Library Columns (2023)

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Use the Library to Meet Your New Year’s Resolutions 
December 27, 2023
by Beth Cronk

Have you been thinking about your New Year’s resolutions? According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, about a third of Americans typically set a resolution or goal for the coming year.  USA Today newspaper has shared statistics from Statista, a German data gathering company, showing that Americans’ top New Year’s resolutions for 2024 are saving money, exercising more, eating healthier, spending more time with family and friends, and losing weight.

The public library is a great resource if you want to reduce your spending, even while pursuing some of the other goals on that list.

Instead of buying all of the books you read, or having an Audible subscription, you can check out a vast range of them from the library. The same is true for movies. If we don’t have a print book or a movie on DVD in our local library, you can order those from libraries all over the state of Minnesota. Children’s books and children’s DVDs don’t have late fees anymore; as long as you return them, you won’t even have the expense of fines for those unless they’re damaged.

Want to save money by dropping your streaming service or cable TV? While many streaming TV shows aren’t available on DVD, some are. Take a look in the library catalog to find out if we have the show you want to watch.

If you need to save money on subscriptions, you can visit the library to read local and regional newspapers and check out magazines. Our library system also has a large collection of magazines available on the Libby e-book platform.

Library programs are always free to attend. You can find free entertainment and education by attending storytimes, teen programs, book clubs, LEGO programs, knitting clubs, craft programs, science programs, and author events at the library. Some library craft programs are offered through free take-home kits. Attending library programs with your loved ones can help you meet your goal of spending time with family and friends!

Our library system offers free access to Creativebug, an arts and crafts instructional website. If your resolutions include pursuing your hobbies or learning new skills, this can be a way to try something new without having to pay for a class.

Technology is expensive. If you want to save on your data usage on your cell phone or home internet, you can come to the library to use the free wi-fi. It even works from the parking lot. We also loan hotspots so that you can have free wi-fi at home for 4 weeks, although these days there is a long wait for those. The library has laptops available to check out for four weeks, plus desktop computers for use at the library – both good ways to have a computer to use without having to buy one. It’s also inexpensive to print at the Litchfield Library: just ten cents per page for black and white prints or copies and fifty cents per page for color. Compared to buying ink cartridges, it can be a good deal.

If your goals include exercise and fitness, you can find books about those topics at the library, as well as workout videos. An enormous selection of cookbooks is available to check out, including many featuring healthy recipes.

If you visit the I Love Libraries calculator website at, you can enter the number of books and movies you have checked out this year, as well as other library services you have used, to get an estimate of how much you saved by using the public library this year. Take good care of your finances, your health, and your general wellbeing by making the library a part of your new year.

Light Entertainment for Christmas
December 13, 2023
by Beth Cronk, County Librarian

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Maybe not outside with our nearly snow-free weather, but in the library the trees are up and it’s looking festive. Are you looking for a way to get in the Christmas spirit? Pick up a holiday-themed book or DVD from the library to put you in a jolly mood.

If a cozy mystery is what you need for reading next to the tree, look for the novel Hiss & Tell by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown. In this 31st installment of the Mrs. Murphy mysteries, Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen and her cats and dogs once again help the police solve a mystery. Harry is busy with Christmas preparations, but bodies of three unidentified people are found in her Virginia town, all with a deadly drug in their systems. Sneaky Pie Brown is author Rita Mae’s cat.

Fern Michaels’ new novel Santa & Company is a sequel to Santa Cruise. In the first book, four longtime friends reunited to go on a singles cruise. This time they’re going to a ski lodge during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. One member of the group twists her ankle snowshoeing and is rescued by an intriguing stranger. Another runs into a person from her past. In the end, the focus is on the friendships between the women.

Anne Perry wrote 22 Christmas novellas, each one featuring a minor character from one of her Victorian mystery series. Each of these short novels has a crime to be solved, and a happy ending that happens just as the church bells ring for Christmas. The newest, A Christmas Vanishing, was published in November. It features longtime character Charlotte Pitt’s grandmother Mariah, who travels to visit a longtime friend for the holidays and finds that her friend has disappeared. Perry died this past April at age 84, after publishing over 100 novels throughout her lifetime.

Some of Sheila Roberts’ novels have been turned into Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies. Her latest, The Twelve Months of Christmas, sounds like a strong contender for another. Three friends have had terrible Christmases, each in their own way. They come up with a unique solution: a Christmas do-over each month, beginning in January. Can they manage the perfect holiday at a different time of year?

Melody Carlson is a popular author of Christian fiction, including several Christmas novellas. Her latest is A Royal Christmas. A law student learns through a DNA match that she is a direct descendant of King Maximillian of Montovia, a small Eastern European principality. At the king’s invitation, she visits the kingdom over Christmas break, finding beautiful sights, family drama, and a potential romance. Litchfield’s copy is a large-print edition.

If you’d rather watch something with Christmas cheer, the library offers many options for that, as well.

Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas is nominated in the category of Outstanding Television Movie in this year’s Emmy Awards. It’s a musical about the making of a TV special, with Dolly wishing to find a way to share the “mountain magic” she has at Dollywood with a weary world.  Special guests include Jimmy Fallon, Willie Nelson, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Miley Cyrus.

If you’re a fan of the classic 1980s Christmas movie A Christmas Story, you may enjoy the new sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas. It’s 1973 and Ralphie is now all grown up (and played by the same actor). This time he’s dealing with Christmas as a father, visiting his childhood home with his wife and kids after the death of his father. He reconnects with old friends and enemies, and he tries his best to make Christmas special for his children.

Christmas books and movies tend to be fluffy and sweet, because people are looking for comfort and joy in this season. Take a look at the holiday display above the DVD shelf at the library for more ideas.

Pioneerland libraries will be open regular hours on Saturday, December 23. Since Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, the library will only be closed on Monday, December 25, for Christmas, and on Monday, January 1, for New Year’s Day. Happy holidays to you and yours!

Playing with the Imagination
by Miss Rachel

Between planning and preparing m eals, doing laundry, cleaning up countless messes, and attempting to take care of oneself, there isn’t a lot of extra time and energy for parents or caretakers of young children (and even older children). Sometimes, it’s hard to find the energy to play one more round of house or restaurant with your little one. But these kinds of play that use imagination are key to social development. According to Maggie Sabin from Edutopia, imaginative or pretend play allows kids to play out scenarios they may see in the world around them safely. They can work through events that might be scary to them, like going to the doctor. Maybe they choose to play house and they want to be a parent; this can help them process others’ thoughts and feelings in addition to exploring relationships in their lives.

At our library storytimes, we use imaginative play to develop all kinds of skills. If we’re working on shapes, we might have a shape monster come out who is hungry for triangles, so the kids have to find triangles to feed the shape monster. It sounds just as silly as it is, but our little storytime crew doesn’t want to leave the shape monster hungry! We also wave around colorful scarves and pretend to make popcorn with them. Kids have wide imaginations with few limits. Even the rug we sit on for storytime provokes imagination. On the rug is a design of a pond with a bridge across it. On a regular basis, I’ll hear from some little reader sitting on the bridge that I need to move because I’m sitting in the water. We make a big splash about it!

But if you’re looking for a sweet book about imaginary friends, we have a new one that brought tears to my eyes. “Real To Me” by Minh Le explores the relationship between a little girl and a fluffy, green imaginary friend. When you’re told that your imaginary friend isn’t real, how do you respond?

We have a couple of stories that center around imagination and animals too. In the story “I Am Cat!” by Peter Bently, we see a day in the life of a sassy little cat who imagines himself to be all kinds of bigger and fierce lions, leopards, and tigers – oh my! “If I Was A Horse” by Sophie Blackall asks a lot of silly questions that make the reader think outside the box: If you were a horse, what would you do? Could you fit in your clothes? Would you give your little sister a ride? Would your brother even notice?

The next time your little one asks to play house or restaurant or whatever with you, know that they’re learning so much with this kind of play. Not only do we have books to spark the imagination, but we also have storytimes here at the library to encourage imaginative play. Join us for our baby and toddler storytimes on Wednesdays at 10:15am and our preschool storytimes on Fridays at 10:00am.

Sabin, Maggie. “Facilitating Learning through Imaginative Play.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational

Foundation, 4 Apr. 2022,

by Miss Rachel

At the library, we find ways to celebrate patrons of all ages. Adults can look forward to the Winter Reading Program which starts in January. In summer, we love to shine a light on the kids with the Summer Reading Program. While teens are definitely also a part of the Summer Reading Program, we like to boost them up even more during the month of October. The Young Adult Library Services Association, or YALSA, previously held Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week celebrations. But now, in hopes of promoting teen services provided by libraries, they’ve evolved those weeks into TeenTober, which lasts all throughout the month of October.

On the second Saturday of each month at 1:30pm, we offer up a Teen/Tween program that is free for all participants. Previous programs have included laser tag, STEM projects, Dungeons and Dragons, and more. Thanks to the Prairielands Library Exchange TeenTober grant and the Litchfield Friends of the Library, the Litchfield Library has recently purchased an Xbox Series X console, and teens have already been able to test it out! On Oct ober 14th, the teen program drew in several gamers to play Minecraft and Overcooked. We’re hoping to schedule a November teen event to bring out the Xbox again. The library will be closed on the second Saturday of November for Veteran’s Day, so the regular teen program won’t be happening that month.

Occasionally, we provide take-home activities for teens. For example, this last month, teens were able to come in and pick up a comic kit. Kits included twelve colored pencils, a fine-tip marker, and six comic book pages. As a bonus, all kits contain an evaluation card that teens can fill out and return to the library for a sweet treat!

In regards to our books, we’ve expanded our collection of manga substantially in the last year. We’ve acquired several books in the series “My Hero Academia,” “Full-Metal Alchemist,” “Fruitsbasket,” and many others. If you prefer to re-read our well-loved books like “Naruto” or “Bleach,” we have plenty of those to go around as well.

If your teen prefers to jump on the mystery-thriller trend, we have plenty of new novels to fit the bill. Authors like Karen McManus have shined a spotlight on this genre and inspired many other authors to write more young adult books like this. These are great picks at this time of year for a dark, creepy vibe.

“Grim” by Sara B. Elfgren

If you’re looking for a book to get you right in the Halloween spirit, “Grim” is the perfect pick. Eighteen-year-old Kasper now has his dream job at an amusement park. His new friend Iris teaches him the best ways to terrify guests in the haunted house. Told in dueling timelines, you learn about the story of a death metal band’s demise as Kasper tries to uncover the truth of what happened.




“Those We Drown” by Amy Goldsmith

Students Liv and Will are beyond excited to live out their dreams when they find out they are accepted into a semester-at-sea program and get to spend six weeks on a luxury cruise ship. But for these two teens, those dreams turn into nightmares. When Will disappears after the first night, Liv has to figure out what lurks below deck.

Whatever the thrill, there is still time in TeenTober for teens to stop into the library (or any time after October – we welcome them all year long)! We love helping teenagers find books that speak to them, research that helps them, and communities that love them. To learn about upcoming teen events and programs, check our Facebook page or website

Spooky Season Stories
By Miss Rachel

The pumpkin spice lattes are out, the leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping, and that can mean one thing: fall is here (and sweater weather)! Some people consider themselves to be mood readers, and with the changing season, October is a prime time for spooky stories. If you and your young reader are looking for some stories to get you ready for Halloween and all the frightening energy, the library has some new books to get you in the spooky spirit!

“Melvina Whitmoore (more or less a horror story)” by Faith Capalia

Poor Melvina is afraid of everything. When she hears something in her new house, she is terrified! Who or what will she find? Check this picture book out to see how Melvina defines her own home.

“Horton Hears a Boo” by Wade Bradford

You might be happy to read that this is the same Horton who heard a Who. He is just as lovable as ever in this new picture book! As Horton continues the work of helping those in need, he and his friends have to overcome some scary surprises.


“Merlina and the Magical Mishap” by Daniela Drescher

Merlina and her friend Igor the dragon are in the midst of harvest when poor Igor steps on a thorn. Merlina tries to help with some magic spells, but chaos follows. The illustrations in this picture book invite you into an enchanted atmosphere with cozy charm.

“The Skull” by Jon Klassen

Despite the small number of words contained in this book, it is meant for a slightly older audience. An adaptation of a traditional Tyrolean folktale, “The Skull” is about a girl named Otilla who finds what she believes is an old abandoned house. That is where she finds the skull. With few words and plenty of creepy pictures, this book will keep your young reader turning the pages! For those interested in the writing process, Klassen also includes a few pages at the end explaining how he came across this tale and made it his own.

“The Lost Library” by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass

A burned down library, ghosts, and a mysterious history pull you into this story where eleven-year-old Evan’s life changes after checking out some books from a little free library. Different characters take turns narrating this book including a ghost, a cat, and Evan himself. Through these lenses, you’ll learn what really happened in this small town. A great middle grade choice for those who appreciate the power of good books, grumpy cats, and family.

As your little one is reading some spooktacular books, you may find yourself wanting to add to the atmosphere of spook. We now have a couple of magical cookbooks you can check out to add to the creepy ambience of the season. “The Official Harry Potter Cookbook” by Joanna Farrow and “The Official Fablehaven Cookbook” by Brandon Mull and Cherie Mull both feature lots of fun and tasty recipes to try.

Maybe your young reader is a sensitive soul, and you’re worried that spooky books might not be a great choice for them. Many “scary” picture books are great stories to help young ones overcome fears and find courage within themselves. If you’re not totally sure if a story is right for your reader, library staff can help you figure that out.

