Trees 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.
Recognizing, 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.
Most 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:
The 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 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
The 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).
National 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:
There is a lot going on in the world right now and many of us are feeling anxious or stressed. Finding methods to help us cope with the uncertainties in our lives is important; one valuable resource to remember is art. Whether you enjoy making art or you love looking at art, art can make a difference. Art has a way of lifting us up, providing much needed distraction, offering moments of joy, inspiring us, and helping us through times of crisis. There is increasing evidence that “art enhances brain function and well-being,” which seems like a positive outcome for all. August is a great time to stop and reflect on the wonder of art in our lives because it is American Artist Appreciation Month! Lots of museums from around the globe are offering virtual tours of their collections that you can enjoy from the comfort of home. Willamette’s very own Hallie Ford Museum offers a great variety of art from all over the world but with a particular emphasis on Northwest art and the Hatfield Library has its own special tie to American artists with the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive. In celebration of American artists, check out the diverse selection of print and e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Boston Tea Party, Civil Rights protests, Women’s Right to Vote marches, Black Lives Matter protests, Iraq War protests, Vietnam War protests, Occupy protests, LGBTQ rights marches, Dakota Access Pipeline protests, March for Our Lives, March for Science—these are just some of the many examples of people exercising their first amendment rights through protest. For generations, people have been using protests as a way to make their voices heard, call attention to an issue, influence government policy, and change the world. Millions of people have protested and marched in an effort to fight against injustices and enact social change. In the thick of these protests, it is sometimes hard to see what they accomplish but in the long term, protests have often succeeded in bringing about important change and even altering the course of history. In celebration of our right to assembly, check out the diverse selection of protest-related e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.
Let us remember, we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest. – Barack Obama
June is National Great Outdoors Month and never before has getting outdoors been so important. As we all struggle to cope with this new world of COVID-19, spending time in nature can bring joy and solace. Striding along a path, feeling the sun on your back, watching a squirrel scamper up a tree, enjoying the beauty of a brightly-colored flower, listening to the birds singing—it’s magical! According to the experts, being outside is one of the safest places for us to be right now as long as we remain six feet away from others. And staying away from others is a lot easier to do outdoors! Those of us living in the Northwest are lucky to live in a temperate climate with easy access to beautiful places in every direction. Most cities have wonderful parks and trails but just walking around your neighborhood can reveal the natural beauty all around us. So get outside and join us in celebrating the great outdoors! In preparation for your time in nature, check out the nature-related e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks–John Muir