Our digital collections remain available 24/7 – and we’ve upped the monthly checkout limits on the hoopla and Kanopy platforms to 15 items per card. Our staff has begun compiling recommendations on this page of what we like best on our digital platforms so please check back often for updated suggestions!
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Books & Magazines
Cathy likes: Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Kindness by Kimberly and James Dean. Recommended for grades PreS to 1. Available on hoopla.
Pete the Cat shares some groovy words on kindness in this fun collection of his favorite famous quotes about sharing, lending a helping hand, and having compassion for others. He adds his own spin on well-known classic quotes from luminaries ranging from Booker T. Washington to Henry James. Everyone’s favorite blue cat reminds us that “it’s cool to be kind.”
Ruth likes: Dragons by Theresa Jarosz Alberti. Recommended for ages 7-10. Available on hoopla.
Do dragons fascinate you? Stories about dragons have been around for thousands of years. This book explains many different types of dragons, from fire-breathers to ones with magical powers. The font size makes this book easy to read and the pictures of the dragons are excellent.
Amy H. likes: Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won. Recommended for ages 4-7. Available on hoopla
Elephant wakes up in a bad mood but a surprise box at the front door with a hat in it lightens his mood. He goes to share his new hat with Zebra and they go off and show it to Turtle. The visits continue to all their friends. A nice story about friendship and sharing. Part of the Hooray! series.
Amy H. likes: Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug by Jonathan Stutzman. Recommended for ages 3+. Available on hoopla
Tiny T. Rex’s friend needs some cheering up but with Tiny’s small T. Rex arms, is a hug impossible? This warm hearted story teaches lessons in compassion and overcoming obstacles. This book is the first of the Tiny T. Rex series.
Marissa likes: Ruby Bridges: A Brave Child Who Made History by Jeri Cipriano. Recommended for Ages 5 to 8. Available on hoopla.
Ruby Bridges just wanted to go to a good school. She did not ask to be a hero, but she knew how to be strong. Her bravery made it possible for many Black children to get the education that they deserve.
Cathy likes: Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Ramsey. Recommended for ages 7-11. Available on hoopla.
Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family’s new car. In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that Black travelers weren’t treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to Black people. Finally, a friendly attendant at a gas station showed Ruth’s family The Green Book. It listed all of the places that would welcome Black travelers. With this guidebook — and the kindness of strangers — Ruth could finally make a safe journey from Chicago to her grandma’s house in Alabama. Ruth’s story is fiction, but The Green Book and its role in helping a generation of African American travelers are historical fact.
Ashley likes: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
This is a fantastic novel that bridges the gap between YA and adult fiction. It’s the story of twins who head off to college, and subsequently in different directions — one is still clinging to their childhood, and the other is ready to move forward in life. I always enjoy coming of age novels, especially when they don’t go as expected. This title can also be found in AudioBook format by clicking here.
Amy H. and Krista both like: Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo. Recommended for grades PreK to 2, Reading level grade 2. Available on hoopla.
Krista’s review: Mercy is the Watson’s beloved pet pig. They let her live in their house, feed her hot, buttered toast, and even let her crawl into bed with them when she gets scared. But when the overcrowded bed starts to fall through the floor in the middle of the night, who will save them? Mercy ends up saving the day, even though her only intention is to seek out more food. This colorfully illustrated early chapter book is both funny and heartwarming. It is also a great transition between picture books and chapter books. Enjoy the whole Mercy Watson ebook series on hoopla. Amy H.’s review: This title is an early reading chapter book with illustrations that features a pig named Mercy Watson. Mercy is a beloved member of the Watson family. She is a good natured pig but causes some very funny events to happen at the Watson household.
Amy H. likes: Wrecking Ball (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) by Jeff Kinney. Recommended for ages 8-12. Available on hoopla
This is book 14 which is the latest title from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Greg Heffley’s family receives an unexpected inheritance and decide to make some big changes to their house. But many problems come up and they soon find that home improvement is not what they thought it would be!
Ashley likes: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
Before finding her niche in young adult books, Rainbow Rowell wrote Attachments, a creative adult story written mostly as a series of emails between two work friends. Unbeknownst to them, their emails are being read by another employee who works in IT. As he reads the emails, he begins to develop feelings for one of the writers. It’s a unique way to view and experience the ebbs and flows of a relationship.
Ruth likes: Backyard Beasties by Connie Roop. Recommended for ages 5-9. Available on hoopla.
What bird always forgets the words to a song? A hummingbird! This joke book about bugs and other critters will keep your budding comedian entertained all afternoon. It may even inspire them to write their own jokes.
Amy H. likes: Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers by Andrea Beaty. Recommended for ages 5-7. Available on hoopla
This book features art from the Rosie Revere Engineer picture book. This book contains more than forty kid-friendly projects to invent, draw and make. This fun book encourages learning through experimentation!
Amy H. likes: The Unofficial Guide to Coding with Minecraft by Alvaro Scrivano. Recommended for ages 7-11. Available on hoopla
This book gives step by step instructions to guide you through Minecraft coding. You can create a sunflower field, a sheep pen, and even learn how to farm your own field! This book includes different levels of challenges and troubleshooting hints along the way. This title is part of the Ready, Set, Code! Series.
Amy J. likes: Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. Available on hoopla.
When I first picked up Virgil Wander shortly after the novel’s 2018 release, the ambling story did not hold my attention beyond a chapter or two. Everything has changed, though, and this time Virgil Wander was exactly the right book for me. I was immediately drawn in by the meticulous descriptions and measured dialogue of the residents of Greenstone, a small down-on-its-luck town on the shores of Lake Superior. Virgil Wander is a leisurely read for when you need a book to savor, not just consume. This title can also be found on Download Destination.
Amy J likes: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. Check availability on Download Destination.
A bold debut novel that received numerous accolades including selection for Oprah’s Book Club, Behold the Dreamers tackles questions of race, class, immigration, and capitalism through the lens of the 2008 financial crisis. This title can also be found as an audiobook.
Ruth likes: The Princess and the Petri Dish by Sue Fliess. Recommended for ages 4-8. Available on hoopla.
This is an adorable spin on the classic fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. Pippa is a princess who loves science. She does not love eating peas. So instead she devises a way for peas to taste better. Things soon start to get out of hand. Check out this STEM based fairy tale to discover how a persistent scientist saves the day.
Marissa likes: Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education by Raphaele Frier. Recommended for Grades 1 to 4. Available on hoopla.
Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban and fought for the right for all girls to receive an education. When she was just fifteen-years old, the Taliban attempted to kill Malala, but even this did not stop her activism. At age eighteen Malala became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ensure the education of all children around the world. Malala’s courage and conviction will inspire young readers in this beautifully illustrated biography.
Ashley likes: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the incredibly terrifying and well-researched story about the man dubbed “The Golden State Killer.” He terrorized California throughout the 1970s and 1980s and was eventually found through a DNA submission website. Released posthumously, Michelle McNamara’s debut book is partially-credited with helping solve the case and putting a dangerous man behind bars. It is chilling and I was completely haunted by it. This title can also be found as an audiobook.
Ashley likes: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
This book might just be the best mystery/fantasy novel I have ever read. I really didn’t know what I was getting into when I started it, and I certainly didn’t anticipate the twists and turns or its ending. It is Stuart Turton’s debut novel and it deserves every ounce of praise and awards it has received. I am looking forward to his next book, due to come out this fall. This title can also be found in AudioBook format.
Amy J. likes: Popular Science Magazine. Available on RBDigital.
I used to subscribe to the print version of Popular Science, and although I miss the large format, I am pleased by the high-resolution images and the customization options in RBDigital’s mobile app. You can easily switch between a PDF of the page in its original form and the text reader, which lets you change the text and background colors as well as the font size. Tap on an image to scroll through all of the images for the article, zooming in as you choose. I wish the images would rotate when I turn my screen, but overall RBDigital succeeds in making magazines readable on a phone.
Amy J. likes: Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts by Kate Racculia. Available on hoopla.
Paying homage to The Westing Game but written for adults, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts is a suspenseful and delightful adventure centered on an elaborate treasure hunt that promises a huge payout to the winner. Filled with eccentric characters and elements of the supernatural, this novel kept me entertained from start to finish.
Amy H. likes: Nature All Around: Plants by Pamela Hickman. Recommended for ages 7-10. Available on hoopla
This non-fiction book provides an introduction to the plants all around us. Basic facts about plants are given along with information on how plants change through each of the four seasons. Child friendly facts and the colorful illustrations make the book fun to read. This book is part of the Nature All Around Series and offers a full-spread growing zone map, an activity, a glossary, and an index.
Amy H. likes: Nature All Around: Trees by Pamela Hickman. Recommended for ages 7-10. Available on hoopla
This is a nicely illustrated non-fiction book about trees in the United States and Canada. This book is similar to a guidebook including facts about each tree along with realistic watercolor pictures and drawings. The book also looks at the life cycles of trees and shows what happens to a tree throughout all four seasons. This book is part of the Nature All Around Series and offers an activity, a table of contents, a glossary, and an index.
Krista likes: I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day. Recommended for grades 4-7, Reading level grade 4. Available on hoopla.
Twelve-year old Edie is half Native American and she is curious about her heritage on that side of her family. However, her mom was adopted by a white family when she was just a baby and Edie assumes she has no knowledge of her roots. One day while searching for something in the attic, Edie and her friends uncover a hidden box filled with old letters and pictures. The woman in the pictures looks just like Edie, and the woman’s name is Edith. Why haven’t Edie’s parents told her about this box and about the woman who shares her name? Why have they kept a secret from her? This touching novel about family history and personal identity is inspired by the author’s own experience as the daughter of a Native American adoptee.
Ruth likes: Similes and Metaphors. Recommended for ages 7-10. Available on hoopla.
