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|12 LGBTQ+ Books for Tweens||
By Rebecca Takacs, FCPL Youth Services Librarian
As tweens in grades five through eight approach young adulthood, many seek good reads with fresh and relevant stories. For kids reaching that age today, queer characters are showing up more and more in award winning books. One reason for the popularity of these LGBTQ+ books is that they include a diverse range of individuals, providing tweens and teens the chance to see themselves in the pages of a book — or to experience lives different from their own.
Reading experts say it is critical that teens, tweens and children of all ages be exposed to "mirror" books — books that reflect something familiar to them. Reading about characters who look, sound or act the way they do feeds a sense of self-worth. To understand the world around them, kids should also read "window" books — books that show them people, places or perspectives they might not otherwise encounter or learn about. Beyond providing a "mirror" or "window," a good book must also offer an entertaining story.
This list features 12 titles that are fun, new, critically acclaimed, and centered on LGBTQ+ characters. All of these fiction books are recommended for ages 10-14, published in 2019-2020, and available as eBooks in Fairfax County Public Library's digital collections.
1. The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy
Rahul, a gay indian-american boy, wants to be the best at something. In this charming story he navigates middle school and the search to discover who he is.
2. Hazel's Theory of Evolution by Jisa Jenn Bigelow
Hazel is a book-lover who has to look outside of books for the answers to life's big questions.
3. A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor
In the midst of upheaval, Lydia is paired with with a stinky, misbehaving pup with a mysterious past. Who is the one being rescued?
4. Martin McLean Middle School Queen by Alyssa Zaczek
Martin is a math whiz with a fabulous drag queen alter-ego. Life is complicated. Can he be brave enough to bring his two worlds together?
5. The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake
Sunny receives a new heart and makes herself a "New Life Plan." Then, as with most good plans, life gets in the way.
6. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The Fletcher brothers have a wacky year and come to discover that sometimes what you least expect turns out to be most important.
7. The Moon Within by Aida Salazar
Celi's life is changing along with her body as she looks for the courage to be who she wants to be.
8. Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt
Kate and Tam are a cheerleader and a jock who see beyond the stereotypes to find each other and themselves.
9. Rick by Alex Gino
Rick is a new middle schooler who finds himself questioning old choices and looking for self-worth and acceptance.
10. Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway
Cady has had an unsteady life, but now she's in a place where she wants to belong. When trouble appears, she has to gather herself and her new friends to try to save the day.
11. To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer
Will Bett and Avery figure out how to become family? This laugh-out-loud funny story is written by two excellent authors and told completely via emails and letters.
12. The Whispers by Greg Howard
Riley's life is sad. His mother is missing, and he has a secret that others whisper about. This book weaves magic, mystery and the power of wishes into a story about finding your "heart's desires."
More LQBTQIA+ Reads for All Ages
Use these FCPL catalog record sets and OverDrive collection to find more titles featuring LGBTQIA+ characters, subjects and creators:
Mirrors and Windows
To learn more about what the reading experts have to say about "mirrors" and "windows," visit DiverseBooks.org, read Violet J. Harris’ “In Praise of a Scholarly Force: Rudine Sims Bishop” journal article, and take a look at this Diversity in Children’s Books infographic.
|Read full article||June 17, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Pride%20Month%20Hero.png||1|
|7 Amusing Audiobooks, Because Laughter is the Best Medicine||
Humor can entertain us and lift spirits during difficult life experiences.
By Katherine Einspahr, Burke Centre Library Information Assistant
Funny Feels Better
If you’ve seen actor John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” (SGN) series on YouTube, you probably found his positive focus and amusing take on current events makes you smile and feel a bit better during these challenging times.
In the article “Laughter is the Best Medicine” — found in Gale, one of the databases accessible to Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) cardholders — author Kavita Khajuria explains how, throughout history, humor has been a form of escape. Being able to laugh despite traumatic events prepares us to endure those experiences. Laughter decreases stress hormones, increases infection-fighting antibodies, and can even temporarily relieve pain. Doctors in ancient Greece understood this phenomenon and prescribed trips to comic theatre as part of patients' recovery plans.
