Beauty and the Beach

The ocean, rocks, waves, sky, cloudsSummer is here and for many of us summer brings to mind sand, sun, water—the beach!  Oh, the beach with the seagulls crying, the waves crashing, the sun sparkling on the water, the scent of the salty air, the feel of the sand beneath our feet…  Walking along the beach has a way of soothing us and at the same time, making us feel more alive.  After a wonderful walk on the beach, finding a comfortable seat on a driftwood log, pulling a book from your backpack, and settling down to read is a moment of pure joy!  So, head to the shore, enjoy the magic of the ocean, walk barefoot in the waves, then find that perfect spot, and check out one of the following beach-related books (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul. — Robert Wyland

If there’s heaven for me, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it. — Jimmy Buffett


Powerful Pollinators

Close up of a bee on a flower surrounded by a cloud of pollenAccording to the U.S. Forest Service, pollination “is an essential survival function.” Pollinators help plants reproduce by drinking nectar or feeding off of pollen from flowers and then transporting pollen grains as they move from one area to another. We can thank pollinators for approximately one out of every three bites of food! It is well known that insects such as bees, butterflies, and moths are common pollinators, but birds and mammals (including hummingbirds, fruit bats, and opossums), serve as pollinators as well. June has been designated National Pollinators Month to draw attention to these important creatures and the role they have in sustaining life on this planet. Now is the time to honor the precious pollinators of the world; learn more by reading some of the pollinator-related books (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

For additional information on pollinators, check out these sites:

U.S. Forest Service–Pollinators

Pollinator Partnership

Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it! – John Muir

 


Flower Power

Springtime in Oregon is breathtakingly beautiful.  Traveling around our neighborhoods and parks, the walker cannot help but marvel at the many shades of green on the newly leafed out trees and rejoice in the multihued swathes of flowers around every corner.  Whether hiking among native plants like trillium, camas, and rhododendrons or admiring local gardens displaying tulips, lilacs, roses, and much more, Oregonians can enjoy a dazzling array of diverse blossoms throughout the spring.  And, we cannot forget the springtime air filled with wondrous scents from many of these flowers…  These bright spots of colors, these often fragrant morsels of beauty, bring joy and hope to the wanderer.  Join us in celebrating the power of flowers by getting outdoors to admire the blooms.  While you’re at it, why not check out one of these flower-related books available in the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide?:


Poetry and Trees

tree on hill with skyTrees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.–Kahlil Gibran

The recent ice storm took a serious toll on many of the beautiful trees across the Willamette Valley and beyond.  Despite all the damage, tree leaves are unfurling and blossoms are blooming to welcome the arrival of spring.  Looking at the trees around us in all their glory might just inspire those with a creative writing talent to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and compose a poem.  Happily, April is the perfect time to contemplate trees and poetry because it is both Arbor Month and National Poetry Month!  Join us in celebrating poetry, trees, and nature by sampling some of the many wonderful books (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

 


Honoring Women

Women protestingRecognizing, remembering, and celebrating the role women have played in American history is important.  By official presidential proclamation, March has been designated Women’s History Month and now is the ideal time to reflect on the many extraordinary contributions of women through the years.  The National Women’s History Alliance chooses an annual theme and this year’s theme is a continuation of last year’s theme–“Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.”  2020 was the women’s suffrage centennial but the pandemic overshadowed this milestone so the celebration is continuing into 2021.  Recognizing early suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone is important but it also crucial to pay tribute to civil rights activists like Ida B. Wells, Ella Baker, and Shirley Chisholm, who championed voting rights for women and African Americans.  And we can bring the celebration into the 21st century by acknowledging the important contributions of women like Stacey Abrams whose organizing skills helped register thousands of new voters in the state of Georgia, making it a key battleground state during the 2020 election. On our WU Reads Reading Guide, you will find a selection of books about the Nineteenth Amendment and women through the years who were involved in supporting voting rights.


Celebrating Black History Month

decorative rendering of black history monthMost of us have heard of Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate, who read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the recent inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden.  Amanda’s inspirational poem reminds us all of the beauty and power of words.  Salman Rushdie expressed this exquisitely when he wrote:

A poet’s work … to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep.

In honor of Black History/African American History Month and Amanda Gorman, it seems fitting to highlight African American poets and their important contributions to American culture and society. Check out a sampling of some of the many wonderful books of poetry (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Visit the following websites for more information on Black History Month and Black poets and poetry:

https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/african-american-history

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/africanamericanheritage/index.htm

https://poets.org/black-history-month?mc_cid=e8ae6e254d&mc_eid=7d00100864

 


Winter Wonderland

Fall leaves with frostThe days are short, the nights are long, and frosty mornings abound–it’s definitely sweater weather! Winter in the Northwest can sometimes feel overly long and dreary but if you look at things from a different angle, there is actually a whole lot to cheer about! There are lots of different wintertime celebrations including Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year.  Sparkly lights adorn houses and trees. Hot drinks, warm cookies, tasty soups, cozy fires, cuddly pets, are all worth appreciating. The weather is exciting with rain, snow, sleet, fog, and even glorious sunshine. Look at the naked tree limbs stark against the winter sky. Notice the squirrels still busily squirreling away. Check out a winter sunrise or a crisp, clear winter night. Times are challenging right now in so many ways but finding the positive side of these winter months can really put some cheer in your drear!  So grab a blanket, a cuppa, and one of these winter-related print and e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide and enjoy the season!

 

He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter. — John Burroughs


National Native American Heritage Month

wooden totem faceNational Native American Heritage Month provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing heritage and history of Native Americans.  The original inhabitants of America have rich and varied cultures dating back thousands of years. Congress has authorized an annual presidential proclamation that designates November as National American Indian Heritage Month (or National Native American Heritage Month) since 1990.  Let’s take time this month to appreciate and pay tribute to the many achievements and contributions of Native Americans everywhere.  On our WU Reads Reading Guide you will find a selection of wonderful novels written by Native American authors; take some time to explore these great works.

“Being Indian has never been about returning to the land. The land is everywhere or nowhere.”
― Tommy Orange, There There


Autumn Fun

jack-o'-lanternsThe leaves are changing color, the sun is rising later and setting earlier, there is a slight nip in the air–fall is here!  That means it is time to uncover your coziest sweaters, discover your favorite hot beverage at the Bistro, and start thinking about pumpkins!  Or more specifically jack-o’-lanterns, because Halloween is just around the corner.  Did you know one of the earliest meanings of jack-o’lantern didn’t have anything to do with pumpkins but actually referred to a man with a lantern or a nightwatchman?  Want to know more about Halloween?  Check out the interesting selection of Halloween-related print and e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

And here’s to a “bootiful” holiday full of “spooktacular” fun (socially-distanced and safely masked, of course).


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Image of Frida KahloNational Hispanic Heritage Month originally began as Hispanic Heritage Week back in 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued an official proclamation designating the week.  In 1989, President George W. Bush issued the first proclamation to change the week celebration to a month celebration and thus National Hispanic Heritage Month was born.  It begins September 15, the anniversary of independence of several Latin American countries, and runs through October 15.  This annual celebration gives us a chance to pay tribute to the many ways the Hispanic and Latinx communities have positively influenced and enriched our nation.

As President Barack Obama stated so eloquently in his 2015 proclamation, “During National Hispanic Heritage Month, let us renew our commitment to honoring the invaluable ways Hispanics contribute to our common goals, to celebrating Hispanic culture, and to working toward a stronger, more inclusive, and more prosperous society for all.”

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, check out the diverse selection of print and e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Visit the following websites for more information:

https://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/hispanic-heritage-month.htm

https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/hispanic-heritage-month