Albany Middle School book reviews

Are you looking for books for your reluctant reader? Albany Middle School student Evan C. reviewed 20 books that you may like!

The Iron Trial. Black, Holly and Casandra Clare. . 304p. Sept. 2014

The Iron Trial is about a kid named Callum who comes from a old mage family.  On this alternative Earth, a select few have discovered that a few humans have the ability to manipulate 5 elements, Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Chaos. They decided to make a School to teach others who had this power how to weird it properly…lest they let the power get out of control and kill themselves as well as anyone else out there.  His father is an accomplished mage who gave up his trade because Callum’s mother died. The trial itself is about who does and doesn’t get into mage school. Callum’s father does not want Callum to be accepted to the school because he blames the very magic taught at the school on his mother’s death.  Callum does does end up getting accepted into the school, and he becomes friends with many of his classmates and does not want to leave – despite his father’s warnings of danger.  While he is at the school, he finds out secrets including one terrible one that shakes the foundation of what he believes… and who he really is.  You’ll have to read the story to find out what it is! In general, this book is ideal for 6th to 8th graders.


The Enemy. Higson, Charlie. 440p. Sept. 2009

The Enemy is a sad and bit scary story about a group of kids living in London after a big disease swept through the entire globe and left all of the people in the world age 18 and older more or less dead. It left them like animals with little thought except for food and rest. These animals now monsters roam the streets of london like animals killing kids where they go.  In the book, the kids have to move from their base which can’t support them anymore and go to a new – safe – place where they can finish building their lives safely.  Where they won’t have to go scavenging for food every other day, and live much more at peace.  This is made possible by a special child who they met along their journey.  Overall this is a good book for those of you who like a little bit of scary in your books. The book is ideal for 12 years and up.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Rowling, J.K.  734p. July, 2000.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, (the 4th is a series of 7), the main character, Harry Potter has another stunning story filled with adventure and action.  In this story, Harry has to complete 3 different tasks all of which test his skills as a wizard.  This is because he is accidentally chosen to compete in the Tri-wizard Cup,  which is a competition between the 3 main wizarding schools NAME THE SCHOOLS. The other competitors in in the Tri-wizard Cup much older and experienced – they know more magic.  Harry has a hard time competing in this book and the danger of Voldemort mounts as the dark lord grows stronger. Even though Harry is underage, somehow he stays in the competition – all the way to the final task. Which happens to be the maze.  Now with his goal so close the only question that remains is whether or not he will win the cup, and if that will be the end? Read the book to find out. Overall this book is very action packed,  full of excitement and danger, and an excellent read for those who like a thrill.


The Golden Compass. Pullman, Philip.  368p. October, 1998

The Golden Compass is story about a girl named Lyra who is growing up in Jordan College, a school where she can do as she likes. The story also includes a boy named Robert who is a cook who goes where she goes and is her best friend.  When a distant uncle comes visit Lyra, he introduces her to a nice lady called Mrs Coulter who is beautiful and nice who teaches her to be a lady in their beautiful world.  Meanwhile there are kidnappings  by what people are starting to call the Gobblers children kidnappings.  Soon she realizes that Mrs Coulter who is teaching her is involved with the Gobblers as there sort of head.  With this knowledge, she escapes into a world of witches, gypsies, and armored bears (imagine what armoured bears must be like!) as well as a guy with a hot air balloon as she travels northward.  This book has plenty of action and plenty of shocking discoveries to keep you on your toes SUCH AS the fact that Mrs Coulter has a lab in the north that separates children from their dæmons.  Dæmons are like the counterparts to children -like their souls were split into two bodies- one an animal that can shape shift and talk with their human counterpart.  Splitting them apart is like breaking a soul down the middle.  It releases a good deal of energy and both human and dæmon eventually die.    I think that it is a wonderful read as well as the other two books in this series titled, The Subtle Knife and: The Amber Spyglass. These stories are ideal for kids 12 and older.


The False Prince. Neilson, Jennifer.  342p. April, 2012.

