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1. A vision of New York City’s transit system, from 1940-1968 [slideshow]

Streetcars “are as dead as sailing ships,” said Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in a radio speech, two days before Madison Avenue’s streetcars yielded to buses. Throughout history, New York City’s mayors have devoted much time and energy to making the transit system as efficient as possible, and able to sustain the City’s growing population. The history of New York’s transit system is a mix of well-remembered, partially forgotten, and totally obscure happenings that illustrate the grit, chaos, and emotion of the five boroughs at different points in history.

The images in this slideshow look at New York transit between 1940 and 1968 — a pivotal period when technology was developing rapidly and the City was seeing intense growth. They are taken from Andrew J. Sparberg’s book From a Nickel to a Token: The Journey from Board of Transportation to MTA.

Heading image: New IRT subway car, 1957. New York Transit Museum. Used with permission.

The post A vision of New York City’s transit system, from 1940-1968 [slideshow] appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. The Time Machine...

I've been re-reading 'The Time Machine' and today feels very much like I've taken a trip back in time.  

Today I scanned the negatives of the photos I took of my NYC apartment at 161 W. 78th Street back when I went to Parsons in the last century.  It was so cool to recognize and revisit everything in that room.  It was just like being a time traveler - I wondered at the objects I'd forgotten and remembered.

Some of the circled treasures are:  my radio and toaster (that I'd hauled from Utah to Seattle and now to NYC).  My cup hanging from a wire (to keep the roaches off), the mini-stove (sitting on top of the mini fridge), my tea kettle and my illustration in progress. 

Everything but the bed was scrounged off the streets. You'd never guess how attached one can become to an old second hand toaster and radio.

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3. AHA 2015: Kicking off the new year with the American Historical Association and OUP

To kick off the new year, the American Historical Association’s 129th Annual Meeting will take place in New York City from 2-5 January 2015. We’re thrilled to ring in the new year with 5000 historians in the city we are proud to call our US headquarters. As you finish packing your bags, we’ve put together an OUP guide to the conference, but make sure to leave room in your suitcase. We hope to meet you at our booth (#504), where we’ll be offering discounts on our titles, complimentary copies of Oxford’s journals, and demonstrations of our online resources.


  • James McPherson’s Battle Cry after a Quarter Century
    Saturday, 3 January 2015 from 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
    Murray Hill Suite B, New York Hilton
  • Journeying into Evangelicalism: Twenty-Five Years of Traveling with Randall Balmer’s Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
    Monday, 5 January 2015 from 8:30 AM-10:30 AM
    Hudson Suite, New York Hilton, Fourth Floor

OUP-chaired panels:

  • Buying and Selling History: Some Perspectives on the Marketplace
    AHA Session 38
    Friday, 2 January 2015 from 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
    Clinton Suite, New York Hilton, Second Floor
    Chaired by Tim Bent, Executive Editor for Trade History, OUP USA
  • Media Training Workshop for Historians
    Monday, 5 January 2015 from 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
    Concourse E, New York Hilton, Concourse Level
    Chaired by Purdy, Director of Publicity, OUP USA

Special Events:

  • The American Historical Association Award Ceremony
    Friday, 2 January 2015 from 7:30 PM-8:30 PM
    Metropolitan Ballroom West (Large), Sheraton New York, Second Floor

In honor of the awards ceremony, we’re celebrating some of the winners with a reading list:

  • Wine and cheese with the editors of the American National Biography and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
    Saturday, January 3 at 1:30 pm
    OUP Booth #504
  • Meet the editors of two of Oxford’s online resources offering portraits of men and women whose lives have shaped American, British, and world history.

    After Hours:

    The American Historical Association has put together a wonderful guide to exploring the city. Inspired, OUP’s history team has pulled together some of our recommendations on entertainment and off-the-beaten track sites.


    “I enthusiastically recommend Sleep No More, the interactive, immersive reimagining of Macbeth. It’s set in the fictional McKittrick Hotel (in actuality a five-floor warehouse made into over 100 rooms) in the early 20th century. Following Macbeth throughout his descent into madness was one of the most enthralling theatre experiences I’ve had. It’s heavy on the walking and stairs, but well worth seeing.”

    — Kateri Woody, Marketing Associate, Higher Education Division

    “You’ve probably heard the buzz about The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-time. It’s all true. Phenomenal acting combined with innovations in set and production design make for a thrilling theatre experience.”

    — Alana Podolsky, Assistant Marketing Manager for History, Academic/Trade Division


    “One of my favorite places in the city is the Morgan Library and Museum. It’s right down the road from OUP, and the library is absolutely beautiful. Also, admission is free on Friday evenings.”

    — Alyssa O’Connell, Editorial Assistant, Academic/Trade Division

    “MOMA’s exhibit on Matisse’ Cut-Outs could be one of the best exhibits I’ve seen in some time. In ill health, Matisse turned to cut-outs as his primary medium later in life. Like his paintings, Matisse masters the fine line between boldness and simplicity through shape and color. A video of the master at work shows his thoughtfulness as he designs the pieces. The wonderful exhibit draws together large and small-scale works, from his covers for jazz periodicals to his Swimming Pool, a piece he designed for his own dining room in lieu of visiting the beach, which had become too difficult. “

    — Alana Podolsky, Assistant Marketing Manager for History, Academic/Trade Division

    Off-the-beaten track:

    “In a city of skyscrapers, I frequently find myself craving places on a scale I can relate to, pieces of New York that feel human-sized and a part of the city’s deeper history, akin to Back Bay in Boston and Society Hill in Philadelphia. It’s easiest to find these in Greenwich Village or in parts of Brooklyn, but there are other historic places hidden in plain sight in Manhattan.‎

    “Near OUP on 36th Street is a small enclave called Sniffen Court that I have walked past with great envy and intrigue for 18 years. A half-mews, it is a tiny, wrought iron gated community of 1860s homes that were converted from stables after the advent of the automobile. Today these ten mews homes are some of the Manhattan’s most exclusive real estate. One of the homes was listed for sale earlier this year for a mere $7.25 million. There’s artwork on the outside of several building in the mews, winged horses on one and colorful stage designs on the frieze of another, a reminder of a theater well off Broadway, the Sniffen Court Players. Sniffen Court features on the album cover of The Doors’ “Strange Days,” though whenever I peer in, it’s New York of the 19th century that I am transported to, not 1967.

