Virginia Johnson

02/28/2018 - 12:38am
Cover to King's Fool: A Notorious King, His Six Wives, and the One Man Who Knew All Their Secrets

Will Somers was nobody’s fool—until he became the King’s Fool. Born in the medieval English countryside, he should have led the rest of his life unremarkably, as an undersized farmhand who happened to be able to read and write and add figures—and tell jokes, which there wasn’t much need for on his uncle’s small farm.

02/27/2018 - 9:29am

The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and a certain Sunday is just ahead. So, what are you getting that amazing mom for Mother's Day? You don't have to spend a lot, but you do need to remember her in a special way. If you have brothers and sisters, or at least a very loud voice yourself, you can serenade your mom as you bring her breakfast in bed. Look here for songs for little ones. Older kids might want to check out Rise Up Singing, a group song book with the words to lots of old favorites.

Not a singer? Time to get crafty and make her something to treasure, or you can give her coupons for treats mothers love. Sometimes the best way to celebrate Mother's Day is to spend some time just with her, sharing a book that the two of you will enjoy.

02/28/2018 - 11:01am

What kinds of people settled the new lands of America? They had their own ideas about laws, religion, and what makes a good government. They were, in a word, independent.

In 1776, England was far away, and people on this side of the Atlantic were heartily sick and tired of paying taxes on top of taxes to finance England's empty treasury. They were tired, too, of losing money by having the Crown interfere with their trade overseas. The men in the assemblies shouted that King George was a tyrant, so the King's men stopped the assemblies. When they still protested, the King brought in the army, making the colonists put them up in their houses. Any crimes the soldiers committed against the colonists were handled in the King's court by the King's judges.

02/12/2018 - 9:53am

Kids can help out their grown-ups in the kitchen, but they can also make wonderful dishes all by themselves—or with just a little help. Take Mollie Katzen's Number Salad from her kid-friendly cookbook, Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes. It's delicious, nutritious, and a fun way to practice numbers. Here's how to make it:

Put into a bowl:

1 handful of coconut
2 tablespoons of O.J. concentrate
3 pieces of orange
4 slices of apple
5 cubes of cheese
6 slices of banana
7 pieces of melon
8 grapes
...and stir 9 times.

This recipe, complete with friendly, hand-drawn pictures and useful hints, can be found online here.  Children may also enjoy Mollie Katzen's Honest Pretzels and 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook and Salad People and More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up.

02/28/2018 - 11:05am

Boom!
One morning, the old wooden dam on the Rappahannock River went up in clouds of smoke. It was a huge thing—ancient and strong, built in layers to tame the river so that the power of the water pushing against it could provide electricity for the town. But it had been years since anyone tapped that power. Now, the dam was falling apart, and it was decided that it had become dangerous. So the Army Corps of Engineers blew it up one morning, and the river was flowing freely again—just as it had in previous centuries. By getting rid of the dam, the river had a chance to go back to being more like it once was. There would be more fish, which would mean more birds, and, really more of everything.

02/06/2018 - 10:02am

Wouldn't it be cool if even a few of the old stories were true? Legends say that giants walked the Earth; Atlantis vanished under the sea; and Greece and Troy fought a devastating war over a beautiful woman. Amazing, but true: all these stories are based on facts.

Archaeologists digging in China discovered the fossils of Gigantopithecus, a giant ape standing 9 or 10 feet tall. These huge but probably gentle apes died off 500,000 years ago. Traditionally, villagers collected their bones and made them into medicines. They called their finds dragon bones. Some have wondered whether pockets of the animals may have survived into later centuries, giving rise to the legend of Big Foot.

02/28/2018 - 10:57am

How much fun is it to make a building? Just a building, maybe not so much fun. But how about a superhero headquarters, a garage, a space station, a cottage, a stable, or a fashion doll house? By using recycled materials from around the house, and a few craft supplies, you can design your own toys exactly the way you want them.

02/12/2018 - 10:00am

Cells make up you, your friend, your hamster, and your mom's broccoli surprise. If it's alive or ever was alive, it is made of cells. Space scientists looking for life on Mars are trying to find microbes made of simple cells—not little green men—and biologists who search for cures to diseases work with cells. Small as they are, cells determine how life unfolds from its beginning to its end.

01/29/2018 - 8:53am
Winter Reading Challenge Mission Badge

Whether you’ve been with us since January 1 or are just now thinking about joining the Winter Reading Challenge for adults, we want to remind you that there is so much to explore.

Fun Missions. Entirely Possible.

You can add the Arts v. Apocalypse and Romance on the Big Screen badges to your completed missions list by streaming romantic films, listening to a bestselling author, playing around in the Shakespeare Video Booth, and more.

01/29/2018 - 4:00pm
Farewell to Ursula K. Le Guin

Another wonderful author has “gone West.” Ursula K. Le Guin (10/21/1929-1/22/2018) may be best known for her Earthsea Trilogy. Its first book, A Wizard of Earthsea, tells of a stubborn, magically gifted boy who is plucked from obscurity as a goatherd and taken to Roke, the school for wizards, where his vast power proves as difficult to manage as his temper.

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