by Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

Let’s Take a Hike: A Booklist

Let’s Take a Hike: A Booklist

Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian


The heat of summer is upon us, and many of us will fill the few nice days with outdoor activities: hikes, trips to the zoo, the county fair, and, of course, the ever-calling draw of swimming. At Manhattan Public Library, we pride ourselves on our diverse program activities. You may have noticed a slew of new adult programs on our calendar thanks to our new Adult Programming Librarian, Victoria. Recently she took a group of 17 library patrons on a hike; it turned out to be a lovely day and a hit. I suspect we will see more outdoor adventures planned in the near future. If you missed the hike, we have created a handy-dandy list of books you can check out to explore the prairie on your own. All information for these titles has been taken from our catalog, which can be accessed at Manhattan Public Library Catalog.


How to Suffer Outside: A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking and Backpacking” by Diana Helmuth; illustrations by Latasha Dunston.
Part critique of modern hiking culture and part how-to guide, “How to Suffer Outside” is for anyone who wants to hit the trail without breaking the bank. Diana Helmuth offers real advice, opinionated but accessible and based on in-the-field experiences. She wins readers’ hearts and trust through a blend of self-deprecating humor and good-natured heckling of both seasoned backpackers and urbanites who romanticize being outdoorsy, plus a helpful dose of the actual advice a novice needs to get started.


Forest Walking: Discovering the Trees and Woodlands of North America” by Peter Wohlleben and Jane Billinghurst.
What can you learn by following the spread of a root, by tasting the tip of a branch, by searching out that bitter almond smell? What creatures can be found in a stream if you turn over a rock–and what is the best way to cross a forest stream, anyway? How can you understand a forest’s history by the feel of the path underfoot, the scars on the trees along the trail, or the play of sunlight through the branches? How can we safely explore the forest at night? What activities can we use to engage children with the forest?


Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail” by Jennifer Pharr Davis.
After graduating from college, Jennifer isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. She quickly discovers that thru-hiking is harder than she had imagined: coping with blisters and aching shoulders from the 30-pound pack she carries; sleeping on the hard-wooden floors of trail shelters; hiking through endless torrents of rain and even a blizzard. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor.


Hiking Day” by Anne Rockwell; illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell.
A little girl and her family go hiking up a nearby mountain for the very first time. As they climb up and up the path, they see everything from a friendly toad to a prickly porcupine, tall leafy trees to tiny red berries.


Hike” written and illustrated by Pete Oswald.
In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive — and closer than ever — as they document their hike and take their place in family history.


America’s Great Hiking Trails” by Karen Berger; photography by Bart Smith; foreword by Bill McKibben.
A hiker’s dream bucket list is embodied in this lavishly illustrated celebration of more than 50,000 miles of America’s most iconic trails. Celebrating the forty most important trails in America, this volume takes the reader through forty-nine states and eight national parks.


Kansas Trail Guide: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Riding in the Sunflower State” by Jonathan Conard and Kristin Conard; foreword by Marci Penner.
From the windswept plains to the majestic Flint Hills, the subtle beauty of the Sunflower State is best appreciated from its myriad wide-ranging trails. This comprehensive guide will tell you all you need to know about the trails that crisscross Kansas. The illustrated guide includes detailed full-color maps, GPS coordinates, and, of course, extensive route descriptions.


Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People” by Robert E. Manning and Martha S. Manning.
Walking is simple, but it can also be profound. Robert and Martha Manning invite readers to explore the pleasures of long-distance walking in their inspiring new book. At the heart of “Walking Distance” are firsthand descriptions of thirty of the world’s great long-distance hikes, spanning six continents and ranging from inn-to-inn to backpacking trips.
I hope to see you exploring our library, gathering your summer reading prizes, and visiting us at events throughout the year! 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 Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

Text, Images, and Memories: Exploring Graphic Memoirs

Text, Images, and Memories: Exploring Graphic Memoirs
by Crystal Hicks, Collection Services Manager

I got into comics as a kid, then Japanese manga as a teen, but it wasn’t until a college course on “The Graphic Novel” that I read my first graphic memoir. Art Spiegelman’s “Maus,” Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis,” and Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” all amazed me with their ability to combine deeply personal intergenerational memoirs with breathtaking art. Each artist has a different style, honed to match their subject matter and provide added depth to their stories. Since then, I’ve returned to the genre periodically, drawn by the allure of seeing an author-illustrator meld their words and art to create inimitable magic.