    “I recently had an opportunity to visit another hidden spot with theater connections that seems out of place and time in Manhattan: Pomdander Walk. Larger than Sniffen Court, this full mews runs between 94th and 95th Street, right behind Symphony Space on the Upper West Side. Built for the theater community and intended to be temporary housing, this colorful 1920s era English Tudor village is an oasis from the streets around it. Originally it was inhabited by actors, musicians, and artistic types, but to own one of the full houses on the Walk today would require more than a starving artist’s (or assistant professor’s) income. It is a little piece of Downton Abbey in the heart of Manhattan, a place where residents have long made the city a little less alienating and created a special community.

    “The Big Apple Tours during the AHA will be showcasing many architectural and historic sites around the streets of NYC, but part of the joy‎ of the city is just walking and making your own discoveries, architectural and otherwise.”

    — Susan Ferber, Executive Editor for American and world history obsessed by architectural history and unusual real estate in New York, perhaps because she doesn’t own any or even live in the five boroughs

    However you spend your time at AHA, we hope to see you at the OUP booth. Please stop by and say hi.

    Featured image credit: View of NYC from Top of the Rock. Photo by Dschwen, CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia commons

    The post AHA 2015: Kicking off the new year with the American Historical Association and OUP appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on AHA 2015: Kicking off the new year with the American Historical Association and OUP as of 12/31/2014 10:47:00 AM
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    4. Gotham Greets the Justice League

    JLeagueLogoColor 143x150 Gotham Greets the Justice LeagueOn Friday New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio met with protestors to discuss their demands for police reform after the shocking death of Eric Garner and the controversial grand jury decision that followed. The name of the activists’ organization will sound familiar to any comics fan: Justice League NYC.

    That this prominent group of social justice warriors would share a name with DC Entertainment’s leading super-team is no coincidence. Just check out the group’s logo, which features two African-American superheroes flying out of New York City through a graffiti-style logo. Dig even deeper into contemporary activism’s history and we see even more connections: Ferguson protestors formed their own Justice League over the summer, a leading progressive journalist writes at JusticeLeagueTaskForce.wordpress.com, and as pretty much everyone here knows, the Occupy movement made the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes’ mask a global icon.

    The role of comics in recent protests will no doubt be the subject of any number of academic papers, most of which will bear a punny coloned title like “DC Nation: From Social Relevance Comics to Social Change.” Yet before folks explore what all this means at greater length, I want to offer a quick note on how this phenomenon ties into comics’ uneasy relationship with the law.

    Before Photoshop and Final Cut made it possible for anyone to transcend their innate limitations, comics offered a cheap and easy way for people to give a visible form to their wildest thoughts. They became pop culture’s analogue to law as the magic mirror of society — photos may have showed us how the other half lives, but in comics we could create the world of tomorrow, free from the strictures of budget, politics, injury, death, and the real world’s ineffective legal system. What’s more, comics also did away with the shadows and fog that even today make inquiries such as the Serial podcast so frustrating — in the comics world we know who is good, who is evil, and who will win; the big question is how good will triumph.

    That sensibility is in comics’ DNA, to both good and ill effect. An unreflective transfer of the comics’ approach to seemingly intractable problems would at its most extreme result in moral nihilism, as violence becomes the standard means of removing any obstacle to achieving what is right. At the same time, the comics’ metaphorical blend of constructive critique and unbounded possibility helps explain why the social relevance comics of the 1970s weren’t as much of a break from the past as some might think. We can draw a straight line back from the O’Neil & Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow through to the Justice League, Shock SuspenStories, Captain America and Wonder Woman — and the same is true moving forward in time to today. Comics have always had the power to show us who we are and what we can be, and they are at their best when they resemble the magic mirror as ideally envisioned by Oliver Wendell Holmes – reflecting not just our own lives, but the lives of all people who have been.

    5 Comments on Gotham Greets the Justice League, last added: 12/23/2014
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    5. Happy Holidays!

    I have been so swamped but there are still a couple more Romania posts to go. I will get to them soon. I am also doing a travelogue.

    I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! Here are some pictures from our trip to NYC to celebrate my mom's birthday. I got a bit of sketching in and this picture of Grand Central Station seemed to capture the spirit of the season.

    Location shot!
    Mom had her birthday dinner at the Breslin where we had a whole pig. It was amazing!
    I cannot remember a time when the city was more crowded with tourists. The holiday season is the time to be in the city I guess.

    We had a lot of wonderful food, drink and company.

    Sketching at the Lucky Cat
    Troy and I at the Rockefeller Center tree

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    Looking for a fantasy read that’s great for the classroom this fall? One stellar recommendation is The Copernicus Legacy: The Forbidden Stone by bestselling author Tony Abbott – now in paperback!


    A perfect pick for kids who love Percy Jackson, Kingdom Keepers, or Seven Wonders series, The Copernicus Legacy is a Da Vinci Code-style story for young readers. The book follows four kids who stumble upon a powerful ancient secret of the famous astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. Protected by notables throughout history, it now falls to our young heroes to become guardians of Copernicus’s secret, racing across the globe, cracking codes, and unraveling centuries-old mysteries in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of a vast and evil shadow network called the New Teutonic Order.

