Monday 2/15: Gone with the Wind, Rhett Butler
Tuesday 2/16: Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare
Wednesday 2/17: How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43), Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Thursday 2/18: When Harry Met Sally, Harry
Friday 2/19: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
Saturday 2/20: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Sunday 2/21: In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 27, Lord Alfred Tennyson
Monday 2/8: Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
Tuesday 2/9: A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Wednesday 2/10: Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Thursday 2/11: William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet
Friday 2/12: Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay
Saturday 2/13: Henry James, The Portrait Of a Lady
Sunday 2/14: Robert Burns, My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose
Monday 2/1: Writer: William Goldman, The Princess Bride
Tuesday 2/2: Character: Phil Conners, Groundhog Day
Wednesday 2/3: Charles Dickens Great Expectations
Thursday 2/4: Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights
Friday 2/5: William Shakespeare Hamlet
Saturday 2/6: Character: George Bailey, It's a Wonderful Life
Sunday 2/7: W.H. Auden Stop All the Clocks
It’s not just your significant other who should get a special Valentine’s Day wish or message this
February 14. Pass thoughtful, warmhearted notes and sentiments to your friends and family members with one of these DIY Valentine’s Day cards. They are sure to warm their hearts and bring a smile to their faces. If you’re looking to get your kids involved with crafting a heartfelt card, there are lots of ideas that fill the bill.
Button Heart Photo Card: Tell your partner how much you love them by transforming a plain note card into a heartwarming photo card that's embellished with sweet buttons. To make: cut a heart shape in the front of a plain note card. Glue a photograph to the inside of the card, centering it in the opening. Glue buttons around the outline of the heart cutout.
Vegetable Watercolor Valentine's Cards: Tell them you love them with a hand -painted card and clever saying. Make a loose watercolor drawing of fruits or vegetables on the front of blank note cards and add a quippy sayings—such as "You are Rooted in My Heart," "Olive You," and "I Love you From My Head Tomatoes."
Fingerprint Heart Tree Card: Your kids will love getting a little messy making this creative card that will look so beautiful, you'll want to hang it up. Get the tutorial at Easy Peasy and Fun.
Heart Confetti Cards: Use a heart-shaped hole puncher to make your own confetti hearts to sprinkle on the front of these sweet cards. Get the tutorial at Design Improvised.
Tulip in a Heart Pop-Up Card: Enlist the help of your kids to make these beautiful pop-up cards that will make any recipient smile. Get the tutorial at Easy Peasy and Fun.
Printable Pin Cards: Use these colorful pin cards to give your Valentine a sweet memento for the holiday. You can gift these to your "galentines" with some fun pins, like this blogger did. Get the tutorial at Club Crafted.
Funny Valentine's Day Cards: Show your partner that you care with a hilarious Valentine's Day card. These messages are too relatable! Get the tutorial at Landeelu.
Love Bug Valentine's Day Card: Your kids will love putting this little love bug card together and writing messages to their friends under the wings. Get the tutorial at Kid Friendly Things to Do.
Valentine's Day Necklace Cards: Add a special touch to your Valentine's Day cards by attaching a DIY necklace. Get the tutorial at Sarah Hearts.
Printable Bee My Valentine Cards: These instructions offer a few different bee-themed Valentine's Day cards, like this one with a bee pencil, as well as one with Burt's Bees lip balm. Get the tutorial at The Polka Dot Chair.
Source: Country Living Magazine by Charlyne Mattox Jan 7, 2021
Because COVID-19 is a new disease with new vaccines, you may have questions about what happens before, during, and after your appointment to get vaccinated. These tips will help you know what to expect when you get vaccinated, what information your provider will give you, and resources you can use to monitor your health after you are vaccinated.
It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
When You Get Vaccinated
After Getting a Vaccine
Source: CDC Updated Jan. 22, 2021
Martin Luther King Jr. was a prominent leader and activist of the Civil Rights Movement whose legacy lives on more than 50 years after his death. He is most known for helping organize the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, a year before he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to combat racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.
Teaching children about Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy is a great way to show how courage and resilience can change the world. The inspirational message of Dr. King and the stories of his efforts to end segregation and racism in America will have a tremendous impact on students as they recognize how Dr. King’s words still resonate today.
The following books are excellent resources for children in grades K-8 and can be used to teach about Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and the Civil Rights Movement in America and as part of larger Black History Month and social studies curriculums.
A First Biography for Young Readers
In Let's Read About... Martin Luther King, Jr., readers in grades K-1 will learn about how racism shaped Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood as he grew up in the South. This biography is a great introduction to Martin Luther King Jr. and how his courage led him to stand up for the things he believed in as he fought for justice and racial equality.
Dr. King’s Sister Shares Memories of a Boy Who Became a Leader
Renowned educator Christine King Farris, older sister of the late Dr. King, wrote two books about her brother’s life and activism, for readers in grades 1-4.
In My Brother Martin, Farris joins with celebrated illustrator Chris Soentpiet to present a sister’s memories of growing up with Martin, including the pivotal boyhood experience that inspired Dr. Kings lifelong pursuit of equality that ultimately changed history.
In March On!, Farris presents her account of the 1963 March on Washington in the definitive tribute to the man, the march, and the speech that changed a nation. London Ladd's beautiful full-color illustrations bring to life the thousands of people from all over the country who came to the nation's capitol to inspire social change, culminating in Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Celebration of a Peaceful Warrior
In Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior (grades 4-7), readers are given a clear-eyed history of the trials, achievements, and murder of the civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr. His life, work, and death are traced in poignant and personalized moments from his childhood through his career as a minister and organizer of the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, freedom rides, sit-ins, and protest marches. The biography doesn’t shy away from the hardships and violence activists faced and covers Dr. King’s assassination and the establishment of a national holiday in his memory, ensuring that his legacy lives on.
A Fresh and Emotional Tribute
In Martin Rising (grades 5-8), Andrea and Brian Pinkney present a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion to convey the final months of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, and of his assassination, through metaphor, spirituality, and multi-layers of meaning. This fresh perspective of Martin Luther King Jr. reminds students that courage and conviction can make dreams a reality and that even after his death, Dr. King continues to transform and inspire everyone who shares his dream.
Whether children are reading about Dr. King’s early life or the impact his legacy has had on America, they will learn just how important Martin Luther King Jr. was in shaping the world they live in today. And readers of all ages will be inspired to follow his lead and make their own impact on the world through courage and conviction.
Source: Scholastic Teaching Tools Book List '21
In our productivity-obsessed society, it can be all too easy to get sucked into a cycle of waking up, going to work, running errands, maybe doing some more work, and falling into bed before setting an alarm to get up and do it all over again. But research shows that cultivating hobbies outside of the rat race isn't just a nice break for your body and brain – it actually carries mental and physical health benefits. Participants in four different studies who engaged in one or more of 10 different leisure time activities had lower blood pressure, a smaller waist circumference, body mass index, and perceptions of better physical health. What's more, a study by University of California health psychologist Matthew Zawadzki found that leisure activity can provide immediate stress relief, as well as lower stress and depression in the longer term. Of course, finding a new hobby you enjoy can feel like just another thing to add to your to-do list. That's why we compiled a list of the best hobbies for women, to take the guesswork out of it. Call a friend, grab your partner, or set out solo to improve your health and your outlook on the world.