The False Prince is a book about a boy named Sage who is living in an orphanage. His life is pretty simple – he and the other boys living in the orphanage keep themselves alive by stealing food and other stuff when they need it.  All this is changed when he is snatched by a nobleman named Conner.  It is here where he meets three other boys all about his age.  It is not until later, that Conner’s plans are revealed about why he wanted Sage and was willing to pay such a high price to get him. You’ll have to read the story to find out! As the story unfolds there are more and more lies piled on adding suspense to the story…. This 300 page book is good for those readers who like a relatively middle length story.   If you like this book then you will love reading the next two books in the series:  The Runaway King, and  The Shadow Throne.  


Troubletwisters. Nix, Garth and Sean Williams. 304p. May 2011.

Grades 5-7Troubletwisters is a stand alone story which wraps up nicely. There are two twins named Jaide and Jack.  They lead quite normal lives until one afternoon….Their lives turn weird in a bad way.  After their house blows up, they are sent to live in a small house where they have to live with no technology and a mysterious Grandma X.  As the events continue, things just keep getting weirder and weirder for the twins. One day the two twins witness their Grandma seemingly control an army of mice from a balcony.  With this as well as the two cats who live with their Grandma X they decide that their grandma is the real foe.  The two twins decide to run away and only when it is too late do they realize that their Grandma is not the enemy.  The real enemy, a force, a collective entity of great force, that slowly manifests inside of creatures to grow in power is here.  It has taken control of thousands of small insects and built them into a vaguely humanoid shape.  This enabled it to bring Jack down into the sewers and trap him there where he must to try to escape before he gets caught.  Jaid, the other twin, gets caught by Grandma X. who explains the situation.  And they try to get Jack out.  I love the story, definitely loved the plot and The Enemy in yet another fantastic page turner.


The Search for WondLA. DeTerlizzi, Tony.  496p. Sept. 2010

In The Search For WondLa a human girl named Eva, age 9, is living inside an underground home on Orbona with a robot who serves the role of her mother; Eva has no connection to the outside world.  One day an alien hunter comes and literally rips her home apart.  She is exposed to a completely alien world with no resemblance to the earth that she was taught about by her mother robot in her safe little sanctuary. On the surface of  this world, Orbana, she searches for others like her – humans. Her only reference is  a tattered book with the letters that spell_ _ _ _ _   _ _   Wond_ _  La_ _ on the cover.  Or WondLa.  She makes new friends and enemies in her adventure around the new world.  She also meets many a new strange alien beings along the journey.  This book captivated me when I first read it, and I loved it overall.  If you like the book than I believe that there are two more books in this stunning trilogy.


The Serpent’s Shadow. Riordan, Rick. 406pp. May 2012 .

The Serpent’s Shadow is a fantastic conclusion to the Kane Trilogy.  In it Kane’s family has finally started to train all the kids who want to learn the path of the gods.  The Lord Of Chaos is free and wants to drown the world in his chaos.  The extended Kane family must confront him and banish him once and for all from life.  They have a very limited time to do this and there are rebel magicians fighting for what they think is justice.  As the enemies close in, they must do many things to prepare for the banishment of the Chaos Lord.  They have to collect the Sun God, a magical book and the Chaos Lord’s shadow.  This book has plenty of action and like many other of Rick Riordian’s books, it references a good deal of mythology.
White Fang. London, Jack. 298pp 1906

White Fang is a book about a wolf that has a long life in northern Alaskan wilderness.  His life starts with his wolf mother where he learns the skills that teach him about life as a wolf – how to hunt, how to survive, and so forth.  One day however this all ends.  A band of Native Americans come and take his mother who once belonged to them.  This starts the real beginning of White Fang’s tale.  Although he is originally attached to his mother in this new place, soon he must learn to fend for himself.  As he grows more mean and strong as well as clever, he also gets in better with the humans and gains much respect.  However he knows no love as it is no longer part of his life.  A shorter book, it will satisfy younger readers.  The author, Jack London, was born and raised in San Francisco Bay Area.


Black Beauty. Sewell, Anna. 255pp. November 1877.

Black Beauty is a book about a horse living in London. Black Beauty’s life begins on a farm where his mother teaches him how to be well disciplined in doing as the master teaches.  Once He is broken in as a carriage horse, he is sent abroad to pull chariots under all types of different masters with varying degrees of kindness toward horses.  Although he had many different names, his most remembered one was Back Beauty because of his beautiful black coat and the white star on his forehead made him very handsome.  Black Beauty is a book well suited for young readers that many will enjoy.


