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    J-Chi 500 Xiao xue sh

    小学生最好奇的100 問题  ||  Xiao xue sheng zui hao qi de 100 ge wen ti

    原著者, Uri Production ;  譯者, 鄺紹賢

    台北市 : 三采文化出版事業有限公司   ISSN: 9789572002964

    小学生最好奇的100問题

    『眼晴爲什麽一直眨來眨去?』人一天當中,大概會眨上數千次甚至數萬次的眼睛,而且每次眨眼睛的時侯,都會有眼淚流出來,讓眼睛濕濕的;只是眼淚的量很少,我們感覺不到而已。我們的眼睛會眨來眨去的,是為了讓眼淚均匀地濕潤整個眼球,防止眼晴乾燥。所以,眼球需要常常有眼淚的滋潤,才能轉動自如哦!如果有灰塵跑進眼晴的話,眼皮也會自動眨幾下,讓灰塵跟著眼淚流出來,達到保護眼睛的功能。另外,當有東西飛到眼睛前面時、眼晴也會自動地眨眼,這是因爲當我們的眼晴感覺到有危險時,會刺激到反射神經,眼睛就會命令眼皮開起來,以保護眼晴不受到外物的侵襲唷!p48-49

    小朋友在學習過程中,常常左一句,右一句「爲什麽?不明白?真的嗎?」。這本「小學生最好奇的100問題」能幫助小朋友啓發智力增長知識。

    Special Thanks goes to Hung-yun Chang at Mid-Manhattan Library and Maria Fung in Collection Development for all their help with this blog post. 


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    Plate umpire via Wikimedia Commons

    Hey! Well, spring training is nearly complete here, we’re less than two short weeks away until the 2015 Major League Baseball campaign gets going. But as the players shed the rust that built up over the winter, let’s keep in mind that the umpires will be doing the same as well. Spring training is also a time for the umps to get into the swing of things once again, readying for the long season ahead of them. As we keep that in mind, let’s take some time to profile a handful of umpires who were above and beyond in the eyes of their peers, earning them enshrinement into the sacred grounds of the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York.

    1. Bill Klem - Known as the “Father of Baseball Umpires,” Bill Klem revolutionized the umpire occupation. He established a lot of changes that are taken for granted today. Credit has been given to Klem for both being the first umpire to wear protective gear for the chest, as well as for being the first to use hand signals to differentiate between balls and strikes. Klem’s reasoning for doing so: “That guy in a twenty-five cent bleacher seat is as much entitled to know a call as the guy in the boxes. He can see my arm signal even if he can’t hear my voice.” Simple, yet rational. In addition, it was Klem who taught his umpiring brethren to stand marginally off to the side when behind the plate, and to utilize the “slot” between the pitcher and the catcher in order to better call balls and strikes. Despite passing away over 60 years ago in 1951, Klem still holds many of Major League Baseball’s umpiring records. He tops the list in most ejections (256), most games called behind the plate (3,544), and most games worked overall (5,369). Perhaps the records that speak to Klem’s stellar reputation the most are his record 18 World Series assignments, and his 103 Series games worked. He also was on the umpiring staff that oversaw the League’s first All-Star Game in 1933. Klem capped off his trailblazing career with a posthumous induction to Cooperstown in 1953, with himself and Tom Connolly being the first umpires ever to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

    2. Billy Evans - When you think about umpires, you probably envision them as an older, authoritative figure who is supposed to keep the ballgame under control if the young players let it get out of hand. 99 times out of 100 you would be right, but that description doesn’t really fit what Billy Evans was about. He holds the distinction of being the youngest umpire of all time at age 22, when he debuted as an American League official in 1906. His first World Series assignment? Three years later in 1909, making him the youngest ump to work a World Series in baseball history at age 25. His nickname throughout his 22-season career was “The Boy Umpire,” on account of how young he was for his profession. Evans always did his best, and acknowledged along the way he probably made some mistakes, “I missed a lot of decisions. At the time of making such a decision there was no doubt in my mind as to its correctness. However, a second or two later I felt that I erred and wished I could change my original ruling.” Regrettably, people thought they could get over on Evans due to his young age. In 1907, a fan in the stands hurled a glass bottle at the Boy Umpire, fracturing his skull and knocking him unconscious. Later on in 1921, Evans came to blows with Ty Cobb following a game which featured a call that went against the Georgia Peach. Nonetheless, Evans had a very respected and good career as an umpire, and later went on to have a career as a baseball executive with the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers. Evans passed away due to stroke complications in 1971, and was inducted into the Hall in 1973 by the Veterans Committee.

    3. Jocko Conlan - Jocko Conlan wasn’t always an umpire. He spent 13 years as a minor league ballplayer before finally earning his first call-up at age 34 with the 1934 Chicago White Sox. So how did Conlan’s career as an umpire begin exactly? Well it’s sort of a funny story. During a summer 1935 tilt between the White Sox and the St. Louis Browns, umpire Red Ormsby was stricken by the overwhelming heat that day and had to leave the game. Back then, the umpiring crew was made up of only two officials, so if one had to leave the game the other would usually call upon a reserve player who had a good reputation to help him out. That day, it was Conlan’s name that was called, and he really turned heads on both teams by calling a fair and impartial ballgame. The rest was history. Conlan then began his umpiring career in the minors, and worked his way up to the National League, where he officiated games from 1941-1965. Hall of Famer Leo Durocher, who clashed plenty of times with Conlan over the course of his managerial career, had kind words for him at the time of his retirement: “He ran the ballgame like it was supposed to be run. He wanted players to hurry in and out of the dugout. He did it his way.” Conlan worked 5 World Series, 6 All-Star Games, and 3 tiebreaker playoff series. He was the first base umpire in the final game of the 1951 tiebreaker series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants, when Bobby Thomson hit his famous Shot Heard ’Round the World, propelling New York to the NL pennant. In 1974, Conlan became the fourth umpire to reach the Hall of Fame, and the second from the NL with Bill Klem being the first.

    4. Cal Hubbard - We’ve seen plenty of famous umpires so far, but only one has a plaque in three major sports halls of fame. That man is Cal Hubbard. Hubbard played college football at Centenary College and Geneva College before embarking on a 10 year career in the National Football League, where he was a 4-time NFL Champion. He’s known for being the inventor of the linebacker position. Upon retiring in 1936, he immediately began umpiring in the Majors (he was a minor league umpire during the football offseason) and did so until 1951. His 20/10 vision made him an excellent judge of balls and strikes. He retired at the conclusion of that ’51 season, when his eye was injured by a ricocheting shotgun pellet during an offseason hunting trip. Nonetheless, Hubbard knew the rulebook of baseball inside and out, and devised a system of rules that were easy to understand for his fellow umpires. He’s also responsible for baseball adding another official to each umpiring crew. Hubbard’s entire career was one for the ages, and his nameplate resides in the College Football Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and since 1976, the Baseball Hall of Fame as the fifth umpire to be elected.

    5. Hank O’Day - O’Day is the tenth and most recent umpire to enter the Hall of Fame. He did so in 2013, and sort of headlined the class. Remember, that was the year which the Baseball Writers’ Association of America did not elect any of the players on their ballot. So O’Day, along with former New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, and 19th century ballplayer Deacon White were the only inductees for that class. As unfortunate as that was, let’s not overlook O’Day’s career. He ranks second in games manned behind the plate, and is also tied for second in World Series with 10. He was behind the plate for the first modern-day World Series game in 1903 (modern-day refers to all World Series played in 1903 or later). O’Day was also a pitcher during the 19th century, and was a member of the 1889 National League Champion New York Giants. In the 1889 World Series, a best-of-11 affair that the Giants played against the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (champions of the American Association), O’Day picked up 2 victories en route to the championship. He’d also go on to manage the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs for a season apiece, in 1912 and 1914 respectively. All in all, O’Day spent more than 40 years of his life in baseball in some capacity, none more renowned though than as an umpire. It was O’Day who made the out call on Fred Merkle in the infamous “Merkle’s Boner” game in 1908, a decision that has gone down as one of the most memorable and controversial moments in all of baseball’s history. O’Day is the only man to be inducted into the Hall of Fame having served baseball as an umpire, player, manager, and scout.

    To read more umpiring tales in anticipation of the 2015 season, please visit our catalog.


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    AS Libertad Manarquescan240 (1)
    RCA Victor catalogue promoting Mexican early sound film star Libertad Lamarque. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound

    As well as being a research center for The New York Public Library, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is also a constituent member of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  As such, we are part of the Boro-Linc project, bringing performances and projects from the Lincoln Center campus to the other boroughs.  This spring, we partnered with the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education in the Hunts Point section.  For the next three months, visitors and students at the after-school program or the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists can see and hear an LPA off-site exhibition on Latino popular music in the early sound eras.  It is at 928 Simpson Street, four blocks from the Simpson St. 2 train.  casitamaria.org

    Latino and Caribbean popular music genres of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries can be found throughout LPA’s research and circulating collections.  One of our last exhibitions before the 1999-2001 renovations was part of a tri-lingual project documenting popular music throughout the region as techno versions of popular genres (soca, zouk, etc.) were outstripping their acoustic rivals. Like many of our projects, it was suggested by public service staff reflecting the needs of the public. 

