A is for Activist, written and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara

For grades 4 and up-

Not your typical alphabet board book, this one packs a powerful message both visually as well as verbally. Each spread presents a letter and a bit of social commentary urging children to take a stand against war and violence, develop an awareness of our environment, and promote acceptance and equality for all cultures, races, religions, genders, and walks of life. For example,

"A is for Activist./Advocate. Abolitionist. Ally./Actively Answering A call to Action."
"Y is for You. And Youth./Your planet. Your rights/Your future. Your truth./Y is for Yes. Yes! Yes! Yes!"

Despite the format, this introduction to social justice is best suited to older children, who will need plenty of explanation and discussion to help them understand issues such as feminism or workers' rights. Nagara relies upon colorful illustrations--many representing the energy behind activism with arms and fists raised--lots of alliteration, and rhyming for each letter and idea. An ever-present black cat hiding or prowling on each letter's page seeks to hold listeners' interest as well. An unusual offering that may plant the seeds for and spark discussions about activism.  Review by Susan Shaver, Hemingford Public Schools, NE Copyright 2014 School Library Journal.

Waking from the Dream: the Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King Jr. by David L. Chappell

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 left the civil rights movement in search of a strong leader and created lively debate about how his legacy would be remembered. Civil rights scholar Chappell chronicles the fits and starts of continued efforts at civil rights that are uncelebrated but nonetheless pushed forward King's agenda. Among those efforts are the campaign for a national holiday to honor King, fair housing legislation and the Humphrey-Hawkins full employment bill (though the original intentions of both were watered down), and Jesse Jackson's two presidential campaigns. Chappell details the contentious debates on nationalism versus integration and the value of a single leader versus institutional viability, which led to the short-lived National Black Political Convention and the more enduring Congressional Black Caucus. Chappell details the failed efforts as much as the successes, highlighting the valuable lessons learned as groups and individuals renewed their strategies and determination to move forward. Emphasizing the rarity of such history-changing acts as the civil rights legislation, he notes that the struggle for equality is incremental and eternal.  Reprinted from Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.

What Up Dawg? Participates in Show Your Card and Save

On the following Fridays in September - September 5, 12, 19 and 26 - ELPL cardholders can purchase two chili dogs for $2 at What Up Dawg?, located at 317 M.A.C in East Lansing.

Grand Grillin' Participates in Show Your Card and Save

During the month of September, ELPL cardholders can purchase a Wrap Combo - including a wrap of your choice, chips and a drink - for only $5.  This discount is available at the Grand Grillin' food truck - check their site to see where they will be today!

Bagger Dave's Participates in Show Your Card and Save

During the month of September, ELPL cardholders will receive 10% off their entire bill at Bagger Dave's Burger Tavern.

Potbelly Participates in Show Your Card and Save

During the month of September, ELPL cardholders will receive a free cookie with purchase of an entree at Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

Courage Has No Color: the True Story of the Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone

The fascinating untold story of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, America's first black paratroopers. While white American soldiers battled Hitler's tyranny overseas, African-Americans who enlisted to fight for their country faced the tyranny of racial discrimination on the homefront. Segregated from white soldiers and relegated to service duties and menial tasks, enlisted black men faced what Ashley Bryan calls in the foreword "the racism that was our daily fare at the time." When 1st Sgt. Walter Morris, whose men served as guards at The Parachute School at Fort Benning, saw white soldiers training to be paratroopers, he knew his men would have to train and act like them to be treated like soldiers. Daring initiative and leadership led to the creation of the "Triple Nickles." Defying the deeply ingrained stereotypes of the time, the Triple Nickles proved themselves as capable and tough as any white soldiers, but they were never used in combat, serving instead as smoke jumpers extinguishing Japanese-ignited forest fires in the Pacific Northwest. Stone's richly layered narrative explores the cultural and institutional prejudices of the time as well as the history of African-Americans in the military. Her interviews with veterans of the unit provide groundbreaking insight. Among the archival illustrations in this handsomely designed book are drawings Bryan created while he served in World War II. An exceptionally well-researched, lovingly crafted and important tribute to unsung American heroes.  Copyright 2012 from Kirkus Reviews.

ELPL has this amazing book in print and eBook

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

Winner of the 2011 John Steptoe New Talent (Author) Award! 

