Big Blue Marble Blog

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A neighborhood bookstore blog for Mt. Airy and beyond.
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Bookstore Lost and Found

Sun, 2017-03-19 10:09
Are you missing Various and Sundry Items?
Many many things get left behind at the store by happy shoppers! To make it easier to reunite Various and Sundry Items with Their People, we'll now be posting pictures here.

Missing something? Check here first. Except credit cards - we won't post pictures of those. You'll have call us. Like, you know, on an actual phone.

If one of these items is yours, stop in to claim it. We'll be more than happy to see it go back out of the store. Once something has been here a few months, we'll donate it.

In our stewardship as of 03/19/2017, all of which will be donated April 30th if not claimed, are:




















Categories: Bookstore Blogs

"Franklinstein" by Sue Landers

Tue, 2017-03-07 19:05
The March, 2017 Poetry Is Not a Luxury Book Club selection is Franklinstein by Susan LandersA place of good blocks and bad blocks and brick roads
and boxwoods. The site
of America’s first gingko tree.
The birthplace of pushpins and Louisa May Alcott.
A place of sparrows and spires and schist

Franklinstein is both poetry and literary nonfiction. Its hybrid poetry/prose genre tells the story of one Philadelphia neighborhood, Germantown—a historic, beloved place, wrestling with legacies of colonialism, racism, and capitalism. Drawing from interviews, historical research, and two divergent but quintessential American texts (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklinand Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans), Landers' Franklinstein is a monster readers have not encountered before.

"FRANKLINSTEIN is a church of stained glass truth- telling."—Yolanda Wisher

"In her study of Germantown, Landers derives a poetics of urban history, of being from, really from, a place—Philadelphia—that cuts itself into your skin."—Simone White Susan Landers on how this collection came to be

At the beginning of this writing I was reading. Reading two books I had never read before: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and The Making of Americans. And as I was reading, I thought: I should make a new book. A new book from pieces. A new book using only Ben’s words and Gertrude’s. And so I did that. For months. Cutting and pasting little pieces. To make a monster. And it was so boring.

It was so boring, my dead thing of parts.

Then the church I grew up in closed. The church where my mother and father were married. The church where they baptized their babies. A church in Philadelphia in the neighborhood where I grew up. A kind of rundown place. A place of row homes and vacants and schist.

And when I went there to see that place—the place that was with me from my very beginning—I thought, this will breathe life into my pieces. This will be the soul of my parents. I thought: if I could write the story of this place and its beginnings, this writing would be the right thing, a kind of living.

This is where my writing began. 
from An interview with Susan Landers in Tinge magazine:  My project started when I could no longer stand the fact that I hadn’t yet read Making of Americans (as a Stein fan) or The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (as a Philadelphian). So, I decided to spend 40 days of my 40th year reading them both and writing down lines that stood out to me — either musically or semantically.
from A review in FemLit Magazine:  In Franklinstein, Susan Landers tells the story of Germantown, a Philadelphia neighborhood. The mixed-genre volume starts as an elegy for a closing church in Germantown. It is at once an ode to this place and a critical scouring of how the history of such places are made.
PhillyVoice explores Germantown with Susan Landers:  It was right around this time, this church [St. Francis of Assisi] I had grown up in, in Germantown, was closing. And I remember appreciating it as a child and said ‘I want to see it before it becomes’ — what I said at the time —  ‘another abandoned building in a neighborhood of abandoned buildings.’ So I wanted to see it before it became this lost space. And when I went down to see it, I realized that interpretation of Germantown was totally wrong. It’s not a place of abandoned buildings, even though there are some, and I realized that Germantown, this place, was really complex. It wears all of its history on its sleeve. You hear the language of the Lenape in the Wissahickon and the street names are all [named after] these Revolutionary War generals. And there’s like an — it’ll be an 18th-century mansion next to a steak and cheese [shop] next to a factory from the industrial revolution. It’s just all [these sights] combined. All these layers.   theweof incense and boxwood and brickpride and bullets and prayerwisteria and helicopters and figsturtles and burkas and hacks.
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

A Brief List of Memorable Young Adult Series

Thu, 2017-02-23 18:17
I've been spending some time lately curled up with some of my favorite YA series, excellent rereads for comfort and inspiration.  Please see a list of some memorable series below, divided into loose categories.

Please email us to reserve a copy of any of these books!

Alternate History:
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld: World War I with hybrid Darwinist beasties and steam-powered war machines.
  • Finishing School (Etiquette & Espionage) by Gail Carriger: Victorian era with (well-mannered) vampires and werewolves.
  • Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede: Regency England with magic and chocolate.

Historical Fiction:
  • Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein: Young women flying and imprisoned during World War II.
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson: Slavery and loyalty during Revolutionary times.

Fantasy with Kingdom Intrigue:
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore: How to use one's power to help and not to hurt. The two following books (to read in either order, but Graceling first) have similar focus with different main characters.
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: How to survive in court as a secret half-dragon when one's existence is considered an abomination.
  • Provost's Dog/Beka Cooper (Terrier) by Tamora Pierce: How to be fair in one's work for the Provost's Guard and engage in only the right amount of corruption. Takes place 200 years before the Alanna books. (If you prefer espionage, try the Trickster series, about Alanna's daughter.)
  • The Queen's Thief (The Thief) by Megan Whalen Turner: Don't believe everything the narrator says. He's a thief, after all, and kind of sneaky.  5th book coming out in May!

Coming of Age:
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock: Learning to speak up about what one really wants.
  • Tiffany Aching (The Wee Free Men) by Terry Pratchett: Learning to be a witch, and how much of that is learning to be oneself.
  • Every Day and Another Day by David Levithan: Learning to navigate sustained human interaction when one wakes up in a different body every day.
  • Annals of the Western Shore (Gifts) by Ursula K. Le Guin: Similar to Graceling -- can one's power be used to create and not destroy? Also similar to Graceling (and to Le Guin's Earthsea series) in that the books focus on separate, though interlocking, stories.
Previously published in the January 2017 Big Blue YA Newsletter.  For links to recent YA newsletters, see August post "Young Adult Book Club Post-Book-Club Newsletters".
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Yolanda Wisher, "Monk Eats An Afro"

Tue, 2017-01-31 20:56

Poetry Is Not a Luxury Book Club
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 @ 7pm

Monk Eats an Afro by Yolanda Wisher

Yolanda's Philly launch party for Monk Eats an Afro at Big Blue Marble is legendary. The store was packed, the music went on for hours, the energy was through the roof and walls, and (we are booksellers after all) the sales were so busy Yolanda had to keep bringing more cases of books out of her car.

