This Thursday, February 18 at 5 pm the Native American Cultural Awareness Association (NACAA) is hosting a presentation by Carol Schumacher. She will be talking about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on her own family and more broadly the Navajo Nation. Having lost 12 family members in December 2020, she has a lot to share. “We Are Invisible | WE ARE STILL HERE”
Those of you who have been following this blog know that I love reading. I have profound respect for librarians and I am a purest pertaining to print media of all forms. I see librarians and print media as the foundation of literacy development, and learning to read is an act of emancipation for disenfranchised learners.
Since I am such a prolific reader, I read a wide variety of periodicals, and yes, I do subscribe, and yes, they still arrive in the postal mail to my house. My monthly magazines include: Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the Advocate, Time, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, People, Southern Living, and my monthly favorite, Essence. The reason I love Essence magazine is because it captures the current trends as well as history of Black women culture through fashion, cosmetology, travel, human interests, and, of course, literature. I first read the review of Training School for Negro Girlsin the Essence magazine. When I saw the cover and read the word “Girls,” I thought immediately that it was a book for adolescent Black girls who would be taught the truisms of life, like how to be “Black girl proud” and exemplify one’s “Black girl magic.” I immediately ordered the book and could not wait to read it.
I read the first chapter that was entitled “Who Are We,” and it was about a group of Black teenagers on the bus terrorizing White and senior patrons. It was the worst nightmare of any White person and the most stereotypical behavior exhibited by Black teenagers. I was upset with the chapter because it focused on all of the fears I ever had about how White folks would perceive young Black folk. It was outright shameful. And then I realized maybe that was exactly what the author wanted to provoke, so I was eager to read the next chapter to see how this story would develop.
The next chapter was entitled “Cicada,” and as started to read, I realized this provocatively tilted book was not a novel, but a collection of short stories, and whatever training Negro girls or any reader was going to get from this book would come from the woven collective and not the continuous narrative. Needless to say, I was truly captivated as the stories continued to flow from Black women through the “irony and tragi-comedy of respectability onto a wide-ranging cast of characters, all of whom call Washington, DC, home.” The stories unfold as “A “woke” millennial tries to fight gentrification, only to learn she’s part of the problem; a grade school teacher dreams of a better DC, only to take out her frustrations on her students; and a young piano player wins a competition, only to learn the prize is worthless. Ultimately, they are confronted with the fact that respectability does not equal freedom. Instead, they must learn to trust their own conflicted judgment and fight to create their own sense of space and self” (Six Bridges Book Festival).
Beneath larger themes of gentrification and race, these stories pulse with vitality as ordinary people look for a future in a world that doesn’t expect them to have one. Frustration takes varied forms—in a college applicant who is desperate to escape her peers; in a TSA agent whose mistake inspires others to worsen the moment with a lie. When a joyous outcome does happen, such as winning a piano competition, it’s tainted by another girl’s behavior. Despair doesn’t take over. Instead, calibrated defeats build toward endings that linger. Amid darkening scenarios, love still seeps through: in an aging mother’s advice, in a father who drives through the city while lecturing his daughter, in a younger sister who watches her brother breaking (Karen Rigby, Forward Reviews).
At the end of the book, I finally understood that this composite of stories was training school for the world and not just Black girls. We learn best through the lived experiences of others and this book solidifies our common humanity.
Stealing your credit card number when you’re shopping online… phishing attacks for your password… too-good-to-be-true prize wins… identity theft….
You may think you’re too smart to fall victim to these schemes. But according to multiple cybersecurity organizations,
“…students are frequently unaware of even the most basic cybersecurity practices. Accordingly, more than 30 percent of higher education breaches are likely due to students falling victim to email scams, misuse of social media, or other careless activity.”
Don’t let that be you! Thankfully, we have cybersecurity experts right here on campus. Hear from one of them, Brian Dennis, director of the Cybersecurity Center for Business. He will talk about how you can protect yourself and your information.
Plus snakes, reptiles, mammals and all kinds of other cool critters of the Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and more. The incredibly detailed CG-illustrations alone makes this one neat book! Each two-page spread is dominated by the colorful illustration, labeled with unique factoids; a small fact box about its size, habitat, and diet; and callout boxes that tell some short story either about its fossil record, its discoverer(s), similar modern animals, or unique characteristics — like the Sinosauropteryx that wore fuzzy down feathers or the bat-like Icaronycteris!
In addition to the features on each specific dinosaur, the front and back sections of the book have wonderfully illustrated sections on dinosaur anatomy, historical timelines, how fossils are created, and more. This book is perfect for any budding archaeologist!
See a quick video preview of the book here:
by John Woodward et al.
New Arrivals, 2nd Floor 567.903 Woo
I often read books for pleasure, inspiration, or knowledge. Crooked Hallelujah was indeed a trifecta as I was easily drawn into the story of four generations of Pentecostal, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, women and how their lives blended and dissected throughout the more than 60-year span in this 284-page book.
The wonder of this book is told through the lens of the four women in different phases of their lives through short story format. It is non-linear, but expansive. It is illustrative, mystical, and poignant. The short stories draw the reader into the intimate lives and the woven compassion of the four women – great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and daughter.
“It’s 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and fifteen-year-old Justine grows up in a family of tough, complicated, and loyal women, presided over by her mother, Lula, and Granny. After Justine’s father abandoned the family, Lula became a devout member of the Holiness Church – a community that Justine at times finds stifling and terrifying. But Justine does her best as a devoted daughter until an act of violence sends her on a different path forever. Crooked Hallelujah tells the stories of Justine — a mixed-blood Cherokee woman — and her daughter, Reney, as they move from Eastern Oklahoma’s Indian Country in the hopes of starting a new, more stable life in Texas amid the oil bust of the 1980s. However, life in Texas isn’t easy, and Reney feels unmoored from her family in Indian Country. Against the vivid backdrop of the Red River, we see their struggle to survive in a world of unreliable men and near-Biblical natural forces, like wildfires and tornados, intent on stripping away their connections to one another and their very ideas of home. In lush and empathic prose, Kelli Jo Ford depicts what this family of proud, stubborn, Cherokee women sacrifice for those they love, amid larger forces of history, religion, class, and culture. This is a big-hearted and ambitious novel of the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters by an exquisite and rare new talent” (Grove Press).
One reviewer stated, “Crooked Hallelujah masterfully evokes loss and displacement, steeped in Native American culture, rife with compassion and deep understanding. Kelli Jo Ford has a powerful new Native American writer who writes beautifully with stunning prose! She is brilliant and I can’t wait for people to read this amazing book” (Hobson, 2018). So, with this review, I was poised for pleasure, and indeed, I was satisfied.
But pleasure was buffered by inspiration. The writing was so intriguing because I was captivated with the author’s vignettes. The vignettes – a brief evocative description, account, or episode – were powerful. I was truly inspired by the writing due to its expressive compactness as captured in the example below:
“This is what I knew about Russel Gibson before that day. Mom was fifteen; she said no. He was closer to 30. He waited down the road until she could sneak out that night. She didn’t want to wear the long Holy Roller dress, so she’d stashed a change of regular person clothes in the bushes. They pushed the car down the hill, coasted until they could start it away from Lula’s earshot. He wore a white cowboy hat with a turkey feather. And drove a green Ford truck. His mom was Choctaw, full-blood. She brought over fifty dollars and a coat when I was a baby. When I asked what it looked like, Mom said, “I don’t know. It was just a coat.”
One of the knowledge base pieces was the research that I did on the Pentecostal religion and how that religion was viewed in the context of the Native American culture. I asked a friend to share her thoughts about the Pentecost to start my investigatory journey. Her capturing is shared as followed:
In Acts 19:1- 6, we see that Apollos was in Corinth and Paul was passing through the upper coast and came to Ephesus. There, he found certain disciples (followers of Jesus Christ), for whom the Lord gave him discernment. The Holy Spirit revealed to Paul that these certain disciples were missing a vital addition to their spiritual lives. The purpose of this addition was to empower the believers to live according to God’s will and to teach, to comfort, to inspire, to extend gifts and to equip them for ministry and service. So, he asked them a very important question that would propel them to pursue more of God. That question was, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” If you have accepted the plan of salvation and you are striving to live for Christ, and you feel like you need more of God’s power, then you are a candidate for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. When the 120 believers, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, the disciples (Acts 13:52) and others, were all in the upper room, on one accord in one place, there was a sound from Heaven as of a mighty rushing wind that filled the house where they were sitting. And it appeared unto them as cloven tongues as of fire and it set upon each of them and they were all filled and spoke in other tongues, as the Holy Ghost gave them utterance. It was then that they had received the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
My Pentecostal experience was like the day when Pentecost had fully come! I knew that I needed more of God’s power in my life and we were taught from the Bible that we had to tarry (wait) for His gift to be given unto us. As I tarried, I cried out from the depths of my soul. The more I cried out to the Lord, the less I saw of myself. My fleshly ways decreased and my spiritual woman got stronger. The Lord was emptying out my old ways and adding more of His ways in me. This process continued until, finally one day, my tears and cries changed to another language that I did not understand. Words that only an interpreter could help me to comprehend. Not only did I receive the tongues, but I also received the joy, the peace, the love and the power that came with it! I thank God for baptizing me with His Spirit that day and I just want you to know that there are also REFILLINGS! You may always go back for more, when you feel a little empty!! God bless you always!
This informed knowledge-based testimony gave me more insight into the book and I was able to understand the fervor and appreciate the dedication to Pentecostal living and worshipping that the women characters experience.
Incidentally, I had the pleasure of reading this book while visiting my sister in Oklahoma over the winter break. I love it when concept, content, and context enriches my reading.
Getting stuck in the same game rut? Don’t forget that Andersen Library has a collection of board games, table games and card games to explore. Two of the newest additions to the collection are perfect for mixing things up.
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is quick to pick up, and quick to devolve into silliness. The first player puts a card into the center, face-up, saying “Taco.” The next player then puts her card face-up on top of his, while saying “Cat.” Play continues this way (going “Taco” “Cat” “Goat” “Cheese” “Pizza” and so on) until a card laid matches the word spoken. Try to look at a Taco and say “Cat” – but don’t stumble, as you may get stuck having to take the full pile. Slap your hand on the deck when the card matches the word spoken, but be quick and don’t be last hand on the pile – yet another way to end up with a full hand of cards. Gorilla, Groundhog, and Narwhal cards randomly pop up, and prompt the players to action – the wrong action is yet another way to end up with a full deck.
Qwixx dice game (ages 8+) is another family friendly game that reinforces math, probability, and strategic thinking.
Visit the Curriculum Collection on the 2nd floor of Andersen Library to browse all the games available in the Teaching Tools section. Check them out as you would other library materials.
“Identity Theft: Protect and Prevent” will be presented online on Thurs., Jan. 28, at 3 p.m. by Jeff Kersten from the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection via Zoom, sponsored by Whitewater’s public library. Registration in advance is required in order to receive the program link shortly before the program begins (http://www.whitewaterlibrary.org/index.asp – scroll to the program listing at the bottom of the page).
You can get additional information from the Bureau’s website, such as its ID/Theft/Privacy Protection Fact Sheets. The Federal Trade Commission’s www.identitytheft.gov site also provides information, including warning signs and recovery plan options. It’s already tax season, and since one thing identity thieves can do with your information is file fraudulent returns, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a page called “Identity Theft Central” that provides information for individuals, tax preparers, and businesses.
For assistance with finding additional resources, such as articles or books, please ask a librarian (visit or contact staff at the Reference Desk, email, chat, or make an appointment).
Ahhh. This sweet little puff of dandelion fluff provides a brief respite for the world-weary.
Playful artwork complements the punchy children’s poems with titles like “Atta-Dude” and “Roy G. Biv.” Each poem includes a label for the format while the “Poetic Forms and Literary Devices” glossary at the end of the book describes each one. Short bios of the contributors are also included.
The thanksgiving theme is woven through the poems, loosely at times. This is a delightful way to help youngsters (and the rest of us) cultivate gratitude. And it’s educational, too. Did you know that septercet, Fibonnaci, and Etheree are all poetic forms?
Thanku is a breath of fresh air for the first day of Spring Semester. Welcome back!
Thanku: Poems of Gratitude Edited by Miranda Paul; Illustrated by Marlena Myles New Arrivals, 2nd Floor Curr Coll, 811 Tha
Chad Lewis will talk about the “Bizarre History of Wisconsin: Strange Stories from Our Past” on Tuesday, January 19th, at 6 p.m. via Zoom (online). This free event is sponsored by Whitewater’s public library, the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library. Registration is required to receive a meeting invitation shortly before the program begins.
(Note: Food for Thought Cafe remains closed for Spring 2021.)
*Please remember that even when the physical Library is closed, or you are remote, you can:
Search the article databases (login when prompted with your campus Net-ID, same as for your campus email or Canvas) or Research@UWW (sign in to access all possible full text) and access online article text or submit ILLiad interlibrary loan requests for articles not available via UW-Whitewater’s libraries,
Ask a librarian for help using email or chat (UW-Whitewater librarians respond to the emails when the Library is open, but chat is covered 24/7 by non-local staff). You also can choose to make an appointment with a UW-Whitewater librarian, which can take place in person, over the phone, or online by Webex.