Highlights of the Week: Livingston Listens Lecture, Collage Workshop, Book Clubs and More!

1/16 |  Healing Hands Collage Workshop

Artist and art instructor Mansa Mussa led a group of fifteen adults in a colorful and fun “Healing Hands” collage workshop in which they learned to create vibrant 8×10 inch collages using a variety of wallpaper samples and traced images of their hands.

For the collages, Mansa instructed the participants to use techniques found in  collage painter, Romare Bearden’s, works: these techniques included adding various cut geometric pieces, colorful hearts, flowers, word stickers, and various textures and layers to create a dynamic composition.  Calling collage the “most democratic” art form, Mansa urged the attendees to create a narrative through their collages and to “break at least one rule” in the process.
A couple of participants took up the option of using digital pictures in their collage –Mansa took a picture from their phone and used a photo printer to make a copy– which made the collages more “personalized.” Students walked away with beautiful, unique collages and expressed how much they not only enjoyed the program, but that they would like to have Mansa come back.

 


1/16 |  Get Lit Adult Book Club

This week’s group read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In this chilling, dystopian narrative, women have lost all of their rights and must live under the extreme religious society’s patriarchal rule.  In the fictional world of Gilead, it is illegal for women to work, have money and read.  The women are also expected to eat what they are given and do whatever they are told, or pay dire consequences.  As expected, our lively group had a lot to say about this!

Group members were interested to learn that Margaret Atwood was quoted to say that she had “invented nothing” in Gilead.  All of the extreme acts of violence and oppression against women were indeed happening in parts of the world when she wrote the book in the 1980’s.  The group was also fascinated to learn that the popular quote from the book, “Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum,” a phrase that has been loosely translated to mean “Don’t let the bastards grind you down,” is actually a joke from Atwood’s Latin classes!

Now that they have read the book, the group is excited to watch the highly acclaimed award winning series.

 


1/23 |  Understanding Race in America with Dr. Khyati Joshi

Dr. Khyati Joshi presented a historical narrative that helped to provide and understanding of how Supreme Court decisions and immigration laws have contributed to our society as we know it today.  Dr. Joshi entertained questions and comments from the audience regarding these issues.

This program was the first lecture of the Livingston Public Library’s Livingston Listens Series: A Series of Programs on Inclusion, Representation, and Social Justice.  Livingston Listens is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Livingston Library.

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Joshi back on Tuesday, February 27th for the second lecture in our series, Understanding Your Child’s Racial Identity.


1/23 & 1/25 |  Coffee and Crime

Our first set of Coffee & Crime Mystery Book Club meetings for 2018 started off with a bang.  Thirty-one members in total (nineteen in the daytime and twelve in the evening) came to the local history room to talk about Keigo Higashino’s literary thriller, Malice. Reference librarian Ariel Zeitlin, the group’s facilitator, served dry roasted edamame to go with the Japanese setting, but they were eclipsed at the evening meeting by member Nancy Pearl’s amazing home-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Because of the novel’s “unreliable narrator,” the group listened to an audio clip about how to construct the perfect lie. A few members resented the author’s skillful manipulation of the reader, while others were spellbound by his mastery, but as usual, everyone had a great discussion.

 


1/25  |  “Nutty by Nature” Improv Comedy Troupe

Sponsored by the Friends of the LibraryThink Theater” series, eleven actors arrived to perform hilarious improv skits for a crowd of fifty-two people, including three children.

While Livingston resident and professional actor Robert Sapoff is the founder of the troupe, it was Elaine Brodie of Caldwell that led the show.  The other actors joining them were Michael J. Foy, Christina Mastroeni, Alex Bernstein, Tarek Salib and Charles (Chuck) Tsocanos of Bloomfield, Ray Brandess, Bruce Mejia, Tiffany Bizub, Nat Gennace, and Doug Pinkowsky.

In one of the skits, a “husband and wife” were pantomiming barbecuing a steak on a grill and were told to do it in various emotional states, such as anger, depression, love, etc. The audience couldn’t stop laughing when the fuming wife slathered BBQ sauce over the steak while the furious husband shouted out that she very well knew he only liked salt and pepper and the “argument” escalated. It was so funny to see how quickly they could jump from one emotion to another and had the audience in stitches.

