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Juvenile Book Review: We’re Not From Here

Last Updated 2020/10/16

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey

Reading level: ages 8 and up/Gr.3-Gr.7

When the human species has destroyed planet Earth and the space station on Mars is running low on supplies, where are you supposed to go? 

In Geoff Rodkey’s We’re Not From Here, there is hope of immigration for the human species on Planet Choom. A multi-species planet where the Zhuri (who look like giant mosquitoes) are the ones in charge. At first, the Zhuri invite the Humans to live on Choom, however, during the sixty trillion mile-long trip from Mars to Choom, the government has changed hands and now they no longer want to let the humans live there. That’s where Lan Milfune and their family come in as a test family to convince the residents of Choom that humans should be allowed to move there.  

This book uses a different planet, with different species, with a different government to comment on the political climate here on Earth. Most notably, the ongoing immigration crisis in the U.S. and worldwide—this novel shows the emotional and physical toll it takes on a person when they are not wanted in the only place they are able to find safety and home, and it does so in a way that is clear and easy for young readers to understand. Rodkey also brings attention to TV bias and propaganda, and government control over people’s emotions and restrictions on art, like music and comedy. 

We’re Not From Here is more than a space adventure story. It encourages its reader to look at planet Earth a little more critically and to question the powers that be. Though tackling serious topics, this book still has lots of humour and heart. Lan is a very compelling character, and their voice carries the reader through the story in an engaging and relatable way. I would recommend it to anyone who likes space, adventure, music, comedy, or the pursuit of finding a place to call home. 


Meet the Library Staff – Virginia Walker

Last Updated 2020/05/14

Have you ever wondered what library staff like to read? Or what their role is at the library? What they enjoy outside of work? This new series will answer those questions and more, and helps us connect with patrons while the library is closed.

Today we’re learning more about Ginny, our head librarian!

 

Tell us  about your role in the library?
I have the best job at the library. I can say this because over the last 30 years, I have done most of them!  At this point in my career, I would say I am the keeper of the collection, I see what is being published, I can order and process the new books, I can keep the current collection looking good and discard the ones that have had a full life.

How long have you worked at the library ?
It has to be 30 years. I started as a volunteer, then part time, covering for Liz, the librarian on her holidays.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in your time at the library?

Computerization is the obvious one, but the best change is accessibility. This is the 5th location of the library in my memory, and it is the first one that doesn’t present challenges to getting in and around the library.

What is the best part of your job?  

The best part. I look forward to every work day. If I have to pick, it is seeing new books come in the door. And I loved bringing Kitty to work every day!

What is the most challenging part?

Challenging part? Cranky people are rare in the library. It’s a pleasant task of day, getting books. But now and then, someone is having a bad day and they take it out on whoever is in front of them.

What is your favourite book of all time and why?

A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds. It makes me feel good.

Also, The Green Mile by Stephen King. Was it because it came out in segments and we had to wait? I wish that I hadn’t read it, so that I could read it again and be surprised.

Physical book, Ereader, or audiobook?

Physical books

Are you a rereader?

Well, A Gracious Plenty is a reread every couple of years. I intend to reread all of Ian Rankin one day. I think that I gobbled them up too quickly the first time around.

What is your favourite genre(s) to read?

UK mysteries

Where is your favourite place to read?

Bed

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m into vermiculture. And Lego, specifically amusement park and minifigures. Also drag shows. I have never looked as glamorous as those men.

What makes you happy?

My family

When you’re not reading, what else might you be doing? 

Lots of stuff………I could never be bored!


April 2020 Poetry Contest Winner!

Last Updated 2020/05/06

Congratulations to Emma B., the winner of our National Poetry Month Contest! Emma is 7 years old and goes to Eileen Madson Primary School Here’s her poem below:

When the virus arrived
I was very surprised,
stay at home with mommy and daddy
then I will be safe and happy.
Wash my hands every day,
so the virus will go away.
I miss my teachers, friends and school
but I know that I will see them soon!!!


Meet the Library Staff–Leann Daigle

Last Updated 2020/04/25

Have you ever wondered what library staff like to read? Or what their role is at the library? What they enjoy outside of work? This new series will answer those questions and more, and helps us connect with patrons while the library is closed. 

Let’s start with Leann, our newest staff member who joined the team in August 2019 and works the front circulation desk.

 

What is the best part of your job?  Talking to all the patrons is my favourite part. I love hearing about their reading lives. I also take great satisfaction in being able to locate a book at another library and bring it in for them.

What is the most challenging part?  When a patron is looking for a new release that we don’t have in our collection, and telling them that we can’t bring it in. I, like many of our patrons, enjoy shiny new books, but BC Libraries have a policy of not sharing their new releases for the first year, so that their own patrons get first pick.

What is your favourite genre?  Hands down my favourite genre is memoirs. I never tire from reading about people’s lives, from someone who lived a horrific childhood like in The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls to celebrity tell all book like Jessica Simpson’s Open Book. I believe that I can learn something from everyone’s story and just find memoirs fascinating.

