Summer Reading 2021: Tails & Tales!

By Krystal Stanich,

Read, attend cool events, and win prizes with this year’s Summer Reading program!

Adults: Earn badges with every 100 minutes you read… each badge you win increases your chance to win one of the weekly drawings for a $10 local business gift certificate. To be entered into the drawing for one of the THREE grand prizes, you must complete 1000 minutes. Our adult grand prizes this year include a large outdoor dog house, a carpeted cat tower, and a $50 Visa gift card. Don’t forget to ask for your registration prize at the Main Circulation Desk (while supplies last)!

Teens: You can also earn badges with every 100 minutes you read… each badge you win increases your chance to win one of the weekly drawings for a $10 local business gift certificate. To be entered into the drawing for one of the THREE grand prizes, you must complete 1000 minutes. Our teen grand prizes this year include a 4 ft. tall stuffed dog, a VR headset for smartphones, and a $50 Visa gift card. Don’t forget to ask for your registration prize at the Main Circulation Desk (while supplies last)!

Children: Let’s get wild about reading and writing! Log your reading and writing minutes to earn badges, receive small prizes and electronic entries to the raffle drawing. For every 100 minutes you read a badge will light up. Receive a small prize and an electronic entry to the raffle when you have logged 400 minutes (half-way) and 800 minutes (completion). Those who complete 800 minutes will also get a book. Continue reading and writing to earn more raffle entries.

 Make sure to check out our online calendar for animal-themed programs during June and July to get registered for programs like: Adventures in the Park: Take Flight Wildlife OWLS!, Adventures in the Park: Magic Show, Indiana Wildlife Presents: LIVE Backyard Animals, Dog Training 101, Pizza and Pets: Lunch at the Humane Society, Horse 101, Owl Pellet Dissection, the New Castle-Henry County Renaissance Festival… and many more! You can also check out the library’s YouTube channel for First Chapter Friday videos throughout the summer! 

How to Register:

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

By Krystal Stanich,

There are multitudes of horrors from WW2, but you may not have heard about this one. This book breaks the silence of the Baltic genocides that happened during WW2. Over ⅓ of the populations from the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were lost during the Soviet annihilation (p. 341). This is the story of a Lithuanian family who is taken in the middle of the night, and transported from Lithuania to Siberia. This story showcases terrible cruelties that were inflicted on the Baltic people thought to be anti-Soviet during WW2 as they were called “fasheest sveenya” (fascist pigs) repeatedly by the Soviet secret police at the time, the NKVD (forerunners to the current KGB).

“‘Our sense of humor,’ said Mother, her eyes pooled with laughing tears. “They can’t take that away from us, right?’” (p. 125)

Reading like The Diary of Anne Frank, this story recounts a part of WW2 from a young girl’s perspective. Fifteen year old Lina Vilkas, her younger brother Jonas (aged 11), and their mother Elena, endure hardship after hardship to stay together and survive captivity from the Soviets. Scurvy, lice, frostbite, starvation, the constant threat of being shot– just a few of the trials that the Vilkas family go through. They were part of a group of Lithuanians who were deported together, and this group’s ability to keep its sense of community and national identity was astonishing. Elena Vilkas was the true hero of the story, showcasing an indomitable spirit for compassion and hope for the future. Though this is a historical fiction, these horrors were endured by families just like Lina’s.

Read this book. Knowing this story, knowing that this happened is important.

Celebrating Online Resources: Library Week is April 4-10

By Krystal Stanich,

New Castle-Henry County Public Library encourages all community members to explore and access virtual services and programs during National Library Week, April 4-10. The library offers a wide array of online resources available at, including ebooks, online magazines, video streaming, information resources, and audiobooks. 

April 4-10, 2021 is National Library Week, a time to highlight the essential role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening communities. The theme for this year’s National Library Week is “Welcome to your Library,” designed to promote the idea that libraries extend far beyond the four walls of a building and that everyone is welcome to use their services. Whether people visit virtually or in person, libraries are accessible and inclusive places that foster a sense of belonging and community through learning, discovery and exploration.

The New Castle-Henry County Public Library offers many online services for the community to use. Patrons can access e-books and audiobooks free using Libby or Hoopla. They can also view movies and documentaries by using Kanopy. Other resources include auto repair information, free legal form downloads, genealogical databases and more.

“During these challenging times, our library staff has been going above and beyond to adapt to constantly changing circumstances,” noted Winnie Logan, New Castle-Henry County Public Library Director. “By expanding our resources and thinking innovatively, our team has worked together to continue meeting the needs of our patrons.”

