How to Find Kids Content on Hoopla

by Cornelia Becket, Librarian

Hoopla is a fantastic resource available to all customers with a Pratt library card or eCard! Here’s what to expect.

Firstly, download the Hoopla app from the App Store on your device. It’s compatible with multiple operating systems on devices like phones, tablets, and laptops. These are pictures from what it looks like on a tablet.

Notice the “KIDS” check box in the upper left corner? Grown-ups, make sure you check that box on your child’s account, or on your own account if your child is using it, to filter for content that’s appropriate and fun!

Step 1

Slide the bar in the middle top of your screen all the way to the right to browse E-books.  You’ll see a selection of top kids books, including the most popular independent stories, like The Bad Seed, and popular series like Pete the Cat and Wimpy Kid.

Step 2

Scroll over the top middle bar to check out comics! There’s lots of franchise series like Avatar, and critically-acclaimed solo narratives like Primer and New Kid. 

Step 3

Click the “sort” button in the top right corner to find material by popularity, title or other categories.

Step 4

Here’s what the most popular kids book right now, The Bad Seed, looks like when you download and open it to the cover!

Step 5

Here’s what another great selection, Chicken in the Kitchen, looks like when you open up to the inner flap and title page.

Step 6

When you’re done, you can rate the book out of five stars, or check out related titles of interest!

Step 7

Want to try a different genre? Here are some options when you search a genre term like “nonfiction” in the Advanced Search bar up top.

Step 8

If you’re checking out a longer book, here’s what an overview of pages looks like. You can zoom out using the “pages” function to get a better sense. 

Step 9

Don’t forget to log your books on Beanstack to win prizes!

A Different Way of Seeing Super Villain Lex Luthor

by Danielle Markman, Librarian

DC Black Label: Luthor
by Brian Azzarello

Look to the sky! It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No it’s………

Superman has been one of the most iconic comic book heroes, known to many around the world. The last son of Krypton is the spearhead of the Justice League and hero of Metropolis, “the city of tomorrow”. While the citizens of Metropolis and many comic book fans view Clark Kent as Earth’s ultimate defender, Lex Luthor, Superman’s arch nemesis, doesn’t  believe that Superman is who he is praised to be. He sees him as a threat to humanity. So he tries to concoct a plan to get the world to see the man of steel just as the threat he poses to be.

What I love about this story is that it focuses on Lex Luthor more than on Superman. Superman, of course, is an important character but his narrative takes more of a back seat and he is painted in a different light. In this book, you can catch a glimpse of Lex Luthor’s perspective and his motivations to usurp Superman’s hero status. Luthor’s character is a bit more fleshed out than Superman’s. Instead of seeing Luthor as a billionaire megalomaniac, who is a one-note villain madly obsessed with the Kryptonian, we are able to see that Luthor has many faces and takes on many roles.

Luthor has a face that he shows the general public, another for his Lexcorp staff and even another for his more indecent partnerships. He’s intelligent, resourceful, inspiring, charming, ruthless and criminal. Most importantly, we get the opportunity to understand why he questions the ideology behind the caped crusader. Is Superman the hero we need or our worst nightmare? Luthor gives us a very compelling argument.

Writing from the perspective of Luthor, brings to mind great questions that one can ask themselves about what it means to be human, what justice looks like and who are the heroes that protect it. Being that Superman is a fan favorite, Luthor begs the question, why should we view him as our saviour when he could possibly be a threat to humanity? Superman isn’t human. Could he be the threat that we need to be prepared for?

The best thing about this story is the plot. I wish that I could give this novel 6 out of 5 bookmarks because of the plot’s sophistication. It definitely deserves more than one read to truly grasp its depth. The story was written by critically acclaimed author Brian Azzarello, who has also partnered with the same illustrator, Lee Bermejo, the artist who has worked on other well received works with DC, such as Batman: Damned and Joker. Bermejo and Azzarello are truly a dynamic duo.

Lex Luthor is inspiring, seductive, charming and intimidating. Illustrator Lee Bermejo does a really good job with facial expression and makes great  use of  shadow and light to portray a particular emotional element. The artwork helps bring out the complexity of Luthor’s character and helps us see Superman the way Luthor does.Not the most color-rich environment for this work, however, it is perfect for this story. Sometimes the artwork is refreshing, at times it’s dark and gritty. The sharp contrasts help the reader to effectively see the world the way Lex Luthor views it and simultaneously, how the world views Lex Luthor. 

Each page plays off of a single color tone on each turn. This is great because it actually helps with moving the story forward. Most of these pages are either in a tone of blue or red which are Superman’s costume color theme.Speaking of the Justice Leaguer, Bermejo does a great job of painting Superman as Lex sees him, which is very menacing. The art really helped convey Luthor’s sentiment  toward Superman because the hero doesn’t have much dialogue.

Final Thoughts:

Luthor is a very sophisticated read and this was done very well by the wonderful author/illustrator team of Brian Azarrello and Lee Bermejo. I enjoyed that they fleshed out the character of Lex Luthor in a way that really hasn’t been done before. Also, I enjoyed that they presented an argument to help us understand him and his hatred for Superman in a very complex way. Well written heroes deserve well written villains.