1.) Get in touch with your inner book worm
The number of Americans who read for pleasure has plummeted by more than 30 percent since 2004, according to the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2004, roughly 28 percent of adults read for fun on any given day. In 2018, that was about 19 percent. Pick up a book to buck the trend and escape your own world for awhile. Check out the CLAMS e-book and digital audio collection by clicking here: CLAMS - OverDrive
2.) Make like Bob Ross and paint a picture
No artistic talent? No worries! Anyone can reap the relaxing benefits of painting their own forest of happy little trees even if the results aren't exactly museum-worthy. Sign up for a guided paint night if you prefer a more structured environment or grab a set of brushes and paints at your local craft store if you'd rather fly solo.
3.) Belt out some tunes
Bring out your inner Aretha and sing in the shower while making dinner or doing chores. Many adults can also take virtual voice lessons to tune up their pipes.
4.) Put on your dancing shoes
Go ahead, bust a move. Join a virtual Zumba class to get sweating, look for virtual dance nights at your local community center, look for an app or online video tutorial, or take your partner for a little spin around the kitchen. Dancing boosts endorphins and gets your body moving for a double whammy of health benefits.
5.) Start a scrap book
In this digital era, many of us don't have a lot of pictures we can hold in our hands. Get offline and start a scrapbook that exists somewhere other than the cloud. Crafting is cathartic, and you'll be preserving memories for the next generation, while you're at it.
6.) Learn to take better pictures
Smartphones mean most of us have a camera in our pockets at all times, but few of us give much thought to lighting, composition, or even subject matter. Photography can make a rewarding hobby, even if you stick to the camera in your phone. And you can even turn the fruits of your labor into decor!
7.) Cultivate a green thumb
Apartment-dwellers and those with yards can both reap the benefits of gardening. Houseplants have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity lately, and they're a great option for those who don't have outdoor space or those who live in cold climates. And don't worry if you're not a plant expert: Hard-to-kill plants are here for you.
8.) Learn Origami
The Japanese art of folding paper into whimsical shapes isn't just for children. It's a great activity to help maintain manual dexterity, you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, and it only costs as much as the paper you use.
9.) Learn your calligraphy ABCs
Take birthday and holiday cards to the next level by learning calligraphy. Some libraries and art centers offer classes, but you can also purchase your own pens and ink and find free tutorials online.
10.) Plug in with video games
The kids aren't the only ones who can enjoy video games. Ask yours to teach you their favorites, or try an online game if you don't have a standalone system of your own. Puzzle games can help keep your mind sharp, while role-playing games can feel like controlling your very own story book.
Source: Good Housekeeping magazine, BY LIZZ SCHUMER
Dec 26, 2019
A Children’s Bible By Lydia Millet
In Millet’s latest novel, a bevy of kids and their middle-aged parents convene for the summer at a country house in America’s Northeast. While the grown-ups indulge (pills, benders, bed-hopping), the kids, disaffected teenagers and their parentally neglected younger siblings, look on with mounting disgust. But what begins as generational comedy soon takes a darker turn, as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach. The ensuing chaos is underscored by scenes and symbols repurposed from the Bible — a man on a blowup raft among the reeds, animals rescued from a deluge into the back of a van, a baby born in a manger. With an unfailingly light touch, Millet delivers a wry fable about climate change, imbuing foundational myths with new meaning and, finally, hope.
Deacon King Kong By James McBride
A mystery story, a crime novel, an urban farce, a sociological portrait of late-1960s Brooklyn: McBride’s novel contains multitudes. At its rollicking heart is Deacon Cuffy Lambkin, a.k.a. Sportcoat, veteran resident of the Causeway Housing Projects, widower, churchgoer, odd-jobber, home brew-tippler and, now, after inexplicably shooting an ear clean off a local drug dealer, a wanted man. The elastic plot expands to encompass rival drug crews, an Italian smuggler, buried treasure, church sisters and Sportcoat’s long-dead wife, still nagging from beyond the grave. McBride, the author of the National Book Award-winning novel “The Good Lord Bird” and the memoir “The Color of Water,” among other books, conducts his antic symphony with deep feeling, never losing sight of the suffering and inequity within the merriment.
Hamnet By Maggie O’Farrell
A bold feat of imagination and empathy, this novel gives flesh and feeling to a historical mystery: how the death of Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son, Hamnet, in 1596, may have shaped his play “Hamlet,” written a few years later. O’Farrell, an Irish-born novelist, conjures with sensual vividness the world of the playwright’s hometown: the tang of new leather in his cantankerous father’s glove shop; the scent of apples in the storage shed where he first kisses Agnes, the farmer’s daughter and gifted healer who becomes his wife; and, not least, the devastation that befalls her when she cannot save her son from the plague. The novel is a portrait of unspeakable grief wreathed in great beauty.
Homeland Elegies By Ayad Akhtar
At once personal and political, Akhtar’s second novel can read like a collection of pitch-perfect essays that give shape to a prismatic identity. We begin with Walt Whitman, with a soaring overture to America and a dream of national belonging — which the narrator methodically dismantles in the virtuosic chapters that follow. The lure and ruin of capital, the wounds of 9/11, the bitter pill of cultural rejection: Akhtar pulls no punches critiquing the country’s most dominant narratives. He returns frequently to the subject of his father, a Pakistani immigrant and onetime doctor to Donald Trump, seeking in his life the answer to a burning question: What, after all, does it take to be an American?
The Vanishing Half By Brit Bennett
Beneath the polished surface and enthralling plotlines of Bennett’s second novel, after her much admired “The Mothers,” lies a provocative meditation on the possibilities and limits of self-definition. Alternating sections recount the separate fates of Stella and Desiree, twin sisters from a Black Louisiana town during Jim Crow, whose residents pride themselves on their light skin. When Stella decides to pass for white, the sisters’ lives diverge, only to intersect unexpectedly, years later. Bennett has constructed her novel with great care, populating it with characters, including a trans man and an actress, who invite us to consider how identity is both chosen and imposed, and the degree to which “passing” may describe a phenomenon more common than we think.
Hidden Valley Road By Robert Kolker
Don and Mimi Galvin had the first of their 12 children in 1945. Intelligence and good looks ran in the family, but so, it turns out, did mental illness: By the mid-1970s, six of the 10 Galvin sons had developed schizophrenia. “For a family, schizophrenia is, primarily, a felt experience, as if the foundation of the family is permanently tilted,” Kolker writes. His is a feat of narrative journalism but also a study in empathy; he unspools the stories of the Galvin siblings with enormous compassion while tracing the scientific advances in treating the illness.
A Promised Land By Barack Obama
Presidential memoirs are meant to inform, to burnish reputations and, to a certain extent, to shape the course of history, and Obama’s is no exception. What sets it apart from his predecessors’ books is the remarkable degree of introspection. He invites the reader inside his head as he ponders life-or-death issues of national security, examining every detail of his decision-making; he describes what it’s like to endure the bruising legislative process and lays out his thinking on health care reform and the economic crisis. An easy, elegant writer, he studs his narrative with affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world leaders and colleagues. “A Promised Land” is the first of two volumes — it ends in 2011 — and it is as contemplative and measured as the former president himself.
Shakespeare in a Divided America By James Shapiro
In his latest book, the author of “Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?” and “1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare” has outdone himself. He takes two huge cultural hyper-objects — Shakespeare and America — and dissects the effects of their collision. Each chapter centers on a year with a different thematic focus. The first chapter, “1833: Miscegenation,” revolves around John Quincy Adams and his obsessive hatred of Desdemona. The last chapter, “2017: Left | Right,” where Shapiro truly soars, analyzes the notorious Central Park production of “Julius Caesar.” By this point it is clear that the real subject of the book is not Shakespeare plays, but us, the U.S.
