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Thursday’s Book Discussion!

index3ALTS5PAThursday at 7:00 pm in the Grosebeck Room at Manhattan Public Library will be our final event in our Big Read programs regarding the book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. We are especially excited to have Dr. Kim Stanley, a professor at McPherson College and a representative of the Kansas Humanities Council, here in Manhattan to lead our discussion. Dr. Stanley is very knowledgeable about this book and promises to provide an informative and lively discussion. Refreshments will be served. Join us for this interesting discussion!

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The Real History of the Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving

by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager
The story of the first Thanksgiving is rooted in history but the mythology surrounding it has grown over the centuries till it barely resembles actual events. As is nearly always the case with history, the truth turns out to be far more complicated and vastly more interesting than the myth. If you’re interested in learning more about the real story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and about our country’s complicated, fascinating history, try one of these books from Manhattan Public Library.

mayflowr“Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick details the history of the Pilgrims as Separatists in England and as religious refugees in Holland, and then follows their voyage on the Mayflower, chronicling the early years of Plymouth Colony and examining relations between European settlers and Native Americans. Philbrick adds depth to what we know of familiar historical figures like William Bradford, Chief Massasoit, Squanto, Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullins, John Alden, and Edward Winslow, and reveals unexpected and surprising historical details.

“Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World” by Nick Bunker is another richly-detailed historic overview. The author, an Englishman, writes about the Mayflower Pilgrims as Englishmen themselves and places them in the context of the political world in which they lived. It’s an exhaustively detailed recounting of the first years of settlement which “scoops up every relevant character and links all to the basic tale of indomitable courage, religious faith, commercial ambition, international rivalry, and domestic politics.” (Publisher’s Weekly). (more…)

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Celebrate “Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week”

By Laura Ransom, Children’s Librarian

“Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week” is an annual event that promotes reading to all Kansas children from birth through age five. Parents, librarians, and caregivers are encouraged to read the chosen book during the week of November 16-22.

funI am especially excited about this year’s selection, Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. Three happy cows and a frustrated chicken bounce through the pages of this light-hearted picture book. We love promoting this event at Manhattan Public Library, and each child who attends a storytime during the week will receive a free book! Funding for the free books is generously provided by the Manhattan Library Association.
My love for books began when I was very young. I have such fond memories of sitting in my mom’s lap while she read Don Wood’s The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear to me night after night. She later told me that she had the book memorized since I requested it so many times. What a patient parent! Another of my all-time favorites is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. I remember chanting along with that brave engine, “I think I can, I think I can!” These engaging books stirred a desire in me to learn how to read the words on the pages.
readaloudAs a children’s librarian, I obviously endorse reading aloud to children, but research supports it, too. One example is a study by the U.S. Department of Education, which concluded with these words: “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” This quote is from The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, a wonderful book filled with read-aloud suggestions and helpful tips for parents. Books include a wider vocabulary than we often encounter in television shows or everyday conversations. Even though children are unfamiliar with these new words, exposure to them is a stepping stone to reading independently. If they have heard the word before, they will be better equipped to know how to read it on the printed page.
A love for reading is just as important as the actual reading process. The fancy name for the desire to read is called print motivation. This is one of six skills children need in order to read successfully. The other skills are: Notice Print All Around; Talk, Talk, Talk; Tell Stories About Everything; Look for Letters Everywhere; and Take Time to Rhyme, Sing, and Play Word Games. These skills were originally identified by the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read Program. Johnson County Public Library modified the information that program first developed, and they renamed it “6 by 6: Six Skills by Six Years.” Many of these skills are things parents already practice with their children without taking much time to consider the educational benefits. Things like pointing out the letters on a stop sign or words on a billboard can actually help children notice that words are all around them. Little habits like this can truly make a big difference in a child’s attitude toward reading.

Our librarians love to help children discover the joy of reading. Come visit us at the library for great book recommendations and resources for growing readers.

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, library services, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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National Family Literacy Month

by Mary, Adult Services Librarian

I’m a novice Grandma and so excited about helping my little guy fall in love with reading.

Fun activities that involve books and interactive reading can begin the first steps toward this love affair.
index6DNGOOOZA new book that has helped me form new ideas about reading to my grandson is:
Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in the Digital Age–From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything In Between by Jason Boog is a wonderful new book that helps parents learn the advantages of interactive reading.
National Family Literacy Day just passed us by but we are barely into National Family Literacy Month. This November take advantage of the ideas on the familieslearning.org website to enjoy fun times with books. They have an idea for each day that can make reading and learning about literature a game. Try the idea on Day 2-Draw pictures of your child’s favorite book characters and turn them into puppets for dramatic play. Day 10 – Create Picture Stories. Take a photo or draw a picture of your child doing a favorite activity. Write a story together, using the pictures as illustrations. Picture books help children develop critical thinking skills, as their brains take in the picture and the text and make connections between the two.

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Do you Love Peanut Butter?!

by Janet, Adult Services Librarian

I’ve heard it’s Peanut Butter Lover’s Month. James A. Garfield said, “Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.” For those of you that do love peanut butter, “There’s nothing peanut butter and a spoon can’t fix.” Thank you George Washington Carver for giving us this incredible invention.

peanutPick up Jon Krampner’s book, Creamy & Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, The All American Food to learn more about the tasty sticky stuff.

I found a recipe that got my saliva glands going that I must try soon. It’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie on page 159in Emeril’s There’s a Chef in My World! Recipes that Take You Places by Emeril Lagasse.

 

You too can find books that have great peanut butter recipes to suit your own taste buds and gain new ways to enjoy this wonder paste using our library catalog.

 

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The Things They Carried–Stories from the Vietnam War

by Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator

thingsIn Manhattan, we are honoring veterans with this year’s Big Read program by choosing to explore a Pulitzer Prize-winning book of short stories about the war in Vietnam, The Things They Carried.

Though the days of the Vietnam War are long gone, that conflict remains a divisive issue. Many of us still remember the nightly reports about battles and casualties, while others of us were not yet born by the time the conflict ended. Some may remember protesting the war, and in our military town, many remember the days of deployment.

Perhaps there is no better way to bring all these different groups together than by discussing Tim O’Brien’s personal and masterful novel, The Things They Carried. O’Brien’s account of those who fought in that conflict, their fears and their uncertainties, is a classic tale of young men sent to war. The many readers who cherish the book, and the much-deserved awards it has earned, attest to its lasting and powerful impact.

As part of the programming associated with the book, on Tuesday, November 11 at 4:00 p.m., a group of distinguished Manhattan citizens will gather at the Wareham Opera House to share stories about their own experiences during the war in Vietnam. No tickets are required, and everyone is welcome to attend, although some of the subject matter may not be appropriate for young children.

Mike Kearns, former JAG lawyer and member of the FHVC, will moderate the discussion with: Beryl Adams, American Red Cross who served at Danang Hospital; Orris Kelly, retired Chief of Chaplains for the U.S. Army; Mike McDermont, author and veteran of four tours of duty in Vietnam; Chuck Murphy, medic and former Riley County Health Department Administrator; Dr. Ron Trewyn, veteran and assistant to K-State President Kirk Shultz; and Rich Wartell, veteran and KMAN Radio General Manager.

Then, on Thursday, November 13 at 6:00 p.m., join librarians and friends for Books and Brew at the Little Apple Brewing Company in Westloop Plaza. We’ll discuss O’Brien’s book, share our own experiences, and talk about ways we can facilitate communication in our unique college/military/retirement town on the Great Plains. Register to participate in this event through the library’s website www.MHKLibrary.org, or by calling 776-4741 x.141.

The following Thursday, November 20 at 7:00 p.m., we’ll be meeting again to discuss The Things They Carried as part of the Good Books Club at the library. A special guest from the Kansas Humanities Council will join us to lead the discussion. We’ll enjoy snacks as we dive into this compelling book, meeting new people and making friends along the way.

We can also do a lot of good for the community by simply saying thank you to our soldiers. All during the month of November, the library will have postcards available to send to service men and women through Operation Gratitude. This organization sends packages to deployed soldiers, veterans’ hospitals, and veterans’ groups around the country. Stop by the library anytime during open hours to fill out a card.

If you have questions about any of the events or would like to reserve a copy of The Things They Carried, please visit the library’s website at www.MHKLibrary.org, call us at 776-4741, or visit the library at 629 Poyntz Avenue.

The Big Read, funded by the Kansas Humanities Council, is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature, and encouraging them to read for pleasure and enrichment. Each of the 77 organizations receiving a grant this year will develop unique programming that will provide their communities with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate a powerful book.

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Honoring Veterans

TBR-Logo-BWIt is hard to believe that it is the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War. For many of us, it seems like only yesterday that our families and friends were watching the draft lotteries on television (hoping for a high number—the higher the number, the less likely you would be drafted), and sending letters overseas to servicemen. This momentous anniversary will be recognized at our local Veterans Day celebrations, which include events at the Manhattan Public Library.

