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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy birthday, Charlaine Harris!

It's our favorite vampire queen's birthday! Happy birthday, Charlaine Harris! You may know her work and not even realize it. Harris is responsible for bringing us all True Blood, y'all. Her novels about the vampire-loving telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, are the basis for the show. What you may not know is that Harris is a fellow Mississippian! While Sookie lives in small town Louisiana, Harris was born in Tunica, MS and we couldn't be more proud to call her one of our own. Read more about her life on her website here! Harris is perhaps most well known for her Sookie Stackhouse series, but she's the author of roughly 5 other series and several stand-alone novels. Find out more about her novels here.

Join us (and our favorite True Blood short-order cook, Lafayette) in wishing her a happy birthday!

Original image of Harris here:
Lafayette gif here:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's A Picture Book Thanksgiving!

It's November, one of our favorite months because, hello! It's Picture Book Month! With Thanksgiving right around the corner, today we're focusing on picture books that are all about family, for which we are ever thankful.

We're thankful for Moms:

The Kissing Hand
written by Audrey Penn
illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak

And we're thankful for Dads:
Owl Moon
written by Jane Yolen
illustrated by John Schoenherr

We're thankful for Grandmas:
The Patchwork Quilt
written by Valerie Flournoy
illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

And we're thankful for Grandpas:
Grandfather's Journey
written and illustrated by Allen Say

We're thankful for Aunts:
Tia Isa Wants a Car 
written by Meg Medina
illustrated by Claudia Munoz

And we're thankful for Uncles:
 Uncle Jed's Barbershop
written by Margaree King Mitchell
illustrated by James E. Ransome

We're thankful for Sisters:
Outside Over There
written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak

And we're thankful for Brothers:
The New Small Person
written and illustrated by Lauren Child
We're thankful for families and we're thankful for picture books. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

MLC Staff Reads: November 20, 2015

Lemony Snicket wrote in Horseradish that you should, "Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." Here are a few that you'll find a delight to tuck into your carry-all.

Last Stop on Market Street
written by Matt de la Peña
illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
five stars
Last Stop on Market Street is an inspirational and heartwarming picture book about an ordinary Sunday for CJ and his grandma. As they go about their normal routine--church, walk, bus stop, bus ride, walk, soup kitchen--they encounter other people who have more (and less) than they do. Each time CJ asks his grandma why the two of them don't have a convenience that other people do, she gives him an upbeat answer explaining how rich they already are. The bright illustrations perfectly complement the beautiful story.

 Career of Evil
written by Robert Galbraith
(pseudonym of J.K. Rowling)
fiction: mystery
four stars

The third installment in J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series, Career of Evil is a fast-paced mystery with the added bonus of great character development (and Blue Öyster Cult lyrics, which precede each chapter!). There’s also a perfectly ambiguous cliffhanger ending that will guarantee we’ll be on the edge of our seats until the next book comes out.

 Dispatches from Pluto:
Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta
written by Richard Grant
nonfiction: Mississippi
four stars

To natives of the state, Mississippi is simply our home. We tend to forget that it is a place of contradictions; Mississippi has given birth to a population who manifests and embraces those seeming differences. Richard Grant has a keen ear for a good story and the Mississippi Delta has stories in spades. While no single book can tell the whole story of any place (especially a place like Mississippi!), Grant's tales of his meetings with wildlife and with humans and of his travels and adventures around the Delta are humorous, insightful, and well-written.

X: A Novel
written by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
young adult
four stars

X by Ilyasha Shabazz, Malcolm X's daughter, and Kekla Magoon follows the life of a young Malcolm X before he became a great human rights activist. Even though this is a work of fiction, X is based on the real life of Malcolm X and his actions from boyhood until his arrest for theft at the age of 20. This is a great novel that will challenge teen readers while teaching them more about the human rights movement and the work of Malcolm X.

We have these books lined up to read next week:


  • Nino Wrestles the World
    written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales 
  • Stella by Starlight
    written by Sharon Draper
  • Hold Tight, Don't Let Go
    written by Laura Rose Wagner
  • Inside the O'Briens
    written by Lisa Genova

    Until next time, happy reading!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Birds of a Feather

As you may know, artist Carolyn Wright is being featured in the Mississippi Library Commission's November-December art exhibit. We think her feather art is awesome, but did you know that there are federal and state laws regulating which feathers can be bought and sold as art?

