David’s Comics Picks for March, 2021

There are so many new exciting comics out this year and you can read them online with your Pinal County Library District card via the hoopla app. Below are just a few of the titles I am most excited about:

Reckless by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips for Image Comics.

This artist/writer team is unstoppable, having released a few stand alone graphic novels over the past year. After completing the Criminal series, Reckless is their new outing and it does not disappoint. In this first volume, Ethan, former undercover FBI operative takes a turn as a hired PI/ problem solver. When he gets mixed-up again with an old girlfriend, trouble ensues. Set in 1980s Southern California, this exciting story has the feel of a 1970s pulp novel.

Wonder Woman Dead Earth by Daniel Johnson from DC Comics.

Writer/Artist Daniel Johnson brings you a tour-de-force of action comics set in a post-apocalyptic setting. After waking up from a long sleep, Diana Prince discovers Earth has been reduced to a nuclear wasteland. She must fight titanic monsters in order to discover the secrets of the dead planet. My favorite part is when she finds the remains of Superman and uses his spine as a weapon in a fight. Truly a superhero comic like no other set in a sci-fi/ fantasy landscape.

Nubia: Real One by LL McKinney and Robyn Smith from DC Comics.

A fascinating comic in that it looks like an independent/ alternative comic and yet it’s published by DC. Nubia is a superhero comic, but more so it’s young adult fiction that deals with issues of race and identity. It’s a story about embracing oneself instead of apologizing for it. Nubia is in the pantheon of DC characters, going back to 1973 as Wonder Woman’s secret black twin sister. However, this new approach requires no background of other DC characters or events. Recommended.

2021 Youth Media Awards

Congratulations to the 2021 Youth Media Awards have been announced. We have copies of all these titles in our catalog, available to request.

List of Caldecott Winners
List of Newbery Medal Winners
List of Coretta Scott King Award Winners
List of Printz Award Winners

When You Trap a Tiger,” written by Tae Keller, is the 2021 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.

We Are Water Protectors,” illustrated by Michaela Goade is the 2021 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Carole Lindstrom and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings.

Before the Ever After,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.  

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” illustrated by Frank Morrison, is the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book winner. The book is written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story),” by Daniel Nayeri, is the 2021 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on Monday, January 18th

Don’t forget to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, January 18th with some of these wonderfully insightful picture books. See the full list in our catalog.

Martin Luther King, Jr’s dreams, speeches, and ideas are as relevant today as ever.  Learn about his important role in the Civil Rights Movement and how he fought peacefully for equal rights for all.  Share one of these books with someone you love.

You can also check out ebooks on Martin Luther King Jr. via the hoopla app.

New releases and more!

As 2020 is coming to a close, we encourage you to check out some of the exciting titles we have added to our catalog this past year. We’ve compiled a few lists of books that have come out in 2020. Click the links below to view the lists via our online catalog where you can place requests to pick-up items at your local library.

Popular Adult Fiction from 2020

Popular Young Adult fiction 2020

Popular Movies on DVD 2020

Meanwhile, Mr. Library from Pinal County reads some of his favorite children’s books classics from his collection. Happy New Year everyone!

Movies on hoopla

Did you know that your Pinal County Library District card gives you access to over 13,000 streaming movies through hoopla? Our library system offers you 8 borrows per month from this vast selection. These digital borrows will reset every month and you can borrow more than one title at a time. Videos are available for 72 hours after you check them out. Out of monthly borrows? Use the heart icon to save a title for later

Hoopla can be accessed from a desktop computer or via the mobile app by downloading it from google play or the app store.

Our outreach librarian, David, has selected five offbeat films he has recently enjoyed that are currently available through hoopla.

My Boyfriend’s Back. In this movie from 1993, directed by Bob Ballaban, a teenager comes back from the dead in order to try and win the affection of the most beautiful girl in school. This is a teenage comedy unlike any other, with a quirky directing style that is somewhere between a 1970’s Disney live-action film and Night of the Living Dead.

