Thursday, September 25, 2014

Young Adult Novelist Stephanie Perry Moore Brings Book Tour to the Birmingham Public Library, September 22-25

Go ahead and ask because Stephanie Perry Moore has heard the question too many times to count.

Yes, people have told her she looks like Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer of The Help fame. And yes, Moore knows Spencer.

The two were high school classmates at Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama, where they were both in drama class.

While Spencer has a large following for her acting, Moore has one for her writing.

Moore, who’s written more than 60 books full of heart, sass, and grit, will be in Birmingham on September 22-25 for a fall book tour and talk at several Birmingham Public Library locations. She’ll kick off her tour at 10:00 a.m. at the Central Library. (See the complete tour schedule at the end of this release.)

The young adult novelist will target youth in her Birmingham message. She’ll discuss the importance of following dreams, writing books, and how she’s still on a journey of trying to get her books made for television and movies. Her goal is to inspire youth to live their purpose.

“If you are still living, breathing and going, you are supposed to keep striving,’’ says Moore, a married mother of three now living in the greater Atlanta area. “So that means more networking, more education ... and (more) prayer.’’

What is her advice for pursuing a D.R.E.A.M.? She has five tips:

Be Dedicated
When going after a dream, you have to work on it all the time. You can’t put it down and pick it up. You have to prepare for the test and ace it. Athletes practice nonstop. Those 3-point shots just don’t happen. They happen because a person practices.

Be Resourceful
Find a mentor and ask how they excelled and how they failed. Avoid people not doing anything.

Elevate Yourself
Always reach high. If you are making Bs in school, go for As. Keep climbing.

Have an A-plus attitude
Wear a smile even when you feel like frowning. Maintain a positive attitude through disappointment.

Focus on “Me’’
If you make “me’’ important, you will take care of that “me’’ just like you will take care of that dream. Learn to be your own cheerleader.

Here is Moore’s Birmingham tour schedule:

Monday, September 22
Central Library, 10:00 a.m.
North Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m.
Springville Road Library, 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 23
Powderly Library, 10:00 a.m.
Titusville Library, 1:00 p.m.
West End Library, 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 24
Smithfield Library, 10:00 a.m.
Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m.
North Birmingham Library, 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 25
Five Points West Library, 10:00 a.m.
Pratt City Library, 4:00 p.m.

For more information on Moore, please visit

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sixty Works to be Featured in the Watercolor Society of Alabama’s Annual Showcase at the Central Library, September 21–October 31

Great Blue & Company, Charlotte McDavid
Nearly 60 aqua media works from across the state will be on display September 21–October 31 during the 2014 Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase at the Central Library. The free exhibit will be in the library’s Fourth Floor Gallery.

An award ceremony and opening reception will be held on Sunday, September 21, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., in the gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

E. Gordon West of San Antonio, Texas, is the selection juror. West has received numerous awards in national exhibitions and has works in the permanent collections of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas A&M University, and the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and studied at the Chicago Art Institute.

Steve Rogers of Ormond Beach, Florida is the awards juror. His artwork has won international awards. He was the Purchase Award Winner of the 2006 National Watercolor Society “Best of Show.” His paintings have won four awards in the American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibitions. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill.
The Ancient Splendor, Chenghao Li

Rogers will host a watercolor workshop at Forstall Art Center in Homewood, September 18-20. The daily sessions will be 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. There is a workshop fee.

To register for the workshop or for more information on the class, contact Charlotte McDavid, chair of the Watercolor Society of Alabama, at

For information about the library exhibit, call 226-3670 or send emails to

Friday, September 19, 2014

Football Season

I love football season for three reasons: food, family, and football. I love the food that accompanies the football game experience; whether you’re sitting at home watching the game on TV or tailgating at the game, food makes the experience exciting. I really enjoy spending time with my extended family and watching a football game is a great excuse to see everyone. I’m not the most avid football fan, but I do enjoy myself. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed the 2012 Alabama vs. LSU game so much that when Alabama won, I jumped up and ruptured my Achilles tendon and spent the next 6-8 months recovering from surgery.

Oh well, I hope these resources on football season food, fun family activities, and the game itself enable you to enjoy “Football Season” to the max this year!

