Books

Preschoolers celebrate crowning achievement in reading

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ken and Pam Frisch did their part to help their granddaughters earn their crowns. The granddaughters, Sophia Kulik, 3, and Savannah Kulik, 4, are among the 23 preschoolers who have met the mark in the Wood County Public Library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge. The Frisches said they read to the girls, and then logged in the number of books. They were so impressed with the program that they stepped up to help fund it through their Frisch Family Fund. Both have backgrounds in teaching, “so reading has always been important and pretty special,” Pam Frisch said. “The library has been an important part of our family,” Ken Frisch said. Their daughters volunteered as teenagers, and now their granddaughters share that connection. Saturday, the library celebrated the first year of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. As part of the festivities, the children who’d reached the goal received cardboard crowns. Cassie Greenlee, who works in the Children’s Place, said 23 have met the goal. Julia Kulik, Sophia and Savannah’s mother, said the girls earned their crowns last summer. They started in May, and by August they’d notched 1000 books. “It was a lot of reading,” she said. “They love it.” The girls go to story times at the library. “Everyone in the children’s department is so great and so supportive.” Sophia will pile up picture books to her waist when she wants to read, her mother said, and that’s all the time. The grandparents said the girls go through phases in what they want to read. Right now Sophia is captivated by dinosaurs. But “we’re equal opportunity readers,” Pam Frisch said. The two-hour celebration featured a number of schools, programs and agencies that support children. Most had dinosaur-themed activities in honor of guest author Shari Halpern, whose “Dinosaur Parade” will be given to each child who signs up for the 1000 Books program. Halpern got her own start as an author-illustrator when she was a child. She enjoyed drawing and coloring. “I loved getting a new box of crayons.” She was always making things for school projects or her dollhouse. Going into art “was a given,” she said. Becoming a children’ book illustrator was her goal from the time she learned in college that it was a career opportunity. Halpern has been working in the field since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991. Halpern’s work is rooted in her home life. As part of her short presentation, she showed a video tour of her studio made by her daughter. The studio’s shelves store vintage lunch boxes, stuffed animals, family photos and more. Halpern said her three children, now teenagers, are a source of inspiration, whether it’s their love of dinosaurs, cats, or trucks. Halpern said the 1000 Books program is “fantastic.”…

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Facts are what ignites author & illustrator Don Tate’s imagination

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Perry Field House at Bowling Green State University Saturday hosted scores of future Don Tates. Tate, a prolific illustrator of children’s books who has turned his talents to writing as well, was the guest author for Literacy in the Park. The Austin, Texas-based author and illustrator started out just like all the kids who raised their hands when he asked: Who likes to draw? He’s been drawing since before he could remember, and showed a picture he made when he was 3 of his mother, and baby sister, and some poop falling out of the infant’s diaper. Even then, he liked to include realistic details. When he was a kid growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, Tate said he particularly liked non-fiction, including the “Family Medical Guide,” which had pictures of bloody ulcers and pus-filled toe sores. And when he turned to writing his own books, as well as illustrating them, he turned to non-fiction, writing about strongman Eugen Sandow and early African-American poet George Moses Horton. Those themes were among those reflected in the dozens of activities available to children throughout the field house. Nothing, though, about pus or bloody sores. Still the activities showed how literacy is intertwined with construction, natural science, art, drama, and nutrition. Tate encouraged his young listeners to follow what they loved whether it was dancing, theater, or soccer. Tate said as a child he wasn’t as good at basketball as his father would have liked. He instead wanted to make puppets. He realized he could make a simple puppet with patterns and cloth. He wasn’t satisfied. Using an old wig his mother gave him, he made a more elaborate puppet modeled on the Muppets made by his idol Jim Henson. His mother loved it, but Tate’s father wasn’t impressed. “Your son is making dolls,” he told Tate’s mother. Young Tate persisted drawing, painting, doing macramé. His work progressed along the way and led to a career in illustration. He’s illustrated more than 50 books, including work by such notable writers as Jack Prelutsky and Louis Sachar. When he decided to write a book, he did about 30 drafts of “It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw.” It’s a true story of a man, born into slavery, who became a renowned folk artist. Then he showed it to a published author, who loved it, and told him it needed to be rewritten. That happened twice more. But every time he rewrote it, the book got better, Tate said. A published book doesn’t just happen. When it was published, it was a success and won awards. His book on the strongman Sandow, considered the father of modern body building, was also based on fact as well as the author’s personal experience. As an adult, Tate decided to…


People’s brains are wired to accept bunk, BGSU historian contends

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even scholars fall for bunk history. Andy Schocket, a professor of history and director of American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University, knows a lot of the historians who provided promotional blurbs that appear on the back of Michael Bellesiles’ “Arming America: The Origins of American Gun Culture.” “These are really good historians,” Schocket said. The book argues that gun ownership and violence was rare before the Civil War, and that the current gun culture is wholly the product of a campaign by arms manufacturers. “Arming America” even won a prestigious prize from Columbia University. “The only one problem with the book is that it’s entirely bunk,” Schocket said. That became clear when scholars started to look at the book’s evidence and logic. Bellesiles’ employer Emory University convened a commission to investigate concerns about the book’s scholarship. That commission concluded the book “foundered by a consistently biased reading of sources and careless use of evidence.” Bellesiles no longer teaches at Emory. The prize was rescinded, and the publisher pulled the book, though the author has since republished it privately. Schocket recently spoke on “Bunk Peddlers: Alternative History and Why It Matters.” He first distinguished bunk history from alternative history, a genre of fiction that builds its stories based on history taking a divergent path. Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle” being a prime example. Bunk history, he said, adopts the methodology and trappings of history – “you’ve got to have footnotes, that makes it history” – but it “presents a preconceived conclusion” in search of proof. This includes Holocaust deniers and those who promote the “pernicious false claim” that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights, not slavery. These narratives “become weaponized in public debate as a way to bolster one’s side in the current political debate.” Schocket also looked at David Barton’s “The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson.” The book contends that Jefferson opposed slavery and argues despite “the pretty much overwhelming evidence” that did not father the children of Sally Hemmings, a woman he held as a slave. It also contends he believed in conventional form of Christianity. “Jefferson Lies” won the praise of conservative pundits, was a bestseller, and also won a prize as “the least credible history book in print” by the History News Network website. The book’s publisher also withdrew it only to have the author get it reprinted. Barton repeatedly takes facts out of context, Schocket said. At one point, Barton contends the phrase “propagating the gospel among Indians” in a bill Jefferson signed as proof of his faith. Problem is, Schocket said, that phrase is actually part of the name of the religious group involved in the land transaction that was the subject of the  bill. Bunk…


BGSU Arts Events through April 24

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS April 6 — Academy Award-winning actress Eva Marie Saint will attend a special showing of “The Trip to Bountiful,” the 1953 television production she starred in with Lillian Gish, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater at BGSU’s Hanna Hall. Gish and Saint reprised their roles on Broadway the following year, earning Saint the Drama Critics Award and the Outer-Circle Critics Award. Following the screening, Saint, a BGSU alumna, will discuss her career and her work with Gish. Free   April 6 — World Percussion Night will feature multiple drumming styles, including performances by the Taiko and Steel Drum ensembles from the College of Musical Arts. Advance tickets are $7 for students and $10 for other adults; tickets the day of the concert are, respectively, $10 and $13. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 6 p.m.weekdays at 419-372-8171. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. April 11 — The Faculty Artist Series presents Matthew McBride-Daline on the viola. Since his debut in Carnegie Hall, McBride-Daline has performed worldwide as a viola soloist. An avid chamber musician, he has performed at numerous international festivals including the Banff Center for the Arts, Verbier Academy, the Music Academy of the West, the New York String Orchestra Seminar and Sarasota Music Festival. His performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall, located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 12 — Continuing its focus on exile and migration, the International Film Series presents “Balseros (Rafters)” (2002, Spain, 120 minutes, directed by Carles Bosch and Josep Maria Domenech), with an introduction by Dr. Pedro Porbén from the Department of World Languages and Cultures, Latin American Studies. Filmed in Cuba, Guantanamo Bay and the United States, this transnational film gives insight into the “human adventure of people who are shipwrecked between two worlds.” The award-winning documentary tracks the lives of Cubans who fled Cuba by raft during the economic depression of the so-called “Periodo especial” in the early 1990s. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater, located in Hanna Hall. Free April 12 — Jazz Lab Band 2 will give a performance at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 for students and $10 for other adults; tickets the day of the concert are, respectively, $10 and $13. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 5 p.m. weekdays at 419-372-8171. April 13 — BGSU doctoral candidates in music perform in response to specific works of art as part of “Ear | Eye: Listening and Looking,” a partnership between the College of Musical Arts and the Toledo Museum of Art. An exploration of the relationship of contemporary music and art, each performance is followed by discussion. The event…