What better time than now to test out the healing effects of humor? Here’s a sampling of humorous audiobooks, available for download from FCPL’s catalog.
Check out these and more humorous titles in FCPL’s digital collection to help lessen your stress by listening to an amusing audiobook or reading a riotous eBook.
|Read full article||May 11, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/audiobooks-laughter-best-medicine.png||1|
|Find Grants for Nonprofits During the Pandemic||
Search the Foundation Directory Online Essential Database from Home During Library Closure
By Caroline Labbe, Adult Services Librarian, Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library
Nonprofits in Need
If you, or someone you know, are trying to keep a nonprofit running during the pandemic, then you know that finding sources for grants is more important than ever. Fortunately, Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) is able to offer temporary, remote access to a valuable resource to support that research.
Grants Research Then and Now
When the library is open and operating normally, three FCPL branches host Grants Research and Training Centers (GRTC). As a Funding Information Network Partner of Candid, FCPL’s GRTC is a community resource for nonprofit organizations, students, artists and other individuals seeking foundation grant opportunities. At the Reston Regional, Sherwood Regional and Tysons-Pimmit Regional branches, patrons can access Candid’s Foundation Directory Online (FDO) Professional database using either public computers or their own laptops or tablets connected to the library’s public Wi-Fi.
While branches and their GRTCs are closed to the public due to COVID-19, Candid has graciously made a scaled-down version of FDO — FDO Essential — available to remote users through FCPL’s website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/grants. On that webpage you can watch a short video for an introduction to using FDO Essential, then use the link just above the video to access the database.
What Does the Database Offer?
FDO Essential provides detailed information about foundations that fund nonprofits, recipients of past grants, geographical areas where grants have been awarded, typical dollar amounts for grants, grant recipients, and much more. The database also has a live chat feature and a help section.
Try out FDO Essential from home now, then access the full FDO Professional version once the library and its Grants Research and Training Centers at Reston Regional, Sherwood Regional and Tysons-Pimmit Regional branches reopen.
|Read full article||May 6, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/fdo-essential.png||1|
|The Answer to Your “What do I read next?” Question||
Discover your new favorite book with the library’s personalized recommendation service.
By Kylie Sparks, FCPL My Perfect Read Advisor
There has never been a better time to read than now, when so many people are stuck at home. But an oft-raised question can continue to vex bookworms and occasional readers alike: What to read? Everyone goes through dry spells — times of wandering aimlessly through stacks of books, not sure which one to pick up next. While physically browsing libraries and bookstores is not possible right now, the digital library is always open, and librarians are here to help you find your next favorite book.
A Personalized Recommendation Service
Fairfax County Public Library’s My Perfect Read advisory service features more than 15 librarians ready to offer you one-on-one, online support in your search for that next page-turner. Think of My Perfect Read as your concierge to the world of books.
Start by browsing the advisors’ profiles, which include links to online copies of their favorite books. When you find one with similar taste to yours, you can request personalized recommendations by filling out a short form; just share the names of a few books that you enjoyed or the types of books that you generally like or dislike.
What’s Your Reading Pleasure?
Do you love historical biographies, fantasy adventures or romance? Or perhaps narrative nonfiction, LGBT, audiobooks, cookbooks, mysteries, science fiction or classics is your go-to. How about books for the child who only likes books about dragons?
Whichever genre you prefer, there’s a librarian who shares your taste in books and would be thrilled to help you find your next read. Even if you don’t find an exact match in the advisors’ profiles, all our librarians are skilled at finding readalikes. You can request books from multiple advisors or return to the same advisor for additional recommendations.
But I’ve Lost My Library Card
If your library card has expired or you have never borrowed eBooks or audiobooks online, don’t worry. You can access all of FCPL’s online resources and read or listen to books on your cell phone, tablet or even your desktop computer using a temporary digital card. We are happy to help you with online account access and card registration; just contact us through the Ask Your Library online chat service.