The Stuff. This 1985 film by Larry Cohen is a difficult movie to categorize. A spin on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Cohen’s vision is part horror, part comedy and part science-fiction! “The Stuff” is a mysterious, gooey and delicious substance that begins oozing from the Earth’s surface and is soon marketed as a new dessert product. However, the popular dessert begins taking over consumer’s minds while making them crave more of it. This is a very entertaining movie that slyly makes a commentary on consumer culture.

Elvis Meets Nixon. This made-for-tv movie from 1997, directed by Allan Arkush, is based on real-life incidents. The story chronicles an older Elvis Presley, who was determined to become a federal marshal under the DEA. Along the way he meets The President, in late 1970. It’s a funny journey about the meeting of two unlikely friends amidst the changing cultural landscape in America and the swinging 60’s hippy era.

Ghost World. This comedy/drama from 2001, directed by Terry Zwigoff was based on the graphic novel by alternative comix creator Daniel Clowes. Ghost World was originally a series of vignettes serialized in Clowes’ Eightball comics published by Fantagraphics in the 1990s. The film ties these story elements into a somewhat different story, with a slightly different tone – although equally as enjoyable. This was an early role for Scarlett Johansson who would go on to greater fame. The story follows two teenager girls, who have problems relating to people, after they finish High School. They pull a prank on an older man named Seymour, who is an even bigger social outsider than they are. This only complicates their life further and things in their town become even stranger than expected. An essential story for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

Minnie & Moskowitz, 1971. John Cassavettes’ movies as an auteur are an acquired taste that often feel improvisational in comparison to mainstream cinema. But if you are looking for something different, look no further. This is one of his more enjoyable features about two weirdo characters who fall in love. Minnie, a museum curator who is disillusioned with life, meets a crazy parking attendant named Seymour. It’s slow-paced and subversive, but worth the effort if you’re a cinephile and looking for some emotional and provocative performances.

David’s Sci-Fi Comics picks for November

I’ve enjoyed reading these recent graphic novels for mature readers by Koren Shadmi that are available on hoopla.  I first became aware of Shadmi’s work through his excellent biographical tales of Rod Serling and Gary Gygax.  However, I found that Shadmi’s original stories set in a futuristic landscapes were even more powerful than those books.

Bionic by Koren Shadmi.  2020, IDW Publishing.

Bionic is a coming-of-age story with science fiction elements. Victor, a nerdy teenager falls for a gorgeous new student at his school, Patricia.  She works at the mall’s pet store and gifts him an android cat.   While she is friendly to him, he doesn’t seem to stand a chance romantically.  But then she is hit by a speeding car.  When she returns from the hospital with astonishing new robotic parts, both their lives will be changed forever.  She is no longer the traditional beauty, but Victor doesn’t seem to mind her augmentations.  Has the surgery affected her brain?  Patricia begins dangerously acting out.  When the two do finally get together, she ends up breaking his hand with her super strength.  What were the mysterious circumstances for her accident?  And will Victor suffer the same fate as a result of technology?  This was a gripping and unusual graphic novel in both the story and visual style.  I’d recommend it to fans of Kick-Ass or other genre defying comics.

Highwayman by Koren Shadmi.  2019, IDW Publishing

A short tale about the end of the world follows several episodes in the life of the last man alive, a drifter who cannot die: The Highwayman! Forever on the move, Highwayman travels through the vastness of North America searching for the source of his condition. He suffers from a strange, seemingly incurable disease: immortality. Bound to the road and at the mercy of whomever will give him a ride, he encounters people who reflect the rapidly changing world around him. Moving through centuries of change, he gets picked up by hitchhikers and gets discovered by aliens.

Complete Comic Book Series worth reading on hoopla

Do you love comic book series where you can get heavily invested in character development and interesting plot twists? Below are some more riveting science fiction series, available in their entirety, that you can read online with your Pinal County Library Card via the hoopla app.

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson.
Published by Image.

Paper Girls follows the story of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls caught up in the conflict between two warring factions of time travelers! A mix of science fiction and nostalgia, this is an exciting read for both older teens and adults. It is also slated to be adapted for television.

Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Pia Guerra. Published by Vertigo.

Y: The Last Man is a post-apocalyptic science fiction comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra published by Vertigo from 2002 through 2008. The series centers on Yorick Brown and his pet Capuchin monkey Ampersand, the only males who survived the apparent global androcide. This comic book (originally 60 issues) is for adults and is as thrilling and complex as a Stephen King novel.

Happy Holidays, 2020

The holiday season is upon as. Many of the libraries throughout Pinal County are open or offering curbside pickup. You can also access a multitude of electronic resources from home with your card.

Here are a couple of holiday themed pre-K storytimes by Mr. Library from PCLD. Enjoy!

Check out some of our holiday themed booklists for Thanksgiving, Christmas and more.

David’s Picks for Holiday Picture Books:

The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica S Perl and Shahar Kober

“A heartwarming picture book with a fresh twist on a Hanukkah celebration: celebrating a ninth night with new neighbors and friends!”

Elf: The Classic Illustrated Storybook based on the film wrwitten by David Berenbaum, illustrated by Kim Smith

“Rediscover the laughter and cheer of Buddy the Elf in this adorable picture book for readers of all ages!”

Make the Most of Your Library: Hoopla Bonus Borrows

So far this year, Pinal County library users have checked out more than sixteen thousand titles from our Hoopla digital collection, including more than 9,000 ebooks and comics, 1,300 audiobooks and music titles, and nearly 6,000 videos! But some of our users have been hampered by Hoopla’s 7-item-per-month checkout limit. But our Hoopla Bonus Borrows can help you get around that problem!
For the month of November, we are offering this special collection of titles that don’t count against your checkout limit. That means you can check out as many of these titles as you want! If you haven’t tried Hoopla yet, this is a perfect time to do so. You can access the Bonus Borrows collection from our website homepage.

RBDigital Audiobooks is now part of cloudLibrary

On October 21, we merged our RBDigital Audiobook collection into cloudLibrary. The audiobooks you used to get from RBDigital can now be found among the thousands of titles in our cloudLibrary collection!
cloudLibrary works on PCs and Macs, as well as on smartphones, Android devices, iPad, and Kindle Fire. Be sure to download the cloudLibrary app for your device, so you can use this digital service.

Recent YA books on TV/ streaming

Many young adult novels have been adapted into movies and tv shows in 2019-2020. Below are some of our favorites. These are stories that deal with angst, mental illness, immigration, romance, identity and heads exploding! All of these books are available to request from the Pinal County Library District or our eBook platforms hoopla and cloudLibrary. (Not all of the filmed adaptations are available through the library but we will try to purchase the DVDs as they become available.)

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

When you can’t trust your mind, trust your heart. Adam is a teen living with paranoid schizophrenia. He is having crazy hallucinations during school and it seems as though only a miracle drug can help. If it fails, can he keep his dangerous internal world from the girl of his dreams?

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

In this outrageously dark comedy, teenagers are blowing up without warning or explanation. The FBI is moving in, but sarcastic Mara is determined to find out the truth for herself. Is there any meaning behind the end of the world? An explosive love story!

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha and Daniel are an unlikely match in a seemingly impossible situation. Her family is set to move back to Jamaica. He is a Korean- American poet, who believes in love. She is into science and doesn’t believe in fate. Will they fall in love? Short chapters will engage the reader and take them on a trip through this romantic story set in New York City.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl. She walks with a cane, wears oversized men’s clothing and doesn’t take much care with her appearance. Has she always been this way? There is something that Henry feels about her that goes beyond the surface. This is a very raw and real love story that deals with depression and abuse in both an honest and witty manner.

I am Not Okay With This by Charles Forsman

Charles Forsman wrote and illustrated this short graphic novel upon which this Netflix series was based.  It is about a 15 year-old girl named Sydney who is going through the trials and tribulations of a teenager. And on top of all that she has superpowers…however her powers tend to lead to destruction, rather than heroism. A very deadpan and dark story, with moments of humor, for older teens.