Uncanny Valley By Anna Wiener
Wiener’s stylish memoir is an uncommonly literary chronicle of tech-world disillusionment. Soured on her job as an underpaid assistant at a literary agency in New York, Wiener, then in her mid-20s, heads west, heeding the siren call of Bay Area start-ups aglow with optimism, vitality and cash. A series of unglamorous jobs — in various customer support positions — follow. But Wiener’s unobtrusive perch turns out to be a boon, providing an unparalleled vantage point from which to scrutinize her field. The result is a scrupulously observed and quietly damning exposé of the yawning gap between an industry’s public idealism and its internal iniquities.
War By Margaret MacMillan
This is a short book but a rich one with a profound theme. MacMillan argues that war — fighting and killing — is so intimately bound up with what it means to be human that viewing it as an aberration misses the point. War has led to many of civilization’s great disasters but also to many of civilization’s greatest achievements. It’s all around us, influencing everything we see and do; it’s in our bones. MacMillan writes with impressive ease. Practically every page of her book is interesting and, despite the grimness of its argument, even entertaining.
Source: New York Times; A version of this article appears in print on Dec. 13, 2020, Page 14 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: The 10 Best Books of 2020.
Decorating sugar cookies always seems like a good idea, but they never quite turn out like the ones baked by the professionals. Even if you stick to the recipe you've been baking for decades, there are a handful of tips to keep in mind to make sure your cookies don’t crumble. Follow these tips—which span from dough to delivery—to make the best sugar cookies of all time, and get ready for Christmas cookie success.
1.) Make the Dough Ahead of Time
Get the Recipe: Basic Sugar Cookie Dough
Trying to roll out freshly made sugar cookie dough is nearly impossible. It’s too soft, too sticky, and totally unwieldy. It can be tempting to just stick the soft dough in the freezer to speed things up, but that won’t work either: The dough will be frozen on the outside and too soft on the inside. The verdict? It’s a good idea to make it at least a day before you bake. In fact, dough will last double-wrapped in the freezer for more than a month, and can be kept in the fridge for three to four days. “I go ahead and portion the dough into little balls and chill them on a cookie sheet, then put the chilled cookie balls in a bag in the freezer to use later,” says Sarah Rich, pastry chef at Rich Table in San Francisco, Calif. When you’re ready to bake, let the dough thaw slightly, then roll between two sheets of parchment paper to just under a quarter-inch thick, says Jen Yee, head of the pastry program at Lafayette in New York City. The chilling process also gives the gluten in the dough time to relax, which makes for a more tender cookie.
2.) Take Your Time Rolling the Dough
That said, trying to roll just-out-of-the-fridge dough can be super frustrating. Even with all your weight and good intentions focused on the rolling pin, the dough can crack from the edges inward. Instead of battling the fissures, pull the dough out about 15 minutes before you’re ready to roll. Unwrap the dough, place it on a lightly floured surface, and give it a few whacks with your rolling pin to encourage the dough to soften. Then, roll on. If at any point the dough gets super soft (i.e., holds an indent when pressed with your finger) transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stick it in the fridge for a couple of minutes. Repeat as often as necessary until all your cut outs are cut out.
3.) Don't Overwork the Dough
There are a few ways to prevent your cookies from ballooning in the oven. For starters, be gentle when mixing your ingredients together. “Over-creaming your butter can aerate the dough, which will cause your cookies to expand in the oven and collapse upon cooling,” Yee says. “Be sure to just work the butter enough to homogenize with the rest of the ingredients.”
4.) Use a Bench Scraper
A bench scraper or great big spatula is a dough-rollers best friend. Use it to gently get under and lift up the dough so you can keep it from sticking to the surface. This allows you to use a lot less flour on the surface (excess can make for tough cookies), and moving the dough as you roll makes an evenly rolled sheet of dough more accessible. Chances are you’re consistently putting more pressure on one area of the dough (it’s OK, we all do it). Rotating as you roll helps you compensate for any irregularity—or super strength—in your rolling.
5.) Chill Again After the Cookies Are Formed
Once you’ve cut the dough into shapes, put the cookies back into the refrigerator before baking, says Chris Hanmer, chef and owner of CH Patisserie in Sioux Falls, S.D., and winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts. Why? Whether you’re making simple snowball cookies or plan to decorate cut out shapes, a quick chill in the freezer after your cookies are formed or punched out will help your cookies hold a well-defined edge even after baking. Cold dough means cold butter. The colder the butter, the slower it melts helping cookies of all shapes—especially ones with more intricate details (looking at you, Rudolph)—hold their edge.
6.) Set a Timer While Baking (and Watch It)
A friendly reminder that all ovens are not created equal. Neither are all cookie sheets, or eggs, or cups of flour. All those little variations can mean big differences in your finished product. Those are just a few of the reasons we give you a range for the finished cooking or baking time. For the best odds, set your timer at the low end of the range, say 12 minutes for a 12 to 15 minute cookie. Take a look at the cookies. Now look at the recipe. What are you looking for? Golden Brown? Dry and firm to the touch? Remember, you’re baking to the indicator, not the time. If you have to add a few more minutes (even if it's longer than the recipe says), keep going. Your cookies will thank you for it.
7.) Embrace Royal Icing
Royal icing (a mixture of powdered sugar and egg whites) is what gives bakery-made cookies their professional sheen. The best part? You don’t have to follow an exact recipe, Hanmer says: “The icing will tell you what it’s doing. If it’s too liquidy, add powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add milk or water.” Add acid (in the form of lemon juice or cream of tartar) to help the icing dry more quickly, and experiment with different colors using gel paste coloring.
8.) Work Quickly When Decorating
The first step in decorating is to apply the icing, which involves piping the border with a piping bag, then filling in the center. Yee recommends making two consistencies of royal icing, one for each step. “You want a firm icing for the border, and a looser one to fill or ’flood’ in the border, which can be done by adding a touch of water to your ’flooding’ icing,” she says. You can use a piping bag, an offset spatula, or a paring knife to frost the center, and toothpicks can help to make designs, spread icing into detailed corners, and pick up mistakes.
Quickly add the sprinkles while the icing is still wet and tacky—within two minutes of frosting. Though the surface of the icing will feel dry after about 10 minutes, it’s important to let it fully harden for about four hours. And don’t stress too much about achieving perfection, she says: “Be patient and have fun! They’re cookies, so do yourself a favor and don’t take the icing too seriously.”
9.) Get Creative With Your Tools
You can still whip up picture-perfect cookies without professional-grade equipment. If you don’t have a piping bag (though they can be easily found in craft stores), use a squeeze bottle or create a “cornet,” which involves rolling parchment paper into a cone and snipping the tip to the size of your liking. And don’t fret if you’re lacking in the cookie cutter department. “Some cutters can be turned upside down or sideways to [make] a new creation,” says Summer Bailey, pastry chef at The Dutch in New York City.
10.) Be Strategic With Transportation
If you’re planning on transporting or packing the finished cookies for shipping, choose to bake rounder, less complicated shapes. “Snowmen will ship a lot better than snowflakes,” Hanmer says. In terms of packing them up, place the cookies in flattened paper muffin cups to keep them separated, and use tissue or crinkle paper as padding, Yee suggests. And though it may seem counterintuitive, load in as many as you can. “The more you can carefully pack into a container and the less that they move, the better,” Hanmer says.
