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Book Discussion Logog


KHCPL’s book discussion program kicks off in September. We have selected an exciting and diverse group of books for the 2017 -- 2018 program. Participants may attend any or all discussions. Multiple copies of each selection will be available at each KHCPL location one month prior to its discussion. Audio, large print, and digital editions may also be available, and KHCPL staff members will be happy to place a hold on these items for you.

Another Brooklyn Book Cover

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson is a novel that reads like poetry. Anthropologist August is called back to Brooklyn by her father’s death. When she glimpses a former childhood friend on the subway, she is suddenly transported back to 1970s Brooklyn, reliving old memories a series of flashbacks.

October 19, 2017 · 6:30 pm @ KHCPL South
January 5, 2018 · 10:30 am @ KHCPL Russiaville
March 14, 2018 · 10:00 am @ KHCPL Main


City of Thieves Book Cover

City of Thieves by David Benioff is set during the siege of Stalingrad. Lev and Kolya strike a bargain with a Soviet officer. In exchange for finding a dozen eggs to be served at his daughter’s wedding, he will release rather than execute them. Their desperate search through the war-torn city results in a black comedy of errors.

November 16, 2017 · 6:30 pm @ KHCPL South
March 2, 2018 · 10:30 am @ KHCPL Russiaville
May 9, 2018 · 10:00 am @ KHCPL Main


Flowers for Algernon Book Cover

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes unfolds through a series of journal entries. Charlie, a cognitively disabled adult, along with Algernon, a lab rat, undergo experimental brain surgery designed to increase intelligence. The procedure is a success, and Charlie’s IQ soars to genius level. Tragically, he is now also capable of understanding the implications of Algernon’s sudden unexpected decline.

February 2, 2018 · 10:30 am @ KHCPL Russiaville
April 11, 2018 · 10:00 am @ KHCPL Main
no discussion @ KHCPL South


Grandma Gatewood's Walk Book Cover

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery is the Howard County Reads 2017 selection. Part biography, part history of the Appalachian Trail, part nature writing, and part hikers’ manifesto, this is the story of Emma Gatewood from Gallia County, Ohio, who in 1955 at the age of 67 became the first woman to continuously hike the Appalachian Trail. She simply told her children she was “going for a walk” and set off on this unbelievable journey.

September 13, 2017 · 10:00 am @ KHCPL Main
no discussion @ KHCPL South or KHCPL Russiaville


House on Mango Street book cover

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is told in a series of poetic vignettes. Esperanza Cordero describes growing up in a poor Latino neighborhood in Chicago. Her own voice mingles with the stories of those around her.

October 6, 2017 · 10:30 am @ KHCPL Russiaville
January 10, 2018 ·6:30 pm @ KHCPL Main
April 19, 2018 ·10:00 am @ KHCPL South


Man Called Ove book cover 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman introduces readers to Ove, a Swedish curmudgeon who likes rules and routines and dislikes everything else. But his cantankerous exterior hides his crushing grief over his wife’s death. When a new family who exemplify everything Ove hates moves into the neighborhood, an unlikely friendship develops.

January 18, 2018 · 6:30 pm @ KHCPL South
April 6, 2018 ·10:30 am @ KHCPL Russiaville
no discussion @ KHCPL Main


Sound of Gravel book cover

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner recounts her harrowing childhood in the LeBaron fundamentalist Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico. The fourth child of her mother and the thirty-ninth of her father, she grew up in abject poverty, experiencing instability, abuse, and neglect, before eventually escaping to her extended family in the United States.

September 1, 2017 ·10:30 am @ KHCPL Russiaville
November 8, 2017 ·10:00 am @ KHCPL Main
March 15, 2018 ·6:30 pm @ KHCPL South


Sweetgirl book cover

Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser is reminiscent of Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Despite the impending blizzard, 16 year-old Percy James drives out to a nearby the farmhouse in search of her MIA mother. Her mother is nowhere to be found, but Percy stumbles upon a neglected baby alone in an upstairs bedroom. Unable to call 911, she flees with the child, intending to take her to safety at the local hospital.

