National Black Cat Day!

 

August 17 is the day to celebrate your favorite black cat!  

witch and cat

Black cats have a reputation for being “bad luck.”  Back in the Middle Ages, black cats were associated with witches and evil doings.  Even today some people believe it is bad luck to have a black cat cross their path!

Did you know… ?
England’s King Charles I had a “good luck” black cat, and the day after the cat died,
the king was arrested for treason.

Many people with black cats will tell you the opposite is true and that black cats are very sweet and intelligent.  Maybe that’s why despite their reputation, black cats are seen all over pop culture!  My favorite black cats are Berlioz, from The Aristocats and Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service.  Who’s your favorite black cat?

berlioz tumblr_oiz5slRGnl1ub0p27o1_500  angel   oBcpV6  kiki tumblr_n3kmlpeHBS1s9qf9oo2_500

Back to School – with Spies!

In honor of the start of the school year, we’re highlighting some of the characters in our book collection who are studying to be spies!

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen (Juvenile Fiction – J MCMULLEN): Twelve-year-old Abigail is shocked to discover her elite boarding school is really a cover for a huge spy ring, and must undergo Spy Training 101 in order to save her mother, who happens to be the spy ring’s top agent.

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs, Book 1 of the Spy School Series (Juvenile Fiction – J GIBBS): Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA’s highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school.

Clayton Stone, at your service by Ena Jones (Juvenile Fiction – J JONES): Twelve-year-old Clayton Stone gets a taste of life as a special agent when he goes undercover as a decoy in a high-stakes kidnapping operation.

Bridget Wilder, Spy in Training by Jonathan Bernstein (Juvenile Fiction – J BERNSTEIN): An adopted middle child receives an unexpected package on an otherwise unremarkable birthday inviting her to join a super-secret division of the CIA.

Book Review: It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

With the new school year approaching, I recommend reading It Ain’t So Awful Falafel, by Firoozeh Dumas.

Zomorod Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block .25897857 . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name–Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. 

I picked this book up because I saw that it took place in the 1970’s which I thought would make for a fun setting.  Zomorod, or Cindy’s, family is from Iran but they love living in America.  Even though Cindy is from Iran, she’s just a kid trying to fit in and make friends, like a lot of us.  The historical events, like revolts taking place at that time in Iran, made me want to do a little research on Iran and American relations.  A little bit of humor and a little bit of history make this an appealing read!

Find it in our Juvenile Fiction collection under J DUMAS.

-AM

Book Review: Ramona Quimby, Age 8

It’s Throwback Thursday!  Today I recommend, Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary.

Ramona likes that she’s old enough to be counted on, but must everything depend on her? Mrs. Quimby has gone back to work so that Mr. Quimby can return to school, and Ramona is expected to be good for Mrs. Kemp while her parents are away, to be brave enough to ride the school bus by herself, and to put up with being teased by Danny the Yard Ape. In Ramona’s world, being eight isn’t easy, but it’s never dull! 

Ramona is a third grader, but I can still relate to so much of what she feels!  I remember listening to one of my favorite teachers read Ramona Quimby, Age 8 to my class in the third grade.  I always think of her when I read this book. If you need a laugh, I recommend checking it out, if you haven’t already read it.   When I need a feel-good book to lift my spirits, I like any of the books about Ramona.

Find it in our Juvenile Fiction collection under J CLEARY.

-AM

DIY Zoetrope

IMGP4262

This time we tackled a trickier project but it turned out pretty neat!

The instructions for this DIY Zoetrope come from: http://www.shareitscience.com/2017/01/diy-zoetrope-animation-steam-project.html

First, you’ll want to cut out your cylinder from the dark paper. The dimensions for the paper are suggestions, you should change the measurements depending on the size of your base. We used a paper plate for the base of our zoetrope.

Cut a strip of the dark paper approx. 2.5 in wide, and 17 in. long. Then using your ruler, measure out the slits. We made ours 1 in apart and 1 in deep. Each slit was 1/8 in wide. Next, tape the strip of paper into a cylinder shape.

Poke a hole in the base of your zoetrope with a pencil or something pointy. Place the paper cylinder on the base. You may need to use tape or glue to keep it in place. Put the pencil through the hole and secure with tape if it is wobbly or loose.

Draw yourself a cartoon on a strip of white paper. The paper should be no wider than the base of the cylinder. Make sure it does not cover any part of the slits.

When you are finished, roll up the cartoon strip and place it down into the cylinder. As you spin the pencil in your hands, look through the slits at the cartoon. It will look like your picture is animated!!

Book Review: Charlotte’s Web

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I recommend: Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White.

charlotte's web

 

Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmers Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him.

 

First published in in 1952, Charlotte’s Web was named a Newbery Honor Book in 1953. This book was also turned into a movie twice! This charming story about the friendship between Wilbur, the pig, and Charlotte, the spider, will tug on your heartstrings! You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J WHITE.

~aw

Book Review: NewsPrints

newsprints

Today I recommend: NewsPrints by Ru Xu.

Blue is an orphan who disguises herself as a newsboy. There’s a war going on, and girls are expected to help the struggling economy by selling cookies. But Blue loves living and working at the Bugle, the only paper in town that tells the truth. Blue struggles with her secret, and worries that if her friends and adopted family at the Bugle find out, she’ll lose everything and everyone she cares about.

This is a great graphic novel for anyone who enjoyed Compass South by Hope Larson. The setting is steampunk, which makes for a very interesting read. I really enjoyed the art style which reminded me a little of manga. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger as it sets the scene for a sequel but this is still an enjoyable story. You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section under J GRAPHIC XU.

~aw

Solar Eclipse

augustsolareclipse_0On August 21st, there will be a total solar eclipse for parts of the United States. NASA reports:

Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. (https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/)

You can use the link below to check out NASA’s interactive website. You can use the website to determine what time the eclipse will be visible from where you live.

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html

Remember to wear special protective glasses when you observe the eclipse!