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  • 10/14/15--13:33: Battling Bullying
  • Draco Malfoy sets a high bar for literary bullies in books for kids and teens. Cold, sneering, contemptuous Draco pushed Harry Potter around from their very first day at Hogwarts (although we all know how things turned out in the end).

    We're thinking about Malfoy effect during National Bullying Prevention Month, and we’ve come up with six recently published titles that feature bullies in the roles of both antagonist and—unexpectedly—protagonist.


    Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
    Anika is the third most popular girl at her Nebraska high school. Defying queen bee Becky Vilhauer would mean jeopardizing her status, but Anika is chafing under her rules, falling in love with a nerd, and unwilling to deny her heritage any longer.






    To This Day by Shane Koyczan
    Thirty artists around the world contributed the illustrations for this poem, which has been deemed an “invaluable centerpiece of the anti-bullying movement.”






    Tease by Amanda Maciel
    Empathy and responsibility lie at the core of this story, told from the perspective of a bully herself after a classmate she’s taunted mercilessly commits suicide.







    Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
    Another story told from the bully’s perspective, but this one is lying in a hospital bed after a failed suicide attempt. Told mostly in flashbacks, this story traces Liz Emerson’s cruel behavior toward others, her transformative remorse, and the whole life it may have cost her.






    We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund
    Lighten up a little with this funny story, told in alternating chapters by an awkward boy and his maybe-soon-to-be stepsister as they try to adjust to their new family situation.







    Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner
    After her little sister’s death, Torrey—a YouTube star made famous for her style videos—learns the price of online fame and the pain of cyberbullying.





    For more great titles on bullying, check out our expert YA librarian Andrea Lipinski’s “Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders in Teen Fiction.”

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend.

    And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for 100 new recommendations every month!

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    It's the anniversary of the 1952 publication of Charlotte's Web, and what better way to honor the wisest, kindest, best spider in the world than to invite readers to learn about other animals like her?


    So we asked our expert NYPL library staff to recommend other books in which creepy-crawlies (arachnids, insects, and anything in between) play a starring role, just like Charlotte.


    Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee. In the great big world, four uncommon dreamers struggle to find their own way. Firefly, Cricket, Vole, and Peter—these four creatures from different “nations” become friends despite their differences. This luminously illustrated 2015 middle grade title for kids is full of poignant observations, wild hopes, and threads of love and loss. —Stephanie Whelan, Seward Park




    I recommend Laline Paull’s The Bees. Flora 717 is born a lowly sanitation worker in an orchard beehive, but it quickly becomes apparent that she is special. In a society where everyone must worship the queen and follow orders without question, Flora dares to defy authority, think for herself, and in the end must work to save her hive from destruction. The bees seek out the spiders’ wisdom to ensure their survival, but they ultimately must rely on Flora and her leadership. It’s an exciting peek into the secret world of bees, as well as a thrilling tale of hero working against all odds to save her colony. — Rabecca McDonald, Kingsbridge




    At the end of George Selden’s classic, The Cricket in Times Square, Chester the musical cricket plays a concert on his wings in the middle of Times Square. The frenetic crowds pause to listen, all the traffic stops, and the busiest place in the world stands still for a few moments to listen to one tiny cricket. Chester teaches us about the power of bringing our cacophanous world to a temporary, blissful halt. —Gwen Glazer, Readers Services






    What about Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott?  This is one of my favorites. —Shayla Titley, Membership Programs





    I have a vivid childhood memory of watching Wishbone trotting around as the popular African folktale character Anansi the spider. Anansi, the third most famous spider (after Charlotte and Shelob, of course), is a wise and cunning trickster that is also known as the god of all stories. In one tale, Anansi accidentally drops a pot containing all the world’s wisdom, spreading it to every creature. Several picture books feature Anansi, including Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott and the Caldecott-winner A Story, A Story by Gail E. Haley. An older crowd may also enjoy Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. —Crystal Chen, Hamilton Grange



    I love the picture book Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks, about a clever spider who wants to become a family pet. Every time she tries to show what a good pet she’d be (by dancing on the living room floor, taking a bath in the tub, feeding herself, etc.), the family shouts, “Aaaarrgghh! Spider!” Luckily, she wins them over with her amazing sparkly web weaving in the end. —Susan Tucker Heimbach, Mulberry Street





    Can't get enough books about spiders and bugs? Check out dozens more online.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend.

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  • 10/15/15--07:09: Middle Grade Horror
  • Much like kids love the thrill they feel on a rollar coaster, young readers seek out books that appeal to their sense of terror and excitement.  Here is a selection of quality scary, spine-chlling, unnerving books for middle grade readers.

    The Crossroads Cover

    The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein

    Agatha Award Winner.

    Eleven year old Jack can't shake the ghosts. He leaves the ghost of his mother in New York City when he moves to Connecticut (or does he?) only to find another menace in his new town.





    Teh Dark-thirty

    The Dark-thirty by Patricia C. McKissack

    Coretta Scott King and Newbery Award Winner.

    A collection of ghost stories centered around the  African American experience. Ghosts find vengence for lynchings and slaves use magic to get their freedom.





    The Graveyard Book

    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

    John Newbery  and Carnegie Medal Winner.

    A child escapes a killer who murders his entire family by leaping from his crib and crawling across the street to a graveyard. The inhabitants take him in and raise them as their own.





    Lockwood & Co. Cover

    The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

    Included in NYPL | Children's Books  2013

    Three operatives of the Psychic Detection Agency battle ghosts in London.






    The Caedish HOme for Boys and Girls cover

    The Cavendish Home For Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

    Included in NYPL's | Children's Books 2012.

    12-year-old Victoria investigates a sinister orphanage run by the reclusive Mrs. Cavendish.






    For more recommendations see our monthly staff picks at

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to​ be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ​picks! Tell us what you'd recommend: Leave a comment or email us.

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  • 10/15/15--11:22: Alice in Other Wonderlands
  • An illustration from the manuscript held by the British Library

    With everything that has been written about Alice in Wonderland, where do we start? Perhaps with a little help from Lewis Carroll himself.

    The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he asked. “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

    From the beginning, Alice in Wonderland was a big success. Queen Victoria herself apparently wrote to Carroll’s alter ego Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and asked him to send her some of his other books. The story goes that, anxious to preserve the distinction between C. L. Dodgson and Lewis Carroll, he sent her some of Dodgson’s best, including:

    • A Syllabus of Plane Algebraic Geometry (1860),
    • An elementary treatise on determinants, with their application to simultaneous linear equations and algebraical geometry (1867)
    • The fifth book of Euclid : treated algebraically, so far as it relates to commensurable magnitudes, with notes (1858, 1868

    Dodgson was lucky he was able to continue with his life and career after that stunt. In a different reality, it could have been an "off with his head" thing if the queen was not happy (she probably wasn't).

    As you probably know, Dodgson was a mathematician and a lecturer at Christ Church, the largest and one of the most famous of Oxford colleges. He authored works on political subjects and logic, but it was his work in mathematics and love of puzzles that provided the source and inspiration for Alice in Wonderland and his other fiction writings. Ironically, according to J. J. O'Connor and E. F. Robertson, none of his mathematics books have proved to be of enduring importance except for Euclid and his modern rivals (1879, 2nd ed. 1885) which is of historical interest. He wrote it to defend using Euclid's Elements as a means of teaching geometry. The book is written in the form of a play, in which the ghost of Euclid returns to defend his book to modern geometers. So there we have a mixture of fiction and scholarship. Perhaps appropriately, The New York Public Library's Charles Lutwidge Dodgson collection of papers include a mixture of poems, stories, and mathematical studies.