11.) Store Sugar Cookies Correctly
Once you've made the perfect batch, you'll need to know how to store sugar cookies so they stay fresh for as long as possible. If you like your holiday cookies soft and chewy, head to the bread box. “A slice of white or potato bread helps prevent soft cookies from drying out,” says cookbook author Jessie Sheehan. Place the cookies in an airtight plastic container, separating layers with parchment paper, then drop in a slice of bread. The cookies will draw moisture from the bread, which will help keep them from getting stale (and harder than a lump of coal). If you’re on Team Crispy Cookie, reach for a glass container—or better yet, reheat them in a 300°F oven for no more than five minutes. And remember that cookies play by bagel rules: Store flavors separately, or they’ll all taste like everything.
Source: Real Simple Magazine By Betty Gold and Grace Elkus
Updated November 23, 2020
The holiday season is upon us, and this is good news for folks who have all of the holiday spirit and can’t watch those Hallmark movies fast enough. We too especially love this time of the year. Our holiday playlist has been on repeat for weeks and we've already put up our Christmas trees. We love this time of year! That being said, here's a list of holiday themed YA books for readers of all ages to enjoy. And no, you don't have to be a young adult/teen to read them! So get in the holiday spirit with us and read one of these holiday themed YA books. They're sure to bring the romance and remind readers of their favorite Hallmark movies.
#ALLIWANTFORCHRISTMAS: A SWEET YA CHRISTMAS ROMANCE BY YESENIA VARGAS
Christmas Eve is right around the corner, but enjoying the perfect Christmas is looking more impossible than ever for these five friends. Ella’s Prince Charming is caught in a snowstorm. Lena is just over the holidays in general. Harper needs another $100 for a family in need. Tori is more concerned with balloon colors than her boyfriend, and Rey just feels forever alone. Will their first Christmas together as friends be a flop?
CAROLS AND CHAOS BY CINDY ANSTEY
For fans of Jane Austen, Downton Abbey, and of course, Hallmark movies comes this companion novel to Suitors and Sabotage set during the Yuletide season of 1817. Lady’s maid Kate Darby has her hands full between performing her household duties at the Shackleford Park country estate and caring for her ailing mother. Matt Harlow is also busy acting as valet for the Steeple brothers, two of the estate’s holiday guests. Falling in love would be a disaster for both of them, but resisting their feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when Kate and Matt unwittingly become swept up in a devious counterfeiting scheme.
DECKED WITH HOLLY BY MARNI BATES
A Christmas cruise with her two cousins is not Holly’s idea of a good time. The trip doesn’t get better when she gets seasick and then pepper-sprayed by a cute guy named Nick who is actually Dominic Wyatt, a drummer from one of the hottest boy bands. Soon, Holly’s face is plastered all over the internet, and rumors are flying. The band can’t risk destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend for the next two weeks.
EX-MAS: A LOVE/HATE STORY BY KATE BRIAN
Lila Beckwith is ready to throw an epic holiday party while her parents are out of town. Lila’s big plans are soon spoiled when her Christmas-obsessed little brother Cooper takes off with his best friend Tyler to save Santa. Lila has to bring Cooper back home safely before her parents return on Christmas Eve, but the only person who can help is Tyler’s older brother Beau, who also happens to be Lila’s ex-boyfriend. It may take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their brothers.
FRENCH KISSMAS BY CATHY HAPKA
Christmas in Paris is like a homecoming for Nicole Larson. A year ago, Nic studied abroad in Paris and is now back with her friend Annike to spend the holiday season in the City of Light. Almost instantly, Nic is once again rekindling her romance with Parisian hottie Luc, but what is the point of reigniting something that will only last for a few weeks? Instead, Nic prefers spending her time with new friend Mike…until it becomes clear Mike is also interested in being more than just friends.
LET IT SNOW: THREE HOLIDAY ROMANCES BY JOHN GREEN, MAUREEN JOHNSON, AND LAUREN MYRACLE
Comprised of three separate but intertwined stories, Let It Snow follows three Gracetown teenagers during a huge snow storm on Christmas Eve. The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson follows Jubilee Dougal who is forced to spend Christmas Eve with her grandparents instead of her boyfriend Noah. A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green begins with Tobin and his friends, the Duke and JP, being lured to the local Waffle House by their friend Keun. In The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle, Addie deals with a recent breakup.
After reading Let It Snow, stream the Netflix adaptation!
MY NEW CRUSH GAVE TO ME BY SHANI PETROFF
The only thing Charlie Donovan wants for Christmas is Teo Ortiz. He barely knows she exists, but Charlie is determined to be Teo’s date to the Christmas Ball. All Charlie has to do is rig the school paper’s Secret Santa and win Teo’s heart with the perfect gift. To succeed, Charlie needs the help of J.D. Ortiz, Teo’s cousin. He is the most annoying person Charlie’s ever met, but J.D. is willing to give Charlie insight into what Teo wants. Yet, as Charlie spends more time with J.D., she begins to wonder if she knows what (or who) she really wants for Christmas after all.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU BY LAURA SILVERMAN
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets You’ve Got Mail in this YA holiday romcom about rival teen booksellers. Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at her favorite local bookstore Once Upon. When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the employee who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to make enough money to fix her car. The only person standing in her way is the store’s new hire Jake Kaplan. Jake doesn’t even read, but his sales soon begin to rival Shoshanna’s. Jake may be handsome, single, and Jewish, which is hard to find in Atlanta, but to Shoshanna, Jake is the enemy. She is ready to take him down, but the competition seems to bring them closer.
SECRET SANTA BY SABRINA JAMES
Hopeless romantic Noelle just knows her Secret Santa gift is from her crush Charlie. Froggy the super geek likes the super popular Celia and plans to use being her Secret Santa to reveal his feelings, but Celia has a crush on resident bad boy Jake. Celia thinks her presents are from him. Lily just wants to give Connor a great gift because she loves Christmas, but her gifts are making Connor’s girlfriend jealous. All will be revealed at the Winter Dance, and there’s more than one surprise waiting under the mistletoe.
SNOW IN LOVE BY MELISSA DE LA CRUZ, NIC STONE, AIMEE FRIEDMAN, AND KASIE WEST
What’s better than one cozy holiday story? Four stories written by some of the bestselling YA authors. Kasie West shares a snowy road trip taking an unexpected detour when secrets (and crushes) are revealed. From Aimee Friedman comes a story about a young Jewish woman who finds love while working as a department store elf. Melissa de la Cruz gives Christmas Eve a plot twist when a high school couple exchanges presents. Nic Stone’s story is about a scavenger hunt amid holiday crowds at the airport.
SNOWED IN BY RACHEL HAWTHORNE
If you’re looking for Christmas YA books that provide cozy winter vibes without all the Christmas, then Snowed In is the must-read book for you.
At 17 years old, Ashleigh is about to experience a lot of things for the first time. The first thing is snow, because she and her mom are moving from sunny Texas to icy Michigan. Living on the completely snowbound and tiny Mackinac Island means experiencing small-town life for the first time. The scariest new experience of them all is boys. Of course, there were boys in Texas, but Ashleigh has never met a boy as cute or irresistible as Josh Wynter.
