Below is a "special guest" book review by Chris in the Circulation Department.
The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins is a five book series marketed for children, but don't let that shape your expectations.Â The intense and continually expanding plot combined with impressive emotional depth and superb characterizations can easily draw in readers of any age.
Eleven-year-old Gregor and his thoroughly likeable family find themselves caught up in the brutal struggles of a secret world miles beneath New York City. A civilized yet militaristic community of humans share the Underland with large and intelligent creatures, including loyal bats, ferocious rats, and surprisingly noble cockroaches. Time and again, Gregor takes part in increasingly deadly missions in hopes of maintaining a fragile peace. But to do so he must go against his own gentle nature by gradually taking on the role of a warrior.
While this series boldly and admirably addresses such profound issues as racism, loss, the lasting costs of war, and even genocide, what most impressed me was Gregor himself.Â Portrayed in a refreshingly realistic manner, Gregor is simply a great kid.Â Thoughtful, considerate, self-sacrificing, and determined, he carries the story squarely on his shoulders.Â Especially in the epic final installment, Gregor the Overlander shows how much an exceptional child may be willing to suffer, and to lose, for what he knows is right.
Judo is a form of Japanese martial arts.Â Did you know that President Teddy Roosevelt was one of the first judo students in the United States?Â He eventually earned a brown belt.
If you would like to learn more about judo, the Olathe Public Library will be having two free judo demonstrations for K-6th gradersÂ during spring break.Â Instructors from the After School Judo Academy will be doing demonstrations during the following times:
Monday, March 16 @ 2:00 p.m.
at the Indian Creek Branch Library
Tuesday, March 17 @ 2:00 p.m.
at the Main Olathe Library
Registration is required.Â Register at either Olathe library or call (913) 971-6874.Â Be there or be square.
Stop by the Main Olathe Library and check out the colorful display of artwork by children from the Olathe District Schools.Â There are drawings, paintings, prints, collages, ceramics, sculptures, and more.Â Could there be a future Picasso in the bunch?Â Come see for yourself, and support the arts in our schools.Â The work of these talented students will be on display until April 3.
Are you a fan of Captain Underpants?Â Do you like Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot books?Â Is Dav Pilkey one of your favorite authors?Â ThenÂ I've got a website for you.Â You need to check out Dav Pilkey's Extra Crunchy Website o'Â Fun.Â YouÂ can find out all about Dav'sÂ books, read a cartoon biography of the author, play groovy games, and all kinds of fun stuff.
This is just one of the cool websites for kids on our Cool Sites web page.Â Check it out.
Do you have a favorite website that you think other kids would like?Â Send us a comment and let us know about it.Â We're always looking forÂ fun and excellentÂ websites.
Do you have any good princess books?Â Do you have any easy books about horses?Â Do you have any picture books about trains?Â Where are your counting books?Â Got any dragon stories with pictures?Â Here at the library we get questions like this all the time.
In order to help you find picture books on some of the more popular topics,Â we haveÂ posted a Picture Book Finder on our website.Â Here you will find a list of popularÂ topics along withÂ various concepts like numbers, letters, colors, etc.Â The titles are linked to our catalog so you can see if a book is available at your nearest library, and you can also place a hold on any title.
So the next time you are looking for a picture book about fairies or books about a new baby in the family, check out our Picture Book Finder.Â We hope you will find this to be a useful resource.
President Barack Obama promised his daughters they could get a puppy after the Presidential campaign was over.Â Many people have weighed in on what kind of dog they think would be best forÂ the first family.Â If it were up to you, what kind of dog would youÂ choose for Sasha and Malia?
There is a long history of pets in the White House.Â The Bushes had two Scottish terriers named Barney and Miss Beazley and a cat nicknamed Willie.Â Chelsea Clinton had a cat named Socks when her dad was President.Â But not all Presidential pets have been so conventional.Â Did you knowÂ Thomas Jefferson kept two grizzily bear cubs on theÂ White House grounds?Â Â John Quincy Adams kept an alligator in the East Room.Â Abraham Lincoln's son had a pet turkey,Â and Calvin Coolidge had a pet raccoon named Rebecca.
