Bronze Bow shines with characters, rich language

The Bronze Bow, which won a 1962 Newbery Medal, is a highly literate, entertaining historical novel for upper elementary and middle-school-age readers (also for me, a parent read-along). Set in Israel at the time of Jesus, the narrative is laced with religion, intrigue, romance, politics, coming-of-age issues. Next on my list by Elizabeth George Speare is The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

Two Great Books About the Aftermath of World War II


History and Foreign Affairs Fans will enjoy these two books about the aftermath of World War II in Japan and Europe. Rebuilding a country and a continent wasn’t easy but smart, committed people with a plan managed to do a pretty good job of it.

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, by John Dower, a Pulitzer Prize winning look at Japan during the occupation years, begins with the astonishment of the Japanese people upon hearing their emperor’s voice for the first time as he announced “the war did not turn in Japan’s favor, and trends of the world were not advantageous to us.” It details the development of the enormous black market nationwide, MacArthur as Viceroy, Kasutori culture, economic redevelopment, the Tokyo Tribunal and the promotion of democracy in Japan. Promoting democracy in Japan included giving women the vote and, interestingly, strong American pressure to form trade unions.

Katrina remembered

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast. It is classified as one of the most devastating storms in American history, destroying communities in Louisiana and causing the break in the levies in New Orleans. Within two days, 80% of the city was underwater, trapping thousands of people. The death toll was more than 1,300 people.

45 Years Ago Today Martin Luther King, Jr. Had a Dream

This week and next week you will hear many speeches (including tonight, Barack Obama's acceptance speech as the Democratic nominee), but 45 years ago today, in a 15-minute speech captured here on YouTube, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the greatest orations of the 20th century, a hopeful vision during one of the most fractious periods of American social history that has since served as a rallying point for our country's better nature.

The Slaves’ War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves

Even if you've read a lot about the Civil War you have never read anything like this.

The Slaves’ War by Andrew Ward is a riveting narrative in the actual words of slaves from the beginning of the Civil War to shortly after its’ end. Woven together from interviews (done in the 1920s and 30s with former slaves), memoirs, diaries and letters, it is a poignant portrait of an incredibly diverse group of people—soldiers, cooks, seamstresses, teamsters, runaways, field hands, house servants, blacksmiths and laborers.

In their own words they discuss memories of battles, politics, slavery, hardship, betrayal, Lincoln, Davis, their enslavers, trying to stay alive and finding loved ones.

Most importantly, Ward had access to Ophelia Settle’s interviews with former slaves conducted under the auspices of Fisk University in the 1920s. Her interviews were much more candid than those conducted by the Federal Writers’ Program with the WPA because she was African American and allowed interviewees anonymity.

DuMouchelles Fine Arts Auctioneers and Estate Appraisal Visits the AADL

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If you have the Elgin Marbles, Joan Walker DuMochelle will appraise them as priceless, then tell you that Greece wants them back!

Do you have an old thing lying around that you've always wondered "What the heck is that and how much is it worth?"

What an exciting Wednesday night (August 20th from 7-8:30 p.m at the downtown branch) the AADL has in store for you!

Ms. DuMochelle will give a brief lecture about the appraisal and auction business, fine arts and the DuMochelle Art Galleries Company.

After the brief lecture Ms. DuMochelle will appraise and give a little history about items that patrons bring in.

Who knows what fabulous treasures will be uncovered?

Explore the subject further with Buying and Selling Antiques, Kovels' Know Your Antiques and The Elgin Affair.

August 11th - Happy Birthday Alex Haley!

Alex Haley, AuthorAlex Haley, Author

Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was born on August 11, 1921 in Ithaca, New York. As a young boy, Alex Haley learned of his African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, by listening to the family stories of his maternal grandparents while spending his summers in Henning, Tennessee. According to family history, Kunta Kinte landed with other Gambian Africans in "Naplis" (Annapolis, Maryland) where he was sold into slavery. Alex Haley's quest to learn more about his family history resulted in his writing the Pulitzer Prize winning book Roots. The book has been published in 37 languages, and was made into the first week-long television mini-series, viewed by an estimated 130 million people. Roots also generated widespread interest in genealogy and eventually helped spawn the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation.
Other Haley publications include many well received Playboy interviews (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), his first major book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, A Different Kind of Christmas, a 1990 book about the underground railroad, and Queen, the story of Haley's paternal ancestors. Perhaps one of Alex Haley's greatest gifts was in speaking. He was a fascinating teller of tales. In great demand as a lecturer, both nationally and internationally, he was on a lecture tour in Seattle, Washington when he suffered a heart attack and died in February 1992.

Da Vinci and His Times

Eyewitness Books does wonderful travel guides and historical guides.

Filled with beautiful illustrations and photos, Da Vinci and His Times depicts this genius of the Renaissance very nicely. It delves into the times in which he lived by describing the city-states of Italy, the Catholic Church, the architecture, the perfecting of proportion and perspective in painting, fashion, Da Vinci’s studies of the human body and flying machines and much more. If you read it you can find out who invented platform shoes in the 16th century!
This is just one in the Eyewitness series. The AADL has many more including Knights and Castles, Ancient Egyptians, Ancient China, Shakespeare and the Wild West.

Spend a summer afternoon reliving history and it will be like you were there (almost!).

On this day in history - Anne Frank & her family found in hiding by Nazis

In the vast sea of books about Holocaust victim Anne Frank and her famous diary, there surfaces a new story to shed more light on the 'real' Anne Frank. My name is Anne, she said, Anne Frank was written by Anne's childhood friend Jacqueline van Maarsen. While the Frank family was forced into hiding, Jacqueline escaped deportation just a few months after her best friend 'had gone to Switzerland', as she had been lead to believe. It was only when the war was over that Anne's father, Otto, revealed the truth and Jacqueline finally discovered what had happened.
For years after Anne's diary was published, the identity of her "best friend" she referred to was secret until van Maarsen owned up. Now she has written about the Anne she knew. This book contains approximately 30% more material from Anne's famous diary than the original 1947 edition, revising our understanding of one of the most moving and eloquent documents of the Holocaust. The Anne we meet here is much more sarcastic, rebellious and vulnerable than the sensitive diarist beloved by millions. Expanded entries provide a fuller picture of the tensions and quarrels among the eight people in hiding. Anne candidly discusses her awakening sexuality in entries that were omitted from the 1947 edition by her father. This translation provides an updated, unvarnished picture of life in the "secret annex".

On this date in history - Empire State Building Withstands Airplane Impact

The World Trade Center towers were not the first of New York’s skyscrapers to be hit by an airplane. On July 28, 1945, the Empire State Building withstood the impact of a U.S. Army Air Corps B-25 bomber. Fourteen lives were lost, but the steel structure remained standing after the unarmed trainer plane slammed into the building’s 79th floor. The accident was ruled by authorities to be caused by pilot error, after Lieutenant Colonel William F. Smith Jr., a decorated veteran of World War II and experienced pilot, apparently lost his way in the dense fog that had enveloped Manhattan that Saturday morning in July. Read all about this, and other interesting Empire State Building history, in John Tauranac's The Empire State Building : the making of a landmark. For you artsy readers, check out American photojournalist Lewis Hine's Lewis W. Hine : the Empire State Building.

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