And that was before she was named Philadelphia's 3rd Poet Laureate!

Monk Eats an Afro is an extraordinary poetry collection, and Yolanda Wisher is an extraordinary poet. Not only talented, but outrageous, generous, inspired and driven to bring the gifts of poetry to everyone, everywhere.

Below you'll find a collection of resources to help you explore the book and the poet. Read up, because Yolanda will be visiting our book club as we discuss her book!

Cold Front Magazine, Best Poetry Books of 2014:
Yolanda Wisher’s Monk Eats an Afro is the most complete and perfectly constructed book of poems I read in 2014. Each poem seems built ideally unto itself and in the context of the full product. Every single note and line break is perfectly suited to the mood or condition of the poem, and she keeps our attention by fitting the entire manuscript with interludes–“Songs” that are deeply felt, that are deeply musical, and that read like standardsYolanda Wisher on finding out she was the next Philadelphia Poet Laureate in Philly Voice
 How did you react when you first heard the news that you’d be the next poet laureate?I danced to a Missy Elliott song on the third floor of my house.

 Philadelphia Neighborhoods, Interview with Yolanda Wisher
Poetry has always been a healing tool. I grew up in a house that was embroiled in some domestic violence and addiction and poetry was my outlet, so I knew what kind of space it was able to create. And I also knew what kind of dreams it could make for me.
So, as much as I can see that and connect with that in other people, regardless of age, I want to support it and guide it and create a space for it. Knowing that not everybody is going to want to be a professional poet, but the tools of poetry, expression, giving form to your emotions and your ideas, all of the little minute things about the craft that I learned as an undergraduate and graduate student can be boiled down to some way of connecting with people, some kind of human relationship.Poetry Society of America on Yolanda Wisher
Yolanda Wisher's debut collection of poems Monk Eats an Afro is blues: sorrow, soul, rhythm, breath. The poems in this collection coincide with italicized song lyrics (Wisher is a singer and musician, not just a poet). The narrator of these poems often speaks to the reader colloquially (recounting stories, images) then shape-shifting words, sounds, and meanings. "I be the ruby flo / I be the ruby flowin / that jewel / anciently / aggravatin / undulatin..." 
Poetry Foundation on Yolanda Wisher
Wisher’s poems are musical, playful, and brutal, and she infuses spoken language with blues-informed cadence to engage themes of intimacy, power, and identity. In a 2014 interview with Lynn Rosen for the Philadelphia City Paper, Wisher stated, “I definitely saw early on the job of the poet being [to create] a collective and collaborative experience. I love the solitary experience of writing and mulling over and reflecting on things. But something about the exchange, whether it’s through a reading or a workshop, … the communal experience of poetry really speaks to me.”
Publishers Weekly on Monk Eats an Afro
“You are Black/ and have a right to this// this be your fiddle/ claim it,” announces Wisher in her debut collection, a blend of beat and slam poetry, peppered with lullabies and ballads. For all of Wisher’s songsmithing, her poems are strongest for their dexterous mix of gall (“America, you beautiful suitor of indigenous bitches. I am a slaveship and you are a skyscraper”) and lyric restraint (“the trees/ were her lovers/ the wet earth/ her alibi/ she knew the way/ forward/ was going back/ and she gathered us up”).Hear Yolanda perform some of the poems from Monk Eats an Afro, including "Ruby Flo"


Categories: Bookstore Blogs

On Immigration and Refugees: Books for Kids and Teens

Tue, 2017-01-31 10:53
In the wake of the new president's unethical halt on immigration from select Muslim-majority countries, I am compiling some beautiful and inspiring books that focus, first, on exactly those populations -- Muslim people and/or refugees from the Middle East. They are joined by other books that focus on immigration and different cultures. This is not at all a comprehensive list; at the end, I'm including links to other, similar lists, and some further resources for understanding the issues.

Compiled by Jennifer Sheffield
latest update: 2/9/17

Picture books:

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammad; illustrated by Doug Chayka (2007)
Two kids meet in a refugee camp in Pakistan, each having acquired one of the same pair of shoes. Story of sharing and friendship.
Email us to order.

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Saved Jews During the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle; illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix (2009)
Detailed and gorgeously illustrated account, based on scant available research, of the ways the Muslim community of Paris were able to smuggle Jewish refugees out of the city during the Holocaust.
Email us to order.

Coming to America: A Muslim Family's Story by Bernard Wolf (2003)
Photo-essay about an immigrant family living in New York. Tells the story of their emigration from Egypt while focusing on a year in their life in the U.S.
Email us to order.

Migrant by José Manuel Mateo; illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro (2014)
This detailed fanfold book follows the journey of a kid and his family from Mexico to the United States, through both text in English and Spanish and a single connected narrative illustration.
Email us to order.

Sitti's Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye (1994)
A Palestinian-American child goes to meet her sitti, or grandmother, who lives halfway around the world.
Email us to order.

Yoko Learns to Read by Rosemary Wells (2012)
With only Japanese picture books at home, Yoko worries that she won't be able to learn to read English as soon as her classmates.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (2001)
Worried about not being accepted at her new school, Unhei announces she will choose a new name. A story of self-acceptance.
Email us to order.

My Dadima Wears a Sari by Kashmira Sheth (2007)
Rupa's grandmother tells wonderful stories about what a sari can do, and shows her the sari she wore to travel to America.
Email us to order.

We Came to America by Faith Ringgold (2016)
Vivid illustration of the diversity of peoples that make up this country. (Including those who were already here.)
Email us to order.

Chapter/Middle Grade books:

The Storyteller's Beads by Jane Kurtz (1998)
Two children, one Christian, one Jewish (and blind), learn to trust each other while fleeing the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2007)
A wordless, detailed, and surreal graphic novel of migration to a partly real, partly fantastical new world.
Email us to order.

