Thursday, May 29, 2014

Remembering Maya Angelou

Yesterday the world lost an amazing American author, poet and activist, Maya Angelou. She was a woman who was an inspiration to many in this country and will continue to be for years to come. As a source of courage and insight into the oppression countless African Americans faced during the Jim Crow era, she became a much-loved and important face in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Maya Angelou was born April 4, 1928. Throughout her lifetime she accomplished an incredible amount of work. She published extensively, including seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, in addition to penning various plays, movies and television shows. She received various awards and over 30 honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of autobiographies, the most famous of which is her 1969 book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. You can read more about her life on Wikipedia or on her website.

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Angelou even published a book of contemporary poetry for children, titled Life Doesn't Frighten Me (1993). Read more about this great book in this article from You can even listen to Angelou read the poem herself, which she says she wrote “for all children who whistle in the dark and who refuse to admit that they’re frightened out of their wits”.

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Read her beautiful poem Caged Bird and other works, as well as articles about her writing at You can also read many of her most famous poems at  The website compiled 10 inspiring Maya Angelou quotes that you can read here.Her beautiful words are filled with wisdom and I urge you to take a moment to read her words today and reflect upon the great work she accomplished.

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“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.” Maya Angelou

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Celebrate Children's Book Week

Children's Book Week is May 12th - 18th this year! Children's Book Week, or CBW, has been held every year since 1919, making this the nation's longest-running literacy initiative. Children's Book Week is a project of Every Child a Reader and the Children's Book Council. You can find ideas for celebrating and more historical information on the Children's Book Week website.  

Children's Book Week Logo
 CBW is intended to expose our young readers to new stories and authors, and spread the joy that reading can bring. Getting children interested and invested in reading is just the thing your librarians at GMPL are passionate about! We have two special events this week just for that purpose, so check out our upcoming events page

Quote by Mason Cooley
 The Children's Book Council offers a great searching tool if you are looking for books to dig into this week. Your librarians have also created several suggested book lists for you by genre. You can scope out these lists on our website. We also have several sets of book club selections available for check-out so you can host your own book club with your friends! Ask your librarians today for titles and discussion guides. You can also find us on Goodreads to see what your librarians have been reading.

Vintage Book Week Poster, 1924
 In order to keep up with the fabulous books available for kids, we read a lot of blogs. We want to share some of our favorites with you today! Hopefully they will become your new favorites and give you ideas for CBW.
  • Growing Book By Book is a great site that shares tips for helping new readers, book lists, and even ideas for a family dinner book club.
  • No Time For Flash Cards has so many great ideas for themed reading lists, fun activities, and crafts searchable by age.
  • The Fourth Musketeer features historical fiction and non-fiction for kids and teens.  Her great reviews will make kids want to learn about history if they don't already.
  • Reading Confetti shares crafts by theme, a virtual book club, and a ton of ideas for book-related activities sorted alphabetically by title (which the librarian in me loves).
  • Storytime Secrets is an amazing tool for us librarians, but it would also be useful for parents and educators.  You can search book reviews by reading level, topic, genre, or age level.      
  • Literary Lunchbox is home to many book reviews from picture books up to YA novels.  
  • Picture Books and Pirouettes matches picture books and movement in a way that is so fun!  If your wee readers need to get some wiggles out as they listen, this may be the site for you!

Artwork created by The Black Apple
 Whether you read a book a day, dress up like your favorite character, or have a book swap, we'd love to hear how you're celebrating Children's Book Week, 2014!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is this week! Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for "the fifth of May" and is celebrated in the United States and Mexico. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Although Cinco de Mayo is actually a minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States the fifth of May has become a rather popular and widespread celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. For more information on the holiday's history, check out or Wikipedia.

The public library has a wealth of resources for you and your family to check out to help celebrate the rich culture of Mexico. Below you will find some favorite juvenile titles that will expose you to the foods, traditions, families and language of Mexico and Mexican-American families.

The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart  (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012). This picture book tells the story of Isabel and her family who have relocated to the United States from Mexico. She must adjust to her new life and is struggling to learn English, but a large, discarded box soon becomes her special quiet space and helps her to connect with her new life.

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 Migrant by Maxine Trottier (Groundwood Books, 2011). This 2012 ALA Notable Children's Book opens the reader's eyes to the life of a Mexican migrant worker's family as we follow Anna, the youngest child, in her travels from her home of Mexico to Canada.

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Adelita by Tomie DePaola (Puffin, 2004).  DePaola's Mexican Cinderella tale will take readers on a different journey from the Disney version we have become used to, with only nods to a pumpkin and a glass slipper through illustrations.  This rich story includes beautiful illustrations and many Spanish phrases throughout.     

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Super Simple Mexican Art: Fun and Easy Art From Around the World by Alex Kuskowski (ABDO Publishing, 2012).  Ideal for elementary crafters, this book includes a brief history of Mexican culture and several crafts with step-by-step instructions.      
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What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau (Yearling, 2008).  Fourteen year-old Clara spends the summer with her grandparents in Mexico and learns about her father's youth, and herself in the process.

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If you're looking for some cooking inspiration for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, we have several series of ethnic and regional cook books we'd be glad to show you.  We also have resources for the new Spanish language learner, and historical information on Mexico and Mexican culture.  Ask your librarians today!