According to the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, it is illegal to "pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, cause to be shipped, deliver for transport, carry or cause to be carried by any means whatever, receive for shipment, transportation or carriage, or export at any time, or in any manner, any migratory bird, included in the terms of this Convention...for the protection of migratory birds...or any part, nest or egg of any such bird" unless permitted by regulations. There's a long list of birds covered by the law, meaning that they and their feathers are off limits. (Even if you want to create gorgeous and unique art!)

According to the Wildlife and Fisheries Public Notice 3816-Sale of Game in the State of Mississippi it is lawful for "any part of a wild turkey, expect the meat or a mounted turkey" to be bought and sold. That is why Mississippi artists engaging in this art form often use turkey feathers as a medium. Who knew?!

The art exhibit is open from November 4th until December 19th. There will also be a reception on December 1st from 5:00 pm till 7:00 pm at the Mississippi Library Commission. We hope to see you there.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Feathers and Film" Art Exhibit

The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) will host an art exhibition featuring the work of wildlife photographer Joe Mac Hudspeth, Jr. and painter Carolyn Wright. The show will open on November 4th and will run through December 29th. A free public reception will be held on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Library Commission building at 3881 Eastwood Drive in Jackson (in the R&D Center Complex off Ridgewood Road, across from Mississippi Public Broadcasting).
Purple Gallinule
Joe Mac Hudspeth, Jr.
Joe Mac Hudspeth, Jr. has been photographing Mississippi’s wildlife for over 30 years, and since 1997 his images have graced 36 Mississippi Duck Stamps and Sportsman’s Licenses. His latest book, My Southern Wild features his photographs of deer, ducks, turkey, and Mississippi’s untamed beauty. Hudspeth, a resident of Brandon, is a self-taught photographer whose work has appeared in numerous state, regional and national publications.
Turkey on turkey feather
Carolyn Wright
Turkey feathers provide the canvas artist Carolyn Wright uses to paint her stunning creations. Her artistic talents developed early, along with her love for wildlife, while spending summers on her grandparents farm in the Mississippi Delta. Now the primary source of inspiration for her feather paintings is easily found in the woods and lakes surrounding her rural home in southeast Noxubee County.

For more information on this upcoming art exhibition or MLC, visit or call 601-432-4111.

The Mississippi Library Commission supports innovative programs and initiatives to strengthen and enhance library services for all Mississippians. The agency is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, with additional funding provided through the Institute of Museum and Library Services under provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), offering leadership in library services, advocacy, and training for library professionals and paraprofessionals.

Friday, November 13, 2015

MLC Staff Reads: November 13, 2015

In A Game of Thrones, Tyrion says, "My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind... And a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." Keep your mind sharp this week with these fun and fascinating books:

This Is Not My Hat
written and illustrated
by Jon Klassen
picture book
three stars

This is a cute little story about how crime doesn't pay. It really, truly doesn't pay. Kids will enjoy the minimalist illustrations and the wild "gotcha!" ending. If you haven't already, introduce your kids to I Want My Hat Back, too.

 Fallout: Lois Lane #1
written by Gwenda Bond
young adult
three stars

Superheroes have been very big for the last several years, which made reading this YA book featuring a high school age Lois Lane so much fun. There's a mind-melded hive presence at Lois's new school and she's determined to find out what's behind it and rescue the kids it's effecting. Lois juggles this mystery with a job at the Daily Planet's new teen paper, her protective general dad and the rest of her loving family, and her online friendship with SmallvilleGuy. A little slow in some points, this was all in all an enjoyable read.

