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Walking Across America


Think about what it would be like to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City.   This 3,500 mile, seven month long trek was made in 1896 by a 36 year old Norwegian American woman named Helga Estby and her eighteen-year-old daughter Clara.    Helga Estby was a Norwegian immigrant living on a farm in the state of Washington with her husband and eight children.   When the farm was threatened with foreclosure because of unpaid taxes, Helga decided to accept a $10,000 wager from an anonymous sponsor of the fashion industry.   If Helga could walk across the country wearing the new “reform dress”( shorter skirt ) , following the strict rules set out by the sponsor, she would win $10,000.  Helga and her daughter left the family in Washington State and set out on a perilous journey that was fraught with danger, exhaustion and propelled by courage, strength, determination and love for family.   This true story is told in the book Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America , by Linda Lawrence Hunt.    Using newspaper clippings, research and memories of Helga’s descendants, Lawrence gives a captivating account of these incredible women defied the accepted norm for women’s behavior and aspirations in 1896.  Author Jane Kirkpatrick has written a compelling and moving historical fiction novel  based on Helga Estby’s walk across the United States.   This novel, The  Daughter’s Walk : A Novel  tells the story of the walk and then moves forward to  daughter Clara Estby’s  continued journey through life.   These two outstanding books are fine tributes to the strength, determination and the struggles for rights and independence that women faced in the late 19thCentury.

 

book coverThink about what it would be like to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City.   This 3,500 mile, seven month long trek was made in 1896 by a 36 year old Norwegian American woman named Helga Estby and her eighteen-year-old daughter Clara.    Helga Estby was a Norwegian immigrant living on a farm in Washington State with her husband and eight children.   When the farm was threatened with foreclosure because of unpaid taxes, Helga decided to accept a $10,000 wager from an anonymous sponsor of the fashion industry.   If Helga could walk across the country wearing the new “reform dress”( shorter skirt ) , following the strict rules set out by the sponsor, she would win $10,000.  Helga and her daughter left the family in Washington State and set out on a perilous journey that was fraught with danger, exhaustion and propelled by courage, strength, determination and love for family.   This true story is told in the book Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America, by Linda Lawrence Hunt.    Using newspaper clippings, research and memories of Helga’s descendants, Hunt has pieced together a captivating account of a long forgotten trek made by two  incredible women who defied society's restrictions on women’s behavior and aspirations in 1896.  

book cover

 

 

Author Jane Kirkpatrick has written a compelling and moving historical fiction novel  based on Helga Estby’s walk across the United States.   The  Daughter’s Walk : A Novel tells the story of the walk and then moves forward to  daughter Clara Estby’s  continued journey through life.   These two outstanding books are fine tributes to the strength, determination and struggle for rights and independence that  American women faced during the late 19thCentury. 



Angels in Berlin


Wings of Desire (DVD)

Cover Image of "Wings of Desire" DVD - Shows an Angel This highly-acclaimed and beautifully atmospheric film by German director, Wim Wenders, reveals  a world of trench-coated angels inhabiting the skies above a war-wounded Berlin who descend  to earth to listen to the conflicted thoughts of mortals, extending comfort and love.  One angel’s emotional investment deepens to the point where he yearns to become mortal himself, having fallen in love with a graceful trapeze performer.

 

Being a librarian, one of the things that I liked the most about this visually stunning and psychologically-nuanced movie was that one physical space in which these angels silently spoke to the melancholy humans in need of their comfort and care were the communal yet contemplative spaces of libraries.

 

Oddly enough, Peter Falk, plays himself in this absorbing and original film. 



Meet Local Artist Allen Figone


   Painting of mountains, trees and river in foregroundAttention art lovers, lovers of beautiful scenery  and  lovers  of national parks—we have a program for you!  Local artist Allen Figone will be at Santa Teresa Library on Saturday March 16 at 1:00 pm displaying his art and speaking about his experiences in various national parks.  Take this opportunity to meet the artist and hear him speak about his creative efforts representing some of America’s most famous national parks.

 

Painting of red rock cliffs in Zion Park

 

A San Jose native, Mr. Figone received his training at San Jose City College and San Jose State University.  He has won awards in local shows throughout the Bay Area and his paintings have been  featured in galleries from Oregon to New Jersey.

