Women’s History Month Graphic Novels

Check out some great graphic novels to celebrate Women’s History Month!


She Changed Comics: The Untold Story of the Women Who Changed Free Expression in Comics by Betsy Gomez

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico by John Sack and Adam Shapiro

Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition by Julia Kaye

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua

Surviving the City by Tasha Spillett

Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg by Kate Evans

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Kabi Nagata

Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers

Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag by A.K. Summers

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Ari Folman and David Polonsky

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash

Spinning by Tillie Walden

Josephine Baker by Jose-Luis Bocquet

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Skim by Mariko Tamaki

A Girl Called Echo by Katherena Vermette

La Guardia: A Very Modern Story of Immigration by Nnedi Okorafor

Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

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Red Letter Poem #49

Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, is today’s guest blogger.

Sonnet.  To some, the word itself is a pure musicality, conjuring what’s often thought of as the jewel of Western poetry.  To others – who perhaps endured less-than-cherished high school English classes (unlucky souls), where the poetic form was used as an instrument of torment or a cruel measure of intelligence – the word makes the little hairs across the neck stand up stiffly.

Yet biologists and anthropologists tell us that the human mind relishes the experience of pattern; it promises security, anticipation, rhythmic pleasure, a sense of resolution.  A sonnet is all that and more.  The form in formal poetry just means there’s a distant music guiding the poet’s ear, and a set of dance steps that have been handed down.  But for contemporary practitioners of the art form, there is a certain pleasure in showing up for the grand ball dressed, not in tux or taffeta, but in comfy jeans and old Nikes.  They play against our old expectations by focusing on more down-to-earth subject matter, and adopting a tone of voice more colloquial than Cavalcanti or Shakespeare ever imagined.    So it is with Denise Provost whose collection, Curious Peach (published by Ibbetson Street Press in 2019), is chock-full of sonnets that carry us through the year’s seasonal progression, uncovering beauty in simple events that might normally pass beneath our attention.  To a person for whom snow-shoveling is the least poetic of activities, somehow she reminded me of that marvelous sense of dislocation a storm can bring, as even our own street can be transformed overnight into strange territory.  And then there’s that sense camaraderie a blizzard instills – all of us in it together, dwarfed by the immensity of something as simple as weather, and perhaps humbled by our powerlessness before natural phenomena.  So Denise allows her pentameters to breathe a bit, and uses the matrix of line breaks to make what seems like ordinary speech feel like an intimate meditation.  She has a new collection, City of Stories, set to appear next year from Cervena Barva Press.  And now that she is no longer a State Representative from Somerville, I forecast future blizzards of verse along with New England’s yearly snowfall.

 

Red Letter Poem #49: 

Red Letter 49

The Red Letter Poems Project was created in grateful partnership with many of our town’s cultural resources: the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Robbins Library, the Arlington International Film Festival, and Arlington Community Education.  See the full archive of the project at http://artsarlington.org/red-letter-poems/.  We’ll send out a poem from a new poet every week. If you enjoy them, we encourage you to forward them to friends –  in Arlington and beyond –  or to post them on your social media platforms with the hashtags: #RedLetterPoems, #ArlingtonPoetLaureate. If you want to make sure you receive these poems directly – or to receive notices about future poetry events – send an e-mail to: steven.arlingtonlaureate@gmail.com with the subject line ‘mailing list’.

In ancient Rome, feast days were indicated on the calendar by red letters.  To my mind, all poetry and art – and, in truth, even the COVID-19 crisis itself – serves as a reminder that every day we wake together beneath the sun is a red-letter day.

– Steven Ratiner

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Learn how to download ebooks with the Libby app

Are you lost when it comes to downloading books and audiobooks from the library? Then we have the perfect learning opportunity for you!

Overdrive, maker of the Libby app, will be holding three Getting Started sessions online on March 23. They are at 9:00, 9:30, or 10:00am.

For those of you who know the basics but feel like you could be getting more out of the service, or if you have specific questions, you might be interested in the Deep Dive session that same day at 10:30.

Sign up here for any of these sessions: http://bit.ly/robbinstrain

Before the session you’ll want to make sure you have the Libby app installed and ready to go. Just search for Libby in your app store (it will say Libby, by Overdrive) and download it for free. It will look like this:

Choose your library and log in with your library card number and the same PIN/password you use for your library account. If you don’t know your PIN/password, just call the Reference Desk at 781-316-3233 and we’ll help you!

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Red Letter Poem #48

Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, is today’s guest blogger.

