Whether you’re new to job hunting, or you have been searching a while, you will definitely need a resume. That much is well-known; the next step may not be so easy, but we can help! Williamsburg Regional Library has an extensive collection of books and instructional DVDs to help get you started on your resume or polish up your existing document. General purpose books like Resume Empower: Shattering the Paper Ceiling cover lots of standard advice like having multiple resumes prepared for the multiple jobs that you apply for. Others are geared towards specific careers such as Expert Resumes for Teachers and Educators, by Wendy S. Enelow or specific situations such as McGraw-Hill’s Resumes for the 50+ Job Hunter.
On April 21, 2015 Ed Joyner from Colonial Williamsburg is coming to the Williamsburg Library Theatre to tell the public about the hiring process from a Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Recruiter’s perspective, sign up early for this extremely useful and entertaining event. We have several other financial literacy events next week for Money Smart Week, including investing and applying for financial aid.
Searching and applying for jobs can be a daunting and lonely task, but remember Williamsburg Regional Library is here to help!
Check the WRL catalog for Resume Empower.
Check the WRL catalog for Expert Resumes for Teachers and Educators.
Check the WRL catalog for Resumes for the 50+ Job Hunter.
Check the WRL catalog for an instructional DVD about job hunting Effective Resumes and Job Applications.
To ask about these or if you have any questions call us on 259-4050 or stop by the Adult Services desk.
As the song goes, “Fish got to swim and birds got to fly”, but that doesn’t mean they have to be happy about it. What if what we thought we knew about our friends in the animal kingdom turned out to be vicious stereotyping. The revelatory volume, What Animals Really Like blows all our assumptions about animals out of the water.
As the book begins, Mr. Herbert Timberteeth is debuting a song of his own, “What Animals Like Most.” His choir is composed of cows, monkeys, frogs, and a menagerie of other animals. He’s not expecting them to go off-book.
Things start off well: “We are lions, and we like to prowl. We are wolves, and we like to howl. We are pigeons, and we like to coo.”
But then things take a turn: “We are horses, and we like deep-sea diving. We are worms, and we like to bowl. We are warthogs, and we like to parachute.”
Children will enjoy this irreverent story and its surprising twists. Very ambitions storytellers might even choose to find a tune to which they can sing Mr. Timberteeth’s song.
Check the WRL catalog for What Animals Really Like.
Gordon “Rank” Rankin, Jr., is incensed when he starts to read a novel by a college friend, Adam Grix, whom he hasn’t seen in twenty years, and finds himself unmistakably but very imperfectly portrayed in the novel. He sits down at his computer and fires off email after angry email to his old friend, over a three month period, trying to set the record straight, trying to put into words the events of his life that led to the fateful night in their second year of college when Rank left their circle of friends and never went back.
Rank is particularly incensed that Adam mentions, in the early part of his novel, that the character’s mother had died. “It did nothing,” Rank writes to Adam. “[i]t was just a thing that had happened to this guy – his mom died, by the way. Background information. It’s mentioned once and never again.” Rank is furious that his mother’s death could be portrayed as no big deal.
Rank was always big. His size led those around him to see him more as an intimidating physical presence than as a deeply thinking, caring soul. When he was young, everyone perceived him to be older. Inside the body of a man, his teenage self hadn’t matured into someone who could stand up to those who wanted to use his bulk for their own purposes. His “tiny screaming lunatic” father, hopping around and complaining about the “punks” who frequented his Icy Dream ice cream parlor, got Rank to intimidate older classmates who would, simply by being teenagers, scare off family type clientele.
One of Rank’s punches in the Icy Dream parking lot, when Rank was fifteen, resulted in brain damage to a “smart-ass town punk” he’d known all his life. That moment, when Rank heard the sound of Mike Croft’s head crack against the pavement, was the beginning, he realized later, when the gods started messing with him. His life became like the board game from the seventies, Mouse Trap, where a “series of random plastic doodads” were “set up to interact with one another in frankly stupid and unlikely ways (the boot kicks the bucket, out of which falls the ball, which rolls down the ramp), and at the end of this rickety and dubious process, down comes the mousetrap.”