    Two years ago, we hosted “American Sabor,” a project of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service based on an exhibition developed by the Experience Music Project and the University of Washington.  “Sabor”focused on 1940—the present in the six major North American markets. For more on Sabor, please see americansabor.org.  To augment it, we developed a prequel exhibit on Latino popular music 1900-1939.  Most of that exhibit is now on view in the bi-lingual exhibition at Casita Maria.  It gave me a change to revisit some of the rare artifacts that document this prolific period in which social dance, recordings, radio and early sound film brought music from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Columbia, and Argentina into mass markets of the north. 

    Among the unique collections here are the catalogues and supplements that record companies created and distributed to stores.  The major record companies promoted these genres and ensembles very early in the 20th century and, by the 1910s, were printing catalogues targeted at Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico with detailed listings, prices, associated dances, and photo-engraved illustrations.  The photo-enlargements that we are showing are clear enough that one can see the exact instrumentation for the ensembles.   We can verify from the Victor supplement for Puerto Rico, for example. that the Orquesta Tizol had strings as well as reed, brass and percussion sections.   

    I hope that you can visit Casita Maria.  But meanwhile, I’m sharing my list of re-mastered commercial recordings that give you a great range of the dance music and songs.


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    Anyone even vaguely aware of pop culture right now has probably heard of the television show Empire. It recently became one of the biggest new shows on television. For those unfamiliar, it is the story of Lucious Lyon, a hip-hop mogul who runs an entertainment company called Empire Entertainment, and his family. The family includes ex-wife Cookie Lyons, who has just been released after a 17-year stint in jail for dealing drugs (the funds of which were used to found the record company) and three sons Jamal (the singer), Hakeem (the rapper) and Andre (the business mind). Given a diagnosis of ALS, Lucious must decide which of his sons is most fit to run the company in his stead.

    Empire is ultimately a family drama but it uses the world of hip-hop music as its base and the story of Lucious is very similar to that of many modern rap moguls. The season has ended (and it won't be back on air until this fall) but for those who desire to learn more about the world of hip-hop that Empire depicts or maybe to brush up on what you already know, below are a wealth of resources to get you started.

    Books

    Nonfiction

     The Concise Guide to Hip-hop Music
    Can't Stop, Won't Stop
    Dirty South

    For those who want a straightforward history, both The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music by Paul Edwards and American Hip-Hop by Nathan Sacks offer a thorough lesson on the origins of hip-hop music. There is an examination of hip-hop from the beginning with its start in the 1970s and continues to present day. There is also discussion of specific pioneers that began the movement.

    Taking the stance of hip-hop as not just a music genre but a culture unto its own, Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop discusses not only the music but all of the other elements that make up hip-hop as a whole. Chang interviewed a plethora of people who were a part of the hip-hop generation and that includes DJs, rappers, artists and even gang members. This gives the book a note of real authenticity. Groove Musicby Mark Katz follows a similar route but focuses on the actual music by discussing the evolution of the turntable, DJ battles and how digital technology has changed the hip-hop industry.

    Rap is known to have originated in New York City, specifically the Bronx. In its beginnings, most rappers hailed from either that area or some part of NYC (including the greater New York area such as Mount Vernon and Yonkers). Then as the years passed, the West Coast also became well known for rap, especially the subgenre known as gangster rap. But in recent years another part of the country has taken up the mantel, and that is the South. More and more rappers have come up that call southern states home. Third Coast by Roni Sarig discusses how southern rap has come to dominate hip-hop and why. He writes about it as a matter of cultural history and also discusses specific artists that have played a part in its popularity including Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Lil' Jon and Outkast. Using a similar formula but discussing more recent acts, Dirty South by Ben Westhoff expands on the discussion of the South’s new role as a hip-hop mecca. Westhoff takes it a step further by visiting the neighborhoods where artists T.I. and Lil' Wayne grew up, hanging out with Big Boi from Outkast and even hanging out with some local rappers at an Atlanta strip club. The interviews give readers an inside view mixed with a history lesson.

    A book that looks like it would be at home on the bookshelves of Lucious Lyon, Hip-Hop Inc: Success Strategies of the Rap Moguls by Richard Oliver evaluates the strategies of hip-hop’s most well-known moguls. Some of those featured in the book include Russell Simmons, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Dr. Dre. He discusses not only their personal stories but also the rise of hip-hop in the music industry. The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas focuses not only on those who have succeeded, but also those who haven’t, in hip-hop’s over forty-year history. Readers get an inside look at the studios where the first rap records were made as well as the boardrooms where modern day deals are inked.

    The Big Payback
    Hip Hop Inc
    American Hip-Hop

    Fiction

    Although discussed briefly on the show, Lucious Lyon becomes the man he is because of the way he grew up on the streets of Philadelphia. He was left to fend for himself after becoming an orphan and got involved in the drug trade. His story is not unheard of in many inner cities across the country. Urban fiction, also known as street lit, is a genre mostly written by African American authors that focuses on urban environments and usually delves into the underside of living in the city. The stories tend to be explicit and feature sex, violence and profanity. For some, this can be off putting but the writers use it to bring authenticity to stories that show a way of life that isn't always pleasant. While the genre is not new it has seen a strong resurgence over the last ten years. Hip-hop music and urban fiction use different mediums but come from a very similar place in the stories they tell. For readers more intrigued by the dramatic elements of the show these fictional accounts will definitely keep you hooked.

    This list below contains mainly series for those who like the more serialized element of Empire, but the authors listed also have other books that are single stories.

    Animal
    Kwan, Animal Series
    Cartel
    Ashley & JaQuavis, Cartel Series
    Power
    Joy Deja King, Power
    Flint
    Treasure Hernandez, Flint Series
    South Beach Cartel
    Nisa Santiago, South Beach Cartel
    Rise of an American Gangstress
    Kim K., Rise of An American Gangstress
    Family Business
    Carl Weber, The Family Business Series
    Golden Hustla
    Wahida Clark, The Golden Hustla
    Larger than Lyfe
    Cynthia Diane Thornton, Larger Than Lyfe

    Visit our catalog for even more new Urban titles.

    Biographies

    Book titles are plenty if you want to know more about the minds behind the music. Decoded by Jay-Z was extremely popular when it was released back in 2010. The book is an intriguing narrative of Jay-Z’s life which features words, images, and lyrics. The title comes into play because he shares the 10 codes that define him. Using a similar style but with multimedia included 50 cent released 50 X 50, a book that contains memorabilia such as lyrics, drawings, removable letters and album covers. Also included are rare photographs and recorded interviews. These items all come together to share the story of Curtis Jackson as well as his rapper alter ego.

    The Wu-Tang Clan and RZA
    Decoded
    50x50

    Continuing with biography, writer Alvin Blanco takes the reader on a journey with The Wu-Tang Clan and Rza: A Trip Through Hip-Hop’s 36 Chambers. Blanco recounts the groups’ meteoric rise from an underground supergroup to an internationally known rap group. There is discussion of their albums as a group as well as individually focusing on the most popular artists including Method Man, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and Ghostface Killa. If you have an affinity for the group producer The Rza also wrote his own book titled The Tao of Wu. Known for his production skills and fondness for East Asian philosophy, Rza writes the book as part memoir/part self help guide. He presents seven spiritual codes to live by formed from significant events in his life.

    Children’s Titles

    Hip Hop Dog
    When the Beat Was Born

    There aren’t as many titles on hip-hop in the area of children’s books but there are a couple of fun titles to share with little ones. Hip-Hop Dog by Christopher Raschka is a great story about a neglected dog who finds his purpose through rapping and rhyming. The story offers a fun way to explain what exactly rapping is and how it is often used share someone’s personal story.

    The same can be said for When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip-Hop by Laban Hill a wonderful biography that details how one of the founders of hip-hop got his start. It delves into his career as a DJ as well as how break dancing, the dance style that defined hip-hop in the ’80s, became a movement all its own.

    Documentaries

    Hip-hop is not just about the music but also the personalities of the rappers that perform the songs. Being able to see and hear the artists perform offers another dimension to the. In Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest is a great documentary that follows the rap trio A Tribe Called Quest when they reunite for a sold out tour across the U.S. ten years after their last album. Directed by actor Michael Rappaport it gives an insider’s view to the issues and personal conflicts that continue to plague the members of the legendary group.

    Beats, Rhymes and Life
    Public Enemy
    Nas

    Iconic rap group Public Enemy has a career that spans over twenty years. The documentary Welcome to the Terrordome: 20 years of Rap, Rock and Revolution chronicles their successful career and their legacy. It includes commentary from the Beastie Boys, Talib Qweli and others.

    Nas: Time is Illmatic is another eye opening look into one of hip-hop's greatest minds. Illmatic was Nas's debut album and is considered a classic in the genre. In the documentary, he discusses his life growing up in Queensbridge, his influences and the difficulties he faced before making Illmatic. The doc also includes conversations with the producers of the album and artists who know the rapper personally. It is a nice intimate look at the creative process of making music and also the mind behind the music.

    Further reading


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    Running out of things to read? Panicking because your “to read” pile has dwindled down to 10 books or so? Not to worry! Here are some well-reviewed new titles coming out next month that you can add to your wish list.

    Gutshot: Stories by Amelia Gray
    Gray’s fourth book (and third story collection) is a cabinet of wonders where you will find examples of surreal imagery, black humor, and fabulistic horror. In “The Year of the Snake,” a huge serpent bisects a town and threatens its very existence. In “A Contest,” the gods decide that the mortal who grieves the most will be be reunited with his or her loved one. In the end, a lonely old woman wins, but who she grieves for is not who you would expect. Consider this to be a thinking person’s collection of fairy tales—strange, eerie, beautiful and wryly amusing.

    Another Little Piece of My Heart: My Life of Rock and Revolution in the '60s by Richard Goldstein
    Goldstein was the music and culture critic for the Village Voice in the 1960s. His nonlinear memoir weaves its way through the heyday of rock in the 1960s, the counterculture movement, and his own struggle with his sexual identity. A warmly personal, incisive account of what it meant to live in those heady times and why rock ceased being a revolutionary force.

    The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
    A Viet Cong agent follows a group of South Vietnamese refugees to Southern California in 1975 where he will report on their activities to his Communist minders. This is the premise of Nguyen’s darkly cynical, political thriller that sheds light on the Vietnamese conflict from an Asian perspective. Nguyen’s debut novel is an extraordinarily powerful and compelling read.

    Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir by Jamie Brickhouse
    Brickhouse has written an amusing but sad, over-the-top but understated, and wholly campy memoir about growing up under the domineering gaze of his larger-than-life mother. She was always “a bigger star to me than Joan Crawford or Elizabeth Taylor.” After struggling with alcoholism, drug abuse and dangerous sex, the author finally sobered up and now he looks back on his escapades with a wry, knowing sensibility.

    Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle by Tristan Donovan
    Think being in a city keeps you out of nature’s reach? Yes, of course we all know about rats, pigeons, seagulls and yet even more rats; but Donovan opens our eyes to a whole world of wildlife living in concrete jungles. He travels to cities all over the world and discovers coyotes in LA, leopards in Mumbai, boars in Berlin, and wild parrots in Brooklyn (just go to Greenwood Cemetery to see them). The result is an entertaining, anecdote-rich account of the “beasts” within our midst.


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    You know that romantic tale of a young woman who runs away to the woods to escape a wicked Queen. Here are several retellings of the fairy tale that appeal to modern day teens.

    Nameless by Lili St. Crow "When sixteen-year-old Camille, the adopted heiress of Enrico Vultusino who is head of the families that rule the magic ridden New Haven, meets the mysterious Tor, she begins to uncover the secrets of her past."

    Fairestby Marissa Meyer is an untold story about Queen Levana.

    Winter by Marissa Meyer will be released Novermber 10, 2015 “When Princess Winter was thirteen, the rumor around the Lunar court was that her glamour would soon be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. In a fit of jealousy, Levana disfigured Winter. Four years later, Winter has sworn off the use of her glamour altogether. Despite her scars, Winter’s natural beauty, her grace, and her gentleness are winning admiration from the Lunar people that no amount of mind-control could achieve. Winter despises her stepmother, but has never dreamed of standing up to her. That is, until she realizes that she may be the only one with the power to confront the queen. Can Cinder, Prince Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Princess Winter, and the palace guard Jacin find their happily ever afters? Fans will LOVE this amazing conclusion to the series.”

    Tear You Apartby Sarah Cross. "Teenager Viv, who is constantly escaping her "Snow White" fairy-tale curse, meets the prince who is supposed to save her, but can not fall out of love with the young man destined to kill her."

    Snow White & the Huntsman by Lily Blake. The wicked Queen sends a huntsman to kill snow white. The huntsman becomes friends with Snow White and trains her in the art of war. The Snow White & the Huntsman film is also available on DVD.

    The movie Sydney White is the story of a tomboy named who is kicked out of the best sorority in her college campus by the popular girls. Sydney ends up moving in with seven guys who help her stand up for the outcast and regain her spot in the best sorority on campus.

    The film Mirror Mirror tells the story of an exiled princess who with the help of seven rebels fights the regain the throne.

    Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis is a futuristic retelling of Snow White set in space. Seventeen-year-old Essie is mechanic who repairs robots and drones on a frozen planet called Thanda. Essie meets a mysterious guy named Dane when his ship crashes near her home.

    Fairest by Gail Carson Levine. "In Ayortha, singing and beauty are prized above all else. Aza, a commoner, can sing, and Queen Ivi is a beauty. The queen forces Aza to use her voice to deceive the entire court."

    Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen "Recasts the tale of Snow White, setting it in West Virginia in the 1940s with a stepmother who is a snake-handler."


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    Women and SlaverySince my graduate school days in Paris, I have been researching and writing and talking about the slave trade and slavery. On March 25, I had the honor of doing the latter during the International Day of Rememberance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. 

    I gave the keynote address on Women and Slavery to the UN General Assembly.

    Here's what I wanted people to know and remember:

    It is a great honor to be here today among you as we commemorate the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade whose memory has been so movingly captured and rendered by architect Rodney Leon. This year’s theme, “Women and Slavery,” comes fittingly on the heels of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. This theme reminds us that no history, no present and no future can be written without recognizing the vital role of women that, unfortunately, is too often obscured, glossed over, forgotten, or even denied.

    So I am particularly pleased to be helping to break the silence that surrounds the women who were not simply the victims of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery, but were also immense contributors to the creation of a new world. But, first, let us remember that between the early 1500s and 1867 as many captives crossed the Atlantic as were forced out of Africa  by all the other slave trades combined from 500 CE to 1900. The transatlantic slave trade was the most massive forced migration in history.

    As a result, from 1492 to 1820, 80 percent of the people who arrived in the Americas were Africans, only 20 percent  were Europeans. Africans landed in every country, from Argentina to Bolivia, from every Caribbean Island to Honduras and North America. The Africans’ skills, knowledge, and work transformed the land. They mined and cultivated the riches of the continents. They built cities and towns, and fought for their freedom and the independence of the countries that enslaved them, all the while developing new cultures, new languages, new religions, new peoples. Females represented  30 percent of the people who survived the Middle Passage.

    We know  that most deported Africans were between the ages of 15 and 30. What it means is that the majority of the women who boarded the slave ships were married and had children. It was the case for many men too. These women were not only daughters and sisters, then, but they were also wives and mothers leaving husbands and young children behind, or seeing them embark on another ship. 

    The sheer agony at being so brutally separated from the family that had loved them, uprooted from their community forever can never be adequately described, and it often was expressed without words. On the slave ships, one surgeon explained, men and women “showed signs of extreme distress and despair, from a feeling of their situation at being torn from their friends and connections. They were often heard in the night making a howling melancholy noise, expressive of extreme anguish. It was because they had dreamed  they were in their own country againand finding themselves, when awake, in the hold of a slave-ship. This exquisite sensibility was particularly observable among the women; many of whom, on such occasions, he found in hysteric fits.”

    The women who survived the ordeal represented 80 percent of all the women who landed in the Americas before 1820. Their presence had a considerable impact on the formation of the continents’ societies. They were central to the demographic, social, and cultural development of the Western Hemisphere.

    They carried with them their knowledge of medicinal plants and various crops, their skills at gardening and midwifery, their cuisines, their songs, dances, and stories, and their gendered traditions, values, cultures, and religious practices. Although their mortality rates were high and their fertility rates were low, they were the women who brought to the world the first generations of Americans.

    But as slaves and as women, they and their daughters and granddaughters bore the brunt of oppression. Studies have shown that women were more likely to be subjected to excessive physical abuse than men. They were more vulnerable, less likely to respond with force. As Frederick Douglass wrote, “He is whipped oftenest, who is whipped easiest.” Women, like men, were stripped naked and whipped and humiliated in front of their children and the larger community.

    The abjection of slavery took  an added dimension when women were concerned. They were the victims of sexual abuse, from harassment to forced prostitution, and from breeding to rape. Rape by sailors on the slave ships, and rape by overseers, slaveholders, and their sons in the Americas was a persistent threat to all, a horrific reality to many. Used, like it continues to be used today, as a weapon of terror, rape was meant to assert power over and demean not only the women, but also their fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons, who were reminded daily that they were considered less than men since they could not protect their womenfolk. Breeding through compulsion or incentives was another appaling feature of the gender-based violence and exploitation women had to endure. Overall, the sexual abuse of women was part of the larger attempt at demoralization and submission of the entire community.

