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Check It Out

Find a listing of the latest arrivals of books, audio and video items at the Wauwatosa Library, as well as information on upcoming events and staff suggestions for timely information you can use every day on the library's blog.

Volunteers Make a Difference

"I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced that they are about to change the world.  I am more awed by...those who...struggle to make one small difference after another."
- Ellen Goodman, American journalist

And, what a difference our library volunteers make!  Have you ever reserved a book? Chances are, a volunteer retrieved the book from the shelf. 

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A Crescendo of Percussion

The first musical instrument in human history was probably a member of the percussion family.  This group includes any device that makes a sound when it is hit, shaken or scraped—drums, bells, chimes, cymbals, wood blocks, congas, pianos, xylophones, washboards, whips, pistols, typewriters—to just name a few. Percussion is often the heartbeat of musical ensembles -- setting the pace and keeping the tune in time.  Drums, the most ubiquitous, have many uses including communicating over long distances, motivating troops, inspiring emotion, and providing color, texture and rhythm in music. 

The Crusaders brought kettledrums to Europe from the Middle East in the 12th or 13th century.  Kettledrums, also known as timpani, are now a staple in classical orchestras and many types of music ensembles.  Jean-Baptiste Lully, a French composer who lived in the 17th century, wrote the first known score for timpani in 1675.  During the 19th century, percussion instruments became an important part of the orchestra, as can be heard in the works of Beethoven, Brahms, Tschaikovsky and Wagner.  Hector Berlioz, a French composer who was born in 1803, further enlarged and diversified the percussion section.  He created a percussion orchestra within the orchestra and one of his works uses crash and ride cymbals, large bass drums, tenor drums, kettledrums and church bells. 

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New Releases:Some Titles to Tempt You


Blood Sweat and Cheers: Great Football Rivalries of the Big Ten by Todd Mishler

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Food for Thought

A lot of cooking and eating goes on during the months of November and December.  Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, the holidays bring family and friends together and food to the table.  Many of you have favorite family recipes that you prepare and look forward to enjoying year after year.  But, if you're looking for something a little different this year, the following are just some of the brand new cookbooks you’ll find at the library that just might tempt you to try something new:

Best Make-Ahead Recipe/Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

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Heartfelt Holidays

The three major American holidays that always occur in December are Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.  The choices of books connected with these holidays are many and varied.  Some of the favorite classic December holiday books have to do with “heart.” 
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a classic example of a story showing the “heart” of Christmas: goodwill, generosity and kindness.  One reason that A Christmas Carol is so touching is that most people have had or known someone who has had holidays where they feel “Bah! Humbug!”  And all of us have felt “grinchy” on occasion.  Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is one of the best stories for young children on this theme.  In the beginning of the story the Grinch has a very small heart; not only does he resent other people celebrating Christmas, he actually tries to stop Christmas from happening by stealing all the presents, decorations and food, including the “roast beast.”  At the end, he realizes that Christmas will happen in spite of a lack of presents, decorations and food. “The Grinch’s small heart grows three sizes that day” as he learns that the true meaning of Christmas is good will and enjoyment of others’ gladness during the holidays.

Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric S. Kimmel describes Herschel’s triumph over the goblins which try to prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah.  Through perseverance and cleverness, Herschel banishes the scary goblins from the synagogue each evening, thereby insuring that the menorah candles burn throughout the eight days of Hanukkah.  This story reflects the miracle that happened in 165 B.C. during the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, when one day’s oil burned for 8 days.  Herschel, like many main characters in Hanukkah stories, has “heart,” meaning courage and determination. 

t’s Kwanzaa Time by Linda Goss is an excellent introduction to Kwanzaa, which is a celebration of the “heart” of a people and the individual.  Stories, poems, songs, recipes and a craft depict the importance of the seven principles of Kwanzaa:  Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.  The seven stories clarify the principles in a way that young children can understand.  For example, the unity story is about seven brothers working together to achieve family unity.  The styles of several distinguished African-American illustrators, including Ashley Bryan, Leo and Diane Dillon, and Jerry Pinkney, visually portray varied facets of African and African-American heritage. 

The holiday theme in the Children’s Library this December is “Heartfelt Holidays.”  Please visit the library to view the decorations and check-out a few “heart-warming” books.           

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