    It’s the worldwide adventure and historical scope that makes the series both page turning and educational, earning it many great reviews including a starred review from Kirkus: “With engaging characters, a globe-trotting plot and dangerous villains, it is hard to find something not to like. Equal parts edge-of-your-seat suspense and heartfelt coming-of-age.”

    There’s even a downloadable Common Core-aligned activities guide and star map poster so you can bring the adventure into the classroom.

    Veteran children’s book author Tony Abbott is no stranger to epic adventure series having written over a hundred books including The Secrets of Droon. The Copernicus Legacy will include six full-length novels and six shorter novellas, each told from the perspective of one of the kids. The first novella, The Copernicus Archives #1: Wade and the Scorpion’s Claw, is available now and the next full-length novel, The Copernicus Legacy #2: The Serpent’s Curse, will be out on October 7.9780062194466_p0_v1_s260x420


    To celebrate the launch of the next books in this exciting series, on Saturday, September 13th, Tony Abbott will be leading a scavenger hunt at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where four lucky winners of a national sweepstakes will work together to find hidden clues amongst the exhibits, crack codes, and earn prizes. You and all readers across the country will have another chance to win a trip to New York for the second Relic Hunt starting October 7 at www.thecopernicuslegacy.com!

    After the Relic Hunt, Tony Abbott will be signing copies of The Forbidden Stone at 2:30pm at the Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway in Manhattan.  The Barnes & Noble event is open to the public, and we invite you to join us there for a pizza party! It’s no mystery—the whole family will be in for good food and fun!


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    7. Floating Library on the Hudson!

    The Floating Library is a pop up, mobile device-free public space aboard the historic Lilac Museum Steamship berthed at Pier 25 on the Hudson River in New York City. It will be open September 6- October 3.

    "The library afloat on water is always on the verge to sail into the distance just as books contain the magic to transport our minds to unknown terrains. A reader is a dreamer/traveler/pirate as to open a book is to embark on an adventure into the wider world as well as dive deeper into oneself. Given this, the Floating Library celebrates boats and books to map a path towards a waking life, self-organization, citizen autonomy and fertile imagination."  -  Lilac Museum

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    8. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl, 372 pp, RL: TEEN

    I bought Delicious!,  the debut work of fiction by restaurant critic, food writer (food memoirist might be a better moniker), former editor of Gourmet Magazine, Ruth Reichl as a gift for my mother, who is a decent cook and ardent reader of Reichl's work and that of other great food writers, and my aunt, a spectacular, thoughtful cook who does not read fiction. I thought I might borrow it (

    0 Comments on Delicious! by Ruth Reichl, 372 pp, RL: TEEN as of 8/15/2014 4:28:00 AM
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    9. At Your Service (Sounds Like Something a Librarian Would Say!) by Jen Malone

    After reviewing All Four Stars by Tara Dairman I received a bunch of promotional materials for upcoming books.  Among the pile was a bookmark for At Your Service by Jen Malone.  They say don't judge a book by its cover.   I guess in this case don't judge a bookmark on a future release.   However, I am glad I did. There was something about this title that called out to me and Simon and Schuster send me a review copy.  

    The book is set in a upscale hotel in New York City, similar to Eloise in the Plaza (the books author makes a slight reference to her in the book).   This book is about 13 year old Chloe who has a dad that works at the Hotel St. Michele as a concierge.  After impressing a young guest Chloe earns the the job of junior concierge.   She gets a big assignment when King Robert of Somerstein and his family including the Queen and their three royal children, Princess Alex 14, Princess Sophie 12 and Princess Ingrid 9 decide to visit New York.  The assignment gets harder than she imagines when Princess Ingrid goes missing during the tour. None of the children want to get in trouble so they decide to find her themselves.  What they do not know is that Chole's dad and the King are alerted that she is missing.  A great adventure discovering all the highlights of New York City (my hometown) takes place while they are searching for Princess Ingrid.  Some of the most unexpected things happen, but isn't this when some of the best moments occur.  

    Check out some New York City highlights in the book trailer below and author Jen Malone's Website. She has a hedgehog in the bottom of her homepage which links to an activity related to the book.  Get your copy August 26.   Want a little more? Then you can read the first chapter on her website

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    10. Loot: How to Steal a Fortune - a review

    Watson, Jude. 2014. Loot: How to Steal a Fortune. New York: Scholastic.
    (Advance Reader Copy)

    After my book club meets tomorrow, my Loot will be long gone. Here's a quick preview before it's snatched up.

    It begins with a foreboding prophecy regarding stolen semiprecious moonstones:

    You will be caught tonight and made to pay.
    Death by water, before the moon is set.
    Before the passage of thirteen years, the two birthed together will die together.

    Two of the prophecies have already come true. Two thieves are dead.

    Now, 12-year-old March, son of a thief, must figure out the mystery with no other assets than a getaway bag, some cryptic clues, and remembered advice from his deceased father,

    Never trust a guy who says, "Trust me."
    Never give your real name to a cop.
    Never let someone steal your getaway car.
    If you think nothing can go wrong, you'd better think again.

    March, his twin sister, and fellow foster home escapees, Izzy and Darius, will match wits with jewel thieves, fences, cops, and millionaires in a desperate search for answers and the mysterious moonstones. This is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller with plenty of plot twists and intrigue—a globe-trotting trek with its roots in the underbelly of New York City.

