Book Reviews from Deena

Check 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

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline  DB100662
1840: Evangeline becomes a governess in England.  She is seduced by the lady of the house’s stepson and is then accused by the maid, Agnes, of stealing a ruby ring.  However; the ring was given to her by the stepson. Agnes continues to harass and threaten Evangeline and she becomes angry and pushes Agnes down the stairs. Evangeline is charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 14 years and transport to Australia. Evangeline has a daughter aboard ship and other prisoners help to take care of the baby.  The life in Australia is hard and prisoners are punished and treated harshly for infractions such as talking to each other.   If they are lucky, they get to work for the new settlers in the nearby town. If you are interested in life in Australia or this time period you might enjoy this book.  Today, nearly 5 million people in Australia are descended from prisoners transported from England to that area.

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom  BR20357, DB77804
The people of Coldwater, Michigan are receiving phone calls from those who have passed on.  Sully Harding, who lost his own wife in a terrible accident, is out to prove that this an elaborate hoax.

The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens DB93580
Joe Talbert is now a reporter for the Associated Press.  He learns a man with his same name has died in a small town in Minnesota.  Joe, knowing he was named after a father he never knew, goes to investigate.  Once there he learns his possible father was murdered and many town’s people are not sorry to see he is gone.  As Joe gets to know the people of this area a tangled tale is revealed, and if this is indeed his father, could stand to become a very wealthy landowner.
This is the sequel to The Life We Bury (BR21515, DB79908),but could be read as a standalone.  I highly recommend both books.

2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival Sessions and More!

Image of books on shelf with text 2022 IDB Virtual Book FestivalJoin Library Staff and special guests for a morning all about books and reading at the 2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival! On Saturday, September 24th from 10:00am – 12:30pm.  We will kick off the morning at 10:00am with a visit from author Reid Forgrave (Love, Zac: Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy).

 

From 11:00am – 11:30am you can pick from 2 great sessions all about books and reading.  Our Audio Team will share all about our library’s audio recording program during, The Art of Creating an Iowa Audiobook, or in the Your Reading Toolbox session learn about new programs, resources and tools to find your next read.

 

From 11:30am – 12:00pm you can pick from 2 more great sessions.  Our Instructional Materials Center staff will discuss the process of creating a braille book in the session, Braille Books: From Print to Shelf, or attend the Ready, Set, Adventure!  Books that Spark Storytelling session to learn about what our younger patrons worked on during the summer reading program (they made a book!).

 

Finally join us from 12:00pm – 12:30pm to be a part of recording our September Library Chat podcast.

 

Join us for one or all of the sessions planned throughout the morning.

For more information and to register go to the 2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival Event Page

 

Questions contact the Library at 515-281-1323 or library@blind.state.ia.us

Lots to Celebrate in September: Library Card Sign-Up Month and Banned Books Week

Image of a mouse holding a library card with text "Find your voice at the la, la, la library!September is Library Card Sign-up Month, when libraries nationwide join the American Library Association (ALA) to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step on the path to academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Libraries play a crucial role in the education and development of children, offering a variety of programs to spark creativity and stimulate an interest in reading and learning. Through access to technology, media resources and educational programs, a library card gives students the tools to succeed in the classroom and provides people of all ages opportunities to pursue their dreams, explore new passions and interests, and find their voice.  This year, Tony Award-winning performer, actress, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist Idina Menzel (Frozen, Wicked) and her sister, author and educator Cara Mentzel, will serve as honorary chairs of Library Card Sign-Up Month.  Get your library card today!

Image and text "Celebrate Banned Books Week"Banned Books Week is September 18th through September 24th.  It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Every year the Office for Intellectual Freedom, a part of the American Library Association, compiles a list of the 10 most challenged books of the previous year.  The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Of the 1,597 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

  1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
  2. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  3. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  4. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
  7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
  8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
  9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
  10. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit. 

2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival on September 24th

Image of a colorful shelf of books with text below, 2022 IDB Virtual Book FestivalJoin library staff and special guests for a morning all about books and reading at the 2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival!

Saturday, September 24th from 10:00am – 12:30pm

10:00am – 11:00am:  Author Visit with Reid Forgrave, Love, Zac: Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy

11:00am – 12:00pm:  Pick from 4 sessions all about books and reading

  • The Art of Creating an Iowa Audiobook
  • Your Reading Toolbox
  • Braille Books:  From Print to Shelf
  • Ready, Set, Adventure!  Books that Spark Storytelling

12:00pm – 12:30pm:  Be our guests as we record the Library Chat Podcast live

Join us for one or all of the sessions planned throughout the morning.

For more information and to register go to the 2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival Event Page

Questions contact the Library at 515-281-1323 or library@blind.state.ia.us

National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled: Patron Corner Program on Sept. 12th

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) will host their quarterly Patron Corner on Monday, September 12th at 6:00 pm.  The topic for this session is Narration: The Art of Telling the Story.  Guest speakers will include Celeste Lawson, a narrator and the head of the NLS Media Lab.  The session will run for about 90 minutes and will be on Zoom.

The Patron Engagement Section at the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress is hosting the quarterly program and will provide an opportunity for patrons to learn more about various services directly from NLS staff. Bring your questions and your thoughts about the NLS collection

For information on how to join NLS’s online Patron Corner Zoom event check out our Events Calendar.

Image of National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled Logo

Makerspace Monday Workshops Are Back!

Makerspace Monday @ The PlaygroundIn September, we are offering two choices, Mail Activity and Video Link or In-Person at the Library. This month’s workshop includes two different workshop activities. The In Person will feature a wood burning activity that requires special tools that can only be used at our library. However, we have a special treat for those joining us from home called the Twisted Scented Autumn Tree Sculpture.

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Date: September 12, 2022 
Ages: All Ages
Activity: Wood burning Workshop!
Location: Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street Des Moines, IA 50309

Online Registration

NOT ABLE TO JOIN…
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 denise.bean@blind.state.ia.us or 515-452-1338