You can read all about theÂ differentÂ pets thatÂ haveÂ resided in the White House in the book Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis.Â Yes, even Presidents love their pets.
The winner of the 2009 Newbery Medal has been announced, and the winner is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.Â The winner of the 2009Â Caldecott Medal is The House in the Night illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson.
Here isÂ the complete list of award winners and honor books:
Newbery Medal Winner
Â Â Â Â The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Caldecott Medal Winner
Â Â Â Â The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth
Â Â Â Â Krommes
Caldecott Honor Books
Â Â Â Â A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever written and illustrated by Marla
Â Â Â Â Frazee
Â Â Â Â How I Learn Geography written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz
Â Â Â Â A River of Words by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner
Â Â Â Â We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books
Â Â Â Â The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas
Â Â Â Â Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith
Â Â Â Â Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner
Â Â Â Â The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books
Â Â Â Â We Are the Ship: The Story ofÂ Negro League BaseballÂ written and illustrated
Â Â Â Â by Kadir Nelson
Â Â Â Â Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by
Â Â Â Â Sean Qualls
Â Â Â Â The Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Pura Belpre Author Award Winner
Â Â Â Â The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita
Â Â Â Â Engle
Pura Belpre Illustrator Award Winner
Â Â Â Â Just in Case written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor Books
Â Â Â Â Papa and Me by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
Â Â Â Â The Storyteller's Candle by Jucia Gonzalez, illustrated by Julu Delacre
Â Â Â Â What Can You Do with a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Amy
Â Â Â Â Cordova
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner
Â Â Â Â Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Books
Â Â Â Â Chicken Said, "Cluck!" by Judyann Ackerman Grant
Â Â Â Â One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Â Â Â Â Stinky by Eleanor Davis
Â Â Â Â Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell
Every January the Newbery Medal is awarded toÂ the author of the most distinguished children's book of the year.Â It is sort of like the Oscar award of children's literature.Â It has become a kind of tradition for people across the country to gatherÂ and hold "mock" Newbery discussions before the winner is announced.Â Â They discuss some of their favoriteÂ books of the year and try to guess which one might be the year's award winner.
Earlier this week I attended one of these mock Newbery gatherings with a group of librarians to discuss which book we would like to see win this prestigous award in 2009.Â We discussed about a dozen different titles and ended up with one winner and two honor books.Â Here are the results:
The winner:Â Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park
Do you have a favorite book you hope will win this year's Newbery medal?Â The actual winner will be announced on Monday, January 26.Â Stay tuned to find out which outstanding book is this year'sÂ winner.
Have you read the Newbery medal-winning novel The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo?Â This delightful book tells the story of a small mouse with big ears, the princess that he loves, a servant girl who longs to be a princess, andÂ the devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin.Â And now thisÂ wonderful story has been made into a movie featuring the talents of such actors as Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson and Kevin Kline.Â It opens December 19 at a theater near you.
This would be a great book to read together as a family either before or after seeing the movie.Â It's always fun to compare the book with the movie.Â Stop by the libraryÂ and check out a copy, or get on the waiting list if all copies are checked out.Â This is a great book worth waiting for!
It's that time of year again when the Children's staff at the Olathe Main Library and the Indian Creek Branch Library pick some of our favorite books of the year.Â We compileÂ our list of Holiday Staff Picks and put these books on display atÂ both libraries.Â The books will be on display starting Friday, November 28, and will be up through the end of the year.Â So if you are looking for some gift ideas for the young book lovers on your holiday shopping list, stop by the library and check out our display.Â You can also view our list of picks by clicking this link:Â Â Holiday Staff Picks.Â Happy holidays and happy reading!