Books - Food
The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up: Grilling, Tailgating, Picnicking, and More
Fanfare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home
Fox Sports Tailgating Handbook: The Gear, the Food, the Stadiums
The Healthy Home Cookbook: Diabetes-Friendly Recipes for Holidays, Parties, and Everyday Celebrations
The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook
The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: a Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South
Taste of the Town: a Guided Tour of College Football's Best Places to Eat

Books - Football
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
Breaking the Line: the Season in Black College Football that Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights
Game of My Life. Auburn Tigers: Memorable Stories of Tigers Football
Football for Dummies
Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream
Legends of Alabama Football: Joe Namath, Ozzie Newsome, Mark Ingram Jr., and Other Alabama Stars
My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football
Nick Saban vs. College Football
The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book: Where Greatness Lives

Websites - Food - Check out these tailgating recipes. The Touchdown Taco Dip is easy to prepare and looks delicious.
Kraft Super Bowl Party Recipes - This website has everything: burgers, sliders, ribs, chicken all prepared in interesting and innovative ways. I think I want to try the pulled pork nachos.
My Recipes - This website has healthy tailgating recipes as well as recipes for ACC, Big 12, and SEC tailgaters.
Tailgate Party Recipes - This is a link to Food Networks “Tailgate Party Recipes."  I found some really tasty recipes for tailgating along with Food Network’s “Top 50 Tailgating Recipes.”

Websites - Football US Edition - Provides coverage of NFL, NCAA and International football.
NFL Official Website
Official Website of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) - College football and basketball scores, recruiting information etc…Follow Alabama at and Auburn at
USA Football - NFL youth football partner.

Billy Bob Thornton in Friday Night Lights
The Blind Side
Draft Day
The Express
Facing the Giants
Friday Night Lights
The Longshots
Roll Tide/War Eagle
We are Marshall
You don't know Bo

I hope these books, websites, and DVDs help keep your fall filled with good food, family and lots of football.

Maya Jones
West End Library

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review: The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch, published last year, is a long piece of literary fiction. Widely read, it is believed by many to be the worthy successor to the author’s debut novel, The Secret History (1992). Much has been written about the book; there are a jaw-dropping 14,000 reviews of The Goldfinch on Amazon alone. A rich work, it is open to many interpretations, but, plainly said, it is story of two boys from different worlds who become instant close friends, perhaps because of the horrific trauma and loss that afflicted their young lives.

Theo, our narrator, is an upper West Side, private school kid, who loses his mother, a single mom, in a terrorist bombing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ultimately Theo is taken away from his home to live with his drug dependent gambler-father in a vacant, desolate post-economic-disaster suburban development in the desert outside of Las Vegas. Very soon he meets Boris, a Russian-Ukrainian, who lives with his abusive, alcoholic father. They go for days without seeing either of their parents and live by scrounging and stealing.

Much is written about post-traumatic stress disorder, but in The Goldfinch, as we read, we experience, at length, Theo’s long daily struggle against unbidden memories and undeserved, but relentless remorse. But we also see Boris’s lusty response to his own damaged past. Both boys self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. The boys make bad choices again and again, and the reader soon comes to fear for their survival. But a painting, a priceless seventeenth century Dutch masterwork, titled, The Goldfinch, has fallen into Theo’s hands and we are given to wonder if its eternal beauty ultimately saves Theo and Boris from the wreck of their dangerous impulses.

Both Boris and Theo read Russian novels, and it is clear that the author has modeled her narrative on the tortured inner monologues of a Dostoevsky protagonist. With Theo, we spiral down into depression and self-recrimination, while we wonder at his daily efforts to live a normal life, at least as seen by others. Yet, there is hope, and perhaps that hope is symbolized by the little yellow bird in the old painting.

Related links:
Donna Tartt Discusses The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt "Surprised" by Pulitzer for Goldfinch

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch Sells Movie Rights to Warner Bros., RatPac

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

Discover Your Inner Artist

Pallet Party

Wylam Library, 4300 7th Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35224

Wednesday, October 7 at 10:00 am

Light refreshments will be served

RSVP 785-0349

You're invited to paint your masterpiece at Wylam Branch Library. Artist Cherie Hunt will help you paint a picture you can frame and hang or give away as a gift. If you would like further instruction, Birmingham Public Library has many resources you can check out. Here is a sampling.

The complete artist's manual : the definitive guide to painting and drawing / by Simon Jennings

Design dynamic paintings [videorecording] : how fundamental design and composition principles can improve your paintings / by Ed Labadie

Just paint it! / Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp

Drawing for painters / text, Gabriel Martín Roig ; translated from the Spanish by Michael Brunelle

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Welcome Back, Pratt City Library

The September/October 2014 issue of American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association, features interesting innovative architectural designs. Pratt City Library is featured as a newly renovated library under Disaster Recovery. The library re-opened February 10, 2014.

The tornado that spread through the Pratt City community three years ago presented an opportunity to rebuild a shiny new light of hope in its new library. The library retained its history and restored faith to the community. The newly rebuilt library is a feeling of "coming home." Patrons are enlightened with what they see and happy to return to a revolving door that is uniquely theirs.