The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow (2016)
A story of four kids from different social circles who together develop strange and awkward powers, including a kid who's been ostracized due to made-up fears about his Iranian parentage. Sequel coming in May!
Email us to order.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1989)
A Christian girl helps her Jewish friend's family to escape Denmark during the Holocaust. Based on true history: the Danish resistance managed to rescue nearly all of the Danish Jews.
Email us to order.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011)
A verse novel based on the author's experiences as a refugee in Alabama after fleeing the Fall of Saigon: at first speaking no English, and then struggling to find happiness in a new world.
Email us to order.

Young Adult:

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (2016)
Two teens, one a child of Korean immigrants and one trying to halt her whole family's imminent deportation to Jamaica, meet and fall for each other.
Email us to order.

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (2015)
Set in the 1930s in both the US and Ethiopia, a story of two kids of different races, raised as siblings after one of their mothers dies, learning to navigate both air flight in peacetime and wartime, and issues of race, gender, and parentage.
Email us to order.

This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barret Osborne (2016)
A nicely accessible history of immigration from the 1500s to almost-present, not shying away from the contradictions and cognitive dissonance that have followed that history over the centuries. Illustrated with photos and historical documents.
Email us to order.

More Young Adult: I also highlighted quite a few Young Adult books (and one for Middle Grade) on these topics in September's YA newsletter. Follow the link for descriptions of the following:

Highlighting: The World Trade Center attacks of 2001 and resulting xenophobia
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger (2009) Email to Order
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes (2016) Email to Order

Highlighting: Arabic/Muslim kids
Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye (1999) Email to Order
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (2013/2014) Email to Order

Highlighting: Immigration and refugees
Surviving Santiago by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (2015) Email to Order
Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña (2008) Email to Order
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate (2007) Email to Order
Outcasts United by Warren St. John (2009/2012) Email to Order

Additional lists and resources:

Books to Help Kids Understand What It’s Like to Be a Refugee by author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Young Adult and Middle Grade Reads from & about Countries from Trump’s Travel Ban by Kelly Jensen at Book Riot (2017)
I'm Your Neighbor Books, a searchable database of books portraying the contemporary immigrant and refugee experience.
Ten Middle Grade Books that Reflect the US Immigration Experience by librarian Natalie Dias Lorenzi (2012)
Children's Books about the Refugee/Immigrant Experience from Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS)
Contemporary Immigrant Experiences in Children’s Books from the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) of the American Library Association (2006)
Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff from Teaching Tolerance
Fact Sheet for Refugee Week 2016 from the British Red Cross
8 educational resources to better understand the refugee crisis from Amnesty International (2015)
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

"Look" by Solmaz Sharif

Tue, 2017-01-24 11:25
Let it matter what we call a thing
The Poetry is Not a Luxury Book Club January selection is Look by Solmaz Sharif. 

Look is an astonishing first book that asks us to see the ongoing costs of war as the unbearable losses of human lives and also the insidious abuses against our everyday speech. In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family’s and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare. Those repercussions echo into the present day, in the grief for those killed, in America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the discriminations endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter.

In Look, Sharif, who was born in Istanbul to Iranian parents who fled the country after the 1979 revolution, appropriates terms from the United States Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, which appear in small caps in a majority of Look’s poems. Through careful juxtaposition of military language designed to disguise and discount human life and of the lives of her family, Sharif makes private moments of everyday life precarious—a “thermal shadow” marks sexual intimacy deadly in “Look” and a “permanent echo” rebounds less divinely than ominously through the acoustically designed domes of Masjid-e Imam in “Break-Up.” In her most powerful political poems, among them “Safe House,” “Deception Story,” and the elegiac “Personal Effects,” the technique tears through the expected discourse put forth by the America government and media, forcing readers to confront the personal realities that grow out of seemingly distant policy decisions.


Below you'll find links to articles and review to help you more fully explore this amazing collection.


Look is:
A Finalist for the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry
One of The New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of 2016
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016
A Washington Post Best Poetry Collection of 2016
One of The New Yorker's Books We Loved in 2016
One of the San Francisco Chronicle's 100 Recommended Books of 2016 Click here for a video of Sharif reading from the collection at the 2016 National Book Awards  Click here to read the title poem "Look" on PEN America Solmaz Sharif in an interview with the National Book Award on who she wrote this book for:  I wrote Look for the dead. For the displaced. For myself and my own outrage and perceived powerlessness. For history, believing that somewhere in our literary record, this outrage, this grief, this Mustapha Mohammad Khalaf, 15 months old must be registered, that the history of the “Wars on Terror” should not be left to the generals and the embedded journalists. read more Lisa Higgs, in the Kenyon Review Online, writing about Sharif's use of "I" in the poems:Sharif’s use of first-person in her collection invites readers into points of view that have largely been ignored, with the “I’s” as likely to be an intelligence officer or a battlefield soldier as the poet herself. At first, the effect is disorienting—who is talking, and to whom? Is it the poet as herself or the poet as persona? Am I the intended “I” in these poems? read more
Brandon Amico in The Rumpus on the forms Sharif uses in the poems:
Formally, the poems in Look defy expectation, and in some cases easy categorization—indeed, it appears that a static and predictable form might be seen as a form of creative oppression (“What is fascism? / a student asked me … The sonnet, / I said” – from “Force Visibility”). The poems reflect and channel the energy of a speaker that is agitated, uncomfortable with the way the world is shaped around her, and is actively attempting to enact change. They shift between thin, enjambed columns and prose; they take the shape of definitions or short encyclopedia articles; some have lines that stretch or alternate between the page’s left and right margins, that braid narratives; others make ample use of white space, lists, indentations, even erasure. read more
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Community Organizing: Books for Troubled Times, Part 3

Fri, 2017-01-20 17:53
A particularly difficult day in difficult times. Here are some of the books people have recommended for action or comfort (or both!) during this inauguration day and a few previous resistance days.

from Lori Tharps:
Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families by Lori Tharps
"Explains so much about race and color in these troubled times."
The Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
"Will make you feel good."

from Gail Mershon:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
"Restores my faith in the goodness of people."

from Jes:
Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook by CrimethInc
"Direct action for everyone."
Alice's Restaurant Cookbook by Alice May Brock
"Cooking with friends makes everything better."

from a customer:
Dylan Thomas: Collected Poems by Dylan Thomas
"They just kind of cheer me up about life."

from staffer Jennifer Sheffield:
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
"It's important right now to know of so many women standing strong in their chosen occupations and to recognize the importance of science in our lives."

from Claudia Ginanni:
The Tea House Fire by Ellis Avery
"This wonderful novel asks important questions about the human cost of art."

from Anne Rubenstein:
Beyond a Boundary by C.L.R. James
"The relationship between the sport of cricket and anti-colonialism in the British Caribbean, beautifully written. How everyday life can get us out of this mess."

from staffer Mariga Temple-West:
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Evil is spreading over the land, but goodness and hope triumph!"
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Bookstore Bestsellers, 2016

Tue, 2017-01-17 11:33
Happy New Year! I'd like to present the annual list of Big Blue Marble bestsellers -- the top 25 books sold in 2016, and top 25 overall.

Please tell us in comments: What books have you read and loved over the past year?

Top 25 Bestsellers at Big Blue Marble in 2016:

1) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
2) Good Night Wissahickon Valley Park by Adam Gamble, Mark Jasper, and Scotti Mann (local setting)
3) My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
4) Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
5) Snape: A Definitive Reading by Lorrie Kim (local author)
6) The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
7) Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
8) Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury by Arnold Lobel
9) The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
10) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
11) Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families by Lori Tharps (local author)
12) Judenstaat by Simone Zelitch (local author)
13) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
14) The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
15) I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems
16) Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
17) Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson
18) The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow (local author)
19) El Deafo by Cece Bell
20) We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
21) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
22) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
23) Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
24) The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
25) Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Top 25 Bestsellers at Big Blue Marble to Date:

1) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
2) Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
3) Philadelphia Chickens by Sandra Boynton (onetime local author)
4) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
5) Body Trace by D.H. Dublin (local author)
6) Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
7) Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
8) Good Night Philadelphia by Adam Gamble and Cooper Kelly (local setting)
9) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
10) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
11) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
12) Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
13) The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
14) The First 1000 Days by Nikki McClure
15) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (somewhat local author)
16) There Is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems
17) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
18) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (companion book for the 2011 One Book, One Philadelphia program)
19) My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
20) Amulet 1: Stonekeeper by Kazi Kibuishi
21) The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
22) Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia by Abigail Perkiss (local author, local Mt. Airy setting!)
23) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
24) Wild by Cheryl Strayed
25) The Daring Book for Girls by Miriam Peskowitz (local author) and Andrea Buchanan

Check out our list of young adult bestsellers, posted in the January YA newsletter:
Big Blue YA News -- Series to Read and Reread, Store Bestsellers, and Activism!
And stay tuned for a list of top sellers from our 2016 events!

Happy reading for 2017!
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Zivia's Picks for December

Tue, 2016-12-20 19:33
The -Ologies books (Candlewick, $21.99-$24.99)
Everything from Alienology to Wizardology. They have a good feel to them, and I like that they're interactive and full of information.

Dungeons & Dragons materials
From Starter Sets ($19.99) to sets of dice ($5.00), from the Player's Handbook ($49.95) to DM screens ($14.95).

Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection (Scholastic, $35.96)
These are good both for learning about the game and as a reference for when you don't have everything in your head.

Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi, starting with Stonekeeper (Scholastic, $12.99)
These graphic novels have great illustrations!

Zivia Avelin, December 2016
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Nif's Five New Gifts from Continuum Games

Tue, 2016-12-20 13:51
Catan: Trade, Build, Settle ($49.99)
(aka Settlers of Catan) A game of cards, dice, and resources.

Mastermind ($15.99)
A game of guessing and logic, with colorful pegs. A bit like Battleship.

Rubik's Cube ($15.00)
Exactly what it sounds like.

Dolphin Magnetic Sculpture ($5.99)
Big magnetic base, many little metal dolphins to balance and do acrobatics on top.

Floating Color Timer/Liquid Layers ($4.99)
Kind of like an egg timer, only more fun, and with colored immiscible liquids instead of sand.

Jennifer Woodfin, December 2016
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Jen's Five New Books of Maps and Infographics

Sat, 2016-12-17 22:32
Best American Infographics 2016, edited by Gareth Cook (Mariner Books, $20)
Populations in war and peace, a periodic table of sweeteners, who's fighting whom in Syria, 163 years of Atlantic hurricanes, a literary road map. And so much more.

Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk: a Visual Guide by Josh Katz (Houghton Mifflin, $25)
Colorful dialect maps of many, many words and phrases. I was particularly pleased that after my first flip through the pages, I had gathered enough clues to conclude (correctly) that the author is from around here...

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton (Workman, $35)
Now I want to go to some pretty obscure places to see some pretty weird things...

The Way Things Work Now: From Levers to Lasers, Windmills to Wi-fi, a Visual Guide to the World of Machines by David MacAulay with Neil Ardley (HMH Books for Young Readers, $35)
Detailed and friendly diagrams of the way things work. I want to study it. Newly updated version!

Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future by Lauren Redniss (Random House, $35)
"...a spellbinding combination of storytelling, art, and science." -from the publisher's website

Jennifer Sheffield, December 2016
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Sarah's Seven Dystopian Novels We Might Soon Be Living In

Mon, 2016-12-05 21:52
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King (Little, Brown, $10.99)

Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle (HMH, $8.99)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, $10.99)

The Giver by Lois Lowry (Houghton Mifflin, $8.99)

Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos (HMH, $8.99)

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse, $11.99)

Matched by Ally Condie (Speak, $9.99)

Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, December 2016
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Community Organizing: Books for Troubled Times, Part 2

Sat, 2016-12-03 16:22
More book recommendations from our community. Over the three instances of On Fridays, We Fight Back!, people have been finding space, guidance, and company for the various actions we've taken -- calling representatives and other government officials, writing to electors, sending comfort to survivors of violence. Please come join us, Fridays between 2pm and 6pm!

