Highlights of the Week: Video Game Design, Springsteen and His Layered Lyrics, Yakety Yak & More!

4/3 | Yakety Yak Grade 2-3 Book Discussion

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To do something different this month, the Yakety Yak members were asked to read and bring their favorite book to discuss at the book club meeting.  Most of the second and third graders chose fiction stories, but one child brought his favorite book, a non-fiction book about the history of flight. To begin the discussion, youth librarian Amanda asked the children to share why the book they brought was their favorite. During the discussion, children rolled a giant dice that had questions printed on each side. They then had a chance to answer questions about their fiction book’s setting, genre, and their favorite character. For non-fiction books, the questions included what the child’s favorite fact from the book was and whether or not this book was a good book about the topic.  

Next month, the group will be reading Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence and will be making mochi to taste.    


 

4/3 | Video Game Design: Ages 9-14

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The Video Game Design program kicked off its first session with a great group of kids (ages 9-14) and some teen volunteers.  These kids will meet every week through April and May to learn about computer programming while creating their own video games.  During the first session, the kids created a simple animation as an introduction to the coding platform, Scratch. Next week, they will be making a racing game.

 


 

4/3 | Xtreme Readers Book Group: Grades 4-5

The group read Tim Federle’s hilarious and heartwarming Better Nate than Ever, a story about a Broadway musical-loving eighth grade boy who is sure his stardom awaits if he could just leave his unfulfilling small Pennsylvania town and dysfunctional family behind, and head to NYC.  The group enjoyed the book and are eager to read the sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate!. Youth librarian Gina discussed topics such as families and siblings, best friends, bullying, musicals, and New York City.  She also presented the author’s biography for a look into his own experience in Broadway. Readers enjoyed watching Federle promote Better Nate Than Ever in his interview with the president & producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, Thomas Schumacher as they ate their snacks.

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4/4 | Little Bookworms: Grades K-1

The theme for the second session of Little Bookworms was “You!”. Miss Gina shared Paige Britt’s thoughtful picture book, Why Am I Me?, Todd Parr’s empowering Be Who You Are, and one of Gina’s all time favorite Dr. Seuss books, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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The class enjoys Miss Gina’s stories!

To celebrate uniqueness, Miss Gina taught the children how to create salt painting name art.

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4/5 | Springsteen and His Layered Lyrics

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Facing a crowd of Bruce Springsteen fans, Professor Prudence Jones from Montclair University presented a lecture on Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen’s music, focusing on the lyrics and the folk songs his own music stems from.

Some examples Professor Jones presented were: Blind Alfred Reed’s song “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” was about the hard times of the Depression, but Springsteen borrowed the last refrain from that song and used it in the context of Hurricane Katrina; Springsteen borrowed from Irish immigrant Patrick Glimore’s song, “When Johnny comes Marching Home” ; and other artists that influenced Springsteen were Woody Guthrie, Curtis Mayfield, Hank Williams Jr,  Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Clarence Clemons, and Bob Dylan.

Another interesting fact Professor Jones pointed out was Springsteen’s use of Appalachian English in his lyrics, with words such as “we’uns,”  “you’uns,” “y’all,”  “them’s,” “young’uns,” and “hain’t.”

Highlights of the Week: Sleeping Better Naturally, Senior Happening, and St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

3/15 | Sleeping Better, Naturally

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The third in our series of community health lectures in collaboration with the Summit Medical Group, Dr. Mairanna Shimelfarb, MD, who specializes in Integrative Family Medicine, addressed the epidemic of sleeplessness and enlightened the audience about natural ways to get sound, restorative sleep.

Her talk, which was coincidentally held on the eve of World Sleep Day, discussed why you need to sleep, why you cant get good sleep, why it’s important to do something about it, and how to do it naturally!

Dr. Shimelfarb spoke about the stages of sleep, different types of insomnia, causes of sleep trouble, and the different factors that can help contribute to a good night’s sleep, including a healthy diet, and reducing mind noise (disconnecting from electronic devices).
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Along with other ways to relax, Dr. Shimelfarb did a video demonstration of two effective relaxation methods , including a 4:7:8 breathing exercise pioneered by Dr Andrew Weill, and an introduction to the Pranayama breathing technique as shown by Yogi Nora.
Dr. Shimelfarb’s presentation, Sleep Better, Naturally, can be viewed in it’s entirety.

 


 

3/16 | Senior Happening: The Great Lady Songwriters

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Fred Miller performed one of his lectures-in-song, “Great Lady Songwriters,” in honor of Women’s History Month. Guests also got in the spirit of wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Miller explained that many women, including four of the most notable ( Dorothy Fields, Kay Swift, Dana Suesse and Ann Ronnell), were prolific composers and lyricists. Though they never gained as much notoriety as the Gershwin brothers or Irving Berlin, their work was the core of Tin Pan Alley.

As the 1920s brought many changes in American culture, music moved ahead with inventions like the phonograph, radio, and sound movies. Jazz also transformed the music industry. New York City, with its concentration of theaters and publishing houses, became the center of the music world and at the center of the city was a small area called Tin Pan Alley. The musicians of Tin Pan Alley blended ragtime, jazz, and ballads to create a new brand of song that was witty and sophisticated. Fields, who was born in Allenhurst, NJ, brought us “The Way You Look Tonight”, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” — just a few of more than 400 songs she wrote for Broadway musicals and films.

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Carolyn Leigh teamed with Cy Coleman and other songwriters to write songs for Mary Martin in Peter Pan, including “I’m Flying” and “I Won’t Grow Up.” Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett also sang Leigh tunes, such as “Witchcraft,” “Young at Heart,” and “The Best is Yet to Come.” Leigh also wrote “Hey Look Me Over,” for Lucille Ball in Wildcat.

Miller ended the program with another prolific female songwriter, Peggy Lee. Lee may be better known for her smooth and smoky voice, her career as singer, songwriter, composer, and actress spanned six decades. After leaving the Benny Goodman Orchestra, Lee teamed with her husband to write songs in the 1950s, then worked on her own. She wrote for Disney Studios, and sang some of her own songs in Lady and the Tramp. 

Senior Happening is funded by Friends of the Library with a grant awarded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, administered by the Essex County Department of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

 


 

3/20 | The Shannachie of Glendunbun Ballybeg

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Even though it was sleeting, about thirty people attended the program, including one couple who drove all the down from Sussex County.