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covers of next 4 books on list

History Diet for Growing Kids

Carter G. Woodson who started what later evolved to be Black History Month once said “if a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated”.

It seems fairly straightforward to record that history, spotlight it, and teach it so that it becomes a part of our consciousness.    Unfortunately, history is pretty complicated.   History doesn’t have an immutable existence and there can be multiple perspectives, developing in light of new information (both true and false) and cultural shifts.  History can be vulnerable to bias, rewriting, and to being lost altogether.

It is often the case that students learn a “set narrative” (see Michael Conway’s article, “The Problem with History Classes”) and students often come away with what they end up believing to be the only narrative and a list of bullet points to slog through and memorize.  In the US, struggles, accomplishments, and the role minority populations play in the building of the US are condensed into a handful of bullet points.  And things that aren’t on the list are relegated to insignificance and obscurity.

Of course, it is impossible to teach the entire story of humankind and all historical perspectives, but learning more about the people who lived in times and places –some incredibly different from what we know- and who acted, reacted, and felt in completely human ways can lead to more understanding and empathy.  And there is no better time to develop them than when you’re young.

Below are just a few children’s and YA books featuring stories about those who once lived and who probably won’t make it into the usual history diet.  Included also are a few historical fiction stories based on true people, situations, and events.  This list has an emphasis on black historical figures as it is currently Black History Month.

covers of the first 4 books on the list

Come all you brave soldiers : Blacks in the Revolutionary War by Clinton Cox.  About the soldiers who fought for independence from England.

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson.  In 1998 when the Kosovo hostilities escalate, an ethnic Albanian girl and her family flee for their lives and make their way to the US, where they encounter new challenges.

Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World by Bryn Barnard.  How Islam and Muslims played an essential role in the development of the modern world.

Inside out & Back Again by Thanhha LaiA young girl and her family leave Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and resettle in Alabama.

covers of the next 4 books on the list

Landed by Milly Lee ; pictures by Yangsook Choi.  A fictional story based on the true experiences of the immigration process for young Chinese boys who come to the United States via San Francisco’s Angel Island in the early 20th century. 

Liberty or Death: The Surprising Story of Runaway Slaves Who Sided with the British During the American Revolution  by Margaret Whitman Blair.  About the black men who sided with the British who had promised freedom in exchange.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.  Based on the life of Salva Dut, a Sudanese refugee who led hundreds of boys to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya during the second Sudanese civil war.

My Brother’s Keeper by Israel Bernbaum.  Bernbaum, a Holocaust survivor, describes the horrors of the Holocaust through art.

covers of next 4 books on list

Run, Boy, Run : A Novel by Uri Orlev.  A nine-year-old Jewish orphan boy’s struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland, based on a true story. 

She Loved Baseball : the Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Don Tate. She owned a baseball team and was the first and only woman to be inducted to the baseball hall of fame.

Sylvia and Aki by Winifred Conkling.  Set at the beginning of WWII, the story of two girls – a Japanese-American girl sent to a Japanese internment camp and a Mexican-American girl at the center of a real life landmark desegregation case.

Voice of Freedom : Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement  by Carole Boston Weatherford ; illustrated by Ekua Holmes.  A voting rights activist who fought for and protected the voting rights of African Americans and helped many register to vote.

book cover images of next 5 books in list.

Welcome to Josefina’s World, 1824 : Growing up on America’s Southwest Frontier by Yvette LaPierre.  Part of the American Girl series of books and one of several books featuring the heroine, Josefina Montoya.  It provides an overview of how Mexican Americans lived in the 1820s – their daily lives, activities, and culture.  We hold

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March.  About the 4000 black children who marched for civil rights and demonstrated in non-violent protest.  The violent reactions of the police officers spurred the government to take action in desegregate Birmingham and to outlaw discrimination on the basis of race.

The Winter People by Joseph Bruchac.  Set during the French and Indian War, an Abenaki boy’a journey to rescue his mother and sisters, who were kidnapped by the English during a raid.

X : A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon.  Follows human rights activist, Malcolm X, from his childhood to age 20.

Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi.  A young Korean girl and her family’s experiences during the Japanese and Russian occupations of North Korea in the 1940s and their escape to South Korea.

And a special shoutout to Frederick Douglass (inexplicably, some people seemed to be unsure about who Frederick Douglass was):

Frederick Douglass for Kids : his Life and Times with 21 Activities by Nancy Sanders.  An interactive biography of Frederick Douglass, former slave, abolitionist, and human rights activist.

cover of Frederick Douglass for Kids book


Ice Cream with a side of history

Mint-Cookie-ConeIce cream is a perfect summer food, or if you are ice cream obsessed like I am, ice cream is a perfect food anytime of the year or day.

My obsession with ice cream is not limited to eating it. I am also obsessed with the process of making ice cream, the history of the food, the history of various ice cream companies, you name it. If it is ice cream related I am interested.

As July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to share some of the fascinating ice cream facts and materials which combine my love of ice cream and history.

First how is it that July came to National Ice Cream Month?

Presidential Proclamation 5219 signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 after is was requested by The Congress via Senate Joint Resolution 298. The Presidential Proclamation designated July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 15, 1984 as National Ice Cream Day. Although the Proclamation officially only referred to 1984 the tradition of July as National Ice Cream Month and the Third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day has stuck every since.

Read the proclamation here.

And get more information about Senate Joint Resolution here.

