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Monday, May 4, 2015

The Eiffel Tower

Bonjour!  Bienvenue á la tour Eiffel.  I can just imagine hearing those words as I gaze up at the wonder of the 126-year-old structure known as The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.  The tower is named after its creator, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel who built it in 1889 as the entrance arch to the World’s Fair.  Little did he know that this tower would become a cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures on Earth.  It’s included in books like The Magic Tree House:  Night of the new Magicians by Mary Pope Osbourne and in movies like the Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen title, Passport to Paris.   

The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and welcomes almost 7 million visitors a year (75% of the visitors are from another country) making it the most visited monument that you have to pay for in the world.  It is as high as an 81-story building and has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels.  My stomach is starting to rumble at the thought of French food!  And I don’t mean French fries!  The third level is the observatory platform which is 906 feet above the ground.  I hope you aren’t scared of heights!   If you want some great exercise to burn off the calories from the delicious food, you can climb down the 300 stairs from the first level to the ground.  

During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world.  It held that title for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930.  But the tower could not be undone and added an aerial atop the tower in 1957, making it 17 feet taller than the Chrysler Building.  Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when its 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but luckily it was saved due to its value as an antenna for radio transmissions.  I cannot imagine a Paris without it!

So if you’d like to learn about the Eiffel Tower and more about Paris, France and you can’t afford the trip there, the library is quick way to immerse yourself in the culture that is France.  If you love architecture and creating your own buildings with blocks or Legos or simply drawing them, there are lots of books on the subject on our shelves just waiting for you to take them on a trip to your home.  So I bid you adieu until the next time!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A day for a famous mother

“Baa, Baa, black sheep, have you any wool?  Yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full.  One for the master, and one for the dame, and one for the little boy who lived down the lane.”  I can still hear my grandmother singing this Mother Goose nursery rhyme to me when I was little.  May 1st is the day we celebrate Mother Goose.  Did you know that Mother Goose was probably more than one person?  There are many rumors about who “she” might have been, like Queen Bertha of France who had one foot larger than the other and tended to waddle like a goose.  However it’s more likely the rhymes and fairy tales were written by numerous authors, both men and women.   The first published Mother Goose nursery rhymes appeared in England in 1781, but they were passed around for hundreds of years by word of mouth.  The library has a whole series of Mother Goose rhymes for you to enjoy.

Derrick Rose caught reading.

May is also Get Caught Reading month, a nationwide campaign to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read.  Reading Mother Goose rhymes as well as books and magazines actually stimulates a child’s brain to grow.   Reading to children gives them a huge advantage when they start school.  I know I always like my brain stimulated with a good book!  You can take advantage of our wonderful Youth Services librarians and be part of their story times during the summer.  Check out our library calendar for days and times.

There are so many materials to “Get Caught Reading” at the library.  You might catch me reading a new 2016 Monarch, Bluestem or Caudill nominee.  Plus we have so many cool animal books and biographies about famous people.  There are a ton of amazing books to read in Youth Services, sometimes I just want to curl up in a comfy chair and read the day away!  I’d love to catch you reading in the library!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Celebrate....Plant a Tree

On April 22, a humongous celebration is going to take place with one billion people from 180 countries around the world taking part in it.  No, it's not my birthday.  It's Earth Day!  The Earth is a gigantic place, having a diameter of 7,926 miles and seventy-one percent of it's surface covered by water with the remainder being land surface.  It's important for us all to make sure we are doing our best to take care of the Earth so that it will continue to provide for generations to come.  That's why back in 1970, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and eco-activist Dennis Hayes organized the first Earth Day.  As a result, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed at the end of 1970.  The EPA has enacted many laws to help our environment, including the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

So what can I do to help the Earth you ask?  You can start by making sure your family is recycling.  If everyone in the United States recycled their newspapers, the lives of 41,000 trees would be spared.  Did you know that one SINGLE tree can detoxify the air of up to 60 pounds of pollutants?

Which makes me think of Arbor Day on April 24th. Let me give you a quick language lesson; Arbor in Latin means "Tree Day."  In 1872, J. Sterling Morton, the Secretary of Agriculture to President Cleveland, created this environmental holiday where citizens are encouraged to plant trees and care for the already existing ones.  During the first Arbor Day, it is estimated that one million trees were planted on that single day!  "Plant Trees" was the Morton's family motto.  The legacy of the Morton family remains in Lisle, Illinois where their estate was turned into The Morton Arboretum.  You totally need to check this place out and take a quiet walk on the 16 miles of hiking trails through the woods.  It's an oasis of magnificent trees and beautiful landscapes.

So celebrate this beautiful planet we live on.  If you see some liter as you are out for a walk, pick it up and place it in a garbage can or a recycle bin.  Spring is a great time to plant a tree or enjoy the beauty of nature by checking out a Museum Pass for Cantigny Park in Wheaton or the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe.

Earth Day books
Tree books

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Oh so much to celebrate

Oh the library....I have written many a time about my love of the library.  It is a place of light and hope, full of wonder and imagination.  I couldn't think of a better place to spend an afternoon - browsing the shelves, looking for a new book to read.  And now it is your turn to celebrate the library since it is National Library Week from April 12-18!  Come on in and show us your support by checking out some books, movies, games and more.