If you find yourself in a rush, we’ve made it easier to find Halloween books. You’ll find a little jack-o-lantern sticker on the bottom of the spine of books about Halloween. No need to search the catalog – just look for the little pumpkin sticker! Whatever mood you find yourself in this October, the library has a book for you.

Scary Reads for October 
by Beth Cronk
October 4, 2023

“October was always the least dependable of months… full of ghosts and shadows.” So said Joy Fielding in her novel Tell Me No Secrets. If you’re looking for something scary to read this spooky month, the library has several new horror and thriller novels available to give you a shiver.

Horror master Stephen King has a brand-new novel.  Hollybrings back the character Holly Gibney, seen before in King’s novels Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch, The Outsider, and If It Bleeds. Holly is now a private detective, and she reluctantly accepts a missing person case. It will require all of her resourcefulness to take on a brilliant pair of 80-something professors who appear to be behind a string of disappearances. King doesn’t have supernatural elements in this book, just the horror of human evil.

More a psychological thriller than a horror novel, Looking Glass Sound is the story of an author writing a book about his youth. Wilder returns to a small vacation town in Maine to write a book about one summer when a killer stalked the town, and he and his friends bonded over a tragedy.  Author Catriona Ward has created a layered puzzle of a novel, where the main character is being haunted by something that makes him question his sense of reality.

Mister Magic is a creepy supernatural thriller by Kiersten White. Thirty years after a tragic accident ended a popular children’s TV series, the remaining cast members who were child actors on the show are brought back together. They all have happy memories of their time on Mister Magic; however, no video survives, and no one even knows who Mister Magic was. Critics describe it as a blend of Twin Peaks, Stranger Things, It, and The Stepford Wives.

What if the little mermaid was a dangerous creature, as mermaids in legend used to be? This is the starting premise of the novella The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw. The daughters of the mermaid and the prince have devoured and destroyed their kingdom. The mermaid flees, meets up with a plague doctor, and discovers a village of vampire children. Reviewers say this gory novel is beautifully-written and surprisingly heartfelt.

Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt does what horror and speculative fiction can do very effectively: examine real-world issues through an unreal lens. Alice spent a night in an abandoned house with her friends three years ago, and her life has spiraled out of control since then. One of the friends asks her to accompany her to the house again. Together they face the horrors that happened there, and they try to rescue the third friend who was taken by the haunted house. Not for the faint of heart, this novel has been compared to the works of Clive Barker and Shirley Jackson.

Author Mona Awad spins a gothic but modern fairy tale in Rouge. Belle has always been obsessed with skin care, and when her estranged mother dies mysteriously, Belle is drawn into the cult-like California spa to which her mother was devoted. Another examination of modern issues through horror, this novel skewers the wellness and beauty industries and the modern obsession with appearance.

Black Sheep is yet another horror novel that examines real life terrors from an imagined perspective.  Author Rachel Harrison writes about a family of religious fanatics and an estranged adult daughter, Vesper, who has left the fold. A wedding invitation from a cherished cousin brings Vesper back to her family home, where she discovers a terrible secret.

Looking for more scary ideas? Search for the subject “horror fiction” in the library catalog, and find some thrills and chills for your October.



Magazines for Literacy
by Miss Rachel

Students, parents, and educators are now settling into their day-to-day routines. In my experience as a middle school language arts teacher, I know finding relevant and up-to-date texts (especially nonfiction) that are interesting to students can be tricky. But when you are able to find these types of texts, students often get to learn about topics they are interested while gaining important reading comprehension skills. Yay for cross-curricular learning!

Whether you’re looking for fiction or nonfiction texts for your young reader, the library has tons of options. No matter the reading level, we can find books to fit the bill; even if we are lacking books on a very specific topic, the odds are good that we’ll be able to order in a book or two from other Pioneerland libraries. But if you’re not looking for a specific topic, we have another resource for you to check out: magazines! We have subscriptions to several different magazines for kids to check out.


Looking for a well-rounded resource for your young reader? From crafting, to culture, to biology, to language, Brainspace has a little bit of everything. With fun experiments, recipes, games, and comics, young ones will have plenty to do! Brainspace comes out every other month and is targeted toward kids ages 8-14.

National Geographic Kids

As you can probably guess, National Geographic Kids offers tons of information about the natural world in a format that is more accessible to our young readers. With wild photographs, mind-boggling facts, and awesome animals, these magazines can inspire your young scientist! Kids 6-14 can enjoy this magazine with a new issue every month.


Novels can be quite a commitment. But little snippets of great writing may be just the tool to inspire lifelong readers. In Cricket magazines, you’ll find stirring stories with fantastic illustrations along with some fun puzzles too! These magazines come out 9 times a year and are geared toward ages 9-14 with a focus on literature and quality writing.


Cricket magazine has a couple of other publications that are for a younger audience. Ladybug comes out 9 times a year and is perfect for children ages 3 to 6. They contain plenty of tools to help your young one grow as a reader. Think of Ladybug as a kind of written-out storytime experience, with songs, rhymes, fun stories with pictures, and activities for little ones.


If your little one is more interested in the world of science, nature, and the environment, Click might be just the way to spark a lifelong love of learning. This magazine explores common questions that kids may ask like “What is fire?” and explores scientific answers and relevant ways that you see these topics in the world today. Like Ladybug, Click is great for kids ages 3 to 6 and comes out 9 times per year.


If your family looks for new recipes to try together, ChopChop has plenty to offer. In addition to cooking tips and nutritional information, ChopChop provides opportunities for young readers to work on language literacy too. This magazine comes out quarterly and is geared toward kids ages 5-12.

Where can you find all of these fun and educational magazines? We’ve recently moved them from the children’s section to the adult side of the library so that they’re now with all of the other magazines and newspapers. Magazine issues can be checked out for two weeks. At the library, we support literacy in all formats for all readers.

Running out of new TV? Find Something to Watch This Fall at the Library
by Beth Cronk

September is traditionally when broadcast television seasons begin. With the writers’ strike that began in May and the actors’ strike that began in July, networks are struggling to fill their evening schedules, according to Reuters and other news sources. Some series completed filming before the strikes. Some networks are bringing in programs from other countries, such as the British version of Ghostsand the Australian version of NCIS. CBS will begin airing the first season of the popular cable drama “Yellowstone” on broadcast TV this fall. Game shows and reality shows will fill even more of the schedule than usual.

If you’re looking for more viewing choices, you can check out thousands of options on DVD at the library. The Emmy Awards are delayed until January, but the nominees were announced this summer as usual, and the library has several of these quality television shows available to check out.

Abbott Elementary is once again nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series. Quinta Brunson is nominated as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy. Tyler James Williams is nominated in the Supporting Actor category. Janelle James is nominated for Supporting Actress, as is last year’s winner Sheryl Lee Ralph. This workplace comedy follows a group of teachers in one of the worst public schools in the country. The second season just arrived at the library, and the first season is also available to check out.

The first season of House of the Dragon is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. This spinoff of Game of Thrones focuses on a succession war among the Targaryen royal family two hundred years before the events of the original series. Litchfield Library has this series available on DVD.

The first season of The Last of Us is also nominated in the category of Outstanding Drama Series, plus Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing.  Pedro Pascal is nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama, and Bella Ramsey is nominated for Lead Actress. Based on a video game that was critically-acclaimed for emotional storytelling and rich character development, this horror/adventure drama similarly takes time and care to develop its characters and examine their complicated choices. A fungal pandemic has wiped out the structures of civilization as we know it, and zombies roam outside of fortresses. A man who is alone in the world must safeguard a teenage girl as they travel across the continent, in the hope of developing a cure for the disease. I checked this one out from the library myself, and I found the entire season compelling, sometimes beautiful, and always haunting.

Yellowjacketsis nominated for Outstanding Drama Series for the second year in a row. Melanie Lynskey is once again nominated as Lead Actress.  In this thriller series, a successful high school girls’ soccer team survives a plane crash in the northern wilderness, but while they’re stranded for an extended time, they separate into savage groups. Twenty-five years later, they still struggle with what happened.  Season two will come out on DVD in mid-October, and the library has it on order, so it’s possible to place a request for it. Season one is available now.

The Hulu film Preyis nominated for Outstanding Television Movie. It is also up for both the Directing and the Writing awards in the category that encompasses both miniseries and TV movies.  A prequel to the Predator films, this installment is set in 1719. A young Comanche woman sets out to protect her people and discovers the threat is an alien predator. This movie will be released on DVD in early October, and it is on order for the library.

Litchfield Library also has Poker Face on order, a comedy series with an Outstanding Actress nomination. The miniseries George & Tammy is on order, as well; Michael Shannon is nominated for playing country singer George Jones, and Jessica Chastain is nominated for playing Tammy Wynette. Both of these titles are already in the catalog and available to request, and they should arrive soon.

If you’re looking for a particular TV show, you can look it up by title in the catalog. If you just want to browse for ideas, you can go to the “New Items Purchased” link in our online catalog, then click on “New DVDs and Music CDs” as well as “New Items on Order” to look for new DVDs to request. And, of course, you can always come in and browse the shelf. There’s certain to be something you haven’t watched that you can get from the library.

Finding the Right Books Para Ti
by Miss Rachel

On the children’s side of the library, we’ve been adding more stickers on the spines of books to help patrons identify different types of books more easily. You’ll see little pumpkin stickers on books related to Halloween, pink heart stickers on books about Valentine’s Day, a four-leaf clover for St. Patrick’s Day books, and more. You may have previously noticed that some books have a blue sticker on the side that states “bilingual.” This means they offer the story in both English and in Spanish. For families or patrons whose first language isn’t English, this kind of formatting may be helpful in comprehending the story and recognizing specific vocabulary.

We’ve recently shifted books around in the children’s section too. When you walk over to the children’s side of the library, you’ll notice that the graphic novels have shifted over, and the Spanish books have their own section that’s easier to see. There are books at all different levels for all different readers. There have been some new additions you can check out the next time you come in! Here are just a few of the titles along with Spanish and English summaries taken from our catalog descriptions and Amazon:

“Pero ¿Por qǔe no te duermes?” by Adam Wallace

¿No puedes dormir? A veces es difícil conciliar el sueño, pero no te preocupes, ¡sé cómo conseguir que te canses! Un álbum ilustrado repleto de humor, ideal para compartir en familia antes de irse a dormir. Contar ovejitas, baños calentitos, nanas… esta historia lo tiene todo para hacerte reír y desesperarte a partes iguales mientras simpatizas con este dragón que hace todo lo posible para que su dragoncito se vaya a dormir.

Can’t sleep? It can be hard to nod off sometimes. But don’t worry, we know just the thing to make you tired. . .What? Still awake? Why won’t you sleep?! A picture book full of humor that’s perfect to read with the family.

“Elena monta en bici” by Juana Medina

Elena quiere montar en bici. Empieza a montar, empieza a rodar. Ella se mece y se bambolea…¡CATAPLAM! Elena, aprender a montar en bici es difícil. Pero tú puedes lograrlo. ¡Inténtalo, inténtalo de nuevo!

Elena wants to ride her bike. She steadies, she readies. She wobbles, she bobbles . . . KA-BANG! Learning to ride a bike is hard. But Elena can do it. She just has to try, try again.


“La Rebelión de las Verduras” by David Aceituno

¡Las verduras dicen basta! Hartas de niños llorones y quejicas que no se terminan el plato, han decidido reivindicar su lugar en el mundo. ¿Cómo? Con la rebelión más gamberra, divertida y vitamínica jamás vivida en el interior de una nevera. Consigan o no su propósito, lo que es seguro es que a partir de ahora no mirarás las verduras con los mismos ojos ..

Vegetables are tired of children crying and complaining to not finish their plates, and they have decided to claim their real importance in this world. How? With the funniest and most vitaminic rebellion ever lived inside a fridge. Whether vegetables achieve their purpose or not, from now on you will not see them with the same eyes…

“Iveliz lo explica todo” by Andrea Beatriz Arango

¿Cómo expresarte cuando sientes que nadie te escucha? En esta conmovedora novela en verso 6 que Lisa Fipps, autora galardonada con un Printz Honor Award, llama “potente” 6 , una niña enfrenta su segundo año de escuela intermedia mientras lidia con problemas de salud mental. Deberá encontrar la manera de usar su voz para pedir la ayuda y la comprensión que merece.

Twelve-year-old Iveliz is trying to manage her mental health and advocate for the help and understanding she deserves, but in the meantime her new friend calls her crazy and her abuela Mimi dismisses the therapy and medicine Iveliz needs to feel like herself.

Whether Spanish is your first language or your third, we have some books in Spanish and others with both English and Spanish text. Maybe it’s time to learn a new language or refresh your skills with some reading practice. These new books in Spanish are exciting and now easy to find!

Fall Programs for Adults
by Beth Cronk

Welcome to fall! September can be a good time to make some plans for the months ahead, whether or not you’re involved with the school year yourself. Litchfield Library has some upcoming programs for adults that you may want to put on your calendar.On Tuesday, September 26, Minnesota author Julie Klassen will be speaking at 6:30 p.m. at the library. Julie won the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction in 2015 for The Secret of Pembrooke Park. She will give a fun and informative talk about her historical novels, her inspiration, her research, and more. Her latest novel is The Sisters of Sea View. There’s no need to sign up to attend this program. As with all library programs, it’s free to attend.