November 3, 2017 · 10:30 am @ KHCPL Russiaville
February 14, 2018 · 10:00 am @ KHCPL Main
May 17, 2018 · 6:30 pm @ KHCPL South


Winter People book cover

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon alternates between the early 20th Century and the present day. In 1908 Sara Harrison Shea grieves the death of her child, contemplating an unthinkable act, while in the present Ruthie wakes up to discover that her mother has vanished without a trace. Both women, living in the same Vermont farmhouse, are drawn together when the missing pages from Sara’s diary resurface.

October 11, 2017 · 10:00 am @ KHCPL Main
February 15, 2018 6:30 pm @ KHCPL South
May 4, 2018 · 10:30 am @ KHCPL Russiaville


Fall is just around the corner, and that means that football and tailgating are soon to be the highlight of your weekend! Check out our book suggestions to make the best of this fall activity.


Make the perfect food for game day.

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Bring along the portable grill and The Deen Bros’ Get Fired Up cookbook and you’re ready to prepare some awesome BBQ for your tailgate.

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With The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook by Daina Falk, you can make the perfect foods to wow your friends, whether it’s watching the big game from home or out tailgating.


Keep the fun alive with games during the tailgate.

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The football players aren’t the only ones who will be ready for some competition. Check out Tag, Toss, & Run for 40 classic lawn games that you and your family can play at the tailgate!

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This one is for the adults only! Grab a group of friends, a case of beer, and The Book of Beer Awesomeness by Ben Applebaum for some fun beer activities and games to play before the big game.


Know your facts before the big game.

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Know your facts on where you’ll be watching the game with Football Stadiums: A Guide to Professional and Top College Stadiums by Lew Freedman that details stories from inside football stadiums across the nation.

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Love attending the games but have no idea what is even going on? So You Think You Know Football? by Ben Austro will give you insight on the ins-and-outs of the football rulebook.


Read some stories about the touching impact of football.

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In The Last Season by Stuart Stevens, you’ll learn about the special bond between a father and son, which is created from an autumn spent cheering on their favorite football team.

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Football is a huge part of American culture today, but how did the sport actually gain so much popularity? In America’s Game, Michael MacCambridge tells the epic story of how football captured our nation and shaped American history.


Let the kids enjoy the game as well!

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The younger sports fans can check out The Big Book of Who and maybe even learn enough about football stars to outsmart some adults!

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Bring the kids along to the game with Football by Cynthia Amoroso! This book for younger audiences gives simple descriptions of the game of football and how it is played.

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Football Genius by Tim Green will get the younger fans excited to watch the game, as they read about a sixth-grader with a special ability to predict football plays.


Get excited about football with some movies and CDs.

CD cover

Tailgates are all about a good time, so make sure you have the right music to make it a good time! Put Luke Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines into the stereo for a perfect tailgating playlist to play before and after the big game.

DVD cover

Watch Rudy, the touching classic of a boy chasing after his dream of playing football for Notre Dame.

With summer here it’s time to enjoy the outdoors, starting right here at home!

Kokomo and Howard County Indiana are fortunate to have beautiful recreation areas and family fun venues.

Within walking distance of most Kokomo neighborhoods, Kokomo Parks have something for everyone including playgrounds, historic sites, sports facilities and a spectacular aquatic park, Kokomo Beach!

Walking and biking trails include the Industrial Heritage Trail, and the Walk of Excellence. Along the way, you can enjoy the wildlife identified with your own Wildlife Pocket Guide by the Kokomo Parks & Recreation Department, 
or enjoy the trees native to this area by checking out the City of Kokomo's Native Trees of Kokomo page.

A little further from home, you can enjoy Indiana State Parks and Recreation areas. KHCPL has Indiana State Parks 2017 Annual Entrance Permits which may be checked out free for one week at a time from Main, South or Russiaville (call for  availability). With over 35 state parks, plus Fish and Wildlife areas, Nature preserves and state forests, Indiana is overflowing with outdoor fun opportunities.

