Watha T. Daniel/Shaw
Neighborhood Library

Published on Friday, October 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo logoIt's my favorite time of year! Well, after Poetry Month, Earth Day, Pride, Halloween, Christmas, New Year and Easter.... Okay, it's an awesome time of the year!

November is National Novel Writing Month. Just like last year, we'll be having NaNoWriMo support groups on Saturday afternoons all throughout November to help you crank through your novel.

Published on Friday, October 30, 2009

Bookcart cityscape at nightBookcart stars and stripes and chainsBookcart blue tree with red leaves

Pimp My Bookcart
is a national project run by the web comic Unshelved. I've been wanting to do this project for years, and finally, this last Saturday, I had the great opportunity to work with some of the neighborhood kids and Liz from the Capitol Letters Writing Center and together we all designed this awesome bookcart. Each of us came up with a plan and we brought all our ideas together into one sweet design.

Published on Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I bought a nice pair of Bose headphones and they changed my
life. The sound quality was so good that I decided it was finally time to jump back
into listening to classical music. Classical recordings, even the smaller label
records, are almost always of extreme audiophile quality. Soon I was hovering
over my favorite orchestras again, hearing every nuance and harmonic that
distinguishes one version of the Eroica,
for example, from the next. In high school I was obsessed with Beethoven, and through
the master was introduced to several other early romance composers including one
of my favorites—Hector Berlioz.


Published on Monday, October 19, 2009

Mad Men PosterIf you haven't been watching Mad Men on AMC you are missing out on one of the best written, best acted shows on television today. You can get up to speed with Don, Betty, Joan, Peggy, Pete and the crew by checking out seasons 1 and 2 from your local DC Public Library.

But we've got way more than just the videos. Being an avid fan of the show I've compiled a list of books that are mentioned throughout the course of the show that we have here in the collection, along with some other period pieces and contextual works that I'm sure you'll find enjoyable, if not amusing.

Check it out.

Books Mentioned in Mad Men

Published on Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bats at the libraryAt today's story time we read Bats at the Library by Brian Lies. Afterward we made little felt bats to hang around the children's room and to take home.

If you want to make a felt bat of your very own it's super simple to do. All you need is

    * A piece of felt
    * A pipe cleaner
    * A pair of scissors &
    * A piece of string

First cut your felt into a rectangle.

Then clip out the triangles shown in the illustration below.

Bat Shape

Published on Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Check out these great new books-on-disc @ Watha T. Daniel:

  • That Old Cape Magic, by Richard Russo; read by Arthur Morey
  • My Sister's Ex, by Cydney Rax; read by Bahni Turpin and Adenrele Ojo
  • Cemetery Dance, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child; read by Scott Brick
  • Fatal Secrets, by Allison Brennan; read by Ann Marie Lee
  • Cutting Edge, by Allison Brennan; read by Ann Marie Lee
  • Satchel: the Life and Times of an American Legend, by Larry Tye; read by Dominic Hoffman
  • The Angel's Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; read by Dan Stevens
  • Daniel X: Watch the Skies, by James Patterson and Ned Rust; read by Milo Ventimiglia

Published on Saturday, September 19, 2009

I had the weirdest coincidence this last weekend, in that I was reading two separate books that take place in two totally different time periods and both of them mentioned the exact same architectural feature in Rome.

The Spanish Stairs (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti) were built in the 1720s to connect the Piazza di Spagna to the church of Trinità dei Monti. I have a picture that shows the fountain in the Piazza, the church above--and on the right is the Keats-Shelley house. That's right, John Keats and Percy Shelley. John Keats lived his last days on earth looking out the window over the Spanish Stairs.

And that's where the story gets interesting.

Marcus Garvey and Alain Locke

Published on Thursday, September 10, 2009
There will be a discussion group meeting on the Harlem Renaissance on Monday, September 14, 2009.

The Harlem Renaissance is the name of a well celebrated artistic resurgence of African-American art and literature in the 1920s. However, the Harlem Renaissance also involved the flourishing of a new political consciousness among African-Americans. This political/cultural consciousness was organized around the new sense of identity identified by Alain Locke, one of the theoreticians of the movement, as the concept of the “New Negro.” The term “New Negro” expressed the growing awareness by black Americans of their own powers and abilities.

Published on Saturday, August 29, 2009
I grew up in Buffalo, NY, right on the Niagara River. When you're a kid, you don't always realize the most obvious facts of your circumstances; after all, you've had no experiences to tell you what is extraordinary (or not) about the place you're growing up in. For instance: I would never have guessed how formative it could be to grow up on the border of another country.

Canada was this vague notion, at best, or maybe just those nice people across the water who really aren't all that different from us. This elephant in the room of my childhood, though, presented itself in a really subtle way—all my favorite programs, the ones from which I derive my very first memories—were Canadian. I went through my whole life without realizing that, until this morning, when a friend of mine became a fan of Mr. Dressup on Facebook. Can of worms!

Farewell to "Reading Rainbow"

Published on Friday, August 28, 2009

You know it's an end of an era when something that you cherished as a child finally ends. Today is the final day of Reading Rainbow on PBS. The show ran for 26 years, and due to financial problems and a change in the philosophy behind PBS children's programming, Reading Rainbow will fade into history.

I grew up a PBS kid. I remember watching Sesame Street, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Reading Rainbow, probably in its very first years on television. One of the episodes I remember vividly was where they read Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. The distinctive African cover art from that book was emblazoned in my mind and I've never forgotten it.