Don’t you love Mr. and Mrs. Mallard? They work so hard to find the perfect place
to build a nest and raise their ducklings; Robert McCloskey’s life-like
illustrations are perfect. Make Way for Ducklings has been a
favorite at our house for a long time. Recently
I’ve seen two other “duckling” books that are such nice companions for the
Mallard family. . . Little Ducks Go
by Emily Arnold McCully, and Lucky
Ducklings by Eva Moore. Take a look
at these recent books and share them with the duckling-lovers at your
This is probably the most aptly named series ever published. Each book in the series is short (96-224 pages) and provides a brief introduction to a complex. These books are written to be very readable to those new to the topic and provides a balanced prospective. If you are looking to learn about a brand new topic, this is a great place to start.
Very Short Introductions include:
Emmanuel’s Dream, written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls, tells the true story of Ghanaian athlete Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, who was born with only one healthy leg (the other was severely deformed). Where Emmanuel grew up, most kids with disabilities couldn’t go to school, but Emmanuel hopped back and forth two miles each way. He also played soccer and learned to ride a bike – in fact, he became famous after he cycled 400 miles across Ghana, raising awareness that people with disabilities can still greatly contribute to society. My 5 year-old daughter enjoyed this story and the illustrations very much. I highly recommend checking out the list of books in our catalog by illustrator Sean Qualls -- his artwork is exquisite!
“Why don’t you have kids?” That’s a question that not many people have to respond to. However, there are a few who have begun to be more vocal in providing, thoughtful, deeply considered perspectives on why they’ve chosen to not have children. Are they selfish and self-absorbed? Not likely. That’s a spun out media and cultural stereotype that has little substance according to most of the writers collected in this new anthology Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: 16 Writers on the Decision to Not Have Kids. The childless are a diverse lot and so their reasons and motivations for not having a family are similarly varied. This is a nice grouping of cleverly conceived and intelligently executed essays that will function as a much needed corrective to the specious accusations that many childless people have had to endure.
The Google Doodle that marks Ida B. Wells’ 153rd birthday today begins by reporting that the American journalist was a voracious reader, consuming all of Shakespeare and Dickens before she turned twenty. As a journalist and newspaper editor she was a prolific writer and truth teller even in the face of racial inequality and mob violence. When thugs destroyed her printing press because they opposed her newspaper’s message against segregation, Wells kept on.
The library has several biographies of Ida B. Wells along with her memoir, Crusade for Justice. Wells was married to fellow journalist Ferdinand L. Barnett who went on to practice law and became the first black state's attorney in Illinois. Their daughter, Alfreda M. Duster, edited Crusade for Justice. At its publication in 1970, Elizabeth Kolmer wrote: "Besides being the story of an incredibly courageous and outspoken black woman in the face of innumerable odds, the book is a valuable contribution to the social history of the United States and to the literature of the women's movement as well."
One has only to look at the classification number of this book to know that it's going to be material more or less off-the-track. But, in my view, the early 000s hold some very appealing books. This 2014 volume of 'the peculiar' is subtitled A Freak Show of Facts, Random Obsessions, and Astounding Truths. Under the heading '25 Random Remedies': For blondes in chlorine pools whose hair has turned green, just add ketchup and cover with cling wrap for 30 minutes. In the category '25 Random Bridge Collapses': In May 1845, 79 people drowned after the Yarmouth Bridge in England collapsed from the shifting weight of people on the bridge watching as a circus clown floated downriver in a barrel pulled by geese. One more. Under 'Random Cemeteries for You to Haunt': In New Brunswick, New Jersey, Mary Ellis's grave has monopolized a parking space for the better part of the 20th century. Once situated outside a flea market, her grave now rests alone in the Loew's Theatre parking lot. All these, and more, can be found in A People's History of the Peculiar. Reserve it today!
Joan Bauer writes a fast-paced realistic story about Hope Yancey, she is 16 years old and travels the country with her Aunt Addie who adopted her when she was just a baby. Hope has already attended six different schools and has lived in five different states. Why all the moving? Addie is a cook and all the diners where she’s worked go belly-up. Hope is an excellent waitress, a good waitress has to be ready for anything. Sweeping through the counter, getting orders. Adrenaline pumping. If you want a thrill there’s nothing like in-the-weeds waitressing. You never know what’s coming next. You could wait on a mainiac or a guy passing out twenties.
The story begins with Hope and Addie traveling to Mulvaney, Wisconsin, to begin their new jobs at the Welcome Stairways Restaurant. G. T. Stoops, the owner, has leukemia and he needs help, fast! Addie answers his ad for a cook and professional manager to run his diner.