TOGETHER AT MIDNIGHT BY JENNIFER CASTLE
Kendall, who just returned home from a life-altering semester abroad in Europe, and Max, who is going through a gap year, witness a tragic accident during the holiday season. Racked with guilt from the incident, the two decide to perform random acts of kindness for strangers around New York City. Max and Kendall can’t deny their growing bond as the challenge brings them closer together. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will their other romantic entanglements keep them apart or will Kendall and Max be together at midnight?
Source: Katisha Smith for Book Riot. Originally posted Oct 23, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe. Following are some safety considerations to keep in mind for small gatherings.
Considerations for Small Gatherings of Family and Friends
Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.
Organizers and attendees of larger events should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size (number of attendees and other factors) and take steps to reduce the possibility of infection, as outlined in the Considerations for Events and Gatherings.
Holiday celebrations will likely need to be different this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Avoid activities that are higher risk for spread. Consider fun alternatives that pose lower risk of spreading COVID-19. The holidays are a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.
Lower risk activities
Moderate risk activities
Higher risk activities
Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
We hope you enjoy the holidays and take steps to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading COVID-19 during small events & gatherings.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updated Nov. 27, 2020
If you're looking for a relaxing and enjoyable pastime, try virtually watching animals frolic in their natural habitats. There are now live animal webcams in places all around the world, as well as several types of virtual experiences that allow you to interact with all kinds of creatures at zoos and aquariums. In addition, animal lovers can view a plethora of free, appealing animal videos anytime on YouTube. Viewing animals online is safe as well as entertaining, and also provides a window into different species and habitats that we would not be able to see otherwise.
Here, we have rounded up a selection of interesting animal cams, online videos, and live virtual animal experiences to allow you to find some joy watching adorable animals at play. Not all of the cams operate around the clock, so be sure to check the details. Also, while many of the experiences listed here are free, some of the virtual ones cost a fee and require registration.
Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams
This renowned aquarium in California has a number of web cams where visitors can experience the wonders of the ocean from the comfort of home. Each video stream is accompanied by soothing music, which can help you relax as you watch sea creatures glide and float through the water. Highlights include a sea otter cam and the coral reef cam. There is also a jellyfish cam, which is especially peaceful and soothing. Each of the live cameras operates on a different schedule.
Wolong Grove Panda Yard
The Wolong National Nature Reserve in central China protects giant pandas and encourages these endangered animals to breed. The live cam provides views into 11 different yards in the park, and you can watch adult and baby pandas as they play, eat bamboo, climb trees, and more. This cam is part of the explore.org network, which provides wilderness livestreams in locales all over the world.
The Hippo cam at San Diego Zoo
This large zoo in San Diego stepped up its online and virtual offerings during the pandemic. One of its newest additions is a hippo cam where viewers can watch these gentle giant bobs in the water and munch on grass. The zoo has a number of other animal cams, including an ape cam, where you can watch orangutans and siamangs, as well as a tiger cam and a giraffe cam.
Tembe Elephant Park
Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa is a remote park that is home to some of the largest elephants on the planet. A wide range of other animals, including lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalos, and an array of birds also live there. Many of these other animals can be seen from time to time on the live cam. This cam is also part of the explore.org network.
Audubon Bird Cams
Bird lovers will enjoy exploring the National Audubon Society's many live bird cams. These livestreams follow Atlantic puffins in Maine, osprey nests in Connecticut, and sandhill cranes in Nebraska, among others. Some of these cams are more active during certain seasons and migration periods.
Virtual Animal Experiences at the Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo now offers visitors the chance to watch different animals through live virtual experiences. These 20-minute encounters cost between $50 and $100, and only a small number of people are able to join at one time, giving them an intimate feel. Participants watch animals as they get fed and go through training exercises, and listen to a zookeeper explain how to care for the animals. Among the animals available for these types of virtual experiences are flamingos, alligators, gorillas, lions, tigers and cheetahs.
Penguins at the Shedd Aquarium
Penguin lovers can register for a 45-minute small group virtual experience with these unusual birds. For a fee of about $50, you will get to virtually see the aquarium’s penguins up close, learn about their anatomy and grooming, and go behind the scenes of their home at the aquarium, which is located in Chicago, IL. You can also ask the zoo staff any questions you have about penguins.
Virtual Wild Encounters at the Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo has started offering virtual encounters with its animals for a fee. These 15-minute sessions take place on Zoom for, and participants can view different zoo animals up close, and learn about how to take care of them. The virtual encounters are available with many interesting and unusual creatures, including porcupines, a warthog, a camel, and an armadillo.
Baby Animal Videos at the Smithsonian's National Zoo
The Smithsonian's National Zoo has an array of free animal videos available for on-demand viewing on its YouTube channel. Highlights here include a playlist of baby animal videos, where you can tune in to watch short, adorable videos of the zoo’s panda cubs, baby gorillas, cheetah cubs, a newborn gazelle, and even naked mole-rat pups. One of our favorite baby animal videos shows a kiwi chick emerging from its shell.
Source: Melanie Kletter curated this list for Library Journal. It appeared Nov 13, 2020
November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is also referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. This month is a time to celebrate and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. This month is also a good time to educate the general public about tribes and raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced. This includes both historically and in the present. So let's celebrate Native American heritage by reading Indigenous authors all month long. Here’s a list of books by Indigenous authors to get you started.
American Sunrise by Joy Harjo
In her latest collection, Joy Harjo returns to the Southeast where her ancestors, the Mvskoke people, were forcibly removed under the Indian Removal Act of 1830 to west of the Mississippi. The book opens with a map, one of many trails of tears. Harjo is extremely skilled at using short, deceptively simple lines and stanzas to create imagery that swells with emotion. As Harjo explores the grief and mourning of this forced exile, she also tells a story of erasure and survival, of personal and intergenerational loss, and of a new beginning.
Hope Matters by Lee Maracle, Columpa Bobb, and Tania Carter
This book is a collaboration between a celebrated poet, novelist, nonfiction writer and editor. This mix makes for a poetry collection that's a pleasure to read. Joyful and sad, charting colonial and familial beginnings, it sings with hope and reconciliation in its verse. Hope Matters is a welcome addition to Native American literature.
Eyes Bottle Dark With A Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets
This debut collection from Skeets (Diné) is remarkable in every way. The photograph on the cover is an image of the author's uncle, who was killed not long after it was taken. Eyes Bottle Dark With a Mouthful of Flowers is brimming with poetic imagery and gripping prose. In content and in form, Skeets brings both queer and Indigenous ways of thinking and being to living. This book shines and glitters on every page. It marks the emergence of a major new poetic voice in Native American literature.
The Beadworkers by Beth Piatote
This debut collection of contemporary writing from writer and scholar Dr. Beth Piatote (Colville Confederated Tribes) ranges in form from short stories to poetry to plays. Some of the stories even include historical fiction narratives. No matter what form Piatote takes in her storytelling, the fiction here is gripping and totally readable. The stories here are wide-ranging, but include many perspectives of Indigenous people in North America.
Living on the Borderlines by Melissa Michal
Melissa Michal’s debut short story collection centers on people of Seneca descent. The stories and characters here differ widely and as the title implies, they dance along the borderlines of a colonialist and racist society. The familial relationships in these stories are strong and touching. Melissa Michal has created potent stories with disturbing and beautiful elements both. All of the characters here are full of depth and are complex. This book is one of the more underrated short story collections of the year.
