Something…Wait, This Is Actually Something Nice and Hopeful!

All eyes to this lovely window of the Roslindale Public Library, which is currently tricked out with books and art projects about immigrants, refugees, and kids, thanks to my excellent sister and others, who helped set it up.


She was particularly taken with the enthusiastic drawing of macaroni and cheese in the lower left, created by an inspired young person who wanted to share the type of food available in her house (I guess).

Do I know why "Sponsored by RISE, Rosindale is For Everyone" is RISE and not RIFE? I do not. But I know something wonderful when I see it.

If you're looking for more books about refugees and immigrants for kids, we've gathered some here. Though heading back to the past century, with All of a Kind Family and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and other classics, are an excellent option as well.

I hope you are all somewhere nice and peaceful.

What’s Not There

I love libraries, I truly do—the massive and magnificent, and the small and endearing. But I just made a trip to our local library, a tiny place that went through years of being closed, and emerged from its "renovation" with handicapped-accessible bathrooms (hooray!) and approximately 1/3 fewer books (huh?).

I think the idea was to make the whole physical space less cramped, more available as a place for people to read, or research, or sleep (judging by the impressive snoring the guy upstairs was doing), but—.

But I miss the books. A friend of mine tells me that I just need to use it as a way station, and to request books online that I can pick up there, and I do that and all, but it sort of kills me. I was just there with Chestnut, and I was unable to get:

Watership Down

Clan of the Cave Bear

The World According to Garp

The Color Purple.

I mean—nothing by Alice Walker? I feel like all those kids I see hanging out there would go ga-ga for The Color Purple, and it kills me that it's not there to just pick up. I know that list is a bit like "hits from the 70s and 80s!" but…it's the library. Aren't they supposed to hold on to books?

I think about how much Chestnut would enjoy those books, how much she had a great time reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, and what a drag it is that there aren't more books just lying around. I know, I know—e-readers, contemporary YA, space concerns, the internet, etc etc—but I say to you (or to me, who is really saying all of this of course): It's propinquity! Being near tons and tons of different books makes it more likely that people will pick one up and just like Alice fall down the rabbit hole into another dimension.

I want there to be a lot of different dimensions for people to fall down, that's all. Or maybe I'm being unfair, and I want her to fall through a rabbit hole into 1979? Probably so.

At any rate, she is downstairs contentedly reading Terry Pratchett, and I am up here complaining on my keyboard, and we have a whole slew of books on request. I'll let you know how it works out.


The Library as Soul Restorative

We're going to take a moment to appreciate the excellence that is the Brooklyn Public Library (and, by extension, is really any public library). 

I was feeling cranky and hot. It's just my way. We were walking by the main branch, and Strider said, "Hey, should we maybe get a movie for tonight?"

"I can't," I said, in maybe not the nicest tone available. "I want to sit."

"Fine," say Aragorn and Chestnut. "We'll go in. You wait out here."

I sat on the low wall, by the foot fountains. I was sour. Hot. Bilious. But then—you guys, I was at the library! Here is what just happened to be next to me, at the library.

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Do you see how happy they are? Each with her respective book? And the daughter has a rainbow snowcone!

Not pictured: the group of Black Panthers (I think, young black men all dressed in black with black berets and a sense of great intensity and intention) (I tried, but my picture didn't come out). They were—of course!—also using the library.

Also not pictured: Every other kind of person in Brooklyn, also using the library.

And then, there are the aforementioned foot fountains. Like so:

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Do you have any idea of how awesome you can feel? No? Then try this, while observing a happy mother and daughter reading together. Notice every conceivable kind of Brooklyn person milling around the library, going in and out, with a crazy and unpredictable selection of books.

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Then go home (slowly, and in the shade, after drying off your foot, perhaps on a cotton skirt). Relax in the living room while Aragorn makes pizza on the grill. Read and read and read. Watch The Red Shoes. Remember that humanity can be very, very bad, but also sometimes OK. Repeat as necessary.

Books or Ice Cream? You Be the Judge

OK, you're being offered a choice between two outings: a (funded) visit to the library book sale, or a trip to the ice cream shop.

What do you do?

I know, I know—it depends on your mood. Or your circumstances (hungry? or bored?). Diana opted for book sale. Which seemed like an obvious and sensible choice to me. Until Chestnut gaped. And then I thought: huh. Maybe that's crazy?

Except that in the big picture, if you were (gasp) forced to live without one or the other, which would you jettison? Ice cream, right? Not even close.

But that's thinking about your whole life. I kept trying to change the time frame to figure out when ice cream could win. A day without books or ice cream? A week? A month?

Is ice cream only going to win on a very hot afternoon?

Coming soon—the exciting list of What We Bought.

The Lost World

We went on vacation. Could you tell? The posts seem to have slowed a bit.

I've gone on about vacation libraries before here, but I must say, this time I was staggered by our vacation library in a particular way. Because the librarian said, "We don't have any new Young Adult, well, because there are no young adults here. There just…aren't any. And I'm sorry to say that a lot of our older patrons seem to have passed on."


So what do they have? They have books from another time. Look at these spines.


It's like my kids get a chance to go to the library of my youth. I'm not really such a font person (can you tell?) but looking at the fonts brings me right back. I totally want to read One Thing for Sure. Or Time to Take Sides. Even the titles seem different.


I mean look at Secrets up there. Can't you imagine taking that out in 1978?

But don't take my word for it. Use actual documented proof.


That's right. The last time it was taken out was in August 14, 1974. And those early ones? The 1930s. And yes, the librarian who talks about how everyone is dead now stamps it with one of those little hand stamps. Did Chestnut think it was cool that someone had taken out the fairytale book she was reading in 1930? When they referred to August as AG?

What do you think?