"Line of Sight" reviewed by Paula G.O. on January 14, 2013

Your Name: 
Paula G.O.
Line of Sight
Lucas Brunelle
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Amazing to watch these bicycle messengers weave through traffic as they race in New York City and other places around the world. It is filmed from a helmet cam and really lets you feel like you are part of the action without coming close to being smashed by a car.
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Average: 5 (1 vote)

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl

Growing up as a young boy in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Sundar Paliwal experienced several difficult things such as hunger, poverty and the loss of his mother at a young age. He continues to look at his community as he grows up, gets married and eventually has his own two daughters and one son. He teaches his children about the beauty and importance of all living things. But Sundar’s community and land is being destroyed by mining companies, where he works.

Sundar knows he must make change in his community and for the land around them. He quits his mining job and becomes an activist and local leader. However, when tragedy strikes yet again in Sundar’s life, he imagines an inspiring plan that will not only replenish the environment but also highlight the need for equality amongst girls and boys in his village. In honor of every girl born in the village, 111 trees will be planted!

Watching Sundar’s plan unfold and reading about all of the positive impacts it has on the community is stunning. Illustrated in saturated earth tones with spectacular block print fabric patterns interspersed throughout the pages – readers are immersed in Sundar’s village. This title offers five pages of back matter with information spanning the topics of gender inequality, activism, botany and eco-feminism.

Middle elementary (2nd-3rd) readers will enjoy this book and find connections between various subjects. Fans of other environmental activism titles such as The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever and Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the trees of Kenya will enjoy this previously untold story! This book does cover sensitive topics such as gender inequality, child marriage and the death of a parent and a child, and therefore should be addressed with the guidance of a trusted adult. Although these topics can be tough to discuss, this story can spark ideas for children who are interested in making change!

Reviewed by Samantha H.


Snapdragon, who goes by Snap, is kind of a loner who doesn't believe in witches and magic like other kids in town. But even she's slightly nervous when she visits the Town Witch to rescue her dog. It turns out that the grumpy Town Witch, whose name is actually Jacks, isn't so bad at all and has actually fixed up Snap's dog. Snap is instantly taken with Jacks' mysterious and strange ways and decides to enter into a deal with her. She'll help Jacks in her "work" if Jacks will help Snap care for some baby possums she found. As they spend time together, Snap starts rethinking the possibility of witches and learns that she and Jacks have more in common than she ever could have imagined.

This graphic novel surprised me in so many ways and was a joy to read! The dark mysterious tone and slightly ghoulish details of Jacks' work contrasted with Snaps' humor and energy. It could have easily been a spooky book or one that focused on the not-so-happy things in life, but it wasn't. As Snap gets to know Jacks, she opens up in other areas of her life, meeting and befriending Lu, a transgender girl at school. The acceptance that Lu and Jacks are met with is lovely and parallels Snap's embrace and curiosity of the magic that she and Jacks hold.

Readers who like witchy, slightly creepy, and magical reads similar to The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag, The Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, or The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Regan Barnhill will adore Snapdragon. Suggested for readers 9-12 years old.

Reviewed by Ginny H., Community Engagement Librarian

Learning to Hand Stitch

Imagine you’re wearing your favorite shirt. You love this shirt because it makes you feel great! The material is just the right softness, the cut is perfectly loose and comfortable, and when you wear it, you are certain you are taller and more confident. This is a cool shirt! 

Then all of a sudden, you look down and notice the hem is coming loose! What do you do? Is your favorite shirt ruined? No way, you just need to stitch it up!

But how? Well, you’ll need to learn to sew!


Why Sew?

Beyond the ability to repair favorite pieces of clothing or beloved plushies, there are many benefits to learning to sew. When you learn to sew, you're learning a skill which you’ll be able to use your whole life. Additionally you’ll be practicing patience, fine motor skills, and creativity!


What Should you Sew?

There are many great projects to begin with when learning to sew. Try starting with something small and fun, like a plushie or stitching on a patch. 

You can try creating the Love Monster Plushie featured in our virtual program video. This is a great project to start with because it is small and teaches you the very useful whip stitch as well the more decorative chain stitch. Here's a pattern for this plushie.

If you don’t like the Love Monster Plushie design, try drawing your own monster shape! 

Don’t forget, with sewing, just like any other skill, you may be frustrated at first, but if you keep going you will learn from your mistakes!

Interning at the Library

Sylvia Beaver, Bloomington High School North student and Library intern

Sylvia Beaver, Bloomington High School North student and Library intern

“Despite the challenges presented to all of us in 2020 and beyond, we were excited to find a way to partner again with Bloomington High School North’s internship program. While our opportunities for internships during the pandemic were greatly limited, we created a safe pathway for an internship to take place during this extraordinary time. Our values and goals support experiential learning, with a focus on lifelong learning, inclusiveness, and developing essential life skills. Here at our Library, internships aim to provide valuable career experience, teach important workplace habits, introduce students to new contacts and social connections, and hope their time spent with us is fun and fulfilling. The mutually beneficial support each internship provides to the Library and our constituents is invaluable. Some internships at the Library have brought us talented staff that are now a part of our current team. We look forward to more opportunities like this to connect with tomorrow’s leaders and our community partners in deep and meaningful ways.”