    Due on a shelf near you June 24, 2014.
    For grades 3-7
    272 pages

    0 Comments on Loot: How to Steal a Fortune - a review as of 6/25/2014 9:27:00 AM
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    11. Not so far away

    Tapestry 300x300 Not so far awayOff to New York tomorrow for a little 70s nostalgia (Richard is such a good sport), some modern dance (I am such a good sport),  love and murder, and, oh yes, the announcement of the 2014 winners of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. I’ll be revealing the fated few at 1:00PM on Saturday at a press conference in the Librarians’ Lounge at BEA in the Javits Center, booth #663. You are all cordially invited but for those who can’t make it, Katrina will be tweeting @HornBook as we go, and the whole shebang will be up on the website Saturday afternoon.

    share save 171 16 Not so far away

    The post Not so far away appeared first on The Horn Book.

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    12. City of Orphans by Avi, 350 pp, RL 5

    City of Orphans is now in paperback! While I have read a handful of books by the prolific, Newbery Award winning author Avi, his most recent book, City of Orphans, is the first I have reviewed here! In 1991 Avi won the Newbery Honor for his book The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, a unique work of historical fiction in which the twelve year old Charlotte goes from a proper young girl to

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    13. Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters, 272 pages, RL 5

    First reviewed on 9/24/10, Lesley L.L. Blume's book was a wonderful discovery to me, the kind of book I know the 11-year-old-me would have loved with Cornelia and Virginia becoming fast friends. As it is, I recommend this book to young readers whenever I can. A magical, moving story that travels the world. When I was a kid and reading chapter books some thirty years ago, a book like

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    14. Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus, 340 pp, RL 5

    First reviewed in 2011, Gods of Manhattan is very much like Wildwood in that it is a fantasy squarely set in America as well as a fantasy that presents a world within a world. This time, there is a ghost world of historical figures running New York City alongside the flash and blood politicians. Excellent fantasy and adventure and really great history as well! It's really hard not to pick up

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    15. Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani, 297 pp, RL 4

    Same Sun Here is now in paperback! The Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani was impossible to put down and frequently had me in tears. I can't imagine what it must be like to be one of the librarians who sit on the Newbery panel each year, but as I read The Same Sun Here I kept thinking, "This book deserves a medal. This is exactly the kind of book those librarians seem to love."

    0 Comments on Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani, 297 pp, RL 4 as of 8/7/2013 3:50:00 AM
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    16. Invisible Inkling: The Whoopie Pie War, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Harry Bliss, 151 pp, RL 3

    <!-- START INTERCHANGE - INVISIBLE INKLING WHOOPIE PIE WAR -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Last year I reviewed Dangerous Pumpkins, the second book in Emily Jenkins' Invisible Inkling series, illustrated by the marvelous Harry Bliss.

    2 Comments on Invisible Inkling: The Whoopie Pie War, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Harry Bliss, 151 pp, RL 3, last added: 8/27/2013
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    17. The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick, 307 pp, RL 4

    The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick, besides being a fantastic book, also happens to be one of the first books to be published by the brand new imprint Algonquin Young Readers. I want to take a paragraph here to tell you about Algonquin Young Readers, the recently created arm of Algonquin Books, publisher of acclaimed best selling books for adults such as Like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

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    18. Burlesque in New York: The writing of Gypsy Rose Lee

    By Noralee Frankel

    In celebration of the anniversary of the first burlesque show in New York City on 12 September 1866, I reread a fun murder mystery, The G-String Murders, by Gypsy Rose Lee. “Finding dead bodies scattered all over a burlesque theater isn’t the sort of thing you’re likely to forget. Not quickly, anyway,” begins the story.

    The editors at Simon & Schuster liked the setting in a burlesque theater and appreciated Gypsy’s natural style, with its unpretentious and casual tone. Her knowledge of burlesque enabled her to intrigue readers, who were as interested in life within a burlesque theater as in the mystery. Providing vivid local color, the novel describes comedic sketches, strip routines, costumes, and the happenings backstage. In a typical scene in the book, Gypsy muses about her strip act: “The theater had been full of men, slouched down in their seats. Their cigarettes glowed in the dark and a spotlight pierced through the smoke, following me as I walked back and forth.” Describing her band with precision, she wrote, “Musicians in their shirt sleeves, with racing forms in their pockets, played Sophisticated Lady while I flicked my pins in the tuba and dropped my garter belt into the pit.”

    Gypsy worked as hard on her writing as her stripping, and The G-String Murders became a best seller. “People think that just because you’re a stripper you don’t have much else except a body. They don’t credit you with intelligence,” Gypsy later complained. “Maybe that’s why I write.”

    Gypsy Rose Lee, 1956

    Gypsy Rose Lee, full-length portrait, seated at typewriter, facing slightly right, 1956. Photo by Fred Palumbo of the World Telegram & Sun. Public rights given to Library of Congress. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    The G-String Murders briefly describes Gypsy’s career as a burlesque queen at a fictitious theater, based on those owned by the Minsky family, in New York City. In the book someone strangles a stripper, La Verne, with her G-string. The police turn up an abundance of suspects, including Louie, La Verne’s gangster boyfriend; Gypsy; and Gypsy’s boyfriend, Biff Brannigan, a comic working in the club. After someone tries to frame Biff by placing the lethal G-string in his pocket, he aids the police in solving the crime. He’s also concerned that the police suspect Gypsy and he wants to clear her by finding the actual murderer. After deducing the identity of the murderer, Biff proves his theory by suggesting that Gypsy act as bait and remains in the theater alone to tempt the murderer to strike again.

    More than just a page-turner, Gypsy’s novel stresses the camaraderie among the women. Sharing a dressing room, they throw parties with everyone contributing to buy drinks and food. The women joke, drink together, and confide in each other. The women also sympathize with each other over man problems and working conditions. Gypsy describes the strippers’ dressing room with a complete lack of sentimentality. The cheap theater owner is indifferent to the disgusting condition of the stripper’s dressing room toilet. To help the women, the burlesque comics pool their meager resources to buy the strippers a new toilet.

