Dark pasts

I'm the type of reader that gets great enjoyment out of slow-moving and intricate fiction, but sometimes what you need is a novel that grabs you from the first page and doesn't let you put it down until you get to the resolution.

C-U Haiku, April 13, 2014

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

Lightning struck

you and I send out new leaves

under a stilled sky

— Betsy Hearne, Urbana

Library events, April 13-20, 2014

Each week, The News-Gazette offers a selection of events provided by area libraries:

Champaign Public Library

Main library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

Excellent stories for young readers

In my reading recently, I've found two picture books that stand out as excellent.

"The Kite That Bridged Two Nations" (2013, Calkins Creek, written by Alexis O'Neill, illustrated by Terry Widener, ages 4-10) tells the story of Homan Walsh, the boy who flew his kite over Niagara Falls in order to create a bridge between Canada and America.

Author tackles tough topic with ease, grace

Kristina Riggle writes an amazing story in her newest novel, "The Whole Golden World." She skillfully switches points of view between three females: a 40-something mother, a 17-year-old girl and an almost 30-year-old wife, who is trying to get pregnant. The event that pulls these three into each other's lives is horrible and scary for mothers of teens especially.

Books by the Bushel event this weekend

CHAMPAIGN — In partnership with Head Start of Savoy, the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana will host its annual Books by the Bushel fundraiser from Friday through Sunday at Barnes & Noble, 65 N Market St., C.

During the book fair, there will be several showcase events for children:

Spiritual renewal

Spirituality is getting big airplay these days. Roma Downey's "Son of God" opened up to sold-out theaters a couple of weeks ago, thanks to big churches buying mass quantities of tickets.

Darren Aronofsky's star-studded "Noah," starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins and Nick Nolte, opened at the top of the box office last week.

C-U Haiku, April 6, 2014

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

Empty bench

Beside a still thoughtful pond

Won't you join me?

— Sarah Altshuler, Urbana

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, April 6, 2014

By TED KOOSER/U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-06

Despite having once been bitten by a rabid bat, and survived, much to the disappointment of my critics, I find bats fascinating, and Peggy Shumaker of Alaska has written a fine poem about them. I am especially fond of her perfect verb, "snick," for the way they snatch insects out of the air.

Spirit of the Bat

Hair rush, low swoop —

Makers, Dreamers will enjoy this story

In Gabriella's family there are two kinds of people: Makers and Dreamers. Her mom is a maker: practical to the core. Her dad and she are dreamers. Therein lies the problem that splits up her family.

Compounding Gabriella's troubles is the necessity of moving to a new apartment and thus to a new school. At her old school, she has only one friend. Now she must start all over again.

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