Highlights of the Week: Dynamic Drawing, X-Treme Readers Book Club, The Ballantine Mansion, & more!

12/4 | THE BALLANTINE MANSION AT THE NEWARK MUSEUM 

Sue Smith, chairwoman of the Newark Museum’s Speaker’s Bureau, gave an informative presentation on the Ballantine mansion to a room of fifty-two people.
She started off by telling the story of how the house came to be a museum, having been built by Louis Bamberger, which eventually became a National Landmark in 1985. The Museum originally occupied the upper floors of the Newark Public Library, but John Cotton Dana felt that the Museum should be part of a community, so it was moved to its present location of 49 Washington Street in Newark.
The mansion itself was built in 1885 and the Ballantine family lived there until 1919. It once contained a whopping twenty-five rooms and sixteen fireplaces! In addition to the latest in hot air/central air conditioning and five bathrooms, the house had parquet floors, ornamental plaster-work ceilings and stained glass windows. The mansion was then sold to an insurance company for office space, which surprised many people during the presentation.
Sue showed slides of each room, making sure to point out specific details, such as a fireplace in one of the rooms with English pink tiles , or that it contained a stained glass window done by Tiffany that cost $450 (a small fortune back then). One of the more unusual slides was a scene of eight headless figures, dressed in period clothes, seated around an elaborately set dining room table.
For those interested in visiting the mansion, Sue Smith finished off the presentation by mentioning that in January 2018, the lobby will be completely remodeled with floor to ceiling windows.

 

 


 

12/5 | X-TREME READERS BOOK CLUB | Grades 4-5

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The X-Treme Readers Book Club met to discuss the winner of both the 2011 National Book Award and the 2012 Newbery Medal, Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again. The book takes place in 1975 and details a year in the life of 10 year old Vietnamese refugee, Hà and her family’s journey from their home in Vietnam, to refugee camps in Guam and Florida until settling in Alabama.

To help set the story, Gina showed pictures of Vietnam and the natural beauty it possesses.  To help the children understand the journey that Vietnam refugees traveled, the group used Google Maps to chart the expedition across the ocean, from the river in Saigon where the family in the story escaped across the Pacific Ocean to the refugee camps, to Alabama.

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In the discussion, Gina became aware that over half of the group had learned English as a second language and the majority of the group actively speak another language at home.  In all seriousness, the children asked, “Why didn’t  use Google Translate?” It is hard for them to understand a world without the technology that they are growing up with.

As the group enjoyed a snack, Gina played a YouTube video of  author Thanhha Lai reading her book at the National Book Awards Finalists Reading.  The young readers enjoyed the book, however, hearing the author read her written words in her own voice really helped to bring the powerful story to life.

In January, the X-treme Readers Book Club is discussing Sharon Creech’s beloved Granny Torrelli Makes Soup.


12/5 & 12/6 | SEASONAL PRINTING 
Teen Librarian Karen deWilde and Head of Youth Services Anna Coats held three Seasonal Printing workshops this week.  Children in grades K-2, 3-5 & 6-8, created colorful, layered beautiful festive designs using Gel Printing Plates.

 

12/7 | DYNAMIC DRAWING: FUN WITH COMPOSITION

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Fine artist, Sarah Canfield (www.sarahcanfield.com) led this fun workshop where she helped the twenty-five participants understand the creative process that happens before a painting or drawing is started. She discussed the essential lines in a composition that create a basic structure for drawing or painting. One of these ideas was explored through sketching compositions using smartphone photography.

According to Sarah, “photography is a straightforward and spontaneous way to record ideas for your art in addition to preparatory sketches.  When used thoughtfully, it can be a useful tool to incorporate into your repertoire and can save valuable time in the planning process.”
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After covering the fundamentals of composition using images of paintings from her iPad, Sarah had everyone take pictures with their phones of the three still-life arrangements she had put up on the center of the work tables.  She then asked them to pick an image or two, crop or edit them as needed, and use the image to start composing a sketch of the still life using the newsprint sheets, compressed charcoal sticks, and soft graphite pencils provided.
Participants appeared very involved in their sketching and produced some great drawings/sketches, which were shared at the end in a critique session. Many attendees mentioned that they hadn’t sketched or drawn in years, and this workshop made them realize how much fun it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights of the Week: Get Lit Casual Book Club & Understanding Your Thyroid

 

11/28 | GET LIT CASUAL BOOK CLUB

What gives life purpose?  What brings meaning to one’s existence? How does one go from being a doctor healing the sick to becoming a patient overnight? How can one live fully knowing that death is right around the corner?  These are a few of the questions the group tackled as they discussed Paul Kalanithi’s incredibly moving, thought provoking memoir, When Breath Becomes Air.  

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Paul spent years studying to become a neurosurgeon, followed by years of tending to patients before he, at the age of 36, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  He continued to live his life to the fullest and had to decide what makes life worth living in the face of his own imminent death. Ultimately, he came to the realization that living fully means accepting suffering. Get Lit group members were so touched by Paul’s courage that they felt comfortable enough to share their own personal trials and lessons learned.  As the group’s moderator, librarian Gina Vaccaro states, “There were tissues on the table, but group members handled the serious, somber topic with humor and grace, making this discussion one that will not be forgotten soon.”


The Get Lit Book Club is discussing Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for their December meeting.


 

11/30 | COMMUNITY HEALTH LECTURE: UNDERSTANDING YOUR THYROID

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Met by a full house, Dr. Tess Jacob from Summit Medical Group gave a talk on thyroid health in which she used a slide presentation to examine all the implications of the thyroid on our physiology, deeper looks into thyroid problems, hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules, how problems are diagnosed through blood tests, and finally, common courses of treatment.

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Tess Jacob, MD is a member of Summit Medical Group’s Endocrinology team. Dr. Jacob treats patients with endocrine disorders and has particular interest in thyroid, pituitary, diabetes, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. She is specially trained to perform in-office fine needle aspiration biopsies of thyroid nodules and also performs thyroid ultrasounds.

 

Register for the second community health lecture, Sleeping Better, Naturally, on December 14th.  Dr. Marianna Shimelfarb will explore natural ways to promote healthy, sound, restorative sleep.