Happy Readers, Happy Librarians
If there is one thing librarians love more than reading, it is helping other people find books to read. Don’t hesitate to try My Perfect Read — we can’t wait to help find yours! During the COVID-19 closure My Perfect Read concierge advisors are still available, and all recommendations will be from our eBook and eAudiobook collections.
|Read full article||April 27, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/My%20perfect%20read.png||1|
|5 Historical Pandemic Books You Can Read for Free (Without Leaving Home)||
Put current experiences into perspective — and find hope through stories of survival and adaptation.
By Katherine Einspahr, Burke Centre Library Information Assistant
Masks, gloves, social distancing and quarantine all seem both new and increasingly familiar to us now. Yet these concepts and their effects on us both physically and emotionally would be just as recognizable to the people of past centuries who suffered through epidemics. Some comfort during this difficult time can come from realizing that throughout history our ancestors survived similar mass-scale disease outbreaks. Individuals and societies were changed, often metamorphosing into a new normal.
Reading about the past can help us put our current experiences into perspective, and it can show us how former generations endured, survived and sometimes even thrived on new paths. The five titles below do just that, spanning from prehistoric plagues through epidemics of the 21st century—and they’re all available as eBooks or audiobooks in Fairfax County Public Library’s digital collection.
Author Albert Marrin tells about one of the worst pandemics in history, which infected about 500 million people worldwide and killed one-fifth of them. Discover why it was dubbed the Spanish flu, even though it is thought to have initially made its appearance on a military base in Kansas. Vivid vintage photos augment this fascinating account.
Three-time National Magazine Award winner David Quammen explains how animal diseases transfer to humans, detailing how a growing human population, environmental destruction, and technology all contribute to ripe conditions for these zoonotic diseases spreading quickly.
This New York Times Bestseller by John M. Barry goes in depth into the 1918 Spanish flu. This pandemic was the first in which science played a major role, and the book explores why the strongest weapon against pandemic is the truth. The author concludes, "The final lesson of 1918, a simple one yet one most difficult to execute, is that... those in authority must retain the public's trust. The way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one.”
Author Bryn Barnard delves into how past epidemics, like the black death, tuberculosis and yellow fever, altered the course of history. Explicit details along with the revelation of medical discoveries bring history to life for young adults.
Author Michelle Denton describes past pandemics and work that is being done to prepare for handling future ones. Full-color photographs and in-depth sidebars provide young adult readers the opportunity to hear different sides of the issue and reach their own conclusions.
If you are interested in learning from history in order to consider how to move forward during and after COVID-19, search “pandemic” in FCPL’s OverDrive collection to find more digital titles on the subject. The first eBooks and audiobooks shown might be already checked out, but you can place a hold using your library card number to reserve some for future reading. Or select “Available now” in the left menu to see only items currently available for download.
|Read full article||April 24, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/5-historical-books-pandemics.png||1|
|Fairfax County Public Library: Remote Access to Learning Resources||
Keep kids and teens engaged with online educational tools and activities while schools are closed.
In this time of school closures, expanded online learning and social distancing, your library is here to provide essential resources and online support. We have tons to offer, and it can all be accessed without even leaving your couch.
The library provides access to dozens of online resources to help school-age kids — and adults — stay in the know, research for remote-learning classes, seek homework help, or just engage in fun and educational activities while at home.
Of course, we also have extensive collections of eBooks and eAudiobooks available through Overdrive, Libby and RBdigital. Right now that includes 130 popular titles we’ve added to a special OverDrive list of eBooks and audiobooks available with no holds and no waits (limit 1 per customer at a time, maximum 2-week checkout, no renewals).
Don't have a library card yet? That's okay. Apply here for access to our digital resources.
