Month: June 2024

by Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

Special Siblings

Special Siblings

By Savannah Winkler, Public Services Supervisor

There are a few things I’m truly proud of, and one of them is being the eldest sister of my three brothers. Growing up, there was never a dull moment in our household. From the summer days spent swimming to inventing new tricks on the trampoline, our childhood was full of fun and excitement (despite the occasional sibling squabble). Life got even more exciting when our third brother was born. Despite my not-so-secret desire for a little sister, I was instantly smitten with my new sibling. Then our lives changed in a different way. After he was born, my brother was diagnosed with Down syndrome. When my parents sat me down to explain this news, I was confused and not sure what to think. Would my brother be okay? How/why did this happen? Would other kids—or even adults—be nice to him? Answers to these questions were hard to find. However, after some time, I found them in one of my favorite places: books.

The year after my brother was born, I read “Rules” by Cynthia Lord. This book follows twelve-year-old Catherine as she grapples with everyday life and her brother, David, who has autism. Catherine has a strong desire to appear “normal” to those around her. Catherine loves her brother, but she also can’t help but feel embarrassed by his behavior at times. So, she makes a list of rules for him (such as, “It’s okay to hug Mom but not the clerk at the video store”). Then Catherine meets Jason, a 14-year-old boy who is paraplegic, and she starts to question her idea of “normal.” She begins to realize that acceptance of others is what’s truly important. “Rules” provided me a lot of comfort and reassurance after my brother’s diagnosis and remains one of my favorite childhood books.

Another option for young readers is “One-Third Nerd” by Gennifer Choldenko. In this humorous fiction book, ten-year-old Liam lives in a basement apartment with his mom and two younger sisters: aspiring scientist Dakota and affectionate hugger Izzy (who happens to have Down syndrome). The story follows Liam’s day-to-day life as he navigates school, being the eldest sibling, and the aftermath of his parents’ divorce. “One-Third Nerd” stands out because it includes a young person with a disability without making it the main focus of the book.

Ghosts” by Raina Telgemeier is a graphic novel about two sisters, Cat and Maya. Maya is the youngest sister, and she has had cystic fibrosis since birth. In order to help her breathing condition, Maya and Cat’s family move to Bahía de la Luna, a coastal village in Northern California. Upon arrival, the sisters discover that their new town is obsessed with ghosts. There are ghost tours and a Día de los Muertos celebration. Maya, the adventurist, is fascinated and wants to meet a ghost. But Cat is more hesitant, fearful of her sister’s health and prognosis. The two set off on a ghost adventure that teaches them about both loss and love.

The fourth book in this list is for adult readers. “Happiness Falls” by Angie Kim is a mystery that released in 2023. The novel is narrated by Mia, the twenty-year-old daughter of the Parson family. The Parson’s lives change forever following the disappearance of their father, Adam. Adam was last seen on a walk with the youngest Parson sibling, 15-year-old Eugene. Eugene is non-verbal and has both autism and Angelman syndrome. He can’t speak, meaning that the sole witness to the disappearance is unable to say what happened. Or at least, that’s what everyone believes. Mia, desperate to find her father, pours over his journals to try and find any clues. His writings reveal that there may be much more to Eugene than meets the eye. “Happiness Falls” is a mystery with many twists, but it’s also a thoughtful exploration on neurodiversity and how we perceive those who are different than us.

Books have always been my safe haven and the place I go to find reassurance in times of uncertainty. If you’re also needing some comfort, even more materials can be found at the library, from physical books to digital resources like ebooks or audiobooks. With a free library card, there are endless stories and experiences to discover.
Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at



Savannah Winkler, Public Services Supervisor

by Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

Juneteenth Booklist

Juneteenth Booklist

By Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian

Wildly varying temperatures and time off school lead to plenty of reading time. These signal that the Kansas summer is upon us. Summer reading has officially started at Manhattan Public Library (the first official day of summer is only weeks away), and our June celebrations around town have begun. This year’s Juneteenth celebration takes place on Saturday, June 15th at Douglass Park. The Unity Walk and vendor booths open at 10:30 am with entertainment going through 8pm. Come visit us at the Manhattan Public Library booth from 11 am to 2 pm. We will have plenty of swag and smiling faces!

This year, the public services librarians created a list of books. These are featured in our subject resources brochure. These books are also featured on the Juneteenth displays located on the second floor of the library. You can find this brochure and our other subject resources online at We update these annually, so do look for them to change on a yearly basis. You will find the list of books below, but the handout also includes national and local resources and their contact information. As always, all information for these titles has been taken from our catalog, which can be accessed at

Adult Books:

All About Love: New Visions” by Bell Hooks. The author examines the role of love in our personal and professional lives and how it can be used to end struggles between individuals, communities and societies.

On Juneteenth” by Annette Gordon-Reed. A commemoration of Juneteenth and the fraught legacies of slavery that still persist, “On Juneteenth” is a stark reminder of the ongoing fight for equality.

Understanding Mass Incarceration” by James Kilgore. We know that “orange is the new black” and mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow, but how much do we actually know about the structure, goals and impact of our criminal justice system?

Kindred” by Octavia Butler. Neither Dana nor Rufus understand his power to summon Dana whenever his life is threatened, nor the significance of the ties that bind them. An extraordinary story of two people bound by blood, separated by so much more than time.

The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. This work considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires and expectations. It explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people may feel pulled to live as something other.