Simon Vs. The Home Sapiens by Becky Albertalli / Love Simon

Sixteen year-old Simon is keeping a secret from his family and best friends: he is gay.  The chapters are interspersed with emails between Simon and Blue, another anonymous gay student. This was the basis for the movie Love, Simon which has continued into a tv series on hulu called Love, Victor. The writing in both the book and show is quirky and lighthearted, despite dealing with sexual identity and the acceptance (or lack thereof) of homosexuality in a high school setting.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Violet Markey vows to live with a purpose and find a way out of her small town. Theodore Finch, on the other hand, has a mild obsession with suicide. This novel shows both of these characters points of view as they fall in love and deal in their own way with mental illness and grieving. If you liked The Fault In Our Stars, this is another heartfelt tearjerker worthy of your attention.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

“What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken. “

For more movies and tv shows that have been adapted from YA novels & more, check out our catalog list:

Movies and TV shows for older teens

Books that have been made into movies (on cloudLibrary as eBooks)

Looking for some more recent Young Adult/ Coming of Age that are even edgier. David, our outreach librarian, recommends the following.

Big Time Adolescence, 2019. Pete Davidson shines as Zeke, an unmotivated-yet-charismatic college dropout. Mo, a seemingly bright and mostly innocent 16-year-old attempts to navigate high school under his guidance. Things start to get crazy as he teaches Mo nontraditional life lessons in drug dealing, partying, and dating. A twist on the traditional coming-of-age story.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, 2015. This is an emotional and well made film with an excellent cast of characters. Greg is avoiding social interactions while secretly making strange independent short films with his only friend Earl. When his mother forces him to befriend a classmate with leukemia, his anonymity and friendships begin to unravel.

Some Freaks, 2016. The “freaks” in the title refer to a boy with one eye and an overweight girl in high school. Two outsiders who form a bond and hook-up. When she loses weight after going to college, their relationship is tested in devastating ways. The film creates a sense of uneasiness and tension throughout.

Wayne, 2019-2020. Wayne is a darkly comic show about two runaway teens from Brockton, Massachusetts. They are headed to Florida to try and retrieve a 79′ Trans-Am that was stolen from his father before he died. This show is as violent as it is hilarious. Wayne is like a teenage Conan the Barbarian with a heart of gold. Available on Amazon Prime- it ran for one glorious season.

Halloween Fun!

While it’s true that Halloween will not be quite the same this year due to the pandemic, it’s still a holiday we have fun celebrating through the library. Below are some recent spooky books we are looking forward to reading!

Garbage Pail Kids: Welcome to Smellville. By R.L. Stine. Harry N. Abrams Books, 2020.

” Welcome to the town of Smellville, where ten kids all live in a big tumbledown house and have as much fun as they possibly can. People may think that they’re gross and weird and strange, but they’re not bad kids—they just don’t know any better. In this hilarious new illustrated series from bestselling author R.L. Stine, the Garbage Pail Kids—from Adam Bomb to Brainy Janey—get into mischief at their middle school, all while battling bullies and their archenemies, Penny and Parker Perfect. These all-new illustrated stories are sure to amuse, entertain, and blow away readers of all ages.”

The Witches (Graphic Novel) . By  Pénélope Bagieu, adapted from the novel by Roald Dahl. Scholastic, 2020.

“Witches are real, and they are very, very dangerous. They wear ordinary clothes and have ordinary jobs, living in ordinary towns all across the world — and there’s nothing they despise more than children. When an eight-year-old boy and his grandmother come face-to-face with the Grand High Witch herself, they may be the only ones who can stop the witches’ latest plot to stamp out every last child in the country!

This full-color graphic novel edition of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, adapted and illustrated by Eisner Award winner Pénélope Bagieu, is the first-ever Dahl story to appear in this format. Graphic novel readers and Roald Dahl fans alike will relish this dynamic new take on a uniquely funny tale.”

