Jewish American Heritage Month is observed in May and I've selected some of my favorites to showcase, though Jewish American heritage is intrinsically linked with the history of comics stretching back to the Golden Age of Comics and the creation of Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and the Silver Age of comics and the rise of Marvel by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, among countless other examples.
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.
In honor of Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month I've put together a few of my favorite titles spotlight characters and creators of Asian and Pacific Islander descent- I even tried to select a good mix of fiction and non-fiction offerings. It's a great opportunity to branch and and try something new and learn about different cultures, mythologies and ways of life and broaden your mind and your own experiences!
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.
Women of Action!
I was thrilled when I was asked to compile a list of movies featuring strong female characters. I love movies featuring women who can take control of an uncontrollable situation and get the job done. Whether it's Sarah Connors saving the fate of mankind in T2 (1991) or Annie making sure the bus never drops under 50 mph in Speed (1994), I love movies that feature strong, uncompromising female leads.
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.