Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Free YA Audiobooks!

SYNC Audiobooks for Teens, a yearly summer audiobook program for teens 13 years old and up, is back in its 11th season to offer free audiobooks weekly beginning April 30 until July 29. Interested participants from all over the world—not just from the U.S.—get two free audiobook downloads per week which they can keep even after the program is over. Anyone (not just teens) who might be interested in young adult audiobooks is welcome to join.

Click here for more information and their summer release schedule. You can also sign up for Book Riot's YA newsletter and there's a link to several other websites that offer free audiobooks. 

Earth Alive

For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air.    -Tolkien

A woman sits on the ground, leaning against a pine. Its bark presses hard against her back, as hard as life. Its needles scent the air and a force hums in the heart of the wood. Her ears tune down to the lowest frequencies. The tree is saying things, in words before words. -Norton

Lit Hub has compiled a list of 13 books where the Earth is a central character. The list includes a quote, a summary, and links to interviews and excerpts.

Pantry Staples

NYPL Research Librarian has listed several books about the histories of some of our pantry favorites-
Cover of Of Sugar and Snow   Cover of Economics of Beer 
  The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking   Meanings and Memories


The New York Public Library has asked its readers to recreate their favorite book covers!
"We know many New Yorkers are looking for projects and distractions right now, and the #BookCoverDouble challenge is one of our answers," said NYPL spokeswoman Angela Montefinise. "It's fun to see all of the creative participation, and it connects our communities around books and reading. We're also hoping that while New Yorkers raid their bookshelves looking for the right covers they're inspired to do some reading."

Novel Virus Novel

Journalist Bill Grueskin asked Twitter “What’s the first sentence of the best novel that will be written about this epidemic?”

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a COVID-19 test, a reliable and prompt food-delivery service, a full Netflix queue, and a 48-pack of Charmin. (@rapoportmike)

At first we noticed the birds. Maybe they had always been there, maybe it was just the spring migration, but in any case their cheery calls filled the space normally claimed by the metallic roaring of the morning commute. (@Myrmecos)

We carried it in our hands, laying it on doorknobs and cans of beans, there was no smell of death, no taste, when we brought it to our lips and thus unaware, we breathed the killer in, and out. (@gotaimnow)

Ah, toilet roll. I remember that cylindrical delight, that teasing promise of sanitation, that wondrous, plump, cushioning comfort like a dream you can’t quite recall but feel its essence. Thank God I never liked my curtains. (@flatpackcat)

Find more submissions here along with Grueskin's winner.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Julie Andrews New Podcast

With shelter in place orders in effect and school sclosed for the foreseeable future, Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, will release six episodes of the program, Julie’s Library ahead of schedule. The first episode in the series will be made available on April 29 and the subsequent five episodes will be released each week thereafter.

The podcast, which is aimed at audiences age 4–10. Book readings will be mixed with conversation with guests and vocabulary words selected by children.

The Academy Award winning actress has authored 30+ plus books for young readers - some co-authored by her daughter. Visit AFPLS on-line to access Andrew's work!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020



Tonight summer comes to a world remade.
Streets are carless. Silence treads the roads.
The sky is clear for a red kite sailing,
flamboyant, his flame ablaze on blue,
his wings and the fork of his tail
flexing on the wind.

Miles above in the high air over the fields,
over the flights of rooks, crows, gulls,
over the cities, the clouds, the atmosphere,
in the vault of heaven the ozone layer clears
of particulates, of nitrogen dioxide,
and we can breathe again.

Listen! in this clean new silence
that is not silent: birdsong,
a small wind in the trees,
the fall of a petal, an opening leaf,
a page turning,
your breath, mine.

Blaen Cwrt, Ceredigion: 28 March 2020

Britain's Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Manchester Metropolitan University/Manchester Writing School are bringing together poets from around the world to chronicle the COVID-19 pandemic in the WRITE Where We Are NOW project.

Go to Yale University

One of Yale's most popular classes, "Science of Happiness" has been made available free on-line. Learn more here. Or read the Tao Of Pooh (and Te of Piglet) by Benjamin Hoff.

"Religions, sciences, and business ethics have tried their hardest to convince us that there is a Great Reward waiting for us somewhere and that what we have to do is spend our lives working like lunatics to catch up with it," he writes.

"A way of life that keeps saying, 'Around the next corner, above the next step,' works against the natural order of things and makes it so difficult to be happy."

Celebrate Earth Day!

This year marks Earth Day's 50th anniversary. Considering where we are this day, we seemed to have missed a few lessons on caring for our planet. While gatherings have been cancelled due to COVID-19, people are celebrating on-line.

Earth Day Live - a 3 day on-line event!

This USA Today article has lots of info and links.

Newsweek highlights the ways the pandemic has impacted the environment.

The Verge lists numerous on-line events.

The Sierra Club offers great articles and resources about the environment.

CNN reports on the benefits of nature and how you can enjoy the outdoors at this time. They also include links to animal livestreams.


nasa earth photo_1020

Please take time to learn what you can do for the planet and all its beings. Earth Day needs to be every day.

We Hold the Earth

We hold the Earth

We hold everyone who suffers from storms and droughts intensified by climate change. 

We hold all species that suffer. 

We hold world leaders delegated to make decisions for life. 

We pray that the web of life may be mended through courageous actions to limit carbon emissions. 

We pray for right actions for adaptation and mitigation to help our already suffering earth community. 

We pray that love and wisdom might inspire my actions and our actions as communities. . . so that we may, with integrity, look into the eyes of all living beings and truthfully say, we are doing our part to care for them and the future of the children. 

May love transform us and our world with new steps toward life.
                                                                                            Interfaith Power and Light

Monday, April 20, 2020

Same Storm, Different Boats

I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.
For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.
For some that live alone, they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.
With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment, some are bringing in more money to their households than when they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.
Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0.
Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk, and eggs for the weekend.
Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.
Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.
Some have experienced the near-death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.
Some have faith in God and expect miracles during 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.
So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.
Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.
We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.
                                                                                                                   -Unknown author

Zoom Libraries

So many Zoom meetings while we're sheltering in place! If you'd rather keep your home work space private, Library Journal offers backgrounds featuring libraries from Baltimore to Helsinki to Prague to your own neighborhood!


National Library Week

The theme for National Library Week 2020, "Find your place at the library," was chosen some time ago, before any of us could imagine the emergence of a global pandemic that would force most libraries to temporarily close their physical spaces. But you can still find your place at the library because libraries are open for business online, providing the virtual services and digital content their communities need more than ever. You can access ebooks, movies, music, video games, virtual storytimes and activities, and so much more — all from the comfort of your home.

This year during National Library Week, let’s celebrate by showing our appreciation for the many innovative ways libraries, librarians and library workers are continuing to serve their communities during a time of crisis.

- American Library Association

Friday, April 17, 2020

Mondays with Michelle

By Emma Kantor |

In an effort to spread cheer and promote literacy among families that are sheltering in place during the pandemic, Michelle Obama is teaming up with Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books, and PBS Kids to launch a weekly read-aloud series. Beginning on April 20 at noon ET and running through May 11, “Mondays with Michelle Obama” will feature the former First Lady of the United States reading live from favorite picture books on the PBS Kids Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Michelle Obama said in a statement, “At this time when so many families are under so much stress, I’m excited to give kids a chance to practice their reading and hear some wonderful stories (and to give parents and caretakers a much-needed break).”

The program, which is in support of Penguin Random House’s new “Read Together, Be Together” campaign and PBS Kids’s “Read-Along” initiative, will also include literacy activities, tips, and resources for each of the books featured on “Mondays with Michelle Obama.”

The schedule is as follows:
April 20 at noon: The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, illus. by Axel Scheffler
April 27 at noon: There’s a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, illus. by Greg Abbott
May 4 at noon: Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler
May 11 at noon: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Let Evening Come

Jane Kenyon - 1947-1995

Let the light of late afternoon 
shine through chinks in the barn, moving 
up the bales as the sun moves down. 

Let the cricket take up chafing 
as a woman takes up her needles 
and her yarn. Let evening come. 

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned 
in long grass. Let the stars appear 
and the moon disclose her silver horn. 

Let the fox go back to its sandy den. 
Let the wind die down. Let the shed 
go black inside. Let evening come. 

