African American History Month: Books to Read

February is African American History Month. Here are a few titles that would be great reads to honor the heritage, spirit, and contributions of African Americans–not only this month but all year long.

For Adults and Young Adults

immortal  march  frederick  elizabetheyes  men  monster  purplequestlove  souls  native  warmthwhere  x  chains  caucasia


For Children

watsons  through  negro  martins  henrys  heartnothing  other  rosajazz  nightjohn  seeds

Honoring Dr. King

mlk jr

As Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday nears, why not pick up something from our collection to remember Dr. King and honor his legacy?

We have come a distance from Dr. King’s time, but we still have much work to do in the struggle against oppression, discrimination, and bigotry. As Dr. King wrote in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” we all are humans connected by our humanity:

“I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

We hope that the materials in our collection will help our community not only to remember a man who had a dream but also to be mobilized in the urgent work of making his dream the reality in which all peoples one day live.

Holiday Shopping Advice

Are you stressed out about your holiday shopping? Take heart. Helpful advice from Dave Barry to the rescue:

Here is a very efficient shopping method: divide the amount of money you have by the number of people on your gift list to get an average dollar amount per person. So if you have $160 and you want to buy gifts for 10 people, your average is $16 per person. Now find something that costs $16, and buy 10 of whatever it is. You’ll find many useful gifts in this price range; for example, you could get 10 family-sized bottles of vitamin B. Everyone, young and old alike, can use vitamin B, and your children are sure to shriek with delight when they find it under the tree.

And whatever you do, don’t get a man a new tie.

If you give [a man] a new tie, he will pretend to like it, but deep inside he will hate you. If you want to give a man something practical, consider tires. More than once, I would have gladly traded all the gifts I got for a new set of tires.

There you have it. All your holiday shopping woes solved. Vitamin B for all.

Dave Barry’s excellent advice above was taken from this hilarious book we have here at the library:

The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays

Check it out for more thoughts on the holiday season from writers including John Waters, Mark Twain, George Plimpton, Augusten Burroughs, and David Sedaris.

For Christmas Music Lovers (and Haters Too)

Christmas songsIf you are a Christmas music lover (and even if you are a Christmas music hater), you might appreciate these tidbits about seven songs we love (or hate) to listen to and sing around this time of year.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (1943)
This song makes us feel wistfully warm inside today, but its original lyrics were downright morbid: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas/It may be your last/Next year we may all be living in the past.” Yikes.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (1953)
Written by John Rox and first sung by ten-year-old Oklahoma City resident Gayla Peevey, this song was a huge hit in 1953. In the song’s honor, the Oklahoma City Times and a local television station successfully raised enough money to purchase a hippo for the city zoo, and Peevey presented Matilda, a three-year-old baby hippo weighing 700 pounds, to the zoo on Christmas Eve.

Jingle Bells (1850, published 1857)
Here’s a shocker: “Jingle Bells” isn’t even a Christmas song. It was intended by its writer, James Lord Pierpont, to be a Thanksgiving song entitled “One Horse Open Sleigh,” but it was so beloved by its first hearers that they altered the lyrics slightly and sang the song during Christmastime.

Last Christmas (1984)
Many people find this song incredibly annoying. I am certainly not one of those people, but if you are, you might hate it less if you knew that Wham! gave nearly $400,000 of the song’s royalties to relieve famine in Ethiopia.

Feliz Navidad (1970)
José Feliciano initially wrote this tune in Spanish but added English lyrics to make it more likely that American radio stations would play it. Feliciano, born blind from congenital glaucoma in a family of eleven boys in Puerto Rico, has a prolific music career beyond his world famous Christmas hit.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1934)
This song was written by Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie when Eddie Cantor needed a song to sing on the radio broadcast of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Within one day of the broadcast, 100,000 copies of the song’s sheet music were sold.

O Holy Night (1847)
The lyrics of this beautiful song were written by Placide Clappeau, a French wine merchant who was the mayor of a town in southern France called Roquemaure. The music was composed by another Parisian, Adolphe Charles Adam, who, near the end of his life, was a professor of music at the Paris Conservatory. The French lyrics were translated into English by John Dwight, a clergyman who is thought to be responsible for making Beethoven well known in America.

Congratulations! You are now semi-prepared to be a contestant on a Christmas song episode of Jeopardy.

And Now You Know: Turkey Fun Facts

turkey
In a few days I’ll be busy shopping for my family’s Thanksgiving gathering. Who’s with me? (Maybe I’ll see you at Costco!)

With all the shopping, prepping, and entertaining guests, we can become irritated, super stressed, fatigued, or all of the above. So let’s hit pause and take a five minute breather to learn a few fun facts about our fine feathered Thanksgiving friend: the turkey.

4,309
That’s the approximate number of calories you would consume if, for some reason, you decided to eat half of a 15 pound turkey by yourself.

Dark meat or white?
It’s true that white meat (1 gram of fat and 46 calories per skinless ounce) has less fat and fewer calories than dark meat (2 grams of fat and 50 calories per skinless ounce). But dark meat has more nutrients like iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12 than its white counterpart, so don’t feel guilty about eating it.

