Feature Articles - Arts
Liv dreads starting middle school. Not because of the work, or the classes, or the other students. No, Liv doesn’t want to go because of the uniform: “Girls must wear a black, pleated, knee-length skirt.” Which wouldn’t be such a huge issue, except...Liv is not a girl. Liv is transgender, and, though they may look like a girl on the outside and be a girl on paper, Liv knows that they are a boy. And Liv knows that they feel awful and unlike themselves in a skirt.
Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day—that's September 16. Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, celebrates an incredible victory by native Mexican soldiers over the imperialist French who tried to rule them way back in 1862.
The French wanted to collect their debts from Mexico and, rather than making a deal with Mexican government, decided to put into power a new French emperor, Maximilian. Most native Mexicans were furious.
The Yugo was a small car made in the former nation of Yugoslavia that survives in the American consciousness as the ultimate automotive failure. Poorly engineered, ugly, and cheap, it survived much longer as a punch line for comedians than it did as a vehicle on the roads. The story of how this particular car became the most hated vehicle in the U.S. is a comedy of errors detailed in Jason Vuic’s book, The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History. A bewildering array of capitalist hucksters and impoverished communists desperate for revenue collaborated to create the Yugo, and what could have been a great international relations victory of the Cold War was ruined the moment consumers and auto critics actually got to drive it. Vuic examines the many failures of the Yugo venture and the people involved with a keen journalistic eye and a razor-sharp wit, making this a great read for anyone interested in automotive history or 1980s nostalgia.
CRRL's newest MakerLab opened at Salem Church Branch beginning in April. This STEM exploration space includes hands-on activities and demonstrations for all ages, including a 3D printer, Ozobots, Snap Circuits, robot arms, Legos, and so much more. Regular hours for the Salem Church lab are every Friday, from 3:00-5:00.
We are in the midst of National Poetry Month, a great time to put a renewed focus on incorporating poetry into the reading habits of our children. Poetry is special in the way it captures imaginations with so few words, making it perfect to explore with children, who enjoy the short verses, succinct phrasing, rhythm, and rhyme that make poetry unique.
Sometimes you want to do more than just dig in the dirt, and a targeted gardening project is an excellent way to develop green thumbs. DK’s gardening book for kids, Ready, Set, Grow! Quick and Easy Gardening Projects, offers some creative and colorful projects that won’t break the bank or send you all around town looking for obscure ingredients. Like all DK books, this one offers wonderful photographs and cheery art, making it a visual feast for the eyes as well. I loved the decorations that we can make out of foil containers, the garden buddy made out of recycled materials, and the “strawberry boot,” made from a pair of old rain boots.
Fredericksburg rises from the fall line of the Rappahannock River. Its natural hills are generally considered to be just part of the scenic landscape. Wealthy townspeople, such as the Willis and Marye families, built their mansions on the heights. Before the Civil War, the scenery was pleasant but otherwise unremarkable.
In November and December of 1862, Confederate troops, under the command of General Robert E. Lee, fortified the hills above Fredericksburg. The townspeople were mostly evacuated, which was well as what was to follow certainly resembled a hell on earth.
Cooper Branch has undergone an amazing makeover! Our thanks to local author Sherryl Woods for generously donating a portion of the proceeds from her book, A Small Town Love Story: Colonial Beach, Virginia, to Central Rappahannock Regional Library for the express purpose of revitalizing and refreshing Cooper Branch.
The 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced April 16. The winners include Less: A Novel, by Andrew Sean Greer (fiction); Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Caroline Fraser (biography); Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016, by Frank Bidart (poetry); DAMN., by Kendrick Lamar (music); Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, by James Forman Jr. (general nonfiction); and The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea, by Jack E. Davis (history).