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Get ready, get set, SAVE!!

Money Smart Week 2014 is now underway! Come join us at MPL during the week of April 5-12. There will be lots of great events hosted by us and other agencies throughout Wisconsin--find out about them at MSW's website.


Where do you begin when you want to start saving money? Brian J. O'Connor has an idea. In The $1000 Challenge O'Connor, a personal finance writer for the Detroit News, came up with an audacious plan to save $1000 a month for himself and his family. Tightening the belt has never been this much fun!


Steven D. Lockshin, Get Wise to Your Advisor

Thinking of hiring a financial advisor? Before you do, let Steven Lockshin show you ways to save, pay off debt and invest using the tools available to tech-savvy consumers. Save the money you'd have spent on an advisor just by reading this book!


Beverly Harzog, Confessions of a Credit Junkie

If credit card debt is dragging you down, you need to get with Beverly. She's been there. A CPA who also went through the ringer with credit cards, she knows from experience the smart ways to pay them down and use them to rebuild your credit standing. Beverly learned her lessons the hard way, so you don't have to!


Kate Northrup, Money: A Love Story

So, how's it going between you and Money these days? Is everything going well, or have the two of you hit a rough patch in your relationship? If the latter is the case, Kate can help. Changing how you and Money get along will go a long way towards helping you meet your short- and long-term goals in life.

Brett @ Central

Sue Monk Kidd visits MPL on February 10th

inventwings.jpgSue Monk Kidd (C) Roland Scarpa.jpg

On Sarah Grimké's 11th birthday in 1803, her mother gives her a birthday gift she tries to refuse--10 year old Hetty Grimké--Sarah's very own slave. And so opens Sue Monk Kidd's third novel, The Invention of Wings. Inspired by the true story of early-nineteenth-century abolitionist and suffragist Sarah Grimké, Kidd paints a poignant depiction of two women inextricably linked by the horrors of slavery.

Sarah writes up a document to free Hetty, but as a member of one of Charleston, South Carolina's first families, her mother reminds her of what's expected of her and that she must oblige. And so the girls grow up together, yet separate, as a result of their very different circumstances. Their extraordinary story is told in the first person and alternates between the voices of Sarah and Hetty. Hetty, by the way, is the name given to her by the Grimkés. Her mother Charlotte named her Handful and carefully doles out bits of their past, stories of Handful's father, whom she'll never meet, and of Charlotte's own mother, who was brought to Charleston from Africa to become a slave as a small girl.

Because Charlotte is an exceptionally skilled seamstress, able to make very fine quilts and clothing, they have a fairly comfortable place in the household. As literacy for slaves is illegal, Charlotte sews Handful a story quilt that tells of the most significant events of her life, and that quilt imbues the storytelling tradition quite gracefully into the book.

Sarah's life also has confines. She is a very bright child encouraged to read books by her father and brother and she dreams of becoming a barrister. This idea is inevitably ruined as it clashes with Charleston's expectations of a young lady. She also learns that it's forbidden to instruct slave children to read, yet secretly she continues to teach Handful. While the girls share a lot over the years, there are nonetheless hurdles to their friendship. In particular, Sarah is haunted by a promise she made to Charlotte when she was very young.

Sarah has strong ideas about abolition and equality, and a time comes when she heads north to be free of her stuffy family and the institution of slavery, which she hates. Her adult life is influenced by a Quaker man and his religion. This also distances her from Handful, who must stay in Charleston. Eventually, Sarah and her younger sister, Nina become infamous activists for abolition and women's rights. While this allows her the independence she has long desired, Handful's fate is not so ideal.

Don't forget to read the Author's Note! It is important, as The Invention of Wings is a novel based on fact: the Grimké sisters were real-life abolitionists, and are joined in the historical record by a number of other characters in this novel, including Denmark Vesey, a free black man executed for planning a slave uprising; Lucretia Mott, a Quaker activist for women's rights and abolition; and Sarah Mapps Douglass, a free black activist and educator. Hetty Grimké's life, however, left few facts: she was given as a gift to Sarah, but disappears shortly thereafter from the historical record. And Charlotte is entirely Kidd's creation, a fascinating character who takes risks, hoping to find something better for herself and her family.