“When you die, God and the angels will hold you accountable for all the pleasures you were allowed in life that you denied yourself.”  My wife cut out this anonymous quote from a magazine and posted it on our fridge.  At the time, I believed (foolish man!) it was meant as justification for her beloved indulgence: shoe shopping.  Endlessly frugal, I’d spent most of my life turning denial into a veritable artform.  Later, when it came out in conversation that the quote was intended, not for herself, but for me – my tears were extravagant and, over time, transformative.

Christopher Jane Corkery’s poem takes us to a tiny Italian hill town near Florence where she savors what seems the simplest of memories: sun, taste, the generosity of the body, those times in life when we’re able to be blissfully unaware of the price time exacts from us all.  Three times she mentions “danger” yet, despite some hints of darkness, she plunges ahead, plumbing memory’s irresistible depths – because, back then, that little coltish spring seemed a symbol of ultimate abundance.  But what should we make of that old man she meets, squatting on the boundary between the mundane and the mythological?  And his offer/command that she – “Bevi!” – drink?  Do we ever understand what we’ve been given – or fully appreciate what we’ve lost?  Perhaps that’s the poet’s job: to reclaim that lost day – for herself, for her readers – with the gently-inflected music I’ve come to trust in Christopher’s writing.  Savoring the poem, we are each, then, left on our own to take account of what beauty our flickering days contain.

My dog-eared copy of her first collection, Blessing (Princeton University Press) remains a favorite of mine.  Christopher’s new book, Love Took the Words (Slant Books, 2020) from which “Il Cavallino…” was taken, carries us to faraway places – Ireland, Mexico, Greece, Italy (much appreciated during these homebound days) – as well as towns a mere stone’s throw from Arlington.  Poet, educator, essayist, proud grandmother, Christopher is widely published, richly honored, and determined to continue following wherever her pen leads.

Red Letter Poem #48: 

Red Letter 48

The Red Letter Poems Project was created in grateful partnership with many of our town’s cultural resources: the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Robbins Library, the Arlington International Film Festival, and Arlington Community Education.  See the full archive of the project at http://artsarlington.org/red-letter-poems/.  We’ll send out a poem from a new poet every week. If you enjoy them, we encourage you to forward them to friends –  in Arlington and beyond –  or to post them on your social media platforms with the hashtags: #RedLetterPoems, #ArlingtonPoetLaureate. If you want to make sure you receive these poems directly – or to receive notices about future poetry events – send an e-mail to: steven.arlingtonlaureate@gmail.com with the subject line ‘mailing list’.

In ancient Rome, feast days were indicated on the calendar by red letters.  To my mind, all poetry and art – and, in truth, even the COVID-19 crisis itself – serves as a reminder that every day we wake together beneath the sun is a red-letter day.

– Steven Ratiner

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George Franklin Grant, Black History Month, and Arlington

Dr. George Franklin Grant, Arlington Heights resident,  invented the golf tee in 1899, a lesser-known fact in Arlington history.

 

George Franklin Grant (1846-1910)

George Franklin Grant was an Arlington resident in the late 1800s and early 1900s and the first African American professor at Harvard University.  His father, Tudor Elandor Grant, was born a slave in Maryland and later  became an abolitionist helping smuggle slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

George Grant was the second African American to graduate Harvard University and became a renowned dentist, having graduated from Harvard Dental School in 1870.

The following is derived  from website: originaltee.com

In addition to Grant’s local renown as a dentist, he was a passionate golfer; considerable evidence points to Grant & his golfing partners as some of the earliest African American golfers in the post-Civil War era.  His daughter recalled caddying for her father in the 1880s in the Boston suburb of Arlington Heights, where her father had built a meadow course next to his home in the country.  The family had moved to Beacon Hill, but in his free moments Grant returned to the course in Arlington Heights.

One aspect of the golf game frustrated him:

He was unhappy with the imprecise process of teeing up the ball every time – which required pinching moist sand or mud into a cone-shaped tee before each shot.  Grant came up with an invention that would forever change the game of golf.  He received the very first patent for a wooden golf tee.   As an inventor rather than a businessman, Grant never marketed his golfing innovation.

  His golf tees were manufactured in Arlington, Massachusetts

 

Note:  George Franklin Grant’s home in Arlington Heights was originally numbered 48 Hillside Ave but was renumbered 118 Hillside Ave. in 1897.  In the 1883 street directory the listing says simply – Hillside Ave. 5th house on left from Wollaston Ave.

Arlington Heights, Mass. Wollaston Ave. in winter

This postcard is from Robbins Library’s Historical visual collection. All Library historical postcards and photographs are online via the Digital Commonwealth repository:  digitalcommonwealth.org.

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Red Letter Poem #47

Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, is today’s guest blogger.

If you’re not familiar with the work of Afaa Michael Weaver – award-winning poet, fiction writer, educator, and soon-to-be memoirist – you might want to dive right in to the three books of his monumental verse achievement, Plum Flower Trilogy.  But when he offered me a Red Letter contribution, my mind went immediately to a modest-looking 13-poem chapbook, A Hard Summation, published by Central Square Press in Cambridge, MA.  Hard?  I’d have said nearly impossible – because Afaa set himself the challenge of weaving together 400 years of the African-American experience in this brief sequence – stretching from the Middle Passage to the Great Migration and up into our contemporary city landscapes.  He conjures a host of voices and scenarios, clothed in dictions that range from the rural South to the patois of Northern urban streets – inflected, at times, by Gospel chant, the formal stance of the sonnet, or his own style of musically-charged free verse.  As our country, at last, begins to wrestle with its troubled racial history, A Hard Summation should be an essential resource in the deepening conversation.

Throughout the sequence, we’re introduced to a litany of names and voices: from children listed on a slave ship manifest, to cultural and civil rights figures, to those anonymous men and women just trying to make it through another day.  In this, the closing poem of the collection, we feel the presence of Heaven Sutton, a seven-year-old girl shot and killed in her West Side Chicago neighborhood, the collateral damage of gang violence.  As in all the poems here, the losses, the fleeting joys are individual, intimate, rich with the sort of visceral impressions that history books often fail to document.  Afaa’s writing offers us (as the poem says) “a respite from history”, the chance to be moved by the music and emotional valence of these thoughts, so that we might begin to make our own peace with what we’re carrying within us.

Red Letter Poem #47: 

Red Letter 47

The Red Letter Poems Project was created in grateful partnership with many of our town’s cultural resources: the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Robbins Library, the Arlington International Film Festival, and Arlington Community Education.  See the full archive of the project at http://artsarlington.org/red-letter-poems/.  We’ll send out a poem from a new poet every week. If you enjoy them, we encourage you to forward them to friends –  in Arlington and beyond –  or to post them on your social media platforms with the hashtags: #RedLetterPoems, #ArlingtonPoetLaureate. If you want to make sure you receive these poems directly – or to receive notices about future poetry events – send an e-mail to: steven.arlingtonlaureate@gmail.com with the subject line ‘mailing list’.

In ancient Rome, feast days were indicated on the calendar by red letters.  To my mind, all poetry and art – and, in truth, even the COVID-19 crisis itself – serves as a reminder that every day we wake together beneath the sun is a red-letter day.

– Steven Ratiner

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Together We Read Book Club

Attention Overdrive/Libby users! From now until February 24, you can read Kate Clayborn’s contemporary romance Love Lettering with no waiting as part of the Together We Read Book Club.

The Minuteman Library Network joins nearly 16,000 public libraries and tens of thousands of readers across the United States in offering the latest Together We Read: US digital book club selection. From February 10 to 24, patrons can enjoy author Kate Clayborn’s witty romance ebook and audiobook, Love Lettering, for free with no waitlists or holds. Readers can access the digital book by downloading the Libby app or visiting our Overdrive site, and then participate in an online discussion.

Here’s a description of the book: Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

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Red Letter Poem #46

Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, is today’s guest blogger.

s e x, of course – the ever-present siren-song of our physicality, that’s one element.  Love, absolutely – our need for deep connection, in all its wildly-inventive incarnations.  And it involves the act of reaching out – embracing another’s loneliness; risking the surrender of all the artful barriers we’ve devised to safeguard our own.  But in the end, we’re won over, seduced by that dreamed-of possibility: we – ours – knowing – and home.

I’ve been thinking about art-making, and it seems to me it too is a kind of Valentine.  This is especially true of Sarah Bennett’s delightful poem, selected to celebrate the hearts-and-flowers holiday.  In fact, isn’t language itself a form of seduction, whispering its sweet nothings into our eager ears until we no longer resist and partner in its brief dance?  “Phasmids” comes from Sarah’s beguiling collection, The Fisher Cat (Dytiscid Press) in which her lyrics are, by turns, veiled or unexpectedly exposed, spurred by the poet’s nimble inventiveness.  She is (by her own description) a book designer, gardener, clarinet player, and appreciator of the natural world.  Way back in the 1980’s, before the current trend, she was selected as the Poet Laureate of Worcester, MA.  Out of nothing – signs, sounds – words construct an ephemeral something that feels as tangible as the chair we’re sitting in, the page beneath our fingertips.  In “Phasmids”, every element of the poem is designed to invite the mind’s participation – even that caesura (a pregnant pause?) between that quiet “unnoticed” and the startling “Show me…”.  Tell me: how can anyone resist this delightful will-you-be-mind?

