Saturday, January 28, 2006


I still remember the physical shock I felt 20 years ago when I watched the explosion of the spacecraft Challenger on TV. All of America hoped against hope that the astronauts had somehow jettisoned in time, or that their space suits would have miraculously protected them--but it was not to be. It was a wake-up call to all of us that the "routine" space missions were, in fact, still very dangerous. The NASA site for the Challenger STS 51-L Accident has more information. Several memorials have been established in honor of the 7 astronauts; one is at Arlington National Cemetery and another is at the New Mexico Museum of Space History. There is also one on Mars.

Monday, January 23, 2006


The winners and honor books for the Newbery and Caldecott Awards were announced today at the ALA Midwinter meeting in San Antonio. The Newbery Award winner is Lynne Rae Perkins for her book, Criss Cross (NEW YA PER). The Caldecott Award winner is Chris Raschka for his book The Hello, Goodbye Window (E RAS).

The Newbery Honor Books are:
Whittington by Alan Armstrong (NEW J ARM)
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (J 943.086 BAR)
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (NEW YA HAL)
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson (NEW J WOO) [in processing]

The Caldecott Honor books are:
Rosa illustrated by Bryan Collie (NEW J 323.092 GIO)
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth (E MUT)
Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman (NEW J PRI) (NEW J 797.51 PRI)
Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems illustrated by Beckie Prange (J 811.54 SID)

[via h20boro Public Library Blog]

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

BEST OF ........

One of the displays currently in Adult Services at the the Elk Grove Library presents the Best Books of 2005. Amazon has several Editors' Picks lists of Best Books, plus some in genres. Metacritic lists the Best Reviewed Books of 2005. Several other book-related lists can be found at Book Standard's 200 Best Sellers, Publishers Weekly's list of the Books on the Best-Seller Lists the Longest in 2005, and Lists of the Bestsellers from 1900 through the 1990's, arranged by decades. The New York Times lists The Most Blogged about Books of 2005 with links to the postings. Time lists the 100 Best English Language Novels from 1923 to the Present.

Other Best of... lists can be found at Fimoculous--covering music, architecture, science, toys, and many more categories besides just books.
Some other Best... lists of other things include:
Favorite Fonts of 2005
Forbes Fictional 15--wealthy characters from books and elsewhere
Most Popular Toys of the Last Century--also from Forbes
PC World's 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years
Science's Most Beautiful Experiments of All Time
The Bloggies--the "Year's Best Weblogs" archive from the last 5 years [the 2006 winners will be announced this coming Friday, January 20]

Monday, January 16, 2006


Tuesday, January 17, marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin, printer, ambassador, inventor, Founding Father of the United States of America, and more. Boston-born, Ben Franklin's life spanned almost the entire 18th century, when America went from being a British colony to being an independent nation.

The Elk Grove Library has many books and videos about his life, his writings, and his scientific discoveries and inventions. Some of the more recent include:

Ben Franklin (2004) for the History Channel (NEW DVD Biography FRAN ) & (NEW VHS Biography FRAN) [still in processing]
Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America (2005) by Philip Dray (NEW 973.3092 DRA )
A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America (2005) by Stacy Schiff (NEW Large Print 327.7304 SCH) and (New Audiobook 327.7304 SCH)
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin (2004) by Gordon S. Wood (Biography FRA)

Displays containing many of the available materials on Ben Franklin can be found in both Adult and Youth services.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Depending on what day you start with, the Twelve Days of Christmas end tonight (Old Christmas Eve) or tomorrow (aka Little or Old Christmas or "The Feast of the Three Kings" or Epiphany). In many Hispanic countries this Feast Day is the day to receive gifts, rather than at Christmas. Some other international Twelfth Night customs include a cake with a good luck token inside.

Most of us, though, connect the Twelve Days of Christmas with the song. Recently, it has become a yearly tradition to figure out the actual cost of the gifts in the song according to current prices--it's usually more each year.

It's also a song that lends itself to humor, especially parodies. Some accessible online include:
The Australian 12 Days of Christmas
The Hawaiian 12 Days of Christmas
A Jakarta 12 Days of Christmas
Mid North Coast (Australia) 12 Days of Christmas--compiled from suggestions by listeners of the local radio station
Darwin, Australia 12 Days of Christmas--also listener suggestions
A Redneck 12 Days of Christmas
A Puppy's 12 Days of Christmas
A Guinea Pig's 12 Days of Christmas
7 Days of Flu
Alan Sherman's famous 12 Days of Christmas
A Post-Katrina 12 Days of Christmas

There are also a couple of "story" versions about the effect of the cumulative gifts on the recipient:
The Sara Truelove Letters
A Cajun 12 Days of Christmas

There are a few sites for children with games and color pages:
12 Days Christmas Village
DLTK Color Pages
Enchanted Learning 12 Days Rebus
12 Days Drag-n-Drop Game--relates to customs in other countries

The Youth Services Department at the Elk Grove Library has several picture books depicting variations on the basic "12 Days of Christmas" (as well as several straight-forward versions). Among them are:
The Twelve Days of Christmas Dogs by Carolyn Conahan
Twelve Days of Christmas Presents by Emily Bolam
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Feline Classic by Don Daily
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Song Rebus by Emily Bolam
A Bellbird in a Flame Tree: The Twelve Days of Christmas by Kilmeny Niland
Disney's Doug Twelve Days of Christmas by Linda K. Garvey
Twelve Lizards Leaping: A New Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Romero Stevens
Twelve Days by Gordon Snell
Blue's 12 Days of Christmas by Catherine Lukas
A Firefly in a Fir Tree Hilary Knight
My Christmas Safari Fran Manushkin

Most of these books are shelved in the Holiday section, not in the general Easy Books shelving area.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Happy New Year to everyone! New Year's Day is celebrated world-wide on January 1 by people who use the Gregorian Calendar. It's a centuries old traditon with many superstitions surrounding it. More information on this holiday can be found at Brownielocks. Links to more sites can be found at Holiday Smart and Yahoo Directory.

New Year's Day related games and activities for kids can be found at Billy Bear 4 Kids, Kids Domain Funschool Games, Primary Games, and

Some interesting quotes about New Year's Day can be found at Quote Garden