Ruby’s Slippers

>by Leanna Ellis
Dottie and Abby’s Grandmother worked on set with Judy Garland in the making of The Wizard of Oz.  Dottie is happy keeping the family’s Kansas farm going, but Abby has her heart set on becoming a “star”. 

When Dottie suffers from a head injury during a tornado, Abby moves her to a nursing home in California.  With a bit of amnesia, Dottie takes awhile to realize that Abby is going to or has already sold the family farm. Then a pair of rubby slippers are left for her by her father, whom she hasn’t seen since childhood.  Sophie, one of the residents at the home, encourages Dottie to search for her father.  The two of them take off on an adventure with Sophie behind the wheel.  As they travel, they soon realize someone is after the shoes, which are believed to have been worn by Judy in the movie.  When Sophie’s son joins the group, there is trouble around every corner, but there is romance in the air.  Ruby’s Slippers by Leanna Ellis is a fun story of adventure and love.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

> The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is not a book I would have picked up on my own, but once I started reading I couldn’t put it down till the very end.

Arnold Spirit, 14 year old Native American, has grown up on the Spokane reservation in Washington.  Born with water on the brain and sporting thick and unfashionable glasses, he has learned to cope with the challenges of his life by allying himself with one of the toughest kids around and by drawing.  “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.”  Then one day the injustice around him becomes a bit too clear and he is inspired to transfer to a nearby all-white and better funded school, which of course presents new challenges.  His friends from the reservation see his school change as a betrayal and the white kids in his new school don’t know what to do with him. 

This book made me laugh out loud.  Arthur is a keen observer of the world and survives his situation with a keen wit.  At the same time his life and his awareness of the unfairness of it all are heart-breaking.  Alexie has shared that the book is semi-autobiographical, and that knowledge does give the novel an extra element of hopefulness.  This book challenged my perceptions of Native Americans and growing up, as well as provided inspiration to face the challenges in my own life.

The Wedding Kiss by Hanna Alexander


A Wedding Kiss can be life-changing.  Keara’s father has just gambled their farm away and gone to jail accused of murder.  In desperation, she approached Elam Jensen with an offer of marriage.  Elam’s wife died of smallpox a year ago, and Keara has been helping take care of his children.  A marriage of convenience becomes much less convenient when Keara and Elam share their first kiss on their wedding day! It becomes more than they expected when  God Shows them what He really  has in store for their lives.  A mysteriously injured visitor shows up unexpectedly on their wedding day.  Will her private battle draw them into deadly danger?
Visit Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in 1901 and discover what excitement and romance await along the White River Hollow.

Quiet by Susan Cain


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a fascinating look at introversion and what having that personality type actually means. Cain is very effective at taking a lot of disparate psychological research and forming it into a cogent picture of introversion and how introverts relate to the world around them. Cain uses illustrative examples from scientific research, case studies and extensive interviews she performed during the course of her research for this book.

Between one third and one half of the population are introverts, so this book has the potential to be very useful to people with personalities on opposite ends of the introvert-extrovert spectrum relate to each other in work situations and in personal relationships. Cain presents many tips for introverts trying to function in a world that values extroversion, as well as tips for everyone to try to work against the psychological inclination to listen to those who are good presenters (even if the idea they are presenting isn’t very good).

Cain also gave a wonderful TED Talk called The Power of Introverts.

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

>17 year old Ahalya and her 15 year old sister Sita are made homeless orphans when a tsunami sweeps through their town in coastal India, killing everyone they know. As they try to make their way to a convent school in another town, they are abducted and sold to a brothel owner in Mumbai, leaving the girls caught up in the brutal world of sex trafficking.
After losing a high-profile case, Washington, D.C. attorney Thomas Clarke has fallen out of grace at his law firm and elects to take a sabbatical at a non-profit agency in India, with the hopes of re-connecting with his Indian-born wife as well as escaping his job. Clarke is faced with the horrors of human trafficking at his NGO, and with the corrupt systems that allow it to flourish. Becoming involved with the cases of Ahalya and Sita, he attempts to locate the girls and free them from their enslavement.

This is a compelling thriller whose plot has many twists and turns with well-defined, strong characters. Addison has offered eye-opening insights into the horrific world of the international sex slavery trade, but he also offers hope and redemption through the portrayals of the characters who work tirelessly in dangerous situations to free enslaved women, often under dangerous circumstances, and offer them a better life.  A Walk Across the Sun is a riveting, thought-provoking novel that depicts both the worst that can be found in humanity as well as the resilience and hope that can be found in the human spirit despite the most awful circumstances. This is a story that will remain with you long after reading the last page.

