GPL Blog

Good Soup!

Five library staff members crafted homemade soups for a staff taste test in November. The menu ranged from vegetarian curried squash to chicken and bean – and all were delicious! The overwhelming winner, as voted by her peers, was Children’s Librarian Hillary! Enjoy the recipes below.

*WINNER*
Instant Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup with Potatoes (Hillary Dillon)
https://www.thisisnotdietfood.com/instant-pot-bacon-cheeseburger-soup-with-potatoes
Curried Butternut Squash Soup (Anne Giffey)
4 T butter
2 cups finely chopped sweet yellow onion
1 tsp curry powder
1 med butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped (I usually microwave until soft – easier to cut)
2 tart green apples, peeled, seeded, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
hot sauce to taste
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup apple juiceMelt butter in stock pot. Add onions and curry powder. Cover and cook low heat until onion tender (20 min). Add squash, apples, broth, hot sauce, salt, marjoram, rosemary. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until squash tender (25 min). Puree with hand blender or in batches in regular blender. Return puree to pot and add apple juice. Heat through and serve.Vegetable Beef Soup (Ali Jones)
1 bag frozen corn
1 bag frozen green beans
½ bag frozen lima beans
1 can diced tomatoes
½ bag cut carrots
¾ bottle V8
½ carton beef broth
2 lbs stew meat, cooked
¼ head diced cabbage
Salt + pepper to taste
Add water as needed

Chicken and Bean Soup (Jane Easterly)
3 cans of Bush’s Black Beans
2 cans of Rotel’s Tomatoes and Green Chilies (any kind)
1 can of whole corn (you choose the size)
1 can of chicken (you choose the size, or none if you want vegetarian)
1 jar of salsa (Black Bean and Corn is perfect, but any salsa will do)

Break up the chicken in the can, then dump everything in a crock pot by layering beans, tomatoes, half the corn, half the chicken, half the salsa, repeat, etc. Heat until it’s time to eat. (It tastes better if it has been in the crock pot a few hours.)
Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and scoopable tortilla chips.

This freezes well and gets even better after a day or two. Be sure to stir it before every bowl or the last bowls can be very hot. You can easily substitute if needed (like a can of tomatoes and a can of chilies for a can containing both etc.).

Book Review | Miss Newbury’s List by Megan Walker

From the publisher: Before Rosalind weds, she wants to experience ten things. Meeting Charlie wasn’t on her list.

Miss Newbury’s List by Megan Walker is a clean romance set in the Regency period from Shadow Mountain Publishing’s Proper Romance line. A happily ever after is assured, and behavior will be more or less appropriate to the times.

The story is narrated by Rosalind, who has agreed to marry a duke in order to bring a title to her family. He is marrying her to recover a plot of land sold to her family years ago. They have literally no feelings for one another – good or bad.

Years ago, inspired by her aunt’s wedding, Rosalind made a list of ten things to do before she marries. Although the wedding is fast approaching, she has done none of them. So she enlists her best friend Liza and Liza’s ne’er-do-well cousin to help her to truly enjoy her final days before becoming a duchess. But participating in a set of adventures with an attractive man is not necessarily the safest way to arrive successfully at one’s wedding day to a groom one does not love.

Previously I read Walker’s book Lakeshire Park, and the author’s writing has matured since that book. There is humor (like her best friend’s footman refusing to allow Rosalind into their home) and genuine feeling between characters. It is neither a series of misunderstandings nor refusal to have frank conversations that keeps the lovers apart, but the genuine obstacle of being already engaged. I do still think Walker’s stories could benefit from being written in third person instead of first.

This book has an absolutely gorgeous cover. There is a whole host of side characters, including the disappointed duke, who could receive books of their own if the author decides to make this the first in a series. I definitely consider Megan Walker a Regency romance author to watch.

I read an advance reader copy of Miss Newbury’s List from Netgalley. The book is scheduled to be published on February 7, and the Galesburg Public Library will own it. We also own Walker’s book Lakeshire Park.

Book Review | Waco Rising by Kevin Cook

From the publisher: A news-making account of the war between David Koresh’s Branch Davidians and the FBI, and how their standoff launched today’s militias.

I don’t know why two books are being published in January 2023 on the standoff that took place in Waco, Texas in 1993, but they are and I read them both.

I found Waco Rising by Kevin Cook to be the more engaging, and the more frightening, of the two. Waco by Jeff Guinn is good but not great. Waco seems exhaustively researched; it is very detailed and at times repetitive. Waco Rising, on the other hand, included information I’d never heard or read before. For example, Guinn talks about the Branch Davidian dogs that were shot by agents, but Cook talks about the eleven tiny puppies that were inside, not outside in a pen, the chickens, and the “hunger-mad goose” penned up with the dead dogs. Details like these really brought the setting to life.

