Outlander Returns

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

outlander 2

Part two of the STARZ hit series Outlander, based on the book by Diana Gabaldon, is set to return to television on April 4.  If you haven’t been watching there is still time to catch up before the new episodes air.  If you are not a STARZ subscriber, you can now purchase the DVDs for season one, part one, which were released on March 3.  The Collector’s edition features both Blu-ray and DVD discs, as well as a collectible lenticular and a 32-page book with an introduction by Diana Gabaldon.  If you are not looking to purchase the DVD set they are also available for checkout at the Tuscaloosa Public Library. The series has already been renewed for a second season and the show’s creator has hinted that there will be surprises in store for even the most faithful fans of the series!  Until then, viewers can find trailers as well as a sneak peek at the opening scene of season one, part two on the show’s website as well as an inside look at the show’s costumes here.




2015 Book Award Results

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

This morning the American Library Association announced the award winners for children’s and young adult books. These include the Caldecott Medal for picture books, the Newbery Medal for children’s literature, and the Printz Award for young adult literature, as well as many others. The results are as follows:

book covers


Winner: The Adventure of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

Honor Books: Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Mary GrandPré

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illus. by Jon Klassen

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, illus. by Melissa Sweet

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki


Winner: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Honor Books: El Deafo by Cece Bell

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson


Winner: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Honor Books: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki


For more information and a complete list of winners, see ALA’s website.

Recent Trends and Predictions in Children’s Literature

By Leslie Grant, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

image from School Library Journal

(image from School Library Journal)

In the January 2015 edition, School Library Journal published the article “What’s Trending? Hot themes in kidlit and what we want to see” by Elizabeth Bird. In it, Bird summarizes her observations about trends in books for youth during the previous year, as well as adding her own expectations for the coming year. You can read the entire article on their website, but here’s a quick summary of some literary trends:


Kid’s Fantasy Getting Darker

Examples: The Riverman by Aaron Starmer, The Thickety by J.A. White, The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

Relationship between Lies and Storytelling

Examples: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, West of the Moon by Margi Preus, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, The Riverman by Aaron Starmer



Examples: Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other) by Geoff Rodkey

Post-apocalyptic Dogs

Examples: Apocalypse Bow Wow by James Proimos, Vacancy by Jen Lee

Liars and Unreliable Narrators

Examples: Lies I Told by Michelle Zink, Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes, Twisted Fate by Norah Olson, Made You Up by Francesca Zappia


Bird ends with trends she’d like to see in the future. The biggest of these is a continued increase in diversity. She lists several categories of particular interest and includes recent books within each one.

Disability as Incidental to Story

Examples: El Deafo by Cece Bell, Dragons Beware by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

Realistic Depictions of Poverty

Examples: Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt and Vin Vogel, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

African American Male Characters

Examples: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth, The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson, Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico by Marcia Wells, Public School Superhero by James Patterson

Latino Characters

Examples: Ambassador by William Alexander, Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante, Sophia Martinez: My Family Adventure by Jacqueline Jules, Gum Luck by Rhode Montijo

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs Celebrates its 25th Anniversary,

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

true story 3 little pigs

Jon Scieszka’s popular children’s book, illustrated by Lane Smith, tells the well-known tale of the Three Little Pigs from the perspective of the Big Bad Wolf.  First published in 1989, the book became a bestseller practically overnight and has gone on to sell over 2 million copies to date.  Before it was picked up for publication by Viking, Scieszka’s book had been turned down countless times.  At that time the book brought something new to the table-sophisticated humor and controversy about a children’s book.  The controversy involved the twisted take on a traditional folk tale and spawned a new genre of what is now called “twisted” or “fractured fairy tales”.  Audiences responded and Scieszka and Lane partnered up again for the creation of a handful of other works, with 1992’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales among them.  They both have strong solo careers as well but continue to remain sentimental about the book that started their careers.

The 25th Anniversary edition of The True Story of The Three Little Pigs is on sale now and showcases a new jacket designed by Smith and includes a surprise letter written by A. Wolf!  Copies of the original 1989 edition are available for checkout in School Library located in the basement of McLure.


Olive Kitteridge

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

1384962544_olive-kitteridge-cover_custom-9b4901d27c1705470e4aec052aec3d5ea79aa0fd-s6-c30 olive-kitteridge-poster

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout’s best-selling collection of interlaced stories centered on a retired schoolteacher in Maine, has been made into an HBO miniseries that aired in early November.  Starring Frances McDormand as the titular character, the miniseries is broken into four parts- each representing a different stage of the novel-and remains true to Strout’s original work.  Over a time period of 25 years, the story focuses on Olive’s relationships with her husband, son, and fellow townspeople.  McDormand bought the rights to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and was responsible for bringing it to HBO.  If you are unfamiliar with Olive Kitteridge and are wanting to read it for the first time, or re-reading it, as you watch the miniseries, it is available for checkout at Gorgas Library.  The miniseries is available now for HBO subscribers through HBO Go anytime and OnDemand until December 30.

