Recent Performances

Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

This is what a Monarch caterpillar looks like when it's ready to morph from a caterpillar into a butterfly. This animal has already been alive for several weeks. As in the Eric Carle book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, it began as a little egg laid on a leaf. The egg was laid by a Monarch butterfly. Then, after the caterpillar hatched from the egg, it got bigger and bigger as it munched on milkweed in its caterpillar form until a few days ago when it climbed up high to hang so that it could turn into a chrysalis. A few weeks after it morphs into a chrysalis, it will emerge in butterfly form. Then, it will be able to lay eggs that will hatch into very tiny Monarch caterpillars.

Have you seen very many Monarch butterflies this summer? I have not. I'm told Monarchs have had a difficult time migrating northward. Maybe you'll come to the library to check in on the chrysalis and borrow some books about butterflies.


Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle 




Author Earl Sewell is coming to Powell!

Urban Fiction writer, Earl Sewell, will be at Alma Powell Library July 30 at 6:00 pm. Mr. Sewell is not only an urban fiction writer but he also writes a series of teen books for Kimani Tru. I've read a couple from his teen series called Keysha's drama series. I enjoyed Maya's Choiceand If I were your boyfriend.  One of the things I liked about Mr. Sewell's teen books is that they are very diverse and culture wise. Many teens would find a lot to identify with, if not for themselves then for some of their friends. Mr. Sewell addresses a great deal of the challenges young people face today. In Maya's Choice Maya's cousin, Viviana, moves in and it makes life difficult for Maya and her life begins to fall apart. In If I were your boyfriend Keysha has a lot to learn and life changing decisions to make.

If you're a urban fiction lover or like teen books that are full of life challenges then please join us to meet and hear from our guest Earl Sewell.


Maya's Choice

So Many Summer Reading Choices

The Kalamazoo Public Schools 2013 Summer Reading lists are a great place to get reading suggestions to read twenty minutes or more per day. The lists are arranged by the grade students to which students are "rising" when school starts in the fall. These titles are great choices for Summer Reading or any time of year, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Looking for more great summer reading ideas? Come visit! We'll be glad to see you! Don't forget to check in for Summer Reading Games with your gameboard or get signed up if you haven't already! 


So Many Summer Reading Choices

Earth Day @ KPL

The Kalamazoo Public Library is celebrating the Earth with a variety of programs for all ages in the coming weeks. This afternoon at Oshtemo, tweens and teens can make crafts from recycled items. On Saturday, also at Oshtemo, join us for a family-friendly outdoor concert with the Earthwork Music Collective. The Kalamazoo chapter of the American Chemical Society will be at the event to talk about the impact chemistry has on the planet, and the Organic Gypsy will sell delicious food from her truck. You can learn to make your own green, nontoxic cleaning products at Eastwood on April 23, and learn how to make compost for your garden on April 30 at Powell. KPL's librarians will be at the People's Food Co-op on April 27 to read stories for Grow It Yourself Day.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?


Earth Day Concert 2013

Cooking with Kids

Inspired by Sarah Weeks’s book Pie, these young cooks are building a lattice crust with some help from their mom. Kids love to eat. And kids want to help create the food they eat. Plenty of practical kitchen skills can be learned and practiced when you share kitchen duties with the kids. Have a satisfying time in the kitchen by meeting children’s interests where they already have skills and then extending just a little bit. A three year old is often content to dump some dry ingredients into a mixing bowl whereas a seven year old is likely able to interpret meaning from a recipe, measure ingredients with scoops and scale, prepare a salad, and prepare many elements of a meal to be proud of. Of course, it's best to hold onto potentially hazardous kitchen tasks involving high heat and knife skills until children are ready. 

Your library has lots of cookbooks for children and their adults to use together. Some popular favorites include the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, the Little House Cookbook, the Around the World Cookbook, and Vegan Lunch Box among many others. Chop Chop is an excellent magazine about cooking for kids and families. Share kitchen tasks with the kids for memorable times in the kitchen and an even more delicious dinner.


Cooking with Kids



The Library – Don’t Leave Home without It – Accessing its Resources, that is!

Last year I planned a trip to Ecuador.

