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'Charlotte Helgeson'

Mar 17

Get to Know Each Other by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on March 17, 2022 at 3:16 PM by Genesis Gaule

Curiosity is probably my strongest characteristic. It shows up most strongly when I meet new people. Sometimes, I meet them in person at the library or when I’m traveling. Even more often, I meet new people in books.

There is never the awkward stumbling through an initial conversation. No wondering if I’m saying something offensive or confusing while reading. The author introduces me to someone new and away I go into finding out all about them.

warriorsMy curiosity leads me to ask questions, even when reading. “Why would he do that?,” will send me back through the pages to catch what I must have missed. Fictional characters’ actions are often well explained in a book. Then there are the historical books which sometimes give one view of a moment in our past. I especially enjoy histories of groups of people like Warriors in Uniform: the Legacy of American Indian Heroism by Herman Viola. It had personal stories and the history that put their stories into context. I enjoyed a lot of the pictures also.

Memoirs are a real person’s retelling of an event or life experience through an emotional lens. Will I learn about the person? Absolutely. Some personal stories are told through important messages they want to share as in Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley.

How many times have you asked a question like “Is Sam your oldest brother or cousin?” That’s done when in the presence of another person. No matter how many times we visit with that individual, we can’t keep those details straight. A good amount of credit needs to go to people who can remember all the details about a person they meet like Sherlock Holmes does or Detective Vale in The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. Yes, that one’s fiction but I’m connected to all the characters. I also ask why about actions or viewpoints and sometimes get answers from living and breathing people though this can be much easier in a book. When searching for an answer in a book, there is no consequence for rereading a page to find the answer like there might be by asking, “What’s your name again?”.

noorAnother way to get to know people who I can’t find in our community is to read their folklore or stories based on them. The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri includes the epics of India as the background. Stories set in a real location in a different time, brings the people of those parts of the world to life. Noor by Nnedi Okorafor is another science fiction novel that uses African culture as a backdrop. In it, I met Fulani herdsman which I knew nothing about before reading this fictional story.

Our Library also has some great children’s biographical picture books. The stories are true but placed in a story format. We even have graphical biographies which are wonderful fun to read.

black leapardWith so many options, you could make new acquaintances every day at the library. It’s OK if you don’t remember the title or the author or the name of the character. Ask one of us and we’ll help you locate it. We love to be asked, “What is the name of the book that has the colorful cover with eyes looking out at me?” We’ll start asking you questions and very likely find your book. “Is it about a tracker?”

“Yes,” you say and we answer with the title or walk you over to find the book. By the way, that is Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James which gives us a look into African history and mythology through a fictional tale.

Curiosity is great. Keep asking questions and discovering who else is out there.

Dec 17

A Cup of Tea by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on December 17, 2021 at 10:48 AM by Genesis Gaule

A lovely cup of hot tea and a good book: Perfection, especially on a cold day as winter moves through our area!

I don’t recommend eating peanut butter and jelly toast while reading. Certainly, don’t try Cheetos and a library book. Please, never eat mashed potatoes and gravy while enjoying your favorite story. But a cup of tea can be managed nicely.

There are so many kinds of teas and ways to enjoy them. I have a cupboard full and I’m always ready to try a flavor that is unfamiliar. If I’m reading something that requires some concentration, I’ll go with either a nettle tea (yes, stinging nettle) or Turkey Tail Astragalus made with the Turkey Tail mushroom and the root of astragalus. It’s thick enough to be a robust coffee but without the caffeine. Just right, for focusing in the evening.

If the day is stressful, chamomile cannot be beaten. It is a weaker tea, but with a longer steep time it is delicious. A lovely cup of green tea after lunch hits the spot to continue a work day.

The library has a few titles with some nummy tea recipes: The Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman, The Folk Remedy Encyclopedia by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing and our newest, Vibrant by Dr. Stacie Stephenson.

cloud-tea-monkeysThe history of tea includes like Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet. One of my favorite stories. I read it many times. It tells of a little girl who tries to harvest tea leaves in her mother’s place when she became sick. She was too tiny to do it, but the monkeys helped. Oops, already told you too much but the story gets even better from there.

Teas are intertwined with communities in many parts of the world. Sharing a cup with family or in a special ceremony is part of tradition and a memory-making event. Tea has had great value throughout history in the social aspect and the economic world. Remember the Boston Tea Party? It was an initial act of defiance by American colonists.

Traditionally, oolong is drunk with someone who you want to share an extended period of time. You steep it for only a minute and then enjoy. Steep the same leaves for a minute and a half, pour the second cup and visit a little more. Again the same leaves are steeped for 2 minutes while visiting with your dear friend.

Kids enjoy tea, too or at least the tea party. There are many children’s books where tea is central to the story. Even a song, remember I’m a Little Teapot? We have a book with that same name by Iza Trapani. While you’re looking for good tea books in the Easy Section, be sure to check out Tea with Grandpa by Barney Saltzberg.

I do believe it’s time for me to fill my cup again.

Oct 07

Raising Readers by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on October 7, 2021 at 5:25 PM by Genesis Gaule

Put books in children’s hands! Yes, read them but also let them turn the pages, point to things they recognize and sometimes skip pages. That’s OK. Board books are great for beginners. Like Little Minnesota by Kathy-jo Wagin and The Game of Finger Worms by Herve Tullet.

Uncle and young niece reading together on a brown couch

You can have a special place to read but it isn’t necessary. It will depend upon your little one and your own preferences. Like a bed when it’s time to go to sleep. Maybe there is always a story read by Grandma in the rocker when she visits. Furniture is great and the floor works tremendously well!

2 photos: baby granddaughter holding board book; great grandmother's handwritten paper library ca

Remember to visit the library regularly. A favorite book can be read many, many, many times and sometimes a grownup needs a change. Libraries are great sources for new titles!

Little brother is learning how to read as big brother graduates from high school.

Sometimes the books end up hidden in a bed or sitting on the kitchen table. There could always be a few in the car or maybe one held under a chin like My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco.

Yes, my family is made up of readers but it didn’t happen automatically. We read signs as we drove down the interstate or walking through an airport. We would read the logo on appliances and our vehicles. I love to tell my children and now grandchildren that they learned a lot by accident. Every new word shared and every book read benefits all of us.