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Pick Up Some Historical Fiction

Every August I look forward to the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival! There's lots of cool crafts for sale, yummy fair food, and a living history area where you can see how 19th century Michiganders lived. Whenever the festival comes, it always makes me want to pick up a good piece of Civil War historical fiction. My favorites are the ones by Ann Rinaldi. She even wrote one about a girl from Michigan who runs off to join the Union Army during the Civil War. There's a ton to choose from at the library, so stop by and give one a try. Happy reading!

Give LibraryThing a Fling

LibraryThing is a great way to keep track of what you're reading as well as find out what others have enjoyed. LibraryThing helps you catalog your books, get connected to to others who share similar tastes and receive suggestions and book reviews for future reading pleasure. Especially of interest are "I See Dead Peoples Books" which are legacy libraries of famous dead people and the "Zeitgiest" page which lists top reviewed books, most popular authors, largest libraries, most translated texts and more. Sign up for library thing to catalog your reading interests or explore those of others. It's really fun!

Young people make our history great!

Have you heard of Kory Johnson? Kory was nine years old in 1988 when she started Children for a Safe Environment, an organization that helps to make sure water is safe for us to drink. Want to learn more about kids who made their mark on American history? Check out We Were There Too by Phillip Hoose. In this great history book you'll find true stories, photos and other primary documents to help you envision what it was like to be a young person and stand up for what you believe.

The Summer of '69

Do you remember Hurricane Camille? Woodstock? Apollo 11? The Manson Murders? The Stonewall Riots? If so, do you remember what all of these history making events have in common? They all occurred in the Summer of 1969. For an overview of some of these events check out CNN's Special page. For a perspective on the entire year you can also read Rob Kirkpatrick's recent book 1969: the Year Everything Changed. Or check out Wikipedia's timeline for a day-by-day breakdown of this seminal year in American history.

An Anne Frank Diary Anniversay

Saturday, August 1, marks the 65th anniversary of Anne Frank's last diary entry. Written while her family was in hiding from the Nazis, the diary has gone on to become a beloved classic around the world. The library owns several copies of the book, including abridged versions for younger readers. There are also many other Holocaust survivor books available to further your knowledge of this tragic period in history.

Exploring Genealogy at the Westland Public Library

Are you new to genealogy and would like to know the basics? The Westland Public Library will be hosting a program for genealogy newbies on Thursday, August 6th at 7 pm. Kris Rzepczynski, genealogy librarian and expert from the Library of Michigan, will be presenting. Register by calling the adult reference desk at 734-326-6123.

Henry Ford and Fordlandia

Fordlandia : the rise and fall of Henry Ford's forgotten jungle city by Greg Grandin documents Henry Ford's 1927 purchase of a Connecticut-sized plot of land in Brazil for the purpose of growing rubber. The South American leaf blight and the advent of synthetic rubbers forced the company to abandon Fordlandia in 1945, long after Ford had poured millions of dollars and years of strenuous effort into the project. Grandin argues that this was more than an economic venture. It was a missionary application of Ford-style capitalism--high wages, humane benefits, moral improvement to a backward land.

A call for young writers ages 13-17

Do you love to write?  Are you looking for a way to win cool prizes and have you work published?  If so, you should check out the American Veteran, The Power of One Essay and Scholarship Project.  Teens are asked to write about a veteran who showed the ability to be a role model and has shown the "power of one" by making a difference in the lives of others.  For more details and the contest rules check out this link.

Happy 308th Birthday Detroit!

Did you know that Detroit was founded on July 24, 1701 by French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac? Commemorate the occasion with Madame Cadillac's Ghost by Janie Lynn Panagopoulos - a fun mystery about two kids left on their own to explore the Detroit Historical Museum (pictured left). If you get the chance, why not have your own adventure at the DHM? Admission is free during the month of July so it's definitely worth the trip!

Walter Cronkite

The man once known as "the most trusted man in America" passed away Friday at the age of  92. Walter Cronkite, the legendary journalist and TV news anchor for CBS, retired in 1981 after a long and distinguished career. Recruited by Edward R. Murrow,  Cronkite joined the network in the early 1950s after proving himself with his excellent coverage from Moscow during World War II.

To the Moon!

It's hard to believe but this Monday, July 20 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their battle for speed and glory...

A.J. Baime's Go Like Hell is a remarkable story of Henry Ford II's quest to beat Ferrari at Le Mans, racing's most glamourous and dangerous event. Ford, with the help of a young visionary Lee Iacocca and a former racing champion turned car builder, Carroll Shelby, entered the high stakes world of European racing in order to reinvent the company. Buckle your seat belt and go!


It is remarkable that 40 years ago - prior to cell phones, Blackberry's, and laptops - the mission to send men to the moon was accomplished with astronauts who carried sliderules.   Astronaut Buzz Aldrin writes about his journey as the second man to step foot on the moon in his book, Magnificent Desolation.  It begins with his trip to the moon in 196

Statue of Liberty Reopens

This July 4 marks the reopening of the Statue of Liberty's crown, which has been closed since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Lady Liberty was closed to visitors until 2004, when its base, pedestal, and outdoor observation deck reopened, but her crown has remained closed until now. Only three parties of 10 will be allowed inside at once - one climbing up, one climbing down and one in the crown - limiting the number of daily visitors to only about 250 people a day.

Dressing up: Canton women's clothing from 1880-1950

Have you ever wondered what your grandmother or great-grandmother would have worn when she was young? Well, wonder no more. Visit the Canton Historical Museum from June 20th through August 31st to see special occasion dresses from the late 1800s to the 1950s. The Canton Historical Museum is located on the corner of Canton Center Road and Heritage Park Drive. For more information visit their website.

D-Day Commemoration

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of occupied France during World War II. The operation began on June 6, 1944 and was the largest single-day amphibious invasion of all time, with 160,000 troops landing on the Normandy coast. President Obama will attend the D-Day commemorative events in Normandy, France, this Saturday.

Lest We Forget Movies for Memorial Day

Memorial Day was established in 1868 following the end of the American Civil War as General Orders No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic Headquarters:

II. It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

Over the past two centuries, wars continue to be fought, and Hollywood has immortalized them on film:

Celebrate Amelia Earhart

Did you know that today is the 77th anniversary of pilot Amelia Earhart's historic crossing of the Atlantic Ocean? On May 20, 1932, she set off across the ocean, heading for Ireland. It was a 2,026 mile flight that took 15 hours and 18 minutes! That's a long flight! She was the first woman to ever fly solo across the Atlantic. Remember Amelia and her bravery by reading this easy book just for beginning readers.
Photo courtesy of eLibrary

Pop Culture Universe

beatlesThe database "Pop Culture Universe" has overviews of every decade, from the 1960's to the 2000's and articles that cover cultural life from the 1870's "gilded age" to the present.  Anything concerning arts, film, fashion, food, drink, literature, politics, religion, sports, radio, television and technology from these decades are discussed.