Nearby parks include:

Bryan Memorial Nature Preserve in Clinton County, about 7 miles northwest of Frankfort. Take SR 38 west. Turn north on CR 450W to a marked parking lot on the right. A self -guiding nature trail with long and short loops traverses the preserve with woods that stand like an oasis surrounded by farmland. The forest canopy is tall, dense and even, compared to woodlots which have been more heavily grazed and timbered.

Mississinewa Lake, one of the three Upper Wabash flood-control reservoirs, offers excellent fishing, hunting and boating opportunities in the heart of north-central Indiana. In addition to featuring a 400-plus-site campground and family cabins,. The expanses of forests, prairies and farmland surrounding the lake provide attractive habitat to a wide variety of wildlife, exhibiting exceptional viewing opportunities for hikers, bird watchers and touring bicyclists. Click here for your map and information.

Mounds State Park, located off I-69 east of Anderson, features 10 unique earthworks built by prehistoric Indians known as the Adena-Hopewell people. The largest earthwork, the Great Mound, is believed to have been constructed around 160 B.C. Go on a GPS History Adventure by borrowing a Garmin Etrex 10 unit from the Nature Center, bringing your own, or downloading a GPS app on your smartphone.  You can also borrow an Adventure Backpack complete with all the gadgets, gizmos & tools you need to complete an Animal Adventure, Insect Investigation or to be a Plant Explorer.

Some books to help you get started on your adventures are:




Summertime is here!!! It’s a great time to “FIND YOUR TREASURE AT THE LIBRARY”!!!!
June 5th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the South Branch kicks off our Summer Reading Program with the first of 2 Kick-off Parties. June 5th will be the first chance to sign up for the Summer Reading Program.  There will be fun for the entire family. Food, Games, Activities, and summer information from local agencies will be available.

Can’t come that day?   No worries…, the second Kick Off party will be at the Main Branch (downtown) on Thursday June 8th from 6:00pm to 8pm.

The Summer Reading Program goes from June 5th – July 29th. There is a program for the entire family. Baby pirates (Birth -3yrs.) are asked to read/listen to books 5-10 minutes a day. School age pirates (PreK-5th grade) are asked to read/listen to books 20 minutes a day. And Teen Pirates (6th-12th grade) are asked to read/listen to books 30 minutes a day. Mark your game boards and return them to any library location for cool prizes.  Adult pirates can turn in finishing slips for every book read/listen to or every 3 magazines. The more slips turned in-the greater your chances to win prizes.

The Summer Program will also feature fun programs throughout the summer.  The Bookmobile will offer craft programs at Jackson-Morrow Park, Dash and Dot (programmable robots) will be digging for treasures, and the Youth Multi-cultural Rhythm Workshop will be hosted by the Kokomo Park Band, and we will also host activities in the New NATURE EXPLORE OUTDOOR CLASSROOM in Russiaville.  We also have Silly Safaris, Dr. Bone’s Dinosaur Show, Circus Boy, Tricky Max Comedy Magic Show, Laser Light Show, the Magic of Marcus Lehmann, and the Madcap Puppets coming. Visit for details or download a copy of our Newsletter for dates and details.  IT’S GOING DOWN FOR REAL AT KHCPL!

Here are a few titles to help begin your hunt for treasures!

Children’s Pirate Books  (Books marked with ** are good choices for babies/toddlers)

Pirate Queen by Marci Peschke
Pirate Nap: A Book of Colors by Danna Smith**
Good Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters
Pirate Potty by Samantha Berger**
Pirasaurs! by Josh Funk
Pirate Attack! By Deborah Lock
There was an Old Pirate who Swallowed a Fish by Jennifer Ward
Bubble Bath Pirates by Jarrett J. Krosoczka**
Pirate Boy by Eve Bunting
Pirates go to School by Corinne Demas
Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel**
This Little Pirate by Philemon Sturges
Ghost Pirate Treasure
How to be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell
P is for Pirate by Eve Bunting
A Pirate Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Kids by Sarah L. Schuette
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long