    Gypsy expressed her conviction in the importance of organized labor through a character in The G-String Murders: Jannine, one of the strippers recently elected secretary to the president of the Burlesque Artists’ Association. When the strippers receive a new toilet, the candy seller suggested having a non-union plumber install it to save money. She refuses, forbidding any non-union member to enter the women’s dressing room. She snapped, “Plumbers got a union. We got a union. When we don’t protect each other that’s the end of the unions.” She reminded the other strippers of conditions before they joined a union, when they performed close to a dozen shows without additional compensation.

    In the novel, Gypsy provided Jannine with another opportunity to talk about solidarity among burlesque performers and the unequal class structure in the United States. In a tirade against the police over the treatment of the strippers during the murder investigation, Jannine raged that the performers, both the strippers and comedians, might squabble but they were loyal and do not inform on each other. When a police sergeant tried to interrupt her, she retorted: “It’s the social system of the upper classes that gives you guys the right to browbeat the workers!”

    Gypsy peddled the G-String Murders in the same clever ways that she publicized herself. In a prepublication letter to her publishers, she offered to “do my specialty in Macy’s window to sell a book. If you prefer something a little more dignified, I’ll make it Wanamaker’s window.” In an interview, she joked that if people did not know her in bookstores, she would remove an earring and ask, “Now, do you recognize me?”

    As an added bonus, Gypsy put a lot of herself into this book, so the reader learns quite a bit about her burlesque work life, her sense of humor, her political beliefs, and sense of independence. Spending time with this mystery is a perfect way to celebrate a New York City burlesque anniversary.

    Noralee Frankel is author of Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee. She recently co-edited the U.S. History in Global Perspective for National History Day. Dr. Frankel is a historical consultant and can be reached through LinkedIn or Facebook.

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    The post Burlesque in New York: The writing of Gypsy Rose Lee appeared first on OUPblog.

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    19. #515 – Nate Rocks the City by Karen Pokras Toz

    Today is a rather long post. Eleven-year-old Nate Rockledge, his older sister Abby, and his once best friend Lisa Crane are here for a short interview followed by a review of the new–and the final–Nate Rocks book: Nate Rocks the City.        Let’s get started.

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    Today Kid Lit Reviews welcomes Nathan Rockledge (aka Nate Rocks), his older sister, Abby, and his know-it-all classmate, Lisa Crane. They are all characters in the Nate Rocks series, the newest being Nate Rocks the CitySince this is the last book, I thought it would be fun if you each talked about your favorite moment from the series. Who wants to go first?

    Lisa Crane :  Oh!! Me! Me!

    Yes of course, Lisa, go ahead.

    Lisa : Well … In Nate Rocks the Boat, there was this scene where Nathan was leaving for summer camp and his parents were giving him a going away party…

    Nathan: Oh no! Really? Do we have to bring that up here?

    Lisa: Hey! She said I could talk about my favorite moment from any of the books, right?

    Nathan, please, Lisa, cont–

    Lisa: So anyway, we were playing horseshoes – Nathan and me – and of course Nathan was missing them all, while I was getting them all. So I kindly offered to show Nathan how it’s done, only he got a little too close to me, and BAM the next thing you know, he’s on the ground crying like a big old baby. He says it’s because I hit him, but I think it’s because I beat him at horseshoes.

    Nathan: You gave me a black eye!!

     Abby: It was awesome.

     Nathan: Can we move on?

    Sure, Nathan. How abou–

     Abby: Ooh – I have one!

     You characters sure are, um, ready. Abby?

     Abby: So in Nate Rocks the World, Nathan was trying to get back at me for – well that really doesn’t matter – anyway, he put food coloring in my shampoo bottle, but Dad wound up using it instead of me, and he wound up with PURPLE hair! HAHAHAHA! It was so funny, and Nathan got in so much trouble.

     Nathan: You got in trouble, too.

     Abby: Not as much as you though – it was classic.

     Nathan: So far, this interview isn’t quite as much fun as I thought it was going to be.

     I’m sorry, Nathan. You’re the star, so what is your favorite moment?

     Nathan: Hmmm, that’s such a hard question because I had so many great moments in every book! I really did love going to New York City in this last book though. I got to save the city from aliens, I jousted with knights in the museum, and the last scene – well let’s just say if you’ve read Nate Rocks the World, I had a chance to go full circle. I don’t really want to give anymore away than that. Overall though, the entire series was a blast. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did – even the parts with Abby and Lisa.

     Lisa: “Hey!”

    Abby: “Not funny, Nate.”

    Nathan: Thanks for reading and thanks for having us on your blog today!


    rocks city.

    Nate Rocks the City

    by Karen Pokras Toz

    Grand Daisy Press    2/14/2014

    978-0-9848608-9- 0

    Age 7 to 12     142 pages


    Hey New York! Are you ready for Nate Rocks? Fifth grader Nathan Rockledge has been counting down the days—and meals—until his class trip to New York City. Now that the big event is finally here, he can barely stand the excitement. After all, isn’t this what being a fifth grader is all about? Oh sure, his Mom is one of the chaperones, his annoying sister Abby is tagging along, and that know-it-all classmate, Lisa, will be there as well. However, none of that matters. Not when he’ll be with his best friends, Tommy and Sam.

    While seeing the sights, his teacher wants his class to take notes, but Nathan has other ideas. With paper and pencil in hand, Nathan prefers to doodle, transforming himself into Nate Rocks, boy hero. Amid ninja pigeons to fend off, aliens to attack, and the baseball game of the century to save, will Nate Rocks be able to save the day one more time?


    “The piercing sound of the house alarm rips through the neighborhood as our car pulls into the driveway. ‘Nate! Come quick!’ Mrs. Jensen screams over the sound of the siren.”

