattractive classmates which prompts Kendra to curse him and physically transform him into everything he despises. The only solution to the curse is to find someone that will love him as he is.
This retelling is incredibly similar to the originals tales except that it is modern day in a high school in New York City. The plot involves an arrogant, attractive young man (the prince of his school) being cursed by a witch/enchantress and becomes a hideous “beast.” He must find someone sees the beauty from within. This book was later adapted to film that stars Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens.
For more retellings of this beloved story check out these titles available in our digital collection through Hoopla!
o "Beauty" by Robin Mckinley
o "Rose Daughter" by Robin Mckinley
o "Bryony And Roses" by T. Kingfisher
o "Beauty & the Billionaire" by Jessica Clare
o "Beauty and the Clockwork Beast" by Nancy Campbell Allen

Beauty and the Beast is a great fairy tale that teaches you to see the beauty within a person and to not judge based on appearance. There have been many versions of this story but the theme stays the same. Check out some of these titles above for yourself and let us know in the comments which re-telling is your favorite!
Also enjoy the pictures of my Beauty and the Beast shrine below! 😊 

Nicole's "Beauty and the Beast" Collection

Posted by  On Jun 05, 2020 at 2:24 PM
by Elizabeth, Brandon & Stacy

In today's episode of Pop Culture Den, Aurora Public Library librarians Stacy, Elizabeth, and Brandon discuss the newly released Final Fantasy VII Remake. Join us as we examine the immersive world building, rich characterizations, and continued relevancy of both the 1997 original game and it’s highly anticipated remake through discussion of our own experiences, or lack thereof! 

Are you a fan of the franchise? Tell us your thoughts on the remake in the comments! 

Aurora Public Library's Pop Culture Den series focuses on all things pop culture. Literacy and stories go beyond books: they're in games, movies, and more! Once a month, we'll analyze our favorite works of media and talk tropes, genres, and the bits and pieces that make stories so successful. Be sure to tune in!
Posted by  On Jun 05, 2020 at 2:24 PM

Create & DIY for adults
DIY Sugar Scrubs
with Julie

Each Wednesday this summer we'll be sharing a new craft for adults!

This week DIY your own sugar scrub! Follow along for a basic sugar scrub how-to as well as mocha and peppermint-scented!

Basic Sugar Scrub Supplies:
- Sugar
- Olive oil
- Honey

Optional Ingredients:
- Coffee
- Cocoa powder
- Crushed Min
- Essential oils

Follow along with the video below!

Posted by  On Jun 04, 2020 at 4:00 PM
by Julie & Ben

Making Magic: Crafts for Kids

It's Making Magic Monday!

Join us each Monday during the Summer of Imagination for a new kids's craft! Today we're making scented playdough! There are two recipes you can follow. Show us your playdough creation in the comments!

Supplies (Recipe 1):
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup warm water 
- Essential oil
- Food coloring
- 2 bowls
- Mixing spoon

Supplies (Recipe 2):
- 3/4 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup scented conditioner
- Food coloring
- 2 bowls
- Mixing spoon

Posted by  On Jun 02, 2020 at 8:21 AM
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