Tag Archives: history

Quick pick: Who Says Women Can’t be Doctors?

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Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
An introduction to the life and achievements of the first American female doctor describes the limited career prospects available to women in the early nineteenth-century, the opposition Blackwell faced while pursuing a medical education, and her pioneering medical career that opened doors for future generations of women.

Two generals and a dog

Ms. Wendy encountered this ad while enjoying Fourth of July fireworks on TV, and shared it with the rest of the Children’s Services Department:

As librarians, we all enjoyed that the letter about the dog is in the Library of Congress! (Follow the link above and click on “original document” to see it.)

When we hear a good story, one of our first thoughts is usually to ask “Is there a children’s book about this?” In this case, it turns out that there is!

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George Washington and the General’s Dog by Frank Murphy
Recounts events in the life of George Washington which focus on his fondness for animals.

Thoreau investigations

You would expect Daniel Pinkwater, author of The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, to have a quirky taste in books. If you tuned in to the radio in 2003 you might have heard him introducing a series of picture books that has a number of unusual characteristics. For one thing, they feature a main character based on writer/naturalist/philosopher Henry David Thoreau. Secondly, the main character (and everyone he interacts with) is a bear. Third, the books are illustrated in a sort of Cubist Expressionist style that you hardly ever see in children’s books.

 

 

 

This July 12, Thoreau turns 200 years old. If you want to introduce your children to his work, the library has a few books that will let children enjoy his writings in his own words:

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Henry David’s House shares selections from Walden alongside beautiful illustrations. Singing America includes two of his poems in a collection with works by other authors.

There are also several books (past the picture book level) that feature Thoreau as a hero or icon. The Dragon Tree opens with a quote from Thoreau, and imagines a magical tree with quotes from all kinds of literature on it leaves. This book was the inspiration for the architectural “trees” decorating the Children’s Services department. It’s also the eighth book in the Hall Family Chronicles, which includes

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The Mysterious Circus, in which the Halls foil a new enemy’s plan to build a Henry Thoreau theme park across from their home (with humor and magic).

It’s not too different in theme from

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The Trouble With Henry: A Tale of Walden Pond, in which Thoreau defends his beloved woods from a toothpick factory.

Moving into the modern day, we have

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Octavia Boone’s Big Questions About Life, the Universe, and Everything. Seventh-grader Octavia puzzles over lifes biggest questions when her mother seems to find the answers in a conservative Christian church, while her artist father believes the writings of Henry David Thoreau hold the key.

Kids who love humor might prefer

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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters. When Alvin‘s father takes him camping to instill a love of nature, like that of their home-town hero Henry David Thoreau, Alvin makes a new friend and learns that he can be brave despite his fear of everything.

If you want to read more about the life of Thoreau, we have several biographies. There’s also a guide in our homeschooling section called Henry David Thoreau for Kids: His Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities. Or you could follow this link to see how he invented No. 2 pencils (no, really!). Be sure to check out our display of books!

 

Happy Anniversary!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia decision!

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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko; illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.
The story of interracial couple Mildred and Richard Perry, who got married in Washington, D.C., and were arrested after they returned to Virginia, and took their legal case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jean Fritz

 

We recently got the news about the death of another favorite author, Jean Fritz. I read biographies she had written while I was in grade school (such as Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? and Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George?). We studied a more recent title, Around the World in a Hundred Years, in library school. Her most recent book was Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider. Reading the obituary, she would have been about 95 years old when it was published.

“Everything is art. Everything is politics.” (quote from Ai Weiwei)

This past weekend, my dad and I had a chance to attend Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens:
Natural State. Some of the first pieces you see when you walk into the building are large, hollow, white structures in the shapes of gods or supernatural creatures that are hanging from the ceiling.

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This is the description that goes with this collection of artworks:

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I knew Ai Weiwei was an activist, but I did not know the story about his father. It made me think of this book:

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Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang, illustrated by Greg Ruth

In the story, a boy’s father is sent to a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution in China. They make a plan to each fly a kite for the other to see at a certain time every day since they don’t have any other way to communicate. In an author’s note at the back of the book, Ji-li Jiang explains that the picture book was inspired by the personal history of a family friend. In the end, he says, “My friend’s father survived the Cultural Revolution, and my friend grew up and became a poet.”

Red Kite, Blue Kite is one of the books included in our current display for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. It includes children’s books that have received the South Asia Book Award or the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Come take a look!

Alex made something amazing!

titanic model

Alex made a model of the Titanic that won 2nd place at the science fair at Woodview Elementary School! He brought it in to display at the library. Come take a look! While you’re here, you can check out some of our books about the Titanic to learn more.