Library Moments: Back to School

Image credit: LeftyLiz14 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Image credit: LeftyLiz14 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

Whether you are launching the school career of a little one, helping move an older child onto post secondary education, or anticipating some further learning yourself, this time of year often has us contemplating some aspect of “back to school.”

Today on Library Moments, Sherrill Sherwood, Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each talk about a book that discusses school at one point or another.

life is so goodSherrill Sherwood, Collections Development:Life is So Good is the true story of George Dawson, a slave’s grandson who went to school to learn how to read at the age of 98 and published his book when he was 102. At the time he wrote his book, his life spanned three centuries – from his birth in 1898 to the publication of his book in 2000.

George’s story sheds light on the dangers and difficulties of growing up as a black man in the South. The oldest of five children, George began to help on his father’s farm when he was 4 years old. At the age of 10, George witnessed the lynching of a seventeen year old friend who was falsely accused of raping a white woman. When he was 12, the family farm experienced trouble, making it necessary for George to work at a white man’s farm in order to support his family.

George’s life was full of hardship, danger, and injustice. Having lived into the 21st century, it might be expected that George would be full of anger and bitterness over how he was treated throughout his life. This is exactly what co-author Richard Glaubman expected to unearth when he approached George with the idea of writing an autobiography. Late in the book, Richard admits that he had to change the story he expected to write, “I had come to record a life of hardship and was not prepared to hear of gratitude. I lost my story and had to start over”.

Richard gets to the heart of George’s greatness when he asks him the following question, concerning George’s cup of hot chocolate. “Do you see that cup as half full or half empty?”

“I see it as being enough. So it’s just fine.” said George.

George Dawson died in 2001 at the age of 103.

monkey not ready for kindergartenErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Kindergarten is just a week away, but Monkey is not ready. Even though his older brother says that kindergarten is way better than preschool, Monkey is still afraid. What if his teacher doesn’t like him? What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if they don’t have red crayons?

In Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten a picture book by Marc Brown, Monkey goes through the process of getting ready for his very first day of school. He buys a new lunch box, and gets new sneakers with orange laces… but he’s still not ready. Even after playing school, and his brother teaching him about show and tell and using inside voices, Monkey still doesn’t feel ready. Kindergarten doesn’t seem so bad after going to the library and reading all the books about kindergarten… but he’s not ready yet. The big day is almost here… will Monkey EVER be ready? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

fangirlBessie: For Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series, a fictional series that emulates the Harry Potter series, when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

While Wren has mostly grown away from fandom, Cath can’t let go.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own for the first time, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who has never been by himself and might forget to eat.

The young adult novel Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell(trowel) is the painfully real story of the experience of being away from home for the first time and discovering who you really are all on your own.  

It’s hard to do new things, whether it be going to school for the first time or learning to cope away from what you have always known.  Today’s Library Moments is dedicated to all those taking a challenging step in their lives this week.  Good luck to you and thanks for listening here on 100.9 CanoeFM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.

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