By the Numbers 
submitted by Natalie

What did you do on your first day — the day you were born?



Steve Jenkins and Robin Page answer this question in their children’s book My First Day by describing what happens to animals after they are born. Readers will see that the beginning of animal life is dramatically varied among the twenty-two types highlighted and lovingly illustrated here using paper collage techniques.
  • A one ounce baby wood duck falls from high up in a tree following its mother and siblings to water. But it’s not the only animal to take a great fall. A giraffe tucks its head and falls about five feet to the ground at birth. But don’t worry, neither are injured.
  • Some animals are more sedentary like the two pound Siberian Tiger cub, which like human babies do little more than sleep and nurse their first few days.
  • Darwin’s frog hops from a pouch inside its father’s mouth having undergone the transformation from egg to tadpole to frog safe from predators.
  • Unlike humans, animal parents don’t have the opportunity to go out and buy a Baby Bjorn so they have different ways of carrying their babies and keeping them protected. Another way baby animals stay safe is to hitch a ride on its mama’s back. The sifaka, a type of lemur and the golden snub-nosed monkey both cling to their mother’s fur when they are on the go.

Another 2013 work of high-interest nonfiction that features animals is Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer. The author makes estimates based on the average adult life span of animals & insects in the wild. Selected facts are stand-alone conversation starters so illustrator Christopher Silas Neal's mix of drawing, painting, print making and digital art make this a memorable read.



Lifetime is packed with interesting tidbits. Here are a few of my favorites.
  • An alligator will build 22 nest and lay 550 eggs.
  • A male seahorse will carry and birth 1,000 baby seahorses.
  • A caribou will grow and shed 10 sets of antlers.


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Are You Up To The Challenge?  


The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge is a new Library program that encourages all families and caregivers to read at least 1000 books with their young children before they enter Kindergarten. Reading to preschool-age children builds vocabulary, language skills, and helps prepare them with the skills they need for Kindergarten. In as little as 15 minutes a day, families can build the skills for future school and life success.

Who can participate?

Preschool-age children (0-5 years old) in Jefferson County with their family/caregivers.

How does the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge work?

Getting Started – Pick up a free 1000 Books Before Kindergarten reading log at any Louisville Free Public Library location and start reading. Reading logs include a list of recommended books and information for parents on early literacy and free children’s programs and resources available at the Library.

Track Your Reading – Each time you read a book with your child, record it in your reading log.

Show Us Your Reading Logs – Each time you and your child reach a milestone listed below, bring in your reading log and collect your prize. Read 1,000 books before kindergarten and your child will receive a free book of their very own.

Plus, every 1,000 book reader will be entered for a chance to win a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Reading Reward Milestones:
  • 100 books = a sticker
  • 250 books = your child’s name is displayed at your branch Library
  • 500 books = a bookmark
  • 750 books = a certificate
  • 1000 books = a free book to take home
How can you read 1000 books to your child? In as little as 15 minutes a day!

The average picture book takes just 5 minutes to read

– and –

3 books a day (just 15 minutes ) for 1 year = 1,095 books

You can even read the same book over, and over, and over.

Suggested Reading List - click here

Want more useful tips and activities to help get your child ready for Kindergarten? - click here

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The Millionaire and the Mummies: Theodore Davis’ Gilded Age in the Valley of the Kings by John M. Adams  
submitted by Rob



“This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of Wealth: First, to set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and after doing so to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community – the man of wealth thus becoming the mere agent and trustee for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.” - Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth (1889)

The Industrial Revolution represents the primary impetus by which the United States transitioned from an agrarian-based to an industrial-based economy, which resulted in a massive and unprecedented shift in the population moving from the rural country to the urban city. While the wealth of the country significantly increased, much of it was held by a select few, populated by familiar names such as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. This group, eventually coined the Robber Barons, led incredibly luxurious lives that were far removed and in no way resembled the existences lived by the vast majority of the rest of the population. Counted among this group was a man whose name today would be recognized by very few and whose story is told in a 2013 biography written by John M. Adams: Theodore Montgomery Davis.

The life of Mr. Davis in many ways exemplified both the American Dream and the Gilded Age. He was born in 1838 to a well-liked minister known for his fire-and-brimstone preaching and was left destitute, along with his mother and two siblings, when his father died of consumption in 1841; Mr. Davis’ oldest sibling, Arthur, would join his father the following year. Despite further challenges and setbacks, Mr. Davis provided himself with education and eventually became a lawyer. While many of his colleagues had aspirations for politics or other public endeavors, it would seem that Mr. Davis’ sole interest was the employment of all means available to him to build a great fortune, and a great fortune is precisely what Mr. Davis acquired – in a rather dubious manner; a true rags-to-riches story peppered with shady dealings.

