- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
A Land More Kind than Home, set in the hills of North Carolina, is a novel of suspense involving two brothers, hard times, tenuous family relationships and religious tension. Here author Wiley Cash discusses the inspiration for his first novel.
You can read more, including, excerpts from the book at Wiley Cash’s website.
Jack Witcher is a twelve year old genius son in the dysfunctional Witcher family. His father is chronically unemployed, his mother is in denial about her life and his older brother, Stan, is the town bully.
All the townspeople, including the local cop, hate the Witchers. Their house is an eyesore, their car is a wreck, and they don’t have family ties to El Dorado Hills.
Myra Joyner is the upper class girl who Jack loves. She finally notices him after he gets advice from the local jeweler, Mr. Gladstein, about how to treat girls. Jack buys a ring for Myra from Mr. Gladstein; it costs fifty cents, but looks like a much more expensive ring. Myra accepts it which for Jack means they are going steady. And now, Jack believes, it’s time for them to share a first kiss.
Written in the first person we spend one fateful summer with Jack. It’s the summer when he is twelve, about to turn thirteen, and though he does share a first kiss with Myra, other events greatly overshadow what should have been a wonderful boyhood memory. After Myra’s brother, Gaylord, goes missing, the past bad blood between him and Stan bring even more unwanted negative attention on Jack’s family.
Stephen Wetta uses the turmoil of the late 1960’s, including the changing American culture and tensions surrounding the ongoing Vietnam War, as the backdrop for this novel about a boy who must grow up too quickly. Though my personal memories of the late 60’s are uneventful compared to those in If Jack’s in Love, I felt that the author successfully conveyed many of the feelings and events I do remember in this realistic story.
Okay for Now (AR 11.0, Level 4.9) by Gary D. Schmidt follows some of the characters in The Wednesday Wars (AR 12.0, Level 5.9). However, if you have not read it, you will still be able to follow the action! This entertaining book is for anyone who has been judged based upon their appearance or their family. If you look at the tags for this book, you will find that this book certainly has something to offer everyone.
This novel follows the life of Doug Swieteck, who was a bully in the earlier book. Doug is moving to Marysville, New York, because his father lost his temper and his job. Doug hates it in Marysville. However, everything starts to change when he follows a girl, Lil, into the library and discovers James Audubon's Birds of America. He relates to the pictures and discovers a new-found talent.
Doug learns that a person's looks and associates can affect perceptions. When others first see him, they assume he is a hoodlum. However, Lil's friendship allows him to get a job. Slowly, everyone starts to change their perceptions until a setback occurs. Doug is once again wrongly judged. Find out what happens!
Despite an emotionally, physically abusive father, Doug is a character you will come to respect and love.
Early in their lives after the death of both parents, Homer and Harold, his older brother, are left alone, except for an uncle. This uncle, Squinton Leach, who is the husband of their mother’s late sister, hated everything and everyone.
When Uncle Squinton illegally sells Harold to the Union Army, conscription as it is known at that time, Homer is left to fend for himself. He knows he can’t stay with his uncle, so relying on his wits, telling many lies and some truth, Homer leaves the farm to try to locate his brother.
As he searches for Harold, Homer meets quite an assortment of people, both good and bad. There are the men trying to locate runaways slaves, the good rich Quaker helping the runaway slaves, a naïve minister, and two con artists. And that’s just the beginning of the story behind The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick.
As you can tell from the cover, Clay Hensley is not one of Principal Keller's favorite students. Making jokes at the expense of others, running through the halls and creative pranks are some of Clay's favorite activities at school. Clay's numerous visits to the principal have been faithfully transcribed by the school secretary, who marvels at Clay's fearlessness.
Clay's hijinks seem to be endless, until his brother returns home after a stint in prison. Clay idolizes his fearless brother, Mitchell, until Mitchell forces him to make some changes. After Mitchell demands a physical transformation, Clay feels confused about his new status. So do his friends.
Then Clay learns that his past may finally catch up to him and an agreement with Principal Keller is in jeopardy. Will Clay learn the hard way that his past may define his future?
Andrew Clements' Trouble-Maker (AR 3.0, Level 4.7) shows us the effects of past behavior and reputation on the perceptions of other people. Will Clay manage to show everyone that he is different? Will Clay truly fit the image that his brother wants? Read it and see!
Rafi and Rosi: Carnival! by Lulu Delacre is a touching story about brothers and sisters. Rafi the frog is willing to work exceptionally hard to make his younger sister Rosi happy. After he made a mask to prepare for the Carnival in Ponce, he also made her a wagon-turned-float to take her up and down their street in her own parade. I love this book because of the surprises at the end: A bit of history of the Carnival in Ponce, Puerto Rico, instructions on how to make a wagon float, how to make a periscope, and how to make a vejigante mask.
Another cute book about brothers and sisters worth checking out is by Laura Numeroff, What Sisters Do Best; What Brothers Do Best.