    Slavery did not recognize the sanctity of marriage.  Couples and families could be broken up at any time, without warning. Commonly, except on large plantations, husbands and wives did not reside on the same place, sometimes not in the same neighborhood following sales or owners’ relocation. Thus, the reality is that despite men’s often incredibly heroic efforts at visiting and supporting their families, women were forced to raise their children largely on their own, for as long as they could since they lived under the constant threat of sales, sale of their children, or their own sale.

    But in the midst of it all, women fought back in a multitude of ways.  Throughout the Americas, their “insolence” was noted. Verbal confrontations, gestures, attitudes, looks, facial expressions that showed lack of respect and challenged authority were deemed to be mostly the weapon of women. These overt manifestations of hostility and insubordination could be brutally punished. It was often the women who were the poisoners  of animals and people, spreading terror among slaveholders who feared for their lives and the lives of their families, and saw their holdings in beasts and humans shrink.Rejecting the owners’ management of their fertility, mothers and midwives were the abortionists, and the perpetrators of infanticide who refused to bring children into a miserable world and increase slaveholders’ fortunes.

    Even if less frequently than men, women ran away to cities and free territories or stayed on their own or with their families in small and large maroon communities all over the Western Hemisphere. In the United States, there were mothers and their children who lived in caves they had dug 7 feet under the ground. Some gave birth there and remained safely hidden for years. During insurrections women fed the fighters, transported ammunition, acted as spies, and tended to the wounded. Some fought arms in hand sometimes disguised as men. Others used their gender as a weapon. The uprising and the revolution in St Domingue, for example, saw some women exchange sexual favors with the French soldiers for bullets and gunpowder. Women were hanged, whipped to death, burned alive, mauled by dogs, or shot for marronage, assault, arson, poisoning, or rebellion.

    But one of the most enduring aspects of women’s resistance was the preservation and passing on of culture. Because of the widespread dislocation of families, mothers were, not the only but too often the main, social and cultural nurturers of 15 generations of enslaved men and women in the Americas. Given the circumstances, they, predominantly, provided  their children with the inner strength and the coping mechanisms that enabled them to survive, live, love, hope, create, and form strong, resourceful communities.Through oral traditions, skills, deeds, example, and sheer determination, women largely kept the African Diaspora in the Atlantic world together. They were instrumental in creating and transmitting the dynamic and vibrant cultures we know as African-American, Gullah-Geechee, Caribbean, Bushinenge, Afro-Peruana, Afro-Brasileira, Creole, and antillaise.

    The women’s bravery and stamina in a world that tried to degrade them as human beings, as Africans, and as women, is an extraordinarily inspiring example for all times and all places. In a most evil terror system, in a racist, sexist and patriarchal environment, women found ways: they taught, they protected, they nurtured, they challenged, and they fought.

    The women’s struggles, alongside the men, did not end with the abolition of the slave trade and slavery. As the need for an International Decade for People of African Descent abundantly shows, their 200 million descendants in the Atlantic world still face daunting obstacles: individual and institutional racism, racial and gender marginalization and discrimination, poverty, de facto segregation and the denial of basic rights. Breaking the silence and confronting these issues, including modern slavery and sexual slavery that primarily victimize girls and women, are our responsibility today so that the next generations will not have to fight the same battles.

    As a historian of the slave trade and slavery, there are many things I wish I did not know, or I wish I could forget. But one  thing I know and I will not forget is the remarkable creativity, energy, resourcefulness and fortitude of the women who, with amazing courage and grace, showed us the way.

    Ark of Return (detail)
    The Ark of Return at the United Nations

    That memorable day saw the unveiling of the magnificent  “Ark of Return,” a beautiful, striking memorial designed by architect Rodney Leon, who is also the creator of the African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan. The permanent memorial is located on UN ground.


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    Agatha Christie introduced a number of classic motifs to the crime/mystery genre. A murder is committed, there are many suspects, each harboring a shameful secret, and the detective reveals these secrets one by one throughout the story saving the most shocking twists for the end. These are our top five most surprising Agatha Christie mysteries. Which are yours?

    #5 Crooked House
    The patriarch of a wealthy family is killed. In typical fashion, suspicion falls on his much-younger widow. But the murderer has underestimated the fiancé of the granddaughter.

    #4 Curtain:Poirot’s Last Case: A Hercule Poirot Mystery
    Poirot returns to the scene of his first great case to prevent a murder. He is suspected of being past his prime when he accuses a seemingly innocent guest of being a five-time murderer.

    #3 Murder on the Orient Express
    Just after midnight the Orient Express stops in its tracks. In the morning an American is found stabbed to death in his compartment. Red herrings abound!

    #2 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
    A classic case of the man who knew too much: Roger Ackroyd knew his wife killed her first husband, he knew she was being blackmailed, and when a letter brought Roger the last piece of information he needed to put it all together—someone stabbed him!

    #1 And Then There Were None
    Ten strangers mysteriously lured to a mansion on a desolate island. A recorded message accuses each of them of having a guilty secret. One by one they begin to die. “The whole thing is utterly impossible and utterly fascinating. It is the most baffling mystery Agatha Christie has ever written.” —The New York Times


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    Nirvana pioneered grunge rock, but they're also one of those bands for which the cult of personality is equally as strong a pull as the music. When you ask most Nirvana fans about the band, they'll tell you they loved Kurt Cobain, and they don't just mean the heartrending wails and throaty near-whispers. They mean that they loved Cobain the living figure and Cobain the cultural symbol. As we await the documentary Montage of Heck, we're looking back at some of the best journalism written about the men who made us cry, "Hello, hello, hello, how low?"

    Nevermind

    To access articles held in our subscription databases, first authenticate with your library card number through the NYPL website, then click on the permalink in the article title.

    “The Downward Spiral” by Neil Strauss
    Rolling Stone June 2, 1994 (via Academic Search Premier)
    Following Kurt Cobain's tragic death at the age of twenty-seven, it seemed that a whole generation of young people were left asking, why? In this work of investigative journalism, Neil Strauss looks at the Nirvana frontman's painful final days.

    “Everman's War” by Clay Tarver
    New York Times Magazine July 7, 2013 (via ProQuest Research Library)
    You may not have heard of Jason Everman, but he played bass in both Nirvana and Soundgarden. He was also kicked out of both bands. So what do you do when you're a veteran of the early nineties rock scene? Everman joined the military.

    “Nirvana for Two-Year-Olds” by Thomas Beller
    New Yorker Culture Desk January 2014
    Nothing against Raffi, but just because you have a kid doesn't mean you want to listen to kids' music all the time. Here's what happens when you listen to Nirvana with a two-year-old.

    “Mr. Grohl’s Cabinet of Wonder” by Chris Martins
    Spin February 20, 2013
    In 2013, Dave Grohl (yes, that Dave Grohl) made his directorial debut with the documentary Sound City. Martins unfolds the way that Grohl gathered Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, and Corey Taylor to tell their stories about the legendary California sound studio.

    “Geek Love at 25: How a Freak Family Inspired Your Pop Culture Heroes” by Caitlin Roper
    Wired March 7, 2014
    Of course we're always interested when literature informs music, so it's no surprise that we were fascinated to learn that Kurt Cobain was a fan of fellow west coaster Katherine Dunne's Geek Love

    “Why The World Needs Celine Dion Fans” by Krist Novoselic
    TIME March 25, 2014 (via Academic Search Premier)
    This idea may not have occurred to you before: the world needs Celine Dion fans. In Krist Novoselic's essay, the Nirvana bassist takes cues from Carl Wilson's music writing nouveau classic Let's Talk About Loveusing Dion as an entry point to talk about the cultures that gather around particular artists.

    Want some even longer reads? Check our catalog for e-books about Nirvana available now for your tablet or e-reader.


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  • 03/30/15--10:09: 30 Days of Poetry
  • De rhami garnet. Image ID: 1119520April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate here at The New York Public Library, thirty of our librarians and other staff members selected a poem. We recorded them each reading the poem and talking about the reason behind their selections.

    We will release one poem per day for the entire month of April. We hope you enjoy them and that you find at least one special poem and reader that resonates with you. 


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    1698188
    Watched them go off with their skates. Image ID: 1698188

    I have never thought about how illustration transmits information in children's nonfiction before this salon, and it was illuminating to learn about how the veracity of details in illustration are debated in the kid lit community. Authors Mara Rockliff, Brian Floca, Sophie Blackall and editor Nicole Raymond sat down with Youth Materials Specialist Betsy Bird in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building to discuss the idiosyncrasies of kid lit pictures. But first, they each gave a presentation about illustration and their books.

    Does True Nonfiction Even Exist?

