Middle School Reads: Best of Right Now

It's March 2015 - what are the the most exciting books for middle school RIGHT NOW?

This crop of our top 6 books for middle school has something for everyone. Scandanavian fairytales, basketball, social networking, ghosts, and mystery. Award winning books and lost in the stacks favorites- read them all!



  • FLCL cover boy on vespa

    Fooly Cooly

FLCL - Nothing Amazing Happens Here

"Nothing amazing ever happens here", so starts Fooly Cooly or FLCL, written by Gainax with art by Hajime Ueda.  Of course nothing does, the end. Well, actually quite a bit happens from a girl using a guitar as a weapon to odd objects coming out of the main character's head to the just plain strange.  I first saw the animation on Adult Swim back in 2003.  Funny quirky characters, simple block art that allows for the lacy aspect of the characters to clearly convey their emotions.  I don't know if you'd call it a plot so much as a stream of consciousness.  In library land we'd call it a bildungsroman (a coming of age story) but you'll have to check it ourself, its short just two volumes or complete in the omnibus volume.  Enjoy!

Wow! What's that Smell?

What’s that smell?

One of my current hobbies is learning about essential oils and how to use them in my everyday life. In the last few months, I have made my own perfumes, lip balms, facial moisturizer, sugar scrubs, bath salts, room air fresheners, aromatic hydrosols, and first aid sprays to relieve scrapes and burns. All of them are non-toxic and they all smell delightful. Essential oils and aromatherapy are gaining popularity as many of us try to avoid chemicals and synthetics in our personal care products and lean towards holistic and natural health care.

Essential oils can be traced back to all of the major ancient civilizations as they were used for perfumes, medicinal healing, and mood enhancement. The modern practice of aromatherapy has been around for the last hundred years. The term aromathérapie was used for the first time in a scientific paper in 1928. A French chemist, René Gattéfoss, had been experimenting with essential oils and studying their healing potential. While in his laboratory, he burned his arm and hand badly by accident. He plunged his hand into a container that he assumed was water but it was actually pure lavender essential oils. It began to provide him relief so he continued to apply the oil. His burn healed incredibly quickly with no scarring and he had first hand (no pun intended) experience with the effectiveness of oils. Essential oils have since been studied for use in healing in all areas of the mind, body, and spirit.

Without going into scientific explanations of how aromatherapy works and how essential oils are made, I can tell you that the olfactory system (big word alert) or better known as our sense of smell is amazing. Certain smells can you take back in a time, conjure a memory, lift your mood, and calm your mind. Not all oils are created equally. Look for 100% pure or therapeutic grade oils. Organic is even better. Do some research and check out one of the great books in our library system on the topic of essential oils and aromatherapy and creating your own products.


 Here are two more books that I found while working on this post. While they are not specifically about aromatherapy and essential oils, some information on the topic is included.  Plus, they are two really cool books with a lot of great information on yoga, relaxation, dream interpretations, creating good karma, and other interesting topics.  


 Happy smelling. 

Ceres Community Project - Volunteer Opportunity

Learn. Cook. Serve. Heal. Repeat.

Do you enjoy volunteering in your community? Need service hours for graduation? There is a very exciting way to do both.

Are you interested in learning more about cooking? Do you enjoy preparing food for friends and family? Or maybe you have no idea how to boil water. No matter your skill level, the Ceres Community Project is a wonderful opportunity to learn how to create nourishing, healing meals for people in our community.

Teens who volunteer with the Ceres Project will learn not only how to cook, but how to create food that will actually help to heal sick people.

Read about the Ceres Community Project and check out their cookbook from your library to learn about the power of healing nutrition.

  • Book cover: Shadow Scale

    Shadow Scale

Shadow Scale: The Book I’ve Been Waiting Two Years to Read!!

I read a fair amount so it goes without saying that one of my greatest joys is hearing the news that an author I like is writing a new book. Even better is when that new book is a sequel! There’s a certain anticipation that avid readers will quickly identify with this type of news. Symptoms of said anticipation might include re-reading the prior titles in the series, displays of elated joy, and in some cases incessant chattering about unresolved plotlines. But when that anticipation lingers a bit too long (read: A Song of Ice and Fire) I have witnessed negative side effects: despondency, a feeling of listlessness, and even frustrated keyboard mashing.

Now I never reached that point with Shadow Scale—no dark night of the reader’s soul for me—but it was drawing close (two years is pushing it). Luckily for all those eagerly awaiting, it’s being published this March! So what could possibly make me so excited about Shadow Scale? If you’ve read Seraphina, the first title in the series, you’ll likely know. If you haven’t read Seraphina, let me whet your appetite.

The kingdom of Goredd has enjoyed decades of tenuous peace with the neighboring kingdom of dragons. Under the terms of the peace humans cannot enter the dragons’ territory, and dragons—who can transform themselves between human and dragon form—must remain humanlike while in Goredd. As the 40th anniversary of the peace draws close, the crown prince of Goredd is found murdered in a suspiciously dragon-like way: his head has apparently been bitten off. Seraphina Dombegh, an attendant at the royal court, finds herself thrust into a world of chaos as the kingdom threatens to crumble. The truth behind the prince’s murder must be found before all is lost, and Seraphina has an inkling as to what’s really afoot. The trouble is that finding the truth might bring her dangerously close to revealing a long-held secret. She herself is half-dragon. This book has it all: spies, assassins, political intrigue, and a plucky heroine whose journey is absolutely unforgettable.