Holocaust survivor urges BGSU audience to fight against injustice

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Irene Butter survived the Holocaust. Now she sees signs that people have forgotten its lessons. She sees people being dehumanized, stigmatized because of their nationality, families being broken up and deported. “I see all that happening.” People from the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and African-Americans are called criminals. “Some people in this country try to get rid of them all,” the 87-year-old Holocaust survivor said Wednesday at Bowling Green State University in a talk sponsored by Hillel. White supremacy is on the rise. “When Trump says ‘make America great again,’ sometimes it means make America white again,” she said.  That echoes the Nazis’ desire to make Germany “clean of Jews because the blood of Jews contaminates the Aryan race.” That’s what gave rise to the killing machinery of the Holocaust.  “I don’t see that,” Butter said. “I see something like the way it all began in Nazi Germany.” Butter of Ann Arbor, knows well the outcome. She had a happy childhood in Germany with her parents and her older brothers. If anyone had asked about their identity, they would have said German, first, and then, Jewish. After Hitler took power in 1933, the signs started to appear with the swastika, an ever present symbol of the new regime. Her brother was beaten up at school and she was ostracized. Then her grandfather’s bank was seized, and her father was out of work. He moved to the Netherlands where he got a job with American Express. Soon the rest of the family joined him in Amsterdam where they lived happily for two and a half years. Then Germany invaded. Jews had to wear yellow Stars of David. Their movements were restricted. They could only shop after 3 p.m. when few of the scarce rations were left. Even their bicycles were confiscated. The Jews had to go to segregated schools. They were sad places, Butter said, as there were more and more empty desks. Some because students and their families were able to emigrate from the Netherlands. Others were in hiding.  But more because Jews were deported back to Germany and concentration camps. Butter’s father, through a friend, had applied for Ecuadorian passports. He had heard this may give them other options as “exchange Jews” who could be traded for German citizens held in Allied countries. Then one day, she said, the Nazis showed up, ordered all Jews out of their homes, told to bring just what they could carry, and marched off to the rail station. What awaited were cattle cars that would take them to Camp Westerbork. They travel packed into the airless cars with no water, or food, or room to rest. Butter said her family was relatively fortunate they had only an eight-hour ride, others traveled for days in such conditions….


Susan Brownmiller delivers history lesson on the fight for abortion rights & against rape

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News To celebrate the history of Women’s Studies at Bowling Green State University, the program invited a woman who made history. Susan Brownmiller, author of the landmark best seller “Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape,” delivered the keynote address Thursday night. Now known as Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies the program is marking 40 years of existence. Brownmiller was part of the second wave feminists who help usher in the era when women’s studies blossomed on college campuses. As much as she would have liked to say differently, Brownmiller said years have not been marked by steady progress for women’s rights. “The pendulum always shifts,” the author and activist said. “And when the pendulum shifts you can lose a lot of the gains you thought you had forever just a decade before. I’ve seen that.” While praising the emergence of the #metoo movement, the 83-year-old feminist said she feels young activists lack a sense of history. Not surprising, she said. Her generation didn’t appreciate what the suffragettes went through to earn the vote. While her generation expected those women coming behind them to pick up the cause, they were disappointed. “When we did consciousness raising we found these truths for the first time. For the next generations, it’s received wisdom, not something they discovered. Received wisdom doesn’t have the power.” Not that the male radicals of the 1960s necessarily recognized the importance of these early consciousness raising sessions. The women who gathered in living rooms to discuss their lives were dismissed for “navel gazing” by those they had struggled with in the anti-war and Civil Rights movement. Brownmiller has worked in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964. With all the energy in the air, women began asking “what about us?” In these sessions, “we were on the verge of discovering new truths. It was like spontaneous combustion.” As they talked, the issue of abortion came up. One woman talked about being blindfolded to be taken to a Mafia-protected abortion doctor. Another received a therapeutic abortion in a hospital. That meant that two doctors had to sign a statement saying she was too mentally unsound to have a child. She feared this would follow her throughout her life. And Brownmiller revealed she received three illegal abortions, one in Cuba and two in Puerto Rico. She said she cried as she realized she could have died. This talk led to class action suits in 30 states. In Massachusetts alone, there were 1,000 plaintiffs, women who had to go overseas to get an abortion, or women who carried their pregnancies to term and put their newborns up for adoption. But the courts remanded these cases back to lower courts, contending the women had no standing. It was only when a woman who was pregnant who wanted an…


Gordon Korman, Youth Community Reads author, to visit BG & area schools

From WOOD COUNTY LIBRARY Families, meet Wood County District Public Library’s 2018 Youth Community Reads author, Gordon Korman. Gordon Korman is the best-selling author of over 90 Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, including Slacker, Restart, Ungifted, and the Swindle series. He is also a contributing author to the popular multi-author series 39 Clues. For more information and a complete list of his titles, please visit his website, gordonkorman.com. He was first published as a 7th grader with a novel he wrote during English Class. Mr. Korman is a much sought-after speaker who spends much of his time traveling to libraries and schools around the country. WCDPL is bringing Mr. Korman to Wood County March 21st and 22nd. His visit is funded through a gift from the estate of Majorie Conrad, and with support of the Bowling Green Community Foundation. Mr. Korman will speak at the Wood County District Public Library on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m., and at the Walbridge Library on Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. During the day on Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Korman will visit Bowling Green, Lake, and Northwood Schools. During his visit to Wood County District Public Library, Mr. Korman will speak, answer questions, and be available to sign books. Two paperback titles will be for sale by the Friends of Library. Several additional copies of his soon-to-be released novel #WhatsHisFace will be raffled off and available for autographing as well. The audience is encouraged to bring any personal copies of Mr. Korman’s books for signing as well. For more information, contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253.