Rank’s emails to Adam are at times hilarious, but often, and in the long run, downright heart-breaking. Rank can’t escape his body and can’t escape how people react to his bulk. He gets a hockey scholarship to college – based on his bulk and on a letter from his high school coach and social worker, Owen Findlay, the social worker assigned to him after he busted Mike Croft’s head – and still his life seems scripted by uncaring gods playing around to see what he would do. He feels forced to give up that scholarship when he’s asked to butt heads with the opposing team; he will not relive the experience with Croft. He falls in with a group of friends — geeky, frail Adam in particular — with whom he shares stories from his life. He tells Adam about Mike Croft, about his mean little father, about his mother and about her death. He now writes to Adam: “I pulled off hank after bloody hank of flesh and just handed them over and you were so coy, you averted your eyes and pretended to be embarrassed like the rest of them when really you were squirreling away all those hanks and secretly stitching them together and building Frankenstein’s monster.”
We never read what Adam writes back to Rank, but we know he stops replying soon after Rank starts. It’s okay, though. We let Rank write his life’s story to his once-friend, and read the “bloody hanks of flesh” that make up his life. Rank gets it all out, all the anger, all the history. It’s tempered with love, but you don’t notice it until you’re finished and you sit there stunned and almost in tears.
I listened to this book as an audiobook download. The narrator, Macleod Andrews, is a perfect reader for the book. The book itself lacks some of the normal punctuation one would normally expect in a novel, but this is a series of emails – relatively well-punctuated and correctly-spelled emails — but still emails where the tense and voice may change depending on the tone. On second listening, and in skimming the text, I have to say this has become one of my favorite books of all time. It’s probably one of the most entertaining and raw portrayals of a character I’ve ever encountered.
“The lion tries to ignore it when the gazelles whisper behind his back. He pretends not to see the zebras looking down their noses at him. The wildebeests call him ‘bad kitty’ just because he’s eaten half the neighborhood. It hurts. It really does.”
So, the lion, timber wolf, and great white shark decide to go vegetarian. It goes just about as well as you might think. Carnivores just can’t ignore their natural instincts. They try disguising themselves as less threatening animals, but that doesn’t work either. Finally, they seek out the great horned owl for advice. What he tells them changes everything.
Check the WRL catalog for Carnivores.
This is a powerful history. It is a story of survival, loss, atrocity, renewal, guilt, luck, sadness, and hope. Three Minutes in Poland is a painstakingly-researched book that grew out of a home movie made by David Kurtz, the author’s grandfather. In 2009, Glenn Kurtz happened upon the movie in a family closet. Having emigrated to the United States years before, David, his wife, and friends toured Europe in 1938, just before the outbreak of World War II. David Kurtz, with his 16 mm movie camera, sporadically recorded the excursion, including three minutes documenting a small Polish town from which the family had come.
The significance of those three minutes in 1938 was immediately clear to the author. Within a year the Holocaust had started. By 1942 most of the 3000 Jews from the town had been murdered. This short record offered a rare pre-war snapshot of the Jews of Poland, happy and thriving. With unrelenting determination, Glenn Kurtz undertook a project to identify the faces captured in his grandfather’s home movie. He wanted to learn more about the small town, what it meant to his grandfather, his extended family, and the Jews who lived there. Kurtz’s book not only chronicles that research, it brings to life again some of the lost souls who died during the Holocaust.
In writing this book Kurtz traveled around the globe. He followed leads throughout North America and made friends and discoveries in Israel, Poland, and England. Despite how few people survived, Kurtz assembled an extensive network to identify and interview individuals with first-hand knowledge of the town and its people. He focused on the survivors to reconstruct this town documented in his grandfather’s home movie. In particular, the author spent many hours talking with Morry Chandler (whose granddaughter identified him as one of the waving children in the home movie).
Three Minutes in Poland is an intimate portrait of how many Jewish families were devastated, and yet some managed to survive. Throughout his well-crafted book, Kurtz weaves a story of past, present, and future that engages the reader. The personal element of reconstructing his heritage notwithstanding, much of Three Minutes in Poland also is a reminder to never forget the victims of the Holocaust. Through intelligence, perseverance, and skill, Kurtz presents a compassionate history that will move and inspire almost any reader.
Check the WRL catalog for Three Minutes in Poland.
The Graveyard Book was originally published as a novel in 2008 to a flurry of well-deserved praise, eventually earning the Newbery Medal, Carnegie Medal, and Hugo award. The story follows a boy named Nobody Owens, nicknamed Bod, who, as a very young child, flees to a graveyard after his parents are murdered by a man named Jack. The ghosts, after a heated discussion, extend to Bod the Freedom of the Graveyard, which protects him and allows him to interact freely with the dead. Of course, there is a limit to what a ghost can do, so Bod is assigned a Guardian, named Silas, who is neither living nor dead, and who can go out into the world of the living and procure the supplies that the boy needs. He begins his new life amongst the stones and tombs, protected from harm as Jack continues to search for his missing victim.
