Month: November 2018

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Predicting the Winner for Best Illustration

Predicting the Winner for Best Illustration

By Jennifer Bergen, Children’s Services Manager

Once again, K-State students studying children’s literature are hosting a Mock Caldecott voting session for Manhattanites. The real Caldecott medal is the prestigious American Library Association (ALA) award given to the illustrator of the “most distinguished” picture book of the year. That award will be announced January 28 at the ALA conference. But, if you admire the artistic quality found in many of today’s books for kids, join us for our own mock Caldecott discussion and voting session on December 1st. Below are a few of the titles we may be looking at:

Dreamers, written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Certain to win some awards this winter, Dreamers is a book everyone should experience. It is based on the author’s true story of immigrating from Mexico to the U. S. in the 1990’s, and a way to navigate this new world. A Kirkus review called Dreamers “a resplendent masterpiece,” and the gorgeous mixed-media paintings will cause readers to stop and ponder both the amazing art and the expressive text.  The magical moment when Yuyi discovers the public library is striking: “Suspicious. Improbable. Unbelievable. Surprising. Unimaginable. Where we didn’t need to speak, we only needed to trust.” Morales leaves readers with a feeling of hope, which is important for any type of dreamer. Check this title out now for free on the library’s Hoopla app to see the Dreamscape video version of the book, as well as the author’s autobiographical notes.

The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

How would you illustrate the beginning of the universe and time? Holmes stretches herself as she accompanies Bauer’s powerful poetry to take us from nothingness to the very moment “YOU burst into the world.” Marbled swirls and splashes of paint progress to outlines of animals, planets, and finally people — “All of us the stuff of stars.” This book takes an abstract idea to the heart of the reader through beautiful language and art.

Love by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Loren Long

Describing many different ways love can show itself in a child’s life, de la Pena provides reassurance that through happiness or sadness, you will always have love. Loren Long is often associated with his popular picture book series about Otis the tractor, but in this book he deftly draws not just humans, but people with character and soul. The double-page spread of a child searching her own eyes in her reflection is powerful. Alongside de la Pena’s message, this image will may cause readers to stop and dwell on the statement, “And the face staring back in the bathroom mirror – this, too, is love.” Self-love is as important as showing love to all those we care about.

A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Lane Smith

Readers will be smitten by Smith’s gorgeous illustrations from the beginning. The story of two children finding an old, abandoned house is revealed almost wistfully with dainty flowers and demure splashes of color. The notes on the copyright page explain that the effect was created by using India ink “drawn on vellum with a crow quill pen, then pressed while wet onto watercolor paper creating a blotted line effect,” and the colors were added later underneath. As the children dream up stories to go with the artifacts left behind by the house’s last owners, their imaginative stories take shape with more solid illustrations. Then it’s back to the blotted, nostalgic renderings as the children head home from their dreamy afternoon adventure, leaving a mystical impression on the reader.

Anyone is welcome to join us at the library for the Mock Caldecott discussion on Saturday at 1:30, co-sponsored by the K-State English Department, Children’s and Adolescent Literature Community (ChALC), and the library. It is a time to celebrate some of the amazing books being published for the next generation and to appreciate the talent that goes into their creation.

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World War One Ends at 11:00 on November 11, 1918

World War One Ends at 11:00 on November 11, 1918

By John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the guns of August finally fell silent across the Western Front. The Great War, the War to End All Wars, what later came to be known as the First World War, came to an end.

The term “First World War” was used by Charles à Court Repington in 1920 as a title for his memoirs. The term “World War I” was coined by Time magazine in its June 12, 1939 issue. In the same article, the term “World War II” was first used to describe the new approaching war.

World War One was a costly four years in terms of the human toll. Combat deaths from all belligerents totaled over 8 million, with total military deaths (including those missing in action) were estimated at between 8.5 and nearly 11 million. Total casualties, including civilians, were estimated at between 15 and 19 million. The greatest loss of life as a percentage of total population was the Ottoman Empire with over 3 million dead, amounting to over 15% of the population. In comparison American casualties totaled 117,465, or 0.13%.

There have been countless books about the war. The library has a collection of titles on individual battles and other aspects of World War One, including a few titles about the end of the war and its aftermath.

In his book “A World on Edge: The End of the Great War and the Dawn of a New Age,”   Daniel Schönpflug describes the aftermath of the Great War that has left Europe in ruins. He writes that with the end of fighting comes the possibility of a radical new start. That with new politics, new societies, new countries, new art and culture, the window of opportunity suddenly opened for Europe and the world. Unfortunately, that window closed again too soon.

