Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday February 26th, 2012 Freedom to Read Week

From February 26 to March 3, celebrate Freedom to Read week. Every year events are held across Canada to “encourage Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Books and other publications are still being challenged today and libraries are regularly asked to remove books from their collection. Freedom to Read raises awareness of these ongoing issues to remind Canadians that they have the freedom to choose what they read. For more information and a list of challenged books go to In support of Freedom to Read Week, visit one of your Thunder Bay Public Library branches and read one of these challenged titles.

The Adv
entures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a well known classic about the adventures of two outcasts’ as they journey down the Mississippi River. Since being published in 1884, Twain’s novel has been both praised and condemned. Challenged and removed from libraries and schools for years due to its language and characters, this novel continues to make news even today. Just recently NewSouth Books announced that they would be publishing a new edition of Huckleberry Finn featuring the less offensive word “slave”. Other classic novels that have been challenged for similar reasons are the Pulitzer Prize winner To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

For its wizardry, witchcraft and magic, The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling have faced numerous challenges from parents and others throughout Canada. The popular series for readers of all ages is the story of Harry Potter, his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and their adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Other popular young adult series challenged by parents, in this case for stories of vampires and supernatural characters, are the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris and the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer.

Even children's pictures books are challenged such as And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. Based on the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo that take care of an abandoned egg, this book has been challenged for its age inappropriateness, anti-family and religious viewpoint. Author Maurice Sendak has had numerous of his popular picture books challenged including Where the Wild Things Are for its supernatural characters and In the Night Kitchen for nudity. Examples of other challenged children’s stories are The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

Support your freedom to read by reading one of these challenged titles, all of which are available at your Thunder Bay Public Library. If you are the owner of a challenged book, you can “free it” by participating in Bookcrossing: Free a Challenged Book. People all around the world are releasing books into their community to help spread the word about challenged and banned books. Instructions on how to get involved can be found on the Freedom to Read website or

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday February 19th, 2012 The Path to an Inviting and Cozy Home Starts Here

With the height of winter in full gear, our climate demands more of our time to be spent indoors sheltered from the elements. This nesting has many of us looking around our homes wondering how we can improve the appearance of our interiors to make them as welcoming and comforting as possible. You need not have an opulent home like The Breakers or a Biltmore Estate to achieve the effect created by such contemporary greats like Mark Hampton or David Hicks, just some help from the resources found at the Thunder Bay Public Library. Our instructional and inspirational materials can help make your space into the vision you want it to be. For starters, TBPL keeps current with popular newsstand titles including, Style at Home, Canadian House and Home, House Beautiful, and Better Homes and Gardens, all brimming with a variety of design styles and the latest in trends.

TBPL also has a wide offering of newer books with motivating imagery that cater to every design budget and style, from contemporary to traditional, from simple updates to complete renovations, and for each room of your home, they will all be sure to get your creative juices flowing. Here is just a small selection of recent additions:

Design Rules by Elaine Griffin – a book for people afraid to nail a hole in the wall, this is a book that will ease your fears. Just as its title states, this book explains in very simple terms the ideal placement of furnishings, fixtures, lighting and artwork to maximize impact for every room of your home. Elaine shares her formal interior design training insider tips, such as ideal measurements, proportions and placement that can be applied to both small and large living spaces.

How to Live in Small Spaces by Terence Conran – written by the founder of Habitat stores, Conran shows the benefits of living smaller with a focus on urban living. He shows how to tackle tight living spaces for maximum use rooms, using light, colour, dual use furnishings, built-ins and simplifying architectural details among others.

150 Ways t
o Dress your Windows – A guide to curtains, sheers and shades, is filled with lavish photographs to help the reader find the right treatment. Photographs are explained taking into consideration factors that include different window shapes, difficult to cover areas, types of fabrics, the effects of colour and pattern, and finishing details.

Better Homes and Gardens New Decorating Book – I was hard pressed to find anything lacking in this updated book and was so impressed by it, I am prompted to purchase my own copy. This book is not just pretty pictures, but is full of great ideas and practical tips, especially with hints for the smaller details that make everyday living easier. Also contained is advice on decorating choices that work, what pitfalls to avoid, practical projects with instructions, as well as a workroom area to help you make wise choices in furniture selection, lighting and more. It is a practical reference manual for anyone considering making changes to any room in their home whether big or small.

Neutral Color Schemes – features 200 of today’s neutral colour schemes with a narrative on the mood each one creates when used in combination with non-neutrals. Neutral shades vary widely, with each page featuring a different neutral matched with recommended accent colours and brief descriptions on the theme the combination creates. This is a helpful resource for those looking to establish a particular look and have a willingness to start with a blank slate.

Arlene Danyleyko

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday February 12th, 2012 First Nations Public Library Week

February 13 – 18 is First Nations Public Library Week, so come in and celebrate with books, movies, and more.

On the evenings of February 13th and 15th you can make a leather pouch at Waverley and Brodie libraries – check our website for times and registration information. February 16th we’ll be screening Third World Canada at our Mary J.L. Black Library and on February 18th join us for a special storytelling program with Joe McLellan. Free tickets to the Joe McLellan reading are available at the Waverley Children’s Desk.

If you’d rather curl up with a good book, we have plenty of choices on a variety of topics. All of the books below are written by Aboriginal writers and can be found at your library.

For those interested in history we have History of the Ojibway People by William W. Warren and Matawa First Nations Community and Life Experiences by John Paul Jacasum, among other titles.

On the arts and culture side, we have books such as Norval Morrisseau: Return to the House of Invention by Norval Morrisseau, Northern Ojibway Style Birch Bark Canoe Building by Pelican Falls First Nations High School, Return to the Drum: Teaching Among the Dene in Canada’s North by Miggs Wynne Morris, and Th!nk Indian: Languages are Beyond Price by Basil Johnston. It’s a truly amazing variety of topics and there is much more to explore.

Personally, I love a good story and winter is the perfect time for storytelling. In fiction you will find Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden, War Dances by Sherman Alexie, Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor, As Long as the Rivers Flow by James Bartleman, and Finding Carrie George by Frank LaRue.

If you are inspired to have a movie night we have a number of choices on DVD. You can borrow Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School, The Sacred Sundance: Transfer of a Ceremony, Woodland Spirits, and Keepers of the Fire among others.

Of course we don’t just have books and movies for adults. In our children’s section you will find books by Ruby Slipperjack, Joseph Bruchac, Leo Yerxa, Larry Loyie, Jan Bourdeau Waboose, and of course Joe McLellan. These authors only scratch the surface of what is available in our Children’s department and there are tales from all over North America. In Children’s you will also find the Wapos Bay television series in both English and Cree.

Additionally, consider reading Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton which is the current First Nation Communities Read book. This reading program exists to encourage family literacy and intergenerational storytelling. It also helps to highlight the many excellent First Nation, Inuit, and Metis writers and illustrators in the publishing community. They alternate between Children’s and Young Adult/Adult titles. Past titles include: Long Powwow Nights by David Bouchard & Pam Aleekuk, Which Way Should I Go by Sylvia Olsen with Ron Martin, Ancient Thunder by Leo Yerxa, As Long as the Rivers Flow by Larry Loyie with Constance Brissenden, Skysisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose, Solomon’s Tree inspired by Tsimpshian master carver Victor Reece, written by Andrea Spalding, and Dragonfly Kites by Tomson Highway.

I know that there are a lot of titles and authors listed above, my hope is that this will introduce you to the rich stores of Aboriginal writing we have available to us. Join us in celebrating First Nations writing and culture this week and all year!

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sunday February 5th, 2012 From Page to Silver Screen

Have you ever had the experience of finishing a great book and thinking this would make a fabulous movie? Many films are derived from novels, and while many films are disasters, some are brilliantly done bringing a new audience to an amazing book or talented author. Novels have on occasion taken years to reach the silver screen, while others seem to flow seamlessly from the page to the Cineplex.

As we are coming to the end of the film awards season with the most glittering prize of all, the Oscars, being awarded at the end of this month it’s a great time to check out the literary inspirations for the prizes. While a few of the nominees are blockbusters, many of the films nominated for the big prizes are virtually unknown to the mass film viewing public. It has become a yearly tradition in my house, when watching the awards, to argue about who “actually” deserved the award, envy or disparage the clothes and gossip about who came with who, accompanied by a vat of popcorn, of course. It has also become a tradition to read the novels that inspired the movies. Fortunately, this year as with any other, the titles are available on the shelves of the Thunder Bay Public Library.

The Descendents by Kaui Hart Hemmings

The debut novel by Hemmings deals with Matt King, absentee father and husband whose whole life changes when his wife, falls into a coma following a boating accident. Matt suddenly must learn how to parent his two daughters, who are difficult children at best, and deal with reality behind his marriage. The book is a careful mix of humour and pathos and makes for an excellent read.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Another debut novel, concerns the beginnings of the civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962, where young writer Eugenia “Skeeter” Phalen begins writing stories based on interviews with the black women employed to raise the children of their white employers. The stories display the active and passive discrimination of these women and force the characters to begin the process of change.

mely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The tragedy of 9/11 takes on a more human face with the tale of Oskar Schell who lost his father and tries to cope by following a quest throughout New York to solve the mystery of a key that he finds in his father’s possessions.

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

The relationship between a mother and child is explored both before and in the aftermath of the child’s Columbine-like killing spree. Kevin was a difficult and frightening child, unable to bond with Eva, who was ambivalent, in her mothering toward him. Behind the story is the question, was Kevin destined to violence or could his parents have done anything to prevent a tragedy?

The I
nvention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

A great story for children of all ages, Hugo Cabret is an orphan living in the walls of a Paris train station. Hugo’s adventure and his destiny involve around a mysterious key, a book of treasured notations, a mechanical man and a hidden message.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre

Set in the 1970’s, Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy is the story of intelligence agent, George Smiley who is forced out of retirement in order to find a Russian “mole” in the upper levels of the British Secret Service.

Lori Kauzlarick