Learn to tell the difference between a simile and a metaphor. This book uses silly pictures, helpful hints, and fun examples to explain figurative language. After reading this book, see how many similes and metaphors you come across in a day. How many did you use today?
Amy H. likes: Yoga for Kids: Simple Animal Poses for Any Age by Lorena V. Pajalunga. Recommended for ages 4-8. Available on hoopla.
This book is about a little boy who is taking yoga lessons at the zoo. He learns yoga by copying the animals with simple yoga poses. Once home he practices these new poses with his cat. There is an illustration of each animal pose and a description of how to do it on each page.
Ruth likes: Make Music! By Norma Jean Haynes. Recommended for ages 5-12. Available on hoopla.
This book is a great supplemental resource for any parent that wants to incorporate music fundamentals into their child’s learning at home. It offers a variety of ways to play with sound and rhythm. Chapters focus on what kinds of music we can make with common items at home, or even with our own body. It also gives instructions on how to make over 35 instruments from simple materials. What music can you make around your home? Take time to discover music and learn to really listen to world around you.
Deborah likes: The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff. Available on hoopla.
Using the setting of a traveling circus the author tells the story of two women – one, a young homeless Dutch woman, and the other, a seasoned Jewish circus performer – who band together to save an orphaned baby as they travel around and through Nazi territory. Not only was the book hard to put down, but it offered some history on little-known survivors of World War ll. I recommend it highly.
Amy J likes: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. Available on hoopla.
In the aftermath of World War II, the widow of a German resister upholds her promise to seek out and protect the wives and children of her late husband’s conspirators. As the group struggles to survive in the ravaged countryside of Bavaria, we learn more about the burdens each carries and how the past informs their present-day decisions. Also available as an audiobook.
Mollie likes: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia. Recommended for grades 4-8. Available on hoopla.
During a summer trip to visit his grandparents, Tristan Strong finds himself thrown into a world occupied by John Henry, Brer Rabbit, and other characters from African and African American mythology and folklore. These characters need the power of their stories to defeat an evil force, and Tristan may be able to help them harness that power. He just needs to find his friend’s stolen story journal and figure out how to fix the hole he made in the sky on his arrival. This book has all of the humor and action of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books while focusing on a lesser-known set of folktales and myths.
Ashley likes: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
Fight Club is probably Chuck Palahniuk‘s most well-known book and definitely my favorite. This book is funny, dark, and highly cynical. Even if you have already seen the film, I highly recommend reading the book, as it dives a little deeper into its dark themes and character development.
Marissa likes: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Recommended for ages 4-10. Available on hoopla.
You’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist. Shel Silverstein’s masterful collection of poems and drawings stretches the bounds of imagination and will be cherished by readers of all ages.
Amy H. likes: Art with Everyday Things by Susie Brooks. Recommended for ages 7-10. Available on hoopla.
Looking for something fun! You can do art projects with things that are already lying around the house. This book encourages the reuse and recycling of easy-to-find supplies, such as coins, forks, and toilet paper rolls, to make into art. Simple, step-by-step instructions guide young artists, while colorful illustrations help them visualize what they are going to create. This book is part of the Let’s Make Art series.
Amy H. likes: America’s Test Kitchen Kids by America’s Test Kitchen. Recommended for ages 8-12. Available on hoopla.
America’s Test Kitchen is bringing their testing, and hands-on recipes to kids! These recipes are all kid-tested and approved. Recipes were tested by more than 750 kids to get them just right for cooks of all skill levels. Step-by-step photos of tips and techniques will help young chefs feel like pros in their own kitchen.
Ashley likes: Origin by Dan Brown. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
Ever since Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series (The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons) hit the scene, I’ve been hooked. They’re fun, full of twists and turns, and always take place in cities full of rich history. Origin, set throughout Spain, was a fast-paced read. After the murder of an enigmatic technology wunderkind, Langdon must solve his murder and also try to uncover his greatest discovery. This title is also in AudioBook format.
Kathy likes: Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. Available on hoopla.
Sam the Mouse, lives in the library. He sleeps by day, reads at night and then starts writing books. Children will enjoy reading, writing, and perhaps drawing their own stories. This is the first book in a five book series that has children using their imagination and creativity while learning about the world around them.
Kathy likes: Home Sweet Home by Daniel Kirk. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. Available on hoopla.
Sam the Mouse discovers that the library is closing for renovations and needs a new place to live. Together with his friend Sarah they research new homes. Together you can learn about architectural styles and a variety of homes, such as an igloo, a yurt, a dome, or a castle. Photos and a glossary are included.
Kathy likes: Rain Boy by Dylan Glynn. Recommended for ages 3 to 5. Available on hoopla.
Meet Rain Boy who brings the rain to Sun Kidd’s birthday party and the madness begins. This book is about bullying, love, self-reliance, kindness, and acceptance. Read-aloud for families, caregivers with children who are struggling to fit in.
Kathy likes: The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Things to Do by Andy Seed. Available on hoopla.
Laughs, jokes, trivia, imagination challenges, crafts, puzzles, games, and activities galore are in this book. The whole family will be talking, imagining and sharing a bit of laughter and fun. The book is divided into chapters with themes, such as food, money, TV, sports and the like. There is a lot to discuss, learn and laugh about.
Deborah likes: Newsweek Magazine. Available on RBDigital.
You can get the latest magazines delivered right to your home through RB Digital. The latest issue of Newsweek features our own Gov. Whitmer, and an in-depth discussion on her cautious stance on re-opening our state for business. The issue also contains an inside story on Michael Jordan and an article on the best armchair travel reads.
Deborah likes: Readers Digest Magazine. Available on RBDigital.
For some lighter reading material, try the latest issue of Readers Digest. In addition to the usual feature stories of bravery and family relationships, you’ll find a number of humorous anecdotes and an article about the stone-skipping competition on Mackinac Island. And, of course, you can stretch your mind with “Word Power” and various brain games.
Ashley likes: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
Before it was a hit Netflix show, Orange is the New Black was a memoir. The book tells the story of a young woman, raised in a life of privilege who suddenly finds herself in a ton of trouble for drug trafficking. She discusses her time in jail, the flaws of the U.S. correctional system, cycles of crime and poverty, and other disparities in prisons. It was and eye opening and often sad read, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. This title can also be found in AudioBook format.
Amy J. likes: Moonglow by Michael Chabon. Available on hoopla.
A memoir wrapped in fiction, Chabon’s eponymous narrator spends a week with his terminally ill grandfather in order to record, unwind and attempt to make sense of his grandfather’s life. Although Chabon did in fact spend a week with his own dying grandfather, he states clearly in the preface to the novel that he has “stuck to facts except where facts refused to conform with memory, narrative purpose, or the truth as I prefer to understand it.” At the heart of the story is the love between Chabon’s grandparents, and the lasting effects of the Second World War on their lives. This title is also available as an audiobook.
Kathy likes: Birds & Blooms Magazine. Available on RBDigital.
This magazine as the name states birding, gardening are the expected treasure of this magazine. However, you will also enjoy the photography, reader’s stories, questions and answers, as well as the projects. A good study for the whole family.
Cathy likes: I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde. Recommended for PreS to grade 2. Available on hoopla.
I Am Human is a heart warming picture book on all the great parts of being human, showing that it’s okay to make mistakes while also emphasizing the power of good choices by offering a kind word or smile or by saying “I’m sorry.” This is a celebration of empathy and compassion that lifts up the flawed fullness of humanity and encourages children to see themselves as part of one big imperfect family. The third book in a series of I Am books by Susan Verde, also available on hoopla.
Marissa likes: 30-Minute Chemistry Projects. Recommended for ages 7 to 11. Available on hoopla.
Combat boredom at home with fun, easy science experiments! Did you know that you can make plastic, snow, and even a lava lamp in less than 30 minutes? Clear, step-by-step instructions guide readers through the exciting science projects, and Science Takeaway sidebars explain the chemistry behind these cool creations.
Ruth likes: Whooo… Whooo…Here Come the Trains by Molly Carroll. Recommended for ages 2 to 6. Available on hoopla.
This is a great book for the child who loves trains. Full pages pictures of various kinds of trains will delight the young enthusiast. This title is also available as a bilingual Spanish / English edition.
Cathy likes: Hatching Chicks in Room 6 by Caroline Arnold. Recommended for PreS to grade 2. Available on hoopla.
Using colorful up-close photos, Caroline Arnold captures the excitement of hatching chicks in a real kindergarten class. She documents the 21-day journey from incubation to birth, growth to maturity and the science behind the process. With Spring in the air, this is a great time to introduce young children to the miracle of birth with this easy to understand picture book.
Amy H. likes You Are My Friend by Aimee Reid. Recommended for ages 5 to 8. Available on hoopla.
This book is a story about Mister Rogers and his Neighborhood. This is a fictional story based on the young Fred Roger’s life. He was a lonely child who had a kind and encouraging family that helped him feel valued and special. When he grew up, he realized he could spread his message of compassion and kindness through television, with the hopes of making children feel special and valued too. Facts about Mr. Rogers and a bibliography is included in the end of the book. This title is also available in Movie, Movie with Read-A-Long, and AudioBook formats.
Amy H. likes: Be Kind by Naomi Shulman. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Available on hoopla.
This book includes 125 simple, actionable things kids can do in their daily lives that help them cultivate kindness toward others and grow into people that can make the world a kinder place. With fun illustrations and kid-friendly writing, this idea book shows what you can do to be kind, and how each act, big or small, can make a difference.