Nicholas Best presents the final days of the Great War in “The Greatest Day in History: How, on the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month, the First World War Finally Came to an End.” He gives firsthand accounts of the war’s end from the viewpoints of the famous such as Charles de Gaulle, Harry S. Truman, George Patton, and Marie Curie, as well as the lowly private soldier, and a certain Corporal named Adolf Hitler. Some of the survivors of the Great War were caught up in the next great conflagration that burned the world a mere two decades later.

The consensus among historians is that the Versailles Peace Conference was a failure. Not only a failure, but it set the stage for World War II. In “Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World,” Margaret MacMillan provides perceptive portrayals of the key players at the conference. Individuals such as David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, and especially Woodrow Wilson. MacMillan characterizes Wilson as often rigid, arrogant, and vague about concepts like self-determination that confused even his own advisors. This book is a must for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of one of history’s most tragic failures.

While November 1918 saw the end of the global war, it was in the middle of another worldwide tragedy. The outbreak of Spanish Influenza beginning in the spring of 1918 claimed the lives of between 50 and 100 million people. In “Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History,” Catharine Arnold focuses on the challenges that World War One posed on containing the flu. Mass troop gatherings and movements helped spread the disease. Authors including Katherine Anne Porter and Thomas Wolfe wrote of the flu’s destruction in fiction, and survivors recalled that there were no medicines to cure the disease, and very little any doctor could do. Arnold’s is a well-researched history serving as a stark warning of the threat of pandemic disease.

The spark from an assassin’s bullet in Sarajevo that set off a fire the likes of which the world had never known, was finally quenched on November 11, one hundred years ago. For more information on the Great War, visit the National World War One Museum and Memorial in Kansas City

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Food for Fines 2018







From 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, everyone who brings a non-perishable food item to the Manhattan Public Library will receive a $1 voucher to pay library fines. Vouchers will be good throughout the month of December, with a maximum of 10 vouchers per person. All of the donated food will be given to the Flint Hills Bread Basket to help combat food insecurity in Manhattan.

Library Director, Linda Knupp, championed the idea as “a way to promote good will during the holidays and give back to the community.”

Suggested items include:

Boxed meals

Grape jelly

Peanut butter



Canned meats

Pancake syrup


The following items will not be accepted:

No expired items

No damaged items

No open packages

Ramen noodles (and other multi-pack items) will be accepted at a value of 4 packages = $1

Staff and volunteers from the Manhattan Library Association will be in the library’s atrium to accept donations and issue vouchers.  For more information, please contact the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue, (785) 776-4741 ext. 100, or

The Flint Hills Breadbasket is located at 905 Yuma Street.  It was founded in 1983 as a Community Food Network to collect and distribute food to those in need. Their food pantry is open Monday – Thursday from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. and Fridays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. to distribute food. To see the complete schedule for the Breadbasket, visit or call (785) 537-0730.

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All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

By Linda Henderson, Adult & Teen Services Librarian

My first hardcover book, Eric Knight’s Lassie Come-Home, kindled in me a love of animal stories that has never gone away.  As a child growing up without a local library, I had mostly read comic books (at ten cents apiece) and Little Golden Books.  Lassie influenced my reading choices from then on and I still display my original copy on my piano at home.  The titular Lassie is prize collie and companion to young Joe; when Joe’s father loses his job, they have to sell the dog.  She escapes her new owner three times, fighting great odds in the highlands of Scotland to return to her place waiting outside school for Joe.  I begged for and eventually received a collie of my own – of course named “Lassie.”

Our close relationships with pets and other animals have inspired many great animal stories and also inspired excellent movie adaptations.

The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford, is an incredible tale of a cat and two dogs braving a 250-mile journey to rejoin their family.

Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller might be the quintessential “boy meets dog” tale of a stray dog helping 14-year-old Travis defend the family farm in the 1860s Texas Hill country.

The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, stirs a longing for adventure and the unique relationship between dog and man. London’s descriptive, yet natural writing can make you feel like you, yourself, are on the snowy flats in Alaska pulling a heavy sled. The dog, Buck, is torn from a comfortable home to face abuse and hardship as a Klondike sled dog and eventually returns to the wild.

Reading Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, a classic story told from the horse’s point of view, led me to a great series by Walter Farley, entitled, The Black Stallion.

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, tells the story of a man and his dog, also narrated from the dog’s point of view; it has been adapted to children’s stories, as well.

Another canine narrator, Bailey, journeys through multiple lives, often humorous and emotional, in A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron.  Bailey wonders, each time he wakens in another place, if there he will find a purpose.

Catl mysteries also abound: Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy series, and Lilian Brauns Cat Who series have multiple titles.

Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, focuses on a single gull, but his journey to think and fly differently than the rest of the flock, may be a lesson for us.

Imagined stories and tales are wonderful, but sometimes the true stories are even more remarkable.