    Title page of the manuscript held by the British Library

    There’s no telling how much those papers are worth. In 1928, an auction was held in London. Item no. 318 was the first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, inscribed by the author to his friend, Mrs. Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, author of John Halifax, Gentleman. Bidding started at £100, but when Dr. Rosenbach bid £1,500, everybody else kept silent and the auction was over. It was, however, only the first Alice in Wonderland piece to be sold that day. As reported in Time (4/16/1928), bidding for the next item started at £5,000, and it quickly reached £10,000 as each bid increased by £1,000. The price peaked at £15,200. At that point the auctioneer said, "Goodness me," mopping his face with a handkerchief. He had just sold the original manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground.  The manuscript made its way to the British Library, though NYPL of course has many of its own holdings of Alice in Wonderland and related materials.

    By that point, the business side of Alice in Wonderland was already booming. We don’t have reliable data about sales of printed copies, but we know Alice and Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass have appeared in 174 languages and over 9,000 editions and reprints. A checklist of these printed copies was recently published in Alice in a World of WonderlandsFor those who were not making money on the many Wonderlands their popularity is probably maddening.

    But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
    “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
    “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
    “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

    Alice’s success goes beyond the printed page. Disney produced the animated film in 1951; and in 2010, a 3-D Alice in Wonderland movie was released. According to Box Office Mojo, with the production budget of $200 million, it grossed domestically $334,191,110 and added $691,276,000 abroad, for a total of $1,025,467,110 in 126 days! During its opening weekend, it ranked No. 1 and while it was shown in 3,728 theaters it broke a record for March opening of a 3-D movie by grossing $116,101,023. In the process, according to CNN, it beat Avatar's opening weekend by almost $40 million.  

    So where do we go from here?

    Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
    “I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
    “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

    That's right, it does not matter. Alice is a success where ever she goes.

    Catch her at the free multimedia exhibition Alice Live!, which traces the history of Lewis Carroll’s stories in live performance from their first professional staging to the present day.

    An illustration from the manuscript held by the British Library


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    The Offenders Cover

    Jerry Craft, author and illustrator of The Offenders: Saving the World While Serving Detention  as well as the illustrator of Patrik Henry Bass' The Zero Degree Zombie Zone is coming to KidsLIVE! October 22nd at the Riverdale Library. We were lucky enough to ask him a few questions from topics such as his favorite book to surviving zombie apocalypses! 

    What were your favorite books when you were younger?

    I actually was not a reader when I was a kid. In fact, I was an adult when I started to read books for enjoyment. When I was younger, I loved Marvel Comics, but that was about it. Unfortunately, most of my teachers thought that comics would rot our brains, so they would take them from us every chance they got. I also never had a book that I really bonded with until I read Great Expectationsin high school (Fieldston, in Riverdale). Up until then, the books I  had to read in school always seemed like work. And I NEVER identified with any of the stories or characters.
    Do you have any authors and/or cartoonists who have inspired you?
    Well because of my first answer, I'll bet you can guess that there are way more cartoonists than authors. I've had the pleasure of meeting many of my inspirations, Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Lynn Johnston (For Better or for Worse), Bud Blake (Tiger), Morrie Turner (Wee Pals) and Jim Keefe (Flash Gordon).
    Where do you get your ideas?
    I've always gotten my ideas by just doing things. I would never be one of those people who locks themselves in a cabin in the woods. I like to see people. Especially kids, who ALWAYS inspire me. That's why I love doing school and library visits.
    Were you ever bullied when you were in elementary school?
    No, I was fortunate. Especially since I was only about two-feet tall up until the time I was a senior in high school. Then I grew about six inches in college. But I hear so many teachers talk about it when I do school visits. That's why I decided to write, The Offenders: Saving the World While Serving Detention! It's about five middle-grade bullies who get super powers, but instead of looking "heroic" they end up looking like the kids that they pick on. I really wanted to turn the tables and show kids what it's like to be picked on.
    If aliens were actually attacking, which super power would you want to have?
    Oooh, good question. I think I'd want to fly, but I also think I'd get sick. So unless part of my power was throwing up, I might have to pass on that. Super speed like The Flash would be cool. Or some type of invisibility. That would probably cut down on the whole throwing up thing. But whatever I did, I'd love to be able to shoot some type of laser from my eyes. That would be cool!
    You illustrated the book The Zero Degree Zombie Zone for Scholastic, so, do you think you could survive a zombie apocalypse? 
    I could definitely survive the slow-walking zombie apocalypse, like on The Walking Dead. But I'm not so sure about the World War Z and I Am Legend zombies. Those things are really fast. I think I could still do it, but I'd just have to make sure that I hung out with a group of people who couldn't run as fast as me.
    Do you prefer drawing or writing?
    Wow, that's tough! I have always LOVED to draw!!! I still can't sit still for long periods without picking up a pencil or marker, which is ALWAYS in my pocket. But I had a LOT of fun writing The Offenders. Especially since my two sons helped. But I also drew a lot for the book, too. It even has a flipbook at the bottom. So if I HAD to choose, maybe I'd give a slight edge to drawing since I've done it longer.
    What is the last good book you read? Is there anything you are looking forward to checking out?
    Well, I'm working on a graphic novel now, so I've been reading a ton of them lately. Smile,Drama, American Born Chinese,Stitches, El Deafo…So you'll probably catch me in that section.
    What are you working on next?
    I am in the drawing stages of a 220-page graphic novel that is loosely based on my experience at Fieldston as well as my two sons' experiences at their schools. The story is written, and all the pages are sketched out. So now I'm about to start doing the finished art. My deadline is April 2016, and it is slated to be published by Andrews McMeel in early 2017!

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    See Elvis Costello at LIVE from the NYPL  Friday October 16, at 7 p.m. Below Elvis answers some questions about himself as a reader. 

    My Last Sigh

    What are the three books you can't live without, and why?

    The Pat Hobby Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald - A cautionary tale

    Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall by Spike Milligan - A cautionary tale

    My Last Sigh by Luis Buñuel - A cautionary tale




    A Free State Cover

    What was the last book you recommended to someone?

    A Free State by Tom Piazza 
    This compassionate novel describes two men blackening their faces with cork: one because a minstrel troupe provides an escape into hollow fantasy from drudgery, and the other because he is an escaped slave who must hide in disguise, in plain sight, with a bounty on his head.

    Informed by the history of a reviled and forgotten idiom, loving scholarship about the banjo, and the very passport to freedom of body and spirit, this beautiful writing finds echoes in conflicts that persist—envy, imitation, injustice, brutality, inequality—and ultimately offers hope. I urge you to read it for yourself.

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    Job Strategies for the Mature Worker Workshop on Monday, October 19, 2015, 2:30 pm - 4 pm, at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn, Brooklyn , NY 11201.

    International Cruise and Excursions Gallery will present a recruitment on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 11 am, for Sears Vacations Marketing Associate (3 P/T openings), at the New York State Department of Labor - Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

    Garrison Protective Services, Inc. will present a recruitment on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 10 am - 3 pm, for Security Guard (10 openings), at the New York State Department of Labor - Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

    Theracare New York Inc. will present a recruitment on Thursday, October 22, 2015, for Service Coordinator (5 openings),  Special Education Teacher (5 openings),  Social worker (5 openings), Physical Therapist (5 P/T openings),  at the New York State Department of Labor - Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

    Century 21 Department Stores will present a recruitment on Friday, October 23, 2015, 10 am , for Stock Clerks (25 P/T Seasonal openings), Sales Cashier (25 P/T Seasonal openings), Register Complex Supervisor (1 opening), at the New York State Department of Labor - Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

    If you would like to receive information for a future event showcasing employment opportunities at the Hotel Syracuse, please send an email to with 'Hotel Syracuse" in the subject line.

