Tag Archives: authors

Remembering a poet

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A Girl Called Vincent: The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay by Krystyna Poray Goddu

125 years ago, in 1892, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay was born.  2017 also marks 100 years since her first book of poetry was published.  She is especially remembered for her love poems for adults, but a few of her works are included in our children’s poetry collections.

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A Family of Poems includes “First Fig” (which starts with the famous line, “My candle burns at both ends”) and “Second Fig” (neither of which is about figs).

Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child’s Book of Poems includes “From a Very Little Sphinx.”

Singing America: Poems that Define a Nation includes “Counting Out Rhyme,” which describes trees in lyrical language.

The poem of hers I remember best is The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver, which I first read in high school when I was just learning to play the harp.

 

 

 

Quick Pick: The Tree in the Courtyard

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The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window by Jeff Gottesfeld, illustrated by Peter McCarty

“The tree in the courtyard was a horse chestnut. Her leaves were green stars; her flowers foaming cones of white and pink. Seagulls flocked to her shade. She spread roots and reached skyward in peace.

“The tree watched a little girl, who played and laughed and wrote in a diary. When strangers invaded the city and warplanes roared overhead, the tree watched the girl peek out of the curtained window of the annex. It watched as she and her family were taken away—and when her father returned after the war, alone.

“The tree died the summer Anne Frank would have turned eighty-one, but its seeds and saplings have been planted around the world as a symbol of peace. Its story, and Anne’s story, are beautifully told and illustrated in this powerful picture book.” -Random House

Tu Bi-Shevat (also spelled Tu Bishvat or Tu B’Shevat) is a Jewish holiday sometimes called the New Year of the Trees or “Jewish Arbor Day.” This year it begins at sundown on February 10. It is a time to appreciate trees (and plant them, if you live where the climate is right at this time of year). You can click on links above to see other stories and information about the holiday in our collection.

Big Birthday on the Prairie

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Author Laura Ingalls Wilder was born 150 years ago on February 7, 1867.  You can read a couple of reflections at the New York Times and Shelf Awareness.  Stay tuned for a special program about Laura Ingalls Wilder this summer!

African American History, Library History

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Something unusual happened at the Youth Media Awards on Monday.  A single book, March: Book Three (written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell), won 4 major awards:

  • Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, recognizing an African-American author and of outstanding books for children and young adults
  • Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children
  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

The book already won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in November.  You might have heard Representative John Lewis give an emotional acceptance speech, in which he recalled “I remember in 1956 when I was 16 years old, going down to the public library, trying to get library cards, and we were told that the libraries were whites-only and not for coloreds…To come here and receive this award — it’s too much.”

The history of library services for African Americans has included both exclusion and inclusion.  Here are some books (for a slightly younger audience than March) that help tell the story:

Finding Lincoln
Finding Lincoln by Ann Malaspina
In segregated 1950s Alabama, Louis cannot use the public library to research a class assignment, but one of the librarians lets him in after hours and helps him find the book that he needs. Includes an author’s note with historical information about library segregation in the South.

Goin' Somplace Special
Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack
In segregated Nashville during the 1950s, a young African American girl endures a series of indignities and obstacles to get to the public library, one of the few integrated places in the city.

Richard Wright and the Library Card
Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller (also available in Spanish)
Based on a scene from Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, in which the seventeen-year-old African-American borrows a white man’s library card and devours every book as a ticket to freedom.

Ron's Big Mission
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden
One summer day in 1959, nine-year-old Ron McNair, who dreams of becoming a pilot, walks into the Lake City, South Carolina public library and insists on checking out some books, despite the rule that only white people can have library cards. Includes facts about McNair, who grew up to be an astronaut.

Remembering Nat Hentoff

Wendy asked me the other day if I had heard that the author Nat Hentoff died.  I didn’t realize at first that this was the same person I heard memorialized on the radio as “an outspoken advocate of free speech and a prolific jazz writer.” The old, recorded interview didn’t even mention his success as a young adult author among his other accomplishments.

Back in 1984, children at Fountaindale had an opportunity to vote for their favorite author during the Summer Reading Program. Authors were invited to write to the children and make their case for the children’s votes.  Here is Nat Hentoff’s response, on his Village Voice notepaper:

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It reads, “I am honored to have been selected as one of Fountaindale Corners’ favorite authors. Here is my campaign speech: I write, first of all, to widen my own imagination because the act of fiction is the act of constant surprise. Then, I try to surprise my readers into breaking out of their familiar responses to themselves by feeling what it is to be inside other people’s heads + vulnerabilities + strengths. I write to spread the sense of wonder at how various we all are.”

If you search his name in our catalog, some of his young adult fiction is available from another Pinnacle library. You will also see notes on many jazz albums and opinion pieces on issues important to him.

Remembering Joseph Medicine Crow

You may have seen the news yesterday about the death of Joseph Medicine Crow. He was described as “the Crow’s last war chief… an activist, an author, a Medal of Freedom recipient and a vital chronicler of the history of his tribe.” He fought in World War II and “heard stories of the Battle of Little Bighorn from people who were there.” He was the first Crow to earn a master’s degree (in anthropology), and became the tribal historian and anthropologist.

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Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond by Joseph Medicine Crow with Herman Viola

Couting Coup, one of his many books, won the 2008 American Indian Youth Literature Award.  Reviewers praised his autobiography for its “absorbing, humorous style” and as an “informative yet entertaining read” that “brings the past to life.”

Here are some other books available in our library system that he wrote or contributed to:

From the Heart of the Crow Country: The Crow Indians’ Own Stories by Joseph Medicine Crow (a book for adults)

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Brave Wolf and the Thunderbird story by Joe Medicine Crow; illustrations by Linda R. Martin

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The Earth Made New: Plains Indian Stories of Creation by Paul Goble; foreword by Joe Medicine Crow

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Custer’s Last Battle: Red Hawk’s Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25, 1876 told & illustrated by Paul Goble; foreword by Joe Medicine Crow

Some writer!

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/496699113/496755024