All posts by GtownCommLib

Ingoing Freshman: Here are some Non-Fiction Books you might actually love!

The 2022-23 school is year just around the corner, which means time to fit in that summer homework. Non-Fiction gets a bad wrap for being boring, but NF isn’t just encyclopedias and textbooks! There’s hilarious memoirs, fascinating graphic novels, and eye-opening historical accounts that wait for you in YA Non-Fiction.

If you’re having trouble finding a non-fiction book for your project, here are some books you won’t have to endure, but might actually enjoy:

Video games changed the game, as it were, when it comes to storytelling. In this book, Dustin Hansen discusses the history of how video games got us to where we are now!

In this account of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Brandy Colbert talks about how it came to pass, why it happened, and how it affected the community, country, and beyond.

Yep, there’s Non-fiction Graphic Novels! This memoir from writer of Nimona and creator of Netflix’s reboot of She-ra and the Pricesses of Power delves into the writer’s story of becoming a writer, and the highs and lows of being a creator.

Queer There and Everywhere tells the stories of 23 members of the LGBTQIA community that had a major impact on innovation and culture. It’s a collection of stories, which makes for a fun, quick, and interesting read!

This historical account of the Salem Witch Trials reveals the story of why the witch-hunt came to be, and the stories of the women who went through it.

This graphic novel shows the complexity of the culture of the Middle Ages, including the Plague, The Hundred Year War, and the Crusades, in this romp through the 5th – 15th centuries.

There’s more books to find and enjoy in the non fiction department! Check out our display at the very beginning of YA Non-Fiction for more suggestions on true stories you might actually enjoy.

Germantown Community Library Launches ‘The Enchanted Library’

(Germantown, Wisconsin) The community has always been a huge part of library services at the Germantown Community Library.  For years, the library has enjoyed participating in local events such as the festivals, the 4th of July parade, Christmas festival and school district programs – just to name a few.  This summer, the library is excited to take this a step further and bring more of the library outside of our building.  

‘The Enchanted Library’ will do just that.  It is the Germantown Community Library’s new mobile book trailer filled with books, movies and activities to bring the library into the communities of Germantown, Jackson and Richfield.   Residents will be able to check out and return items at all of our ‘Enchanted Library’ programs.  The mobile library even has its own enchanted theme and logo.  The beautiful artwork was designed our Youth Service Specialist, Shannon Siebers.   

Generously sponsored by WaterStone Bank in Germantown, the Enchanted Library will be launched on May 21, 2022 at our Bookmobile Party from 10:30am – 12:30pm. The event will include tours with the Monarch Library System Bookmobile, the West Bend Outreach Van and The Enchanted Library as well as ice cream, crafts & activities. A ribbon cutting through the Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce will also be held at the library at 10:00am.   

The following week, ‘The Enchanted Library’ will be out and about in the community at the following programs: 

  • Mon, May 23 @ 7:30 – 9:30am: Germantown Chamber (Chase Bank, Mequon Rd)
    Free coffee & donuts 
  • Tues, May 24 @ 1 – 2pm: Germantown Fire Station
    Meet Paw Patrol Marshall character & crafts 
  • Tues, May 24 @ 3 – 4pm: Germantown Police Station
    Meet Paw Patrol Chase character & crafts 
  • Wed, May 25 @ 5 – 6pm: Kinderberg Park, Germantown
    Meet our new dragon mascot, snacks & crafts 
  • Thurs, May 26 @ 4 – 5pm: Heritage Park, Richfield
    Meet Pete the Cat characters, snacks & coloring pages 
  • Fri, May 27 @ 2:30 – 3:30pm: Fireman’s Park, Germantown
    Life-sized games, pizza & crafts. 
  • Sat, May 28 @ 10:30 – 11:30am: Hickory Park, Jackson
    Meet Pout Pout Fish, snacks & fish-themed crafts. 

    The Enchanted Library will also have regular stops this summer in Germantown, Jackson & Richfield and well as appear at special events. Visitors to The Enchanted Library can apply for a library card, check out or return books, place holds and participate in themed crafts and activities. We will also be offering free book bags or backpacks! 