 Mississippi Moonshine Politics:
How Bootleggers & the Law Kept a Dry State Soaked
written by Janice Branch Tracy
nonfiction: politics, prohibition
four stars

Mississippi has always had an awkward love-hate relationship with alcohol and Mississippi Moonshine Politics brought this into sharp focus for us. The book introduces bootleggers and politicians from the Delta to the Gulf Coast, all within the framework of the history of prohibition in Mississippi. (By the way, our new favorite Mississippi politician name is Representative Noah "Soggy" Sweat, replacing longtime favorite Representative Greek Rice.) Tracy intersperses her history lesson with some fascinating stories about our native state that were a revelation to read. If you'd like to try a fictional account of bootleggers in Mississippi when you're done with Mississippi Moonshine Politics, try Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly's The Tilted World.

Mister B. Gone
written by Clive Barker
fiction: horror
four stars

Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker starts off with a warning: "Burn this book. Go on. Quickly, while there’s still time! Burn it. Don’t look at another word. Did you hear me? Not. One. More. Word." However, you should keep reading because this book is all you would expect from a Barker book. There is humor, horror, and everything in between. It kind of reminds us of an adult version of The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. We recommend this book to all Clive Barker, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman fans.

Join us next week when we review these books Mississippi Library Commission staff are reading.
  • Last Stop on Market Street
    written by Matt de la Pena
    illustrated by Christian Robinson
    picture book
  • Career of Evil
    written by Robert Galbraith
    fiction: mystery
  • Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta
    written by Richard Grant
    nonfiction: Mississippi
  • X: A Novel
    written by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
    young adult
Until next time, happy reading!

Friday, November 6, 2015

MLC Reads: November 6, 2015

We do so love to read! We just love to curl up in a nice spot, pull out a good book, and lose ourselves in the printed word. We've spent the last week reading these wonderful books:

 Freedom Summer
written by Deborah Wiles
illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue
picture book
five stars
Freedom Summer is picture book perfection. Jerome Lagarrigue won the John Steptoe Award for New Talent for his illustrations and we can see why. The gorgeous impressionism-inspired pictures pulled us even deeper into this story of the South during the summer of 1964. Deborah Wiles's tale of young Joe and John Henry's friendship is incredibly sweet. Joe, who is white, is noticing the ugly side of the segregated world in which he grew up for the first time. He wants his friend John Henry to be able to experience all the same fun things he does in their small town. The ways in which the two small boys act and react to their town's fight against integration is both heartbreaking and inspiring. This is a must read for pre-schoolers and up.

The Truth About Alice
written by Jennifer Mathieu
YA fiction
five stars

If you've ever attended school with a bunch typical teenagers- hellooo, high school- this book will be a trip down memory lane. If you're still in high school, you may recognize yourself or your friends on these pages. The stories and accusations flying around Alice are shocking, but the untold stories hiding in this high school are equally fascinating. Told from multiple points of view, this short novel is a reflection on stereotypes that will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very end.

written by Naomi Novik
YA fantasy
four stars

Uprooted by Naomi Novik follows the story of young Agnieszka. Every ten years the Dragon, a powerful wizard who defends her village from the corrupting influences of the Wood, comes to Agnieszka’s village and chooses a young woman to take with him. The Dragon inexplicably chooses Agnieszka over her best friend Kasia, who possesses all the charm, beauty and poise Agnieszka does not. Thus begins a story of adventure, loss, friendship, and love. Uprooted is lighthearted and humorous at times but there is also a sense of tragedy and loss that underscores it. While there is a romantic undercurrent to the story, the real relationship at the heart of this book is the honest and moving friendship between Agnieszka and her best friend Kasia.

Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald
edited by Suzanne Marrs and Tom Nolan
nonfiction: letters
three stars

Lovely letters by two master story tellers... From time to time it plodded a bit, but the commentary by Suzanne Mars and Tom Nolan made this a fairly fascinating peek into the lives of Eudora Welty and Kenneth Millar. If you haven't already, be sure to pick up What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell. (Ms. Eudora knew how to write a right fine letter!)

Next week, we have these books on our plate:
  • Mister B. Gone
    written by Clive Barker
  • Lois Lane: Fallout
    written by Gwenda Bond
  • This Is Not My Hat
    written by Jon Klassen
  • Mississippi Moonshine Politics: How Bootleggers & the Law Kept a Dry State Soaked
    written by Janice Branch Tracy

    Until then, happy reading!
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