Full of Myself: A Graphic Memoir About Body Image by Siobhán Gallagher

“To be a girl is to go from being an observer to being observed.”
― Siobhán Gallagher, Full of Myself: A Graphic Memoir About Body Image

Content warnings for this book: anxiety, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders/bulimia, fatphobia, sexual harassment

Siobhán Gallagher has had a complicated relationship with her body since a young age. She explores this relationship in her graphic memoir, Full of Myself: A Graphic Memoir About Body ImageHer journey to self-acceptance and self-love goes through many highs and lows, a roller coaster of emotions and actions that all influenced the person she has become today.

As a teenager, Siobhán struggles with anxiety and diet culture. Constantly comparing herself to others, Siobhán decides all her issues will be solved if she could just be beautiful and smaller. She struggles with her body for years, feeling alone and unwanted, slipping into long periods of depression and anxiety. As an adult, Siobhán isn’t any nicer to herself, but eventually realizes that the person her younger self wanted to be isn’t possible. She starts an arduous process of self-reflection, self-love, and understanding that she acknowledges will never fully end.

This book was eye-opening.  Seeing Siobhán put all of her emotions, inner thoughts, and experiences out for the world to read was heartwarming, helpful, and accessible. She takes readers through the mind of her teenage self, laying out her desperate thoughts and wishes to be tiny, happy, and not alone. While Siobhán’s story is unique to her, some readers may still find content to relate to as they read. This graphic memoir was engaging, the writing was frank, and the illustrations’ cartoon style was cute. The ending tied the book together as Siobhán spoke gently to her younger selves, giving them hope, while also being realistic that her body issues will never fully disappear. Anyone who grew up surrounded by diet culture will relate to Siobhán’s journey in some way.

“i’m proud of the person i’ve become because i fought to become her.”

The Manor House by Gilly MacMillan

The Manor House by Gilly MacMillan transports the reader to a remote enclave in the English country side where two couples live vastly different lives in MacMillan’s latest psychological thriller.  Tom and Nicole have purchased land and built their dream house, courtesy of a lottery win.  Their closest neighbors, Sasha and Olly, live close by on an adjoining property in a stately manor, but all is not what it seems. When the ultimate tragedy occurs, the truth begins to trickle out slowly followed by a deluge.

After returning from a morning at the county fair, newly minted millionaire Nicole is shocked to find her husband floating in the couple’s pool.  In a panic she runs to the adjacent property of the Manor House for help.  Sasha and Olly, along with their housekeeper Kitty, assist Nicole by trying to help the situation.  Olly runs to the pool to help while Sasha and Kitty comfort Nicole.  The worst is confirmed when Olly returns with the grim news that Tom has died.  Nicole is left to mourn in the dream house they built and come to terms with Tom’s passing.  She is sure it is an accident but the police think he may have been murdered.  An unknown man has been spotted on the vast grounds over the last couple of weeks and Nicole starts to wonder if the stranger had anything to do with Tom’s death.

In the Manor House on the property, Olly and Sasha have an ideal life – Olly is working on his debut novel while Sasha teaches yoga on the grounds of the home.  The only other resident is their housekeeper, Kitty, who lives in the adjacent coach house.  At the same time as the police continue to investigate Tom’s death, questions arise about Olly and Sasha, their past, and how they came to live at the Manor House.   As detectives discover more about the couple they start to put the puzzle together – where is the current owner of the Manor House, Anna,  and how does Kitty fit in?

I really enjoyed The Manor House and how the author wove together parallel storylines along with alternating chapters highlighting the owner of the house’s intriguing history.  All of these combined elements make for a startling and troublesome backstory.  I found some of the plot twists and turns to be slightly far fetched and unbelievable. but overall, this was an another enjoyable roller coaster ride from Gilly MacMillan.  The Manor House has a final last twist right at the end that you won’t see coming!

May Picture Book Spotlight: SHARKS!

Monthly, I curate a collection of books to share with area early childcare centers for storytime. Usually, the books fit a theme happening in each month but I also love taking requests from my young listeners. In April, one storytime attendee requested that I read shark books! Below are some of my favorites! Have you read any of them? If you have not, place a hold on them today by clicking on the titles!


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Shark by Jeffrey Burton and illustrated by Zoe Waring
Enjoy a classic bedtime story with your young one while exploring sea life and most importantly, SHARKS! This title is perfect for building important early literacy skills – singing and reading!

 


Baby Shark: Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo illustrations by John John Bajet
Take beloved children’s song and add adorable illustrations by Bajet and share it with your young one. You will not regret it!

 


Oona and the Shark by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Raissa Figueroa
Oona the mermaid has never had a hard time making friends, this is until she meets Stanley the hammerhead shark. Stanley does not seem impressed with Oona’s inventions, toys, or parties. Determined to find common ground, Oona finds the perfect way to create a new friendship. Oona and the Shark teaches young people about compassion and listening to our friends.


A Unicorn, a Dinosaur, and a Shark Walk into a  Book by Johnathan Fenske
Everyone loves a book that has unicorns, dinosaurs, and sharks! Our main characters in this story however, are less than pleased. They are hungry, bored, and unimpressed. What can be done to make the book better for the reader and the characters? You will have to read to find out! This story is very silly and ends on a cliffhanger.

 


Smiley Shark by Ruth Galloway
Smiley shark has the best, brightest, and toothiest grin in the ocean. Hoping to make friends, Smiley sets out to meet a series of ocean animals who are too afraid of Smiley to stick around. When disaster strikes, there is only one fish to save them all, will Smiley be able to save the day?

 


The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist and illustrated by Julia Gorton
A new take on a classic tale, follow three brave little fishies as they take on a big mean shark set to destroy their homes. I read this to my child’s classroom and she now proclaims “not by the skin on my finny fin fin!” when ask to do something. Thanks Ken Geist…

 


Big Shark, Little Shark by Anna Membrino and illustrated by Tim Budgen
In this book of opposites, you follow a little shark and big shark both with large appetites. Don’t read this before lunch, it just might make you hungry too! This is a great quick read to share with babies and toddlers.

 

 

 


Deep Sea Dive by Salina Yoon
Explore marine life galore with this lift and flap book. Make friends with sea turtles, sharks, jellyfishes, and more while learning a little bit more about each animal hidden behind the flaps. The artwork is so beautiful and eye-catching!

Celebrate National Library Week with These Great Picture Books!

Every year, the American Library Association and libraries throughout the nation celebrate National Library Week in April. This year, National Library Week will be held  April 7th-13th and the theme this year is “Ready, Set, Library!”. To celebrate with your young people about the importance of books and libraries, I have compiled some fun reads!

Stanley’s Library by William Bee
Our favorite hamster takes you through a day in the life of a Librarian. Help friends find books in the Library and visit the community in the Library’s book van delivering books to people where they are. This book is an adorable and short read!

No T. Rex in the Library by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa 
It is Tuesday morning and Tess is out of control in the library. Mama tells Tess that “bestie behavior is not allowed in the library.” While taking some “quiet time”, Tess knocks over a book cart and out pops a rather rambunctious T. Rex. This is a title that I love to share with young people, it is so fun!

No Cats in the Library by Lauren Emmons
Clarisse is a curious cat with a love for books but only books with pictures, she doesn’t understand them when they just have black squiggly lines. Once she discovers a magic place full of books, she simply must get in! After sneaking into the Library, a child find Clarisse and reads her story to her. The keeper of the books finds Clarisse and offers her a chance of a lifetime. This is such a beautiful and sweet story!

Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman and illustrated by Andy Elkerton
When you visit the library, remember to be kind to the books and respect the rules. Most importantly, Do. NOT. BRING. YOUR. DRAGON. TO. THE. LIBRARY! Written in rhyme, this title is an absolute delight for all ages!

 

Library Babies by Puck and illustrated by Violet Lemay
Puck introduces young readers to the library! With adorable illustrations, this board book is a great read for littles!

 

Dinosaur vs. the Library by Bob Shea
Dinosaur faces off with a series of different animals until he meets his ultimate opponent, the library! Will he be a match for the librarian leading storytime? You have to read to find out! This is a very cute book full of roars!

 

Construction by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock
Follow a construction crew as they build a very special place!

 

Library Books are Not for Eating! By Todd Tarpley and illustrated by Tom Booth
Ms. Bronte is a beloved storyteller, one problem, she eats the books!

Online Reading Challenge – April

Welcome Readers!

This month the Online Reading Challenge travels back in time to the 1940s. Our Main title for April is The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman. Here’s a quick summary from the publisher:

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.

Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.

Sally Horner’s story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel’s creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic. – Ecco/Harper Luxe

Looking for some other books set in the 1940s? Try any of the following.

As always, check each of our locations for displays with lots more titles to choose from!

Try Incorporating Music into Your Storytelling!

March is Music in Our Schools Month officially designated by the National Association for Music Education. To celebrate, I have compiled a list of books that are written in song or have musical components to share with young people.

Wild Symphony by Dan Brown and illustrated by Susan Batori
Travel through the trees and across the seas with Maestro Mouse and his musical friends! Young readers will meet a big blue whale and speedy cheetahs, tiny beetles and graceful swans. Each has a special secret to share. (provided by Goodreads)

If You’re Happy and You Know It! by Jane Cabrera
With the help of adorable animals, sing and dance your way through this beloved children’s song.

 

 

La La La by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Jaime Kim
This nearly wordless graphic story follows a little girl in search of a friend. (provided by Goodreads)

 

 

Clarinet & Trumpet by Melanie Ellsworth and illustrated by John Herzog
A charming and funny picture book featuring the harmonious friendship between Clarinet and Trumpet. (provided by Goodreads)

 


Accordionly 
by Michael Genhart and Illustrated by Priscilla Burris
Abuelo and Opa both play the accordion. This book explores how one instrument can bring people of different backgrounds together.

 

Old MacDonald Had a Boat by Steve Goetz and Illustrated by Eda Kaban
A new take on the beloved children’s song, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and involves power tools and whole lot of noise!

 

The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort and illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Get ready to make animal sounds in this different rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus”! This is fun for all ages!

 

 

Music is in Everything by Ziggy Marley and illustrated by Ag Jatkowska
A picture book based on Ziggy Marley’s popular song celebrating music’s many forms, from the sounds of ocean waves to laughter in the family kitchen. It also includes a cute craft to do with your young person! (provided by Goodreads)

 

 

Music by Jill McDonald
In this board book, learn about the sounds that popular instruments make!

 

 

Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
This song means so much to me and my family. My mother listened to it on the way to the hospital to have me and then I listened to it on the way to have my daughter. When I found out about Zivion’s publication of this beautiful book, I was quick to preorder. The illustrations are so beautiful and it is a joy to bring back something so special to my family and have it on the bookshelf!

People Don’t Bite People by Lisa Wheeler and Illustrated by Molly Idle
This title is a family favorite in the Peacock house. Written in rhyme, Wheeler teaches children the dos and don’ts of using your teeth! Since this is written in rhyme, I have taken to singing it rather than reading it! Everything is better with song!

 

Play this Book by Jessica Young and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Congratulations, you are starting a band! Learn how popular instruments such as the guitar, make sound!

 

 

All of the above items are available through your favorite RiverShare Library! Is there a title missing that you enjoy to share with young people? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Smile Beach Murder by Alicia Bessette

In this cozy mystery series kick off, author Alicia Bessette introduces us to the colorful cast of characters living on Cattail Island off the coast of North Carolina in Smile Beach Murder, the first book in the Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery series.  Callie Padget grew up on the island and has now returned from Charlotte after her job writing for a newspaper was eliminated.  As glad as she is to reconnect with her uncle and see long lost friends, the island holds bittersweet memories for her.  Years earlier, her mother fell off the lighthouse deck on Smile Beach and was killed.  It has never been clear to Callie what exactly happened the night her mother fell.  Was it an accident, murder or suicide?

Callie soon finds a job at the local bookstore where she spent many hours after her mother’s death reading everything she could get her hands on.  She also runs into long lost friend Eva Meeks, who runs Meeks Hardware, along with her sister.   Eva shares with Callie that she may have discovered a long lost secret of the island and is on the hunt for a buried treasure. During a late night phone call, Eva begs Callie to meet her at the lighthouse at Smile Beach to find out more about the treasure.  When Callie arrives, she discovers the worst possible scenario – Eva has fallen from the top of the light house in exactly the same way as her mother did 10 years ago!

As Callie begins her amateur investigation, she makes some of the residents angry along the way.  From the remaining family members who run Meeks Hardware to the richest family in town, Callie has a tendency to stir the pot when she uncovers clues that may indicate that Eva did not jump off the lighthouse and was pushed.

Simultaneously investigating her mother’s mysterious fall and the most recent event at the lighthouse, Callie learns the hard way how sticking her nose into the investigation can be risky as she is attacked by a masked perpetrator who she believes was trying to throw her off the trail.  Soon thereafter, she befriends the new martial arts teacher in town, Tony Dodge, and a budding romance ensues after he offers to give her private self defense courses.

