Virginia Johnson

02/28/2018 - 10:47am

Leo Lionni was born into a family that appreciated art, and, from a very young age, he knew he wanted to be an artist. He loved nature and started keeping small creatures—minnows, birds, fish, and more—in his attic room in Amsterdam. He also created terrariums, and many of these natural details found their way into his later work. Like so many successful children’s authors, Leo Lionni was able to remember and tap into the things that were important to him when he was a child.

01/01/2018 - 2:56am
A History of the World in 500 Walks by Sarah Baxter

When you travel, is walking always part of the itinerary? Besides being good exercise generally and a great way to unstiffen those limbs after the tight quarters on an airplane, train, or car, walking lets you see so much more of your destination. Take your time, and you can see –and- understand the sites much better than if you whirled past them on a tour bus.

Set your own pace, and you’ll have the opportunity to make interesting discoveries, about a place’s history, maybe even how it relates to the history of the world itself. A History of the World in 500 Walks is an intriguing blend of travel book and history book. With chapters ranging from Prehistory (the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, a 34-mile rainforest traverse in Queensland, Australia) to the 20th Century (the Selma to Montgomery Trail in Alabama and the Long Trail in Vermont—completed in 1930), you’ll become more aware of history’s triumphs and tragedies and nature’s sometimes harsh beauty, as well as other cultures' histories, as can be found on the Nakasendo Trail in Japan.

12/27/2017 - 2:52am
Cover to Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Richard Jones

A single snowflake
  floats through the air,
spins,
  leaps,
settles
  on the nose
of a fine red fox.

12/25/2017 - 2:50am
Getting Started with eBooks and eAudio

Did you get a shiny new device over the holidays—or have you had one for a while and not explored many of its possibilities? Are you a reader—or a listener? Use your gadget to bring books to you, anytime and nearly anywhere. After you set up your device, it’s very easy to browse our virtual shelves and make your selections. There are never any late fees because books return themselves. Automatically. Another very cool thing about eBooks—you can change the print size to personalize your reading experience.

12/19/2017 - 2:21am
Cover to A Christmas Return by Anne Perry

When readers of Anne Perry’s Charlotte & Thomas Pitt mystery series first met Charlotte’s grandmother, Mariah Ellison, in The Cater Street Hangman, she was an embittered shrew. She certainly disapproved of her headstrong granddaughter marrying a mere policeman, an occupation considered quite below her well-heeled family’s Victorian-era standards.

But time and some enlightening experiences, including those events taking place in another year’s Christmas novella (A Christmas Guest), have left Mariah finally coming to terms with the damage done by her extremely regrettable marriage. Alone at Christmas, she feels she is strong enough to make A Christmas Return to right an old wrong that threatens people she cares about very much.

12/13/2017 - 2:17am
Cover to Oskar and the Eight Blessings

It’s 1938. After the Night of Broken Glass, Oskar’s parents feel they must send him to America, so he can be safe. Traveling all alone, Oskar arrives in New York City on the seventh day of Hanukkah, which also happens to be Christmas Eve. He must walk a long way across the city to reach his Aunt Esther, hoping to reach her house before she lights the menorah at sunset.

Aunt Esther does not know he is coming, so he must navigate the cold streets by himself, over 100 blocks on the big street called Broadway. It is rather daunting for a small boy, but Oskar is comforted by his father’s last words to him: “Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings.”

01/28/2018 - 9:43am

Vera Baker was born in Los Angeles, California, on January 28, 1927. She and her family moved to New York City when she was quite young. Luckily for Vera, they lived near a studio space called Bronx House where she learned painting, writing, acting, and dance. When she was nine-years-old, one of her paintings, called "Yentas," was put on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. She was filmed there explaining to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt the meaning behind her work. The Movietone film reel ran before the regular features at the movies. This, Vera recalled, made her quite a big shot in the neighborhood!

Fast Facts:
Born: January 28, 1927, in Los Angeles, California
Parents: Albert Baker and Rebecca (Porringer) Baker, Jewish immigrants
Attended: the High School of Music and Arts in Manhattan; bachelor's degree in graphic arts from Black Mountain College in North Carolina
Married: Paul Williams (divorced in 1970)
Children: Sarah, Jennifer, and Merce 
First book (illustrated): Hooray for Me! with text by Remy Charlip and Lilian Moore; First Book (written and illustrated): It's a Gingerbread House: Bake It, Build It, Eat It
Selected Awards: Caldecott Honors for "More More More" Said the Baby and A Chair for My Mother; Parents' Choice Award (illustration) for Three Days on a River in a Red CanoeJane Addams Honor for Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart; Regina Medal of the Catholic Library Association for her body of work; NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature for her body of work
Arrested at a women's anti-war protest at the Pentagon in 1981 and served a month at a federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia.
Died: October 16, 2015

12/12/2017 - 10:03am

Circles, squares, pentagons, octagons, polygons, angles, rays, points, and lines, there are so many names to learn in geometry. They may sound strange and new, but geometry is all around you. Your computer monitor's surface is more or less a rectangle, your pencil is roughly a cylinder, and, viewed from the top, the cable from your mouse to the computer, is a line segment.  Once you start thinking about geometric shapes, you'll find them everywhere.

12/12/2017 - 10:02am

An aquarium is a watery world in miniature. It can be as complicated as you want or just a simple and safe place to keep a beautiful and patient pet. If you're new to fish keeping, you should start with the basics, but even beginners can have a terrific aquarium. Both beta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish or bettas) and goldfish are good for first-timers. They're attractive and not so demanding of a special environment in order to thrive.

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