Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Boston Book Festival

October is a busy month with harvest festivals and other events planned for before the cold weather sets in. Here's another event that is happening this month, October 23-24--the Boston Book Festival. The annual festival takes place in the Boston Public Library area with speakers appearing at the library, Trinity Church, vendor exhibits at Copley Square, and activities at other venues.

For a listing of the events, click here.

Here are a short list of some of the presenters. I've also added one or two of each presenter's books in case you like to read the work before attending the festival.

M. T. Anderson, author of Whales on Stilts [J MYS AND] and Feed [YA AND, also ebook]

Margaret Atwood, who wrote the modern classic The Handmaid's Tale [F ATW, also ebook]

The award winning young adult writer, Libba Bray: Going Bovine [YA BRA, also ebook] and A Great and Terrible Beauty [YA BRA, also ebook].

Bill Clegg, a novelist whose Did You Ever Have A Family [F CLE, also ebook], has been recently released to great acclaim.

Edwidge Danticat, born in Haiti, and the author of many novels incorporating the culture and history of the island. Her Breath, Eyes, Memory [F DAN] was an Oprah Book Club selection.

Neil Gaiman, who has written books for all audiences--from children to adults. Two of his works are The Graveyard Book, a Newbery Award winner [J GAI, J AB/CD GAI, also ebook], and The Ocean at the End of the Lane [F GAI, AB/CD GAI, also ebook].

Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the author of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End [362.175 GAW, AB/CD 362.175 GAW, also ebook].

Patricia Reilly Giff, the writer of hundreds of books for children, including the ever popular "Kids of the Polk Street School" series [J GIF].

Lauren Holmes, whose book Barbara the Slut and Other People [F HOL, also ebook] has to have the most arresting title of this past summer's crop of books.

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of Station Eleven [F MAN], one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in the past year.

There are dozens more writers and media people who will be presenting at the festival, and, in case you're fearing the cost of attending will be astronomical, fear not, all daytime events are free. You read that right, FREE! Of course, donations and sponsorships are welcomed.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Wooly Mammoth

Photo by Daryl Marshke for University of Michigan Photography.

Recently the remains of a woolly mammoth were found in Michigan. The animal died between 11,000 and 15,000 years ago. And, the amazing thing is, the carcass shows signs of having been butchered. Imagine eating woolly mammoth!

Mammoth: The Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant by Richard Stone [569.67 STO] tells the story of an international team of scientists who hunted woolly mammoth remains in Siberia. It looks like there are more mammoths waiting to be discovered!

Monday, October 05, 2015

Today Is World Teacher Day!

World Teacher Day
Infographic courtesy Grammerly.

We're celebrating teachers today. Our future lies in their hands. It's an awesome responsibility!

Let's look at a few fictional teachers found in our children's and teen's collections;

Brown, Peter. My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not). [JP BRO]

Coville, Bruce. My Teacher Fried My Brains. [J COV]

Houston, Gloria. My Great-Aunt Arizona. [JP HOU]

Jones, Patrick. Bridge. [YA JON]

Marzollo, Jean. Shanna's Teacher Show. [JP MAR]

Montgomery, L. M. Anne of Avonlea. [J AB/CD MON, also ebook]

Peck, Richard. The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts. [YA PEC]

Polacco, Patricia. The Junkyard Wonders. [JP POL]

Pulver, Robin. Mrs. Toggle's Beautiful Blue Shoe. [JP PUL]

Winters, Ben H. The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman. [J WIN]

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Poetry Friday--"The Owl and the Pussycat"

I cannot resist sharing this video!

And of course, I couldn't help thinking of the Edward Lear poem:
The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
    In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
    Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
    And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
        You are,
        You are!
    What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
    How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
    But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
    To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
    With a ring at the end of his nose,
        His nose,
        His nose,
    With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
    By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
        The moon,
        The moon,
    They danced by the light of the moon.

Not surprisingly, we have this much-loved classic poem in many forms at the library. Two illustrated versions, one of them by James Marshall in his easily recognizable style [JP LEA]. An audio version found on Vintage Children's Favourites [CD CHILDREN VIN], which has been "transcribed from original 78s." And in numerous poetry collections including The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis [808.81 BES].

Have a great weekend, but not before stopping by My Juicy Little Universe for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

October Is National Stop Bullying Month!

I hope by now that everyone is aware that we have bullying problem we have here in the United States. Bullying isn't restricted to schools or the playgrounds. There are workplace bullies, cyberbullies and internet trolls, and even politicians who think it is okay to disrespect others by shouting them down!

To learn more, the Library has these materials that cover the topic for both children and adults, including many for parents and teachers to use:

The only way to begin to change the culture is to first acknowledge the problem, secondly, learn to recognize instances of bullying (some of it is subtle), and thirdly to work to eliminate it. Let's declare every month “Stop Bullying Month!”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's Banned Books Week! Part 2

Yesterday we looked at the top ten challenged books for the year 2014. It seems that most challenged books these days are those deemed inappropriate, by their challengers, for young readers. Today, we're going to look at the "Top 10 Banned Books Of The 20th Century" as compiled by Read the Smiths: American Lifestyle Magazine. These books are all novels that were written for adults. How many have you read?

  1. 1984, by George Orwell. [F ORW, AB/CD ORW, also ebook]

  2. Ulysses, by James Joyce. [F JOY]

  3. The Naked Lunch, by William Burroughs. [ebook]

  4. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller. [ebook]

  5. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger. [F SAL]

  6. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. [SF BRA, AB/CD SF BRA, also ebook]

  7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. [F LEE, AB/CD LEE, also ebook)

  8. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. [F VON, AB/CD VON, also ebook]

  9. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence. [F LAW]

  10. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. [AB/CD STE, also ebook]

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's Banned Books Week!

It's "Banned Books Week," which is an annual celebration of libraries, publishers, booksellers, and individuals of our right to read whatever we want to read! Think of it as an extension of our right to free speech.

Few books are actually "banned," but quite a number are challenged each year in an attempt to ban them. Here's the American Library Association's list of the "Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2014." How many have you read?

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. [YA ALE, YA AB/CD ALE, also ebook]

  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. [YA CX SAT]

  3. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. [JP RIC]

  4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison. [F MOR, also ebook]

  5. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris. [J 613.9 HAR]

  6. Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

  7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. [F HOS, AB/CD HOS, also ebook

  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. [YA CHB]

  9. A Stolen Life: A Memoir, by Jaycee Dugard. [B DUG, also AB/CD B DUG]

  10. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier. [YA CX TEL]

To learn more about the ALA's lists of challenged books, click here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Confucius!

On the 27th day of the 10th moon in the 22nd year of Kuke Hsiang of Lu the teacher-philosopher, Confucius was born. That would be September 28, 551 BCE.

When I was a child, fortune cookies often came with one of Confucius's sayings. An example is, "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others," which is a variation on the "golden rule." Another is, "Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity."

Confucianism is a semi-religious group of those who follow the teachings of Confucius, but do not worship him as a god. To learn more, read Confucianism by Louise Chipley Slavicek [181 SLA].

To find out more about the life of Confucius we have two books in our children's section, Confucius: The Golden Rule by Russell Freedman [J B CON] and Confucius by Russell Roberts [J B CON].