@ Your Library
Summer is a great time to make things with your kids. Whether you are a dad or a mom, you'll find good ideas for collaborative projects to DIY with daughers and sons in Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter Projects. Written by Mark Frauenfelder, the editor in chief of MAKE Magazine, these projects vary in complexity. Most require some kind of tooling but can be adapted in different ways. There are woodworking projects like laminating up wood veneer layers while it's bent to make a pre-sprung long board to cruise the streets. There are imaginitive electonics projects like a kite-mounted video camera. There are plenty of whimsical, imaginative projects here. Also included are tips for devoping practical skills like creating and hosting your own podcast and using a variety of tools. I thought this book was suitable for parents and their elementary or middle-school aged children and up.
The afternoon of Saturday, May 31, 2014 marked the beginning of a new annual event at KPL: Three Book Battle. Middle School students from seven different schools joined forces and battled through book knowledge on The Giver, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and Return to Sender to be the first Three Book Battle champion. Teams competed in two battles that day for a total of 48 questions, 16 from each book. Huddles were formed, decisions were made, pencils moved frantically, and pride filled the Van Deusen Room!
This new event for 6th-8th graders set the bar high for the future with near perfect scores and contagious reading enthusiasm. Teen Services would like to thank the Friends of KPL for providing a mini grant opportunity to sponsor this event. Each team received a set of books to keep, Jones Soda and a Bookbug gift card to fuel their love of reading.
Congratulations go out to our final battle teams:
- 1st place – The Dauntless Snowballs of Revolution
- 2nd place – The Wolverines
- 3rd place – The Divergents
- 4th place – The Red Panda Readers
- 5th place – The Carter Crew
Plans are already underway for the 2015 Three Book Battle. Thank you KPL Teen Services, the Friends of KPL, TBB participants and the audience for making our first Three Book Battle one for the record books!
Three Book Battle
Summer at the library officially begins on Monday, June 2! Sign up for Summer Reading Games at any of our locations beginning June 2. Kick off the summer by attending some of the library's great programs for the whole family, starting next week. Preschoolers ages 3 to 6 can explore strength and materials at Central's Little Scientists program on Monday, June 2 at 10:30am. Later that evening, join us at Oshtemo for an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Learn how to beat the heat by brewing your own iced tea with Tudor House Tea & Spice at Washington Square on Tuesday, June 3 at 6pm. Calling all nerdfighters! Head to Central on Tuesday, June 3 at 6:30pm for An Abundance of John Green and enter to win movie tickets to The Fault in Our Stars. LEGO fans can practice their skills at Oshtemo on Saturday, June 7 at 10:30am. The week wraps up on Saturday, June 7 at Central with the Summer Reading Kickoff Party at 1pm, featuring music, games, obstacle courses, and a bounce house!
A Midsummer Night's Dream
There are lots of fun things to do at Kalamazoo Public Library locations during Spring Break. If you're at the Central Library and want to borrow child/family movies and music, come to the Children's Room. That's where those materials are now located. Maybe you've been wondering what those lullabye renditions of Michael Jackson music sound like. Or maybe it's time to see how Danny Devito voiced The Lorax. Or revisit that beautiful Carl and Ellie sequence from Up. You'll find something that you'll enjoy in this collection and you'll be able to check it out at the kiosk in the Children's Room, too. And while you'll be able to find Dr. Seuss books in the Children's Room, you'll want to go to the lower level to find Thriller and The Wiz. You'll find lots of movie musicals and documentaries that make great family viewing in the lower level, too!
Movies and Music in the Children's Room
We’re seeing more and more dads in the Children’s Room, as they bring their kids to storytime, choose books to take home, and share in the fun of playing with toys in the Story Place.
As more dads take on caregiver responsibilities, we are glad to see more parenting books written just for them. A Dad’s Guide to Childcare is one that I like. It’s practical, has clear photos that illustrate step-by-step processes, and even addresses difficult situations that may come up.
As part of the renovation of the Central Library Children’s Room, we’ve added some more Parenting books to our shelves. If you’re looking for books about parenting children from birth to 5 years, you can now find those books in the Children’s Room. We’d be glad to help you find the books that are just right for your family.
A Dad’s Guide to Childcare
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is an exciting new program at Kalamazoo Public Library for all children from birth to entering Kindergarten. It's super simple, self paced, and provides a way for your child to earn a prize for every 50 books you read aloud to her and then a gift and certificate of completion when you reach 1,000 books. More important, since reading aloud to your child is the best way to prepare for kindergarten, 1,000 Before Kindergarten is a way for you to do just that - read lots of books with your child!