From his website:  “Most recently Allen has achieved National level recognition as a finalist in “ The Art of Seeing Nature” Oakland Museum of Art,  “Arts for the Parks 2005 and 2006”(triple finalist), Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and “Oil Painters of America Western Regional Juried Exhibition 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.  He also was a finalist in the 2008 and 2009 Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibitions.  The Grand Canyon Association purchased Allen’s painting “Drama Along Bright Angel Trail” which was one of two paintings that were finalists in the 2008 Paint the Parks National Exhibition Top 100.   In 2009 Paint the Parks he was again a multiple finalist with paintings in the Top 100 and Mini 50 as well.  Allen was also one of 66 contemporary artists selected internationally to represent Zion National Park in “A Century of Sanctuary” The Art of Zion National Park, National Exhibition (in commemoration of its 100 year Anniversary), held at the St. George Museum, St. George, Utah.  Allen’s painting “Afternoon Shadows” has now been added to the permanent collection of the St. George Museum. 

 

Painting of Merced River in YosemiteAs an artist Allen has taken the skills he learned doing technical Illustration and combined that with what he has learned from studying the Early California Impressionists, which he has admired and studied for years, to create a unique style of painting to shape his aesthetic vision. 

 

‘My painting philosophy is simple: to capture nature as I see her and to depict the colors and values I see as exactingly as possible. Art is about seeing, interpreting and painting the performance.’



Landry News by Andrew Clements


The Landry News coverThe Landry News (AR 4.0, Level 6.0) is an older title by the school-related author, Andrew Clements.  However, it's theme is so timely because of the unobjective news reporting practiced by many cable "news" networks.  Please also note the wonderful illustrations by the Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck author, Brian Selznick!

 

Cara, whose parents have divorced, first used her newspaper, The Landry News as a way to inappropriately express the truth, no matter who was hurt.  Now she is at a new school.  She disapproves of the lacksadaical way that her fifth grade teacher, Mr. Larson, runs his classroom.   She prints her dissatisfaction in her newspaper.  How will Mr. Larson react when he sees it?

 

The Constitution's First Amendment is explored in this novel.  Should truth be tempered by mercy?  How does truth and mercy fit in The Landry News?  Will Mr. Larson ever change?  Find out and check out this wonderful book!



Happy 100th birthday, Girl Scouts of America!


This year on March 12, 2012 the Girls Scouts of America will celebrate their 100th birthday. When I learned this, I was a bit surprised. Girls Scouts is so ingrained in my consciousness I was sure they were older than that. I was a Girl Scout when I was young. My cousin Donna was the troop leader, so I guess I figured it was in my blood. I vacillated between hiding from things that were too scary for wimpy me and reaching my dreams of learning new things.

 

I have to admit that some of the things we did at summer day camp were pretty boring and tedious. How many sit-upons and lumpy bead necklaces does one girl need? But they also took me beyond my expectations: making a campfire, cooking on it, camping outside, hiking in the woods, exploring careers, getting along with all kinds of people, making do with what you have. My strong, wild, creative cousin showed me that a girl can be whatever and whoever she wants to be. So thank you GSA (and Donna!) for helping me to become the strong, not so wild, creative, happy and successful woman I am today. You can do it, too!

Book cover: Here come the Girl Scouts! Book cover: Daisy and the Girl Scouts Book cover: Juliette Gordon Low: the remarkable founder of the Girl Scouts Book cover: First Girl Scout: the life of Juliette Gordon Low



Time to Plan a Sleepover!!


When is the last time you went to a sleepover? Why not plan one today? Sleepovers, also known as pajama parties or slumber parties, are a great inexpensive way to have fun. You don’t need to buy a lot and you don’t need to be a good dancer. Kids often have sleepovers for special occasions like birthdays, but you don’t need a special reason to have a sleepover. Just find a date that works for you and invite a bunch of friends. Have everyone bring pajamas, a toothbrush, a sleeping bag and pillow, and a favorite snack to share.

 

You can watch movies, bake cookies, give makeovers and play games. Some favorite sleepover games include Truth or Dare and pillow fights. You can play music and talk or play board games (or all three!) until the wee hours. In the summer you can sleep outside under the stars. Here are some books with more great ideas on having a sleepover. You don’t need a reason – it’s always the season for a sleepover!

Book cover: Cool slumber partiesBook cover: Sleepover partyBook cover: Midnight Feast MagicBook cover: My first sleepoverBook cover: Super slumber parties



Hungry for Hunger Games


The Hunger Games book cover Oh no, the book I want isn’t on the shelf. I really wanted to read 'The Hunger Games' but it’s checked out… everywhere!"

