Happy Birthday, J.K. Rowling!

Born July 31, 1965 in the United Kingdom, Joanne Rowling has earned worldwide fame for writing the Harry Potter fantasies, which have sold more than 500 million copies to become the best-selling book series of all time. Although she lived for a time on welfare benefits, Forbes magazine named Rowling the “first billionaire author” in 2004, but she has lost her billionaire status after giving away much of her fortune to charity.

Before becoming a much-beloved author, Rowling had to overcome adversity in the form of failure, depression and poverty. After earning her college degree and teaching English in Portugal, Rowling’s first marriage failed and she returned to the United Kingdom with her first child and the first three chapters of Harry Potter. In her late 20s, Rowling was living on state benefits and said she was “as poor as it was possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.” She felt angry and frustrated over being unable to provide for her daughter, and contemplated suicide. But she started a teacher training course and kept working on Harry Potter, finishing her first manuscript in 1995.

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After being rejected by 12 publishers, the series got off to a roaring start with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in 1997. Harry Potter, a young boy with a great destiny, is rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle and proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry also finds steadfast friends in Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The book was hugely popular and won its first awards, the Nestle Smarties Book Prize, and the British Book Award for Best Children’s Book, within a year. It also introduced the concept of Muggles, us ordinary mortals who have no magical abilities, and Lord Voldemort, Harry’s archenemy.

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Kindergarten Readiness

August is back to school time for children and their caregivers.  This can be an exciting time, especially for kids entering Kindergarten.  Within this blog post, we will answer common Kindergarten readiness questions, as well as share resources and ideas to help your child get ready for school.

What is “Kindergarten Readiness”?

Kindergarten readiness refers to the skills, knowledge and behaviors that will help your child be prepared as they transition to Kindergarten.  These skills typically encompass the academic, physical, social and emotional learning of a child.  Kindergarten readiness is a process and these skills and milestones develop over time.

What does my child need to know before Kindergarten?

Below is a brief list detailing some skills a child transitioning to Kindergarten should be comfortable doing (from the Ohio Department of Education):

  • Separate from the primary caregiver without anxiety
  • Cooperate and play with other children
  • Follow directions
  • Use the restroom independently
  • Tie shoes
  • Cut with scissors
  • Hold and use a pencil, crayon or marker
  • Know their first and last name
  • Write their first name
  • Name the letters in their first name
  • Know the name of primary caregiver(s)

The Lorain Public Library System offers a Kindergarten readiness program called Passport to Kindergarten, as well as many digital and physical resources.  Please click here to learn more.

What is my role in Kindergarten Readiness?

Parents and caregivers play a vital role in developing Kindergarten readiness.  Taking simple steps at home, even as your child is a baby and toddler, can help them become ready for school.  Below are some ways to prepare your child for Kindergarten (from the National Association for the Education of Young Children):

  • Help develop independence at home
  • Focus on self-help skills
  • Teach responsibility
  • Develop and follow routines
  • Read aloud to your child
  • Engage your child in meaningful literacy activities
  • Acknowledge his or her feelings

Additional Kindergarten Readiness Resources

Connecting for Kids

How to Support School Readiness (Zero to Three)

Early Learning Family Resources (Ohio Department of Education)

Frequently Asked Questions about Kindergarten – For Families (Ohio Department of Education)

Books about Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D. J. Steinberg

“This adorable picture book celebrates all the familiar milestones and moments shared by every single kindergartener. Whether it’s the first-day-of-school jitters or the hundredth-day-of-school party, every aspect of the kindergarten experience is introduced with a light and funny poem–not to mention charming illustrations.”

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

“It’s the first day of kindergarten and Miss Bindergarten is hard at work getting the classroom ready for her twenty-six new students. Meanwhile, Adam Krupp wakes up, Brenda Heath brushes her teeth, and Christopher Beaker finds his sneaker. Miss Bindergarten puts the finishing touches on the room just in time, and the students arrive. Now the fun can begin!”

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Currently #15

Check out what the Lorain Public Library System staff are currently doing in their free time. Whether it’s books, movies, TV shows, music, and more, we want to share what has caught our attention.