––Loraine Martin, MCPL Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator


“The Bloomington North Internship Program is designed to help students learn more about professions of their interest and get hands-on experience with businesses and nonprofits in our community. Our students intern 1–3 times per week at their site and get to see the day-in and day-out activities at their placement. We are so grateful for all the businesses and nonprofits that host our students because it gives our students invaluable real-world experience that we otherwise could not provide. The Monroe County Public Library has hosted a variety of students over the years and given them beneficial and enjoyable experiences that have helped our students make life long career decisions.”

––Brian Muehlhaus, Director, Bloomington High School North Service Learning Program/Senior Project


My name is Sylvia Beaver and I am a senior at Bloomington High School North partaking in the senior internship class. While I have volunteered all over Bloomington, this has been my first internship of any kind. Senior internships allow students to be able to get real field experience from an area of their choice. I chose to intern at the Monroe County Public Library (MCPL) because I enjoy learning new things and working with the public and want to go into a career where I can feel like I am helping the members of my community.

I’ve been interning at the library since October, and in the few months I’ve been here I have learned a lot about the background mechanisms that make the Library function. One of the most notable places in the Library that I have worked in has been the bookstore, which is run by a nonprofit organization supporting MCPL called Friends of the Library. In the bookstore, I have cashiered, sorted donations, and helped disassemble items that can be recycled. I’ve also really enjoyed learning about the teen center, The Ground Floor, which provides engaging materials and programs geared towards Bloomington’s youth. However, the most notable thing about the Library has been how kind the staff are and how deeply they care about their work. I love meeting new people so being able to interact with library professionals everyday has been really fun.

Since the pandemic, the Library has had to shift almost every program to be contactless. This has undoubtedly been a huge change from the programs that the Library used to offer, but there has still been strong community participation in these new versions of programs, and it has been very exciting to watch these programs take off, such as teen programming with Discord, or Library Tinder. The teen Discord server has been able to provide teens who used to actively visit The Ground Floor with a new virtual space to communicate and play games with each other. Library Tinder is a new program that is gauged towards adults and has seen great success by filling up almost immediately with patrons requesting to be matched with a book.

I would strongly recommend to North students that they try the senior internship program during their senior year because it has something for everyone. MCPL has been a great fit for me and has taught me an immense amount about the behind-the-scenes that I would have never thought a library had, such as all of the care that goes into fundraising through the Friends of the Library, advertising, and putting up displays for patrons. I’m extremely grateful to have had this experience in the Library and I am looking forward to the next few months of interning here.


For more information about volunteering or completing an internship with us, please contact Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator, Loraine Martin at lmartin [at] mcpl.info or 812-349-3060.

The Only Black Girls in Town

Until Edie and her mom bought the B&B across the street, Alberta and her two dads were the only Black folks in their neighborhood. Surfer girl Alberta is thrilled to find out that she and the new girl are in the same grade, and expects to immediately be besties, despite how different they are in many ways.

Then, Edie discovers a box of old journals in the attic and recruits Al to help her figure out the mystery of who wrote them, leading to a shocking discovery!

This is an excellent middle grade story about the complexities of Blackness and friendship. Appropriate for ages 8+

Reviewed by Cidne B., Senior Information Assistant

Learn Basic Computer Skills with Northstar Learning

The internet is everywhere, allowing you to work, play, and complete daily life tasks wherever there is WiFi. This is especially helpful in the age of physical distancing and mask-wearing.

For those with WiFi access, barriers may still exist. Some community members experience frustration with email and online forms, and concerns about internet safety, leaving them feeling increasingly isolated from social connections and workforce opportunities.

Do you have a friend or family member that could use a little help? VITAL's Northstar Online Learning teaches the basic computer skills needed to communicate using computers. Its free, self-paced courses offer step-by-step instruction, practice, and review for:

  • Basic Computer Skills
  • Internet Basics
  • Using Email
  • Microsoft Word

You can get started or learn more by calling 812-349-3173. You can also email vital [at] mcpl.info or sign up here. Our friendly VITAL staff will get you set up to learn new skills and track your progress!

More advanced users can find additional training resources at Indiana University’s IT Training or Lynda.com.

Celebrate Lunar New Year!

IU Asian Culture Center Presents: How to Make Dumplings!

What is Lunar New Year?

In Western countries, we celebrate the New Year on January 1, but in many Asian countries the traditional new year follows the cycles of the moon so they celebrate what we call "Lunar New Year" (sometimes also called "Chinese New Year") and it usually occurs in late January to early February.

For people following the Lunar calendar, years are tracked by animals. For example, this year is the Year of the Ox. There are 12 animals of the Lunar calendar that always appear in this order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This means that the next Year of the Ox won’t be until 2033!