Updated information: On Tuesday, October 24, James Vukelich Kaagegaabaw will be speaking at 6:30 p.m. in the children’s department at the library. James is a descendant of Turtle Mountain, an international speaker, an author, and the creator of the “Ojibwe Word of the Day” social media series. James is recognized as a leading voice on the interconnectedness of language and culture. His insights were developed through speaking with and recording elders and native language speakers in Canada, Michigan, and Minnesota as part of the Ojibwe Language Dictionary Project. He is passionate about inspiring people to live the good life by sharing ancient wisdom to influence modern solutions through an indigenous perspective. James will give a presentation about his new book The Seven Generations and the Seven Grandfather Teachings.
Both of these events are funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.The Litchfield Library has been holding a monthly Knitting Club, and that program will continue through the fall. Do you need some motivation to finish your knitting or crochet project? Need some advice from an experienced knitter? Or just want the company of others who are interested in fiber arts while you work? Drop in to the library’s meeting room between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. on the last Thursday of the month: September 28, October 26, and November 30. The program is open to all ages. There’s no need to sign up, or even to attend for the entire hour, since there’s no formal instruction involved.

Have you thought about joining the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library? Our library is fortunate to have a group of positive and hardworking volunteers who help support the library. This is the group that runs the library’s book sales, handles most of the incoming book and AV material donations, funds programs like the summer reading program and resources like BookPagemagazine, and sometimes sponsors and/or hosts special events. They are currently scheduling a fall event with the Litchfield Area Writers Group. The next meeting of the Litchfield Friends is Tuesday, September 19, at 4:00 p.m. in the library’s meeting room. Prospective members are welcome to come and see what it’s all about.

Litchfield Library offers a monthly Adult Arts & Crafts program. In the past it has sometimes been offered as a take-home kit, and at other times it has been in person. This fall it will be in person on the last Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Advance sign-up is required because space is limited and the class always fills. In fact, if you sign up and your plans change, please contact the library because chances are someone would really like your spot. Projects vary. In the past the program has done resin jewelry, wooden signs, decoupaged birdhouses, and mosaic tile coasters. The library will post each project on the website and the Facebook page when sign-ups open each month.

The library also runs two book clubs for adults. Mystery Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. and, obviously, they read mysteries. Adult Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at noon, and that group reads a wide variety of books. Contact the library for more details if you’re interested in attending either book club.

Fun at the library isn’t just for kids – adults can find entertainment and education at the library, too! Pick up a September calendar of events at the front desk, or find it on the library’s website:

Summer to Fall 2023
by Miss Rachel
August 31, 2023

The end of the summer draws closer, whether we’re ready for the fall or not. But before we dive into the next season and the excitement and/or anxiety that might bring, let’s take a moment to reflect on the success of the Summer Reading Program here at the library!

If you stopped in this summer, you may have noticed our wall of speech and thought bubbles with the names of all the kids signed up for the program. Recently, we had to extend over to another wall because of the amazing number of kids who signed up: 309 total participants! For comparison, we had a total of 265 kids sign up last year. Not only that, we had 29 teens sign up this year, and they’ve read a total of 966 hours. Not a bad turnout for our awesome patrons!

We’d also like to give special thanks to all of the wonderful businesses in the community who contributed to our Summer Reading Program. Because of your help and donations, we’re able to get kids reading and building up skills they take with them for the rest of their lives. Thank you to Sweet Escape, Pizza Ranch in Hutchinson, Fantastic Sam’s, Subway, Litchfield Dental, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Casey’s, Stockmen’s Greenhouse & Garden Center, and the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library – you all make this reading program a success!

Our young patrons were able to try new things and explore new interests this summer to help them with finding their voices. As many of them head to school, the library is still here to support all readers. Here is what we have scheduled for the fall.

For our littlest patrons, we have our baby/toddler storytimes on Wednesdays starting at 10:15am. This continues from August through the fall without a break. But our preschool storytime on Fridays will start up again on September 15th at 10:00am. We will be outside as long as the weather permits.

Our STEAM Labs and LEGO Nights will continue to happen once a month: September 12th, October 10th, and November 14th. STEAM Labs are for kids in grades kindergarten through sixth, and it runs from 4:00pm – 4:30pm. We ask that you call in or stop by to sign up your kiddo ahead of time. Descriptions of the STEAM lab activity will be posted on our website and Facebook page. LEGO nights go from 6:30pm-7:30pm and don’t have a sign-up — just stop in and build something cool with your young ones!

We also have our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program that goes all year long. Parents/guardians can sign up any young readers who aren’t in kindergarten yet. Any book read to your little one gets counted toward the goal of 1,000 books – this can include storytime books read here at the library! Does it count if you read the same book more than once? Absolutely! We encourage reading books multiple times with young ones! You can sign up for this program at any time throughout the year.

Thank you to everyone who supported our Summer Reading Program; from parents, to grandparents, to babysitters, and everyone who helped our young patrons make their way to the library, we appreciate you. While we will miss the hustle and bustle of all the kids in the library during the summer days, we love to be here for them when they need us for a recommendation for their next book report or help with a research project. Maybe they will stop in just to find a book that reminds them of sweet summertime. Whatever the occasion, we are happy to see young readers here at the library.

Back to School Books
By Miss Rachel

In just the blink of a n eye, summer is already wrapping up. Maybe you have kids at home who are so excited to go back to school. Or maybe you have kids at home who are less than thrilled by the idea of getting back into the classroom. No matter what kinds of feelings are happening about school, we have some new books to help get back into school mode!

“How to Be Confident in Kindergarten” by D. J. Steinberg

This tiny book packs a great big message for kindergartners getting ready for school! As your little one prepares to figure out all the ins and outs of going to school, they may need a little positive push in self-esteem. The rhyming verse in this book gives little readers a boost of confidence as they navigate some potentially scary situations – like raising your hand to ask your teacher a question.

“Bitsy Bat: School Star” by Kaz Windness

Bitsy Bat is pretty nervous for her first day of school at Crittercrawl Elementary. When she flies into her classroom, she quickly finds out she doesn’t fit in very well with her classmates. The more Bitsy tries, the more she is told that she is “wrong.” Will Bitsy get her sparkle back and shine like a star? Check this out to find out!

“Breathe Like A Bear: First Day of School Worries” by Kira Willey

Mindfulness is becoming a more commonplace term today. As back to school jitters set in, stepping back and taking deep breaths can help regulate the nervous system. In this story, Bear has some butterflies in her tummy that she tries to settle down. Each page ends with a question posed to the reader to get them thinking about how they handle situations. The adorable illustrations make this book even more comforting to read.

“Back to School, Backpack!” by Simon Rich

One of the most important school supplies is the backpack. But we don’t often think about how the backpack views going back to school. This story is told from the perspective of a very nervous backpack who just wants to make it through the first day. With each obstacle that poor backpack faces, all it wants is to not be alone.

While back to school picture books are pretty plentiful in the library, there are also many middle grade and young adult books about back to school anxiety and other stressful school related situations.

“Penny Draws a Best Friend” by Sara Shepard

Like so many others, Penny is anxious for school to start. At least she has her favorite after school activity to look forward to – art club! But friendship drama seems to be stirring this year. What can Penny do to bring things back to the way they were? This book has plenty of fun illustrations throughout the chapters, kind of like “The Diary of A Wimpy Kid” series.

“School Trip” by Jerry Craft

New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft has come out with another graphic novel that teen and pre-teen readers will love. In this next adventure, Jordan and his friends are taking a school trip to Paris. With their excitement to see and experience all kinds of new things, will they take on all the nuances of a foreign culture with ease, or will they all end up feeling like the “new kid”?

We have so many books about school and school-related experiences here at the library. If you’re looking for something that your young reader can relate to on a personal note, come on in, and one of the library staff members will gladly help you find the perfect pick for your reader. From neurodivergence, to cultural differences, to varieties of interests, to different abilities, we have books for everyone to read and enjoy.

Beach Reads for August Days
by Beth Cronk
August 9, 2023

August is a time for vacations, the beach, cabins – and air conditioning. Wherever you’re spending your time during the dog dogs of summer, you can choose from many new beach reads that are available to check out at the library. What’s a “beach read”? They can be books with engrossing or fluffy plots, with summertime or seaside settings, or that are broadly popular and not too intellectual. They’re often an escape from reality, or a book that you just can’t put down.

Elin Hilderbrand is a queen of beach reads. Her new book this summer is The Five-Star Weekend. A well-known food blogger named Hollis loses her husband in an accident, and her relationship with her daughter becomes strained. Hollis hears about the concept of a “five-star weekend,” which is a trip with a best friend chosen from each phase of her life: teens, twenties, thirties, and mid-life. She decides to organize a small-group event like that for herself on Nantucket. The relationships among the group (and some surprise visitors) turn out to be more complicated than expected. This bestselling novel has themes of friendship, love, and self-discovery.

Good Night, Irene is also a novel about female friendship, but it’s historical fiction. Author Luis Alberto Urrea was inspired by his mother’s service with the Clubmobile Corps in World War II: a group of women who worked on the front lines delivering coffee and donuts to American soldiers. In the novel, Irene flees an abusive fiancé in New York by enlisting in the Red Cross and joining the war effort in Europe. She befriends Dorothy, and together they face danger from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of a concentration camp.

For an edge-of-your-seat thriller, look for Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman. Newman is a former flight attendant. Like a disaster movie in book form, this novel tells the story of a flight that crashes in the Pacific Ocean and sinks to the bottom with survivors inside. One person on the rescue team has family members in the plane, which gives the story an emotional punch.

Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan is a contemporary second-chance romance. Sam is engaged to an uptight but perfect doctor, and she has a perfect, if precarious, job in Manhattan. She arrives at her family’s beach house to tour a wedding venue, only to discover that the guy who broke her heart at seventeen is at his family’s house next door. Although she hasn’t seen Wyatt in fourteen years, she grew up spending summers with him throughout her childhood and teen years, and their connection is rekindled.

Happy Place by Emily Henry is a rom-com that’s about a group of long-time friends as much as it’s about the central couple. Harriet and Wyn have been together since college, but they broke up months ago and kept it a secret from their friends. They continue to keep the secret while the group of friends is vacationing with them for a week at the Maine cottage that has been their annual getaway. The house is for sale, and this is the last time they’ll all be there together. This novel delivers humor, heart, and nostalgia.

Bad Summer People is a darkly funny murder mystery by Emma Rosenblum. Jen and Lauren are the adult “mean girls” of a town on Fire Island in New York. Their husbands have been friends since childhood, spending summers on the island every year – and they have secrets. Jen and Lauren’s single friend Rachel is looking for love – even if that’s with someone else’s husband. A body is found by the boardwalk, and everyone has something to hide.

Stop in to pick up an escapist romance, a thriller, a friendship-focused novel, or whatever you enjoy while the days are still hot. Need a break in a cool place? Stay to read a newspaper or use a computer in the library’s air-conditioned comfort.

Creature Chronicles for Young Readers
by Miss Rachel
August 2, 2023

An exciting lesson to teach little ones is all the different animal sounds. When you hear a tiny human saying “Moo,” or “Roar,” it’s really difficult not to smile. As I’ve said previously, our theme this summer is “Find Your Voice.” As we encourage kids to find their voice through doing the things they love, we can also have fun with animals and their voices! If you’re looking for some fun animal reads this summer, come take a look at some of our new books.

“Jack the Library Cat” by Marietta Apollonio   

I don’t know about you, but I think a library cat sounds like a pretty magical idea! This cute kitty just wants to come to storytime, but he gets shooed away each time. But then a little boy decides to make Jack his new reading buddy. As we find ways to help young readers find their voice, Jack is a great example of finding a place where you belong.

“Simon and the Better Bone” by Corey Tabor

This great storytime book features a playful puppy named Simon. He ventures over to the water’s edge with his bone and sees another dog – with an even better bone! Who is this familiar-looking new dog with his tasty treat? You’ll have to read it to find out!

“Hats Are Not for Cats” by Jacqueline K. Rayner

Sometimes finding your voice means wearing what makes you happy. In this book, a big bossy dog tries to convince a crafty cat that hats are not for cats. But she continues to defy the dog’s claims that hats are for dogs by wearing crazy and creative cat hats and finding more cats to join in the hat-wearing parade! With silly pictures and fun rhymes, this book is a great choice for young readers.

“Beak & Ally: The Big Storm” by Norm Feuti

This adorable alligator and bird duo is back! As the big storm wreaks havoc on Ally’s home, she learns that her community and friends are always there for her. She also learns the power of the words “thank you.” Sometimes finding your voice is finding ways to communicate with the people around you in meaningful ways.

“The Remarkable Rescue at Milkweed Meadow” by Elain Dimopoulos

Reviews of this book say that fans of “The Tales of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo and “Clarice the Brave” by Lisa McMann will enjoy this adorable story of friendship and community. The story of the bunny named Butternut will warm the hearts of middle grade readers as she learns to help and love others that don’t look like her. Illustrations give this chapter book even fuzzier feels for readers.

Our new middle grade section has quite a few other fun series of books featuring animals to choose from, including “Dog Diaries: Big Top Bonanza” by James Patterson with Steven Butler, plenty of “Itty Bitty Princess Kitty” books by Melody Mews, and the graphic novel series “Investigators” by John Patrick Green. “Julia and the Shark” is a stand-alone book by Kiran Millwood Hargrave that has a much more serious tone to it if that’s what you’re looking for. We can find tons of animal options for your young readers.

Finding your voice can mean doing what you love, saying what you believe in, sharing your talents with others, and so much more. But we can also think about listening to the voices of others – even animal voices!