Amy J. likes: Varina by Charles Frazier. Available on hoopla
A new take on Civil War history, Varina tells the story of the young bride of Jefferson Davis, and the consequences she endures as a result of his rise to power in the Confederacy. I thoroughly enjoyed Frazier’s eloquent prose and sweeping narrative as Varina and her children escape Richmond as fugitives after the war. The subject of slavery is woven throughout the story with a subtlety I did not expect; Varina is a southern girl who recalls the “strangeness” of owning slaves, while Jefferson Davis is a staunch slave owner who sees child labor in the North as equally oppressive. Frazier’s first novel, Cold Mountain, won the National Book Award and is also available on hoopla.
Ruth likes: Highlights for Children Magazine. Recommended for ages 6 to 12. Available on RBDigital.
Growing up, I loved Highlights magazine. The Hidden Pictures were always my favorite, but I also enjoyed the stories in them too. Highlights magazine is just as relevant and popular today. It encourages kids to explore their world – whether that’s through craft projects, science experiments, or other activities. Highlights for Children is a classic.
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Cathy likes: A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel. Recommended for PreS to grade 2. Available on hoopla.
A Stone Sat Still tells the story of a seemingly ordinary rock but to the animals that use it, it is a resting place, a kitchen, a safe haven…even an entire world. This is an exploration of perspective, perception, and the passage of time presented in a simple way that children can understand.
Deborah likes: Cook’s Illustrated. Available on RBDigital.
I’ve always been intrigued by Cook’s Illustrated
magazine, but never had time to read it, despite the library’s hard copies of the magazine in our collection. Now I can peruse the current and past issues to see what recipes interest me and check out a copy. The online version is as good as the real thing, and I can not only view recipes, but learn new culinary skills.
Deborah likes: The Food 52 Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. Available on hoopla.
With the shuttering of local restaurants and increased free time, I’m cooking more dinners at home. Hoopla offers a wide variety of cookbooks for check out, including specialties for paleo, keto, diabetic, low-fodmap, and more. I chose Food 52, which categorizes recipes by season, and provides beautiful photographs of prep work and finished meals.
Amy H. Likes: The One and Only Wolfgang by Steve Greig. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. Available on hoopla.
This book from Instagram sensation Steve Greig and New York Times bestselling author Mary Rand Hess focuses on Greig’s beloved animal family. Greig has adopted an odd assortment of senior rescue animals and he shows that in a family, everyone belongs. This title is also available in Movie, Movie with Read-A-Long, and AudioBook formats.
Amy H. likes: The Boring Book by Shinsuke Yoshitake. Recommended for ages 5 to 8. Available on hoopla.
This is a funny story of one boy’s boredom. The book, done in a comic format, takes a closer look at boredom and the perspective and creativity that can come from it. When your kids say “I’m bored” this is the perfect book for them to look at!
Ashley likes: Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. Check availability on Download Destination.
Tales of the City is the first book in an 9 book series, written over a span of more than 35 years. The first book, originally released as a serial in the San Francisco Chronicle, tells the story of Mary Ann Singleton, a naive woman from Cleveland, and her new life in San Francisco. The book follows her and all the people that live in her building, as well as her quirky landlady, Mrs. Madrigal. The book is a fun mix of love story, coming of age tale, and mystery all rolled into one. It reads a bit like a soap opera, and was later developed as a TV series. The show was later re-adapted as a sequel on Netflix. This title can also be borrowed in AudioBook format.
Ashley likes: The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Place a hold on Download Destination.
The Magicians is the first book in a fantastic trilogy. Whenever I recommend this book, I usually tell people it’s like Harry Potter meets The Chronicles of Narnia for grownups. There are a lot of adult themes like sex, drug use, and violence, but it tells the incredible story of those who possess magical power and the institute that helps them harness it. The books were later developed for a television show which does a good job of artfully retelling. This title is also requestable in Audiobook format.
Cathy likes: On the News: Our First Talk About Tragedy by Dr. Jillian Roberts and Jane Heinrichs. Recommended for PreK to Grade 2. Available on hoopla.
On the News introduces young children to the realities of natural disasters and other forms of tragedy. In age-appropriate language, Dr. Roberts explains what tragedy is, the feelings it may create and how to manage those feelings. She also emphasizes the good that can come out of tragedy, looking at how people help one another in caring, compassionate and heroic ways. This is a great conversation starter for parents and caregivers who are struggling to explain our current pandemic crisis to young children. This title is also available on hoopla as an Audio Book.
Ruth likes: Worries Are Not Forever by Elizabeth Verdick. Recommended for ages 4 to 7. Available on hoopla.
Many of us are dealing with worries. It’s comforting to know that we are not alone in feeling this way. This book offers various strategies to help worries go away and to recognize that worries are not forever. At the end of this book there are additional tips and activities for caregivers and parents to help children deal with feeling worried.
Marissa likes: Disney Pixar: My First Story Book. Recommended for ages 2+. Available on hoopla.
There’s nothing better than a good bedtime story. Imagine reading or hearing one featuring your favorite Disney Pixar characters! This read-along e-book has stories about characters from Monsters, Inc., Up!, Toy Story, and more. Grab your favorite stuffed animal (or monster) and settle in for an exciting nighttime tale!
Ashley likes: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. Place a hold on Download Destination.
Into the Wild tells the posthumous biography of Chris McCandless, a book-smart man who decides to shed his worldly possessions and live off the grid. Despite making big headlines in the early 1990s, this story went untold, until Jon Krakauer discovered the parallels between Chris’s life and his own. Krakauer does a great job of dissecting McCandless’s motives, tracing his journey, and ultimately revealing the man’s fate. It was later made into a film, which is currently on Netflix, and the soundtrack with original songs by Eddie Vedder is available on hoopla.
Ashley likes: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Currently available on Download Destination.
If you’re longing for the great outdoors, I highly suggest Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl, an inexperienced hiker, decides that she needs to reset her life, and embarks upon the trip of a lifetime. She hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,600 mile trek from southern California to British Columbia. The book is a great combination of personal memoir, adventure diary, and comic relief. It was later adapted for the big screen, starring Reese Witherspoon.
Marissa likes: Harold and the Purple Crayon – Recommended for ages 2+. Available on hoopla. Also in available in audiobook format.
This classic story has been a childhood favorite for decades. Young Harold decides to take a moonlit walk one evening with his trusty purple crayon in hand. This crayon takes him on exciting adventures that he never could have images. Harold explores the woods, travels across seas, and soars by dragons before returning to bed, safe and sound. This joyful tale shows that a child’s imagination knows no bounds!
Ruth likes: Be An Electrician by Wil Mara. Recommended for ages 9 to 12. Available on hoopla.
Has your home ever lost power? It was an electrician that helped you and your neighbors by fixing it. Do you know what career you want to have when you grow up? Have you ever considered being an electrician? Check out this book to learn what kind of tasks electricians do, what kind of education is required, and what character traits are important. Do you think you might have what it takes to do this vital job?
Ashley likes: Wool by Hugh Howey. Place a hold on Download Destination.
By now we all know what it feels like to be trapped inside. Could you imagine a world where if you so much as asked to go outside, the response would be your death sentence? In Hugh Howey‘s Wool, that’s exactly what happens. Years after some kind of apocalypse, humans have taken to living in silos underground. Society continues, but a restlessness stirs underneath the surface. It was a great read and a more grown up post-apocalyptic book than the Hunger Games. It’s also part of a series, so you can stay immersed in this world until we’re finally allowed out of our homes again.
Ruth likes: Whimsical Cross Stich. Available on hoopla.
This book is perfect for both beginner stitchers and experts. It has a brief introduction section that explains the basics with easy to follow instructions. It is filled with over 130 adorable little patterns that can be stitched up quickly. The designs usually call for less than a dozen colors. If you’ve always wanted to try cross stitching, or want to pick it up again, this book will help you pass the time.
Cathy likes: Germs Are Not For Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick (PreK to Grade 1.) Available on hoopla.
It’s never too soon to teach young children about germs and how to stay clean and healthy. This book is a short course for kids on what germs are, what they do, and why it’s so important to cover them up, block them from spreading, and wash them down the drain.
Amy H. likes: The American Dream?: A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito by Shing Yin Khor. Recommended for ages 11 to 18. Available on hoopla.
The author, an American immigrant, is seeking a new start and wishes to see the American landscape for inspiration. This graphic novel, with narrative and full color detail, follows the author and her dog as they travel the iconic Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago.
Amy H. likes: Insect Superpowers: 18 Real Bugs that Smash, Zap, Hypnotize, Sting, and Devour! by Kate Messner. Recommended for ages 8 to 12. Available on hoopla.
This nonfiction book, which is done in comic book style, looks at incredible insect abilities. This action packed book explores in detail 18 insects with super powers far beyond the average insect.
Krista likes: Zoey and Sassafras – Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro. Recommended for grades 1 to 3, Reading level grade 3. Available on hoopla.
Dragons and Marshmallows is the first book in an illustrated, early chapter book series featuring a girl named Zoey and her cat Sassafras. Zoey recently learned she has the ability to see magical creatures and that her mother has been helping these animals rehabilitate for years. With her mom out of town at a conference, it is up to Zoey to help a sick baby dragon who turns up in her back yard. She uses the scientific method to figure out what is wrong with the dragon and how to help it get better again. The Zoey and Sassafras ebook series is available on Hoopla. Each book in the series features Zoey helping a different magical creature.
Deborah likes: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Available on hoopla.
“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” offers a slice of life not only during the depression, but during those years in Appalachian Kentucky, where readers follow Cussy Carter, one of Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project members, who deliver books by mule to those on the fringes. Not only is Cussy poor and uneducated, but is a member of the Blue Fugate clan, an extended family with distinctive blue skin. True story! For all those interested in our country’s history that’s not in the textbooks. This item is also available as an audiobook here.
Amy J likes: The Alice Network by Katie Quinn. Available on hoopla.
