Happy Leap Day!

Cover of "Jumping the Nail"

Cover of Jumping the Nail

It’s February 29th, a day that only comes around every four years.  Do you know why we have a “leap year” with an extra day in it?  We all know that the year is 365 days long … but it’s actually more like 365.25 days.  It’s hard to add a 1/4 of a day to the calendar, so we save up those extra bits and stick one whole day onto the calendar every four years.  Of course, every rule has its exceptions, and when Leap Year lands on a century year we only add the extra day if the year is divisible by 4.  Complicated, yes, but necessary if our calendar is going to match up with the natural year. 

How will you use this extra day?  I suggest reading a good book. :)  Here are some books that will have you leaping (and jumping) for joy:

Charles and Emma : the Darwins’ leap of faith by Deborah Heiligman (920 Hei) – A biography of English naturalist Charles Darwin that provides an account of the personality behind evolutionary theory and the affect of his work on his personal life, such as his relationship with his religious wife.

Jumping the Nail by Eve Bunting (FIC Bunting) – When teenagers in a California coastal community challenge each other to “jump the Nail”–leap from dangerous cliffs into the ocean–group pressure and manipulative relationships quickly drive the game out of control.

The leap by Jonathan Stroud (FIC Stroud) – After the drowning death of her best friend, Max, Charlie begins to have vivid dreams of Max in a strange land, but when she wakes up with cuts and bruises, she realizes that her dreams are real and sets out to find Max.

The jump : Sebastian Telfair and the high stakes business of high school ball by Ian O’Connor (921 Telfair) – Chronicles the life of New York basketball sensation Sebastian Telfair, describing how he went from abject poverty to riches after becoming one of the sport’s greatest point guards.

Jumping off swings by Johanna Knowles (FIC Knowles) – Tells, from four points of view, the ramifications of a pregnancy resulting from a “one-time thing” between Ellie, who feels loved when boys touch her, and Josh, an eager virgin with a troubled home life.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The fault in our stars by John Green.  Dutton, 2012.  318 p.  (FIC Green)

Hazel has cancer.  She nearly died a few years ago, but a miracle drug shrank the tumors in her lungs and is keeping them from growing any larger … for now.  Tethered to an oxygen tank, Hazel attends classes at community college (although she’s only 17, she already has her GED) and the weekly Support Group meeting at a local church.  People come and go from Support Group … and those who go are never coming back.  

It’s at Support Group that Hazel meets Augustus, a hot boy with an artificial leg (he had bone cancer that required an amputation) and a wicked sense of humor much like her own.  Although Hazel is reluctant to subject anyone to the inevitable loss they will feel when she dies, she can’t help but forge a relationship with Augustus, especially after she introduces him to her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction by the reclusive author Peter Van Houten.

When Augustus uses his Wish to take Hazel and her mom to Amsterdam to meet Van Houten (she had squandered hers on a trip to Disney World before her “miracle”), Hazel realizes that despite herself she’s fallen in love with Augustus.  Is love enough to make up for the pain that will certainly come?  And which of them will have to bear the pain of saying goodbye first?

This is a book about dying kids, but it’s also quirky, funny and not at all maudlin or sappy.  John Green has a talent for telling deep stories with a sense of humor, full of intelligent teenagers who don’t quite fit the typical stereotype but nevertheless ring true. 

Super Spring Events @ Ontario City Library

Cover of "Inkheart"

Cover of Inkheart

There are some great events coming up this spring at the Ontario City Library.  Start planning now!  Call 909-395-2225 for more information on any of these events.  All events take place at the Ovitt Family Community Library (main library), 215 East C Street, Ontario unless otherwise noted.