Readers of her previous novels, The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair, will be familiar with the strong, sympathetic characters. A number of issues are deftly explored, including activism, feminism, abolition, religion, and relationships. It's profoundly engaging and thought-provoking and I very much look forward to her Milwaukee visit on Monday, February 10th. She'll be speaking in Centennial Hall (733 N Eighth St) at 7 p.m. A book signing will follow and books will be for sale. The event is sponsored by Boswell Book Company and the Friends of MPL.

Jacki @ Central


Hear about the best books 2013 has to offer. Suggestions made by librarians Tom Olson and Jacki Potratz will make holiday gift-giving a breeze. This is your chance to ask questions before you buy. Many genres, as well as children's and young adult recommendations, will be presented. All books on display will be available for checkout. Preview the titles on our Give Books! 2013 Pinterest board.

Jacki @ Central

Banned Book Week 2013


Image used by permission of the American Library Association

Every year, the American Library Association sets aside one week to celebrate the freedom to read. The celebration is labelled as Banned Book Week, to bring attention to those books that have been banned or removed from libraries or had a public outcry demanding their removal from a library. This year, Banned Book Week is from September 22nd through the 28th. You too can celebrate by picking up a challenged or banned book from your local library branch.

Also each year, the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom puts together a list of the ten most challenged books of the previous year. The following ten titles are those most challenged books, all of which are freely available in the Milwaukee library system.

1. Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants Series.
Yes, somehow a series about two fourth grade kids who accidentally hypnotize their school principal into thinking he's the titular brief-wearing superhero is the most challenged of 2012. This is as telling about modern society as it is ridiculous.

absolutelytruecover.jpg2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie's tale of a budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot has ended up on this list many times, and for good reason: it's a brilliant, honest book about being young and growing up.


3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
Asher's story is about a young girl who commits suicide, and the thirteen reasons for her decision to end her life that she records and passes on to those she holds responsible. Praised for its eloquence steeped in tragedy, this is another book challenged for showing dark realities that can afflict young people.


4. E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey
The sexcapades of Anastasia Steele and her new boyfriend Christian Grey sparked the runaway publishing hit of 2012, and the fastest selling paperback of all time! They even tried to pull it off library shelves in Florida, until unsurprisingly the public demanded it be made available again.

tango makes three.jpg5. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
This one is a children's book about the real story of two male penguins raising an egg together in the Central Park zoo, creating a supposed threat to cherubic innocence horrific enough to place the book atop the most challenged list for four separate years.


6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This best-selling novel traces the period between the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the horrific rule of the Taliban through the unlikely friendship between a wealthy Afghan boy and the son of his father's servant.

7. John Green's Looking for Alaska
John Green's big success may be the more recent The Fault in Our Stars, but it is his first novel that lands on the top 10 most challenged list. The book is about a high school junior, nicknamed 'Pudge' who transfers to a boarding school and his experiences there making new friends and more. One short, awkward teenage sex scene in the book is what attracts most of the controversy to the book.


8. Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories series
This series of gross and ghastly short stories gets challenged and banned on the basis that it is too scary for children. One would think that the content was obvious from the title.


9. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
A deeply personal memoir that unflinchingly details the author's childhood experiences; included are passages of molestation and other tragic matters, which are the source of the controversy surrounding the book.

10. Beloved by Toni Morrison
This is the story of Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, who is haunted persistently by the ghost of the dead baby girl whom she sacrificed. The commonly cited reasons this book has been challenged include violence, sexual content, and oddly enough 'religious viewpoint'.

For more information and lists on frequently challenged books, check out the ALA's website on banned and challenged books.

The above annotations are in part from our catalog or the readers' advisory database NoveList.

Which Book Next? Monday@5:30 pm!


Tonight! Which Book Next?

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