ALA Announces this year's We the People Bookshelf

We the People ImageWe the People Image

The American Library Association has just announced this year’s theme for their annual We the People Bookshelf. The Bookshelf is a collection of titles for children in grades K-12 that deal with a specific theme in American History. This year’s books explore the meaning of the phrase “Created Equal.” Among the list are books like the Ugly Duckling and Flowers for Algernon that relate the often fraught experiences of those who don’t quite fit in, and others like Virginia Hamilton’s classic Many Thousand Gone, which chronicles the hardships and triumphs experienced by black Americans from slavery to the ratification of the 13th amendment in the 1860s. The Library owns almost every title on the list.

My favorite part about the We the People Bookshelf is the artwork. Artist and illustrator Julie Paschkis has created a lively, colorful series of posters that celebrate American History without beating the viewer over the head with patriotism, more Johnny Appleseed than “these colors don’t run.” Last year’s image, which featured Uncle Sam gleefully whizzing by on a bicycle, was especially playful and fun. Happy thinking!

Tour Washtenaw County's Heritage

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Crank up the Model A or the hybrid and discover our county's history on one of the Washtenaw County Heritage Tours. Download the beautiful full-color brochures that are packed with historical information, pictures and maps designed to take you back in time and get you back home effortlessly. The Ann Arbor District Libray's online Local History Collection will provide even more avenues for exploration.

Tracks, Trails and Tales in Michigan

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The beauty of the woods, the pull of the camp, the challenge of the hunt have been part of Michigan history since man first set foot here thousands of years ago. A-Hunting We Will Go: Deer Hunting in Michigan opens Aug. 4 at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing. The exhibit will tell the story of deer hunting in Michigan, with a glimpse at its beginnings and a focus on its development into the widespread pastime it is today. Hunters will have the opportunity to add their own buck-bagging stories to Michigan's whitetail lore, as the Michigan Oral History Association will invite hunters to share their personal accounts of hunting at the exhibit.

Antarctica is more than cool!

In anticipation of the Library's program on Antarctica this Wednesday, July 11, the following three books may be of interest:

Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy by David Crane. A biography of Robert Falcon Scott and his attempts to be the first to reach the South Pole only to be foiled by a Norwegian, Amundsen, who had arrived a month earlier. Scott and his crew perished in a storm. Excerpts from Scott's diaries and photos enrich the text.

Much ado about black swans

Fans of quirky business books, rejoice! In the vein of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and Blink and James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds comes Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. The title already ranks #2 on Amazon's business bestseller list.

Like Gladwell and Surowiecki's thought-provokers, The Black Swan starts with a simple concept - that big, society-altering events are unpredictable - and shows how this concept affects business, history, and predicting the vagaries of the market. Not surprisingly, things like markets and history don't move in easy-to-spot patterns, so we have to come to expect the unexpected.

Also, check out The Long Tail author Chris Anderson's thoughts on Amazon.com.

A pleasant walk across the falls

On June 30, 1859, Charles Blondin, a French acrobat and aerialist whose real name was Jean Francois Gravelet walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The crowd was estimated at more than 25,000. He walked across the Falls several other times, once blindfolded, another time carrying a wheelbarrow, once carrying a man on his back and even once on stilts. Blondin was born February 28, 1824 in St. Omer, France.

VERLANDER!! VaVaVoom

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As in no-hitter, no-way were they getting on base, no-way was Ordonez missing that final catch. 12, count 'em, 12 strikeouts for Justin Verlander in the first home game Detroit Tigers no-hitter since Virgil Truck's in 1952 (Truck had 2 no-hitters that season.) Is Verlander a future Hall of Famer? We could go on. Heck, let's go on ...

President Ford Honored

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The United States Post Office has unveiled a new postage stamp honoring President Gerald Ford. The stamp will be issued nationwide on August 31st. and a special stamp dedication ceremony will take place on that date at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids.

Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary

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Join in the Sesquincentennial celebration of the Washtenaw County Historical Society on Saturday, June 16th, 2-4 p.m. at the Museum on Main Street. They’ll be dedicating a 1857 American flag and hosting a garden party so come stroll through the beautiful grounds and take a tour of the Sesquincentennial Exhibit inside the Museum.

It's Not Official

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After much research we are sad to report there is not an official Michigan Pasty Day. Although Governor Romney proclaimed May 24, 1968 as Pasty Day and Governor Milliken declared May 25, 1972 as Pasty Day, these single-year proclamations do not do justice to the importance of the pasty in Michigan’s history and cuisine. Perhaps Governor Granholm can rectify this situation. Best place to get pasties? Jean-Kays Pasties in Marquette, across from the NMU Superior Dome

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