The World of Downton Abbey

>Relive Downtown Abbey, the wildly loved PBS series by reading The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes.This stunning book is filled with beautiful color photos of the cast members in costume to give the impression that you are back in the midst of this favorite drama. The  oversized-volume is packed with sumptuous full-color pictures of the production, the cast, historical connections and its shining star, Highclere Castle, the grand manor house in Hampshire where the series is filmed .
The well researched material gives a fascinating historical background for life as a servant just before and during the First World War in England, but also has an interesting perspective on life’s tremendous expectations of the upper class, such as always dressing for dinner.  Jessica Fellowes, the niece of Julian Fellowes the writer and creator of Downton Abbey, gives us fresh insights into this fascinating world.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

>Gemmy Hardy doesn’t remember having a home.  Orphaned at a young age, Gemma is taken from Iceland to Scotland to be with her uncle.  After forming a close bond with him he also passes on, leaving her in the care of an indifferent aunt.  Her scholarship to a boarding school seems like a blessing, but doesn’t turn out that way.  Along the way, Gemma maintains her dignity and self-worth, standing up to those who try to belittle her.  This practice is noble, but doesn’t always work in her favor.  When her dreadful school closes, she desperately grasps at a position in the Orkney Islands to be the au pair to the young niece of a Mr. Sinclair, a wealthy man with a secret.  For the first time, Gemma is treated with respect, as an equal.

Sound familiar?  In The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Livesey has taken on the challenge of writing a modern interpretation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  Rewriting such a classic is a difficult undertaking and, except for a couple of small weak spots, Livesey has come through with shining colors.  She follows the plot quite closely with adjustment for the setting of post-war Scotland.  The true triumph, though is the feel of the book.  We follow along as Gemma faces one difficulty after another and soldiers on.  The book expresses perfectly a dark undercurrent of rootlessness without succumbing to despair.  The Flight of Gemma Hardy is a beautiful story about the strength of the human spirit.

My Life, Deleted by Scott Bolzan


Just before Christmas, the chronicle of My Life, Deleted, began with an insigificant accident at work. Scott Bolzan slipped and fell in the washroom.  But when he woke up in the emergency room, he didn’t know who he was or what was going on around him.  He knew the numbers from 1 to 10, but didn’t know in  what order. And that was just the beginning.  He is left with unbearable headaches, a family he doesn’t know, a job he can no longer do, a pro football career forgotten and more questions than a toddler. His word to describe his condition was “lost.” The doctors thought the amnesia would fade in a few weeks, but months later, Scott is still learning about the world around him. This is a journey of desperation, confusion, and suspense. But the glue that holds this story together is the up-and-down  relationship between husband and wife and their struggle to fall in love again and survive as a family.  A two-year struggle for a recovery that is nothing short of incredible. Scott and his wife can be seen on YouTube:  Scott Bolzan-My Life Was Deleted.

Home Front by Kristen Hannah


In this timely and touching novel, Kristen Hannah tells the story of families and soldiers and how each are affected by deployments to war zones overseas.
18 year old Jolene joins the Army and finds a family and life-long friendships among it’s ranks after her alcoholic parents are killed in a car accident . She becomes a Blackhawk pilot and after marrying and having children, joins the National Guard. Her marriage to Michael, a defense attorney and workaholic, is a distant one and when Jolene receives orders to deploy to Iraq, neither can discuss their fears about the war. Jolene leaves for Iraq with her best friend and co-pilot Tami, leaving behind husbands and children who are filled with anger and anxiety. Michael is left to build relationships with his children and manage their home, as well as continuing his law practice. A murder case forces him to re-evaluate his opinions about war and the military, and tragedy forces him to adapt to changes in his marriage and his family.
Home Front conveys the hardships and tragedies of going to war and the affects of war on both soldiers and families. Hannah’s extensive research into PTSD and it’s traumatic effects on soldiers and their families is described through the experiences of several characters. This is an intense and emotional story, with well developed characters, offering insights into the experiences our military families endure when a family member is deployed.

>Busy Spring “Break” ahead; Call for Teen Volunteers


by Janene Hill

There’s no Breaking this Spring at Manhattan Public Library! While there are no regular storytimes this week, several events have been planned for all ages to help keep the family occupied while school is out.

Events begin this afternoon as a Saxophone Quartet from Fort Riley’s 1st Division Band performs at MPL. This is the third time a group from the Band has made an appearance at the library and performances are always enjoyable. The quartet performs in the Auditorium beginning at 2 p.m.