Readers of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale may enjoy The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. The title refers to an intelligence network during World War I run by a French secret agent under the pseudonym Alice Dubois. In the novel, the story of a young female spy in the Alice Network is woven together with that of an American searching for her cousin in the aftermath of World War II.
Ashley likes: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. place a hold on Download Destination.
The Shadow of the Wind is the first book in the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series. I loved this book for everything it offers – mystery, romance, and thrill. Beautifully written and translated from Spanish to English, Zafon sets a scene so enthralling, the book is truly difficult to put down. It is written as a story within a story, following a bookseller who discovers a mysterious book. As he tries to find more books by its author, he soon discovers that someone has been systematically destroying everything the writer has ever written. It is also requestable as an audiobook here.
Ashley likes: The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Place a hold on Download Destination.
Book 2 in the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series is The Angel’s Game. It is the prequel to The Shadow of the Wind, but the books are meant to be read in the order they were written. It is another gothic mystery set in Barcelona, this time following a struggling writer, David. Living in a dilapidated and haunting mansion, he starts to find that the book he’s writing and the life he’s living have begun to intertwine. Reality and fantasy blur together, until it’s completely unclear what is real and what is imagined. The mystery surrounding the death of the home’s previous owner takes over David’s life. If you enjoy mysteries that border on horror, this is a great read. Also requestable as an audiobook here.
Amy H. likes: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. Recommended for ages 3 to 7. Available on hoopla.
This picture book is about a girl and her dog. The girl is determined to make the most magnificent thing! She knows just how it will look and work. But she finds that making her magnificent thing is not easy and the girl tries and fails many times. Eventually, the girl gets upset and quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. This book helps to show the rewards of perseverance and creativity and that it is okay to make mistakes.
Amy H. likes: Imagination Vacation by Jami Gigot. Recommended for ages 3 to 5. Available on hoopla.
Sam’s family is very busy and everyone has their own idea of what the perfect vacation would look like. But unfortunately they are not able to get away for a vacation right now. So Sam comes up with a different kind of getaway that the whole family can enjoy.
Ruth likes: Easter Crafts by Anita Yasuda. Recommended for ages 8 to 12. Available on hoopla.
Bring Spring into your house by making some of these simple and accessible crafts. Have fun decorating your own Easter hat or create some lovely lilies to brighten your day.
Ruth likes: STEAM Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke. Recommended for ages 8 to 12. Available on hoopla.
This is an excellent book, packed full with creative projects that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. A great guide to creating and learning together – everything from making your own slime to building a rubber band racer to constructing a Möbius strip mobile.
Mollie likes: Grace Hopper by Jan Fields. Recommended for grades 1 to 3 – Available on hoopla.
Grace Hopper was a young woman with an interest in math when few women were studying the subject. During World War II, Hopper joined the military and started working with computers. She helped to create and promote languages that allowed humans to give computers instructions more easily. This biography includes a section in the back with a timeline, glossary, and an extension activity to promote critical thinking. Other titles in the Women in Science and Technology series cover Mae Jemison, Katherine Johnson, and more great female scientists and engineers. All are available now on hoopla.
Ruth likes: Pirates vs. Ninjas by Virginia Loh-Hagan. Recommended for ages 10 to 13. Available on hoopla.
Have you ever wondered who would win if a pirate and ninja fought each other? Check out their weapons, learn about their strengths, and decide who would be victorious in this epic battle.
Ashley likes: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Place a hold on Download Destination.
The Testaments is the sequel/companion to the sensational 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale (now a phenomenal television series on Hulu). I have been reading Margaret Atwood’s books for decades and was excited and curious to read this follow-up. The story is written as a series of testimonies from 3 women living during the rise and fall of Gilead (the nation that rose to power after the collapse of the United States). It gives the reader some perspective on how everything came to be and tests the reader’s limits of compassion. The idea of good and evil become a broad, grey, line and it will leave you wondering how you might react in the same circumstances. At first I wasn’t sure if the book needed to be written, as The Handmaid’s Tale was such an incredible book; but upon further reflection, I felt as though I got some closure that the first book did not offer.
Ashley likes: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Place a hold on Download Destination.
Years before Gone Girl became a household name, novelist Gillian Flynn wrote her first novel, Sharp Objects. The story follows journalist, Camille, as she returns to her childhood home in rural Missouri to investigate a series of disappearances of teenage girls. Her own troubled past and childhood trauma are waiting to haunt her, and she soon finds herself wrapped up in small-town tragedy. The book is dark and often disturbing, so it’s not for the faint of heart. HBO did an excellent job turning this psychological thriller into a miniseries starring Amy Adams.
Cathy likes: Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (PreK to Grade 2.) Available on hoopla.
This is a great time to introduce your child to the Scaredy Squirrel picture book series. Scaredy Squirrel is a fearful squirrel who never leaves his nut tree because it’s way too dangerous out there. He fears spiders, germs, and bees. But in his tree, every day is the same and if danger comes along, he’s well-prepared. Scaredy Squirrel’s emergency kit includes antibacterial soap, Band-Aids and a parachute. This series introduces children’s fears in a humorous way and always with a positive, uplifting outcome. Scaredy Squirrel can be found in ebook, audiobook and movie format on hoopla.
Ashley likes: The Martian by Andy Weir. Currently available to check out on Download Destination
Andy Weir takes “social distancing” to a whole new level in The Martian. Even a few years since reading, this remains one of my all time favorite books. The author somehow manages to make some pretty high-level science interesting and funny. I don’t have a background in the sciences but he does a great job putting everything into layman’s terms so it’s easy to follow. The astronaut, Mark, is brilliant and find clever ways to solve the problems he faces while he awaits rescue. The narration and writing style make this book a quick, fun read. There is a level of suspense that helps build a strong pull between the reader and the astronaut. I was on the edge of my seat and was really excited to see the film come to life on the silver screen.
Amy J likes: Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict. Available on hoopla
As a fan of historical fiction, I was thrilled to discover author Marie Benedict. Her first novel (The Other Einstein) is the story of Mileva Marić, physicist and wife of Albert Einstein. Benedict followed that with Carnegie’s Maid, the lively, entertaining story of Clara Kelley, a poor farmer’s daughter who makes her way from Ireland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and into the Carnegie family mansion. Pages are filled with humor, tension and witty dialogue as a relationship develops between Clara and Andrew Carnegie, much to the dismay of the family matriarch. You can find all of Marie Benedict’s books on hoopla at: https://www.hoopladigital.com/search?artistName=marie+benedict
Ashley likes: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. Available on hoopla.
Did you love Gone Girl? Girl on the Train? Then I think you’ll love The Woman in the Window. This psychological thriller takes a page out of Alfred Hitchcock’s book and leaves the reader questioning everything and everyone. I typically find myself trying to guess “whodunit” but this book really pulled the wool over my eyes. I annoyed my husband by staying up late to read this one a few nights in a row; to say I was hooked was an understatement! I really hope AJ Flynn comes out with more books in the future and that the planned film-adaptation of this book lives up to its namesake.
Krista likes: The Fairy Tale Reform School series by Jen Calonita. Recommended for grades 4 to 7. Available on hoopla in both audiobook and ebook.
This light, action packed fantasy series takes place in the kingdom of Enchantasia, where Gilly, the daughter of a poor shoemaker, is caught stealing and sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School. All of the teachers at the school are former villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother. But have all of them truly reformed? Gilly and her friends battle against villains in each of these books, but the villain is not always who you think it might be, nor are the heroes.
Amy J likes: Zingerman’s Bakehouse by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo. Available on hoopla.
An Ann Arbor classic with all of your favorites! Not just Paesano bread and sour cream coffee cake, but also pizza, gluten-free brownies (called Townie brownies), and cheddar ale soup. Each chapter starts with an interesting story about the history or future Zingerman’s, and most recipes have their own stories as well. It can be difficult to read a cookbook on a phone, so head to hoopladigital.com on your computer and you can open the book right in your browser.
Cathy likes: Pete the Cat books by James Dean (PreK to Grade 2.) Available on hoopla
From picture books to early readers, children love Pete the Cat and the books have always been a huge hit at story times. Perfect for reading (or singing) alone or out loud and together as a family, there is a large variety of hoopla downloadable titles available at Dexter District Library.
Ruth likes: Frozen 2 Read-Along Storybook by various authors. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. Available on hoopla
Join Elsa and Anna in this read along adaptation of Frozen II. It may be Spring according to the calendar, but the many Frozen books available through Hoopla are a treat any time of the year.
hoopla also has the soundtracks for Frozen and Frozen II.
Marissa likes: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Available on hoopla (also in Audiobook.)
I enjoy Little Women because although the book was written in 1868, the lessons apply to what young people experience today. The March sisters all have different personalities, but support one another through good times and bad. They each deal with heartbreak, love, responsibility, and planning for their futures. This book is heartwarming, inspiring, and even funny at times. The characters will stay with you long after you read the last page. The reading level is grades 4 to 12.
Ruth likes: A Wolf Called Wander by Roseann Parry. Recommended for ages 8-12. Available on hoopla.
Swift is a wolf who has a great childhood, until a rival pack forces him to leave behind everything that is familiar. Can he survive on his own as he looks for a new place to call home? This audiobook will appeal to fans of Pax by Sara Pennypacker and The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. It’s a moving story about finding your place in this world.
Ashley likes: The Outsider by Stephen King. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
It’s been a while since a book left my heart racing with fear. In my opinion, The Outsider is one of King’s best horror books to date. Fair warning, the subject matter is pretty grim, but the story and characters are incredible. It’s now been adapted for television and can be seen on HBO. This title can also be found in eBook format.
