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Reaching for the Moon book cover

 

Katherine Johnson was a talented mathematician in a field dominated by white men.

After graduating high school at the age of 15 in the midst of the Great Depression, she earned a full scholarship to West Virginia State Institute's math department. Johnson briefly taught high school and then in 1940 was one of the first Black graduate students chosen to integrate West Virginia University.

In 1953 she began work as a research mathematician for what would become NASA. Katherine Johnson shattered barriers for all women, but particularly for Black women, earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

To celebrate the inspirational life of Katherine Johnson, check out the resources below or explore NASA's website. Learn about her and other amazing barrier-breaking mathematicians and scientists.

This is Johnson's autobiography, but there are many books to introduce readers to her life in the Children's Biography collection.

With Valentine's Day coming, there is a giant focus on all things love. For Storytime today, we decided to expand on that idea into the world of Kindness. Luckily, both of these themes are something you can put to very good use everyday, not just on a holiday! Happy Hugging!

Stories and Songs from Storytime

February 20th is National Love Your Pet Day! This day focuses on showing love and appreciation for our pets. Whomever your fur baby is, give them some extra time and attention whether it's a lovely walk (which helps us and our dog stay fit) or a snuggle at home (which lowers our stress levels). Pets provide unconditional love and companionship no matter how big or small, young or old they are. So share the love with your pet on National Love Your Pet Day! Enjoy some of our new books about pets too!

As Dave Barry turns seventy--not happily--he realizes that his dog, Lucy, is dealing with old age far better than he is. She has more friends, fewer worries, and way more fun. So Dave decides to figure out how Lucy manages to stay so happy, to see if he can make his own life happier by doing the things she does (except for drinking from the toilet). He reconnects with old friends and tries to make new ones--which turns out to be a struggle, because Lucy likes people a lot more than he does. And he gets back in touch with two ridiculous but fun groups from his past: the Lawn Rangers, a group of guys who march in parades pushing lawnmowers and twirling brooms (alcohol is involved), and the Rock Bottom Remainders, the world's oldest and least-talented all-author band. With each new lesson, Dave riffs hilariously on dogs, people, and life in general, while also pondering Deep Questions, such as when it's okay to lie.

With insight and humor, Dr. Philipp Schott shares tales from the unlikely path he took into his career of veterinary science and anecdotes from his successful small-animal clinic. Dr. Schott brings to his writing the benefit of many years of expertise. Wisdom he imparts on readers includes the best way to give your cat a pill, how to prevent your very handy dog from opening a fridge, and how to handle your fish when it has half-swallowed another. Through these and other experiences, Dr. Schott also learned that veterinary medicine is as much, if not more, about the people as it is the animals. And he will have you laughing and crying as you embark on this journey of discovery with him. 

Together We Read is a digital book club on OverDrive that connects readers from the U.S. with the same ebook title at the same time without any waitlists or holds! The inaugural title selection is Lean on Me by Pat Simmons. A poignant, emotional book that readers are saying is "The most empowering story line of a family tied together by the power of unconditional love."

The Together We Read runs from February 19th through March 4th.

The history of blacks in the South as seen through the eyes of a 110-year-old former slave. Based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines.

The story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used in the 1950s to create the first immortal human cell line resulting in medical breakthroughs.

Director Spike Lee fashions a bold, flavorful picture of family life in a crowded but cozy Brooklyn neighborhood nicknamed "Crooklyn" by the Carmichaels, who experience one very special summer in their hometown under difficult but often wonderful circumstances.

 

Did you miss our Gray Storytime this week? Don't worry, here's what you missed, plus a few more suggestions so you can create your own colorful storytime at home, complete with songs and stories.

Don't need a full storytime? Borrow a rhyme when you need a short distraction, or check out these materials and spend a few minutes reading together.

From Storytime

A day so gray by Marie Lamba

A winter's day is transformed from bleak to beautiful by warm friendship and a new perspective in a gentle story that encourages the appreciation and celebration of cozy pleasures and quiet joys. Use as inspiration to notice the colors around you.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. embarks on a deeply personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history. Joined by leading scholars, celebrities, and a dynamic cast of people who shaped these years, Gates travels from the victories of the civil rights movement up to today, asking profound questions about the state of black America, and our nation as a whole.

When a bomb tears through the basement of a black Baptist church on a peaceful fall morning, it takes the lives of four young girls; Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins. This racially motivated crime, taking place at a time when the civil rights movement is burning with a new flame, could have doused that flame forever. Instead it fuels a nation's outrage and brings Birmingham, Alabama to the forefront of America's concern.

The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is dominating the news of late as health experts try to prevent  this deadly virus from becoming an epidemic. So far, there are confirmed cases in the U.S., Australia, Asia and France. Coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses that severely debilitates the respiratory system. Across the U.S. and in China, scientists are racing to create a vaccine. The NIH and WHO recommends the general public heed travel advisories and to seek medical attention if any signs and symptoms appear. Good advice! Want to learn more? Here's some suggestions...

How close are we to having another worldwide health crisis? Epidemiologists predict that another pandemic is coming--one that could kill hundreds of millions of people. Learn about factors that contribute to the spread of disease by examining past pandemics and epidemics. Examine case studies of potential pandemic diseases, and discover how scientists strive to contain and control the spread of disease both locally and globally. See how human activities such as global air travel and the disruption of animal habitats contribute to the risk of a new pandemic. And investigate the challenges we face with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and mutating viruses. Can scientists control the spread of disease and prevent the next pandemic?

Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. From the Spanish flu to the 1924 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Los Angeles to the 1930 "parrot fever" pandemic, through the more recent SARS, Ebola, and Zika epidemics, the last one hundred years have been marked by a succession of unanticipated pandemic alarms.In The Pandemic Century, a lively account of scares both infamous and less known, Mark Honigsbaum combines reportage with the history of science and medical sociology to artfully reconstruct epidemiological mysteries and the ecology of infectious diseases. We meet dedicated disease detectives, obstructive or incompetent public health officials, and brilliant scientists often blinded by their own knowledge of bacteria and viruses. We also see how fear of disease often exacerbates racial, religious, and ethnic tensions--even though, as the epidemiologists Malik Peiris and Yi Guan write, "'nature' remains the greatest bioterrorist threat of all."Like man-eating sharks, predatory pathogens are always present in nature, waiting to strike; when one is seemingly vanquished, others appear in its place. These pandemics remind us of the limits of scientific knowledge, as well as the role that human behavior and technologies play in the emergence and spread of microbial diseases.

 

Did you miss our Knitting Storytime this week? Don't worry, here's what you missed, plus a few more suggestions so you can create your own cozy storytime at home, complete with songs and stories.

Don't need a full storytime? Borrow a rhyme when you need a short distraction, or check out these materials and spend a few minutes reading together.

From Storytime

Extra yarn by Mac Barnett

With a supply of yarn that never runs out, Annabelle knits for everyone and everything in town until an evil archduke decides he wants the yarn for himself.

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