 

Or maybe you finished all three Hunger Games books and are wondering what to read next.

 

Well the Library has a nifty tool to help. Click on Books and Media at the top of our site. In the section about books, click on What to Read Now (NoveList). Enter your library card number and PIN to enter NoveList. Entering the title "Hunter Games" you come up with a list that includes terrific books from authors such as Scott Westerfeld and Nancy Farmer.

 

NoveList lets you type in a title, an author, subject or keyword, and then creates a list of similar books for you. You can even refine the list by pace of the story, setting, audience age group and more.

 

Give it a try when you’re wondering what to read next.



Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick


Wonder Struck cover

Wonder Struck (AR 4.0, Level 5.4) by Brian Selznick is a beautiful book.  This title follows the story of Ben and Rose.  Ben's story unfolds in words and Rose's story unfolds in pictures.  Both characters are connected by a desire to find people that are missing from their lives.  After the death of Ben's mother, he yearns to find his father.  Ben's mother, Elaine, has told him nothing about his father.  However, after accidentally finding information that may lead to his father, Ben sets out for New York City, where his father last lived.  Will Ben find his long-missing father?

 

Rose is desperately unhappy living with her father.  She has been creating a scrapbook about the career of a  mysterious actress, Lillian Mayhew.  Feeling that Ms. Mayhew can help her, she sets off for New York City.  What will she find there and how will Ms. Mayhew help her?

 

Both stories are set apart by fifty years.  However, both characters are similar in that they are both deaf.  What is truly remarkable about both characters is the lack of sadness or anger about their disabilities.  Both courageously go to one of the largest cities in the world, sure of their purpose.  The reader is immediately drawn into both stories because of the remarkably life-like drawings and compelling stories.

 

Brian Selznick, the Caldecott Medal winner for The Invention of Hugo Cabret (AR 4.0, Level 5.1) once again makes a movie-like book.  Mr. Selznick has said that his interest in this story began when he learned about the new sound technology in 1927, which would affect the deaf community.  Prior to 1927, both hearing and deaf people could enjoy the movies together.  After 1927, deaf people were left out of the experience of enjoying film.



Have You Visited Downton Abbey?


Book cover: The world of Downton Abbey

Book cover: Below stairs

Downton Abbey is a British historical drama that has been showing on Masterpiece Theater. If you liked “Upstairs, Downstairs,” you will love this show, but due to modern film techniques it is even more beautiful. The story follows the Crawley family and their household staff. It takes place at the beginning of the 20th century with season two carrying the family and staff through the First World War. It has given PBS a surge in popularity in the last year and a half. According to EW.com, “…the second season "Abbey" audience was 25% larger than the first round. The show is also delivering a much younger audience than the usual "Masterpiece crowd", with female viewers 18-34 up 251%.”


 

Book cover: Lady Almina and the real Downton AbbeyShirley MacLaine is set to join the cast for the third season, which should draw even more viewership to this popular show. Dame Maggie Smith has been a bigger draw for me, but in my eyes the biggest star of the show is the glorious costumes. You can sample Downtown Abbey (and Upstairs, Downstairs) by checking out the DVDs at your local library. You can also read about this wonderful series here. Enjoy!



The Dingo That Wouldn't Die


According to CNN today (February 25, 2012), there has been a fourth inquest into the case of Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and her claim that a dingo stole her baby Azaria, aged 2 months, while the family was camping near Ayer’s Rock in Australia. This tale was brought to popular knowledge in the 1988 film A Cry in the Dark for which Meryl Streep achieved an Academy Award nomination. The movie was based on the book Evil Angels by John Bryson.

 

Chamberlain-Creighton was cleared in the first inquest in 1981 then sentenced to life in prison in the second in 1982 when the jury found that the mother had slit the child’s throat. That verdict was overturned when a baby’s jacket was found half buried near a dingo nest in 1986. “In 1988, a Royal Commission set up to review the evidence formally quashed convictions for both husband and wife,” according to CNN. The third inquest, in 1995, left an open verdict which Chamberlain-Creighton and her former husband Michael are trying to correct to show what they say is the true cause of death – a dingo attack.

Book cover: Dingo

 

 

The 2012 inquest was taken on in Chamberlain-Creighton’s move to get her facts down and show that dingo attacks have been significant and are a true danger. Read more about dingoes at your library.

 

 

The coroner adjourned the fourth inquest.