History for the Here and Now
by Miss Rachel
July 11, 2023

In your childhood, your experience with historical books may look different than that of kids growing up right now. Maybe you think about Laura Ingalls Wilder and all of her adventures, or the “Dear America” books. “American Girl” books are still circulating regularly today. Or maybe you have always preferred a different genre like mystery or fantasy. The good news for younger readers is that authors are finding new ways to keep history a popular genre for publication.

Author Kate Messner puts her research energy into great use by writing her “History Smashers” series for kids. Messner’s goal is to smash the stories behind famous moments in history and expose more truths. Students will love learning about history with these books that contain real photographs, mini comics, sidebars, and more. At the end of each book, Messner also includes complete timelines, additional resources and museums to check out on the topic, and a full bibliography of the sources she used to write the book. On our new book shelf, we have a copy of “History Smashers: Women’s Right to Vote.”

While not technically nonfiction literature, the New York Times bestselling “I Survived” series tells stories of young people and their resilience and strength in the midst of

 unimaginable yet very real disasters. Lauren Tarshis has written books on topics like the September 11 attacks, the destruction of Pompeii, Hurricane Katrina, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and so many more. On our new book shelf, we currently have “I Survived: The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863” and “I Survived: The Japanese Tsunami, 2011.” While a

 fictionalized account of the historical event, Tarshis brings in plenty of research to reflect how things actually happened. In addition to these chapter books, Tarshis has also adapted the “I Survived” books into graphic novel format. If that kind of reading is more appealing to your younger reader, we currently have the graphic novel “I Survived: The Attack of the Grizzlies, 1967” on our new book shelf.

Dan Gutman is a common author in middle grade literature with his “My Weird School” series. But he’s also delved into nonfiction by writing a series called “Wait! What?” In these books, Gutman features a historical figure and asks a wild question about them. On our new bookshelf, you’ll find “Lucille Ball Had No Eyebrows.” Learn all the common and uncommon knowledge about Lucy in this book!

We also have a selection of historical picture books that you can read with your youngest readers. For example, “The Fire of Stars: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars Are Made Of” by Kirsten W. Larson features the story of Cecilia Payne and her difficult journey to success. The illustrations create a beautiful starry atmosphere that makes the reader want to follow in Cecilia’s footsteps.

“Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England” by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema offers up a more detailed account of Elizabeth I. This story might be better suited for older kids who can handle more text in a story; however, the illustrations will captivate the attention of all readers.

It’s wonderful to have young patrons asking for help finding the “History Smashers” or “I Survived” books. Maybe your young readers will get you hooked on them as well. But if you’re still longing for “Little House on the Prairie,” and “American Girl” books, we have you covered there too!

Informational Tools at Your Fingertips
by Miss Rachel
July 5, 2023

As a former educator and a forever student, I love to learn. I love seeing patrons come in and check out books so that they can learn. But it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re passionate about a specific topic, we can certainly help you find books on that subject. We also have some great online resources available to help you learn in all different areas, age levels, and settings.

If you head to the library website and look at the very top toolbar, the far-right link is labeled “Learning Tools.” On this page, you’ll find the following helpful resources:

One-on-one help can make all the difference if you’re struggling with understanding a concept or a skill. Brainfuse HelpNow is a free online tutoring service available through the Pioneerland Library System. The service covers all major subject areas in English and in Spanish. Live tutors are available from 2:00pm to 11:00pm every day. There is even an Adult Learning Center to help with your own learning and career goals with academic coaching, a practice test center, and online resources. If you have a library card, you can utilize these resources from home too.

With nearly 1,000 online tutorials, practice tests, and e-books, the Learning Express Library has you covered. Students from about 4th grade and all the way into adulthood can find helpful tools on this site: job search and workplace skills improvement, skill building in reading, writing, math, and basic science, career certification and licensure exam prep, college and grad school entrance test prep, GED test prep, and more.

If you know a teenager who is hoping to get their driver’s license, they might want to check out the link “Free Permit Practice Test.” This site has different levels of practice tests for people to take, and it also has a copy of the “MN Driver’s Handbook.” In addition to a standard driver’s license, this site also has resources for people wanting their CDL and motorcycle licenses. This site is helpful for the permit test, driver’s license test, and the senior citizens’ refresher test.

Access to many articles from different newspapers and scholarly journals can be limited if you’re not paying for a subscription. But if you go into the ProQuest Newsstand site, you’ll find that the library gives you access to a range of published texts without the cost.

Finding credible sources for information can be a challenge today. But within the “Learning Tools” tab on our library website, there are several trustworthy databases to choose from. EBSCO Host offers a variety of proprietary full text databases and popular databases from leading information providers. Infotrac divides up research by age groups to allow access to information seekers at a level they understand. You won’t find many libraries that have sets of encyclopedia books anymore, but Britannica Online has many different editions for different audiences.

eLibrary Minnesota (or ELM) offers many of the previously mentioned resources in one central location. As stated by Minitex, “ELM is brought to you by your local library or school library, Minitex, and State Library Services, Minnesota’s state library agency, with state appropriations to Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Minnesota Department of Education. The legislative intent is to provide Minnesotans with the best possible access to information resources across the educational spectrum, including K-12, higher education, state government, and public libraries.”

At the library, we want to offer you access to as much information and as many resources as possible. In addition to the wide array of books we have here, we also have online access to so much more. Need some individual help to find some information? Talk to a library staff member – we are here to help!

Graphic Novels Aren’t Just for Kids
by Beth Cronk, County Librarian
June 28, 2023

While many young people have embraced the graphic novel format, fewer older adults have. We grew up with comic books and with comic strips in newspapers, but the book genre called “graphic novels” didn’t really hit its stride in publishing until about twenty years ago.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, one of the first graphic novels was published in 1978: A Contract with God, and Other Tenement Stories. Serious comics for adults first became prominent in the late 1980s, with The Dark Knight ReturnsWatchmen, and Maus. These had a different style than traditional, often humorous, short comics. Graphic novels became more widely published and read beginning in the year 2000.

Whether you’re talking about comics or graphic novels, this format is distinguished by a combination of words and images to tell a story, with the layout looking like panels on a page. “Graphic” in this context does not mean that it’s something offensive or mature. It refers to pictorial art, like the term “graphic design.” The result is almost something in between a traditional novel and a movie, with the visual elements telling part of the story.

At our local libraries, graphic novels for children and teens have become popular, but the ones we have for adults don’t get as much attention. Maybe local readers don’t realize we have them, or maybe we don’t have many local readers of them. If you’d like to try reading a graphic novel for adults, you can look for the red graphic novel label on the spine as you browse the library, or you can look for some of the following titles, recently added to the Litchfield collection:

Keeping Two by Jordan Crane is a layered drama about loss, grief, fear, and insecurity. A young couple with a strained relationship is stuck in traffic, reading a novel aloud to pass the time, as tensions build. The graphic novel format allows the author to show each character’s interior experience along with the events of the story. The novel is described as deeply romantic in the end.

The book Talk to My Back was originally published as a serial in a Japanese magazine in the 1980s. Author and artist Murasaki Yamada was groundbreaking in her portrayals of women’s lives. The main character of this story is a suburban Tokyo housewife, navigating her relationships with her increasingly independent daughters and with her husband who works long hours and treats her like a servant. This translated version is printed in reverse of English-language books, in Japanese manga style: you begin at the back, although the historical information about the work is printed at the beginning.

Dog Biscuits by Alex Graham was originally a webcomic, published several panels at a time on Instagram in 2020. In the novel, a Seattle resident struggles to keep his dog biscuit boutique in business during the early months of the pandemic, while his employee struggles with loneliness and maintaining her principles. A snapshot of a few days in a fraught time, this book examines social media, politics, gender, class, and the complexity of life.

Some graphic novels aren’t novels at all – they’re nonfiction. Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball examines the cultural significance, physics, and art of the game, in addition to the history. Author and artist Jon Chad opens the book with an event at a 1976 New York City Council meeting. Champion pinball player Roger Sharpe demonstrated to the council that pinball was a game of skill, not chance, in an effort to legalize pinball machines in the city.

Graphic novels are a good choice if you want to find books that are quick to read, if you have some difficulty reading, and if you want to develop your visual literacy – the ability to understand and think critically about the images in our world. You can find them in our library catalog by searching “graphic novels” as a subject or keyword. You can also explore graphic novels for children and teens by visiting the graphic novel section of the children’s department, and learn for yourself why they’re so popular with kids today.

Quick Reads for the Summer!
by Miss Rachel
June 21, 2023

For many families, reading can take a backseat during the summer months. But with our Summer Reading Program in full force, we are happy to say that our young patrons are reading many books! If your young reader hasn’t signed up for the program yet, there is still plenty of time for them to register, earn Library Loot, and get cool prizes. For some readers, motivation to read a book is still a struggle. We have some different options for reluctant readers to check out.

Novels in verse are a great choice for readers who are overwhelmed by lengthy novels. A novel in verse is written in poetic stanzas, so there are fewer words on each page. Many authors who utilize this format are able to make an entire story with less text. The succinct writing of novels in verse can make some plots more accessible for readers struggling to get through a book. Our new book shelf has several different novels in verse you can choose from:

“The One and Only Ruby” by Katherine Applegate

If you loved “The One and Only Ivan,” and “The One and Only Bob,” this book should be next up on your reading list! This novel centers around the elephant Ruby’s experiences before the circus. Ruby’s story is sure to make all readers fall in love with the sweet elephant.


“Like A Hurricane” by Jonathan Becotte

This story is about a young boy struggling with his sense of self. He has a secret that makes his insides feel “like a hurricane.” The use of placement, size, and shape of the text helps to illustrate ideas within the novel. A quick read for middle grade readers.


“Enter the Body” by Joy McCullough

For teen readers who take interest in The Bard, this book explores some unheard voices in some of his most popular plays. The ghosts of Juliet, Ophelia, Cordelia, and other girls who tragically died in his plays get a chance to tell the stories that we haven’t heard before.


Graphic novels are another quick way to devour stories. Pictures can help struggling readers to better comprehend the plot, track characters, and enjoy novels. We have many graphic novels on our new shelf to check out:

“Squished” by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Main character Avery loves her neighborhood, school, and the summer fair. But she is tired of feeling squished by her six siblings! All she wants is some space for herself, but that doesn’t look too likely.


“Batter Up, Charlie Brown” by Charles M. Schulz

Charlie, Snoopy, Woodstock, and the gang are all here in a graphic novel format. This book includes six different stories for the whole family to enjoy: “It’s Toyko, Charlie Brown,” “Spring Training,” “Blind as a Bat,” “Legal Beagle,” “The Perfect Pelican,” and “Lucy Lets Loose.” Check out this great collection of old favorites in a new setup.


We love seeing kids come in and check books out – no matter what the format.  To avoid a summer slide – and to earn some Library Loot to get awesome prizes – bring the kids over to the library this summer!


Learn More about the Dakota War
by Beth Cronk, County Librarian
June 14, 2023

With all the buzz around the new locally-filmed movie “Uprising,” local folks are interested in learning more about the history behind it. The movie is based on Minnesota Representative Dean Urdahl’s 2007 novel Uprising, which is available to check out at the library.

The war has sometimes been referred to as the Dakota Conflict or the Sioux Uprising, but these days it is typically called the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The Minnesota Historical Society has a website devoted to the war: On that site, they have a list of recommended books, which includes Rep. Urdahl’s Uprising as well as the sequels Retributionand Pursuit. The sequels are available at the Litchfield Library, as are the following books about the war, also recommended by the MHS:

Birch Coulie: The Epic Battle of the Dakota War was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2012. Author John Christgau was an award-winning writer on issues of reconciliation. This nonfiction book recounts the events of the decisive battle in Renville County. It also gives a nuanced perspective on the two communities – the white settlers and the Dakota – both traumatized by the violence, and both experiencing internal dissent throughout the events of this time.

Little Crow: Leader of the Dakota is a 2004 biography written for children ages nine and older.  Author Gwenyth Swain is a children’s writer from Minnesota. This well-researched nonfiction book tells the life story of Taoyateduta, known to the white settlers as Little Crow, beginning with his childhood near St. Paul. He became the leader of his people when they were forced to sign over their land and move to a small reservation, and he agreed to lead the battles in the Dakota War even though he knew the U.S. government would respond severely. This book is an easy-to-absorb account of the man and the historical events that can be useful to people of all ages.

If you’re looking for a more direct historical source, you could take a look at the official record of Minnesota’s military participation in the Dakota War. Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, 1861-1865 was published by the Pioneer Press in 1891-93. It contains regimental rosters, detailed narratives, letters, telegrams, and dispatches from the field for both the Civil War and the Dakota War.

For another direct account originally published in that historical period, look for Six Weeks in the Sioux Teepees: A Narrative of Indian Captivity by Sarah F. Wakefield. The book was originally published in 1864. It was edited and annotated by history professor June Namias and published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1997. Wakefield was a young settler, a doctor’s wife, who was caught up in the Dakota War. The Mdewakanton Dakota man Chaska saved her from danger and sheltered her with his community. He was later hanged for it. Wakefield spoke up to hold the government responsible during the investigations immediately following the war.

Dakota Dawn: The Decisive First Week of the Sioux Uprising, August 17-24, 1862 is a book published in 2011. Author Gregory Michno is a historian who delved into 2,000 pages of primary sources including original records, diaries, newspaper accounts from the time, and the Indian Depradation Claim files. Michno uncovered details not previously included in books about the Dakota War, allowing him to correct some previous misconceptions.