Magazines & Newspapers
Online Educational Resources
With Fairfax County Public Schools closed, caretakers and students may want to keep up with learning and incorporate education into their days at home. The public library gives you online access to research materials to complete virtual coursework, support independent studies or simply provide engaging reading content to supplement eBook and audiobook options. Begin with the Education category in our Research Databases list, and dig deeper starting with the examples below — they're just the tip of the iceberg.
Middle School and High School
Homework Related Websites
Tutoring and Test Prep
Other Learning Resources for Your Family
Enhanced Gale Resources
Gale is currently offering expanded free access to its interdisciplinary, curriculum-aligned resources for pre-K through undergraduate students. You may be prompted to enter these databases with a password. The password for all is "open."
|Read full article||March 18, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/kids-never-stop-learning-online-resources.jpg||1|
|Celebrate the Season of Renewal: Read the Spring Issue of Branch Out Magazine||
Please Note: All Fairfax County Public Library branches are closed until further notice, and all library-sponsored events and programs are cancelled through April 12. In the meantime, we still have tons of digital resources available, including the online version of Branch Out magazine! For more information about library services during the closure, visit research.fairfaxcounty.gov/unlimited.
Have You Explored Branch Out Magazine?
Available in library branches and other public Fairfax County Government locations throughout the county, the library’s quarterly publication is designed to help community members make the most of Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) resources and services. Each quarter features a unique theme through which library events, technology, collections, databases, activities and more can be discovered and explored. Full listings of branch events are available online and in each branch.
The spring 2020 issue of Branch Out magazine — covering March-May — focuses on the many ways people can find inspiration and information for refreshing, rejuvenating and restoring their mind, body and environment using the library’s resources, services and programs.
Let Springtime Inspire Renewal in All Facets of Life
Explore self-renewal, renewable resources, seasonal family activities and more with your library.
Spring Sunshine and Science
With added daylight giving us time to get more things done, warmer temperatures encouraging outdoor pursuits, stronger sunlight to help us soak up vitamin D for healthy bones and immune and nervous systems, and blooming flowers offering proven happiness-boosting benefits, it’s no wonder we feel revitalized, re-energized and rejuvenated in the spring. Even though we can pursue renewal, growth and development at any time throughout the year, the earth’s season of rebirth seems to give us extra energy and motivation to get active, take action and create change.
Studies have shown that the longer the sun is up during the day and the more time we spend outdoors, the less mental distress and the more creativity we experience. Plus, if your new year’s resolution involved fitness goals, research indicates that people who work out outdoors enjoy the experience more and therefore are more likely to repeat it — so springing into some fresh air activity might help you stick with your exercise regimen. And while taking walks in nature at any time of the year has proven to slow the heart rate and promote relaxation, some research suggests that spring has an even greater effect on the brain. A 2005 study from the University of Michigan linked spending 30 minutes or more outside in warm, sunny spring weather to higher mood and better memory.
Renew More Than Books
Capitalize on this springtime surge of energy and optimism; don’t limit your renewal to only checked-out materials or typical “spring cleaning.” Reengage your mind with self-improvement, mental health, career-oriented and educational resources at the library. Refresh your home and garden with our books on decluttering, framed art lending library and Master Gardener workshops. Recommit to eco-friendly living through upcycling events and zero-waste ideas. Reactivate your body and reach health and fitness goals with StoryWalks, workout DVDs and in-branch classes.
Whichever facets of your life you’re inspired to renew this spring, let the library help you learn the why’s and how’s of pursuing those goals — or help you discover new ideas to explore. Read through this issue of Branch Out to learn about the clubs, programs, materials and other opportunities available to support renewal of your mind, body, environment and more, now and in all seasons of life.
Throughout the magazine we share many ways you can renew passions, find new ones, jump start creativity, discover new perspectives, learn new skills and more using library resources — starting with the options listed here.
Replenish your news and current events awareness. The library’s US Major Dailies database provides free access to the five most respected U.S. national and regional newspapers, including The New York Times and Washington Post, co-exclusive access to The Wall Street Journal and exclusive access to the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Visit search.proquest.com to start reading.
