I Think I Might Be A Gorilla  
submitted by Tommy

Ivan, The One and Only Ivan, is a gorilla. He was alone inside a cage for three decades with no other of his kind around. He looks out and sees the human race for what it really is, and most of what he observes of them I see as well.

This is supposed to be a book for kids, but it is as much as an adult book to me. It has many observations and lessons that most of the human race needs to learn. But this is not a highbrow book, it is a fun book. The characters are fun too and likable. But at times it made me cry. The language is simple so that a young child could read this. Although there are sad parts, there is a very happy ending for Ivan.

This book makes you think about all the conventions of modern human existence and whether we really need them. It also makes you wonder about human behavior and what the animals are really saying about us! Iíve read a few negative reviews of this book where the reader has a problem with the book misleading children by giving human attributes to animals. How else could readers understand what Ivan is saying except by our language? If the book was written in grunts, roars, barks, etc. who could read it? Are we sure that animals arenít artist like Ivan? I think animals have many of the same needs, desires, and feelings as humans.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a work of fiction but it is based upon a true story. There is a real Ivan who lived at Zoo Atlanta. Before living in the Zoo he had spent over half his life alone in a mall, in a cage. He passed away last August. He was 50. And for the record he was an artist!

Upon Ivan's death, NPR posted this obiturary.

To reserve a copy of The One and Only Ivan, click here.

For an adult book about a gorilla who can talk, I highly suggest Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. This is one of my favorite books. Itís a fun, yet philosophical book. Like Ivan, it has depth within its simplicity.

To reserve a copy of Ishmael, click here.

And if you still have a VCR hanging around, The Urban Gorilla is a good documentary that includes the one and only Ivan and other gorillas that suffered similar fates.

Editorís note: Please use the comment button below to leave any response you may have about the book or the review.

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Once upon a Time 
submitted by Natalie

Who doesnít like a good unconventional princess story?

First up is a sparkly pink picture book by Deborah Underwood called, Part-time Princess. As you can probably gather from the cover itís not just about tutus and tiaras; this gal is a fire-breathing dragon consoling, angry troll soothing problem solving princess. She can have her tea party and take care of business too - but only after midnight! No damsels in distress here.

Moving towards an upper elementary audience is Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde. Itís a fractured version of the classic fairy tale "The Frog Prince" in which soon to be fourteen year old Princess Imogene is begrudgingly reading a book her mother suggested - The Art of Being a Princess - when she stumbles upon a talking frog. You think you know how the story goes, kiss the frog and it will turn into a prince but things donít happen quite the same way in this story. First of all, that frog definitely was not a prince. Second, Princess Imogene undergoes a little transformation of her own but not in that tender coming of age sort of way youíd expect.

Like the pop culture force of nature Twilight, Cinder by Marissa Meyer is targeted at high school aged girls but can meet the interests of a wider audience. In fact, after reading it myself, I recently suggested it for a 10 year old who had been bursting at the seams to read Twilight but much to her chagrin was not allowed. I thought that Cinder, which has a similar cover and book design as Twilight but with a more compelling story, might be a great consolation read that wouldnít make her father break out in a sweat.

Set in a dystopian future, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic outfitted with high tech gear able to detect when someone is lying as well as it can suggest that she take a deep breath. Now donít confuse her with a robot, Cinderís just a human girl just with a few upgraded adjustments. Living in the midst of a plague with a family who - like that of the original Cinderella - only has use for her when there was something to sweep up - or fix an electronic device thatís on the blink.

Cinder is approached by the eligible Prince Kai who needs her help fixing his android. Of course thereís an impending ball where the prince hopes to make a princess out of some lucky attendant but thereís also the threat of interplanetary war, an evil narcissistic Queen with superpowers, and an epidemic that is spiraling out of control. But there are no vampires. I promise.

If you are interested in more information about the authors or their works, you may also check out their websites:

Deborah Underwood - http://www.deborahunderwoodbooks.com
Vivian Vande Velde - http://www.vivianvandevelde.com
Marissa Meyer - http://www.marissameyer.com

Editorís note: Please use the comment button below to leave any response you may have about the book or the review.

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Muslim Journeys: A Multimedia Series Coming to LFPL  
Muslim Journeys Film and Discussion
Prince Among Slaves: African Americans and Islam
Presented by: Narjis Nichole Abdul-Majid
Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 6:00 p.m.
Middle school and above

Muslim Journeys Film
Koran by Heart
Presented by Dr. Shifa Podikunju-Hussain
Saturday, October 5, 1:00 p.m.
Middle school and above

Muslim Journeys Lecture
ďMuslim Women: Normative Islamic Teachings versus Muslim CultureĒ
Presented by Dr. Riffat Hassan
Wednesday, October 9, 7:00 p.m.