The Call of the Wild. London, Jack. 231pp. 1903.

The Call Of the Wild is a great book written by local author, Jack London, about a dog named Buck.  He is the king of his home in southern California where he lives a peaceful life.  One day he is snatched to the north to be sold for gold.  In this new world Buck learns to fend for himself and survive as a sled dog for the northerners.  Buck’s life grows harder as rivalries for who will lead the pack grow stronger and Buck must fight for that control.  Buck wins the fight and is now where he belongs at the front of the pack.  Their pack must go through many different owners who have different levels of experience with dogs.  As his life progresses, the wild calls to him and he begins to become a feral dog once more.  This is a perfect story for young readers who love animal adventure stories.


The Accidental Hero. Mycklusch, Matt. 496pp. April 2011.

The Accidental Hero is a book written by Matt Myklusch about a boy named Jack Blank living in an orphanage in New Orleans, Louisiana.  His life is quite dreary and terrible as the orphanage itself is in a swamp where nothing much ever happens because it is so out of the way.  His one refuge from the boredom is his comics which bring sunshine  and happiness to his days.  One day his terrible life comes to an abrupt end as a strange man named Jayden comes and brings him to a wonderful place where anything is possible including blue giants and living forever.  It is called the Imagine Nation.  It is here where he finally learns what his powers are and begins to learn how to use them.  I think that this is an excellent beginning to a trilogy and a wonderful story just like Star Wars.


House of SecretsColumbus, Chris and Ned Vizzini.. 440pp. April 2013.

The House Of Secrets is a book about a family that has to move to California after the father’s old job as a surgeon ends when he carves an eye in a patient’s chest.  Sued the family is forced to move to a creepy but beautiful house in California.  Once they settle in, they learn that the house once belonged to Denver Kristoff who had lived there awhile back.  Soon however they learn why the ridiculously cheap house had been so sought to be gotten rid of.  First they see a statue move, and then it is gone.  Next a girl visits their house and trashes it killing the kid’s parents and sending the kids a world away…. To a primeval place ruled by a witch with terrible powers.  It will be a tough adventure that they have to go through and an interesting villain…. with an interesting past.  This is a great book with plenty of adventure.


The Phantom Tollbooth. Juster, Norton.  256pp. 1961.

The Phantom Tollbooth is a book about a boy who is not interested in anything whatsoever.  He does not care where he goes as long as it is not where he is at the time, and he does not care what he is doing as long as it is not what he was doing.  To Milo, the world does not matter one bit — all that matters is the next thing that he will do and nothing else. One day however this all changes.  Milo receives a mysterious package and his world expands 1000 fold and he enters a whole new world- literally.  In this world, Milo enjoys many new joys and experiences , almost every day.  In this book Milo gains wonder and curiosity as he explores this new world.  To me, this has always been one of my most favorite books, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have.  This is a relatively short, modern classic read.


The Legend of the Rift. Lerangis, Peter. 429pp. March  2016.

A wonderful conclusion to the series of 5, where the heroes are a touch different  from regular ones – getting power from Atlantis through glowing orbs, which is really cool!  In the story, these guys get to visit many many cool places from strongly guarded places where they have to steal the loculi or the things that give them power.  I loved learning about the history of Atlantis and the story was just a really nice wrap up to the series.  In this book, the heroes discover more secrets about Atlantis as well as more insight on their own history.  In the book they learn more about the last two loculi that they must find and in doing so break the curse on them. I believe that this conclusion wraps up everything quite nicely.  The book is good, medium in length, and perfect for middle school students, grades 6-8.


 Dragon Star. Hambly, Barbara.  328pp. May 2002.

Dragon Star is the fifth book of it’s series.  In this book, the main characters, John, and Jenny are in the middle of a crisis.  The people in their town are becoming demon ridden, and no one is safe.  Once a person dies, they are brought to the healer, a demon ridden, and brought back as one of them. It then goes back to the ones that loved who it was and lives in them as a demon.  John and Jenny are two of the few people who know the truth about the “resurrected” people. The couple are fighting to stay alive and ultimately stop the demons from allowing one demon to devour all the others of great strength and become the great ruler of earth and the many hells.  As the story progresses, they learn more about what happened the last time demons gained power like this – the last time the Dragon Star had been in the skies. I loved reading this story and I think that I will like the others in the series just as well.  I give this a 5  star rating because I think that this book has everything that I could want in a book.