Currently Reading

Katie, Main Branch Public Services Professional: Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith

Erika, Avon Branch Librarian: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Michele, Main Branch Public Services Professional: The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Scot, North Ridgeville Branch Librarian: We Almost Lost Detroit by John G. Fuller

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Kids Read: Summer Olympics

On July 23rd, the 2020 Olympic games will begin in Tokyo, Japan.  In celebration, below are 15 game-winning books for children.  Happy reading!

Olympig by Victoria Jamieson

“Boomer the Pig has been training hard for the Animal Olympics, so when he loses his first race, he shrugs it off and cheerfully moves on. One event after another, Boomer keeps losing, and the frustration begins to get to him. But even after coming in last in every sport, there’s no getting this Olympig down. It’s just great practice for the Winter Games!” (Suggested ages: 5-8)

The Gold Medal Mess by David A. Kelly

“At Franklin Elementary School, five friends are getting ready for the Olympic field day. They can’t wait to compete in archery, track and field, gymnastics, and more! But someone is sabotaging the Olympics. Can the kids solve the case before their dreams of winning a gold medal are dashed? One thing is for sure, their hard work and teamwork on and off the field will make them the Most Valuable Players of the Franklin School Olympics!” (Suggested ages: 6-9)

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

“Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons–it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems–and running away from them–until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?!” (Suggested ages: 10+)

G is for Gold Medal: An Olympic Alphabet by Brad Herzog

“From the first games held in ancient Greece to the cultural extravaganzas of recent years, there have been some incredible and amazing events and milestones in the world of Olympic sports. Now in G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet, writer Brad Herzog showcases those athletes and events that not only set sports records but also impacted history and world views. Learn the meaning behind the five interlocking rings featured on the Olympic flag. Cheer on American Jim Thorpe as he won the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, only to lose his medals later. Read how the man dubbed as the “world’s laziest high jumper” won the gold in 1968 and later had a jump named after him. All these moments and more are brought to life in G is for Gold Medal.” (Suggested ages: 6-10)

How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals by Michael Phelps

“What does it take to win eight gold medals?  Napping away three summer vacations?  Eating enough broccoli to fill the back of a pickup truck?  Swimming the length of the Great Wall of China three times?” (Suggested ages: 4-8)

What Are the Summer Olympics? by Gail Herman

“Back in 775 BC, athletes from all over Ancient Greece came together to compete in various games. The contests were held every four years and winning athletes brought honor and respect to their homelands.  The tradition of the Olympic Games faded over time until 1896, when they were brought back to life. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, with over two hundred athletes from fourteen countries. Today, nearly three thousand years after the first Games, the Summer Olympics attract one hundred thousand top athletes from over two hundred countries. Billions of fans around the world cheer on their national teams to bring back the gold.” (Suggested ages: 8-12)

She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez

“From gold-medal-winning Olympic gymnast and bestselling author Laurie Hernandez comes a picture book about chasing your dreams and never giving up.

Even Olympians have to start somewhere. And in this charming illustrated book, Laurie Hernandez tells the story of Zoe, a little girl who dreams of flying–and becoming a gymnast.  When Zoe sees a gymnast on TV, she realizes that gymnastics is just like flying. But when she first goes to class and falls off the balance beam, she discovers that following her dreams is harder and scarier than she thought.” (Suggested ages: 4-8)

Curious George and the Summer Games by Margret & H.A. Rey

“Every year, the town has a Summer Games field day, and George wants to join in on the fun, especially if the prize is a medal! But what is the perfect Summer Games event for a little monkey? When George finds a sport that he loves and is a natural at, he must practice, practice, practice. With some teamwork and cheering on the contestants, George is ready to make this the best Summer Games!” (Suggested ages: 4-7)

Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne

“Jack and Annie are off on another adventure! This time they are sent to ancient Greece, where a very important event is taking place. Join them as they race against time and witness the very first Olympic games!” (Suggested ages: 6-9)