    The Story

    Nate’s fifth grade class heads to New York City for their class trip. The chaperones include Nate’s mom and her best friend, Mrs. Crane, mother of the most annoying girl in the entire world—Lisa. Thanks to a Philadelphia Philly baseball player, the kids are getting two extra days and tickets the Phillies versus Yankees baseball game at the end of their trip. Nate counts his days by meals, starting with eleven meals. Nate savors every New York meal, even in the hotel cafeteria.

    The group goes to Central Park, The City Zoo, the Statue of Liberty, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art before the final trip to Yankee Stadium. The last two days of the trip, Nate’s dad and older sister join the group. Mrs. Cogin, Nate’s teacher, gives each middle grader a journal to write notes about their trip as reference for an essay they will write later. Not much for words, Nate tends to draw his notes. Several times during the trip, Nate envisions himself as Nate Rocks, a hero to those around him. As Nate begins drawing the area around him changes. People are gone or settings change. Always, someone grabs him and an exchange like this occurs,

    “Nate! Thank goodness we found you!”

    “Me? Why me?”

    “Why because you’re Nate Rocks, of course!”

    Nate does whatever needs done, such as stop robotic birds from destroying New York City. The urgent task that only Nate Rocks can accomplished is competed and then this same adoring thanks occurs,

    “You did it, Nate! You saved me/us!”

    Finally, someone sharply brings Nate back to reality, reminding him that he is holding up the group or just annoying his mother. The last day of Nate’s trip to New York City culminates with a baseball game, the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Yankees. Nate Rockledge goes out in Nate Rocks fashion one last time.


    Nate Rocks the City ends the Nate Rocks series. At age ten, Nate rocked the world and the boat and at age eleven, he rocked the school and now the city. In each one Nate envisions himself a hero, his current surroundings melting into a different scene and situations only an imaginative eleven-year-old boy can outwit. Nate’s biggest problem is fifth grader Lisa Crane. Lisa and Nate have spent a lot of time together as they grew up, thanks to their mothers being best friends. Nate sees Lisa as annoying and he is correct.

    Ms. Toz writes like a pro. Punctuation errors, capitalization, spelling, and typos are all missing from Nate Rocks the City. One look at the credit page explains why the text is clean. Ms. Toz hired an editor from a company called There for You. Nate’s last story flows well from one scene to the next. His creativeness shines and makes his drawings come alive in his mind, on his pad, and for the reader. Ms. Toz thoroughly researched New York City and its sites before writing Nate Rocks the City. From the exhibits at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to the shops in Times Square, she has the details.

    It is odd that both dad and Abby, Nick’s fifteen-year-old sister, would join the group midway through the fifth grade trip, like it were actually a family vacation. I suppose it was a way of getting all the usual characters into the story and for that, it is hard to place blame. Dad working as another chaperone at least fit nicely into the story, when he wasn’t getting the boys lost in the city, but Abby really made no sense.

    All through the story—and in every Nate Rocks series—Nate envisions himself the hero of one situation or another. It is easy to know when Nick goes off on one of his tangents! You will find an exclamation point at the end of nearly every sentence! Nick sees these adventures as something exciting! At Yankee Stadium, Nate finally becomes that hero, exclamations not needed. I like the idea of Nate behind what happened, but the scene did not stand up. I would love to explain why, but it is the ending and I have no right to ruin it for anyone.

    Nate Rocks the City is an enjoyable story with terrific imagination, too perfect annoying mom behavior, and a giant sense of fun kids will enjoy. The story is a fast read. Not wanting to leave the story helps this along. Kids will love Nate Rocks the City, whether as a fan of the series or a first time reader. Nate knows how to put on a show. Like the others, Nate Rocks the City can stand on its own, but read in order is more fun as Nate gets better with each book. The series is perfect for boys. Even young reluctant readers will find the Nate Rocks series worth keeping. I am sorry to see Nick leave us, but he does so in fine Nate fashion. Nate does indeed Rock the City!

    Check out the Nate Rocks Series HERE.

    Buy Nate Rocks the City at AmazonB&Nauthor websiteyour neighborhood bookstore.


    Meet the author, Karen Pokras Toz at her website:  www.karentoz.com

    Find other great books at Grand Daisy Press website: http://www.granddaisypress.com/ 

    You can also find Karen Pokras Toz here:

    Blog: http://kptoz.blogspot.com

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenptoz

    Twitter: www.twitter.com/karentoz

    Amazon: http://bit.ly/amznNRTC

    Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/bnNRTCity

    Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5009570.Karen_Pokras_Toz


    NATE ROCKS THE CITY. Test copyright © 2014 by Karen Pokras Toz.



    #1 Nate Rocks the World

    #1 Nate Rocks the World

    #2 Nate Rocks the Boat

    #2 Nate Rocks the Boat

    #3 Nate Rocks the School

    #3 Nate Rocks the School



    on sale! 99¢ through March 21, 2014


    Millicent Marie Is Not My Name

    Millicent Marie Is Not My Name

    Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas

    Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas







    nate rocks city


    Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Digital Book, Series Tagged: chapter books, children's book reviews, fifth grade school trip, Grand Daisy Press, Karen Pokras Toz, Lady Liberty, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, reluctant readers, Times Square

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    20. A true Dutch treat

    Fairy Godfather A true Dutch treatI hope you jumped on those Sutherland Lecture tickets yesterday because they are gone baby gone–I understand that even the waiting list is full. A big fan of John Green’s books, I am nevertheless nervous about being in an auditorium filled with John Green Girls, beautiful, complicated and ka-razy creatures that they are. Or do I infer too much? Come say hello–I’ll be the flustered chaperone in the corner.

