|Clockwise from top left: Benjamin Banneker, Madame C.J. Walker, George Washington Carver, |
Dr. Shirley Jackson, and Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Monday, February 21, 2022
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Dragon: Do humans hoard things?
Human: Sometimes, I guess. Do you have a big pile of treasure somewhere?
Dragon: Absolutely not! Those gold hoarding dragons really give us a bad name!
Human: So what do you hoard?
Dragon: Books, of course
Human: But you're a fire dragon.
Dragon: I know! I find these poor abandoned books, but I can't even read them because I'll burn them
The human runs off and grabs an armful of books, before coming back to sit by the dragon.
Human: "Chapter One. The Mole had been working hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and splashes of whitewash over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above, below, and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Friday, February 11, 2022
This February the BBC and Masterpiece released a new television series that is loosely based on the story in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. The story has been changed a fair bit, but I have to say that it is very entertaining, and is beautifully made. I am enjoying the series a great deal, accepting that this is an adaptation of Jules Verne's tale. If you are a purist and only watch films that are faithful to the books that inspired them, then this series will probably not suit you.
Thursday, February 10, 2022
In Jules Vern's book, Around the World in Eighty Days, the heroes in the story are men. The book was first published in French in 1872, and at this time adventure stories did not have female heroes; it simply wasn't done.
The story caused quite a stir, and I would have thought that many gentleman adventurers would have tried to duplicate the journey taken in the book. I cannot find a record anywhere of a single man doing so. Not a one. Really, did none of the gentleman adventurers of the time read books? Did none of them have even a soupcon of imagination or derring-do?
Apparently not. It wasn't until 1889 when someone took on the challenge. A woman called Nellie Bly undertook to travel around the world in eighty days for her newspaper, the New York World. She managed to do the journey within seventy-two days, and she met Jules Verne in Amiens in France. Her book Around the World in Seventy-Two Days became a best seller. Who was this remarkable woman?
Cochran, Pennsylvania. At the age of six, Bly lost her father. Unable to maintain the land or their house, the family moved. Her mother also remarried but later divorced due to abuse. While attending Indiana Teacher’s College, Elizabeth added an “e” to her last name becoming Elizabeth Jane Cochrane. Due to the family’s financial crisis she was unable to finish her education. No longer in school, Bly focused on helping her mother run a boardinghouse. One day an upset Bly decided to pen an open letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch. Her short but important piece pointed out the paper’s negative representation of women. The editor not only read Bly’s response, he printed her rebuttal, and offered Bly a job as columnist. As a newspaper writer, she took the pen name Nellie Bly. Although Bly was a popular columnist, she was often asked to write pieces that only addressed women.
Wanting to write pieces that addressed both men and women, Bly began looking for a paper that would allow her to write more serious work. In 1886, she moved to New York City. As a woman, Bly found it extremely hard for her to find work. In 1887, Nellie Bly stormed into the office of the New York World, one of the leading newspapers in the country. She expressed interest in writing a story on the immigrant experience in the United States. Although, the editor declined her story, he challenged Bly to investigate one of New York’s most notorious mental hospitals. Bly not only accepted the challenge, she decided to feign mental illness to gain admission and expose how patients were treated. With this courageous and bold act Bly cemented her legacy as one of the foremost female journalists in history.
|Nellie wearing her travel outfit.|
I have reviewed several books for young readers about Nellie Bly, which you can find in the TTLG library.
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Jules Verne was a 19th-century French author who is famed for such revolutionary science-fiction novels such as 'Around the World in Eighty Days' and 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.'
Jules Verne hit his stride as a writer after meeting Pierre-Jules Hetzel, a publisher who nurtured many of the works that would comprise the author's Voyages Extraordinaires. Often referred to as the "Father of Science Fiction," Verne wrote books about a variety of innovations and technological advancements years before they were practical realities. Although he died in 1905, his works continued to be published well after his death, and he became the second most translated author in the world.
Verne was born on February 8, 1828, in Nantes, France, a busy maritime port city. There, Verne was exposed to vessels departing and arriving, sparking his imagination for travel and adventure. While attending boarding school, he began to write short stories and poetry. Afterward, his father, a lawyer, sent his oldest son to Paris to study law.
Monday, February 7, 2022
All this reading caused me to catch the Children’s Literature Bug, and as a result I became a children’s book reviewer. In the late 1990s I created Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews (TTLG), an online journal that showcased children’s books of all kinds. To date the online library contains 9,621 reviews. My goal was to help adults to find captivating books for the children in their lives that would encourage the children to become lifelong readers and learners.
In the fall of 2021 I decided that I would shift this focus a bit. I will continue to review books that I hope will capture the interest of young readers. Perhaps one of the books I review will turn them into bibliophiles; one can hope. In addition, I will be reviewing and exploring children's literature that will appeal to adult readers.
Over the years I have learned that children’s literature has a lot to offer adults. The language one finds in children’s books can be so rich and so exquisite that at times it can quite take your breath away. Themes are explored in ways that force adult readers to re-examine their own beliefs and perceptions. Simple truths that we have forgotten are suddenly brought to the fore, and when we look at the world we start to see things in a new light. Here is an article that I think beautifully explores why adults should read children's literature.
I believe that adults need children’s literature more than ever, to counter the struggles and darkness that often overlays our lives. I invite you to set aside your “I am too old for this” ideas and give yourself permission to read children’s literature.
Thursday, February 3, 2022
Tuesday, February 1, 2022