Resources for Homeschoolers

We’ve always had quite a few homeschool families in the Library District. Recently we have taken steps to update our collection of resources to help those families. Many of these newer titles might be interesting to other parents as well, so click on these links to get more information. We also have items on display at both the Aurora Public Library and the Dillsboro Public Library, including packets of information about some of our other educational resources.

  2 Homeschool Myths Debunked by Kent Larson  The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart  The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment

 Homeschoolers are Not Hermits by Kathy Oaks  Homeschooled & Headed for College by Denise Boiko  Homeschooling Gifted Kids by Cindy West

 The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise  This is My Home, This is My School by Jonathan Bean  Unschooled by Kerry McDonald

As always, we’re happy to request items from other libraries, if we don’t have exactly what you need. Just talk to a staff member, or click here to request an item through Inter-Library Loan.

The History of Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is a national, month-long observance of the often overlooked contributions of women in history and contemporary society. In the United States it is celebrated in March to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8th.  The first National Women’s History Month was celebrated in 1987, but it was celebrated by smaller communities long before then. The process took years of hard work and lobbying by women to gain the recognition they deserved.

In 1979, a fifteen-day conference co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence, the Women’s Action Alliance, and the Smithsonian Institution was held at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. The conference was organized by one of the professors at the college, Gerda Lerner. Her goal was to introduce female leaders with diverse backgrounds to the possibilities of women’s history. Lerner, along with historians Alice Kessler-Harris and Amy Swerdlow, challenged the participants to create one large group project. Their chosen project was to make the celebration of Women’s History Week, an event already celebrated by some schools, communities, and women’s organizations, a national event.

At the end of the conference, the women returned to their homes all across the country and began the campaign for a National Women’s History Week. They planned and scheduled publicly sponsored women’s history programs at both the local and national level. The women successfully lobbied for national recognition, and in February of 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week.

Subsequent presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March for the next several years. The popularity grew, and schools across the United States started their own local celebrations of Women’s History Week, and even expanding into the entire month of March. By 1986, fourteen states declared March as Women’s History Month, and finally, in 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as Women’s History Month nationally.

The National Women’s History Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and preserving women’s history, and a large contributor to the fight for a nationally recognized month, selects the yearly theme and honorees for Women’s History Month. The 2020 theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The theme honors women “from the original suffrage movement as well as 20th and 21st century women who have continued the struggle (fighting against poll taxes, literacy tests, voter roll purges, and other more contemporary forms of voter suppression) to ensure voting rights for all.” The 2020 honorees include Maria Teresa Kumar, Edith Mayo, Lucy Burns, Carrie Chapman Catt, and many other incredible women who have fought and continue to fight for voting rights for everyone. Click HERE for more information on this year’s theme and honorees.

You can learn more about women’s history, and celebrate Women’s History Month, by checking out our collection of books about women’s contributions to history and society! Click on any title to learn more!

Bold and Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to VoteSuffrage: Women's Long Battle for the VoteThe Encyclopedia of Women's History in America

Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists   Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One    D-Day Girls: The Untold Stories of the Female Spies Who Helped Win World War II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novels About Art or Artists

The books shown here provide an interesting twist on historical fiction by focusing on the creation of a well-known painting or on the life of an actual artist.

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Susan Vreeland is one of the best-known authors for this type of fiction. Her web page explains her love for art and contains her personal “Pledge to Art.

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant   A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline   The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen

Let your mind be immersed in another time and place while you learn about the inspiration behind these great masterpieces and artists.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier   The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein   Girl Reading by Katie Ward

If you have another favorite art-inspired novel, let us know!

Espionage Thrillers

There’s just nothing like a great spy novel to get your heart racing and the pages turning! Of course, the espionage genre is filled with unforgettable classics by authors like John Le Carre, Graham Greene, Frederick Forsyth and Robert Ludlum.  However, the authors writing spy novels today can hold their own with even the best of these well-known novelists. Check out these titles, all written in the last ten years. There’s a lot of variety in the settings, including World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and post 9/11. I hope you will find at least one new author to love.