A parent asked me if the books she reads to her child for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten need to be library books. They do not. While Kalamazoo Public Library certainly has many thousands of books we can all share together with our preschool aged children, you might find yourself reading a book aloud to your child that you found at the Friends bookstore or that was passed along to you or purchased elsewhere. Of course this is just great! And the way you read the books is also completely up to you. Some books are made to be sung to your child. Other books benefit from the animal sounds you supply. There is a whole world of fun to be had reading to our children.
It's easy to sign up at the any KPL location. Learn more about 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten at KPL and continue down the road to Kindergarten. And if you're in the mood for a fun read aloud that will help you think ahead to Springtime, check out 999 Frogs Wake Up.
999 Frogs and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!
The newly renovated Children's Room is open and ready for you to explore! There are many exciting new features including a parenting section, folk and fairy tales highlighted in the Alice in Wonderland Room, and more display space for new Fiction, new Non-fiction, and new Picture Books.
The Story Place has room for Lego at the Library, story time programs, and more. I hope you'll take time to come in and see the new Children's Room over the holiday break.
Come See the New Children's Room!
If you’ve been on the second floor of Central Library recently, you’ve seen some signs of renovation. Soon, some of that work will move to the first floor Children’s Room. Yes, we’ll soon see some changes that will support our new emphasis as a Family Place Library. That designation will align us with over 300 libraries in 23 states which have made a commitment to serving families with children from birth to age 5. Here’s the website: http://www.familyplacelibraries.org/.
What makes a Family Place Library special? Here are the core components:
- Strong collections of materials (books, music, toys) for babies, toddlers, parents and caregivers.
- The Parent-Child Workshop, which is a 5-week program for toddlers and parents, which emphasizes the importance of play and the importance of parents as a child’s first teachers.
- Coalition-building with community organizations to develop programs and services that meet local needs.
- Outreach to new and non-traditional library users, especially parents and very young children.
- Developmentally-appropriate programming for very young children and their parents.
- Library staff trained in family support, child development, parent education, and best practices.
Here at KPL, we’re just getting started on implementing Family Place Libraries. One of the most exciting projects is expanding the space in Children’s Room at Central Library so that we have more room to play! Soon, you’ll see a brand-new Activity Room open, the Story Room will lose one of its walls, and some things will be re-arranged. We’re excited about this time of growth and hope that you’ll be a part of our development as a Family Place Library!
Family Place Libraries
This is what a Monarch caterpillar looks like when it's ready to morph from a caterpillar into a butterfly. This animal has already been alive for several weeks. As in the Eric Carle book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, it began as a little egg laid on a leaf. The egg was laid by a Monarch butterfly. Then, after the caterpillar hatched from the egg, it got bigger and bigger as it munched on milkweed in its caterpillar form until a few days ago when it climbed up high to hang so that it could turn into a chrysalis. A few weeks after it morphs into a chrysalis, it will emerge in butterfly form. Then, it will be able to lay eggs that will hatch into very tiny Monarch caterpillars.
Have you seen very many Monarch butterflies this summer? I have not. I'm told Monarchs have had a difficult time migrating northward. Maybe you'll come to the library to check in on the chrysalis and borrow some books about butterflies.
Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle
Urban Fiction writer, Earl Sewell, will be at Alma Powell Library July 30 at 6:00 pm. Mr. Sewell is not only an urban fiction writer but he also writes a series of teen books for Kimani Tru. I've read a couple from his teen series called Keysha's drama series. I enjoyed Maya's Choice and If I were your boyfriend. One of the things I liked about Mr. Sewell's teen books is that they are very diverse and culture wise. Many teens would find a lot to identify with, if not for themselves then for some of their friends. Mr. Sewell addresses a great deal of the challenges young people face today. In Maya's Choice Maya's cousin, Viviana, moves in and it makes life difficult for Maya and her life begins to fall apart. In If I were your boyfriend Keysha has a lot to learn and life changing decisions to make.
If you're a urban fiction lover or like teen books that are full of life challenges then please join us to meet and hear from our guest Earl Sewell.