For readers of Kate Beaton’s early comedy comic, “Hark! A Vagrant,” her memoir may seem like an unexpected detour, but it’s one well worth taking. “Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands” follows freshly-graduated-and-deeply-in-debt Katie as she leaves home to work in the oil sands, where she plans to work tirelessly until her debt’s paid off. Monotony and casual sexism are rife, and Katie’s years are punctuated with sexual assault and witnessing the violence of the oil industry on its employees, the environment, and the First Nations peoples whose lands are being exploited. The true wonder of Beaton’s work is creating a book as beautiful as it is bleak.

Tessa Hulls’s memoir, “Feeding Ghosts,” examines the intergenerational trauma affecting three generations of her Chinese-immigrant family. After escaping Communist China with her daughter Rose in 1957, Sun Yi wrote a bestselling memoir called “Eight Years in Red China,” then lost her mind, the result of years of systematic brainwashing where she was forced to write confessions repeatedly and interrogated relentlessly about any discrepancies. Rose devoted herself wholly to Sun Yi after this, including bringing her to the United States in the ‘70s and enabling her to continuously rewrite and “republish” her memoir for the rest of her life. As a mother to Tessa, Rose attempted to devote herself equally to fighting Tessa’s mental illness, with one catch—Tessa doesn’t consider herself to have been mentally ill. Hulls walks a difficult path, carefully demarcating her and her mother’s own versions of her life, intertwining them with the stories of Sun Yi and Rose, and linking the whole to the tumultuous history of China in the twentieth century. The resulting work has no easy answers but, as Hulls points out, “all history is contested” (20).

Thi Bui begins “The Best We Could Do” with her childbirth experience, the heavy weight of new parental responsibility, and a growing empathy for her mother, who birthed six children amidst the turmoil of the Việt Nam War. This is a fitting beginning to a memoir that’s ultimately about the twin legacies of parenthood and childhood, how we’ll always be shaped by our parents but never entirely understand the decisions they made and the difficulties they faced. Bui traces her parents’ lives before and during the Việt Nam War, including their immigration to America with four young children, and reflects on the shock of immigration and her gradual adaptation to American mores. Despite her difficult childhood, Bui extends a compassionate grace to her parents, understanding and accepting that they did everything they could for her and her siblings, and in turn feels optimistic about her own legacy as a parent.

Maurice Vellekoop’s “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together” spans most of his life, exploring the difficulties he faced growing up gay in a conservative Christian family. From a young age, Vellekoop and his mother were two peas in a pod, him delighting at helping her in her hair salon or going on outings with her. As he grew up, his queerness was undeniable, and tensions strained, particularly when he came out to his parents and faced his mother’s direct censure. Over time, Vellekoop learned to move past his internalized homophobia and to openly embrace his identity, and eventually his parents did, too. The colors of Vellekoop’s memoir are especially delightful—most graphic memoirs stick to a single, spare color scheme, but Vellekoop’s book is a veritable kaleidoscope of colors as he unwinds decades of memories, complete with shifting color palettes and fashions.

Not all graphic memoirs are so wide-ranging as those listed above. “Kimiko Does Cancer,” written by Kimiko Tobimatsu and illustrated by Keet Geniza, hones in on a couple years of the author’s life, from her initial discovery of a lump on her breast through treatment and adjustment to her life afterwards. At 25, cancer was the farthest thing from Tobimatsu’s thoughts, and she was unprepared for the whirlwind of diagnosis, treatment, and preventative therapies she was in for. As a young, queer, mixed-race woman, Tobimatsu felt isolated from the mainstream cancer narrative, and struggled with how to connect to her family, partner, and friends about her new reality, which includes medical-induced early menopause and recurrent hot flashes. Though a quick read, “Kimiko Does Cancer” is a strong addition to the canon of cancer memoirs, especially for its questions about the intersection of cancer prevention and disability.