    In the meantime I am off to White Plains today to visit Brian Kenney’s library and speak to the Youth Services Section of  NYLA tomorrow morning. Then a weekend with our lovely Dutch friends in Rye, taking the adorable Julia, Mads, and Lizze to see Matilda on Broadway, for what else are fee peetvaders for?

    share save 171 16 A true Dutch treat

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    21. Poetry Friday: “Broadway Moon Again” from A Full Moon is Rising

    marilyn singerMarilyn Singer is the author of more than eighty-five children’s books, including many poetry collections. Her works have won numerous honors, including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor and the Orbis Pictus Honor. A Full Moon is Rising is a collection of poems that bring readers on a whirlwind tour of the world to discover an amazing collection of full moon celebrations, beliefs, customs, and facts. You can find out more about Marilyn Singer and her work on her website here.

    Since April is National Poetry Month, we asked author Marilyn Singer to tell us a little bit more about what inspired her to write A Full Moon is Rising:

    I’ve always been entranced by the moon—especially when it’s full.  In NYC, where I live, it can sometimes be hard to see because of the tall buildings.  But one night in Midtown Manhattan (and many times thereafter), I saw it peeking out between two skyscrapers.  I’m a big theatre-goer, and I had the image of that moon being an actor who’d been waiting to make a grand appearance.  That inspired “Broadway Moon” and “Broadway Moon Again,” the opening and closing poems of A Full Moon is Rising.

    broadway moon again poem

    “Broadway Moon Again”

    “Broadway Moon Again”

    New York City, USA

    On the sidewalk, the audience of one

    is now ten.

    “What you looking at, girl?” they ask.

    “Oh, the moon,” she says. “Just the moon.”

    But what a moon!

    Between the skyscrapers, it takes a bow.

    “Encore in one month!” it proclaims.

    “Admission is always free.”

    Further Reading:

    Poetry Friday: Andrea Cheng & Etched in Clay

    Marilyn Singer on how to read a poem out loud

    Filed under: guest blogger Tagged: A Full Moon is Rising, children's books, full moon, Marilyn Singer, National Poetry Month, New York City, poetry

    0 Comments on Poetry Friday: “Broadway Moon Again” from A Full Moon is Rising as of 4/25/2014 1:31:00 PM
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    22. Window into the last unknown place in New York City

    New York City, five boroughs boasting nine million people occupying an ever-expanding concrete  jungle. The industrial hand has touched almost every inch of the city, leaving even the parks over manicured and uncomfortably structured. There is, however, a lesser known corner  that has been uncharacteristically left to regress to its natural state. North Brother Island, a small sliver of land situated off the southern coast of the Bronx, once housed Riverside Hospital, veteran housing, and ultimately a drug rehabilitation center for recovering heroin addicts. In the 1960s the island, once full with New Yorkers, became deserted and nature has been slowly swallowing the remaining structures ever since. Christopher Payne, the photographer behind North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City, was able to access the otherwise prohibited to the public island, and document the incredible phenomenon of the gradual destruction of man’s artificial structures.


    North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City: Photographs by Christopher Payne, A History by Randall Mason, and Essay by Robert Sullivan (A Fordham University Press Publication). Christopher Payne, a photographer based in New York City, specializes in the documentation of America’s vanishing architecture and industrial landscape. Trained as an architect, he has a natural interest in how things are purposefully designed and constructed, and how they work. Randall Mason is Associate Professor and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. He worked previously at the Getty Conservation Institute, University of Maryland, and Rhode Island School of Design. Robert Sullivan is the author of numerous books, including The Meadowlands: WildernessAdventures at the Edge of a CityRats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted InhabitantsThe Thoreau You Don’t Know: The Father of Nature Writers on the Importance of Cities, Finance, and Fooling AroundA Whale Hunt, and, most recently, My American Revolution. His stories and essays have been published in magazines such asNew YorkThe New Yorker, and A Public Space. He is a contributing editor to Vogue.

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    0 Comments on Window into the last unknown place in New York City as of 5/2/2014 11:17:00 AM
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    23. #557 – Larry and Friends by Nat Jaspar & Carla Torres

    Larry&Friends-CoverLarry and Friends

    written by Nat Jaspar

    created and illustrated by Carla Torres

    Tangerine Books    3/01/2014


    Age 7+       48 pages


    “Larry and Friends is a captivating story about immigration and integration told in both English and Spanish language versions. The protagonist, Larry the Dog, is a juggler from Brooklyn and his friends are a diverse set of animals from all over the world. The story recounts why the characters end up relocating to New York City, how they became friends with Larry and how life has taught them a thing or two.”


    “Every day should be a happy day. At least that’s what Larry the dog thinks.”

    The Story

    Today is Larry’s birthday. All of his friends, from all over the world, arrive to celebrate. Living in New York has given him the  opportunity to meet and befriend so many creatures that are both interesting  and unique in both body and spirit. As Larry is making last minute preparations for his birthday celebration, the doorbell rings. “Ringadingadong!” Who could that be this early?

    It is Magda, the Polish Pig. Magda is Larry’s partner, very good at organizing, and she should be able to help Larry get all his last minute decorations ready for the party. Not long after, “Ringadingadong!” Henrick, the Irish Hare has arrived bearing a birthday gift for Larry: a special song he wrote just for Larry. Henrick is fond of craic, which means having a fun time with good conversation. All through the evening the doorbell rings, “Ringadingadong!” New and old friends from near and far show up at Larry’s doorstep, all with a unique skill, family background, and a gift for Larry. The reader learns about each guest, barely finishing before the doorbell rings, “Ringadingadong!”


    Larry and Friends is a fast moving introduction to some amazing and definitely unique characters, all Larry’s friends, all ready to celebrate his birthday. Each character has a unique story relating to finding their way to New York and the job they do—most all are in the entertainment industry in one way or another.