from Lucas Jaeger:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
"It's a captivating tale that will keep you entranced for days."

from a customer:
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
"A nested series of six stories that will linger with you for years. I've never stopped thinking about it."

from Anndee Hochman:
Angels in America by Tony Kushner
"The Reagan years were no picnic either; Angels in America captures that time with ferocity and hope."

from staffer Mariga Temple-West:
A is for Atom: A Midcentury Alphabet by Greg Paprocki
"Humorous alphabet book with marvelous 'mid-century' illustrations, and so wonderfully inclusive!"

from a customer:
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
"Great book for young people."

from Hillary Kruger:
Delicious by Ruth Reichl
"A great escape into the world of food!"

from Paul Fitzpatrick:
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
"Frankl's philosophy is a survivalist philosophy. Despite staring into the face of evil itself, Frankl reminds us of the importance of meaning and maintaining our own personal freedom."

from Robert Bingham:
The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen
"'Money is a communal delusion.' (Comment I just overheard that is very relevant.)"

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Sheila's Five Escapist Books to Nurture Resistance in Hard Times

Fri, 2016-11-25 14:01

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, illustrations by Ana Juan (Square Fish, $7.99)

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Harper Teen, $10.99)

Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill, $11.99)

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit, $15.99)

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit, $16.00)

Sheila Avelin, November 2016
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Community Organizing: Practical Resources for the Post-Election Times

Wed, 2016-11-23 00:16

(If you know who created this image,
please let us know!)
Here is an attempt to organize a post compiling local and national information on different actions and such. It necessarily won't be complete, but if I could manage compiling papal visit logistics last year, this ought to be possible...

So. This is an enormous amount of information. Please take what you need, and if you feel overwhelmed by the enormity of wanting (or feeling expected) to do it all, know that any one thing you do will add to the whole. "You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it." - Talmud, Pirkei Avot

Note: Taking that quote for myself, I'm going to post what I have at this point, with further refinements in updates going forward. I think getting the information centralized and out there quickly is more important than what it looks like, and whether I have things complete or in the right order.

So please bear with me, and do check back.
Thank you.

compiled by Jennifer Sheffield, Web Manager
most recent update: 12/8/16
-----------

Contents:Note: Top level links should work now.


General
Twenty Lessons from the 20th Century
by Timothy Snyder, Housum Professor of History
Yale University

Similar clearinghouses of information:

Makeitrightphl.com is a local website offering all sorts of concrete ideas and actions to take post-election, in an interactive flow chart format. Significantly, it has sections for both "take action" and "take care".

"We're His Problem Now" Calling Sheet. This spreadsheet highlights certain specific issues, offers scripts for those and many others, and provides phone numbers -- including district phone numbers, which are more likely to be effective than DC numbers -- for Congress members.

Weekly Actions to Resist Trump: This website similarly offers highlighted actions, plus more actions if you want to keep going, in an interactive format instead of a spreadsheet. It includes phone numbers and scripts, plus a place to click that you've made each call, and they're tallying those numbers.

What to Do This Week -- Actions for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience. Here's another spreadsheet of actions, many with additional sources for fact-checking.

At the Store and Nearby
In the City

City of Philadelphia: Resources For Supporting Diversity And Inclusion - from Mayor Jim Kenney, 11/18/16

Big Blue Marble

We at the store, alongside our community, are reeling from the results of the election. We also know we have important resources here: books, writers, activists, and space. Workshops and conversations and organizing events are on their way -- check the events page of our website and our newsletters (go here to sign up) for forthcoming announcements.

If your group wants a space to meet and plan, or wants to provide training, organizing, or skill-sharing, please contact us! We have the third floor community room, which is open all day, and the performance space on the second floor available after hours.

On Fridays, We Fight Back:
Last Friday we began On Fridays, We Fight Back, a series of communal actions. More than 25 people joined us through the afternoon to make phone calls to protest the appointment of white supremacist Steve Bannon as White House advisor.
Friday actions will be ongoing. If you have ideas for actions, or workshops you'd like to offer, or ideas for authors or speakers, please contact us. We believe in the strength of our diversity and the possibilities of our voices.

Friday, November 18: Stop Bannon.
We called PA reps to thank them for statements or urge them to repudiate DT's appt of Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist
If you're on Facebook, check out the discussion in the 11/18 Facebook Event for various scripts that Elliott printed out for us to use.

Friday, November 25: Write to electors.
We'll write to members of the electoral college to encourage them to vote their consciences.
And we'll call to Get Out the Vote in Louisiana, where one senate seat still hangs in the balance.

Friday, December 2: Electors, HOC, and Standing Rock. (Also Sanctuary Cities, and the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act)
This week, we'll be focusing on the Electoral College, on pressuring the House Oversight Committee, and supporting the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.
If you're on Facebook, check out the discussion in the 12/2 Facebook Event for issues and various scripts that Elliott printed out for us to use.

Friday, December 9: Contacting the Electoral College, and Getting Out the Vote in LA.
This week, we'll write to members of the electoral college to encourage them to vote their consciences.
And we'll call to Get Out the Vote in Louisiana, where one senate seat still hangs in the balance.

Northwest Philly Sanctuary Project

"A call for artists, musicians, storytellers, community members, poets and anyone interested in community building to come and join Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) in partnership with Mt. Airy USA, Sarah Napolitan and Community Circle to collaborate on ideas for the NW Philadelphia Sanctuary Project, a project designed to bring the community together through artistic expression of positive messages to people in our community in a tumultuous time.

"The NWPSP is in the beginning stages of planning and devlopment, and is a project that will involve the fostering and cultivation of support, acceptance, and love for our community and its members through positive messages that the community makes through art, written expression, storytelling and poetry. The event will take place on December 11th from 1-5 p.m. in the brand new amazing space of the Philadelphia Immigrant Innovation Hub. The entrance is on the side on Westview Ave., in the basement of High Point Bulk Coffee Center."

Here is a link to a Facebook event for the first planning meeting, which already happened (11/21), but check it out for a detailed description of the project.