This National Library Week, the public can show their appreciation and support for libraries by attending a virtual library event, following New Castle-Henry County Public Library on social media, and using the hashtag #NationalLibraryWeek. The Friends of the Library are also selling yard signs that read, “We Love Our Library.” Signs can be purchased for $10 at the main circulation desk of the New Castle-Henry County Public Library.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries of all types across the country each April. For more information about the services and programs offered at New Castle-Henry County Public Library, visit or follow “nchcpl” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

By Krystal Stanich,

“In that moment when I thought I was dying, it hit me: despite how good of a dude Martin was, they still killed him, man” (pg 151). 

Krystal’s Review: Nic Stone did an excellent job of portraying the hopelessness that African-American teens face every day while growing up in the “land of the free” where “all men are created equal”… with a ridiculous amount of evidence to prove the contrary. The book is comprised of a series of letters that Justyce McAllister writes to MLK, “Dear Martin”, as he’s trying to figure out why there’s injustice going on around him, and how he thinks MLK would want him to respond. There’s a scene with Justyce’s best friend Manny, where Manny’s father apologizes for not preparing his son, a teen who grew up with all the economic advantages of having wealthy parents, for the unrelenting racism he will face. This is a theme that has cropped up in other books like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me; black parents need to prepare their children to live in a society where you can die if you cross paths with a police officer and haven’t been trained on how to react/respond. White children aren’t given this same training from their parents. Why? I think that speaks loudly enough about our society. I watched a TikTok six months ago or so when a man talked about finding a white child lost on the side of a secluded state road. To try to help the child, he had to flag down a white woman in a minivan to call the police, because he was scared for his own well-being if he was found out there with the child. This is the society we live in. Books like Dear Martin aren’t only vital because they keep the discussion open about the insidious racism that prevails in our society, but also because reading stories like this serves two different purposes: one, it helps unite those  who can relate, and two, it allows those who can’t possibly relate to gain some insight. I’m a white woman who knows nothing of what it is like to grow up as a black teen in our society, but after reading this, I feel a little closer to understanding a fraction of the struggle. 
Read this book if you enjoyed The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, or Black Boy, White School by Brian F. Walker. 

Krystal S.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

By Krystal Stanich,

It was not an eventful day. I should have done extraordinary things. I should have suck the marrow out of life” (Looking for Alaska, pg 122).

Synopsis: Miles “Pudge” Halter decides his Junior year of High School that he’s going to switch from his public school in Florida to his father’s boarding school in Alabama in search of his “Great Perhaps”. While there, he finds friends, adventure, and a bit of himself.

Krystal’s Review: From Hogwarts to Welton Academy, I’ve always enjoyed the “Great Perhaps” of boarding school stories. Completely unplanned, I re-watched The Dead Poets Society right before reading this, and as a result actually caught the Thoreau quote from Walden Pond “Suck the marrow out of life”. This book does exactly that, it takes the essence of what it means to live (and die), and throws it at the reader to contemplate. I’ve actually read this before, about seven years ago, and remember enjoying it then, too. I think the thing that struck me the most then, and what I appreciate now, is the way he foreshadows with “Before” and gives a timeline up to a pivotal point in the story.

“I wanted to be one of those people who have streaks to maintain, who scorch the ground with their intensity. But for now, at least I knew such people, and they needed me, just like comets need tails.”

Green certainly has a way with metaphors. From the cigarette smoke to the swan, you always have a deeper meaning. One of the best things about John Green’s writing is his ability to encompass all the messiness that comes with being a teenager–from the truly cringe-worthy to the soul searching moments. How much tongue is needed in a french kiss? How far can you prank the dean before you get expelled? What does it mean to live with guilt and regret? All of Green’s characters are perfectly flawed in one way or another.

“Suffering,” she said. “Doing wrong and having wrong things happen to you. That’s the problem. Bolivar was talking about the pain, not about the living or dying. How do you get out of the labryinth of suffering?” (pg 82)

John Green is YA canon for a reason (and no, I’m not just saying that because of geographical allegiance). Read any of his books and you won’t be disappointed. Also, if you have Hulu, this is a Hulu original television series, but…READ THE BOOK FIRST!!!

Check out this book is you like: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, or The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes.

PS. My favorite moment was definitely when he got bit in the butt by the swan!

Winter Reading 2021

By Krystal Stanich,

winter reading image

Read. Win prizes. Attend virtual events.  

This year’s Winter Reading theme is Alaska! 

Teens and Adults: Earn badges with every 100 minutes you read… each badge you win increases your chance to win one of the weekly drawings for a mystery bag of goodies, and/or the grand prize–a $50 Amazon Gift Card. 