    Job Postings at New York City Workforce 1.  

    affich le pour

    Apprenticeship Opportunities in New York City.

    The New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCE&TC) is an association of 200 community-based organizations, educational institutions, and labor unions that annually provide job training and employment services to over 750,000 New Yorkers, including welfare recipients, unemployed workers, low-wage workers, at-risk youth, the formerly incarcerated, immigrants and the mentally and physically disabled. View NYCE&TC Job Listings.

    Digital NYC is the official online hub of the New York City startup and technology ecosystem, bringing together every company, startup, investor, event, job, class, blog, video, workplace, accelerator, incubator, resource, and organization in the five boroughs. Search jobs by category on this site.

    St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development provides Free Job Training and Educational Programs in Environmental Response and Remediation Tec (ERRT). Commercial Driver's License, Pest Control Technician Training (PCT), Employment Search and Prep Training and Job Placement, Earn Benefits and Career Path Center. For information and assistance, please visitSt. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development or call 718-302-2057 ext. 202.

    Brooklyn Workforce Innovations helps jobless and working poor New Yorkers establish careers in sectors that offer good wages and opportunities for advancement. Currently, BWI offers free job training programs in four industries: commercial driving, telecommunications cable installation, TV and film production, and skilled woodworking.

    CMP (formerly Chinatown Manpower Project) in lower Manhattan is now recruiting for a free training in Quickbooks, Basic Accounting, and Excel. This training is open to anyone who is receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Class runs for eight weeks, followed by one-on-one meetings with a job developer. CMP also provides Free Home Health Aide Training for bilingual English/Cantonese speakers who are receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Training runs Mondays through Fridays for six weeks and includes test prep and taking the HHA certification exam. Students learn about direct care techniques such as taking vital signs and assisting with personal hygiene and nutrition. For more information for the above two training programs, email:, call 212-571-1690, or visit. CMP also provides tuition-based healthcare and business trainings free to students who are entitled to ACCESS funding.

    Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) trains women and places them in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades. It helps women achieve economic independence and a secure future. For information call 212-627-6252 or register online.

    Grace Institute provides tuition-free, practical job training in a supportive learning community for underserved New York area women of all ages and from many different backgrounds. For information call 212-832-7605.

    Please note this page will be revised when more recruitment events for the week of October 18 become available.



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  • 10/16/15--13:14: Printing Women: Sara Sanders
  • Untitled (Chair #1)
    Untitled Chair #1, Sara Sanders, Lithograph, 2010.

    I believe that the domestic objects with which we spend our lives retain traces of our histories and tell stories about our pasts.  These prints are part of an ongoing series of portraits of chairs drawn in the way we imagine them to be.  Two of the chairs in this series were drawn from existing objects with a rich history, while the rest are imagined character studies.  They are intimate works executed as hand-drawn color lithographs, a process that allows me to build up a drawing in the same manner as glazing is done in oil painting.

    Untitled (Chair #2)
    Untitled Chair #2, Sara Sanders, Lithograph, 2010.
    Untitled (Chair #3)
    Untitled Chair #3, Sara Sanders, Lithograph, 2010.
    Untitled (Chair #4)
    Untitled Chair #4, Sara Sanders, Lithograph, 2010.
    Untitled (Chair #5)
    Untitled Chair #5, Sara Sanders, Lithograph, 2010.

    The lithograph of Pauline Girardin, Hibiscus et Pastemone, has particular resonance with me.  The artist’s focus on the object only, omitting the stage that the flowers appear upon, grants the object a timeless quality that allows it to inhabit the present, or any place or time that we project upon it. Girardin’s title recognizes that art can capture fleeting moments, and that, although time may pass, we can use art as a means of awakening our memories of a moment and allow our imaginations to transport us.

    Hibiscus et Pastemone
    Hibiscus et Pastemone, Pauline Girardin, Lithograph, 1800s.


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    Subscribe on iTunes.

    Even if you had only read one Ta-Nehisi Coates article, "The Case for Reparations" for example, or maybe "Fear of a Black President," it would be difficult not to join the ecstatic chorus celebrating the writer's recent MacArthur Genius Award win. The author of Between the World and Me, Coates has time and again shown his knack for both historicizing racial inequalities and positioning his interrogation of structural inequalities within lyrical personal narrative. Recently, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture presented Coates in conversation with Khalil Gibran Muhammad. For this week's episode of the New York Public Library Podcast, we're proud to present Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing theft, atheism, and history.

    Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Although "The Case for Reparations" is, perhaps, Coates' most influential work of journalism, he found himself dissatisfied with the piece after its publication. This dissatisfaction, in part, led him to write a more personal text in the form of Between the World and Me:

    "I felt like a number of historians had done the work of outlining the racism implicit in New Deal policies and twentieth century policies because the weakness with reparation is always people look at you and say, 'Well, the slaves are long dead.' But there are plenty of people around right now who were certainly affected by New Deal policies, so I pulled from the history and made that argument. But when I was done, I was somewhat displeased because I felt like the article did not explain how it felt to live your daily life under a system of plunder, under a system of theft. How does it individually feel to live that way? That was the main challenge for Between the World and Me."

    Coates spoke of the importance of research in his intellectual work, crediting many fellow thinkers' contributions to his own understanding of systemic inequities. One book vital to him is Racecraft by Barbara and Karen Fields:

    "The basic argument of this book is we have a notion that, as far as I'm concerned, filters through all of our conversation about race, and I talk about this in the book. And it holds that there are a unique race of people called white who come from Europe, who  are pure and are here. There is a unique race of people called black, who come from Africa and are here. There's a unique Asian race that comes from somplace called Asia and are here. There is a unique race of Native Americans and increasingly a unique race of Hispanics and Latinos who are here. And this is written in blood, somehow written in the DNA and inscribed by science. But in fact what you find is that these definitions, these allegedly biological hard and fast definitions, are not consistent across history and are certainly not consistent across geography. And when you try to understand why we call something white today and why we call something black today, you go back into the history and you cannot get away from the notion of plunder. Someone decided that they wanted to be able to strip as many people as possible of their labor, the fruits to their labor. They called the group of people black... We've had groups of people come to America at various points and not necessarily be called white, and slowly because of some sort of political interest, they get called white. If you think about the world that way, if you understand race as a done thing, not the work of God, not the work of Jesus, but an actual done thing, a decision that was made by a group of people, it charges you with some things. It charges you to fix some things. But if you can make it mystical, if you can make it the work of Jesus, if you can make it the work of God, you can say, 'This is just natural.' Then the inequality, the wealth gap, it becomes sanctified. You can think, 'Not my fault, man. I didn't choose this. It ain't got nothing to do with me.' Racecraft: a very good book."

