The Story Behind Draw a Bird Day

20 Apr

2015-04-09 18.27.16In 1943, Dorie Cooper was a 7 year old living in England. Her mother took her to a hospital to visit her uncle who was wounded in the war. While they were there, Dorie’s uncle was very distraught, having lost his right leg to a land mine. In an attempt to cheer him up, she asked him “Draw a bird for me, please.” Even though he was unwell, he decided to do as Dorie asked. He looked out his window and drew a picture of a robin.

On April 7, 2015 the director of the Cheshire Library put a piece of paper into everyone’s mailbox. The page was blank except for one sentence across the top: Wednesday, April 8th is “Draw a Picture of a Bird Day” followed by the line: Here is my picture of a 2015-04-09 18.25.46bird.2015-04-09 18.25.57

What fun, I thought and took my paper home to plan a drawing for the next day. On April 8th when I arrived at work, several staff had created bird drawings. There were all types from simple line drawings to colorful sketches. Owls, doves, robins, swans, and hummingbirds found their way onto the wall of our staff room.

After seeing her uncle’s bird picture, Dorie laughed out loud and proclaimed that he was not a very good 2015-04-09 18.26.34artist, but that she would hang the picture in her room nonetheless. Her uncle’s spirits were lifted by his niece’s complete honesty and acceptance. Several other wounded soldiers also had their day brightened by the event and every time Dorie came to visit thereafter, they held drawing contests to see who could produce the best bird pictures. Within several months, the entire ward’s walls were decorated by bird drawings.

2015-04-09 18.26.12The next evening, as I was standing there looking at the pictures, I became curious about the source of Draw a Bird Day. So, I did some research and discovered the Draw a Bird Day website. I read with interest about Dorie and her uncle. And then came the third paragraph.

3 years later, Dorie was killed after being struck by a car. At her funeral, her coffin was filled with bird images that had been made by soldiers, nurses and doctors from the ward where her uncle had been. Ever since then, those men and women remembered the little girl who brought hope to the ward by drawing birds on her birthday, April 8th.
2015-04-09 18.26.25

I was stunned. Dorie, the girl who had loved bird drawings, died at age ten? That was not the way I was expecting the tale to end. And then I read a little further.

Draw a Bird Day was never declared an official holiday, but it grew through those soldiers and medical personnel and their families. Today, it is celebrated world wide as a way to express joy in the very simplest of things in life.

2015-04-09 18.26.07I went back into the staff room and looked at the bird drawings again. I had enjoyed making my drawing and viewing the drawings of my coworkers. It had lifted my spirits to make that picture and to see the creativity of the people I worked with. It had, in fact, the same effect that it had in that hospital ward all those years ago.

2015-04-07 16.45.35Seventy-two years after a little girl asked her uncle to draw her a bird, people all over the world are still drawing birds on her birthday. Still celebrating hope and happiness. Still celebrating joy in the simple. Still sharing the fun.

Would you like to learn how to draw a bird? Try these titles:

Drawing Birds     Colored Pencil     Laws guide


Book Club Picks for Middle Grade Readers

17 Apr

Book clubs are starting to pop up in libraries and schools for readers of all ages. While book clubs are a great way to encourage reading and picking up books outside a reader’s comfort zone, they are about much more than the books being read. Book clubs are about fostering a sense of community, creating or strengthening relationships, and shared experiences.

If your middle grade reader is interested in joining, or starting a club of their own (or perhaps a parent and child book club is more your speed) they might be at a loss as to what books the group will read next. It is a common issue with adult book groups, so I am sure it happens with younger readers as well. Here are some suggested titles to add to the list of possibilities. Some are tried and true titles that you might have enjoyed at their age, and others are newer books that are simply wonderful. your selections will bcpaperboydepend quite a bit on the interests and maturity of those in your group, but this can help get the selection process started.

Paperboy by Vince Vawter
Taking over a friend’s newspaper route in 1959 Memphis, an 11-year-old baseball enthusiast struggles with a speech disability while attempting to communicate with customers, a situation that turns dangerous when he has a confrontation with a thieving local junkmabcgrimmn.

A Tale Dark & Grimm (A Tale Dark & Grimm, #1) by Adam Gidwitz
Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering witches, devils, warlocks, kindly strangers, and other helpful folk as they take charge of their own happily ever after.

bcsmileSmile by Raina Telgemeier
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabensteinbclibrary
Twelve-year-old Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of 12 children chosen to stay in the new town library–designed by his hero, the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello–for an overnight of fun, food and games, but in the morning, the kids find all the doors still locked and must work together to solve secret puzzles in order to discover the hidden escape route.bcmilkFortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
When a father runs out to buy milk for his children’s breakfast cereal, the last thing he expects is to be abducted by aliens, and he soon finds himself transported through time and space on an extraordinary adventure, where the fate of the universe depends on him and the milk–but will his children believe his wild story?