    Rockliff started writing historical fiction books, then moved towards nonfiction books. She pointed out that everyone has a perspective, and no nonfiction is completely nonfiction. She is very determined when researching books to get the information that she needs. Working with illustrators is interesting to her. Each illustrator has his or her unique style. The feel of the book is important when determining which illustrator will work well with it. For example, a lighthearted book works well with cartoon illustrations. Authors are not always certain that everything that is depicted in illustrations actually happened. Invented dialog may be in illustrations in nonfiction. There are plausible and implausible events depicted in children's nonfiction, and the illustrations are not meant to be interpreted literally. In children's writers' circles, there are arguments about what exactly constitutes fiction and nonfiction. This is not concerned with where items are shelved; on the contrary, it is more about historical authenticity. She does not want readers to feel betrayed by a lack of truthfulness is her stories. Rockliff prefers not to use invented dialog much because she finds it to be very problematic.

    How Editors Ensure Accuracy

    Five Trucks

    Raymond is Rockliff's editor. She finds that authors and illustrators approach the subject of the book differently. What happens at the publishing house is that they receive a manuscript, then form a committee to search for an illustrator. They discuss which themes they would like to highlight in the art. Of course, the final choice does depend somewhat on scheduling, who is available, and who wants to take on the book, which can take a year of more of the authors' and illustrators' lives. They have fact checkers to ensure that the pictures accurately portray the historical period and what took place. Sometimes, experts are consulted for their opinions about tricky subjects.

    Informational Books

    Floca wrote the Caldecott Medal winning 2014 book, Locomotive. He prefers the term informational to the term nonfiction. To him, illustrations are restagings and approximations of what occurred, and readers understand this fact. This author has a cache of electronic files that belong to each book that he is working on, and some of them are specific to a particular image. When doing research for Ballet for Martha, Floca discovered that the Library of Congress has archived images from the production of Appalachian Spring, which is the ballet at the center of this book. He saw the Martha Graham Dance Company perform, which was very enlightening. However, he wanted to create a dance from the 1940s, not today, with believable costumes and sets. Over the years, the costumes and sets have changed. For Locomotive, he visited the places that are depicted in the book, and he learned a lot about engineering.

    Gingerbread for Liberty

    Does Humor Supercede Accuracy?

    Blackall has illustrated twenty children's books. Sometimes, the compulsion for her to put in a joke outweighs what she knows happened. She loves to tell stories. For illustrating the book, Finding Winnie, she went to the Zoological Society of London Archives for research on the bear that the story actually happened to. There was a missing headlight on the truck that the actual bear rode in, but she wanted to focus on the journey and not the missing headlight, so she put two headlights on the truck in the picture. Blackall put a map of London Zoo in the book. It took weeks for her to find out how the buildings looked in 1914. She put a penguin in with the seals because she thought it was funny, even though the seals and penguins were separated by 1914.

    Bird discussed the line between nonfiction and fiction. She asked if the panelists did different things in fiction than they did when illustrating and writing nonfiction works.

    Rockliff cares about the truth. She draws the line in fiction by refusing to change historical facts. Some nonfiction books go past where she would draw the line, but some of them are very successful and popular. Some books are predicated on imaginary occurrences, and she does not agree with this. She researches about 25 topics for each book that she writes. Sometimes, she finds out information that does not support her thesis for a book; in that case, she abandons the book. 

    Raymond believes that false stories do not make good nonfiction picture books. However, if some portions of books are inaccurate, they can be edited out so that the books can be published. Her publishing house has an obligation to fact check information (make sure it is true), and invented dialogue must be assessed on an individual basis.

    Blackall likes to give context notes at the end of the book to help explain the illustrations to readers.

    Floca thinks that it is beneficial to contemplate the purpose of authors and illustrators. He makes the illustrations representative of real things, and there is not much dialogue in his books. 

    Historical Fiction Versus Nonfiction

    A Fine Dessert

    Bird commented that some of the panelists have illustrated by nonfiction and historical fiction. She wanted to know how the standards for nonfiction differ from those for historical fiction.

    Floca attempts to avoid writing books that the readers would question the authenticy of.

    Blackall stated that the standards for nonfiction and historical fiction are not much different for her. Her standards for accuracy are much different than others' standards. Some readers write angry letters challenging the accuracy of her works (eg, the soldiers uniforms in one of her stories did not look standard uniforms of that particular time period). However, she does not get much criticism from kids.

    Raymond said that both nonfiction and fiction need the correct feel of the historical period that is being depicted. However, the two genres represent what happened differently. However, things like time period and clothing are depicted similarly in historical fiction and nonfiction.

    Rockliff gets criticized for being too literal with her books. She started her writing career in textbook publishing, where she was trained that certain things about a book will prevent schools from purchasing the book. She is happy to discover much about the personal lives of the historical figures when writing about them.

    Raymond emphasized the importance of producing age-appropriate books for kids. There are debates within her publishing house about what to include and omit in each book.

    Blackall once was asked to remove a pipe; it was sad for her to remove it since she very much wanted it to be in the picture. Apparently, the editor did not want smoking to appear in the book.

    Bird believes that editors' names and fact checkers' names should appear in books alongside the authors' and illustrators' names to provide accountability for the works. Some fact checkers are not good at their jobs.

    Floca was delighted to receive a call from Apollo 12 informing him that they were impressed with the accuracy of his book, Moonshot: the Flight of Apollo 11.

    Raymond stated that every publishing house works differently. She works as an intermediary between the author and designer/illustrator of a book.

    Audience Questions

    Dinosaurs at the Ends of the Earth

    Bird opened up the floor to audience questions.

    I asked if the panel could comment on how photography versus illustration is used in children's books.

    Blackall opined that photographs are documents of an exact moment in time.

    Bird said that photographs are frequently staged. In addition, photographs can be shot from different angles, and they reflect the artistry of the photographer.

    Floca added that photographs can be taken out of context and misinterpreted.

    Another audience member asked if there was a difference between the author/illustrator relationship during the book creation process in nonfiction versus fiction.

    The Grudge Keeper

    Raymond mentioned that nonfiction books require much more research. Fiction provides more freedom for the authors and illustrators. However, the relationship between the two depends on how the publishing house manages that.

    Floca actually got in a room and discussed the book with the other players for Ballet for Martha, one of the books that he illustrated. That was fitting because the story of the ballet was about collaboration. 

    Blackall draws plausible activities in her books if they make better drawings. In one book, a food historian described two ways that a baking activity could have happened. She was left with a choice of which option to draw in the book.

    Someone asked which research tools the panels favor.

    Raymond loves to go to a museum or the place where the event happened. In addition, internet and library research is helpful.

    Floca warned that some web sites are not trustworthy, and he is often required to verify information with more reputable sources.

    Rockliff opined that it depends what you what to find out and what information is available. Databases and internet research are great.

    Upcoming Children's Literary Salon

    Sunday, April 12, 2015
    Judaism and Children's Literature
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    South Court Auditorium
    2–3 pm


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    Come  join us for an Author @ the Library talk this April at Mid-Manhattan Library to hear distinguished non-fiction authors discuss their work and answer your questions. Author talks take place at 6:30 pm on the 6th floor of the Library, unless otherwise noted. You can also request the authors' books by clicking on the book cover images below.

    The Narcissist Next Door

     

    Wednesday
    April  1, 2015
    6:30 pm

    Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed—in Your World

    Jeffrey Kluger frames the new research on narcissism, explains the complex, and oftentimes exasperating personality disorder and reveals how narcissism and narcissists affect our lives. He also offers some suggestions for dealing with narcissists.

    http://nypl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/20516890052907_a_coney_island_reader?search_tag=

     

    Thursday
    April 2, 2015
    6:30 pm

    A Coney Island Reader: Through Dizzy Gates of Illusion

    Featuring portraits by the world's finest poets, essayists, and fiction writers—including Walt Whitman, Stephen Crane, Federico García Lorca, Isaac Bashevis Singer, E.E. Cummings, Djuna Barnes, Colson Whitehead, Robert Olen Butler, and Katie Roiphe—editor Louis J. Parascandola focuses on the unique history and transporting experience of a beloved fixture of the New York City landscape.

    Roosevelt and Stalin

     

    Monday
    April 6, 2015
    6:30 pm

    Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership

    Susan Butler explores the complex partnership between FDR and Stalin during World War II, focusing on how the leader of the capitalist world and the leader of the Communist world became more than allies of convenience during World War II.

    Cover
    What We See When We Read

     

    Tuesday
    April 7, 2015
    6:30 pm

    What We See When We Read,
    An Examination of the Book Designer's Art


    Peter Mendelsund has designed hundreds of book covers ranging from Crime and Punishment to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In this illustrated presentation, he’ll discuss the covers for two new books of his own, Cover and What We See When We Read.

    Feasts and Fasts

     

    Wednesday
    April 8, 2015
    6:30 pm

    Feasts and Fasts: A History of South Asian Food from the Indus Valley to Little India

    Journalist Colleen Taylor Sen examines the Indian subcontinent’s cuisine through thousands of years in the context of its religious, moral, social, and philosophical development.

