Sara is sixteen years old, and a summer 2021 teen volunteer
First Line: “During the summer of 1941, every weekday morning at the top of the tide, McCall Purnell and I would board my skiff and go progging for crab.”
Jacob Have I Loved is a tale of twin sisters in the early 1940’s living in Chesapeake Bay. The protagonist, Sara Louise, feels perpetually over shadowed by her beautiful, talented sister, Caroline. Caroline is frail and must be constantly taken care of and not exert herself, except, of course, to sing, which she can do so beautifully. The worst part of Louise’s life, however, is her grandmother, who compares Caroline to the biblical Jacob, while equating Louise to Esau. Growing up on a small island where everybody has always known everybody else, she feels like she can never escape the constant comparison to her sister. The book begins in her late childhood and follows her struggle to find her own identity apart from her sister and hometown.
Written by Katherine Paterson and published in 1980 by Thomas Y. Crowell Books, Jacob I Have Loved received the Newberry Medal in 1981 and has been loved by readers for over forty years.
Written as realistic fiction, the book can be considered over-dramatic by some readers. But it is a story of what it is like to feel unloved, and the angst that comes from being constantly overshadowed by someone else. While this story is written for children, its serious nature makes it a good read for adults and teens too. The story makes you think and stays in your mind long after you have finished the book.
Ultimately, it is the ending that really made this a fantastic book. It comes, almost out of nowhere, and draws the book into a full circle with its sudden conclusion that brings Louise a revelation about her life. In a story that takes its time to tell, the ending comes as a sort of snap when it becomes clear to the readers, and the protagonist, what has happened. Nevertheless it brings the book to a satisfactory close and leaves you with a story you will never forget.
I loved this book for its stirring story, for Katherine Paterson’s writing, and the ending that surprises the reader. Though it can be somewhat angsty, the writing keeps it fairly light. A classic coming of age story, this book is easy and fun to read, while still creating a thought-provoking story that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Stephanie is fourteen years old, and a summer 2021 teen volunteer.
It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.
First line of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 follows the tale of Guy Montag and his conflictions as he lives in a dystopian, book-despising society. He works faithfully at his job as a firefighter, someone who burns books and the homes of disobedient citizens, until he meets people that cause him to question his values and beliefs. Maddened by the constant desire to learn more, Montag finds more and more flaws in the society that he lives in. He makes friends and enemies, one of which is an animatronic canine. There are multiple suspenseful moments as well as thought-provoking statements woven throughout the story.
Even though it was written in the 1950s, the book’s description of a futuristic world is oddly like our current world. It shows the addiction to technology extremely well. Montag’s wife wastes away her time in a room surrounded by screens and false realities. She does not care about the world outside or her neighbors. The book also describes a fast-paced world where silence and rest are unnatural. Nobody takes walks for enjoyment and even when nothing is happening, people are listening to their own personal entertainment in Seashells, the dystopian version of ear buds. One character mentions how communities have become indistinguishable. Every joke is the same. Conversations are dull, only consisting of talk about fancy cars or clothing, or new television shows. All knowledge about classical works of literature and true art are nonexistent. While Fahrenheit 451 does exaggerate some realities, it is still very close to our lives in the 21st century. Bradbury’s imaginings of the future can be somewhat discouraging, seeming as if our world is drifting away from the love of books and knowledge, but it offers hope when Guy Montag fights for change.
An enjoyable aspect of the book is Bradbury’s talent for exhibiting anxiety and creating suspense. It is easy to get caught up in the emotions of the book. In a couple situations, Montag becomes overwhelmed. Bradbury showcases Guy’s anxiety through realistic inner monologues. Montag’s emotions, whether it is stress, anger, or despair, are clearly communicated and can be relatable to those who feel stuck in a constantly moving world. Montag has some suspenseful scenes that lead to moments far from any cliché. With these small but essential aspects of the story, Bradbury draws every reader into Guy Montag’s journey.
However, no book is completely enjoyable, and Fahrenheit 451 has some rough parts. There are a few odd metaphors that can be confusing, and some paragraphs are tedious to read because their topics get overcome by too much poetry. A slightly annoying factor about the book is that it is split up in a strange way. There are not frequent chapter breaks, and it can be hard to find a break in the text. These aspects do not overcome the many good parts of the book, though, and are simply things that were not enjoyed.
There are a few things to be aware of about the book. Characters understandably get angered, causing them to spout mild profanity. As mentioned earlier, Montag deals with anxiety, and overwhelming situations are expressed in a very realistic way. Some sensitive readers who cannot handle emotionally intense situations may want to be wary.
Overall, Fahrenheit 451 is a fantastic book for anyone looking for a classic, but exciting read. It offers topics to think about or discuss such as a fast-paced world vs. a slow, simple life, or the importance of maintaining knowledge and wisdom. It is a wonderful and enjoyable book full of surprises, thoughts, a little bit of poetry, and adventures.
After 23 years of service, our Youth Services Coordinator, Carri Fry, is retiring. Carri has been a part of the Derby Public Library’s many metamorphoses from the facility’s humble iterations to its now grand and growing infrastructure.
When Carri first joined the library’s team, only two employees worked in Youth Services, and due to circumstance, Carri found herself as the head of the department within a few years of employment. Now Carri manages a team of four others on staff and has supervised that team through facilitation of programs for all ages. Carri has watched our library’s Summer Reading Program evolve from just a few hundred reading finishers to the massive institution that is our summer reading program today with thousands of sign-ups and finishers and a prize package rivaling some of the country’s top libraries.
