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Friday, January 30, 2009

Poetry Friday--Ballistics

Billy Collins is a favorite of mine and this accounts for his third appearance in my blog! Today's post is in recognition of Ballistics [811.54 COL], the latest collection by Collins.

The title poem, "Ballistics" starts thusly:
When I came across the high-speed photograph
of a bullet that had just pierced a book--
the pages exploding with the velocity--

I forgot all about the marvels of photography
and began to wonder which book
the photographer had selected for the shot.

Leave it to Collins to get you thinking about which books you'd like to see pierced by the impact of a bullet! (I can think of quite a few that I had had great expectations for, but upon reading, found to be as dull as dirt!)

Collins decides upon a book by another poet, a man who is full of literary affectation ("that special poet's hat he loves to wear"). In three short stanzas we realize that Collins has no use for pedestrian poets.

Ballistics, the collection, is a bit hard on other poets, as also seen in, "The Poems of Others."
Just his morning, one approached me like a possum,
snout twitching, impossible to ignore.
Another looked out of the water at me like an otter.

Ballistics seems to display a little less humor and a bit more concern with mortality than his other collections--not that that's bad! All in all, it's a collection worth reading and absorbing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Let's start off with a little video, shall we?

Wasn't that cute? I'll bet it also got you thinking, didn't it? Perhaps it's something you'd like to share with your kids to start a discussion about waste, trash, and recycling?

Our children's room has some "trashy" books for your kids to explore if they're interested in pursuing the topic!

Barraclough, Sue. Recycling Materials. [J 363.72 BAR]

Showers, Paul. Where Does the Garbage Go? [JP SHO]

Stadler, Alexander. Trash Crisis on Earth! [J STA]

Wallace, Nancy Elizabeth. Recycle Every Day! [JP WAL]

Zimmerman, Andrea. Trashy Town. [JP ZIM]

And some "trashy" reading for you, too:

Baird, Lori. Don't Throw It Out: [Recycle, Renew, and Reuse To Make Things Last]. [628.4458 BAI]

Brummet, Dave. Trash Talk: An Inspirational Guide to Saving Time and Money Through Better Waste and Resource Management. [363.7285 BRU]

Grossman, Elizabeth. High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health. [363.7287 GRO]

Lopez, Steve. Sunday Macaroni Club. [F LOP]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yesterday was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 253rd birthday! His music sure has aged well, hasn't it! In his short life, Mozart wrote more than 600 pieces of music, including symphonies, operas, and choral music. Amazing!

Mozart is well-represented in our collection. We have musical recordings such as his Requiem in D Minor [CD CLASSICAL MOZ], The Marriage of Figaro (Nozzi di Figaro) in a package that contains the complete opera, plus a disk with background information [AB/CD 782.1 MOZ], and Classics for Kids: Mozart for Toddlers [CD CHILDREN MOZ].

We also have the wonderful Academy Award winning film, Amadeus [DVD AMA] to provide you with an entertaining and profoundly disturbing look at the life of Mozart, and a picture book version of Mozart's life in Play, Mozart, Play! by Peter Sis [JP SIS].

I found an internet site (one of many) where, if you're a musician, you can find copies of sheet music ready for you to print off and place on your music stand.

John Updike R.I.P.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's the Awards Season

In January, beside the Globe Awards and the SAG Awards, there are also awards given for outstanding books for children and teens. Yesterday was the day the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Awards were announced, along with the Coretta Scott King, and several other awards. The complete list can be found on the American Library Association's website.

We did fairly well in 2008 and ordered many of the titles that went on to receive awards.

Newbery Award Winner: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman [J GAI]
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But, if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...

Caldecott Award Winner (best illustrated): The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes [JP SWA].
A spare, patterned text and glowing pictures explore the origins of light that make a house a home in this bedtime book for young children. Naming nighttime things that are both comforting and intriguing to preschoolers—a key, a bed, the moon—this timeless book illuminates a reassuring order to the universe.

Beth Krommes is a New Hampshire resident to whom we offer a "Hearty Congratulations!"