    Storm Surge

     

    Monday
    April 13, 2015
    6:30 pm

    Superstorm Sandy and Climate Change: Predictions and Responses 

    Adam Sobel takes the audience through the devastating and unprecedented events of Hurricane Sandy, using the storm to explain our planet’s changing climate, and what we need to do to protect ourselves and our cities for the future. 

    Sugar

     

    Tuesday
    April 14,  2015
    6:30 pm

    Sugar: A Global History

    Exploring both the sugarcane and sugar beet industries, Andrew F. Smith tells story after story of those who have made fortunes and those who have met with tragedy thanks to sugar’s simple but profound hold on our palettes.

    I Only Read It for the Cartoons

     

    Wednesday
    April 15,  2015
    6:30 pm

    I Only Read It for the Cartoons: The New Yorker's Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists

    Artist Richard Gehr discusses interviews with a dozen cartoonists whose work appears in the esteemed magazine.

    The Algonquin Round Table New York

     

    Thursday
    April 16,  2015
    6:30 pm

    The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide

    Historian Kevin C. Fitzpatrick recalls the 1920s through the world of the famous “Vicious Circle” of New York City writers, critics, actors, and wits who met for lunch every day at the Algonquin Hotel.

    New York City English

     

    Thursday
    April 20,  2015
    6:30 pm

    New York City English 

    Michael Newman examines the differences and similarities among the ways English is spoken by the extraordinarily diverse population living in the New York region.

    Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!

     

    Tuesday
    April 22, 2015
    6:30 pm
     

    Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!

    Nicholas Carlson shares the inside story of how Yahoo got into such awful shape in the first place, Marissa Mayer's controversial rise at Google, and her desperate fight to save an Internet icon.

    Abe & Fido

     

    Thursday
    April 23, 2015
    6:30 pm
     

    Abe & Fido: Lincoln's Love of Animals and the Touching Story of His Favorite Canine Companion

    Matthew Algeo chronicles the story of two friends, an unlikely tandem who each became famous and died prematurely.

    Our Aging Bodies

     

    Monday
    April  27, 2015
    6:30 pm
     

    Our Aging Bodies

    Gary F. Merrill provides a clear, scientifically based explanation of what happens to all the major organ systems and bodily processes—such as the cardiovascular and digestive systems—as people age.

    Ashes Under Water

     

    Wednesday
    April 29, 2015
    6:30 pm

    Ashes Under Water: The SS Eastland and the Shipwreck That Shook America

    Michael McCarthy discusses a mysterious industrial atrocity and how the prosperous, guilty Eastland owners tried to shift the blame to the whistleblower and one true hero on the ship, engineer Joseph Erickson, a working class immigrant.
    Backstage Pass To Broadway

     

    Thursday
    April 30, 2015
    6:30 pm

    Backstage Pass to Broadway: True Tales from a Theatre Press Agent 

    In this memoir, theatrical press agent Susan L. Schulman reveals what goes on behind the curtain, sharing snapshots from more than 40 years of close-up experiences New York.


    If you'd like to read any of the books presented at our past author talks, you can find book lists from our January 2013–April 2015 Author @ the Library programs in the BiblioCommons catalog.

    The Author @ the Library posts include authors discussing their recent non-fiction works at the Mid-Manhattan Library. Don't miss the many other interesting classesfilms, readings and talks on our program calendar. Enjoy art lectures and artist conversationsmusical tributesvirtual tours of the city, and short story readings at Story Time for Grown-ups.

    Download Mid-Manhattan Library's April 2015 Author Talks & More flyer.

    And don't forget that all of our programs are free of charge!


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    Natural psychology is a 21st Century invention whose basic tenet is that a sense of meaning and purpose in life provides gratification and well-being. The author discusses one billion, or 15% of the 7 billion people who currently populate earth, as being intellectually bright. Certain challenges face these individuals.

    Intelligence is discouraged by society. People feel threatened by intellect, and they target smart people for derision and contempt. Some individuals do not fit in since their interests in the world and how they feel are different from others.

    Frustration at Work

    Work does not always cater to the bright. Having good ideas and not being able to implement them, feeling bored by the high degree of stratification of work and not being able to use their full brain power frustrates smart people.

    A Racing Brain

    Dealing with a racing brain does not necessarily mean these people are on drugs. People get excited about their challenges. However, people can get tired of the mania, and this can make them susceptible to addictions.

    Using Language to Argue Any Point

    Intelligent individuals see rhetoric for what it is, and they can use logic to defend any point. However, they can get mired in language's complexities.

    Life Has to Have Meaning

    Smart individuals may be likely to be more disturbed and sadder about life if it does not hold much meaning for them.

    Poverty Holds Some Gifted Kids Back

    Poor gifted kids are not steered towards intellectual professions, and it can be harder for them to achieve their dreams due to lack of economic mobility.

    Why Smart People Hurt: A Guide For the Bright, the Sensitive and the Creative by Eric Maisel, 2013

    I like the vignettes of stories of real people that populate each chapter. However, I disagree with the premise that depression will plague gifted people and that they are more likely to feel sad. People who have a wide range of emotional capacity also feel joy more deeply. The author does not define intelligence. It is hard to discuss giftedness if you will not explain what you mean by that term.


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    Our reader asked us for a book that would open her eyes to a new culture. Here are the titles our staff recommended.

    I read Exodus by Leon Uris when I was in 7th/8th grade. When I finished it, I announced to my parents that I, their very non-religious, Anglo-Saxon daughter from Northern Idaho wanted to move to Israel to live on a kibbutz and grow oranges. —Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Street

    I just finished Pengemannen (Fear Not) by the Norwegian author Anne Holt. It’s set in Oslo in a frigid and snowy January. Worried sick about how close the unknown serial killer seems to be getting to her own family, our heroine goes out skiing in the dark. The excursion had nothing to do with the plot and no references to it came up further on in the story, but reading it I realized once again that Norway is indeed a foreign country. —Kathie Coblentz, Cataloging

    I have a love/hate relationship with running. Kenyans, however, make it look like a walk in the park. Reading Running With The Kenyans gave me the opportunity to learn about Kenyan culture and running rituals. —Elisa Garcia, Bronx Library Center

    Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. This biography chronicles Ali’s “journey from Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and finally the Netherlands” and her fight against political and religious oppression and for women’s rights. Ali has a new book out Heretic. —Jenny Baum, Jefferson Market

    The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. From Calcutta to Cambridge new immigrants Ashima and Ashoke struggle with vastly different American values in every way. Throughout his adolescence, Ashima and Ashoke’s son, Gogol, rebels against his heritage and ignores his parents’ values. He seeks only to be as American as possible—until a life-changing event changes his views completely. —Megan Margino, Milstein Division

    I enjoyed getting a glimpse into French culture reading the book Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. Druckerman, an American journalist, had three children living in Paris, and writes about the differences in childrearing in the U.S. and France. Raising two young kids here in the U.S., it was great fun to learn about how they do things differently in France. I especially got a kick out of what the French feed their kids—it sure puts my menus to shame! —Susie Heimbach, Mulberry Street

    The book that opened my eyes to another culture would have to be A Year in the Worldby Frances Mayes. My stomach growled reading about the local delicacies, and I voraciously looked up images of the places described in the book. —Jessica Divisconte, CLO Office

    Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine is an imaginative and modern approach to life in a fictional native North American community. Erdrich makes a silent plea through her fiction, encouraging her readers to respect all people in all cultures. —Virginia Bartow, Cataloging

    Isn’t the ability to live many different lives one of the best reasons for reading? I recommend Chimamanda Adichi’s Half of a Yellow Sun. This epic-style story of the Nigerian Civil War really stayed with me. No one beats Adichi for flesh and blood characters. —Danita Nichols, Inwood

    Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is a very moving portrait of the life of a family in South India. The book’s depiction of Earth-shaking monsoons, taboos and recriminations suffered by the young female characters, and life within a caste system are intimate, vibrant, and multifaceted. —Sherri Machlin, Mulberry Street

    I read Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi the same summer that I read Marjane Satrapi’s amazing graphic memoir Persepolis, so the two books are forever connected in my mind. Both memoirs take the reader behind the scenes in Tehran after the Iranian Revolution. Each tells the story of a woman struggling for intellectual freedom and personal expression. —Elizabeth Waters, Mid-Manhattan

    I read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures for book club. It is a true story of the misunderstandings and tragedy that can arise when two conflicting cultures are unable to respect and empathize with each other. It really upset and disturbed me. A few weeks after reading it I received a gift from a friend in California. It was a small fabric heart with a tag that read, “sewn by a Hmong woman for...” and listed a community center. My friend had no idea I had read the book. The little heart hangs over my mirror in my bedroom to remind me that there are always at least two sides to every story. —Maura Muller, Volunteers Office

    Although familiar with Middle Eastern culture, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban opened my eyes to the struggles of being a woman in a country dominated by an extremist form of Sharia. I Am Malala is a strong personal story of hardship, struggle, and growth for a young woman in which violence and patriarchal life is the norm. —Miguel Ortiz, Mid-Manhattan

    “Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three.” Reading Billie Holiday’s Lady Sings the Blues for the first time as a teen opened my eyes up to a world and culture so distinct and different from my own. I marveled at her openly confessional stories and her voice that was fierce and frank and lonely. —Miriam Tuliao, Selection Team

    I recommend a young adult book I just finished reading called Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go: A Novel of Haiti by Laura Rose Wagner. This book was released to coincide with the 5-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 Haitian earthquake, and it tells the story of a girl named Magdalie who survived the earthquake but found her life permanently changed afterwards. —Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge

    When I was in my late teen years, I discovered The Egyptian by the Finnish writer Mika Waltari. It’s an epic novel describing the life of Sinuhe, a foundling who becomes the personal physician of the pharaoh Akhenaten, and as such, a witness to a revolutionary period in Egypt’s history. It will stick with you and for a while you will see our own world with an ancient Egyptian’s eyes. —Kasia Kowalska, Strategy Office


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    Subscribe on iTunes.

