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Bridget Biddy Mason was a...

former slave, nurse/midwife, successful entrepreneur, humanitarian and founder of Los Angeles's first African-American congregation. She was born a slave in August of 1818 on a Mississippi plantation owned by Robert Marion Smith and his wife Rebecca (Crosby) Smith. Mason had three daughters, Ellen, Ann and Harriet, whose father was reputedly Smith himself.

Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731 in Maryland. His father and grandfather were former slaves. Despite being a farmer of modest means, he lived a life of unusual achievement. He was unwilling to let his race or age hinder in any way his thirst for intellectual development and has become known as an American Scientific Pioneer. To learn more about this inspirational African American read this Signature Lives book about him. Other biographies on him for youth are also available at the library. Check some out!

Happy Birthday Mozart!

Although Mozart's life was tragically short, his music will live on forever, so he is really immortal. In fact, aliens may be hearing his beautiful musical creations right now since his music was included in that time capsule shot off into space years ago. It is just a shame that he didn't get the royalties on all the products based on his genius in recent years because he was almost always short of money. Learn more about this amazing composer by picking up some of the biographies on him in the Children's Department.

Masters of Music

Are you looking for a great biography on a decomposing composer? (I've heard there is a biography assignment now and then that requires the composer to be deader than a doornail!) Well, if that happens to be YOUR assignment the Children's Department now offers you a fine selection of the world's most awesome defunct musical masters of composition. Check out the new series, Masters of Music, in the biography collection.

Mick Morris Myth Solver is Here!

YOU must decide how to end these thrilling, sensational tales. Five different options are possible with each story, ranging from 'normal' to very scary, to freakish, to shocking, to time traveling, to computer instant messaging, etc. These exciting page-turners are full of laughs that keep guys and gals coming back for more. Get started on this great new series by Michigan author Karen Bell-Brege and illustator Darrin Brege. Visit their website and find even more fun stuff. Go Michigan literary creators!

The Youngest Templar, Book II

In Book I of The Youngest Templar, the orphan Tristan teams up with Robard Hode and Maryam on a dangerous mission to return the Holy Grail to Britain. This exciting historical saga continues in Book II, Trail of Fate, as the three adventurers work together to protect the Holy Grail as they travel across France toward England, a journey that takes them to the Cathar fortress of Montségur.
There are many other captivating stories about knights and knighthood in the Children's Department, so come in and check some out!

The Christmas Genie

You might know Dan Gutman as the author of My Weird School and My Weird School Daze series. Or perhaps you like to read the books in his Baseball Card Adventures series. Well, just in time for the holidays, he has created a classroom fantasy story that you are sure to enjoy, The Christmas Genie. "When a meteorite crashes into a fifth-grade classroom at Lincoln School in Oak Park, Illinois, the genie inside agrees to grant the class a Christmas wish — if they can agree on one within an hour.

Beethoven's Birthday - December 16th!

Ludwig van Beethoven, probably born on December 16, 1770, is one of the most well-known classical composers of all times. He is often referred to as a "giant straddling two styles," the Classical and Romatic, and is famous for his tempestuous personality as well as powerful music. His life was full of many challenges, but he managed to soar above them all and bequeathe us with some of the most beautiful, moving, and immortal music ever. How many people have the courage and determination to overcome a harsh childhood? How many would be able to perform, conduct, and write music even though they were stricken with deafness? How many would have the courage to insult a military leader as powerful as Napolean once they realized he was a two-faced dictator instead of a freedom fighter? Despite the harsh realities of Life, Beethoven ended his last major work, the 9th Symphony, with an Ode to Joy.

Brixton Brothers Challenge Hardy Boys?

Meet Steve Brixton, a fan of the Hardy Boys series and The Bailey Brothers' Detective Handbook. He is an aspiring detective who stumbles into a mystery involving the Maguffin quilt, a priceless artifact hidden by its last guardian before his death and is still missing. Steve must elude librarians, police, and the mysterious Mr. E as he tries to track down this elusive quilt containing secret coded information. Action, adventure, and laugh-out-load situations are all contained with the pages of this promising start for the Brixton Brothers series. Jeff Kinney, author of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, claims it is "a book kids will devour." Partake of The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett.

Great Nordic Fantasy

If you enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods you should give the Norse Gods and Jack a try. The Nancy Farmer triology which began with the Sea of Trolls is now complete with The Islands of the Blessed which was just published. (Books #2 is The Land of the Silver Apples, in case you are wondering!) It is high fantasy at it best, with bards and apprentice bards, trolls and elves, captures and narrow escapes, trials and learning, humor and wisdome, lads and lasses.

Omen of the Stars #1 is Here...

and will soon be ready for check-out for all the Warriors series fans.

Jayfeather and Lionblaze are prophesied to be two of three cats who hold the power of the stars in their paws. Now they must wait for a sign from StarClan to tell them which of their Clanmates will complete the prophecy. Soon, a StarClan warrior will visit a new ThunderClan apprentice - and the lives of the three chosen cats will be forever linked.

While waiting for The Fourth Apprentice, visit the Warriors website or find out if Erin Hunter really writes this multi-volume series all on her own by visiting the Wikipedia entry for her.

In Honor of the Indians of North America

With Thanksgiving upon us, it is time to reflect on and honor the Native Americans and their rich culture, traditions, and wisdom. Check out some of the fictional works on them, or read some of the delightful and sage folklore tales from America's first peoples. Let's truly be thankful for all they have given us.

Kids to the Rescue!

If you are on the hold list for Zoobreak, you might want to try some other amazing animal rescues while you wait. Carl Hiaasen wrote some real winners - if you haven't already read them: The movie Hotel for Dogs also comes in several formats. The library has well over a hundred animal rescues involving courageous, animal-loving kids. Check some out!

Oh PLEASE...No More Parched Parents!

If you have read Book #6 in The 39 Clues series you will know what I am talking about. Maybe it started with Harry Potter, but A Series of Unfortunate Events definitely fried the poor orphans parents. Teen books have long been notorious for killing off the parents, but now it is becoming increasingly standard fare for fantasy/sci-fi books for younger readers. As if the poor orphans don't have enough challenges with their quests and learning to discern real friends and guides from evil posers out to thwart their success, they are now burdened with guilt since their parents were torched trying to save them.

Steampunk?

Steampunk appears to be gaining steam… but what exactly is it? Well, here is a definition from Wikipedia: "Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date.