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Countries and Cultures

Food from All Over the World

New and delightful cookbooks and memoirs highlighting cuisines from many cultures.

Mastering the art of Soviet cooking: a memoir of love and longing by Anya von Bremzen — This witty memoir captures the feasts and famines of three generations of Russian women.


Japanese soul cooking: ramen, tonkatsu, tempura, and more from the streets and kitchens of Tokyo and beyond by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat ; photography by Todd Coleman — Comfort food Japanese-style.


Mastering the art of French eating: lessons in food and love from a year in Paris by Ann Mah — When her diplomat husband is assigned to Paris, Ann plots gastronomic adventures à deux. But when he is called to Iraq on a year-long post, Ann must stay alone in the City of Light.


Notes from the larder: a kitchen diary with recipes by Nigel Slater ; photographs by Jonathan Lovekin — British food writer Slater muses on a year in the kitchen--including a personal selection of simple and seasonal recipes.

African American Biographies

African Americans are at the heart of the greatest achievements of our history, from music to law, from politics to sports, from literature to religion.

What's 2012 in the Chinese Zodiac?

The year 2012 is The Year of the Dragon in China and the Chinese New Year begins on January 23rd. Dragons symbolize such character traits as dominance and ambition. Dragons prefer to live by their own rules, and if left on their own, are usually successful. They’re driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. So, if you were born in any years designated as "Year of the Dragon," you may exhibit these characteristics. To check and see which sign dominates the year you were born, see the China Today website. For more on Chinese horoscopes that you can check out in our library, see:

The handbook of Chinese horoscopes by Theodora Lau

International Children's Book Day

Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, April 2, International Children's Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books. This years theme, The Book Remembers, comes from Estonia. ICBD promotes the idea that children's books can help children learn about people from other countries, learn to appreciate and respect other cultures, and learn to get along with others. Here are some of the great books available to help you celebrate the day:

Global babies

Ten little fingers and ten little toes by Mem Fox; illustrations by Helen Oxenbury

What year is 2011 in Chinese?

The Year of 2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. The Rabbit is the 4th sign in the Chinese zodiac which consists of 12 animals signs. To find your sign, click on China Today web. The Rabbit is a lucky sign. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends. For more information on Chinese horoscopes, see these sources in our library. For information on how Chinese New Year is celebrated, including legends, food, and taboos, see this China Facts page.

Food Customs in Other Lands

Here's some fun! Take this entertaining Don't Gross Out the World quiz to find out about dining etiquette in another country! In addition, here is a list of books with food customs, cultural facts, and recipes from other countries that can be found in Canton Library.

Classical Music Library is Fun!

Use our Classical Music Library database to study or listen to music from various time periods and composers from all over the world. One can search by recording title, composer, composer works (song titles), ensembles; such as Canadian Brass or New York Philharmonic; genres; such as sacred, orchestral or dance; labels (publishers), type of instrument, time period; such as Baroque or Renaissance; or recording date. The blank search box allows you to search by country name for works specific to composers from a various region or regions of the world. Start by accessing our Databases A-Z page and clicking on the Classical Music Library database, then enjoy the music whenever you please!

Arab Chaldean Festival is Coming Soon!

The Arab and Chaldean Festival of Detroit has hosted an array of musical artists from all over the Middle Eastern community within the past few years. In addition, people enjoy a wonderful display of Art Gallery showcases by numerous artists. This year's highlight attractions are multiple exhibits including "1,000 years of Arab Medicine", "Arab Folklore and Customs," and "Arab Calligraphy." Every year, thousands of guests enjoy learning more about the Middle East by viewing the beautifully displayed art collection. This year's celebration will be held July 24th and 25th from Noon to Midnight at Hart Plaza in Downtown Detroit.

Flag Day is June 14th

June 14th is the official day set aside to honor the U.S. Flag. It was established in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. To see the flags of all the countries of the world, see the Flags of the World (FOTW) site. This site also has useful information on all things about our U.S. flag, such as when to fly the flag, tips on buying a flag, and a dictionary of terms related to vexillology (the study of flags). For books, DVDs and sound recordings about the lore and history of flags in our collection, search the catalog for flags.

Mother's Day

The custom of honoring mothers goes back a long way to ancient Greece and Rome. For a history of this special day as well as how other countries celebrate, see the Wikipedia article on Mother's Day. For a special teen craft, see our Make a Mother's Day Bouquet program. For a book that shows how to pamper a mother, check out Every Day is Mother's Day. Also take a look at our Mother's Day crafts books for kids.

