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Taking Sides by Gary Soto

Taking SidesReviewed by Osbaldo P., 6th grader at Mannheim Middle School.

If you had to choose between two basketball teams to play for, one you used to compete for, another you currently play on, which side would you choose to honor? This is a question Lincoln, the main character, must answer before time is up. In Gary Soto's book Taking Sides Lincoln must decide between two schools. Which one is the school he truly feels like home in?

One school, Franklin, is where he grew up to become an amazing basketball player. Most of his friends are there, and he felt like a traitor when he left to attend Columbus Junior High, where he currently learns and plays basketball as an eighth grader. Columbus has what appears to be physically and mentally advanced students, as well as more wealth than other schools. Students take it easy, describing life in the school as a piece of cake. Meanwhile in Franklin, you can only hope you can avoid a fight there.

A few of the other characters help him out through the troubling times of moving to a new school. His best friend, Tony, attends Franklin. Roy, his mother's boyfriend ever since their parents were divorced, went to Franklin in 1970. A girl he likes, Monica, went to Franklin, but now attends Columbus Junior High, just like Lincoln. She used to play basketball for Franklin, but now doesn't play in a team at all. Meanwhile Columbus has James, a friend who plays basketball for Columbus. Finally, there is Coach Yesutis, the basketball coach for Columbus, who Lincoln described as “has "trouble inside his own head."

Reading through it helped me understand what Lincoln was going through. I can visualize taking his place and choosing a side, and how difficult it would be with people possessing a variety of personalities prompting me to make a difficult choice. My eyes were scanning through the pages, my fingers carefully flipping them, and my mind kept thinking,"What would I do in that situation?" I was magnetized to the book, and was also constantly reading while only guessing what would happen in the next chapter.

I was reading the chapters, knowing this could happen to anyone moving to a different school, knowing the book is not about basketball, but instead about making a choice, to decide on the option that comforts you more and keeps those you love in joy. You need to make the choice that does not break the friendships in your life nor the promises you make. That is what I learned when I finished reading the amazing, lesson packed pages of the book.
This is a book for anyone who loves realistic fiction and books about growing up. Taking Sides is a book for any age, any personality, and any sports-loving person. With the theme of not only sports, but about growing up, this could be one of the best books I have read this year.

Bring back the [old] photocopier. It did a much better job of copying newsprint.

We realize that our new photocopiers are a little different. Our lease on the old ones was up, and these were the new models we were given.

While the new photocopiers may seem confusing, there might be a way that you can change the settings to photocopy newspaper articles more proficiently. Ask at one of our service desks for help with adjusting the light/dark settings on the photocopier when you go to photocopy again.

Help the Needy With Our Holiday Food Drive

Help us keep with the holiday spirit of giving during our annual Holiday Food Drive!

We are collecting non-perishable food and toiletries at the Info Desk until December 21, 2013. Donations will benefit the needy in Franklin Park through Resurrection Lutheran Church's food pantry.

Questions? Contact the Info Desk at 847-455-6016 ext. 2.

New Books for Science Fair and Beyond

Earlier this year, the Franklin Park Library received an Illinois State Library Back-to-Books grant to purchase books in seven different areas of life and physical sciences. Our children's collection is now benefiting greatly from these updated resources. These books are perfect for middle school children working on their science fair projects as well as anyone looking to learn more about how fun science can be.

Our new books cover a wide range of science topics. If your child is just beginning the science fair project process, you'll want to seek out titles that will help your child discover interesting and exciting science fair projects. Try Science Experiments with Food, Step-by-step Science Experiments in Earth Science or Life Science Fair Projects for starters; we have plenty more to choose from! Other books will support the project topic your child selected such as Analyze This: Testing Materials. Some books are educational as well as fun such as Why Do Ice Cubes Float?, How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients: [an electrifying guide to the elements] and Dinosaurology.

Come by Kids Crossing to view our science fair display right near the entrance. Ask at any Info Desk for help locating our newest science titles and more on these topics in our Juvenile non-fiction collection.

Good Books to Read During December

Every day, librarians here at the Franklin Park L:ibrary and nationwide evaluate book reviews and select soon-to-be-published titles for our collections. Our expertise is now harnessed into LibraryReads, a monthly list of the top ten books librarians across the country love. View the December 2013 LibraryReads List, and then take a look at previous lists for more good books to read.

Free copies of the December 2013 list are also available at the Info Desk. If you see a title on the LibraryReads list that we don't own yet, please let us know.

Small Business Saturday

We all know about Black Friday, but did you know about Small Business Saturday?

On Saturday, November 30, 2013, make it a point to celebrate and support local small businesses and all they do for our community.

Find out where to shop here.

Donate Mittens & Help Us Decorate

Throughout December 2013, you are invited to bring in donations of new or gently used gloves and mittens to the Circulation Desk. (Please prewash your gently used gloves and mittens.) We will use be using them to create decorative garlands in the Library. At the end of the season, the donated gloves and mittens will be given to local charities.

All sizes of gloves and mittens are welcome. Be sure to check at the Circulation Desk over the next few weeks to see how the mitten garlands are growing. Let's help keep the needy in our community warm and toasty this winter!

New Enterprise Catalog Is Live!

Enterprise, the Franklin Park Library's newest online catalog, is now live. Here are some of the great new features you can now enjoy:

  • Better Quick Lists: Get quick lists of our newest movies, audiobooks, popular books, and more, complete with all the information you'd see in a regular search.
  • Faceted Search Filters: Looking for full-length DVD comedies in Spanish that were released between 2005-2012 and aren't rated G or R? Filter your search results to find exactly what you seek. Include material types you want and exclude those you don't!
  • Book River: If you're a visual person who doesn't know where to begin, look no further than Enterprise's front page. You can scroll through a dynamic river of all of the new additions and best sellers we have in the Library.
  • MyLists: Create a "To Read" list and mark off books as you finish them. Make a list of items you plan to check out during your next visit. Text the list to your phone, email it to yourself, print it out, or save it to your account for later access.
  • Improved Account Management: Log in to see which items you have checked out, manage your holds, renew items, and set your Library account preferences.

So go ahead and search for the next item you plan to check out. Use the search form on the top-right area of our website or enter your search below. If you'd like some help with the newer features, ask us!

Our National Library Card Sign-up Month Sponsors

A very big "THANK YOU" to all the local businesses that supported the Library by generously donating to our weekly/monthly raffles during National Library Card Sign-up Month 2013:

Aracely's Bakery & Deli | Al & Joe's | Culver's | Get Set Hair Salon | Gianni's Ristorante & Pizzeria | Nick & Bruno's Pizza & Restaurant | Olson's Ace Hardware | Park District of Franklin Park | Positano's Restaurant

Please support the local businesses that support your local library!

New Catalog Coming Soon


On Friday, November 1st, the Franklin Park Library will phase out Aquabrowser and go live with its newest catalog, Enterprise. Those of you who visit the Library frequently have probably already gotten a chance to try Enterprise for yourselves. We'd like to give you this opportunity to test it out on the computer you're using right now!

Take these next few days to familiarize yourself with the new catalog before we make the official switch. As always, feel free to ask us for guidance during this transition; we're here to help. You can start your very first Enterprise search right here:

Add a comment below and let us know what you think of the new catalog. Happy searching!

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by Dr. Radut