Spinning a Yarn? Nope, Crocheting It!

I saw this piece on BookRiot about “Literary Crochet” recently. Amigurumi, the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting stuffed dolls and animals, has been around a while, and of course crocheting blankets and scarves has been around much longer. I’m also pretty sure it’s a law that if you have two or more hobbies or interests, you *must* combine them at some point. Therefore, it was inevitable that we would see our favorite scenes and characters show up in crochet eventually.

On a recent trip to etsy.com, for Paddington Bear alone, you can find aimage 0 finished crochet bear, a pattern for a bear and his clothes, and a finished blanket with 3D effect.

 

 

Paddington not your thing? What about a pattern for Star-Bellied Sneetches, from Dr. Seuss?

Have a younger child, or fond memories of board books? catclose1smallMake your own Very Hungry Caterpillar, to play with or wear!

 

 

Fond of Young Adult works? How about Rob Anybody from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series?  Maybe Le Petit Prince is more your style?

Ah, you adult-fiction readers!  For you, we have all sorts of grown-up crochet! From Gandalf (and Gandalf) and Gollum to Game of Thrones. (Along with Goodnight, Moon of course!)

Image result for captain ahab crochetCheck out these pictures and patterns

Literary Crochet, from #AmReading

10 Lovely Literary Crochet Patterns, from BookRiot

Literary Yarns: Crochet Patterns Inspired By Classic Books, by Cindy Wang — and if you want to see more of Cindy’s work, check out her blog!

Make your own Captain Ahab right now!

I’d love to see what you decide to make!

 

 

Washington Prisons Ban Book Donations

[me: Well, this is some bullshit]

from Bookriot

WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS QUIETLY BANS BOOK DONATIONS TO PRISONERS FROM NONPROFITS

The Washington State Department of Corrections quietly rolled out a new policy via a memo on their website last month which disallows books to be donated to prisons via nonprofit organizations. So quietly, in fact, that one of the largest nonprofits that works to get donated materials to prisoners was taken by surprise to discover the change. They weren’t informed before it was implemented.

“We’re ready to fight it,” said Books to Prisoners, located in Seattle, in a tweet.

The new policy limits books to those accepted by the Washington State Library for incarcerated individuals which had already been approved by the Prisons Division, used books from the Monroe City Library directed specifically to the correctional facilities in Snohomoish County, and to those used books purchased by prisoners enrolled in pre-approved correspondence educational courses from the bookstore linked to the educational facility in which they’re enrolled. Individuals have never been allowed to make donations to prisons; those have always had to go through either nonprofits or bookstores.

As Books to Prisoners pointed out, this severely limits access to literature for incarcerated individuals, and especially impacts those in facilities outside Monroe County.

One of the reasons noted for this sudden policy change is the lack of staff in mail rooms to determine whether or not materials sent are appropriate or whether they’re hiding contraband. Likewise, additional funding and resources are not available to the Washington State Library (WSL). In a tweet, Books to Prisoners notes, “WSL is being used as a scapegoat–they have no special search procedures.” When asked if they’ve reached out to WSL about the change, Books to Prisoners noted, “It has been confirmed that they have no special staff or screening procedures, nor are they being given any extra staff or money to deal with any influx of books. The policy is using them as a pawn.”

This highlights exactly why Books to Prisoners and similar nonprofits do the work that they do — these facilities are underfunded and that lack of funding impacts the individuals who use those books to improve themselves and their own literacy. These book donations, which are thoroughly inspected by those at the nonprofit for suitability, fill a critical role in helping those incarcerated who otherwise lack access to vital educational tools.

Books to Prisoners has been sending free books to prisoners across the country since 1973. They note in a tweet “Attempted bans pop up sometimes, most recently by Pennsylvania DOC in 2018, always using same vague “safety” justification. In 45 years, our books have never had contraband.” They added, “Given that we’ve sent books without issue since 1973, and currently send to 12,000 unique prisoners across almost every state in the country each year, it would be bewildering if after 46 years of work as an award-winning nonprofit we decided to start transporting contraband.”

Prison libraries are severely underfunded, and there’s a lack of staff as well. As Books to Prisoners notes, “Furthermore, the reason that we send books directly to the hands of prisoners is that libraries are chronically underfunded and understaffed. In Washington, each branch has just 1 librarian. Only open certain hours. Going back to PA as an example, prisoners capped at 90 min/WEEK.”

Barring access to literature, which is what this policy does, hinders those who need it most. Other states, including New York, have tried similar bans and they’ve been rescinded. The ACLU has stepped in in similar attempted book bans in prison as well.  Criminal justice reform includes ensuring that those who are incarcerated have rights to literature and education, so steps like these by the Washington Department of Corrections are but steps backwards. To combat recidivism, literacy is one of the crucial steps forward, and yet, situations like these further hinder rehabilitation and self-development of those who most need it.

HOW TO ACT

If you’re in Washington or anywhere in the US, speak up about this policy to help get it changed. Contact Prisons Division Correctional Manager Roy Gonzalez at rgonzalez@docl.wa.gov or by phone at 360-725-8839. 

Sign the petition set up by Books to Prisoners to stop the ban.

Likewise, donate to Books to Prisoners to help support their efforts in getting the policy reversed and keep an eye on their Twitter stream for phone blitzes and other direction action plans you can participate in.

Spread the word. Share this and any tweets, petitions, or phone blitz information among your friends, family, and colleagues.

Visiting SE PDX Little Free Libraries

Another in an occasional series of Little Free Libraries in LFL 1432.jpgSoutheast Portland.

I went a different route home from work recently, and was treated to this. I’ve been meaning to visit this Little Free Library for a while, but hadn’t made the opportunity before. LFL #1432 is based at Busy Bee Preschool, at 7618 SE Duke Street.

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There wasn’t much of anything in the library today. I wonder what kind of traffic it usually has. I was in some sort of publicly-available wifi dead zone – I tried a couple of times to open the Little Locator app to mark it, but never was able to get in. Maybe I can plan a day to go this route again, and take some books for it.

Featured in the library this week

This week the Division92 Little Free Library is featuring the songbooks of Sandra Boynton. You probably know her best from her massively popular card:

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Did you know she also writes (and co-writes) children’s songs?  And convinces hugely popular celebrities to sing them? We’re putting out her first three songbooks. Unfortunately, the CDs are missing from each of the books. HOWEVER!  You can find the songs on YouTube! For instance:

Where else can you hear Kate Winslet & Weird Al Yankovic singing a duet? When was the last time you heard Scott Bakula sing?  What other album contains performances by both Hootie & the Blowfish AND Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme?

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Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility

Join Multnomah County Library, PRISM (Multnomah County’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group), and the Hollywood Theatre in celebrating Transgender KikiDay of Visibility with a screening of the documentary Kiki followed by a panel featuring Portland Ballroom PDXB performers and organizers.

Directed by Sara Jordenö and co-written by Twiggy Pucci Garçon, a leader in New York’s kiki community, 2016’s KIKI is a dynamic coming of age story about resilience and the transformative art form of vogueing. KIKI follows seven New York City LGBTQ youth of color who face real struggles creating a safe and vibrant space for themselves to vogue.

Free tickets available on Hollywood Theatre’s website.

Movie playing at Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

Thursday, April 4, 7-9:15pm

Short Story & Movie Night: It Had to be Murder/Rear Window

Tonight was the second installment of Short Story & Movie Night. We read the short story Image result for it had to be murder cornell woolrichIt Had to be Murder by Cornell Woolrich. About 13 pages long, there’s not a lot of mystery to it, but it’s a good solid basic murder story.

Then we got together and watched Rear Window, with Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Raymond Burr.

Again, three of the four of us hadn’t seen the movie before, and none of us had read the story before.

Image result for rear windowThe film definitely kept most of the story’s elements, and what it changed, we all felt changed for the better. The two female characters in the movie didn’t exist in the story, and added a great deal to the film – in no small part because they were living breathing human characters, and not just “sexy lamps” or “dark action girl“. Because of their addition, some of the action from the story got rearranged, but it still all fell nicely into place. (and do I even need to start about Grace Kelly or her character’s wardrobe? *swoon*)  We all quite liked the film – thumbs up all around!

Tonight’s tie-in dinner was eggs (scrambled, with cheese), bacon, toast, and coffee (well, coffee cocktail), per both the story and the movie. Mostly because I wasn’t up to dealing with lobster and pommes frites.

Looking forward to next month’s Short Story & Movie Night!

Happy Birthday, Ezra Jack Keats!

Ezra Jack Keats wrote some of the most beloved children’s books – The Snowy Image result for snowy day keatsDay, Whistle for Willie, Peter’s Chair, A Letter for Amy, and more. He’s been gone since 1983, and his books are still used in classrooms and library storytimes all over the country.  He wrote and illustrated children’s books, illustrated adult books, painted murals, and helped design camouflage patterns while serving in the army. Did you know he also created backgrounds for the original Captain Marvel comic?Image result for ezra jack keats

From the entry on Mr. Keats in Wikipedia: “One of Keats’ signature story elements is that the children in his books are consistently challenged with real problems that are recognizable to young readers; in solving them, the characters learn and mature.”

Watch this video clip of Ezra Jack Keats making art with Mr. Rogers.

You might also want to check out the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, dedicated to bringing multiculturalism and diversity to children’s literature.