Coretta Scott King Award Winner: We Are the Ship: The Story of the Negro Baseball League by Kadir Nelson [J796.357 NEL].
The story of Negro League baseball is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is New Year's Day in China, and all over the world where people of Chinese descent live. It is the year 4027 and this new year is the year of the ox (or water buffalo). There are 12 animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac and every 12th year in the cycle belongs to the ox. (I was born in the year of the ox several dozen years ago!)

Celebrate the new year by reading about Chinese culture. Start with these:

Gong, Rosemary. Good Luck Life: The Essential Guide to Chinese American Celebrations and Culture. [394.2089 GON]

Lin, Grace. Bringing in the New Year. [JP LIN]

So, Yan-Kit. Yan-Kit's Classic Chinese Cookbook. [641.5941 SO]

Young, Ed. Voices of the Heart. [YA 179.9 YOU]

Our children's room will be celebrating the holiday next Saturday. Bring the the whole family!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Poetry Friday--Ice is Nice, part 2

Yesterday I spoke of winter's icy fingers, a.k.a. icicles. Today I want to share with you how someone else sees the loveliness in winter ice. Here's a stanza from "Year's End," by Richard Wilbur:
I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
And held in ice as dancers in a spell
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,
They seemed their own most perfect monument.
Read the rest here.

Don't you love the line, "And held in ice as dancers in a spell"?

Photo by withrow

To read more of Richard Wilbur's work, borrow New and Collected Poems [811 WIL].

Stop by Laura Salas' blog for the Poetry Friday Round-Up where I'm sure they'll be other seasonal poems shared!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ice is Nice

This is the view out one of the Library's back windows. The icicles are magical, and when the sun hits them, they glow. But, be very careful! They can be dangerous. They can put an eye out, right, Jane?

There are some positive things about ice though--ice skating, ice hockey, ice boating, ice climbing, just to name a few! Visit our nonfiction sections for these books covering icy sports:

Davidson, John. Hockey for Dummies. [796.962 DAV]

Foeste, Aaron. Ice Skating Basics. [J 796.91 FOE]

Luebben, Craig. How to Ice Climb! [796.9 LUE]

Nordin, Hans. Ice Fishing. [799.122 NOR]

Stark, Peter. Winter Adventure: A Complete Guide to Winter Sports. [796.9 STA]

Finally, I'd like to share this picture book with you, Diamond in the Snow by Jonathan Emmett [JP EMM]. This simple book is a celebration of the wonderment of childhood. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Little Manilow Here and There Isn't Too Terrible

Here's a question for you--what do these CDs have in common?

Barney. Barney's Favorites. [CD CHILDREN BAR]

Beethoven, Ludwig van. Ode an die Freiheit: Ode to freedom: Symphonie No. 9, op. 125. [CD CLASSICAL BEE]

Crosby, Bing. Bing's Gold Records. [CD MALE VOCALIST CRO]

Manilow, Barry. The Essential Barry Manilow. [CD MALE VOCALIST MAN]

Nelson, Willie. Stardust. [CD COUNTRY NEL]

Answer: May at some point be used as instruments of torture (or pleasurable listening depending upon your point of view)! You'll have to click here to find out more.

Photo by Matthew Staver, Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day!

A day for new beginnings!

Today Barack Obama takes the oath of office of the president of the United States. The oath is written into the Constitution:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Short and sweet, but oh, so full of responsibility--to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution." Nothing else.

Perhaps it's again time to take a look at our Constitution. It's available online here. Read it. It's not that long. If you don't understand it, we have a number of explanatory items for you to explore, including many children's books. I always recommend starting in the children's section first. Children's writers do a fine job of reducing complex concepts to more simply understood ones. Look in J 342.73. In the adult section, The U.S. Constitution: A Primary Source Investigation into the Fundamental Law of the United States by Heather Moehn [342.73 MOE] will put the Constitution into its historical context.

We must remember also, that it is up to us to hold our president's feet to the fire on preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution!

The swearing in begins at noon, and, I'm sure, will be rebroadcast many times over the next few days. If you'd like to compare Obama's inaugural address to those of his predecessors, the speeches are all collected here.

Bits and pieces of presidential speeches since the time of Calvin Coolidge can be heard at the NPR website.

