@ Your Library
Recent library events, news and more.
This past week author Cynthia Leitich Smith visited Kalamazoo for a few days. While here she visited with students at Woods Lake and Northglade elementary schools and with a group of teens at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. On Friday, she was the keynote speaker for KPL’s annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar. The theme was “Crossing Borders” and all of the speakers addressed the idea that books for kids and teens help them understand, appreciate, and relate to others in their diverse communities, despite a wide variety of differences and borders.
Other speakers at the seminar were Beth Amidon and Maria Perez-Stable from Western Michigan University, Gillian Engberg, from the American Library Association’s “Booklist” journal, and Debbie Reese from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The seminar was wonderful . . . with much thoughtful discussion about books and kids and reading!
After the visit to Kalamazoo, both Cynthia and Debbie posted blogs on their websites: www.cynthialeitichsmith.com and www.americanindiansinchildrensliterature.net/.
We had a great time last week with this group of very talented writers and scholars. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list for information about next November’s seminar, contact Mary Knowles. See more photos of the 2010 Youth Literature Seminar on KPL’s Flickr photostream.
What a great Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros here at the library! Acclaimed bilingual author Pat Mora, who has written books for children, teens and adults, founded Día to nurture bookjoy—delight in the magic of words and a passion for reading. On Saturday, April 24th, Fantasía Ballet Folklórico performed several traditional dances and students from El Sol School performed songs and a readers’ theatre piece. All children who attended received a special prize and a book to keep. Next time you come to the Central Library, take a look at the posters created by El Sol students for Día. You can see them on display as you pass into the Children’s Room.
Día de los Niños
On February 24th, kids from the Boys and Girls Club, and other families, joined us at the Alma Powell Branch for a Jumping the Broom ceremony.
Jumping the Broom was a marriage practice used by couples during slavery. Many times the slaves’ owners would not give permission for couples to wed. Jumping the Broom became a practice that allowed couples to unite without their owners’ knowledge. Today, this tradition has become popular as a cultural heritage ceremony.
During our event the kids took turns reading from the book Jumping the Broom written by Courtni Wright. This story is about a young slave girl, Lettie, whose sister, Tillie, is planning a Jumping the Broom ceremony. Courtni Wright tells how slave families worked together to prepare for the ceremony. The women spent their days working on a quilt to keep the young couple warm. They prepared food for the ceremony. The men built furniture and caught fish to salt for the winter. Everyone pitched in.
At our event Erika and Hari dressed the part of a couple in a pretend ceremony; we decorated miniature brooms, ate homemade wedding cake and drank homemade Jamaican-style ginger soda. We talked about other ceremonies and the quilt making custom.
Thanks to the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo we had a fantastic quilt display exhibited in the Barnabee Gallery! These quilts were done by a group of African American women of Southwest Michigan. It brought the Barnabee Gallery alive with African American heritage and history.
Harriette Cole’s book Jumping the broom: The African-American Wedding Planner is not only historical but is a modern-day guide for couples wanting to tie the knot. Ms. Cole offers anecdotes, traditions and choices for blending today’s culture with elements of the past.
Jumping the Broom
The 2010 Winter Olympics begin this Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia and I for one can’t wait. Although the summer games include my favorite sport by far, there is just something about the winter Olympics that feels somehow more pure and true to the spirit of the Olympics (not too many Skeleton racers are being offered million dollar sponsorship deals).
KPL wishes to help keep the Olympic flame stoked with a display of Olympics related books in the rotunda at the central library, along with links to all things sports (including the Olympics) in our Sports Topic Guide. Citius, Altius, Fortius!
Topic Guide: Sports
Linda Mah’s December 9 column in the Gazette highlighted the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP). This is an intensive home-intervention program that supports young, vulnerable, first time mom’s and their babies from pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. I’m proud to say Kalamazoo Public Library is a stakeholder in this valuable program.
NFP is federally funded but requires a local/MI match, and for months the future of Kalamazoo County’s NFP has been in jeopardy. Thanks to some money released from a reserve held by Kalamazoo County and a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, the NFP is secure for another year. Through the library’s Ready to Read early childhood literacy program, we provide books for the nearly 200 babies and moms served by the NFP. The NFP nurses deliver the books and promote family reading during their frequent home visits. Thanks to the Nurse Family Partnership and its dedicated staff, KPL has found another important way to extend its reach into the community.
We’re glad to have this opportunity to help young mothers get started reading aloud to their children early and often!
Those who packed Van Deusen Room were very privileged to hear David Small discuss the story and process behind his National Book Award nominated graphic memoir, Stitches, in a world premiere event on September 10, 2009.
