The month of February is African American History Month, also known as Black History Month, in the United States. It was first celebrated in 1926 as Negro History Week. It was created to highlight the contributions Blacks have made to American history and culture. Within a few decades, the event had become an important part of African American life and had spread throughout the country. The United States government declared it a monthlong celebration in 1976.
You can learn more about Black history by researching in our online databases, or come into the library and check our display on Black History Month, which features just a handful of the materials we have about the achievements and history of Black Americans.
*The term #OwnVoices was coined by the writer Corinne Duyvis, and refers to an author from a marginalized or under-represented group writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group. (thanks to Seattle Public Library for this concise definition.)
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, published by Candlewick, won a Newbery Honor, a Siebert Honor, and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. A Wish in the Dark, also published by Candlewick Press, won a Newbery Honor.
While youth services staff knew about Christina’s books, we probably wouldn’t have booked her for a virtual author visit if we hadn’t had some encouragement from one of our patrons.
In the summer, staff presented a program called Fandom Friends, and the first program featured the popular series Dogman by Dav Pilkey. At the end of the program, staff encouraged the participants to please reach out if there were other popular series or characters they’d enjoy having a library program about. Patron Jackie quickly reached out to library staff with a request for a program about her daughter’s favorite book series, Diary of an Ice Princess. She explained that her daughter, Brooklyn, was such a fan of the books, and would love to meet the author. She thought other kids would be interested, too, and asked library staff if they could coordinate a vist with Christina. We said we would love to!
Christina was offering free thirty minute visits for groups who had read and discussed her books, so we reached out to her to book a visit. Christina was so great to work with and really excited about meeting kids who loved her books!
We scheduled two events for this fun series: a virtual visit with the author, and a book party to discuss the books and get ready for the author meetup. Jackie was happy to help spread the word, and many of the kids in attendance were friends of Brooklyn’s and also big fans of the books. We ordered additional copies of books in the series and put up a display with flyers. All the books were checked out by the day of the program! Staff also emailed a flyer to schools, created a Facebook event post plus an extra post with a video about the author, as well as word of mouth and social media shares from tpatrons. All of these efforts really helped! Feedback after the program told us that 4 attendees heard about the event from a friend, 3 from library staff, 6 from Facebook, and 10 from their teacher or school.
Twenty-five people attended the book party on October 5 and 14 came back to Zoom with us and Christina two days later. Many kids had books with them and were super excited to share their favorite characters and things about the Diary of an Ice Princess series. Christina was so fun to talk to! She and the kids talked about their favorite characters and plots, and even tossed around ideas for what Christina can write about in future books in the series.
After the programs, Jackie reached out to thank us. “Brooklyn had a fantastic time at the Diary of an Ice Princess event yesterday! Thank you again for organizing-it was really great for her to have a chance to talk about the books she loves so much!” wrote Jackie. “Thank you so much for reaching out to coordinate this.” We also thanked Jackie for reaching out to share the idea with us! We love to hear from our patrons and create programs that they will enjoy.
Join us for a fun evening with Chicago author Amy Alznauer! Amy has written several books for children, but this event will focus on her book The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity. This book tells the story of Ramanujan a boy who lived in India in the 1800s and loved math but didn’t enjoy school, but he ended up having a huge impact on modern mathematics. You’ll have to read the story to find out how! During the zoom event, we’ll hear about Amy’s writing process, play some fun math games, and answer questions that you have for Amy about her book or what it is like to be a writer!
Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr’s life and work by looking him up in one of our many online resources, including PebbleGo for the youngest learners, and Bookflix, which pairs fiction titles with nonfiction titles to fully explore a topic.
We also have plenty of print materials available! See some of them here, place a hold, and schedule a parking lot pick-up appointment!
You can also check out books that have won the Coretta Scott King book award. From the American Library Association’s site: “The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.”