This February we celebrate Black History Month at the Delaware County District Library through a number of our programs, displays and collections.
The Telling A People’s Story panel exhibit that is currently on display at the Orange Branch Library uses 130 pieces of art from 33 artists over 50 years to celebrate African American children’s literature. Curated by the Miami University Art Museum through a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, it’s an exhibit that is the first of its kind and not to be missed before it leaves on Feb. 28.
Last month, due to our Martin Luther King Day snowstorm, we had to cancel the performance of “Meet Dr. King” by Bright Star Touring Theatre, but we were fortunate to be given access to a virtual performance. That login information can still be accessed if you visit www.delawarelibrary.org/exhibit and find the Meet Dr. King program on the page. The 30-minute presentation is wonderful for elementary-aged students and fits perfectly within any curriculum.
If live performances are what will really grab your attention, we have two more opportunities to see Bright Star in the coming weeks. On Feb. 21 at 11 a.m., the troupe will perform “African Folktales” at the Orange Branch Library. The performance celebrates world cultures, literature, and the art of interactive African storytelling. Get ready for bright, imaginative costumes and a lot of audience participation!
Since we missed seeing Dr. King in January, we’re excited to have “Rosa Parks & Friends” at the Delaware and Orange libraries in person on Friday, March 11. Kids will take a journey through time with Rosa Parks and other remarkable figures from history at 2 p.m. at the Orange Branch and at 6 p.m. at the Delaware Main libraries.
Bright Star Touring Theatre has plenty of performance study guides and curriculum standards available for teachers who may want to integrate into their classrooms. Find all the details at www.delawarelibrary.org/event. For all performances, no pre-registration is necessary and masks are required to be worn by all attendees over the age of 2.
Later this month, our Around the World in Books & Bites virtual book club will discuss Jacqueline Woodson’s “Red at the Bone.” This multigenerational drama explores the themes of family, relationships, motherhood, feminism and race.
If you explore the “Recent Activity” tab in our online catalog, you’ll be certain to find a number of recent staff lists celebrating Black History Month with recommendations for all ages. Of course, we are always happy to help with book recommendations if you simply stop in or give us a call.
This week I have recommendations for Black History Month from our History and Current Events new materials list.
• “Black Futures” edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham. Sit down for this inventive and nonlinear mixed-media anthology that asks: “What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?” Filled with poetry, artwork, essays, memes, recipes, and interviews, contributors include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Zadie Smith, Kiese Laymon, Samantha Irby, Hanif Abdurraqib, and Ziwe Fumudoh.
• “Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts” by Rebecca Hall; illustrated by Hugo Martínez. A poignant tribute to enslaved women who fought against their captors during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Read it for a haunting graphic narrative filled with bold black-and-white die-cut illustrations paired with letters, ship logs, court records, and forensic evidence to bring this affecting history to vivid life.
• “Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking” by Toni Tipton-Martin. Don’t read this book on an empty stomach! You’re in for a well-researched history of African American cuisine pairing recipes from old cookbooks with contemporary dishes. Recipes include: Sweet Potato Biscuits with Ham; Crab Cakes; Chicken and Dumplings; Braised Celery; Quick Eggnog; Pralines; Fruit Fritters.
• “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality For All” by Martha S. Jones. This moving and incisive history explores Black women’s fight for the right to vote, from the 19th century to the present. Author Martha S. Jones shares stories of her great-great-grandmother, Susan Davis, a voting rights activist born enslaved.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!