Kids always need good role models and heroes. Parents are the first and best, of course, but literature is not far behind. The stories you read and teach to your children will be an integral part of their character as they grow up.
Many parents of young girls worry about the images their daughters absorb from movies and other forms of popular entertainment. Unrealistic and uninspired portrayals of women abound. Where are the heroines for our little girls? Look no further than the library! Whether your daughter is enjoying bedtime stories with you or enjoying reading on her own, there are many wonderful female characters for you to discuss together.
Here are just some of the many great literary heroines!
Hermione Granger, from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Who doesn’t love Hermione? (Well, Draco Malfoy for one, but who cares what he thinks?) Sure, she’s a bit of a know-it-all, and she can be a bit bossy and blunt. But that’s not all there is to Hermione. She’s naturally intelligent, of course, but she augments her talent with diligent hard work and study. If she needs an answer, where does she go? To the library! She’s also an incredibly loyal and caring friend. Who else could have stuck by Harry during the dark days of Book 5? We love her to pieces.
Lucy Pevensie, from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Sweet little Lucy is the first to venture through the wardrobe to the magical land of Narnia. (She is remarkably calm about it, too!) She is so good-hearted that she makes friends wherever she goes. She confronts many dangers in Narnia, and even has to face the darker sides of her own heart, but her unshakeable faith and trust in Aslan always pull her through. She truly earns her title of “the Valiant”. Lucy appears in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Horse and His Boy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Last Battle.
Anne Shirley, from the Anne series by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Oh, Anne! From the moment she stepped off the train platform, neither she nor the town of Avonlea was ever the same. Here is a heroine with enough dreams and passion to fill a hundred books. She has moments of bad temper, but to be fair, she really was provoked! Overall, she is a tender-hearted girl who just wants to find her place in a loving family. Matthew and Marilla really had no idea what they were getting into, but how glad are we that they decided to keep her? Anne charms the socks off of everyone she meets (it is easy to see why Gilbert Blythe pines for her so long!), and your daughter will greatly enjoy her many adventures. Anne appears in Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside.
Tiffany Aching, from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
Tiffany was fighting with a frying pan long before Disney’s Rapunzel made it cool. As if living in Discworld wasn’t complicated enough, Tiffany is a hereditary witch and the temporary kelda (think of a queen bee) of the Nac Mac Feegle, a tribe of tiny blue proto-Scotsmen who live for mischief. The job of a witch in Tiffany’s homeland, the Chalk, is an important one (sort of a combination healer/midwife/social worker), and Tiffany makes mistakes, but always learns and matures in a believable way. She benefits from the mentorship of several other strong female characters, including Granny Weatherwax. Tiffany appears in The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight.
Sophie Hatter, from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones
Sophie just wanted a quiet life. But when she met a strange gentleman while walking across town, her life changed forever. A curse from a jealous witch leaves Sophie trapped in the body of a 90-year-old woman. But Sophie does not let her circumstances get her down. She sets out on her own and finds lots of adventures. She also, as most heroines do, learns some surprising truths about herself. Sophie’s no-nonsense approach to life is a refreshing change from the usual crowd of swoony lovestruck teenagers. Sophie appears in Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, and House of Many Ways.
Who are some of your favorite literary ladies?
Don’t forget, Summer Reading Registration begins this Saturday, June 8th! Bring your library card and sign up! Next Saturday, June 15th, is our Kickoff Carnival starting at 2:00 PM. Come dressed as your favorite book character!
Tulare Public Library manager steps down – Tulare Advance-Register
We’ll miss you, Mary-Catherine! Thank you for your hard work and dedication, and best of luck to you at COS!
June is Audiobook month! Come on down to the library and check out an audiobook today! Listen to it on your computer, in your car, wherever, and tell us about it. Did the characters sound different from what you expected? Do you prefer a single narrator or a full cast recording? Which books do you actually prefer in an audio format? Leave us a comment!
Father’s Day is almost here! We hope that you reach out and say “I love you” to your dads, and not just on the 16th!
To celebrate, here are some famous fathers from literature. (In no particular order, including both fictional and non-fictional examples.)
in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
Atticus Finch is pretty much perfect (so much so that the movie Atticus is played by Gregory Peck, who is also perfect!). He’s a busy lawyer and an active participant in his community, but he is also a devoted dad who spends as much time as he can with his son and daughter. He never misses an opportunity to teach them important life lessons, and he practices what he preaches. Atticus does the right thing even in the face of great opposition from his neighbors. He’s the kind of dad you would want when everything in your life goes wrong, the dad who will tell you just what you need to hear and trust you enough to make the right choices.
in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series
Was the real Pa Ingalls this awesome? We certainly think so. Charles Ingalls was a hardworking man with a deep love for the wide outdoors. He didn’t care too much for crowded towns; he preferred the wild frontier. This led to a lot of relocating for his family, often to lonely and untamed territories. In a time without telephones or motor vehicles for rapid communication, this was going “off the grid” in a way we hyper-connected modern folk could never imagine. But the Ingalls family didn’t let anything get them down, and that was mostly due to Pa’s boundless optimism and dedication. No matter where they ended up, Pa ensured that his wife and children were safe and happy. And only Pa could make the tale of how he lost his big toenail as a child into one of the most epic thrillers in the history of bedtime stories.
in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Poor Bob has it rough. He has a large, loving family, which is wonderful, but making enough money to keep everyone fed and warm (and don’t forget medical care for chronically ill Tiny Tim) is nearly impossible. Bob has the worst boss EVER, who begrudges even the coal to keep the office warm, never mind decent pay or vacation time. No one would blame Bob for a day (or more) of bad temper. If he had spoken badly of his boss in his own home, no one would bat an eye. But Bob won’t have that. He will not allow even his family to speak ill of Mr. Scrooge, because he can see that when it comes to love and family, Scrooge is far worse off than the Cratchit clan. He honestly pities Scrooge for all he is missing. Bob Cratchit might not be a rich man in the material things, but he is among the wealthiest in the things that really matter.
