The Martian

By nchcpl_admin,

“I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last 31 days.

If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah.”

— From Mission Specialist Mark Watney’s Mars Journal

It never would have occurred to me to laugh my way through a book about an astronaut left to die on Mars, but Andy Weir’s Mark Watney is a space faring MacGyver. He approaches every catastrophe as a problem solvable by hard work, science, engineering, and irreverence. I’ve read this twice now, once when it was new and then again after seeing the movie, and it was just as good the second time around. It is one of the few book-to-movie adaptations where I would recommend both versions. Each brings something special to the table while retaining the same delightful core. The book expands on the problems and challenges and more importantly, it presents the complicated technical solutions in a clear and understandable way for the lay reader. The film brings the personal costs of a tragedy like this to the fore in a way the book really cannot. My recommendation would be to read the book first and then see the movie. In the end, the real joy in this story is rediscovering the sense that, yes we can do the impossible.

The Martian review by staff member David D.

Finding Books to Grow a Reader

By nchcpl_admin,

Our summer reading program is halfway over, but no matter what time of year it is, reading 20 minutes a day is a good goal. For some children this is not a problem. They already love reading and devour books without any reminders. Other children may see reading as a chore, or something that they “have to do.” It can be a struggle to motivate this child to read. Both of my boys were reluctant readers, but I knew once they found the right book, the door to the beauty of reading would open. The library has tools available to help you guide your child to find books that will open the door for them, too.

Knowledgeable staff: Bring your children to the library and ask them to tell us about themselves. What they like to do in their spare time? What has been their favorite book so far? With this information, staff can make a few suggestions. Check out a stack of potentially good reads. Have your child read at least the first chapter and give the book a chance. Hopefully they will enjoy at least one of the books selected.

NoveList Plus : This is a database available through the library website in our online resources. You can put in the title of a book that your child has enjoyed reading and then click on it. Over to the right, a list of read-alikes will appear. If you click on “view all,” NoveList provides a printable list of the books. You can also do an advanced search and use the limiters (Genre, age, AR interest level,…) to help narrow the search.

Common Sense Media ( This website provides a great way to learn more about books and their content. Simply put in the title of a book and then click on it to get more information such as the book’s target age, and “what parents need to know” (educational values, positive messages, violence, language, etc.). This tool informs you about a book if you don’t have the time to read it before your child reads it. It also provides reviews for television shows, movies, apps, and more.

-Lynn Thomas is the Children’s Librarian for New Castle-Henry County Public Library

Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverance

By nchcpl_admin,

We have all heard the motivational statements about “finding your passion” or “genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”. Duckworth takes these phrases from cliché to science. She began by wondering why people who have been ranked as high achievers with great potential drop out under pressure while others who are struggling with the program will finish. Is it talent and intelligence or effort that matters most? What else factors in? Duckworth found that people won’t maintain the effort without an interest in the work. There needs to be passion. There also needs to be a belief that what they are doing will result in a higher good. With a willingness to learn from failure and a positive mindset that improvement is possible, hard work can get us places we never imagined. But passion may not be what we thought and interest doesn’t prevent work from being drudgery. Duckworth supplies plenty of real-life examples and scientific studies to support her findings.

Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and, ironically, the winner of the MacArthur “genius grant.”

Review by Janet T, Reference Librarian

Independence Day

By nchcpl_admin,

Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day (1996) was spawned from a visual effects revolution ignited by James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) and Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993). These blockbusters reinvigorated the science fiction genre, a genre that had been going through a dry spell. Studios were sticking with franchises and green-lighting fewer new projects. The years 1989 to 1992 witnessed a seemingly endless parade of sci-fi/fantasy sequels. There was The Fly 2, Gremlins 2, Highlander 2, The Never-Ending Story 2, Predator 2, Alien 3, Star Trek V and VI. Following the innovation and massive worldwide success of T2 and Jurassic Park, new projects were green-lit. With the latest computer graphic technology, Hollywood studios churned out more big-budget features with large scale, sweeping scope, and stunning visuals. The disaster film, a popular genre in the 1970s, made a comeback with films like Twister (1996), Dante’s Peak (1997), Volcano (1997), and Armageddon (1998).

Of all of Jurassic Park’s subsequent progeny, Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day (1996) was the most successful, earning over $300 million in domestic gross alone. The film is essentially a retelling of producer George Pal’s 1953 film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. The design of the alien fighter-ships is similar to those depicted in Pal’s film, same with the green laser blasts. In Emmerich’s version, a computer virus, not the common cold germ, saves humanity from total annihilation. It can be argued that Independence Day was the first summer blockbuster to feature explosions galore. It is now an all too common trend of summer action blockbusters, Michael Bay’s Transformer films for instance. But back in ’96, such scenes still had novelty. Most of the visual effects in Independence Day still hold up today and the film has never ceased to entertain viewers young and old.

The New Castle-Henry County Public Library invites you to a free showing of Independence Day on Wednesday, June 22 at 6:30 pm in the auditorium. There will be trivia and a raffle for an Independence Day vinyl action figure after the movie. Tickets will be distributed at the auditorium entrance. Enjoy popcorn while you’re there.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

By nchcpl_admin,

Almost everyone knows about Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook, Smee, and the Island called Neverland. Those are all the characters I think of when asked about the story, but there is one more character we seem to neglect: Tiger Lily. She is a native to Neverland and seems to be quite the outcast. In the book, Tiger Lily, author Jodi Lynn Anderson writes about the adventures of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, but with an interesting twist; it’s told from the perspective of Tinkerbell. The book keeps you captivated because you’re getting a story we’ve all grown up with, but there is more romance, adventure, and conflict. Tiger Lily really pulls at your heart strings and makes you feel along with the characters. I would tell you how the story goes, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.  So go grab some popcorn and this book and curl up on your couch, because you’re not gonna wanna put it down.

-Hayley Poe, TAB Treasurer

Memorial Day Parade 2016

By nchcpl_admin,

Hey, if you all see slices of cake walking during the Memorial Day Parade…that’s us! The library is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The Teen Advisory Board has been working really hard on these costumes for weeks!

The Raven King –Review Part 2

By nchcpl_admin,

Krystal’s Review–Part 2:

Hmmm….where to start. I think I’ll start with the Kirkus Review I read awhile ago and felt indignation over because it felt like criticism to my Raven boys:

Kirkus Reviews 2016 March #1
“A group of Virginia teenagers finally finds a long-buried Welsh king in this conclusion to the four-part Raven Cycle. A demon has infected the magical forest, Cabeswater, killing Ronan’s mother, Aurora, and threatening Ronan’s brother, Matthew, as well as Ronan and maybe the whole world—Gansey knows what he has to do. It’s all been foretold, and readers have been waiting for it since Blue saw him on the corpse road in quartet opener The Raven Boys (2012). For three out of four novels, Stiefvater combined extraordinary magic and visceral reality in a way that felt entirely true. Here, the magic scatters in all directions, and too little of it makes sense. The characters—Ronan, Gansey, long-dead Noah, Blue Sargent, newcomer Henry, and especially Adam—are as multidimensional and fully realized as ever; Ronan and Adam’s budding romance is beautifully told. The writing sings—each sentence, each paragraph marvelously wrought. Yet at the point where the story needs to make the most sense, it makes the least, prophecy and magics piling up on one another in a chaotic, anticlimactic climax. The ending feels trivial, almost mocking the seriousness of the rest of the quartet. Stiefvater couldn’t write a bad book, and this isn’t one, but it is a disappointment after years of glorious buildup. (Fantasy. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.”

After finishing the book (I’ll have you know that the audiobook felt TOO SHORT…which NEVER happens), the review is, unfortunately, spot on; the writing does sing, the Ronan and Adam relationship (which I totally ship but NEVER saw coming) is beautiful, and the book’s ending is a disappointment. Definitely read the book– the book has so many beautiful/exciting/terrifying/hilarious moments that your emotions feel like they are on a roller coaster (I swear to you that I actually looked down at my arm during one scene and had goosebumps), but that ending… I adore these books AND Stiefvater, but the ending of the series had me scratching my head a bit wondering, “That’s it? Really?” No plot spoilers, but man was I disappointed with the finding of Glendower. I hated that realistic spin (life is how you handle disappointments, you don’t need magic–just each other…yada yada). This is supposed to be a fantasy; I don’t want realism…I WANT magic! Please leave the realism to E. Lockhart and Gayle Forman.

My favorite part of the book is the repeated “Depending on where you began the story, the story was about…” entering into each different character’s point-of-view; I think the back story of the Gray Man was my favorite. I’d even read a break-away series that focuses on the Gray Man and his future kingdom, but I’m hoping that Ronan’s musings at the end allow for this to truly not be “the end” of the story.

With all of that being said, this is hands down one of my top favorite fantasy series.




I expect you all to be either downloading or on your way to the library to check these books (or audiobooks because I canNOT stress how fantastic Will Patton is) out. In fact, Hoopla has the audiobooks available for download on your smart phones/tablets…just sayin’.