How do people celebrate Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in many cultures so people celebrate it in a variety of ways (and over 3–4 days)! People travel back home to be with their families and connect with relatives and friends. They decorate with red lanterns and other red decorations in and around their homes.  Adults give children red envelopes filled with gifts of money. They eat wonderful food like jiaozi (dumplings), oranges, candied fruits, and fish. On the evening of Lunar New Year, families and neighborhoods shoot off festive firework displays!

Are you interested in making some delicious food to celebrate Lunar New Year? Take a look at this video which shows how to make dumplings. You can also download the recipe for the dumplings!


Library Virtual Lunar New Year Celebrations

Join our staff and friends from the IU Asian Culture Center on February 12 at 4:30 PM for a story explaining the legend of the zodiac, a demonstration of how to make a Chinese paper lantern, and information about the different ways Lunar New Year is celebrated. We'll also share recorded performances of members of the TianTian Chinese School Advanced Class singing and performing a traditional dance. Age 3 & up. Please register with a valid, non-school email address to receive the Zoom program link.

Also, beginning February 2, you can pick up a free Take and Make Kit full of Lunar New Year information, coloring pages, and crafts at the Main Library, Ellettsville Branch Library, and on the Bookmobile while supplies last!


Do you want to learn even more about Lunar New Year?

Take a look at Hoopla and search for “Chinese New Year". There you will find a variety of ebooks and eaudiobooks all about Lunar New Year! You can also listen to “The Legendary Chinese New Year Hits” (1955) to hear some of the sounds of traditional Chinese music.

If you’re curious about why the animals in the Lunar zodiac follow the order they do, check out The Great Race: A Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Christopher Corr from our Library!

Want more material suggestions? Fill out this form to get a personalized recommendation!


There’s something special about the doodles Drew and her art club pals create - they come to life! The art club crew usually draft friendly characters, though Drew’s doodles are known to get into trouble, like the time they stole a hat out of a painting in the museum. But that was nothing compared to real trouble her newest doodle, Levi, created in Doodleville! With her monster on the loose destroying all of her friends’ creations, Drew feels hopeless. How will Drew ever be able to stop Levi from destroying everything in sight and hold onto her friendships!

With such an imaginative story and a wonderfully racially diverse group whose members display a variety of gender presentations, there's a lot to love about this book. It is the perfect read for fans of Chad Sell’s The Cardboard Kingdom, or Kirsten Gudsnuk’s Making Friends. Recommended ages 8+

Staff Picks: The Stand

Reviewed by Bill Koester, Materials Handler.

The Stand by Stephen King is available as an eBook through CloudLibrary and Overdrive.

Civil Discourse

Arguably Stephen King’s opus, The Stand is a great read in any time. Recent events, however, have made it an especially fitting tome for these times, and not just because it’s a long one (over 1000 pages) that can help pass the hours most of us are spending stuck at home.

The novel tells the story of a plague, developed as a bioweapon by the U.S. government, which accidentally gets released and devastates the world. The pages and pages describing the breakdown of society, and the military’s increasingly brutal attempts the quell the panic, are horrifying an captivating at the same time.

One chapter—depicting the course of one evening as protagonist Nick Andros works the night shift manning a small-town sheriff’s office—feels especially prescient. At the start of the chapter, and Nick’s shift, everything seems like a normal summer day, aside from the fact that a cold (or so it seems) is going around. By the end of it, Nick finds the town inexplicably desolate, until the exhausted local doctor informs him that the sickness has decimated the population overnight, including people we saw alive just pages ago.

Though the real-world situation wasn’t quite so dire, this section has the same sudden gut punch feeling as the fateful Wednesday March 11 of this year. The day began seeming pretty normal, then ended with the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic, public figures and celebrities announcing they caught the virus, and college and professional sports shutting down. Fortunately, other events described in the prose don’t feel quite so resonant to what’s happening in our world (at least not yet).

The plague is only about a third of the book, though. The rest is about what happens after the world crumbles, as survivors across the United States are divinely drawn to two communities out West. The good to Boulder, Colorado drawn by the 108-year-old Mother Abigail, and the evil to Las Vegas under the spell of the mysterious dark man Randall Flagg.

The story has elements of horror, action-adventure, post-apocalyptic sci-fi, epic fantasy, and even the biblical. There are also long portions of the text devoted to the character drama, an element of King’s work that seldom gets its due praise. The scribe certainly takes his time in some of the middle section, but the effect is nearly every character seems fleshed out and vital, not tertiary.

Reading The Stand in the middle of a real pandemic, an unexpected theme seems to stick out: community.

Sure, the novel thrills and terrifies as the best King fiction does, but the characters who make it through rebuild. Instead of reverting to brutal survivalists like most post-apocalyptic fiction, they come together, work together, work through their disagreements through civil discourse, watch out for each other, and create a thriving society in the ashes of the old one.

For a story and author so dark and macabre, the ending strikes a reasonably hopeful tone. 

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship.