Pop Culture Picks for November

The following items reference well-known pop culture characters but reinterpret them in a fresh new way, for a new generation.

Miller, Frank. Superman – Year One. DC Black Label, 2019.


Available via the Hoopla app

This is an exciting retelling of the Superman mythos by the same author as the groundbreaking Dark Knight Returns and Batman Year One.  It is drawn by John Romita Jr, another longtime comic book artist who has previously drawn Superman as well as just about every character in the Marvel Universe.

The title may be a bit misleading, as this yarn is more than just Superman’s first year in action.  While his origin story reads as familiar territory, it is updated to modern day.  The story then takes a twist as Clark joins the navy and later discovers the underground city of Atlantis.  Later, after his arrival in Metropolis, he meets Lois Lane and dukes it out with Batman.  This graphic novel grows darker in tone as the story progresses and it’s a compelling read.  As this is only Part One of the series, I am looking forward to seeing where these two veteran cartoonists take this.


Cobra Kai Season 1 & 2.  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD, 2019.


Now available on DVD.

This TV series originally appeared as a YouTube original series.  It continues the story from the original 1980s films and is set in our present time, 30 years later.

Daniel LaRusso is now married with children and manages a successful car dealership. Meanwhile, Johnny Lawrence, his high school adversary, has taken a turn for the worse and is bitter about his past.  In this version, we see more of Johnny’s turbulent history, making him less of a loathsome character and actually sympathetic.   He trains a new protégé, Miguel Diaz and takes a fatherly role towards the vulnerable boy.  Daniel, worrying that Cobra-Kai has evil intentions, fights back by training his teenage daughter in the lessons he leaned from Mr. Miyagi.  Things become more complicated though when first, she befriends Miguel and later, Johnny’s estranged teenage son. All of these characters’ lives inevitably become intertwined and the harsh rivalry is reignited, setting forth the next generation of “karate kids.”  What ensues is full of humor, pathos and plenty of action in the spirit of the original.

Hour of Code Resources

The following message comes courtesy of The Connectory. For more information visit their website at www.theconnectory.org

Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) runs from December 9-15, 2019. This annual campaign inspires K-12 students to take interest in computer science (CS) and to connect with the broader community around the need for and value of CS education. 

Accessible Hour of Code CSEdWeek and Hour of Code Resources
You will find many Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week resources online. Browse the resources on Code.org or look to your local public libraries for additional materials. Code.org also features hands-on, computer-free “unplugged” coding basics for those without devices, without reliable internet, or for kids who may learn better this way.

Find all the resources you need to bring attention to your Hour of Code. Not sure where to begin? Start with the Hour of Code how-to guide for hosting an Hour of Code! Then promote and inspire using: Handouts, videos, posters, social media posts, stickers, and more.

Below are some additional resources to get you started:
Google Hour of CodeNew Hour of Code activity from Google CS First
This year’s Hour of Code is all about using our coding power for good. That’s why the CS First team at Google has created a new activity where students can use their imagination to turn a real-life hero into a superhero using code. Code Your Hero is an activity that honors the everyday heroes in our students’ lives who use their powers to better their communities. Students will use Scratch, a block-based coding language, to animate and bring a story or game to life with movement, dialogue and more. Using the CS First tutorial videos available in both English and Spanish, anyone can become programmers for the day.

“Code Your Hero” is a fun, interactive activity that can be completed in 15 minutes to an hour. Anyone can teach it and no computer science background is required. Review the digital lesson plans and other materials for educators.
Quorum Logo

For students who use a screen reader, the Quorum tutorial for beginners or the Quorum tutorial for comfortable students is a great place to start. Quorum started as an interpreted language designed to be accessible to screen reader users. Eventually, it became a general purpose programming language designed for any user.

The Code.org tutorials are all designed to be used with or without sound. All the videos have captions.
Libraries Ready to Code LogoLibraries Ready to Code
The American Library Association’s Ready to Code Collection provides resources and strategies for coding and computational thinking activities that are grounded in research, aligned with library core values, and support broadening participation. They have three experience levels to help library staff connect with resources that reflect their own computational thinking (CT) experiences, communities, goals, and interests.