This year, the Manhattan Public Library received a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Arts allowing us to plan for a Big Read.  The Big Read is a program designed with the goal to encourage reading as a shared experience in the community, with grant funding allowing the purchase of books to give away, making speakers available, providing for the cost of printing materials and posters, etc. The Big Read  engages American readers by awarding grants to local communities for local Big Read projects.  By improving access to the art of literature readers will be able to connect with great works of literature. O
Our Big Read events have been planned in conjunction with the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. This award-winning novel is considered a literary classic and has been taught in classrooms around the world since its publication in 1990.

thingsThe book is a fictionalized account of the author’s experiences as an infantryman in Vietnam. A collection of stories that comprise the novel, O’Brien conveys the chaos, fear and other feelings that make up warfare in his writing. ““War is hell, but that’s not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.”

Our Big Read events include the parade on Veterans Day, where we will be handing out copies of the book “The Things They Carried” (while they last!) as well as the Vietnam Veteran’s Forum later in the afternoon. Also, stop by on Veterans Day or at the library during November and write a note on a Thank You to Veterans postcard. We will be sending these for distribution to VA Hospitals and other agencies that serve our Veterans.

An exciting and important event will take place on Veterans Day at 4:00 at the Wareham—the Vietnam Veterans Forum. Several distinguished local Vietnam Veterans will discuss their experiences during the war in Vietnam. Join us to hear their stories and their reflections on the Vietnam War. The Flint Hills Veterans Coalition has been very helpful in organizing and planning for the forum.

We have planned two book discussions for community members. On Thursday Nov. 13 at 6:00pm, we are sponsoring Books and Brew—a discussion at Little Apple Brewery. Appetizers will be provided, and food and drink may be ordered. If you can’t make it to the Brewery, we will be having another discussion of the book at the Good Books Club on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7:00 pm at the library. Refreshments will be provided.

 

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Learn about Thanksgiving with these titles!

The holiday season is upon us and we’re counting down to Thanksgiving. I like Thanksgiving; for a major holiday, it remains relatively straightforward and uncomplicated. It’s comparatively free of the cumbersome traditions, frenetic activities, and crippling expenditures that come with some holidays (I’m looking at you, Christmas!), big stressors that can get in the way of fundamental enjoyment, not to mention spiritual gratification.

Granted, Thanksgiving does have its own daunting potential for stress – travel and logistical chaos, inter-personal and family drama, intensive food prep and consumption, hours of digestive recovery, and overwhelming kitchen clean-up! But the day can also be celebrated with a simple shared meal, quiet reflection and rest, even solitude or a private getaway, and when it all comes together well, Thanksgiving can be deeply meaningful and spiritually strengthening.

Our celebration of the Thanksgiving feast as a national historical event also has its baggage, a mythology of Pilgrims and Native Americans that is rooted in history but that has grown over time to barely resemble the actual event. As is nearly always the case with history, the truth turns out to be far more complicated and vastly more interesting than the myth. This year, pick up one of the following books to help you sort out the real story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and broaden your understanding of our country’s fascinating history.

philbrick   “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick details the history of the Pilgrims as religious Separatists in England and as political refugees in Holland, then follows them through their voyage on the Mayflower, the settlement and early years of the Plymouth colony, and the meeting of European settlers and Native Americans. Philbrick adds depth to what we know of familiar historical figures like William Bradford, Chief Massasoit, Squanto, Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullins, John Alden, Edward Winslow, and numerous secondary characters, revealing unexpected and surprising historical details.

In “Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World,” another richly detailed history, author and Englishman Nick Bunker writes about the Mayflower Pilgrims as Englishmen themselves, and places them in the context of the political world in which they lived. An exhaustively detailed recounting of the first years of settlement, this book tells a stirring tale of “indomitable courage, religious faith, commercial ambition, international rivalry, and domestic politics” (Publishers Weekly).

indexH4IDI2ML   If you only have time for a short read and want a more condensed recounting of the Mayflower Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, Glenn Alan Cheney has hit the high points and given a broad overview in his well-researched and -organized history of 1620-1621, “Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims’ First Year in America.” An easy-to-read and enjoyable page-turner, it is nevertheless written in evocative, descriptive prose. As one reviewer said, the book is “full of surprising information, and sympathetic to the humanity of all the participants.”