There are, of course, scads more graphic memoirs out there, and I encourage you to peruse our collection and give one a try. I find the combination of words and personal stories to be uniquely engrossing, and graphic memoirs embolden me to learn about topics I couldn’t tackle in a prose book. I am, as always, looking forward to the next great graphic memoir that crosses my path, and hope you join me in enjoying this unique art form.

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


Crystal Hicks, Collection Services Manager

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

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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

by Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

Return of the Thunders

Return of the Thunders 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the  Teachings of Plants: 9781571313560: Kimmerer, Robin Wall: Books -

As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. Flowers, along with allergies, are in full bloom around Manhattan. May also brings the return of thunderstorms, and as this last week has shown us, it is definitely spring in Kansas, tornados and all. For Indigenous folks around the country, spring is signified by the return of the thunders. It is a time in which we put away our winter stories and prepare for spring ceremonies. Spring ceremonies honor our lives and our ancestors, celebrating healing and creation while remembering the sacrifices made. Our winter stories present cautionary tales and pass down generational knowledge. In the spring we learn about heart berries. In the winter we learn why we shouldn’t whistle at night.

In many Indigenous communities the spring brings strawberries. Strawberries, O-day’-min in Anishinaabe, symbolize the heart and carry our origin stories. “Heart Berries” written by Terese Marie Mailhot is a memoir of a woman’s coming of age in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized, this is a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a story of reconciliation with her father, and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone. Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept.

In Robin Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass,” we are given the tools to start our own reflection and begin healing. Kimmerer weaves indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative together to define what it means to see humans as “the younger brothers of creation.” She skillfully directs us towards her argument that “the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world.” Kimmerer argues that only once we begin to listen for the languages of others can we begin to understand. Since the debut of her work in 2015 Kimmerer has published a young adult version of the book, “Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults,” which came out in 2022.

Matika Wilbur’s “Project 562” started out as a blog that quickly morphed into a book. Wilbur spent several years traveling across the country photographing and telling the stories of federally recognized tribes, urban Native communities, tribes fighting for federal recognition, and Indigenous role models. Keep an eye out; you might see several of Kansas’s very own Red Corn family featured in these works. Wilbur wanted to showcase positive indigenous role models from this century and from across the nations. Her completed work is a beautiful tapestry of Native people, life, and stories.

Heart Berries, Braiding Sweetgrass, and Project 562 are just a few examples of the sorts of things I spent the springs and summers learning about and now spend the same seasons teaching my girls about. Along with attending games of lacrosse and ceremonies across the midwest I learned about life, my ancestors, and eagerly awaited the first snows. Winter is the perfect time to tell stories. We tell stories in the winter to teach our younger generations about trickster, about not calling trouble, and about what is just past the circle of light…waiting.

Stephen Graham Jones’s “The Only Good Indians” follows the story of four Indigenous men as they face the consequences of an elk hunt, turned massacre, during their youth. Despite being introduced to their culture, they’d never really identified with it or believed in its power. Ten years after the hunt, the men are tracked by a spirit bent on revenge. The childhood friends now find themselves helpless as the culture and traditions they left catch up to them in violent and cruel ways. Jones’s novel is truly a cautionary tale: a reminder to honor your promises to the ancestors and to the creatures we hunt.

Stealing” by Margaret Verble delivers a story wrapped in grief, heartache, and plotting. Since her mother’s death, Kit Crockett has lived with her grief-stricken father, spending lonely days out in the country where malice lurks near their quiet bayou. Kit suddenly finds herself at the center of a tragic, fatal crime. She is taken from her home and family and sent to a religious boarding school. Along with the other Native students, Kit is stripped of her heritage, forced religious indoctrination, and abused. As strong-willed and shrewd as ever, she secretly keeps a journal recounting what she remembers. Over the course of “Stealing,” she unravels the truth of how she ended up at the school and devises a way out.

Never Whistle at Night” edited by Shane Hawk & Theodore C. Van Alst Jr. is a collection of stories meant to unsettle. Twenty-five Indigenous authors from across the nation come together in the anthology with stories of horror, true crime, and science fiction. Many Indigenous people believe that one should never whistle at night; This belief ranges far and wide and takes many forms. What all these legends hold in common is the certainty that whistling at night causes evil spirits to appear—and even follow you home. This collection includes works by bestselling and award-winning authors Tommy Orange, Rebecca Roanhorse, Cherie Dimaline, Waubgeshig Rice, and Mona Susan Power. These stories are a celebration of Indigenous peoples’ survival and imagination, and “a glorious reveling in all the things an ill-advised whistle might summon”.

