February is Black History Month

Signal of LibertySignal of LibertyThe best way to celebrate and honor Black History Month is to delve into history. What better place to do that than the Library?

This February, AADL has several events and resources to help you mark Black History Month by honoring those who came before, their traditions, and our hopes for the future.
EVENTS:
April Ryan, a 30-year journalism veteran, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House has just released a new book, The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America, a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of race relations as it relates to the White House. She will be at the Downtown Library on Monday, February 16 at 7 pm to discuss the book, her career, the three presidents she’s covered, and her experiences.

The Sankofa Ensemble takes their name from a word that means “to retrieve the goodness from the past”. They will teach us about the traditions of Ghanaian and West African music and play authentic instruments from Ghana. Families will especially enjoy being able to get up and dance to the music, and learning more about traditional African dancing. The Sankofa Ensemble will perform on Saturday, February 21 at 2 pm in the Downtown Library’s Multi-Purpose Room.

The last very special Black History Month event features the relatives of a prominent Civil Rights figure: Rosa Parks. Sheila McCauley Keys is Rosa Parks’ niece, and she and her siblings grew up very closely with their aunt when she moved to Detroit. They have recently released a new book of memories of their aunt, Our Auntie Rosa: the Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons, and Sheila will visit the Downtown Library on Tuesday, February 24 at 7 pm. She will talk about her new book and her Auntie Rosa, and she will take questions from the audience.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Of course, libraries are fantastic resources for more than just events. Here at AADL, we have the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County’s Living Oral History Videos. These are recorded interviews with local African-Americans discussing what they witnessed and experienced and their perspectives relating to race, gender, education, equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and social infrastructure in our area. These amazing videos show what a historical resource our own people are, and make learning about history as easy as a conversation with your grandparents.

Newspapers are also great historical resources. AADL has digitized copies of local abolitionist newspaper Signal of Liberty which was started in April 1841 and published almost every week from an office on Broadway Street in Ann Arbor. Issues featured local and national news, anti-slavery poems, interviews with emancipated slaves, minutes from anti-slavery meetings, and stories by abolitionists about helping people escape from slavery. Reading these articles helps us to understand issues surrounding slavery, why people opposed this dark part of our past, and how ordinary people participated in the fight for freedom.

Whatever part of history you are interested in, your library is a resource for research, learning, and commemorating.

In-season cooking

Now is the perfect time to take advantage of all the fresh produce available from local grocery stores, farmers markets and maybe even from your own back yard! For many, the biggest question is how to prepare all your yummies once you get them home. At the Ann Arbor District Library you can find a bounty of fresh produce cookbooks that might give you new ideas on how to cook old favorites or help you find new favorites to add into your daily menu. In Susie Middleton’s cookbook Fast, Fresh & Green you’ll find simple recipes that will teach you how to turn out delicious vegetable side dishes in under 30 minutes. On a side note, don’t expect a vegetarian recipe book when checking this one out as the chef uses pork in a few dishes. Of course, you can almost always modify recipes to meet your dietary needs.

If it's vegetarian recipes you’re looking for you can check out issues of the magazine Vegetarian Times. Vegetarian Times is a monthly magazine published nine times a year (three double issues) that is chock-full of healthy recipes geared for cooking with in-season produce. In addition to the tantalizing recipes each issues offers product recommendations, as well as great tips for making your cooking experience easier.

Amazing Magazines!

Whether you call them periodicals, zines or just plain magazines you will find some cool selections in the aadl magazine collection which, except for the current issue, can be put on hold with your library card and borrowed for two weeks. Titles like Michigan Riparian, Pointe, Bee Culture, Brick Journal, Treasures, Babybug, Cheng Ming, Scrapbooking & Beyond, G.I. jobs, or a multitude of popular glossies can be browsed at the library or at aadl.org. That’s also where you can click on Research and use the General Reference Center Gold database for magazines that we no longer carry. No matter what you call them, AADL has a magazine for everyone!

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything

I became a fan of Barbara Ehrenreich after reading her 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. Her latest book, Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything is currently at the top of my to-read list, based on a review I just read in the April issue of the monthly journal BookPage. Ehrenreich, a scientist who has described herself as a "fourth-generation atheist," is a leading thinker and fabulous writer. Her book, a blend of memoir and metaphysical reflection, is reviewed under the headline "An atheist reconsiders the human 'situation.'" In the book, Ehrenreich writes about her childhood quest to find answers to universal questions such as "Why are we here?" As a middle-aged woman, she revisits her childhood mission and tells BookPage that yes, she believes that she has risen to the challenge made by her 1958 self, "What have you learned since you wrote this?" You can pick up a free copy of BookPage at any library location. You can place a hold on Living with a Wild God here. There currently are 24 requests on 5 copies.

