Silvia Rodriguez’s Best Reads of 2016

My name is Silvia Rodriguez, and I’m a Venezuelan globetrotter.  I arrived in Evanston around four years ago with my family, and since then have expanded with the birth of our second son, a true Evanstonian.  We too have become Evanstonians by adoption, as this town has welcomed us with open arms.  We love our community, which I think can always become stronger with contributions from all of us.  I feel connected by being involved in volunteerism for causes I feel strongly about (race inequality, social justice).  As a former book editor, I am glad we have such an amazing local library.  I have always used library services extensively everywhere I have lived, but EPL has by far been my favorite.  We are loyal, die-hard users!

1)  Neuro Tribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman (2015)

This book is a great reminder that so much about what happens throughout history is deeply influenced by chance, by luck, by circumstance. Silberman’s meticulous research shows how a series of events led to one line of research prevailing over another resulting in the concept and imagery of autism we sadly share nowadays: that in which autistics are portrayed as less able, less valuable humans to society, as expendables. I am hopeful that with the work of disability self-advocates (Silberman does right in mentioning some in his book) and revisionist titles such as this, society will shift toward a more just and ethical idea of autism and the many contributions autistic citizens can bring to us all.

Continue reading “Silvia Rodriguez’s Best Reads of 2016”

Lisa Harries’ Best Reads of 2014

harriesMy name is Lisa Harries.  I have lived in Evanston all my life.  I moved into the city for a bit during my 20s, but returned when my daughter became school-aged. I have been a teacher for 19 wonderful years and currently teach 2nd graders at Dewey Elementary School. I love to sleep, shop, read, eat, talk with friends, do jigsaw puzzles, run, and bowl. I try to find something to smile about everyday, usually my teenage daughter and my students help me accomplish that goal. I hope that you find some wonderful books to enjoy during this next year. Happy reading!

1) The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau (2000)

I re-read this book every year to my students because I love it so much. It is about generosity and community. It teachers students how good it feels to give to others and how giving just a little bit of yourself to someone else can help foster a sense of community. It also has BEAUTIFUL illustrations that students enjoy.

Continue reading “Lisa Harries’ Best Reads of 2014”

Andalib Khelghati’s Best Reads of 2014

mr khelghatiMy name is Andalib Khelghati.  I was born in West Africa and grew up in a home where we spoke French, English and Farsi.  I work at Dewey Elementary school and am proud of all our Dewey Tigers.  My favorite hobby is learning about new places, languages and traveling.  I believe reading is a powerful tool for unlocking life’s hidden secrets.

1) Command Authority by Tom Clancy (2013)

This fast-paced thriller brings together action and politics for a novel that is a true page turner.  This book is a must-read for anyone looking to get completely engrossed in classic Clancy.

Continue reading “Andalib Khelghati’s Best Reads of 2014”

Why is George so curious? And what kind of monkey is he anyway?

Parents of toddlers might find themselves pondering the deeper mysteries of children’s books after reading a favorite story night after night seventeen bedtimes in a row.  They want to get beyond the obvious plot and characters.  Questions come to mind: Why is George curious? Are monkeys really that curious? What kind of monkey is he? Are some monkeys more curious than others? Now, thanks to authors Alexandra Horowitz and her husband Ammon Shea, some of these questions can be addressed. In this enlightening article in the January 1st  New York Times “Sunday Review” section, Horowitz and Shea present the cold, hard facts of scientific research to answer some of the knottier questions. They wisely stopped short of delving into too many of them in the interest of preserving the magic of childhood, but it is comforting to know that should I be blessed with grandchildren in the future, and should my mind wander during the umpteenth reading of, say, The Little Engine that Could, there is a good chance I’d be able to find out if that little engine really could have pulled it off.

Barbara L.

Should children read ebooks?

Today’s New York Times  points out that most  plugged in, etext-only adults still prefer physical print books for their children.  (For Their Children, Many E-book Fans Insist on Paper) The reasons vary: ebooks and ereaders are expensive, offer poorer selections, can’t convey illustrations well. There’s also a great deal of affection for the tactile, physical experience of sharing  books with a child, difficult to replicate with a Kindle.

But do physical books for children have any actual advanatge over  ebooks? Continue reading “Should children read ebooks?”

Illustrious Illustrations

The ten best illustrated children’s books of this year were announced in the November 3 issue of The New York Times. The artwork  from the winners will appear in the special Children’s Book section of the Book Review’s Nov. 13 issue.  See the article and some of the art here.


Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

A Maecenas for the Internet Age

The Wall Street Journal celebrates the legacy of the late Denis Dutton, a writer, philosopher, and the creator of the popular website Arts & Letters Daily.  Offering readers fresh daily links to the very best writing on books and culture, Dutton built ALD as an “elite meritocracy” that gave equal voice to quality journals of all sizes and perspectives.

‘Daddy, Read for Me’

Rikers Island inmates participating in the “Daddy and Me” literacy program are profiled in this NY Times feature.  Organized by the NY Public Library, the program helps fathers connect with their children by reading and recording books like “Fox in Socks” and “The Little Engine That Could.” 

How to Salvage a ‘Wrecked’ Novel

Author Michael Chabon discusses his abandoned novel Fountain City with The Atlantic.  After 5 years and 1500 pages, Chabon “wrecked” the novel before going on to write Wonder Boys.  Here he talks about his recent decision to publish four annotated chapters of Fountain City in McSweeney’s.

More Than A Mouthful

This NY Times essay explores the art of the extremely long sentence in novels such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and a host of more contemporary works.  With an appreciative eye, the article celebrates the beauty in 36, 117, and 158-page long sentences in the era of 140-character Twitter posts.