I hope to see you wandering about our stacks looking for these and other amazing works by Indigenous authors. Learning how to heal, how to cook, how to overcome and triumph, and most importantly how to not call unwelcome things to you. Remember strawberries are our heart and you never whistle at night.

All information for these titles has been taken from our catalog. 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


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Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian


by Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

Adventure Begins at the Library this Summer

Adventure Begins at the Library this Summer

By Jennifer Bergen, Program and Children’s Services Manager

Set Sail for Pancakes!

“Reading is a passport to countless adventures,” writes Mary Pope Osborne, author of the popular Magic Tree House series. “You can travel anywhere in the world, to any time and any place – and still be home in time for dinner!”

This summer, we celebrate reading with our summer reading theme, “Adventure Begins at Your Library!” We will be highlighting books about camping, hiking, traveling and exploring new things, as well as providing storytimes and events for kids, teens and adults. There’s even a “Magic Tree House” themed party, and one for “Choose Your Own Adventure” readers. The online reading challenge will provide incentives for all ages to enjoy fun leisure reading by earning small prizes, coupons and free books along the way.

Start your adventuring today by reading aloud to a young person in your life. Here are some new titles from our children’s collection to set the stage.

Set Sail for Pancakes” by Tim Kleyn is our choice for the StoryWalk© Downtown this summer. Start at the library on Poyntz and take a walk while you look for book pages in the windows of downtown businesses to read the story from beginning to end. You’ll meet Margot and Grandpa as they gather pancake ingredients from Chicken Island, Cow Island, and more. Their silly sailing adventure includes weathering out a storm together before they can get everything they need. You’ll definitely be wanting pancakes, too, by the end.

Carry on the sailing theme with the imaginative picture book, “Ahoy!” by Sophie Blackall. A child and grown-up get busy building ships from wooden chairs topped with sticks, flags, and held together by toilet paper. The typical adult keeps trying to get away to do the vacuuming but can’t resist the pull of the sea or the clutches of the giant squid! Blackall’s story reminds us to make time to play.

If you’re planning to go camping with kids this summer, “Gather Round” by David Covell is a beautiful book to share with the very young. With simple language and warm illustrations, we watch a small family and their new friends gather what they need to build a fire, make a stew, roast marshmallows, sing around the fire and look at the stars.

This is Not My Lunch Box” by Jennifer Dupuis, illustrated by Carol Schwartz, does an excellent job helping kids learn what wild critters eat. Each page features a lunch box filled with different food, from wiggly bugs to fruit and nuts to fresh fish and mice! Readers learn who would like that lunch when they turn the next page.

The library has some good camping activity books for kids, including “The Family Guide to Outdoor Adventures” by Creek Stewart with 30 projects to try in the wild or in your own backyard. Learn how to make a crown of wildflowers, cook breakfast in a paper bag, or build a structure with bricks made of mud and straw. You can’t go wrong spending time outdoors.

Sometimes adventures take place in the magical nighttime hours, as in “A Happy Place” by Britta Teckentrup. A child is visited by a star in her bedroom window, and together they go on a journey in nature to see what the animals are doing at night. In Kelly Zhang’s “Take Me to Laolao,” it is the moon that whispers to the child to come along on a journey to meet the Dragon King. Zhang’s story portrays Chinese mythology and lore with dreamy illustrations by Evie Zhu. The child, Lili, is reunited with her deceased grandmother, Laolao, in her dream, where they share some much needed together time.

In “Mabel and the Mountain” by Kim Hillyard, a very small fly has big ideas. She wants to climb a mountain, host a dinner party, and make friends with a shark! When other flies tell her she cannot do it, Mabel knows it’s more important to keep trying, and her persistence inspires others to have their own adventures, too.

Whether you’re traveling or staying in town this summer, you can go on as many adventures as you desire in the pages of a book.

