CD Spotlight – May 2016

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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

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“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

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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

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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.

In the Kingdom of Ice

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It amazes me to think that as recently as the late 1800s, no one knew anything about the North Pole. There certainly was a lot of speculation at the time. Was the pole made up of a warm, open sea? Was the Earth hollow, with a gaping hole at the top of the planet? Not only were scientists and explorers obsessed about what lay to the north, but the general public was as well. It was a mystery the world was clamoring to solve.

It was in the midst of this North Pole-related frenzy that the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco, California, on July 8, 1879, on a voyage to reach the top of the world. What happened to the Jeannette and her crew of thirty-three men on that fateful trip captured the attention of nations around the globe and provided the fodder for author Hampton Sides’ book, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette.

It’s a fascinating and terrible story—and one that I couldn’t put down. For almost two years, the Jeannette was literally stuck—trapped in pack ice and unable to get free. Eventually, the ship’s hull was fatally breached.  The Jeannette sank to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean just 700 miles south of the North Pole, leaving its crew stranded in the brutal conditions and the world to wonder about the men’s fate.

This meticulously researched book recounts the men’s march across almost a thousand miles of frozen sea toward the nearest land mass—the Arctic coast of Central Siberia. They were freezing, starving, sick, and painfully desperate. But they also were determined.

The Jeannette’s captain, George DeLong, kept journals and a diary of the men’s voyage and their trek across the ice to reach civilization. Sides uses these and other resources to provide a chilling account of a struggle for survival. Did the Jeannette’s crew make it? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Review by staff member Karen T.


By nchcpl_admin,

In the first half of the 1970s, films like The French Connection (1971), Dirty Harry (1971), Shaft (1971), The Godfather (1972) and Badlands (1973) were common in the cinematic landscape, with a focus on antiheroes and urban decay. In the latter part of the decade, the tide began to turn to a more hopeful outlook on life. Rocky (1976) was among the first films to reflect a renewed optimism taking shape in America. Underdog stories became more prevalent and Rocky is one of the most famous of all. It is the story of a two-bit boxer from Philadelphia named Rocky Balboa who gets his “million-to-one shot” for pride and respect in a championship bout with title holder Apollo Creed.  This was a career-making role for Sylvester Stallone, who only a year prior had starred in Roger Corman B pictures Capone (1975) and Death Race 2000 (1975). The reinvigorated romanticism trend continued in Star Wars – A New Hope (1977), Superman (1978), and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), ushering in the summer blockbusters that entertain audiences to this day.

Music Blog

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Magic: The Gathering

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So…apparently, Magic: The Gathering is still a rather popular game. Seeing as how this game was popular when I was in school, I didn’t think it would still be popular. I now know better. The TeenScape now has Magic decks for all teens in grades 7-12 to play with (feel free to bring your own cards if you’d rather play with those!). Be on the lookout for a Magic: The Gathering tournament coming up in May, and we will also have another tournament at our TeenCon in July. Otherwise, feel free to swing by the TeenScape on days that we don’t have a scheduled program to demolish me in Magic (I’m really rather terrible…but I’m very happy with my Red/Blue deck).

Have a great weekend!


The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book #1) by Rick Riordan

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“Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .”
(Goodreads Synopsis).

“Yeah, I know.” (Sword of Summer, Page 1, Sentence 1)

Krystal’s Review

To begin, the chapter titles were probably my favorite part about this book. For example: Chapter 1 is titled “Good morning! You’re going to die.” They pretty much all hold up to this snappy, upbeat tone. For all of the fans of the Percy Jackson series, you will be surprised by how un-Percy Magnus is. Don’t get me wrong, Percy is great, but he can be a bit angsty at times. Magnus is ALWAYS cheerful…so I guess that’s a little annoying at times, too.

This plot moves briskly…so be ready to sit and read nonstop until it’s finished. There are tons of fight scenes to keep fight-scene-loving people (ahem, teenage boys) happy. There are so many fight scenes I can’t even keep them straight in my head. One thing I would advise (and only because I failed to do so) is to do a little research on Norse mythology BEFORE reading the book. I didn’t know who most of the characters were. Thankfully, I’m familiar enough with the new Marvel movies to know who Thor and Loki are and was familiar with the concept of Valhalla and Valkyries.

