MLK Jr. Art, Writing and Video Contest

>By Janene Hill
Young Adult Librarian, Manhattan Public Library

In 1962, Manhattan’s Douglass School was closed, allowing for the complete integration of Manhattan elementary schools.  The 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing, and Video contests focuses that 50-year anniversary with the theme:  Looking Back, Looking Forward:  50 Years of Change. This theme encourages contest participants to look at their community, their family, and their lives and how the past 50 years have changed, or not changed, in regards of Dr. King’s overriding message of non-violence, social justice, and building bridges between racial and ethnic divisions.

Each year, the MLK Contest Committee directs the contest with support from Manhattan’s MLK Memorial Committee and sponsored by Manhattan Public Library, the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation, Manhattan Library Association, and The Gallery for Peace and Justice.

Added Features
For 2012, the Contest Committee decided to add two new aspects to the contest: 1) a video category, and 2) a group entry option.
Video submissions will be accepted written to disc to be played on computer or DVD player. Three to five minute videos can be in any style. While the Contest Committee envisioned short narratives, interviews, reenactments, or even something set to music, this category will allow budding videographers to express their creativeness in numerous ways.
Group entries will be allowed for the first time, allowing for small groups or classrooms to work on a project together and submit the work. After much consideration, the Contest Committee decided group entries could, in many cases, be the easiest way for teachers or group leaders to get many kids involved in a teachable project at the same time. All members must be listed on the entry form but only one prize will awarded per entry. The group should enter grade category based on average participant age.

General Information
As always, all participants must live or attend school in Riley or adjacent counties in Kansas.
Participants of all ages are encouraged! This includes KSU students, parents, teachers, and community members who can enter the post-High School age group. Entries will be judged in five age groups:  K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th, 6-8th, 9th-12th grade, and post High School.
Entry deadline for all entries is 6 p.m., Sunday, January 8, 2012 at Manhattan Public Library, 629 Poyntz Avenue. Entries will not be accepted after this time as judging will take place the following day.
Submission Requirements
All submissions must be original works created by the entrant. A completed entry form must be attached to the work. Only one writing in each category will be accepted by any person or group.

Entries can be in any medium on a two-dimensional scale and must be no larger than 20 inches by 30 inches.
Artwork is judged based on:  artistic quality, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance.

May be a letter, poem, memoir, story of a personal experience, or other appropriate form no longer than 500 words. Entries must be typed or legibly written. Writing is judged based on: writing style, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance. Writing entries will be subject to plagiarism checks.

A three to five minute piece, which may be an interview, reenactment, musical or theatrical performance, movie short, animation, or other appropriate form. Entry should be written to disc to be played on computer or DVD player. Copyright laws must be followed and all persons appearing must give consent.
Videos are judged based on:  production value, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance. Video entries will be subject to copyright checks.

First place and honorable mention awards given in each of the five age groups, with one Best of Show winner recognized from all entries for each of the three categories.
Winners will be contacted by Wednesday, January 11. Creators of winning entries will be asked to participate in the MLK Youth Celebration sponsored by HandsOn Kansas State on Sunday, January 15, and an awards ceremony during the Martin Luther King, Jr. community celebration on Monday, January 16 at Manhattan Town Center.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation, over $1000 worth of prizes will be awarded through individual prizes and educational supplies for winners’ classrooms.
With signed permission, selected entries may be published, broadcast and/or displayed throughout the Manhattan community. Winning and selected entries may also be used for publishing in a calendar and/or greeting cards developed and distributed by The Gallery for Peace and Justice.
For more information, click the MLK Contest link on the MPL homepage, or call 776-4741 ext. 170.

Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right by Kieran Kramer

>For years, Lady Poppy Smith-Barnes has pined for her true love, the Duke of Drummond.  At least that’s what she’s been telling all her suitors so that she could maintain her spinster status.  The imaginary duke that her cook created for the use of fairy tales and love stories served Poppy well, until the day the man himself walked into a ball and asked her to dance.  Drummond, who has come to London from his quiet life in the North because he has been ordered to find a bride, sees his opportunity and quickly traps Poppy in her own lie.  Their betrothal pulls them both into a world of deception and intrigue, forcing them to work together and revealing their common thirst for adventure.  With plenty of spice and wit, Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right continues Kramer’s Impossible Bachelors series in fine form. 