Appointments So Far
  • Chief Strategist and Counselor: Steve Bannon
  • Chief of Staff: Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus
  • Attorney General: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions
  • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo
  • White House National Security Adviser: Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn
Brief summaries of their experience, 11/18/16. (Caution: huge photographs.)
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
  • Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos
  • Health and Human Services Secretary: Georgia Rep. Tom Price
  • Transportation Secretary: former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao
  • Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin
  • Commerce Secretary: Wilbur Ross
  • Defense Secretary: Retired Gen. James Mattis
  • EPA Administrator: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary: Ben Carson
  • Homeland Security Secretary: Retired Gen. John Kelly
  • Labor Secretary: Andy Puzder
More brief experience listings, 11/30/16 (updated 12/8)

Steve Bannon

Facebook Initiative: Postcard Avalanche to Denounce Bannon (Saturday, Nov. 26, through Monday, Nov. 28)

6 Things You Can Do To Keep Steve Bannon Out Of The White House

Some Quick Actions

US Representative Lamar Smith, Chair of House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology - and climate change denier - has a one question survey on his website about congressional priorities for the year. Please select Other and write in "Mitigate climate change". His website is: lamarsmith.house.gov.

More to come.

Details on Some Issues

Contacting the Electoral College Before 12/19 Vote

There are several campaigns to ask electors from Trump-winning states to become "faithless" and to vote against Donald Trump.
- How to write to the Electoral College. This contains mail-merge letters to personalize (and edit, if preferred) and address labels to print. (Total cost for postage: $122, if you write to ALL of them. Also broken down by state.)
- And here are the (modified) PA address list and argument suggestions from last week's On Fridays, We Fight Back!

Huffington Post: 32 Nonpartisan, Non-Ideological Reasons The Electoral College Must Reject Trump
National Archives and Records: About the Electoral College
Atlantic column: The Electoral College Was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump From Being President

Voter Suppression, Gerrymandering, and Election Integrity

Update, 11/27: Wisconsin to Recount Ballots After Claims of Irregularities

Update, 11/25: Jill Stein's campaign for donations to request vote recounts has reached enough of their goal to request a recount in two (WI, PA) of three states (MI pending). If you live in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, you can also volunteer to monitor a recount, should they occur. For Pennsylvania, they're also requesting three people from each election district to submit the requests.

Update: Here are two articles suggesting that vote audit is possible (but only at the instigation of the candidates), two urging that vote audits become normal practice, and one saying that calling the DOJ will not change anything unless you have evidence of specific wrongdoing. (Hm. Do Voter ID laws count?)

Meanwhile: Federal Court: Wisconsin’s Republican-Drawn Redistricting Maps Are Unconstitutional

Donald Trump's Finances and the House Oversight Committee

"Please call the House Oversight Committee (202-225-5074) to support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump's financials and apparent conflicts of interest. They are absolutely tallying calls - the more they get, the more likely the Committee is to demand ALL of Trump’s financial information.
There’s not much time left, as they are out of the office soon for Thanksgiving. And after that, they’re going to make a decision.
NOW is your chance to make a difference. Please, do this ASAP. If you get a "mailbox is full" message, call back in a minute or so - that seems to be the default when lines are busy. If the voicemail is accepting messages, leave a message!"

Note that the decision is to be made asap the week after Thanksgiving. I've heard recommendations to call first thing on Monday morning, 11/28 (Unless it's Tuesday they come back; not sure).

Followup - calling members of the committee directly, when the main number's mailbox is full.

Standing Rock

Update 11/6: The Army Corps of Engineers has refused to grant the easement for the pipeline, which means they have blocked it (at least temporarily) from its proposed path through Standing Rock. Yay! Links to come.

A #NoDAPL Map by cartographer Carl Sack (11/2/16-11/4/16)

Two links about banks that are funding the pipeline:
Who's Banking Against the Sioux infographic from Food & Water Watch
How to Contact the 17 Banks Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline (9/29/16)

from truth-out: Don't Be Passive Observers of Last Night's Terrorization in Standing Rock: Here's What You Can Do. This article lists numbers to call and also an address to send supplies. (11/21/16) See also script and action below.

How to Contact the People Sending Militarized Police to Standing Rock (10/31/16)

How To Talk About #NoDAPL: A Native Perspective (10/27/16)

from the "We're His Problem Now Calling Sheet (above):
**Breaking Issue*** Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors Injured
I’m --- ---- calling about the 167 water protectors injured by law enforcement at Standing Rock today. Attacking the water protectors with hoses in sub-freezing temps is inhumane, cruel, and unacceptable. I want to :
*Allow water protestors to exercise their right to peaceful assembly/protest.
*Immediately stop attacking water protectors with tear gas, water cannons, hoses, or other violent means.
*Refrain from arresting/interfering with peaceful demonstrators.
Morton County Sheriff → Morton County Sheriff's Dept: 701-667-3330
Morton County Sheriff's Office (if the first one is continuously busy): 701-328-8118
Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier of Morton County: 701.667.3330
ND Governor Jack Dalrymple → 701.328.2200 or 701-328-2200
White House → (202) 456-1111, 202-456-1414 or White House Situation Room: 202 456 9431
Army → Army Corps of Engineers: 202-761-8700; National Guard ND: 701-333-2000

The Affordable Care Act

Note: This doesn't involve talking to anyone if you don't want to.

Circulating:
"Paul Ryan is conducting a phone poll on the ACA (Obamacare), hoping to hear overwhelming popular opposition to it. If you would like to express your support for the Affordable Care Act, the numbers to call are (202) 225-3031 OR try 202-225-0600. Press 2 to weigh in on the issue. You'll hear a brief recording about HR-3762* (grit your teeth and wait it out to get to where you have to register your stance!), Paul Ryan's proposal to gut the ACA, and President Obama's use of his veto power to stop it. Then, you will have a chance to indicate your opinion with the press of a button.
Press 1 if you support the ACA, 2 if you oppose it.
Then you hear a pre-recorded spiel from Ryan about how he cares about what we think about issues, etc., etc., and you have a chance to leave a message."

*which they don't mention includes a freeze on federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Confirmation from Snopes:
Connecting to the Speaker. You can give the House Speaker your opinion on the Affordable Care Act — if you're patient.

