Arts and Culture

In his latest book, Michael Beschloss details the windup to eight wars — and the executive branch involvement in each.

With the exception of the Korean War, all of these wars received either a formal congressional declaration of war (the War of 1812; the Mexican-American War in 1846; the Spanish-American War in 1898; WWI in 1917; and WWII in 1941-42) or some form of congressional authorization (Civil War in 1861 and the Vietnam War in 1964).

'Words We Don't Say' Still Hit Hard

Oct 9, 2018

Just about any publishing professional will tell you that "voice" is one of the most important — and usually one of the most difficult — elements to capture in writing. When the voice of a book's main character comes through vividly enough, the reader doesn't just feel sympathy for the character, they become that character. Reading a book with great voice is like slipping on a second skin, seeing through someone else's eyes and walking a mile in their shoes, no matter how uncomfortable.

Unlabeled stimulants in soft drinks. Formaldehyde in meat and milk. Borax — the stuff used to kill ants! — used as a common food preservative. The American food industry was once a wild and dangerous place for the consumer.

Deborah Blum's new book, The Poison Squad, is a true story about how Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, named chief chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1883, conducted a rather grisly experiment on human volunteers to help make food safer for consumers — and his work still echoes on today.

We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands adapted and illustrated by Rafael López is a lively picture book based on the original hymn, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, which has now become a popular member of the folk music genre. The words joyfully invite children and animals from all over the world to sing, dance and clap together in celebration of the sun, the wind, nature and each other.

The illustrations are expansive, colorful and captivating in the details such as a picture of a boy carefully studying a snail that sits protected in the palm of his hand. The author-illustrator has used a variety of approaches from collage to photoshop to create the eye-popping pictures of children playing in the sun and singing in the rain. One of the most outstanding illustrations is a vertical two-page picture layout of a hot air balloon rising in the night sky full of smiling children from many cultures. Also, a monkey, a giraffe, a gorilla and a rhino are pleased to be aboard.

One scene after another is held together by a constant unrolling of a ball of multi-colored yarn which visually holds the unity of the pictures and the world together. This balances well with the rhythmic repetition of the song’s words and refrain which auditorily hold the story together.

We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands adapted and illustrated by  Rafael López and offered in both Spanish and English editions, is an energetic and multi-generational “read and sing” for  parents, grandparents and young children 3-5 years of age (Orchard Books/ Scholastic, 2018).

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While many have grown accustomed to today being Columbus Day, there are many people who consider today Indigenous Peoples’ Day.