Are you a rereader? I have also wanted to be a rereader and visit those books that I have loved so much. But the truth is no, a part of me is apprehensive that my expectations won’t match up to what I remember of the book.  There is also a little voice in my head that says there are too many new books to discover.

What is your favourite book? This belongs to The Sun Does Shine by Ray Hinton. It is a memoir about the author’s 30 years on death row in the States.  He maintained his innocence throughout and wouldn’t take a plea deal. About halfway through his sentence, he met a lawyer who fought for him and eventually got him exonerated.  The book is really about how he was able to not only survive, but thrive under those circumstances.  For me, the book showed how important our attitude is. We cannot control what life throws at us, but we can choose how we are going to show up.

What makes you happy? Nothing gives me a boost of happiness or fixes a bad mood like a trail run.  Preferably that run includes my dog Madie and a running friend.  The friend is important because the conversation gets my mind of the huffing and puffing.

One thing people may be surprised to learn about you? I love dogs. I love my dog and other people’s dogs. I will cross the street in order to pet a dog.  Yup, that about sums me up, dogs and books.


Book Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Last Updated 2020/03/14

Book review The Testaments (This review was in our November 2019 Newsletter) 

Finally! The sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale is here! If you’re a Margaret Atwood fan, you’ve likely been anticipating The Testaments for a while. With the Handmaid’s Tale TV show, there is a new group of people who have been captivated by Atwood’s storytelling, and now we have a new novel to keep us all sated. The Testaments picks up fifteen years after The Handmaid’s Tale ends and the dystopian world of Gilead is as patriarchal and evil as ever.. In the novel, there are three protagonists whose testimonies make up the story. There is Agnes Jemima, a young girl from a well to do household—her father is a Commander and they have four Marthas (women who work as maids), which indicate high status in Gilead. Agnes is on track to become a Wife, the highest position a woman can have other than becoming an Aunt (women who dedicate themselves to taking care of women, under the watchful eye of the all-male government). Then we have the written, secret account of Aunt Lydia, one of the founding Aunts—she was there when Gilead was first forming, and was forced to make many difficult choices in order to persevere—in her reflections we see her struggle with the choices she’s made. Aunt Lydia is a very interesting character and her account lets the reader into her innermost thoughts and fears, and plan. Lastly, there’s the testimony from Daisy, a Canadian girl who has grown up learning about Gilead in school, but has more of a connection to Gilead and its people than she realises. 

If you typically read for plot, this is not a fast-paced, action-packed story. In Gilead, the Aunts, and all women, find power in secrets and information, power that can be hidden from the Eyes. This novel is highly engaging, especially in terms of character development, and unveiling the inner workings of Gilead. So the action is a little slower If you like dystopian novels, you will definitely enjoy this book, and if you avoid dystopian novels because of the high-school mandated 1984, I would suggest picking up The Testaments for a sharp, poignant look into a society that we could likely see someday. Atwood purposefully designed Gilead entirely from real world instances of control and oppression of women. For instance, women are not allowed to read or write in Gilead, which makes the very action of any woman reader reading this book a revolutionary act. The restrictions on dress code, where women can’t wear pants or “men’s clothing”, or the set duties a woman must carry out according to her station. All things we have seen or are seeing in the world, which makes this an important story to help remind us all that gender equality is the goal and that the (Gileadean) patriarchy needs dismantled.


Teen Book Review: It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson

Last Updated 2019/11/30

It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson

YouTuber Shane Dawson went through a lot in the past to get to where he is now, and his book It Gets Worse shares some of his experiences with his readers. He touches on his dreams of becoming a director, his difficulties coming out as bisexual, and other life stories written as a collection of essays. Shane is open about his feelings and is not afraid to poke fun at the past and himself when he feels necessary.

Shane takes you through many parts of his life with his unique, sometimes edgy sense of humour. He guides you through his misfortune and misadventures while keeping you laughing the whole time. The addition of thoughts from both his past and present selves adds depth to the stories and keeps the reader interested, even during the heavier topics.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is going through tough times as many of the stories are relatable to everyone in some way. Anyone else looking for a laugh will most likely enjoy this book too. His humor is a little dark at times and isn’t for everyone, but if you can look past it then there is a good chance you will love this book.

 

-Kody Brunner

High School Page

 


Llama Destroys the World

Last Updated 2019/11/02

Picture Book Review: Llama Destroys the World

Written by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Heather Fox

This is a hilarious and cute picture book that most kids will love. We first meet our hero, Llama, on a Monday. On this particular Monday, Llama finds a huge pile of cake, more cake than any llama could ever need, and he eats it all! The next day is Tuesday, and Tuesdays are for dancing, which, of course, requires dancing pants. But the piles of cake Llama ate are more than the dancing pants can take and they rip! The rip is so big and thunderous that it shakes the fabric of the universe and creates a black hole! What will Llama do?! Will he save the universe?

 

This book is fast-paced with fun, bright illustration, and kids and grown-ups alike will laugh out loud as you read it. Beyond the hilarity of Llama ripping his dancing pants, this book also goes through the days of the week, which is always good practice for younger readers. I read this book to a grade 2/3 class and they really enjoyed it, and I would say most kids from age 3 and up will have fun listening or reading this book. This is definitely a silly book, but aren’t those the best ones?


