Friday, November 20, 2015

Be A Thanksgiving Road Scholar!

Interesting fun fact from Ingram Library Services, our book vendor -- since September 2006, we've gone through the full range of barcode numbers 85001-87000.  Meaning I've bought a full 2000 books in the past 9 years, and that's not counting books purchased elsewhere, or donated, or any of the DVDS, audiobooks or audio courses added to the collection.  Wow!

Another fun fact --- AAA Travel forecasts that 42 million Americans will make a road trip of 50 miles or more over the Thanksgiving holiday period.  Will you be among them?  Even if your trip is 100% rural interstate, you've got a minimum of 45 minutes there and 45 minutes back, a full hour and a half in the car.  The likelihood is that you'll be travelling many hours more than that.

Audiobooks are awesome, but 90 minutes isn't very many chapters.  Imagine, though, taking a college-level course, 30 minutes at a time, and all of a sudden, your journey to Grandma's nets you three 30-minute college lectures.   In our case, 3 hours up and 3 hours back is nearly half a semester of really quality learning.

The Paideia JH/HS Library has a fantastic collection of Great Courses from the Teaching Company.  Some are in DVD video format (not so good for drive-time learning) but the majority are audio lectures on CD, ready to copy to your iPad or phone.  Imagine listening to an entire college-level course on The Science of Mindfulness or Writing Creative Nonfiction with no time diverted from your other activities!

Below is a sample of the audio lectures available -- for the entire collection go to The Great Courses Reading List on the Library catalog site.  Links go to the course descriptions in the Paideia Library catalog.

Understanding Japan: A Cultural History,  with Mark J. Ravina
(Emory; father & step-father of 3 Paideia alumni)

Influence: Mastering Life's' Most Powerful Skill, with Kenneth G Brown (University of Iowa)

The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes, with Kenneth W. Harl (Tulane)

Great American Music: Broadway Musicals, with Bill Messennger (Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins)

The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being, with Ronald D. Siegel (Harvard Med School)

Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History with Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius (UT-Knoxville)
(captive in the car while her senior brother listened, a 10th grader was inspired by this course to write her history paper on Civil War Spies last year)

Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft, with Brooks Landon (University of Iowa)

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals, with Hanna B. Harvey (East Tennesse State University)

A Day's Read, with a team of professors from Perdue, Brown and Monterey Peninsula)
   (discussion of short works by the world's greatest writers, from the Jataka to Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel memoir Persepolis)

with Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt)  

What are you going to learn over Thanksgiving break?

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Eda's Premium Hard Candies, aka "Yumbos"
Mention Yumbos to any of the countless students who learned their way through Paideia's elementary school, and eyes light up.   Many years ago, legendary 4th/5th grade teacher Peter Richards discovered "Eda's Sugarfree Candies" at the DeKalb Farmer's Market. He and other teachers gave out the candies, renamed "Yumbos" (a much more exciting name for 10-year-olds) as treats for exemplary work.

Peter being Peter (for one of his class' annually assigned projects, each student had to research the history of a company of choice), he naturally needed to know more about this mysterious "Eda" and her candies.   An article he researched and wrote, "Yumbos: History of a Confectionary Reward," appeared in the May 2014 issue of the Paideia Newsletter.

A former 4th grader, with Yumbo and book.
Just recently Peter, who retired in 2014, sent a gigantic bag of Yumbos, along with Eda Lehman's autobiography.  Since Peter's last students are now working their way through junior high and high school, I announced "Yumbos in the Library!" at Monday Morning Meeting this week.   The book, Eda's Story: A Memoir  and a bowl of Yumbos are out on the circulation desk.  High school students all week have asked about them, browsed the book (some quite thoroughly -- it's pretty short), and enjoyed a Yumbo or two.  Some students reminisce about their favorite color, while some students are newly introduced to the treat.  

Click the page image to download Peter's article as it appeared in the newsletter.

There's an interesting coda to the story -- while I was doing some quick research to see if Eda Lehman is still living (and discovered that she celebrated a birthday last February), I found that Eda's youngest sister Ruth, long believed killed in the Holocaust, may have survived and possibly immigrated to America. It doesn't seem that the family ever made contact with her, but you can read about that chapter of the Konigstein family's story here.

You just never know what's going to happen when you open a giant bag of sugarfree candies.