Proud (Young Readers Edition) by Ibtihaj Muhammad

“At the 2016 Olympic Games, Ibtihaj Muhammad smashed barriers as the first American to compete wearing hijab, and she made history as the first Muslim American woman to win a medal. But before she was an Olympian, activist, and entrepreneur, Ibtihaj was a young outsider trying to find her place.  Growing up in suburban New Jersey, Ibtihaj was often the only African American Muslim student in her class. When she discovered and fell in love with fencing, a sport most popular with affluent young white people, she stood out even more. Rivals and teammates often pointed out Ibtihaj’s differences, telling her she would never succeed. Yet she powered on, rising above bigotry and other obstacles on the path to pursue her dream.” (Suggested ages: 8-12)

You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Greek Athlete! by Michael Ford

“Get ready…as a young boy growing up in Athens, your father has high hopes that you’ll enter the Olympic games. It’s demanding!  This interactive series will enthrall young and reluctant readers by making them part of the story, inviting them to become the main character. Each book uses humorous illustrations to depict the sometimes dark and horrific side of life during important eras in history.” (Suggested ages: 8+)

Duke Kahanamoku by Laurie Calkhoven

“Meet Duke Kahanamoku, three-time Olympic gold medalist and the father of modern surfing. Duke gained international fame for participating in four Olympics and won five medals in total. Fans began calling Duke “the human fish.” Wherever he went, Duke would demonstrate his surfing skills and in 1915, Duke introduced board surfing to Australia. Ten years later, he found another use for a surfboard–as a lifesaving device–using it to save eight people from a capsized boat in California!” (Suggested ages: 6-8)

Wilma Rudolph: Olympic Track Star by Lee Engfer

“A biography on the life of Wilma Rudolph, hero of the 1960 Rome Olympics. Written in graphic-novel format.” (Suggested ages: 9-12)

Animal Olympics by Carron Brown

“Roll up, roll up! It’s time to take a front row seat at the Animal Olympics. See creatures from across the world compete to win a gold medal in some of the most amazing contests ever. Discover the highest jumpers, fastest swimmers and the highest flyers in the animal kingdom.” (Suggested ages: 5-7)

When I Grow Up – Sports Heroes by DK

“Everyone, from Usain Bolt to Simone Biles, was once a small child learning about the world. Read how a diverse array of sporty kids found what they loved to do, worked hard, and followed their passions all the way into adulthood.” (Suggested ages: 2-5)

Christmas in July

‘Tis the season for sun, sand, and SNOWMEN!!! Christmas in July (the halfway mark between now and Christmas) is on Sunday, July 25th! For those of you who are looking for a good excuse to crank up the volume on your favorite Christmas tunes, throw a tropical inspired party, or cozy up to heartwarming stories, this could be a great weekend to indulge in the holiday spirit with sand instead of snow. My gift to you is a list of twelve Christmas inspired stories to bring you good cheer. So, decorate that palm tree and head to the beach with one of these titles.

Honky Tonk Christmas by Carolyn Brown

Determined to finish her mystery novel once and for all, Sharlene Waverly arrives in Texas where she decides instead to write a hot-and-heavy romance novel, basing her research on ruggedly handsome cowboy Holt Jackson.

An Amish Christmas Wedding: four stories by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, and Vannetta Chapman

From bestselling authors of Amish fiction come four delightful stories perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the everyday miracles Christmas brings.

Christmas Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Firing up the Cookie Jar’s ovens to attend a lengthy holiday checklist, Hannah Swensen helps loved ones manage seasonal doldrums before she is challenged to identify a skilled antique restorer found near death outside her bakery.

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Recent Album Releases on Hoopla (5th Edition)

We’re back with another list highlighting new music releases available to patrons on Hoopla. Check out the below titles that have been released in the last 30 days for some new tunes to stream.

(Highlights from) Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cinderella”

Welcome to the Madhouse by Tones and I

Always Like New by Jennifer Nettles

Look for the Good by Jason Mraz

Space Jam: A New Legacy

The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) by Joni Mitchell

Kidz Bop 1 (20th Birthday Edition)

Summertime by Isata Kanneh-Mason

The Whole Love by Wilco

What new songs or albums are on your playlist right now?

Let us know in the comments below!