“The Mayflower Papers: Selected Writings of Colonial New England,” edited by Nathaniel and Thomas Philbrick, is a compilation of 17th century primary source material about the Pilgrims, the Mayflower voyage, and the founding of the Plymouth Colony. It contains “Of Plymouth Plantation” by Governor William Bradford, the seminal first-person account of the early days of the settlement. Written in the Elizabethan English of the times, it is not easy reading but it nonetheless is a detailed, emotional recounting of an enterprise that took immense courage, devotion, and fortitude. In addition, this anthology contains “Mourt’s Relation,” an account of the colony’s first year in New England and the original story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in autumn 1621, and “Good News from New England,” a continuation of the history, both by Edward Winslow.

times     “The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony” by leading Plymouth archaeologist James Deetz is a social history that is especially strong in its descriptions of the daily lives and society of the colony. Drawing on the archaeological evidence, it touches on crime, food, sexual and social relationships, legalities, and material culture, and upends many of our misconceptions about Pilgrim society.

 

 

 

 

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Native American Exhibit at the Beach Museum

earth and loom resizedEarth and Loom: A Century of Native American Art from the Collection of Dennis and Carola Deschner

October 28 – December 21, 2014

This exhibition includes twenty Navajo weavings from the late nineteenth century and twentieth century representing different regions and weaving stles. Also included are twenty-six pieces of Pueblo pottery by significant late-nineteenth and twenty-century Native American potters from nine pueblos.

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Tempting Fall Fiction for Adults

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burtonby Marcia Allen, Technical Services and Collections Manager

The fall book season always provides a nice helping of new fiction surprises. This year’s list of standouts includes many offerings by bestselling favorites, but it also includes some unusual stories from authors who may not be familiar. I invite you to sample some of my latest discoveries in the hope that you may find some appealing new fiction.

The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton is that rare piece of historical fiction that manages to create memorable characters in an authentic period setting. Recently contracted bride, Nella Oortman, arrives in 1686 Amsterdam only to find that her new husband has no real interest in her. Compounding Nella’s loneliness are the facts that the household is dominated by her husband’s rigid sister, and the family sugar trading business may be failing. Nella’s only joy is the puzzling gift of a cabinet house that her husband has purchased for her. When a life-like series of tiny figures and furniture soon arrives, Nella is determined to meet the artist who created them. What makes this book memorable is the dynamics among the characters, as well as its vivid portrayal of the city and its strict adherence to religious code. Author Burton delivers a young heroine forced to accept what she cannot change.

A Sudden Light” by Garth Stein is the latest from the author who gave us the magical “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” an emotional story told from the point of view of the family dog. This new tale is a flashback with supernatural elements. When Trevor Riddell was fourteen years old, he and his father traveled to Riddell House, the dilapidated family estate, in order to convince Grandpa Samuel to sell the place to developers so that all could share the proceeds. Complications arise because the grandfather has mental lapses, and the home seems to be haunted by family ancestors who died under tragic circumstances. While the story does have its eerie moments, it’s more a tale of old hurts and odd family dynamics. Trevor is a sharp young character who wants to heal old wounds, so he finds himself caught between opposing loyalties.

The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen is a very pleasant surprise for those who can’t get enough epic fantasy. Life will never be the same for nineteen-year-old Kelsea Glynn, as soldiers of the Queen’s Guard have come to remove her from her adopted parents’ home and place her on her rightful throne. Since her queen mother’s death, ambitious forces, like her greedy uncle and the Red Queen of Mortmesne, have struggled for control of the kingdom and have often shipped the Tearling citizenry off to slavery. Kelsea is a kind and decent heroine, but she knows little of governance. This first installment in a planned trilogy features well written magic touches, like gigantic hawks and a mysterious glowing sapphire that Kelsea wears, and it effectively pits good and evil forces against one another throughout.

The Boy Who Drew Monsters” by Keith Donohue is a disturbing tale of horror. This supernatural tales features an isolated Maine setting under cover of snow and a boy who suffers from crippling psychological problems. Young Jack Peter refuses to leave the house, communicates little with his parents, and constantly draws sketches of threatening monsters. At some point, the monsters of the drawings begin to take on lives of their own, and the boy’s parents and neighbors sight unbelievable creatures. Is the story eerie? You bet! The fleeting visions, the impending danger, the isolation and the confusion about what is real make for an uneasy reading experience.

New fall titles are arriving on a daily basis, so be sure to check the MPL website for upcoming novels. There’s lots of new romance and adventure, westerns and science fiction yet to be read.

 

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