Teen Pirate Books

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Pirateology by Dugald Steer
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Never Never by Brianna Shrum
Polly & The Pirates by Ted Naifeh
Pirate Curse by Kai Meyer
Captain Hook: Adventures of a Notorious Youth by James Hart
The Mapmaker’s Sons by V. L. Burgess

Adult Pirate Books

Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman
The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
Pirate by Ted Bell
The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks
The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure: Classic Tales of Dashing Heroes, Dastardly Villains, and Daring Escapes
Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for A Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson













The first 5k races of the year take place in January with weather-hardy runners participating in New Year’s resolution runs and polar bear dashes. There is another smattering of events in February clustered around Valentine’s Day. Likewise in March, several Shamrock Shuffles are held in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. But 5k season doesn’t begin en force until April. Once the warmer weather hits, it’s possible to run at least one 5k race each week without leaving the state. The number of events begin to taper off in September and October, and the year wraps up with turkey trots around Thanksgiving and reindeer runs around Christmas.


If you’re picking up running shoes for the first time, there are many running experts with programs to get you from the couch to 5k. Shape Magazine has a guide to get you 5k ready in just 6 weeks, and champion runner turned coach Hal Higdon has an 8 week novice program. If that’s too much too soon, Everyday Heath has a 12 week plan. While running seems intimidating, most running programs for beginners alternate between running and walking, gradually increasing the running time each week.


KHCPL also has introductory running books available in our collection.



Runner's World Complete Book of Beginning Running by Amby Burfoot



Running Made Easy by Lisa Jackson



3 Months to Your First 5K by Dave Kuehls


If you are tech savvy and in the market for a good running app, check out KHCPL’s Tech for You blog post for recommendations. And if you need new music to freshen up your playlist, you can download 5 songs per week from Freegal.



For support and encourage, check out the Kokomo Roadrunners Club. They are at Highland Park every Wednesday, organizing a free run/walk. The Joe Kidd Rangel 5K starts at 5 PM, and the Jackie Sanders Miracle Mile follows at 5:45 PM. It’s a great way to train, stay motivated, and meet fellow runners. The calendar on their website is also a good source for local and regional events. Club Kokomo Roadrunners also sponsor the annual Haynes Apperson 5k Run/Walk, which will be held on Saturday, July 1, 2017.



The LocalRaces website is another resource for finding nearby race. Just enter your city and state and then use the filters to select the type of event as well as driving distance. To locate races in the entire state of Indiana, the Indy Runners Club is fantastic resource.


 If you’re looking for less competitive races, check out Fun RacesThis site features events that combine running with fun things such as wine and cupcakes. These races are also stroller friendly if you want to include your small children.

If you want to run in the mud, a number of trail events are held in Indiana each year. The Tippy Mud Run is a 5k mud run held annually at Cary Camp in Lafayette. Do INdiana Off-Road offers everything from 5ks to a marathon as well as mountain biking and triathlon. If you have the urge to ultra, check out the Huff, which is a 50k held annually the Chain O’ Lakes State Park. For more challenging events, check out Tough Mudderthe Spartanand Viking Dash Trail RunsFor a ladies only mud run, try Dirty Girl.

Whether your goal is just to walk a mile or run a full marathon, there is something for everyone during 5k season.



National Arbor Day is coming up on Friday April 28, 2017. Trees contribute to our Earth in important ways, including preventing species loss, slowing climate change, and adding to the beauty of nature. Help us celebrate this special day by planting new trees and honoring the amazing trees around us.

Plant trees

No idea on how to choose or plant trees? Check out The Homeowner’s Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook by Penelope O'Sullivan or Taylor’s Guide to Trees by Norman Taylor to plant the perfect tree for your area.


Explore Indiana

Another way to celebrate National Arbor Day is to spend time outside admiring the beauty of trees all around us. Explore the parks of Indiana at home through the stunning images in Indiana State Parks by Matt Williams or take an outing like the walks highlighted in Nature Walks on the Indiana Prairie by Alan McPherson.

But before you go, learn about the trees you’ll see in 101 Trees of Indiana by Marion T. Jackson or Native Trees of the Midwest by Sally S. Weeks, Harmon P., Jr. Weeks, and George R. Parker.