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett


In State of Wonder,  Patchett takes the reader into the primitive world of the Amazon in Brazil. MarinaSingh gave up a career as a doctor after botching an emergency delivery as anintern, opting instead for the more orderly world of research for apharmaceutical company. While trying to locate a rogue scientist, Dr. AnnickSwenson, Marina’s  colleague and friend,  Anders Eckman, is reported to have died in thejungle. Marina isasked by her company’s CEO to locate his body and communicate with themysterious and uncommunicative Dr. Swenson. The doctor has been working on afertility drug  by studying the Lakashipeople, whose women bear children into old age.  Marina’s search is fraught with poisonous snakesand poisonous memories, malarial mosquitoes and sickening losses, but her timeamong the Lakashi tribe is transformative. Patchett exhibits an extraordinaryability to bring the horrors and the wonders of the Amazon jungle to life, andher singular characters are wonderfully drawn.  Part scientific thriller,part engaging personal odyssey, “State of Wonder” is a suspensefuljungle adventure with an unexpected ending and other assorted surprises.

International Fiction


International Fiction offers you the opportunity to explorethe world without leaving your most comfy chair.  
When Lady Duff Gordon is forced to journey to Egyptto cure her consumption, she and her maid, Sally, fall in love with thecountry.  Sally is exhilarated by therelative freedom afforded her by her new circumstances, but soon realizes that,even away from stuffy British society, freedom has limits.
In the midst of an attempted regeneration, the dying farmcommunity of Tel Inan, Israelmixes together new restaurants and galleries with run-down buildings.  An aura of threatening anticipation hovers inthese loosely connected short stories that look into the disturbing behind-the-scenesstory of village life.

Ten year old Enaiat is left alone in Pakistan by his mother, in the hopes that hewill escape the cruelty of Taliban rule in Afghanistan.  Thus begins his five year journey through Iran, Turkey,Greece, and finally landingin Italy.  Experiencing the best and worst of life,Enaiat struggles onward, never letting go of the hope of a better life.

A dedicated mother from the countryside is separated fromher rushing husband at a busy Seoulsubway station.  As they search, herhusband and grown children think back on their relationships with her, herdedication and love and their lack of appreciation.  This is a compelling story about a mother’slove.

Maggie Ly travels to Vietnamto try to find out anything about her father who stayed behind when she and hermother escaped to the U.S.  She encounters Tu, a guide who showswesterners around Hanoi,as well as Old Man Hung, who sells pho and may have known her father.  Gibb’s story is an engaging journey into newand old Vietnamand the mystery of both.

Set in 19th century India, Tiger Hill is the story ofDevi, the favored daughter and her worshipful friend, Devanna.  Devi grows up to become a powerful force onher family’s coffee plantation, while Devanna studies medicine with the hopesthat they will someday be together.  InTiger Hills, Mandanna has created an ambitious and engaging saga. 

On his deathbed, Eduardo de Valfierno tells the story ofhow, in his youth, he and his motley crew of thieves had a daring plan to stealthe Mona Lisa.  A historical mystery seepedin the ambiance of Paris,Stealing Mona Lisa mixes fiction with facts from the actual theft in 1911.  

When the Harwoods left Englandfor Trinidad in 1956, George is glad for anescape to paradise from his stodgy and unsuccessful life, while Sabine hatesthe heat and humidity.  Through theirstory, Roffey brings to life the history of this colonial island, full ofbeauty as well as political strife.

At the age of 7, Virginiais sent from her village and indigenous Ecuadorian family to be a servant to anacademic mestizo family.  Although thismeans that she will not have to carry out the hard labor like those from hervillage, she finds that her new life includes differenttrials in the form of abuse and degradation. As she grows, she holds onto her independent spirit, which becomesabsolutely vital for this girl who isn’t sure where she belongs in the world.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

>Victoria Jones is 18 years old and being emancipated from the foster care system. Her life having been  filled with different foster homes, group homes, schools and teachers, Victoria leaves the system with no job or social skills–her only interest is in flowers and their meanings, taught to her by one of her foster parents. Sleeping in a public park and tending a garden she has created by stealing flowers from other parks and home gardens, Victoria realizes that she needs a job to survive and demonstrates her abilities to choose and arrange flowers to  a florist, who offers her work. She begins to develop a relationship with the florist as well as with a young man, Grant, who works at the flower market, and has a loyal following of customers who appreciate her ability to choose flowers that have just the right meaning. Victoria’s story is told in alternating chapters, describing her life as a 9 year old and as an 18 year old. The reader understands that Victoria’s adult attitudes of fear,  isolation and mistrust of others are based on her childhood experiences. Can she overcome her past flaws and hurts and move forward to find happiness in relationships with others and peace within herself? This is a touching and thoughtful novel, with vivid characters and a unique  insight into expressing emotions through The Language of Flowers rather than words.