Ani-Manga Club — Do you watch anime?  Read Manga?  Cosplay?  Play Video Games?  Listen to J-POP/ROCK?  If so, join the Ani-Manga club and discuss anime/manga while creating cool crafts and unique foods.  Fridays, March 9, April 13, May 11 — 4:00 – 5:30 pm

The Hunger Games — Try your skills!  We have our own version of The Hunger Games based on the book by Suzanne CollinsWednesday, March 28 — 3:30 – 5:30 pm

Teen Karaoke Night — Calling all teens?  Are you a Glee-k? Do you like to secretly sing or sing in public?  Join us and sing some tunes at the library.  Feel free to bring your friends.  Pre-registration required.  Wednesday, March 21 — 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Teen Open Mic Night — Join us for our annual Open Mic Night where you can read your own original poetry or something previously published.  Wednesday, April 11 — 5:00 – 6:30 pm

Teen Book Fest 2012 — Our second annual event will feature bestselling authors, including Jay Asher (author of 13 Reasons Why).  All ages are welcome although teens are given preferred seating.  Books available for purchase and signing at the event.  Ontario Senior Center, 225 East B Street, Ontario — Saturday, May 5 — 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Cornelia Funke — Help us welcome the bestselling author of Dragonrider, Inkheart & Reckless.  Cornelia will be joining us for a fun-filled evening of fantasy, adventure, and ingenious conversation.  Books available for purchase at the event.  Wednesday, May 9 — 5:00 – 7:00 pm

May the Force Be With You — Celebrate Star Wars in a family environment.  Games, crafts, contests, and entertainment will be held throughout the day with plenty of fun photo opportunities.  Tuesday, May 22 — 4:00 – 8:00 pm

Book Review: The Fox Inheritance

The Fox inheritance by Mary E. Pearson.   Henry Holt, 2011.  294 p.  (FIC Pearson)

In The adoration of Jenna Fox, Jenna was saved by having her mind put into a new, man-made body.  Her father was unable to save her friends Locke and Kara, even though their minds were uploaded before death just like hers was.  Hoping to release them from the living hell they were trapped in, Jenna threw the machines housing their electronic minds into a lake.  Her friends were truly dead … or were they?

In this sequel, a dubious scientist has brought Locke and Kara back to life 270 years after their bodies died.  When they find out he is not as altruistic as he claims to be, Locke and Kara escape from him and go in search of the last link to their old lives: Jenna.  It’s a strange new world of bots and automated superhighways, and Dr. Gatsbro is on their trail.  Can Locke and Kara find Jenna?  And if they do, what are Kara’s motives?  Locke isn’t so sure anymore …

What does it really mean to be “human”?  Is it your mind or your physical body that determines who and what you are?  You’ll think about these questions and more when you read The Fox inheritance.

Tennis, Anyone?

Shot of a tennis racket and two tennis balls o...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is Tennis Day.  Sure, we have books on tennis but did you know that you can use DestinyQuest to find great websites as well as books in our collection?  WebPath Express will find you quality, pre-screened websites on the topic you are searching for.  Just go to DestinyQuest and type in your search term as usual.  Then click on the “Web Sites” tab on the results screen to switch from library books to websites.   The websites are even coded by grade level, so if you need a website for yourself or for a younger sibling, you can zoom in on which ones are at the right reading/comprehension level.

I searched for “tennis” and found 422 links (way better than the 815,000,000 that came up on Google for the same keyword search!) including:

International Tennis Hall of Fame – This non-profit organization is dedicated to preserving the history of the game of tennis and to honoring the outstanding players of the game. Use their information research center or their architectural history section for help on your project. See a calendar of events or read about the current inductees to this tennis hall of fame. Tennis is often played on a grass court and there are photos of one of those courts here as well as a link to the Lawn Tennis Club.

Moon Tennis – What would the sport of tennis be like on the moon? Andy Roddick, nicknamed the Rocket Man, serves tennis balls at more than 100 miles per hour to win games. Using topspin and the Bernouli Effect, he is able to make the ball land in bounds. On the moon, it would go long, because topspin does not work without air pressure from the atmosphere. The Bernouli Effect enables curveballs in baseball and slices in golf. Astronaut Al Shepard did try playing golf on the moon. A slice went only a couple feet, but another shot went for miles.

