Architect Pigs, Scaredy Squirrels, and Magic Trees: March is Reading Month at JDL

Move over Howard Roark, there are a few new architects in the library. In celebration of reading month, JDL has highlighted many different children’s books through programming in the month of March. One of the selections is Steven Guarnaccia’s architectural-inspired take on the Three Little Pigs. While this is a fun take on a classic children’s story, Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale also offers a closer look at the work of famous architects like Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

March’s programming also includes activities around Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping, Tap the Magic Tree, LEGOs and more. You can view a list of all of the reading month programming here.

Celebrate Black History Month with Congressman John Lewis’ March Graphic Novels

Casual fans of comic books might associate the format with capes and super powers, but one of the decade’s most lauded pieces of sequential art features none of the above. In collaboration with writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, Georgia congressman John Lewis has created an essential retelling of the Civil Rights Movement with March, a three-part graphic novel series that began in 2013 and wrapped up last year.

Inspired by the comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, the March series recounts Lewis’ own quest for civil rights—from Alabama sit-ins to a historic march on Selma. With praise from former president Bill Clinton, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, and countless rave reviews, March is required reading for anyone interested in the American Civil Rights Movement.

March by John Lewis

After Inauguration, Two Very Different Books See Massive Sale Spikes

Reactions to President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration were divisive, but one industry has enjoyed increased revenue from both sides of the political coin: book selling. After Trump’s January 20 inauguration, two books quickly scaled Amazon’s best-seller list. The kicker is, both books are unusual contenders for such a rapid sales increase in 2017; both are decades old, and neither was penned by an author named J.K. Rowling.

George Orwell’s 1984, a dystopian novel of rebellion, and Trump’s own business manifesto, The Art of the Deal, saw massive sales increases following the presidential inauguration. In the case of 1984, the BBC reported that sales increased by 9,500 percent—which spurred Signet Classics to print another 100,000 copies. Trump’s Art of the Deal has sold steadily through his campaign, but readers have shown an increased interest in his 11 steps for business success in recent weeks. JDL has copies of both, which can be reserved below.

1984 by George Orwell

Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

With Grammys Approaching, it’s Time to Check Out Underdog Nominees

With popular music considered, 2016 might be remembered most for the loss of musicians such as Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Leon Russel, Sharon Jones, and more. Plenty of great music was released in 2016, some of which might have been overshadowed by those huge losses, but music fans will have another chance to hear this year’s best through the impending Grammy Awards. Though fans of pop music shouldn’t be surprised that mainstays like Adele, Beyoncé, and Drake earned multiple nods from the Grammys, there are plenty of underdog nominations worth a listen. Though JDL has albums from the nominees in all the major categories, here are a few under-the-radar artists worth checking out.


The 59th annual Grammy Awards are set to take place on Feb. 12.sia


A Sailor’s Guide to Earth – Sturgill Simpson  (Album of the Year nominee)

Malibu  – Anderson .Paak  (Best Urban Contemporary Album nominee)

This is Acting – Sia (Best Pop Vocal Album nominee)

Magma  – Gojira (Best Rock Album nominee)

Blank Face – Schoolboy Q (Best Rap Performance nominee)

Sweetgirl, a 2017 Free Press Notable Book, Explores Hope and Family Through a Michigan Blizzard

Few things pair better than cold weather and indoor reading, and one book that might drastically improve your winter is Sweetgirl. The novel is the first from writer Travis Mulhauser, who grew up in Petoskey and sets his stories in a fictional Michigan locale called Cutler County. Mulhauser’s work has earned comparisons to gritty Appalachian writers like Ron Rash (Serena) and Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone), but Mulhauser sets his work apart with his truly funny voice.



Sweetgirl, which the Detroit Free Press recognized as one of Michigan’s most notable books of 2017, shows a blizzard through the eyes of 16-year-old Percy James. Percy’s mother, a drug addict, has just gone missing, and the blunt, courageous teen has to navigate her isolated small town in hopes of bringing her mother home safely. With Sweetgirl, Mulhauser builds a convincing portrait of Midwestern, small-town living that’s as hopeful as it is grim. Thanks to its lean size, Sweetgirl can be devoured in an afternoon—or through the course of another inevitable snow storm.

Thought You Outgrew Comic Books?

Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga and Paper Girls Might Change Your Mind

Since the 1980s, comic book writers have been shifting their reputations as dealers of pulp to serious artists. Though some comics still offer the action-packed plotlines that are tailored to young readers, comic writers like Alan Moore (Swamp Thing, Watchmen, V for Vendetta), Grant Morrison (Animal Man, Multiversity, Batman), and Frank Miller (300, Sin City) have ushered in a new era of sophisticated comic fare.