Ashley likes: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
I really enjoyed Such a Fun Age. The book’s themes of race, privilege and class were eye-opening and left me feeling uncomfortable and challenged (in a good way). One thing I liked best is how everything is subjective, how two separate people experience the same event is completely unique, and history is open to interpretation. It was a quick read, despite some of the heavy subject matter. This title can also be found in eBook format by clicking here.
Krista likes: How I Became a Spy by Deborah Hopkinson. Recommended for grades 4-7. Available on RBDigital.
Set in 1944 London, as the Allied Forces are preparing for D-Day, How I Became a Spy combines two of my favorite genres, historical fiction and mystery. The book begins with two mysterious discoveries by thirteen-year-old Bertie Bradshaw in one night. First, he comes across a small, misplaced notebook that turns out to be written by a spy in training. Then, he finds an unconscious young woman lying in an alley during an air raid. Bertie goes to get help, but there is no trace of the woman when he comes back. It is up to Bertie and his friends to uncover the secrets written in the coded notebook and to find out what happened to the mysterious woman.
Krista likes: Changeling by William Ritter. Recommended for grades 3-7. Available on RBDigital.
This adventurous fantasy series begins with a fairy tale gone wrong. A goblin, Kull, creeps into a home on the edge of the Wild Wood and tries to steal a human baby and leave a shapeshifting changeling in its place. But, Kull is distracted as the changeling transforms and he can’t tell which creature is the human baby. The goblin is forced to leave both babies behind and they are raised together as inseparable twin boys, Tinn and Cole. Neither boy knows which one is the changeling. When the twins are nearly thirteen, they receive a letter from the goblin saying that the changeling must return to the goblin horde in order to save the dying magic in the Wild Wood. The brothers decide to set out on the journey into the creepy, yet intriguing, woods together. The second book in the series will be coming out in June.
Ashley likes: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Click here to check availability on Download Destination.
Little Fires Everywhere is a modern masterpiece. It is a beautifully told tale of how some plan their lives and others let life lead. The book explores the relationships between mothers and their children as well as what it means to be a mother. It is raw, real, and a deeply emotional book. It has also been adapted for television as a limited series on Hulu. This title can also be found in eBook format by clicking here.
Krista likes: Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick. Recommended for grades 4-7. Available on hoopla.
If you enjoy fast-paced, realistic survival stories, you will enjoy listening to Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick. From the opening scene, when twelve-year-old Sam runs back to his cabin to get his cell phone during the evacuation of his summer camp, you are thrust into his fight to stay alive. A wall of fire pushes Sam to run in the opposite direction of his camp bus as the trees explode around him. From that point on, Sam is at the mercy of a massive wildfire spreading quickly across the mountains of Maine. He uses survival skills he learned from his father to try to stay alive and one step ahead of the fire, but the fire is unpredictable and truly terrifying.
Marissa likes: Project Middle School by Alyssa Milano. Recommended for ages 9-13. Available on hoopla.
Hope is eleven years old, and she wants to be an astrophysicist. She loves swimming, Galaxy Girl comic books, her best friend Sam, and her two rescue dogs. Hope believes it’s always a good day to champion a cause, defend an underdog, and save the future. And most of all, she believes in dreaming big.
Ruth likes: Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome. Recommended ages: 9-13. Available on hoopla.
Langston and his father have moved to Chicago after the recent death of Langston’s mother in 1946. Langston has a hard time feeling like he fits in at his new school and often gets bullied. He finds solace in the George Cleveland Hall branch of the Chicago Public Library, where he discovers African-American authors and the influence that the poet, Langston Hughes, had on his mother. This tender, historical fiction novella is part of the limited-time hoopla Bonus Borrows collection – check it out today!
Amy H. likes: Breathe like a Bear by Kira Willey. Recommended for ages 4-8. Available on hoopla.
This audiobook is a collection of 30 easy mindfulness exercises that help teach kids ways they can manage their bodies, breath, and emotions. These practices and movements can be performed anytime or anywhere to help kids find calm, gain focus, and feel energized. This title is also available in Movie and Movie with Read-A-Long formats.
Amy J. likes: November Road by Lou Berney. Audiobook available on hoopla.
A fugitive mobster with ties to the assassination of JFK meets an Oklahoma housewife running from a dead-end marriage with her two daughters and the family dog. She needs his help when her car breaks down; he needs a cover to protect him from the bounty hunters on his tail. A well-paced crime story with complex characters looking for new beginnings.
Deborah likes: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Available on RBDigital.
If you’ve never listened to any of Alexander McCall Smith’s novels, this is a good place to start. It’s read by the South African-born Lisette LeCat who narrates the adventures of Precious Ramotswe and her assistant Grace Makutsi as they solve mysteries in the country of Botswana. More than adventure stories, McCall Smith imparts humor and a gentle philosophy of living with one’s neighbors. A bonus of RB Digital is that all the books in this series (and McCall Smith’s other series) are available.
Amy J. likes: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Click here to check availability on Download Destination. A rollicking good time, Ready Player One is set in a futuristic, largely virtual, world in the year 2045 that teems with 1980’s video game nostalgia. My family listened to the audiobook version read by Wil Wheaton, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. This title can also be found in eBook format.
Kathy likes: Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yeh Mah. Recommended for Young Adults/Teens. Available on RBDigital.
A true “Cinderella” story of a girl, whose mother dies in childhood – thus being unlucky and unwanted, her wealthy father remarries. While, there is no “Prince Charming” Mah does succeed and prevail in the end. Book describes Chinese culture and 1940 timeframe.
Ashley likes: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. Place a hold on Download Destination.
From the brilliant and hilarious mind of Kurt Vonnegut and the pleasant speaking voice of Stanley Tucci, the audiobook version of Breakfast of Champions is not to be missed. My husband and I enjoyed this book on a long drive and then finished it while sitting on our couch in the evenings. It’s laugh out loud funny, and like most of Vonnegut’s work, goes deeper than you would expect. This title is also available as an eBook, click here to place a hold.
Ashley likes: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Place a hold on Download Destination.
Eleanor & Park is a fantastic book for the reader who has never read YA fiction. Rainbow Rowell manages to write about the struggles of adolescence while still keeping a mature tone that will keep even those most serious adult engaged. The book tells the story of star-crossed teens whose lives differ dramatically, but they find common ground through music. This title is also available as an eBook, click here to place a hold.
Ashley likes: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Available on hoopla.
Me Talk Pretty One Day was my first David Sedaris book. It was also the first book to make me actually laugh out loud. His writing is candid, hilarious, and even profound at times. While I personally prefer eBooks over audiobooks, I enjoy hearing his words in his own voice. The library has access to most of David Sedaris’s catalog in eBook and audiobook formats on booth hoopla and Download Destination.
Amy J. likes: Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. Available on RBDigital.
Wishing you could get away from it all? Now is the perfect time to let Bill Bryson take you on a tour of England! Bryson lived in England for two decades, and documents his farewell tour of the country in this comedic travelogue. If you are a fan of “A Walk in the Woods”, as I am, you know you can expect some unusual and even outrageous adventures!
Krista likes: Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic by Emily Jenkins. Recommended for grades K-3. Available on RBdigital.
The whole family will enjoy the humorous escapades of three beloved toys who are best friends. Each chapter focuses on an adventure, or a discovery, that comes when one of the toys ventures out of their environment or routine. Toys Go Out has the comforting feel of a classic. There are three books about the toys available on RBdigital.
Marissa likes: Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. Recommended for ages 4+. Available on hoopla.
This audio collections includes all four classics: Frog and Toad Are Friends , Frog and Toad Together , Frog and Toad All Year , and Days with Frog and Toad . This collection is read by the author. Share the adventures of best friends Frog and Toad as they fly a kite, resist the temptation of cookies, and search for a lost button. No matter what kind of situation they find themselves in, one thing is certain: Frog and Toad will always be together.
Ruth likes: Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Recommended for ages 4-8. Available on TumbleBooks.
Enjoy a sweet bedtime story. It’s time for Biscuit to go to bed too, but he needs to take care of a few things first. Predictable words and repeated phrases make this an excellent choice for any child that’s starting to learn to read.
Amy J. likes: At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. Available on RBDigital.
I read this book many, many years ago, but still remember the charming, small town full of lively and lovable residents. The first book in the series, At Home in Mitford introduces readers to Father Tim, his overly attentive neighbor, and a young boy in need of guidance. I have long recommended the Mitford series as a comforting escape from the stress of modern life, and this is especially true in trying times. If you enjoy this title, you will find additional books in the series on RBDigital.
Amy J. likes: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Currently available in audiobook format on Download Destination.
A story of unlikely heroes overcoming huge obstacles during the post-depression years and onto the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The Boys in the Boat is well-researched and very well written, with characters that drew me in from the start. This title is also on Download Destination as an ebook, click here to place a hold.
Amy H. likes: The Good Egg by Jory John. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. Audiobook available on hoopla
This audiobook is about a good egg. The egg however is finding it’s hard to be good when all the other eggs in the dozen behave so badly. The good egg starts to crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect and decides to make a change. This fun story touches on the importance of balance, self-care, and accepting those who we love.
Amy H. likes: The Bad Seed by Jory John. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. Audiobook available on hoopla
This audiobook is about a bad seed. The seed has a bad temper, bad manners and a bad attitude. He has been bad for as long as he can remember. The seed wants to be happy and changes his mind about himself and his ways. The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible with willpower and the acceptance of ourselves.
Scott likes: All Aboard the Dinotrain by Deb Lund. Recommended for Grades PreK to 3. Available on Tumblebooks.
My toddler can’t get enough of this one. It’s got all his favorite bases covered: Trains, Dinosaurs, things crashing! Also, if you like this one, check out Dinosailors by the same author.
Diane likes: Restart by Gordon Korman. Recommended for grades 5 to 7. Available on RBDigital.
Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof and hitting his head, and he certainly doesn’t remember being the biggest bully in his middle school. That’s okay though, because suffering from amnesia gives him a chance at a fresh start. But will it be that easy for others to forgive him for how cruel he was? Follow along Chase’s journey of self-discovery and second chances in this serious but humorous tale.
Cathy likes: How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon by Jane Yolen (PreK to Grade 1) – Available on hoopla. Also available as a video on hoopla.
This entertaining, instructive lesson on dinosaur health care also teaches young children a little something about how to behave when they’re sick. This is just one book in a series of “How Do Dinosaur” books by Jane Yolen that hilariously explains basic manners and etiquette. Click here for the rest of the “How Do Dinosaurs” series.
Krista likes: A Camping Spree with Mr. McGee and Down by the Sea with Mr. McGee by Chris Van Dusen. Both are available on Tumblebooks.
Van Dusen’s vibrant, colorful illustrations bring to life the wacky adventures of Mr. Magee and his trusty dog, Dee. The duo always set out to enjoy normal, peaceful activities like camping or going for a boat ride. Instead, they end up in the most precarious situations, like being thrown into the air by a friendly whale, or hanging over the edge of a waterfall. Children in preschool through third grade will especially enjoy Van Dusen’s humorous stories.
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Marissa likes: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Recommended for grades 9+. Available on hoopla.
This lyrical novel is one of the best books I have ever read. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship-the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. The audiobook for this beautiful story is read by Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Marissa likes: Alexander Hamilton by Teri Kanefield. Recommended for grades 5+. Available on hoopla
Whether you are obsessed with Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical or just want to learn about one of America’s founding fathers, this book has all you need to know about Alexander Hamilton. His humble beginnings in the West Indies propelled his belief that the United States should be a land of opportunity for all. His journey from George Washington’s right hand man to creator of the country’s first national bank reminds us all how Hamilton shaped the United States as we know it today
. It is also available in eBook format here
Scott likes: Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan. Available on hoopla.
This excellent Sci-Fi series is a mash-up of the realism of Sharpe’s Rifles style Napoleonic warfare, the politics and intrigue of Game of Thrones, and fantastical gunpowder-based magic. Promise of Blood is book one in the series. Book two, The Crimson Campaign, is also available on hoopla. Book three, The Autumn Republic, sadly is no longer available on hoopla – but Dexter District Library owns a copy.
Krista likes: I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies by Lauren Tarshis – Recommended for Grades 3 to 6 – Available on hoopla.
Eleven-year-old Melody Varga and her family visit Glacier National Park every summer, but this year is different from the start. Alone in the woods, Melody comes face to face with a grizzly bear that follows her back to her cabin and breaks through her window trying to get inside. She soon finds out there are other reports of odd grizzly behavior throughout the park. For the first time, one of her favorite places no longer feels safe and she wants to know why the behavior of the bears has changed.
The entire audiobook I Survived series is available on Hoopla. Each book in the series brings a historical event to life in an entertaining, educational, and sometimes terrifying way.
Cathy likes: Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell – Available on hoopla.
Self-isolation isn’t that difficult when you finally have the time to cook your favorite old family recipes. Those of us who are somewhat enjoying our new housebound status have discovered the fun in exploring old cookbooks and new recipes. In this inspirational true story, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the span of one year.
Ashley likes: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – Currently available on Download Destination.
Has being stuck at home made you long for travel? Do you long to go just about anywhere that isn’t your own mailbox or Meijer? Tired of eating peanut putter and jelly sandwiches and canned tuna? Then I would suggest Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The book follows recently divorced Elizabeth around the world as she seeks something she can’t quite put her finger on. In Italy she eats her heart out: pasta, pizza, cheese, gelato. In India, she learns meditation and finds her faith. And, as you might have guessed from the title, in Bali she finds love. While you may not be able to jet-set right now, ignite your wanderlust and live vicariously through Elizabeth in this poignant read (or listen.) The eBook format is also an option.
Lisa likes: Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca – Available on hoopla.
It was not enough for Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston to become an attorney and practice in New York City in the early 1900’s. She also took on the establishment becoming a voice for immigrants, the poor, and young girls in a large dangerous city. At a time when women had few rights, and rarely worked in male dominated fields, Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston, pursued cases that the police abandoned saving people from execution and solving cold cases. Mrs. Sherlock Holmes will introduce readers to this amazing woman who became the first female U.S. District Attorney and a Special Investigator with the New York Police Department.
Lisa likes: The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede – Available on hoopla
On September 11, 2001, the closing of U.S. airspace resulted in the rerouting and forced landing of 38 commercial jets at Gander International Airport on Newfoundland Island, Canada. The small town of Gander was inundated with over 6,700 stranded strangers. Gander residents opened up their homes, businesses and came together as a community to aid the confused, stressed and frightened travelers. Poignant in this time of stress and isolation, the people of Gander serve as a fine example of benevolence, sacrifice and service.
Marissa likes: American Street by Ibi Zoboi – Available on hoopla.
Recommended for grades 9-12. Fabiola Toussaint is a Haitian immigrant who moves to the west side of Detroit to live with her aunt and three cousins. Her mother is detained by U.S. immigration authorities during their journey. As Fabiola struggles to adjust to American life, high school, homesickness, and a potential new romance, she finds herself in way over her head. Everything she has worked so hard for is put on the line when she is forced to make an unthinkable choice. Zoboi’s story is based on her own trials and tribulations as a young Haitian immigrant. Also available in ebook format.
Ashley likes: The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen – Place a hold on Download Destination
I first enjoyed The Keeper of Lost Causes as an audiobook as I drove across the United States in 2013. Falling into the niche genre “Scandinavian Crime Fiction”, it has the same dark, twisted qualities that drew me to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. The story is both a suspense and mystery, following two separate storylines that the reader will hope eventually intertwine. It is a nail-biter and can be enjoyed as an eBook . Author Jussi Adler-Olsen has several other books in the Department Q series to enjoy once you’ve finished this one.
Scott likes: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – Available on hoopla.
A rare science fiction book that is light on action but heavy on character driven dialogue. The narrator really brings this motley ship’s crew of aliens and humans to life. Book 1 in a series that is all available on hoopla.
Diane likes: The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins – All three audiobooks are available on hoopla.
Teens – The new Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, is set to be released on May 19, 2020. Now is the perfect time to get caught up on this wildly popular dystopian trilogy.
Amy J. likes: Driveways. Available on hoopla. Rated: No Rating
Brian Dennehy really shines in this short, sweet 2019 film about a mother and son who befriend a lonely Korean War veteran who lives next door to the house they are cleaning out and readying for sale. I agree wholeheartedly with the critics reviews; Driveways is a “quiet gem”, “beautifully performed, understated and quite lovely.”
Deborah likes: Chicago. Available on hoopla. Rated PG-13.
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the musical Chicago. It’s a wild trip back to the jazz age of Chicago, complete with chorus girls, shyster lawyers, and prison guards all on the take – but great fun. I loved the razzle dazzle of it all. As a bonus, the soundtrack is also available on Hoopla – energizing music for your daily walk.
Deborah likes: Bridget Jones Diary. Available on hoopla. Rated R.
Sheltering in place has given me the time to catch up on some of the older movies I’ve missed. This one, starring Renee Zellweger, has all the romance and humor you’d expect from the enchanting but imperfect Bridget Jones. It’s been listed as British Pop Culture, and is a sheer delight to watch. I found it to be a great 1 ½ hour escape!
Scott likes: What We Do in the Shadows. Available on Kanopy. Rated R.
This highly quotable comedy is a must watch for all fans of Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarock, JoJo Rabbit.) If you like the movie, there’s also a spinoff show on the FX network. Remember guys: We’re werewolves, not swearwolves.
Ashley likes: The Witch (aka the VVitch). Available on Kanopy. Rated R.
The Witch (The VVitch) is one of the most compelling horror films I have ever seen. Set in the 1600s in a Plymouth colony, a recently expelled Puritan family has built a homestead. As the family face a series of tragic events, tension and suspicion grown between the family members. Ultimately, witchcraft and Puritan Christianity come head to head in this dark and twisted horror gem.
Deborah likes: Like Water for Chocolate. Available on hoopla. Rated R
This is one case in which the movie is just as good as, or better than the book. Viewers can watch youngest daughter Tita vie for her true love, Pedro, through the emotion-laden food that she cooks. It’s a passionate film that will make you forget (at least for two hours) the outside world.
Deborah likes: Loving Vincent: The Impossible Dream. Available on Kanopy.
Loving Vincent is an amazing animated film created in the post-impressionist style of Vincent Van Gogh. Not only does it portray bits of his life, but it raises questions about the manner of his death. While I found the subject matter interesting, I was fascinated by the constantly moving art canvases which brought Van Gogh’s work alive.
Kathy likes: Maya The Bee Movie – Available on Kanopy. Rated G.
Maya the bee, makes friends with everyone including hornets – which is against the rules. This animated film includes adventure, animals and comedy.
Kathy likes: Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles – Available on Kanopy.
I absolutely love theater and musical theater the most. But, “WARNING” this is a documentary, which tells the story behind the scenes with singing, dancing, historical perspectives, pictures, interviews with love, humor and a bit of musical wit. It resonated with me today as much as it did in 1970. “Tradition”…”If I Were A Rich Man”… “Bottle Dance” should I say more?
Amy J likes: Lady Bird – directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan. Rated R. Available on Kanopy.
Winner of two Golden Globes and nominated for five Academy Awards, this funny and poignant film captures the complex relationship between a teenage girl and her mother during her senior year of high school. Gerwig’s superb writing and directing shine.