Muslim Journeys Lecture
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan: Nonviolent Soldier of Islam
Presented by Dr. Gulalai Wali Khan
Saturday, October 12, 1:00 p.m.

Muslim Journeys Lecture
Working with Muslim Families
Presented by Dr. Shifa Podikunju-Hussain and Khalid A. Kahloon, Attorney At Law
Saturday, October 19, 1:00 p.m.

Muslim Journeys Cultural Showcase
Faces of Islam
Saturday, October 26, 1:00 p.m.

Muslim Journeys Lecture
Muslim Contributions to Science, Medicine and Mathematics
Presented by Dr. Saleem Seya
Tuesday, October 29, 6:00 PM

Muslim Journeys Lecture
"Islamic Mysticism"
Presented by Dr. Saleem Seyal
Wednesday, October 30th, 6:00 p.m.

All events will take place at:
Bon Air
2816 Del Rio Place
Louisville, KY 40220

For more information, please e-mail Sophie at sophie.maier@lfpl.org.

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Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe 

submitted by Damera

ďWhen I get involved with a boy, Iím goiní to be the one calliní shots. When I get married, my husband can be the head of the house all he wants. But Iím goiní to be the neck, and the neck is what controls every move the head makes.Ē


Ruby Jean Upshaw was a piece of work. She was a preacherís daughter raised in a household with 6 older sisters. In fact, she was the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. Ruby raised a lot of hell and still managed to be seen in her parentís eyes as nothing but an angel. Rubyís best friend, Othello, in the meantime, was the daughter of the town tramp and no one let her forget it.

Through their years of growing up, there was a baby born out of wedlock, travels to New Orleans and Florida, work in a whorehouse, fieldwork, husbands, babies and murder. Ruby always remembered the baby she was forced to give away and never truly let Othello forget that she blamed her. Changing her name to Mama Ruby, her life begins to spiral out of control in ways she never imagined. What was she going to do?

I picked up this book because the main characterís were also the main focus of Ms. Monroeís book The Upper Room. When I first picked that one up, I felt that the storyline was a little bit rushed. Thatís why I was happy to pick up Mama Ruby and really delve into her background. I got to find out how she became the person she was in the other book.

I canít wait to read the next title in the series, The Lost Daughters. I already have it in my bag!

Editorís note: Please use the comment button below to leave any response you may have about the book or the review.

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The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers 
submitted by Rob

ď...the war came to me in my dreams and showed me its sole purpose: to go on, only to go on.Ē - Private John Bartle, Narrator, The Yellow Birds

According to New York Times journalist Chris Hedges and author of What Every Person Should Know About War (2003), there have been a mere 268 years of peace in the roughly 3,400 years of recorded human history, a trend that gives no indication of ending any time soon, if ever. Even if Mr. Hedgesí calculation is somewhat inaccurate, it is clear that the specter of war has shadowed the world for as long as the human has been walking.

The United States as a nation finds itself today in the state of war, something that can all too easily be forgotten in the hectic modern life that civilians lead Ė there are bills to be paid, careers to be lead, children to rear, etc. This, however, is not the case for either veterans or active duty personnel, as Kevin Powers illustrates in his 2012 debut novel, The Yellow Birds; Mr. Powers served in Iraq with the U.S. Army in 2004 and 2005.

I am a civilian and have never served in any department of the armed services, and I, too, find myself forgetting, at times, that there are Americans who are fighting abroad, but regardless of whether one supports or opposes the war that is being fought, people are dying, and I believe it important to listen to the stories of those involved, and fiction is a powerful means by which these tales can be conveyed.

While the characters and plot of The Yellow Birds are fictitious, the story that unfolds is both believable and moving. Mr. Powers pens impressive prose that provides the reader with a glimpse of what combat in Iraq was like for the American soldier in the mid-2000's and the effects that this can have on the individual long after he or she has returned home.
ďTo say what happened, the mere facts, the disposition of events in time, would come to seem like a kind of treachery. The dominoes of moments, lined up symmetrically, then tumbling backward against the hazy and unsure push of cause, showed only that a fall is every object's destiny. It is not enough to say what happened. Everything happened. Everything fell.Ē - Private John Bartle, Narrator, The Yellow Birds

Editorís note: Please use the comment button below to leave any response you may have about the book or the review.

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