The story is wistful and haunting. The reader feels the great loss that Bod has experienced, yet he is himself too young to understand it fully. It’s not that the ghosts make bad parents; it’s just that a bit of emptiness haunts the margins of the book: the reader’s knowledge of the family life and friends that this little boy has been denied by virtue of his situation. This sense of longing can’t easily be shrugged off. Even leaving the graveyard puts him in serious risk, as the killer Jack can reach him if he wanders outside the gates.
The novel has been adapted by P. Craig Russell, who has won Harvey and Eisner awards for other projects, and who also created a exceptional graphic adaptation of a previous Gaiman book, Coraline. In this instance, the adaptation was done by Russell, but he only drew one of the chapters himself. Each chapter is done by a different artist, seven in all, and the illustrations are stunning. Sometimes having multiple artists can adversely affect the continuity of the visual storytelling, rending it difficult to recognize a character from one section to the next, but not in this case. Each section is unique, but all of the artists do a remarkable job of capturing the atmosphere of the book.
Recommended for readers of science fiction, horror, and graphic novels. Although the book is marketed as being for young teens, it is appropriate for adult readers as well.
Check the WRL catalog for The Graveyard Book, Volume 1
Woodland critters are very skittish. The slightest noise can send them scampering away. So, when a few bunnies sitting under a tree by a lake hear a sudden “PLOP!” they are off and running. They warn the fox, who warns the monkey, and soon all of the animals are running for their lives. All except the big brown bear.
The big brown bear is not scared of things; things are scared of him! He wants to find this “PLOP!” that is stepping onto his turf. So, the big brown bear forces one of the bunnies to take him back to see the “PLOP!” When the two return to the lake, they hear the “PLOP!” again. This time the bunny notices where the sound is coming from and is no longer afraid. The big brown bear, however, has a different reaction.
This is a story about bravery and the fear of the unknown. Children will quickly realize what caused the “PLOP!” and will find humor in each animal’s overreaction. Colorful illustrations fill the page and even make use of photographs. A picture of cake is created by combining a photo with hand-drawings, while the texture of the big brown bear’s fur looks like real yarn. Pictures of a knife and glass appear to be clip art inserted into the illustrations. This is another title perfect for a storytime audience.
Check the WRL catalog for The Terrible Plop.
Refreshing and reinventing old superheroes has become somewhat fashionable recently, with rather mixed results. Some characters, like Batman, have seen so many iterations that it is difficult to separate them all, or find new ground to cover without being completely repetitive or utterly discarding canon. One good thing that has come out of this trend is the resurrection of old characters that never caught on, but were worthwhile for one reason or another.
The Green Turtle was a World War II superhero with a very limited run. He was created by a cartoonist named Chu Hing, who was one of the first Asian-Americans to enter the American comic book industry, a business with limited diversity, especially back in 1944. Hing obscured the face of his protagonist so that, even if he was not allowed to make his character officially of Chinese descent, there is enough obfuscation for the reader to make their own decision about his heritage.
It is this character that has been brought back to life in The Shadow Hero. Living in Chinatown are two immigrants and their son, Hank. Each parent brings with them shadows of their old life and unfulfilled expectations from their new life. Hank is the reluctant heir to a melting pot of their issues. There certainly isn’t any early indication of his superhero future, as he is quite content to work in his father’s grocery store, nursing the hope to eventually pass it on to his own son someday. But no superhero comes to being without some trauma, and his parent’s legacies eventually, violently, come to alter their offspring’s future in unimagined ways.
Gene Luen Yang, author of the Printz Award winning American Born Chinese, brings a strong sense of time, place, and culture in this story. I don’t think I’ve ever read a superhero story where family and cultural heritage is this central to the creation and continued development of the character. The people surrounding Hank encompass a wide range of types without sinking in to caricature. His mother is especially complicated, being infuriating and relatable in equal measure. Parents want what’s best for their child, but so often their view of what is best is founded on what they perceive to be missing from their own life.
Recommended for readers of graphic novels, superhero stories, and anyone with an interest in stories about family dynamics.
Check the WRL catalog for The Shadow Hero.