Ice cream before National Ice Cream Day:

"The Yukon Freezer" hand cranked ice cream machine

“The Yukon Freezer” hand cranked ice cream machine, c 1935. Click image for more information.

 

Thomas Jefferson's vanillla ice cream recipe handwritten on a long piece of paper

Thomas Jefferson’s own vanilla ice cream recipe. Click image for more information.

Looking to expand your own ice cream knowledge check out these e-books from our collection:

Cover of the book, Ice Cream, by H.Douglas Goff and Richard W. Hartel.  Features a closeup of chocolate ice cream being scooped and cell particles.

This is a little to technical to be considered light reading, but it has a wealth of information from history to how to. Click the image to view the catalog record and access the e-book.

 

Book cover of Edmonson's Ice Cream Social: The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry's.  In the image are two cows with neckties looking at the audience.

Interested in learning more about how Ben & Jerry’s became the company we know today? Click the image to view the catalog record and access the e-book.

Speaking of Ben & Jerry’s check out their blog post illustrating the evolution of the design of their pint containers over the years.

Cover of the book, Grow Your Own Ingredients Ice Cream!  A strawberry and a group of blueberries are propping up an ice cream cone with 3 scoops and a mint leaf.

Looking to make ice cream of your own? This gardening and cooking book will have you not only growing your own berries and mint but turning them into simple homemade ice cream. Click the image to view the catalog record and access the e-book.

 

Enjoy!


Oral History: Collecting the Voices and Perspectives of History

The best history is complex, and told using many voices and many perspectives. Historians have a wide range of source types available to them which they can use in their research. Oral Histories are one type of source that a historian might consult as they seek to produce a rich and complex account of the past.

https://openclipart.org/detail/173434/interview

https://openclipart.org/detail/173434/interview

To learn more about what constitutes an oral history and the development of the field of oral history, check out the essay “What Is Oral History?” by Linda Shopes. The essay is part of a larger resource, “History Matters“, a collaboration between the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning of the City University of New York and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, “History Matters” is designed to be a resource for history teachers (at both the high school and college levels), as well as students enrolled in U.S. History survey courses.

Interested in learning more about the process of collecting oral history interviews? Check out the Oral History Associations page of Principles and Best Practices.

If you are interested in the applications of oral history projects outside of the traditional field of history check out Upending the Narrative of the Great Man of History by Eliza Griswold, published in Smithsonian Magazine in December 2013.

Looking to listen to oral histories? Check out this sampling of online oral history collections:

StoryCorps

 A independently funded, 501(c)(3) organization which launched a large scale oral history collection and preservation project in 2003. Learn more about StoryCorps through their FAQ page, or listen to their online collection of oral histories.

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940

This collection of over 2,900 documents, which includes oral histories and transcripts was made possible through the work carried out by the Federal Writers’ Project, part of the New Deal’s  Works Progress Administration / Work Projects Administration. Explore the collection online through the Library of Congress.

Oral Histories of the American South

A collection of 500 oral history interviews about the American South. The 500 interviews available online are part of a larger collection of 4,000 interviews housed at the Southern Historical Collection at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Oral History of the House

This collection focuses on the people, events, institutions, and objects of the ever-evolving House of Representatives of the United States. Learn about the collection and listen to the interviews here.

Oral History Center, Bancroft Library; University of California Berkeley

Want to learn more about the Oral History Center and its collections? Click here. Want to search their collection of oral histories? Check out their search tools (you can either search the collection through a keyword search or use their list of subject areas ).


H is for History

H is forRight off, let’s start out being honest about the usual view of historians and history in our society. Perhaps the mention of history and historians brings to mind images of such things as:

  • high school history textbooks
  • test and quizzes requiring you to learn the names and dates associated with events, many of which you have since forgotten
  • dusty books
  • old papers and maps
  • dull lectures
  • the saying “those who do not understand the past, are doomed to repeat it”
  • people who were perhaps unwise when choosing their college majors

The list goes on. And I, the trained historian and archivist, have encounter each and every one of the items or situations listed above, along with a few others not listed above.  This might prompt others to ask if I am simply someone who enjoys boredom, or is there another side to history and historians that has not been shared with the general population?  While I will not pretend to be the most adventure seeking individual, I think the idea that history isn’t very useful or interesting is more of a public relations issue that an actual fact.

Over the next couple of months I plan to share the many ways the skills of historians and historical methods can be applied and how these application can be used for purposes other than producing lists of dates and names that are often times quickly forgotten.

In the meantime check out the resources listed below to learn more about the field of history and the work of historians from the American Historical Association (AHA).

“Why Study History”

 “What I Do: Historians Talk about Their Work”

Or if you are one of those who have like me already been bitten by the history bug, check out our history resource guide here.


Salem Witch Trials

This month’s display was created by Wheelock student and Salem Witch Trial enthusiast, Bridget Hoarty! The Salem Witch Trials began in 1692 in Salem Village, Massachusetts. Within the 15 month time period during which the hysteria ensued, 185 people (and two dogs) were accused of witchcraft. Stop by the Library to see the display which includes fiction and non-fiction books written about the Salem Witch Trials and don’t forget that all the books in the Library display cases are available for check out!

Want to learn more? Plan a visit to Salem during the month of October when Salem Haunted Happenings is in full swing! Events vary from the educational (visit the Salem Witch Museum or The House of Seven Gables) to the frightening (haunted houses and spooky shows galore) or to the more family friendly (costume parades and fireworks.)