Need another endorsement? Tamora Pierce loved it!

Rest assured, come March 10th there will be no frustrated keyboard mashing, just the quick thumbing of pages and a satisfied grin.

Celebrating Women

The term feminist has recently come to the forefront of popular culture with the media asking famous young women to define or identify what feminism means to them. Feminism has been defined as, "The advocacy of womens rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes." (x) The following list of available titles in books, movies and music will empower, engage, encourage, explore and inspire feminist ideas. 

Tomboy, by Liz Prince a graphic novel based on Liz’s personal experience with non-conformity.


Rookie Yearbooks One, Two and Three edited by Tavi Gevinson. Articles, photographs, art and interviews from the Rookie online magazine. Tavi Gevinson started blogging at age 12 and founded the website Rookie in 2011 aimed at teenage girls. 


Feminism is for Everybody by Bell Hooks. Gloria Jean Watkins, also known as Bell Hooks, is one of today's most prolific writers and activists on issues of gender, race and capitalism.


The Punk Singer - A Film about Kathleen Hanna. Best known as the singer for the band Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, this film also documents Hanna's involvement in the Riot Grrl movement of the 1990's. 


The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. As well as containing incredible footage of the civil rights and black power movements, the interviews with feminist and social activist Angela Davis are powerful and relevant to our current political and social climate. 


The Guerrilla Girls' bedside companion to the history of Western art. The Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of women artists exploring the domination of male art over generations. 


Music titles created by women artists:

Erykah Badu - New Amerykah. Part one (4th world war)


Lorde - Pure Heroine.


Lila Downs - La Sanduga.


Have you come across feminist material that you don't see in the library catalog? Click on Suggest a Purchase.

Teen Authors

When I was five the only thing I wanted to be more than a unicorn was a writer. Some pretty famous works were written by people under the age of 20: here’s a round-up of some of the reads you can get from the library by teen authors.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

 The Halo trilogy, published when Adornetto was seventeen, wasn’t even her first book. That was The Shadow Thief, written and published in Australia when she was fourteen.

In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Her first book, published when she was fourteen, kicked off her “Den of Shadows” series about vampires, ghosts, witches, and more. She’s been publishing ever since, and has over 15 books with more to come!

Truancy by Isamu Fukui

A dystopian series of novels about a totalitarian education system, Fukui started having them published when he was fifteen and in high school himself.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

One of the books you might encounter in school, Hinton started The Outsiders when she was fifteen and published three years later. Considered a classic, it has been turned into a film and even briefly into a TV show.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Paolini started this book when he was fifteen, and ended up publishing and promoting it himself before it got picked up by an official publisher. The story of a boy and his dragon led to three more books and a movie.


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Another classic taught in classrooms, Shelley famously started this when she was eighteen on a dare. Frankenstein's monster is Shelley's most well-known creation.

Just Jake by Jake Marcionette

One of the youngest writers on this list, Marcionette debuted this book at age thirteen. A sequel is forthcoming this year.

Check out some of these teen authors, and maybe get inspired to write a masterpiece of your own!

  • Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

    Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 19th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and there are lots of ways to celebrate this weekend.

1)      See the new film “Selma.”  It got rave reviews and was nominated for several Oscars this week, including Best Picture.  It’s playing in theaters across Sonoma County.

2)      Take a trip into the city on Monday for the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade and Festival.  The Festival begins at 1pm at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts & Garden in San Francisco – there will be conversations with civil rights activists and performances by celebrated artists.  The event is totally free. 

3)      If you’d like to keep it local, Santa Rosa High School will be hosting an MLK celebration on Sunday, January 18th in its auditorium from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.  There will be a dance performance, speeches, and music.  For more information, you can call 707-795-1044.  This free event is open to all. 

4)       Stop into the library for books on MLK, the civil rights movement, and African-American history.  Here are just a few of the books we have on hand:


  • MakerBot Replicator 2

    MakerBot Replicator 2

3D Printing @ Your Library in 2015

MakerBot 3D Printing is coming to a library near you in 2015!

Keep your eye out for announcements for workshops and introductory sessions. You can even sign up for a 2 hour printing session with the MakerBot.

In the mean time you can get familiar with 3D Printing technology by checking out our collection of up date 3D Printing information.

New Year --New You???



Check out these book for some easy ways to keep those resolutions!

GET HEALTHIER Healthy doesn't just mean losing weight. It can also mean playing more sports, making healthier eating or just resolving to get off the couch a little more often. Make one small change and you be healthier before you know it.


GET HAPPIER  Happiness can mean different things to different people. See if you can find ways to boost your self esteem or just spend more time doing things that you love instead of things that make you feel bad about yourself. BE A BETTER FRIEND The more love you give to your friends, the more love they'll give back to you. So, basically, if you stick to this New Year's resolution you've got nothing to lose. Find a couple of ways to help a friend out this month.



BE A ROLE MODEL It is easier than you think.  All you have to do is make smart decisions - and then make sure that other people are listening in on it.


BE A BETTER PERSON Being a good person - by donating your time (Click here to look for volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood) or donate some old stuff to those in need. Or better yet, just throwing some random acts of kindness toward the people in your life.





Learn to Knit LEARN TO KNIT

 You can find many more idea for your New Year's Resolutions in our Find catalog, some can even be read online.