How Long ‘til Black Future Month” by N.K. Jemisin. These stories sharply examine modern society, infuse magic into the mundane and draw deft parallels in the fantasy realms of the author’s imagination.

Young Adult Books:

Say Her Name” by Zetta Elliott. Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum, these poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists insisting Black Lives Matter.

We Are Not Broken” by George M. Johnson. Johnson captures the unique experience of growing up as a Black boy in America through rich family stories that explore themes of vulnerability, sacrifice and culture.

Freedom!: The Story of the Blank Panther Party” by Jetta Grace Martin, Joshua Bloom, and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. In the beginning, it was a story like any other. It could have been yours and it could have been mine. But once it got going, it became more than any one person could have imagined. This is the story of Huey and Bobby. Eldridge and Kathleen. Elaine and Fred and Ericka. This is the story of the committed party members. Their supporters and allies. The Free Breakfast Program and the Ten Point Program. It’s about Black nationalism, Black radicalism, about Black people in America.

1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change” edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti. An anthology of essays that explores the tumultuous and pivotal year of 1968, when the generations clashed as thousands of Vietnamese and Americans were killed in war, assassins murdered Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, and demonstrators turned out in cities across the globe.

I hope to see you exploring our library, gathering your summer reading prizes, and visiting us at events throughout the summer! Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Manhattan Public Library serves more than 75,000 people in the Riley County area through curated book and other media collections, knowledgeable staff, relevant programming for all ages, and meeting space. Learn more at

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Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian

by Jared Richards Jared Richards No Comments

Literary Adventures: New Turns Down Old Roads

Literary Adventures: New Turns Down Old Roads

By Stephanie Wallace, Library Assistant 2

Nostalgia and new adventures seem to be at odds these days with the plethora of remakes and reboots vying for attention against original movies at the box office. But what if you didn’t have to choose?

Introducing remix books — all of your old favorites, but told through new perspectives or presented in new settings. They’re a cozy blend of familiar names and fresh experiences, perfect for when you want to explore what-ifs and different angles.

Let’s start with some of the most well-known fairy tales, beloved by adults and children — the Disney Princess series, now starring their princes. Linsey Miller’s new Young Adult series rethinks favorite classics in “Prince of Song & Sea,” “Prince of Thorns & Nightmares,” and “Prince of Glass & Midnight,” the last of which debuts in October. I enjoyed “Prince of Song & Sea” the most, which focuses on Prince Eric from “The Little Mermaid.”

In his side of the story, Prince Eric has bigger problems than a mysterious and playful mute redhead. He’s been cursed to die if he kisses anyone except his one true love, his kingdom is on the brink of ruin, and his presumed dead mother might actually be alive somewhere. It’s a lot for one man to handle, but luckily for him, he has a set of great friends who make an even better crew on his ship. Will they be able to find his mother before the witch who cursed him destroys everything? Up until the last minute, I had no idea whether Miller would stick to Disney’s happy ending or veer into the tragedy of Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale.

Kids and the young at heart will be charmed by Ivy Noelle Weir’s “Anne of West Philly.” In this graphic novel adaptation, “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery transforms into an urban tale about an energetic Black girl who loves coding and robotics. Just like her namesake, Anne learns to love her foster family, befriends a neighborhood girl named Diana, and has an intense rivalry with a boy named Gilbert. Yet in this updated version of events, instead of enjoying the countryside, Anne’s finding the beauty of murals in the alley behind her house and in every bit of misfortune modern life throws her way.

Are you a fan of the glitzy drama in “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald? Consider picking up “The Chosen and the Beautiful” by Nghi Vo. Her debut novel re-centers Fitzgerald’s classic on Jordan Baker, who captures hearts with her stunning looks and star-worthy skills on the golf course. Despite these gifts and all of the privileges she’s afforded by her adoptive white family, she’s also a queer Vietnamese woman struggling to break down the doors barring her from her ambitions. When she discovers the magic at her fingertips, the denizens of Jazz Age New York never know what hit them.

If you’re looking for a more original take on an even older tale, check out “Psyche and Eros” by Luna McNamara. This adult romance novel teases apart the fragments of mythology surrounding the goddess Psyche and wraps her story around other Greek heroes. Told through the two titular character’s perspectives in alternating chapters, we see how the god of love, Eros, accidentally falls head over heels for none other than Psyche, who begins the story as a mortal warrior princess. I admire her strength and confidence, even as the events around the war with Troy shake her beliefs. Eros’s lovesickness is painfully relatable, and I laughed so much through his attempts to “cure” himself. My favorite character by far is Eros’s best friend, Zephyr, a god of wind who plays mischievous pranks on the would-be lovers. Any fans of romance or Greek mythology will love this story.

My personal favorite on this list is “Peter Darling” by Austin Chant. In this adult retelling of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” the famous mischief maker is now the eldest child of the Darling family, and he’s returned to Neverland as an adult to run away from London’s prejudices and his parents’ rejection of his identity. Yet Neverland isn’t the same magical island it had been in his youth. The Lost Boys have become pacifists under a new leader, much to Peter’s chagrin, and it seems everyone except Captain Hook has lost their interest in their old games. Peter’s attempts to bring back excitement backfire, and before he knows it, the old enemies turned tenuous allies are in an unlikely race to escape the very haven that had sheltered them.

As you embark on your Summer Reading adventures, I hope one of these books will be good company. If not, there’s plenty more where they came from.

Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Learn more at