Children: Enter our Children’s Winter Reading program for a chance to win an Alaska-themed gift basket! Sign up in Beanstack and log your minutes from January 1-January 31st. For every 50 minutes you read you’ll earn a badge. At 200 and 400 minutes you get a prize and an entry to the prize basket. Happy reading!

 Make sure to check out our online calendar for the Alaska-themed programs during January to get registered for programs like Molly of Denali Viewing Party, the Indianapolis Zoo presentation on Walruses, DIY: Baked Alaska cooking class, and many more! You can also check out the library’s YouTube channel for First Chapter Friday videos on Alaska-themed books. 

How to Register:

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

By Krystal Stanich,

“The summer is made for stoop-sitting

and since it’s the last week before school starts,

Harlem is opening its eyes to September (The Poet X, Sentence 1)”.

Evergreen Synopsis: “Curvaceous sixteen-year-old Xiomara Batista discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her fiercely religious mother’s view of women, as well as her relationship to a world dominated by rape-culture.”

Krystal’s Review:

I’m so glad I read this book! I’ve been hearing about this book for AGES, and it definitely lives up to the hype. This book won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, AND the Pura Belpre Award. This book is FIERCE and HONEST, just like Xiomara.

What I like most about Xiomara is her fight to stand up for herself. From slamming guys into lockers to cutting down basketball players with a pointed question, Xiomara takes no nonsense. As a high school wallflower, I am looking back with more than a little more relief that I didn’t have to defend myself the way Xiomara always had to. In the wake of the #Metoo movement, I know that so many girls have to navigate these types of situations.

The major tension/conflict in the book is between Xiomara and her mother. Xiomara’s mother isn’t the WORST mother in a book that I’ve read, but she definitely has some mom from Carrie tendencies that keep her from winning mother of the year. Altagracia Batista (Mami) was headed to the convent when her family sent her to become a wife instead (and Xiomara’s impression is that she’s still resentful of the fact). There are a few scenes that are especially hard, so be prepared for volatile situations between Xiomara and her mother.

Since this book is written in verse, I’m going to do something I never do: I’m recommending that you not only listen to the audio version because it’s read by the author and is FANTASTIC, but also to read the physical book because written poetry has it’s own beauty.

Similar authors include: Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, and Gabby Rivera. Read this book if you like: The Hate U Give, Gabby: A Girl in Pieces, or I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

By Krystal Stanich,

Favorite Moment: 

[Queen Eleanor] :“I wonder…will this world always belong solely to men?” 

[Hope]: “No, Your Grace. Not always.”

[Queen Eleanor]: “I shall, of course, not live to witness such a thing. But perhaps…to help sow the seeds of that glorious harvest?”

Krystal’s Review: 

This book was bloody fantastic! ANOTHER book set in Scotland–that’s it, I’m packing my bags and heading to Scotland. What originally caught my eye about this book was the blurb on the front cover from Diana Gabaldon, the author of Outlander– “Instantly engaging, constantly suspenseful, ultimately poignant and satisfying.”  After finishing the book, I completely agree with her. I’ve not read too many time travel books, but the ones I have read were pretty terrific, so this book needed to measure up…which it definitely did. 

Things I loved about this book: Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, the massive quantities of action, the attention to time travel rules and Tesla, the historical focus on King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine (historical figures that I’ve never read about– must do more research! From my quick search, the author was pretty historically accurate), Phoebe and Bran (Phoebe reminded me of Alice in Twilight), the underlying theme of feminism, a love triangle, and the character development we see in Hope. 

I was THRILLED to discover that there is a sequel, Sparks of Light, which I will be checking out from the library forthwith.

Check out this book if you like: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, or Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

By Krystal Stanich,

The Art of Not Breathing

Favorite quote from the book:

“Diving. Every dive is different, and two people doing the same dive will have different experiences. And if you dive in the same spot at a different time of day, it will be different. It’s the same with a painting.” (p128).


Sarah Alexander has done an excellent job with her first novel. I went into this book with no expectations; I’d never heard of the author or the book. This book is so hard to write about because it emcompasses so much–it’s part mystery as the main character tries to piece together her fragmented memories of her twin brother drowning when she was 11 (five years before the story starts), part grief–as we see how each character deals with this traumatic loss, and part family–the family is literally falling apart as they each drown in their own grief. The symbolism of not being able to breathe is woven around both the brother’s drowning and all of the family’s grief.

Although there is a romantic element to the story (and an ALMOST love triangle, but we’ll just chalk that up to confused hormones), it’s nowhere near as important as Elsie’s desire to get closure for her dead twin. This one traumatic experience has impacted more lives than you’d think, and the way they’ve all dealt with their grief is unique to each character:  Elsie’s compulsive stealing and obsessive desire to learn to free dive, her older brother’s eating disorder, her mother’s alcoholism, and her father’s anger.