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Still looking for more ideas, or some great middle grade novels to read? Here are even more:The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood,  Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai, Inkheart (Inkworld, #1) by Cornelia Funke, One For The Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Matilda by Roald Dahl, A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L’Engle, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1)  by Roald Dahl, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, The Giver by Lois Lowry, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall, Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff, Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1) by L.M. Montgomery, Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)  by Philip Pullman, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff, The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)  by Trenton Lee Stewart, Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton, My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath, Doll Bones by Holly Black, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate,Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee,The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald, The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1) by Jeanne DuPrau, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1)  by J.K. Rowling, One Crazy Summer (Gaither Sisters, #1) by Rita Williams-Garcia, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

Titanic Remembrance Day – April 15 2015

15 Apr

the-rms-titanicAt 11:40 PM the night of April 14, 1912 the ‘unsinkable’ RMS Titanic, while on its maiden voyage from Southhampton, England to New York City, hit an iceberg causing the ship to sink on April 15th at 2:20 AM 400 miles from the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.  This tragic event has long captured the titanic-bow-615attention of millions of people, reaching a pinnacle with the discovery of the ship’s remains on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1985 by Dr. Robert Ballard.  One thousand five hundred lives were lost, almost two-thirds of the people on board.

Some interesting facts:

  • Cost to build – $7,500,000
  • Number of passengers and crew on board that night – 2,223.  There were 13 honeymoon couples.
  • Food on board – 2200 lbs of coffee, 1000 loaves of bread, 16,000 lemons, 40 tons of potatoes, 10001364639539_titanic-sinking lbs of grapes, 36000 lbs of apples, 2500 lbs of sausages, 75000 lbs fresh meat, 40,000 eggs, 1000 bottles of wine, and 8000 cigars.
  • First class accommodations cost $4,350 (today’s value $69,900).
  • Lifeboats – could accommodate 64, was designed for 48, only 20 actually built.  These 20 could hold 1178 people total.
  • There were 6 ice warnings before collision.
  • The iceberg they hit was 100 feet tall and came from Greenland.
  • It took 160 minutes to sink.
  • It took 15 minutes for it to reach the bottom of the ocean.
  • There was a 60 minute delay between the collision and when the first lifeboat launched.
  • Musicians played for 2 hours and 5 minutes as the ship sank.
  • Two of nine dogs were rescued – a Pomeranian and a Pekinese.
  • Milton Hershey, founder of Hershey Chocolates, cancelled his reservation at the last minute due to business matters.
  • Only 306 bodies were found.

Every year in April, people take time to remember the sinking of The Titanic and the lives lost.  To learn more about this tragedy, you can browse the library’s collection of materials here


Six Picks : Books About Books

13 Apr

For book lovers, nothing beats a good book. Except, maybe, a good book about books! Bibliophiles rejoice, here are 6 great novels that celebrate the written word and those who treasure it.

1. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. In a world where you can actually get lost (literally) in literature, Thursday Next, a notorious Special Operative in literary detection, races against time to stop the world’s Third Most Wanted criminal from kidnapping characters, including Jane Eyre, from works of literature, forcing her to dive into the pages of a novel to stop literary homicide.

2. The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble. The Reading Group follows the trials and tribulations of a group of women who meet regularly to read and discuss books. Over the course of a year, each of these women become intertwined, both in the books they read and within each other’s lives.

3. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Meggie, 12,  lives a quiet life alone with her father, a bookbinder. But her father has a deep secret–he possesses an extraordinary magical power – he can “read” fictional characters to life. Trouble begins when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Living with a foster family in Germany during World War II, a young girl struggles to survive her day-to-day trials through stealing anything she can get her hands on, but when she discovers the beauty of literature, she realizes that she has been blessed with a gift that must be shared with others, including the Jewish man hiding in the basement.

5. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. A boy named Daniel selects a novel from a library of rare books, enjoying it so much that he searches for the rest of the author’s works, only to discover that someone is destroying every book the author has ever written.

6. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at the titular bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret.

On Our Shelves: Great New Books for Children and Teens

10 Apr

Every week I spend my off desk hours of work getting new books ready to go on our shelves in the children and teen areas of the library. Along the way I find ones I need to read, favorite authors I did not expect more from quite yet, and many great surprises. I know not everyone loves children’s or young adult literature, or has that same attachment to favorites (old and new) that I do, but for fellow fans and those looking to share recommendations with others I thought it was time to gather up another list of newcfoddnew books from this section of the library that I am excited about adding to our collection.

This is far from all of the great new selections, so feel free to come on in and browse our displays of new materials!

Children’s Fiction 

Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaronewcfsurvive

The Courage of Cat Campbell by Natasha Lowe

Magic Tree House Super Edition #1: Danger in the Darkest Hour by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca

I Survived #11: I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 by Lauren Tarshis

The Only Game by Mike Lupica

newyadarkYoung Adult Fiction

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines) by Richelle Mead

Fairest: Levana’s Story (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

When by Victoria Laurie

Embassy Row #1: All Fall Down by Ally Carternewyawhen

Frostfire (The Kanin Chronicles) by Amanda Hocking

Woven by Michael Jensen and David Powers King

Firefight (The Reckoners) by Brandon Sanderson

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

As always, there are many more great books entering the collection every day. Swing by the children’s and teen areas and browse the displays of new newyaplaylistmaterials for even more!


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