Cook’s retelling of what happened in at the Branch Davidian compound in the spring of 1993 moves at a much brisker pace, and without as much repetition (although there is still repetition – a good editor could have tightened up both of these books). Cook’s book is much more critical of the decisions made by the ATF and especially the FBI. Cook draws a direct line between Waco to Oklahoma City to Alex Jones to January 6th. FBI negotiator Gary Noesner calls Waco “a self-inflicted wound for the FBI. It contributed to a broad antigovernment sentiment that’s out there today.” (p. 157 of the advance reader copy)

If you want to know more about the standoff between government agents and the Branch Davidians, and how the event is affecting the United States today, you may find either or both of these books worth reading.

I read advance reader copies of Waco and Waco Rising from Netgalley.

Waco and Waco Rising are available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library.

From the Children’s Room — January 2023: Book Showdown!

Each January, the American Library Association hands out its Youth Media Awards to authors, illustrators, and creators. Top among those awards are the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, two of the biggest prizes in the world of books for children and teens!  Librarians, classrooms, book reviewers, and many others are finalizing their predictions as to which book or books they think will come out on top.  

Caldecott: 

The Caldecott award is given …to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” (https://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecott). Essentially it comes down to who created the best pictures used in a picture book.  Past winners of this medal include We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade (2021 winner) and Watercress by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Jason Chin (2022 winner).   

There’s been buzz about a lot of titles in contention for the Caldecott. Here are a couple of our staff favorites:

Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond and illustrated by Daniel Minter – Blue dives into the history and cultural significance of the color blue from Ancient Afghan painters to what we know it as today. 

Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall – take a glimpse into the daily life of the family that lives in this detailed farmhouse. 

Knight Owl by Christopher Denise – Owl always wanted to be a knight since he was hatched. Now he has his opportunity! Does he have what it takes to become one? 

Newbery: 

The Newbery award is given “…to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” (https://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newbery)  Recent winners of this award include When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (2021 winner) and The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera  (2022 winner). 

For this category, these books stand out among staff: 

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat – dive into this Thai-inspired fantasy adventure where Sai must deal with the secrets of her past in order to chart the course for her future. 

Thirst by Varsha Bajaj – Minni (living in the poorest section of Mumbai) knows that water is scarce in her neighborhood and even sees it being stolen one night. She is surprised to find out however, that it runs freely though faucets in the high-rise building she just started working in. Now she has to decide if she should expose the water-mafia boss or keep her head down and say nothing. 

Have you read any of these books? Do you have other stand out favorites? Winners in these categories and many others will be announced on Monday, January 30, 2023. 

Book Review — Emily Wilde’s Encylopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Each January, the American Library Association hands out its Youth Media Awards to authors, illustrators, and creators. Top among those awards are the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, two of the biggest prizes in the world of books for children and teens!  Librarians, classrooms, book reviewers, and many others are finalizing their predictions as to which book or books they think will come out on top.  

Caldecott: 

The Caldecott award is given …to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” (https://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecott). Essentially it comes down to who created the best pictures used in a picture book.  Past winners of this medal include We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade (2021 winner) and Watercress by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Jason Chin (2022 winner).   

There’s been buzz about a lot of titles in contention for the Caldecott. Here are a couple of our staff favorites:

Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond and illustrated by Daniel Minter – Blue dives into the history and cultural significance of the color blue from Ancient Afghan painters to what we know it as today. 

Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall – take a glimpse into the daily life of the family that lives in this detailed farmhouse. 

Knight Owl by Christopher Denise – Owl always wanted to be a knight since he was hatched. Now he has his opportunity! Does he have what it takes to become one? 

Newbery: 

The Newbery award is given “…to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” (https://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newbery)  Recent winners of this award include When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (2021 winner) and The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera  (2022 winner). 

For this category, these books stand out among staff: 

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat – dive into this Thai-inspired fantasy adventure where Sai must deal with the secrets of her past in order to chart the course for her future. 

Thirst by Varsha Bajaj – Minni (living in the poorest section of Mumbai) knows that water is scarce in her neighborhood and even sees it being stolen one night. She is surprised to find out however, that it runs freely though faucets in the high-rise building she just started working in. Now she has to decide if she should expose the water-mafia boss or keep her head down and say nothing. 

Have you read any of these books? Do you have other stand out favorites? Winners in these categories and many others will be announced on Monday, January 30, 2023. 

New Children’s Books — January 2023

2023 has arrived! Visit the library to grab these new Children’s releases before someone else does! If you see something that interests you, give us a call or visit the catalog to put one on hold.