Arab Israeli Conflict; This Day in History

On April 25th, 1982,  Israel gave the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt which it had captured in June 1967 in the 7 Days War. Why and how is it possible that this country of Israel keeps winning and forfeiting territory in the Holy Land? What will this conflict mean for the future of our world? For a biblical perspective on the land ownership question in the Middle East, see Who Owns the Land by Stanley Ellisen. For a gripping, personal account of this never-ending struggle from the Palestinian perspective, see Son of Hamas by Mosab Yousef. For an idea of how Israel has fulfilled past Bible prophecy in Middle East history and will fulfill it in the future, see Blood in the Sand by Benny Hinn.

Ukrainian Easter Eggs

As Easter is approaching, one might wonder at the origin of the art of egg decorating in Russia or the Ukraine, or even more, to the extents these cultures have taken it. For tips on how to decorate eggs, see The Great Book of Egg Decorating or
Egg Painting and Decorating: 305 Fantastic and Fun Patterns for the Whole Family. For something really fancy, try Making Faberge Style Eggs.
For a VHS video biography on the creator of Faberge Eggs, try

American Song is a New Database

American Song is a history database that allows people to hear and feel the music from America's past. The database includes songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys. Included in the database are the songs of Civil Rights, political campaigns, Prohibition, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, anti-war protests, and more.

The range of genres includes country, folk, bluegrass, Western, old time, American Indian, blues, gospel, shape note singing, doo-wop, Motown, R&B, soul, funk, and others. Content from African American Music is now a part of American Song, including 17,000 tracks from the original interface, plus 18,000 newly released tracks. Try this today and listen to some really interesting music!

Language Blogs


Language blogs can help you learn about another culture as well as words and meanings that have altered, adapted or changed from one country to another.

Michigan Students Head to Olympics

Michigan Olympian SkatersUniversity of Michigan students and Ice Dancing couples are competing in the Olympics! One pair trains locally in Canton at the Arctic Edge and the other pair trains in Ann Arbor at The Cube. The University of Michigan has an article concerning them: Wolverines Garner Spots in Winter Olympics

Happy Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day is rooted in a German superstition that if an animal casts its shadow on February 2nd, which is the Christian holiday of Candlemas, bad weather is coming. (Candlemas is the feast of the purification of Mary, Jesus' mother, in the Catholic Church, and is so called because mass is preceded by the distribution of candles.)

Groundhog Day was first celebrated in the U.S. as a Pennsylvania German (so called Pennsylvania Dutch) custom around the 17th and 18th century. This tradition goes back even further in time when the ancient Romans conquered the Teutons or Germanic peoples in the north and brought this custom with them. If the groundhog came out of its den and cast a shadow, 6 more weeks of winter were imminent.

The ancient Celtic pagan festival of Imbolc, celebrated this same day, is traditionally a time of weather prediction, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is perhaps a precursor to Groundhog Day. Fire and purification are important aspects of this festival. The lighting of candles and burning of bonfires in the snow represented the return of warmth and increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.

For more information on this holiday, see the book Groundhog Day in our collection. For more on Candlemas, see Celebrations of Light, also in our library collection.

Valentines Day Trivia

St. Valentine's CasketValentine's Day is celebrated on February 14, traditionally in honor of a saint killed on that day in Roman times. Because he was caught marrying Christian couples, he was arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death under Emperor Claudius in 269 A.D. He is the Patron Saint of engaged couples, bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. The casket with his remains, located in Dublin Ireland, is shown here. For more information on this saint, see the Saints and Angels website.

Countries of the World and Their Leaders, 2010

A new database is searchable via Gale Virtual Reference Library called Countries of the World and Their Leaders. A compilation of the U.S. Department of State, it reports on contemporary political and economic conditions, government personnel and policies, political parties, religions, history, education, press, radio and TV, climate, health conditions, and travel and passport restrictions in every country. Search all of Gale Virtual Reference Library or expand the heading under "Nation and World" to click directly and open up Countries of the World and Their Leaders.

Winter Olympics

The 2010 Winter Olympics starts February 12 in Vancouver, BC and it's not too early to get enthused! Here are a list of websites pertaining to scheduled events, current news, Winter Olympics history and more. For an overview of the Winter Olympics, see "The Winter Olympics: An Insiders Guide to the Legends, the Lore and the Game" in Canton Library's collection. For other books on the Olympics for all ages, see the subject "Olympics" in our catalog.

Camio Database is like visiting a museum

Camio Database has collected art and objects from various prominent museums around the world. Categories include photographs, prints, sculpture, paintings, decorative arts and useful objects, drawings and watercolors, costumes and jewelry, textiles and architecture. Check a category or type a country in the search box to see art, costumes, furniture, and more, from or by artists who lived in that country in various time periods. Click on specific portions of the screen to enlarge that section! A visually stimulating experience, Camio is your armchair museum on a screen!