Black Indian by Shonda Buchanan
Shonda Buchanan dives deep into her identity and inheritance with this shining memoir. The author was raised as a black girl, but told stories of her multiracial heritage throughout her childhood. This book shows readers how her life experience informed her sense of self. Told in stunning and poetic prose her story takes readers across landscapes and cultural sagas. The result is both a poignant personal narrative and a broader cultural one. Buchanan has truly gifted us with this beautiful and totally engrossing memoir that touches on the meanings of family, legacy, and self-identity.
Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s by Tiffany Midge
In this collection of short essays, the author uses humor to examine identity, feminism, privilege, and politics. All of this is done through her stories that span the personal (losing her mother) to the seemingly inane (the existence of pumpkin spice everything). The essays here mark a good balance between insight and an intuitive sense of humor. This book is full of writing that'll make you laugh, think, and feel deeply, no matter what your identity is.
Mamaskatch by Darrel J. McLeod
This book is a true story narrated in the first person by the author. It's told from his perspective, but includes many other characters. The narrative begins with a story of his mother and her escape from a Canadian residential school. The author writes about Catholicism throughout, first finding meaning in it, then rejecting it as white washing. He grows from a curious, loyal, and happy child and his life starts and stops in cycles. He writes touchingly about how whiteness and Catholicism negatively changed how gender nonconforming, trans, and sexually fluid people are viewed. Also, how they're treated in Indigenous communities, even within modern times.
Shapes of Native Nonfiction, edited by Elissa Washuta & Theresa Warburton
This collection of essays from established and new contemporary Indigenous writers simply sparkles. It includes pieces from well-known writers such as Terese Marie Mailhot, Tiffany Midge (whose Bury My Heart at Chuck E Cheese’s is on this list), Eden Robinson, Alicia Elliott, Laura Da´, Ernestine Hayes, and Deborah A. Miranda. This book is a must for fans of Indigenous authors. The editors named the four sections of the book after basket weaving craft: technique, coiling, plaiting and twining. This is a unique way to use literary pieces to form an experimental, innovative, lyrical and world-building narrative. In these pages, we witness storytelling as a way of developing new roads in Native nonfiction writing.
As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, From Colonization to Standing Rock by Dina Gilio-Whitaker
Dina Gilio-Whitaker is the co-author of this book along with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. In this short but dense story, Gilio-Whitaker brings her vast knowledge and experience to the page. The book opens with a detailed account of Standing Rock and moves outward, highlighting the ways in which western colonial expansion, the Industrial Revolution and the mainstream EJ movement continue to exclude, marginalize and harm First Nations people. Making connections between Indigenous health, sacred sites, and the leadership of Indigenous women, Gilio-Whitaker makes a complete and compelling argument to open the doors for indigenous people in the EJ movement.
Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing by Suzanne Methot
Suzanne Methot (Nehiyawak) is the author of this beautifully written book that highlights healing from intergenerational trauma. Indigenous communities have higher rates of depression, addiction, and other chronic illnesses than other North Americans. The first sentence of the book reads, “Indigenous people do funerals really, really well.” Methot discusses damaging, toxic patterns of behavior, thought, and physical illness as a direct result of unresolved grief and loss. She points out the importance of storytelling in healing from trauma. These twisting stories have a transformational and emotional narrative that can facilitate healing. In clear and driven prose, the author has written a book that is both easy to follow and crucial to read.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States won the 2015 American Book Award. It remains a pillar text in telling the true indigenous history - without whitewashing. It's been recently adapted for YA and middle grade readers by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza. This adaptation is a wonderful approach to writing history in a way that is accessible to young readers. It opens with a straightforward explanation about bias to Indigenous languages. It also uses images to great effect, from maps to photographs of Indigenous art and Indigenous resistance and activism. The book as a whole illustrates the history of colonialism and Indigenous communities, including mentioning that the democracy within Indigenous communities inspired key parts of the US Constitution. It includes “Did You Know” boxes and exercise questions. Overall, it reads like a very accessible textbook and a strong introduction to Indigenous history of North America for young readers.
Every year on November 11, our country has been honoring United States veterans. This annual day of observance may leave children wondering why they don't have school, or why mom or dad has the day off from work. This list of picture books is a great opportunity to share why we observe Veterans Day with the kids in your life.
The Poppy Lady, by Barbara Walsh, illustrated by Layne Johnson
This picture book follows Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia who was determined to find a way to honor and remember soldiers. Moina wanted to make the poppy a symbol of remembrance. Her determination paid off and the poppy is now a familiar symbol of Veterans Day. After reading this book, your child will be spotting red poppies everywhere they go.
The Wall, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ronald Himler
This picture book is about a young boy who travels to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall with his father, in search of his grandfather’s name. As the boy looks for the name, he encounters a wheelchair-bound veteran visiting the wall too. The boy’s curiosity is overshadowed by his dad’s somber reason for visiting. Reading this book together, you can explore the historical significance of the Vietnam War and pay tribute to its veterans.
America’s White Table, by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by Mike Benny
This picture book helps to explore the significance of military service from the perspective of a family. When service members have fallen, are missing, or are held captive in the line of duty, a white table is set up in remembrance. Every item placed on the table is a symbol for understanding and appreciating the service these men and women have provided for the United States. This book offers a great way to explain to children the importance of remembering those who have died in service, and the sacrifices they have made for their country.
Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog, by Luis Carlos Montalvan and Bret Witter, photographs by Dan Dion
This story is about a service dog by the name of Tuesday who helps a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Based on a true story and told through the eyes of Tuesday, this picture book helps children understand the true day to day life of a returning veteran. The adorable pictures of Tuesday will be sure to please, while also providing an example of how service dogs can help veterans.
Why Do We Celebrate Veterans Day, by Grace Houser
With this informative picture book children will discover the history of Veterans Day complete with facts and definitions. What better way to honor those who have served than by teaching children about the sacrifices they made for their country?
H is for Honor, by Devin Scillian, illustrated by Victor Juhasz
This alphabet picture book delves into everything military—from history, to the meaning of ranks and divisions, to what it is like to be a military child. Navy SEALS, Green Berets, and Army Rangers are written about in more detail, and pictures reveal what life on base is really like. Your child will discover the meaning of patriotism and have an opportunity to discuss courage and commitment. After reading this book, your little one may be interested in sending off a care package to a soldier overseas.
Hero Dad and Hero Mom, by Melinda Hardin ; illustrations by Bryan Langdo
These two picture books tell the story of a boy who compares his father, a U.S. soldier, to a superhero. However, these superhero soldiers can be moms too. These books are presented as a pair to highlight the fact that moms can be soldiers too. Kids will be able to recognize that military families come in many different forms.
Rags: Hero Dog of WWII, by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by Petra Brown
This true story shows us how canines have been used as soldiers of war since World War I. Found on the streets of Paris by Private James Donovan, Rags was brought back to base and put to work. He learned to help clear trenches, deliver messages, and even salute! The muted illustrations show the dark time of war, but spare the reader from grim details. Dog lovers will enjoy learning about this furry war veteran and the capacity of one dog to be loyal to a country, as well as to the solder who took him in.
America The Beautiful, by Katharine Lee Bates ; illustrated by Chris Gall
This book features four verses of the classic nineteenth-century poem. Written from his unique perspective as the great, great grandnephew of “America the Beautiful” writer, Katharine Lee Bates, Chris Gall transforms this beloved patriotic song into monumental works of art–from purple mountain majesties to gleaming alabaster cities.