Christmas Truce of WWI

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

On a freezing Christmas Day in 1914, what would come to be known as the “Christmas truce” of WWI, thousands of exhausted soldiers cautiously climbed out their trenches on the Western Front and entered no man’s land. They buried their dead, shook hands with their enemies, sung carols together, lit each other’s cigarettes, exchanged addresses, swapped family photos, and played soccer. This unofficial truce only lasted for a few hours before fighting resumed, but it shows that even a world war could not crush the hopeful spirit of Christmas.

Poets of the First World War

poets of the 1 world war

Co-written by Nicola Barber and Patrick Lee-Browne, this book showcases works from five significant writers of World War I. The book also goes into detail about the experiences of these soldiers who found artistic expression in their poetry for the horrors of warfare, and looks at the historical, political and social background which shaped the poetry of the war.

War Game

war game

Michael Foreman’s touching book about four young British soldiers who dream of playing professional soccer for England but join the armed forces instead.  During the Christmas truce during WWI they exchange presents and play a game of soccer with German forces.  Foreman’s moving work is dedicated to his four uncles who were killed in WWI and shows both the hope and horror of war.



Jim Murphy writes a touching account of the true story of opposing forces defying orders by putting a stop to the fighting to hold a Christmas celebration.  On Christmas Eve 1914, soldiers on both sides begin to hear the opposing forces singing carols, which spurred instances of fraternization between enemies that later became known as “The Christmas Truce”. Although the truce came to an end, Murphy’s book is a powerful look at soldiers who decided to choose their own fate –at least for a day.

Joyeux Noel

Joyeux Noel

This 2005 French film, written and directed by Christian Carion, is another depiction of the WWI Christmas truce that took place in December 1914.  The story is seen through the eyes of French, German and Scottish soldiers as a musical call-and-response turns into an impromptu cease-fire, trading chocolates and champagne, playing soccer, and comparing pictures of their wives.  However, as Christmas ends, the harsh realities of war return.   It is an inspirational French film with touching songs and a bit of sadness, but hope and heart as well.


Poets of the First World War, War Game and Truce are all available in the Education School Library in the basement of McLure and Joyeux Noel can be found on the 1st floor of Gorgas in the Music Library and features optional English subtitles.

Boxed Sets for All Ages

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

With the holiday season fast approaching, it is time to start thinking about what to buy for friends and loved ones.  For book lovers of any age, a boxed set of their favorite series or favorite author can make for a thoughtful, personal gift.

Boxed sets for toddlers:

eric carleMy Very First Library by Eric Carle

ISBN: 978-0399246661

“The perfect gift for young children learning their colors, shapes, and numbers.  All four of Eric Carle’s popular new split-page board books are now packaged together in a slipcased library. A game as well as a learning experience, these early concept books are both fun and smart.  Titles include: My Very First Book of Colors, My Very First Book of Shapes, My Very First Book of Numbers, and My Very First Book of Words. Irresistible fun for young hands and minds!”

peter rabbitPeter Rabbit Naturally Better Classic Gift Set by Beatrix Potter

ISBN: 978-0723264231

“This brand-new boxed set includes four classic Beatrix Potter tales that showcase their appeal with the eyecatching vine cover design. Titles include: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher, The Tale of Tom Kitten, and The Tale of Jemima Puddle- Duck.”

dr suessDr. Suess’s Beginner Book Collection

ISBN: 978-0375851568

“This collection of five beloved Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss—The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, and Fox in Socks—will be cherished by young and old alike. Ideal for reading aloud or reading alone, they will begin a child on the adventure of a lifetime!”

Boxed sets for children:

madelineMadeline Storybook Collection by Ludwig Bemelmans

ISBN: 978-1484885031

“Madeline, a fearless little girl full of mischief and vitality, is one of the world’s most popular and beloved fictional characters.  In each of these books, Bemelmans’ humorous verse, his immortal characters and his wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris combine to create a memorable reading experience for people of all ages.”

bad kittyBad Kitty’s Very Bad Boxed Set by Nick Bruel

ISBN: 978-1250010346

“Young readers will be cracking up at Bad Kitty’s antics and at the lively line art in these three entertaining books.  Included is: Bad Kitty Gets a Bath, Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty, and Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray.  But wait, there’s more! Included in the boxed set is a full size poster featuring the cover of Bad Kitty for President. So put your paws up and vote!”

little golden booksClassic Characters of Little Golden Books

ISBN: 978-0375859342

“This beautiful boxed set brings together five of the all-time favorite Little Golden Books! The Poky Little PuppyTootleThe Saggy Baggy ElephantTawny Scrawny Lion, and Scuffy the Tugboat. This classic collection in its own slipcase is perfect for gift-giving—and is great value, too!”