The City of Ember. Du Prao, Jeanne. 270pp. May 2003.

The City of Ember is a book about two main characters called Lina and Doon.  In  the book the main character’s city is literally falling apart.  It has been there for 600 years and the supplies are slowly running out as they have been for decades.  In Lina’s setting, she tries to do exactly what everyone else in the city of Ember is doing – ignore it.  She believes that it can’t be happening when she says….  “No the lights can’t just go out.”  But when an extra long blackout happens she faces the inevitable and decides that there must be a way out of the failing city.  When she finds a chewed up piece of paper, with writing to neat to be a person’s she thinks that this paper may be her way out.  Unfortunately it is torn up.   Lina knows that this paper kept in a special box has got to have some importance with getting the population of  Ember out of the dying city.  With various friends, the puzzles in the paper are slowly solved but as their generator loses power more and more often, and as it gets worse and worse,  the unanswered question looms larger and larger.  What if the lights go out. PERMANENTLY.  In this Book, Lina and Doon battle against time to try and find a way out of the city before it is too late.  I think that this book is an excellent read for all and if you want more, the second book of this series is titled, The People of the Sparks.  


Who was Albert Einstein? Brallier, Jess. 112pp. February 2002.

Who was Albert Einstein is a biography about Einstein‘s childhood and what  happened to him while he was growing up. The book starts at his birth, when he is shown a compass by his father and goes on to give an excellent description of his childhood.  I remember one part that concerned balloons.  This stuck out to me because he wondered why the balloon went up when he released it instead of down.  I thought that this was a good show of curiosity.  Of course the other children did not like the fact that their balloons were gone and Albert was guilty, but I still thought that it was nice to read about.  Another part of Einstein‘s childhood is how he would refuse to be a soldier even living in Germany where all of the boys wanted to be soldiers.  I think that this book captured a lot of details that other biographies might miss.  Overall I recommend this book over most others in choosing a biography on Albert Einstein.


Geronimo Stilton: The Haunted Castle. Dami, Elisabetta.  128pp. 2007.

In Geronimo Stlton:  The Haunted Castle,  Geronimo and  his family have to go  way out of there way to go to the castle of an uncle of Geronimo’s. In the story, the castle is in major disrepair, full of holes everywhere and no apparent steps taken towards fixing them.  When they get to the place, there is a tale of a guy who used to own the castle who is now dead, and how the uncle would be able to inherit the castle as the one named in the document.


The Dead. Higson, Charlie.  450pp. September 2010.

In this creepy London setting, where all of the adults and teens above the age of  16, have caught a disease that reduces them to little more than animals hungering for the flesh of kids who are immune, The kids have gotten into groups all around London – holed up in safe places where they live their lives in relative safety.  There is always fear of the grownups in the kids lives.  This story is second to The Enemy and takes place with a completely different group of kids living a year before the setting of “The Enemy”. In this book the main characters, Ed and Jack are leading the kids away from the school that they holed up in when the infection started.  They are leaving because they are out of food and the grownups will soon have them.  As they travel across London, they eventually come to a group decision that splits them.  Jack and a few others want to go to London for personal reasons, while everyone else decides that the countryside side is better.









Circus of Smiles 2016

The Circus of Smiles came to town last Saturday and wowed us with madcap routines of juggling and acrobatics. One lucky father was pulled forward from the crowd to assist in a balancing act. Plenty of little clowns stayed after for a special workshop to learn some tricks. The Albany show wrapped up Circus of Smiles tour of the Alameda County Libraries. Thanks to Children’s Services for a great spring treat.

See slideshow below:


Circus of Smiles at Albany Library

Where did The Times go?


Good news for readers of The New York Times. Delivery should resume this weekend! The reality of newspaper delivery was at odds with our promise to put the paper on the shelf for you to read. And though Scott Feinberg states “The mission of The New York Times is to create and collect and distribute high-quality news and information….” as any former paperboy or girl will tell you, “The FATE of your news is in my hands.”