The Minnesota Historical Society also recommends these books published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, which you can find at the Litchfield Library:

Little Crow, Spokesman for the Sioux by Gary Clayton Anderson, published in 1986;

Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White, published in 2012;

North Country: The Making of Minnesota by Mary Lethert Wingerd, published in 2010;

Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics by David A. Nichols, published in 2012; and

Dakota Women’s Work: Creativity, Culture, and Exile by Colette A. Hyman, published in 2012.

The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 was a significant event in American history that happened right here in our area. If you’d like to understand more about it, check out the library’s extensive collection of books about the war, or visit the Minnesota Historical Society’s website for some excellent resources.

Figuring Out Financial Literacy
by Miss Rachel
June 7, 2023

$1 does not seem to go very far in today’s economy. According to the U.S. Inflation Calculator, the equivalent of $1 today would be $0.15 in 1973 – just fifty years ago. While we can’t change the value of a dollar, we can make sure that our young readers understand what they can do with a dollar: earn, spend, save, invest, and so on.

As part of the Summer Reading Program this year, we are introducing the use of Library Loot. Instead of earning prizes for the challenges they complete, participants will earn dollars in Library Loot. They can spend their money right away on $1 prizes, or save up for prizes of different values. We hope that this is a way to introduce concepts of saving and spending for some of our younger patrons.

Thanks to the Southwest Initiative Foundation, we have an Early Childhood Discovery Box here that contains a toy cash register with plastic coins, paper money, and even a bank card. The box also contains two books: “A Chair for My Mother” by Vera B. Williams, and “Bunny Money” by Rosemary Wells. These books address saving and spending money for different purposes. While this box is labeled as Early Childhood, there is also a set of money flashcards that older kids might benefit from practicing.

If your young reader understands saving and spending money and is ready to move on to more complicated topics, we have a wide selection of new books that address several financial topics. Bearport Publishing has compiled a couple of collections named “In the News” and “Personal Finance.” Within those collections, there are many informative books such has “Saving,” “Inflation,” “Managing Credit,” “Taxes,” and “Virtual Currency.” These books are written in a format that is easy for young readers to understand, and they include tips for success, glossaries for vocabulary words, and plenty of pictures to illustrate all of the covered concepts.

Our library has the new young adult book “Money Out Loud: All the Financial Stuff No One Taught Us” by Berna Anat. Anat addresses important topics including how to actually budget, save, and invest; how our traumas shape our most toxic money habits, and how to create new patterns; how to build wealth in a system designed to keep us broke; and how to use money to fund our biggest dreams – and change the world. Teens (and adults alike) can feel confident in their financial decisions when they read this book.

The value of a dollar has changed drastically throughout the last several years. But the value of understanding currency is always priceless. Maybe this is the summer to teach your young readers about saving, earning, spending, and all of the ways we use money today. Let the library be a resource for learning financial literacy.

Find Your Voice Reading
by Miss Rachel
May 24, 2023

As we continue getting the library ready for the Summer Reading Program, I thought it might be a good idea to talk a little more about the theme: Find Your Voice. This theme broadly allows for a variety of interpretations, so we decided at the library to pursue the understanding of doing what you love: being brave and bold in your own way. We participate in one of the nationwide summer reading programs, and each year the librarians who plan the theme also choose a book to feature, and this year’s choice is “Mango, Abuela, and Me” by Meg Medina. In this story, a young girl learns the ways of her grandmother who comes to live with the family. But the main struggle is that Mia’s grandmother speaks no English, and Mia speaks little Spanish. Mia learns how to connect with her grandmother and her roots with the help of a pretty cool talking parrot named Mango. Throughout this journey, Mia takes pride in her family and her own self –that’s one cool way to find your voice!

Some of our other new books that highlight the theme of finding your voice include the following:

“My Powerful Hair” by Carole Lindstrom

In Native cultures, hair is a symbol of strength and memory. This story shows one girl’s journey of her connection to her hair and how it reflects her own identity. Sometimes finding your voice is finding the things in your life that give you strength.

 “Outside Amelia’s Window” by Caroline Nastro

This beautiful story is about a young girl named Amelia who has a big imagination. But after experiencing some kind of injury that has her in a wheelchair, she doesn’t know if she has the bravery to go out and play with other kids. With fantastical adventures in her mind and dreams of magical creatures, Amelia learns that there may be magic just outside of her window if she’s brave enough to venture out.

“Squire & Knight” by Scott Chantler

Here is a fun, new graphic novel for many middle grade readers. Squire is known for being brainy and bookish, while Sir Kelton is more of the inept brawn in this story. Together, they make a wildly entertaining duo who draw on their individual strengths to do some heroic deeds.

“I Am the Walrus” by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Sometimes the traits we have that set us apart can make us very proud. But some traits can make us feel like outcasts. When Noah Prime discovers he can exhibit the traits and access the abilities of animals, he tries not to be noticed, especially by bullies. But the situation gets more serious as Noah finds he’s being targeted by mysterious people.

“The Unstoppable Bridget Bloom” by Allison L. Bitz

Singing is what Bridget Bloom knows and loves best. She is on her way to stardom when she is accepted into a college prep boarding school with a prestigious music program. But when Bridget is told she is ineligible to perform, she has to find new ways to shine so she can fulfill her dreams. This YA book is sure to encourage teens to find their voices.

“Miles Morales: Suspended” by Jason Reynolds

The main character of this novel seems to be your average teenager, when in reality, he also holds the identity of Spiderman. Despite his superhero abilities, he still finds himself susceptible to in-school suspension. While serving his time, Miles feels his spidey-senses telling him that something is off.

Our Summer Reading Program theme of Find Your Voice can be looked at many different ways. But our goal here at the library is to get kids excited to read, and reading books is one way for kids to find their own voice.

Summer Reading Program 2023: Find Your Voice
May 10, 2023
by Miss Rachel

Whether the weather shows it or not, summer time is almost here! With the glorious season of summer comes the Summer Reading Program here at the library. We have some exciting events and ideas to share with you.

Kids and teens can sign up to participate in the Summer Reading Program starting on June 5th. Just like last year, they will be given a bag, a book, and opportunities to earn prizes. But this year will look slightly different from last year. Instead of turning in a reading log and picking a prize, kids and teens will be given Library Loot when they turn in reading logs and challenges. From there, they can choose to spend their earned dollars on a smaller prize, or save up for something of higher value. In addition to good reading habits, we’re also working on some financial literacy skills. Challenges that can help kids earn Library Loot include reading logs, genre challenges, and bookmark challenges.

The theme of the Summer Reading Program this year is “Find Your Voice.” Does that mean you need to give a speech? Nope – it simply means do what you love. Kids are encouraged to try out fun new activities to see all the different interests that they can pursue. We’ve booked several different storytellers and experts to give kids a variety of experiences to see what they love.

On June 8th, there will be a painting class open to kids ages 5 and up. COMPAS Teaching Artist Heidi Jeub will be teaching students to create a portrait of themselves. Space for this event is limited, so make sure to sign up in advance.

For the kids and teens ages 10 and up, hip-hop artist See More Perspective is coming on June 13th at 4:30 for a workshop called “Exploring Identity through Hip-Hop and Spoken Word Poetry.” This workshop explores social identity and how it informs the choices we make as artists and as people. Students participate in activities that help illuminate their own identity and values, reflect with peers, and begin to discover their own creative voice. Space is limited for this event too, so we ask that you sign up in advance.

At our 10:00 Friday storytimes, we will have the Dairy Princesses on June 23rd and Watercade Royalty on June 30th coming to visit. Learn about dairy farms, enjoy sweet treats, do some activities, and read some great stories with all of our royal guests!

CLIMB Theatre will be performing “The Ant & the Grasshopper” for kids on Friday, July 7, at our 10:00 storytime. This mini-play supports literacy and reading readiness, so it’s especially great for young children. In this continuation of Aesop’s Fable, “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” two friends compete together in the “Find Your Voice” competition. However, hardworking Ant and playful Grasshopper are having trouble finding their harmony. With the help of Queen Bee and the audience, Ant and Grasshopper will learn to BEE kind, BEE a friend, and BEE together as they work toward creating a sound where everyone’s voice is a part of the chorus. No need to sign up for this performance.

As we continue to explore all different kinds of interests for our young readers, Monarch Joint Venture will be sending over butterfly expert Laura Molenaar for 10:00 storytime on July 14th. Come learn all about butterflies, listen to some stories, and do some fun crafts!

With all of our fun and engaging performances and demonstrations, we are keeping our storytime schedule the same as it was for the winter schedule: toddler storytime on Wednesdays indoors at 10:15 and regular storytime on Fridays at 10:00 outside as the weather permits. We will be continuing our LEGO nights and STEAM labs on the third Tuesdays of June, July, and August. Make sure to check out the details on our website or facebook page.

Summer Reading Program is a great way to get kids and teens to continue reading outside of the school year. With fun prizes as incentives, exciting guest speakers, cool crafts, STEAM labs and LEGO nights, the library is the place to be this summer. All further details about Summer Reading Program dates and times will be posted on the library’s website at or the Litchfield Library Facebook page.

Family Connections
by Beth Cronk
May 3, 2023

Author Alex Haley said, “In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, [and] bridge to our future.” Several new books at the Litchfield Library explore generations of families, some fictional and some real.

Author J. Ryan Stradal grew up in Hastings, Minnesota. Although he now lives in California, he sets his novels in Minnesota. His latest is Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club. Mariel and Ned, a married couple in rural Minnesota, are both in the family restaurant business, but with two very different types of restaurants. Mariel inherited a traditional supper club from her grandmother, a local landmark that’s failing in the modern age. Ned is the heir to a successful chain of diners. After a tragedy, the pair must decide how to move forward.

Set in a different part of the country, Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love Story is another novel that involves food and multiple generations of a family. Author Terri-Lynne DeFino was raised in New Jersey, although she now lives in Connecticut. In this funny novel, widowed Varina lives in the same house she grew up in, and she runs the family’s Italian specialty grocery store. Her elderly mother and her daughter hatch a plan to find Varina a husband, even though she doesn’t want to date. Meanwhile, other members of the boisterous family are planning their own life changes. This family dramedy has been compared to the movies Moonstruck and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Moving on to nonfiction, one of the library’s newest books is a memoir: Belonging: A Daughter’s Search for Identity Through Loss and Love, by Michelle Miller. Miller is a co-host of the television show CBS Saturday Morning. She was raised by her paternal grandmother and her father, a surgeon and the first Black city councilman in Compton, California. Her mother abandoned her at birth, and Miller knew nothing about her. When Miller was 22 and her father was gravely ill, he told her to find her mother – a woman who had concealed her pregnancy after an affair with him – beginning Miller’s search for answers about her heritage and history.

Another memoir, Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult is author Michelle Dowd’s story of growing up in an apocalyptic cult called the Field. Her grandfather was the head of the group, which was focused on learning to survive doomsday. Dowd lived an isolated life of deprivation as she learned survival and foraging skills, and when she got old enough to leave, she used those skills and philosophies to get out.

Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom is a thrilling true story of William and Ellen Craft, a young couple who escaped slavery through disguise. Author Ilyon Woo tells a story from history that’s unfamiliar to most, even thought the Crafts went on to become prominent abolitionist speakers who worked alongside Frederick Douglass. To flee Georgia, William posed as a wealthy, disabled white man, and Ellen acted as his slave. They rode openly in trains, steamboats, and carriages, dodging people who would recognize them. Their adventure made them celebrities, but they were no longer safe in the North once the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, and they had to flee once again.

Author Rachel Jamison Webster was surprised to discover through a DNA test that famed American Benjamin Banneker was her distant relative. Banneker was a free Black man who was a prominent mathematician, astronomer, and almanac writer. Thomas Jefferson hired him in 1791 to survey Washington, D.C.  Banneker went on to write a famous letter to Jefferson, asking the president to examine the conflict between his belief in liberty and his enslavement of people. After seeing her DNA results, Webster got in touch with other Banneker descendants and learned about generations of family history, including that of Benjamin’s grandparents, an interracial couple who married in colonial America. Benjamin Banneker and Us: Eleven Generations of an American Family is an exploration of family and American history.

Leo Tolstoy wrote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” On the contrary, I think every family story is unique, but we can also find things that ring true for us in others’ stories. Whether they’re funny, heartwarming, or dramatic (or all of these things at once), books about families can connect us to one another.

Going Green
By Miss Rachel
April 26, 2023

While Earth Day technically falls on April 22, it’s not a bad idea to celebrate this concept much more than just one day a year. Earth Day is a nice reminder for us to be aware of our habits and how they might affect the planet we live on. You probably already know “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and that’s always a good place to start.

Here at the library, we’ve done a few different things to celebrate the concept of Earth Day. Our monthly STEAM lab included some handiwork to create our own homemade wildflower seed paper. Kids ripped up some old construction paper, soaked it in water, blended up the mixture, added wildflower seeds, and strained it out to create a paper that dries out and goes directly into your garden or a flower pot. Bonus: the wildflowers attract pollinators!

We also printed up some handy bookmarks on papers that were ready to go to recycling. By reducing our overall waste, we help out Mother Earth. Some of the bookmarks were printed on old coloring sheets that had been colored and left behind by some crafty young patrons.

When you’re trying keep your space looking fresh, it can be tough to throw things away, especially if you’re also trying to be environmentally conscious. We love that we have a station in the children’s section of the library where kids can come and be creative with some fun coloring pages; however, our collection of crayons was well-loved. Some were so loved that they were tiny, broken parts of crayons. We decided to give them a fresh look and melt them into new, multi-color crayons! These were handed out after the Earth Day storytime on Friday, and the rest were left out for Saturday: the actual holiday.