Hope’s biological mother is Deena, her Aunt Addie’s sister, who didn’t want to be saddled with the responsibility of a baby. Hope’s never met her real father, but she keeps thinking he’ll show up someday, she even keeps scrapbooks of her adventures in anticipation of showing them to her dad… will she ever have a father?
G. T. Stoops is a great guy, so much so that he joins a mayoral race against the corrupt mayor. Hope is a busy teen. She and the staff of the Welcome Stairways get involved in the campaign. There is excitement when the diner fills with customers day by day eager for delicious meals.
The name of the Welcome Stairways diner name is explained on the menu: From early times, the Quakers had welcome stairways built in front of their homes in Massachusetts. These double stairways descended to the street from the front door and were symbols of Quaker faith and hospitality—constant reminders that all guests were to be welcomed from whichever way they came, and,My mother always said that the stairways symbolized how we must greet whatever changes and difficulties life may bring with firm faith in God... Welcome, friend, from whichever way you’ve come. May God richly bless your journey.
Hope Was Here is a refreshing story of loss and triumph.
John Palfrey’s Biblio Tech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google adroitly and lucidly argues for the preservation of that most democratic of public institutions, the public library. Clearly I am the very definition of “preaching to the choir” when it comes to the premise of this book, but Palfrey’s clear perspective and the light he sheds on a path toward a public library model that keeps pace with technology and our digitally evolving society is well worth reading and thinking about.
I’ve always been intrigued by what it would be like to be a psychiatrist, but not so drawn to the many years of schooling it requires. In fact, I think that’s why I enjoy reading so much. How often do people really open up and tell you their innermost thoughts? Not very often, but books are full of that stuff, especially if you are ok with the people not being real in the case of fiction.
Stephen Grosz’s book, The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves, let me in on the real stuff though. Each short chapter includes the story of the treatment of one of his patients and how they teased out the possible sources of anxiety, doubts, fears, and mysterious behaviors; almost like those three-minute mystery books I used to read as a kid. I have to say that some conclusions left me incredulous, but certainly not unentertained.
I recommend reading this book while lying on a couch.
A young boy loves to frequent the Bronx Zoo but feels very sad
when he sees the plight of animals living in empty cages and barren rooms.
These feelings are especially intense when he visits the jaguar exhibit. Seeing
these big, majestic cats living in unnatural, desolate surroundings makes him
want to change both his and their futures. And he sets out to do just that.
A Boy and a Jaguar,
is the inspiring autobiographical account of Alan Rabinowitz, who through his love of animals,
managed to overcome a personal obstacle that seemed overwhelming at first.
Alan is a stutterer. During his childhood years, he sometimes
had his head and body shake so uncontrollably when attempting to speak, that his
teachers placed him in a class for disturbed kids and pronounced to his parents
that, “He is broken”.
However, there are two ways that Alan can verbally
communicate without stuttering. One is to sing, and the other is to talk to animals.
He starts off by telling his pet hamster, gerbil, turtle, chameleon and green
garter snake about his dreams and they seem to listen to him. He also promises
that if he ever finds his voice, he will also be their voice, and that no harm
will come their way. He then goes to the Bronx Zoo great cat house and
“fluently” whispers the same vow to the resident jaguar through the cage bars.
When he starts college, he is enrolled in an experimental
program for stutterers which relieves him of his speech impediment, but not his
continuing feelings of being somehow broken on the inside.
Pursuing his passionate interest in animals, Alan prepares
for a career as a wildlife conservationist. He hikes the Smoky
Mountains to study black bears, and then
lands in Belize
to study his favorite species, the jaguar, in it’s natural habitat.
Jaguars are severely threatened by human encroachment into
their jungle environment. Alan decides to use his new found voice to help the
big cats. He presents his case to save the jaguars from hunters directly to Belize’s Prime Minister. And his
fifteen minute presentation produces success! His wish that the world’s first
jaguar preserve be established in the country, comes true.
I love the message that this book delivers about people and
animals who can’t speak for themselves. Complimenting the story are Catia
Chien’s colorful and evocative illustrations that deliver just the right amount
of visual dynamism.
A little book with a big hearted message that should be thoroughly
enjoyable for readers of all ages.
Since overcoming his stutter, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz has
dedicated his life to wildlife conservation. He is also a spokesperson for the
Stuttering Foundation of America.
For more information visit www.panthera.org
and www.stutteringhelp.org .