Daddies and Uncles and Faculty Authors, Oh My!

Durham Tech faculty do great things as teachers…and as authors of really excellent children’s books about the many positive male role models in young children’s lives.

Kasham Leo-Henry and her book, Daddies and Uncles and More, Oh My!. She is wearing an excellent leather skirt with a bow belt, ablack and white polka dot blouse, and a red lip.

Kashama Leo-Henry is an Early Childhood Instructor here at Durham Tech and has recently published Daddies and Uncles and More, Oh My!

Click through to read more about her motivation and inspiration. 

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Out Loud in the Library with Tayari Jones

The final Library Fest Podcast is out now! 

Out Loud in the Library: Durham Tech Library Podcast

I was honored to interview three amazing, influential, and accomplished people for Out Loud in the Library and Library Fest– Gordon C. James, Volkan Alkanoglu, and Tayari Jones. You can find the first two interviews at the links below. 

However, this blog post is to highlight the interview I did with Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage, Silver Sparrow, Leaving Atlanta, and more. I highly recommend reading at least one (or all!) of her books. She’s a great writer who approaches stories with a real grounding in character.

Listen below as we discuss research, typewriters, happy mail, and what it was like to discover her book being read in the wild. 

Make sure you sign up for the Morning Call with Tayari Jones at the Library Fest website. And, check what else is going on as well. Chances are you’ll find something interesting!

What We’re Reading: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

Check out Durham Library Fest’s Lunch Meetup with Brit Bennett on Tuesday, April 6 from 1:00 to 2:00. 

Keep reading for a What We’re Reading review of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and check it out from the Durham Tech Library either online as an audiobook through Dogwood Digital Library or on Main Campus).

This book was read by Julie Humphrey, Durham Tech Library Director. 

Title: The Vanishing Half

Author: Brit Bennett

Genre: Literary fiction; historical fiction; generational fiction

Read Great Things 2021 Categories: A book about family; A book recommended by Durham Tech Library staff (our favorite category)

Twin African American sisters in the 1960’s run away from their small Southern town as teenagers in order to start new lives. A few years later, one returns to their hometown while the other pursues a life passing as a white woman. This character-driven and compelling novel spans generations with the twins and their daughters telling a deeply complex story of identity, race, gender, tragedy, abuse, loneliness, and motherhood.

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What We’re Reading: Camino Island

Title: Camino Island

Camino Island book cover

Camino Island by John Grisham

Read by: Mary Kennery

Author: John Grisham

 Genre: thriller/suspense

Why did you choose to read this book?  I love mysteries and I have read other books by the author. This 30th novel written by John Grisham published in June 2017 is a different style for the author.  There is no young lawyer this time, but a young soon-to-be unemployed UNC-Chapel Hill English instructor/ struggling novelist Mercer who is pegged to infiltrate a rare book dealer Bruce’s bookstore with a black market connection after F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts are stolen from Princeton and find their way to Camino Island, Florida.

What did you like about it?  How the plot unfolds between Mercer and Bruce and the islanders and all gets resolved.  The island’s inhabitants are certainly characters!  The many fond memories that Mercer has of spending summers with her grandmother on the island are endearing.  You can imagine the author tours, rare book collecting and preservation and storage of prized books.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?  Other mystery authors/ missing artifacts, but this one has a rare book angle.

Was there anything noteworthy about the book? References to UNC-Chapel Hill, Franklin St., and The Lantern Restaurant made it especially appealing.  These are places that Grisham likes to visit.

What feeling did the book leave you with?  Resolution plus wanting to know what future blockbuster novel will be next on the horizon for Mercer when she gets over her writer’s block.  Will Camino Island be made into a movie?  Plus another Grisham book is due out later this year.  I will add that one to my must read list.

Who would you recommend the book to? A mystery lover, a John Grisham fan, a bookstore afficionado.

What would you pair this book with?  Even though Camino Island mainly takes place in Florida, I enjoyed reading it on my front porch under a Carolina blue sky with a sweet tea while dog sitting.  I guess I should have read it on a favorite beach.

Were you one of the lucky ones to meet John Grisham at his first book tour in over 25 years?  One was held at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh in June.  Sorry to say, but I was not there.

John Grisham was interviewed recently in The News & Observer:

The library plans to purchase a copy of this book for our collection in July.  In the meantime, we have most of Grisham’s other novels available.

Popular Author to Speak at Durham Tech!

Meet the Author!

November 15th, 9:30 AM 

TLC Room, Phillips Building

Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath

The Durham Tech Library is thrilled to announce that Jason Porath, author of the newly published Rejected Princesses book (which is based on his incredibly popular blog), will be speaking at our campus. He will talk about his blog, his book, and be answering questions from the audience.

The event will be in the TLC room, building 3, at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, November 15th.

Click the book cover above to visit his website, and then get excited. Really excited.

Reasons to attend this event:

  • Jason Porath will be there.
  • Cool librarians will be there.
  • You will learn about awesome women through history.
  • You’ll have something to talk about at your next dinner party.
  • The book cover is a really nice shade of purple which bodes well.
  • You can buy copy of Rejected Princesses and get it signed.
  • That’s enough reasons, I think you should be convinced.


Introducing the Library’s Book Club

The Library is excited to announce our student, faculty, and staff book club! We will have our first meeting on Monday, Oct. 19th at 3pm in the ERC Schwartz conference room.

The first book selection is I Am Malala by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. The library has several copies of the book available for borrowing and you can ask for a copy at the desk.  I Am Malala book cover


Here is a description of the book from the GoodReads website:

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

For more information about the book club, please visit:


Readers anxiously await the debut of Harper Lee’s second novel

Harper Lee’s highly anticipated second novel, Go Set a Watchman, will be released Tues. July 14.   It has been suggested that Go Set a Watchman was written before Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.  Details have emerged that Lee’s publisher, asked her to rewrite “Watchman” to focus on the perspective of Scout as a child.  “Watchman” focuses on Scout as an adult and her relationship with her father, Atticus Finch.  Much attention and controversy surrounding the new novel, stems from the portrayal of the beloved character, Atticus Finch.

Go Set A Watchman Book Cover

Book Cover image from Harper Collins

Natasha Trethewey’s recent article in the Washington Post eloquently explores issues that emerge in the new novel.

The library has ordered copies of Go Set A Watchman and will have these available for checkout very soon.

In the meantime, The Guardian has released the first chapter of the novel which you can read online.





Juan Felipe Herrera: First Latino US Poet Laureate


On June 10, 2015, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera as the 21st US Poet Laureate.  Dr. Billington said, “His poems engage in a serious sense of play—in language and in image–that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices and traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrara, Photo by Tomas Ovalle / Los Angeles Times

Juan Felipe Herrera has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, as well as award-winning fiction, and nonfiction for children and young adults.  Herrera’s poetry is featured in the collection Camino del sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing
(PS 508 .H57 C36 2010) which is currently available in the library.  The library has some of Mr. Herrera’s poetry collections on order.

The new poet laureate has degrees from UCLA, Stanford and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is currently teaching at the University of Washington.

In a recent Washington Post article, Herrera says, “I’m here to encourage others to speak, to speak out and speak up and write with their voices and their family stories and their sense of humor and their deep concerns and their way of speaking their own languages. I want to encourage people to do that with this amazing medium called poetry.”

Herrera will begin his appointment as the 21st US Poet Laureate at the National Book Festival in September in Washington, DC.

To learn more about Juan Felipe Herrera and to read some of his poetry, visit: