Memorial Day this year is May 31. It signals the beginning of summer. (Yay for warm weather after this cold winter!) Its origin goes back to post-Civil War 1866 in Waterloo, New York. At that time, the commemorative day was called "Decoration Day". Businesses closed and people visited cemeteries to decorate with flowers and mementos the graves of fallen soldiers in their honor. In 1971 the day became a federal holiday observing all soldiers who have died in active military service.
Laura Noble's blog
With the decline in physical media and the rise of the digital format, so goes how we consume our books. Thankfully, the library provides digital resources for both our entertainment and educational literary needs. Overdrive, funded by the Huntsville Library Foundation, serves as an online library where you can check out digital copies of library books for a set amount of time. Currently, patrons check out up to 10 eBooks or audiobooks at a time and place up to 10 holds on items not currently available. A newer addition to our library, Hoopla Digital allows library users to check out not just ebooks, but audiobooks, movies, tv episodes, and music without having to wait on an available copy! Users can check out up to 5 titles total per month. What's so great about using these digital sites is that you can download the titles to your computer, phone, or Ipad using the apps.
I may not be a teen anymore, but that won't stop me from reading books marketed to them. Young adult books often get a bad reputation, in my opinion, by people outside the teen demographic. But since their skyrocket to popularity in the early 2000s, teen books continue to be at the forefront of inclusivity, creativity, and mindfulness for the world around them. I've included in this blog ten of the most influential, popular, and well-written YA books to have been published since the year 2000. This, of course, does not include all of the titles I think are great. I'd end up writing a whole book on all the titles that I'd want to include, but alas, this is a blog and I'm no writer (just an avid reader). Also, this list is in no particular order of the books I think hold the most influence or popularity.
What do you think of when you think of poetry? It can mean a variety of things to different people, but generally speaking poetry is a work of literature expressing emotion through the use of distinct rhythm and style. Learning to express emotion is not often prioritized and why many of us (me included) have such a hard time understanding and enjoying poetry. Instead, we are told as kids to dissect a poem for hidden meanings and intellectually find its message. But what if we approached poetry differently? Many of the first books read to us as children are rhythmic poetry. Picture books are often in verse. Their purposes are not only to help kids learn, but to emotionally engage with a story's ideas through rhyme. As children get older, rhyming seems to be emphasized quite a bit less in favor of other means of learning.
Music fans rejoice! April is Jazz appreciation month and it's time to spend some quality time with the syncopated rhythms of Billie Holiday, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and more. As you listen to the distinctly unique sounds of jazz, there are many library books to learn about these musicians and the history of jazz as an American export. For an overview of the time period, kids will enjoy checking out What Were the Roaring Twenties? The book describes many aspects of American life during the decade including not just music, but politics, fashion, and the Stock market crash that concluded the decade.
St. Patrick's Day holds a special place in my heart. It's my birthday! So, I'm a little biased towards it. However, it's also a day that many of Scots-Irish descent celebrate their heritage. The history of St Patrick's Day goes back to 1631 when the Roman Catholic Church created a "Feast Day" to commemorate St Patrick's death date 1200 years prior. If you're unsure of what all St Patrick did and what the culture of the time was like, check out some of the following library books! Click on the following link to find a list of the titles in your library catalog: St Patrick's Day and the Celts.
Are your kids history buffs? Maybe, maybe not. For me there's so much to delve into that I could spend unreasonable amounts of time on it. Believe me, I've spent many hours in cemeteries and archives soaking up all that info! Much more than just dates in a textbook, history is made up of family dramas, battles and wars, advancements in science, math, philosophy, etc. I think there's a lot to learn from, but also to appreciate. Now, if your kiddos are into personal stories of individuals throughout history (as the popularity of Hamilton seems to attest to), there are certainly some budding historians among the newest generations. Maybe it's that they love George Washington as much as I do or anything on Madame C.J. Walker is automatically added to the "want-to-read"shelf. Clearly there are a few people throughout history who really pique our interests.
I didn't know Random Acts of Kindness Day, which happens on February 17 this year, even existed until very recently. Of course, I know there are people who choose to be kind every day, but I had no idea it was an official day! So I found out more. As any modern person does, I searched online. Discovering the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation was pretty exciting for me! On their website, the Foundation shares tons of resources including real-life stories, downloadable materials, and many celebrations of kindness you can see and do in every day life. This got me thinking of the types of stories and inspirations we at the library have to offer for Random Act of Kindness Day. Of course, the library has many materials to choose from. However, I am including in this particular blog only children's nonfiction books.
2021 is mostly still unknown. What we do know is that this future year will be what we choose to make of it. And while we don't know all of what lies ahead of us, we have the advantage of seeing what has come before. The success and pitfalls of the past can give us the greatest insight on how to enrich our lives. February is the perfect month to take the time and look back on some of the most influential and inspiring people and ideas. Black history month allows all of us to recognize, understand, and appreciate the contributions of African-Americans over the decades. We here at your local library recommend some outstanding choices for you and your family to check out and read.