I’ve been a part of her team for nearly ten years and can still recall the joy and compassion she exuberated in my job interview. She has been a sturdy foundation for me and the Youth Services team. She’s been a leader and mentor, a voice of encouragement, and of course, “the library lady” to so many of our community’s families and their children. Her contributions to the Derby Public Library have helped to evolve our services and resources into what they are today.
Before joining the Derby Public Library’s team, Carri believed she would be a teacher. In college, she participated in preschool lab sessions and instantly knew that early education was the field for her. She would go on to become the director of a child care facility and commit most of her twenties and thirties to both aiding in the upbringing of her local community’s children, and in the raising of her own two boys.
When she was hired as the Youth Services Assistant in 1997, the Derby Public Library was a much smaller organization with barely enough room for preschool storytimes, but Carri would call upon her directorial experience once more when she became the Youth Services Coordinator.
More changes were to come for the library. She says “It has grown substantially. I was fortunate to take part in the campaign, design, and move to our new facility in 2009. And with this new building, we are able to expand the number and scope of the programs we offer the community. By incorporating technology, we have truly become a community gathering space.”
Soon Carri was adding more part-time positions into her team which allotted for expanded programming. Derby as a city was also expanding, and summer reading program seasons required additional hires and teen volunteers. Carri also introduced school-aged programming for K-5th graders into the weekly schedule and built long-lasting partnerships with some of our well-known summer performers like Jim Cosgrove and Jay and Leslie’s Laughing Matters.
When Carri reflects upon some of her greatest achievements, many examples come to mind.
“I take great pride in the the Arlee Killion Early Literacy Area and StoryWalk Derby. The Early Literacy Area was made possible by a generous gift from Arlee’s children. I had the privilege to design and implement this addition to the library in 2016. It has proven to be a very popular destination for young families and grandparents. I also had the opportunity in collaboration with the Derby Health Collaborative, City of Derby, and other community sponsors to bring StoryWalk Derby to High Park in 2017. I took the lead on this project as well as designing and installing picture books displayed in signage around the pond and in Derby’s High Park.”
Carri and I also share an achievement that we worked on together in 2016. Carri and I applied for the Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC) Curiosity Creates Grant with funding provided to the ALSC by the Walt Disney Company. We were one of 79 recipients and the only recipient in Kansas to receive the grant! Using this funding, we adapted our popular Teen Moviecraft summer program into a 12-week spring program for tweens. Carri and I also published an academic paper entitled Chasing Disney: Tween Filmmakers Get Their Shot at Creativityin the ALSC’s professional journal. This was such a highlight for both of us, and we were surprised to have won the grant and had the chance to provide our program on a much bigger scale. You can even watch us in their documentary here!
When Carri recalls some of her fondest memories, it really all goes back to the children.
“Working with children from a newborn infant’s first library experience to seeing preschool children have so much in storytime to watching them fall in love with books and reading to the teenagers who feel like they belong here…watching them grow and have families of their own and be a part of their children’s lives is the best.”
Of course, as with any position, Carri has been met with challenges over the years. From department changes and communicating with other partners to navigating and adapting our services during a global pandemic, Carri has learned so much about doing what is best for the community. When asked what are the more difficult aspects of the supervisory role, Carri says that “hiring” is one of the harder elements. “You only have a small glimpse into who this person is, and really, you have to go with your gut instinct to know if they will be the right fit.”
I’ve definitely benefited from how she’s modeled leadership over the years, and she suggests that a supervisor “should always consider the work that the team is doing and approach the team with as much understanding and empathy as possible.”
When looking to the future, Carri recommends to any new librarians to “find a specialization in the field, especially within Youth Services. Focus on a particular age group or demographic, and incorporate learning into your everyday life. Be a life-long learner.”
Carri will continue that learning even into her retirement. She plans to join the Friends of the Library and volunteer her support. She hopes to one day join the Library Board and also to act as a consultant for other libraries interested in developing early literacy elements or youth resources into their facilities. She also is looking forward to some quality time with her family.
“I’ll be spending time with my husband Monte and our sons Vaughn and Tyler and our extended family. Monte and I have been very fortunate to have been able to travel internationally a great deal in the past years and plan on more adventures once travel restrictions are lifted. In addition, we are planning on purchasing an RV to travel around the U.S.”
On my very first day at the library, Carri immediately encouraged me to jump in and give a program a try. She truly believes in the abilities of others, in their adaptability to work, and in their creativity to mold and match the needs of our patrons. Of all her talents as a leader and supervisor, one of her greatest is in her constant look towards a sustainable team. This has been most apparent now as we move into a new generation of Youth programming in an ever-evolving community and world.
Carri may be moving onto the next adventure of her life, but it’s a guarantee that she has made a lasting imprint on our library staff and on every family that she has supported. We here at the library, all of our patrons, and even our beloved books thank her for these years of service and will always remember her dedication and passion to the power of stories.
Summary: Amy and her mother, Alexis, decide to make a trip to Scotland to their family estate on an island called Stormsay. When they arrive at the ancestral home and she finally meets her mother’s family she learns a secret that will take her love of reading to a whole new level. The two families that live on the island are able to jump into books and interact with the characters and story. Their mission in life is to protect the stories and keep them running smoothly. On her first day of lessons as a book jumper she enters the world of The Jungle Book but as the days pass things in the literary world start falling apart. It appears that someone is stealing ideas from stories!
Highlights: Once again the cover caught my attention. But the idea that someone could jump into a story and live along with the characters is a dream come true. What story would I jump into? The possibilities are endless. The little twists were fun and kept you wondering. The other stories were chosen well with a variety of different themes.
Lowlights: Spoilers. Several of the books that are mentioned I have not read but the plot gives away the endings to many of them. It made sense for the story and it isn’t a major problem but it was a little frustrating.
FYI: This story was originally published in German.