Barbara is a fifth-grader who lives with her big sister and her older brother. She sticks out from her peers for myriad reasons: she wears a different pair of animal ears every day; she is completely unable to interact with people in a normal manner; and she is obsessed with her quest to kill giants. She tells stories of many bloody, violent battles with the monsters, and sees signs of an impending attack that no one else notices. Armed with Coveleski, the Giant Slayer (the name she gave her war hammer), she is tough, smart, and in many ways completely unlikable. When finding herself cornered, either physically or emotionally, she lashes out with a vicious intensity.
Offsetting her brutal ferocity is Sophia, a sunny, gentle girl who is new to the neighborhood and is fascinated by Barbara’s stories of giants and the imminent war. As damaged as Barbara so obviously is, she cannot completely cast Sophia aside, and the reader gets glimpses of what looks like desperation for normalcy peeking through her façade. But Barbara is pretty expert in keeping people from hurting her emotionally, and even Mrs. Molle, the school psychologist, finds Barbara a tough case to figure out.
Heavy in the air is a secret, something so terrible that it is driving Barbara into a world of fantasy in order to find some solace. So strong is her emotional shutdown, that even people’s words are blacked out whenever the topic is mentioned. Bit by excruciating bit, her secret is revealed to the reader, as she finds herself unable to keep things contained and her raw pain is brought to the surface
Graphic novels can be a fantastic medium for delving into tough, sensitive topics, as the art can make a reader comprehend those quiet moments of complete emotional devastation better than any possible combination of words. The illustrations by JM Ken Niimura are subtle and explosive as appropriate. Joe Kelly’s writing is nuanced and tense. Recommended for readers of graphic novels, and anyone who likes journeys of self-awareness or coming-of-age stories.
Check the WRL catalog for I Kill Giants.
In It’s a Tiger! a boy runs from a tiger that seems to be following him. Through the jungle, underground, on the sea, everywhere he goes he finds the tiger. Does the tiger want to eat him, or does he just want to hear a story? Given that this is a picture book recommended for preschoolers and kindergarteners, you can probably guess which.
This book is great for storytime and a natural for doing call and response. As children learn the rhythm of the book they will pick up on the prompt for their part: “A TIGER!” You could also integrate movement by having the children mime the boy’s actions as he ducks, climbs, tiptoes, and swims away from the tiger. The ending always gets a good reaction from the audience as well, as a new animal enters the picture.
Mr. La Rochelle has written an entertaining, interactive book perfectly illustrated with Tankard’s bold and colorful pictures.
Check the WRL catalog for It’s a Tiger!
How to Hide a Lion is about the unlikely friendship between a girl and a lion. Unfortunately, “Moms and dads can be funny about having a lion in the house”, so the girl embarks on the ambitious task of hiding the lion from her parents. This friendly lion is easier to hide than a ferocious lion would be, but he is still rather large. He’s also very difficult to move when he’s sleeping, which proves to be their downfall.
This picture book is a bit of a throwback, as it is very reminiscent of oldies but goodies like The Story of Ferdinand and Madeline. Part of that similarity may come from the sketched illustrations, but it also comes across in the quaint quality of the story. This is a great book for either storytime or one-on-one, perhaps paired with a few classic titles.
Check the WRL catalog for How to Hide a Lion.
Karla Kuskin has written over fifty books for children. She has also won the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Award for Excellence in Poetry. Under My Hood I Have a Hat is a simple and simply darling portrayal of a child’s experience on a snowy day. Our little hero and her dog head inside after playing and building a snowman. The girl describes all the layers that have kept her warm as she takes them off. And again, as she dresses to head back out to the cold. Children will definitely identify with the process.
Fumi Kosaka who was born and raised in Japan has created bright illustrations with a soft look and plenty of gentle humor. I don’t if it is possible to read Under My Hat… without a smile.
Check the WRL catalog for Under My Hood I Have a Hat.
Cock-A-Doodle-Moo! poses an interesting question. What can a rooster do when he can’t wake up all the folks on the farm? What if he can only whisper “cock-a-doodle-doo” instead of his usually LOUD announcement of the day’s start? After several valiant efforts that leave the animals fast asleep, rooster is getting very concerned. Finally, he resorts to pecking at a cow. And he begins to teach the cow how to crow. Your audience will laugh and laugh at the cow’s efforts to master rooster’s wake-up call.
The illustrations and typography show the rooster’s frustration and the laughter of the other farm residents as they are finally awakened by cow’s version of cock-a-doodle-moo.
I’ve used this many times with groups and I’ve had great success. Pictures, type, and text all join together for a pleasing story experience.