Red Letter Poem #46: 

Red Letter 46

The Red Letter Poems Project was created in grateful partnership with many of our town’s cultural resources: the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Robbins Library, the Arlington International Film Festival, and Arlington Community Education.  See the full archive of the project at http://artsarlington.org/red-letter-poems/.  We’ll send out a poem from a new poet every week. If you enjoy them, we encourage you to forward them to friends –  in Arlington and beyond –  or to post them on your social media platforms with the hashtags: #RedLetterPoems, #ArlingtonPoetLaureate. If you want to make sure you receive these poems directly – or to receive notices about future poetry events – send an e-mail to: steven.arlingtonlaureate@gmail.com with the subject line ‘mailing list’.

In ancient Rome, feast days were indicated on the calendar by red letters.  To my mind, all poetry and art – and, in truth, even the COVID-19 crisis itself – serves as a reminder that every day we wake together beneath the sun is a red-letter day.

– Steven Ratiner

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So Sweet!

This month we asked our librarians for their favorite sweet themed titles! (Remember, sweet titles & settings doesn’t always mean sweet content!) Here are their responses:


Kids:

Not an Alphabet Book: The Case of the Missing Cake by Eoin McLaughlin

Bear Goes Sugaring by Maxwell Eaton

Sweety by Andrea Zuill

Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together by Andrea Tsurumi

Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa

Lady Lollipop by Dick King-Smith

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller

Cinnamon Baby by Nicola Winstanley

Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

Maybelle and the Haunted Cupcake by Katie Speck

Are You Eating Candy Without Me? by Draga Jenny Malesevic


Teen:

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Gumballs by Erin Nations


Adult:

The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender


The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks


From the Children’s and Teen Room:

Who Made This Cake?  by Chihiro Nakagawa, Illustrated by Junji Koyose

Baby Cakes by Theo Heras, Illustrated by Renne

In Aunt Lucy’s Kitchen by Cynthia Rylant (Cobble Street Cousins Book #1)

Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick (Mother-Daughter Book Club Book #4)

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer


The Great British Baking Show

Marie Antoinette

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, Illus. Wendy Xu

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Red Letter Poem #45

Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, is today’s guest blogger.

“We’re considered blow-ins,” my Irish friend once explained (the image being that of dried leaves carried in on a random breeze) “because we’ve only lived in Sligo for forty years.”  It took me a moment to let that sink in.  “But our children, who were born here – perhaps they’ll be thought of as locals.  If not, then certainly our children’s children.”  By such a calculation, almost all of us are blow-ins, conveyed by winds of history, politics, economics, or unbridled dreams.  We’ve arrived upon some untested territory, hoping to establish a new life – and wondering, all the while, how the locals will receive us.

Jenny Xie was born in China’s Anhui province but resettled with her family in Piscataway, New Jersey where she spent her school years.  Later, studying at Princeton – and writing in her second language, no less – she began garnering attention and winning prizes for her poetry.  To say her debut collection, Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018) was well-received is quite the understatement; among the cascade of honors it received was the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, and it was chosen as a finalist for the National Book Award.  What I find remarkable in her writing is the unflinching way she explores the sense of native and foreign within every individual.  While her poems possess a marvelous specificity concerning the immigrant experience, they reach far beyond that.  Between those dark stations from which we each arrive and eventually depart this life, there are the diverse landscapes we travel through, each making as much of a claim upon us as we do on them.  In a time when the very word immigrant has been cast by some Americans to be a sign of threat, Jenny’s poems helped me to better feel the ground beneath my own feet.  It’s clear to me her passport (like the ones we are all issued at birth) is from the province of Self.  And when we meet one another like this, eye to eye, our new visas are validated.

Red Letter Poem #45: 

Red Letter 45

The Red Letter Poems Project was created in grateful partnership with many of our town’s cultural resources: the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Robbins Library, the Arlington International Film Festival, and Arlington Community Education.  See the full archive of the project at http://artsarlington.org/red-letter-poems/.  We’ll send out a poem from a new poet every week. If you enjoy them, we encourage you to forward them to friends –  in Arlington and beyond –  or to post them on your social media platforms with the hashtags: #RedLetterPoems, #ArlingtonPoetLaureate. If you want to make sure you receive these poems directly – or to receive notices about future poetry events – send an e-mail to: steven.arlingtonlaureate@gmail.com with the subject line ‘mailing list’.

In ancient Rome, feast days were indicated on the calendar by red letters.  To my mind, all poetry and art – and, in truth, even the COVID-19 crisis itself – serves as a reminder that every day we wake together beneath the sun is a red-letter day.

– Steven Ratiner

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