Learn about the Animals that Live for Trees … Literally

Learn about over four hundred different animals from around the world who live in habitats filled with trees in Wildlife of the World. Check out Rainforest by Thomas Marent, a collection of photographs of different animals and plants that survive in tree filled rainforests, which also includes a CD that plays the unique sounds of a rainforest!

Books Inspired by Trees

See how trees inspired John Fowles to write many of his fictional works in The Tree and discover a forester’s fascinating stories about how trees communicate and care for each other in The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.



March 2017 is genealogy month for the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library (KHCPL). On Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4, KHCPL held the program “Exploring Your Story.” Tammy Lively and Barbara Trice, two local community members, allowed the Genealogy and Local History Department (GLHD) to delve into their family backgrounds. The staff of GLHD spent many hours tracing both ladies’ genealogy. A portion of Tammy’s family was successfully traced back twenty-seven generations to England and included several members of the King Henry VIII's Royal Family. Barbara’s family was only traceable for 6 generations as most of the paper records for African-Americans begin after the abolishment of slavery. 
To help with the paper research, Tammy took two DNA tests and Barbara took three DNA tests. The results of these tests, in general, confirmed what the paper trail indicated. Tammy’s heritage is largely European, and Barbara’s is largely African. Of course, despite what was found, genealogical research never really ends. No doubt, more will be added to each woman’s family tree as new information becomes available. 

For those who like to search for family history, there are resources available to read and learn.  There are also resources for pure enjoyment. 

Family Tree Magazine is a monthly publication chock full of articles about how to look for information. This magazine can be downloaded from Zinio, read at KHCPL, or purchased from bookstores.


KHCPL also has many how-to manual on how to conduct genealogical research, which include:




For those doing their research, there are several companies with online sites offering short tutorials:

Genealogy is not all research, however. There are also many fictional books to enjoy that feature a genealogical theme. These include:

  • The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher. A young Amish  woman is helping her father with his genealogical research when her Grandmother insists it is time to return home to be married.  Conflict results.


  • The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini. Master quilter Sylvia Compson discovers a stash of letters in the attic of Elm Creek Manor and traces a tale back to 1859 and an escaped slave.


  • Death on the Family Tree by Patricia Sprinkle. After her Aunt Lucy dies, Katharine Murray discovers her aunt's possessions and unwittingly discovers a branch of her family tree she never knew existed.


A search of the KHCPL catalog using the search term Genealogy Fiction will net several more print and audio books. And speaking of audio books – in addition to some of those mentioned above, check out Hoopla and OverDrive for audio books.



The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library is proud to be one of only eight libraries in the country -- and the only one in Indiana -- to host Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference. This traveling exhibition will run from February 25 to May 19 at KHCPL South. It will be open to the public whenever KHCPL South is open, which is:

Monday -- Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sundays: 2 to 5:30 p.m.

Through hands-on activities and interactive displays, Discover Tech will introduce young audiences to engineering and technology -- both high- and low-tech. The exhibition is designed to spark creativity and imagination in young minds through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, which are now considered a crucial part of education.


Discover Tech aims to both inspire and explain. Did you ever wonder how engineers think or what role engineering plays in our everyday lives or wish that that some would explain rocket science to the rest of us? Discover Tech has answers to these questions.

There are accompanying resources for adults and educators as well as child just looking to explore the world of science.

Materials for Adults & Teens

Materials for Children

As part of the exhibition, KHCPL South will hold a special Discover Tech book discussion on April 20th at 6:30 pm. The featured selection will be Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, which is the true story of the female, African-American mathematicians whom NASA employed as human computers who helped launch the U.S. space program.


Once again the the new year comes around and many of us are regretting some of our over indulgences of the last few months. This is the time of year when we make our new resolutions to lose those unwanted pounds and make permanent changes to our lifestyle (hopefully changes that will stick this year).  The library is here to help you with those New Year's resolutions. We have fitness videos, downloadable music, books, cookbooks, downloadable videos, eBooks, etc... all to help motivate you towards your new goals. This year we thought we might go a step further and put you in contact with the fitness organizations in our community. So join us on January 7th from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at KHCPL South to find out some of the health and fitness options Kokomo has to offer.  

