History Bits - African-American Artists

Introduce kids to African-American history through visual arts. Two books that overview African-American artists since slavery are In Praise Of Our Fathers And Our Mothers: A Black Family Treasury and Wake Up Our Souls. Three youth level biographies with color illustrations of the artist's work are Romare Bearden a collage artist; Don't Hold Me Back with poetry by Nikki Giovanni and art by Winfred Rembert; and Faith Ringgold.

If you wish to find names of African-American artists you can use our database called Biography Resource Center and use the "biographical facts search".

Booklist Editors' Choice 2006: Non-fiction

Booklist joins Library Journal, the New York Times Book Review, and Michigan Notable Books with their list of the year’s best books.

Annotations are from Booklist

Arts and Literature

Brothers, Thomas. Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans.
Exploring how a boy from the poorest of the poor became the central figure in the most significant musical development in U.S. history, Brothers reveals the uniquely deep and broad musical culture of the historically most multicultural American city.

Klinkenborg, Verlyn. Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile
Popular New York Times nature writer Klinkenborg writes with mischievous wit from the point of view of an observant and skeptical tortoise living in the garden of the eighteenth-century British curate and author Gilbert White.



Kids can have a day of winter fun at “Chillin’ at the Mills” on Saturday, January 27 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Hudson Mills Metropark. Pull a dog sled, cross-country ski, learn about winter camping and then head over to the shelter building for hot cocoa and Girl Scout cookies courtesy of the Girl Scouts of Huron Valley Council.

Off to see the world—three days at a time

Kino’s Journey is a story in the tradition of Gulliver’s Travels. In each episode, we follow Kino, a young adventurer, and Hermes, Kino’s talking motorcycle, as they travel through new and strange lands. Their journey has only one rule: they won’t stay in any one country for more than three days and two nights. While Kino’s world isn’t exactly magical—well, aside from the talking motorcycle—it has a certain dreamlike, fairy-tale quality, and the viewer soon begins to see the truth in Kino’s words: “The world is not beautiful; and that, in a way, lends it a sort of beauty.”

American Born Chinese is 2007 Printz Award winner

The first graphic novel to win the Printz Award is American Born Chinese by Gene Yang. Announced today in Seattle, the 2007 Printz Award winner “focuses on three characters in tales that touch on facets of Chinese American life. Jin is a boy faced with the casual racism of fellow students and the pressure of his crush on a Caucasian girl; the Monkey King, a character from Chinese folklore, has attained great power but feels he is being held back because of what the gods perceive as his lowly status; and Danny, a popular high-school student, suffers through an annual visit from his cousin Chin-Kee, a walking, talking compendium of exaggerated Chinese stereotypes.” (Booklist review)

Printz Honor books are:

Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Taken From Accounts by his Own Hand and Other Sundry Sources by M.T. Anderson
Abundance of Katherines by John Greene
Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

2007 Caldecott and Newbery Awards Announced

The highest awards in the field of children's literature were announced in Seattle this morning at the midwinter conference of the American Library Association.
The Caldecott Award, a prize for illustration, was given to David Wiesner for the picture book Flotsam. This is the third Caldecott for Mr. Wiesner. He won his first award in 1992 for Tuesday and his second in 2002 for The Three Pigs.
Caldecott honor books are Gone Wild by David McLimans and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
The Newbery Medal, for the "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" goes to Susan Patron for her book The Higher Power of Lucky.
Honor books are Penny from Heaven by Jennifer Holm, Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson and Rules by Cynthia Lord.
For a complete list of all the award winners announced by the American Library Association, go to this site.<--!break-->

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (1/21/07)

It is no longer surprising to find the latest books in series by popular genre writers on the List. This week is no exception. There is, however, also a new book by the critically acclaimed young writer, Dave Eggers. His book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius announced the arrival of a serious writer with a sense of humor (and a bit of hubris). In that memoir, he explored his family's tragedies and triumphs and indeed did cause readers to weep. This time Eggers struggled to write another aching story of loss and found he could only tell the truth of the story by making it a work of fiction. (Check out this interview with him on McSweeney's website).

At #2 is The Hunters by W.E.B. Griffin: "An Army officer seeks the killers of a shady American diplomat murdered in Uruguay; follows from Griffin’s “Hostage.’’

At #10 is The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers by Lilian Jackson Braun: "The columnist Jim Qwilleran and his cats probe a mysterious death in the 29th “Cat Who” book."

At #16 is What is the What by Dave Eggers: "The fictionalized autobiography of one of Sudan’s “Lost Boys,” refugees from its civil war."

The Diversity of Islam in America

Here is a new non-fiction book with strong promise, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion by Paul Barrett, a former reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal. The book offers a collection of portraits of American Muslims, all struggling with their religion and its place in the world. This book got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from Laura Miller writing at Salon. In the review, Miller calls the book "the ideal book to enlighten a whole host of people who don't realize they need it." Barrett also is the author of The Good Black: The True Story of Race in America.

Angels and Demons

Do you believe in angels and demons? Frank Peretti does. His book This Present Darkness and its sequal Piercing the Darkness explore the world of spiritual warfare from a Christian perspective. Why does prayer matter? What good does it do? What is spiritual warfare and how does it affect us? The stories provide insight into what the struggle of light and darkness MAY be like.

Jazz by Walter Dean Myers

From the Nile to Bourbon Street
Poetry and music meet
To a syncopated rhythmic beat
In Walter Dean MyersJazz

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