But this is a blog post, so greater philosophical questions are raised. We must not settle for the obvious, “Why did the paper stop coming?” Let’s ponder a larger question: “Where do all the papers go once they are read?” Yes, we know that one Albany patron takes our discarded NYT’s to peruse the science sections at his leisure. This noble diversion from the recycling pile has gone on for years! But where do all the papers go from all the libraries and homes after they are read? Just imagine….

Despite our efforts to preserve The Past,
old newspapers are destined for the bin.

The New York Times, for instance, meets the fate
of any stack of print: oblivion.

Years back, the faded papers found repose
in some cerebral landfill in the hills.

This heap of happenings, each day’s events
was sent upstate for sudden burial.

There was a vast and gray, forgetting field
where names of great renowned and so and so’s

became the same beneath the acid soil.
The woes of Jackie-O became Jane Doe’s.

The heated headlines, able for an hour,
to raise the general feeling to a boil

sank into soft, unmemorable loam–
their furor lost, forever, to the world.

Now papers are recycled, rinsed of ink
and pulped to be tomorrow morning’s news,

Each day’s erasure comes as soon as it
is taken in. There is no time to lose.

Entire populations, stirred to think
exactly the same thing, grow loud and bold

with little facts to verify their views
or cause them to examine what they’re told.

And still the stacks of papers rise each day
to fill the shelves and tell us what we know.

But when they start to take up too much space,
the tilting stacks of papers have to go!

The urgency, the question, that remains
the lead for every story fit to print

is what the New York Times does not contain:
“Where does Time go when it is done and spent?

Albany Staff Favorites from 2015


Are you looking for some suggestions on what to checkout from the library? The staff at Albany Library have put together a short list of some of their favorite books and movies from 2015. Our library checks out between 27,000 – 30,000 items a month, so we get to see a lot of different items go through our hands! Let us know what your favorite items were from 2015, and what you are looking forward to enjoying in 2016.

Linda (Library Clerk)

Fredericka (Library Page)

Alice (Library Clerk)

Brian (Library Manager)

Natalie (Teen Librarian) 

Dan (Children’s Librarian)

Have you ever searched through the library resources for small businesses and investors? Albany Library has a wide variety of resources available for you: in-person, electronic, reference, and items to checkout.

Periodicals Titles: 

San Francisco Business Times Book of Lists 2016 and East Bay Book of Lists 2016 give you insight into questions like “who was the highest paid Bay Area athlete in 2015?” or “what is the largest woman owned business in the Bay Area?” The Book of Lists provides a wide range of information on construction projects, hospitals, CEO salaries, IPO’s and more.  Both of these annual editions can be found at the Information Desk.

The Value Line Index and Value Line Investment Survey is a weekly periodical dedicated to stock information and investments.  These are kept at the Information desk

Circulating Periodicals like: Forbes, Money, Fortune, Business Week are available for checkout, as well available to download through our eResources Flipster and Zinio.

Online databases:

Business Source Complete (Library card required) Allows you access to over 2,000 journals and 1,000 peer reviewed publications.  Business Source Complete gives you a wide range of topics and articles that you can read from home.

Reference USA (Library card required) Gives you access to businesses profiles from across the country. Want to know what businesses were started in the last 6 months in your town?  Need to know the SIC code for a company? Reference USA can tell you this.

Small Business Resource Center (Library card required) Provides NOLO press books as well as information on creating business plans.

In-Person Training:

Susie O’Bryant provides one-on-one coaching at the Albany Library.  Sessions are 30 minutes each, and you can sign up at the Information Desk.  Call 510-526-3720 to schedule.

Berkeley One-Stop Career Center will be providing a series of workshops beginning next month for those interested in learning more about Resumes, Job Skills, and Interviewing techniques.

Business head shots.  Coming soon, the Albany Library will be providing monthly photo sessions for you to use on your business cards or LinkedIn profiles.

A wide variety of books are available throughout the library, including books geared towards Small Business. What items are you interested in us adding into our collection?

2015 Top 100 Books and DVDs in Albany

Have you ever wondered what the most popular items were at the Albany Library?  We’ve compiled a list of the most checked out items in 2015. What was your favorite book or movie from 2015? Scroll to the end for a complete list of the top 100 items.

  • Most popular teen/adult book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer 157 checkouts
  • Most popular kids book: I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems 103 checkouts
  • Most popular teen/adult movie: Boyhood 125 checkouts
  • Most popular kids movie: Frozen 145 checkouts
  • Most popular kids periodical: Babybug 326 checkouts
  • Most popular adult periodical: New Yorker 135 checkouts

Top 10 Adult or Teen Books:

  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer
  2. Burning Room by Michael Connelly
  3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  4. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  5. Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
  6. The Whites: a Novel by Harry Brandt (Richard Price writing as)
  7. The Children Act by Ian McEwan
  8. Euphoria by Lily King
  9. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  10. Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

Top Children’s Books (Note only 7 children’s books made the top 100 list)

  1. I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems
  2. There is a Bird on Your Head! by Mo Willems
  3. Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Willems
  4. Pigs Make me Sneeze! by Mo Willems
  5. We are in a book! by Mo Willems
  6. Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  7. Wacky Wednesday by Theo LeSieg (Dr. Seuss)

Top 10 Movies

  1. Frozen
  2. Boyhood
  3. Gone Girl
  4. American Hustle
  5. A Most Wanted Man
  6. Game of Thrones Complete Season 3
  7. Lego Movie
  8. Philomena
  9. Grand Budapest Hotel
  10. Saving Mr. Banks

Top 10 Periodicals

  1. Babybug
  2. New Yorker
  3. Economist
  4. New York Times Magazine
  5. Real Simple
  6. People
  7. Fine Cooking
  8. Entertainment Weekly
  9. Vegetarian Times
  10. O: The Oprah Magazine

Top 100 Items of 2015

  1. Babybug  (periodical)
  2. All the light we cannot see : a novel
  3. Frozen (DVD)
  4. The New Yorker  (periodical)
  5. The burning room : a novel
  6. The girl on the train
  7. Boyhood  (DVD)
  8. The economist  (periodical)
  9. Being mortal : medicine and what matters in the end
  10. Nora Webster : a novel
  11. The New York times magazine  (periodical)
  12. Gone girl  (DVD)
  13. I broke my trunk!
  14. The Whites : a novel
  15. Real simple  (periodical)
  16. American hustle  (DVD)
  17. The children act : a novel
  18. People  (periodical)
  19. Euphoria
  20. Fine cooking  (periodical)
  21. There is a bird on your head!
  22. A most wanted man
  23. Game of thrones. The complete third season (DVD)
  24. The Lego movie  (DVD)
  25. The buried giant
  26. The life-changing magic of tidying up : the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
  27. Falling in love
  28. Elephants cannot dance!
  29. A tale for the time being
  30. Philomena (DVD)
  31. Yes please
  32. A dangerous place : a novel
  33. Entertainment weekly  (periodical)
  34. The Grand Budapest Hotel  (DVD)
  35. Saving Mr. Banks  (DVD)
  36. Pigs make me sneeze!
  37. The giver  (DVD)
  38. The hundred-foot journey  (DVD)
  39. H is for Hawk
  40. Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone (DVD)
  41. Blue Jasmine  (DVD)
  42. Homeland. The complete third season (DVD)
  43. Star wars Lego. The Empire strikes out (DVD)
  44. Divergent  (DVD)
  45. The Hunger Games. Catching fire  (DVD)
  46. Game of thrones. The complete second season (DVD)
  47.  Lila
  48. Get on up : the James Brown story  (DVD)
  49. The children’s crusade : a novel
  50. Go set a watchman : a novel
  51. The goldfinch
  52. Funny girl : a novel
  53. Dear white people  (DVD)
  54. Vegetarian times  (periodical)
  55. O : the Oprah magazine  (periodical)
  56. Before I go to sleep
  57. National geographic kids  (periodical)
  58. Flesh and blood : a Scarpetta novel
  59. Interstellar (DVD)
  60. Game of thrones. The complete first season (DVD)
  61. The Hunger Games (DVD)
  62. Americanah
  63. Leaving time : a novel
  64. Betrayed : a Rosato & Associates novel
  65. Chef  (DVD)
  66. Downton Abbey. Season 4
  67. We are in a book!
  68. Station eleven
  69. Jersey boys (DVD)
  70. Selma  (DVD)
  71. The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe
  72. The Hunger Games. Mockingjay. Part 1  (DVD)
  73. Gravity  (DVD)
  74. LEGO Star wars. The Yoda chronicles  (DVD)
  75. Murder on the Champ de Mars
  76. The imitation game  (DVD)
  77. Frog and toad are friends
  78. Maleficent  (DVD)
  79. A spool of blue thread
  80. Whiplash  (DVD)
  81. The long way home
  82. The paying guests
  83. The interview  (DVD)
  84. August: Osage County  (DVD)
  85. Mister Seahorse
  86. Wacky Wednesday
  87. Scientific American  (periodical)
  88. The organized mind : thinking straight in the age of information overload
  89. Gray Mountain
  90. Some luck
  91. Mad men. The final season, part 1  (DVD)
  92. Begin again  (DVD)
  93. Guardians of the galaxy  (DVD)
  94. The hobbit. The battle of the five armies  (DVD)
  95. Despicable me 2 (DVD)
  96. Pitch perfect (DVD)
  97. Discovery girls  (DVD)
  98. The narrow road to the deep north
  99. Calvary  (DVD)
  100. Horrible bosses 2 (DVD)