This was one of the more “real” realistic fiction books I’ve read in quite a long time. I typically don’t like unreliable narrators (actually…still don’t), but I really appreciated (I’m not going to say enjoy because this is NOT a happy read) this book. I’m absolutely terrible at solving mysteries, and my attempts to guess where these types of stories are going are always so far off the mark it’s laughable. I particularly love a lot of foreshadowing that the author does that you have no clue is foreshadowing until the ending…in which case you have to immediately flip back to those scenes with an “Ah ha!” mentality. Another realistic element of the story is its setting–Fortrose, Scotland. Alexander’s imagery is fantastic, and if you pair that up with Google Maps, you can literally walk around the story. 

Read this book if you like: I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, or Postcards for a Songbird by Rebekah Crane.

Krystal S.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

By Krystal Stanich,

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee

Krystal’s Review:

Favorite quote from the book:

“You really have no choice in this life but to believe with all your heart that you’re extraordinary. You have to hold this conviction against all evidence to the contrary. Living is too sad otherwise” (p3).

Everyone, this book is gorgeously written. Zentner’s imagery and attention to writing authentic characters makes me fall in love a little more after every book he finishes. After reading his first book, The Serpent King, I was worried to read this one–that book gutted me so much that when I met Zentner at the recent PLA Conference, I made him sign an apology for making me cry. Don’t get me wrong, I still cried during this book, but I didn’t UGLY CRY…

My favorite part of this book is how Zentner portrayed all of the relationships. Josie and Delia have the perfect best friendship. I would’ve loved hanging out with them in high school– Josie and Delia’s candidness with each other, their families, and everyone they meet was so refreshing. I hate reading books where the characters are all hiding things or lying to each other to build up the plot.

Also, the parents (outside of Delia’s dad) weren’t overly idealized or terrible parents. I think Zentner represented the parents as good, but with flaws. Like Delia’s mom. Is her mom perfect? Absolutely not. But when it counts, her mom always shows up and is there for her (as opposed to her father). Josie and Lawson’s parents weren’t quite a focal point, but they both were supportive and loving in the scenes they showed up in.

The romantic relationship of the story is usually where I really judge a book, and Zentner did a great job of making it a healthy relationship. I loved Josie and Lawson together. Josie and Lawson always treat each other with respect. A pivotal point before they start dating is when Josie has a realization about Lawson:

I never feel like I need to hide any part of who I am. Being around him feels like waking up on a Saturday morning when the whole day ahead of you is free and you’ve slept the perfect amount, and your bed is the most ideal temperature, it’s like you’re part of an experiment in human comfort. It’s so easy. So effortless” (pg 196).

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is like the Mariana Trench level of deepness. This book covers depression, separation anxiety caused by a parent leaving, financial problems, and so much more. On the flip side, this book made me bust out in giggles–multiple times. Zentner knows how to deliver the perfect amount of balance to keep the over-all tone of the book uplifting. You’ll leave this book with a smile on your face.

Read this book if you like: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, Puddin’ by Julie Murphy, or Postcards for a Songbird by Rebekah Crane.

Krystal S.

The Seed Library Moon Garden

By Krystal Stanich,

As part of this year’s Summer Reading fantasy and fairy tale theme, The Seed Library has partnered with the Hancock County Master Gardeners to grow a Moon Garden. What’s a Moon Garden, you may ask? Basically, it’s an all-white flower garden that can be enjoyed in both the daytime AND the evening. We have a variety of different plants from moonflowers to white sunflowers that we are excited to watch grow over the summer months.

In addition to the garden, the Hancock County Master Gardeners are also leading two gardening programs:

6/22–Moon Gardens Join us via Google Meeting as we discuss moon garden flowers and layouts (registration is required to get meeting code).

7/22–Fairy Gardens Join us via Google Meeting as we talk fairy garden flowers and make fairy gardens in a clay jar (registration is required to get meeting code and pick up materials before the program).

Seeds Now Available for Curbside Pickup

By Krystal Stanich,

Seeds are available for curbside pickup! Check out the Seed Library website to place your seed requests:

How does it work? 

First, each family is permitted up to 10 envelopes of seeds per month (one packet of each type due to limited availability). 

  1. Fill out the Seed Request Form. You’ll be notified when the seed order has been put together and a date/time will be arranged for pickup during the library’s curbside hours.
  2. Plant your seeds ( try to hold on to the packets), and feel free to contact Kathie Ward if you have any gardening questions at
  3. After you’ve harvested, collect a few of the seeds and place them back in the corresponding envelope to drop off at the library. 

That’s it! You’ve now taken part in a seed library lending program.