First Things First Parent Resources

First Things First offers a variety of helpful resources to parents. Created by Arizona voters, First Things First partners with families and communities to help our state’s young children be ready for success in kindergarten and beyond.


“There’s no one right way to raise a child, and sometimes parenting a baby, toddler or preschooler can be a challenge. You don’t need to be perfect. To help you do the best you can, here’s some information and resources for supporting your child’s healthy development and learning.”

For more information visit:


National Novel Writing Month

Have you been putting off writing a novel?  Now is the perfect time to start.


“National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.

NaNoWriMo officially became a nonprofit organization in 2006, and our programs support writing fluency and education. Our website hosts more than a million writers, serving as a social network with author profiles, personal project libraries, and writing buddies. NaNoWriMo tracks words for writers like Fitbit tracks steps, and hosts real-world writing events in cities from Mexico City, to Seoul, to Milwaukee with the help of 900+ volunteers in thousands of partnering libraries and community centers like… well, like nothing else.

NaNoWriMo is internet-famous. It’s community-powered (hello, Wrimos!). It’s hosted authors drafting novels like Water for ElephantsWOOL, and Fangirl. It’s a teaching tool and curriculum taught in 5,920 classrooms, and NaNoWriMo’s programs run year-round.

Whatever you thought NaNoWriMo is, it’s more than that.”

For more information go to:



Native American Heritage Month in November


Explore Native American Heritage at the library this November.  Get started by checking out our list of titles here: Native American Heritage Month Booklist

About Native American Heritage Month

(from https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/)

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

More info @ https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/

Books for All

As of November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers will allow libraries (no matter the size of their city or town) to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release.

Here’s the truth: Limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for readers like you.

Macmillan is the only publisher to institute such an embargo, and readers cannot stay silent!

Why this matters 

Pressuring Macmillan to lift the embargo will benefit many stakeholders, including: 


  • Libraries, whose mission is to ensure that all people have access to the world’s knowledge, regardless of format.


  • Library patrons, especially those with visual and other disabilities, who rely on eBooks for adjustable text size and spacing, and who particularly benefit from lightweight, easier-to-hold eReaders.


  • Authors, especially new authors, who depend on libraries to provide exposure for their creative works and opportunity for readers to discover them.


  • Publishers, who rely on a constant supply of readers and demand for their products, which libraries provide at no charge to the publisher.

Tell Macmillan Publishers that you demand #eBooksForAll.

Sign the petition at https://ebooksforall.org/

Halloween stories for preschoolers

Are you looking for some Halloween related books that are easy to read aloud to preschoolers?  The following books are not too scary and quite enjoyable for just this purpose.

McGhee, Alison, and Harry Bliss. A Very Brave Witch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009.
On the far side of town, in a big, dark, house, lives a brave little witch. She has heard lots and lots about those scary humans and a holiday they call Halloween, but she has never even seen Halloween for herself. Until one very special Halloween comes along…
Murguia, Bethanie Deeney. The Too-Scary Story. Arthur A. Levine Books, an Imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2017.
Grace wants Papa to tell her a scary bedtime story… but her little brother Walter doesn’t want it to be TOO scary! So as Papa invents the story of two children out for a walk in the woods, Grace and Walter take turns correcting him. But when darkness falls, a shadow looms, and footsteps follow the children all the way home, will the siblings triumph over the too-scary story?
Rylant, Cynthia, and Steven Henry. Herberts First Halloween. Chronicle Books LLC, 2017.
Herbert is deeply doubtful about his first Halloween—but with a little help from his dad and a special tiger costume, Herbert might just find confidence on Halloween night. Together, father and son practice roaring, carve a pumpkin, and venture out in search of candy. And by the end of the night, Herbert finds his doubts have melted away. A sweet introduction to Halloween and to being brave, this book is sure to delight the youngest of trick-or-treaters.
Sloat, Teri, and Rosalinde Bonnet. Zip! Zoom! on a Broom. Little, Brown and Company, 2017.

One goes zip,

two go zoom.
Three witches glide from room to room.
So begins this witchy counting story, now as a board book. Counting up from 1 to 10 and back down again, ten witches jump on a broom–and then fall off one by one! Written in pitch-perfect rhyme, and full of fun read-aloud energy that will have kids memorizing lines and clamoring to read the book again and again, this book hits the mash-up sweet spot between an important concept and Halloween fun!
Taylor, Sean, and Jean Jullien. Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise. Walker Books, 2016.
Hoot Owl is no ordinary owl. He is a master of disguise! In the blackness of night, he’s preparing to swoop on his prey before it can realize his dastardly tricks. Look there—a tasty rabbit for him to eat! Hoot Owl readies his costume, disguising himself as . . . a carrot! Then he waits. The rabbit runs off. Never mind! Surely his next juicy target will cower against such a clever and dangerous creature as he! Kids will hoot at Sean Taylor’s deliciously tongue-in-beak narration, belied by the brilliantly comical illustrations of Jean Jullien.

Warren the 13th

Looking for some fun books to get into the spirit of Halloween this year?  The Warren the 13th series is the perfect series for middle-school readers.  Written by Tania Del Rio with exceptional art and design by Will Staehle, there are two books out so far with another on the way.

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye


Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods
This fast-paced and beautifully-designed sequel to Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye is packed with nonstop action, adventure, and mystery for middle grade readers. Twelve-year-old Warren has learned that his beloved hotel can walk, and now it’s ferrying guests around the countryside, transporting tourists to strange and foreign destinations. But when an unexpected detour brings everyone into the dark and sinister Malwoods, Warren finds himself separated from his hotel and his friends—and racing after them on foot through a forest teeming with witches, snakes, talking trees, and mind-boggling riddles, all accompanied by stunning illustrations and gorgeous design from Will Staehle on every page. (from the publisher)

Richard Sala’s Eerie Tales

Richard Sala grew up with a fascination for musty old museums, dusty old libraries, cluttered antique shops, narrow alleyways, hidden truths, double meanings, sinister secrets and spooky old houses.  He is an American cartoonist, illustrator, and comic book creator with a unique expressionistic style whose books often combine elements of mystery, horror and whimsy.  Three of his books, for mature readers, are available to read from our Hoopla app, just in time for Halloween!  You can also check out some of his Halloween related artwork on his blog.



Sala’s intrepid adventuress of the macabre faces monsters, zombies, witches, madmen, evil children and a villainess who may or may not be in love with her, in this delightfully creepy collection of thrilling, chilling tales.

The Bloody Cardinal


In this graphic novel, a series of grisly murders echo the work of the master criminal, the Bloody Cardinal. But, he’s dead! Or is he? He was trapped by police in an abandoned asylum which burnt to the ground. The charred remains found in the ashes were presumed to have been his. However, he left behind a journal which has been tied to a string of violent, unsolved murders. Who is behind these crimes? Full-color illustrations throughout.

Violenza and Other Deadly Amusements


“Let there be no mercy or forgiveness for they have shown none.” With these words, whispered into the wind, a mysterious young woman leaps into action with wild abandon, twin automatics blazing. Is she a brave and reckless heroine taking on a monstrous evil? Or is she a deranged angel of death? One thing is clear: whether she is dropping from a high window into a crowd of red-robed fanatical cultists, or facing down a horde of psychotic hillbillies, you don’t want to get in her way. Fast moving, Violenzia is a blast of pulpy fun, told in scenes of audacious action and splashes of rich watercolors. With elements of golden age comics and old movies mixed with Sala’s trademark humor and sense of the absurd, Violenzia is a bloody enigma masked as eye candy, a puzzle box riddled with bullet holes from comics’ master of the macabre.



Booker Prize 2019

The Booker Prize is a leading literary award in the English speaking world, which has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over 50 years. It is awarded annually to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.  This year the award was given jointly to two authors for the following works.

The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood


In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

The Judges Say:
“Spoiler discretion and a ferocious non-disclosure agreement prevent any description of who, how, why and even where. So this: it’s terrifying and exhilarating.”

Girl, Woman, Other
by Bernardine Evaristo


A magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity among an interconnected group of Black British women.

The Judges Say:
“Evaristo manages to depict a vast collective of intergenerational stories moving through different spaces with a dazzling rhythm.”