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

by Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

Little Apple Pride

Little Apple Pride

by Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian

The Ex-Girlfriend of My Ex-Girlfriend Is My Girlfriend: Advice on Queer  Dating, Love, and FriendshipApril is significant this year for many reasons: a once in 20 years eclipse, the first day of spring, Earth Day, Library Workers Appreciation Day, and Manhattan’s Little Apple Pride Festival. Little Apple Pride takes place on Saturday April 20th at City Park. The Parade and vendor booths start/open at 3pm with entertainment at the Band Shell going until 7pm. Come visit the Manhattan Public Library booth from 3-6 in the Wefald pavilion. We will have plenty of Proud Reader swag and smiling faces!


This year, our public services librarians created a list of non-fiction books to feature in our subject resources brochure that will be going to the event and will be located throughout the library. This brochure and our other subject resources are available online at 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 Nonfiction Books:

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex

by Angela Chen.  “Journalist Angela Chen creates her path to understanding her own asexuality with the perspectives of a diverse group of asexual people. Vulnerable and honest, these stories include a woman who had blood tests done because she was convinced that ‘not wanting sex’ was a sign of serious illness, and a man who grew up in a religious household and did everything ‘right,’ only to realize after marriage that his experience of sexuality had never been the same as that of others. Disabled aces, aces of color, gender-nonconforming aces, and aces who both do and don’t want romantic relationships all share their experiences navigating a society in which a lack of sexual attraction is considered abnormal. Chen’s careful cultural analysis explores how societal norms limit understanding of sex and relationships and celebrates the breadth of sexuality and queerness.”

The Ex-Girlfriend of My Ex-Girlfriend Is My Girlfriend: Advice on Queer Dating, Love,and Friendship” written by Maddy Court and illustrated by Kelsey Wroten.

“Court answers anonymous queries from lesbian, bisexual, and queer women and people of marginalized genders. She tackles first loves, heartbreak, coming out, and queer friendship—all answered with the warmth and honesty of the gay big sister you wish you had. The questions reflect real experiences that aren’t often represented in the media, and the answers offer an important reminder that loving ourselves takes patience, effort, and the support of our friends and communities.”

¡Hola Papi!: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons” by John Paul Brammer

“The popular LGBTQ advice columnist and writer presents a memoir-in-essays chronicling his journey growing up as a queer, mixed-race kid in America’s heartland to becoming the ‘Chicano Carrie Bradshaw’ of his generation.”



Young Adult Nonfiction Books:

Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality” written by Eliot Schrefer and illustrated by Jules Zuckerberg

“This groundbreaking illustrated YA nonfiction title from two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer is a well-researched and teen-friendly exploration of the gamut of queer behaviors observed in animals. In sharp and witty prose—aided by humorous comics—Schrefer uses science, history, anthropology, and sociology to illustrate the diversity of sexual behavior in the animal world. Interviews with researchers in the field offer additional insights for readers and aspiring scientists.”

Coming Out: Insights and Tips for Teenagers” by Kezia Endsley

“offers compassionate insight into the hows and whys of coming out. Whether you are struggling with coming out yourself or wanting to help a friend or family member, this book seeks to provide answers to some of the questions you may have. Written from the perspective of the LGBTQIA+ community with firsthand accounts from fellow teenagers, this book addresses the issues and concerns of today that will resonate with anyone wishing to come out and live a happy, fulfilled life surrounded by people who love and accept them. You will learn -how to know when you or a loved one is ready to come out -who to tell first -how to deal with unsupportive people -how to deal with homophobia -how to move into loving self-acceptance.”

What’s the T?: No-Nonsense Guide to All Things Trans and/or Non-binary for Teens

written by Juno Dawson and illustrated by Soofiya

“Discover what it means to be a young transgender and/or non-binary person in the twenty-first century in this candid and funny guide for teens from the bestselling author of ‘This Book is Gay.’ In ‘What’s the T?’ Stonewall ambassador and bestselling author Juno Dawson is back again, this time with everything you’ve wanted to know about labels and identities and offering uncensored advice with her trademark humor and lightness of touch. It is informative, helpful, optimistic, and funny but with a good dose of reality and some of the things that can downright suck too. ‘What’s the T?’ tackles the complex realities of growing up trans with honesty and humor and is joyfully illustrated by gender non-conforming artist Soofiya.”