In another skit, they asked the public to call out names of various professions and two actors had to perform how those occupations would work together. When the actors chose how a leprechaun (not actually a profession, but let’s pretend it is) was paired off with an astronaut in an office on the moon, some people were left in literal tears from laughing so hard. All in all, it was a wonderfully entertaining evening in which winter doldrums were set aside and good times were had by all.

Highlights of the Week: Charcoal Sketch Workshop, Live Guitar Story Time, Garden State Children Book Awards & more!

1/4 | Garden State Children Book Awards

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Every Fall, a list of nominated books (published three years before the award) is created by a committee that is part of NJLA’s Children Services Section. According to the GSCBA’s page, members of the committee select these books based on their “literary merit and appeal to readers.”  The four award categories for author and illustrator are: “Easy to Read”, “Fiction Series”, “Fiction”, and “Nonfiction.”

The winning books are announced at the NJLA conference in late spring where children then have an opportunity to vote at the Livingston Library– or at their public school in Livingston– for their favorite nominated book. Children who vote at the library are entered into a random drawing for a prize, with this Fall’s winner being Samay Malde!

The Livingston votes have been counted!  Here are the top three titles for each category:

Easy Readers

Prince Fly Guy by Ted Arnold

I will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems

Hot Rod Hamster and the Awesome ATV Adventure by Cynthia Lord

 

Fiction Series

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney

Babymouse: Bad Babysitter by Jennifer Holm

Captain Underpants and the sensational saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot : the twelfth epic novel by Dav Pilkey

 

Fiction

The Rat with the Human Face by Tom Angleberger

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Eva Sees a Ghost by Rebecca Elliott

 

Nonfiction

The Founding Fathers! : those horse-ridin’, fiddle-playin’, book-readin’, gun-totin’ gentlemen who started America by Jonah Winter

Hippos are Huge! by Jonathan London

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

 


 

1/6 & 1/11 | Story Coders

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Second and third graders, along with their parents, enjoyed learning some coding basics using the Finch Bot and ScratchJr.  The well-attended program was divided into three parts and the children and parents played tic-tac-toe as an icebreaker activity.  

After introductions, Amanda and Joseph invited the group onto the story mat for the Finch Bot activity.  The story mat was set up for the story If You Give a Mouse a Brownie by Laura Numeroff.  The Finch Bot acted as the mouse in the story and the children had to direct the “mouse” from picture to picture following the sequence of the story.  For this activity, the Finch Bot was only capable of moving straight.  

Joseph explained that sensors on the front of the bot acted as the bot’s eyes.  The children could direct the bot to turn left or right by placing special cards in front of the bot. Children took turns figuring out how many space the bot should move straight and which direction it needed to turn in order to reach the next picture.

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For the second activity, Joseph demonstrated how to make a simple story following the If You Give a Mouse a Brownie pattern.  The children and parents worked on  creating their own versions of the story while Amanda and Joseph answered questions as needed.  At the end of the class, the children had an opportunity to share their stories.  

 


 

1/8 | Charcoal Sketch Workshop

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 A cold, snowy day didn’t discourage this group of eager artists to show up for our Charcoal Sketch Workshop led by Livingston Art Teacher extraordinaire, Christine Wittlinger.

 

Many of the students were using charcoal for the first time; they followed the teacher’s detailed instructions on how to hold the charcoal, where to draw the lines, how dark to make each line, and how to use the blending tool to create the desired effect.

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1/9 | Yakety Yak

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The well-attended book club for second and third graders discussed Asia Citro’s Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows.  One of the reasons the children gave for liking the story was that it mixed fantasy and science. They liked that the story was both fun and educational.

During the story, Zoey made and tested hypotheses to figure out what the dragon liked to eat and how to make him better. For the activity, children used modeling clay to create their own dragon eggs and decorated them using food dye and beads.  

 


 

1/11 | Story Time with Live Guitar Music

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Guitar Joe sang songs and told musically-based stories, accompanied by his acoustic guitar and a small bongo-like drum. Anna helped by showing picture books & puppets based on some of the songs.

The kids were encouraged to participate, such as helping with the distribution of maracas during the reading of “Drum Dream Girl,” which describes different forms of percussion, and encouraging the children to match the various rhythms in the story.  The children responded enthusiastically (though, thankfully, not too rambunctiously) to both the music and the stories, all while receiving lessons in subjects like counting, spelling, and gender equality.

Watch a video of the performance of Guitar Joe’s version of We’re Going To Be Friends.