“We are very excited about the future opportunities that the new mobile trailer will bring to the community” says Cara Reimer, Outreach Services Specialist.  “We will be able to bring more materials and programs to residents than ever before.  The library is thrilled to grow our outreach efforts and continue to make connections in the area.” 

A Case for Dungeons and Dragons: the Fun, the Friends, and the Fantasy

When I’m not working at the library, I’m a college student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. There, I also run the Dungeons and Dragons Network, a club dedicated to finding groups of people who want to play DnD together. I’ve somehow brought the hype back with me, because I honestly can’t stop talking about Dungeons and Dragons.

Historically, DnD was created right here in Wisconsin, only about an hour away from Germantown in Lake Geneva, by Gary Gygax. The game, when released in the 1970’s was met with acclaim and controversy, and in the 80s, was synonymous with “nerd”. Since then various editions have come out. Right now, the popular one is 5th edition.

Despite DnD’s history as a nerdy underground game, one typically sidelined to the dorky friend’s personality in 80’s high school movies, DnD has a pretty major following. I think a lot of this hype, as least in the recent mainstream sense, can be tied to Netflix’s Stranger Things, which actually has it’s own official adventure book now. That and the fact that kids who played DnD back when in came out are now the ones in the Hollywood writer’s rooms.

Turns out, Dungeons and Dragons, today, is en vogue. Well, as en vogue as a tabletop roleplaying game can be. You’d be hard pressed to find someone whose into reading but not interested in learning about or wants to try DnD. Celebrities play DnD. In fact, Joe Manganiello pretty famously has a basement dedicated to the game and a DnD inspired clothing line.

Joe Manganiello runs a star-studded DnD campaign with players including Vince Vaughn, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Game of Thrones co-creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff.

If celebrity RPG tables isn’t enough to convince you that Dungeons and Dragons has come back with a fervor, maybe the sheer amount of content dedicated to the game might. The podcasts, the YouTube videos, the books! One of the more popular DnD podcasts, Critical Role, was just turned into the Amazon Prime show The Legends of Vox Machina. My favorite DnD podcast, The Adventure Zone has been turned into a series of graphic novels (soon to be available at your local Germantown Community Library).

But in all of these storylines and formats, there’s a common thread through it all, and there’s surprisingly a lot to learn from DnD.

Aside from how to roll and calculating ability scores or battle strategy, DnD is the perfect way to learn about storytelling. Because, underneath the numbers and character sheets and stats, what DnD is at its core, is a collaborative story. It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure book but with 90% more customization. It’s a way to delve into what makes a story great, and bring everyone else along the ride with you. When you play DnD, it’s not like a video game, where you can be placed in a situation and there are a certain number of moves and combinations, or certain objectives with a storyline that ends up generally the same. Video games have a level of complexity all their own, but I don’t think I’d be able to find one that does exactly what makes DnD so unique.

Hey, you! You’re finally awake.

I don’t think a video game will ever be able to replicate the feeling of creating a character, a backstory for that character, a personality for that character, a family for that character, a goal and aspiration for that character, and then to have that character give her life to save a lady who gave her a rock one day. It’ll never replicate the customization of encounters, how that same character, in all her “rush in and do good recklessly” glory, completely decimated a fellow party members illusion. Or the one time we had a complete makeover montage right before our dragon encounter. Or the time we had to save the city of Detroit from being lost to the abyss.

I’m a first time Dungeon Master, and I’ve got the dice to show for it. I’ve never had more fun playing Dungeons and Dragons than I am right now, planning and improvising on the fly, creating NPCs with weird, inconsistent accents (hey, not all of us are extremely talented voice actors like the cast of Critical Role), and most importantly: telling a story with others, having the players affect the story, mess with its outcome. No session ever turns out exactly as I plan it, and that’s the great part! In every single iteration of DnD in the media, the story has never never been the same. Not even a close resemblance. The possibilities are endless, whether you’re playing the beginners module (which both The Adventure Zone and I have done, to EXTREMELY variable results) or homebrewing your own campaign.