While you wait for our event, you can check out some of the fitness resources below, or view even more fitness materials by visiting our list Fitness Resources for 2017.


Features an abundance of information on how to exercise safely and effectively by providing a custom program that is tailored to lifestyles, needs, medical problems, and age, and offering tips on choosing the right equipment, staying motivated, and much more.


Between his positive, can-do spirit and practical, brass tacks strategies for getting in shape, it's no wonder that Donovan Green has reached 3.7 million daily viewers via his unique No Excuses platform on With No Excuses Fitness, Green delivers a comprehensive month-long plan designed to help readers lose 10 pounds in 30 days. Filled with healthy recipes, workouts that can be done anywhere and with minimal equipment, and daily tips for staying focused (especially through plateaus), and featuring a foreword by Dr. Oz's wife Lisa, No Excuses Fitness will inspire and guide anyone interested in losing weight and gaining optimal health.

Women are not small men. Stop eating and training like one. Because most nutrition products and training plans are designed for men, it's no wonder that so many female athletes struggle to reach their full potential. ROAR is a comprehensive, physiology-based nutrition and training guide specifically designed for active women. This book teaches you everything you need to know to adapt your nutrition, hydration, and training to your unique physiology so you can work with, rather than against, your female physiology. Exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy T. Sims, PhD, shows you how to be your own biohacker to achieve optimum athletic performance. Complete with goal-specific meal plans and nutrient-packed recipes to optimize body composition, ROAR contains personalized nutrition advice for all stages of training and recovery. Customizable meal plans and strengthening exercises come together in a comprehensive plan to build a rock-solid fitness foundation as you build lean muscle where you need it most, strengthen bone, and boost power and endurance. Because women's physiology changes over time, entire chapters are devoted to staying strong and active through pregnancy and menopause. No matter what your sport is running, cycling, field sports, triathlons-this book will empower you with the nutrition and fitness knowledge you need to be in the healthiest, fittest, strongest shape of your life.



Having helped shape some of today's hottest bodies, one of America's most sought-after diet and fitness experts, Harley Pasternak, here shares his revolutionary five-week program that will help you lose weight and get fit without feeling hungry or deprived. From Hollywood to your home, get direct access to the world's top celebrity trainer, whose scientifically-proven 5-Factor approach balances fitness and diet in one easy-to-manage program that can reveal the A-list physique in all of us.

Looks at yoga as a giant step in the evolution of women's fitness. Women yoga experts and practitioners from different cultures discuss the importance of yoga as a resource for all women.

Features 4 complete 15-minute workouts from Men's Health Magazine to help you improve your body.





















Winter solstice will fall on December 21 in 2016, ushering in winter for the Northern Hemisphere.  The term “solstice” is derived from the Latin words sol meaning sun and sistere meaning to stand still.   A solstice is an astronomical event during which the sun is either in its northernmost or southernmost position. 

Two solstices occur each year.  In the Northern Hemisphere, winter solstice falls on December 21 or 22 when the sun reaches its lowest position over the Tropic of Cancer.  This marks the first official day of winter and is the shortest day and longest night of the year.  Summer solstice falls on June 20, 21, or 22 when the sun reaches its highest position over the Tropic of Cancer.  Summer Solstice is the first day of summer as well as the longest day and shortest night of the year. 

Mankind's observance of the winter solstice predates Christmas celebrations by thousands of years, and many of the earlier traditions have been incorporated into modern Christmas celebrations. To learn more, check out The Winter Solstice by John Matthews.

The United States is known as the “Melting Pot”. No other month shows this more clearly than December with its blend of Christmas traditions from all over the world.


German immigrants are credited with introducing many of our Christmas traditions including the Christmas tree. In early America, Christmas trees were decorated with homemade items, fruit, cookies, candy, and candles. Store bought ornaments were rare until the late 1800s when F.W. Woolsworth discovered glass ornaments on a trip to Germany, which he then began importing and selling in his dime stores. Craft enthusiast still enjoy making their own ornaments. If you would like to try making homemade ornaments, then check out these books.