Black Cats!

Black Cat Extravaganza!

We’ve scared up a list of books with Black Cats in them. They’re not all scary, but some will give you goosebumps!

Black Cats JE 394.2646 PETERSON
Poor Goose: a French Tale J398.2 ROCKWELL
Short and Shivery: thirty Chilling Tales J398.25 SAN SOUCI
Creepy Creatures DVD J591.65 CREEPY
Halloween Origami J736.982 OWEN
Paper Crafts for Halloween J745.59416 MCGEE
Ralph Masiello’s Halloween Drawing Book J743.87 MASIELLO
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life J808.882 DEAN
Halloween Howls: Holiday Poetry JE 811.00803 HALLOWEEN
Hallowilloween J811.54 BROWN
A Curious Collection of Cats J811.54 FRANCO
Cat Poems J811.6 CRAWLEY

Countdown to Halloween JBB EUBANK,P
Seven Orange Pumpkins JBB SAVAGE,S
Where’s Boo JBB YOON,S

The Night Cat JPB BEAMES,M
Black Cat, White Cat JPB BORANDO,S
Meeow and the Big Box JPB BRAUN,S
A Dark, Dark Tale JPB BROWN
Holly: the True Story of a Cat JPB BROWN,R
Inside a House that is Haunted JPB CAPUCILLI
The Witch of Hissing Hill JPB CALHOUN
Spooky and the Ghost Cat JPB CARLSON
Hubble, Bubble, Granny Trouble JPB CORDEROY, T
Pete the Cat JPB DEAN,J
Five Little Pumpkins JPB DEAN,J
Dog vs. Cat JPB GALL,C
The Night World JPB GERSTEIN,M
Five Black Cats JPB HEGARTY,P
Excuse me– are you a witch? JPB HORN,E
Only a Witch Can Fly JPB MCGHEE,A
Happy Halloween, Witch’s Cat! JPB MUNCASTER,H
Moonlight, the Halloween Cat JPB RYLANT,C
Scaredy-cat, Splat! JPB SCOTTON,R
Splat the Cat, What was That? JPB SCOTTON,R
Black Cat Creeping JPB SLATER, T
You and Me JPB VERDE,S
The Black Kitten Tg JPB VIZCARRA,N
Won Ton and Chopstick : a cat and dog tale told in haiku JPB WARDLAW,L
Mr. Wuffles! JPB WIESNER,D

Jenny’s moonlight adventure JE AVERILL
Spooky and the Wizard’s Bats JE CARLSON
The Bookstore Burglar JE MAITLAND,B
Friday, the Scaredy Cat JE MCMAHON,K
Amelia Bedelia Tries Her Luck JE PARISH,H
The Halloween Cat JE RICCI,C

Who Stole Halloween J Pbk FREEMAN
The Case of the Phantom Cat J WEBB,H
The Cat with Seven Names CDB J JOHNSTON,T
Cats on Track J MARTIN,L
Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of mystery and madness J POE, E
The Forbidden Library J WEXLER,D
The Islands of Chaldea J JONES,D
Jenny and the Cat Club : a collection of favorite stories about Jenny Linsky J AVERILL,E
Lara the Black Cat Fairy J Pbk MAGICAL
Path of Stars J HUNTER,E
Pinky Pye J ESTES,E
Puss in Boots DVD J PUSS
The Three Golden Keys J SIS,P
Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble J BRUEL,N (MOVING UP)

Maybe you’ll see this black cat someday…..