Why does turkey make me sleepy?
It doesn’t. Eating turkey and the tryptophan it contains doesn’t make you sleepy. What does make you sleepy is all the energy your body channels into digesting the four plates of food you ate.

sleepy

Disappointed
That’s how Benjamin Franklin felt when the bald eagle was selected to be the national bird. He thought the wild turkey was “in comparison a much more respectable bird.”

88
That’s the percentage of people in America who eat turkey on Thanksgiving.

Poor Popcorn
Popcorn, the National Thanksgiving Turkey that President Obama pardoned last Thanksgiving, died “of natural causes” a few months ago in July.

Save a turkey!
Delicious meatless dishes and faux turkey options abound for vegetarians and vegans.

thanksgiving
We here at the Buena Park Library District hope you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember to keep sane, savor the season with the people you love, and give lots and lots of thanks.

And Now You Know: Halloween History

How did we come to observe Halloween? There are several explanations for the existence of the holiday, but here is one plausibility.

Over 2,000 years ago, the Celts of Ireland and all over Europe considered a day corresponding to November 1 the beginning of their calendar year. On November 1, they held a feast called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). Samhain was the most important holiday of the Celtic year.

The Celts believed that ghosts, demons, fairies, and the souls of the dead mingled with the living  on Samhain. To protect themselves from unkind spirits, they left out sweets for the spirits to eat and disguised themselves in scary masks to trick the spirits.

The púca is a fairy of Irish folklore, able to change form and commonly taking the form of a yellow eyed horse.

The púca is a fairy of Irish folklore, able to change form and commonly taking the form of a yellow eyed horse.

As centuries passed, people from around the world added their own twist to Samhain. Catholic missionaries in Ireland promoted Samhain as a day to honor dead saints and called the day All Saints’ Day or All Hallows. The night before All Hallows became All Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Halloween wasn’t popular in America until millions of Irish immigrants came to America in the 1800s, many of them fleeing Ireland’s potato famine. Americans began to dress in costumes and go from house to house asking for food or money, and by the late 1800s, there was a movement to make Halloween into a holiday about community rather than about ghosts, demons, and witchcraft. As a result, Halloween lost much of its supernatural and religious connotations by the turn of the century.

Cramped and overcrowded conditions on ships that sailed from Ireland to America caused so many deaths that the ships were called "coffin ships."

So many died in the cramped and overcrowded conditions of ships that sailed from Ireland to America that the ships were called “coffin ships.”

Today, Halloween is a huge consumer holiday in America. In 2012, Americans spent $8 billion on Halloween candy, costumes, and other related items. $8 billion! This year, the National Retail Federation predicts that the average American will spend $77.52 in honor of Halloween.

Want to learn more? Check out one of our excellent titles on the history of the holiday.

Are You Ready for an Earthquake?

At 10:16 a.m. on 10/16, the library will participate in the Great California ShakeOut. More than 20 million people across California will participate in this drill. Everyone inside the library at that time will be asked to “drop, cover, and hold on” and then evacuate the building. After the drill, we will resume library service. Thank you for your understanding as we become better prepared for major quakes.

shakeout2014

In-N-Out + The Fault in Our Stars

In_n_out_logoTeens and kids, if you love to read and if you love In-N-Out, then do your happy dance! From now until November 15, you can get free In-N-Out burgers for reading. AWESOME! Read on for the details.

Teens
Read a book, and then stop by the reference desk to pick up an index card. On the card, write the name of the book, its author, and why you recommend the book to others. When you turn the card in, you’ll receive an In-N-Out coupon AND a chance to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of The Fault in Our Stars. You’ll receive an In-N-Out coupon for only your first book recommendation, but you can submit as many recommendations as you’d like for multiple chances to win the autographed copy of The Fault in our Stars.

tfios
Kids Ages 4-12
Stop by the children’s room to sign up. For every five books you read, you will receive an In-N-Out coupon. You can receive up to three In-N-Out coupons.

Get reading, and get eating! YUMMY!

AARRR! Ahoy!

Ye, mateys! September 19 be Talk Like a Pirate Day.

pirate

Avast! Ye be a landlubber? AARRR! If ye have want to speak like a swashbucklAARRR, try Mango Languages, availAARRRble at the Buena PAARRRk LibrAARRRy. All ye need is ye librAARRRy cAARRRd.

If you had trouble understanding what you just read, here is a rough translation. September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you are not a pirate but want to learn to talk like a pirate, then try Mango Languages, available through the library’s website. All you need to log in is your library card. If you have any questions, call us at 714-826-4100 ext. 125, or stop by the reference desk.

And to close, here is a pirate joke for your amusement!

What is a pirate’s favorite Christmas carol?

pirate santa
Drum roll please…

We Three Kings of Orient AARRR!

Final Harry Potter Published This Day

hp covers
On this day seven years ago, July 21, 2007, the seventh and final installment of the Harry Potter series was published. I still remember reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows through the night and then feeling a sad weight in my stomach as I closed the back cover on Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the magical world they inhabited. O! The finality of it all!

Imagine my surprise when, a couple weeks ago, J.K. Rowling posted a new short story about Harry and the gang on the Pottermore website, shocking and elating millions of readers and eventually causing the site to crash. Haven’t read the story yet? You can read an excerpt here.

The story is sparking speculation that a new book or movie could be in the works. What do you think? Will we see a new book or movie? Do you want to see a new book or movie?