Virginia Johnson

06/19/2017 - 2:57pm
Cover to And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner, illustrated by Jaime Kim

It’s time to “throw on flip-flops and breathe the sweet air.” Time for lemonade stands and “hide-and-seek until the darkness wins.” A Fourth of July parade, an ice cream truck, a trip to a silver lake—there’s so much to enjoy in Tom Brenner’s new book, And Then Comes Summer.

07/07/2017 - 3:08pm

Elizabeth Fitzgerald was born December 28, 1927 in Baltimore. Her family was filled with successful, professional people who formed a loving and uplifting environment for Elizabeth. She had a great childhood filled with wonderful memories of taking The Train to Lulu's with only her sister for company to see her relatives further south.

06/13/2017 - 2:02pm
Cover to Spice Dreams

Whether you consider it a melting pot or salad bowl, America’s culinary culture is rich with spices, both savory and sweet. Caraway seeds add piquancy to Jewish rye breads. Paprika, hot or mild, gives Hungarian stews and meats warmth and subtlety. Vanilla, theoretically the blandest of flavors, is intrinsic to many beloved forms of chocolate, cookies, cakes and even tea and coffee.  

Indian spice blends, named curries when made up for Europeans, vary from district to district, from mellow to fiery. In Ethiopia, a berbere spice combination may take a dozen different ingredients—typically including chiles, allspice, cardamom, and fenugreek—to create unforgettable flavor.

If you are interested in exploring new types of cuisine or want to learn more about these ingredients’ place in world history, books about spice can brighten your summer.

06/06/2017 - 2:55am
Camp So-and-So by Mary McCoy

Twenty-five teen girls get to experience the wonder of a week at Camp So-and-So. The brochure says will be horseback riding, archery, boating, crafts, rock climbing, and performing Shakespeare under the stars. It’s all free, courtesy of a very rich philanthropist.

But this year, things have changed. As the only returning camper, Kadie was a little shocked at how much they seem to have changed. Instead of prime rib for the welcome supper, there are gray, greasy hot dogs. Everything seems rundown and kind of wrong. But, some things never change—such as The All-Camp Sport and Follies, where Camp So-and-So’s charity cases take on the rich kids at the posh camp nearby. If only Kadie can get the other dreamy, unfocused, or sarcastic girls in Cabin 1 psyched up for the competition!

06/06/2017 - 9:42am

They have sweet faces and tough guy moves. Kangaroo mothers carry their babies (called joeys) around in their pouches, which is part of what makes them a kind of animal called a marsupial. And, that's only the start of their strangeness. Read on to learn more about these amazing creatures from Australia's outback.

06/02/2017 - 8:02am

"One of the most important things is to laugh with your children and to let them see you think they're being funny when they're trying to be. It gives children enormous pleasure to think they've made you laugh. They feel they've reached one of the nicest parts in you.... As a picture book artist, I don't think one can be too much on the side of the child."*

Helen Oxenbury understands babies. She knows that they are messy, cranky, and wonderful. She knows that few things fascinate a baby like, well, another baby. In the world of board books, those sturdy first books that are impervious to drool and can survive a few tasty chews, Helen Oxenbury reigns supreme.

06/01/2017 - 2:51am
Cover to The Elements: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table

DK Publishing and the Smithsonian Institution worked together to create a fascinating book for kids (and adults) who are fascinated by the world around them. The Elements: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table makes what could be a dull subject very shiny indeed.

Sure, you have your basic periodic table for quick reference. But every element gets its spotlight, with truly interesting facts and many intriguing photos. Take iridium. It’s a shiny black metal that’s 22 times as dense as water. That’s heavy. You can find it in meteorites, compasses, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

06/27/2017 - 10:46am
Listen Up! It’s National Audiobook Month

This June, we’re celebrating Audiobook Month by stocking up on new eAudio titles in our eReading (and listening!) rooms so you can have an excellent selection from which to choose. Whether you’re heading to the beach, the mountains, or Grandma’s house, we’ve got your solution for long drives, airport delays, and the need to chill—wherever you land.

Getting out of town not in the cards? Your daily routine can be so much better when you’re wrapped up in a mystery, a romance, or an adventure in another world.  

05/25/2017 - 2:46am
Cover to Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War

Two armies faced each other in winter camps across the Rappahannock River. The fighting in December had gone very badly for the Union as they tried to take the Confederate position at Marye’s Heights. Friends and sometimes family had been killed, and the Southern town of Fredericksburg was largely left in ruins.

For months, these two enemy armies went about their business on opposite sides of the river. During those long days and nights, they weren’t firing cannons anymore, but they were sending out volleys of music to lift their soldiers’ spirits. Each side had its patriotic songs. Often they had the same tune but different words, and each side would sing and cheer their own bands.

On those winter nights, they might close with a special tune. One that everyone sang the same words to: “Home, Sweet Home.”

05/24/2017 - 2:45am
Cover to The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

When Philip and his brother Francis were small boys, their knightly father and beloved mother were slain in front of them. The enemy soldiers were about to do likewise to the children, when a monk from the neighboring priory intervened, promising God’s wrath would descend on the soldiers should they continue their slaughter of innocents. The soldiers stood down.

For such was the power of the Church in the 12th century that even bloody-minded men-at-arms would take heed of a religious man’s words.

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