I hope you'll join me in wishing President Obama all the best in his term as our president!

Finally, here's a little brother to make you smile:

Monday, January 19, 2009


The Library is closed today in celebration of Martin Luther King Day.

Yesterday, on the same spot as Dr. King gave his famous "I Have a Dream Speech," festivities kicking off the inauguration of our first African-American president took place. We've come so far!

A CNN poll found that "More than two-thirds of African-Americans believe Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision for race relations has been fulfilled." A reason to rejoice, but also a reason to keep striving, if one-third still believe King's vision has not been realized.

The ticket to fulfilling the dream is through education. Teach our children not to repeat the hatred and injustice of history and to embrace the words of the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Start by reading this book with your children--March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World [J 323 FAR]by Christine King Farris. Then pick up Civil Liberties by Scott Gillam [J 323 GIL] for a discussion of our liberties and the documents that uphold them in the U.S.

Have a great day!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Poetry Friday--Your Dawn

Demonstration in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King day, and to celebrate the inauguration of our next president, Barack Obama, I offer up a poem by Langston Hughes:

Did you ever walk into a firehose
With the water turned up full blast?
Did you ever walk toward police guns
When each step might be your last?
Did you ever stand up in the face of snarling dogs
And not move as the dogs came?
Did you ever feel the tear gas burn
Your day, your night, your dawn?
Your dawn
When the water's a rainsbow hue,
Your dawn
When the guns are no longer aimed at you,
Your dawn
When the cops forget their jails,
Your dawn
When the police dogs wag their tails,
Your dawn
When the tear-gas canisters are dry,
Your dawn
When you own the star in the sky,
Your dawn
When the atom bomb is yours--
Your dawn
When you have the keys to all doors--
Your dawn
Will you ever forget your dawn?
Read more of Langston Hughes' poetry in The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes [811 HUG].

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ernest Hemingway

Kurious Kitty is torn in regard to Ernest Hemingway--she appreciates the man for his love of cats, but, she's not too crazy about his work. That's not to say she doesn't think he was a good writer, just that she's not interested in many of the manly-man topics he wrote about. (Don't you hate people who refer to themselves in the third person! I promise, I won't do it again--at least not in this post.)

Hemingway led an interesting life that found him in Africa, France, Cuba, Spain, as well as the United States at different times during his life. Visit our biography section [B HEM] for two of Hemingway's memoirs, Green Hills of Africa, which covers his hunting safari in Africa, and A Moveable Feast, which is a look into Paris during the 1920s.

One of Hemingway's sons, Gregory (in photo at the top), wrote about his father in Papa: A Personal Memoir [813.5 HEM].

Our fiction section [F HEM] carries more than a dozen Hemingway novel and short story titles. We even have short stories of Ernest Hemingway in Chinese!--Hai Ming Wei Duan Pian Xiao Shuo [CHINESE F HEM].

Recently, I read that many Hemingway papers and photographs were rescued from his home in Cuba. They had been headed toward almost certain destruction from heat, dampness, and insects. A miraculous cooperative measure between the U.S. and Cuba has saved the papers and photos, and digitized them for scholarly study.

Did you know that 45 minutes away from us is a collection of Hemingway's papers? You'll find it at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. (The photos found on today's post are from there.) Make a point of visiting the JFK Library one day soon for a look at
the most comprehensive body of Hemingway material currently available in one place.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I attended a meeting this morning at which a representative of EBSCO demonstrated some database basics (EBSCO Host and NoveList) for our group.

If you're not familiar with our online databases, you don't know what you're missing! You can find the link to them on our website on the lefthand side of the page. You'll need to visit the library to pick up the secret passwords! (We love visitors!)

One of the most frequent questions we get is, "I just read [title] of the [fill-in- the-blank] series, can you me what the next book is?" This information is very easy to find using the NoveList database.

For instance you've read The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lilian Braun [MYS BRA]. You want to know what's next in the mystery series. Go to NoveList. From there you can type in the series title "Cat Who" (as you type those two words, you'll find "Cat Who mysteries" pops up--click on it). Make sure the search radio button is set to "series," check off "adults," and then click "search."

