Book Reviews from Deena

Heart shape filled with books on shelvesCheck out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena!

Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page.

Wednesday Letters by Justin Wright  LT8199
The children return to the inn where both their parents recently passed away.  They find their father’s letters he wrote to their mother each Wednesday throughout their marriage.  As they look at the letters, a secret is revealed which will change the way they look at their parents. The oldest son, Matt is worried about his own marriage.  Samantha tries to calm her brothers down and seeks the facts.  Malcolm rages and runs off to think before coming to terms with the revelation.  If you interested in Christian fiction and a little mystery this is a great story.

The Day John Died by Christopher Andersen    DB50930,  LT7054
This book starts out with the plane crash that killed JFK Jr.; his wife, Carolyn; and sister-in-law, Lauren. The weather was foggy and a factor that evening, but ultimately the crash was caused by pilot error. Even as a young child John was fascinated with helicopters and planes and begged to go with his father. John F. Kennedy Jr.’s life was strongly influenced by his mother. She did not always agree with his life choices.  Even though he was very wealthy, he used his name to help others and was very down to earth and kind to everyone. This is for anyone who wants a peek into the Kennedy’s life.

The Red Book by James Patterson   DB102768
This novel is the sequel to The Black Book (DB87917). Detective Billy Harney returns to the Chicago Police Department after being on leave. He is paired with partner, Carla Griffin, whom everyone including his twin sister warns him is “bad news”. Their first case together is a drive-by shooting in which a child is killed. In the process of the investigation Billy believes this case is somehow tied to the death of his wife. Billy is finally able to sort it all out and realizes what truly happened to his wife.  As he is helping his siblings ready his childhood home for sale, he finds a red book hidden away with coded numbers.  I am guessing the third book in this series will shed some light on what this red book means.

The Survivors by Jane Harper  DB101853
This atmospheric story takes place in Tasmania, Australia on the coast.  Kieran has returned to Evelyn Bay to visit his mother, Verity and his father, Brian, who is suffering from dementia.  Twelve years ago, there was a huge storm and Kieran’s older brother, Finn and his friend, Toby were killed in a boating accident for which Kieran feels responsible. At the same time a young, fourteen-year-old girl, Gabby went missing and was never found.  All of this is brought up again, when a young waitress, Bronte is found dead on the beach after leaving her job.  To compound the mystery, Brian was the last person to see Gabby, twelve years ago, and the night Bronte was killed, Brian is found wandering outside. Or could the person who harmed Bronte be Liam, who gave Bronte a ride home that night?  Read the book and find out what really happened and if the two cases are connected.

2022 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge

Braille Challenge LogoWe are excited to announce the 2022 Braille Challenge Page has been updated with the most current information about the event and how to register.

This year’s theme, chosen by the students, is The Magic of Braille.

Watch for more blog posts and updates to the 2022 Braille Challenge Page and for information about how to order this year’s Iowa Braille Challenge t-shirt.

2022 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge
Date:  Saturday, February 26, 2022 (snow date Saturday, March 5, 2022)
Where:  Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, IA  50309
Testing Remotely:  Students can also test remotely with their TVI or paraeducator.  The remote testing window runs from February 1, 2022 – February 18, 2022
Registration Due:  Tuesday, January 25

For more information check out the 2022 Braille Challenge Page

A Poem for January

Happy New Year 2022Library staff member, Jodi, shares a poem with us each month honoring our volunteers, the library, and reading. Here is her poem for January.  Thank you for sharing your talents with us!

A new beginning…

The holidays are over,
and we’ve put them in the past.
It’s time for a new beginning,
with the new year at last.

With the new year comes resolutions,
that people tend to make.
Some are too hard to keep,
others are a piece of cake.

We say we want to eat healthier
and shed some unwanted pounds.
We also want to exercise more,
but it’s harder than it sounds.

There’s one resolution,
we all should think about.
Take the time to read more,
you’ll love it, I have no doubt.

Reading broadens your horizons
And opens you mind to many things.
It will take you on a journey,
With the excitement that it brings.

Whether it be a short story or a novel,
The sky is definitely the limit.
You can get so lost in a book,
You may even think you’re in it.

Set aside some time each day
in a place with little noise.
So you can unwind and enjoy yourself
as you read your book of choice.

— Jodi Aldini-Zepeda

The Great Reading Challenge Begins January 15th!

Clipart Image of books on a shelfThe Great Reading Challenge (GRC) is a six month long reading challenge open to adults 18 years of age or older who are a patron of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled. 

To complete the challenge, you need to read 12 books between January 15, 2022 and July 15, 2022. 

The challenge of the GRC is to read books that fit into one of the many categories on the Mission page in ReadSquared.

This reading challenge will begin on January 15, 2022 but you can get signed up now! 

Go to to create an account or log in and find out more information. 

Please contact Leslie at 515.452.1329 with any questions!

Top Ten Most Popular Fiction Books on BARD in December 2021

A set of books with headphonesHere are the most popular fiction books downloaded from BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) last month:

The Whistler: a novel by John Grisham  DB86026

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman  DB100981

Birthright by Nora Roberts  DB55869

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin  DB100040

The Night Bird by Brian Freeman  DBC16046

All the Light We Cannot See: a novel by Anthony Doerr  DB79182

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty  DB92901

The Affair: a Reacher novel by Lee Child  DB73922

Comfort & Joy: a novel by Kristin Hannah  DBC16784

Black Hills by Nora Roberts  DB69690

CHECKOUT January’s Makerspace Monday Workshop!

Image of Chocolate Soufflé Butter LotionMake Chocolate Soufflé Butter Lotion & Hot Chocolate Lip Balm!Image of a cup of hot chocolate

Do you ever wonder how making Chocolate Soufflé Butter Lotion and science may have a few things in common, well; you better sign up and discover the scientific softness featured in this month’s Makerspace Workshop to learn all about it!

This month, let your fingers swirl the surface of a bowl, while you whip together special ingredients, made by BEES!           

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm  
Date: January 10th 2022   
Ages: All Ages
ActivityFeatured Agenda – Chocolate Soufflé Butter Lotion and Hot Chocolate Lip Balm!
Location: Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street Des Moines, IA 50309 

If you are unable to join in person, no problem, just complete the online registration form and choose “mail activity kit and video link” directly to your preferred address. 

Please contact Denise Bean at or 515-452-1338. SEE YOU SOON!