Now we come to the point that connects the excerpt that opened this short review. Once his great fortune was secure, Mr. Davis could have spent the remainder of his life in the pursuit of selfish desires, and even though he did engage in those activities that were the hallmark of his class at that time, he developed a passion for Ancient Egypt and its antiquities, and he personally funded expeditions in the Valley of the Kings in the early 1900s that employed scientific methods to excavate tombs; he was not a simple grave robber. By 1914, Mr. Davis believed that no tombs of any import were left in the Valley of the Kings, and his concessions were passed on to Lord Carnarvon, whose funding provided the famous archaeologist Howard Carter with the means to eventually locate the tomb of King Tutankhamen in 1922, totally eclipsing the discoveries of Mr. Davis. Through the efforts and patronage of Mr. Davis, several very famous and important discoveries were made that significantly contributed to Egyptology, and those artifacts that were uncovered by his excavations were donated during his life or bequeathed after his death to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Cairo Museum. As with his contemporaries, it would seem that Mr. Davis felt philanthropy was his duty.

Alternating between archaeological digs and stages in the life of Mr. Davis, Mr. Adams has captured an era in the United States when great fortunes produced a class of Americans of such wealth that the world was literally their oyster. It is fortunate for us, I suppose, that they were willing to share.

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Shades of Dr. Moreau: Inhuman by Kat Falls 
submitted by Katy



Before Delaney (Lane) McEvoy was born, the Ferae Naturae virus ravaged the United States causing millions of humans to mutate into an animal/human form. Many died within days but those who did not succumb went crazy and cannibalistic. With just a single bite from an infection creature the bitten is turned into one of the infected. Now these creatures inhabit the Feral Zone.

Fast forward to Lane’s world almost 20 years later where a 700 foot wall was erected to section off the East - the Feral Zone - from the West. To go beyond the wall is forbidden, punishable by death. Even so, there are” fetches” who are willing, for a price, to chance death slipping past the wall to bring back valuables left behind in the exodus two decades before.

Lane was never sure why her father made her learn survivor skills but she is very grateful for them when she is sent beyond the wall to find him. Lane is on a desperate mission to save her father; she must go into the Feral Zone find her father, collect a photo for a high ranking official and come back free of the virus. Along the way she joins forces with two totally different young men, each with his own reasons for helping her. One is of her world, Everson, an up-tight sentry guard; the other, Rafe, is a rouge hunter who seems right at home in the wild environment of the Feral Zone.

Once beyond the wall Lane struggles with her own notions of humanity, faces death square in the eye, learns too late that you don’t have to be a human being to be human, and faces her fear of the unknown. She also grapples with her growing feelings for both young men.

Inhuman by Kat Falls is fast paced with a world fully realized and drawn before our eyes. It has fantastical creatures, romance, adventure, horror, intrigue and mystery in a world that pits man against beast and begs us question our treatment of the beasts of this Earth. This book had me smiling, crying, biting my nails, and looking over my shoulder into the shadows.

And this is just the beginning of Lane's tale. Falls intends to write a trilogy and is half way through writing the second book. The release date of the next installment is rumored to be sometime this fall.

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Recovery Road by Blake Nelson 
submitted by Lynette



Maddie is seventeen, and already has been given the descriptive nickname “Mad Dog Maddie” for her wild behavior. After too many wrong turns she finds herself in a teen rehabilitation center. Rehab isn’t for her – she does not want to be there, nor does she think her problems are comparable to the others she meets in rehab. Everything changes when she meets another rehab patient, Stewart. The time that had been dragging on so slowly in rehab is now happening so fast after meeting Stewart.

And then she gets to go home.

Maddie is a changed girl now, she’s actually trying to reel in her rage and desire to drink and party – but, no one is buying it, no matter how hard she tries, what grades she gets, or how nice she acts towards others. Though she is sincerely trying to turn her life around for the better everyone, including Stewart, classmates, and her family, suspect she’s going to slip back into her ways. So what about Stewart and his struggles? The more Maddie tries to turn to him for help the more distant he becomes.

Author Blake Nelson writes in a way that makes Maddie’s issues feel so real. Her struggle to reign in her anger and party girl behavior are heart breaking to read. As the reader you understand her sincerity, and yet you also understand why those around her are leery to forgive and forget her wild past. They can’t fully invest in Maddie again until she’s proved herself, and this isn’t anything she can turn around in a matter of months. She realizes she might be fighting her own reputation for years to come.

I would recommend Recovery Road to any young adult struggling to turn people’s opinions of themselves around. It isn’t easy, you might not be able to get everyone to forgive you, but you can come out the other side as the person you want to be – regardless of what anyone thinks about you.


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