Monday, March 30, 2015

uTech

Remember Reading Rainbow, the PBS show for kids that celebrated books and reading? LaVar Burton and crew are resurrecting Reading Rainbow for the technology age, that is, kids will be able to read books online with their tablets or ereaders. It's a crowd-sourced project that is moving ahead rapidly. In the meantime, Reading Rainbow has partnered with YouTube to come up with a series of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) video for kids. The first four have been released. Here's the first:



You'll find the rest, and any newly added segments, by going to YouTube and using "utech reading rainbow" as your search term.

We have STEM topic books for children of all ages:


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan, the jazz singer who performed many songs from "the Great American Songbook" [her recordings are found in the CD JAZZ collection] was born on March 27 in 1924. On this poetry Friday we're going to celebrate Sarah's role as a poetry lover. I was quite surprised to come across a mention of a recording she made in 1984 of the poems of Pope John Paul II, The Planet Is Alive...Let it Live! Who knew that such a recording existed? Of course, I checked YouTube and found a video of Sarah Vaughan in performance.



Sarah Vaughan has even been the subject of a poem! To see the late Amiri Baraka performing it, click here.

Jone, at Check It Out, is a fellow librarian who blogs on the west coast. Stop by for the Poetry Friday Round-Up!

Happy Birthday Keira Knightley!

British actress, Keira Knightley, turned 30 today! You can read about the extent of her career here--it is truly impressive!

We have many Knightley films in our collection, so look for one of these on your next visit:



In addition to the ones in our collection, the GMILCS libraries of our consortium have twice the number of movies in total! When doing a search in the catalog, be sure to pick "All GMILCS Libraries" from the drop-down menu under "Limit by."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

AsapSCIENCE

Have you ever seen the AsapSCIENCE channel on YouTube? In short videos, Mitchell Moffitt and Greg Brown answer the tiny nagging science questions that may come up in your everyday life. For example, remember the big brouhaha over the "dress" and its colors? Some saw the colors as gold and white, while others saw them as black and blue (or, as I did, brown and blue). AsapSCIENCE took on the question and created this:



If you watched the video, you saw that it began with a commercial of sorts for Moffitt and Brown's new book, Asap SCIENCE: Answers to the World's Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors & Unexplained Phenomena [500 MOF].

The questions tackled in the book include the perennial favorites, "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?", "Could a zombie apocalypse happen?", and "Why does time feel faster as we age?" and more.

The book has arrived here at the Library, and, I just put it out on the "New Books" shelf near the check-out desk!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, Harry!

On this day in 1874, Erich Weisz was born in Budapest, Hungary. You might not recognize the name, but, Erich changed his name to Harry Houdini when he started performing. We have quite a number of books on Houdini in both the adult and children's biography sections. There are also books of fiction in which Houdini figures in the plot.



The History Channel ran a mini-series, Houdini, last fall starring Adrien Brody. Maybe it'll appear on our DVD shelves soon!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reading Inclusively

One of the past two years' most popular books for kids is Wonder by R. J. Palacio [J PAL]. The publisher describes the book:
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid--but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

The fact that the book has won numerous awards, plus the fact that it's so popular with kids, leads one to think that maybe it is time for us adults to look at reading inclusively. By that I mean encouraging children to read about kids who are not exactly like themselves. By looking at the differences and recognizing the similarities in all of us, we can go a long way to becoming, and to raising kids who are, empathetic.

Here are a few additional titles to consider if your child or teen has read Wonder and is looking for more (note: some are memoirs, so are based upon real people]:

Bloor, Edward. Tangerine. [J BLO]

Burcaw, Shane. Laughing At My Nightmare. [YA B BUR]

Chen, Justina. North of Beautiful. [YA CHE]

Connolly, Kevin Michael. Double Take: A Memoir. [YA B CON]

Giles, Gail. Girls Like Us. [3M ebook]

Gantos, Jack. What Would Joey Do? [J GAN]

Johnson, Harriet McBryde. Accidents of Nature. [YA JOH]

Lord, Cynthia. Rules. [J LOR]

Martin, Ann. Rain Reign. [J MAR, also J AB/CD MAR]

Mass, Wendy. A Mango-Shaped Space. [YA MAS]

McGovern, Cammie. Say What You Will: [They told each other...everything...except what matters most]. [YA MCG]

Van Draanen, Wendelin. The Running Dream. [YA VAN, also 3M ebook]

Vlahos, Len. Scar Boys. [3M ebook]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Poetry Friday--It's Officially Spring!

Today, at 6:45 pm, is the vernal equinox. Spring officially arrives and not a moment too soon! Let's hope we've seen the end of the snow, and that what's left on the ground slowly melts so as to avoid burying us all in mud!

Here's a poem by Wallace Stevens that is perfect for transitioning us. It can be found in She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey in Poems, selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy [808.81 SHE].
The Poems of Our Climate

I
Clear water in a brilliant bowl,
Pink and white carnations. The light
In the room more like a snowy air,
Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow
At the end of winter when afternoons return.
Pink and white carnations--one desires
So much more than that. The day itself
Is simplified: a bowl of white,
Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round,
With nothing more than the carnations there.

II
Say even that this complete simplicity
Stripped one of all one’s torments, concealed
The evilly compounded, vital I
And made it fresh in a world of white,
A world of clear water, brilliant-edged,
Still one would want more, one would need more,
More than a world of white and snowy scents.

III
There would still remain the never-resting mind,
So that one would want to escape, come back
To what had been so long composed.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so hot in us,
Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

Head over to Reading to the Core where I'm sure you'll get a full dose of spring poetry!



Moss Graffiti

Yesterday I featured a some of the landscaping design books we have in our collection. Today, I'm going to direct you to a project I found online for creating "moss graffiti." In essence it is creating a paint-like substance from living moss, and using it to decorate outdoor walls and other spaces. I think it's totally amazing and just had to share it with you; click here. Here's a photo of what a completed project might look like:


Now, to tie this into a book in our collection, I'm going to recommend a novel by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things [F GIL, AB/CD GIL, 3M ebook], a fascinating story of the adventures of a woman who studies moss! I kid you not.
Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction, into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist, but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Green Projects

Now, while you still have a month or two to plan, is a good time to investigate landscaping projects for this upcoming growing season. With the success of cable network programs such as "Curb Appeal," people have become more attuned to the outside of their home.

Before you jump right in, here are a few items to look to for projects and advice: