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
If 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.
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.
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.
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.”
That’s the percentage of people in America who eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
Popcorn, the National Thanksgiving Turkey that President Obama pardoned last Thanksgiving, died “of natural causes” a few months ago in July.
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.
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.
Ye, mateys! September 19 be Talk Like a Pirate Day.
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?
Drum roll please…
We Three Kings of Orient AARRR!