Hullo! I hope everyone is managing through their Summer Readings, if not with grace and aplomb, then at least by taking advantage of the Fizz! Boom! Read! theme and making things explode. I for one have pledged to set off at least one Diet Coke and Mentos geyser at my library before Labor Day. If you want to join me, maybe we can set a date and time and do it together. Coke Geysers Across America! Who’s in?
I believe it’s time for a good old-fashioned link roundup. I’ve come across some interesting and weird stuff over the past few days, and I’m going to write it up before it becomes last week’s news. Pour yourself a glass of sweet tea, find a nice shady spot, and enjoy!
* Public Libraries and Summer Meals Programs: I learned back in April that my branch was chosen to be a NYC Summer Meals lunch site this year. I was very pleased. Besides providing mid-day nutrition to neighborhood kids during the summer months, I figured it would also draw children into the library who were not otherwise using it. We could work with them on their library cards, sign them up for Summer Reading, steer them towards programming and self-directed activities, and just demonstrate that the library is a lovely and welcoming place where they can have fun and get fed, no questions or strings attached. If you are interested in hosting a Summer Meals program in your library (or putting together a proposal you can take your library administrators), SLJ is on it. Check out their article, Libraries Needed to Host Summer Meals Programs. Here’s How to Help.
* Stand By Your Summer Reading Lists!: There are a few people who work at the Brooklyn Public Library I would readily say are ‘feisty’. Rita Meade makes the list, and that’s a compliment. Here’s the skinny. Local rag The NY Post publishes an editorial, The New York Public Library’s Pathetic Summer Reading List for Kids in which the author (1) waxes nostalgic for the classics of her youth; (2) harangues about titles that feature diverse characters; and (3) simultaneously takes the list to task for being politicized, but also fluffy and unchallenging. Enter Rita, who in this piece on Book Riot, combs through the editorial paragraph-by-paragraph and thoughtfully refutes this so-called pathetic-ness once and for all.
* The 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing is this week. Back in May of this year, Brain Pickings had a fascinating post about a visionary picture book published in 1973. Called Blast Off!, it is the story of an African American girl named Regina who wants to be an astronaut. She gets some pushback, but only from kids in her neighborhood who don’t know what astronauts are. No one is saying Regina can’t be one because she’s a girl or she’s non-caucasian. Blast Off! was written by two women writers, Linda C. Cain and Susan Rosenbaum, and was illustrated by a husband-and-wife pair you may be familiar with…
Yup, that’s Leo and Diane Dillon. Blast Off! is long out of print, but I can recommend an equally heartwarming title set in July, 1969 that also features an African-American girl inspired by the Moon Landing. I’m talking about The Moon Over Star, published in 2008 and written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. If you never read it, your homework this week is to pull it off the shelf and prepare to wipe away a tear (or two).
* I like to joke (at least in my head) that when you open the Books category in Buzzfeed, the posts break down as follows: 40% are about Harry Potter, 40% are about The Fault in Our Stars, and the remaining 20% covers everything else. I’m going to cherry-pick a few images from this HP post, 22 Harry Potter Puns that Are So Bad They’re Good. Because they cracked me up. And because I am 10 years old.
* I am a longtime lurker and very rare commenter on the ALA Think Tank Facebook group. Over the weekend, an ALATT-er posted this image:
Now the only things I know about Charles Bukowski are he was a Beat poet, he hung out with William S. Burroughs, he drank a lot, and Mickey Rourke played him in the movie. However, I am well-acquainted with the work of Bob Staake, and when I noticed he had a whole site devoted to these Bad Children’s Books, I went straight to Google. Behold the weirdness (If you click through to the site, heads up. A lot of entries are not exactly…er…sensitive). Here’s a (tame) sampling.
* I’ve obviously entered the realm of the bizarre, offensive and unsettling here, so I’ll wrap up this post with one more link in the same vein. I give you Eloise: an Update by Carolyn Parkhurst, found on the New Yorker online. Our girl is now 46 years old. She no longer resides at THE Plaza, but has moved downtown, to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Times Square. Skipperdee apparently was not one of those long-lived turtles because Eloise now shares her suite with a dog named McConaughey and her valet/personal assistant Manny. She still revels in hotel life and, being Eloise, has loads of friends to act amiably haughty towards.
Sometimes I talk to Mark-on-the-sidewalk, who sells fraudulent merchandise to tourists
I ask, “How’s business, Mark?”
and he says, “Hey, you want some comedy-club tickets? I can get you into Caroline’s, cheap,”
and I say, “Not today, thank you very much”
Ooh, I love love love Times Square!
Adulthood hasn’t been kind to Ms. E. (Defense Exhibit 1: she live in Times Square). However, her exuberance and mischievous nature seem to be totally intact after 40 years. I’ll leave it to you to decide if (a) that is too depressing to bear or (b) is something all of us who are staring middle-age in the face should celebrate.
If she were still with us, I think Kay Thompson would get a big kick out of this piece.
Until next time!