Of Winter and of Winners

I was tempted to write a library blog about beach reads, or at least books that featured spring.  Not Boston spring, mind you, but real spring where flowers bloom, trees bud jewel-bright leaves, and the warm breeze tickles your face.  However, whenever I set upon a course to list even one book that might fit the bill, I fell into deep existential despair.

“Be hearty,” whispered Boston spring.  “This is the weather that forged a nation.”  I ignored it and continued to weep bitterly.  I tried to dry my dampened cheeks with the soft, inviting pages of summer reads, but the tears had already frozen to my face.

Cover of The Crossover by Kwame AlexanderTo cheer myself, I instead turned to the 2015 American Library Association youth media award winners.  (To check out the entire impressive list, go here.)  This year, the winner of the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature was “The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander.  A beautiful song of a book, Alexander juxtaposes brotherhood, growing up, life, death, and basketball with a meter that ranges from lyrical to frenetic.  Two Newbery Honor Books also were named: “El Deafo” by Cece Bell, and “Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson.  Don’t feel badly for the two runners-up, particularly Woodson’s book.  It has already won so many awards that you won’t be able to see the cover through the stickers that will cover it.

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illgiveyouthesun

The Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults went to “I’ll Give You the Sun,” written by Jandy Nelson.  The year 2015 was a good one for books about twins, as both books feature them as protagonists.  Told by two narrators in two different time frames, Nelson’s novel also shows the delicate strands that knit family’s together may be repaired no matter how frayed they become.  Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “And We Stay,” by Jenny Hubbard, “The Carnival at Bray,” by Jessie Ann Foley, “This One Summer,” by Mariko Tamaki, and “Grasshopper Jungle,” by Andrew Smith.

 

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grasshopper

I admit that I had picked “Grasshopper Jungle” as my bet for the Printz winner.  I loved it because it is so deliciously twisted.  Though maybe it now appeals to me because it shows that the human will is pretty weak compared with the raw power of the environment; a feeling with which I am currently well-acquainted.

“See,” whispered Boston spring anew. “Are you sure you want the natural world to wake from its frozen sleep?”

Touché, Boston spring. Touché.

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Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month! In honor of this 28th anniversary of the event, we have installed a display and browsing shelf that highlights the library collection. The display illustrates the progress that women have made throughout history and across the globe. The books on the browsing shelf showcase different women and women’s issues from various eras and regions. There are books on women in the arts, women in education, women social workers, and women writers. Some of the books include biographies about famous local women such as Mary Baker Eddy and Jane Addams.

Pictured: Lucy Wheelock and grade school children Photo Credit: Wheelock Archives

Women have had a major impact on history. We invite you to explore and enjoy the plethora of books we have selected for you in honor of Women’s History Month.

If you want to know more, visit the following websites for more information about WHM.

Resources for Education

 

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Read Across America 2015

Join us for Wheelock’s 6th annual Read Across America celebration on Monday, March 2nd! Read Across America is an annual event held on the birthday of beloved children’s book author, Dr. Seuss, and promotes the importance of reading in the lives of children.

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Our main event is the Story Hour in the Wolf Room from 10:30am – 11:30am and we’re still in need of volunteers to read out loud to small groups of preschool children. Contact Charles Owen at cowen@wheelock.edu to sign up!

Can’t make it to the Story Hour? Don’t worry, there are other ways to join in on the fun! We’ll have a themed photo booth and hands-on activities sponsored by the Earl Center in the Campus Center from 10:00am – 1:00pm. And don’t miss out on the Seuss themed menu in the Campus Center Dining Hall!

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Trains, the Internet, and Librarians

Green Line Snow

Picture used under a creative commons license courtesy of Pi.1415926535

Up until mid-December, when I started working here at Wheelock, I could count on one hand the number of times I had ridden the T.  But traffic and parking being like it is here in Boston, I decided that I would rely on the T to get to and from work like I suspect many other students, faculty, and staff at Wheelock do.

For better or worse, my initial experiences with T have coincided with one of the worst winters in recent memory, which has led to delays, closures, and potentially contributed to the resignation of the present head of the MBTA.  But in spite of the unpredictable timing of trains, the frequently overcrowded cars, and the ever so stubborn disabled trains that cause congestion, I have found the T to still be better than sitting in traffic and using the T has certainly helped me reduce my carbon footprint.

As I was riding the T the other day and was glancing over the prominently posted transit maps throughout the car, I started to wonder about its history.  For instance, why is it that there are B, C, D, and E branches to the Green Line, but no A branch?  Also, why exactly does the Orange Line originate at Oak Grove and not further north?  Speaking of colors, where did the decision to label the lines according to color originate and do the colors have any historical significance?

When questions like this crop up in our minds, many of us, including librarians, are used to reaching into our pockets, grabbing our smartphone, and consulting Google.  For matters of trivia or quick historical facts, the Internet can be the most convenient resource.  Google any of the questions I posed above concerning the T and you are sure to find an answer pretty quickly.

The Internet is full of answers, but sometimes it’s hard to know if the answers you find are the right ones.  A savvy Internet user knows that nothing on the Internet can be taken at face value and careful consideration must be paid to the source, author, and intent in order to determine the likelihood that the information is accurate.

In this way, the Internet is like the T.  It can be convenient and may sometimes seem like the best option, but from time to time, like a disabled train, factual errors or bias perspectives can slow things down to a crawl.

While we can’t help you find a better alternative to the T (not for lack of trying), we can help you find a better alternative to the Internet: the library.  Our resources are carefully selected by staff and come from trusted publishers and providers who vet the information before it is made available.  The information we provide is trustworthy, accurate, and supported by references, so all the guesswork over determining if what you’re reading is true is eliminated and you can focus on the content.

So while we can’t save you time getting from Wheelock to downtown, we can save you time finding credible, useful resources.  And best if all, if you lose your way, librarians can help!

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Style by the Book – Paddington Bear

A while back, our food blogger, Cortney, did a post on Paddington Bear’s favorite… marmalade! At the time she decided to forgo creating a Style by the Book post but I couldn’t resist taking on Paddington’s iconic toggle coat. I added in plenty of marmalade as well! I think Paddington would approve.

Paddington Bear
Do you have a favorite book that you want to see featured on Style by the Book? Share your suggestions in the comments!
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