In researching for the trip, I used many library resources. I studied Spanish through the help of the Pimsleur Method, an excellent process for learning a language. (Carve out 30 minutes a day to ‘escuchar y repetir’ – listen and repeat – perhaps during your daily commute. After several days, you have the beginnings of a new language under your belt!) I also checked out a few Spanish language instruction books, so I could begin to recognize the words I was learning to say. MeLCat came through, for me. When I was ready to move on to a different Pimsleur level, I requested my next set of CDs via interlibrary-loan through MeLCat.

I watched movies about South America or set in Ecuador and practiced listening to Spanish, while viewing the gorgeous scenery. I devoured books about the Galapagos Islands. The Friends of the Library bookstore was my friend, too. There I purchased a gently-used Frommers Guide to South America, at a bargain basement price.

I also gathered information about the people and culture of Ecuador through the CultureGrams online database. (Note: anyone with a KPL library card may access this from home. Please ask at the Reference Desk, 553-7801, for more information.)

Using the Value Calculator, I figure the library saved me around $200 for this process alone. What trip would you like to plan? How can KPL help you save while you research your next travel experience?


The Galapagos: exploring Darwin's tapestry

Powell's Urban Fiction book discussion

On October 23 the Alma Powell Branch had a very lively book discussion on the book Daddy's House by Azarel. The book group will meet again on November 20 to discuss The Prada Plan book 1 & 2. If you like Urban Fiction please join us at 6:00 on 11/20 at Powell. See you then.


Daddy's House

Virtual Author Visits with Sara Pennypacker

Last week we chatted virtually with an author for the first time in a Children's program at Kalamazoo Public Library! It was awesome! Sara Pennypacker, writes the Clementine books, in addition to many other wonderful books for young readers. She was gracious enough to talk with us virtually through the website Skype. Our new book club for 1-3 graders and their parents were the lucky group who got to speak with her and it was a highlight of my week and one of the coolest things I've done in a long time. We could all see Sara on the big screen from her home and she could see the group of 37 kids and their parents, eager to talk with her about Clementine and writing.

To prepare for the visit, the group discussed which questions to ask Sara. Some of my favorites were "What's "Rutabega's" real name?" and "How did you come up with the idea for Clementine?" We asked a few questions as a group and then individual children spoke directly to Sara via the microphone and laptop. I think everyone who wanted to was able to ask a question and Sara gave thoughtful and sometimes hilarious answers. She told the kids that paying attention to all kinds of things in their life will give them great ideas for stories. She encouraged us all to really listen to the children in our lives and to give them the gift of our undivided attention on a regular basis. No question was too small or too often asked for Sara as she patiently chatted with us about life, writing, being a kid, and parenting. I think we all learned something different from her visit!

We hope to continue to meet with authors virtually at KPL programs! It's a great way to connect with authors and perhaps bring more to Kalamazoo than we otherwise could. The next chance to participate in a virtual author visit will be October 18,when Kazu Kibuishi, author of the very popular Amulet series "visits" the Van Deusen room!



Wednesdays are Fun Days

Every Wednesday at the Oshtemo Branch Library we partner with Connie Koening, an experienced Registered Nurse and Coordinator of Bronson Family Centered Education, from Bronson Hospital. Under Connie’s guidance, we host 2 programs – Toddler Talk on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 to 12:00 and Baby Talk from 1:30 to 3:30. Programs are designed to gather Moms, Dads, and interested adult caregivers and their children for good old fashioned play. Ms Koning facilitates discussions among the adults while the toddlers play with puppets, puzzles and look at books. Once a month, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, I present a storytime planned especially for toddlers. I share stories, finger plays and action movements with the families.

Baby Talk meets weekly from 1:30 to 3:30 every Wednesday as well. We invite families with babies up to one year old to join Connie to network with other Moms and share the joys and trials of caring for a new baby. Again storytimes are offered on the third Wednesday of the month.

Come join us for some good old fashioned fun!



Storytimes at Oshtemo Branch Library

Urban Fiction Book Discussion

On a Tuesday evening in January the Alma Powell Branch had its first Urban Fiction book discussion. The group was totally geeked about Ashley and Jaquavis’ book The Trophy Wife. It was generally agreed upon that it was a love story full of mystery and intrigue. 

On March 27 we will be diving into our next book Gunz and Roses by Keisha Ervin.

Please join us at 6:00 for good discussion, fellowship and refreshments.



Urban Fiction Book Group