Classic boxed sets for middle readers:

nancy drewhardy boysNancy Drew/Hardy Boys starter set

ISBN: 978-0448464961 (Nancy Drew)

ISBN: 978-0448464954 (Hardy Boys)

“The first five books in the each of these respective classic mystery series are packaged together in a collectible box set featuring a newly redesigned slipcover.  The perfect gift for the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys fan in your life.”

black stallionThe Black Stallion Adventures by Walter Farley

ISBN: 978-0375834066

“Walter Farley’s tales of bravery, instinct, and survival have been captivating readers for almost 65 years. Here, in a handsome gift set, are four of the best, starting with The Black Stallion, where Alec Ramsay saves the Black after a shipwreck. The bond they form cannot be broken. It  survives their separation in The Black Stallion Returns. Reunited in The Black Stallion’s Ghost, they survive a terrifying curse. Finally, in The Black Stallion Revolts, they are separated again after a plane crash! Each gripping tale culminates in a thrilling race to the finish!”

magic treehouseMagic Treehouse Starter Library by Mary Pope Osborne

ISBN: 978-0307930453

“Get ready for a world of adventure with the first two books of the New York Times bestselling Magic Tree House series! This boxed set also includes the first nonfiction companion title, Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Dinosaurs, and the fun activity book Games and Puzzles from the Tree House as a special bonus!  These four titles are the perfect gift for a Magic Tree House fan or any child who loves a good adventure.”

*Also of note is A Newbery Collection boxed set that includes four unforgettable Newbery Medal winners and can be found here.

Modern boxed sets for middle readers:

wimpyDiary of a Wimpy Kid Box of Books by Jeff Kinney

ISBN: 978-1419711824

“The first four books in the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series are available together for the first time in a collectible boxed set. Included are Diary of a Wimpy KidRodrick RulesThe Last Straw, andDog Days, in a specially designed package that features six pages from Rowley Jefferson’s journal, “Diary of an Awesome, Friendly Kid”—an original cartoon by Jeff Kinney.”

penderwickThe Penderwicks 3-book Boxed Set by Jeanne Birdsall

ISBN: 978-0385755870

“Including The PenderwicksThe Penderwicks on Gardam Street, and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette are available in a charming paperback boxed set. Deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty, these stories are as breezy and carefree as a clear June day!”

percy jacksonPercy Jackson and the Olympians 5 Book Boxed Set by Rick Riordan

ISBN: 978-1484707234

“All five books in the blockbuster Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, in paperback, have been collected in a boxed set fit for demigods. Now with glorious new cover art and packaged with a special poster, this value-priced set includes the best-selling The Lightning ThiefThe Sea of MonstersThe Titan’s CurseThe Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.”

Boxed sets for Young Adults:

hunger gamesThe Hunger Games Box Set: Foil Edition by Suzanne Collins

ISBN: 978-0545791915

“All three Hunger Games books in one gorgeous package! The extraordinary, ground breaking New York Times bestsellers–The Hunger GamesCatching Fire, and Mockingjay–are available now in a deluxe foil boxed set edition.”

divergentDivergent Series Ultimate Four-Book Box Set by Veronica Roth

ISBN: 978-0062352163

“Available together for the first time—all three books in the #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy, plus the companion volume told from the perspective of the immensely popular character Tobias. Perfect for established fans who want to own the full Divergent library or readers new to the series, this box set includes DivergentInsurgentAllegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection as well as an exclusive Divergent series poster!”

john greenJohn Green Box Set

ISBN: 978-0147515001

“Discover #1 New York Times bestselling author John Green from the beginning with four critically acclaimed, award-winning modern classics, including Looking for AlaskaAn Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars, now a major motion picture.  This complete collection includes paperback editions of John Green’s award-winning books in a stunning case. The perfect introduction to John Green or addition to any fan’s collection.”

gary paulsenThe Gary Paulsen Collection

ISBN: 978-1442497788

“This collectible boxed set from acclaimed author Gary Paulsen includes four beloved titles.  In Dancing Carl, a teen’s terrible secret becomes a fragile expression of hope and the healing power of love.  In the Newbery Honor Book Dogsong, Russel takes a team of dogs on an epic journey of self-discovery that will change his life forever.  In the Newbery Honor Book Hatchet, Brian Robeson must survive fifty-four harrowing days following a plane crash, stranded in the desolate wilderness with only his instincts.  And in Woodsong, Gary Paulsen recounts in vivid detail some of the incredible life experiences that shaped his remarkable fiction.”