F is for Flag, by Wendy Cheyette Lewison ; illustrated by Barbara Duke
F Is for Flag shows children in simple terms how one flag can mean many things: a symbol of unity, a sign of welcome, and a reminder that-in good times and in bad-everyone in our country is part of one great big family.
Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 1. As you prepare to set your clocks back one hour, remember to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO) detector. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO alarm, now is a great time to buy one. More than 400 people die each year in the United States from unintentional, non-fire related CO poisoning.
CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, vehicles, generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or burning charcoal or wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.
When power outages occur during emergencies such as severe winter storms, the use of alternative sources of power for heating or cooking can cause CO to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside.
You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure
CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by learning the symptoms of CO poisoning and acting wisely during a power outage.
Now that we’re midway through October, Halloween is just around the corner. Although, if we’re being honest, we’ve been ready for Halloween since September 1st. We've gathered up a list of some spooky books to get you in the Halloween spirit (e-book links are included in the headings). So enjoy one of these frightful reads while getting cozy under the blankets. Though you might want to keep the lights on while reading…
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Practical Magic is about two sister-witches trying to escape a long-standing curse on their family. Sisterhood, love, tragedy and magic — what’s not to love? This is an all time favorite movie and book! If you haven’t seen the movie, we recommend adding it to your watch list.
IT by Stephen King
With the success of the movies based on this story, you probably know what this book is about. A group of children try to defeat a scary clown that feeds on kids… and fear. This is a great psychological thriller, and it has us spooked every time we pick it up. It’s a long read, but well worth it — it's considered one of the best Halloween books for adults. Plus, it’ll give you further insight into the characters in the movie that you might not have picked up on otherwise.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
If you’ve watched the series on Netflix, you’re going to love the book!
The Haunting of Hill House is about four people who come to stay in an unfriendly, poltergeist-ridden house. Naturally, chaos ensues. This book is genuinely scary — we refused to read it at night, and most of the reviews say the same! If supernatural horror stories are your jam, this haunted tale is right up your alley.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
A classic ghost story! The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is about schoolteacher Ichabod Crane, his hapless attempts to win over a woman and his eerie encounter with the headless horseman. This classic gothic tale is full of heavy description and lore behind the legendary headless soldier. We think it's still a good Halloween classic and should be read every year.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Here’s another one of the best Halloween books for adults. If you like spooky mystery novels, consider this a must-read. Ten strangers are lured to a mysterious island mansion for a dinner party, during which they are accused of guilty secrets. At the end of the night… one of the guests is found dead. It’s a little gothic and a lot spooky. Perfect for your next night in.
Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel by A.W Jantha
If Hocus Pocus isn’t on your must-watch list this Halloween, you’re doing it wrong! That said, have you considered trying the book version too? This classic story is about a boy named Max, who accidentally unleashes the sinister Sanderson Sisters from the afterlife and has to stop them from carrying out their evil plans. The sequel takes place 25 years later when Max’s daughter finds herself in a similar situation… Try this book for a fun and more lighthearted read.
The Shining by Stephen King
Although he's already appeared once on our list, you can't blame us for including another great spooky read by the master of horror. The story of Jack Torrance and his family, who are off-season caretakers of the Overlook Hotel, is truly terrifying. You'll feel as if you too are walking the empty halls of the atmospheric old hotel. This book is a uniquely horrifying read that just screams Halloween. It's about as perfect a haunted house story as can be.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This classic spooky read is for the whole family and brilliantly spun by Gaiman's signature imagination. This book is suitable for all ages, there is not the weird menace or dark element of a lot of Gaiman's material (certainly his adult reads) and it is brilliantly illustrated including characters and elements from tales and fables many will be familiar with.
The Witches by Roald Dahl
Another family friendly read is this Roald Dahl classic. This chapter book tells a story of a grandma, a grandson, and their journey together is ridding the world of 'real' witches and saving the world's children. It's a delightful and delicious Halloween fodder from a master of children's literature.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
A blood-curdling (and draining) Halloween essential. This has it all: the castle high on a mountain, the bats, the Count sleeping in his coffin. Famously the Count arrives in Whitby, but most of the action is around London and his home turf in Transylvania. And quite a lot of action there is. It's written as a collection of diary entries so you get the perspective of each of the main characters. Although it's fairly long, it's a compelling read!
It's getting close to Halloween time and with COVID-19 still around we need to be cautious and celebrate safely. Here's some Halloween safety tips from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
Steps to Take when Trick or Treating: Traditional Halloween activities are fun, but some can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or influenza. Plan alternate ways to participate in Halloween.
Make trick-or-treating safer
Wear a mask
Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you
Wash your hands
Steps to Take for Other Halloween Activities: Enjoy Halloween activities and take steps to protect yourself from getting or spreading COVID-19.
Remember to always
Decorate and carve pumpkins
Visit an orchard, forest, or corn maze. Attend a scavenger hunt.
For young readers, picture books are an important part of learning how to read. Usually this type of format marks the first step in introducing a child to reading and is often the start of language development for many children. Libraries that include picture books to promote literacy to young readers are boosting beginner-level vocabulary skills, introducing sentence structure and developing story analysis. Read the benefits of picture books for young readers below.
Building Language Skills – When reading through picture books during story time, at home or in the classroom, children can practice sounding out the language while adults introduce and explain new and interesting words. The rhythm and rhyme of picture books makes them easy to understand and fun to read aloud, allowing children to learn words quickly. In addition, reading the same story repeatedly increases vocabulary by 12%.
Inspiring Visual Thinking - Illustrations in a picture book help children understand what they are reading, allowing new readers to analyze the story. If children are having difficulty with the words, the illustrations can help them figure out the narrative, which can increase their comprehension.
Increasing Engagement – Picture books allow teachers and parents to spend time discussing the story, pictures and words. This gives young readers confidence and allows them to talk about what they see on the page, what happened in the story, what the characters are doing and which events have unfolded. Another good activity to try in the library or classroom is working in a small groups by placing children into groups of three with a picture book. Have one child concentrate on reading the text aloud; have another concentrate on the illustrations (pointing out details as the book is read); and have the third highlight what they see in the story that might differ from the others.
Delivering Fun – Picture books should always make the reading experience fun. If a child’s first experience with reading is a negative one, and looked at as a chore, it may make reading appear to be work rather than fun, which might hinder a child’s progress from picture books to chapter books.
Like any experience for children, it’s important that they like what they’re doing in order to succeed. Teachers and parents should encourage children to read whatever they’re interested in, including graphic novels, comics, magazines and poems. Check out these picture e-books picked out from the CLAMS OverDrive e-book collection.
September is self-improvement month, a time to focus on improving yourself to achieve desired goals. We have compiled a list of books—from timeless classics such as James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh to recent bestsellers like Nike swoosh creator Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog—that provide insights on maximizing potential, overcoming fears and recognizing the pivotal moments that can have the greatest impact on your life.
1. Acres of Diamonds: All Good Things Are Possible, Right Where You Are, and Now!
Opportunities for success, wealth and happiness often lie under foot and yet go unnoticed. This little book, originally a speech by Russell Conwell, serves as a reminder not to overlook the abundance right on our doorstep. This timeless work addresses the myth that fame and fortune are waiting somewhere “out there.” Conwell also dispels the notion that men and women of integrity shouldn’t desire money or wealth. He advises readers to begin searching for the diamonds in their lives… at home.