Fresh Seasonal Produce

Although we are lucky to have a large variety of produce available all year round, summertime and early fall is the peak time for fresh produce.  Nothing beats the taste of fresh, locally or homegrown produce – robust flavor, juicy and delicious!  Why?  Well, locally grown produce tends to be picked at peak ripeness and you purchase and eat the produce usually within a couple days – literally farm to fork!  Produce that is off season is grown where the climate is appropriate for that fruit or vegetable.  A lot of times, fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe, treated with chemicals to keep from spoiling and shipped to our grocery stores.  The result can be produce that isn’t good quality, does not taste great and is expensive!  Did you know that apples that you buy at the store were most likely picked a year ago?  Apples are stored under special condition and treated with chemicals to keep them fresh.  Not very appetizing is it?   

Check out our Food Friday video Summer Salads and Seasonal Fruit to learn some great ways to eat fresh produce this summer.  Video premieres Friday, July 16 at 3PM.   

I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables daily.  Your health depends on it!  Most Americans do not eat the recommended amounts and diseases like diabetes and heart disease can be prevented or better controlled by eating more vegetables & fruits.  Although there are several reasons why people can develop chronic diseases, eating fruits & vegetables is nature’s way of protecting us by giving us the nutrients our body needs – vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients.   

So take advantage of the summer season, buy & eat fresh produce!  Here are some tips to get started: 

  1. Plan a family activity of picking your own produce.  Check out the website https://www.pickyourown.org/OH.htm  to find a farm near you.  We are currently in blueberry season!  Blueberries are a super food and one of the best fruits that you can eat.  You can pick fresh berries and make some muffins then freeze blueberries for baking, smoothies and adding to cereals and yogurt.   
  1. Did you know that our library has a community garden?  We are starting to harvest fresh vegetables!  We have had green beans, lettuce, radishes, zucchini.  Library patrons are welcome to take some produce home.  Stop by to see what we have available!   
  1. The Main and South branches are participating in the City Fresh program.  You get a share of fresh locally grown produce weekly.  It is so much fun every week to see what will be in your bag!  Check out our Calendar of Events for more details.   
  1. Make a point of going to a Farmers Market this summer.  Browse vendor displays.  Try a new vegetable.  Meet the actual farmers!  Walking the market is great exercise too.  
  1. Make a goal of trying a new vegetable or fruit recipe each week.  You can vote as a family to see what your favorite new dishes are!  Check out your library for some great cookbooks and inspiration!   

On the Radar: New Adult Books Coming in July 2021

It’s time again for more On the Radar news! Check out the titles below for some of the adult books coming to shelves in July.

Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven

Published by Hamish Hamilton

Expected on July 6, 2021

Genres: Autobiography, Memoir

Adult Non Fiction

Falling by T.J. Newman

Published by Avid Reader Press/Simon Schuster

Expected on July 6, 2021

Genres: Thriller, Mystery

Adult Fiction

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Published by Avon

Expected on July 13, 2021

Genres: Romance, Contemporary

Adult Fiction

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Shark Week! The Most Wonderful Week of the Year!

“So sharky.”  The longest-running cable programming event in television history, Shark Week has graced tv screens for thirty-three years!  That’s a lot of shark content!  This also means that Shark Week has been around long enough that it has inspired a generation of scientists to get into marine biology and study these feared creatures, as there is still much to be learned.  Shark Week was originally created with the idea that the general public would become more educated about shark behavior, and not stereotype them as mindless eating machines as Jaws had.  In fact, some of the facts and discoveries that scientists have made are absolutely fintastic! Let’s discuss those, as well as some titles you can check out via Hoopla, Overdrive, or at your local library branch!