The Kalamazoo Public Schools 2013 Summer Reading lists are a great place to get reading suggestions to read twenty minutes or more per day. The lists are arranged by the grade students to which students are "rising" when school starts in the fall. These titles are great choices for Summer Reading or any time of year, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Looking for more great summer reading ideas? Come visit! We'll be glad to see you! Don't forget to check in for Summer Reading Games with your gameboard or get signed up if you haven't already!
So Many Summer Reading Choices
The Kalamazoo Public Library is celebrating the Earth with a variety of programs for all ages in the coming weeks. This afternoon at Oshtemo, tweens and teens can make crafts from recycled items. On Saturday, also at Oshtemo, join us for a family-friendly outdoor concert with the Earthwork Music Collective. The Kalamazoo chapter of the American Chemical Society will be at the event to talk about the impact chemistry has on the planet, and the Organic Gypsy will sell delicious food from her truck. You can learn to make your own green, nontoxic cleaning products at Eastwood on April 23, and learn how to make compost for your garden on April 30 at Powell. KPL's librarians will be at the People's Food Co-op on April 27 to read stories for Grow It Yourself Day.
What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?
Earth Day Concert 2013
Inspired by Sarah Weeks’s book Pie, these young cooks are building a lattice crust with some help from their mom. Kids love to eat. And kids want to help create the food they eat. Plenty of practical kitchen skills can be learned and practiced when you share kitchen duties with the kids. Have a satisfying time in the kitchen by meeting children’s interests where they already have skills and then extending just a little bit. A three year old is often content to dump some dry ingredients into a mixing bowl whereas a seven year old is likely able to interpret meaning from a recipe, measure ingredients with scoops and scale, prepare a salad, and prepare many elements of a meal to be proud of. Of course, it's best to hold onto potentially hazardous kitchen tasks involving high heat and knife skills until children are ready.
Your library has lots of cookbooks for children and their adults to use together. Some popular favorites include the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, the Little House Cookbook, the Around the World Cookbook, and Vegan Lunch Box among many others. Chop Chop is an excellent magazine about cooking for kids and families. Share kitchen tasks with the kids for memorable times in the kitchen and an even more delicious dinner.
Cooking with Kids
Last year I planned a trip to Ecuador.
In researching for the trip, I used many library resources. I studied Spanish through the help of the Pimsleur Method, an excellent process for learning a language. (Carve out 30 minutes a day to ‘escuchar y repetir’ – listen and repeat – perhaps during your daily commute. After several days, you have the beginnings of a new language under your belt!) I also checked out a few Spanish language instruction books, so I could begin to recognize the words I was learning to say. MeLCat came through, for me. When I was ready to move on to a different Pimsleur level, I requested my next set of CDs via interlibrary-loan through MeLCat.
I watched movies about South America or set in Ecuador and practiced listening to Spanish, while viewing the gorgeous scenery. I devoured books about the Galapagos Islands. The Friends of the Library bookstore was my friend, too. There I purchased a gently-used Frommers Guide to South America, at a bargain basement price.
I also gathered information about the people and culture of Ecuador through the CultureGrams online database. (Note: anyone with a KPL library card may access this from home. Please ask at the Reference Desk, 553-7801, for more information.)
Using the Value Calculator, I figure the library saved me around $200 for this process alone. What trip would you like to plan? How can KPL help you save while you research your next travel experience?
The Galapagos: exploring Darwin's tapestry
On October 23 the Alma Powell Branch had a very lively book discussion on the book Daddy's House by Azarel. The book group will meet again on November 20 to discuss The Prada Plan book 1 & 2. If you like Urban Fiction please join us at 6:00 on 11/20 at Powell. See you then.
Last week we chatted virtually with an author for the first time in a Children's program at Kalamazoo Public Library! It was awesome! Sara Pennypacker, writes the Clementine books, in addition to many other wonderful books for young readers. She was gracious enough to talk with us virtually through the website Skype. Our new book club for 1-3 graders and their parents were the lucky group who got to speak with her and it was a highlight of my week and one of the coolest things I've done in a long time. We could all see Sara on the big screen from her home and she could see the group of 37 kids and their parents, eager to talk with her about Clementine and writing.
To prepare for the visit, the group discussed which questions to ask Sara. Some of my favorites were "What's "Rutabega's" real name?" and "How did you come up with the idea for Clementine?" We asked a few questions as a group and then individual children spoke directly to Sara via the microphone and laptop. I think everyone who wanted to was able to ask a question and Sara gave thoughtful and sometimes hilarious answers. She told the kids that paying attention to all kinds of things in their life will give them great ideas for stories. She encouraged us all to really listen to the children in our lives and to give them the gift of our undivided attention on a regular basis. No question was too small or too often asked for Sara as she patiently chatted with us about life, writing, being a kid, and parenting. I think we all learned something different from her visit!
We hope to continue to meet with authors virtually at KPL programs! It's a great way to connect with authors and perhaps bring more to Kalamazoo than we otherwise could. The next chance to participate in a virtual author visit will be October 18,when Kazu Kibuishi, author of the very popular Amulet series "visits" the Van Deusen room!
Every Wednesday at the Oshtemo Branch Library we partner with Connie Koening, an experienced Registered Nurse and Coordinator of Bronson Family Centered Education, from Bronson Hospital. Under Connie’s guidance, we host 2 programs – Toddler Talk on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 to 12:00 and Baby Talk from 1:30 to 3:30. Programs are designed to gather Moms, Dads, and interested adult caregivers and their children for good old fashioned play. Ms Koning facilitates discussions among the adults while the toddlers play with puppets, puzzles and look at books. Once a month, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, I present a storytime planned especially for toddlers. I share stories, finger plays and action movements with the families.
Baby Talk meets weekly from 1:30 to 3:30 every Wednesday as well. We invite families with babies up to one year old to join Connie to network with other Moms and share the joys and trials of caring for a new baby. Again storytimes are offered on the third Wednesday of the month.
Come join us for some good old fashioned fun!
Storytimes at Oshtemo Branch Library
On a Tuesday evening in January the Alma Powell Branch had its first Urban Fiction book discussion. The group was totally geeked about Ashley and Jaquavis’ book The Trophy Wife. It was generally agreed upon that it was a love story full of mystery and intrigue.
On March 27 we will be diving into our next book Gunz and Roses by Keisha Ervin.
Please join us at 6:00 for good discussion, fellowship and refreshments.
Urban Fiction Book Group
Over the past few weeks Kalamazoo Public Library hosted two programs focused on eBooks. The first program, held at the Oshtemo branch, gave patrons an opportunity to see and touch various types of eReaders, including Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and Apple's iPad. The second program, held at the Central library, showed patrons how to download library eBooks to their eReader.
In case you missed them the first time around, we're holding both of these programs again in January. The hands-on eReader program will be at the Central library on Thursday, January 5 at 6:30. The eBook downloading how-to program will be at the Oshtemo branch on Tuesday, January 10 at 6:00.
If you'd like some one-on-one assistance with the downloading process, stop by the eBook Help Desk at the Central library.
While anyone may attend these programs, please be aware that KPL's eBooks are available only to KPL Resident Area borrowers.
On December 13th we're having our second Pizza & Pages book discussion at Powell. We had 12 girls to sign up and read a book called Prime Choice. Prime Choice is the first edition in a teen series by Stephanie Perry Moore. In the Perry Skky Jr. Series author Stephanie Perry Moore is writing from a male perspective, so even though a bunch of girls signed up for it, young men might find this series interesting, too. We’ve heard from the young ladies who've read the book that they loved it.
We estimate close to 1,000 attended the “Banned Books Art Hop and Read Out” here on Friday evening!
If you attended, you saw the wide array of artistic interpretations of the six banned or challenged books and heard emotional readings from all six of them. I heard several attendees whisper that they were surprised at the books, surprised that someone in some community had challenged that particular book.
Banned Books Art Contest Winners
- Overall Senior Winner ($1000 – Randal Brumitt, “The Hope List”
- Overall Junior Winner ($150) – Hannah Higgins, “Huck Finn”
- 1st Runner-Up Junior Winner ($100) – Maryangela Thornton, “Stay Alive”
- 2nd Runner-Up Junior Winner ($50) – Maureen Reed, “Huck & Jim”
- Honorable Mention Senior (TIE)
– Cathy Germay, “No Nigger”
– Kaitlynn Radabaugh, “Stand Up”
- Honorable Mention Junior – Essence Cline Coe, “The Good Life”
- People’s Choice Senior – Cathy Germay, “No Nigger”
- People’s Choice Junior – Maureen Reed, “Huck & Jim”
The winners are listed on our website, the books are available in our collection... they aren’t banned in Kalamazoo.
This annual event gives us pause to celebrate the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.
