Books

Teresa Milbrodt finds inspiration for works of fiction in other folks’ jobs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Teresa Milbrodt has never been a fire eater… or a circus clown for that matter. One look at her slender frame and it’s clear she’s not an aspiring sumo wrestler. She’s never trained Siberian cats as a sled team, or even sold shoes. Teresa Milbrodt is a writer. As a writer she gets to inhabit characters who do those jobs, at least for the length of time it takes to craft one her tight, wry, quirky short stories. Work and relationships, with people and pets, are the focus of her book, “Work Opportunities” (Portage Press). The Bowling Green native will read for the collection of short stories Friday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. This is the latest book by self-described “fictioneer.” As with her other work, the stories are at once grounded in everyday life – the job and love struggles of her characters ring true – yet they unfold in an atmosphere of fantasy. It’s as if the people sitting around her while she’s being interviewed in Grounds for Thought were plopped into a fairy tale. Except these tales serve up a moral at the end. The happily-ever-after is elusive. Nor do they snap shut like a traditional short story. Contemporary readers, Milbrodt said, distrust endings that come “tied up with a bow.” They seem false. “We don’t think it reflects life.” Instead she brings her characters to the brink, when they decide to finally take action. What’s beyond the story’s final period is a precipice. Even Milbrodt may not know what lies ahead. We don’t know what will happen if the young would-be female sumo wrestler steps in the dohyo, the wrestling ring, the violating ancient tradition. Or when a teen character’s father returns to find Aaron Burr’s foot is gone. Or whether those Siberian cats will ever get to show their abilities pulling a sled. The stories, Milbrodt said, were written over the past decade. A few years ago, Milbrodt said, “I realized all the stories…

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Community survey gives high marks to public library

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A community survey done for the Wood County District Public Library turned out to be a love letter. “Levels of satisfaction were pretty high across the board on all the services we surveyed,” said Shannon Orr, whose public policy class at Bowling Green State University conducted it. “There is very high customer satisfaction for the Wood County Library system, and they would be willing to support the next levy.” That was true even among the majority who only use the library a few times a year. They still felt that the library was an important community service. Orr presented the results to the library’s Board of Trustees Monday. The library’s levy, which brings in $1 million a year, about 40 percent of the budget, will need to be renewed November, 2020. Orr added, that “children’s events were cited over and over again very highly.” On the other hand, “the level of dissatisfaction is almost nonexistent.” “We do a lot of these,” she said. “I run more than 100 community projects with my classes, and this level of satisfaction is very unusual.” Orr’s students sent surveys to 2,000 registered voters in the library’s service area. They got 346 back, or 17.3 percent. That’s an adequate response rate. An online survey with identical questions was sent to about 1,500 email addresses the library had on file. Those responses matched the random sample, but were not figured into the results. The answers to the open-ended questions included in the online survey were provided to the library. People did cite a few areas of improvement. Given the aging population, more large print books are needed. Also, people wanted better guidance on what the library offers, whether books or programs. Arts and craft programs would be nice. And the library needs “freshening up,” particularly the carpet on the stairs. “I might have written that myself,” said Library Director Michael Penrod. He said he’s also ready gotten some carpet samples, and is consulting with a decorator. He said he still thinks of the facility as…


Newbery Award winning author Katherine Applegate to visit Gathering Volumes, June 2

From GATHERING VOLUMES Katherine Applegate is the author of The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal. Crenshaw spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times’ children’s bestseller list. Home of the Brave continues to be included on state reading lists, summer and class reading lists. With the release of her latest middle-grade novel about embracing diversity, Wishtree, local bookstore Gathering Volumes participated in Nationwide Wishing Day with a day full of activities culminating in a children’s cooking contest. Gathering Volumes’ event was deemed the most creative and Katherine Applegate is headed to Perrysburg to help celebrate. Ms. Applegate will be at Gathering Volumes on Saturday, June 2. Seating for the event will begin at 4:30 p.m. After a presentation and discussion, Ms. Applegate will be available to sign books. Ms. Applegate won the 2013 Newbery Medal for The One and Only Ivan. This annual award, granted by the American Library Association, recognizes the previous year’s “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” The story is written from the viewpoint of a gorilla living in a glass cage in a shopping mall. According to the award committee, “Katherine Applegate gives readers a unique and unforgettable gorilla’s-eye-view of the world that challenges the way we look at animals and at ourselves.” Her latest novel, Wishtree, is narrated by Red, an unforgettable oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wish tree” – people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. The animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows help Red grant a wish for a child that moves into the neighborhood. Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, Wishtree is Katherine Applegate at her finest, writing from the heart and from a completely unexpected point of view. Denise Phillips, owner of Gathering Volumes says, “Ms. Applegate’s novel, Crenshaw, tells the story of Jackson, whose family has fallen on hard times, and his imaginary friend, Crenshaw. Crenshaw is a large, outspoken cat who comes into Jackson’s life when Jackson needs help. It is my daughter’s favorite book and the one that gets reread again and again.” Ms….