in Anne Frank’s A Diary of a Young Girl
Otto Frank is one of the bravest men we know of, as well as the one responsible for much of what we remember about the Holocaust. He moved his family several times to escape the rising tide of Nazism, even attempting to emigrate to the Americas. When it looked like his family was about to be torn apart, Otto put them all into hiding. Sadly, they were eventually found and arrested, and Otto was the only survivor. Upon returning to Amsterdam, he reconnected with the friends who hid his family, and received his daughter Anne’s preserved diary. Otto could have kept all this to himself. He could have just moved on and tried to forget. But he chose to share his daughter’s story with the world, to ensure that neither she nor any of the other children and families that were lost will ever be forgotten.
in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables
Jean Valjean is a man who knows what it means to suffer. But thanks to the example of another “Father”, he takes his experiences and lets them transform him into a man of enormous good character. Bad things happen, and Jean Valjean finds himself the adoptive father of the young Cosette. Valjean is a devoted father, who raises his daughter in love and grace. But when the time comes, Valjean is wise enough to know that he can’t keep her from growing up. Her boyfriend might be a bit of an airhead, but Jean Valjean is there for them regardless. He does all he can to ensure that they can have a safe and happy life, even when it means that he cannot be with them for it.
in Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes
Sure, he’s grumpy at times. And he likes to tease his son a bit too much. (Babies come from Sears?!) And he uses “it builds character” as an excuse a little too often. But you know what? Calvin’s dad is great. We’ve all felt like Calvin’s dad at times: when you’ve had to answer the same weird question a hundred times in a day or when you find a beloved family heirloom in pieces on the floor. Or when finding a babysitter becomes remarkably like a hostage negotiation. Or when you get weird looks from the neighbors because of the deranged mutant killer monster snow goons on your lawn. Or when you realize that after 10+ years, you still don’t have a name. (What’s up with that?!) Being a parent of an inquisitive young child is trying at times. But there’s no doubt that no matter how many times he claims he would have rather had a dachshund, Calvin’s dad really loves him. If the comic had ever continued into Calvin’s teen years, it would have been fun to see how their relationship would have matured.
Who are some of your favorite literary dads?
Hollywood has a long-standing tradition of adapting books for the silver screen. Some of our greatest films (Gone With the Wind, Ben-Hur, The Wizard of Oz, just to name a few) started as great books.
Here are some of the upcoming book-based movies of 2013!
A modern take on Shakespeare’s classic comedy, directed by none other than Joss Whedon, of Avengers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame.
The tagline? “Shakespeare knew how to throw a party.”
Max Brooks’ original novel was actually formatted as a series of interviews, where survivors of a catastrophic zombie war recall their experiences. This film takes a more traditional approach, focusing on one character (played by Brad Pitt). If zombie movies are your thing, this looks to be a good bet.
Based on a DC Comic by Peter M. Lenkov, this movie features Ryan Reynolds as Nick Walker, a cop murdered in the line of duty. He trades one hundred years of service as a supernatural officer of the law (reporting to the man upstairs!) to find out who killed him.
Another Frank Miller graphic novel gets the cinematic treatment, this time exploring the past of Marvel Comics’ most famous mutant. This film covers Wolverine’s time in Japan!
The demigods are back! Percy Jackson, son of the sea god Poseidon, and his friends Annabeth and Grover go on an epic quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece!
Based on the first of Cassandra Clare’s six-volume YA series, City of Bones follows seemingly ordinary teenager Clary Fray as she discovers that things in New York are not anything like they seem, and neither is she!
(That’s a lot of black and grey! Were all those posters designed by the same person?)
Looks like this summer has a lot offer book lovers! What are some of your favorite book-to-film adaptations?
Here are the books we will be reading and discussing for the month of June! You can sign up for a book club at the Research & Information desk, or by calling (559) 685-4503.
Summary from the author’s website:
“When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life—the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition—Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself, back and forth, between the worlds she straddles.
Through Kimberly’s story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and a world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant—a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.”
Summary from the author’s website:
“Having made him look a fool, she’s been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her.
Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship’s humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.
The aborigines of the system’s only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.
Parliament isn’t sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called ‘Republic’ of Haven is Up To Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn’t work to police the entire star system.
But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They’ve made her mad.”
Summary from the author’s website:
“Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a daughter’s unflinching love for her imperfect mother.”
Summer Reading is coming in June! Are you ready???
The theme for children grades K-8 (based on what grade you will be entering in August) is “Dig Into Reading”. The theme for teens grades 9-12 is “Beneath the Surface”.
We have some fabulous activities planned this year. Registration for Summer Reading begins Saturday, June 8th. All children registering for the program must have a library card, but the activities and performances are open for all to attend.
Our kickoff day is Saturday, June 15th at 1:00 PM with our Character Carnival at 2:00. Come dressed up as your favorite book character!
Check our calendar for dates and times of all our Summer Reading activities. We hope to see you soon!
Do you like to knit or crochet? If not, are you interested in learning? Would you like to make some new friends with fascinating hobbies and interests? We’ve got the club for you!
Tulare Public Library’s Knitting Club meets every other Wednesday, from 5:30 – 6:30 PM in the Olympic Room (check our calendar for exact dates). Bring your knitting needles and crochet hooks; we can’t wait to see your latest project!