Click Magazine: At the Library

The new February issue of Click Magazine for kids has a ton of fascinating information about libraries and books! Read the text of an interview with David Shannon, author of No, David! and Alice the Fairy, learn about the history of books and making paper, and how to ask a librarian for help. You can also see photos of different libraries around the world, including biblioburros, bookmobiles, portable libraries on elephants and trailers, and even libraries hidden inside telephone booths. You can learn how to make your own book (even one with flaps and pockets!) and photocopy and use the story starter game in the back. Feeling too snowed in to come to the library?

Visit the Click Magazine website to hear audio recordings of magazine features, watch a video on block printing, or play a Sort the Books game.

Click here to find more magazines for kids at AADL!

Now Available Through AADL: Downloadable Issues of Midwestern Gothic

Literary journals can be a marvelous way to discover work by writers you might not already be familiar with — a gateway to some of the most interesting new writing. Midwestern Gothic is "a quarterly print literary journal out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, dedicated to featuring work about or inspired by the Midwest, by writers who live or have lived here."

Is this limiting? The breadth of work collected in Midwestern Gothic — issue after issue — proves that it's not.

The journal, now on its twelfth release, "aims to collect the very best in Midwestern fiction writing in a way that has never been done before, cataloging the oeuvre of an often-overlooked region of the United States ripe with its own mythologies and tall tales." An August interview with AnnArbor.com gives more insight into the journal's background and its founders, Robert James Russell and Jeff Pfaller.

We're happy to report that now you can read every issue of Midwestern Gothic by downloading them directly from AADL's website! A dozen issues are currently in our catalog, and new issues will be added upon release.

If you like what you read in Midwestern Gothic, their MG Press imprint will be celebrating the release of the novel Above All Men with an event at Literati Bookstore on Monday, Feb 17 at 7pm.

AppleSeeds Magazine for Kids!

If you like going on extreme adventures right from your chair, then you should check out the January 2014 issue of AppleSeeds Magazine! AppleSeeds is a magazine written for elementary school-age kids, but everyone can find something to like. In this issue, you can be mesmerized by the layers of the Earth, go cave diving, live near an active volcano spewing lava, and mine for gold far beneath the Earth’s crust. In addition to all of that fun, you can also read short stories and solve puzzles.

You can find AppleSeeds at the Downtown and Traverwood branches and other magazines for kids at all locations!

Want to experience the adventure for yourself? There will be a Family Science Workshop on January 18 at the Pittsfield branch and a Hands-On Science Fun program on February 6 at the Downtown branch.
Happy exploring!

Terrifying and Poignant, 'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock'

Matthew Quick is a talented and prolific author, having written The Silver Linings Playbook (2008), Sorta Like a Rock Star (2010), Boy21 (2012) and now Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. His new young adult novel will terrify many because the narrator, Leonard Peacock, takes a gun to school and plans to kill his former best friend and himself.

Leonard is a seriously disturbed young man. His father, a former rock star, has disappeared. His mother, a narcissistic fashionista, is in New York City. Leonard stalks adults to determine if they are happy; most do not appear so. He hangs out with his sick, elderly neighbor, who watches Humphrey Bogart films. In school, Mr. Silverman, who teaches Leonard's Holocaust class, urges him to write "Letters from the Future," to connect with imaginary future soulmates, as a strategy to find happiness in high school.

The dark action unfolds on Leonard's 18th birthday, which no one remembers. Carefully, Leonard moves toward executing his murder-suicide plan. Although it is hair-raising to read the thoughts of a crazy kid concealing a gun, readers are allowed to hope that Leonard's plan will somehow fail. I found the novel poignant and thought provoking. The New York Times review is
here.

Easy English News

AADL carries the Easy English News at all of our locations. This publication is written at a 3rd or 4th grade reading level but with newsworthy topics of interest to adults. If you know anyone who is learning English, this publication is very useful to read. Their website has a lot of handy information, too. You'll find them in the periodicals section downtown or by the newspapers at the branches.

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