I have a great idea - there are a number of fabulous books that take Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.  Could you imagine being allowed to stay in the library overnight?  What would happen?  Do you think the characters from the books spring to life?  In this book, a group of kids get to see just what happens in a brand new library overnight.  You can read a review of the book here.

Now, while you're here at the library basking in the rays of book inspiration, you should check out our poetry section as well.  It just so happens to be National Poetry Month in April, so why not celebrate National Library Week and National Poetry Month at the same time?!?  Both events are a great reason to visit the library.  So come on in - we are waiting for you!

Picture Books about the Library
Fiction Books about the Library
Poetry Books

Monday, April 6, 2015

Get Ready to Rumble

My to-read pile reaches the sky!
So the biggest battle that I have to deal with is which book to read next.  I have a huge stack of books just waiting patiently to be read.  When I finish a book, then I have to face the stack - do I feel like a fantasy novel, a mystery, some non-fiction, a fairy tale?  Oh the list goes on and on, and everyday a battle is fought over which one story I will pick.

So, as you can see, my biggest battles are really pretty small.  Nothing life shattering or history changing comes from these mini wars in my mind.  But I am a very lucky person.  People throughout history have had to fight in real battles, and these battles are parts of war that change history forever.  In just these next few days, wars were won and lost.  You see, on April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I, and on April 9, 1865, after fighting for years in the Civil War, Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant.  Now, we have books galore on both World War I and the Civil War.  I think one of the more interesting ways to look at these wars is to compare the two.  Pick up some books about both wars, and then compare weapons, battle strategy, individual generals and other well-known figures, and how these wars influenced life at home in the United States.

And if you're not up for that, then just pick out two or three books in the same genre and stage a battle - who will win?  You could do the classics - The Narnia series vs. The Hobbit.  Or you could try reading all the same author for the best book - Matilda vs. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vs. The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  You set up the battles and see who wins the wars.

World War I books
Civil War books

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Once upon a time...

Be still my heart....chocolate!
So besides history...and let's be honest - chocolate...fairy tales are seriously one of my favorite topics.  I could read fairy and folk tales for days and wouldn't tire.  I could talk endlessly about all of the different variations and my favorites.  The art of the picture book versions are usually magical and beautiful.  And I love how each tale, short in length, can keep you thinking and feeling the story long after it is finished.  I truly believe that many people miss out on fairy and folk tales these days.  Kids are busy reading new books, and many adults think they are just too old and past the point of finding interest in these old yarns.

Doesn't this image just make you feel magical?
Folk and fairy tales are really quite mystical if you give them a chance.  They have always captured my imagination - far off places with magical beings that could change the world with a small spell or snap of fingers or a flick of the wand.  I believe part of me enjoys the history behind the tales as well - was it a cautionary tale to stay out of the forests?  Was it a witty tale to lighten the mood at night when darkness swept in?  Or was it a tale just passed down from father to son, mother to daughter for years upon years?

Anyway, I being all of this fairy tale business up because it is Hans Christian Andersen's 210th birthday on April 2nd.  Andersen wrote some of the most famous of fairy tales including "The Little Mermaid", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Emperor's New Clothes", and "The Snow Queen."  So, if you've watched Frozen lately, you can thank Andersen for that st
Hans in bronze
ory idea.  So, if you are looking for something to do, why not stop on in at the Roselle Public Library and pick up some of Andersen's stories?  Take a movie or two while you're at it that is based on his fabulous tales.  You may just open a whole new world of imagination for yourself and your family by reading just a couple folk and fairy tales.  Oh, and before you go, I have one more suggestion.  Eat chocolate while reading fairy tales - nothing better!

Hans Christian Andersen books
Fairy Tales
Folk Tales

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Great Outdoors

Psst...I don't think Seward was a fool, do you?
So as you may know, I do love me some good old history.  So today's step back in time is all the way back to 1867.  Any guesses what happened in 1867?  I am sure a ton of things happened that year, but the event I am talking about is Alaska being purchased from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867.  So before that date, Alaska was part of Russia!  Crazy, right?  Secretary of State, William H. Seward, purchased Alaska for $7.2 million.  Now, back at that time, most of Alaska was unexplored - no one really knew what was in Alaska or what the land had to offer, so many called the deal "Seward's folly."  Folly means foolishness, so many thought Seward was a fool for buying Alaska.

So what do you think?  Was Seward foolish?  Alaska increased U.S. property by nearly 20% since it
Just makes you want to get outside, huh?
is so large.  It is actually the largest state in the United States.  Gold was discovered there in the 1880's and 1890's.  Tall mountains, shimmering lakes, thick forests, and wild animals are abundant in Alaska.  Really, Alaska is a place of adventure and exploration.  I would love to one day travel there, but for now, I must settle with reading about all the wonders Alaska has to offer.  And guess what - we have a whole bunch of books on the state here at the Roselle Public Library, so I can read my little heart out.  Once I am done reading, I am heading out the front door and going exploring.  You never know what you might find.

Books about Alaska
Books on exploring

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