I hope to see you exploring our library 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. Learn more at




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Audrey Swartz, Adult Services and Readers’ Advisory Librarian

by Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

The Importance of Wordless Picture Books

The Importance of Wordless Picture Books

By Hannah Atchison, children’s librarian, Manhattan Public Library

You Can't Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum

As a child, I was told I had a wild imagination. My family would engage in dramatic adventures with me, using every pillow we owned. And before bed, we would read. Though the books my parents read to me grew longer with fewer pictures, picture books always held a special place in my heart. My favorites were the wordless ones by Peter Collington. I could spend hours with one, reimagining the story a little differently each time. Wordless books are important for children because they teach context clues, emotional intelligence, body language, and imagination. In Manhattan Public Library’s collection, we have a growing number of wordless picture books. I recommend these titles.

Where’s Walrus?” by Stephen Savage is a fun look-and-find book appropriate for toddlers. Walrus runs away from the zookeeper and puts on costumes to hide in the city. While looking for Walrus with your little one, you can talk about occupations, colors, and places you see.

The Line in the Sand” by Thao Lam is also in our toddler section. Friendly monsters are playing on the beach. One draws a line with a stick. As one monster attempts to cross it, another blocks them. Tempers rise and a crowd gathers. The monsters’ imaginary problem is resolved by the arrival of a bee. All of this is communicated with body language. Ask your child how they think the monsters may be feeling. You could even talk about similar human-created problems in the world.

Imagine!” by Raúl Colón introduces us to a boy visiting an art museum. He imagines the characters in the paintings climbing out to have fun with him there. On his way home, he creates beautiful street art of his friends from the museum and thinks of them as he falls asleep. Art coming to life is a wonderful subject for the imagination. Does your child have an art piece they wish they could interact with?

You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum” is a funny adventure by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman that compares art to life as the museum doorman chases a girl’s balloon that flies off while she is in the museum with her grandmother. Talk about the similarities between the art pieces and the balloon adventure. Ask your child what they think will happen next.

Another” by Christian Robinson is a science fiction adventure. A little girl and her pet discover an opposite world with people just like her. Imagine together what other worlds might be like or what you wish your world was like.

Sidewalk Flowers” are collected by a girl going on a walk with her father. JonArno Lawson’s tale is about being thankful for the small things and sharing that joy with others. The girl leaves the flowers she has collected with a dead bird, a man sleeping on a bench, strangers, animals and family. Practice empathy and ask your child if benches are comfortable to sleep on and why the man might be sleeping there. Ask them why they think the girl is giving away her flowers to each of the people/animals they encounter.

Once Upon a Forest” by Pam Fong is about a little furry forest creature who sees smoke. The furry friend gathers tools to put out the fire, but there is still damage. The furry creature clears away the dead trees’ branches, prepares the soil, and plants new seeds. The creature guards the trees as they grow and protects them from hungry deer. When they are full grown he sets off again into the forest. The furry forester expresses many emotions, which you can help your child identify as you read.

The Brain Storm” by Linda Ragsdale is about a boy in a bad mood, pictured as a scribbly ‘storm’ floating above his head. He doesn’t know how to make the storm go away so he brings it to his grandmother who helps him understand it. This book is about emotions and uses body language to communicate it.

Free Fall” is a dreamworld adventure by David Wiesner. A boy travels through an imaginary world with strange creatures as he dreams. These unusual encounters and explorations are an opportunity for children to expand their own imaginations.

Journey” is the first book in a magical trilogy by Aaron Becker. The fantastical adventures are colorful and grand, despite the small pages in which they are contained. Themes of bravery and friendship weave through these imaginary adventures.

Some say you can’t read a wordless book. I disagree. Reading is an interpretation of symbols and the connection of those symbols to their meaning in the world. Pictures are a form of expressing communication just like letters and words. The skills gained from reading a wordless picture book— interpretation of context clues, emotional intelligence, body language, and imagination—are just as valuable. Wordless books are an invitation to participate in the story you are reading. If you would like more suggestions of wordless books, you can find your local librarians here at the Manhattan Public Library.