Also today, the weekly R.E.A.D. With Dogs program takes place in the Storytime Room of the Children’s Department from 2 to 4 p.m. During this program, children can read to a certified therapy dog which gives them the opportunity to practice and enjoy reading in a fun, non-judgmental environment. Pre-registration is not required, but participants are asked to sign up for a time slot upon arrival.

Tuesday, children are invited to join K-State Riley County Extension staff, Gregg Eyestone and Ginny Barnard, for the How Does Your Garden Grow? event at 2 p.m. in the Auditorium. Kids will hear fun stories and learn how plants grow. Participants will also get to make a garden craft and seed tape.

Wednesday the fun with a G-rated Kids’ Movie beginning at 10 a.m. in the Auditorium. In this movie, a bear named Pooh wakes up absolutely famished, but has no honey. Pooh is joined in the Hundred Acre Wood by friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Eeyore, who has lost his tail.

Everyone can participate in Make & Take Crafts on Wednesday afternoon. This come-and-go event takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Auditorium. Crafting stations will be set up for preschoolers through teens. Parents are welcome to join in the fun.

For the older crowd, the Young Adult Department hosts a Hunger Games Event on Thursday beginning at 6:30 p.m. The evening will include trivia, a Cornucopia Challenge, themed snacks, Tribute Training activities, and door prize drawings for books, a poster, and movie tickets. Hunger Games fans of all ages are welcome.

Also Thursday evening is the monthly TALK Program. This month’s featured book is The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. The book discussion begins at 7 p.m. in the Groesbeck Room.

The week winds down on Friday as Lightning McQueen and his best friend Mater travel overseas for the World Grand Prix. This Kids’ Movie is rated G and begins at 2 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Call for Teen Volunteers

Teen Volunteers play an important role in the success of Summer Reading Programs at Manhattan Public Library. Having teen volunteers throughout the summer makes the experience more fun for participants and less stressful for staff. Kids are proud to speak and interact with the teenagers and staff are ever-grateful for the priceless assistance of the teens.

While being a vital attribute to the summer’s success, volunteers are expected to be dependable, responsible workers who are able to work independently and/or with minimal supervision. Teens gain valuable work experience while having fun, earning service hours, making professional contacts, and learning about the library. Many volunteers also experience a boost of self-esteem and sense of involvement through their work at the library.

Duties vary throughout the summer, but most notably, volunteers work at the Summer Reading Prize Desks where they help children and teens register for Summer Reading and pick up prizes throughout the summer.

Other tasks include a variety of things such as assisting with preparations for storytimes and clubs, assisting with programs and clubs, helping keep book shelves organized and cleaned, along with numerous other responsibilities.

Teen Volunteers must be between the ages of 13 and 17 as of May 25, 2012.  Workers may be on duty 2 to 10 hours per week from the last week of May through the last week of July.

Other qualifications and expectations are listed on the Informational Brochure.

Applications must be completed and turned in at the Information Desk by Monday, May 7. Candidates will be required to participate in an interview prior to being offered a position in the program. A maximum of 15 volunteers will be accepted as MPL Summer Teen Volunteers.

Questions about the program can be directed to Janene Hill, Young Adult Librarian at or 785-776-4741 ext. 170.

An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11- Year- Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny


Don’t miss this beautiful, true story of  friendship!
 Laura Schroff was a successful thirty-five year old advertising sales executive for USA Today walking down a busy New York street when a small voice asked her for spare change.  She kept walking until something made her stop, turn around, and face a small, dirty boy with ratty clothes and an outstretched hand.  Her response to this needy little boy changed both of their lives.

An Invisible Thread from UMBRASOLUTIONS on Vimeo.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson


Ahoy there, me hearties!  If life is ever feeling a bit hum-drum, you can count on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island to carry you away to a land of adventure with treasure, pirates, and mutiny included.  The story is about Jim Hawkins, whose mother’s boarding house connects him with a mysterious pirate.  This encounter leads him across the sea to follow a treasure map and seek unbelievable riches.

Stevenson dishes up adventure and suspense galore with this swashbuckling tale.  He had an uncanny ability to provide enough detail to make the story come alive without bogging the story down.  This classic can be experienced on DVD, audiobook, graphic novel, or as a good old-fashioned book

Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas

>In her latest novel Rainshadow Road, Lisa Kleypas mixes romance, love and magic while telling the story of Lucy and Sam. In this sequel to Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, which tells the story of his brother Mark, Sam Nolan works on repairing his old Victorian home and on tending to his vineyard in the San Juan Islands. Lucy is a glass artist, living with her boyfriend Kevin. He informs her that not only does he want to end their relationship, but he has taken up with Lucy’s sister Alice. On a bike ride around the island, an accident forces Lucy to turn to Sam for help. Both of these characters have pasts filled with betrayal and emotional trauma and both are reluctant to rely on anyone again. Their relationship develops slowly and is filled with honesty and sweetness and both must make choices about old patterns and new beginnings–a  touching love story.

Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston


If you love the natural world and like to fantasize about life and death struggles, then Micro is for you.  Written by Richard Preston, author of science novels such as The Hot Zone, this unfinished manuscript of Michael Crichtons’ is a sci-fi fantasy about humans that have been shrunk to the size of thumbtacks.
Young researchers at a Massachusetts university are flown to Hawaii to work for a cutting edge nanotechnology company. Their expertise with plants and bugs is useful in this companies research.  Little do they know that they are pawns in a scheme to further research the nano world themselves by being shrunk.  They also will be watched to see if the bends which are a side effect of the process, causing internal bleeding and death,  can be analyzed and eliminated.
 The mercenary owner of Nanigen wants to perfect and sell micro sized drone aircaft and other technology to the highest bidder. Drake cares nothing about the deaths caused by the technology, his only interest is in the profits and fame.
The students are in a fight for their life when they encounter the insects of the island in their small state.  Even the smallest ant is a huge threat to their existence.  The descriptions of their encounters with grubs, wasps, spiders and being swallowed and caught in the craw of a myna bird are intriguing and frightening.
The characters, though not well developed, are in an interesting struggle for life and make this an intriguing science fiction tale.

In Honor of Willing Volunteers


By Marcia Allen
Technical Services & Collections Manager
    The 2012 Manhattan Library Association Book Sale, which took place last weekend, is one of the busiest annual events the library experiences.  Parking spots were at a premium, as shoppers selected used books, cd’s and dvd’s either removed from the library’s collection or donated by generous patrons of the library.  The sales generated by this three-day event surpassed all previous years, and those patiently waiting in line seemed to be enjoying the experience.  But it takes a monumental effort for that sale to take place.
    Planning and organizing the event, not to mention arranging it and building a schedule for volunteers, take months of work.  Fortunately, the library relies on the expertise of Gary Jeffrey and Bob Newhouse, Book Sale Co-Chairs, who devote countless hours to the project and spend the duration of the sale overseeing all the details.  These two gentlemen worked with the hardworking volunteers from the Flint Hills Job Corps to set up tables and haul boxes of materials from the basement.  They also coordinated efforts with the Rotaractors and the young men from Tau Kappa Epsilon who cleaned up after the sale.  And the co-chairs answered questions, tidied up inventory, and oversaw sales whenever they had time.  Grateful words are insufficient for the work these two performed.
    Heather Lansdowne, President of MLA, also invested time and effort into the project.  Heather not only helped set up the event, but also worked as a cashier for sales.
And Carol Oukrop, MLA Publicity Chair, made sure the event had plenty of publicity around town via signage and announcements, and she worked as a cashier for much of the sale itself.

    Those weren’t the only folks to make the sale a success; there were lots of other volunteers who worked shifts, by greeting buyers and helping them out with their purchases.  There were those who organized tables and cleaned up throughout the process.  There were folks who made sure the auditorium and the Groesbeck Room were clean afterwards.  So many people were kind enough to step in and make a daunting effort manageable for all, and the members of the MLA Board certainly deserve very special thanks for all their unselfish work.
    What happens when the sale is over?  MLA uses the funds generated by the event to support library programs and collections.  If you’ve participated in summer reading or the TALK book discussions (going on right now), you’ve benefited from MLA.  If you’ve signed up for a “One Book, One Community” reading program, you’ve benefited from MLA.  If you’ve admired the beautiful wooden benches or the stunning Aesop’s Fables Trellis in the atrium and wondered how they were funded, MLA was involved.  And MLA has contributed to collections’ budgets in purchasing materials beyond what annual library budgets allow.
    Lest you think the annual book sale is MLA’s only source of revenue, consider Rosie’s Corner, located near the Technology Center on the west side of the library.  Used books, dvd’s and cd’s are arranged on that site, so that buyers have year-round access to used materials in good condition.  Wilma Schmeller, coordinator of Rosie’s Corner, spends hours each week sorting and pricing materials so that there is always a fresh supply of available materials.
    If you’re not already a member of MLA, there is always time to join.  Membership forms are available at the Information Desk on the first floor, in the business office on the second floor, and through the library website.  Varying membership costs and levels of involvement are readily available.  MLA recruited lots of new members during this year’s book sale, and the organization eagerly welcomes any additional interested people.  We invite you to become one of the many who contribute to the depth of service that MPL offers.