From the BPL Blog archives:
A Look Inside Pratt City Library after the Tornado

Alabama Humanities Foundation Gifts Pratt City Library with New Books

Pratt City Remembers: Special Tornado Anniversary to Be Held Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pratt City Library's Reopening Scheduled for February 10

Deborah Drake
Pratt City Library

Read It Forward 2014 - The Giver by Lois Lowry

You're invited to join Birmingham Public Library's 2014 Read It Forward program. This year's book is Lois Lowry's The Giver.  Here's how to participate:
  1. Visit any BPL location and pick up a free copy of The Giver by Lois Lowry (while supplies last).
  2. Read the book.
  3. Go to the library's Read It Forward page, enter the book's tracking identification number, and leave a comment.
  4. Pass the book forward for someone else to read.
  5. Log onto the library's website often to track your book as it travels from reader to reader. See what others have to say about this book.

September is National Hispanic Heritage Month

Although September officially starts the football season, there are lots of other important events that are coming upon us this fall. National Hispanic Heritage Month is also celebrated in September.

According to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website: “Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

Also from the website: “The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.”

There are many little known Hispanic citizens who have made significant contributions to our culture in the areas of politics, entertainment, and music, as well as many other areas. This is the perfect time to stop by your local library to pick up a few books or DVDs about prominent Hispanic figures:

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes 
Hispanic-American Crafts Kids Can Do!
Hispanic Holidays 
Sonia Sotomayor: First Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court Justice
My Beloved World 
El Barrio 
A Kid's Guid to Latino History: More Than 50 Activities

Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation
Roots of  Rhythm

Pamela Jessie
Woodlawn Library

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Women’s Suffrage Victory—165 Years Later

Women working at suffrage headquarters, 1913
BPL Digital Collections

The women’s suffrage movement was founded in the mid-19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In recognition of Women’s Equality Day, the event is observed annually on August 26. Some of the early organizers included Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. As early as 1837, Susan B. Anthony, a young teacher dissatisfied with her wages, asked for equal pay for women teachers; Sojourner Truth in 1851, defended women’s rights and “Negroes rights” at a convention in Akron, Ohio. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony campaigned to encourage women to register to vote using the 14th Amendment as justification.

On January 10, 1878, The “Anthony Amendment” was introduced for the first time in the United States Congress. If approved it would extend the right to vote to women. The amendment stated “The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any States on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power by appropriate legislations to enforce the provisions of this action.”

After several failed attempts, the Amendment was finally voted on by the U. S. Senate for the first time on January 25, 1887, and also for the last time in 25 years. The hard fought battle was not won entirely state by state, so the women had to resort to using radical tactics for a federal suffrage amendment to be added to the Constitution: picketing the White House, staging large suffrage marches, demonstrations and going to jail.

Their actions worked and on June 4, 1919, the United States Senate endorsed the Amendment and sent it to the states. Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan were the first states to pass the law; (sadly), Georgia and Alabama rushed to pass rejections. When 35 of the 36 states had ratified the amendment, the battle came to Tennessee and the rest is history.

Votes for women a success, the map proves it, 1914
BPL Digital Collections
The long battle for the vote for women was won when a young legislator, 24 year old Harry Burn from Tennessee voted yes for the amendment. On August 18, 1920, this single vote gave the Anthony Amendment the thirty-sixth and deciding state needed for ratification. Up until this time Burns had often voted with the anti-suffrage forces. His mother had urged him to vote for the amendment and for suffrage. On August 26, 1920, the U. S. Secretary of State signed the Anthony Amendment into law giving women the right to vote in the fall elections and the Presidential elections.
1923: Equal Rights Amendment introduced into the U.S. Congress, proposed by the National Woman’s Party.

Even though the Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship, the right to vote was not given to all native born Americans. In 1869, Congress passed the 15th Amendment giving African American men the right to vote. Moving ahead to 1940, only 3 percent of eligible African Americans in the South were registered to vote. Jim Crow laws that required prospective voters to pass literacy tests and pay “poll taxes” served as deterrents to African Americans to vote, because they could not read and were not able to pay the unfair ‘taxes’ that had been imposed on them.

It took the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing the Voting Rights Act into law, to make voting a reality for everyone. My mother, a teacher, could not vote in Wilcox County. When white workers from the North came to assist African Americans in their efforts to vote, she allowed them to live in her home and often bailed others from jail that had been locked up. In 2014, minorities still face significant obstacles in registering to vote and casting ballots.

Women’s rights have come a long way. However, the fight for equality still continues. The Equal Pay Act put into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 helped ensure equal earnings for both men and women by illegalizing discrimination based on sex. The gap has lessened, but unfortunately, has not disappeared entirely. Women are still earning, on average about 80 cents to the dollar, sometimes even less in the case of minorities.

A local Alabama native Lilly Ledbetter, fought for 10 years to close the gap between women’s and men’s wages, sparring with the Supreme Court, lobbying Capitol Hill in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Ledbetter won a jury verdict of more than 3 million dollars after having filed a gender pay discrimination suit in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the lower court’s ruling. On January 29, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the first new law of his administration: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Ledbetter will never receive restitution from Goodyear, but she said, “I’ll be happy if the last thing they say about me after I die, is that I made a difference.”