You can check out more of the DC Black Label graphic novels through Pratt’s library databases such as Hoopla Digital as well as  any of our physical copies as we are open for Sidewalk Service

Batman: Damned
by Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by Lee Bermejo
by Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by Lee Bermejo
Injustice: Gods Among Us by Tom Taylor
Illustrated by Mike Miller, Bruno Redondo

Stay tuned for the next Comics 411 where there will be a readers’ advisory for DC Black Label’s Batman: Damned .

Other cool readers’ advisories for adult graphic novels: Deborah’s Graphics Galore  graphic novel recommendation videos on Pratt’s Facebook page.

Tiny Stories of Library Love (Part 1)

This summer we invited you to tell us a story involving a library in 100 words or less. Thank you to everyone who submitted a story! Here are some of our favorites.

Megan C.:
I walked the mile from my apartment to the Middle River library. Down the alley, through the right-of-way, past the Carberry’s house, past the Church of Christ, past the rec center, then across Compass Rd and into my refuge.

I signed out stacks of books, too many to carry, and I never brought a backpack. My arms ached and my face flushed with heat as I trudged home.

I carried my treasures upstairs to my room, poured myself a glass of sweet ice tea, and spent the rest of the sticky, sweltering afternoon in air-conditioned comfort in bookworld.


C. J. M.:
The last book in the series is finally out. I must find it. I check New Books. I check the regular shelves. The catalog says it’s here. The catalog is never wrong. Where is it?

“Can I help you?” asks a kind, wise voice behind me.

With the title and author name in hand, the librarian knows just the place. She leads me to the display case near the checkout.

At long last, my turn with this incredible book!

Teresa H.:
The ladies at the front desk always greet me with a smile one day I was so down I went into the library and I was crying my heart out one of the ladies came over to me and said whatever it is you will be ok and if you need to cry here all day do so I right here if you need me but at the end of your tears I must see you smile. After about another five minutes I went to the lady and we talk and smiled the rest of my visit.

Taína R.P.:
I doubt I would exist if it weren’t for the library.

My Father grew up in the Williamsburg of pre-gentrified 1955 Brooklyn. A Puerto Rican ten year-old, raised by a single mother with a sixth-grade education, he had zero statistical expectation of escape from those streets. The hood has never been designed for emigration. He should have been a factory worker, or a drug dealer, or a junky. Instead he became a scholar. All because he was gifted an old fat tire bike, and the library he found on his first ride.

Books to Check Out this Hispanic Heritage Month

¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana! We are excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15). In honor of the many contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to the country’s history, heritage, and culture,  Here’s a look at books to check out!

American Poison
By Eduardo Porter


Cemetery Boys
By Aiden Thomas

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
By Erika L. Sánchez

Book | eBook
Mexican Gothic
By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

eBook | eAudio
Lost Children Archive
By Valeria Luiselli

Book | eBook
Love in the Time of Cholera
By Gabriel García Márquez

Book | eBook
With the Fire on High
By Elizabeth Acevedo
Book | eBook
Swift as Desire
By Laura Esquivel

By Ernesto Quiñonez

We are Not From Here
By Jenny Torres Sanchez

The Book of Unknown Americans
By Cristina Henríquez
Book | eBook
The House on Mango Street
By Sandra Cisneros

Book | eBook
In the Country We Love: My Family Divided
By Diane Guerrero


Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina
By Raquel Cepeda

Book | eBook

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz


YA Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Acevedo

By Sara Wecht, Librarian

I want to preface this talk by saying that I adore Elizabeth Acevedo and her work. After The Poet X came out, I began to pick up her books without even seeing what they were about. The Poet X was a beautiful novel written in prose. Clap When You Land is in a similar format. It alternates between two perspectives, all in poetry. 

Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Book | eBook| eAudiobook

Camino and Yahaira don’t know each other, but they are connected by a fateful plane crash killing their father. You learn about the two sides of his life- one with Camino, and one with Yahaira. Yahaira lives in New York with her mother and lives next door to her girlfriend. Camino lives with her aunt in the Dominican Republic, where she attends a private school and helps her aunt as a healer. Her father’s death means a lot of things for Camino: she can’t afford her school; she can’t rely on her father’s reputation to protect her from sexual advances and implied forced  prostitution; she probably can’t go to Columbia University and become a doctor; she probably can’t ever go to the states at all. Yahaira knows that her father had another wife. She lost all trust in him, but sorely misses him as well. Her grief, while valid, isn’t as life-shattering as Camino’s.

This book is about acceptance, loss, grief, poverty, and more. The two girls find out about one another and have to accept one another as family, though it’s difficult. They both deal with the loss and grief of their father, but Camino also deals with the loss of a life she could have had. Taking place in two different locations, this book is also about multicultural identity. Both girls want to visit the other’s home before they even know about each other. They struggle with embodying an identity that’s based on one particular culture. They have a longing for the other place as a missing piece to their identity due to their heritage. 

Don’t worry. Things get better. That’s all I’ll tell you!

Below are more books by Elizabeth Acevedo that you may also be interested in.

The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo
With The Fire On High
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Book|eBook|eAudiobook|Compact Disc