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop 
in the oats, to air in the lung 
let evening come. 

Let it come, as it will, and don't 
be afraid. God does not leave us 
comfortless, so let evening come.

From Otherwise: New & Selected Poems by Jane Kenyon, published by Graywolf Press. Copyright © 1996 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon.

Glad Tidings

Shop "Faith, Hope, Love" Poster Print - On Sale - Overstock - 23573500

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

"The Shows Must Go On"

Jesus Christ Superstar • US TourAndrew Lloyd-Webber announced a new youtube channel that will show stage-to-screen Broadway musicals. There'll be a new offering every Friday. This week's show is "Jesus Christ Superstar" - 10 April/Good Friday (NBC will also re-air "JCS" 10 April). Theater tickets can be expensive, so this is a great opportunity to see a show! It's a fantastic way to introduce kids to stage productions, too!

Be a Hero

...and stay home to protect our healthcare workers! They are super heros, but are sadly not immune to COVID-19.

As healthcare workers care for patients with COVID-19, they commit themselves to difficult, draining work and also put themselves at risk of infection. Thousands have tested positive with the virus and at least 150 have died - including one in Georgia.

EMS, police and fire are also at increased risk.

Read what first responders are facing every day at Newsweek
Medscape (in Memoriam), WaPo, and BBC.  

FAKE's new mural "Super Nurse" available for free download ...
"Super Nurse"  - free download

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

'Keeping Quiet'

A reading of the following poem is available at Brainpickings

by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Every single poem in Extravagaria is rewarding beyond words, beyond time. Complement it with Neruda’s beautiful metaphor of the hand through the fence and the story of his extraordinary life adapted in an illustrated love letter to language, then revisit Paul Goodman on the nine types of silence and the lovely The Quiet Book.



Rent, Mortgage, Utility Assistance

Friday, April 3, 2020

Local Independent Bookstores

Our friends at Johns Creek Books and Gifts have done a great job of supporting Ocee library during library renovations. Let's return the favor! Currently JCBG is offering curbside pickup and on-line ordering. Please contact them at: 770-696-9999 or johnscreekbooks@gmail.com

Read It Again is also operating on modified terms.

"Lean on Me"

Soul legend Bill Withers passed this week of heart complications at age 81. 
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01:  Photo of Bill WITHERS; Posed portrait of Bill Withers  (Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)

Rolling Stone reports "the three-time Grammy winner released just eight albums before walking away from the spotlight in 1985, but he left an incredible mark on the music community and the world at large. Songs like “Lean On Me,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Use Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Lovely Day” are embedded in the culture and have been covered countless times. While many of Withers’ biggest songs were recorded in the Seventies, they have proven to be timeless hits. “Lean on Me” emerged once again in recent weeks as an anthem of hope and solidarity in the time of COVID-19."

(Videos of several hits are embedded in the article. Take a listen - you'll be glad you did!)

Goodnight with Dolly

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is excited to present Dolly Parton’s new weekly read-aloud video series called “Goodnight with Dolly”. The Book Lady sits down to read books from the Imagination Library to children and families.

“Goodnight with Dolly” launches on April 2, 2020. This 10-week series will focus on comforting and reassuring children during the shelter-in-place mandates. Dolly hopes these videos will provide a welcomed distraction during a time of unrest and also inspire a love of reading and books in the hearts of the children who see them. Dolly said,

“This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right. I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honor for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think."

What Pets Read

The New York Public Library asked its staff if their pets could read what would they be reading now...
  dog wearing glasses
Aragon dreams of starting a business selling dog treats, tennis balls, and fire hydrants. He checked out The E-Myth Enterprise: How to Turn a Great Idea into a Thriving Business by Michael E. Gerber with his library card (proudly displayed in the picture), and is reading it while #stayingathome during this time. —Helena E., Business Center

Visit the link above to see what Domino, Anais, Gandolf, and other NYPL pets recommend!

Banishing Charm on Boredom

Everyone is trying to keep safe at home at the moment and so, with J.K. Rowling and friends at Audible, Bloomsbury, OverDrive, Pottermore Publishing and Scholastic and they've introduced Harry Potter At Home to help children, parents, carers and teachers add a touch of Harry Potter magic to our new daily lives.