It’s a weird, kind of beautiful way to spend your time. You create a fictional universe that only lives in your head, then you share it with others, have them play there, have them affect the world, have them mess with the people there, have them struggle, have them triumph. All in your head. All in theirs.

Hopefully, I’ve convinced to give Dungeons and Dragons or its related media a try, because we’re bringing DnD to the library!

There are some DnD sourcebooks available for checkout in the Young Adult section! That, and our Teen Advisory Board is getting on the DnD train too. We’re having a DnD Info Session on Monday, May 16th, where tweens and teens can learn about the game, get a feel for it and maybe even make a character.

It’s a great game, and it is what you make of it. I hope you make something cool one day!

Shannon S.
Youth Services Specialist

2021’s Most Popular YA

This year has been really fun when it comes to Young Adult fiction! With a ton of new releases and circling back to our old favorites, these are our Top 10 Most Checked out YA Titles for 2021.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Even though it came out in 2009, The Maze Runner series is going strong! The Maze Runner follows sixteen-year-old Thomas who wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape. James Dashner’s series was made into movies starting in 2014. Fans of Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games enjoy this dystopian thriller.

One of our most popular authors, Rick Riordan is one our list a lot! Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief has been a fan favorite since 2005 when it first came out. Now it has a TV show in the works and even an off-Broadway musical! Follow Percy Jackson through a modern interpretation of Greek mythology where Ares wears a biker jacket and pens can be literal swords.

If you haven’t already, read the series that inspired a generation of young readers!

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan

Also staking a claim in spot three, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson spin-off series The Trials of Apollo was really popular this year as well! Tyrant’s Tomb is the fourth book in this series, which follows the Sun God Apollo’s detour through humanity. After the events of the Heroes of Olympus series, Zeus punishes Apollo to spend some time as acne-faced teen Lester Papadopoulos, and tries to regain his holy status with the help of a daughter of Demeter, Meg.

Recommended reading after Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series!

Crush is the second book of the Crave series by Tracy Wolff. This paranormal romance is great for fans of Twilight and Warm Bodies! The series follows Grace as she lives her life in a school of magical creatures in a small town in Alaska. After meeting Jaxon Vega, Grace is brought into the world of vampires!

Crush by Tracy Wolff
Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

Mira just wants to go home for the holidays, but a snowstorm may have other plans. After hitching a ride with some college kids, the chilly conditions get chillier when Mira feels like she’s being watched.

An icy thriller for a winter read!

Copper Sun is a Coretta Scott King Award winning novel by Sharon Draper about Amari, who was ripped from her home in Ziavi, Africa to be sold into slavery. It discusses the terrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade for young African women and was named in Times “Best YA Books of All-Time” List in 2021.

Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars tells the story of Candace and her wealthy family after she suffers from a head injury, completely forgetting a summer that changed her life. There’s family secrets and mystery around every turn as Candace slowly starts to recover her memory of what happened in Summer Fifteen.

After becoming the target of a bullying campaign and losing her mom, Libby finds herself in a counseling session with Jack, a boy who cannot recognize faces. Both struggling to find a place in this world, they confide in each other.

This romantic fantasy book is based on Beauty and the Beast. Harper is a teen with cerebral palsy who gets sucked into a fantasy world because of Prince Rhen who is trying to break his curse. But all is not what is seems with Harper or Rhen.

Let us know if you think these books deserved the hype they got in 2021, and what books your excited about in 2022! Thanks for a great year of reading!

Library Staff Recommends Young Adult Fiction/Graphic Novels

Our staff loves reading YA, especially graphic novels. From fantasy to sports to superheroes to high school struggles, our Young Adult section has something for everyone! Check out these titles that our staff can’t get enough of!

Titles recommended in this video:

  • The Gallagher Girl Series by Ally Carter (recommended by Shannon)
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Comics by Ryan North (recommended by Gabe)
  • Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu (recommended by Shannon)
  • East by Edith Pattou (recommended by Emily)
  • The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Steifvater (recommended by Shannon)
  • Heartstopper by Alice Oseman (recommended by Allison)