Camp Murderface. By Josh Berk and Saundra Mitchell. HarperCollins, 2020.

Summer camp turns sinister in Camp Murderface, a spooky middle grade read perfect for fans of scare masters like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike.

“The year: 1983. The place: Ohio. The camp: Scary as heck. Camp Sweetwater is finally reopening, three decades after it mysteriously shut down. Campers Corryn Quinn and Tez Jones have each had more than enough of their regular lives—they’re so ready to take their summer at Sweetwater by storm. But before they can so much as toast one marshmallow, strange happenings start…happening. Can they survive the summer? Or will Camp Sweetwater shut down for good this time—with them inside?”

The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales. By Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books, 2020.

“The author of wildly popular ghost stories, Mary Downing Hahn has created a group of tales for fans of her “scary but not too scary” books. Even the stories without actual ghosts are spooky. Each tale turns something ordinary—a pigeon, a white dress, a stranger on the bus, a puppet—into a sinister link to the supernatural. For the human characters, secrets from the past or careless behavior in the present can lead to serious trouble. All the stories have a young person as the central character, so all will resonate with young readers who enjoy the eerie, the creepy, and the otherworldly. In a concluding note, the author talks about how she came to write ghost stories.”

Venus in the Blind Spot. By Junji Ito. Viz Comics, 2020. *For mature readers.

“A “best of” collection of creepy tales from Eisner award winner and legendary horror master Junji Ito. This striking collection presents the most remarkable short works of Junji Ito’s career, featuring an adaptation of Rampo Edogawa’s classic horror story “Human Chair” and fan favorite “The Enigma of Amigara Fault.” With a deluxe presentation—including special color pages, and showcasing illustrations from his acclaimed long-form manga No Longer Human—each chilling tale invites readers to revel in a world of terror.”

Our outreach librarian, David, has also provided a virtual storytime of some of his favorite Halloween themed picture books for preschoolers from the past. Enjoy!

For more Halloween stories, check out this list of recent books in our catalog.

*Did you know that over 1,000 picture books in the hoopla app collection have a “read-along” feature?  Children can follow along while the book is being read to them by a narrator!  Log in to the hoopla app with your library card and do a search for “read-along”. 

News for Fall, 2020

The Library celebrates National Hispanic Heritage month from mid September through October. We have highlighted some new titles of interest that put Hispanic authors into focus. View the list here:

Hispanic Heritage Month

You can also read many related titles through our hoopla app. Pinal county residents have access to thousands of free eBooks, comics, movies, music and more through the hoopla app. And now hoopla has added around 50,000 audiobooks to this collection as well. Happy listening!

We are sad to learn of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Read more about her life and times by searching our catalog or listening to the audiobook by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik available now through hoopla.

Diversity matters!

Through a grant from the Arizona State Library and an effort to make our collections more diverse, we have recently added many new fiction and non-fiction titles to cloudLibrary.

You can find these titles featured in cloudLibrary under the tabs “Diverse Books- Non- Fiction” and  “Diverse Books- Fiction” https://ebook.yourcloudlibrary.com/library/pcebooks/Featured

An additional list focuses on “Inclusive Communities” and includes books about parenting, health and financial success in these challenging times.

You can find these titles featured in cloudLibrary under the tab “Inclusive Communities

Due in part to the ongoing pandemic, there is a growing need for electronic resources through Arizona’s public libraries. The Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services  is committed to supporting your library’s efforts to reach and serve every member of your community.

Arizona’s residents will find resources in libraries to engage with their communities, develop workforce skills, and learn life literacies such as parenting, health and finance regardless of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.  

Banned Books Week:

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week 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.

Banned Books Week 2020 will be held September 27 – October 3. The theme of this year’s event is “Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read!”

Check out our list of the most frequently challenged books from 2018-2020.

Looking for eAudiobooks? We are transferring our titles from the RB Digital app to the cloudLibrary app. The RB Digital app is being discontinued but you can find a wide variety of titles in both cloudLibrary and the hoopla apps with your library card.