As Callie gets nearer to uncovering what truly happened to her mother and to Eva years later, another victim is discovered.  Callie wonders if she will uncover the truth before she becomes the next victim.  Bessette not only has written an engaging mystery, she has also made the setting of the Outer Banks come alive to the reader.  The sand, breeze and salty air are vivid in this debut mystery.  If you are looking for a cozy mystery that has a spectacular setting and memorable characters, pick up Smile Beach Murder, the series launch of the Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery series.

Dissolved by Sara Blaedel and Mads Peder Nordbo

Fans and critics both agree that Sara Blaedel is the queen of crime fiction in Denmark and after reading her latest stand alone novel, Dissolved, I couldn’t agree more.  Blaedel excels at taking mundane village life, which has been historically simple and idyllic, and turns it on its head with chaos and crime.  At the start of Dissolved, life is pretty quiet in Tommerup, Denmark, one of the many small towns where residents don’t feel the need to lock doors or take many safety precautions.  Everything changes when a young mother, Charlotte Laursen, suddenly and mysteriously disappears one morning after leaving the gym.  The entire town is shaken to its core.

Chief Superintendent Liam Stark and Superintendent Dea Torp are called by Charlotte’s husband after her young disabled son is left at school and he tells them that she would not disrupt his routine by neglecting this duty.  Early suspicions are on her husband, as a likely suspect, as he was the last person to see her before she disappeared.  But suspicion soon dissipates when another person turns up missing the next day.  The second victim is gone, but a ominous note is discovered that mentions Charlotte’s abduction the day before.  Stark and Torp quickly realize they may have a serial killer on their hands.

One by one, each day brings another disappearance of someone in the small village.  Every disappearance brings a clue in the form of a note which has investigators baffled.  It becomes clear that the notes are religious in nature and correspond to the Ten Commandments.  In the eyes of the serial killer, each victim has violated one of the commandments and it is the killer’s job to seek revenge, making the victim pay for committing a sin.  Stark and Torp, along with their police team, race against time in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the killer.  Their objective is to try and identify persons in the village who the killer thinks violated the next commandment and try to get to them before the killer finds them.  As the disappearances hit closer to home, no one in the village is immune.  Nearly everyone is on edge, knowing one of the victims who disappeared.  After a lucky break, Stark and Torp know exactly what is in store for the nearly 10 victims who have disappeared.  They stumble upon video footage which shows the detectives definitive evidence of their possible fate.  It is a race against time, not only to stop the disappearances, but to try to find the victims and save them from a watery grave.

If you gravitate toward Scandinavian crime and are looking for a shorter read, Dissolved is a title you may want to check out.  It has all the hallmarks of Nordic crime from one of the best selling authors in Denmark.  Dissolved  has a eclectic group of villagers – some likeable and some not – as well as an intricate plot that combines a serial killer who is consumed by religious thought.  Just under 250 pages, this stand alone novel takes you on a nail-biting journey with the knowledge that someone else will disappear and you are unable to stop it.

I love smart Scandinavian crime fiction and Dissolved is another title that does not disappoint.  I enjoyed the villagers’ differing personalities and their close knit community.  Adding the Ten Commandments as the killer’s motivation also kept the plot interesting.   When the killer’s twisted motivation is finally revealed, all the pieces fall into place.  One small critique is that the plot wrapped up a little too quickly but that aside, I am happy to recommend Dissolved.

Cozy Up with These Picture Books!

small cartoon child under a grey blanket

January to me is always a time to snuggle up with a good book under an ultra-soft blanket. With great amounts of snow currently falling and more forecasted for our region the next few days, I am excited to share some cozy books with you!  Below are some picture books in our collection that celebrate the cozy season!

The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie

Big Jim Hickory begins his day with exercises and a large stack of pancakes before heading out to chop down trees. After a long day of chopping, Jim is home resting when someone begins pecking at his door. Upon opening, Jim discovers that his job has sent some animal neighbors into a flurry of frustration. Ever the problem-solver, Jim is ready for the challenge of creating a safe home for his disgruntled neighbors.

This book is an absolute delight!

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small cartoon child under a grey blanket

Blanket: Journey to Extreme Coziness by Loryn Brantz

You may be wondering how to reach maximum level coziness. Your wait is over my friend, all you need is this book and your favorite blanket to achieve the blanket cocoon – epic level of cozy!

The artwork is delightful as is the content of this title, I hope that you enjoy!

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Narwhal with a yellow blanketBlankie by Ben Clanton

If you have decided to climb out of your blanket cocoon and looking for fun activities with your blanket. This book will give you some suggestions! Will you turn your blanket into a cape or take it on a living room picnic with waffles? The sky is the limit!