The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane


InThe Girl Who Disappeared Twice, the unthinkable has happened to family court  Judge, Hope Willis. Her young daughter,Krissy, has been kidnapped.  “Ifonly she’d turned her head, Judge Hope Willis, would have seen the carcontaining her daughter Krissy, struggling to escape her kidnappers.  Despite all her years determining the fatesof families…she couldn’t save her own.”
Thirty-two years ago, Hope’s twin sister was the victim ofan abduction, and despite the efforts of the police and FBI, she was neverfound.  Hope knows law enforcement will dowhat they can. Grasping for any possibility, despite her husband’s objection, she callsfor help from  Casey Woods and herrenegade investigators, Forensic Instincts. This is Casey Woods’ brainchild, a team ofhandpicked experts with the skill set to get results without worrying about thelegalities. The team includes a behaviorist, a techno-wizard, anintuitive, and a former Navy Seal– who race against the clock to bring Krissy home.
This fast-paced suspense thriller leaves the door open for more Forensic Instinct adventures to come. 

Bent Road by Lori Roy


To escape the tumult and conflicts of 1960s Detroit, Arthur Scott moves his wife and children back to the wind-swept plains of his hometown on Bent Road near Hays, Kansas. His wife, Celia, resents the move that will put her close to in-laws she barely knows and a small town society she doesn’t understand. As Celia grapples with loneliness and brutality of life and death on a farm, she watches events unfold– leading to a secret lurking in this small village. A secret that involves the Scott family. Years ago, Arthur’s beautiful old sister died mysteriously. Now, another young girl disappears without a trace. Arthur’s only living sister, severely abused by her alcoholic husband, seeks refuge with Celia’s family.

On Bent Road, a battered red truck cruises ominously along the prairie, a boy hefts his father’s rifle in search of a target, and a mother realizes she no longer knows how to protect her children. This rich and haunting story of a family reminds us that simplicity of landscape does not necessairily mean simplicity of life

To Account For Murder

>by William Whitbeck

A dying man tells his only child, Frankie, of his part in a murder. The date of the telling is 1996 and the story is told in flashback style of the mid 1940’s. Charlie Cahill committed the murder of Michigan Senator, Harry Maynard, then presided as the assistant prosecuting attorney for Maynard’s trial. Political corruption is rampant throughout the book; sometimes leaving you wondering who’s working for whom. The action keeps you reading and the surprises at the end will make you want to read the story again.

The author, William C. Whitbeck, was the Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals. He has based his book, To Account for Murder, on the actual slaying of Michigan’s Senator, Warren G. Hooper.

Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee


He was a man who didn’t deserve a second chance. But, he needed one…

Sandy Portman, a wealthy New Yorker, who attracts women like bees to flowers, marries naive and optimistic Emily, a young editor. Becoming bored with his pretty wife of four years, Sandy is on the way home to ask for a divorce when he is killed in a tragic accident.

After Sandy’s death, Emily finds out that he was unfaithful and on top of that, now she faces eviction from their home.

Sandy wakes up in an animal shelter in the body of a scruffy little dog named Einstein. It is Sandy’s chance to make up for his mistakes, a chance for redemption.

Bewildered and angry, Emily finds comfort in the form of a wacky little dog named Einstein that she finds at the animal shelter where she volunteers. Emily and Einstein is a mixture of humor, regret and love–told by turns from Emily and Sandy/Einstein.