Check the WRL catalog for Cock-A-Doodle-Moo!
The illustrations in this very cute alphabet book were created in felt with braid, buttons, beads and assorted bric-a-brac. This gives the pictures a gentle three-dimensional feel. The bright colors of the fabric and decorations and the hand-embroidered details result in a satisfying visual pleasure.
This book includes 25 children who are each being chased by an animal. From Alice who is chased by an alligator to Yoko who is chased by a yak, there are plenty of vignettes that show the adventures of all. Child number 26 is Zoe. Who is she chasing? Can you find a clue in the picture?
Check the WRL catalog for Zoe and Her Zebra.
I chose two books to highlight today. They each show a mother and baby polar bear interacting in their snowy home. The illustrations in both books are rendered in blues, grays, and whites. The animals are not photographic or cartoonish in style. Instead they are soft with rounded shapes against neutral backgrounds. These are excellent for preschool story time.
In Baby Polar, the little one sees snow falling and asks to go out and play. Mother says yes but warns him that a storm is coming. We enjoy the gentle play of the baby but he doesn’t listen to his mother tell him to come back. And then he can’t find his mother or the tracks he had made in the snow as he played. He is bewildered by the snow coming from all directions and stinging his nose. He digs a snow cave to find some protection from the storm. And guess who he finds in his cave. The theme of losing and then finding Mother is perfect for a preschooler. I would suggest this book for a very small group or a couple of children snuggling up with Mom or Dad.
Check the WRL catalog for Baby Polar.
In My Little Polar Bear, a cub wants proof that it is a polar bear. Mother describes things that identify a polar bear. The little one points out that there are some things that it can’t do. Mother tells him not to worry because she will teach him all he needs to be a polar bear. In the end, the little one announces that there is one thing that it already knows—that its mother loves him. The desire to belong to a group is as important to preschoolers as it is to baby polar bears. Parents may find that this book allows them to talk a little about what it means to be part of a family. I would also use this book only with a small group or in a family setting because the lovely illustrations do not have enough contrast to be visible from a distance.
Check the WRL catalog for My Little Polar Bear.
Road Work Ahead is a treat for any child who likes construction equipment. A road trip to Grandma’s house takes a little boy and his mother through a variety of road work situations including tree trimming and concrete pouring. There are male and female workers shown busily improving the streets and surrounding areas. The rhymed and rhythmic text is a pleasure to read.
Jannie Ho’s colorful illustrations add to the delight of the story. Spend some time with your child exploring the scenes to discover little stories within the story. Hint: Can you find the missing chicken?
I have used this successfully with small groups but the detailed illustrations will be better enjoyed by an adult and one or two children curled up on the couch.
Check the WRL catalog for Road Work Ahead.
Dog has just finished reading a very good book. And then he heads to the shoe store to find a pair of boots. Wonderful boots. But he finds that boots don’t really fit his lifestyle. The same goes for high heels, flippers, and skis. What does Dog really need for his feet? The large bright illustrations show the problem with each of Dog’s choices. Let your children guess what Dog finally decides to wear.
When Dog is happy with his feet, he begins to read a new book. Hmmm, could there be another clothing search in Dog’s future?
Check the WRL catalog for Dog in Boots.
It’s one of those days when Frankie and Sal feel like they’ve done it all. The only solution, “Let’s do nothing!” And they certainly make an attempt, pretending to be motionless statues, trees, and skyscrapers. Unfortunately, Frankie’s imagination is too active to do nothing. As a statue he attracts pigeons, as a tree he attracts a dog with a full bladder, and as a skyscraper he attracts King Kong. Each attempt at doing nothing fails, but Sal is undeterred. What will they do if they can’t do “nothing”?
The visuals in this book are highly entertaining and will have readers laughing out loud. This one is a crowd-pleaser perfect for an older storytime audience.
Check the WRL catalog for Let’s Do Nothing!
Interactive books are great for storytime. It’s even better when the book is both entertaining and educational. Let’s Count Goats will provide the necessary fun, as these anthropomorphized goats behave much like humans. This book will also give children a chance to practice their counting. And, as children love to point out, “It’s a rhyming book!”
“Here we see a show-off goat playing on the bars. But can we count the rowdy goats careering round in cars?”
Anything written by Mem Fox is a sure bet, and Jan Thomas’ pictures are perfect, as usual. The illustrations are cute, humorous, and flooded with color.
Check the WRL catalog for Let’s Count Goats!