2. As a Man Thinketh
“This little volume” as James Allen refers to it, has been a source of inspiration for millions and has influenced the work of many respected personal-development leaders. And with statements such as, “The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors, that which it loves, and also that which it fears,” Allen paved the way for many contemporary philosophers. At its core is the belief that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
3. Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!
Within each person is a sleeping giant of greatness. With this book, motivational coach Anthony Robbins seeks to help you “take immediate control of mental, emotional, physical and financial destiny.” This personal-development classic delves into the specifics of goal setting, achieving success in relationships, talking to yourself and discovering your true potential.
4. Chicken Soup for the Soul Series
The phenomenal success of Chicken Soup for the Soul offers inspiration on many levels. From the tenacity it took to get the first Chicken Soup for the Soul published (Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected by 140 publishers and their book agent before finding a publisher willing to take a chance on their idea) to the thousands of touching and thought-provoking stories, these books will warm your heart and may help you view life from a new perspective.
5. Grit: The Power of Passion a Perseverance
Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes or businesspeople—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” Duckworth mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance.
6. How To Win Friends and Influence People
First published in 1937, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was an overnight success with staying power. Today, this book is regarded as one of the all-time best for its lessons on dealing with people. It is packed with anecdotes from historical leaders and lessons learned or taught by some of history’s greatest businessmen, making the read as interesting as it is enlightening. And the methods—calling a person by his or her name or looking at the situation from the other’s point of view—work in business and in personal life with family and friends.
7. Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace
Change is so rapid today that leaders must do much more than stay the course to be successful. If they are not nimble and ready to adapt, they won’t survive. The key is to learn how to leadershift. In this book, John C. Maxwell helps leaders gain the ability and willingness to make leadership changes that will positively enhance their organizational and personal growth.
8. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable
In bestsellers such as Purple Cow and Tribes, Seth Godin taught readers show to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas. But this book is about you—your choices, your future and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose.
9. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Phil Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. In Shoe Dog, he tells his story at last. At twenty-four, Knight decides that rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, new, dynamic, different. Knight details the many risks he encountered, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs.
10. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
In this book, Carol Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success, but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment but may actually jeopardize success.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with these flicks featuring your favorite Spanish-speaking actors. From Mexico to Spain, Latinx actors portray a wide range of characters set in different times and worlds, giving viewers from all around the globe new and exciting perspectives. Luckily, the best Spanish-language movies on Netflix are only a click away and give viewers the option of watching with English subtitles. Whether you’re in the mood for a daunting mystery, a mind-alerting thriller, or a new romance gone wrong, there’s a flick for everyone on the streaming service. We’ve rounded up the best Spanish-language movies on Netflix, so it's time to take your pick!
Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest) Wealthy businessman Adrián Doria is accused of murder after he wakes up next to the corpse of his lover in a hotel room. To prove his innocence, Adrián works with lawyers Felix Leiva and Virginia Goodman to come up with a credible defense. But in order to do so, Adrián must open up about everything that led him to that moment in time.
Durante la tormenta (Mirage) In this mystery drama, protagonist Vera Roy finds herself between two parallel universes. On November 9, 1989, 12-year-old Nico witnesses a murder and dies trying to escape the scene. He leaves behind a videotape he was recording during a 72-hour electric storm. Twenty-five years later, Vera moves into Nico's former home and discovers the tape. She crosses timelines to warn Inspector Leyra about the deaths and he works to stop them before the storm rolls through.
El hombre de las mil caras (Smoke and Mirrors) The thriller tells the real life story of former Spanish spy and businessman Francisco Paesa. After being instrumental in a government operation against a terrorist group, he's framed and forced to leave Spain. When he's finally able to return, Francisco has nothing left except a revenge plan against the former commissioner of police.
El hoyo (The Platform) A standard jail is reimagined as vertical with one cell on each level, holding two people. At meal time, a slab of food descends from floor to floor to feed everyone. The inmates at the top eat well, leaving those at the bottom starving. The endless nightmare comes to a head when a rebellion happens.
El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) Directed by Guillermo del Toro, this fantasy drama takes place in Spain in 1944. A girl fascinated with fairy tales meets an old faun who tells her that she's the princess of the underworld. But she must first go through three gruesome tasks to prove herself. If she fails, she'll never receive her title and reunite with her father, the king.
La llamada (Holy Camp!) In this musical comedy, two rebellious teens, Maria and Susana, spend their summer at a Catholic camp run by nuns. On their first night, the girls sneak out and go partying. As expected, the camp doesn't plan on tolerating this behavior and discourages their love of music. Slowly but surely, the teens start showing the nuns the power of song.
Nuestros amantes (Our Lovers) Carlos and Irene meet at a bookshop bar and begin dating, but there's a catch. The two can't share personal information about themselves, not even their real names. Instead, the new couple focuses on enjoying their time together walking around the city. That is, until Irene discovers that Carlos is married to Maria, who is the woman her boyfriend, Jorge, recently left her for.
Palmeras en la nieve (Palm Trees in the Snow) Based on the historical novela by Luz Gabás, this romantic drama follows a young Spanish woman named Clarence who discovers a partial letter after her father dies. The film jumps between the past and present as the protagonist searches for answers. She travels to Africa where she discovers her family's secrets on a cacao plantation and begins to right wrongs.
Roma At the 91st Academy Awards, this powerful Mexican drama won Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Foreign Language Film. Set in the early '70s, the black-and-white movie follows the life of a live-in housekeeper taking care of a middle-class family in Mexico City. Her personal life intertwines with theirs as a marriage falls apart and a baby is born.
Tarde para la ira (The Fury of a Patient Man) For the past eight years, Ana has raised her son all on her own, making ends meet working as a bartender at a café. She's patiently waited for her criminal boyfriend, Curro, to be released from jail but upon his return, his violent behavior and resentment threatens her peace. Ana is falsely led to believe that she's found an escape with Jose, a regular at the café, but he has other motives.
Todos lo saben (Everybody Knows) Actress Penélope Cruz stars as Laura, a woman who lives in Buenos Aires with her two children. After her sister's wedding brings her back to their Spanish hometown, Laura is thrown into chaos when her daughter is kidnapped. While trying to deal with the ransom, she discovers that unexpected people are involved.
Verónica In 1991, Verónica and two classmates hold a séance at their school in Madrid. After trying to contact her recently deceased father, Verónica begins to feel a strange presence inside her home. Despite her attempt to escape the evil spirits, she suffers from hallucinations and violent visions that only get worse.
Y tu mamá también (And Your Mother Too) Actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna portray two teenage friends in search of adventure. While their girlfriends are away in Europe, the teens meet an older woman named Luisa at a family wedding. After finding out about her husband's latest martial affair, Luisa decides to join them on a road trip they initially made up to entice her. The trio embark on a journey where they learn about life, friendship, and sex.
7 Años (7 Years) The four founders of a successful company are being investigated by the government, who will inevitably discover that they've committed massive tax fraud. The group comes to the conclusion that one of them needs to take the fall and go to jail for seven years, sparing the others. But after everyone refuses to be the scapegoat, a mediator is hired to help out.
100 metros (100 Meters) Based on a true story, a Spanish man named Ramón Arroyo is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The CEO decides to train for an Ironman Triathlon, despite being told that he won't make it past 100 meters. In the process, he gets help from his father-in-law, Manolo, a former professional athlete, who is battling his own demons.