Virginia Johnson

10/17/2016 - 12:59pm

Marcia Sewall's name can be found on the covers of many books in the library. She has a simple drawing style that conveys the rhythm and characters of the stories without overwhelming them. Whether the subject is something light-hearted, such as Daisy's Taxi, or bold retellings of Thanksgiving history, Marcia's drawings give the books a clarity that works beautifully with their storylines.

10/18/2016 - 11:21am
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Orphaned Kit Tyler had found life with her rich grandfather in Barbados to be wonderful. But her grandfather’s death revealed that their life of tropical splendor was nothing more than an illusion. In debt and desperate, the 17-year-old had very few options.

Running away from an arranged marriage to a much older man, she and her many trunks of expensive clothes board the Dolphin on a voyage to Wethersfield, a Puritan village in Connecticut. She goes to meet her Aunt Rachel, her Uncle Matthew and their daughters—the only relatives she has.

While traveling, she catches the eye of John, a kind, poor student on his way to Wethersfield, and Nat, the captain’s son, who teases Kit about her aristocratic upbringing. She truly enjoys being at sea, but even before she steps foot on the New England shore, she is accused of being a witch by yet another passenger heading to Wethersfield.

10/18/2016 - 11:22am
Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer

If your idea of a great day or weekend trip is more about the lay of the land than condition of the asphalt, you will enjoy looking through the Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer. This is one of those big, old-school map books of many pages. Unlike navigating exclusively with GPS, which doles out your instructions bit by relevant bit, the Atlas and Gazetteer gives you the bigger picture to ponder.

10/05/2016 - 12:33am
Cover to The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis

Horses have long been an important part of culture in peace and war. An enormous amount of effort has gone into creating breeds that are the swiftest, strongest, bravest, hardiest, and most intelligent, depending on need. Partly a matter of status and partly a matter of practicality, the search for The Perfect Horse was one of the matters occupying the Nazi elite during World War II.

09/28/2016 - 12:28am
Cover to The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley

Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way • Predict the Weather • Locate Water • Track Animals—and Other Forgotten Skills

Tristan Gooley, the only living person to have both flown and sailed solo across the Atlantic, has set down a fascinating, discursive discussion of the many ways a person might learn to find his way in the wild.

09/27/2016 - 12:27am
Cover to Journeys Home

Actor and travel writer Andrew McCarthy eventually discovered his family roots in Ireland and added on more family besides when he wed a Dublin girl.

His several-page story of a reunion across generations is part of Journeys Home, a collection of more than two dozen tales of seekers who found out more about themselves by finding where they came from: Cuba, Africa (and then to Virginia), Peru, Prague, India, Taiwan, and England, among others. Journeys Home is replete with glorious photographs, old and new, that are typical of the quality a reader would expect from its publisher, National Geographic.

09/22/2016 - 12:24am
Cover to Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, by Kenard Pak, is a gentle read-aloud that follows a girl walking through the forests and fields and town of a changing world.

“Hello, thunder.”

“Hello! You can hear my low rumble from far away.

My clouds loom over the open fields and quiet hills.”

09/21/2016 - 12:23am
Cover to Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians

Nature programs on TV can only go into so much detail about the fascinating history that underlies our beautiful world. After all, there are commercial breaks to consider and trying to produce a show for the most casual channel surfer. So viewers come away with an idea of what a place looks like—and maybe a few facts about it—but for the truly curious, there is a dearth of content.

Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians, by Scott Weidensaul, has been a go-to classic for around 20 years. Written in a casual and fascinating yet scientifically accurate way, the narrative draws in readers who do not want to crack academic tomes on the subject but who do wish to learn more about the region’s alpine tundra and the still-living remnants of mighty chestnut trees.

09/19/2016 - 8:59am
The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris

Gawain of Orkney doesn't need a squire. He's yet to make it to King Arthur's court to be knighted, and, if he does need a squire later, he has a few brothers in the hinterlands who will do. For his part, Terence is perfectly happy taking care of his foster father, the hermit Trevisant. He is a kind boy and an excellent cook, though granted a bit confused at present. Just recently the trees had started talking to him.

Trevisant, however, has other ideas. After a shared pot of excellent stewed rabbit, the hermit tells the pair that they are destined to achieve great things together. Terence tells Gawain that it must be so, since Trevisant has the gift to see the future as if it were the past.

09/28/2016 - 8:56am

Columbus Day is sometimes called Discoverers' Day. In the spirit of discovery, take some time to learn about the world as it was in the days of the European explorers. You can make a compass, learn about the stars, read about other explorers and discoverers, and find how even our way of eating has changed since the Europeans came to the Americas looking for gold, glory, and, yes, tasty cooking spices.

Pizza Without Tomato Sauce?

The explorers who came to the Americas found the food enjoyed by the native people to be very different from what they knew at home. They had never seen tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize (corn), pineapples, chili peppers, or even cocoa. The vegetable dishes from the Europe they knew relied on parsnips, cabbages, peas, carrots, turnips, and onions. After being at sea and living off of a diet of lentil soup, salt beef from a barrel, salted sardines, hardtack, and other delights, the fresh, new foods of the islands would have been an astonishing change.


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