Message from the Director: Enjoy the Music of Lionel Richie at This Month’s Virtual Senior Happening

Amy Director

Well, my friends, the time has come

To raise the roof and have some fun” — Lionel Richie

Livingston Library Community, 

Are you ready to dance and sing the afternoon away? This month’s Virtual Senior Happening will have you tapping your toes and maybe even “raising the roof,” to the music of Lionel Richie. 

On Friday, April 16th at 1pm, vocalist Stephen Fuller will take us on a journey through the music of American musical icon, Lionel Richie.  We’ll enjoy Richie’s dance music and love songs in this special concert filmed specifically for the Livingston community. 

Interested in learning a bit more about this month’s performer? Stephen Fuller, a Newark native,  became interested in singing at age 12, when a teacher recognized his musical gift. He attended the Newark Arts High School and Colgate University, where he studied Sociology and Music, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. We are very pleased to welcome him as this month’s entertainment. 

This performance will take place as a pre-recorded YouTube video.  Registration is required and can be done so on the Library’s event calendar, here. The link to the pre-recorded YouTube video will be emailed to registrants at 1pm on Friday, April 16th. 

Senior Happening is made possible in part by funds from the Essex County Division of Cultural Affairs, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and through the support from the Friends of the Livingston Library.


Amy Babcock, Director   

Powerful Young Adult Stories Told In Verse

Novels in verse have been around since the Iliad and Odyssey! Today, it’s rare to find one published for adults, but the form is thriving in works for children and teens. Kwame Alexander combined verse and basketball in The Crossover, winning the prestigious Newbery Medal. Thanhhà Lai’s autobiographical verse novel, Inside Out and Back Again and Jaqueline Woodson’s verse memoir Brown Girl Dreaming were both National Book Award winners.

Poetry packs a big punch, so it makes sense that authors use it to tell stories with high emotional impact. Verse novels for teens often address tough subjects: sexuality, identity, social justice and addiction. Older teens or adults looking for a powerful read that can be devoured in a few sittings should consider one of these:  

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta (Fiction: grades 10+) 
Atta’s uplifting, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel about finding one’s true identity won the Stonewall Book Award. 

This book is a fairy tale
in which I am the prince
and the princess. I am
the king and the queen.
I am my own wicked
Witch and fairy godmother.

Michael is mixed-race and gay, growing up in London. All his life, he’s navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican, but never quite feels Greek or Black enough. Michael’s coming out is the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, the Black Flamingo is born. 

Crank by Ellen Hopkins (Fiction: grades 9+) 
This is the first in a compelling trilogy about a teen struggling with addiction, loosely based on the experience of the author’s daughter.  

Life was good
before I
the monster.



was great,

for a little while.

Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. Then, Kristina meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle for her mind, her body, and her life.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Fiction: grades 7+) 
This powerful book on gun violence takes place during a sixty second elevator ride: the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s Will’s plan until the elevator door opens and he is joined by an unexpected passenger.  

The Poet X  by Elizabeth Acevedo (Fiction: grades 9+) 
This best-selling coming of age novel won the National Book Award, the Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award!

I am unhide-able.

Taller than even my father, with what Mami has always said

Was “a little too much body for such a young girl.”

I am the baby fat that settled into D-cups and swinging hips

So that the boys who called me a whale in middle school

Now ask me to send them pictures of myself in a thong.  

Ever since Xiomara’s body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.  But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook. She recites the poems she has written to herself and wonders if she has the courage to share them with the world. 

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson (Memoir, grades 9+) 
Twenty years after the publication of her groundbreaking novel, Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson was inspired by her fans and the #MeToo movement to share her own story in a candid memoir of family dysfunction and sexual assault.

Veteran of D/depression,
the German war and atrocities
a handsome boy married the tall girl
who looked like Katharine Hepburn
two kids adrift in a city far from home
two ships ripped from their moorings.

Mom told me the story when I was in high school,
on a night when Daddy’s drinking
drove our family to the edge. 

In free verse, Anderson shares deeply personal stories and reflections, along with a hopeful call to action for her readers and all survivors of abuse. 

Karen deWilde, Young Adult Librarian

Annotations from the publishers