Junior Fiction Review: Granted by John David Anderson

Last Updated 2019/10/31

 

Four-year-old fairy Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets has been waiting to journey into the human world on her first wish-granting assignment ever since she became a Granter. Ophelia is a detailed planner and an excellent flyer, and she thinks she is ready for anything…but nothing can prepare her for the messiness of the human world, the difficulty of figuring out what to do in surprising situations, and the challenge of deciding what things are most important. Luckily for Ophelia, she might just meet some friends along the way.

In this clever and thought-provoking book, certain fairies have the task of granting wishes in a world of disappearing magic. Fans of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series will appreciate Anderson’s descriptions of the fairy world, including detailed rules for magic and wish-granting and plenty of questions about the rights and wrongs of fairy life. The novel offers readers a magical quest story full of colourful characters, sticky situations, and funny conversations.

Readers may see themselves in Ophelia, as she struggles through situations that challenge her confidence. Readers may also be drawn in by the thought-provoking questions that guide the story. For instance, Ophelia and other fairies question the system that selects which wishes will be granted, wondering whether a different system could create a better world. Readers may also be interested to view their own world through the eyes of an outsider – a fairy who has barely spent any time in the human world, and who is still getting used to the strange behaviour of humans.

At once fantastical and real-world-focused, Granted allows readers to get lost in the world of fairies and magic while exploring their own world at the same time. Although it is full of humour, this is also a book that children can take seriously.


Adult Fiction Book Review: Rabbits for Food

Last Updated 2019/09/07

Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum

 Image result for rabbits for food binnie kirshenbaum

I loved this book. I had to slow myself down reading it because I didn’t want to say goodbye to Bunny, our protagonist, and yes, that is her given name, please stop asking. Bunny is a fiction writer suffering from clinical depression, who lives in New York with her husband, Albie. This novel follows Bunny’s life in a fragmented timeline that slowly reveals what leads to her mental break on New Year’s Eve, and her subsequent stay in a mental ward. Bunny firmly believes she doesn’t belong in the ward, and so writes about the other patients as if she herself was an outsider, using a legal pad and felt marker (as ballpoint pens are Not Allowed). Part of why I love this book is that what Bunny is writing in the story is the story, creating this metafiction where the book is seemingly being written while its being read. This is undoubtedly a sad novel, yet it is so beautifully written— Bunny’s voice is unique, refreshing, and full of razor sharp wit—she will make you laugh and cry with the same sentence. 

This novel is like a modern day One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, except from a distinctly female perspective. Kirshenbaum’s writing reminds me of that of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, and brings the confessional tone to present day melancholy. Bunny isn’t necessarily a likeable character but she is a loveable one—and relatable to us all to some degree. I would recommend Rabbits for Food to anyone who has dealt with depression in whatever form, to anyone who loves books and writing, and to everyone because it’s honestly one of my new favourite books and I think it is an important story.

 

Blair McFarlane

Community Outreach Intern


Rainy Days

Last Updated 2019/07/08

The library is one happening place when it’s raining.  It’s no surprise when someone says “well, it’s summer, and everywhere in the Valley gets a little more crowded.”  Our staff team was able to enjoy the Canada Day long weekend with our families, and it meant for a very busy Tuesday!  Patrons came in to pick up new books to read, create a craft with a child, and read and use the other services in the library.  One challenge is reshelving books back into their proper homes on the shelves after receiving so many returns over the weekend. It’s hard to keep up!  But we came through and served our community well.

 

We are happy to provide free programs for patrons of all ages in our community on several days every week, and several special events throughout the summer.  Obviously, on sunny days, we experience less foot traffic, as many Columbia Valley residents and visitors frequent the beach or enjoy some sort of adventure outside.  But even on hot days, it’s likely that we will have many patrons come in just to cool down. Plus, there are so many reasons why this is such an amazing place to visit.  Have you ever realized how few elevators we have in Invermere? The one here in the Columbia Valley Centre is definitely a hit throughout the year. Just make sure that children are accompanied by an adult for their ride when they visit!

 

Furthermore, the fact that we are one of the few places to spend family time inside means that many of our locals visit the library often.  Families enjoy the crafts, toys, and structures in our kids’ area. Anyone can also request to play with our Osmo iPad games, which are educational and also super fun, and adults can spend time reading or doing work in our mezzanine area or with our public access computers.  We also offer self-serve printing, scanning, and faxing services for a low cost. Please just remember to bring cash!

 

We love being one of the hot spots in town, and anyone can come participate in any of our free programs throughout the week.  Baby Rhyme Time, Summer Reading Club, Novel Idea – our adult book club, and three Family Story Times every week make this a happening place.  One special event to look out for is our Family Games Night, coming up on July 24 at 6:00 pm. There will be board games, card games, and even giant games and you don’t want to miss it!

 

Our programs create a little structure in the library, so on rainy days when it’s busy, busy, busy, at least there is a little order to the chaos.  Our Community Outreach Coordinator, Blair describes it as “the whole town shows up!”

 

See you in the library on the next rainy OR sunny day!

 

Keara Moore

Family Programs Facilitator