Graphic novel boxed sets:

boxers and saintsBoxers & Saints Boxed Set by Gene Luen Yang

ISBN: 978-1596439245

“In two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. In the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them.  It offers a penetrating insight into not only one of the most controversial episodes of modern Chinese history, but into the very core of our human nature.”

persepolisPersepolis Boxed Set by Marjane Satrapi

ISBN: 978-0375423963

“Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.”

Abnegation Donation

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library

This holiday season, Veronica Roth is partnering with HarperCollins and First Book to give copies of her best-selling book Divergent to children in need.  The hashtag #AbnegationDonation will be used to spread the word via social media.  As fans of the popular, dystopian Divergent series know, the Abnegation factor is one of five into which citizens are grouped in a futuristic Chicago.  Donations can be given throughout December and for every $2.50 received HarperCollins will provide First Book a new copy of Divergent.  This is a great way to give back this holiday season!


Find the original article from Publisher’s Weekly here and the link to donate here.


Cyborg Monday

By Amanda Alexander, Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library


Feeling like you just can’t wait for Marissa Myer’s newest book in the popular Lunar Chronicles series, about a world in which cyborgs and humans coexist?  Fairest, the story of evil Queen Levana, is set for release on January 27, 2015.  Until then, you can participate in Macmillan’s promotions for the upcoming novel which begin on November 17, at which point several characters from the books will pop up in ten cities across the nation handing out chapters from Cinder, the first book in the series.  On December 1, the redesigned website for the series will be unveiled – with users able to unlock material related to Fairest by using the hashtag #cyborgmonday.  The website will also be hosting a competition, judged by Meyer, where fans can create a portrait of Queen Levana based on how they see her.  The winner will be given a trip to Meyer’s home town of Tacoma, Washington to attend the Fairest Launch party which will take place on January 27.  A picture taking app will also be available that fans can use to “glamour” themselves and share their image on the website and social media.  So, Lunar Chronicles fans, mark your calendars as you prepare for the holiday season!  For those new to the series, there is still plenty of time to catch up over the break and before Fairest is released.  The series’ first three books: Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress are all available for checkout in the school library located in the basement of McLure.  Also, Fairest is available for pre-order here.

Related links:



Installation Art

By Amanda Alexander , Graduate Assistant, McLure Education Library


Installation art usually describes three-dimensional works of art that are made to change the way that people see a certain area, and can be either temporary or permanent.  Christo and Jeanne-Claude are one of the most famous examples of environmental installation artists who were responsible for The Gates, a 23-mile long group of “gates” created out of saffron colored nylon fabric hung from steel bases.  For further study, Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Through the Gates and Beyond By Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, can be found in the School Library in the basement of McLure.  Installation art has also been showcased in the news lately, specifically the Tower of London poppies and the balloons in Berlin that marked the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.


poppies-8 1412296557089_wps_22_Tower_of_London_Poppies_f

In London, an installation titled the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red showcases 888,246 ceramic poppies representing each life lost to WWI in service of the British crown.  The installation has drawn millions of spectators who view the sight as a monument to the tragedy of war.  However, the memorial has also drawn its fair share of criticism from those who view that installation as a glorification of war and have counteracted by creating white poppies as a symbol of peace.


berlin-wall-fall-25th-anniversary 01_LICHTGRENZE_Brandenburger_Tor__c__Kulturprojekte_Berlin_WHITEvoid_Christopher_Bauder__Foto_Daniel_Bueche

In Berlin, a temporary wall was made to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the wall’s collapse.  The installation symbolizing the wall was constructed out of 8,000 illuminated balloons that were released into the air on November 9th to the notes of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  The piece is one of many celebratory events that will take place in Berlin this year.



For those of you interested in viewing an installation art piece closer to home, Birmingham features an installation titled LightRails, which is located downtown in Railroad Park.  The attraction is a permanent display consisting of a system of computerized LED lights installed in an old art deco railroad underpass.  Birmingham commissioned Texas-based artist Bill FitzGibbons to create the piece in order to bring pedestrian traffic to an area that had become dark and neglected.  It is an open and inviting display of light and color used to reinvigorate a previously unused and forgotten space, making pedestrians feel safe and showcasing a brilliant work of art.