Sunday, June 29, 2014

Books That Shaped America

Books That Shaped America
Books That Shaped America is one of the most intriguing online exhibits in the Library of Congress. The books listed here span 2½ centuries of American history.

These books have had a profound effect on American life, but they are by no means the only influential ones. And they are certainly not a list of the “best” American books. Curators and experts from throughout the Library of Congress contributed their choices, but there was much debate—even agony—in having to remove worthy titles from a much larger list.

Here are some of the books listed for the time period 1950-2000:

E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)
Charlottes WebAccording to Publishers Weekly, Charlotte’s Web is the best-selling paperback for children of all time. The likely reason is that it is just as enjoyable for adults to read as children. This story line centers on a clever and compassionate spider and her scheme to save the life of Wilber the pig. It is especially notable for the way it treats death as a natural and inevitable part of life.

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

Atlas ShruggedAlthough mainstream critics reacted poorly to Atlas Shrugged it was a popular success. Set in what novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand called “the day after tomorrow,” the book depicts a United States caught up in a crisis caused by a corrupt establishment of government regulators and business interests. The book’s negative view of government and its support of unimpeded capitalism as the highest moral objective have influenced libertarians and those who advocate less government.

Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)
The Feminine MystiqueBy debunking the “feminine mystique” that middle-class women were happy and fulfilled as housewives and mothers, Betty Friedan inspired the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Friedan advocates that women need meaningful work and encourages them to avoid the trap of the feminine mystique by pursuing education and careers. By 2000 the Feminine Mystique had sold three million copies and was translated into several languages.

Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
The Autobiography Of Malcolm XWhen The Autobiography of Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little) was published, the New York Times called it a “brilliant, painful, important book,” and it has become a classic American autobiography. Written in collaboration with Alex Haley (author of Roots), the book expressed for many African Americans what the mainstream civil rights movement did not: their anger and frustration with the intractability of racial injustice. In 1998, Time magazine listed The Autobiography of Malcolm X as one of ten required reading nonfiction books.

What other books do you think are on this list? Find out at Books That Shaped America.

Lorin Catudio 
Redmond Library Board, Emeritus

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer (of Learning) is Here!

Growing up, reading was always the best way to let my imagination go wild.  While living in a military installation overseas, there normally wasn't much to do during the summer time, but there was always the good old library to visit.  We had a summer assignment of sorts, where we had a bingo card, with each square containing the name of a book.  The goal, of course, was to read through as many books as possible to get as many bingos as possible.

I don't really recall what the prizes were but I know that there were definitely no Tablets or iPads or anything of the sort at the time.  Maybe a cup that had a little label that had "Reading is Fun" along the side or something along those lines.  Still, it was a great program, and I had a chance to explore the center of the Earth or fight evil space men alongside my hero in an adventurous battle to save the world.

And now with the sun slowly starting to peek through the clouds, comes summer, and with it, the Summer of Learning at KCLS!

I didn't really grow up with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and contrary to my current career, I was actually more interested in arts, crafts and languages.  If STEM was a big thing at the time, I'm sure I would have fallen into Science and Technology but alas it wasn't something available for myself.  Which is why I find it so exciting to see KCLS offering Programs that not only hit Reading and Art but also STEM.

Here are just some of the ones that I find interesting, though they aren't in Redmond unfortunately:

Bubbles, Volcanoes and Rocket Balloons Workshop
Presented by Debbie Hansen, The Science Lady.
Ages 3 to 5. or Ages 5 to 7.

Discover scientific laws through fun experiments including rocket balloons, effervescent bubbles, a baking soda volcano and dancing raisins.
Dates & Locations

Presented by Thomas Pruiksma.
Ages 8 to 12
Discover secrets about numbers and learn to do mathemagic (math + magic) tricks to amaze your friends and family in this workshop.

Dates & Locations 

Hands-on Bunraku Puppet Manipulation Workshop
Presented by: Thistle Theatre.
Ages 8 to 12.
Discover Bunraku puppetry, a traditional Japanese art for hundreds of years. A brief history, mechanics and demonstration of the Japanese art form is included.

Dates & Locations

Candy Experiments Show
Presented by Loralee Leavitt.
Ages 5 and older.
The author of Candy Experiments demonstrates that candy is more than a sugary snack. It can be an amazing science experiment! 

Dates & Locations
Candy Experiments Workshop
Presented by Loralee Leavitt.
Ages 8 to 12.
The author of Candy Experiments leads a workshop with stirring, squashing and sinking candy. Become a candy scientist!
Dates & Locations

Of course, there's several more you can find at the Summer of Learning page on the KCLS site!

For children who participate in the Summer of Learning, there is quite the prize.  Go on to the Summer of Learning page to see the details! 

- James