As we recognize the strides women have made in all walks of life--from business to education to politics, we realize our work is not done. Women, and their families, still face tremendous economic pressures.

“I renew my pledge to keep fighting for laws that help America’s women. Because when women succeed, America succeeds: An Economic Agenda for women and Families, focusing on the issues that hard working American women struggle with every day: fair pay, paid maternity leave, and affordable Day care.” — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Related Readings:
History of Woman Suffrage
Failure is Impossible 
The Concise History of Woman Suffrage: Selections from the Classic Work of Stanton, Anthony, Gage, and Harper
Slavery and the Woman Question
Women of Uncommon Valor: Life Stories of Women from Birmingham, Alabama
Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

Claudette W. Camp
Avondale Library

Bank on Birmingham Financial Program Scheduled for North Birmingham Library, September 23

A sound understanding of banks and banking plays an important part in assuring one’s personal financial health. Acquiring such an understanding, however, takes some time and effort. In the world of banking, there exist different kinds of institutions offering a variety of accounts, products, and investment opportunities. But it is not a matter of one size fits all; which banking services are suitable for you depends upon your particular circumstances, needs, and goals. Therefore, in order to make good decisions about banks, you should try to get good, solid information about what is available so that you can compare their offerings with your priorities.

Bank on Birmingham (BoB) is a local non-profit organization that was created to provide information to the public about banking products and services. The membership of Bank on Birmingham, which consists of both local financial institutions and community organizations, is particularly interested in reaching low and moderate income consumers who have been underserved by the banking industry. Through advocacy, education, and outreach, BoB strives to make better banking awareness a catalyst for increasing the financial self-sufficiency of individuals and families in the Birmingham area.

As part of its educational initiative, Bank on Birmingham is holding a series of Snack and Learn events at several locations of the Birmingham Public Library during September and October of 2014. Two similar events will be held at Community Education South. These events are scheduled to last about an hour and BoB representatives will be available to share their knowledge on a variety of topics including banking, credit, budgeting, identity theft, home ownership, and small business finance. Light refreshments will be served. Both adults and older youth are encouraged to attend.

The Snack and Learn events are free but registration is required. You can register online on the Events Calendar page on Bank on Birmingham’s website or at the library location where the event is being held:

North Birmingham Library
Tuesday September 23, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Community Education South
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Central Library 
Monday October 6, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Avondale Library
Tuesday October 14, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Community Education South
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory
Laurie Halse Anderson

After years spent on the road outrunning bad memories, blue-haired teen Hayley Kincaid and her troubled, army veteran father return to their hometown in New York. Having been home-schooled for the last five years, Hayley cautiously re-enters the world of traditional learning, a repulsive realm populated by high school "zombies" (the in-crowd) and a few rebellious "freaks" like herself. Although she impresses few at first with her snarky attitude, she slowly becomes accustomed to her new life, and even gathers a handful of friends (other "freaks" like herself). In the back of her mind, though, is a fear that no teen should have to worry about: the constant, sickening fear for her father's declining mental health. While the prose lacks the gritty, lyrical beauty found in Anderson's previous novel, Wintergirls, this newest offering succeeds in painting a touching, realistic, and perilous portrait of a new era of social issues. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.

Liz Winn
Microforms/Government Documents
Central Library

Renasant Offers Entrepreneurial Success Series

Renasant Bank is reaching out to help small businesses succeed with a free six-part entrepreneurial success series. Series topics include Financial Management, Networking and Relationship Building, Social Media, Tax Information, Business Plan Components, Human Resources and Access to Capital.

Renasant staff and local experts are leading these valuable learning sessions throughout the Birmingham and Shelby County communities. The event is co-sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library System and Trudy Phillips Consulting. Complementary refreshments will be served.

Tracey Morant Adams, Senior Vice President Small Business and Community Development Director said of the series, ‘This free series is part of Renasant Bank’s continuing commitment to further the success of small business owners and entrepreneurs in our area. We are pleased to provide valuable tools and insight to help our local community businesses thrive and flourish.”

To register for any of the sessions, please visit:


How Do I Make Money with My Website
Central Library
September 18, 2014
9:30-11:00 a.m.

Financing, Lending Sources and Credit
Pratt City Library
October 23, 2014
9:30-11:00 a.m.

Self-employed & Small Business Tax Workshop
Woodlawn Public Library
November 20, 2014
9:30-11:00 a.m.

One-Page Business Plan with Financial Projections
Alabaster City Hall
January 15, 2015
9:30-11:00 a.m.

Contract Employees vs. Full Time Employees
Avondale Public Library
February 12, 2015
9:30-11:00 a.m.