Archive for May, 2011

As a youth librarian, part of my job is to read as many books as possible to help with reader’s advisory—simply put, helping a child or teen find just the right book to read. While reading these books, I often come across titles that I believe adults would enjoy just as much as the intended audience. The following four books happen to be historical fiction, but there are more great books where these came from in other genres!

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

The yellow fever epidemic that swept through Philadelphia in 1793 was the stuff of nightmares. In three months, it killed ten percent of the city’s population, according to the appendix in the book. The main character of this fictional story, Matilda, spends her days helping her mother run a coffee shop until the disease begins to spread through the city and she is forced to leave town with her grandfather. For a wonderful teen nonfiction account of the yellow fever epidemic, you may want to check out An American Plague:  The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy.

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

This book is based on a century-old, real life event: the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City. In the story, two young women named Bella and Yetta are working class laborers in factory. As their supervisors continue to treat them unreasonably, the workers decide to strike, hoping to organize a union to fight for better workplace safety measures and fair pay. After a long, drawn-out battle, they don’t get anywhere and must go back to work because they need the money. But when the building catches on fire, some of the workers become trapped inside, exactly the kind of thing that could have been prevented if they’d been successful in their strike. The silver lining is that this fire changed history and helped to establish the standard rules we take for granted today.

The Wonder of Charlie Anne by Kimberly Newton Fusco

I couldn’t help but think that Charlie Anne has the same fun-loving, spunky attitude as Laura from the Little House on the Prairie books. However, her story takes place in 1930s Massachusetts during the Great Depression, which was a very different time and place. Charlie Anne’s mother recently passed away, leaving the family heartbroken and her strict cousin Mirabel in charge while her father goes away to find paying work. But when Charlie Anne’s neighbor Old Mr. Jolly brings home a new wife and a servant girl, Charlie Anne learns a lesson about first impressions and her world changes forever.

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

Around the time of the Great Depression, Chicago natives Joey and Mary Alice make reluctant annual summer trips to their grandmother’s farm in a rural Illinois town. Over the years, they learn to appreciate their grandmother’s eccentricities and good heart. Touching scenes and laugh out loud antics by their sassy grandmother really make the story come alive. When you’re finished, I’d be willing to bet you’ll also want to read the other books about Grandma Dowdel:  A Year Down Yonder and A Season of Gifts.


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The Milford Public Library has teamed up with libraries in Milford, Connecticut, Milford, Ohio, and Milford, Iowa to learn a little about these communities that share our name.  This project will take place over the summer beginning on June 1st.   It is in conjunction with the Summer Reading Program’s themes of geography, different cultures, and travel.

From June 1st through June 30th, you will be able to share greetings with the other Milfords.  For the youngest of patrons, we will have available a printout of a “postcard” on which they can draw something that depicts Milford.  For older kids, teens and adults, we will have a 2-part form on which you can write something about Milford.  The first part is “My favorite thing about my town is…”  The second part is “I love my library because…”  These forms will be available at all three service desks.

After June 30th, we will divide the submissions into 3 packets, each one going to one of the other 3 Milfords.  In mid-July through August we will have a display of the information that we have received from the other 3 Milfords. 

Be sure to stop by the library sometime in June to send your greetings to the other Milfords!  Stop by in July and August to see what we’ve received from them.

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Summer reading program volunteer information and applications are now available on our website and at the library. Teens entering 7th-12th grade in the fall of 2011 are welcome to apply! Please call the Youth Desk or stop by if you have any questions.

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If you’re one of the increasing number of people who are eager to research their family history, you’ll be interested to know that the library has added a new magazine subscription to its collection. Family Chronicle magazine is filled with great tips, advice, and articles by genealogists who have great stories to tell. The first issue we’ve received is the May/June 2011 issue, which features the exciting story by James Pylant, “So You’re Related to an Axe Murderer!” And with 2011 being the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War, Cindy Thomson’s “Exploring Civil War Widow Pensions” or David A. Norris’ “Visiting Gettysburg for Genealogy,” and other Civil War-related articles might help you find out more about a veteran ancestor. The magazine comes out every 2 months; come by and check out the latest issue!

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