@ Your Library

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 Choice and 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.

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Maya's Choice
9780373229987

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

We estimate close to 1,000 attended the “Banned Books Art Hop and Read Out” here on Friday evening!

If you attended, you saw the wide array of artistic interpretations of the six banned or challenged books and heard emotional readings from all six of them. I heard several attendees whisper that they were surprised at the books, surprised that someone in some community had challenged that particular book.

Banned Books Art Contest Winners

  • Overall Senior Winner ($1000 – Randal Brumitt, “The Hope List”
  • Overall Junior Winner ($150) – Hannah Higgins, “Huck Finn”
  • 1st Runner-Up Junior Winner ($100) – Maryangela Thornton, “Stay Alive”
  • 2nd Runner-Up Junior Winner ($50) – Maureen Reed, “Huck & Jim”
  • Honorable Mention Senior (TIE)
    – Cathy Germay, “No Nigger”
    – Kaitlynn Radabaugh, “Stand Up”
  • Honorable Mention Junior – Essence Cline Coe, “The Good Life”
  • People’s Choice Senior – Cathy Germay, “No Nigger”
  • People’s Choice Junior – Maureen Reed, “Huck & Jim”
WKZO radio personality Lori Moore reads from Revolutionary Voices

The winners are listed on our website, the books are available in our collection... they aren’t banned in Kalamazoo.

This annual event gives us pause to celebrate the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.

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Author Deborah Ann Percy reads from “Hunger Games” during the Banned Books Art Hop and Read Out.
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Pizza and Pages

Recently at the Alma Powell Branch we did a teen program called Pizza and Pages. We read and discussed the book Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson and I bet everyone knows what we did with the pizza part of Pizza and Pages. The book was a great pick for our first book discussion. It was a 117 page easy read. It was thought provoking and infectious. Once we started reading it was hard to put down. What really surprised me, though, was that it was a time warp; it could’ve been any generation or any war era. Angela Johnson achieved what all great artists try to achieve. She filled our minds with questions. Who was Alice? Was Sweet a girl or a boy? Which war time was it? And lots more!

Everyone is looking forward to Powell’s next Pizza and Pages!

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sweet, hereafter
9780689873850

World Premiere of “Once Upon A River”

On July 6, the Kalamazoo Public Library was honored to host the World Premiere of author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s newest novel Once Upon A River. The novel that has been listed by NPR, CNN, Newsweek and The Daily Beast as being a “must read” and essential summer novel. These accolades should not lead you to believe it is a beach read because it has been earning critical praise from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Detroit Free Press, and the Wall Street Journal. Recently the Washington Post critic Ron Charles wrote, “The wonder of Once Upon a River is how fresh and weathered it seems at the same time. Ardently turning these pages, I felt as though I’d been waiting for this book and yet somehow already knew it. After her critically acclaimed collection of short stories, American Salvage, Bonnie Jo Campbell has built her new novel like a modern-day craftsman from the old timbers of our national myths about loners living off the land, rugged tales as perilous as they are alluring. Without sacrificing any of its originality, this story comes bearing the saw marks of classic American literature, the rough-hewn sister of The Leatherstocking Tales, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Walden.”

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After Bonnie acknowledged many of the people in the audience who contributed to the book in some way or another, the evening started with a reading of the first chapter which introduced the main protagonist of the novel, Margo. She is a character who possesses a tremendous amount of spirit and adventure that can only be found in the citizens of southwest Michigan. The reading was followed up with an informative and entertaining Q&A. Bonnie answered a variety of questions about the writing process as well as inspiration for the book. The over 160 in the crowd were treated to an education!

Most in the crowd agree that Once Upon A River deserves similar, if not more accolades than her previous book the National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage. If this novel is not on multiple “Best of 2011” lists I will be shocked! I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Once Upon A River in the mail a few months ago. After reading the first 50 pages, I turned to my wife and stated that it was the best books I had read in years. I then proceeded to neglect my family and friends until I finished the book. Check out a copy or place one on hold, but be sure to prepare your family for your absence because you will be floating down the river lost in an amazing book.

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Bonnie Jo Campbell @ KPL
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/sets/72157627140472650/ 

Anti Bullying Art Workshop

Kalamazoo Public Library was very pleased to host illustrator Kim Shaw in an Anti Bullying Art Workshop. Kim presented her newest book, The Juice Box Bully, and then led a lively discussion on bullies and friendship. It was clear from the response of the school aged and adult audience that the topic is more timely than ever.

Kim then led an interactive drawing workshop wherein everyone had the opportunity to learn and practice some great drawing skills. Kids especially enjoyed this part - essentially a a small intro to drawing class for nearly fifty! Lots of nice drawings emerged from the Van Deusen room.

Kim created the art for The Juice Box Bully based on Kalamazoo's Woodward School for Technology and Research. Listen to Kim discuss how that real-life school influenced her illustrations.

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Anti Bully Art Workshop
9781933916729

Crossing Borders

This past week author Cynthia Leitich Smith visited Kalamazoo for a few days. While here she visited with students at Woods Lake and Northglade elementary schools and with a group of teens at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. On Friday, she was the keynote speaker for KPL’s annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar. The theme was “Crossing Borders” and all of the speakers addressed the idea that books for kids and teens help them understand, appreciate, and relate to others in their diverse communities, despite a wide variety of differences and borders.

Other speakers at the seminar were Beth Amidon and Maria Perez-Stable from Western Michigan University, Gillian Engberg, from the American Library Association’s “Booklist” journal, and Debbie Reese from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The seminar was wonderful . . . with much thoughtful discussion about books and kids and reading!

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After the visit to Kalamazoo, both Cynthia and Debbie posted blogs on their websites: www.cynthialeitichsmith.com and www.americanindiansinchildrensliterature.net/.

We had a great time last week with this group of very talented writers and scholars. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list for information about next November’s seminar, contact Mary Knowles. See more photos of the 2010 Youth Literature Seminar on KPL’s Flickr photostream

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Crossing Borders
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