Magus’s best friends (by the end of the book) are a dwarf, an elf,  a Valkyrie, and a sword–Blitz, Hearth, Samirah-al-Abbas (Sam), and Jack. Blitz, Hearth, and Sam are all interesting, round characters. Blitz is an outsider to his own people because he prefers to follow his dream of opening a fashion store. Hearth is not only deaf, but a sorcerer (which is frowned upon by other elves). Plus, his parents were terrible people who blamed him for the death of his brother. Sam is probably the character that I am the most thrilled with. We don’t get a lot of Arabic characters in YA literature, and I’m glad Riordan made her a main character who overcomes other people’s biases (some because of her Arabic heritage and others because of being the daughter of Loki). Sam is also betrothed to a guy in an arranged marriage…and she’s THRILLED with it. No, seriously, that’s not sarcasm. She’s got a huge crush on her betrothed. So Magnus and readers’ stereotypes of arranged marriages always being horrible things gets corrected.

Jack (aka The Sword of Summer) is definitely a character. I’m not sure I’d classify him as a rounded character because he’s a sword and he’s SUPPOSED to be flat. However, I will say that he’s not a very flat sword. Jack’s dialogue in the book is always amusing and his creativity in killing giantesses was most (ugh) interesting. I imagine Jack’s dialogue is what Excalibur (from the television series, The Librarians) would sound like if he was given a voice.

Overall, the book follows the same recipe of the Percy Jackson books. Serious topics are discussed, but in a lighter tone. All fans of Riordan’s other works will enjoy this new series starter.


My Ántonia

By nchcpl_admin,

One evening, I was channel surfing and ran across a fascinating documentary about Willa Cather. For reasons completely unknown, this prompted me to take a chance on an American classic I had never read, My Antoniaand I was blown away. This fictional memoir has successful railway attorney Jim Burden looking back through much older eyes at his experiences growing up in pioneer Nebraska. At 10, Jim’s parents die and he is sent from Virginia to live with his elderly grandparents in Nebraska. Jim’s memories center around a somewhat older girl he befriended, Antonia. It is almost impossible to summarize this book. It’s part pioneer narrative, part coming of age story, part immigrant narrative and part first love story — and those are just the main parts. There are wonderful short character vignettes and amazingly lyrical descriptions of the prairie.

The thing that really caught me up in this book is the way that Jim’s adult voice is always present. This is a story about looking back and realizing that, for all the faults that might have existed, childhood can and should be a magical time. It’s a shame that schools inflict this remarkable book on children. They won’t have any of the life experience necessary to see what’s really going on in this story. Even those who hated this in grade school should give this American classic a chance as an adult. Read it slowly and savor the vivid pictures Cather paints of the great American prairie.

Review by staff member David D.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars

By nchcpl_admin,

Long before Ridley Scott thrilled filmgoers with last year’s The Martian, producer George Pal and director Byron Haskin took audiences on an excellent and offbeat cruise to the red planet in the summer of 1964 with Robinson Crusoe on Mars, a clever retelling of Daniel Dafoe’s classic tale of survival against insurmountable odds. In the film, Commander Christopher “Kit” Draper (Paul Mantee) and Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West) bail from their spacecraft to the Martian surface when their orbiting rocket is damaged by an asteroid. McReady is killed in the crash, but Draper survives. Confined in an arid dungeon of rocks and hills stretching to a scorched horizon, a physical and mental battle ensues. Confronted with the challenge of surviving in a harsh world, Draper must also face solitude and loneliness. But Mars has a few surprises in store for the frightened astronaut. An escaped intergalactic mining slave (Victor Lundin) joins Draper on his quest to the Martian polar ice cap, all the while being pursued by aliens in spaceships similar to those in War of the Worlds (1953), an earlier Pal/Haskin collaboration.

At the time of its inception, Robinson Crusoe on Mars was the most ambitious undertaking by a film studio yet to depict what life on Mars would be like based on what was known and theorized by science at the time. Previous cinematic voyages, like Rocketship X-M (1950), were shot in black and white with Mars sequences tinted a pinkish-red in post-production. But producer George Pal wanted his Mars feature to be shot in vivid color and in widescreen, no less. The barren terrain of Death Valley, California provided the perfect scenery. Since there is no blue sky on Mars, an animated red-orange sky and blazing fireball f/x were created in post.

If Destination Moon (1950) is the starting point to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), then Robinson Crusoe on Mars is the halfway mark, a pit stop on a journey beyond the infinite. Review by staff member Josh D.

You can watch and discuss Robinson Crusoe on Mars with fellow movie buffs on Wednesday, March 23 at 6:30 pm in the auditorium. Enjoy some popcorn while you are there.