It's all about friendship!

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 11:25am

I love my friends. They are there for me through thick and thin. We need friends to give us perspective, and we need each other to make up for where we fall short. This is a prevalent theme in many children's books, as young people are beginning to learn about relationships and how to interact with others their age. My favorite friendship books feature characters with real emotions that kids (and anyone really) can relate to. We all need a friend to get us through the hard times, and a friend makes the happy times even happier.

I am really inspired by how friendship connects and enriches lives. In my new book, Little Elliot, Big City, a little polka dotted elephant named Elliot makes his way through the hustle and bustle of the big city. Just when his challenges seem insurmountable, he makes a new friend who changes everything. Life is so much sweeter with a friend to share it with.

Here is a list of what I think are the best children's book friendships:

Frog & ToadArnold Lobel's charming odd couple perfectly complements each other: happy-go-lucky Frog balances uptight Toad. Together, they make up for each other's shortcomings during their whimsical adventures. Lobel's sensitive illustrations and simple narrative have captured the hearts of many.

Elephant & PiggieIt's easy to love Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie series. They are funny, heart-felt, and honest. Willem's spare text and illustrations convey mountains of emotion. I think Elephant and Piggie's success is due to how relatable the characters are.

George & MarthaJames Marshall's George and Martha are real friends. The two are able to counterbalance each other's insecurities and imperfections in short, funny vignettes. While one's flaw is found out, the other never shames them, but gently and lovingly offers reassurance.

Duck & Goose: Tad Hill's adorable poultry pair have a fun time discovering their world from a toddler's perspective. Though Duck and Goose are obviously different animals, they are so close that they interact as if they were twins.

Pooh & PigletEveryone knows Pooh Bear and Piglet from A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard's classic Winnie-the-Pooh (and of course from Disney's adaptations). Pooh & Piglet are faithful friends who see each other through all sorts of predicaments, like floods, an "expotition" to the North Pole, and encounters with a Woozle.

Flora & the FlamingoMolly Idle won a Caldecott Honor this year for her wordless book, Flora and the Flamingo. A little ballerina makes fast friends with a flamingo through dance. Interactive flaps and fold-outs add movement and surprise, as readers watch the two froclick through the pages.

Wilbur & CharlotteE.B. White's timeless middle grade novel, Charlotte's Web, beautifully exhibits the lengths a true friend will go to. Good friends look out for each other and keep each other safe from harm. Charlotte the spider, who is small but wise, becomes the protector of sweet, innocent Wilbur the pig. In the end, Wilbur is able to return the favor.

Flora & UlyssesKate DiCamillo's sweetly quirky story about a girl and her squirrel won the 2014 Newbery Medal. Comic-crazed Flora witnesses the transformation of a squirrel into a superhero in a freak vacuum cleaner accident, and dubs him Ulysses. Ulysses' heroic feats include flying, writing poetry, and proving to Flora that it's ok to hope.

written by author, Mike Curato for the Huffington Post

Updates: OverDrive digital library website and mobile app

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:59am

In the mobile view, search results filters have been relocated to the top of the page to improve the browsing experience.

Users will now see a red notification flag on their Account and Holds pages when they have a title on hold that is ready to be checked out.

Users can now identify titles to be recommended to Library from the cover page view.

Goodbye Freegal Movies/TV! Hello Hoopla!

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 3:48pm

In mid-September, we'll are saying "goodbye" to Freegal Movies and Television. What? Don't worry, we've got Hoopla!

Have you heard what all the Hoopla was about? It's about movies and television, music and audiobooks! 

With Hoopla, access an extensive movie/tv catalog of educational materials, children's titles, foreign films, and other hard-to-find content not offered anywhere else with unlimited number of copies, so there are never any waiting lists.

Start streaming movies/tv immediately, or download a title to a phone or tablet for offline viewing later. It’s returned for you at the end of the lending period (3 days), so there are never any late fees.

Have you seen the categories? Browse titles within Recently Released, Film Festival Flix, Action, French Films, Drama, Featured Spanish, Featured Children’s, Homeschool and Classics (90’s, 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, 50’s and 40’s/before. And the list goes on and on.

Are you new to Hoopla? Get the Scoop!

FYI....this is only the movie and television option from Freegal. You may continue to enjoy the music collection from Freegal music!