  • Great White Sharks can breach for prey.  Previously, scientists were not entirely sure how Great White Sharks hunt their prey, but were able to discover that in catching seals, Great Whites will stay below the seal swimming, then swim at full speed to breach the surface, while catching the seal in its mouth, stunning the prey and then getting lunch.  It’s pretty sharktacular!
  • Greenland Sharks can live to be up to 200 years old.  A shark that lives in slightly above freezing Arctic waters, they prey on seals and other fish, but are also scavengers – they have been found to eat polar bears, reindeer, and even moose!
  • In experiments in the Bahamas, sharks have been found to have personalities.  They are not mindless killing machines, but rather communicate to each other through bodily communication, and some are more extroverted, while others are more introverted.
  • Some sharks can keep their eyes warm in cold water.  What this means is, sharks are cold-blooded and are the same temperature of the water they’re in, but lamnid sharks (which includes species like the great white shark) have a unique vessel called retia that helps warm the blood sent to the eyes and brain.  This helps keep their vision sharp while hunting!  
  • Dorsal fins on sharks are unique to the species, but also unique to the sharks, like fingerprints are to humans.  You can generally identify a species of shark based on the shape and markings on the fin, but in studying sharks, you can find identifiable characteristics on the dorsal that are unique to one shark.  On whale sharks, their spot pattern is also this way, in that each spot pattern is unique!
  • Some sharks can stay at rest, and do not have to swim in order to breathe.  Some species of sharks, such as nurse sharks or angel sharks, have a spiracle that allows them to pull water into their respiratory system while at rest.  This is why you will often see nurse sharks resting at the bottom of aquariums!
  • Tiger Sharks have extremely broad diets.  They eat sea turtles regularly, but have also been found to have many man-made objects in their stomachs (license plates, paint cans, rubber tires). If sharks don’t like something they ate, they have a skill of gastric eversion, where they literally flip their stomachs inside out, and get the unwanted food out!
  • Scientists have done experiments with sharks for a long time.  In fact, after World War II (where one of the deadliest shark attacks was ever recorded), the U.S. Navy was hoping to train sharks in order to deliver bombs secretly.  Fortunately for everyone involved, the experiment was not a success, and while the project ran from 1958-1971, it was then discontinued.
  • Sharks have a sixth sense – they are like metal detectors in the water.  Sharks have electric receptors called ampullae of Lorenzini.  Hammerhead sharks in particular, have a ton of them on their wide heads, making them perfect predators to find their prey buried in the sand!
  • Shark attacks are not common.  The odds of getting attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3,748,067. To put that in perspective, here are a few things that are more likely to happen to you than getting attacked and killed by a shark:
    ~Being hit by lightning (1 in 700,000)
    ~Being killed by fireworks (1 in 340,733)
    ~Becoming a millionaire (1 in 55 for millennials)
    ~Being dealt a royal flush in poker (1 in 649,740)
    ~Winning an Olympic Gold medal (1 in 662,000)
    ~Humans kill 100 million sharks every year, which means we are far more likely to harm sharks than they are us. In fact, it is our job to protect the ocean’s predators.

Sharky Titles of Interest!

And be sure to watch the new content this year on Shark Week!

Happy Birthday, Alice Munro!

Born July 10, 1931 in Wingham, Ontario, Alice Munro started writing as a teenager. Her fiction is mostly set in her native Huron County, Ontario, a largely agricultural area with many villages and small towns, almost directly north of Lorain County. As Munro once said, “I am intoxicated by this particular landscape, at home with brick houses, the falling-down barns, the trailer parks, burdensome old churches…”

Munro works almost entirely in the short story form. With subtlety and an uncomplicated style, she captures the relationship problems and moral dilemmas of ordinary people, showing how seemingly trivial events can have life-changing consequences. Her stories have earned her high honors, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, a rare occurrence for the prize, usually awarded to novelists or poets.


Her first collection of short stories, “Dance of the Happy Shades,” was published in 1968. In these stories, Munro conjures ordinary lives with an extraordinary vision, displaying the remarkable talent for which she is widely celebrated. Set on farms, by river marshes, in the lonely towns and new suburbs of western Ontario, these tales are luminous acts of attention to those vivid moments when revelation emerges from the layers of experience that lie behind even the most everyday events and lives. The book won the Governor General’s Award for 1968.

Her 1971 book, “Lives of Girls and Women,” is a collection of interlinked stories, portraying a young girl’s youth in a Canadian town and her awakening to womanhood in the 1940s. It follows Del Jordan as she explores the dark and bright sides of womanhood and records the frustrations, joys, triumphs, and trials of small-town life.  

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