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Staff Picks: National Book Award Winners

The National Book Awards were established in 1950 to celebrate the best writing in America, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people's literature. With names like Toni Morrison, John Updike, Alice Walker and Ta-Nehisi Coates, there's a good chance that you've read at least one of he past winners!

You can look up all the winners year-by-year, but we're here to narrow it down a bit if you find the list a bit daunting! Check out some of our favorite National Book Award winners.

One on One with Cathy Park Hong

Cathy Park Hong gives life to many voices. She’s a poet, author, professor, mother and nationally in-demand speaker since the 2020 publication of the critically acclaimed Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. Part memoir, part cultural criticism, Minor Feelings is comprised of seven essays which have been described as a “new sound, a new affect, a new consciousness.”

Hong will join us and other area libraries on at 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 for an online program. Sign up now.

We recently caught up with Hong and she shared these insights about her work, upcoming library appearance and her recent rise in the national consciousness.

150 Years Ago: The Great Chicago Fire

Did Mrs. O'Leary's cow really start one of the most devastating fires in American history, the Great Chicago Fire? Did you know that the deadliest fire took place about 250 miles north on the very same day in Peshtigo, Wisconsin? It's been 150 years since that dry fall day and we've compiled a list of some books about these tragedies (including some fictional accounts). 

Story Cube

Introducing our latest way to encourage reading with the Story Cube!

What's a Story Cube? It's a portable story dispenser for kids, teens and adults. Just wave your hand over the button and out pops a short story or poem on eco-friendly paper (kind of like a super long CVS receipt, except you actually want this one!).

A Year in Review

Time seems to have blurred: there's time before COVID, and time with it. In this review, we're focusing on our 2020-21 fiscal year - that's July 2020 through June 2021. A full year of masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing. But also a year of innovation and forward progress at our Library.

Short Story Staff Picks

As part of the introduction of our new Story Cube, we're recommending some of our favorite short stories. What's a Story Cube? It's a portable story dispenser for kids, teens and adults. Just push a button and out pops a short story or poem on eco-friendly paper (kind of like a super long CVS receipts, except you actually want this one!).

The Story Cube will be available throughout October in the Central Library Commons before moving to the Hoffman Estates and Hanover Park branches. In the meantime, take a look at these short story collections, including a few movie adaptations.