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”

Stacey Gibson’s Best Reads of 2016

staceyMy name is Stacey Gibson.  I’m a parent, educator, and Evanston resident who enjoys a well-crafted story and the sun.

1)  John Crow’s Devil by Marlon James (2005)

James peppers the pages with anvil heavy Jamaican patois, mystical practices of redemption, and sweeping battles where good and evil masquerade with and as the other. Continue reading “Stacey Gibson’s Best Reads of 2016”

Jay Robinson’s Best Reads of 2016

3_headshot-2016-jayMy name is Jay Robinson.  I am an industrial designer for Robinson Design – my own consultancy firm that creates interiors for private aircraft. Five years ago I moved with my family from Andersonville to Evanston, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of this amazing community. In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, listening to podcasts, and obsessing over home improvement projects.

1)  Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (2015)

This is a sprawling, old-school hard-science-fiction novel packed to the gunwales with ideas. Set before and after a freak event creates a cataclysm on Earth, it subjects its characters to a gantlet of perils which they must overcome with wit, determination, and limited resources. A good one for fans of The Martian.

Continue reading “Jay Robinson’s Best Reads of 2016”

Remembering Jackie Ormes

There’s a persistent stereotype that comics and graphic novels are written only by and about young, usually white men. Yet as the marvelous blog Madame Noire reminds us, “Black Women Love Comics Too!” Any doubters should take a peek at the Ormes Society website. Named for Jackie Ormes, the first African American female cartoonist, the Society promotes the inclusion of black women as creators and characters in the comics industry.

Ormes is getting more attention lately herself, with a new biography highlighting her pioneering work as an editorial cartoonist, commercial artist, and civil rights activist. Her beloved character Torchy Brown, who debuted as a Harlem teenager in 1937, embodied the struggles and accomplishments of the Great Migration, while the wise cracking Patty Jo and Ginger commented slyly on the racial struggles of the Cold War era. A fascinating, and little known slice of American cultural history.   –Lesley W.

Book Trailer of the Week

Our latest Book Trailer of the Week is for Dash Shaw’s darkly fantastical graphic novel BodyWorld.  The year is 2060 and America is reeling from a devastating civil war when Professor Paulie Panther rambles into the small town of Boney Borough.  An experimental botanist by trade, he soon stumbles upon a mysterious two-lobed plant of possible alien origin growing back behind the high school.  The strange flora’s telepathic powers are unwelcomed by the humorously quirky townsfolk, however, and the eccentric Panther  quickly finds himself chafing against Boney Borough’s rigid conformist attitude.  Funny and fearless, BodyWorld is a mind-blowing blend of sci-fi, offbeat romance, and futuristic what-if that will challenge your imagination with its visionary artwork.  Don’t miss it.

Graphic Novels Now Part of ETHS Curriculum

Last year, two Evanston Township High School faculty members (English department, librarian and media specialist Nancy Figel, and literacy coordinator Regina Armour) led a pilot project which found that graphic novels are “effective pre-reading and review aids.” Now they are introducing this new curriculum into “reading intervention” classes at ETHS, to “raise reading levels among struggling readers and to engage students in reading dense classics.”  Graphic novel adaptations of The Odyssey, Macbeth, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, will be read in conjunction with the traditional texts. To learn more about this exciting and innovative initiative, click here.

Manga Mania at Queens Public Library

My mother, a dedicated 5th grade teacher, deplored comic books and refused to allow them in her classroom. “All kids do is look at the pictures; they don’t learn to read that way”.

Dear old Mom. She was right about some things, (yellow is not my color) but dead wrong about comics…or graphic novels as we call them now. Not only do kids read them, they read them in Japanese.

Yup, American teens in places like Queens New York are so inspired by Japanese manga that they’re studying Japanese, giving themselves Japanese names and even choosing colleges based on their Asian studies programs. Read about it in this New York Times story.

Lesley W.