Ashley likes: Mid90s – Directed by Jonah Hill – Available on Kanopy. Rated R
Mid90s is Jonah Hill’s directorial debut film. It fills the much-needed niche of teen boy coming of age stories. The dialogue is fresh and realistic, and the acting is superb, especially from a cast of newcomers. I loved that this movie gave watchers a glimpse into the wild and familiar discomfort kids experience as they transition from childhood to teenager. The protagonist is growing up in a turbulent home, in a turbulent time and place, and has ended up surrounding himself with a troubled group of teen boys. If you like the movie Kids or Thirteen then I highly suggest you give this film a chance.
Scott likes: Prospect – Starring Pedro Pascal – Available on Kanopy. Rated R
Are you a fan of The Mandalorian and want to see more of Pedro Pascal? This slow-burn sci-fi picture scored a solid 89% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes; and will leave you in suspense for the whole viewing.
Ashley likes: Midsommar – Available on Kanopy. Rated R
This movie is a great mix of psychological-thriller and horror. From the get-go, I was on the edge of my seat, and couldn’t wait to see how it ended. Admittedly, it can be a bit violent and gory at times, but it doesn’t have any jump-scares. The scenery and costumes were gorgeous, which made for an interesting juxtaposition with the themes of the film. It is filled with cryptic foreshadowing and Scandinavian folklore imagery. The acting was very good, especially for a lot of new and upcoming actors.
Mollie likes: Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker. Recommended for grades 7+. Available on hoopla.
Childhood friends Nova (a witch) and Tam (a werewolf) reconnect after a long separation when a demon emerges in town. As they work to learn more about wolf magic and the origin of the demon, their friendship develops into a more serious relationship. This graphic novel is a sweet combination of magic, romance, and diverse characters that will appeal to teens looking for an escape.
Mollie likes: Bigby Bear Vol. 1 by Philippe Coudray. Recommended for Grades 1 to 4. Available on hoopla.
Bigby Bear and his animal friends have lots of creative ways to solve problems. Whether they want to go fishing or create a work of art, they will find a silly or ingenious solution. The funny comics in this volume promote critical thinking and creative problem solving. The rest of the series is also available for checkout here.
Mollie likes: Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn & Nicole Goux. Recommended for grades 8+. Available on hoopla.
Cassandra Cain wants to escape her past. The teen and former assassin believes she needs Batgirl to help her, but the superhero is nowhere to be found. Cass sets out to find where Batgirl went, getting help along the way from a librarian and a noodle shop owner. Over time, Cass discovers that she may be able to overcome her past and take on the mantle of the hero Gotham City needs. This graphic novel is full of dynamic art and a diverse set of characters, and should appeal to fans of Batgirl and any readers who want a story about forging your own destiny.
Mollie likes: Box by Patrick Wirbeleit & Uwe Heidschötter. Recommended for grades 1-4. Available on hoopla.
When Matthew finds a plain cardboard box outside his house, he thinks it’s the perfect part for the space station he’s building. Little does he know that the box is alive! Box used to be a wizard’s toolbox, but he left to find someone to make things with him. Matthew and Box try to build together, but the boy’s parents get frozen when they see the living box. The two friends must find the wizard to help free Matthew’s parents. This graphic novel for young readers is a fun story full of creativity, magic, and friendship.
Amy J likes: Glass Town, written and illustrated by Isabel Greenberg. Recommended for Teens and Adults. Available on hoopla.
Thrilled to see this brand new graphic novel on Hoopla already! Glass Town is a fictional retelling of the childhood experiences of the Bronte children – Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell – after the deaths of their older siblings. The Bronte children wrote numerous stories about fictional people and places where they could escape from reality, and Greenberg draws from their writings and what we know about the Brontes to bring the imaginative world of Glass Town to life.
Amy J likes: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild – Creating A Champion. Available on hoopla.
The print edition of this title, which includes interviews with game developers, history and extensive artwork, has been quite popular ever since we added it to the library’s collection a few months ago. If you’ve been waiting to check it out, you can do so anytime on Hoopla. Additional Legend of Zelda titles, including ‘The Legend Of Zelda Encyclopedia’ and numerous Unofficial Game Guides, are also available here.
Mollie likes: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor – Recommended for grades 5 to 9 – Available on hoopla.
Readers may think they know Harriet Tubman and her accomplishments, but this historical graphic novel shares just how truly incredible she was. Sure, you know Harriet saved people on the Underground Railroad – but did you know she once led a spy raid during the Civil War and led 800 people out of slavery in one night? Find out about that night and other important rescues and events from her life. It is part of a series where Nathan Hale (the author) writes comics as if Nathan Hale (the Revolutionary War spy) is telling the stories of misunderstood or underappreciated historical events and figures. Click here to find other Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales.
Ruth likes: Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson – Recommended for ages 7-10 – Available on hoopla.
This is a hilarious graphic novel. It had me hooked by the first page with its banter and witty come-backs between a girl with a big imagination and a unicorn who thinks very highly of herself. This unusual pair shows that best friends can be very different, but still get along with each other and have a great time.
Mollie likes: Lumberjanes Volume 1 by Shannon Watters – Recommended for grades 4 and up – Available on hoopla.
Strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Camp for Hardcore Lady Types – three-eyed animals, river monsters, and booby-trapped caves just to name a few! Join campers Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley as they use their wits, strengths, and “Friendship to the Max!” to solve the mysteries and have a great summer in the process. This series is perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier, the Amulet series, and anyone who likes adventure and humor with a healthy dose of magic thrown in. Plus, Lumberjanes volume 1 is one of over 1000 “bonus borrows” on hoopla right now through the end of April, so it does not count toward your total number of checkouts. Check out the whole Lumberjanes series on hoopla.
Diane likes: New Kid by Jerry Craft. Recommended for ages 10-14 – Available on hoopla.
Starting a new school in 7th grade is hard enough, but even tougher for Jordan Banks who dreamed of attending art school but instead ends up at the prestigious private school, Riverdale Academy. Jordan is a gifted artist and his drawings and humor present a realistic look at the life of a teen who is struggling to fit in with his new surroundings while keeping true to his own identity.
Mollie likes: Diana, Princess of the Amazons by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by Victoria Ying, available on hoopla, recommended for grades 2-5.
DC Zoom is a new imprint from DC Comics geared toward middle-grade readers, featuring some of our favorite superheroes when they were kids. One great title from this line is “Diana, Princess of the Amazons.” Diana (the future Wonder Woman) is the only child on her island home, and wants a friend so badly that she sculpts one out of clay. When the statue comes to life and starts making trouble, the young warrior needs to use her strengths to try to save the day. This is a fun story with lots of action that will appeal to fans of The Princess in Black and other superheroes. Fans of this peek into Wonder Woman’s early life may also enjoy other titles from DC Zoom, including Zatanna and the House of Secrets, Green Lantern: Legacy , and Batman: Overdrive .
Diane Likes: Birds of Prey: Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner- Available on hoopla.
There are hundreds of graphic novels and comics available for teens on hoopla. Try the recent DC release Birds of Prey: Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner and meet the character that inspired the film in this classic story!
Paul likes: Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce (For Grades 4-6) – Available on hoopla
This is a goldmine for all Big Nate fans to see many cartoons that have never been published in books. Aspiring cartoonist Nate Wright is the star of Big Nate. As a popular middle-grade book character, Nate is 11 years old, four-and-a-half feet tall, and the all-time record holder for detentions in school history. He’s a self-described genius and sixth grade Renaissance Man. Nate, who lives with his dad and older sister, has a habit of annoying his family, friends, and teachers with his sarcasm. Search for “Big Nate” in hoopla to find the 50 different e-book and downloadable titles by Lincoln Peirce.
Ashley likes: The Detectorists. Available on hoopla.
The Detectorists is a dry, witty comedy about two friends and the unique hobby they share: metal detecting. They spend their time searching the English countryside for a fabled Saxon treasure and competing with other detectorists. It’s completely original and like nothing I’ve ever seen on TV before. The scenery is gorgeous, which only adds to the show’s appeal. It is only 3 seasons, 17 episodes in total, so it’s a quick binge-watch.
Deborah likes: National Parks Collection – Glacier National Park. Available on hoopla.
As Glacier National Park is on my family’s bucket list, I thought I’d visit it while sheltering in place. While I found that the photography and overall views of the park were incredibly beautiful, the gist of the documentary was the rapidly decreasing glacier mass. I’d recommend this film for anyone who is interested in the national parks, ecology, and the mountains of the West.
Deborah likes: The Manners of Downton Abbey. Available on hoopla.
Alastair Bruce provides a fascinating look into the social rules and mores of Edwardian society. This movie includes many snippets from Downton Abbey as examples of how table settings, hats, and posture makes all the difference in that world. If you’re an Anglophile or a Downton Abbey fan, this is a must watch.
Deborah likes: American Experience – Riding the Rails. Available on hoopla.
This is a documentary about the hundreds of thousands of teenagers who took to riding freight trains during the great depression. These young people had no jobs, their schools and families were bankrupt, and they struck out in search of a new life for themselves. I find this period of our history particularly interesting and enjoyed learning about this segment of society we never heard of in social studies textbooks. A highlight was the interviews with the now older adults who rode the trains as teens.
Deborah likes: Oil Painting Daily Challenge. Available on Creativebug.
I decided to use some of my sheltering in place time to reignite my interest in oil painting. Since I haven’t done it for several decades, I decided to take advantage of free lessons on Creativebug and take the Oil Painting Daily Challenge. The instructor offers 35 mini-lessons which show viewers techniques of brushwork, color interaction, and creating shadows and light. This class is one of the best art classes I’ve ever taken. The teacher speaks to the amateur, and the examples are easy to follow.
Kathy likes: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. Available as a Read-a-Long on hoopla.