Climate Change

Trump’s Plan to Eliminate NASA Climate Research Is Ill-Informed and Dangerous

Info for LBGTQ/quiltbag Americans

Some articles from Jerner & Palmer, the attorneys who worked with us on our second-parent adoption:

Trans Relief Project


HR 2802, the so-called First Amendment Defense Act

I want to highlight that we have to reframe this bill. Do not let it get away with being called a defense of the 1st amendment. Add "so-called" when you can. Call it HR 2802. Call it a travesty. I don't know. I do know that that when the "Defense of Marriage Act" and the "welfare reform bill" were both passed in 1996, I was raging that the latter would never have happened if it had been called the "Be Mean to Children" act. And I immediately began calling the former the "Discrimination of Marriage Act".

The GOP’s Anti-LGBT, Anti-Women ‘Religious Freedom’ Law on Steroids
The First Amendment Defense Act would allow hospitals, governments, universities, and businesses to ignore same-sex marriage, deny women health care, and fire gay people.

Note that the bill was introduced in 2015. Here's the full text.

To come: Find information about Public accommodation.

Islamophobia/Religious Discrimination

CAIR: Council on American-Islamic Relations

NAACP Statement on Proposed “Muslim Registry”

No Religious Registry Act (H.R. 6382)

DelBene Introduces Bill to Prohibit Religious Registry


Calling Senators to oppose Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. Here's a sample script from a friend:
"President-elect Donald Trump has appointed General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser. General Flynn has called Islam 'a cancer' and has said 'fear of Muslims is rational.' Our country was founded on freedom of religion. PA has more than 80,000 Muslims. I ask the Senator to call out General Flynn on these statements and to oppose his appointment. While I realize that Congress does not have to approve the National Security Adviser, it is still possible for the Senator to issue a strong statement opposing General Flynn and his radical statements about a peaceful religion practiced by millions of Americans."

Truth, Fact-Checking, and Fake News

Snopes.com: a place to check the truth/rumor status of circulating stories.

This Is How You Can Stop Fake News From Spreading On Facebook
. Not clear is how the fake news status is verified within Facebook.

From The Philadelpha Inquirer: Fake news? Bias? How colleges teach students not to be duped

From NPR, All Tech Considered: Fake Or Real? How To Self-Check The News And Get The Facts

Calling Our Representatives
Some links about the process of calling:

Known Issues for Calling
  • Call on our senators to issue a statement opposing Michael Flynn's appointment as National Security Advisor, based on his anti-Muslim statements.
  • Call those responsible for the 11/20 violence toward peaceful protestors at Standing Rock, ND
  • Call the House Oversight Committee to demand DT release his financial information (by 11/28 or 29).
  • Urge our representatives (or anyone) to reject and speak out against Donald Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist. (Or Jeff Sessions. Or Mike Pompeo. Or...)
  • Urge the Senate to do their jobs and confirm Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
  • Let them know your personal fears about this administration.
  • Call the automated survey that Paul Ryan has set up for your feelings (+/-) on the Affordable Care Act

Pennsylvania Representation

Phone numbers for some of our representatives in Congress. Always better to call local or regional offices than DC office.

Senator Bob Casey released a statement condemning Bannon. Call his office and thank him:
Senator Casey (202) 224-6324, (215) 405-9660, (814) 357-0314, (610) 782-9470

Representative Dwight Evans Phone: (215) 549-0220
He has signed a letter from 169 Representatives to Donald Trump, so please call to thank him.

Senator Toomey (215) 241-1090, (717) 782-3951, (610) 434-1444, (202) 224-4254
He can use more persuasion. When I called on 11/18 I was told he "has not yet made a statement".

If you're on Facebook, check out the discussion in the bookstore's Stop Bannon Facebook Event for various scripts that Elliott printed out for us to use. If not, try some of the other links listed above.

Transition Team

(As of 11/16, from Elliott's calling plan)
Calling President Popular Vote Loser's transition team members. These are hard-core supporters, but you'll be talking to their staff members, so be nice. 2 are from PA, so we have a special role in calling them.
These are the numbers for the transition team members who currently hold office:
PA Representative Tom Marino 202-225-3731
PA Representative Lou Barletta 717-525-7002
TN Representative Marsha Blackburn 202-225-2811
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi 850-414-3300
NY Representative Chris Collins 202-225-5265
Rep. Devin Nunes 202-225-2523
Reince Priebus 202-863-8500, Option number 1"

If you're on Facebook, check out the discussion in the bookstore's Stop Bannon Facebook Event for various scripts that Elliott printed out for us to use. If not, try some of the other links listed above.

Other Kinds of Actions
Petitions

Here are some petitions I have seen circulating.

from change.org: Demand An Audit Of The 2016 Presidential Election

from We the People: Investigate Allegations of Election Tampering

from We the People: We the People ask President Obama to immediately appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court (Here's a Washington Post opinion piece from April explaining why this might be possible. I think President Obama would have to give them a deadline first, though.)
Update: This one has reached enough signatures to be considered by the White House. It still keeps counting beyond that, however, so you can still add your name!

from Southern Poverty Law Center: Bannon Must Go.

from actionsprout: Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Multiple issues from the Anti-Defamation League's advocacy center: RAISE YOUR VOICE HERE: Tell your Members of Congress where you stand on the following ADL issues.

Signatory Letters

Info to come.

Demonstrations and Marches

Info to come.

Local and National Organizations for Volunteering or Donations


poster credit Robin Markle
Philly Groups Organizing Campaigns for Economic and Racial Justice by Robin Markle

City of Philadelphia: Resources For Supporting Diversity And Inclusion - from Mayor Jim Kenney, 11/18/16

Anti-Defamation League: #NeverIsNow.

Planned Parenthood

Trans Relief Project

Southern Poverty Law Center

CAIR: Council on American-Islamic Relations

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Elliott's Five Favorite Books from 2016 Author Events

Mon, 2016-11-21 09:00
The Great American Songbook: Stories by Sam Allingham (Philadelphia)
I started reading these stories while waiting for Sam's event to begin, and could barely stop in order to sell the book to everyone else. Remarkable, haunting, funny, smart.

This Is Not a Confession: Essays by David Olimpio (New Jersey)
Essays that take on the lingering effects of sexual abuse, divorce, and grief and still manage humor and playfulness. This book moved me deeply, and I fell in love with David's online pictures of his dogs, too.

