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Blog, News and Happenings

In this epic showdown, everyone is a winner!  Miss Traci and Miss Becky will be showcasing some of their favorite titles at this month's book club for elementary students.  Get ready to sample books, eat snacks, and have fun!  Book Bites: Fiction Vs Nonfiction will meet Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 3 p.m. in the Youth Program Room at the end of the starred hallway.  They'll take turns booktalking some amazing books, both imaginative and factual.  Then YOU can check them out to read for yourself!  You do not have to read anything ahead of time to be part of the club.  And you don't have to register to attend.

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  April 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination.  There are lots of great new books being published, but these two particularly caught my attention.  They also caught the attention of the Washington Post.

Chasing King's Killer by James L. Swanson (January 2, 2018)
As he did in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer and “The President Has Been Shot!”, Swanson offers an absorbing chronicle of the lead-up to and aftermath of the assassination of an American leader. After a concise account of King’s upbringing in a close-knit, religious Atlanta family and a childhood lived under Jim Crow, Swanson tracks his speedy ascent to becoming the “beloved living, breathing symbol” of the civil rights movement. Photographs, extensive quotations from a variety of sources (press reports, King’s writings and speeches, court records), and other documentation (including a previously unpublished letter from J. Edgar Hoover that underscores the FBI’s harassment of King) provide an immediate look at his pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, lunch-counter sit-ins, and the 1963 March on Washington. Just as compelling is Swanson’s insight into the background of King’s enigmatic killer, escaped convict James Earl Ray. The details of Ray’s efforts to transform and disguise his appearance, the planning of the assassination, and his flight from authorities are riveting and disturbing. [from Publisher Weekly]
Watch this short video and see the author promote the book.

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney (January 2, 2018)
The grim task of writing about Dr. King’s assassination is handled with great tenderness by this husband-and-wife team. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s 39 poems sing, exhort, console, and illuminate. She explains the strike by sanitation workers that brought King to Memphis (“Come,/ please come./ The strikers need you”), describes King’s exhaustion, and celebrates his prophetic last speech (“I’ve seen the promised land,” he says. “I may not get there with you”). Brian Pinkney paints with gentle, rounded strokes, alternating portraits with atmospheric, abstract washes. He shows King adjusting the knot of his tie on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, his gaze distant. Suddenly, there’s a “Pop!” Deep emotion finds expression in impassioned bursts: “Angry fists alight with fire!/ Smashing glass!” The fairy tale hen, Henny Penny, appears throughout to warn and comfort in anguished moments: “She tries, oh, she tries/ to fly/ in the bullet’s face.” In the end, King’s legacy offers redemption and hope: “And with love, we all shall rise.” Written with an eye toward choral reading, this is a unique and remarkable resource. [from Publisher Weekly]
Watch this short video to hear the author and illustrator promote the book.