Santa Claus is a true product of the melting pot. He is a blend of the traditions of the English Father Christmas, the Dutch Sinterklaas, and the Byzantine Saint Nicholas. The popular American version originated from the poem “A Visit from St Nicholas,” better known as The Night Before Christmas, which has been attributed to Clement Clarke Moore. We owe our contemporary image of Santa to Coca-Cola's advertising campaign of the 1930s as well as Thomas Nast's iconic cartoons.



There is even a small town in Indiana named Santa Claus. Originally named Santa Fe, their application to establish a post office was rejected by the United States Postal Service because another Santa Fe, Indiana, already existed. There are many folk tales on how they arrived at the name Santa Claus, but history only records that in 1856, Santa Claus, Indiana, was officially recognized by the United States Post Office Department. Beginning in the 1920s, the number of letters sent to Santa Claus by children from all over the country began causing staffing and logistical problems, and in 1929 the postal service declared they would never authorize another Santa Claus Post Office.



Many churches and homes display a nativity scene, or crèche, during the month of December. This tradition can be traced to Saint Francis of Assisi who created the first one in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. In Mexico, the children anticipate the observance of Las Posadas during which a nativity scene is carried through village streets or families recreate Mary's and Joseph's pilgrimage to Bethlehem by going to different houses looking for “room in the inn” until they are welcomed. At the designated home, a party ensues where they break a piñata, have a meal, and receive small packages.

Explore these and more traditions with some of these titles.




All Hallows’ Read is the brainchild of author Neil Gaiman. In 2010 he had the sudden inspiration to start a new holiday tradition that involved giving books. The next major holiday was Halloween, and All Hallows’ Read was born. The idea behind All Hallows’ Read is to encourage people to “give someone a scary book for Halloween.” Old books, new books, secondhand books, hardcovers, paperbacks, eBooks, audiobooks, they are all fair game. Gather together and share a book with family or friends, or gift a total stranger as a random act of kindness. Rather than a sugary treat, All Hallows’ Read gives someone an experience by connecting that person with a story.


While booksellers were quick to embrace the book giving aspect of All Hallows’ Read, libraries quickly embraced the reading aspect. And during the month of October, librarians encourage patrons to read a scary book to celebrate Halloween. It became a celebration of reading as well as one of books. If you don’t enjoy scary books, try something creepy or spooky or atmospheric. If none of those suit your taste, try something seasonal. If you don’t care for the theme, then simply read. Read a book this Halloween.


Board Books

Picture Books

Easy Readers

Middle Readers

Juvenile Fiction

Jr. High Fiction

Teen Fiction

Adult Fiction



Celebrate All Hallows’ Eve by reading a scary book this Halloween.


November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This is an annual event that encourages people to write a novel between November 1 and November 30. Many bestselling novels began as part of National Novel Writing Month. These include Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

The web-based nonprofit NaNoWriMo was created to help aspiring novelists meet the goal of writing 50,000 words, which is the minimum length for a novel. Its objective is to help writers produce a workable rough draft rather than publication ready story. Participation is free. Users need only to register for an account. Then beginning mid-month, they can begin uploading their text to verify the word count. Novels can be written in any language and any genre with any theme whatsoever. Quite simply, if you believe you’re writing a novel, then so does NaNoWriMo. It offers the support of an online community in addition to writing resources and pep talks from established authors. Alexander Chee, Jenny Han, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Daniel José Older, and Maggie Stiefvater are giving this year’s pep talks.

KHCPL is a 2016 NaNoWriMo Come Write In! Center. KHCPL South will host a NaNoWriMo weekly workshop from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. every Sunday in November. Meet with other writer, swap ideas, get inspired, conduct research, or simply write.

For those for whom writing is a solitary art, KHCPL also offers free Wi-Fi, quiet study rooms, and public access computer. You can also visit our NaNoWriMo resource page on Pinterest.

KHCPL’s collection contains both books to help you hone your writer skills and conduct research. Writers’ Manuals in KHCPL’s Collection include: