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    Who's On Worst?

    Hey again! All right look, we've been waiting all winter long, and now we're closer than ever. February is here. And as we all know, spring training begins in this month. I know you're all in pain, winter storms and all, but I guarantee you, we are clooooooooose! But we're not quite there yet, so in the meantime let's at least reminisce. We had a lot of fun last month looking back on some of the all-time greatest errors in World Series history, so I've decided this month to take it one step further. The two leagues in 1969 implemented divisions and what we call League Championship Series' (or LCS). Prior to that season, you finish at the top of your league and you went directly to the World Series. Once the divisions were set up (2 in each league at first, an East and a West), the two teams who conquered their divisions would meet in what was then a best-of-5 LCS. Winner would punch their ticket to the World Series itself. We've seen countless classic moments in LCS history, some of them though may want to be left unmentioned for players who bungle particular plays. So without further ado, why don't we take a look at some of the more costly errors in LCS history.

    1. Leon Durham - 1984 NLCS, Game 5 - 1985 marked the final year that Championship Series' were of the best-of-five format. Poor Leon Durham and the Chicago Cubs wished this change happened just a little sooner. In 1984, the Cubs were awesome. They won 96 ballgames, clinched their first postseason berth since 1945, and had both the eventual National League MVP (Ryne Sandberg) and Cy Young winner (Rick Sutcliffe) in the fold. They took a commanding 2-0 lead in their Championship Series against the San Diego Padres, and everything was coming up Cubs. What could possibly go wrong? Dare I say...the Curse of the Billy Goat? Games 3-5 took place at the Padres' Jack Murphy Stadium. Game 3 was a blowout victory in San Diego's favor, while Game 4 was closer and filled with drama (including a big solo home run off the bat of Durham). However in the bottom of the 9th, with the score tied 5-5, Padres hero Steve Garvey clubbed a walk-off 2-run home run off Cubs closer Lee Smith to force a decisive Game 5. The Cubs were in the drivers seat for the bulk of the game, leading 3-0 (partly thanks to a Durham 2-run homer), and eventually 3-2 going to the bottom of the 7th. With one out and Carmelo Martinez on second, pinch hitter Tim Flannery hit a ground ball to Durham that went, in the words of announcer Don Drysdale, "right through his legs!!!" That tied the game up, and then three hits later the Padres found themselves staked to a 6-3 lead. That score probably felt more like 60-3 to the Cubs, whose fall from grace in this Championship Series was that of epic proportions. The Durham error is often referred to as the Gatorade Glove Play, since prior to taking his position in the bottom of that 7th, Gatorade was spilled all over Durham's mitt.

    2. Alex Gonzalez - 2003 NLCS, Game 6 - Yes, look at that. Two Chicago Cubs plays to kick off our list. Hey listen, they've had a lot of heartbreak over the past 100+ years. With a curse to boot, there are gonna be notorious plays like this that sadly go down in lore. Commonly known as The Bartman Game, the Cubs held a 3-2 NLCS lead, and were 5 outs away from locking up the pennant with a 3-0 lead in Game 6's bottom of the 8th. However, the Steve Bartman incident ended up going down, which may or may not have cost the Cubs a crucial out. Things only snowballed further from there. When all was said and done, the Marlins ended up putting up an 8-spot on the scoreboard, winning Game 6, and sending the Wrigley faithful home in an astonished stupor. Lost in all of the Bartman hate was Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez (not to be confused with Marlins 2003 shortstop...Alex Gonzalez) who made a crippling error booting what could've been a potential double play ball while the Cubs were still ahead. Florida completed their magic act the following night, winning Game 7 after trailing by a 2-run deficit and advancing to the World Series where they'd best the Yankees, stunning the entire baseball universe in the process. Bartman to me is way too easy a target. The play where he was involved is the always the focal point when talking about this series and the Cubs' collapse. And I get it. It was something that can be filed under 'uncommon occurrences' and they tend to stand out due to the fact that they don't happen everyday and their presence is rare. But Gonzalez's error is practically unknown to people today who aren't baseball diehards. Its role really needs to be acknowledged. 

    3. Jose Lind - 1992 NLCS, Game 7 - Jose Lind could never really hit. His career OPS in the majors (a woeful .610) was nearly identical to his career OPS in the minors (.620). That said, he did spend parts of 9 seasons at the game's top level, so it's clear he wasn't kept around for his bat. His glove was his calling card. Strictly a second baseman, Lind played 8,901 regular season innings at second base, and made only 62 errors. He was never more at the top of his game than in 1992, when he took home his one and only Gold Glove Award. Unfortunately, his skills didn't translate over to the Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS. With his Pittsburgh Pirates heading into the bottom of the 9th with a 2-0 lead, Lind allowed the tying run David Justice to reach base when he muffed what should have been a routine ground out. This was followed by a Sid Bream walk, and a Ron Gant sacrifice fly, cutting the score in half. A Damon Berryhill walk, and a Brian Hunter pop up for the second out would follow, and then pinch hitter Francisco Cabrera smacked one of the biggest hits in franchise history, singling into left field. Justice would score from third, and Bream wound up scoring as well from second. Now known as "Bream's mad dash", Bream scored the winning run as he slid safely into home just a hair ahead of Barry Bonds' throw. It's hard to place all of the blame on Lind's shoulders, you can't walk men in a critical situation like that (ask Matt Harvey and Tyler Clippard). But without Lind's error, Hunter's pop out may have been out #3 to send Pittsburgh to the Series. Instead they got one of their most heartbreaking moments in franchise history .

    4. Jose Iglesias - 2013 ALCS, Game 6 - Sorry guys, I know it's all infield errors on here. But the stories behind every one is different and unique. And with that being said, there is an interesting caveat behind this final story. The 2013 ALCS pit the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers together. Earlier in the season, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta got hit with a 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. In need of a replacement, Detroit ended up acquiring the eventual 2013 Rookie of the Year runner-up Jose Iglesias from Boston, as part of a 3-team trade that saw starting pitcher Jake Peavy go from the White Sox to the Red Sox. Little did anyone know that Iglesias would actually end up facing his former club come October with the American League pennant on the line. The series teetered back and forth, with Detroit having a 1-0 lead, to Boston securing a 2-1 advantage, to 2-2, to finally the Sox going into Game 6 at Fenway Park with a 3-2 edge and a shot to seal the deal. With the Tigers heading into the 7th inning stretch up 2-1 hoping to force a Game 7, it all came apart. Detroit starter Max Scherzer exited the inning with runners on first and second, and Drew Smyly came on in relief to face Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury tapped the second pitch to his former teammate Iglesias, who booted the potential double play ball to load the bases. Next batter Shane Victorino took Jose Veras deep for a grand slam to put Boston ahead to stay. Looking at the play again, it's tough to tell whether or not Iglesias would have been able to generate the double play against the fleet-footed Ellsbury. However if he had been able to turn two, history may have ended up being written differently. Errors. Part of the game unfortunately!

    Once again, check out Filip Bondy's Who's On Worst for more baseball follies!

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  • 02/05/16--06:58: Meet the Artist: Yuko K.
  • What's that ruckus we've been hearing in the Children's Room lately? A herd of elephants doing yoga?! 

    On paper, that is...

    Yuko K.: Days of the Happy Elephantis on view in the Children's Room of the Mulberry Street Library (Lower Level One) through March 10, 2016.  I spoke with Yuko K. recently about her delightful exhibit. 

    Elephant Love,   © Yuko K.

    Your latest work deals with Elephants (like the Hindu God Ganesh) and the ancient practice of yoga—why did you choose these symbols for your latest project? 

    Since I was a small child the elephant has been one of my favorite animals. The city I grew up in is one of the largest trading port cities in Japan,where I had opportunities to see imported crafts like Indian fabric with elephant patterns and posters, and icons of Ganesh then appeared at some local ethnic fabric and clothing stores. 

    I didn’t have any idea of Ganesh before that and, although elephants are treated as a special icon in some Asian countries, when I first found them I was too young to understand its significance. However those exotic elephant images stayed etched in my mind even after I became an adult when I decided to realize these inspirations in my own way, creating elephant characters for this series. While not directly intending to represent the Hindu God Ganesh, I understand it’s possible for viewers to overlap the images of my illustrations in such a way, since the original inspiration derives in part from Indian and Asian culture. The concept of this series brings people, as a result, the awareness for love, peace and happiness. In addition, sometime after I began to make these elephant works, I started to learn Yoga. Finding it a very interesting experience, I was further inspired to express my appreciation for Yoga practice in making drawings of elephant Yoga. Coincidentally, a few months after I began working on my Yoga elephant series I found Babar’s Yoga For Elephants book in a downtown book store, a surprising synchronicity and very impressive to me.

    Elephant Love for the Earth, © Yuko K.

    Do you practice yoga? If so, what benefits do you think it brings to you, and your artwork? 

    Yes. Yoga practice has brought me the benefit of awareness of the connection between our body and mind. Maintaining both a good physical and mental state is always important in clearing my mind to focus on creating better art.

    Tree Pose,  © Yuko K.

    What is the technique you use to make these Elephant prints? 

    All the prints in this exhibition are silkscreen prints. Nowadays, young people and artists draw very well using the computer, but all of these original designs are made by my hand drawings. In the case of my elephant yoga, I first took time to study the structures of a human yoga posture, drew sketches to figure them out and then began to decide how to deform them to put on my elephant shape. My finished artworks might look simple in a way but the process of choosing better curved lines to fit with each posture is not always so easy, and expressing presence with simplicity needs to work well with patience.

    What do you like about showing your work in the Children's room?

    I believe children’s creations are always the best inspiration for art and the artist. Children are always great inventors and teachers- they have a free mind, views and ideas that we, as adults, have easily forgotten or passed over in focusing on our practical lives. I learn a lot from their existence. That’s why I am glad and feel honored for this opportunity where my art works can exist in their everyday lives sharing time and space in the Children’s room.

    Do you have a message that you hope your artwork communicates to children? 

    I am always hoping my artworks can create good communication and inspiration in sharing them with people. Especially I think children should always live with a feeling of hope to be surrounded by love, seeing this world is wonderful to create many happy moments and love no matter what is the reality of the world. For that, if my artworks can contribute even little, it would be great pleasure to me.

    You can visit Yuko's website to find out more.

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    In the beginning of February of 1916, a Los Angeles-based dance company was held over for an additional week of performances at the Palace Theatre, a top vaudeville house in New York. As reported in the New York Dramatic Mirror on February 12, 1916,

    “Ruth St. Denis is the dancing sensation of the year at the Palace… It is estimated that not less than five thousand people were turned away last week… The Keith people have bought off her other engagements, and hereafter she will appear in Keith’s vaudeville exclusively with her husband, Ted Shawn, and a troupe of exquisite girls from their school… Miss St. Denis has been fighting the battle of a pioneer for a good many years now and dancing before all cliques, coteries and hand-picked audiences… Now she has come into her own, and the applause of the average citizen, the regular theatergoer, the middle-class man and woman, is sweet to her ears.”

    The rival New York Clipper was far less complimentary to the act, deeming her success “made principally on her reputation” (February 5, 1916). A week later, however, the Clipper grudgingly improved its opinion, although the change was attributed to “the better selection of dances” rather than better dancing.

    B.F. Keith's Palace Theatre, January 31, 1916 program
    B.F. Keith's Palace Theatre, January 31, 1916 program

    The first week’s program featured dances choreographed by St. Denis, including The Spirit of the Sea, Danse Javanese, and The Peacock.

    Ruth St. Denis in The Spirit of the Sea
    Ruth St. Denis in The Spirit of the Sea. Photo by Ira L. Hill. Image ID: DEN_0416V


    Ruth St. Denis in The Peacock
    Ruth St. Denis in The Peacock. Photo by Joseph D. Toloff. Image ID: DEN_0184V

    By the second week, the troupe had changed its lineup to include O-Mika Arranges Her Flowers and Starts for a Picnic, The Cobras, Hawaii, and Ancient Egypt: A Ballet of the Tamboura.

    Ruth St. Denis in O-Mika
    Ruth St. Denis and company in O-Mika Arranges Her Flowers and Starts for a Picnic. Photo by White Studio. Image ID: DEN_0280V


    Ruth St. Denis in The Cobras
    Ruth St. Denis in The Cobras. Photo by Notman. Image ID: DEN_0122V

    The Palace was not St. Denis’s first foray into vaudeville, nor was it the first time she and Ted Shawn had appeared on stage together. But the 1915-1916 tour, which included the Palace Theatre run, was the first to feature dancers from the Ruth St. Denis School of Dancing and its Related Arts, which was founded in the summer of 1915 and which became known, in a mingling of the two founders’ names, as Denishawn.

    Notable alumni from the school include dance giants like Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and Jack Cole.

    The Jerome Robbins Dance Division contains numerous primary source materials related to Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and Denishawn, including a newly discovered collection, which will be soon be made available. For biographies and discussions of the Denishawn influence on American modern dance, check out one of the books or DVDs below.


    Divine Dancer: A Biography of Ruth St. Denis, by Suzanne Shelton

    Wisdom Comes Dancing: Selected Writings of Ruth St. Denis on Dance, Spirituality, and the Body, by Ruth St. Denis

    Miss Ruth; The "More Living Life" of Ruth St. Denis, by Walter Terry

    An Unfinished Life: An Autobiography, by Ruth St. Denis

    The Drama of Denishawn Dance, by Jane Sherman

    Dance Was Her Religion: The Sacred Choreography of Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham, by Janet Lynn Rosema

    Denishawn, the Enduring Influence, by Jane Sherman

    Ted Shawn, Father of American Dance: A Biography, by Walter Terry

    Shawn, The Dancer, by Katherine Sophie Dreier

    One Thousand and One Night Stands, by Ted Shawn


    Denishawn: the Birth of Modern Dance, produced by Clark Santee and Delia Gravel Santee, written by Clark Santee.

    Denishawn Dances On!,  director, Ron Honsa; producer, Chris Sloben

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    New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will present a recruitment on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 9 am - 2 pm, for New York State Corrections Officer (50 openings) at Williamsville Career Center, 4175 Transit Road, Williamsville, NY 14221. (Erie county, Western New York).  

    YMCA of Greater New York will present a recruitment on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 10 am - 1:30 pm for After School/Day Camp Counselor (10 openings) at the Bronx Workforce 1 Career Center, 400 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458.

    New Partners, Inc. will present a recruitment on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 10:30 am - 1:30 pm for Home Health Aide (5 F/T & P/T openings) at Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138-60 Barclay Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11355.  No appointment required.  Walk in and meet with employer.  Bring I.D. and HHA certification ( if you are already certified).

    NYC Department of Correction will present a recruitment on Thursday, February 11, 2016, 10 am - 2 pm for Executive Coordinator - Program Support (5 openings), Re-entry Coordinator (5 openings), Program Coordinator of Creative Arts (5 openings), Senior Program Coordinator (5 openings), counselor (5 openings), Contract Manager (5 openings),  Cook (5 openings), Investigator (5 openings), at New York State Department of Labor - Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. 

    Job Postings at New York City Workforce 1

    affiche le pour

    Apprenticeship Opportunities in New York City.

    Brooklyn Community  Board 14:  Available jobs

    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 visit St. 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 February 7  become available.


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    Whitney Richards is a privileged girl who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She takes the luxury from which she sprang for granted. She bristles at the ostentatious atmosphere that accompanies wealth and the glamour of high society. She longs for something real... this she finds in her mysterious tutor, Taylor. 

    Taylor Martinez vexes Whitney at first. She cannot believe that she ruined her straight-A average by getting a D in calculus. Hence, the tutoring that her mother insists is necessary. However, Taylor, who comes from the other side of  the tracks, is not her mother's idea of a perfect mate for the girl. Brett, an ex-boyfriend of Whitney's, is. Brett, who torments Taylor and patronizes Whitney. Brett believes fervently that he is God's gift to the world, and it is his job to convince Whitney that they are right for each other.

    Whitney manages to keep up her fascinating and delightful friendship with Taylor. She discusses her future and her relationships with her peers with him. She even manages to convince him to allow her to coach her sister, Vanessa, on cheer technique, despite his objections to the sport. Through these coaching sessions, the teen becomes more familiar to the Martinez family. They even accompany her to church on occasion, and Taylor sometimes attends the church youth group with her. Mrs. Richards does not approve, and she does everything in her power to point her daughter towards Brett, a rich kid that is her friend's son. 

    Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston, 2014

    Amy Clipston's web site

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  • 02/05/16--09:33: Black Power!
  • Stokely CarmichaelThe Black Power movement turns fifty this year. Two new digital exhibitions, Black Power! The Movement, The Legacy, and Ready for the Revolution: Education, Arts and Aesthetics of the Black Power Movement  explore the multiform and ideologically diverse movement that deeply shaped black consciousness and identity and left an immense legacy that continues to inform the contemporary American landscape.

    The two exhibitions, part of a major Black History Month initiative, are a first-time collaboration between the Schomburg Center and Google Cultural Institute whose mission is to bring “ together millions of artifacts from multiple partners, with the stories that bring them to life, in a virtual museum.” Thanks to Google’s immense international reach, museums and other institutions can present their “treasures or hidden gems” to a wide audience.   

    Black PowerAs the curator of the Black Power exhibits, I enjoyed the experience. Google’s builder-friendly platform enabled me, with no programming skills, to create the exhibitions in real time, changing, adding, and deleting as many times as needed. With the help of a high-resolution zoom viewer, the wonderful images of the fifteen photographers who participated in this project came to life—in minute details—in a  way that was new to me, although they had been part of my life for months.

    For the past year, I have been working on a "physical" exhibition on the Black Power movement. It will be open at the Schomburg Center in September. The catalog, published by The New Press, will be released in August. Together, the digital and on site exhibitions and the book present photographs, essays, testimonies, flyers, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts, posters, and audiovisual segments to help contextualize and interpret this creative and revolutionary youth-led movement.

    Black Power was not confined to the United States, nor was it "black" only. Latino, American Indian, Asian American and white progressives were an integral part of the movement, which was also a global phenomenon. Reaching well beyond America's borders, it captured the imagination of anti-colonial and other freedom struggles in the world and was also influenced by them. From Great Britain to Israel, from India to New Zealand, marginalized populations rallied around slogans fashioned after “Black Power,” and organizations modeled or named after the Black Panther Party. The Black Power cultural nationalism of natural hair and African-inspired fashion; the political activists’ raised fists and berets; and the concept that black was beautiful, resonated throughout the country and beyond.

    Yet Black Power is one of the least understood movements in the country, its achievements largely dismissed or minimized. Perceived mostly as a violent episode that followed the non-violent civil rights movement, the Black Power has been eclipsed in the general public’s memory by the former,  even though it has shaped issues of identity, politics, criminal justice, culture, art, and education for the past half century. And, not to be forgotten, following in the Black Power’s footsteps, American Indian, American Asian, Latino, LGBT, and women groups affirmed themselves and demanded change.

    To understand  African American history, and ultimately American society today, it is imperative to understand the depth and breadth, and the achievements and failures of the Black Power Movement. 

    Photographs by Bob Fitch, Stephen Shames, and Darryl Cowherd.

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    Arthur A. Schomburg Photograph Collection, Box 1, Sc-Cn-86.0180, Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public LibraryLangston Hughes Portrait Collection, Folder 1, "Writer - Langston Hughes", Photographs  and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

    Live from the Reading Room: Correspondence is a podcast series that aims to share interesting and engaging letters written by or to key historical figures from the African Diaspora. 

    Each episode highlights a letter from popular collections housed in the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

    Today’s letter features correspondence between Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and Langston Hughes.  In the excerpt below, Schomburg speaks with Hughes regarding acquisitions for The Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints—the forerunner to today’s Schomburg Center—opened in 1925 as a special collection of the 135th Street Branch Library. 

    Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1983) was an Afro-Puerto Rican bibliophile, curator, collector, scholar, activist and the namesake of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 

    Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was a poet, activist, playwright, novelist, and collector of Africana materials found through the African Diaspora.  

    February 16th 1933

    Please keep abreast of anything that should be in our collection of Negro material The Poushkin statue is a marvelous object of beauty, Downs when he was Moscou wrote me about it, but nothing materialize from it, you have brought it onward, I have put in under glass for the fellows who come this way may be able to admire the beauty of it. Is this the statue done in black marble, give us some news of the statue, make it talk in your own way. Is the person who owns the Ira Aldridge in the book with the plays of Shakespeare willing to have the people of the U.S.A of Negro descent enjoy this picture? Or if not, can a copy be had?

    Go ahead Langston Hughes, let me put your name on the walls of the Library with “Weary Blues” in your handwriting that hangs here where every beholder can see your handwriting. Now I want to carry forward, by saying that Langston Hughes did not forget the Negro collection when In Russian, he has remembered us by deeds of love and human kindness. So good luck to your work and new poems, let us have one for our collection, where the black masses can read and follow your footsteps.

    If there should be anything you want me to prosecute while you are on yonder fields, just let me know, or any commission that require tact silence, I am here at your services.

    Ever and Ever
    Arthur Schomburg


    Arthur Alfonso Schomburg Papers, Box 8, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

    *Special Note: All text is represented as originally written by the correspondent.  

    Today’s correspondence was recited by Steven G. Fullwood, the Associate Curator of the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

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    Saturday February 8, 1800 “bought a pair of shoes….  Mary & I went to go & drink tea with Jane….  Papa was oblig’d to send some watchmen down with the negro’s that were at work in our yard, to the Dock, as they had been molested by some sailors from a Schooner lying near the place where their business led them - one sailor fir’d off a Pistol, & was taken up & put in the Watch Tower, by which means peace was restor’d.”

    Feb. 8
    Bleecer Diary, Feb. 6-8, 1800

    Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker lived through a tumultuous period in the history labor in New York City.  In 1799, the New York legislature passed a bill for the gradual abolition of slavery in the state.  Though it only applied to enslaved people born after July 4, 1799, the act surely changed the dynamics of labor in the city and beyond.  It further blurred any easy distinctions between black laborers as unfree and white laborers as free.

    The abolition Act compounded developments that were already underway.   With the number of individual manumissions of enslaved people on the rise and a steady influx of recently freed people trickling in from New England and the New York countryside, the City's free Black population swelled.  They worked hroughout the city and along the waterfront alongside enslaved men—who were often hired out—and laboring whites.  Tensions brewed and sometimes boiled over, as Bleecker's diary entry attests. 

    Bleecker Address on a Contemporary Map, 1807

    Bleecker grew up aware of the varieties of free and unfree labor in New York.  According to the 1800 federal census, her father still owned two slaves.  They lived with the family at 178 Pearl Street, a short three-block walk from the East River and the bustling New York waterfront.  On February 12th, a few days after this entry, Bleecker noted the wages her father paid to “the Negro men that were at work in the yard.”

    Bleecker’s diary primarily records the quotidian daily activities of a well-heeled New York woman.  Even when it does, it also captures some of the daily lives of men and women who left a much lighter historical footprint.  

    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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    Image ID: 411775

    Happy Lunar New Year! For many people of Asian descent across the world, one of the most important holidays of the year is in full swing.

    The lunar calendar celebration goes by many names: the Spring Festival / Chinese New Year; Seollal / Korean New Year; Tết / Vietnamese New Year; Losar / Tibetan New Year; and Tsagaan Sar / Mongolian New Year. While each culture, country and religion honors the holiday with unique customs and traditions, the Lunar New Year generally is a special time for people to gather for family reunions, wear new clothes, feast on special foods, visit temples/churches, and celebrate with music and dancing.  

    The Year of the Monkey will last from February 8, 2016 to January 28, 2017. In the Chinese zodiac, monkeys are generally portrayed as being clever, curious, cunning, mischievous and quick-witted.

    The Library is holding events at different locations for the Lunar New Year.

    Here is a sampling of various special celebrations and performances:

    Lunar New Year Storytime & Craft
    Monday, February 8, 3:30 p.m. at Riverside Library

    Crafternoon: Chinese New Year!
    Thursday, February 11, 4 p.m. at Battery City Park Library

    "Elegant Chinese Melodies of Spring and Love" with John Thompson
    Friday, February 12, 1 p.m. at Chatham Square Library

    Chinese Ribbon Dance Workshop
    Monday, February 8, 4 p.m. at Fort Washington Library
    Tuesday, February 9, 3:30  p.m.  at Van Cordtlandt Library
    Wednesday, February 17, 11 a.m. at Hunts Point Library
    Monday, February 22, 4 p.m. at Tompkins Square Library
    Wednesday, February 24, 4 p.m. at Grand Concourse Library
    Tuesday, March 8, 4 p.m. at High Bridge Library

    Lunar New Year and Chinese Zodiac Books 

    For those who want to learn more about the holiday, share stories with children or explore Chinese astrology, here’s a suggested list of 20 fiction and non-fiction books connected to the Lunar New Year with summaries by the respective book publishers.

    The New York City Department of Education also created a Lunar New Year teaching guide for educators

    Happy reading and enjoy! Happy Lunar New Year in …

    Xin nian kuai le / sun nien fai lok        新年快樂        Mandarin and Cantonese
    Sae hae bok mani badeuseyo  새해 복 많이 받으세요 Korean
    Chúc Mừng Năm Mới                                                 Vietnamese                            

    Children's Picture Books and Fiction

    Bringing in the New Year

    Bringing in the New Year, by Grace Lin

    “A Chinese American family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year, in a book that includes endnotes discussing the customs and traditions of the Chinese New Year.”


    New Clothes for New Year's Day


    New Clothes for New Year’s Day, by Hyun-Joo Bae

    “A Korean girl is excited about the new year, especially because it means she can get dressed in her traditional New Year’s Day clothes, which take a while and some effort to get into.”




    Ten Mice for Tet

    Ten Mice for Tet, by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill ; illustrations by Tô Ngọc Trang

    “A village of mice prepares for Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, as different numbers of mice give gifts, cook food, and celebrate in other traditional ways, in a story with an afterword with facts about the holiday.”



    This New Next Year

    This Next New Year, by Janet S. Wong; pictures by Yangsook Choi

    "A family prepares to celebrate the Lunar New Year and looks forward to the good luck they hope it will bring."







    Chinatown, by William Low

    "A boy and his grandmother wind their way through the streets of Chinatown, enjoying all the sights and smells of the Chinese New Year's Day."






    My First Chinese New YearMy First Chinese New Year, by Karen Katz

    “Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it.”




    A New Year's Reunion

    A New Year’s Reunion, By Yu Li-Quoing; illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang

    "Feeling disconnected from the father whose work keeps him from home the rest of the year, Maomao enjoys a Chinese New Year visit marked by such activities as making sticky rice balls, watching a dragon dance, and searching for a hidden lucky coin."

    Tuan yuan / Yu Liqiong wen ; Zhu Chengliang tu.
    團圓 / 余麗瓊文 ; 朱成梁圖.


    Sam and the Lucky Money

    Sam and the Lucky Money, by Karen Chinn; illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

    “Anticipating spending is gift of Lucky Money on Chinese New Year’s day, Sam accompanies his mother to Chinatown, where he watches a dancing New Year’s lion, visits many colorful and good-smelling shops, and learns a special lesson.”



    D is for Dragon DanceD is for Dragon Dance, by Ying Chang Compestine; illustrated by Yongsheng Xuan

    “Introduces the wondrous traditions of a Chinese New Year through an illustrated and alphabetized review of such components as firecrackers, acrobats and red envelopes.”



    The Kite Fighters

    The Kite Fighters, by Linda Sue Park; decorations by Eung Won Park

    "In Korea in 1473, eleven-year-old Young-sup overcomes his rivalry with his older brother, Kee-sup, who as the first born son receives special treatment from their father, and combines his kite-flying skill with Kee-sup's kite-making skill in an attempt to win the New Year kite-fighting competition."




    When the Circus Came to Town

    When the Circus Came to Town, by Laurence Yip; drawings by Suling Wang

    "An Asian cook and a Chinese New Year celebration help a ten-year-old girl at a Montana stage coach station to regain her confidence after smallpox scars her face."





    Non-Fiction Books

    Your Chinese Horoscope for 2016

    Your Chinese Horoscope 2016: What the Year of the Monkey Holds in Store for You, By Neil Somerville, Call number 133.5925S

    "The year 2016 is the Chinese Year of the Monkey- what will this mean for you? This complete guide contains all the predictions you will need to take you into the year ahead - an interesting year offering scope, awareness and much possibility."




    Chinese Astrology Bible

    The Chinese Astrology Bible: The Definitive Guide to Using the Chinese Zodiac, by Derek Walters, Call number 133.5925W

    “Written by a leading authority on the history and practice of Chinese astrology, this comprehensive new entry in the continuing Bible series brings together all of the basics on this ancient form of divination. Filled with color photographs and beautiful illustrations, it covers everything from the 12 animals of the zodiac to calculating your sign to create a detailed analysis of your chart based on the exact time of your birth. There’s also advice on developing your horoscope further, as well as using Chinese astrology in conjunction with Eastern medicine and feng shui.”

    Celebrate Chinese New Year

    Celebrate Chinese New Year, by Carolyn Otto, Call number J 394.26 O

    "An introduction to the customs and culture of Chinese New Year profiles such traditions as red envelope lycee money, poem exchanges, tributes to family ancestors, the Festival of Lanterns and the famous Dragon Dance."



    Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats

    Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes, by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, & The Children's Museum of Boston ; illustrated by Meilo So. Call number J 394.26 S

    "Presents background information, related tales, and activities for celebrating five Chinese festivals—Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival, Qing Ming, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Moon Festival."


    Lion Dancer

    Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year, By Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low, photographs by Martha Cooper, Call number J 394.26 W 

    "Describes a six-year-old's preparations, at home and in school, for the Chinese New Year celebrations."


    The Race for the Chinese Zodiac

    The Race for the Chinese Zodiac, By Gabrielle Wang, illustrated by Sally Rippin, Call number J 398.2 W

    "With gorgeous illustrations based on Chinese painting techniques, a lively retelling of the legendary animals’ race that led to the twelve signs on the Chinese Zodiac."




    The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

    Story of the ChineseZodiac = Shi er sheng xiao di gu shi, Retold by Monica Chang; illustrated by Arthur Lee ; English translation by Rick Charette, Call number J 398.2 C

    "This folktale demonstrates [the] Chinese's concept of calculating time in ancient days."




    Chinese New Year Crafts

    Chinese New Year Crafts, By Karen E. Bledsoe, Call numberJ 745.59 B  

    "Colorful presentation of craft projects relating to the Chinese New Year."





    Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year

    Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year, By Randel McGee, Call number J 745.59 M 

    "Provides readers with illustrated instructions for making traditional paper crafts for the Chinese New Year, including shadow puppets, a Chinese lantern, special “lai see” envelopes and more."



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    What are you reading? Tell us about it!  From weighty tomes of historical fiction to the secrets of math, Broadway, and the alphabet, we enjoyed lively book chat and heard about some great fiction and nonfiction reads at our January Open Book Night.  We had asked readers to tell us about a book that helped them explore or learn something new or to share a recently discovered book or author they loved. Please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments section below. 

    If you're in the neighborhood, we'd love to hear your recommendations in person. Please join us this Friday, February 12  at 6 PM for our next Open Book Night. In honor of Valentine's Day, our theme is Love Makes the World Go 'Round. 

    Joy started us off by recommending The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. She urged readers not to be discouraged by the book’s nearly 1000-page length. “The style of writing is accessible and you’ll find the pages fly by! ... Set in England in the Middle Ages, the story revolves around the building of a cathedral, living in the feudal lands surrounding the castle, and the knights defending their kingdom as life goes on for about 100 years.” 

    One of the aspects of the The Pillars of the Earth that Joy found interesting were the detailed descriptions of the design and construction of the cathedral offered in the novel. This reminded a reader of a nonfiction book telling a great building story of the Renaissance, Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King a highly readable account of a 15th century engineering breakthrough.

    Wemoved forward in time and from Europe to Africa with our next book. Rachel recommended Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2007 novel set in Nigeria in the 1960s. “I’m committed to reading a year of fiction by women. This look into another world was heartbreaking and beautiful.”

    Our next reader posed a general question to the group about characters we esteemed in fiction and whether we were willing to see their natures change in new works. Yvette was thinking of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a character she loved and esteemed. She was curious to know if anyone in the group had read the recently published Go Set a Watchman, and if their vision of Atticus had been spoiled. No one in our group had read both novels, and some expressed similar qualms about ruining a beloved classic. What are your feelings about this? Has it ever happened to you?

    Our next reader took us from fiction to how-to. Pedro recommended Student Success Secrets (2005) by Eric Jensen for tips on how to improve reading, take notes, and create mind maps to improve comprehension and recall of concepts. He noted that the motivational techniques and advice on goal setting in the book were also very helpful. Although this title is now out of print, many other books on study skills are available to borrow from the Library. And the use of motivational techniques called to mind Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People for one reader in the group.

    If you think you can’t understand high level math concepts, our next reader Julie recommended a math book for you, How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinkingby Jordan Ellenberg. “This book takes mathematics—a normally esoteric and inaccessible topic—and makes it entertaining and quite easily understandable. It tackles topics like calculus and the law of large numbers, and explains them with humor and wit.”

    From accessible calculus we moved on to math in fiction. Our next reader recommended Neal Stephenson’sCryptonomicon, a novel of code breaking and hacking set in two time periods, World War II, and the present (1990s). Our reader described Neal Stephenson as the kind of professor who will answer your questions in Latin and noted that his lengthy books are a mental workout but ultimately worthwhile reads.

    From codes to Broadway, Janet highly recommended Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway (2015) by Michael Riedel, theater critic for the The New York Post. “Fantastic Broadway history and a personal ‘you are there’ quality to stories about the Great White Way are what Michael Riedel excels in.” Janet was re-reading the book when we met; her first read was a library copy, but she enjoyed Razzle Dazzle so much that she had to buy her own.

    Our discussion of Razzle Dazzle reminded one reader of novelist William Goldman’s classic account of the 1967-1968 theater season on Broadway and Off, The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway.

    After our math discussions, our last recommendation (from me) was a book about the alphabet. Award-winning British children’s author Michael Rosen uses his storytelling skill in an engaging history of the alphabet for grown-ups, Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story. A fun read filled with interesting language facts that imparts the author’s love of language.

    Occasionally a reader will choose to listen to the discussion and offer a written recommendation at the end of the program.  Malik recommended John Kennedy Toole's cult classic, A Confederacy of Dunces. "Incredibly memorable and hilarious. Will leave an impression on you long after you’ve finished."  I have to agree. New Orleans misfit Ignatius P. Reilly remains almost as vivid to me as when I first met him on the page 20 years ago.
    The second Friday of the month is Open Book Night at the Mid-Manhattan Library, when we meet to talk about books we love.  We hope you'll join us this Friday, February 12 to share a favorite book about romantic love, artistic 
    passion, brotherly love, love of the game, love of a place, an idea, or any other form of love you can think of! Until then, happy reading!

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    In 1994, Yusef Komunyakaa won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. An author of poetry, prose, and drama, his most recent work is The Emperor of Water Clocks. This week for the New York Public Library podcast, it is our pleasure to present Yusef Komunyakaa discussing political language, imagery, and memorizing poetry.

    Yusef Komunyakaa
    Yusef Komunyakaa

    Komunyakaa served in the United States Army from 1969 to 1970. In response to a question about whether he views his poetry as political, the poet answered that language itself might be viewed as a site for political representation:

    "I think language is political, and that's what I use as a tool. I think it was Richard Wright who said that he wanted to write sentences, language that function as a club. I don't necessarily believe that. For me, I don't think that the surface of the poem — the politics of the poem are not on the surface of the poem. But I think because I use language, the politics are underneath, moving into the emotional architecture of the poem."

    In his childhood classroom curriculum, Komunyakaa was exposed not only to poetry but to the practice of memorization. He spoke of this act as a subconscious rehearsal of what would one day become his craft:

    "My mother introduced me to books, small encyclopedias. So images were woven into those books as well. I also had very good teachers from the very beginning. We had to actually memorize a lot of traditional verse, so I sort of just spun off from there... I remember certain authors, especially Tennyson, Yeats. Yeats I would read to my cousin. Perhaps I was rehearsing to become a poet, wasn't fully aware of it. Maybe that's important."

    Readers are often taken with the striking imagery in books like Neon Vernacular and Lost in the Bonewheel Factory. Komunyakaa describes his work as an absorption and relay of images encountered in his own experiences:

    "Images are so important to me, and I realized that when it came to images, it was where I grew up. I grew up in a small town, Bogalusa, Louisiana. I would sort of lose myself in nature. I wanted to know the rituals things. So it was a keen kind of observation. And life is a rehearsal... I've always used images. I don't think I can write a poem without images."

    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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    Mensaje de Amor

    Una lista selectiva de libros recientes para celebrar el mes del amor y la amistad. Oprima aquí para imprimir esta lista en una sola hoja en formato PDF. 


    Amor en minúscula 

    Francesc Miralles

    El amor y la amistad entran en la vida de un solitario profesor germano después de la extraña aparición de un gato que irrumpe en su apartamento.






    El amor excelente 

    Fady Bujana

    “4 hábitos para mantener (o recuperar) la pasión sin cambiar de pareja.”






    Amor sin límites 

    Nick Vujicic

    “Una historia extraordinaria sobre cómo el amor verdadero lo puede todo.”






    Cómo ser parisina estés donde estés 

    Anne Berest

    “Amor, estilo y malas costumbres .”






    Faltas graves contra el amor romántico 

    González, Ángela

    La autora ofrece consejos para enfrentar una crisis amorosa a través de sus experiencias personales y prácticas como psicóloga. 






    Hechizos para el amor  

    Silver Raven Wolf

    “Pociones y nociones para el amor.”






    Introducción a la astrología china 

    Ludovica Squirru

    “Conoce tu signo, personalidad, salud, dinero, amor.”






    Lo que me gusta de mí  

    David R.Hamilton

    “Un libro para aprender a quererte.”







    Odio, amistad, noviazgo, amor, matrimonio

    Alice Munro

    Nueve historias personales por la ganadora del Premio Nobel de la Literatura.






    Pequeñas cosas bellas 

    Cheryl Strayed

    “Consejos sobre la vida y el amor de alguien que ya lo ha vivido.”

    Oprima aquí para imprimir esta lista en una sola hoja en formato PDF.  Algunas de las obras también pueden estar disponibles en diferentes formatos. Para más información, sírvase comunicarse con el bibliotecario de su biblioteca local. Los amantes de la lectura y escritura podrían además disfrutar del club de libros latinos y la lista de lectura ReadLatinoLit de las Comadres y Compadres (en Inglés y Español). Para información sobre eventos, favor de visitar: Eventos en Español. Más Blog en Español. Síganos por ¡Twitter

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    Calliope, muse of epic poetry Art and Picture Collection. Image ID: 1623534

    This Valentine's day I am hopelessly in love with Columbia Granger's World of Poetry. This electronic resource is available from any of our locations and can also be accessed from home with your library card.

    In addition to 250,000 full text poems and 450,000 citations, Columbia Granger's offers an extensive taxonomy of 6,000 subject headings.

    To demonstrate Columbia Granger'srich and sophisticated hierarchy of subjects, search and browse this database for poems about Love. Columbia Granger's currently distinguishes between eighteen types of Love. Love-related subject headings cover abstract topics, such as Nature of Love, Divine Love, as well as very specific situations, such as Love Triangles, Unrequited Love and Unspoken Love. This organizational feature allows any user to speedily proceed from poems about Unspoken Love to those containing Declarations of Love. With fifty-six full-text declarations there is a good chance that you will find a verse that closely matches your sentiments. It would be very difficult for an object of your affection to resist a poem titled "Can I let you know what consumes me?" Few people will fail to appreciate a heartfelt expression of an emotion, even if it's not authored by you.

    Determined researchers with a purpose tend to reduce any search to a number of very specific terms. For those who wish to use the advanced search option, Columbia Granger's World of Poetry provides a number of search limiters. Content of your inquiry can be narrowed down by poet's nationality, cultural identity, language, school of poetry and a very specific historical time period. The trouble with any narrowly defined search for love is the scarcity of available results.

    My advice to anyone searching for love is to avoid a search that is too specific. If you are willing to expand your search parameters by reducing a number of search terms and by removing some of the limiters, your search will result in a greater number of potential discoveries. To avoid further frustration, remember that titles that appear promising often lack full text. Unless you are prepared to search for the complete poem online or with other reference sources, always limit your search to poems with text. Browsing through what is already available often tends to be more productive than targeted search.

    To start browsing Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, use the browse option on the upper right corner and select an expandable category. You can browse this database by the source of a poem, school of poetry, specific era or even a biography. Browsing through poetry source is always rewarding. Poetry sources of Columbia Granger's contain a number of interesting anthologies. A Book of Love Poetry, A Little Book of Comfort, An Uninhibited Treasury of Erotic Poetry, and An Anthology of World Poetry are among them.

    When browsing by the subject, be aware of the fact that love often reveals itself under very unexpected subject headings. I was pleasantly surprised by a number of love poems while browsing a conveniently expandable category of Human Condition. After expanding Human Condition by clicking on a small plus sign next to it, I decided to investigate a subject of Aging. "To love all ages yield surrender," claims a poet, but I was not entirely optimistic after Aging expanded into a single category of Old Age. Old age contained a variety of ailments, conditions and necessary living arrangements. Is there no hope for love in Old Age? Desperate in my quest, I turned to Boldness. My move was richly rewarded by a wonderful discovery. Self-deprecating "The Bald Truth" by Bob Hicok celebrates the triumph of love over banal vanity.

    If you didn't have any luck finding poems that address you current sentiments and experiences, try browsing for love under very specific subject headings . Depending on your particular current situation, your search for love poetry might be covered by the following subject headings: Availability, Charm, Chivalry, Cheating and Cheaters, Cupidity, Bores, Bitterness, Celibacy, Dating, Desire, Disdain, Divorce, Ecstasy, Ex-lovers, Flirtation, Family life, Fidelity, Freedom, Joy, Hippies (under Bohemian Life), Honeymoons, Hugs and Hugging, Husbands, Intimacy, Lies and Lying, Longing, Narcissism, Obsessions, Opposites, Passion, Sensuality, Slander and Variety.

    Columbia Granger's conveniently provides its users with a personal account. You can store discovered poems and sort them into personal or public lists.

    It's never too late to establish a long-lasting and rewarding relationship with Columbia Granger's World of Poetry.

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  • 02/09/16--08:28: Growing Up With Judy Blume
  • When I was a kid, Judy Blume was one of the most important people I had never met. I enjoyed many books she’d written, but it was Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret that I read more times than any other book. By the time I got a little older and started reading Deenie, she’d become my unofficial guide for what I should expect in the milestones of my life.

    Those two books were very influential because they gave me clues about What Would Happen Next. What would it be like to get my period? What would it be like to make out with a boy? I needed to know, and these books helped me start to put those pieces together.

    Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
    Then Again Maybe I Won't


    Judy Blume’s stories were both entertaining and enlightening. I cared about the characters, I cared about what happened to them, and I identified with their humor, their anger, and their conflicts with their friends and families. Her characters felt real to me. Don’t get me wrong—I also loved reading mystery, fantasy, and horror stories. But I was pretty sure that I was never going to become a princess, and I was never going to turn into a werewolf. But being embarrassed while bra shopping with my mother? That could TOTALLY happen to me!

    The first Judy Blume books I read were handed to me by people like my mother, my teachers, and my librarians. But I have a very distinct memory of the first Judy Blume book that didn’t come from any of those sources. I was sitting in my sixth-grade classroom when a book was passed to me by one of my classmates. It was making its way around the room. There was a note on the book directing me to read several dog-eared pages, which I did, and … hoo-boy. I had no context for anything that happened before or after that scene, but all I knew was that it was about a boy and a girl having a conversation, and he was telling her about someone called Ralph. You see, he called “it” Ralph. And I’m pretty sure that some other things happened on those dog-eared pages (maybe even sex), but my sixth-grade brain just latched on to the Ralph thing and kind of short-circuited. I don’t remember if I realized what book I was reading, or even if I knew who wrote it, but my brain was primed for yet another milestone by reading just those few pages of Forever by Judy Blume.

    By the way, for the next few months, my classmates and I found any mentions of the name Ralph to be HILARIOUS.

    Now we’re going to jump a decade ahead to get to my next major encounters with Judy Blume. When I was in my twenties, I became a young adult librarian trainee with The New York Public Library, working at the Belmont branch in the “Little Italy” section of the Bronx. I was learning about old and new YA literature in classes I was taking to earn my MLS degree as well as by browsing the shelves when I was at work. I was also learning that Judy Blume was still a popular author, but that her books were often banned or challenged because of their “controversial” content. That’s when I started to realize that I was lucky that my mother (who had been a librarian trainee herself, back in the day) had put those first Judy Blume books into my hands.

    One day when I was edging the shelves I discovered a copy of Forever hidden behind a row of books in the Italian Heritage section, and as soon as I saw the book I started laughing. My thought process went something like this:

    • OMG, this is that book that was being passed around in sixth grade!
    • Wow! Kids are still reading this book, and still hiding this book!
    • Wait a minute … I never actually read the whole thing, just those few pages!
    • Hey, I’m a young adult librarian now, so I could read this book FOR WORK!

    And so, my long-overdue reading of Forever became my project for the afternoon, and I finally learned about those characters and their motivations. Oh, and that whole Ralph thing? STILL pretty hilarious!

    It’s been a fun but sometimes surreal experience for me to go back and re-read some of Judy Blume’s books aimed at kids and teens. I belong to a YA book club that usually reads modern books, but several months ago we decided to go back and read some classic Judy Blume books instead. We decided that we would all read Then Again, Maybe I Won’t(a rare book because it had a male protagonist) as well as one book of our choosing. I chose Deenie as my second book, because I remembered it being such a formative book from my childhood.

    It turns out that I had absolutely no memory of Then Again, Maybe I Won’t. Maybe that means I didn’t read it, or maybe that means that I did read it but it didn’t lodge in my brain like some of her other books. I did remember Deenie, though. Except … it turns out that I kind of didn’t. That’s the surreal part.

    I think that when I read these books when I was a kid, my mind fixated on the stuff I wanted to know (what it would be like to make out with a boy) and tried to shut out the things I didn’t want to think about (what it would be like to live with scoliosis). I think I zoomed in on some scenes and studied them like they were the Zapruder film, letting everything else fade into the background. Reading this book again as an adult, I realized that the make-out scene wasn’t as long or as detailed as I remembered but that all of the scoliosis discussion was pretty gruesome. In fact, re-reading that book brought back memories of how I was scared of getting scoliosis when I was a kid, and how I used to open the closet and stare at my father’s old back brace (he’d had problems with some of his discs) and worry about how I might have to wear something like that one day. So it turns out that even though I tried to focus only on my favorite parts, the entire book got through to me, anyway.

    Judy Blume’s literary legacy reaches far and wide. Since she wrote books for many age groups over the course of several decades, many readers encountered her at different stages of their lives. I know that at the same time that I was reading Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and other chapter books aimed at children, my mother had a copy of Wifey at home that was clearly written for an adult audience. And many people who read Judy Blume books when they were young grew up to read In the Unlikely Event, her latest book for adults that came out in 2015.

    I’ve spoken to several of my colleagues since I started writing this post, asking them about their memories of Judy Blume. Some of them fondly remembered certain books from when they were kids (Freckle Juice, Superfudge, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing were top contenders). Some of them thought that some of her books aged better than others. And some of them remembered that they weren’t allowed to read Judy Blume books when they were kids.

    You can still find Judy Blume books all over the public library, in the children’s, young adult, and adult sections. Her older books are products of their time, and some of the anachronisms have been adjusted through revised editions (Margaret no longer uses sanitary pads attached with safety pins, for example). But there are still some plot details in her older books that will make modern readers pause and think about how “real life” of the 1970s was different from the “real life” of today.

    I don’t know if Judy Blume books will help everyone grow up, but they definitely helped me grow up. And one of the highlights of working with kids and teens in the public library is being able to put Judy Blume books into the hands of young readers and knowing that she is one of the authors who can help them get ready for their own milestones in life.

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    I thought I knew what Presidents’ Day was all about... then I did some research to be sure.  One thing is consistent; Presidents’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February. Beyond that things get murky. For example, there is no universal agreement on the actual name of the holiday: Presidents Day, Washington's Birthday, Washington and Lincoln's Birthdays. There is no universal agreement on which presidents are being honored: just Washington; Washington and Lincoln; Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson; or all presidents. Leading to the lack of agreement regarding the apostrophe: is it President's Day or Presidents' Day.  For me it was always celebrated in honor of America's 1st and 16th presidents whose birthdays fell very close together in February. Here is a list of biographies that will take the reader well beyond high school history and National Gallery portraits to understand these men as anything but clear-cut themselves. 

     George Washington

    His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis

    Published in 2004, this biography draws on the Washington’s papers at the University of Virginia, consisting of a great deal of correspondence. The scope includes Washington’s military career and presidential years.





     A Life

    Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

    Published in 2010, this is a comprehensive biography of Washington’s life and times. What makes it unique is, unlike the stoic Washington of impeccable and rational judgment we have come expect from history books and paintings, we encounter a fierce, impassioned man who guards his private life carefully.





    Washington's Revolution

    Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader by Robert Middlekauff

    Published in 2015, this biography covers Washington’s formative years, 1760 to 1783, when he went form being a provincial to a national leader. One quarter of the book is devoted to the French and Indian War and the remaining portion to the Revolutionary War.





    The Return of George Washington

    The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789 by Edward J. Larson

    Published in 20014, this biography tells the story of Washington’s decision to resign his commission at the end of the Revolutionary War and what drove him to come out of retirement and eventually become the first president.





    A. Lincoln

    A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White, Jr.

    Published in 2009, this is a massive and comprehensive biography. What makes it special is its look at the moral and intellectual beliefs that framed Lincoln’s thinking, judgment, and decision-making.





    Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

    Published in 1995, this biography draws from Lincoln’s personal papers and those of his contemporaries as well as the records of his legal practice. What distinguishes Donald’s work is his treatment of Lincoln’s personal life, how it shaped his character and his political career.

    Team of Rivals

    Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    Published in 2005, Goodwin puts a twist on the traditional biography. In her book, Lincoln has three rivals for the 1860 Republican nomination. Goodwin argues that by assigning these men to key cabinet positions, Lincoln was able to turn them to allies and control decisions made at the height of the Civil War.

    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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    This is one of a series of blog posts related to the NYPL Public Domain Release: discover the collections and find inspiration for using them in your own research, teaching, and creative practice.

    The Importance of Being Digitized

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    A curious document in Digital Collections. Image ID: 5146582.

    As you might have heard, the New York Public Library has recently made over 180,000 of its digitized images easily available in high resolution for use, reuse, and reimagination. My colleagues have been excitedly collecting their favorites from this public domain pool. I’d like to take my own deep digital dive and highlight one specific and exceptional text, contained in three handwritten notebooks in our Digital Collections.

    They are, at first blush, modest documents. Titled A serious comedy for trivial people and authored by Oscar Wilde, the initial image is of a plain black notebook. But what you’re seeing is actually the earliest draft of Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest, written by hand and with the author’s frequent emendations. You might be asking yourself: How did that end up at NYPL? or Why doesn’t that doesn’t look quite like the play I know and love?  Well, carry on, earnest Earnest reader, for these answers and more.

    A Manuscript of Great Importance

    Oscar Wilde first began drafting the play in August of 1894. He was pleased from the start, noting in an August letter to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, “My play is really very funny: I am quite delighted with it.” Over the next few months, Wilde continuously shaped the play, producing and editing multiple typescripts between September and December of that year. An early draft was completed at least by late October, as Wilde sent “the first copy” to George Alexander, the actor, producer, and theater manager who would eventually inhabit the role of John “Jack” Worthing in the play’s inaugural run. In January of 1895, shortly before the play was staged, Wilde quickly condensed it from four acts into three. This substantial change was done at the behest of Alexander, but not without protestation from Wilde in his characteristically dry wit: “The scene that you feel is superfluous cost me terrible exhausting labor and heartrending nerve-wracking strain,” he objected, “it must have taken fully five minutes to write.”

    Excerpt from the March 2, 1895 issue of Punch
    Skit published in the March 2, 1895 issue of Punch, authored by Wilde's friend Ada Leverson

    The Importance of Being Earnest opened at the St. James Theatre on Valentine's Day, 1895. Shortly afterwards, Wilde’s personal life took a steep downward turn, as he became embroiled in the court battles that would lead to his bankruptcy and imprisonment. When Wilde passed away five years later, his affairs were in disarray. The notebook containing Acts III and IV of the original four-act Earnest were in the possession of Wilde’s friend and literary executor, Robert Ross. Ross donated this notebook, along with other personal papers, to the British Library in 1909. The three notebooks containing Acts I and II were not included, however, having been borrowed by Ross’ associate, A.B. Clifton, sometime before Wilde’s death. These were eventually discovered in an old trunk — a plot twist worthy of Wilde himself — after the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Clifton. In 1950, the notebooks were sold at auction and passed into the New York Public Library’s George Arents Collection of Tobacciana — Jack Worthing’s cigarette case being an essential plot point in the play’s narrative.

    So by a circuitous path, these three notebooks traveled from Tite Street to Fifth Avenue to, well, everywhere, since they can now be read in their entirety in NYPL’s Digital Collections. What’s more, we can get a feel for Wilde’s process and the fluid state of the text, since we have at our disposal his original draft, his subsequent edits, and the first printed edition of 1899, which can be read in full through the Literature Online database. (Those who want even more detail can also consult the typescripts that document the transmission of the text from manuscript to publication.) We can observe changes and additions, as well as the scenes and characters omitted during Wilde’s more extensive January 1895 rewrites.

    An Ideal Copy

    Wilde’s notebooks are an instant reward: the very first text-bearing page is one of my favorites. There is no title page — more on that later — so instead we find Wilde’s signature and a revised epigraph. Wilde changes his initial “A trivial comedy for serious people” to the more mocking “A serious comedy for trivial people.” By the time the play was performed, the line was changed back.

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5146588

    The next page contains the dramatis personae, which might raise a few flags for the Wilde enthusiast. Instead of the familiar Algernon Moncrieff, Lady Bracknell, and Merriman, we instead have Algernon Montford, Lady Brancaster, and Mathews. Moreover, there is an entirely new character, Thomas R. Hubbard the solicitor. Following this page is a short description of the four acts. During the January 1895 rewrites, Acts I and IV remained largely intact, while Acts II and III were condensed into one, with poor Mr. Hubbard a necessary casualty.

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5146590
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5146592

    One of my favorite scenes in Act I is Lady Brancaster’s interview of Jack Worthing, where she judges his suitability as a husband for her daughter Gwendolyn. When he confesses to being an orphan, left in a handbag at Victoria Station as a baby, Lady Brancaster responds, “To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. And I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to.” This portion has been added to the initial body of text in a series of additions on the facing page.

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5146719
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5146720

    Lady Brancaster also reversed her position on smoking during the writing process. Wilde was himself an avid smoker, but Lady Brancaster initially disapproves. When Jack begins the interview by retrieving his cigarette case, she glares at him, prompting Jack to “look[] ashamed and replace[] it quietly in his pocket.” By the 1899 edition, the now Lady Bracknell is offering her own pro-tobacco bon mots. When Jack admits to smoking, she replies, “I am glad to hear it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind. There are far too many idle men in London as it is.”

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5146700
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5146702

    By Act II, we already have some changes to the elements of the play. First, we have a title, though not the expected one, Lady Lancing. Wilde mentioned this false title in his October 1894 letter to George Alexander, when he stated, “[The play] is called Lady Lancing on the cover: but the real title is The Importance of Being Earnest. When you read the play, you will see the punning title’s meaning.” Wilde had a practice of using false names for his plays, often a woman’s name. This was likely to prevent the disclosure of the title before the play was publicly staged. Other than a passing reference to a Lady Lancing in Act IV, the temporary title has no bearing on the substance of the play. Aside from the new title, we also see some edits to the characters; Mathews has been rechristened Merriman, and Hubbard is now Gribsby.

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5150806

    Both Gribsby the solicitor and Moulton, Jack’s gardener, were ultimately doomed for the cutting-room floor. Moulton had only a handful of lines, but Gribsby was present for an entire scene, where Algernon contests an expensive bill he incurred at the Savoy Hotel. “No gentleman ever has any money,” a bewildered Algernon protests, to which Gribsby replies, “My experience is that it is usually relatives who pay.” As Algernon is currently assuming the identity of Jack’s brother, Jack ends up with the bill, bitterly responding, “Personally, if you ask me, I don’t see any use in having a brother." In a later omitted part, Algernon then proceeds to dine on a whopping six lobsters for lunch — all, of course, at his dear “brother” Jack’s expense.

    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5150919
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5150920
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5150925
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5150926
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5150961
    Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Manuscript
    Image ID: 5150962

    Whether you’re a serious researcher or a trivial one, a close read of Wilde’s manuscript promises constant discoveries and a unique glimpse into the mind of the author. Be sure to try out the “View as Book” option for a nice, page-flipping-friendly interface. I implore you quite earnestly: open that notebook and start your own digital dive!

    View as Book option in Digital Collections
    Select this icon to view images as a book in Digital Collections.

    For Love of the Footnotes

    To learn more about Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, and NYPL’s manuscripts, try the 1956 and 2006 editions of the play, both with helpful introductions, commentary, and related material. The letters mentioned in this post were compiled in The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde and can be found on pages 602 and 620. Plus, be sure to explore our many English and American Literature databases, such as Literature Online and Literature Resource Center—both available from home!—for biographies, full texts, and literary criticism related to Oscar Wilde and a wide variety of other authors.

    Image credits for The Importance of Being Earnest notebooks: Rare Book Division. New York Public Library. Astor, Lenox, Tilden Foundations. Online access to Punch is provided by HathiTrust.

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    What is a Primary Source? A primary source is an original document or object that was created at the time of your study.

    Primary Source in ABC-CLIO
    Example of a Primary Source in ABC-CLIO

    Try these databases for Primary Source information:

    Recommended Databases for Primary Sources

    African-American Experience
    Full-text digital resource exploring the history and culture of African Americans, as well as the greater Black Diaspora.

    American Indian Experience
    Full-text digital resource exploring the history and culture of American Indians.

    Biography in Context
    Look up anyone! Provides biographical information on anyone you can imagine.

    Defining moments in American History in an electronic book format.

    Latino American Experience
    Focused on the history and culture of Latinos from the pre-Columbian Indigenous civilizations of the Americas to now.

    Literature Resource Center
    Information on literary figures from all time periods.

    New York State Newspapers
    Have a project about a current event? Search the major New York newspapers.

    Opposing Viewpoints
    Articles presenting both sides of controversial issues.

    U.S. History in Context
    Has a variety of historical data, including photographs, illustrations, and maps.

    World History in Context
    Search a broad collection of events, movements, and individuals that have shaped world history.

    How to Access Databases

    Here’s how to access library databases:

    1. Go to

    2. Click on ‘Research’

    3. Click on ‘Articles and Databases.’ Databases are listed in alphabetical order.

    4. If you are not accessing the database from inside the library, enter the number on the back of your library card.

    Primary Sources in the Public Domain

    Did you know that more than 180,000 of the items in our Digital Collections are in the public domain?

    That means everyone has the freedom to enjoy and reuse these materials without restrictions. The Library now makes it possible to download such items in the highest resolution available directly from the Digital Collections website.

    Learn more about Using Public Domain Resources in the Classroom.

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    This week's top five brings us new novels from popular series: NYPD Red, Ghostwalker, and the Mistborn.

    NYPD Red 4

    #1 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed NYPD RED 4 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp, more New York City crime series:

    Lawrence Block

    S.J. Rozan

    Jim Fusilli

    Reggie Nadelson

    Ed Dee


    Spider Game

    #2 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Spider Game by Christine Feehan, more action/thriller series with paranormal elements:

    Arcane Society novels by Amanda Quick

    Night Fallby Cherry Adair

    Born to Darknessby Suzanne Brockmann




    The Bands of Mourning

    #3 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson, more epic fantasy:

    The Stormlight Archiveseries also by Brandon Sanderson

    The Blade Itselfby Joe Abercrombie

    Discovery of Witchesseries by Deborah Harkness




    The Choice

    #4 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Choice by Nicholas Sparks, more small town living and surprise romances:

    The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

    The Flood Girlsby Richard Fifield

    Come Walk With Meby Joan A. Medlicott





    Lucy Barton

    #5 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, more stories of mothers and daughters:

    The Silver Starby Jeanette Walls

    Runawayby Alice Munro

    Maineby J. Courtney Sullivan

    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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    Looking for a career in the construction trade?

    BuildingWorks Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program can get you there.

    BuildingWorks is a pre-apprenticeship training program housed at the Labor Technical College.  Since 1995, the program has served nearly 1,000 residents from low-income communities in New York City and Newark, NJ area.  The training prepares individuals for careers in the areas of environmental remediation and related construction trades.  Ideally, successful graduates enroll in unionized apprenticeship programs.


     construction of room 83
    Image ID: 489914

    Training approximately 25 individuals each program cycle, BuildingWorks conducts a minimum of two cycles a year serving approximately 75 individuals annually. During the 3-month training cycle, BuildingWorks participants complete classroom instruction and hands-on experience in worker health and safety, hazardous materials abatement, industry math, career guidance, and general construction. The training is conducted on site at the Labor Technical College. Students have access to the same state of the art facility and instructional staff as apprentices and journeypersons. During the training, students receive a variety of formal certifications specific to the industry such as OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations, AHERA Asbestos Handler and OSHA Construction Safety.


    Candidates for BuildingWorks Pre-Apprenticeship Training must:

    • Be at least 18 years of age at time of enrollment
    • Have a High School Diploma or GED, and pass a basic skills test at 8th grade level
    • Be either unemployed or under-employed
    • Be physically able to work
    • Be legally eligible to work in the U.S.
    • Pass a drug test
    • Commit to completing the entire, full-time, 3 month training with classes running from 8 AM to 3:30 PM

    Apply now.

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  • 02/09/16--11:43: Tales of Twin Sisters
  • Twin girls standing in the sun - the twin on the left is the author of the article. They have long brown hair, and the twin on the right is wearing glasses.
    Here I (left) am with my twin sister (right) in Hawaii.

    "Oh my god, you must be twins!" a stranger exclaims. He flails his arms to catch our attention. "Twins, right?!"

    "Who, us?" My sister puts on the blankest expression she can muster. "I've never seen her before in my life."

    Twins—a pair of aces, two of a kind, double trouble, peas in a pod, whatever you want to call them—have a companion for life, even if they bicker or banter or spend stretches of time apart. Having a twin is very special, and we have learned to make light of the constant stream of questions. The library carries some incredible pieces in myriad genres, but I wanted to share some of my favorite books about twins from our children's collection.

    Book cover for Ling and Ting Not Exactly The Same by Grace Lin

    Ling and Ting Not Exactly The Sameby Grace Lin

    Asian-American author and illustrator, Grace Lin, has created a delightful series about twin sisters Ling and Ting. As a Chinese-American twin sister myself, I have a soft spot in my heart for these books. So, at the top of my list sits Ling and Ting Not Exactly The Same by Grace Lin, a cute book for beginning readers wherein the twins prove that, while they may look the same, they are very different girls. I wish these books were around when my sis and I were young!



    The Tapper twins go to war (with each other) / Geoff Rodkey

    The Tapper Twins Go To War (With Each Other) by Geoff Rodkey

    When I was growing up, arguments were solved by talking it out and the occasional nibble (I was a biter as a toddler, but I've learned—don't worry!). That was before the advent of Facebook and texting and abundant technology. Children nowadays know how to turn on an iPad by age two and have never seen a VCR. So how do twins bicker in the digital age? Geoff Rodkey's The Tapper Twins Go To War (With Each Other)is an inventive oral history that reports, through transcribed recordings, text messages, photographs, illustrations, screenshots, and more, an epic prank war between twelve-year-old twins Reese and Claudia Tapper of New York City! It's visually alluring, creative, and charming.


    About twins / by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly ; photographs by Shelley Rotner

    About Twins by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly ; photographs by Shelley Rotner

    For the more visually-inclined, About Twins by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly—with photographs by Shelley Rotner—is a delightful picture collection that examines the different kinds of twins and discusses the delights, difficulties, and complexities of being a twin.


    Find even more children's books about twins in our catalog. So there you have a little bit about twins for everyone!

    And for the record—my sister was the evil one. Not me. (I swear!)

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