You will be given a list of the titles in series order where you find that the next book is The Cat Who Turned On and Off [MYS BRA]. Also shown is the standard publication information, and a short summary of the book. If you particularly like that author, you can click on "Author Read-Alikes" for other writers you may want to explore.

Say you're one of those people who has a hard time remembering authors and titles, but you know you read a book about a girl who looks down from heaven at the life she left behind. You remember that the book has a blue cover! You would like to recommend it to a friend, but you can't remember the title. Go to NoveList, put "girl looking down from heaven" in the search box, switch the radio button to "Describe a plot," click "search" and see what you get. The first book that comes up has, ta-dah, a blue cover and is called The Lovely Bones. That's it! That's the one you wanted to tell your friend about. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebbold [F SEB].

You can spend hours browsing NoveList--we encourage you to do so!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Library as Weapon?

Here's the headline: "Salinas Turns to Books to Curb Gang Violence".
The mayor of Salinas is pushing a literacy campaign that would make the city the first in the country to require every student to have a library card.

"The libraries are really one of our best weapons on the prevention side to make sure we get as many young people out to the right start in life," Donohue said.

Whoa! What's wrong with this picture? I'm not saying I'm against promoting reading, but I think that requiring a student to own a library card doesn't mean he/she is going to USE the card. And, why equate libraries with "weapons"? It scares me that we have to use violence metaphors to get a point across. (I also find it ironic that on the webpage, under the story, is a section with videos and the first one that caught my eye? "Central Coast Libraries May Fall Victim To The Budget Crisis." Strive to get people to read, yet cut funding! And, again with the violence metaphor!)

Here are a few items we have in our library that may be entice a student to visit the library rather than hang out on the streets (and yes, there are some violent offerings, but I'm not in la-la land as far as teen interests are concerned!):

Bourne Ultimatum. [DVD BOU]

Coldplay. Viva la Vida. [CD ROCK COL]

Conley, Kevin. The Full Burn: On the Set, At the Bar, Behind the Wheel, and Over the Edge with Hollywood Stuntmen. [YA 791.4302]

The Gilmore Girls (seasons 1-7). [DVD GIL]

Green, Terisa. The Tattoo Encyclopedia: A Guide to Choosing Your Tattoo. [391.65 GRE]

Gurstelle, William. Building Bots: Designing and Building Warrior Robots. [YA 796.15 GUR]

Hopkins, Cathy. Teen Queens and Has-Beens. [YA HOP]

Huebner, Mark. Sports Bloopers: All Star Flubs and Fumbles. [796 HUE]

I've Got This Friend Who...Advice for Teens and Their Friends on Alcohol, Drugs, Eating Disorders, Risky Behavior, and More. [Y 613.8 IVE]

McCloud, Scott. Making Comics: Storytelling
Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels
. [YA 741.54 MCC]

My Morning Jacket. Evil Urges. [CD ROCK MY]

Roach, Mary. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. [YA 129 ROA]

After exploring our offerings, students may decide to get cards on their own, and, more importantly, to USE THEM!

Monday, January 12, 2009

And Speaking of Magnolias...

Warning: those who follow the first link in today's post should be over the age of 18! (Anyone under the age of 18 probably doesn't know what Bromo Seltzer is. Actually, that's okay, because anyone under the age of 70 probably doesn't know who Turhan Bey is!* So, maybe anyone under the age of 70 should beware.)

Were we speaking of magnolias? No, but we'll get to them in a minute.

I'm sure you've seen Mystery on PBS. Its opening animated sequence was drawn by the late Edward Gorey. Gorey had a delightful sense of gallows humor.

We have several books in our collection both written and illustrated by Gorey including, The Unstrung Harp, Or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel [813 GOR], and The Headless Bust: A Melancholy Meditation on the False Millennium [811.54 GOR], which was published in 1999 prior to the new millennium. There are also several books in our children's section that contain Gorey's illustrations such as You Read to Me, I'll Read to You, a book of poetry written by John Ciardi [J 811 CIA].