In addition to all of these green opportunities we’ve had at the library, we also have some great new books to share some Earth Day ideas with your little readers!

“Eco Girl” by Ken Wilson-Max

In this story, main character Eve empathizes with her favorite part of the forest: the baobab tree. She learns patience, responsibility, growth, and love through her connection with the baobab trees. Eve sees how all of these things come together as she plants a seedling with her family.

“The World and Everything In It” by Kevin Henkes

Just like the title states, this book briefly goes through all of the beautiful things in this world. Little patrons can think about all the different sizes and colors of everything out in nature. Our littlest patrons will appreciate this simple yet beautiful book.

“Your Planet Needs You! A Kids’ Guide to Reducing Waste and Recycling” by Philip Bunting

This book starts out by explaining how there is no waste in nature, and continues by explaining how we’ve come to have so much trash in the world today. Bunting then goes into the effects of waste and how we can help out our planet. The practical how-to explanations make this book a good start at going green!

When it comes to taking measures to protect and preserve Mother Nature, it can be hard to figure out where to start. But the library is here to help with many ideas and books containing even more ideas for things we can all do to help out.

The Library is for Everyone!
by Miss Rachel

Here at the Litchfield Public Library, we work hard to serve all our patrons. As we continue in these efforts, we offer thanks to the Prairielands Library Exchange for awarding us a grant geared toward accessibility.  With this grant, we have been able to purchase some helpful equipment that is available for anyone who comes to the library.

If you forget your reading glasses, no need to panic. We now have several sets with two different magnification options: 1.25X and 2.0X. Come on up to the front desk and ask to borrow a pair. No need to strain your eyes to read the newspaper!

When reading glasses aren’t quite enough, we also have an LED page magnifier. When the legs of this device are folded out, the magnifier looks like a table. You can sit at a desk, slide whatever it is you’re reading or working on underneath, turn on the light, and you’ll see the image at 3.0X magnification! You can also choose to use this in a chair by either holding the device itself or putting the attached string around your neck so that it can hang over whatever you’re reading.

For those who could use more assistive efforts with hearing, we now have two personal amplification devices. The device has two main components: one for the listener and one for the speaker (or whatever audio needs amplification). The listener puts the headset around their neck and sticks the earbuds into their ears. The headset connects via Bluetooth to a small box, which is placed next to who or what needs to be heard. If listening to a person giving a presentation, the box can be placed next to the person presenting. If the setting is more of a discussion or meeting, the box can be placed in a central location so that all voices are amplified.

With all of our bright and shiny new equipment that we’ve acquired, we also have some other services already in place to help people here in our community too. For our patrons who have difficulty visiting the library, we provide curbside pickup. If you call the library upon arrival, a staff member will bring the materials you’ve requested out to your vehicle. Additionally, the library will deliver requested materials to homebound patrons living within city limits. We do ask that you call and have your library card available for these services.

Large print books are a very popular option at our library. We take pride in the variety and quantity of large print novels we have to offer our patrons. We are also able to check and see if another library in the state has the book you’re looking for in a large print format, which opens up the selection that much more!

Audiobooks are another way that we provide access to our patrons. We have many different books available in a CD format. You can also access tons of audiobooks with the Libby app on your phone or device. All you need is a library card!

If you or someone you know would benefit from an American Sign Language interpreter at an event or meeting held at the library, we would love to make that happen. We ask that the request be made as early as possible, or at least two weeks before the event/meeting takes place.

You’re probably already aware of all the different kinds of books and materials that we have to check out at the library. We do our best to make sure we reach all audiences and interests. We’re also doing our best to serve everyone in the community, and now we have a few more ways to make the library more accessible for everyone.

The Winter Reading Program’s Top Authors
by Beth Cronk

The library’s adult winter reading program is done for the year. 95 people participated in Litchfield’s program this year, with seventy percent of them turning in a completed reading log by March 15. Thank you to the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library for sponsoring a bonus prize drawing! Three lucky participants each won a $20 gift certificate to a local business.

Perennial favorite Nicholas Sparks was the author who appeared the most often on the winter reading logs. Nine of his books were on those lists this year: At First Sight, The Choice, Dear John, Dreamland, Every Breath, The Notebook, See Me, True Believer, and The Wish.

Classic mystery author Agatha Christie was a close runner-up, with eight of her books listed: 12 Murder Mysteries, Five Little Pigs, The Moving Finger, The Murder at the Vicarage, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge, Poirot Investigates, and The Witness for the Prosecution.

Minnesota author Brian Freeman tied with Agatha Christie with eight of his books read and rated: The Bone House, The Cold Nowhere, The Deep, Deep Snow, Funeral for a Friend, I Remember You, In the Dark, Stripped, and The Ursulina. Freeman writes mysteries and thrillers.

Jodi Picoult also tied with Christie and Freeman, with eight reviews of her books turned in. Five people read her new book, Mad Honey. Participants also read her novels The Pact, Salem Falls, and Sing You Home.

Elin Hilderbrand was next in line, with winter readers listing seven of her books: Endless Summer, Golden Girl, The Perfect Couple, Winter Solstice, Winter Storms, Winter Street, and Winter Stroll. Some of the books listed are from her Summer series, and others are from her Winter series.

Colleen Hoover was the star of 2022 in book sales nationally. Her novels were read and rated seven times on our completed reading logs. Four people read Verity. Hoover’s books It Starts with Us, Regretting You, and Ugly Love were also on the reading lists. Hoover writes new adult romance and psychological thrillers.

Roseanna M. White isn’t an author who makes the bestseller lists, but our winter reading participants read seven of her books. Those were An Hour Unspent, A Name Unknown, The Number of Love, On Wings of Devotion, Portrait of Loyalty, A Song Unheard, and Yesterday’s Tides. White is a Christy Award-winning author of Christian fiction, mostly historical.

With five of her books read for the program, Fern Michaels was the next most popular. Those titles were 19 Yellow Moon Road, Crash and Burn, Cut and Run, Secrets, and Under the Radar. Michaels writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

Tying with Michaels at five reviews, Louise Penny’s books A Better Man, A Fatal Grace, The Hangman, and A World of Curiosities helped to make the winter more interesting for our readers. Two people read her newest, A World of Curiosities. All of these mystery novels are part of the Three Pines series.

V.E. Schwab also tied with Penny and Michaels, with five reading logs listing her. She’s unique, though, because all five were for one book: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I suspect it’s not a coincidence that the library’s Adult Book Club read that novel for the February meeting.

If you’re looking for ideas about what to read next, you could try out the authors that the big readers in our community are choosing. Whether you go for a classic or contemporary choice, you can ride out the rest of our winter weather with a good book.

Women’s History Month
By Miss Rachel
March 29, 2023

Some of us look forward to March as a hopeful start of spring (well, the optimists do anyway). Other people might have basketball and March Mad ness in mind for this month – filling out brackets, yelling at televisions, and cheering for their favorite teams. But March is also known as Women’s History Month when we celebrate all of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society.

While some library patrons (particularly the younger readers) may not love reading biographies or autobiographies of influential women, another way you can celebrate Women’s History Month through reading is to read books that have been written by female writers. We have plenty of books written by women that the whole family can check out and enjoy.

While we don’t have any real pets at the library, we have plenty of books about them! Alyssa Satin Capucilli has written many books about beloved pets, including “The Library Fish.” “The Library Fish Learns to Read” is the next adventure for our Library Fish as she becomes inspired by watching librarians and patrons reading all kinds of wonderful stories. Learning to read is not an easy task, but Library Fish doesn’t give up until she is a reader.

If you’re sick of the cold winter, you’re not alone. Alice dreams of a more tropical place in the story “Once Upon a Book” by Grace Lin (Caldecott Honoree) and Kate Messner. This book reminds us that books can take us anywhere in the world and that the journey itself can bring us a special kind of warmth. With all of the colorful, vibrant illustrations and the lyrical writing, all patrons can get a taste of spring and travel.

Patricia Polacco is a well-known children’s author, and her latest book is titled “Palace of Books.” Polacco writes this book as a reflection of her own childhood, where she was feeling out of place after her family moved. But when the librarian Mrs. Creavy shows Patricia the wonders of the library, young Patricia is inspired as the first member of the Audubon bird club of her elementary school!

If your teen needs some female empowerment, look no further than “Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens” by Luvvie Ajayi Jones. The world does not make it easy for anyone to be their most authentic self, especially teenagers. Whether being criticized by others for not fitting in, not having the confidence to do what you believe is right, or not feeling the freedom to speak your truth, Jones encourages readers to reflect on who they are so that they can become all that they are meant to be. With a teen-friendly tone, Jones invites readers to “make good trouble.”

For any YA readers looking for some adventure, “Wildblood” by Lauren Blackwood brings magic, jungles, and complexity. Main character Victoria is a tour guide at the Exotic Lands Touring Company, where she strives to achieve. But when she’s denied opportunities, she determines to prove herself. Along the way, she meets a renowned goldminer who leaves her speechless and changes her perspective.

While March hasn’t given us great springtime weather yet, we can still take time to celebrate Women’s History Month. By checking out books written by women writers, we support the work they’ve done.

Oscar Winners at the Library
March 22, 2023
by Beth Cronk

Renowned film critic Roger Ebert once said “Art is the closest we can come to understanding how a stranger really feels.” When we watch a movie or read a book, we get a window into another person’s life. This year’s Oscar-winning movies give us a window into the lives of a multiverse-hopping middle-aged Chinese immigrant, a reclusive English teacher, a group of women in crisis in an isolated religious community, a grief-stricken scientist in a futuristic African country, and a hotshot Navy test pilot returning to an elite training program. These movies are available to check out at the Litchfield Library.

Everything Everywhere All at Once was the big winner at this year’s Academy Awards. It won the awards for Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Directing, Actress in a Leading Role (Michelle Yeoh), Actress in a Supporting Role (Jamie Lee Curtis), Actor in a Supporting Role (Ke Huy Quan), and Film Editing. Yeoh plays weary laundromat owner Evelyn, who is going through an IRS audit, marriage troubles, a surprise visit from her difficult father, and a strained relationship with her adult daughter. In the midst of a meeting with an IRS employee, Evelyn discovers parallel universes when a different version of her husband arrives to help her jump between them.

This science fiction dramedy is an absolutely weird and wild ride, so it does not appeal to everyone everywhere. But if you can suspend disbelief for this reality-bending movie, you’ll find a heartfelt look at family relationships and the paths our lives take based on the choices we make. The movie has some beautiful lines, including this one: “In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.”

The Whale is a drama that won two Oscars: Actor in a Leading Role, and Makeup and Hairstyling. Brendan Fraser won the acting award for playing a reclusive teacher who suffers from severe obesity. He attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter, played by Sadie Sink. The movie is based on a 2011 play. Reviews of the film are mixed, especially because of the way the main character’s weight is depicted, with Fraser donning prosthetics to play the character. However, Fraser’s performance is acclaimed as sincere and subtle. Hong Chau was also nominated as a supporting actress for this film.

Women Talking is a drama based on the 2019 novel with the same title by Miriam Toews.  Toews in turn based her novel on a true story of an isolated Mennonite community in Bolivia in 2009. A series of horrific assaults were carried out by a group of men on the women and children in their religious community for four years. In the novel, Toews imagines the women meeting secretly in a hayloft to decide what to do. The movie also centers on the meetings, as the women decide what course of action to take: do nothing, stay and fight, or leave. This spare, unconventional film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it was a nominee for Best Picture.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a fantasy adventure movie, the sequel to Black Panther and part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. This film won the Oscar for Costume Design, and it was nominated in the categories of Actress in a Supporting Role (Angela Bassett), Visual Effects, Original Song, and Makeup and Hairstyling. Because of the death of actor Chadwick Boseman who played King T’Challa, the Black Panther, this emotional and action-packed sequel opens with the nation of Wakanda and the royal family mourning the character’s death. T’Challa’s sister and mother work to defend their country from attacks as they come to terms with their grief.

Top Gun: Maverick is the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. Longtime Navy pilot Maverick returns to the Top Gun program to train an elite group of pilots for a nearly impossible mission – a group that includes the son of his late best friend Goose. Filled with high-flying action and a generous dose of nostalgia, this movie won the Oscar for Best Sound, and it was nominated for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Visual Effects, Song, and Film Editing.

When you watch a movie – or read a book – you can get a window into the lives of others, even if the story is imaginative and fantastical. And sometimes you can find a short escape from the daily stresses of life through the magic of the movies. Whether you want to stretch yourself or do some comfort-watching, the library can supply you with new movies that are acclaimed, popular, and unique.

So Many Sequels!

Miss Rachel

Many library patrons like to sink their teeth into a good series. There’s a comfort in knowing that the plot of a story doesn’t end with the last page, and that your favorite characters get to embark on new or different adventures. While it can be difficult to get a teenager excited about the idea of reading, finding a good book series can help.

The fact that several book series are being made into television shows can make reading more appealing to teens. For example, one series by Karen McManus starts with “One of Us Is Lying” and follows with “One of Us Is Next.” The books gained even more popularity when the series was adapted into a two season television series. Worried that two books won’t be enough to keep your teen reading? The third book in this series is going to be released in August of this year. Additionally, McManus has written many other stand-alone YA novels that have plenty of drama to keep your teen hooked!

Looking for something a with a little more dystopia? The “Arc of A Scythe” series by Neal Shusterman takes place in a world where all sicknesses and injuries are mostly eradicated.  Characters known as Scythes then have to control the population. There are three main books in this series: “Scythe,” “Thunderhead,” and “The Toll.” Additionally, there is another book that recounts the origin stories of many other Scythes titled “Gleanings.” Shusterman has written a compelling series with thrills, chills, and even artificial intelligence!