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


By Hannah Atchison, children’s librarian, Manhattan Public Library

by Alyssa Yenzer Alyssa Yenzer No Comments

Spring Photography

Spring Photography

by Victoria Lafean Library Assistant 2

How to Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures from Your Digital Camera: Tom Ang: 9781405319850: Books

With Spring arriving most people will want to get out of their houses to enjoy the weather. One thing I like to do when the weather is better is photography. Photography has a special place in my life; it was my minor in college, and at one time I had my own photography business. However, you don’t need to major or minor in photography or have a business to enjoy it. Photography is a popular hobby in today’s world, especially with all the advancements mobile phones have within their cameras. But let’s step away from the camera phones and put a true camera in your hands. If you’re unsure how to proceed with this new hobby, head over to the Manhattan Public Library and browse their shelves for resources like these: “Basics of Photography” by Diego Garcia (2019); “Digital Art Photography for Dummies by Matthew Bamberg (2006); “The Photographer’s Mind by Michael Freeman (2011); “Digital Photography Essentials” by Tom Ang (2011); and “How to Photograph Absolutely Everything” by Tom Ang (2007).

The best place to start is to choose a camera. There are different types of cameras for different skill levels. Tom Ang in “Digital Photography Essentials” lists the different types you can choose from. There are entry level compacts, enthusiast compacts, interchangeable lens compacts, hybrid zooms, four thirds DSLR, entry level DSLR, and finally prosumer and professional DSLR. Key considerations in choosing a camera include: what are your subjects, the size of camera you want, the ease of use you need, and the control available for creativity. With my experience I use an entry level DSLR.

To advance your abilities past the normal point-and-shoot phase, Diego Garcia’s “Basics of Photography” may be helpful. The first task is to switch your mode setting from auto to manual. Garcia says, “Manual is the setting you want to use because it lets you control all of the camera’s functions.” Garcia also states, “The exposure (the image or photograph) is made of three things: the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.”

Let’s look at these three settings. The aperture is the section of the camera that can be adjusted to let in more or less light. It is measured in F-Stop numbers. The lower the number the less in focus the background will be. The higher the number the more in focus the background will be. ISO is how much light you’re adding to your image or the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor. Garcia advises, “Try to keep the ISO as low as possible. The higher the ISO number is the grainier the photograph will be.” The shutter speed is the last of the trio. Shutter speed is how fast the shutter opens and closes. Low speed should be used for long exposures; this lets in more light. A high shutter speed is used for short exposures and capturing fast moving subjects. These are the three foundation settings used to capture an image in photograph form. Photography is like writing with light.

In “Digital Art Photography for Dummies,” Matthew Bamberg explains, “Photographs are a personal thing; a photograph is a way for you to show the world how you see something in your own perspective. How personal do you want to get?” As a new photographer it is good for you to work on defining yourself as an artist, defining your audience, mastering the tools, and honing in on your craft.

If you’re uncertain what to take photographs of, Michael Freeman in “The Photographer’s Mind,” says, “Most people visually like to look at the familiar, rich colors, brightness, contrast, harmony, definition, clarity, and beauty.” Bamberg says to shoot what you like. He also suggests to look at photographs you’ve already taken and see if you have a majority. I personally like to photograph things up close, also known as macro photography. Whether it’s a close up of a flower, a rusted sign, puddles, a blade of grass, or pebbles, I like to make my images look like a piece of art. Bamberg says to “Find the art around you. Think of your community as a place to find art objects for your images.”

In “How to Photograph Everything,” Ang muses, “When you take any photograph you are freezing a moment in time.” This book will teach you how to photograph people, landscapes, nature, animals, architecture, and events. Capture that moment. It is a great resource to assist you with this photography phase. Likewise, when you’re out honing your new craft, Bamberg says to, “Get a little nuts and be creative. Play with light, reflections, and zooming. Try taking photographs with an intentional lack of focus and intentional under or over exposure. Filters are also a creative avenue you can take.”  Just have fun.

Other avenues you can take with photography are activists group photography, scrapbooking photography, and catalog of collections photography. As Ang says, “The limitations of photography are within yourself, for what we see is only what we are.”

You can find these titles amongst others on the shelves at the Manhattan Public Library to help you on this digital art photography journey or your photography phase.  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