    Cecilia, the Peruvian Llama, was destined to be sheered her entire life for the benefit of the local artisans, who created things from her wool. Not willing to endure such a hard life Cecelia jumped the fence, and kept running until she reached New York, never looking back. Now she sings at the club Silencio and wears fancy clothes, none of which are made of llama wool by Peruvian artisans.

    Gugu, the African Zebra is a grass expert. With only one male zebra—one stallion—allowed per family, Gugu had to leave his home. He decided to go where no other zebra as ever gone—New York City. He is now the lead percussionist at the Apollo Theater. As with the other guests, Gugu has a motto that keeps him going. For Gugu, it is, “Aim high. Look how well it worked for me!” Also very superstitious, Gugu knocks on wood.

    Twenty-one anthropomorphic animals, including Larry, gather in a small apartment in New York. Everyone has gathered to celebrate Larry, but in his or her own way have celebrated themselves. The illustrations have amazing color, are bright, cheerful, and extremely detailed. The illustrated page immediately strikes you with the passion of the artist. My guess is the animals, the illustrations, arrived first and then the story found life.


    Each animal displays his or her talent, origin, or new lifestyle. It is too bad there is not a story involving these characters—all or some—other than an introduction, which is really all Larry and Friends is. The introductions are interesting, some are educational, and all are entertaining, but not in a real story kind of way. After a dozen ringadingadongs, Larry and Friends becomes rather tedious.

    Kids can still learn a lot about immigration, friendship, and family. More than that is the spirit each character exudes that has kept them on top of his or her world, happy, motivated, and philosophical. Many of the character’s life mottos are worth repeating. Here are three:

    “All knowledge is worthless, unless it is shared.” ~ Bernard, the French Gargoyle

    “Where there is adversity, there is opportunity.” ~ Rimshi, the Tibetan Yak

    “The important thing is always to be yourself, no matter who stares at you” ~ Laila, the Iranian Cat

    The story, as told in the first page, is a birthday party, but readers are not invited to the party. Readers get the guest list. As unique and interesting as these introductions to Larry’s friends may be, they do not amount to a real story. The running theme of a birthday party holds these individuals together. The real story begins and ends with each new character. After all 20 are present, have told their story, and given Larry a gift, the actual celebration begins with food and drink, birthday cake and whatever else a group of interesting people with varied backgrounds do at such gatherings. When the party begins, the book abruptly ends. The reader is not invited to the actual party. Seems unkind.

    2 .

    LARRY AND FRIENDS. Text copyright © 2014 by Nat Jaspar. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Carla Torres. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tangerine Books, New York, NY.

    For a younger interpretation of Larry and Friends, check out Erik’s review at This Kid Reviews Books HERE.


    Learn more about Larry and Friends HERE.

    Buy a copy of Larry and Friends at Amazon—B&N—Tangerine Booksyour local bookstore.


    Meet the author, Nat Jaspar, at facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/natjaspar

    Meet the creator and illustrator, Carla Torres, at her website:  http://www.carlatorres.com/

    Find Larry and Friends at the Tangerine Books website:  http://www.larry-and-friends.com/




    larry and friends

    Filed under: 4stars, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Picture Book Tagged: anthropomorphised animals, Carla Torres, children's book reviews, friendship, Immigration, life mottos, Nat Jaspar, New York City, Tangerine Books, the melting pot

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    24. The Giant - a review

    Mary-Todd, Jonathan. 2014. The Giant. Minneapolis: Lerner.
    (Advance Reader Copy)

    The Giant is the latest in the Bareknuckle series featuring young  fighters in New York City, circa 1870.  Luc is the giant - a hulking, kind, illiterate young man who easily wins all of his bareknuckle fights.  The money he earns at the local fight club provides only shabby room and board with any small profit going to Mr. Chilton, the man who brought him from Canada to New York.  Life, however, is better than it was in Quebec; and Luc is not unhappy until a stranger with boxing kangaroos joins up with Mr. Chilton.  Thoughtful and kind, Luc is uncomfortable seeing the kangaroo, Genghis, forced to fight amidst the drunken crowds at the seedy Woodrat Club.

         One day in Quebec, when Luc was chopping wood, a few of the others dragged a man into camp.  The man had been hunting for furs when snow began to fall, covering some of the traps he'd set.  Soon the man stepped into one of them.  The older men brought him indoors before he could bleed out, but it took five of them together to pry the trap loose.
         Genghis's fight the night before worked like a trap on Luc.  Each thought of it was painful, but he could not shake the memory.  He had felt the drain throughout the morning, and he felt it in his room.
    Unaccustomed to making decisions on his own, Luc's conscience finally compels him to act independently.

    Bareknuckle is a "hi-lo" series, aimed at older, struggling or reluctant readers. There is an art to writing prose that appeals to young adults but needs only a minimal mastery of reading and vocabulary. Jonathan Mary-Todd capably handles the "hi-lo" genre.  Readers will be rewarded with a compelling story of self-determination and a taste of New York history.

    For teachers:
    • Pages: 104
    • Reading Level: 4
    • Interest Level: 6-12
    • Ages: 11-18
    • ATOS Quiz #: 163032
    • ATOS AR Points: 2.00
    • ATOS: 4.90
    • Lexile Level: 760
    On a related topic, check out this article, "Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?" 
    Hi-lo books can be an option for the teen who doesn't read because he cannot read. As librarians and teachers, we should always have them on hand.

    0 Comments on The Giant - a review as of 5/14/2014 8:04:00 AM
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    25. They ARE judging you

    idol 300x195 They ARE judging youThe Boston Globe-Horn Book Award judges will be meeting in Boston this weekend to make their decisions. Anyone have any inside dirt? I’ll be announcing the winners on Saturday, May 31st at BEA, 1:00PM in the Librarians’ Lounge at Javits.

    share save 171 16 They ARE judging you

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