Where there is life, there is hope.

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:53am

Fly Away (2013) by Kristin Hannah

Library Copies

Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . .

Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate---to be there for Kate’s children---but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.

Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Dorothy Hart---the woman who once called herself Cloud---is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another---and maybe a miracle---to transform their lives.

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day. --Amazon

Other titles by this author:

  • Home Front (2012), Night Road (2011), Winter Garden (2010) and True Colors (2009)

Do You Know a Student with a BIG Idea? YEA is the answer!

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:13pm

Attention middle and high school students!
Do you someday hope to start and run your own REAL business? Get a jump on the know-how at The Young Entrepreneurs Academy!

For more information, check out this link

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is ready to teach middle and high school students the ropes when it comes to starting and running their very own legal and real businesses!

Classes starting this fall! 

Event Details

  • What: YEA! Information Night
  • When: 6PM Monday, September 8, 2014
  • Where: SEED Center (located behind the McDonalds) located at 4310 Ryan St., Lake Charles, La
  • Who: Middle and high school students and their families; business professionals.
    The event is free and open to the public.

RSVP to Adrian Wallace at

For more information on how to nominate a student, please contact Adrian L. Wallace at (337) 433-0977 or For interested students, download the the local YEA! application

It's coming! The movie release of "Gone Girl"

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 9:54am

It's coming soon to a theater near you! The new trailer for Gone Girl debuted during Monday night's Emmys broadcast and showed more footage of Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick (Ben Affleck) loving each other, hating each other and everything in between.

Introducing New Chelsea Cain Characters

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 8:06am

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

Library Copies

Suspense writer Chelsea Cain has set aside her stories about Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan in order to create a new set of characters. In her latest novel she introduces her readers to Kick Lannigan and John Bishop, two characters who are guaranteed to hold your interest. They are both pursuers of justice, hunting for abducted children. They are not exactly partners in their actions but they have an alliance of sorts.

Kick Lannigan was herself abducted as a child and this traumatic occurrence has shaped the rest of her life. Now in her early twenties the person she has become is the result of her imprisonment and miraculous rescue. She keeps herself in top physical condition and has a running knowledge of "missing children" cases across the country. When John Bishop drops into her life she is cautious but willing to help him in his pursuit of information about a child abduction case.

Bishop is a man of mystery, possibly wealthy and possibly working with the government. He does not give answers freely and it is up to Kick and her innate perception to figure out who and what he is. Sometimes she figures right and sometimes she figures wrong.

Cain's previous novels all were part of the Lowell/Sheridan stories. They are required reading for anyone who loves a good, solid mystery. The new story about Lannigan/Bishop is not as comfortable reading as those stories were. With the Lowell/Sheridan series you just opened the pages and you were hooked. ONE KICK takes a little bit more of an effort.

Kick Lannigan isn't an easy character to get to know or to get to like. She is a mess psychologically and is all rough edges and sharp corners. And that is how I would describe the read. It isn't a smooth slide over the pages but rather is a read where you careen from one incident to the next, never feeling steady on your feet as you move. Along the way you pick up a detail here and a detail there, like building blocks offered in order to understand the completed project or in this case person.

Still, though it is a different kind of ride than those offered in the past, it is an interesting one and one that stands in testimony to the generous talents of Chelsea Cain. The lady can tell a story and do it differently than anyone else. She is a distinctive writer who never holds back on her inventiveness, brilliant character development, and ability to surprise.

As you can tell I am hooked on her talent. I miss Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan and definitely want more stories about them in the future, but the same can be said of Kick Lannigan and John Bishop.

reviewed by Jackie K Cooper for the Huffington Post

How To Be Your Own Superhero

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 8:00am

The news is filled with inspiring stories of heroes and altruists among us, like truck driver David Frederickson, who helped save a woman and her baby from a flaming car in Mississippi. But can ordinary people follow in the footsteps of such moral giants? Yes -- and here are some practical ways to get started.

Question your automatic thoughts. When you think about helping someone in a risky situation, your brain's first reaction will often be, "Stop! Don't do it!" That's your automatic fear response kicking in, and while it might be smart to heed it some of the time (self-preservation is important, after all), take a moment to think about your decision logically. Is intervening really as dangerous as you think -- and even if you do run some risk, are you willing to accept it in order to do what's right?

