Shelf Life: There’s always room for Jell-O

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2018

It’s almost summer, and you know what that means at the library… Summer Reading!

This year, the theme is “Libraries Rock,” so we are kicking it off with a good old fashioned sock hop on Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. at Columbus Library. There will be a 1950s costume contest, root beer floats, games, crafts, a Jell-O recipe potluck, dance lessons and Elvis.

Before you come, check out some of these reads written or set in the decade of poodle skirts and pop art.

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“Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson

Originally published in 1955, this joyful story full of funny twists and surprises follows young Harold as he draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement using only an oversized purple crayon.

“I am Lucille Ball” by Brad Meltzer

Lucille Ball always loved to laugh. When she was a kid, some people thought it wasn’t proper for a girl to be funny. But Lucy was a born comedian, and she always did what came naturally.

“Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White

This beloved 1952 classic tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a spider named Charlotte.


“Out of the Easy” by Ruta Sepetys

Josie Moraine is the 17-year-old daughter of a brothel prostitute in 1950s New Orleans. She wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer, but her plans to escape are thwarted when a mysterious death occurs.

“Lies We Tell Ourselves” by Robin Talley

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever: Sarah, one of the first black students to attend a previously all-white high school, and Linda, the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration.

“Wolf by Wolf” by Ryan Graudin

Set in an alternate history where the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world in 1956, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. Teenage Yael, a former death camp prisoner, is determined to win the race and kill Hitler.


“In the Unlikely Event” by Judy Blume

Set in the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where the author herself grew up, this book weaves together a vivid portrait of three generations whose lives are profoundly changed one winter.

“Margot” by Jillian Cantor

Margot, Anne Frank’s sister, is the main character in this alternate history where she survived World War II and was living in America when “The Diary of Anne Frank” film was released in 1959.

“My Story” by Marilyn Monroe

Written at the height of her fame but not published until over a decade after her death, this autobiography of the actress and sex symbol recounts her childhood, rise in the film industry, and marriage to Joe DiMaggio.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.