    Jeffrey Deitch may best be known for his visionary gallery Deitch Projects, but now the artist-curator-dealer is adding a new title: writer. In honor of the release of his book Live the Art, Deitch joined us at LIVE from the NYPL with New Museum Artistic Director Massimiliano Gioni. For this week's New York Public Library Podcast episode,  we're honored to present the two champions of contemporary art discussing artistic communities, cross-media creation, and spectacle.

    Deitch and Gioni
    Deitch and Gioni LIVE from the NYPL

    As Deitch spoke about Deitch Project, he described the ways in which he both sought out artistic communities and created one of his own:

    “I've always been interested in finding talent through communities, rather than looking for that one special, isolated genius. Look where there's a community of interest, connecting with that community, and we embrace those communities, and there are a number of them that we invited in during the year. We invited whole communities, for example, when we did the notorious NEST exhibition. A whole community came with it, and they became part of the gallery community eventually.”

    Another way that he created a sense of community was by opening up the gallery world to artists working across media:

    “This interesting intersection we all know about of fashion, music, art, film becoming closer and closer with the borders being blurred between this different media is something I've been interested in for a long time, and we encouraged artists who work in this area, encouraged filmmakers like Michel Gondry, who are interested in positioning themselves in the art world, giving them platforms, giving artists who want to make films platforms. So, that was part of what was interesting about being in Soho, where there are film production offices, music studios, of course all the fashion boutiques. And we invited all these people in.”

    Although spectacle does often carry a negative connotation, Deitch said that he enjoys spectacle. He spoke about spectacle as a vehicle toward increasing visibility for art without requiring conventional, and sometimes slow, media mechanisms:

    “I love the excitement of the spectacle, and a spectacle is something that—I like an artistic project that takes on a life of its own. I did not want to do a conventional gallery, where you put up your show and then you wait for the reviewer, you know, that you just wait for someone to endorse it. I wanted to create projects that had their own energy, that were talked about, that brought people in, and we started this very early on. One of our earliest projects, a notorious project… we didn't exactly exhibit a real dog in the gallery. We exhibited a Russian performance artist who performed as a dog for two weeks, as Oleg Kulik. I read about his notorious performances in Moscow where he appeared as a dog with collar and someone with a chain and viciously attacked the spectators at art events. Very, very controversial. And I said, we've got to get him to New York!”

    You can subscribe to the New York Public Library Podcast to hear more conversations with wonderful artists, writers, and intellectuals. Join the conversation today!


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    Jumpstart your career at  Computer Center For Visually Impaired People (CCVIP).

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a high percentage of jobs in Electronic Health Records Management (EHR) go unfilled each year because of a lack of qualified applicants.

    Now you can be part of this fast growing field this spring when the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People at Baruch College offers training in EHR.

    In this 10-week course students learn:

    • How EHR is used in doctors' offices, clinics, hospitals, insurance companies, and other healthcare settings
    • How to work with different EHR software systems
    • Concepts related to patient registration, scheduling, front, middle and back office operations.
    • Healthcare revenue cycles
    • Legal considerations, HIPPA compliance, and confidentiality issues

    Students will also explore employment opportunities in the healthcare industry and will receive professional assistance with resumes and interviewing.  Successful graduates will participate in a paid internship.

    This exciting career opportunity is especially geared toward people with impaired vision.  Qualified candidates must have either an Associate's degree or comparable work experience.

    Eligibility Criteria and Admissions Requirements

    To be eligible for this program, applicants should:

    • Be visually impaired (note that legal blindness is not a requirement)
    • Have an earned high school diploma combined with some post-secondary training and/or competitive work experience
    • Demonstrate a high degree of computer proficiency, especially with respect to their assistive technology configuration
    • Be highly motivated to enter or re-enter the workforce

    For more information contact Dawn Suvino, Project Manager, at 646-312-1429 or via email dawn.suvino@baruch.cuny.edu

    To start the application process, contact Judith Gerber at 646-312-1420.

    This program is made possible in part by generous funding from the New York Community Trust.


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    For fifteen years, the Young Lions Fiction Award has recognized outstanding novels and short story collections written by authors under the age of thirty-five. Established by Rick Moody, Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, and Hannah McFarland, the $10,000 prize aims to make a difference in the lives of emerging writers. Previous winners have gone on to become bestselling authors, finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and winners of MacArthur Genius Grants. As we await the decision for this year's Young Lions Fiction Award, we're returning to some of our favorite books by the Young Lions Award Winners and recommending more titles from these incredible authors.

    Young Lions 2010
    Young Lions 2010

    2001 Winner: Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
    Critical Reception: "It is not often that a reviewer devours a 700-page novel at one sitting; but I did, recklessly ignoring slimmer volumes that had more urgent claims upon my attention." - Steven Poole, The Guardian
    If you liked House of Leaves, read Danielewski's Only Revolutions.

    2002 Winner: Colson Whitehead,John Henry Days
    Critical Reception: "Colson Whitehead’s 'John Henry Days,' the follow-up to his much — and quite rightly — acclaimed 1999 debut, 'The Intuitionist,' is, by every standard, a big book. For one, there’s Whitehead’s hulking talent, the potential of which buzzed through 'The Intuitionist' with the voltage of a city power line; for another, there’s the novel’s outsize subject matter, which is more or less America, the epic idea of which Whitehead chases with the dogged ambition of a Lawrence or DeLillo." - Jonathan Miles, Salon
    If you liked John Henry Days, read Whitehead's Apex Hides the Hurt.

    2003 Winners: Tie -  Anthony Doerr, The Shell Collector and Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated
    The Shell Collector Critical Reception: "Stunning. Eight stunning exercises in steel-tipped feathery fineness that no writer can read without envying… His is the all-knowing, all-seeing eye we find in D.H. Lawrence, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Pynchon, DeLillo, Richard Powers—writers able to pin down every butterfly wing and fleck of matter in the universe, yet willing to float the unanswerables about the ‘hot, hard kernel of human experience." - The Philadelphia Inquirer
    If you liked The Shell Collector, read Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See.
    Everything is Illuminated Critical Reception: "This young author is sophisticated enough to know that all great loves, and literatures, are informed by a deep consciousness of loss: Not for nothing does his powerful novel end with a sequence of words that, even as it asserts one tormented man's desire to die, uses one final reduplication, one final echo, to forge an amazing and tremendously moving unity of past and present, fiction and history, life and death. To say any more would be to reveal too much, too clumsily, about a book that illuminates so much with such odd and original beauty." - Daniel Mendelsohn, New York Magazine
    If you liked Everything is Illuminated, read Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

    2004 Winner: Monique Truong, The Book of Salt
    Critical Reception: "For her deliciously written debut novel, Truong cooks up a bitter, complex tale of heartbreak and despair. Inspired by a few lines of The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, Truong steps into Gertrude Stein’s Parisian kitchen to tell the tale of a man named Bonh, an exiled Vietnamese chef who catered to Stein and longtime companion Toklas in the early 1930s. What makes this narrative so addictive is not just the peek into Stein’s imagined private life and the delectable meals (the description of caramelized pineapples is particularly mouthwatering), but the emotional account of Bonh’s tragic past, including the abandonment of his beloved mother and a star-crossed love affair with Ho Chi Minh. Both eloquent and original, Salt is a savory read." - Karyn L. Barr, Entertainment Weekly
    If you liked The Book of Salt, read Truong's Bitter in the Mouth.

    2005 Winner: Andrew Sean Greer, The Confessions of Max Tivoli
    Critical Reception: "A fable of surpassing gravity and beauty, The Confessions of Max Tivoli returns Andrew Sean Greer to the central concerns of his first novel: how time ravages love, and how love takes its revenge  . . . [Greer] has an eerie maturity not often found in young novelists. His prose, incantatory but not overheated, idles along with a top-hatted, almost courtly elegance."—David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle
    If you liked The Confessions of Max Tivoli, read Greer's The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.