For anyone who enjoys more of a fairy tale story, Marissa Meyer has written multiple series that reference well-known tales. The “Lunar Chronicles” starts off with “Cinder,” which you can probably guess is a reference to Cinderella. But here’s a twist: the character Cinder is actually a cyborg and a mechanic! The series includes seven more books (so far), and plenty of other turns for our familiar characters. Meyer has also written a series called “Gilded,” loosely based on the story of Rumpelstiltskin.  If your teen likes a fantastical adventure, books by Marissa Meyer might be perfect picks!

Another series with mystical creatures and settings is “The Folk of The Air” series by Holly Black. Main character Jude finds herself in the world of the Faerie after her parents are murdered. The original core of the series is “The Cruel Prince,” “The Wicked King,” and “The Queen of Nothing.” But like many authors, Black wrote in some additional storylines with “The Lost Sisters,” “How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories,” and “The Stolen Heir.”

Maureen Johnson has created a murder/mystery series that is getting plenty of positive reviews and even getting compared to Agatha Christie novels. The series “Truly Devious” currently has five books: “Truly Devious,” “The Vanishing Stair,” “The Hand on the Wall,” “The Box in the Woods,” and “Nine Liars.”  If your teen needs books that keep them on the edge of their seats, “Truly Devious” might be truly perfect!

Starting a new book series can be an exciting adventure – especially if you find the right one for you. Come over to the library, and we can help you and your teens find your next reading adventures!


Read Across America
Miss Rachel

“The sun did not shine.

It was too wet to play.

So we sat in the house.

All that cold, cold, wet day.”

The weather lately seems a bit like the setting in Dr. Seuss’s classic book “The Cat in the Hat.” So what can we do on these cold, miserable days? Maybe we don’t want a certain hat-wearing cat to come and create chaos in our homes, but we certainly can celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss!

In 1998, the National Education Association started a celebration called Read Across America. This started as just a day, but many educators and schools celebrate Read Across America for an entire week. Beyond that, the NEA promotes RAA as a cause to celebrate all year long, and their website offers many ways and ideas for readers to do so. The recognized week always begins on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss, also known as Theodor Seuss Giesel.

As a way to keep the party going all year long, the NEA website offers monthly themes to inspire young readers. The theme for March 2023 is “Bring Communities Together.” How can we bring the community together? This is a great question to bring up with your younger library patrons, whether in the classroom, at church, at home, or wherever learning takes place. In the story “All Through the Night” by Polly Faber, we get a look at the people in the community who work during hours that most people sleep through. From custodial work, to security, from doctors to musicians, this book shows all the important jobs that require night shifts to keep the community going.

“All the Families in My Town” is a picture book by Ophlie Celier that celebrates diverse families. A community with a variety of family structures can teach kids and adults all about love. The ending of the story even encourages readers to create a portrait of their own family!

Our communities are made up of people of all different cultures and backgrounds. We can look at the theme “Bring Communities Together” through the lens of celebration. The book “We All Celebrate” by Chitra Soundar and Jenny Bloomfield works chronologically through the calendar year to define and illustrate the different holidays and celebrations of various cultures. What better way to bring people together than through a party!

If you’re looking for something for your teen reader, “This is Our Place” by Vitor Martins follows the lives of three different teens from three different decades, but all are set in the same house. Each teen deals with sudden life changes, family conflict, and first loves, proving that while generations change, we will always be connected to each other.

Your littlest library patrons can have tons of fun with the “My Community” themed Discovery box. This kit contains all kinds of community elements like people, buildings, signs, and more all made out of wood. One of the books included in the kit centers around community too – talk about fun for the whole family!

“Then our mother came in

And she said to us two,

‘Did you have any fun?

Tell me. What did you do?’”

With all the ideas and books that Read Across America suggests, it’s hard to be bored – and no one should have to deal with a silly cat in a hat in their home if they don’t want that headache.  Whether you’re looking for books about community or any other fun theme for RAA, we have plenty to check out here at the library.

Baptiste, Tracey, et al. “Read Across America.” NEA,

A Romantic Revival
by Beth Cronk, County Librarian

February 22, 2023

Romance novels are having a revival. According to publishing trade magazine Publishers Weekly, fiction sales were up 8.5% in 2022 compared to the previous year. Compare that to romance novels, which increased a whopping 52% last year. Romance is red hot.

Colleen Hoover led the return to romance with her bestsellers It Starts with Us and It Ends with Us, along with some of her other novels. Other national bestsellers in romance last year included Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score, The Deal by Elle Kennedy, and Neon Gods by Katee Robert.

Hoover has been popular locally. Litchfield Library has one copy of It Starts with Us and two of It Ends with Us (one in large print and one in regular print), but they’re too popular to be found on the shelf very often. The same is true of her books Heart Bones, Finding Perfect, Maybe Now, November 9, and Reminders of Him. If you’d like to borrow a Colleen Hoover book from the library, I recommend you place a hold to get on a short waiting list. You won’t wait long.

Our library has gotten a number of other new romances recently. One is Christmas at Fireside Cabins by Jenny Hale. Yes, it’s a little late for a Christmas book, but they’re surprisingly popular year-round. Hale’s style has been compared to Jenny Colgan and RaeAnne Thayne. In this small-town romance, Lila decides on a getaway to a retreat in the Tennessee mountains to escape her grief tied to the holiday season. She makes it her mission to warm up the brooding coffee shop owner. This book sounds like it fits the grumpy vs sunshine trope that’s common in romance novels – otherwise known as opposites attract.

Mimi Matthews started the Belles of London Victorian romance series with The Siren of Sussex. In the sequel The Belle of Belgrave Square, she draws on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Captain Jasper Blunt has a Yorkshire estate rumored to be haunted, and he’s looking for a rich wife. Julia Wychwood has profound social anxiety and would rather be on her horse than in a ballroom. They strike a deal to marry; Julia will have the freedom to ride and to read as much as she likes, but she isn’t allowed to explore the towers of Jasper’s estate or pry into his life. This novel sounds like it may fall under the fake relationship trope, another frequent theme in romance novels.

Jill Shalvis is a bestselling author of contemporary romance, known for her humor and interesting characters. Her newest novel, The Backup Plan, is the third book in the Sunrise Cove series, but Shalvis says the series can be read in any order. In this new novel, a woman inherits a ramshackle Western-themed bed and breakfast, but she has to share it with her ex-best friend and a man who broke her heart years ago. This sounds like a book with the romance novel tropes of forced proximity and enemies to lovers.

Litchfield Library will be getting the sequel to Lucy Score’s Things We Never Got Over when it’s released this month. In Things We Hide from the Light, the author returns to the small town of Knockemout, Virginia. Nash Morgan is the chief of police, and he’s struggling emotionally while recovering from a gunshot wound. His new next-door neighbor Lina sees what Nash is going through, and a romance begins. This novel appears to be another where opposites attract – and where the love interests have secrets.

Whether you like a historical romance or something contemporary, a romantic comedy or something more serious, or any other variety of novel celebrating affairs of the heart, you’re likely to find your heart’s desire at the library.

Black History Month
By Miss Rachel
February 15, 2023

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Black History Month, especially with your little library patrons, “San Diego Family Magazine” offers several things you can do with your family to recognize this month. Here are just a few of the ideas:

  1. Read children’s books that feature Black characters.
  2. Read a children’s book by a Black author, such as “Hair Love”by Matthew A. Cherry or “Imani’s Moon” by JaNay Brown-Wood.
  3. Cook a traditional soul food meal.
  4. Learn about an unsung hero of Black history, such as Jesse L. Brown or Daisy Bates.
  5. Listen to music by jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington.
  6. Listen (and learn the lyrics) to the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
  7. Read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech (or listen to it on YouTube).

Here at the library, we can help provide some resources to celebrate Black History Month. We have a wide variety of different books that you can read with your little readers. Here are some of our newer ones!

“Nell Plants A Tree” by Anne Wynter

In this sweet book, one girl plants a seed to grow a big, beautiful pecan tree. As the tree grows, so does Nell and the rest of her family for generations to come. Here is a good pick if you’re looking for a book to bring the whole family together.

“Magnolia Flower” by Zora Neale Hurston adapted by Ibram X. Kendi

Adapted from Hurston’s short story “Magnolia Flower,” this story personifies rivers and trees to tell the story of a young girl on a journey to her own freedom. The beautiful pictures of nature combined with the inspiring story create a rich reading experience.

“If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad” by Ebony Joy Wilkins

This book explains everything you want to know about the Underground Railroad! Each chapter is a question that you can jump to and quickly find the answer. The kid-friendly formatting gives this book less of a textbook-feel while still providing tons of information to your young reader.

“Mae Among the Stars” by Roda Ahmed

If you’re looking for a book to encourage your little reader to be curious and determined, this might be a good pick to check out. Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to travel in space, and this picture book shows how she persevered as a child to achieve that dream.

In addition to these new picture books, we also have a great selection of middle grade and YA books written by Black authors that you can check out. We even have a display of them up in the children’s section of the library to make it a little easier to celebrate Black History Month by reading.

Gipson, Lisa. “15 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month.” 15 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month,


Minnesota Book Awards Finalists
by Beth Cronk
February 8, 2023

The finalists for the 2023 Minnesota Book Awards were announced at the end of January. Want to read some outstanding books by Minnesota authors and artists? You can find many of them at the Litchfield Library.

One of the award categories is the Emilie Buchwald Award for Minnesota Nonfiction. Beyond being written or illustrated by a Minnesotan, these books are about Minnesota. One book in this category that you can find in the Litchfield Library collection is A Natural Curiosity: The Story of the Bell Museum by Lansing Shepard, Don Luce, Barbara Coffin, and Gwen Schagrin. The Bell Museum opened at the University of Minnesota in 1872 as a one-room collection. It has gone on to become Minnesota’s official natural history museum and planetarium.

Another finalist for Minnesota Nonfiction is Rochester: An Urban Biography by Virginia M. Wright-Peterson. This book covers the history of Minnesota’s third largest city, from the centuries when the Dakota and Ho-Chunk people lived there to today’s world-renowned Mayo Clinic.

One of the Minnesota Nonfiction finalists is a cookbook with stories by a legendary Minnesotan. The Steger Homestead Kitchen: Simple Recipes for an Abundant Life is by Will Steger, Rita Mae Steger, and Beth Dooley. Will Steger is an environmental advocate famous for his polar expeditions: the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole, a dogsled trek across all of Antarctica, and the first and only dogsled traverse of the Arctic Ocean. Rita Mae Steger is his niece, the chef at the Steger Wilderness Center. The Steger Center is a nonprofit organization and conference center near Ely, Minnesota, with a mission to teach and collaborate about environmental issues.

If you’ve visited the lovely Minnehaha Falls at one of Minneapolis’ oldest parks, you may not guess what a wild place it was around the turn of the last century. Author Karen E. Cooper shares that history in When Minnehaha Flowed with Whiskey: A Spirited History of the Falls. Before the city acquired the land around the falls in 1889, it was full of dancehalls and illegal saloons frequented by soldiers from Fort Snelling and young people from the area. After the city took over, the rowdy businesses moved just outside the park, continuing the noise, gambling, drunkenness, and prostitution for some years before the problem was solved.

Our library has a number of the nominees in other categories, too. In the category of General Nonfiction, you can check out Daughters of Arraweelo: Stories of Somali Women by Ayaan Adan, and Through the Banks of the Red Cedar: My Father and the Team That Changed the Game by Maya Washington. In the Memoir & Creative Nonfiction category, you can find Seven Aunts by Staci Lola Drouillard on the shelf at Litchfield. Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress is a finalist in the Novel & Short Story category. In the Genre Fiction category, our library has The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey and Sinister Graves by Marcie Rendon. The Litchfield collection also has a few of the finalists in Children’s Literature and Middle Grade Literature.

The winners will be announced May 2. Meanwhile, add to your reading list by picking up any of these excellent books by authors from our great state of Minnesota.

Love at the Library
by Miss Rachel

If you walk into almost any store at this time of year, you’ll see shades of red, pink, and white everywhere. Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, whether you enjoy the holiday or find it to be a ploy to get people to buy lots of chocolate. At the library, we have a few different ways you can celebrate the holiday centered around all that mushy, gushy love.When you bring up “love” to young kids, they might wrinkle their little noses and exclaim that it’s gross.  We hear you, little ones!  For our younger patrons, we don’t have any scandalous or romantic books with Fabio on the cover. Instead, we have several books that talk about celebrating the holiday with friends and family. Here are a few of our newer ones:

“Turkey’s Valentine Surprise” by Wendi Silvano

Our main character Turkey loves a good prank. He puts on a disguise to trick his friends and deliver his valentine cards, but his plan doesn’t quite work out. Check out this book to see all of Turkey’s surprises!

“How to Catch a Loveosaurus” by Alice Walstead

You’ve maybe already seen titles like this, such as “How to Catch A Reindeer” and “How to Catch A Unicorn.” The Catch Club kids are on another mission: to catch the magical Loveosaurus! This dinosaur escaped from the museum while trying to spread love and kindness.

“I Really, Really Love You So” by Karl Newson

Sometimes, it’s hard to show just how much we love someone. In this story, a little animal tries in many large ways to show their parent just how much they love them. With fun rhymes and colorful illustrations, this book is sure to get your reader’s love!