Draw on past pain to serve others. It might seem hard to fathom when you're in the midst of a rough patch, but your struggles can motivate you to help people going through something similar. Psychologist Ervin Staub calls this "altruism born of suffering": People who have endured tragedy, such as a natural disaster, more often express desire to help those in trouble. If you survived an abusive relationship, for instance, you know how devastating it can be -- and that knowledge might inspire you to start a support group for battered women escaping their exes.

Set aside self-focus. As kids, a lot of us want to be heroes because we imagine the admiration we'll get from people around us. But mature heroism isn't about putting yourself on a pedestal; it's about standing up for the greater good, often at personal cost. Take Georgia school clerk Antoinette Tuff, who put her life at risk to have a deep, personal chat with an intruder who wanted to shoot kids. She talked him into dropping his gun, and because of her courageous actions, every student left school that day alive.

Love others -- all of them. Political scientist Kristen Monroe wanted to find out what made the difference between those who sheltered Jewish people during the Holocaust and those who stood by or even participated in the Nazi crimes. She found that heroic rescuers tended to see themselves as connected to all human beings, regardless of their background. When we truly identify with someone, we often want to help them, even at personal cost.

Help a kid crossing the street. Psychologist Phil Zimbardo, founder of the Heroic Imagination Project, advises would-be "heroes in training" to do small-scale good deeds -- the kind they might not get recognition for, but that are worthwhile nonetheless. He believes that when you learn to look at what you can do for people around you, you'll be better primed for future capital-H heroism.

Be a deviant for a day. Heroes must be willing to go against the grain and do things not many others would. (Take advocate Erin Brockovich, who famously worked up the courage to call out Pacific Gas & Electric for putting toxins in the water supply.) So from time to time, Zimbardo has asked students to do something purposely wacky, like painting on a mustache or wearing pajamas in public. The takeaway lesson: The wisdom of the crowd isn't all that matters -- you can flout it and get through the day just fine.

Seek out like-minded people. Just as it's easier to convince yourself to go to yoga class when you know a buddy plans to join you, it's easier to concentrate on serving others when your friends are doing the same. Groups of "real-life super heroes" throughout the country show us all how good friends can support each other in helping those in need.

Sign up for a lifesaving class. You never know when you're going to be called on to perform CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, and you might be the only person in the room who knows how. Research shows that people who've had some kind of rescue training are more likely to intervene when others are in danger. If you have the basic knowledge to resolve a high-stakes situation, you'll be able to act much more effectively.

Get involved in the community. It's not every day you get the chance to save someone from a burning building. Sometimes low-key "everyday heroism" is the most practical path--volunteering for a mentoring program, for example, or a nonprofit that helps people prepare for job interviews. The upside is that helping others makes you feel better, too: Overall, devoted volunteers are healthier and more satisfied with life than non-helpers.

Learn about real-life heroes, and let their stories move you. According to University of Southern California brain-imaging research, hearing stories of people who do inspiring things activates brain areas that help us feel empathy. When such stories truly become a part of you, they can help motivate you on your own heroic journey.

written by Elizabeth Svoboda, author of What Makes a Hero?: The Surprising Science of Selflessness for the Huffington Post

Your Library's Digital Newstand just got better!

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:54am


Did you know that you can share articles via email with friends using the iPad Zinio app? Here’s how! 

Patrons can now link to their previously checked-out magazines without checking out an additional magazine by clicking the "start reading" link in the upper-right corner of the Library's eMagazine collection page.

Patrons may now "keep browsing" and check out multiple magazine issues before going to their personal account to read them. 

Start browsing today and enjoy the new features.

Are you new to the Library's eMagazine collection? Learn how to start enjoying this resource.

FUN at the Iowa Arts & Crafts Fest

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:36pm

Join us on August 23rd from 9a to 2p for a day of FUN! 
It's the Iowa Arts & Crafts Fest! We're celebrating various artisans around our communities.
This marks the 6th incarnation of an annual festival that has always been completely free and open to the public thanks in part to CPPL, the Town of Iowa, Capital One Bank and Coca Cola Bottling.
Join us at the Iowa Multi-purpose Center (207 Hwy 90 E.) 
Oh yeah, while there, why not make a colorful marble vase. Please register!
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