    Coates also noted the way that atheism informs his aversion to couching black politics in a redemption narrative:

    "I'm black. I'm African-American. there is so much about being African-American, African-American politics, that I don't understand, primarily because in my household Malcolm X was Jesus. And again, that's at the root of this book: the stress on the body. Malcolm's belief, his rage, his seeing black people beat in the street and dogs sicked on black people, said to me the black body, your body, is precious. Your life is as precious as anyone. And you should not give up your life. And you should not give up your body for rights that are already written in the Constitution. It's wrong. It may be that as a matter of actual politics that's what had to happen, but I have never parted with the sense that that is wrong. I can't watch the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma campaign in the same way as other people. I can't even watch the movie Selma in the same way as other people. I mean, I love King's speech — "How Long, Not Long" — I love that speech. I can't feel happy though, I can't share in the sense of triumph and hope that comes out of it because when I see those cops rush those folks for wanting to cross the bridge, I just think it never should have came to that. How did it even come to that? It was wrong. Bloody Sunday was wrong. I can't be redeemed by John Lewis Sterling's career afterward. Those four little girls were killed, and for me there's no afterlife; I'm not going to see them. In my belief system, I'm not going to see them somewhere else. Their bodies were destroyed. And no law that came afterwards, no march that came afterwards, can make me okay with that. I can't draw anything out of my friend Prince Jones' death except, frankly, a great deal of anger. Perhaps some understanding about the world I live in. But I can't be okay with that. This book does not redeem him. This is not redemption. Prince Jones did not die for this book. Prince Jones was killed... his young daughter was rendered fatherless, and I don't want people to forget that. I don't want this to be obscured — forgive me if I offend anybody here — by spirituals, by gospels, by some sense that the arc of history ultimately will reward us. If your life ends, that's where your arc ends. And that is a tremendous tragedy."

    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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    Isabelle is taking care of Grams, competing on the swim team, and relaxing with her friends, Brayden and Kylie. Except for her chronic concern about her grandmother's health and the poverty that they live in, everything seems to be going fine at Harborside... until her world is turned upside down by a visit from Barbara, Grams' social worker. It doesn't help that Grams mistakes Izzie for her mother, Chloe, during her visit.

    Barbara informs the girl that Grams is going to live in a nursing home, and she will go to live with North Carolina senator, Bill Monroe, a cousin of hers, and his family. Things are a bit different in Emerald Cove than they were in Izzie's home town. Her cousin, Mirabelle, is about the same age as her, and she makes an effort to show Izzie around Emerald Prep (EP). It quickly becomes apparent, however, that Mira's friends only grudgingly accept Izzie's presence.

    Living in a sprawling house with her aunt, uncle and three cousins is luxury that she would never have imagined sprawling in, but Izzie longs for her old friends and life. She finds some solace in Violet and Nicole, who are on scholarship to attend EP.  The Belles struggle to work out their troubled relationship.

    Belles by Jen Calonita, 2012

    Jen Calonita's web site

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    A compilation of George R.R. Martin novellas, prequels to A Song of Ice and Fire enters the top 5 this week, along with some a new installment of the Mistborn series and new Mitch Rapp novel. 

    The Survivor Cover

    #1 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Survivor by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills, conspiracy theories and government coverups:

    The Octopus: secret government and the death of Danny Casolaro by Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith

    The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

    JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by L. Fletcher Prouty



    The Martian Cover

    #2 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Martian by Andy Weir, more survival stories:

    Annihilation by Jeff Vadermeer

    The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro

    Lock Inby John Scalzi




    A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

    #3 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin, more fantasy novellas and short stories:

    The short second life of Bree Tanner : an Eclipse novella by Stephanie Meyer

    Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

    Trigger Warnings: short fictions and disturbances by Neil Gaiman



    The Murder House

    #4 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Murder House by James Patterson & David Ellis, more creepy houses:

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

    The Shining by Stephen King (technically a hotel)

    House of Leavesby Mark Z. Danielewski




    Shadows of Self

    #5 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson, more epic fantasy:

    The Earthsea cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin (a classic coming-of-age story about wizards)

    Katharine Kerr's Westlands series (A Time of Exile is the first)

    Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (a fantastical quest)

    For more recommendations visit us at
    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your picks! Tell us what you'd recommend: Leave a comment or email us.

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  • 10/20/15--09:20: 15 Writers on Writing
  • typewriter
    Image via NYPL Digital Collections, ID 1685591

    Only writers know the exquisite struggle that is writing. It can be grueling, tedious, and frustrating, but when those sweet moments of triumph and inspiration happen—the perfect word, or a character blossoming into existence—you know it’s all worth the struggle. Whether you’re writing the next War and Peace or just trying to think up the Next Great Tweet, here are a few writers’ quotes on writing to get you through it:

    1. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”—Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin

    2. "You know that fiction, prose rather, is possibly the roughest trade of all in writing. You do not have the reference, the old important reference. You have the sheet of blank paper, the pencil, and the obligation to invent truer than things can be true. You have to take what is not palpable and make it completely palpable and also have it seem normal and so that it can become a part of experience of the person who reads it." —Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters 1917–1961

    3. "A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art." —Jorge Luis Borges, Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems : Interviews by Roberto Alifano, 1981–1983

    4. "You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair — the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page." —Stephen King , On Writing

    5. “For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.” —Catherine Drinker Bowen, Adventures of a Biographer

    6. "Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." —George Orwell, Why I Write

    7. “People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.” —R.L. Stine, Writer's DigestNov/Dec 2011

    8. “Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, ‘Listen to me’.” —Jhumpa Lahiri, The New Yorker

    9. “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.” —Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

    10. You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it." —Neil Gaiman. Where do you get your ideas? Essay. (1997)

    11. “Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” —E. L. Doctorow,  The New York Times (20 October 1985)

    12. "Perhaps it is just as well to be rash and foolish for a while. If writers were too wise, perhaps no books would get written at all. It might be better to ask yourself 'Why?' afterward than before. Anyway, the force of somewhere in space which commands you to write in the first place, gives you no choice. You take up the pen when you are told, and write what is commanded." —Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road

    13. "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." —Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades

    14. "Writers take words seriously — perhaps the last professional class that does — and they struggle to steer their own through the crosswinds of meddling editors and careless typesetters and obtuse and malevolent reviewers into the lap of the ideal reader." —John UpdikeThe New York Times (17 August 1986)

    15. "The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps." —Robert Benchley, quoted by James Thurber in The Bermudian (November 1950)

    Comment with your favorite writer's quote on writing below!

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    Author Simon Winchester is our guest at LIVE from the NYPL on October 30 at 7 pm. We asked him to talk about his favorite books.

    Life, a user's manual cover

    Name three books you would not live without.

    1. Georges Perec Life A User’s Manual. No other piece of writing so perfectly reflects, in my view, the wondrous complexity of the human mind. 

    2. Except perhaps this. The complete Oxford English Dictionary.   

    3. Other Men’s Flowers, edited by Lord Wavell. This anthology of poetry,  all of which the last-but-one Indian Viceroy knew by heart, was compiled in 1944, and has seldom been out of print: it proved consolation for his troops in the trenches, and its provides endless consolation for me, when I need it. (I particularly love that title, which could I suppose apply to any biography and which comes from Montaigne: I shall gather a posie of other men’s flowers, and only the string that binds them is mine own.)

    Farthest Field Cover

    What is the last book you recommended? 

    Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad.  Quite simply the loveliest example writing on any subject I have read this year. It will vanish into obscurity of course, but it should not. 

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    One thing I've learned while keeping my eye on new music is, sometimes a snappy title can encourage people to check you out. And so, I've changed the title of my periodic blog posts on new music to reflect what they are, at least to me: and that is, little audio mini-vacations from the cubicle I sit in every day of the week. And who wouldn't want that? Through sound, the entire world is our oyster. So here is your list of some of the most exciting, newly purchased CDs from our circulating collections for your listening pleasure. Just click on the album titles to be taken to the catalog and put the CDs on hold, and don't forget the provided PREVIEW tracks. Enjoy!

    OyaIbeyi (self-titled) (2015) Ibeyi are twin sisters, born into a musical family (their father, Anga Diaz, was a percussionist for Irakere and the Buena Vista Social Club) , who spent their childhood in both Havana, Cuba, and Paris, France. They both sing and play various instruments, and incorporate Afro-Cuban styles, rhythms, themes of Santeria, and the Yoruba language into their music. Add some punchy state-of-the-art production, and you've got Ibeyi. They've made all these influences their own, turned it all into something that sounds modern yet as old as the centuries; ancient, somehow. You see, uniqueness is good, but there's got to be something more, an undeniable musical appeal as well. This music has both; it speaks for itself. It's worth checking out!  PREVIEW

    goatCommuneby Goat (2014)

    Blanketed in the fog of an autumn evening, under the Swedish skies of Norrbotten County, natives played on local instruments, dancing and paying homage to the gods, to nature, to the mystery, the presence always there but just beyond the realm of site, between the trees and the rustling leaves. It was the age before science, and the world was still magic. The gods were conjured and brought with them instruments of unknown lands, from worlds yet-to-be-known or heard by the natives. The sounds started out slow and sparse, as more folks and spirits joined in. The sound became a power, greater than could be explained, or understood. The campfires came at twilight, if only to insure that the sound would not end. And intoxication also came, on magic moss and mushrooms, with dancing and the ecstasy of shadows cast by the moon.

    And the gods said, "These natives have never known electricity and the way it can shape sound, dare we blaze into this night with our electric, distorted guitars from worlds unknown to them? Might it cause horror? Fright? Disorientation?" But the music of the natives continued, became louder and livelier, and the shadows of the dancers and the trees, it all answered, "yes, gods, we want to go further!" And the gods said, "why not?"

    The forest will never tell of what happened that night, but this record will.  PREVIEW

    alvvaysAlvvays(self-titled) (2014)

    I once fell asleep on the sand by the ocean, and I dreamed I saw a band. I had backstage passes. It was pretty cool. At one point the singer inexplicably turned into my 3rd grade teacher and it never even dawned on me that that was weird. They must have played for a solid two hours. This was the band I dreamed of, that day at twilight by the sea. PREVIEW

    lulucPasserby by Luluc (2014)

    When Nick Drake's old manager was getting a tribute album together, it's no mystery why he specifically asked Luluc to to sing the lead single on that album. They share the same somber and gentle approach to folk music. Close your eyes and listen to this preview track. There is such a beautiful weightlessness to it, no? It just floats there in the air. This must be what clouds feel like. PREVIEW

    black bananasElectric Brick Wallby Black Bananas (2014) 

    180 degree turn alert! Ain't no clouds up in here. This is dirty, grungy, electronic music, with guitars and swirls and grooves and beats that make you snarl and bob your head. Hell, you might even make the metal sign to yourself with your hand, you know the one. This is in-your-face and down-your-throat electronic rock and roll, not for the faint of heart. In fact, "Electric Brick Wall" is pretty apt. If Luluc is weightless, this music is like a ton a bricks. PREVIEW

    just be freeJust Be Freeby Big Freedia (2014)

    If you are unfamiliar with Big Freedia, there's a really great mini-doc about her online. And if you've never heard of Bounce Music, it's about time you had. Bounce music is hip hop's crazy southern cousin from New Orleans, and it is awesome. Big Freedia is a fantastic entertainer; her tireless dedication to her music has probably done more to bring attention to the New Orleans Bounce scene than anything or anyone else. The energy in her music blows everything else away. No opinions here, folks, just facts. And it feels like there is a lot of the spirit of the city in the music as well. There must be! I'm certain many in New Orleans consider her a hero of sorts, at least an outspoken representative of just how crazy and fun and unique and amazing that city is. It's all captured in her music! This is your trip to New Orleans.  PREVIEW

    sisyphusSisyphus (self-titled) (2014)

    If someone suggested to me we put Serengeti and Sufjan Stevens in a room and see what comes of it, I would have balked; would have made that peak with my eyebrows, like I was kind of worried about the person who suggested it. And if you don't know who they are, imagine putting Paul Simon and Nicki Minaj in a room, to musically collaborate. I mean, maybe, maybe. It's just not something I would have ever thought of on its own. I would say this record is booty-shakin if it didn't make me feel like a nerd trying to sound cool. So, let's see, it's got some really good beats!  PREVIEW

    darlene loveIntroducing Darlene Loveby Darlene Love (2015) 

    It's funny because how do you introduce someone in 2015 who had their first single back in 1962? That single was "He's a Rebel" by the Crystals. The group had their first #1 hit with that song. Problem is, was, Ms. Love wasn't in the Crystals. Phil Spector had her ghost-sing it and credited it to The Crystals, who weren't, as it turns out, particularly good at singing it live.  That's because nobody else could sing like Ms. Love, but fellow musicians knew who really sang that song, and they sought her out, often. She went on to sing backup for the likes of, now get this, Elvis, Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones… I mean, really, this woman's voice is all over the place in popular music! If you've ever heard the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," Sinatra's "That's Life," Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang," "Jonny Angel," so many more, then you've heard her voice before. The list of famous artists and hit songs she's backed up does not run into the dozens, it runs into the hundreds. 

    And though her name is not as recognizable as some, The New York Times summed it up nicely by saying her “thunderbolt voice is as embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton's guitar or Bob Dylan's lyrics." And this album is refreshingly great, as it demonstrates her powerhouse of a voice has literally not lost a cent in over 50 years! I'm not kidding, not a cent! This lady is 74 years young! And that's just refreshing somehow. It's cool. These tracks have all the fun and feel of those early '60s hits; but this time, she gets top billing… as it should be. And so may I "introduce," if you don't know her already, Ms. Darlene Love! PREVIEW

    mosaicsMosaics within Mosaics by Circulatory System (2014)

    Take influences like the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows", those tiny little Casio keyboards, and the biggest tribal drums you can find. Then put a bunch of psych-rock musicians that like to play around with electronics and effects in a studio. "What would happen?" you might ask. Well, you guessed it. This album is what. PREVIEW

    touristesTouristes by Vieux Farka Toure & Julia Easterlin (2015)

    Ignore at your own peril, dear reader. This one is amazing! Um-mazing! The vocal acrobatics on this… you've got to be kidding me! It's the track that made me think of my new blog title: music as an audio vacation from your cubicle. Next stop, Mali! Now I told you we could go anywhere, didn't I? Anywhere we want. So Bon Voyage! We'll miss you! Be safe. And DO bring us back some kitschy souvenirs, will you?  PREVIEW

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  • 10/20/15--11:52: Books We Know by Heart
  • Reading a book aloud to a child is one of life’s sweetest pleasures, and children sometimes ask to repeat the experience with the same book over and over.

    And over.

    And over.

    And over and over and over and over and over, until that book is burned into the reader’s memory forever.

    This week, we asked our NYPL book experts to name children’s books they can recite from memory, along with their favorite passages. And we upped the challenge by asking for unusual and unexpected picks... we all adore Goodnight Moon, of course, but we wanted some surprises.

    Here’s what they recommend.

    Animal Books


    Wild Boars Cook by Meg Rosoff, with pictures by Sophie Blackall. Both my boys love these rude and stinky boars who conspire to make a massive pudding (ingredients include a gross of doughnuts, a bucket of butter, and a squid). Now when we cook together, we always chant, “Mix mix mix! Stir stir stir! Cook cook cook!” like Horace, Morris, Boris, and Doris. We’ve even made the massive cookie from the recipe at the back of the book. —Susie Heimbach, Mulberry Street



    This Is Not My Hatby John Klassen. A cute and subversive tale about a tiny fish who steals a hat from a bigger fish, the pictures and simple language keep the kids interested, but I always chuckle to myself as an adult reading it. Also the illustrations are beautiful cutouts reminiscent of Leo Lionni, whom I loved as a child. —Alessandra Affinito, Chatham Square



    The Baby Beebee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie is one I’ve memorized just by reading it aloud to all the younger classes. All the kids will spend the rest of the day saying “beebeeboobibobbi beebeebobbibobii” and drive everyone crazy. (I’ve apologized to teachers after I read it.) —Sue Yee, Children’s Center




    One of my favorite books from childhood is The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward (a fellow Charlestonian!). I still hope to someday be as great as Mother Cottontail! My mom must have read the book to my sister and me a million times, and when she sends Easter care packages (yes, I still get care packages) she tapes little gold shoes and Easter eggs all over the outside. My favorite quote is from Old Grandfather bunny:

    You are pretty and you are fast, but you have not shown me that you are either kind or wise.

    —Sarah Lugo, Administration



    Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell was a staple for me in my 15 years as a children’s librarian. 

    I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet. They sent me an elephant. He was TOO BIG, so I sent him back. They sent me a giraffe. He was TOO TALL, so I sent him back....

    The kids love to see what is revealed under the flaps, until he child ends up with a perfect puppy. —Ronni Krasnow, Morningside Heights


    I love Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson. After you read, “But the bear snores on...” you have to make snoring sounds—very important! —Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Outreach




    My toddler is obsessed—OBSESSED—with Maisy, particularly the lift-the-flap Maisy’s Seasons. Lucy Cousins has planted that mouse firmly in his one-year-old consciousness, and now my husband and I can both recite the entire book from memory.

    In the summer, Maisy and her friends go to the beach! What does Charley catch?

    (Spoiler alert: He catches a fish, sure, but also an octopus, a crab, a boot…) —Gwen Glazer, Readers Services 


    My little sister ate one hare. We thought she’d throw up then & there but... she didn’t.

    My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman is a rhyme-and-repeat story. It’s gross and fun in equal measure and kids of all ages love it. Perfect for reading aloud.  —Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Steet




    Spooky Books


    I have fond memories of my mother and I reading Stan & Jan Berenstain’s Bears in the Night. Little bears sneak out of their house at night for an unexpected fright; our favorite part was always “Up Spook Hill...” —Rebecca Donsky, 67th Street




    A Big Spooky House by Donna Washington. I read or tell this story every year around this season. Based on oral stories, this picture book is so much fun to read aloud to a group!

    He was a big man, he was a strong man, he was a not gonna-be-scared-by-some-spooky-house-sittin-up-on-some-big-spooky-hill kind of man.

    —Stephanie Whelan, Seward Park



    Dr. Seuss


     When I was growing up, one of my very favorite books was Dr. Seuss’s ABC. My dad read it to me so frequently that to this day, over 25 years later, if you suggest to either of us a letter, we can recite the appropriate rhyme. My favorite always came at the end, when my dad would read, “Big Z, little Z, what begins with Z?” and then drawl in a southern accent (think John Goodman in O Brother, Where Art Thou?), “I do. I am a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz as you can plainly see.” When I started elementary school and one of the computers in the school library had an interactive version of the book on CD-ROM, I was deeply offended that they got the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz’s accent wrong! —Gretchen Kolderup, Young Adult Services



    Another Dr. Seuss endorsement! I loved Horton Hatches the Egg and the line that always sticks in my mind is, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one hundred percent!” —Jeff Katz, Chatham Square






    Hands-down winner for me for well over a decade was “Too Many Daves” from Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches and Other Stories.

    Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
    Had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave?...
    And often she wishes that, when they were born,
    She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn
    And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
    And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
    And one of them Shadrack. And one of them Blinkey.
    And one of them Stuffy. And one of them Stinkey.
    Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face....

    I challenge any of you to NOT laugh at this story. Go on, go to the shelf and try it right now. —Anne Barreca, Battery Park City

    Fairy Tales


    When I did storytelling for the NYPL storytelling project, my memorized story was The Paper Bag Princess. Excellent picture-book-feminist morals and dragon-beating tips for everyone to know by heart. 

    It starts so demurely with, “little boy went to grandma’s house to spend the night.” And then you get to “she tiptoed out” *finger walk* “she turned off the light” *snap* cloooosed the door” *sqeeeeaak* and? “Wahhh! Meow! woof woof woof! oink oink oink! Neighh!!!” —Jill Rothstein, Andrew Heiskell


    Each peach, pear, plum, I spy Tom Thumb...” from the book of the same name by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. I loved to read that book to my nieces and I gave it to all of my friends’ children too. Because the book introduces many of the characters from other fairy tales and nursery rhymes it is a great starting off point to recite those as well. And Ahlberg’s Jolly Postman is a close runner-up for the same reason. —Virginia Bartow, Special Collections



    I have been a children’s librarian for 27 years (plus, I can recite favorite stories from my own childhood, but I guess that just means I chose the right career). So I tried to think… what’s the strangest one I know? And I came up with Ruth Krauss’s Somebody Else’s Nut Tree and Other Tales from Children.

    The story I love is called “The Little Queen.” A little girl’s wish to become a queen is granted, but her mother and father aren’t so thrilled. My line (said by the little queen to the fairy):

    I want to be a little girl again because that is what my mother and father want. Besides the police are coming. But when I am grown up, I want to be a queen.

    —Danita Nichols, Inwood

    Funny Books


    My kids both loved a book called Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

     George’s mother said, “Bark, George.” George went, “Meow.”

     A loveable pup and an exasperated mom take a trip to the vet to get to the bottom of all the (other) animal noises coming out of George.​ —Lynn Lobash, Readers Services

    boss baby

    The Boss Baby! My kid loved it, we read it multiple times a day, and the art is fun and very retro mid-century stylistic. It has become a go-to gift for me for new parents. 

    From the moment the baby arrived, it was obvious that he was the boss. If things weren’t done to his immediate satisfaction, he had a fit. 

     —Carmen Nigro, Milstein Division

    Poetry & Rhymes


    Drummer Hoff  was my absolute favorite, and I can still say them all. I like “Sergeant Chowder Brought the Powder” the best: 

    Sergeant Chowder brought the powder
    Corporal Farrell brought the barrel
    Private Parridge brought the carriage
    But Drummer Hoff fired it off.

    —Gretchen Smith, Learning & Development


    When I was a kid, I loved Shel Silverstein. His quirky, imaginative, hilarious writing style makes his poems unique and endearing.  I wouldn’t say I have memorized the whole book, but I did learn some of his poems by heart from reading them so often.   

    Often when I eat scrambled eggs, the following lines blip through my mind:

    These eggs
    Are eggsellent.
    ...Eggstra fluffy,
    Eggstremely tasty,
    Cooked eggsactly right
    By an eggspert  

    And it makes my breakfast taste better.—Christina Lebec, Bronx Library Center


    I also used to read Shel Silverstein regularly and my sisters and I used to make up melodies to them to add to the fun. I’d say I could recite probably half of A Light in the Atticand Where the Sidewalk Ends.

    “Invitation” from WTSE:

    If you’re a dreamer, come in.
    If you’re a dreamer, a wisher a liar, 
    a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer,
    If you’re a pretender, come and sit by my fire, 
    For we have some flax golden tales to spin.

     —Katrina Ortega, Hamilton Grange


    Chugga-chugga Choo-choo by Kevin Lewis is one of my all-time favorite feel good stories to read aloud to the under-five crowd.

    Sun’s up! Morning’s here! Up and at ‘em, engineer!

    The nannies at story time know this one so well they can chant it, and the kids love making spontaneous train sounds. —Lauren Younger, Battery Park City


    ​“Dis lickle pig go a markit, / Dis lickle pig tan a yaad.” Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes is a splendidly illustrated intercultural collection of rhymes. The introduction is an invitation to explore both new and familiar sounds, poetry and art. —Miriam Tuliao, Selection Team




    Picture Books


    Owen by Kevin Henkes was a staple at our house when our son was getting ready to attend preschool and would not give up his stuffed Eeyore.

    “Fuzzy goes where I go!” exclaims Owen throughout the book, and Fuzzy does go everywhere, but he won’t be able to go to school with Owen. My husband and I would always start to giggle when Mrs. Tweezers would give an unhelpful suggestion. (We solved our Eeyore problem by making a pocket-sized photo that could go to school unnoticed.) —Maura Muller, Volunteer Office



    I will go into the zoo, I want to see it, yes I do.
    We do not want you in the zoo, out you go, out out with you!
    Why did they put me out this way?

    I think I only read Put Me in the Zoo 5,890,543.34 times to my older son. It helps that it’s a cute story with a cuter lesson that doesn’t beat kids over the head. Being different can be a wonderful thing in Robert Lopshire’s board book about a unique animal that is an ill fit for a traditional zoo.—Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil

    One Not-Picture Book


    My new go-to book right now for kids is The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak (of The Office).  ”You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say…” It teaches children that you can have fun reading books without pictures, that words and ideas can be entertaining and fun too. —Leslie Bernstein, Mott Haven



    Songs (or Books that Should Be Songs)


    Do you know the tune to “The Muffin Man”? Then you’ll be able to sing this song from Let’s Go to the Library, a board book from Scholastic.  

    Let’s go to the library, the library, the library.  
    So many books for you and me,
    to look at and to share.
    We’ll read about a castle tall, a magic ball, and that’s not all.
    So many books for you and me to look at and to share...

    You get the idea—a fun song to sing while you are on your way to your favorite destination. —Peggy Salwen,St. Agnes Library


    Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton. I’m waiting for the remix of the song as this title is very catchy. All of her board books are very memorable, and I confess to feeling like a “frazzled thing, I don’t know what it is” at times. —Jenny Baum, Jefferson Market




    I love singing, so any book I can read aloud with a song is fantastic. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin is one I (and I’m sure many others) can easily recite and sing from cover to cover. Best line:

    The moral of the story is, no matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song, because it’s all good.

    Such wisdom from a simple story! —Emily Lazio, Tompkins Square


    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend.

    And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for 100 new recommendations every month!

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    What's new at Throg's Neck Library? Here at the Library by the bridge we try to keep ourselves involved with the community by coming up with program ideas to keep the public engaged. Knowing my co-worker and friend, Mrs. Akua Hamilton-Grant, loves doing craft and book display projects for the library I asked her, "Akua, why don't you do a craft program every so often with the children and teens?" And from that question we developed the "Do It Yourself" projects here. 

    Mrs. Hamilton-Grant's finished product of the Elephant papier mâché
    Mrs. Hamilton-Grant's finished Elephant Papier Mâché

    The first of many D.I.Y. projects she led were on September 19 and 25, and involved making a papier mâché elephant. Where did the idea come from? She was surfing the Internet and was inspired by a video that showed her how to make a Papier Mâché elephant from scratch and modified the tutorial from YouTube to her liking. 

    If you weren't able to attend, you did miss out on a fun time. But don't worry, if you do want to do the project for yourself or to give as a present to someone special, here is a step-by-step guide for creating your own elephant at home.

    Materials  Needed

    • Cardboard     
    • Paint brush   
    • Glue   
    • Paper towel   
    • Scissors   
    • Newspaper  
    • Acrylic paint  
    • Masking tape

    Step 1

    Step 1



    Step 2

    Step 2

    • Place cardboard scrapes in between the cutouts
    • Place the scrapes near the head, legs, and mid-section (this gives the elephant depth)



    Step 3

    Step 3

    • Use masking tape to combine your two cutouts
    • Tail and trunk should be flush




    Step 4

    Step 4

    • Mix water and glue ½ and ½ to paste newspaper to the elephant 
    • Place at least 3 layers of newspaper on the elephant
    • If you are going to make a stand, paper mache it and let it dry so you can then attach your elephant


    Step 5Step 5

    • Papier mâché the ears and tusks with paper towel and attach to your elephant (once dry, continue)
    • You now need to paper mache paper towels to the entire elephant (take your time… you don’t want the paper towel too wet)
    • Once your elephant is dry, paint as desired!




    Finish product

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  • 10/21/15--04:46: Back to the Bookish Future
  • In 1985, Robert Zemeckis, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Crispin Glover brought time travel via DeLorean into the hearts and minds of Americans.  Here are a few more tales of time travel.

    Kindred Cover

    Kindred by Octavia Butler
    Historical time-travel at its best. When Dana disappears from her quiet life in 1976 and winds up on a pre-Civil War plantation as a slave in 1815, she must figure out her connection to her slaveowner’s son—even though she has no power to control her impossible lurches through time and space.





    The Shining Girls Lauren Beukes

    The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
    The creepiest title on this list, and maybe ever: A serial killer travels through time to torment his victims at different ages, appearing to them as little girls and then coming back to murder them later in life… until he meets Kirby.






    Life After Life Cover

    Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
    This is technically a time-looping book, in which a character lives her own life over and over again, but it’s too good not to include. Ursula is born on a cold winter’s night (again and again and again), but her many paths eventually lead to a shocking conclusion.






    Woman on the Edge of Time cover

    Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
    Will it be dystopia or utopia? With echoes of first-wave feminism ringing in her ears, a woman in a mental institution in the 1970s finds herself stuck between two possible futures, with the power to make a terrible choice between them.  







    Fire Watch Cover

    Anything in the Oxford Time Travel series by Connie Wills
    When a group of historians figures out how to make a real-life time machine, hijinks are bound to ensue. Start with the novella, Fire Watch, which sets up their time-travel science, and don’t skip Doomsday Book, in which a student visits a plague-ridden village.



    For more recommendations, see

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to​ be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ​picks! Tell us what you'd recommend: Leave a comment or email us.

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    There are plenty of reasons to resist distinctions between kid's lit and adult literature. Yet, whether you're a parent hoping to bestow your children with a penchant for literature or just a reader looking to devour an author's ouevre whole, it's a treat to discover the books your favorite "adult" writers have written for younger readers. Here are ten of our most beloved YA, middle grade, and children's books. What are yours?

    If you loved My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber
    Try Thurbers's children's book: Many Moons

    If you loved: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
    Try Le Guin's YA book: The Farthest Shore.

    If you loved: Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
    Try Baldwin's children's book: Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood

    If you loved: The Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
    Try Offill's children's book: Sparky!

    If you loved: The Quiet American by Graham Greene
    Try Greene's children's book: The Little Steamroller

    If you loved: How the Dead Dream by Lydia Millet
    Try Millet's YA book: Pills and Starships 

    If you loved: The Colossus by Sylvia Plath
    Try Plath's children's book: The Bed Book 

    If you loved: Tenth of December by George Saunders
    Try Saunders' children's book: The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip 

    If you loved Rabbit, Run by John Updike
    Try Updike's A Child's Calendar

    If you loved Sula by Toni Morrison
    Try Morrison's children's book: The Book of Mean People  

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    The Chelsea Fire Club formed in late 1788 to “more effectually… preserve & secure the goods & the prosperity of its members, as well as that of the rest of the good people of Chelsea, from being destroyed by fire.”  This voluntary association of private men—at first no more than twenty—would be all that stood between their community and the threat of fire.  Yet the records of the Fire Club reveal far more about how early Americans grappled with the challenge of self-government than about firefighting. During the United States Constitution’s 226-year history, Congress has proposed thirty-three amendments to the document and Americans have ratified twenty-seven.  From its founding in 1788 to its dissolution in 1796, the Chelsea Fire Club of Norwich, Connecticut made at least eight amendments to its Constitution and “Bye Laws” in as many years. At some level, the record book of the Chelsea Fire Club merely chronicles the mundane machinations of twenty or so well-meaning volunteer firefighters in Norwich, Connecticut during an eight-year period.  But in the aggregate, records like this help explain how men labored to make self-government work in early America.

    1st Page of Bylaws
    1st Page of Chelsea Fire Club  "Bye Laws," at a meeting on January 7, 1789.

    The members’ first order of business after founding the Fire Club was to create a set of rules to govern it.  These “Bye Laws” dealt with the same sorts of issues—election procedures, term limits, and requirements for passing new rules—that occupied the attention of the US Constitution’s framers.  The bylaws mandated that the club hold annual elections for officers.  Those elections, and votes on most policies including “taxes” on the membership, would be decided by a majority of written ballots. The admission of new members and the expulsion of existing members, though, required a two-thirds super majority.  Votes on revisions to the bylaws and adjournments of meetings would be decided by a show of hands.  

    Only two articles of the initial constitution related directly to firefighting.  All members had to acquire two “good Leather fire Buckets” and a canvas bag.  And they had to keep those in the doorway to their homes, or another convenient place, so they could access them in the event of a fire.  The club levied fines on any members who failed to get adequate supplies.  Those fines paid for ladders, fire hooks, speaking trumpets, and later for the maintenance of a fire engine.

    Page of Fines
    "Account of Fines received belonging to the Club."

    Within a few years, it had become apparent that the original bylaws were insufficient.  During the first meeting of 1792, a member made a motion “to amend the first article of the Constitution” to increase the Club’s membership limit to thirty.  In the last meeting of that year, another member proposed an amendment to fix a loophole created by the prior amendment, clarifying that all new members would be subject to the same penalties as the original members if they didn’t provide the required supplies.

    Given all the confusion, the Club just entirely rewrote their bylaws in early 1793.  The original rules had ten articles.  This new version had eighteen.  Among other things, the new articles pertained to the “inspecting committee,” which was charged with checking members’ supplies and levying fines.

    On November 26, 1793, a fire tore through Norwich and destroyed fifteen buildings.  That fire also laid bare still more deficiencies in the bylaws.  A number of the members’ bags and fire buckets were destroyed during the course of fighting the blaze.  There was no rule about replacing destroyed supplies.  The following year saw members propose amendments to set fines for failing to replace damaged supplies, as well as revisions to the articles regulating the “inspecting committee.”

    More Rules
    Articles 9-11 of the new "Bye Laws" passed by the Fire Club on February 15, 1793.

    Ultimately, the Chelsea Fire Club ran out of time to perfect their constitution.  By late 1795, they began to plan their own dissolution as the Club’s “necessity to exist was supposed to be superseded” shortly by a fire company created by the Common Council, Norwich’s municipal government.  At their last meeting, in May of 1796, the Club resolved to turn over the fire engine and other supplies to the new fire company.

    The challenges of self-government that bedeviled the Chelsea Fire Club were, in microcosm, the same challenges faced by the United States in this period.  Though Americans have ratified amendments to the U.S. Constitution relatively infrequently over its entire history, eleven of the twenty-seven total amendments—including the Bill of Rights—were adopted during the Fire Club’s eight-year tenure.  And the Chelsea Fire Club’s experience was hardly unique.  In addition to volunteer fire clubs, Americans banded together to create debating societies, political associations, human societies, schools, and libraries, most of which were also governed by similar constitutions or bylaws.  Manuscript records of these kinds of organizations are strewn through NYPL’s collection and those of many other research libraries and historical societies.  

    The story of early American constitutional history did not only play out at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, or even just at the state conventions to ratify the U.S. Constitution and state constitutional conventions.  Americans created literally hundreds of constitutions and approved thousands of amendments while participating in voluntary associations to benefit their communities during the early years of the republic.  Sources like the Fire Club’s record book are thus integral for understanding early American constitutionalism and for telling a more complete story of the American founding.

    About the Early American Manuscripts Project

    With support from the The Polonsky Foundation, The New York Public Library is currently digitizing upwards of 50,000 pages of historic early American manuscript material. The Early American Manuscripts Project will allow students, researchers, and the general public to revisit major political events of the era from new perspectives and to explore currents of everyday social, cultural, and economic life in the colonial, revolutionary, and early national periods. The project will present on-line for the first time high quality facsimiles of key documents from America’s Founding, including the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Drawing on the full breadth of the Library’s manuscript collections, it will also make widely available less well-known manuscript sources, including business papers of Atlantic merchants, diaries of people ranging from elite New York women to Christian Indian preachers, and organizational records of voluntary associations and philanthropic organizations. Over the next two years, this trove of manuscript sources, previously available only at the Library, will be made freely available through

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    I recently started reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling for the first time! Here are some of my favorite quotes from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

    1. “It was a dream, I dreamed a giant called Hagrid came to tell me I was going to a school for wizards. When I open my eyes I’ll be at home in my cupboard.” (p. 61)
    2. “ ‘He’s gone!’
      ‘Well, you can’t expect him to hang around all day, he’ll be back.’
      ‘But in, you know, the Muggle world, people just stay in photos.’
       ‘Do they? What, they don’t move at all?’ ” (p. 103).
    3. “You might belong in Gryffindor,
      Where dwell the brave at heart,
      Their daring, nerve, and chivalry,
      Set Gryffindors apart;
      You might belong in Hufflepuff,
      Where they are just and loyal,
      Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
      And unafraid of toil;
      Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
      If you’ve a ready mind,
      Where those of wit and learning,
      Will always find their kind;
      Or perhaps in Slytherin
      You’ll make your real friends,
      Those cunning folks use any means
      To achieve their ends.
      So put me on! Don’t be afraid!
      And don’t get in a flap!
      You’re in safe hands (though I have none)
      For I’m a Thinking Cap” (p.118)
    4. “Strange how nearsighted being invisible can make you” (p.213)
    5. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” (p. 214)
    6. “Harry found that he had fewer nightmares when was tired out after working out.” (p.216)
    7. "Who says the centaurs are right? It sounds like fortune-telling to me, and Professor McGonagall says that's a very imprecise branch of magic." (p.260)
    8. "Neville will play Quidditch for England before Hagrid lets Dumbledore down." (p.264)
    9. "Books! And cleverness!" (p.287)
    10. "There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it…" (p. 291)
    11. "After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." (p. 297)
    12. "The truth.”  Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. However, I shall answer your questions unless I have a very good reason not to, in which case I beg you'll forgive me. I shall not, of course, lie." (p. 298)
    13. “There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends." (p. 306)

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