The interview was set-up to resemble the popular television show Inside the Actor’s Studio, which provided David with a casual atmosphere to discuss Stitches. He answered a variety of questions about his life growing up in 1950’s Detroit with a family that could hardly be described as tightly knit.
The presentation also included some fabulous animated videos of the books, shots of sketches, and panel by panel storyboards. David was candid about both the physical and emotional wounds which took years to finally stitch together into a memoir that will touch many lives.
A second David Small visit is being planned for 2010, so please check the website often for more details.
David Small’s Presentation
Listen to David Small’s presentation (44:52)
Download David Small’s presentation as a podcast(MP3 audio file)
Watch David’s complete presentation in the series of videos below.
Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends started off with a bang with special guest Professor Code from Western Michigan University's School of Music.
Professor Code shared four different instruments with us: the Swedish nyckelharpa (keyed fiddle), the Norwegian hardingfele (Harding fiddle), the Norwegian seljefløyta (willow flute) and the munnharpa (mouth harp).
Bean Bag Balance Record!
He also broke our bean bag balance record, balancing 13 bean bags on his head while counting in Norwegian!
Join us for books, rhymes, crafts, parachute games, and a surprise special guest at the next Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends on Monday, October 26 at 6:30 pm at the Central Library.
Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends
Jerry Garcia said the trouble started with comics. Author David Hajdu, who visited KPL on June 4, quoted the late Grateful Dead guitarist who claimed rock and roll culture — a romanticizing and escalation of violence, a cynicism toward authority and formal institutions, governments, schools — shouldn’t be blamed on Elvis. No, it went back further, to the 1940s, in the pages of comic books.
Not just any comic books, but a pulpy breed with a mean streak that turned the notion of comic book hero inside out. Not only were these books filled with violence, but the protagonist often was a perpetrator of it. Readers had voracious appetites for these stories, which crossed boundaries of gender and class. In those days, some 60 to 100 million comic books were sold each week. Reading comic books and trading them with friends was the most popular form of entertainment.
As this new breed of comics came to the forefront, kids seemed to change and parents took notice, Hajdu said. Then came “the clash” and the comics controversy was caught up in the larger Post-War “red scare.” The details of these times are captured in Hajdu’s book The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comics Scare and How it Changed America.
Listed on many of 2008’s “best books” lists, The Ten Cent Plague is the third book for David Hajdu, music critic for The New Republic and a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Hajdu says he is drawn to untold stories.
The untold story in Hajdu’s first book Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn, was about the composer and arranger of jazz who worked with Duke Ellington for some 30 years. You may think “Ellington” when you hear “Take the ‘A’ Train,” but you should also think “Billy Strayhorn.” Strayhorn was pure genius, but the glory went to Ellington.
After compiling this history of jazz musicians in Harlem and Paris, Hajdu went on to explore another facet of American music: the folk scene of early 1960s Greenwich Village. Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña dishes on these musicians and their contributions and examines how Dylan became Dylan.
Check out Hajdu’s books, all of which are in KPL’s collections, and read his music columns in The New Republic.
The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comics Scare and How it Changed America
One of the first principles you learn in theatre is to trust your partner. It’s also a required ingredient for two writers collaborating. Just ask Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy, the husband and wife team whose book of one-act plays has just been published. Duets is a collection is six short plays, “providing a view of the human heart in the tender war of love.”
Johnston and Percy write these plays together. Often one will start and hand off to the other. Absolute trust in your partner is required, they said.
These short plays are snippets of couples caught in the act of life. Johnston and Percy begin with the everyday: waiting for a client to appear, arguing over marriage counseling, climbing a monument. When two people know each other well, multiple conversations are carried on in just one sentence and the dialog reflects that intimacy of communication. As the issues of here and now are bandied about, there’s always a subtext or two. Johnston and Percy layer all that witty situational banter with the deeper issues confronted in relationships — agreements, confessions, trespasses, questions.
We hosted the authors at KPL on May 6 for a reading and book signing. Give a listen as they read from “A Pet of Temperance.”
Duets: Love Is Strange
TV Turnoff Week is April 20th through the 26th. If you’re looking for alternatives to watching TV, playing video games, or otherwise engaging in screen media - there’s a lot to choose from here at Kalamazoo Public Library.
Tune in to real live fun right here in your community. And if you’re not looking for alternatives to screen media, Kalamazoo Public Library has lots of movies and video games as well as internet access and even downloadable DVD quality programming from MyLibraryDV. These services and more are available just like always and they’re always free of charge.
TV Turnoff Week