J. K. Rowling is Writing New Stories??

          J.K. Rowling has made the news again recently, with outlets blasting headlines like “J.K. Rowling to Release 12 New ‘Harry Potter’ Stories (abc news) and “J.K. Rowling Finally Gives Harry Potter Fans What They Want.” Unfortunately, these aren’t the new novels (or even short stories) that so many of her die-hard fans long for. Instead, they are bits of background information on characters, locations, and other details in the Harry Potter universe that never quite made it to the original books. Rowling made it clear in interviews and press releases during the times of publication that she had thoroughly planned out the wizarding world in which her characters live. Now, Rowling is taking that information and using it on her website: www.pottermore.com.

               What is Pottermore? Pottermore is an interactive website that walks users through all seven of the Harry Potter books, chapter by chapter. Each chapter contains an illustration depicting a certain story event (Hagrid arriving at the hut on the rock, Sybil Trelawney’s sacking etc). Within each illustration or chapter, users can collect items for potion making, Chocolate Frog cards and even unlock new information about the characters or other elements of wizarding world. For example, have you ever wondered how Petunia Dursley got her name? Or why wizards measure in inches while the rest of Britain measures in centimeters? Or why Harry couldn’t see the thestrals until after Cedric Diggory died, yet he saw his mother die as an infant? These are all things learned in the various chapters. Users can also brew potions, be sorted into their house , earn House Points and download the eBook and eAudio versions of the books.
Elizabeth Shirek
Chisago Lakes Area Branch Librarian

Want to unplug over the holidays?

In the technology-filled world that we live in, it is easy to get swept up in obsessing over the latest gadget or getting glued to the screen, especially during the holiday shopping season.  At the same time, the holidays are a time when families are together unwinding.  As such, they present a good opportunity for the whole family to disconnect from devices and go tech-free for a while!  
Here are some recommended picture books to read with your child that illustrate the joys of unplugging.

A child seeks a way to communicate with parents and a brother who are busy with their electronic devices.


Chloe Bunny lives with her big family of ten older brothers and sisters and ten younger brothers and sisters, but it is only Chloe who is able to compete with the new television set that Dad brings home one evening.

Upset that her family is so focused on the screens on their various electronic devices that they no longer talk, laugh, and play games together, Ella takes all of their chargers and small devices.
When a busy family’s activities come to a halt because of a blackout, they find they enjoy spending time together and not being too busy for once.

Doug the robot discovers that cities are much more than downloaded facts when he unplugs from the computer feed and explores one first-hand.

A boy and a robot strike up a friendship despite their differences.
Do you have any children’s book recommendations regarding technology you’d like to share?  Post in the comments below!

*Thanks to Kathy Kleckner of Dakota County Libraries for the recommendations at the Minnesota Library Association Conference 2013- “Early Literacy and Screen Time.”


Sarah Hawkins, Branch Librarian, Chisago Lakes Area Library