CD Spotlight – May 2016

By nchcpl_admin,

Teen Poetry Workshop

By nchcpl_admin,

This Sunday is the Skila Brown poetry workshop. All teens interested in poetry…please come! Skila (sky-luh) wrote the book Caminar and is a fantastic writer. We are having juice and cookies in addition to a raffle drawing for someone to win a signed copy of Skila’s book, Caminar. Again, that is THIS Sunday at 2:15pm.

See you there,


The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

By nchcpl_admin,

“For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path” (Goodreads Synopsis).

Krystal’s Review:

IT’S FINALLY HERE! Unintelligible noises erupted from my mouth when I was told the audiobook had FINALLY come in. I’ve been waiting For-ev-ER on this book to come out. As such, I refused to start any other book until it got here. This “review” is going to be review Part 1 of 2 on the Raven King because I’ve only just started on disc two of the audiobook. So far it is amazing (although my complete adoration of this book series leaves me completely biased).

Will Patton is the narrator of these books and he is SUPERB. If you’ve ever watched Armageddon or Remember the Titans, then you know who Will Patton is. His Gansey voice just…just…gah, you all need to listen. Maybe I’ll find a snippet and include it in the bottom of this post.

This book takes place shortly after (maybe a week?) the last book ends. All of the characters are still coping with the ending scenes of Blue Lily, Lily Blue. So far, all of the boys are still focused on how they can keep Gansey alive. Ronan is trying to dream a skin-armor, Adam is still trying to be the one who gets the wish from Glendower, and my instinct says that Noah is clinging to life to protect Gansey when the time comes.

Look for Part 2 of my Raven King review in a week or so…once I’ve actually finished the book.




Five Aspects of Early Literacy

By nchcpl_admin,

Early literacy is a vital aspect of development for children under the age of five. While learning to read is often the first thing that come to mind when thinking of literacy, there is more to early literacy than reading. The Every Child Ready To Read program developed by the American Library Association, focuses of five aspects of early literacy: talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. Story times at New Castle-Henry County Public Library include all five aspects.

  1. Talking- Talking to a child helps the child to learn about language. Young children are able to understand spoken language before they are able to talk. By hearing others talk to them, even the youngest child will learn about spoken language. Talking to a child about many different events, ideas, and stories helps the child develop general knowledge. This general knowledge helps a child understand content in books they’ll explore when they are older.
  1. Singing- Singing develops language skills. In music, sounds are slowed down to allow the child the opportunity to hear words broken up into syllables. Singing helps children learn new words and information in general. Through singing, children also develop listening and memory skills. Singing with a child can be a fun bonding experience.
  1. Reading- Reading is the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers. If children are read to this creates an enjoyable experience. This experience instills a love of reading in the child, which builds a desire to learn how to read for themselves. Books often use language not used in everyday conversation, so children are introduced to “rare” words, which develops their vocabulary. While being read to, children also develop comprehension and general knowledge.
  1. Writing- Writing connects closely with reading. Children will learn that printed words stand for spoken words and that this is a form of communication. While young age children aren’t ready to write, scribbling and drawing helps kids acquire writing skills. The development of hand-eye coordination, muscle development, and fine motor skills should be the focus in young children. Additional ways to develop this skill could include tracing in sand, crinkling up newspaper, and playing with play dough.
  1. Playing- Playing is what children do best. Through the act of playing, children learn about how things work, about language, and the symbolic representation of things. To child, a cardboard box can represent a car and a pan can become a drum. By learning to understand this, children begin to realize that words represent objects or experiences. Play is also a way for a child to practice becoming an adult.

The ages of 0-5 are critical for the future development of children. What children learn during this time lays the foundation for success in both school and life in general. At this age, children are like little sponges, just waiting to soak up as much as possible. And the best thing to remember is that learning at this age can and should be fun.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

By nchcpl_admin,

Director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek) helms the long-awaited seventh installment of the popular Star Wars franchise – Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A new menace threatens the galaxy. Darth Vader devotee Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) leads the dark and nefarious First Order, risen like a sinister phoenix from the ashes of the Empire. In the midst of this upheaval, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has gone missing. A ragtag group of resistance fighters, led by Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega), join with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca to find Luke and bring peace to the galaxy once again.

The New Castle-Henry County Public Library invites you to a free showing of Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens on Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30 pm in the auditorium. There will be trivia and a raffle for a Luke Skywalker Lightsaber after the movie. Enjoy popcorn while you’re there.