Green Shoots of Democracy within the Philadelphia Democratic Party by Karen Bojar (Philadelphia).
Interested in changing the nature of the national Democratic Party? That change starts locally - only 2 of Philadelphia's Democratic wards are actually run through a democratic process. Karen Bojar explores how we got here, and shows us successful ways to organize for change.

god's breath hovering across the waters by Henry Israeli (Ardmore).
This new collection of poems by Saturnalia Books editor Henry Israeli was written and published before this election, but are eerily timely. Written in the wake of the death of his mother, who barely escaped from Nazi Germany as a young child, The ugly power of nationalism and fascism haunt these poems: "Germany created a Hitler, / and, in turn, Hitler created / a Germany he could embrace / without flinching."

Flat Head Zed by Ellen Marcus (Philadelphia).
This imaginative picture book tells the story of a girl who does NOT want to make the same kind of snowman as other children. Instead, she creates a fun-loving block monster she names Flat Head Zed. What will happen when the other kids see her unique creation??

Events Coordinator Elliott bat Tzedek, November 2016
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Community Organizing: Books and Bookstores as Sites of Resistance!

Thu, 2016-11-17 12:02
We at the store, alongside our community, are reeling from the results of the election. We also know we have important resources here: books, writers, activists, and space. Workshops and conversations and organizing events are on their way -- check the events page of our website and our newsletters (go here to sign up) for forthcoming announcements.

If your group wants a space to meet and plan, please contact us! We have the third floor community room, which is open all day, and the performance space on the second floor available after hours.


(If you know who created this image,
please let us know!)
Our first such action:

Friday, November 18, 2:00-6:00pm.
Community Organizing - Stop Hate! Protest Steve Bannon.

We'll be phone banking from the store this Friday. Stop in to make phone calls to our elected officials and members of the president-elect's transition team to protest the role of white supremacist/anti-Semite/misogynist Stephen Bannon in the new government-elect.
Bring your phone! We'll have phone numbers, a simple short script, and comforting hot tea.

Here's a Facebook event for tomorrow's action. It includes some phone numbers and various calling scripts, so if you can't make it and want to do calling on your own, there's a place to check in for some resources.

Finally, I will make an attempt, over the next week or so, to organize a post compiling local information on different actions and such. It necessarily won't be complete, but if I could manage compiling papal visit logistics last year, this ought to be possible...
So do check back.
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Jen's Five Children's Books About Children's Books

Wed, 2016-11-16 22:26
Okay, so I was all set to work on a grim list of dystopic books starting with The Handmaid's Tale and Native Tongue, and then thankfully I noticed a brand new picture book by Andrea Davis Pinkney about Ezra Jack Keats, author of The Snowy Day*. I picked it up and was won over by her tribute to both a poor Jewish child of immigrant parents and the African American child he chose to bring to life in stories designed to diversify the world of picture books. And then I thought simultaneously of the nearly-as-new bio of E.B. White and the rather older story of Margret and H.A. Rey escaping the Nazis. And a more compassionate list was born.

A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson (Viking, $18.99)
The publishers of The Snowy Day were on the side of diversity, too, even back in 1962. Keats was expecting to use a snow sculpture on the cover, and his editor insisted he use an image of Peter instead.

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, $18.99)
Another heartfelt tribute. An illustrated biography full of collages of images and letters and early drafts of White's books. Note: Charlotte's Web didn't originally have that arresting first line the world has come to know and love...

The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden, illustrated by Allan Drummond (Houghton Mifflin, $8.99)
The Reys were German Jewish expatriates living in Paris when the Nazis swept through France. They escaped by bicycle shortly before the occupation of the city, and among their few possessions was the manuscript of Curious George. This book, beautifully illustrated, follows the story of their lives, both before and after their daring escape.

Wanda Gág: The Girl Who Lived to Draw by Deborah Kogan Ray (Viking, $16.99)
This is the story of the creator of the classic book Millions of Cats, and her struggles to keep art in her life while helping her family. Her name, by the way, rhymes with bog, not bag. (Assuming you pronounce "bog" with an "ah".) She added the accent herself. And Deborah Kogan Ray is a local author who's read at our Kids' Literary Festival!

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown, $18.00)
Before Winnie was immortalized as Winnie-the-Pooh, she was a small brown bear, rescued in wartime and taken to the London Zoo, where she met a kid named Christopher Robin. Actually met. Meaning he was allowed into the enclosure, and they got to hang out together.

*which last year passed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the store's number one bestseller.
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Nasty Women Getting Out the Vote! ...With Cake!

Tue, 2016-11-08 11:22
Come to the store on Election Day with your "I voted!" sticker, and we will have Election Cake for you!

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Jen's Five Books Full of Heroes and Innovators

Thu, 2016-10-20 18:50
Three of these books are brand new as of this summer and this month. The other two have been around for a while -- with one expecting a re-release in 2017!

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs (Quirk Books, $16.99)
I will mention that this book in fact contains many more than 25 people. It's just that some of them get multiple pages, while others get a paragraph. There are also interviews for each chapter with living figures in the field.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky (Ten Speed Press, $16.99)
Don't think it's all just Marie Sklodowska Curie.

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl (Ten Speed Press, $15.99)
By the duo who created store-favorite Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! -- which I particularly love because U is for Ursula (K. Le Guin).

What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld, illustrated by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford (Candlewick, $5.99 paperback, $17.99 hardcover)
Hey, I had not realised that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had just been named US Global Cultural Ambassador (by Secretary Of State Hillary Rodham Clinton) at the time this book first came out. Cool. Two kids learn about the contributions of African American inventors to open-heart surgery, telecommunications, blood banks, and more.

Portraits of Jewish-American Heroes by Malka Drucker, illustrated by Elizabeth Rosen (Dutton hardcover $22.99, paperback forthcoming from Puffin in January)
From Harry Houdini to Albert Einstein, from Bella Savitsky Abzug to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Emma Lazarus to Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman... I know a lot more of the names profiled in this book than in the others, but some are still new to me.

Jennifer Sheffield, October 2016
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

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