Two poets

Today, May 24 is the birthday of two poets, different in origins and influences, but both renowned. Joseph Brodsky was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1940. His father was kicked out of the army for being Jewish and the family fell into poverty. Brodsky started writing poetry at the age of 15. In his twenties, his poetry began attracting a large audience. The Soviet government eventually sent him to a labor camp for five years but because of protest, his sentence was commuted. He came to the U.S. and taught at several universities including the University of Michigan. The writer of not only poems but also plays and essays, Brodsky received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and became the Poet Laureate of the U.S. in 1991.

Bob Dylan, nee Robert Zimmerman, was born in 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. His first musical influence was his parents who listened to the Grand Ole Opry but after hearing Little Richard on the radio, he wanted to play rock and roll. He was in a band through high school but when he went to the University of Minnesota and began hearing the traditional folk music of people like Odetta, he traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic one.

Dylan's influence on music and popular culture has been profound, spawning a golden age of social protest songs and a love for the clever, seemingly contorted Chagall-like word images he created. Dylan's move from acoustic protest to electronic, to country and blues also reflected the changing faces of American music. The Library has many of his recordings and his newest, Together Through Life, is on order. Who can forget, once hearing them, the first few lines of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and not smile at Dylan's universal empathy for the human condition?

Johnny's in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government...
Look out kid
It's somethin' you did
God knows when
But you're doin' it again..

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Audiobook

Want to brush up on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince before the long awaited movie comes out in July? Why not try the audiobook? Jim Dale gives his usual stellar performance of the Harry Potter cast. I will admit I feel the music at the beginning did not feel dark enough for the story. They used the same music up to the Deathly Hallows audiobook where they finally changed it to something darker. And I've never liked Dale's voices for Narcissa and Bellatrix. He makes them both sound vaguely French, and both of them are just supposed to be British. Otherwise, though, this audiobook is just as excellent as the rest of the series.

"Wimpy Kid" - the books, the BOCDs, the movie

Recently a teacher asked about Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Well, these books are hugely popular, and clever, and seem to appeal to "reluctant readers." Millions have been sold, and for particularly reluctant readers, they're on BOCD. If you know someone who's into this series, maybe someone slight but brave on stage, The Washington Post reports there's an audtion for kids age 10-13 to play main character Greg Heffley. Learn more here.

Ballet Shoes: Audiobook

Adopted from birth, the Fossil sisters are determined to put their own name in the history books. Join Pauline as she strives to be an actress, Petrova as she learns her love of engines, and Polly as she discovers her potential to be a dazzling ballet dancer.

Listening to this story is a pleasure with the soothing but engaging voice of Elizabeth Sastre, who also reads the other books in this famous series: Dancing Shoes and Theater Shoes. Or you could watch this story in the latest BBC adaption starring Harry Potter star, Emma Watson, as Pauline Fossil.

Safety First

Safety FirstSafety First

The time of year is coming around again when the kids are back outside full force! Check out some of our outdoor safety DVDs like; Defender of Kids, The Safe Side, Safe Kids 101. These will help refresh the memory to help ensure the safest play for our little friends.

BOCD for a spring family road trip

If a driving trip with young children is in your future, say for spring break, be prepared, be very prepared. That could mean checking out PLENTY of family BOCDs from the library. Here’s one from James Herriot to get you started: Treasury for Children, a collection of the author’s stories for kids, including Moses the Kitten, The Market Square Dog, and Smudge the Little Lost Lamb. Happy travels!

Enchanted Spring, Fairies, Cicely Mary Barker & The Matthei Conservatory!

May FairyMay Fairy

We're all ready to get outside, but it's still a little too cold - so take your coat off and visit the Matthei Conservatory for the lovely, fun and springy Enchanted Spring Display celebrating Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies. Find fairies hidden in the conservatory, smell the hyacinth, dapple amongst the daffodils and other gorgeous spring bulbs all over the conservatory, and make a fairy sachet! Or make your own fairy container garden, and start some seeds for your own garden. This special display runs through March 31, for complete information on the display click here. And for complete details about the Matthei Conservatory including hours/location click here. On Wednesdays the Conservatory is open until 8:00 PM and admission is FREE! And don't forget that AADL has many of Cicely Mary Barker's Books Finally, make sure you visit the downtown library fairy door too!

Today is Read Across America Day!!

SeussSeuss

Hooray, hoorah! The NEA’s Read Across America Day is a nationwide celebration that takes place on or around March 2, which is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, schools, libraries, and communities bring children and books together to celebrate the art of reading and to get kids motivated to read. Some schools turn it into a huge party with green eggs and ham for lunch, some principals may dress up as Thing 1 or Thing 2, but no matter what is done or not done, a blast is had by all, and reading is the center of attention. Is your school doing something fun? Are you getting Seussical? Tell us about it!

Mo Willems' Naked Mole Rat!

Naked Mole Rat Gets DressedNaked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

Mo Willems, famous for Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny Too, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, Pigeon Wants a Puppy, and other books for young readers has a new book, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed. This is very exciting for me because naked mole rats are the cutest little ugly things ever! Willems' book is delightful, entertaining for both children and the adults reading to them. Maybe you didn't enjoy the Pigeon books, but what's not to love about a naked mole rat?

A Magical Afternoon at the Pittsfield Branch!

wawrzaszekwawrzaszek

Come join us at the Pittsfield Branch Library on Friday, February 27, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. when local magician Jeff Wawrzaszek comes to the Library for a magic show full of tricks, laughs, and awesome magic.

Want to try some magic yourself? Look for these titles.

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