Movies & Television

“D. A. Pennebaker was a groundbreaking documentary filmmaker best known for capturing pivotal moments in the history of rock music and politics, including Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England, the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, and Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign.” 

A decade ago on this day August 6, 2009, John Hughes passed away suddenly after suffering a fatal heart attack while on a walk in New York City during a visit with family. He was just 59 years old. Born in Lansing, Michigan and grew up in Grosse Pointe, Hughes began his career as an author of humorous essays and stories for the National Lampoon. He wrote and directed some of the funniest and most iconic movies capturing suburban teenage life in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of those films, now considered classics, would also launch careers of actors including Michael Keaton and members of the Brat Pack group. These films made a huge impression on our generation and in popular culture back then. And they're still relevant today. Enjoy!

He allegedly wrote Ferris Bueller's Day Off in four days, Planes, Trains and Automobiles in three days, The Breakfast Club in two days, and Vacation in a week. He never went to film school or studied cinema. And he spent most of his incredible career in the Midwest, far from the Hollywood Hills. John Hughes was indeed one of the most prolific and successful filmmakers in Hollywood history. He helped launch the careers of Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Macaulay Culkin, and Judd Nelson. He made John Candy a household name. In this first illustrated tribute to the legendary filmmaker, author Kirk Honeycutt offers a behind-the-scenes look at the genius that was John Hughes--from his humble beginnings in direct mail to his blockbuster success with classics like Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and Home Alone. Honeycutt also explores the darker side of John Hughes: his extreme sensitivity, his stormy professional relationships, and the devastation Hughes experienced after the death of his closest friend, John Candy. Featuring fresh interviews with Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Steve Martin, and Jon Cryer, and a foreword from Home Alone director Chris Columbus, this is the must-read for fans of John Hughes.

John Hughes wrote and directed this quintessential 1980s high school drama featuring the hottest young stars of the decade. Trapped in a day-long Saturday detention in a prison-like school library are Claire, the princess (Molly Ringwald); Andrew, the jock (Emilio Estevez); John, the criminal (Judd Nelson); Brian, the brain (Anthony Michael Hall); and Allison, the basket case (Ally Sheedy). These five strangers begin the day with nothing in common, each bound to his/her place in the high school caste system. Yet the students bond together when faced with the villainous principal (Paul Gleason), and they realize that they have more in common than they may think, including a contempt for adult society. "When you grow up, your heart dies," Allison proclaims in one of the film's many scenes of soul-searching, and, judging from the adults depicted in the film, the teen audience may very well agree. Released in a decade overflowing with derivative teen films, The Breakfast Club has developed an almost cult-like status.

Neil Armstrong was born on this day, August 5. He would have been 89. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men on the moon. It was back on May 25, 1961 that President Kennedy made a bold announcement before Congress to send an American safely to the moon and back before the end of the decade. At approximately 4:18 pm EDT, Neil Armstrong contacted NASA and said, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." About 6 hours later, with more than a half billion people watching on their black-and-white tv sets, he climbed down the ladder from the lunar module and proclaimed, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." If you want to learn about this great man, here's some resources to get you started!

When the alarm went off forty thousand feet above the moon's surface, both astronauts looked down at the computer to see 1202 flashing on the readout. Neither of them knew what it meant, and time was running out...ON JULY 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. One of the world's greatest technological achievements-and a triumph of American spirit and ingenuity-the Apollo 11 mission was a mammoth undertaking involving more than 410,000 men and women dedicated to winning the space race against the Soviets. Set amid the tensions of the Cold War and the upheavals of the sixties, and filled with first-person, behind-the-scenes details, Shoot for the Moon is a gripping account of the dangers, the challenges, and the sheer determination that defined not only Apollo 11, but also the Mercury and Gemini missions that came before it. From the shock of Sputnik and the heart-stopping final minutes of John Glenn's Mercury flight to the deadly whirligig of Gemini 8, the doomed Apollo 1 mission, and that perilous landing on the Sea of Tranquility-when the entire world held its breath while Armstrong and Aldrin battled computer alarms, low fuel, and other problems- James Donovan tells the whole story.

