Showing posts from February, 2018

Reading for Black History Month

According to , it has been 399 years since 20 Black people were kidnapped in Africa and forcibly brought by a Dutch ship to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia. It has been 155 years since Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a document intended to free Black people from the institution of slavery. It has been 53 years since the Civil Rights Movement ended. It has been 9 years since Barack Obama began his two terms as president of the United States of America. The numbers cited above indicate that Black people in the United States have experienced a dramatic improvement in quality of life over the course of American history.  However, individual memoirs reflect an ongoing struggle rather than a clear path up and out of bondage. In When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir , Patrisse Khan-Cullers and Asha Bandele give voice to the persecution that Black people continue to face. It is a painful but necessary read. The histor

N.Y.C., What is it about you?

You’re big You’re loud You’re tough N.Y.C. I go years without you Then I can’t get enough (lyrics from the musical Annie ) I recently saw the local children’s theater production of Annie and was reminded of how much I love New York City and how much there is to do with children.  There is never a dull day in the city and with the long weekends, spring breaks and better weather coming you may want to start planning your next excursion to the city.  It can be a logistical challenge to get kids into the city but, once you arrive, there is an endless list of possible activities.  You can go to shows, museums, parks, or famous structures.  The trick is to pace your day with the appropriate number of snack breaks and have fun! I go to the city every chance that I get.  Above are pictures taken by me or my family of Grand Central Station, Time Square, Broadway and the Empire State Building. Before you go, be sure to check out the great resources available to you at the libr

Travel By Book

“There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away...” --Emily Dickinson Some people are globetrotters; other of us prefer to do our traveling while in an armchair, curled up in bed, or by the swimming pool. Wherever you read, there are various ways to enjoy what is often called virtual adventures: travel guides, lavishly illustrated coffee table books, and novels set in the part of the world you wish to visit. For a work of fiction to transport you to another place, the setting needs to be so vivid as to be another character. A book set in what could be Anytown, USA may have many merits, but it does not give you more than a generic setting.  I have two favorites, one old, one contemporary, which I would like to share with you. (map showing location of Egdon Heath in Hardy’s imaginary Wessex) Egdon Heath, so meticulous described in Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native , may be set in his imaginary Wessex but has its roots in real places. It is an amalgamation of th

A Slime for All Seasons

Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What about Valen-SLIME’s Day? Never heard of it? Probably because it is not a real thing, but at the Hickory Corner Branch Library, we love any excuse to make slime so of course we celebrated Valen-SLIME’s Day! We come up with slime ideas for just about every holiday and season and today I want to share some of our favorites. The Science of  So what exactly is slime? Slime is the latest craze, but it is also an awesome science experiment, especially if you make it yourself. Slime is considered to be a non-Newtonian fluid, which means that it does not follow Newton’s laws of viscosity because it exhibits properties of both a liquid and a solid. Glue is a polymer, a long chain of molecules that allow it to be poured like a liquid. When an activator (borate ion in the form of borax, liquid starch or contact lens solution) is added, the molecules crosslink, forming strands, and become the stretchy slime that we love. There are quite a few ways to

Painted Rocks

There has been a new movement sweeping towns across America spreading love and smiles along the way.  Random acts of kindness are being encountered through painted rocks.  People find smooth rocks, paint them with a picture or a quotation, and then hide them around town for others to find.  Painting, hiding and finding rocks is a fun hobby that gives everyone a chance to get involved. Because of the popularity of painting rocks, there are many Facebook groups dedicated to the painted rock movement.  These groups help guide, support and share in the fun.  On the back of each rock are the names of the artists and groups they belong to.  When a rock is found, the finder can post a picture of the rock on the Facebook page of the painters’ group. Then the rock is ready to be hidden again for another person to find. This one small, tiny gesture can brighten someone’s world and bring happiness to their day. The rock designs are unique. They include flowers, pets, cartoon characters as

Short Reads for a Short Month

Hefty tomes about a character’s journey to self-realization and big, fat coming-of-age tales or generational sagas can be 700-plus page novels that are engrossing reads and a pleasure to sink your teeth into, but they also require a huge commitment of time. For most of us, time seems to be in short supply these days so why not read a short book instead? Think of the sense of accomplishment you will feel when you finish a book in just a couple of days or even in one sitting! Why not celebrate the shortest month of the year by reading a few short novels? I do not mean short stories but short novels - well written books that pack quite a punch in just a few pages. Do not be misled by the brevity of these short novels. Each of the books mentioned below are meaningful and enthralling reads, in spite of being less than 200 pages. Some of the books mentioned here have been written in the mid-nineteen hundreds but are worth reading. I have thrown in some classics – never fear, they are all sho