The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer  Mission to Paris by Alan Furst  The Moroccan Girl by Charles Cummings

Moscow Sting by Ales Dryden  The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk  An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris

Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews  Red Star Falling by Brian Freemantle  Dragonfly by Leila Meacham

The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry  Too Bad to Die by Francine Mathews  The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard

Young Philby by Robert Littell  Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon  The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Let us know which spy is your favorite!

“Most spies were amateurs: frustrated revolutionaries of the left or right, people who wanted the imaginary glamour of espionage, greedy men or lovesick women or blackmail victims. The few professionals were very dangerous indeed; they were not merciful men.”
Ken Follett, Eye of the Needle

Together We Read

The Aurora Public Library District joins nearly 16,000 libraries and thousands of readers across the country in offering the first Together We Read: US digital book club selection. From February 19–March 4, Aurora Public Library District patrons can enjoy and discuss award-winning author Pat Simmons’ new Lean on Me romance e-book for free with no waitlists or holds. Readers can access the e-book with a valid library card by visiting https://iddc.overdrive.com/iddc-aurora/content or by downloading the Libby app, and then can participate in a discussion with other readers online.

Lean on Me tells the story of Tabitha Knicely, a woman overwhelmed with sorrow and exhaustion caring for her beloved great-aunt, whose dementia is getting worse. When her neighbor Marcus Whittington accuses Tabitha of elder neglect, he doesn’t realize how his threats to have Aunt Tweet taken away add to Tabitha’s pain. Then Marcus gets to know the exuberant elderly lady and sees up close how hard Tabitha is fighting to keep everything together. Tabitha finds herself leaning on Marcus more, and he’s becoming more than happy to share her burdens.

The Together We Read: US digital book club connects readers in America through public libraries with the same e-book at the same time. This two-week program only requires an Aurora Public Library District card  and PIN to get started.

The Struggle for Civil Rights

The fight for Civil Rights in America is a continuing struggle, but it’s often difficult to know how to discuss these issues with our children. Here are some resources from the Aurora Public Library District that can help you on that path. Click on each picture to see the full description of the book in our online catalog. Some of my choices are for young children and others are more appropriate for older students, but reading the descriptions or clicking on the “Reviews” link for that book will often show you a recommended age level.

The quotations on this blog post are all from the book Powerful Words: More than 200 Years of Extraordinary Writing by African-Americans.

Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson

 

 

“… however variable we may be in society or religion, however diversified in situation or colour, we are all of the same family…”        Benjamin Banneker in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1791

 

 

 

 

 

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells by Philip Dray

 

 

 

” The student of American sociology will find the year 1894 marked by a pronounced awakening of the public conscience to a system of anarchy and outlawry which has grown during a series of ten years to be so common, that scenes of unusual brutality failed to have any visible effect upon the humane sentiments of the people of our land.”

Ida B. Wells in A Red Record, 1895

 

 

 

Remember by Toni Morrison  A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson

“…the Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from according differential treatment to American children on the basis of their color or race.”   – Thurgood Marshall in Brown vs. Board of Education, 1953

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni   Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds

“I was determined to achieve the total freedom that our history lessons taught us we were entitled to, no matter what the sacrifice.”    – Rosa Parks in Rosa Parks: My Story

Don't Hold Me Back by Winfred Rembert   Spies of Mississippi by Rick Bowers

“My right and privilege to stand here before you has been won – won in my lifetime – by the blood and the sweat of the innocent.”    – Jesse Jackson, 1988

When Thunder Comes by J. Patrick Lewis Martin & Mahalia by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney

“Now, more than ever before, America is challenged to bring her noble dream into reality, and those who are working to implement the American dream are the true saviors of democracy.”   – Martin Luther King, 1961

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? by Chris Barton

 

 

 

“We are attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal.”   – Barbara Jordan, 1976

 

 

 

Most Beautiful Book Cover

In February, the Aurora Public Library District will be hosting our first ever Beautiful Book Cover contest. We’ve all had that experience of seeing an absolutely gorgeous book for the first time! Now’s your chance to vote on your favorite. Yes, this is extremely subjective, and the contestants were selected by a possibly biased staff member, but let’s all celebrate the creativity and artistic ability of cover designers.

