Published on: Thursday, December 1, 2016 Takoma Park Newsletter

Friends bi-monthly reading group chooses next selection

By Tim Rahn

Kindred, a novel that uses time travel to explore slavery in the antebellum South, will be discussed by the Friends Book Group on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hydrangea Room at the Takoma Park Community Center.

Written by the late African-American science fiction writer Octavia Butler, Kindred tells the story of Dana, a young 20th Century black woman, who is “called back” to the early 19th century several times to save the life of a white ancestor, Rufus Weylin. Rufus, the son of a slave owner, leads a self-destructive life, caught—like his family’s slaves—in a terrifying and perilous time.

Butler brings to life the slave era by describing the oppression and bondage felt by the slaves and the sense of entitlement and power whites used to control the slaves. Through the use of time travel, she draws contrasts both to the post-civil rights era and the disenfranchised feeling experienced by temporary workers at menial jobs.

According to the Kirkus Review, “There is tremendous ironic power in Butler’s vision of the old South in science-fiction terms…in this searing, caustic examination of bizarre and alien practices on the third planet from the sun.”

Special holiday-themed programs

First, on Saturday, Dec. 10, we’ve got two special holiday programs. From 10 a.m.-3 p.m., come do some gift shopping at the Friends’ Holiday Book Sale. The sale, which will take place in the Computer Center Rotunda, is a great way to purchase some new or gently-used books at bargain prices, and all proceeds go to Library programs. At 11 a.m. that same day, we’ll be offering our annual Holiday Sing-a-Long in the Library’s Children’s Room. With music accompaniment provided by local musician Wendy Lanxner and her students, we’ll sing songs of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. No registration is required, and all ages are welcome.

Then, on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 15, we’ll celebrate the imminent arrival of the Winter Solstice. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., local musician Bill Jenkins will lead us all in a special drumming circle, using the dozens of drums and other percussion instruments that he’ll provide. Then, at 7:30 p.m., the Foggy Bottom Morris Men will swoop in with the songs, dances, sticks and good cheer. No registration required, and all ages are welcome at our Winter Solstice celebration, which has become a beloved Takoma Park tradition.

Finally, we’ve got two holiday craft options. First, on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 1:30- 3:30 p.m., local artist Kate Lanxner will offer a special workshop for kids who want to make a gift calendar. All materials will be provided, courtesy of the Friends of the Takoma Park Maryland Library. We ask kids to bring their creativity as well as a list of birthdays and other special dates they want to note on their gift calendar. This program is for ages 5 and up, and registration is required. To register, please go to tplibraryevents or call 301-891-7259.

Then on Sunday, Dec. 18, from 2-3 p.m., kids will have the opportunity to create crafts related to Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. No registration is required for this program.

Mock Caldecott for adults

Grown-up fans of children’s books are invited to attend our third annual Mock Caldecott for Adults on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 1-4 p.m. We’ll read and discuss a list of 20 “finalists” – our choices for the 2017 Caldecott Medal – using the official Caldecott Medal criteria; it will be interesting to see how close we come to the real 2017 Caldecott Medal winner, which will be announced in January. At our event, snacks will be provided by the Friends of the Takoma Park Maryland Library.

The Library owns two copies of each “finalist” – one that can be checked out, and another that will be kept in a box at the circulation desk and can be read in the Library. But you don’t have to read the books ahead of time to participate in the program, as we will be reading each book (or parts of the book, if it’s long), using our projector and screen, before discussing them. Registration is encouraged so we can be sure to have enough snacks; to register, please go to tplibraryevents or call 301-891-7259. Note: This is a program for adults only although children are welcome to observe. Kids will have their chance at our monthly Caldecott Club programs in December and January.

This article appeared in the December 2016 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.