THE FLAMINGO: A GRAPHIC NOVEL CHAPTER BOOK by Guojing

A little girl arrives, excited for a beachy vacation with her Lao Lao. The girl and her grandmother search for shells, chase crabs, and play in the sea, but when the girl finds an exquisite flamingo feather in her grandmother’s living room, her vacation turns into something fantastical.

Fiction, Middle Grade


SHOT CLOCK by Caron Butler and Justin A. Reynolds

Tony loves basketball. But the game changed recently when his best friend, Dante, a hoops phenom, was killed by a police officer. Tony hopes he can carry on Dante’s legacy by making the Sabres, the AAU basketball team Dante took to two national championships.

Tony doesn’t make the team, but Coach James likes what he sees from Tony at tryouts and offers him another chance: join the team as the statistician. With his community reeling and the team just finding its footing on the court, can Tony find a path to healing while helping to bring the Sabres a championship?

Fiction, Middle Grade


WHAT WAS RECONSTRUCTION? by Sherri L. Smith

Learn about a pivotal time in American history and its momentous effects on civil rights in America in this enlightening title about Reconstruction.

Reconstruction — the period after the Civil War — was meant to give newly freed Black people the same rights as white people. And indeed there were monumental changes once slavery ended — thriving new Black communities, the first Black members in Congress, and a new sense of dignity for many Black Americans. But this time of hope didn’t last long and instead, a deeply segregated United States continued on for another hundred years. Find out what went wrong in this fascinating overview of a troubled time.

Nonfiction, Middle Grade


A BLUE KIND OF DAY by Rachel Tomlinson

Coen is having a sniffling, sighing, sobbing kind of day.

His family thinks they know how to cheer him up. His dad wants to go outside and play, Mom tells her funniest joke, and his little sister shares her favorite teddy. Nothing helps. But one by one, they get quiet and begin to listen. After some time, space, and reassurance, Coen is able to show them what he needs.

With poignant text and stunning illustrations, A Blue Kind of Day explores how depression might feel in the body and shows us how to support the people we love with patience, care, and empathy.

Fiction, Picture Books


NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY by Jonathan Graziano

Noodle is a sweet, silly old pug who enjoys doing all his favorite activities with his favorite human, Jonathan. But one day when Jonathan goes to take Noodle on his morning walk, he finds Noodle still comfortable in bed. When Jonathan lifts Noodle up, Noodle just flops over. It’s almost like Noodle woke up without any bones!

Noodle isn’t sick or sad—but he also isn’t interested in going for walks or sitting outside (he will accept snacks, though). Today, all he needs are extra snuggles and belly rubs. Jonathan soon learns that not every day can be a Bones Day, and sometimes a No Bones Day is exactly what you need to get through the week.

Fiction, Picture Books


A CHILD’S INTRODUCTION TO JAZZ: THE MUSICIANS, CULTURE, AND ROOTS OF THE WORLD’S COOLEST MUSIC by Jabari Asim

Welcome to jazz! Feel the music and rhythms of all the different styles of jazz, from swing and Dixieland to the blues and bebop, with this interactive introduction to the world’s coolest music.

Author Jabari Asim will take you on the journey through the history of jazz as you discover the most important musicians and singers while hearing some really cool sounds. You’ll learn all about the roots of jazz in Africa and New Orleans and how the music traveled to different parts of the United States and around the world. Along the way you’ll meet legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrong, who shaped a new form of jazz called improvisation; pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington, who helped create the big band sound of the swing era; and the singer Billie Holiday, whose songs such as “God Bless the Child,” “Don’t Explain,” and “Lady Sings the Blues” have become jazz standards.

Listen along to the sounds of jazz by downloading music and hearing instruments such as trumpets, clarinets, trombones, and even singers scatting as they improvise melodies. With a pull-out poster showing the different instruments of jazz, A Child’s Introduction to Jazz hits the perfect beat and will have you bebopping and scatting in no time!

Nonfiction, Picture Books


All book descriptions are courtesy of the publisher.

Book Review | Isabelle by Sophia Holloway

From the publisher: Isabelle Wareham, whilst caring for her beloved widowed father, has not seen much of the world. After his death, Isabelle finds she is no longer her own mistress but under the guardianship of her unscrupulous brother-in-law, Lord Dunsfold, who sees her as a way to improve his own fortunes. The outlook looks bleak until events throw Isabelle and the impoverished Earl of Idsworth together. However, Dunsfold is determined to force her into a more lucrative match and Isabelle will need to rise above her circumstances to reach her chance of happiness.

Read more →

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