Career and Business
If your 2020 goals include career growth or business projects, the library’s research guides are a great place to start your planning and preparation:
Home and Auto
Got renovations or repairs on your to do list? Do it yourself with the help of the library’s Home Improvement Reference Center and AutoMate databases. Home Improvement Reference Center offers information and instructions — including how-to videos and full-text selections from books and magazines — on home improvement and repair projects including plumbing, wiring, painting and decorating. AutoMate provides DIY car repair info on most makes and models as far back as 1954, including manuals, service bulletins and diagrams.
|Read full article||February 26, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/branch-out-spring-renewal-spread.jpg||1|
|Fairfax County Public Library Launches “Common Ground” Campaign||
Throughout 2020 Fairfax County Public Library’s “Common Ground” campaign will explore the concepts of community, civic engagement and American politics to help county residents rediscover that we have more in common with each other than we realize.
“The country is currently focused on ideological differences rather than the many values that we share. The library is for the entire community and encourages civil discussion on tough topics,” said Library Director Jessica Hudson. “We invite the entire Fairfax community to join us to remember how to listen to differing viewpoints and look for the common ground, which is almost always there.”
Four system-wide events are the core of the campaign, with library branches planning localized lectures and workshops. Selected books, articles, databases and websites will be shared throughout the year to enhance the exploration of issues on which community members and Americans in general can find common ground. Registration is appreciated for all events.
To find more Common Ground events filter by the “Common Ground” category in the library calendar.
|Read full article||February 24, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/common%20ground.png||1|
|Celebrating Black History at the Library||
Honor and explore the pasts, presents and futures of African Americans with free library programs and events.
During Black History Month, which is celebrated in February, and beyond, Fairfax County Public Library branches are hosting free events and programs for all ages that highlight and explore the deep and diverse history and invaluable contributions and achievements of African Americans. From author talks and history lectures to movies, performances and more, a wide range of programs are taking place throughout the next few months. Plus, February's Outstanding Reads recommendations from our Collections staff focus on Black authors and stories — read them on FairfaxTimes.com.
Check out the highlights of the schedule below. Asterisk (*) indicates registration required. For a full list of events, view the library’s online calendar.
Consider the Census
As the 2020 census approaches, the library is focusing on the importance of census records not only to determining funding for our public institutions, but also to tracing family histories — including those of African Americans. Visit the library’s Virginia Room, located in the City of Fairfax Regional Library, to discover historic photographs and census records of African American residents of the county.
The Virginia Room maintains a collection—including maps, an extensive photographic archive, local newspapers and yearbooks, manuscript collections and rare books—documenting the historical record of the people, associations, events and places of Fairfax County, Virginia. Researchers can also use print holdings and online databases to research genealogy from all 50 states.
Find booklists for African American family and cultural history in our genealogy research guide.
Join Us for Events All Month and Beyond
|Read full article||January 30, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/BHM-graphic%20copy.jpg||1|
|Start the Decade Making Cultural Connections at the Library||
Free Library Events Begin the '20s with Celebrations and Observations of Culture and Community.
With a new year and a new decade underway, what better time is there to embrace new opportunities to expand ourselves and our communities, explore the lives and perspectives of others and emphasize the values and experiences we have in common?
Through holiday celebrations, guided conversations, educational lectures, social gatherings and more, events at Fairfax County Public Library this January-March do just that. Join us to start 2020 off on the right foot… and maybe learn something new by stepping into someone else’s shoes.
All are welcome at the library, and all our programs are free. Find highlights of events offering a wide variety of cultural engagement and enrichment below and visit the online calendar for a full list. Asterisk (*) indicates registration required.
Chinese Lunar New Year
American Past, Present and Future
A World of Perspectives
|Read full article||January 22, 2020||/library/sites/library/files/Assets/images/news/Cultural_watercolour.jpg||1|