One book of Gorey's that we don't have is The Recently Deflowered Girl: The Right Thing to Say on Every Dubious Occasion by Hyacinthe Phypps (a.k.a Gorey). The book is online, probably in violation of copyright, but perhaps not. I'm sure Gorey would have loved to find his work enjoyed by so many through the internet.

Okay, yes I sort of mentioned flowers in the "deflowering," but I haven't mentioned magnolias. So where's the tie-in? At the Edward Gorey House, of course! I once visited the house in Yarmouthport, MA, and on the grounds I saw one of the largest magnolia trees I've ever seen in my life! So, see, everything is related, and we have spoken of magnolias!

The next time you're on the Cape, make sure you visit the Edward Gorey House. It is full of Gorey's work and collections. Be prepared to spend hours browsing.

*Turhan Bey

Friday, January 09, 2009

Poetry Friday--Mark Doty

The 2008 National Book Award for Poetry went to Mark Doty for Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems [811.54 DOT]. (Listen to his acceptance speech here.) Fire to Fire contains new poems, and ones culled from his previous books of poetry (seven of them!).

His poem, "The House of Beauty," is included in this latest volume--an appropriate choice since "The House of Beauty" deals with a fire in a beauty salon. You can watch Doty reading "The House of Beauty" below:

I think this stanza is particularly fine:

In the dark recess beside the sink
--where heads lay back to be laved
under the perfected heads rowed along the walls--
the hopeful photographs of possibility darken,
now that the House of Beauty is burning.

The poetry of Mark Doty is new to me, but not for long!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Brassica Oleracea (In Other Words, Brussels Sprouts)

Photo by Esteban Cavrico

I can count on one hand the number of times in my life that I've eaten Brussels sprouts! I'm ready to try again. I've been told that they are delicious if they are prepared well (that is, not boiled to death).

As I've mentioned here in the past, we have a gazillion cookbooks, so I browsed through the indexes (indices?) of several cookbooks only to find that at least half of the ones I looked in didn't list Brussels sprouts at all! Perhaps those cookbook writers never had them prepared correctly?

Neither of the "all-American" vegetarian cookbooks that I checked listed them. Does it have something to do with their foreign sounding name? Our famous founding father, Thomas Jefferson, is reported to have introduced B. sprouts to the U.S. in 1812--we've had a lot of time to learn to cook them properly!

The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson [641.3 DAV] remarks, "The flavour of sprouts, properly cooked, is delicate and pleasing." So, why don't we eat more Brussels sprouts?

Supposedly they are very healthy. One serving is rich in vitamins K and C--much more than 100% of the daily requirement of each. They are also a good source of plant phytonutrients, which may protect against cancer.

What is the "proper" way to cook Brussels sprouts? Of the cookbooks that provided basic cooking instructions, almost all recommended simmering, steaming, or braising. Many recommended a dijon mustard sauce to finish.

I checked Rachael Ray's website and found surprisingly few recipes for B. sprouts! A search on allrecipes.com turned up 56 recipes. It sounds like a lot of recipes, but compare the number to those for green beans (503) or tomatoes (1,912) and you'll see that we still have a long way to go until Brussels sprouts become a favorite!

We have plenty of vegetable and vegetarian/vegan cook books, so there's obviously additional browsing for me to do! Marian Morash's The Victory Garden Cookbook [641.65 MOR] seemed to have the most. With more than 800 recipes in her classic book, it would have been odd not to see an abundance of Brussels sprouts dishes!

If you have a favorite Brussels sprouts recipe, please share it in the comments section below!

Update: As I often do, I wrote this post a day ahead of time. Last night I roasted Brussels sprouts! It was simple to do. Here's the recipe I used:

  • preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  • Use olive oil to grease the bottom of a baking dish.

  • Cut off the bottoms of the sprouts, remove damaged leaves, and halve.

  • Place sprouts cut side down in the baking dish.

  • Drizzle with olive oil.

  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  • Sprinkle liberally with granulated sugar.

  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes, turning sprouts at least twice, until tender and a nice roasted brown color.

  • Yum!

    Wednesday, January 07, 2009

    Cinema's Exiles

    If you missed seeing Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood on PBS, you can catch it when it shows again on WGBH on January 9 at 4:00 am. I can't imagine getting up to watch something at 4 in the morning, so set your tivo/recorder if you have one. It's worth the effort. I didn't realize the extent to which the American film industry was influenced directly by German film makers.

