We visited two rural libraries in late summer. Endless green fields flanked the highway leading to this library. More fields lay behind the building and a well-kept cemetery stretched out across the street. A handmade quilt was displayed inside.
Here are some books we found there.
Everything but the Horse: A Childhood Memory by Holly Hobbie: The sight of this author/illustrator made me do a double take. I’m a child of the 1970s, a time when “Holly Hobbie” girls with their calico dresses and huge bonnets were on everything from greeting cards to t-shirts to lunch boxes. Turns out, the artist who created these iconic images is named Holly Hobbie, and she is still churning out beautiful art. This book includes watercolor pictures and simple text about her rural childhood.
Science Verse by Jon Scieszka with illustrations by Lane Smith: I picked up this book of science poems thinking it might be that rare book that both entertains and teaches. I didn’t learn much, but three cheers for Lane Smith’s original artwork. The book comes with a CD.
Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Finnie Lo with illustrations by her sister Beth Lo: Look closely at the illustrations in this picture book and you’ll see they are plates! Ceramic artist Beth Lo created them especially for this story about the picnics her family hosted every year. Her sister Finnie Lo provides the text for this fun story about growing up Chinese American in the Midwest.
The second library we visited has a beautiful riverfront park outside its doors as well as a popular boat launch. In addition to great books and other media, the library has bound copies of the local newspaper dating back to the 1970s.
The Garner Files: A Memoir by Jon Winokur and James Garner: This was one handsome man, I have to say. I’m not the only female in my family of this opinion. My teenage daughter developed a crush on this actor after watching old episodes of Rockford Files, Garner’s popular 1970s T.V. show. She enjoyed this memoir and shared aloud some of the funnier anecdotes about this great leading man.
The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth (DVD): This BBC nature series was written and presented by David Attenborough. There’s nothing stuffy about this famed British naturalist who has since been knighted. The narration is simple and fascinating to even young viewers, and the animal footage still vibrant though the series is over 30 years old.
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (audio book): Audio books are good for long trips, though this one didn’t hit the mark. The narrator used different voices for each character which was more distracting than it was entertaining.
BONUS BIT: These bound community newspapers were available for anyone to peruse. I found a 1977 article about a couple who discovered a hornet nest outside their bedroom window. Rather than remove it, they decided to enjoy a cutaway view of the insects at work.