Author Deborah Ann Percy reads from “Hunger Games” during the Banned Books Art Hop and Read Out.
Recently at the Alma Powell Branch we did a teen program called Pizza and Pages. We read and discussed the book Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson and I bet everyone knows what we did with the pizza part of Pizza and Pages. The book was a great pick for our first book discussion. It was a 117 page easy read. It was thought provoking and infectious. Once we started reading it was hard to put down. What really surprised me, though, was that it was a time warp; it could’ve been any generation or any war era. Angela Johnson achieved what all great artists try to achieve. She filled our minds with questions. Who was Alice? Was Sweet a girl or a boy? Which war time was it? And lots more!
Everyone is looking forward to Powell’s next Pizza and Pages!
On July 6, the Kalamazoo Public Library was honored to host the World Premiere of author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s newest novel Once Upon A River. The novel that has been listed by NPR, CNN, Newsweek and The Daily Beast as being a “must read” and essential summer novel. These accolades should not lead you to believe it is a beach read because it has been earning critical praise from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Detroit Free Press, and the Wall Street Journal. Recently the Washington Post critic Ron Charles wrote, “The wonder of Once Upon a River is how fresh and weathered it seems at the same time. Ardently turning these pages, I felt as though I’d been waiting for this book and yet somehow already knew it. After her critically acclaimed collection of short stories, American Salvage, Bonnie Jo Campbell has built her new novel like a modern-day craftsman from the old timbers of our national myths about loners living off the land, rugged tales as perilous as they are alluring. Without sacrificing any of its originality, this story comes bearing the saw marks of classic American literature, the rough-hewn sister of The Leatherstocking Tales, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Walden.”
After Bonnie acknowledged many of the people in the audience who contributed to the book in some way or another, the evening started with a reading of the first chapter which introduced the main protagonist of the novel, Margo. She is a character who possesses a tremendous amount of spirit and adventure that can only be found in the citizens of southwest Michigan. The reading was followed up with an informative and entertaining Q&A. Bonnie answered a variety of questions about the writing process as well as inspiration for the book. The over 160 in the crowd were treated to an education!
Most in the crowd agree that Once Upon A River deserves similar, if not more accolades than her previous book the National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage. If this novel is not on multiple “Best of 2011” lists I will be shocked! I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Once Upon A River in the mail a few months ago. After reading the first 50 pages, I turned to my wife and stated that it was the best books I had read in years. I then proceeded to neglect my family and friends until I finished the book. Check out a copy or place one on hold, but be sure to prepare your family for your absence because you will be floating down the river lost in an amazing book.
Bonnie Jo Campbell @ KPL
Kalamazoo Public Library was very pleased to host illustrator Kim Shaw in an Anti Bullying Art Workshop. Kim presented her newest book, The Juice Box Bully, and then led a lively discussion on bullies and friendship. It was clear from the response of the school aged and adult audience that the topic is more timely than ever.
Kim then led an interactive drawing workshop wherein everyone had the opportunity to learn and practice some great drawing skills. Kids especially enjoyed this part - essentially a a small intro to drawing class for nearly fifty! Lots of nice drawings emerged from the Van Deusen room.
Kim created the art for The Juice Box Bully based on Kalamazoo's Woodward School for Technology and Research. Listen to Kim discuss how that real-life school influenced her illustrations.
Anti Bully Art Workshop
The Friends held a very successful two day sale at the Oshtemo Branch Library earlier this month. Starting Friday morning, before Oshtemo opened, eager book buyers lined up for the chance to peruse the tables loaded with all sorts of great finds. Books were being sold for $.50 or 3 for $1.00. According to Carol Manstrom, Bookstore Coordinator, many books were indeed sold. Carol calculates 5,700 books were purchased during the 2 day sale!
Many thanks go to Carol and her crew of volunteers who moved, arranged and rearranged, and sold the many volumes of books. They are so good at what they do best – supporting the Kalamazoo Public Library.
Please remember that the Friends have a continuous book sale at their store located on the lower level of the Central Library.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
What a great time was had by all when Jim Gill came to the Van Deusen Auditorium! Jim performed audience favorites while children and families clapped, danced, and sang along. When he presented his new picture book, A Soup Opera, the whole audience had the chance to be opera singers complete with sound effects and a musical soundtrack.