Summer Romance

>For me, summer means relaxing on the patio with iced tea and a good “escape” book—one that is fun and takes me to a whole different world. I usually enjoy romance novels as my escape reading, and two titles that are filled with humor and fascinating characters are:

Nowhere Near Respectable by Mary Jo Putney Both of the main characters have an obstacles to overcome—Lady Kiri Lawford is of mixed blood London society looks down upon her heritage, despite the fact that she is the daughter of a Duke. Damian Mackenzie is the illegitimate brother of a Baron and the owner of a gambling establishment– who also works as a spy. Damien rescues Kiri from smugglers and they embark on a mission to expose the network responsible for attacks on the royal family. Both characters use their intelligence and resourcefulness in their hunt for the conspirators. Kiri is an unconventional heroine and both main characters are interesting and believable. Putney has created a memorable and enjoyable regency romance.

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn differs from many romances in that the main characters have known each other since childhood. Honoria has grown up in a large family that included her brother’s friend Marcus in many of it’s activities. They have grown apart and Honoria is attending ton events, on the lookout for a suitable husband. She and Marcus meet again and over time, they come to realize that they are meant to be together. This is a sweet, touching story with humor, charm and characters you will care about—a delightful romance!


In Stevens’s debut novel, The Informationist, Vanessa Munroe’s current case might be her last. Having spent her life distancing herself from her sordid childhood in Africa, Munroe has based her career on the skills she acquired there. She is an informationist and linguist with the ability to blend into any country and obtain the knowledge sought by her high-paying clients. Her current client is a distraught father whose daughter, Emily, vanished four years ago in Africa. After Emily’s safari group finished its tour, she decided to travel more with two men she met on the tour. Of the three, only one returned. Emily disappeared and the last man who saw her now resides in a mental institution. Munroe is intrigued by what previous investigators might have missed, but she is not prepared for what awaits her in Africa.” Library Journal. Monroe is a model of emerging action women, not unlike the heroine in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Cold Wind by C.J. Box


In Cold Wind, Box’s searing 11th Joe Pickett novel, Joe’s mother-in-law, Missy, is accused of murdering her latest husband–there’s a part of him that can’t believe his good luck. The social-climbing harpy has had it in for him for years–but he can hardly believe she is guilty. Could a petite woman in her mid-sixties really hoist a body to the top of a wind turbine and chain it to a spinning blade? And what’s her motive anyway? Simultaneously, an old enemy ambushes Joe’s outlaw colleague, Nate Romanowski, and his lover. Nate’s grief-driven hunt for revenge adds mealty action to this multi-stranded tale.

Farewell, Oprah


Ah, Oprah, how we will miss you. Oprah Winfrey has been a huge influence on many things, but she has probably influenced the book world more than anything, inspiring an amazing thirst for reading. In honor of her last show, Nielsenwire created a list of the top 10 bestselling Oprah’s Book Club Books in the past 10 years. I’ll pass it along in case you missed one along the way. Enjoy!

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison


Piper Kerman, a Smith graduate from a well-to-do loving family, spent a year in Danbury Federal Correctional Institution for drug related charges. In her candid memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, she vividly shares the fears and regrets of her time there.

Directly after graduation Piper begins associating with an older interesting woman that travels internationally. Soon she is involved in this woman’s drug smuggling and money laundering activities. Recognizing the foolishness of this Piper begins a new life, falls in love and has a successful job. Ten years later the Feds catch up with the drug ring.

Piper owns up to her crime and shares the foolishness of her former activities as she relates the story of prison life in a minimum security prison. We meet the wide variety of woman whom she befriends and learn the sad story of the poverty cycle which causes so many to return to their illegal activities and end up right back in prison. The heartbreak she viewed as children come to visit incarcerated mothers was one of the worst experiences. She spends her time reading, exercising and learning the electrical trade. The guards were a mixture of hateful and decent men and women.

Piper is now a vice-president at a Washington D.C communications firm that works with foundations and non-profits. She has been interviewed on

The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal

> Hired as executive Chef at a restaurant in

Aspen, Elena Alvarez must free herself from her past in order to move on with her life. She accepts the challenges of creating a new restaurant and all that it involves–creating new cuisine, a new menu, hiring staff, planning decor–along with establishing herself as a female executive chef in a kitchen filled with male co-workers. After surviving a tragedy, Elena is hesitant to believe in her own abilities as well as in love. The Lost Recipe for Happiness offers interesting insights into the world of the restaurant business and what creativity it takes to develop recipes and launch a successful new business. Elena brings her own recipes to the restaurant from her New Mexico background and each chapter begins with a southwestern-style recipe. The ingredients of love, food and cooking combine to make this an enjoyable story of love and the search for happiness.