The first men who went to the moon by Rhonda Gowler Greene

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to the nation: land astronauts on the moon by the end of the decade. The Apollo program was designed by NASA to meet that challenge, and on July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin. Apollo 11's prime mission objective: "Perform a manned lunar landing and return." Four days after take-off, the Lunar Module "Eagle," carrying Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the Command Module "Columbia," and descended to the moon. Armstrong reported back to Houston's Command Center, "The Eagle has landed." America and the world watched in wonder and awe as a new chapter in space exploration opened. Through verse and informational text, author Rhonda Gowler Greene celebrates Apollo 11's historic moon landing.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

It's International Assistance Dog Week! From August 4 through August 11, we celebrate service dogs who help those with disabilities. Service dogs help individuals become more independent so they can live their best life. A service dog is highly trained. They may assist with basic tasks like helping to open a door or bringing the phone to the owner or alerts others if the owner is in distress. It takes as long as two years to train a service dog. Interested? Explore the American Kennel Club's article on Service Dog Training 101 or check out these resources from our collection!

In this spectacular memoir, Luis and Tuesday brought their healing mission to the next level, showing how these beautifully trained animals could assist soldiers, veterans, and many others with mental and physical disabilities. They rescued a forgotten Tuskegee airman, battled obstinate VA bureaucrats, and provided solace to war heroes coast-to-coast. As Luis and Tuesday celebrated exhilarating victories, a grave obstacle threatened their work. Luis made great progress battling his own PTSD, but his physical wounds got so bad that he was wheelchair-bound. He needed to decide whether to amputate his leg and carry on with a bionic prosthesis. Even as he struggled with dramatic emotional and physical changes, ten-year-old Tuesday was lovingly by his side through it all. Luis' death in December 2016 was another terrible tragedy of the invisible wounds of war. This book was his last letter of love to his best friend, Tuesday, and to veterans, readers, friends, and fellow dog lovers everywhere. Never more timely than now, Tuesday's Promise is an inspiring story of love, service, teamwork, and the remarkable bond between humans and canines.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by watching some of these fascinating films on the race to be the first to the moon.

On July 18, John Glenn would have turned 98. John Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962 and later served as a United States Senator from Ohio. In 1998, NASA invited him to join the team aboard the space shuttle Discovery and at the age of 77, he became the oldest human ever to do so. He never gave up on his dream or fascination with flight. John Glenn was part of an elite group of astronauts known as the Mercury 7 who became national heroes. That historic mission was immortalized in the 1983 movie, The Right Stuff, starring Ed Harris as the iconic John Glenn. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 95. Godspeed, John Glenn.

The time was the late 1940s. World War II had just ended and the United States was entering into a new kind of war, a Cold War. New technology and the development of high-speed aircraft became one of the centerpieces of this new kind of conflict. The race to space between the United States and the Soviet Union had just begun. Adapted from Tom Wolfe’s best-selling book, The Right Stuff tells the heroic story of Chuck Yeager (the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound), the Flying Fraternity and the Mercury Astronauts – the first Americans in space. The bravery and daring exploits of these men captured the imagination of the American public during the 1940s and 1950s,and The Right Stuff re-creates these breathtaking events in emotionally riveting and suspenseful detail. 

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers, that made The Right Stuff a classic.

The NASA New Horizons probe was launched January 19, 2006. After several years, it reached Pluto and spent the summer of 2015 studying the dwarf planet at a distance closer than any spacecraft before. The probe traveled closest to Pluto on July 14, 2015 and continued on to study more of the Kuiper Belt. Learn more about the far reaches of our solar system with these resources.

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On this day, July 8, 2011, Atlantis made its final liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After 31 years of manned space flights into the Earth's orbit and back, the Space Shuttle program was officially retired from service. The shuttle program launched 135 missions, traveled 542,398,878 miles, and flew 21,152 orbits around the Earth, carried 355 people and 3.5 million pounds of payload. The purpose of the program was to transport crew and cargo from Earth to orbit, but its mission expanded to the International Space Station. There were 133 successful flights, but 2 very tragic failures. Both the Challenger and Columbia missions lost 7 crew members each. Want to learn more? Here's some resources to get your started!

On February 1, 2003, Columbia disintegrated on reentry before the nation's eyes, and all seven astronauts aboard were lost. Author Mike Leinbach, Launch Director of the space shuttle program at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center was a key leader in the search and recovery effort as NASA, FEMA, the FBI, the US Forest Service, and dozens more federal, state, and local agencies combed an area of rural east Texas the size of Rhode Island for every piece of the shuttle and her crew they could find. Assisted by hundreds of volunteers, it would become the largest ground search operation in US history. For the first time, here is the definitive inside story of the Columbia disaster and recovery and the inspiring message it ultimately holds. In the aftermath of tragedy, people and communities came together to help bring home the remains of the crew and nearly 40 percent of shuttle, an effort that was instrumental in piecing together what happened so the shuttle program could return to flight and complete the International Space Station. Bringing Columbia Home shares the deeply personal stories that emerged as NASA employees looked for lost colleagues and searchers overcame immense physical, logistical, and emotional challenges and worked together to accomplish the impossible. Featuring a foreword and epilogue by astronauts Robert Crippen and Eileen Collins, and dedicated to the astronauts and recovery search persons who lost their lives, this is an incredible, compelling narrative about the best of humanity in the darkest of times and about how a failure at the pinnacle of human achievement became a story of cooperation and hope.

The real-life techno-thriller from a bestselling author and aviation expert that recaptures the historic moments leading up to the launch of the space shuttle Columbia and the exciting story of her daring maiden flight. Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and recently declassified material, Into the Black pieces together the dramatic untold story of the Columbia mission and the brave people who dedicated themselves to help the United States succeed in the age of space exploration. On April 12, 1981, NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral. It was the most advanced, state-of-the-art flying machine ever built, challenging the minds and imagination of America's top engineers and pilots. Columbia was the world's first real spaceship: a winged rocket plane, the size of an airliner, and capable of flying to space and back before preparing to fly again. On board were moonwalker John Young and test pilot Bob Crippen. Less than an hour after Young and Crippen's spectacular departure from the Cape, all was not well. Tiles designed to protect the ship from the blowtorch burn of re-entry were missing from the heat shield. If the damage to Columbia was too great, the astronauts wouldn't be able to return safely to earth. NASA turned to the National Reconnaissance Office, a spy agency hidden deep inside the Pentagon whose very existence was classified. To help the ship, the NRO would attempt something never done before. Success would require skill, perfect timing, and luck. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, Into the Black is a thrilling race against time and the incredible true story of the first space shuttle mission that celebrates our passion for spaceflight.

Fifteen years ago on this day, July 1st, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft reached the orbit of Saturn. It took 7 years to get there from Earth and it stayed in orbit for 13 years. The orbiter (Cassini) and lander (Huygens), which were named after astromers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens, reported back valuable data about the planet, its icy moons and wondrous rings. Its last act of service was known as The Grand Finale. The spacecraft  made a flyby of Titan, then dived between Saturn's rings before its final plunge. Intrigued? We got a dvd for that!

Almost everything we know today about the beautiful giant ringed planet comes from Cassini, the NASA mission that launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004. Since then, the spacecraft has been beaming home miraculous images and scientific data, revealing countless wonders about the planet, its rings, and 62 moons—including some that could harbor life. As the mission approaches its final days in 2017, it attempts one last set of daring maneuvers—diving between the innermost ring and the top of Saturn’s atmosphere. Aiming to skim less than 2,000 miles above the cloud tops, no spacecraft has ever gone so close to Saturn and hopes are high for incredible observations that could solve major mysteries about the planet’s core. But such a daring maneuver comes with many risks. Join NASA engineers for the tense and triumphant moments as they find out if their gambit has paid off, and discover the wonders that Cassini has revealed over the years.

The Perseid meteor shower is expected to be visible from July 23 to August 19, 2019, with peak activity from August 12-13. To learn more about meteors, meteorites, asteroids, comets and more, check out the list of resources below.

Juvenile Nonfiction

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