Opera on Wheels’ ‘Big Bad Wolf” to help get summer reading program rolling to

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The Wood County District Public Library’s Youth Summer Reading Program, “Libraries Rock!” begins Thursday, May 24. “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf,” presented by The Toledo Opera on Wheels will be performed at 10:30 a.m. in the Atrium. This Opera on Wheels touring show is a full experience for all ages. In an engaging adaptation of Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni,” the Don himself becomes the infamous Big Bad Wolf. Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs work together to show the Wolf the error of his ways. Using the music and themes from one of Mozart’s greatest operas, young audiences learn the dangers of bullying, the power of friendship, and the ability of music to bring people together. This live performance is free to the public and will last approximately 40 minutes.  It is generously supported through a gift from the estate of Marjorie Conrad. Registration for the Youth Summer Reading Program begins on Thursday, May 24, and continues throughout the summer. Rock Star Readers receive a free one-day pool pass to the BG Pool and Water Park upon registration as well as a one-day pass to the Wood County Fair toward the end of summer.  Reading minutes can be recorded in the Children’s Place “Concert Hall,” or online at wcdpl.readsquared.com. Everyone is encouraged to set their own goals to becoming a Rock Star Reader. Incentive prizes and coupons from local businesses will be awarded at various levels.  A final end of summer raffle will include all registered readers with more chances to win to those with more minutes. The Children’s Place is challenging everyone to begin as soon as possible and consider completing a reading log designed as full piano keyboard. A complete calendar of events, movies, parties, and programs through August is available online at www.wcdpl.org/CPCalendar and can be found in the WCDPL Family CONNECT magazine. Preschool Storytimes on Tuesdays at 10:30am and again at 7:00pm as well as Baby & Toddler Storytimes on Thursdays at 10:00am and again at 2:00pm continue all summer.   The Children’s Place is offering a weekly reading…


Vietnam vet dogged for half a century by memories of his year at war

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Like most of his fellow Americans, Warren E. Hunt wanted to forget the Vietnam War. “You don’t want to think about it. You want to be done with it.” That was his attitude when he returned to Toledo after serving a year as a communications specialist in South Vietnam. The war wasn’t done with him though. “It doesn’t go away,” Warren, 70, said in a recent interview. It dogged him. The memories of what he experienced would surface at “inappropriate times.” “I was depressed a lot,” he said. “I never thought it was because of the war. I never put two and two together.” Warren came anxious to pick up where he’d left off when he was drafted in 1967. He was going to spend some time at home in rural southern Michigan where he grew up, and then attend the University of Toledo on the G.I. Bill. He did that, and went on to get a graduate degree in German. He wound up teaching German at Bedford High in Michigan. Still the war was always there.  “I just wanted it to go away. I didn’t think about it a lot until it was intrusive.” It wasn’t until later that he grasped the fact that “I had lived an entire year in a hostile environment where my life could have been extinguished at any moment.” Hunt confronts that experience in “Reflections on the Vietnam War: A Fifty-Year Journey” published in 2017 using CreateSpace Publishing. A part of “Reflections” was published in a special section put out by USA  Today.. Hunt will read from the book Monday, May 14, at 7 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The book was prompted by a high school assignment. His goddaughter, Meghan Cremean, was given an assignment in high school to interview a Vietnam War veteran in 1998. She turned to Hunt. That planted the idea of his writing more extensively about his time in Vietnam. Then while attending a Memorial Day Service in 2014, the thought came…


Youngsters share the stories of Hispanic heroes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Joan Medina was a little intimidated by portraying his character during the Celebrate Dia! literacy program Monday evening. Medina was called on to portray Cesar Chavez, “an icon in the culture.” Nerves or not, the 17-year-old Penta student, dressed in a white shirt, stood up and told the farm labor leader’s story, first in English and then in Spanish. He was proud to do it. Chavez fought for the rights of farm workers, but he did so non-violently, inspired by the methods of Gandhi. “He showed that people are people, and they deserve to be treated fairly.” Medina said. He was one of eight young people, portraying seven notable Latino figures at the Wood County District Public Library. El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Dy) is a national event initiated by the American Library Association. Children’s Librarian Maria Simon said she was grateful the library could hold its own celebration in partnership with La Conexion. This is the fifth year the library has hosted the celebration. Each year a book is selected to build the program around. This year it was “Bravo!” written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Beatriz Maya, the director of La Conexion, said the event was a way to help young people learn more about their Hispanic heritage and then to share it with the community. Also, some may be encouraged to learn or maintain their Spanish when they see their peers using it in their presentations, she said. The figures offered a wide range of characters from a diplomat to a baseball star to, fittingly given the setting, a librarian. Beside Medina’s portrayal of Chavez, other presentations were: Adolfo Martinez Alba portrayed Juan de Miralles, a Spanish messenger to the early American Congress. Shanaia Cellis portrayed Juana Briones, a Mexican rancher and healer. Jonathan Ortega portrayed Louis Agassiz Fuertes, an ornithologist and painter. Eduardo Matta portrayed Arnold Rojas, who chronicled the life and lore of the California vaquero, or cowboy. Ivan Ortega portrayed Baseball Hall of Famer…


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…