All Creatures Great and Small was my first James Herriot book.  I first read it during a trip with friends, and I broke out laughing so many times that they insisted I read aloud.   Herriot’s descriptions of his experiences as a young veterinarian in 1930’s Britain are alternately touching, funny, and sad.  Herriot wrote three more volumes which became a PBS series.      .  Check out the DVD at Manhattan Public Library. His son, Jim Wight, has added a memoir.

Dewey the Library Cat by Vicki Myron, is the true story of an abandoned kitten found by a librarian one morning in the bookdrop. In time, Dewey transformed that small library through friendships made during his 19 years at the library.

A parrot that talks – and listens? Alex & Me  by Irene Pepperberg relates how a scientist and a parrot uncovered a hidden world of animal intelligence—and deeply bonded in the process for over thirty years.

The Man Who Listens to Horses is the true story of Monty Roberts, a horse trainer who helped pioneer nonviolent methods of breaking in and training horses.

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life, by James Bowen, tells of how a stray street cat helped a struggling street musician and recovering heroin addict turn his life around. The ginger tomcat Bob and James appear in YouTube videos, and a DVD you may check out at Manhattan Public Library.

For a bit of pure fun, see Underwater Dogs, Seth Casteel’s exhilarating photography series of dogs underwater, for a chaotic ballet of bared teeth, bubbles, paddling paws, and ears billowing in currents.

Writers around the world have penned countless animal stories and memoirs.  I read many genres – westerns, romance, biography – but animal stories offer me special joy, and I eagerly read a wide assortment of books as they become available at Manhattan Public Library.

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By Hannah Atchison, Children’s Librarian

If you love to lose yourself in a good book, chances are during at least one point in your life you have experienced book-withdrawal. This can happen when you have recently finished a really good book or series or are waiting for the next book in a series. As a lover of all things fantasy I have fallen for new worlds, creatures, and characters multiple times and am more than familiar with book-withdrawal.

The first time I experienced it was when I had to wait for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, book six in J.K. Rowling’s famous series. It has been years and the phenomenon still rages. I see evidence of that with the young readers I have the honor of assisting every day in their quest for interdimensional travel. I see the same panicked look in parents’ and children’s eyes that I once had. What should they read next? Here are a few of my go-to suggestions:

The “Pendragon” series by D.J. MacHale –In book 1, The Merchant of Death, fourteen year old Bobby Pendragon unintentionally discovers another dimension, Denduron, and fights to accept not only the existence of other worlds besides Earth, but also the important role he now has to play.

The “Keys to the Kingdom” series by Garth Nix –Arthur Penhaligon, a seventh grader in book 1, Mister Monday, is given an odd key shaped like the minute hand of a clock. Mister Monday sends dog-like creatures to take the key. As Arthur battles Mister Monday and his creatures, he encounters many strange, new creatures and discovers there is much more to his world than he thought.

The “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan –Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, book 1 in the series, is about a boy named Percy who struggles in school until his mother takes him to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods, and he finds out his father is Poseidon the sea god. He makes friends with a satyr and a daughter of the goddess Athena and together they leave Camp Half-Blood on a journey to prevent a battle between the gods.

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien –Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit leading a normal and comfortable life until Gandalf the wizard and a group of dwarves arrive at his hobbit-hole home one evening. They convince him to join them on a quest to rid The Lonely Mountain of the dragon Smaug and reclaim the treasure and the once-great dwarven kingdom of Erebor.

The “Inheritance” series by Christopher Paolini –Eragon, book 1 of the “Inheritance” series, follows the adventures of fifteen year old Eragon of Alagaesia that ensue after his discovery of a strange-looking stone which turns out to be a dragon egg.

The “Redwall” series by Brian Jacques –In Redwall the first in the series, the peaceful mice of Redwall Abbey are fearful that the rat Cluny and his dreadful followers are preparing to take siege. The fate of the abbey lies on the shoulders of a young apprentice, and his quest for the great sword of Martin the Warrior.

The “His Dark Materials” series by Philip Pullman –Book 1, The Golden Compass is about the journey of Lyra Belacqua and her daemon Pan, an animal companion with whom she shares a soul, as they travel into the Far North to rescue children like herself who have been kidnapped.

“The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis –Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are four siblings who, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, accidentally stumble into another world known as Narnia, a beautiful land full of magic and magical creatures that has been cursed by the White Witch to be always winter but never Christmas.

If you do find yourself head-over-heels and stuck on a good book and you can’t bring yourself to open another, I have two more suggestions for you. Look for other books by the author. They may not have the same characters you love, but they may still give you a sense of security through a familiar writing style. And my personal favorite, you can recommend your book to a friend. Misery loves company…just kidding.