Exploring Irish-American Roots

Thomas Lynch, the American Book Award winning author of The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade has recently published a new work reflecting on his Irish-American ancestry and many visits to his ancestral home during the past three decades. Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans is a loving mixture of reminiscence, family history, travel writing, cultural and social commentary, and meditation on the complexities of ethnic heritage. A funeral director in Milford, Michigan, Lynch is also an acclaimed poet. He is scheduled to speak about and read from his new book at the Library’s 'Sunday Edition' program on Sunday, October 8 at 2:00 p.m. at the Downtown Library.

The Blue Girl, a Thumbs Up Honor Book

Blue Girl is a Thumbs Up honor title for 2005. This yearly award recognizes top-notch teen titles. Walking into a new high school can be daunting, but when Imogene meets up with the ghost of a boy who haunts the school, the story gets even more interesting. True love, bullies, fairies, and soul-eaters, all add to the storyline; written by a master of the fantasy genre, Charles de Lint.

The Adventures Continue This Spring

We have good news for those picture book fans of the wild and wacky Pigeon. Mo Willems has written a new story due out this April called Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late. Can you imagine how cranky a sleep deprived Pigeon will be? We will make sure to have copies at all locations so you can find out. Now we just have to get through the winter. While you are waiting, entertain yourself by visiting Mo's great website at mowillems.com.

Good Brother, Bad Brother

It's fun to get more out of a book than you expect. Yes, Good Brother, Bad Brother offers fascinating information about Edwin, who is fondly remembered as the finest classical actor of his day and John Wilkes, reviled because he assassinated Abraham Lincoln. But the unanticipated bonus is the wealth of information about 19th century American theater. Giblin's theatrical interests in combination with his penchant for thorough research results in a fascinating read about the drama both brothers faced on stage and in real life.

Simon Wiesenthal: 1908-2005

Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal died September 20 in Vienna, Austria. In a tireless and decades-long campaign to bring justice to the 6 million Jews (including 89 members of his own family) who died during the Holocaust, Simon Wiesenthal is credited with bringing more than 1,000 Nazi war criminals to trial. For more about Wiesenthal, check out the 1996 biography Simon Wiesenthal: A Life in Search of Justice (left).

Read the obituary in the New York Times.

Attention Teen Filmmakers!

Interested in making films but don't know where to begin? Check out these two new titles in the Teen Collection downtown.

Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts by Troy Lanier and Clay Nichols is a great resource for anyone who wants to get started in filmmaking. It not only covers the mechanics but the writing,editing, financing, producing, directing and promotion. The whole process, from conception to final film is spelled out. Its hip language is fun to read and the book is current on all the latest technology. Check out the authors' website to see what other high school students are doing with filmmaking.

Along came a spider ...

Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys arrived today. Readers have been waiting to see what Gaiman would come up with next: he seems able to write anything, from picture books and novels to comics to screenplays. He's also one of a scant few authors I like to hear read his own works (sorry, Stephen King).

If trickster gods aren't your thing, allow me to suggest the story "Murder Mysteries," available as a wonderful radio play on Two Plays for Voices. It's a meaty whodunit with a dead angel, a novice detective of sorts doing what he was made to do, and layers of clues and meanings. Warning: it might take more than one listen to catch all of the foreshadowing, but each time through is a delicious new experience.

(You can also read the original story in in Gaiman's anthology Smoke and Mirrors.)

Just Like Josh Gibson by Angela Johnson

Grandma's father taught her how to play baseball. She dreamed of hitting a ball just like the great Negro League ball player Josh Gibson. Girls didn't play baseball in the forties and negroes didn't play for the majors. Nevertheless, both Grandma and Josh Gibson make their mark on the world in the sport they loved most. Angela Johnson hits a home run in this tribute to a great ball player and a reminder that girls can do anything.

Facing Frog Extinction

Frog researchers worldwide have sounded the alarm: frogs are dying in record numbers and the consequences could be dire. In the eleven years since Kathryn Phillips published Tracking the Vanishing Frogs: An Ecological Mystery researchers have determined that the fungus Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis is responsible for the increase in frog mortality. The fungus causes a disease called Chytridiomycosis, which kills frogs within a week of infection. Learn more with other library books on frogs.

Walt Whitman: Words for America

Here are some new biographies for kids that are worth taking a look at. Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley is an exuberant picture-book biography that focuses on Whitman's formative years and his selfless work as a Civil War nurse. Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin recounts episodes in Mr. Aldrin’s life that influenced his choice to become part of the space program. Where Washington Walked by Raymond Bial briefly recounts the life of Washington with reference to the places he lived and worked.

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