No modern writer is leading this charge better than Brian K. Vaughan, a former scribe for the TV show Lost. Vaughan has recently enjoyed great success in a few comic titles such as Saga and Paper Girls, both of which have just arrived at the Jackson District Library. Saga is a sprawling space opera that follows Alana, Marko, and Hazel, a war-torn family that’s on the run from assassins from their respective homelands. It’s not a story that’s easy to distill into a paragraph, but think of it as a charming mix of Star Wars and Romeo and Juliet. This narrative is so addicting (and beautifully drawn by artist Fiona Staples), you’ll be grateful that we have the first seven volumes in stock. As noted by the comic’s rating, it does contain some graphic scenes.


Teen readers might be better suited for a title called Paper Girls, an ‘80s-set time-travel adventure that follows a group of pre-teen paper girls on an unbelievable journey. Much like the recent Netflix sensation Stranger Things, this title takes a nostalgic look back on an era where acid-wash jeans were considered fashionable. But Vaughan’s compelling sci-fi tale, which features Cliff Chiang’s supernatural and alien illustrations, makes Paper Girls more valuable than a simple stroll down memory lane. With volume two on the way, there’s no better time to start reading Paper Girls.

You can check out our Saga and Paper Girls volumes below:

Paper Girls: Volume One & Two
Saga: Volume One
Saga: Volume Two
Saga: Volume Three

Support Jackson District Library While You Shop

While the library provides access to books, music, and more sometimes these items may not be available immediately at the library, or perhaps they are items you would rather own. Our library catalog now offers the option to “Buy It Now” — each time you purchase an item from Amazon, a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the library.

It is an amazingly simple way to support your local library! The best part about this new feature is that you can purchase ANY item on Amazon and if you use the special Buy It Now link to Amazon, a percentage of your purchase will go back to the library! Just click this button and shop as you normally would.

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You can also bookmark the link in your browser and use it to shop on Amazon anytime, automatically donating a portion of your proceeds to Jackson District Library.

Holiday Cookbooks Have Arrived

If there’s one good thing about Michigan’s frigid winter, it’s a getting a much-needed excuse to stay indoors and cook. With winter’s looming arrival, we’ve ordered cookbooks for every kind of eater—whether you’re looking to cook a rich, southern-inspired holiday buffet; a brand new dessert; or a variety of gluten-free or vegan recipes. You can place a hold on our newest holiday cookbooks below.


Christmas Cookie Swap! by Nicole Fisher
Best Holiday Sweets and Treats by Daniella Malfitano
Superfun Times Holiday Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Christmas with Southern Living by Southern Living Staff.
Against All Grain Celebrations by Danielle Walker

Cursed No More: Look Back on the Cubs’ Tumultuous History with These Books

Though the Halloween season just ended, it was baseball that had people talking about curses this year. With the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years, much of the public conversation about the team has involved a six-decades old curse. The Cubs’ “Billy Goat” curse started in the mid-’40s after Billy Sianis, a dedicated Cubs fan, was asked to leave Wrigley Field for bringing his pet goat. Sianis promised a losing record to the Cubs, who would later lose that 1945 series to the Detroit Tigers. After the Cubs went decades with no World Series wins, it instilled a deep superstition within fans worldwide.
While the curse is one major aspect of the team’s history, these “lovable losers” have built a rich story that goes beyond superstition. Take a look at some of our material on the Cubs, as well as a few resources that will enhance the baseball experience for fans of all ages.
A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at 100 by George Will
The Golden Era Cubs, 1876-1940 by Eddie Gold
Baseball History for Kids: America at Bat from 1900 to Today with 19 Activities by Richard Panchyk
My First Book of Baseball by Beth Bugler

Bryan Cranston Details the Evolution of TV’s Greatest Anti-Hero with New Memoir

In the early 2000s, it would’ve been hard to picture Bryan Cranston as one of television’s greatest actors. Cranston had received his fair share of notoriety, sure, but his mainstream roles—from the oafish dad Hal on Malcolm in the Middle to dentist Tim Whatley on Seinfeld— were rooted in network TV comedy. But beneath Cranston’s slapstick performances lurked a more sinister character in Breaking Bad’s Walter White, the high-school-chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin who evolved into one of TV’s greatest anti-heroes. The show ran for five seasons between 2008 and 2013 on AMC, earning 16 Emmy awards in the process. To put Cranston’s impact in perspective, Breaking Bad has the Guinness World Record for being the most acclaimed television show of all time.

This success wasn’t a fluke, as the actor’s performances since Breaking Bad prove. In 2014 he won a Tony award for his role as President Lyndon Johnson in the stage play All the Way. This week Cranston released a memoir titled A Life in Parts. While the book details his decades-long path to success, Cranston has also written a bold testament to long-term artistic dedication. As Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan writes in the introduction, “If I’d known Bryan could tell stories this well, I would’ve had him writing episodes of Breaking Bad.”

Aside from Cranston’s new memoir, JDL also has many of his iconic performances. Check them out below.

A Life in Parts

Breaking Bad, Season One

Malcolm in the Middle, Season One

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