    2006 Winner: Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation
    Critical Reception: "The acute characterization, the adroit mixture of color and restraint, and the horrific emotional force of the narrative are impressive. Still more impressive is Iweala's ability to maintain not only our sympathy but our affection for his central character. How can Agu be as touching on the final page as he is on the first? It's something that couldn't happen easily in real life: we will overlook certain things, but massacres? Only in art can so much be demanded - and given. Iweala shows Agu acting out the worst atrocities imaginable, but still we rush to forgive him." - Simon Baker, New York Times
    If you liked Beasts of No Nation, read Iweala's Our Kind of People.

    2007 Winner: Olga Grushin, The Dream Life of Sukhanov
    Critical Reception: "Olga Grushin's extraordinary first novel is so wise and mature that it is tempting to suspect the author's biography is a joke. The Dream Life of Sukhanov is sophisticated, ironic and witty, multilayered, intricately constructed, deeply informed, elegantly written -- the work, one would think, of someone who has been writing and publishing fiction for years, not someone who is doing it for the first time, and doing it in what is not her native language. But no, Grushin is the real thing. " - Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
    If you liked The Dream Life of Sukhanov, read Grushin's The Line.

    YLFA Winners

    2008 Winner: Ron Currie, Jr., God Is Dead
    Critical Reception: "Satire is Currie's chosen mode, and the sadness is laced with wacky invention. God Is Dead is a heady cocktail of ideas. Broad-stroke symbolism and delicately shaded realism are swished together with admirable aplomb. Currie's skills are equal to just about any technical challenge, whether it be the Hitchcockian slow burn of 'My Brother, The Murderer' or a post-apocalyptic suicide orgy in 'Indian Summer.' Satirists often do a feeble job on character: Currie is determined to avoid that weakness. Indeed, the protagonist of 'The Bridge,' Dani, is such a vivid, tenderly crafted creation that we keep wishing she'll turn up again in one of the later chapters, which she never does." - Michael Faber, The Guardian
    If you liked God is Dead, read Currie Jr.'s Everything Matters!

    2009 Winner: Salvatore Scibona, The End
    Critical Reception: "The End is stitched with care, ambition and finesse. It skips around the first half of the 20th century like a boxer, nimbly moving from an America embroiled in the beginnings of the Cold War back to the post-Great War migrations from Europe, pausing at various points in between." - Stuart Evers, The Telegraph
    If you liked The End, read Scibona's short fiction in The Pen/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012.

    2010 Winner: Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
    Critical Reception: "It sometimes feels as if there's nothing Tower can't render in arresting fashion. Near the end of 'Retreat,' a hunter who has killed a moose and cut out the short ribs and tenderloin characterizes the latter as 'a tapered log of flesh that looked like a peeled boa constrictor.' Tower's prose is a welcome reminder that the first job of the fiction writer is to introduce the reader to worlds both new and familiar in ways they wouldn't have arrived at on their own." - Jim Ruland, Los Angeles Times
    If you liked Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, read Tower's nonfiction in GQ.

    2011 Winner: Adam Levin, The Instructions
    Critical Reception: "This is a life-consuming novel, one that demands to be read feverishly. When it is over, other fiction feels insufficient, the newspaper seems irrelevant.… If the ultimate message of modernism was unremitting pessimism… The Instructions has given the literary genre its long deferred conclusion: Indeed, a day—or four—can serve as a reminder that death looms large for anything living, but there is lot of life to be lived in the interim." —Michael H. Miller, New York Observer
    If you liked The Instructions, read Levin's Hot Pink.

    2012 Winner: Karen Russell, Swamplandia!
    Critical Reception: "'Swamplandia!' is an astonishingly assured first novel with many rewards for its readers. Most important is its portrait of people struggling with the uncooperative world. Others include its clever yoking of literary tradition, its description of parts of Florida’s history not widely known outside the state and its fine evocation of the state’s swamps and waters." - Claire Hopley, Washington Times
    If you liked Swamplandia!, read Russell's Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

    2013 Winner: Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn
    Critical Reception: "The plots of each story are inventive and irresistible. An Italian tourist waiting for news of a friend who went missing on a hike becomes a constant patron of a brothel. Two young girls act of age and get more than they bargained for when they leave their podunk hometown behind for a night on the Strip. Two brothers methodically pan for gold as one befriends Chinese immigrants and the other goes mad with greed. Most of the stories are soaked in a boozy haze, frenetically compelling, and somehow chockfull of memorable characters and scenes that linger for just the right amount of time." - Kevin McFarland, A.V. Club
    If you liked Battleborn, read an interview with the author in The New Yorker.

    2014 Winner: Paul Yoon, Snow Hunters
    Critical Reception: "On the second page of his debut novel Snow Hunters, Paul Yoon vividly depicts the last moments before his protagonist Yohan is liberated from a prisoner of war camp on the Korean peninsula, 'where there was always a wind that carried the smell of soil and sickness' from the animals at a nearby farm. Yohan is about to catch a boat to Brazil and start a new life as a Japanese tailor's apprentice – and as he rides away in a UN truck, he 'shut his eyes and dreamed of castles.' This power of this image is in its simplicity, and as the rest of the book unfolds, that minimalism becomes the story's driving, masterful force. Every word is purposeful, and there is an air of meditation in Yoon's modest sentences. While the first draft was over five hundred pages, the final is a mere 208: it's evident that only the best, most important, prose remained." - Alana Levinson, NPR
    If you liked Snow Hunters, read Yoon's Once the Shore.

    2015 Finalists:


    Our 2015 YLFA Winner will be announced at the Young Lions Fiction Award Benefit on April 27, 2015. More information at nypl.org/ylfab.


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    I often surprise people when I admit that one of my favorite books here at the Library is not a centuries-old icon of the history of printed word, but is instead a humble little book called The Doughnut Boy and Other Poems.  But it's true. I love this little book both because of how it came to be as well as for the illustrated poems within, all of which offer a glimpse of New York City through the eyes of a sassy little beret-wearing, doughnut-loving, public-transit-taking, library-visiting child.

    The Doughnut Boy and Other Poems

    Published in 1940, The Doughnut Boy and Other Poems is one of an extensive series of titles published in the late 1930s and early 1940s, all created  through the New Reading Materials Program, which was a partnership between the Work Projects Administration and the Board of Education of the City of New York City. The books they made united working writers, poets, and artists to write, illustrate, and print texts that were then  used to boost the reading and literacy skills of the city's children. The Library has  dozens of New Reading Materials Program books, and the stories include poetry, folk tales, fairy tales, history, and more.  Doughnut Boy is just one of them, and in it poems by Barbara Young and art by Jean Oliver evoke a child's daily life in New York City.

    There's the fun of riding the Staten Island Ferry.

    Doughnut Boy and Other Poems Staten Island Ferry Illustration

    As well as the joy of witnessing the city's trees change throughout the seasons.

    Doughnut Boy and Other Poems Central Park Illustration

    There's also poetry about the subway, about the city at night, about the diversity of its residents, and, of course, about a beloved doughnut vendor. And the entire book wraps up with a poem about New York Public Library, which concludes with a bit of career guidance. Happy National Poetry Month, from this "lady in a library" and the Doughnut Boy! To hear an excerpt from The Doughtnut Boy and Other Poems as well as a whole month's worth of other beloved poems, visit the Library's National Poetry Month page every day in April!

    Doughnut Boy and Other Poems New York Public Library Illustration


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    The following titles on our Recent Acquisitions Display are just a few of our new books, which are available at the reference desk in the Dorot Jewish Division. Catalog entries for the books can be found by clicking on their covers.

    The following new acquisitions are also available to read online by authenticating with your library card number.

    Through University Press Scholarship Online (UPSO)

    Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco
    Aomar Boum. Stanford University Press, 2013.

    Glory and Agony: Isaac's Sacrifice and National Narrative
    Yael S. Feldman. Stanford University Press, 2010.

    Roads to Utopia: The Walking Stories of the Zohar
    David Greenstein. Stanford University Press, 2014.

    Through Oxford Scholarship Online

    Profiling Jewish Literature In Antiquity: An Inventory, From Second Temple Texts to the Talmuds
    Alexander Samely. Oxford University Press, 2013.

    Remembering Biblical Figures in the Late Persian and Early Hellenistic Periods: Social Memory and Imagination
    Diana Vikander Edelman. Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 2013.

    E-book

    A Child of Christian Blood: Murder and Conspiracy in Tsarist Russia: the Beilis Blood Libel
    Edmund Levin. Schocken Books, 2014.


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    Looking for something great to read? The Schomburg Gift Shop has got you covered. From non-fiction titles by our very own Dr. Sylviane Diouf, Director of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery, to fun items for young readers like postcards and magnets, our bookstore has something for everyone. Read a list of our top sellers below:

    Adult Books

    The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
    Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey
    Stolen Legacy by George G.M. James
    Selected Letters of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes and Arnold Rampersad

    Children's Books

    Malcolm Little by Ilyasah Shabazz
    Dover Coloring Books

    Discount Books

    Bicycles: Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni

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