The Physics of Tennis – The science behind many games of sport can be as interesting as the activities involved in play. For example, this Web site uses pictures and diagrams to demonstrate how the laws of science, in this case physics, are related to the speed and direction of a tennis ball when hit by a racquet, also racket. The lesson centers around the characteristics of racquet surface, string vibration, and ball spin. A media player is needed to view the short film presentations that demonstrate the direction of a ball hit with different amounts of topspin.

A History of Wimbledon – The biggest tennis event in the world is the Wimbledon Championships. This article explains how the tournament began in 1877. Read the names of legendary tennis players who have broken records in the tennis world and won the championship numerous times. Find out when the Queen of England made her first Wimbledon appearance. There is information about lawn tennis and the first lawn tennis championship. Discover how Wimbledon changed from an exclusively British event to an event with players from around the world. Notable records are listed.

Andre Agassi Biography – The Biography Channel’s blurb about its Andre Agassi profile observes, Big hair, bandanas and flair made this Vegas native a star on the tennis court. Marriage and kids with Steffi Graf haven’t quelled his passion and he continues to play top flight tennis. The Channel’s site includes a biography of Agassi (text version), images, quotes, so-called Curious Facts (for example, in 1994, Agassi became the first unseeded player since 1930 to win the U.S. Open), and a video clip previewing the episode in which the tennis star is featured.

Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras (Photo credit: Scott*)

Yesterday was Mardi Gras (which is French for “fat Tuesday,” indicating that it is the last day to eat up before Lent begins).  This holiday is celebrated throughout the Christian communities of the world, but it is most associated with the city of New Orleans.  There’s more to The Big Easy than Mardi Gras and Hurricane Katrina.  Find out in one of these books featuring the historic city:

The river between us by Richard Peck (FIC Peck) – During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois.

Locked in time by Lois Duncan (FIC Duncan) – Nore arrives at her stepmother’s Louisiana plantation to find her new family odd and an aura of evil and mystery about the place.

A confederacy of dunces by John Kennedy Toole (FIC Toole) – Set in New Orleans, the protagonist is nearly arrested for being a suspicious character and encounters many unfortunate events.

Mississippi Jack : being an account of the further waterborne adventures of Jacky Faber, midshipman, fine lady, and the Lily of the West by L. A. Meyer (FIC Meyer) – Ship’s “boy” Mary “Jacky” Faber sets out on another round of adventures, this time in New Orleans, tricking Mike Fink out of his flatboat and turning it into a casino-showboat.

Louisiana by Ellyn Sanna (641.59763 Lou) – Examines the cooking culture and food traditions of the state of Louisiana including such dishes as New Orleans Muffaletta, Jambalaya, and Pecan Pralines.

Book Review : In Search of Mockingbird

Cover of "In Search of Mockingbird"

Cover of In Search of Mockingbird

In search of mockingbird by Loretta Ellsworth.  Henry Holt, 2007.  181 p.  (FIC Ellsworth)

Erin’s favorite book is To kill a mockingbird, partly because it’s such a good book and partly because it was her mother’s favorite, too.  The day before her 16th birthday, Erin’s receives her mother’s diary — a precious link to the woman who died when Erin was a baby.  She finds out her mother wanted to be a writer, just like she does, and even wrote a letter to Harper Lee, the author of To kill a mockingbird. Suddenly, Erin can’t stand it anymore.

She leaves in the middle of the night and buys a Greyhound bus ticket to Alabama.  She’s going to go to Monroeville and find Harper Lee, to ask advice on becoming a writer and to find out if her mother’s letter was ever answered.

It’s a long trip and Erin meets some interesting people along the way, who help her and are helped by her in return.  Will she make it to Alabama before the police catch her and take her home?  And if she does, will Harper Lee be home when she arrives?

This is a short, sweet novel about the connections between people: Erin and her dead mother, Erin and her father, Erin and the people she meets on the bus, and even Erin and Harper Lee.