What does Winnie-the-Pooh have to do with real bears, real horses, veterinarians, World War I, Canada, the London Zoo, 1914, and Christopher Robin, you ask? Watch the video, read along and listen to the book as the great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourn tells a story of friendship and a wonderfully true journey. Now you can watch a video, read the book and listen to the audio all at the same time.
Marissa likes: Good Morning Yoga. Recommended for ages 2 to 5. Available on hoopla.
Yoga helps children learn how to focus, relax, and both self-monitor and self-soothe. “Good Morning Yoga” instills these four skills and more, enabling children to jumpstart the day with energy and excitement and meet the adventures that come with mindfulness and perspective. Gentle exercises, a heartwarming narrative, and wonderful illustrations empower children to manage the energies that visit them throughout the day.
Ashley likes: Daniel Tigers Neighborhood. Available on Kanopy.
For those of you who grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, you will love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. This cartoon, great for preschoolers, brings the beloved tiger puppet from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood to life. Daniel learns tons of great lessons about being kind, patient, how to deal with change, playing gently, and what makes everyone special and unique. My 3 year old enjoys this show and I feel good letting him watch it.
Ashley likes: Jillian Michaels: Beginner Shred. Available on hoopla.
We’ve been really missing going to the gym but these 20 minute workouts are a great, temporary substitution. There are 3 workouts, each to be done for 10 days before moving on to the next. They increase in difficulty and are designed to push you harder over the course of a month. I encourage you to open up a little space in your living room and find some small dumbbells for maximum enjoyment and a satisfying workout.
Deborah likes: Wallander: The Original Series. Available on hoopla.
This is an excellent television series for anyone who’s a fan of Henning Mankell’s Swedish mystery novels featuring the protagonist Kurt Wallander. The stories are not only suspenseful but feature ethical dilemmas and family drama. To me, the characters are all very real, and I’ve come to know Wallander as I would a good neighbor.
Deborah likes: Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales. Available on Kanopy.
The biggest item on my bucket list is a trip to the United Kingdom. This program available on Kanopy is the next best thing. There are 36 episodes in the series ranging from Prehistoric Britain to Tudor Britain, and The Museums of London to Literary Britain. I’m looking forward to Episode 28: Literary Britain, the 20th Century.
Mollie likes: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. Recommended for ages 3-8. Available on Kanopy.
You may know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but you probably haven’t seen a version quite like this. All Goldilocks wants to do is take a nap after eating chocolate pudding, but she has to escape from being made into a snack for the three dinosaurs. This fully-animated version of the hilarious picture book features the voice of author Mo Willems himself. Keep on the lookout for some favorite characters who make brief appearances in the video. More titles by Mo Willems are also available on Kanopy for the whole family to enjoy: there’s the entire Knuffle Bunny trilogy, Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator, and of course Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.
Deborah likes: The Great Courses: How to Look At and Understand Great Art. Available on Kanopy.
Though I was an art major in college, I often look at various paintings and statues and wonder why they’re considered not only great, but worth hanging. This course explains it all. I’ve learned about the symbolism of color as well as the role of perspective and composition. After learning a few skills you can immediately visit one of the dozens of museums featured on Kanopy, from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
Kathy likes: Finding Your Roots Season 1 – Starring Henry Louis Gates Jr. Available on Kanopy.
Season One includes ten different videos exploring the ancestry of a group of remarkable individuals. Gates is a wonderful storyteller, filmmaker and scholar. He explores and explains each person’s individual ancestral story with history… and then some. Caution – you may get hooked on this series as I did.
Deborah likes: Two Fit Moms: Daily Yoga for Beginners – Available on hoopla.
“Two Fit Moms: Yoga for Beginners” is one of the many videos you can get for maintaining some kind of bodywork at home. I’ve always wanted to try yoga, but never had the time. Now I do! For a complete selection of workouts, go to the television choice of hoopla and type in, “fitness.” You’re bound to find something you might enjoy doing.
Scott likes – Dinosaur Train – Available on Kanopy.
This great PBS kids show, and many more, can be found on Kanopy Kids. Even if you have access to Dinosaur Train via another streaming service like Amazon Prime – some of these episodes can only be found here. Also, if you were unaware, all of the videos available through Kanopy Kids DO NOT count against your monthly checkout limits and can be watched an unlimited number of times.
Deborah likes: The Dick Van Dyke Show – Available on hoopla.
Tired of bad news and never-ending advertisements on TV? Take a trip back in time through the Dick Van Dyke Show, where the action involves some faux pas of Dick or Laura Petrie, Buddy’s teasing Mel, or Sally’s continual search for an eligible bachelor. I enjoy the genuine humor, familiar faces, and an “anthropological” look at men and women’s roles in the 60’s.
Amy J. likes: Look Long by the Indigo Girls. Available on hoopla.
The Indigo Girls last released an album in 2015, and I did not realize this one was in the works until I saw it available on Hoopla. I love their folk-rock style and distinct harmonies, and they are present throughout this album once you get past the first track, which is grittier and more country than the rest. Look Long is a solid album with all the beautiful melodies and strong lyrics you’d expect from the Indigo Girls.
Deborah likes: Alison Krauss and the Cox Family – I Know Who Holds Tomorrow. Available on hoopla.
Alison Krauss is a bluegrass-country singer who I was recently introduced to. She’s best known for the title song of this album, but she sings some great upbeat renditions of Loves Me Like a Rock and Walk Over God’s Heaven. I like listening to her songs for background music while I paint or journal. Hoopla offers over a dozen of her albums for our listening pleasure.
Ashley likes: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits. Available on hoopla.
I’ve always been a sucker for a greatest hits compilation, and this one is no exception. It’s like going to a Heartbreakers concert and getting to hear all of your favorites, one after another. Since his passing, I’ve found myself listening to this album more and more. It’s great for sitting around a bonfire, cleaning your house, or a nice long car ride. There are dozens of other Heartbreakers albums on hoopla to enjoy as well.
Ashley likes: Soundtrack to Into the Wild. Available on hoopla.
This soundtrack is phenomenal. Comprised of original songs by Eddie Vedder (lead singer of Pearl Jam), the album makes a great companion to the book Into the Wild, or as a standalone listen. The sounds are relaxing, sincere, and I just love Eddie Vedder’s unmistakable voice. And don’t worry, even if you’re not a grunge fan, this album has more of a folk/bluegrass vibe to it.
Deborah likes: Need You Now by Lady Antebellum. Available on hoopla.
While perusing the many musical offerings of Hoopla I came across one of my favorite groups – Lady Antebellum. The group won multiple awards for Top Vocal Group and Best Single for Need You Now in 2010, and the hits kept coming. Hoopla offers ten of Lady Antebellum’s albums for your listening pleasure.
Kathy likes: It’s Such a Good Feeling: The Best of Mr. Rogers. Available on hoopla.
Who doesn’t love Mister Rogers and appreciate his warmth and caring for children in our neighborhood. Songs from the album are from his beloved TV Show. His soft spoken voice was always a comfort and an assurance when explaining concepts. Songs include “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, “Be Brave, Be Strong” and “Today Is A Very Special Day” 23 Songs and 41 minutes in length.
Kathy likes: Disney Dreamin’ with Mathew Morrison. Available on hoopla.
Broadway and TV Star (Glee- Will Schuester) provides listeners with a new twist on Disney classics. Includes a “Whole New World”, “When You Wish Upon A Star” and of course “You Got A Friend In Me”. Ten Songs – 32 Minutes
Kathy likes: Peppa Pig My First Album. Available on hoopla.
Peppa Pig brings songs from the television show combined with piano, glockenspiel and a children’s choir. The 2019 album is 38 minutes in length, with 16 different titles including “Bing Bong Zoo”, “Peppa Party Time” to name a few.
Kathy likes: KIDZ BOP 40. Available on hoopla.
Since 2001, KIDZ BOP has been providing kid-friendly version of pop music for kids, performed by kids. Grab the kids, give a listen and start dancing to 66 different songs from a wide range of genre’s including dance-pop and R&B to hip-hop, electronica, and rock.
Deborah likes: The Best of Kenny Rogers. Available on hoopla.
Let’s honor the great Kenny Rogers by tuning into, “The Best of Kenny Rogers” and listening to “Lucille.” This Hoopla offering contains 40 of Kenny’s best songs. Enjoy the whole album while you’re working on a puzzle, re-organizing a cabinet, or chilling on the couch.
Deborah likes: Rainy Day Meditation. Available on hoopla.
“Rainy Day Meditation” Appropriate, right? If you need to shed all the angst and worry over the spread of Covid-19, and are doing all you can do avoid it, here’s a wonderful get-away to reclaim your space and quiet those anxieties for a good hour.
Ashley likes: Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. Available on hoopla.
Years ago while channel-surfing, I came across a fantastic documentary about the band, Fleetwood Mac, and its pivotal album, Rumours. I had grown up listening to their music from riding in the backseat of my parents’ car, but was born about 20 years too late to really appreciate their music. After watching the film, Rumours quickly became one of my favorite albums. It flows perfectly and showcases the entire band’s talents. Stevie Nicks’s voice is crystal clear, Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar playing is unmatched, Mick Fleetwood’s drumming lulls you back to 1977, and the soulful sounds from John and Christine McVie will break your heart. It is an album full of tumult, passion, and gives listeners the best that Fleetwood Mac has to offer. The deluxe and super-deluxe editions (both on Hoopla) will give you a chance to hear some incredible songs that didn’t make the cut as well as early versions of old favorites.
Deborah likes: The Greatest Showman Soundtrack. Available on hoopla.
The energizing rhythms of this soundtrack propel me along whether I’m cleaning out a cabinet or taking a walk during this self-quarantining period. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, the upbeat songs will carry you through even the most mundane of tasks.