Jim Gill leaves people feeling like they attended something more than a concert. With wordplay and movement opportunities, Jim leads families in playing together with music and movement. He has a unique ability to get everyone in the room participating in songs and musical movement games. Videos of more concerts at KPL are available in the Live Concert Archive.
Take a look at upcoming events for children and families at the KPL children's program calendar.
Jim Gill Family Room Concert
Sid “The Rock” Ellis was at the Alma Powell Branch on Tuesday, February 22 and he was phenomenal! Everyone enjoyed his storytelling and puppetry. His puppet show enthralled the kids. And young and old were entertained by his Anansi folktales. The Anansi, the spider, folktales originated in West Africa. Anansi is a rascally spider that is devious and wise. He spends his time weaving ways to get out of work or take advantage of something or someone. These ancestral tales go way back and are still shared around the campfire.
Thanks, Sid, for sharing your time and outstanding talent with us.
Sid “The Rock” Ellis
This past week author Cynthia Leitich Smith visited Kalamazoo for a few days. While here she visited with students at Woods Lake and Northglade elementary schools and with a group of teens at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. On Friday, she was the keynote speaker for KPL’s annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar. The theme was “Crossing Borders” and all of the speakers addressed the idea that books for kids and teens help them understand, appreciate, and relate to others in their diverse communities, despite a wide variety of differences and borders.
Other speakers at the seminar were Beth Amidon and Maria Perez-Stable from Western Michigan University, Gillian Engberg, from the American Library Association’s “Booklist” journal, and Debbie Reese from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The seminar was wonderful . . . with much thoughtful discussion about books and kids and reading!
After the visit to Kalamazoo, both Cynthia and Debbie posted blogs on their websites: www.cynthialeitichsmith.com and www.americanindiansinchildrensliterature.net/.
We had a great time last week with this group of very talented writers and scholars. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list for information about next November’s seminar, contact Mary Knowles. See more photos of the 2010 Youth Literature Seminar on KPL’s Flickr photostream.
What a great Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros here at the library! Acclaimed bilingual author Pat Mora, who has written books for children, teens and adults, founded Día to nurture bookjoy—delight in the magic of words and a passion for reading. On Saturday, April 24th, Fantasía Ballet Folklórico performed several traditional dances and students from El Sol School performed songs and a readers’ theatre piece. All children who attended received a special prize and a book to keep. Next time you come to the Central Library, take a look at the posters created by El Sol students for Día. You can see them on display as you pass into the Children’s Room.
Día de los Niños
On February 24th, kids from the Boys and Girls Club, and other families, joined us at the Alma Powell Branch for a Jumping the Broom ceremony.
Jumping the Broom was a marriage practice used by couples during slavery. Many times the slaves’ owners would not give permission for couples to wed. Jumping the Broom became a practice that allowed couples to unite without their owners’ knowledge. Today, this tradition has become popular as a cultural heritage ceremony.
During our event the kids took turns reading from the book Jumping the Broom written by Courtni Wright. This story is about a young slave girl, Lettie, whose sister, Tillie, is planning a Jumping the Broom ceremony. Courtni Wright tells how slave families worked together to prepare for the ceremony. The women spent their days working on a quilt to keep the young couple warm. They prepared food for the ceremony. The men built furniture and caught fish to salt for the winter. Everyone pitched in.
At our event Erika and Hari dressed the part of a couple in a pretend ceremony; we decorated miniature brooms, ate homemade wedding cake and drank homemade Jamaican-style ginger soda. We talked about other ceremonies and the quilt making custom.
Thanks to the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo we had a fantastic quilt display exhibited in the Barnabee Gallery! These quilts were done by a group of African American women of Southwest Michigan. It brought the Barnabee Gallery alive with African American heritage and history.
Harriette Cole’s book Jumping the broom: The African-American Wedding Planner is not only historical but is a modern-day guide for couples wanting to tie the knot. Ms. Cole offers anecdotes, traditions and choices for blending today’s culture with elements of the past.
Jumping the Broom
The 2010 Winter Olympics begin this Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia and I for one can’t wait. Although the summer games include my favorite sport by far, there is just something about the winter Olympics that feels somehow more pure and true to the spirit of the Olympics (not too many Skeleton racers are being offered million dollar sponsorship deals).
KPL wishes to help keep the Olympic flame stoked with a display of Olympics related books in the rotunda at the central library, along with links to all things sports (including the Olympics) in our Sports Topic Guide. Citius, Altius, Fortius!
Topic Guide: Sports