Thank you to those who have joined us online via Zoom, YouTube, or the Teen Discord for our October programs. We are happy to provide you with a safe alternative to enjoy some of the events we used to offer in the library before the pandemic.
This coming month, we will continue many of the programs we’ve offered virtually in the past few months, as well as a new adult art workshop! The workshop will be limited to 8 participants. Registration will begin after the building reopens to staff on November 2, who will be able to sign patrons up via phone during our Curbside Pickup hours. Stay tuned for more details!
Childrens’ programs and the Teen Reads video remain online on our YouTube channel if you’d like a glimpse of what to expect in November. Our weekly children’s programs will be offered once a month now, and the Teen Librarian will be posting another Teen Reads video in November.
Read the full descriptions of November events on our website.
Join us this weekend on Sunday, October 18th from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm for this month’s Poetry Salon with Claire Keyes, featuring the poetry of Major Jackson!
You can access this program on Zoom at 2:00 pm on Sunday, October 18th by clicking thislink or by calling +1 929 205 6099 for the US (New York) time zone and entering the following:
Meeting ID: 945 9526 6387
Please note: though we are offering an online program on this date, the Abbot Public Library remains CLOSED for Curbside Service on Sundays. Below is the full description of the program. We hope you can join us!
On Sunday, October 18th, the Poetry Salon will convene in a Zoom session to discuss the poetry of Major Jackson, part of a series of discussions led by Claire Keyes on Black poetry in America. Major Jackson “makes poems that rumble and rock,” says Dorianne Laux. He also makes poems that are quietly beautiful. While he has published five collections of poems, the Salon will focus on Roll Deep (2015), which you can reserve in print from the library catalog for Curbside Pickup.
Jackson was born and raised in Philadelphia and earned degrees from Temple University and the University of Oregon. He is a professor of English at the University of Vermont and a graduate faculty member of the New York University Creative Writing Program. Jackson serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review and has won numerous prizes and awards for his poetry, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. Afaa Weaver asserts that “Jackson knows the truth of black magic. It is a magic as simple as the belief in humanity that subverts racism, or the esoteric and mystical magic of making jazz, the music of hope and love.” Please join Claire Keyes and the Salon from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm on Zoom to discover more about this fascinating poet.
Hobbit Day started in 1978 and was chosen to be September 22nd, the date referenced in The Hobbit and The Lord of the RIngs as being the birthdate of both the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Tolkien Week – a celebration of both J. R. R. Tolkien and his son and editor, Christopher J. R. Tolkien – takes place through the whole calendar week of Hobbit Day, which this year would fall from Sunday, September 20th through Saturday, September 26th.
In honor of this Middle Earthian Celebration, we invite you to check out Tolkein’s books (in physical or digital formats) as well as the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies (which currently have no check out fee)! You’ll also find some other hobbit and LOTR-related items which can teach you more about Middle Earth and the brave creatures therein.
Many of Abbot Public Library’s programs are returning online, including our monthly Poetry Salon with Claire Keyes! Though we will be closed for Curbside Services on the day it is held, you can join us on Sunday, September 20th from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm and participate in a live discussion via a Zoom conference. Instructions for accessing the event can be found on our website.
We are pleased to be able to continue our long-running monthly Poetry Salon as a virtual program via Zoom. This year, the Poetry Salon at the Abbot Public Library will feature Black poets. Some of the poetry may be revolutionary, while some may take place at home, watching a child play or smelling some flowers! When we gather at 2:00 pm on Sunday, September 20th, 2020, Marblehead poet Claire Keyes will lead a virtual discussion by means of Zoom. The Salon will focus on the American poet and educator, Terrance Hayes, in particular his latest book, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, which you can reserve in print for Curbside Pickup, or listen to the audiobook with no wait on hoopla!
Hayes has published seven poetry collections. His 2010 collection, Lighthead, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2010. In September 2014, he was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur fellowship awarded to individuals who show outstanding creativity in their work. Hayes is a poet who reflects on race, gender, and family in works marked by formal dexterity and a reverence for history and the artistry of crafting verse. Employing an almost improvisational approach to writing, Hayes conjoins fluid, often humorous wordplay with references to popular culture, both past and present, in his subversion of canonical poetic forms.
Join us at 2:00 pm on Sunday, September 20th on Zoom! Details for accessing this event will be posted on our website.
In the past few months, we have offered “Story Time A-Go-Go” with Debbie Leibowitz. Each week, Debbie writes a new story and posts a video of her reading it on YouTube to entertain and educate children. Check out this week’s video below:
We also offered “Music with Dara” on Fridays, and are happy to say Dara VanRemoortel, an early childhood music specialist, will be returning in September to offer her virtual program of songs and visual props. Check out these videos featuring original music by Dara!
These two programs will be continuing in September, but the videos will now be compiled on the Abbot Public Library’s brand new YouTube Channel, along with a couple new-to-the-screen children’s presenters and a familiar monthly adult program!
Joining Debbie and Dara for the first time online are some faces you will recognize from the children’s programs we offered inside the library. Yoga Story Time with Lindsey Kravitz will be a half-hour video geared towards babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. And, returning to the library’s lineup is Songs with Spencer! Spencer and his orange monster friend, Bowie, will share stories and tunes to get kids singing and dancing!
