Book Recommendation: Strange the Dreamer

strange the dreamerGenre: Fantasy / Romance

First Released: 2017

Part of a Series?:
Yup! It is the first book in its series.
Book 2: Muse of Nightmares (2018)

“In the aftermath of a war between gods and men, a hero, a librarian and a girl must battle the fantastical elements of a mysterious city stripped of its name.”

Where can I find it in the library?
This will be on the second floor of the library in the Vortex.

Call Number


When I first saw this book on the shelves, I was SUPER hype. I absolutely adore Laini Taylor and anything she writes after her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. The world-building, characters and writing were all absolutely superb.

But you didn’t come here for Daughter of Smoke and Bone. We’re here to talk Strange the Dreamer. This one definitely doesn’t disappoint.

I love, love love this book. Admittedly, it’s been a while since I read it (when it first came out), but its writing still sits with me a few years later. It’s beautiful, entrancing and has an otherworldly feel.  

Lazlo Strange is earnest in his quest for knowledge and it’s really refreshing. He’s so innocent that you can’t just help but love and root for him. He’s someone who could be your best friend. He’d never let you down. Even his enemies can’t completely hate him, they just don’t understand him.

The story begins when he’s young, and suddenly the name of a city disappears forever. Not just from people’s minds but from everywhere: books, memories, everything. It no longer has a name. It’s just…gone. Lazlo is convinced something happened and is determined to learn everything about this city he can, and one day travel to it. Cooped up in the library, assisting researchers going to-and-fro, it seems that day may never come. But he believes. He never stops dreaming, until a day comes that he may finally have a chance to see this nameless city for himself.

And what he finds there is unbelievable.

Filled with adventure, exciting new locations and love, Lazlo Strange’s journey will not disappoint you.

Check it out today!

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish!

So long and thanks for all the fish! (If that doesn’t make any sense to you, read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Even if it does make sense to you, read The hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.)

I am extremely saddened to tell you that I will be leaving Fountaindale Public Library at the end of the week. My last day here will be this Saturday, March 9 at the 3rd Annual Maker Faire. The day after that, I’ll be moving out of state to be closer to family members.

Before I go, I’d like to thank y’all for being a part of my life for the last three and a half years. I have connected with so many amazing teens and parents and readers of YA, had tons of great conversations about books and graphic novels and movies, helped students find resources to improve themselves academically and personally, taught teens to make everything from lipstick to robots, and broadened my own horizons by being a part of this beautiful, diverse community.

Fountaindale has become, in many ways, an additional family to me. And I will miss all of you very much.

So, here’s a cheesy, sad 90s song that always makes me cry. Just for you.


Food Fantasy

Food Fantasy is a game that’s come up in my feed every so often when a friend gets a new thing in the game. All I know about is that I really enjoyed the art style. Since I haven’t been playing any mobile games lately, why not! Let’s see what it’s like.

Food Fantasy is available for free on iOS and Android. It does have a store where you can spend money to get things for the game, but none of that’s necessary. Save your money!


“Food Fantasy is an adventure-management game set in the magical & stunning world of Tierra! Set forth on your journey to become the greatest Master Attendant along with your Food Soul companions! Collect Food Souls, manage your restaurant, & save the world from the Evil Fallen Angel invasion!” – Google Play Store

Quick note: make sure you are on Wi-Fi for the first time you start up this game. It has more to download once it’s open after installing it from the app store. It’s a hefty amount and you definitely don’t want to use all your data on it.

Downloaded? We good? We good.

The game right away starts you off into a tutorial. As a first time player, it’s actually a little overwhelming? Like, dude, let me explore a little first! Give me a chance to read all the menus first and THEN we can get going. The tutorial is thankfully relatively short and does explain the mechanics decently well.

Once you’re free to roam around the game and read everything, at the restaurant heading, you’ll see a button that says Guides.

Tap here and there’s loads of information here about the game’s lore and characters you’ve collected and enemies you’ve battled. The game’s premise (being a restaurateur and higher food personifications to work for you) is definitely odd, but I love that the game goes full into the realm it has created.

There’s a lot going on here for a new player (like myself) but the art style is gorgeous and keeps me engaged enough to want to learn and play more. I like that it has story missions in addition to getting items just for your restaurant. I need to know more about this world!

One other quick note before letting you go free—there’s a scrolling chat in the lower right hand corner. If it annoys you or you just don’t want to see it, you can turn it off! Click on your avatar’s photo > personal settings > and turn off the “chat message” setting. Tah dah! It’s gone!

food fantasy screen 3

It’s in the left-hand corner of the screen.

If you need more help understanding the mechanics, story, or anything else, try this beginners’ guide put together by the fandom!

Want to collect beautiful, adorable, or handsome food souls with me? Download it from your preferred app store (iOS and Android) today!

3rd Annual Maker Faire


Are you still not sure if you’re a “Maker”?

What even is a Maker?

Well, a Maker is anyone that makes things. Yeah, it’s really that simple. If you’ve ever sewed or sculpted or 3D printed or used a glue stick, you are, indeed, a Maker. Congratulations!

So, now that we’ve established that you – yes, you! – are a Maker, here’s a bunch of reasons you should come check out Fountaindale’s Third Annual Maker Faire on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 1–4 p.m..

Some of the great Studio 300 tech that you might not have tried will be available for demonstration, including

  • Hic Top CR-10 3-D Printer
  • Brother SE-400 Embroidery Machine
  • KNK Zing Air Computerized Vinyl Cutter and Heat Press
  • Carvey CNC Desktop Fabrication Machine
  • Robotic arm

Plus, Studio staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer all your questions!

Other awesome activities will include:

  • Keva plank marble coaster engineering challenge
  • So. Many. Robots!
  • Coding Mini-Classes
  • 3D Doodle Pens
  • Paper Rockets
  • LED Circuit Cards
  • All the Legos That Exist in the World
  • Presenters from local Science, Nature, Tech, and Art organizations
  • STEAMbox Kits for perusal and checkout
  • Glow Art
  • And, TONS OF DOOR PRIZES like vinyl printed bags and pouches, bandanas, 3-D printed items and more!

Here’s a few images from last year’s Maker Faire.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can find more information about the Faire on our calendar!




Upcoming February Programs

Come one, come all! (As long as you’re a teen!)

We have some awesome crafty programs coming up that we still have space for!

Cozy Valentine Holder

Use yarn to decorate a small wooden box that you can use to hold your special Valentine’s Day wishes. Grades 6–12

DIY Bots

Build and program electronic roaming robots using Adafruit’s Crickit. Then compete in a race with other teams to see whose robot will be the ultimate victor. Grades 6–12

No-Sew Snow People

Create an adorable snow person using socks, buttons, ribbon and more. Grades 6–12

Sign up using our online calendar or by calling 630.685.4199 today!

Tara’s Top Ten: Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite authors of color, along with one of my favorite books from each of them. For most of them, it was REALLY hard to choose only one! Jason Reynolds, Nnedi Okorafor, Walter Dean Myers, and Kekla Magoon, in particular, all have numerous tremendous titles to their credit!

Tara’s Top Ten African American/Black Authors

The CrossoverKwame Alexander
Notable Title: The Crossover

Dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood. (

The Belles (The Belles #1)Dhonielle Clayton
Notable Series: The Belles

Camellia Beauregard is a BelleBelles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. When Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, they discover that beyond the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and when thequeen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia faces an impossible decision.

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)Justina Ireland
Notable Title: Dread Nation

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

How It Went DownKekla Magoon
Notable Title: How It Went Down

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.

MonsterWalter Dean Myers
Notable Title: Monster

While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)Nnedi Okorafor
Notable series: Akata Witch

Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.

The Boy in the Black SuitJason Reynolds
Notable Title: The Boy in the Black Suit

Reeling from his mother’s death, his father’s alcoholism, and the bills that keep stacking up Matt takes a job at a funeral home in his tough Brooklyn neighborhood and, while attending and assisting with funerals, begins to accept her death and his responsibilities as a man.

Dear MartinNic Stone
Notable Title: Dear Martin

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out. (

The Hate U GiveAngie Thomas
Notable Title: The Hate U Give

After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life (divided between a tough urban neighborhood and a prestigious, suburban prep school ) is ripped apart as the police, a local drug lord, and soon local news media try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

American StreetIbi Zoboi
Notable Title: American Street

When Fabiola’s mother is detained upon their arrival to the United States, Fabiola must navigate her loud American cousins, the grittiness of Detroit’s west side, a new school, and a surprising romance all on her own.

Happy Reading!