This adorable board book is fun for littles and bigs alike!

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Black hairy monster holding a small child

Wilfred by Ryan T. Higgins

Wilfred was a humungous, hairy, monster who only wanted one thing, a friend. One day, Wilfred discovers a peculiar town full of bald townspeople. With hope in his heart, Wilfred hopes to find friendship on a playground but sends most of the children running in fear. One brave child remained and thus began a beautiful friendship until the townspeople came up with a nasty plan.

This story teaches children empathy while making grownups cry. If you read this title, be sure to have your tissues ready. That said, it is one of my favorites and I share it every year when performing storytimes.

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cartoon child pulling a baby in a red sweater across a room.

That’s My Sweater! by Jessika von Innerebner

There are few things that Olivia loves more than her red sweater. This is why when Olivia comes to find that she has grown out of her beloved garment, she has some things to say. To add to her dismay, Olivia’s baby sibling inherits the sweater and is covering it in unspeakable bodily fluids! On a hunt for justice, Olivia makes a discovery, her parents love a hand-me-down.

For all of the older siblings out there, this is the perfect read!

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2 cartoon pirates and o monkey in a boat next to a sea monster

Ned the Knitting Pirate by Diana Murray and Illustrated by Leslie Lammle

Pirates are a fierce and rugged lot. As they sing their pirate song, it is ruined (made better) each time by Ned the knitting pirate.

Written in rhyme, this book is an absolute blast to read aloud! I enjoy singing and donning a Scottish accent as I read aloud. Like Wilfred, this is a yearly read teaches young people to be proud of who they are and that heroes come in all shapes and forms!

Celebrate Humbug Day with Picture Books Featuring Characters with Big Feelings

Blue book with a grumpy expression

December 21st is Humbug Day, a day to feel your feelings and allow yourself to be grumpy. As someone who loves the complexity of moody main characters, I wanted to share some of my favorites! By sharing stories of characters with big feelings, it helps children learn empathy and better understand the world around them.

Below is a short list of titles featuring characters with big feelings for you to share with the young people in your life!

 

Red cover with a character showcasing an angry face

Little Mad by Nadine Brun-Cosme and Marion Cocklico (Illustrator)  

Little One feels so upset that playtime is over that…poof! She becomes Little Mad!

In this reassuring board book about first feelings, little ones will be able to relate and learn from Little Mad as she learns how to calm down after getting upset. The perfect book for parents and little ones to share, this story proves that sometimes, when you’re feeling mad, all you need is a friend to be by your side.– provided by Goodreads.

 

a red panda, narwhal, and monkey all containing different emotions.

 

A Day Full of Feelings: Beginning Baby by Chronicle Books

New in the Beginning Baby board book Join an adorable group of animal friends for a day at school that’s full of feelings! Whether they are sad or glad, shy or excited, the friends know it’s important to express their many emotions.-provided by Goodreads.

 

 

A sad blue fish

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna (Illustrator)  

Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading “dreary wearies” isn’t really his destiny.– provided by Goodreads.

 

 

 

Blue book with a grumpy expression

A Very Cranky Book by Angela DiTerlizzi and Tony DiTerlizzi

Cranky doesn’t want to be read. He just wants you to leave him alone. After all, there are so many other things you can do–ride a bike, play a game, or draw a picture. There’s no reason for you to be bothering him! But when other books show up for story time, will Cranky change his mind?-provided by Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

Bear, bunny, and mouse holding onto an umbrella flying away.


Bruce’s Big Storm
by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce’s home is already a full house.

But when a big storm brings all his woodland neighbors knocking, he’ll have to open his door to a crowd of animals in need of shelter-whether he likes it or not. Readers will love this next installment of the uproarious, award-winning Mother Bruce series.-provided by Goodreads.

a grumpy bear with 3 geese


1 Grumpy Bruce
by Ryan T. Higgins

Long-suffering Bruce once again contends with an increasingly crowded household, this time in an original board book where young ones can count the never-ending party guests. Full of fun characters and humor, 1 Grumpy Bruce is just right for our littlest readers.-provided by Goodreads.

 

 

A blue pigeon

The Pigeon Has to Go to School by Mo Willems

Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?!provided by Goodreads.

 

 

 

Large bear and a small duck.

Goodnight Already! by Jory John and Benji Davies (Illustrator)

Meet Bear. He’s exhausted. All he wants is to go to sleep. Meet Duck, Bear’s persistent next-door neighbor. All he wants is to hang out . . . with Bear.- provided by Goodreads.