For adult programs, the library’s monthly Poetry Salon will be continuing virtually! Marblehead poet Claire Keyes will be discussing the poetry of Terrance Hayes via Zoom! Stay tuned for details on accessing this meeting on the Abbot Public LIbrary website.
In the meantime, you can prepare for the Salon by reserving the featured book, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, in print for Curbside Pickup, or listen to the audiobook on hoopla with no wait!
Whether or not you take the kids to the beach, it is fun to start thinking about it and reading about it. Here are four picture books from the silly to the serious about the beach and the wonderful things to find and do there.
The Seashore Book written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Wendall Minor, a picture book for ages 4-8
A gorgeously illustrated story about the sensory experience of a day at the beach, from hunting shells to watching waves. In this classic favorite, a mother describes what it would be like to spend a day at the shore to her son who has yet to see it.
Bats at the Beach, written and illustrated by Brian Lies, a picture book for ages 4-8
Instead of fun in the sun, what if bats went to the beach? Would it be fun in the gloom? In this book, the answer is yes! The bats in this goofy picture book do all the favorite family beach activities during the night hours. Lots of silly details in the illustrations make this a fun choice for kids to compare what they do with the imaginary bat families.
You’ll have to forgive the Jane Austen/fairytale mash-up here, because it is too apt to ignore. Do you remember Pride and Prejudice’s Mary Bennet? No, not the “light and bright and sparkling” Lizzy, nor the lovely if diffident Jane. Nor the irrepressibly boy-crazy Lydia. Mary: the awkward, ridiculous one with no special beauty, charm, or accomplishments to recommend her. Definitely the ugly duckling of the Bennet household, a figure to be ridiculed and consigned, in the reader’s mind, to future spinsterhood. It is this unpromising middle child that Janice Hadlow lovingly attempts to rehabilitate in the charming tale of hard-won happiness, The Other Bennet Sister.
Much as we all have over the past months, Mary endures a stifling existence almost entirely indoors throughout the first half of the book–whether at home, at balls, or at her various married sisters’ houses. This imprisoning interiority is exacerbated by the reader’s awareness of this “ridiculous” character’s rich, if rather gloomy, inner life. The entirety of Pride and Prejudice is reimagined through the consciousness of this neglected and negligible character; we as readers come to understand the sad underpinnings of Mary’s awkwardness and risible flaws–as well as her painful self-awareness and increasingly desperate efforts to change. Her misery comes to a climax during a disastrous attempt to entertain guests with her music, followed by the public humiliation she suffers at the hands of her ironic father and, most hurtfully, her beloved sister Elizabeth.
The book’s second half witnesses a slow but certain emergence into the sunlight, as Mary escapes the confines of Meryton and discovers the comforts of her sympathetic extended family and the exhilaration of anonymity in London. Here, she finally gets a genuine chance to reinvent herself–to discover her own self-worth and even to make a bid for lasting happiness. The transformation Hadlow effects is both natural and extraordinarily well done; a stately Austenian plot pace is preserved, even to the cadences and structure of the sentences. Readers will feel themselves to be in familiar territory, with one vital difference: Mary struggles to master her destiny and grasp happiness with both hands. She’s baulked by convention and frustrated by the role of her sex, but she perseveres. Does the ugly duckling attain swanhood? You may just have to find out for yourself!
One of the catalysts for Mary’s transformation is a newfound appreciation for Romantic poetry, especially selections from William Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads (available on hoopla) such as “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” and “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,” both of which extol the beauties of nature and the importance of a rich emotional life. You might try them for yourself–and if you’d like a companion soundtrack for your reading, have a listen to the album The Music of Jane Austen, a compilation of themes from various film adaptations.
You can find The Other Bennet Sister in both ebook and audiobook format on Overdrive/Libby. Feel free to share your reactions to this tale in the comments below!
Jason Reynolds was recently appointed as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the LIbrary of Congress, and for his term he wants to speak to young readers in America. To do this during our time of quarantine, he has created two digital features under his “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” platform, which focuses on listening and empowering students to share their own personal stories. The video series titled “Write. Right. Rite” is where Reynolds shares his passion for storytelling and creativity. Each video ends with a prompt to encourage young people to work towards a specific idea and fun-filled activities. The “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” newsletter is a monthly newsletter where Reynolds can talk to you directly about relevant topics of the day.
Visit Grab the Mic on the LOC website to explore your creativity with Jason Reynolds!
You can also check out some of his titles through Overdrive, which include:
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
This book, told in ten tales, tells of all the detours that happen on the way home. It is one the book LeVar Burton has read aloud during Levar Burton Reads.
Check it out in the Libby app or online in ebook and audiobook format.
Long Way Down
One of the YA Novels in Verse staff picks, this is the story about teen gun violence and what a brother would do for his family.
Poetic expression often thrives in times of upheaval, as a means of mastering hardship and mustering hope. With that in mind, why not have a look at two library-curated collections of films available through hoopla that observe poets and poems doing just that: 2020 APL Poets, Poetry, & Film and 2020 APL Poets, Poetry, & TV? While poetry and film may seem to be unlikely bedfellows, you might well be amazed by how potent their artistic partnership can be!