Middle grade love stories tend also to focus on family love and maybe some developing crushes. These are a couple of stories that might interest your middle grade readers in this Valentine time of year:

“Gabe In The After” by Shannon Doleski

For some, this story might be too soon: the setting is two years after a global pandemic. Gabe and his dog find a girl named Relle alone in the woods. As they grow closer by sharing stories and helping each other, tragedy strikes. How will they make it together in this new era?

“My Life Begins!” by Patricia MacLachlan

Nine-year-old Jacob wants puppies, not necessarily a new sibling. But then he finds out that there are three new babies! See how Jacob learns to love and grow with his baby sisters.

Our teen audience has quite a selection in this department. YA authors have been coming out with many new books that center on young love and navigating heartbreak. Teens might have a hard time selecting just one book with all the new novels in this genre!

“A Disaster in Three Acts” by Kelsey Rodkey

Looking for some juicy drama? Look no further: this book is full of it! Saine’s friendships and relationships seem to be going in all directions when she is assigned to work with her ex-friend on a documentary assignment. Will the truth between them come out?

“Better Than the Movies” by Lynn Painter

When Liz’s crush Michael comes back to town, she is willing to put herself out there to get his attention – maybe even get him to be her prom date! But cute-yet-annoying next-door neighbor Wes seems to be friends with Michael. Can Liz get to Michael with the help of Wes?

“My Second Impression of You” by Michelle I. Mason

After an unexpected break-up, artsy main character Maggie breaks her foot, preventing her from starring in the school play. Just when life seems disastrous, she gets a mysterious text. Maggie might just be getting a second chance to look at the people around her.

While you’re at the library checking out your new lovely reads, make sure to show some love and affection for your local library. When you check out your books at the front desk, you’ll see paper hearts that say “I love my library because…”, and we would love for you to fill it out. Love and libraries can make us all happy patrons!

Brand-New Books for Snowy Days
by Beth Cronk
Have you had enough of icy roads and stormy weather this winter? I know I have. When you have a good day with easy travel to get to the library, you might want to stock up on some of the latest novels so you’re prepared if you get stuck at home again. Even better, order online or over the phone from home, and have the books you want ready for you to pick up at the library’s front desk when you’re running your errands.One of Litchfield Library’s newest books is Wicked Dreams, which was published in the final few days of 2022. Lisa Jackson’s thrillers are always bestsellers. She and Nancy Bush co-write the Wicked series about a group of women called The Colony. These women with special gifts live in an isolated lodge named Siren Song on the Oregon coast between the mountains and the ocean. A woman who has left the group to become a private investigator becomes a murder suspect when a body is found on the beach with a note containing her name.

Speaking of bestselling authors, James Patterson is still going strong. His latest, The House of Wolves, was published January 9th. In this thriller written with Mike Lupica, a 36-year-old former teacher named Jenny Wolf inherits control of her family’s billion-dollar empire when her father dies. This ruthless family is compared to the Duttons of the TV series Yellowstone and the Roys of the series Succession. Jenny learns to run a powerful California newspaper and a professional football team – while trying to solve her father’s murder.

Danielle Steel has been writing bestsellers since the ‘80s, and that’s still true for every book she publishes. Her latest novel, Without a Trace, was published earlier this month. A wealthy man in a loveless marriage and a meaningless job falls asleep at the wheel and plunges off a cliff on the coast of Normandy. He survives and makes it to a cabin where a woman nurses him back to health. He forms an instant connection with her and realizes he could let the world believe he died and start a new life.

Come Down Somewhere by Jennifer L. Wright is a new Christian historical novel set during World War II in New Mexico. The family ranch where a teenage girl has lived her entire life is seized by the government for construction of a new top-secret army base. In her new town, she meets a potential friend, only to learn that the girl’s father is in charge of the new base. This story of young friendship and the history of the Trinity nuclear bomb test is described as touching and complicated.

Night Shift is the newest novel in Robin Cook’s Jack Stapleton and Laurie Montgomery series. In this medical mystery-thriller, a longtime friend of Laurie’s dies mysteriously. Forensic pathologist Jack conducts the autopsy and then investigates on his own when it’s inconclusive, leading to a dangerous matchup with a serial killer.

Jane Smiley is well-known as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres and other highly respected literary novels. Her latest, A Dangerous Business, sounds like a good time. A reviewer at The Washington Post describes it as a blend of a Western, a serial-killer mystery, and a story about life in a brothel. Inspired by their reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s detective novels, two young prostitutes in Gold Rush California investigate the deaths of young women whose bodies are being found outside of town.

Other brand-new novels in the Litchfield Library collection include Ruby Fever, a paranormal romance by Ilona Andrews; Her Hidden Genius, a historical novel about a scientist by Marie Benedict; and Tom Clancy Red Winter, the latest Jack Ryan thriller by Marc Cameron.

Whenever the weather cooperates, pick up some books to make the best of the winter. You’ll be ready to curl up under a blanket and read the next time we have a snowy day.

Hygge for All
By Miss Rachel
January 18, 2023

As the snow continues to accumulate, we can find ourselves getting stir crazy, wanting to get out of the house. While it’s easy for us to complain about the weather, we could try to embrace the Danish concept of hygge. American writer Rebecca Thandi Norman lives in Denmark, and this is how she defines hygge:

Hygge is about cosiness and surrounding yourself with the things that make life good, like friendship, laughter and security, as well as more concrete things like warmth, light, seasonal food and drink.

The winter here in Minnesota is long. We all know that. We have lived it for years; yet, we stay because this is our home. We might as well celebrate our home in the best ways we can right now. I can’t think of anything more welcoming than a cup of coffee or tea, a cozy blanket, and a good book (my two dogs wrestling noisily in the background, no doubt). Hygge is a nice way to find happiness during a season where we are prone to experience seasonal depression. We have some books you can check out with your young readers that will help you to embrace the feeling and atmosphere of hygge throughout these long winter months.

“Just for You” by Francesca Pirrone

Sweet main character Piggy finds a collection of wool that he decides to share with his friends so that they can all knit cozy sweaters. This story of friendship has all the elements of hygge to leave your little readers’ hearts full of warmth!

“Farmhouse” by Sophie Blackall

Blackall goes back in time and creates a history for an old farmhouse. She creates the story of a family growing and living a beautiful country life in this home, which includes all things hygge like quilts, a fireplace, warm meals, and candlelight. The illustrations in this book give a warm, hygge atmosphere.

“Endlessly Ever After: Choose Your Way to Endless Fairy Tale Endings!” by Laurel Snyder

Choose this book to revisit some old familiar favorite stories. If your little reader likes to be creative, this book allows them to choose their own path and create their own version of these classic tales! You might read about a goose with golden eggs, or a hungry wolf, or a sleeping maiden – the possibilities will keep your little reader wanting to go back and read it again!

Another way to create a hygge experience is through creative outlets. Maybe your younger reader wants to test their abilities in the kitchen. “The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs” might be a good selection to help your younger ones create delicious treats for the whole family. Or another means to use creative skills might include crafting. “Cut & Color Crafts for Kids” by Kimberly McLeod and “Trash to Treasure Crafts” by Rebecca Sabelko offer tons of imaginative ideas with items that you probably already have at home. Upcycling can be a resourceful means to bring hygge to your home.

Maybe the weather has caused enough stress in your life that you need something a little less active to bring hygge into your home. Movie nights can be a cozy way to bring the whole family together. The movie “Lightyear” brings back the beloved character Buzz Lightyear. He finds a crew of new friends to help him on his next mission fighting his old enemy, Zurg. With new and familiar characters, this movie is a great choice for the whole family. Another movie you can check out here is the animated “Anastasia.” This movie came out originally in 1997 and was then adapted into a Broadway musical a few years ago. The story has a little bit of mystery, romance, comedy, adventure – there’s something here for everyone in the family!

Winter in Minnesota is not a short season. While some people enjoy the snow and ice, some prefer to remain inside and away from the chilly outdoors. If you need to add some comfy hygge into your family’s life, make sure to stop and check out some of our extra cozy books or movies!

Norman, Rebecca Thandi. “What Is Hygge?” Scandinavia Standard, 12 May 2020,

Top Checkouts of 2022
by Beth Cronk, Meeker County Librarian

What are your neighbors reading? That can be interesting to find out. Obviously, we can’t tell you specifically; privacy laws apply to what you check out. I can tell you which books and DVDs were checked out the most in our library system in 2022. Which of these did you miss?

The most popular adult novel last year in Pioneerland Library System was Lightning Strike by William Kent Krueger. In this eighteenth book in the Cork O’Connor series, the author goes back in time to Cork’s life as a twelve-year-old in 1963 and his first investigation into a suspicious death.

Most popular adult fiction:

“Lightning Strike” by William Kent Krueger
“Run, Rose, Run” by Dolly Parton and James Patterson
“The Investigator” by John Sandford
“Shadows Reel” by C.J. Box
“One Step Too Far” by Lisa Gardner
“Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult
“The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
“Fox Creek” by William Kent Krueger
“What Happened to the Bennetts” by Lisa Scottoline

The year’s most popular nonfiction book for adults in our library system was “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home by Now: Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie” by Christopher Ingraham. This book was Hutchinson’s One Book, One Community pick for 2022. Ingraham was working for the Washington Post in 2015 when he infamously wrote an article naming Red Lake County in northern Minnesota as the worst place to live in America. The town of Red Lake Falls invited him to visit, and he liked it so much that he moved there and still lives there with his family.

Most popular adult nonfiction:

“If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now” by Christopher Ingraham
“The Defense Lawyer: The Barry Slotnick Story” by James Patterson and Benjamin Wallace
“ER Nurses: True Stories from America’s Greatest Unsung Heroes” by James Patterson and Matt Eversmann
“Killing the Killers: The Secret War Against Terrorists” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
“The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Super Easy!: 120 Shortcut Recipes for Dinners, Desserts, and More” by Ree Drummond
“James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life” by James Patterson
“Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results” by James Clear
“The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family” by Ron Howard and Clint Howard
“Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases” by Paul Holes with Robin Gaby Fisher
“Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience” by Brené Brown

The YA novel checked out the most in 2022 was “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas. The most popular children’s novel was “Cat Kid Comic Club: Perspectives” by Dav Pilkey. The top picture book was “The Pigeon Has to Go to School” by Mo Willems. The most checked out kids’ nonfiction book was “Guts” by Raina Telgemeier. And the most borrowed DVD was “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.”

For the complete top 10 lists of all of the categories, visit our website. Can hundreds of readers in our part of Minnesota be wrong? Browse the lists and find something that will brighten your January.

Reading Resolutions

By Miss Rachel
Happy New Year! The holidays are coming to an end, the work schedules are resuming normalcy, and people are trying to get back into routine. With the new year, many people look at January as a time for a fresh new start. We often make resolutions in hopes of bettering ourselves in one way or another. Whether we hope to start working out more regularly, eating healthier foods more consistently, or finding times for more mindful meditations, our resolutions can vary greatly. But as January comes to an end, we sometimes find that we’ve lost momentum with our resolutions. With some new or different strategies, we might be more successful in meeting our goals.

While figuring out your own plans and objectives for 2023, think about including plans for your reading. In Gretchen Rubin’s podcast “Happier,” she and her sister Elizabeth Craft set a goal for all the listeners to read 21 minutes each day in the year 2021. For people who need tangible goals, this was a great way to read more than before. But perhaps your goals need to look a bit different. Maybe you already have a long list of books that you’d like to read, and you decide that that list is your resolution for the new year. Or maybe you can’t stand the idea of having everything preplanned for you, so you need to just come up with an arbitrary number of books to read. Whatever reading goals you set, many readers benefit from having a record of some kind to keep track of finished books. You might try the Goodreads app where you can scan books by barcode and record the dates you read, in addition to rating and reviewing the book if you choose. You can also invite your friends to use the app, which might help you to hold yourself more accountable to your goals if someone else can see your progress! If you’re an adult trying to make reading more of a priority, you can also consider registering for our Winter Reading Program at the library. You’ll receive a reading log to keep track of books that way too (with some incentives to help keep you reading!).

For the younger readers, we know that keeping track of books can sometimes bog the whole reading process down. For this winter, we have a bingo sheet where kids can mark off different kinds of books that they’ve read. This way they can see just how many different books that they’ve read and be proud of their accomplishments! There is a lot of variety on the bingo sheet, but that shouldn’t prevent any of our young readers from grabbing one the next time they head in to the library. We have so many different books in various reading levels, so all of our young patrons should be able to complete this bingo card (maybe with a little help from a grown-up or two).

While reading might not be at the top of your list of priorities for the new year, there are books out there on all topics of goals you might be making. For example, if your resolutions are more focused on mindful practices, include your little reader! In this day and age, we can all use a little more peace and patience, and we have some new books that can help introduce this concept to your littlest readers.

“A Friend for Yoga Bunny” by Brian Russo

In this story, Bear is feeling anxious about her birthday party coming up. Bunny shows Bear how calming yoga can be. They also see how yoga can be fun and not all serious. This book is a great introduction into yoga and mindful practices.

“Alphabreaths Too: More ABCs of Mindful Breathing” by Christopher Willard and Daniel Rechtschaffen

Each letter of the alphabet offers up an image of how to take a deep breath. From astronauts counting down to blast off to pirates breathing out with an “Arr!” to zipper breaths in pajamas, this book helps young readers practice deep, mindful breathing.

“The Little Book of Joy” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Whether you choose to make resolutions for the new year or not, your local library is here to encourage your reading progress. Any project or idea you want to pursue, we can help you find books on the topic. But if you do choose to make reading a priority or goal for 2023, the library has all kinds of books for you!




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