Library Column for October 22, 2020

@ Your Library

It has been a gorgeous fall for bright colors, plenty of blue skies and sunshine. I really enjoy walking past the trees on Third Street that sadly are now primarily bare. I have also enjoyed watching the birds which seem more numerous around my normal paths this year. I frequently startle a flock (how many birds does it require to be a flock I wonder?) on my way home and enjoy watching them fly and often ponder how they avoid running into one another. Humans don’t seem to have that same skill. You can put two people on my kitchen at home and we seem to run into one another regularly and we aren’t moving near as fast as the birds. That is just one of the many wonders I ponder as I go through life. Reading is a great way to continue learning and discovering new and amazing (and sometimes heartwrenchingly sad) things about this world we call home.

Here are some great non-fiction to explore. Birds in Minnesota by Robert Janssen now revised and expanded from the original 1987 edition. This full color book is great paired with What’s It Like to Be a Bird by David Sibley. Between the two I learned lots and had a new appreciation for birds. All this bird talk makes me think of the new children’s books The Truth about Hawks by Maxwell Eaton III for seriously funny facts, Whoo-ku Haiku by Maria Gianferrari, an amazing story about great horned owls told in haikus and Natural Wonders of the World by Bethany Lord which provides a ‘birds-eye view of 12 of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

Expand beyond just animals and Wildheart: The Daring Adventures of John Muir by Julie Bertagna and Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids by Rowena Rae come to mind as great places to start exploring the natural world. A great book for an entire year of discovery is Earth Almanac by Ken Keffer ‘explores the ebb and flow of nature throughout the year’ structured about phenology. That was a new word to me, it means the study of seasonal patterns in nature.

Lonely Planet has created a new ‘travel’ guide for The Universe created in collaboration with NASA JPL. Explore the planets of the solar system before journeying to the edge of the known universe with the latest data from NASA. All that star gazing brings to mind Nature’s Light Spectacular by Katy Flint which explores twelve different amazing ways light reacts with the earth to create wondrous displays.

We can learn about the good and the bad of humans throughout history. A World of Discovery by James Brown and Richard Platt provides basic and fun facts about world changing discoveries and inventions. Martin Sandler makes the case that 1919 was the ‘Year that Changed America.’

Voyage of Mercy by Stephen Puleo tells of the USS Jamestown and America’s first humanitarian mission in 1847 to Ireland in the midst of the great potato famine.

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