Themed Bookshelves

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

For some of his most iconic paintings, including celebrity portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol used photographs to create silkscreen “stencils,” pushing ink through the silkscreens and layering it on top of images he had already traced and painted by hand. For his Campbell’s Soup Cans, he used a slightly different technique, tracing the images using a projector and filling in the outlines using paint and brushes. Check out the books below to learn how Warhol and other artists created works of art that inspire our hearts. Read More

January is National Walk Your Dog Month!

Jazzy is a Miniature Australian Shepherd, which is actually an American breed of dog. Jazzy lives in California, and her favorite activities include going on walks, playing “catch” with her red frisbee, and having her tummy rubbed. To celebrate National Walk Your Dog Month, check out these books featuring lots of fun facts and great stories about dogs: Read More

January 15 is National Hat Day!

Hats have been worn for thousands of years. In fact, Egyptian artwork from 3200 BC depicts a man wearing a straw hat! Hats can be practical – keeping people comfortable in the sun or rain. They can also be purely decorative, like the tiny “doll hats” worn atop huge wigs in the 18th century, and the “fascinators” still worn for special occasions today. For some fun stories featuring hats, check out the books below: Read More

National Cupcake Day

The term "cupcake" originally referred to how cupcakes were baked -- in a teacup! Not to confuse matters, but “cupcake” also once referred to a cake made with ingredients measured by the cupful (for example, 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 eggs). However, this second type of cupcake was usually baked in a pan, not a cup. Today, cupcakes are typically baked in muffin tins. Does that mean cupcakes are muffins in disguise? Definitely not! Not only are the ingredients and mixing methods different for cupcakes and muffins, but cupcakes also have frosting (and we think frosting makes ALL the difference)! Learn how to bake your own cupcakes and other sweet treats (including muffins!) with these fun baking cookbooks: Read More

The World’s Tallest Snowman

According to Guinness World Records, the world’s tallest snowman was built in 2008 in Bethel, Maine. Named Olympia, she was constructed out of 13 million pounds of snow. Her hat was 48 feet wide, her lips were crafted out of five car tires, and eight pairs of skis were used to create her eyelashes.  Celebrate the first day of winter with some of these lovely books about snow: Read More

Nobel Prize Day

Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times between 1937 and 1948. Nobel Prizes are rarely given posthumously, and upon his death in 1948 Gandhi was no longer considered eligible to receive the Prize.  Over the past 120 years many remarkable people have been nominated for a Nobel Prize but never recognized as Nobel Laureates. Books celebrating some of these outstanding individuals are shared below. Read More

Books About Scarecrows

Scarecrows have been used by farmers to protect their crops for thousands of years. Europeans who emigrated to the US during the 18th century brought their custom of making scarecrows that resembled humans. They dressed their scarecrows in worn-out pants, shirts and coats, placed old hats on heads stuffed with straw, and tied red handkerchiefs around their necks. They called these scarecrows bootzamon or bogeyman. While today’s farmers no longer rely on scarecrows to protect their crops, the scarecrow has become a symbol of the fall harvest season. Celebrate the season with some of these fun stories featuring scarecrows: Read More

Happy Picture Book Month!

Since 1938, the Caldecott Medal has been awarded every year by the American Library Association to the “artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom, was the Caldecott winner in 2021. The entire Caldecott collection can be found here. The Caldecott Medal is named for English illustrator Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886). Caldecott is credited with originating the modern picture book by using his colorful illustrations to help tell the story rather than simply reflect the written words. Created by Rene Paul Chambellan in 1937, the bronze medal’s design is based on one of Randolph Caldecott's illustrations for The Diverting History of John Gilpin. It features the image of a man riding a runaway horse surrounded by geese, dogs and children.  To celebrate Picture Book Month, enjoy some of these gorgeous nonfiction picture books illustrated by Christian Robinson, Josh Cochran, Shane W. Evans, Floyd Cooper, Peter Sís, Yuval Zommer, Sylvia Long, Frané Lessac, Evan Turk, Luisa Uribe, Teresa Martinez, Kadir Nelson, Marta Álvarez Miguéns, Chris Sasaki, and Sarah S. Brannen.  Read More

Native American Heritage Month

The Navajo People, or Diné, welcome a baby into their community by celebrating the baby’s first laugh. As part of the celebration, the baby often receives a special gift of turquoise, and the meal might include rock salt, symbolizing a connection with the earth. Who gets to host this celebration? The person who first made the baby laugh!  You can read more about the Navajo People’s first laugh celebration, and the traditions and experiences of other Indigenous Americans, in the books below.  Read More

Trick? Or Treat?

Each year, lots of families carve jack-o’-lanterns to celebrate Halloween. But did you know that the first jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, not pumpkins? In Ireland and Scotland people hollowed out turnips and gave them creepy faces to celebrate the feast of All Hallows’ Eve. Many years later, when immigrants from the UK arrived in North America, they discovered that the native pumpkin made a much better jack-o’-lantern, because it was larger and softer than a turnip.  Trick-or-treating would look quite different today, without those familiar orange faces glowing in the dark! Here are some wonderful, Halloween-themed books that will help get you ready to trick or treat: Read More