Alley Cat by Dan Hess.

From Glue to Glory!

Kids make beautiful projects from papier-mache: an elephant and a bookworm!


We’ll start by showing you the ingredients needed to make your project, then we’ll show you the glorious art created by children from Albany.



Ingredients to Make Papier Mache Paste:

Flour, Water, Salt

You will also need these items:

Measuring Cup, Large Bowl, Stirring Spoon

Start out by measuring your flour into the bowl. Start with one cup of flour. Add one and a half cups of water. Stir this mixture well getting out lumps. You want it to be like runny batter. Add a teaspoon or two of salt. (Salt helps prevent mold that may form while project is drying.)

This amount of papier mache paste should be enough to do an entire medium-sized project. If you make more paste, remember to mix 2 parts flour with approximately 3 parts water.

Take your time creating your project. Apply glue and newspaper strips one layer at a time and let each layer dry at least 24 hours before you apply the next.

Store your paste between uses in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Always stir the paste before you start your next layer. Make sure all the parts of the paste are well-mixed before you start dipping paper strips into the paste.

Make a structure to give your sculpture an interesting shape. To make a Heart, as you see further down this page, use a hanger for a base and shape it into a heart. Then build up the sculpture, using layers of thin paper. Layer the strips on balloons if you want fantastic shapes. Strips of newspaper work well because they can be shaped easily.

fcd6c-papermachesnake1  snowman3

From Glue to Glory! Look at the beautiful art created by kids in Albany. Their teaching artist, Lisa Norman, believes that kids should be given paints and materials of the best quality so they will know how beautiful their art can be. By thinking and planning a design, then enjoying the experience of creation, kids create stunning sculptures. We display these sculptures throughout our library.

On a class trip to the library, these fourth graders saw their art on the shelves!

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Here are some students who found their hearts on the shelves. Families and friends (and little brothers) were happy!

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Here’s a proud student in front of her papier-mache mask! We called this display, “The Guardians of Wonder.”


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All this art was made by kids. You can do this, too! We hope to see your art at a local library.

First Winners: Marcos and Sibel

Sibel and Marcos crossed the Summer Reading Game finish line today, the first of hundreds playing the game. Teens win an extra spin for writing poetry and here’s what pushed them into the Final Prize Box!


The sky is blue like the
stars close to the moon.
The sunset awakes,
just like when the kids
start to play.

One page at a time,
one word at a time
one book at a time.


Snow Flake
Clear and white
spiky but soft
melts on your tongue
like butter ona heated pan
disappears in less than a second
“a snow flake”
maybe maybe not


AFF PRESENTS: Josh Kornbluth’s “The Mathematics of Change” performance film + live Q&A with Josh

When: June 16, 7pm

Where: Albany Community Center, Main Room, 1249 Marin Avenue, Albany, CA

Admission: FREE

Josh Kornbluth “hits the wall” as a freshman math student at Princeton. He makes a hilarious splat. … You may think it isn’t possible to laugh yourself silly at jokes about math. But you would be wrong. — Washington Post

A not-to-be-missed event! Acclaimed monologuist Josh Kornbluth joins us in person for this World Premiere screening of the film version of his off-Broadway hit “The Mathematics of Change.” A Q&A with Josh follows the film.

Kornbluth has toured the U.S. extensively with this Off-Broadway hit, thrilling audiences of math-lovers and math-fearers alike. This concert film captures Josh performing the show in a unique setting: the world-renowned Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll imagine yourself to be covered in chalk dust — and you’ll never look at the number 3 the same way again!

For more information about the film visit joshkornbluth.com.

A co-presentation of Albany FilmFest, the Albany Library, and Friends of the Albany Library.
The community center is wheelchair-accessible. The Library will provide an ASL interpreter for this event with at least 7 working days’ notice. Call 510-526-3720 or TTY 888-663-0660.

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