Here’s how the contest works. Beginning on February 1st, displays will be up at all three Library buildings. You can only vote once! Just take a ballot and record your 1st and 2nd choices for Most Beautiful cover. There will also be a space to write in a choice for “Most Inviting” (like “Miss Congeniality”). “Most Inviting” is for the cover that makes you most likely to read the book. Write-in candidates are allowed. Voting will also be allowed through the Library Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eAPLD.org/

You can vote through Saturday, February 22nd and the winners will be announced on February 25th. Everyone who participates will also get a chance to enter a drawing to win a bit of library swag!

The City of Light

Are you ready for some adventure? Just sit back and get comfortable, because these books will whisk you away to the City of Light! Of course, the library has many books set in Paris. This is just a small selection to get you started; you can choose the one that seems the most interesting to you.

A Garden in Paris by Stephanie Grace Whitson  The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay  The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Good Thief's Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan  The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Paris was the Place by Susan Conley  The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell  The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

While you’re in the library, pick up one of our Paris-themed DVDs to set the stage.

Gigi DVD An American in Paris DVD Hugo DVD Midnight in Paris DVD

To learn more about the sights and neighborhoods of Paris, check out our newest Fodor’s guide or the non-fiction book Five Nights in Paris by John Baxter.

Fodor's Paris 2020  Five Nights in Paris by John Baxter

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.
Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.
Nothing is more sublime.”
Victor Hugo

Nic Bishop Animal Books

If you are an animal lover, you need to take a look at these astounding books by biologist and wildlife photographer Nic Bishop! These library books are shelved in the juvenile non-fiction area, but are truly great for all ages; you’re guaranteed to learn something new. Nic Bishop’s web page is also fascinating, with information about his travels, his books, and techniques he uses to set up his photographs.

Snakes by Nic Bishop Marsupials by Nic Bishop Spiders by Nic Bishop

Butterflies and Moths by Nic Bishop Lizards by Nic Bishop Big Cats by Nic Bishop

In addition to this series of book written and illustrated by Bishop, his photographs have also been used to illustrate many of the books in the Scientists in the Field series. His work has taken him to some of the most remote regions of the world, and Bishop describes each photographic subject as a whole new adventure requiring new knowledge, new techniques, and lots and lots of patience.

Chasing Cheetahs by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop Kakapo Rescue by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop

National Hot Tea Month

Well, I’m inspired to drink a cup of tea now that I know January is National Hot Tea Month!

Turn on the kettle, drop in the tea leaves and settle into one of Laura Childs’ cozy Tea Shop mysteries. The long-running series began with Death by Darjeeling and Gunpowder Green and continues through Broken Bone China, published in 2019.

Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs Broken Bone China by Laura Childs

You’ll also want to check out The Charms of Tea: Reminiscences and Recipes by Victoria magazine. The book includes information about serving tea, suggested menus and recipes, and charming tea passages from literary classics like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Don’t forget that the library also has copies of Tea Time magazine to turn to for inspiration!

The Charms of Tea: Reminiscences and Recipes   

For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose

 

 

 

Don’t worry if you’re more of a non-fiction reader! You can learn about how the English managed to smuggle tea out of China in For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose.

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure you include your children and grandchildren in a tea party this month, and share one of these children’s books with them.

Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham

 

 

 

 

Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham is a short chapter book with the delightful feel of a legend or fable.

 

 

 

 

Of course, there are also tea-themed books for the very youngest readers.

Tea Rex by Molly Idle

Fancy Nancy Tea Parties by Jane O'Connor

“Yes, that’s it!” said the Hatter with a sigh. “It’s always tea time.”

             – Lewis Carroll