August 2020 Staff Picks

Librarian Michael offers some interesting twists on stories set on a farm.

If you'd like additional reading suggestions, please give us a call at 236-5205. Book lovers are also invited to tune in to Michael's Anytime Online Book Club on Facebook Live. On Aug. 18 at 7 p.m., he'll discuss books that blew your mind. What books have left you speechless or completely rocked your world? Is this a type of book you enjoy? Be sure to join us and share your thoughts.

by Michael Perry.
Perry has been my go-to guide for rural Wisconsin life; he loves the land, the people and writes with wit and humor, and without getting too folksy or preachy about things. Coop (2009) finds Perry moving to his in-law’s farm, navigating fatherhood and chicken raising. I love Perry’s mix of intellectualism and down-to-earth-ism; it’s kind of like Jean Paul Sartre speaking about the existential joy of properly executing a “farmers snort” while chopping wood on a sub-zero morning.

Prodigal Summer
by Barbara Kingsolver.
Kingsolver’s 2000 novel weaves together the lives of three women in Appalachia, all confronting forces and people who challenge their way of life. A wildlife biologist becomes entwined with a charismatic hunter; an entomologist clashes with her new farming family, and two elderly neighbors fight over pesticides and the future of their lands. All of the characters are deeply connected to the land in various ways and Kingsolver’s background as a biologist shines through. Her descriptions and advocacy for the environment make even the most cynical city-dweller yearn for the country and an apple orchard. Also, her dialogue is masterful. I was hooked by about page five.

by Stephen King
I am a horror enthusiast, so regardless of topic/setting/genre, I always come back to something scary. “1922”, from King’s 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars tells the story of man haunted by the gruesome crime committed by him and his son on a farm (see it’s on theme!) in rural Nebraska. The supernatural creeps in, as it tends to do in King’s work, but the true horror is human nature.

Teen Services Librarian Maggie is a great resource for choosing any type of Young Adult book. She also offers reading suggestions every Wednesday at 5 p.m. during Shelf Selected on Facebook Live. If you'd like help finding your next book, email Teens can also join the Teen Book Club via Zoom. Register for the Zoom meeting and find out how to pick up your free book using curbside service. Upcoming titles can be found here.

The Girl with the Broken Heart
by Lurlene McDaniel
Fans of The Fault in Our Stars and Five Feet Apart will fall in love this one. Kenzie’s goal is to become a veterinarian, so when she gets a summer job rehabilitating abused horses, she’s thrilled. She has a serious heart condition that keeps her from doing the more physical aspects of the job, so her employers have asked the charming Austin to help her. But Austin has secrets, and as Kenzie and Austin become closer, those secrets could ruin everything. Get your tissues. 

Dairy Queen
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
D.J.’s family is good at football. Her two older brothers play in college and that’s where they are this summer and why they can’t help at the family farm when their dad has surgery. That’s why D.J. has to do all the work herself. It’s also why D.J. is the one to help train Brian, the quarterback for the rival school. But things get really interesting when D.J. decides to try out for the football team herself. You’re going to love this strong and funny girl from Wisconsin.

by Patrick Ness
In 1956, Sarah’s father buys a dragon to help care for their farm, something only the poorest families are forced to do. He makes it very clear that Sarah should not speak to the dragon, but he buys a rare blue dragon and Sarah can’t help but be curious about it. And it seems the dragon, Kazimir, is curious about Sarah too because he’s on a mission of his own, one that involves a prophecy and Sarah. Dragons and prophecies in an alternate-1950s setting is definitely what you need to escape 2020 right now. 

Picture Books
Children's Librarian Adeline has chosen beautifully illustrated picture books that celebrate farm life.

Right This Very Minute: a table-to-farm book about food and farming
by Lisl Detlefsen
What's that you say? You're hungry? Right this very minute? Then you need a farmer. This book, by Wisconsin author Lisl Detlefsen, shares the story of the farms and farmers who provide the foods on our table.

Sophie’s Squash
by Pat Zietlow Miller
Here's a story that celebrates the special love between a child and her favorite toy-- a butternut squash! On a trip to the farmers' market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents' gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot.

On the Farm
by David Elliott
A beautiful book that depicts life on a farm with simple text and exquisite images. It captures the world of the family farm. A world that is both timeless and disappearing.

Chapter Books
Tweens (ages 9 - 11) are invited to join the library's Tween Book Club via Zoom. Request a free copy of the month's book and the Zoom meeting information here.

Storytime leader Miss Cathy offers her chapter book selections below. If you'd like to join Miss Cathy for storytime, please tune in to Storytime Live on Facebook every Friday at 9:30 a.m. While we can't gather together, Storytime Live is a great way to engage little ones in early literacy activities. In addition, the library's YouTube channel has a full playlist of taped storytimes to enjoy anytime.

Farmer Boy
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The second in the Little House on the Prairie series. Nine year old Almanzo Wilder helps his family on their big farm in New York State. There is the summer planting and the fall harvest. And then the fair comes to town . . .

The Popcorn Book
by Tomie DePaola
Tony likes to cook. Tiny likes to read. And both like to eat . . . POPCORN! So while Tony cooks it, Tiny reads about it: what popcorn is, how it is prepared and legends and stories about popcorn.

Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket
by Barbara Park
Junie B. Jones Kindegarten class is taking a field trip to a real actual farm! They will see a real actual farmer, a real actual barn and real actual animals, but Junie is wondering where the gift shop is. Surely she won’t go home empty-handed? Another delightfully funny story about Junie B. Jones.