Racial duplicity threatens an idyllic African American community in the turn-of-the-century South in a dazzling debut inspired by the early life of Zora Neale Hurston

Whether she's telling the truth or stretching it, Zora Neale Hurston is a riveting storyteller. Her latest creation is a shape-shifting gator man who lurks in the marshes, waiting to steal human souls. But when boastful Sonny Wrapped loses a wrestling match with an elusive alligator named Ghost -- and a man is found murdered by the railroad tracks soon after -- young Zora's tales of a mythical evil creature take on an ominous and far more complicated complexion, jeopardizing the peace and security of an entire town and forcing three children to come to terms with the dual-edged power of pretending. Zora's best friend, Carrie, narrates this coming-of-age story set in the Eden-like town of Eatonville, Florida, where justice isn't merely an exercise in retribution, but a testimony to the power of community, love, and pride. A fictionalization of the early years of a literary giant, this astonishing novel is the first project ever to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust that was not authored by Hurston herself.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis

In this magnificent, important book, the first truly full-length biography of Rosa Parks, political science professor Theoharis (Brooklyn College-CUNY) restores Parks's rightful place in US history. Stripping away the simplistic, comforting myth of Parks as merely a humble woman who made an impromptu stand that inadvertently put her on history's stage, Theoharis instead presents a Parks who was long committed to racial justice and human rights, both before and long after the Montgomery Bus Boycott that she was so central in initiating and that made her famous. The author is especially effective at following Parks into the decades beyond Montgomery, showing her longstanding commitments while at the same time moving her struggle, which echoed the country's in many ways, from Alabama and the Deep South to Detroit and its deeply embedded northern racial intransigence. Theoharis writes clearly and well, is passionate about her subject, and makes a vital contribution to understanding not only Parks's life and times but also the civil rights movement itself. Few books transform readers' understanding of their topic. This is such a book. Summing Up: Essential.  -- D. C. Catsam, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, from Choice, Copyright 2013.

Josephine: the dazzling life of Josephine Baker with words by Patricia Hruby Powell and pictures by Christian Robinson

Segregated American clubs were willing to let African-American dancer Josephine Baker (1906-1975) perform, but they wouldn't let her use the front door. Powell (Frog Brings Rain) chooses a potent metaphor for Baker's hidden anger: "hot magma, molten lava, trapped within." When Baker arrived in France, the country embraced both her artistry and her blackness, and "Her deep volcanic core filled with emotion, filled with music erupted." Robinson (Rain!) draws round faces gazing with amazement at the woman onstage whose pearl necklace flies one way and whose hips swing the other. Baker's entire life spreads out in this tapestry of words, from a St. Louis childhood surrounded by music to her triumphs all over Europe followed, sadly, by debt and illness. Robinson's naif, folk-style figures look like puppets, and make some grim moments easier to endure ("Those ugly rumors incited some white folks/ to beat, murder, and burn black East St. Louis"). Although Powell's focus is on Baker, the contrast between segregated America and welcoming France will not be lost on readers. Ages 7 to 10. Copyright 2013, Review from Publishers Weekly.

ELPL has this title in eBook and print.  Make sure to check out Amber Laude's (the library's Collections and Technical Services Librarian) interview with the author, Patricia Hruby Powell, and illustrator, Christian Robinson, of this amazing book on Cloud Unbound.

Books on Tap - September 2014

For September, Books on Tap will be reading the books for One Book, One Community. Please read one or both and come prepared to discuss on September 9th at 6:30 pm at Jimmy's Pub. Our meeting falls in between the visit from John Lewis at the Hannah Community Center and Michele Norris at Wharton Center.

Books on Tap - August Follow Up

Reading a book about travel inspires a great conversation! Last night we discussed Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman and we participated in a discussion with many different themes and insights. People shared their experiences travelling - both solo trips and group outings - and we reflected on what impact one person can have on a community. Overall, the group enjoyed the book, the descriptions of the people she encountered, and the idea of being able to just pick up and go!

Next month will be a little different - there are options for what you choose to read! To support the One Book One Community program we will be reading March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell and/or The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris.

I See the Promised Land, text by Arthur Flowers; illustrations by Manu Chitrakar

This stunning graphic novel biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. describes the apartheid South of his time, which in many ways was not very different from the early days of slavery. Included are descriptions of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the formation of civil rights groups, mass movements against segregation, such as the Albany Movement and the Children's Crusade in Birmingham, and the influence on King of Gandhi, with his nonviolent approach to resistance. Flowers' text smoothly incorporates excerpts from many of King's most moving speeches and concludes with a brief look at his legacy. Flowers tells a masterful story in musical prose, while Manu Chitrakar carries the tale into the vivid idiom of Patua art, turning King's historic journey into a truly universal legacy.