    The Cinema's Exiles webpages are full of additional information if you'd like to learn more or to hear some of the complete interviews with the exiles.

    A name mentioned over and over again in the documentary is Billy Wilder. When I hear his name, I think of the great comedy, Some Like It Hot [DVD SOM], but he also directed numerous "heavy" films, such as Double Indemnity [DVD DOU] and Witness for the Prosecution [DVD WIT].

    Some of his other films include my favorite, The Apartment [DVD APA] with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine--a masterful blend of comedy and tragedy; Ninotchka [DVD NIN]; the original Sabrina [DVD SAB] with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart; and The Seven Year Itch [DVD SEV].

    Wilder was interviewed by fellow director Cameron Crowe
    in 1998. The interviews were published in Conversations with Wilder [791.43 WIL]. The book is generously illustrated with photos and stills from Wilder's films. Here's an insight into Wilder's work on The Apartment:
    When we did The Apartment, I went around Central Park West and I looked at various apartments. We just made a combination of things. Except that then I started collecting Thonet furniture. It's an Austrian firm that specialized in bentwood. This guy Mr. Thonet and his brothers, they found out that with certain trees, you can bend and put them in a press and leave then there for a week of so, and when you take the press off, it's a bentwood chair...So you see I made the whole apartment bentwood--even the bed was bentwood.

    I never noticed the furniture before, but you can bet that the next time I watch, I'll be looking!

    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Happy Birthday, Louis Braille

    January 4, 2009 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille. Braille, as I'm sure you know, invented the method of raised dot system that enabled the blind to read.

    To read more about Braille, the man and the system, and to find links to the Louis Braille Museum, visit the American Foundation for the Blind website, or borrow one of these books:

    Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Louis Braille. [J B BRA]

    Jeffrey, Laura S. All about Braille: Reading by Touch. [J 411 JEF]

    Mellor, C. Michael. Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius. [686.282 MEL]

    To see a book in braille, we have several in our children's room, all found in the J 411 section.

    Here's a photo of one of the most famous women who benefited from Braille's reading system, Helen Keller:

    Monday, January 05, 2009

    What to Wear to a Party

    How about wearing a tiara? I'll bet no one else will be wearing one at the next party you're invited to. People barely dress up anymore, but that's a topic for another day.

    This is my second post on tiaras--who woulda thunk it? The first dealt primarily with princess items, but it also mentioned tiaras and the fun, crafty book we have called Crowns and Tiaras by Kerri Judd [YA 745.5 JUD]. Judd's book contains directions for creating your own crowning glory--from simple paper crowns to more elaborate beaded pieces.

    If you don't want to create your own, between now and the end of the month you have the opportunity to bid on a celebrity-created tiara, the proceeds from which are going to support the New York Public Library. The queen of princess stories, Meg Cabot, devotes a recent blog posting to the tiara auction. (Look for Cabot's "Princess Diaries" series in YA CAB.)

    I want to leave you with this slideshow of tiaras and crowns. The photos are a real treat!

    Tiaras and Crowns

    Friday, January 02, 2009

    Poetry Friday--New Year's Resolutions

    I for one, don't make resolutions. The simple change of the calendar isn't enough to motivate me. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, though, wrote a poem that is just chocky-block full of resolutions! And most, except for "to keep my health," are fully achievable.


    To keep my health!
    To do my work!
    To live!
    To see to it I grow and gain and give!
    Never to look behind me for an hour!
    To wait in weakness, and to walk in power;
    But always fronting onward to the light,
    Always and always facing towards the right.
    Robbed, starved, defeated, fallen, wide astray--
    On, with what strength I have!
    Back to the way!

    Gilman is best known for her story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" (found in The Charlotte Perkins Gilman Reader [F GIL]). "The Yellow Wallpaper" is studied widely in colleges as an example of feminist literature. Gilman, though, in her time, was widely known as a lecturer and social reformer. She wrote profusely, and yet, aside from "The Yellow Wallpaper," is virtually unknown today.