Military Pension Files: Frakturs

Nov. 25th, 2014 09:18 pm
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Posted by David Ferriero

Did you know that military pension files may contain valuable details about family history? While military veterans who applied for benefits had to provide evidence of service, widows or heirs had to provide evidence of their relationship to soldiers. As a result, some military pension files in the National Archives contain very interesting, and sometimes surprising items.

For example, this beautiful Fraktur illustrating a family record was found within the file documenting the military service of Peter Hunt, who served during the American Revolutionary War.

Peter Hunt family Fraktur From the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application File of Peter Hunt. National Archives Identifier 300092

 

We know from his pension application that Peter Hunt was born on Sept 28, 1757 in Dover, Dutchess County, New York. He married Hannah Benson on September 15, 1779 in Dutchess County.

On October 8, 1832, Peter Hunt made an application for pension while a resident of Kortright, Delaware County, New York, and was issued pension in 1833. According to Peter’s declaration to obtain pension, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1776 as a private commanded by Captain Childs and served in his Company of Infantry. Soon after, he enlisted into a Company of Artillery commanded by Captain Andrew Moody in a regiment of the New York Continental line.

Peter first enlisted as volunteer in the militia in 1775 … [ Read all ]

[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
What a year it’s been for picture books. Sometimes it felt as though every single box I opened presented me with a newly inventive variation on this oh-so-important art form. Since most children encounter both fine art and letters for the first time in picture books, it’s heartening to see how robust this slice of the industry is.
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Middle-grade books have been neglected of late. Once the bread and butter of the children’s-book industry, they’ve  been displaced by sparkly vampires and gloomy dystopias—but this lack of attention has allowed those practitioners remaining to create some truly remarkable books.

Giving Thanks

Nov. 24th, 2014 05:04 pm
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I was originally planning to write about an upcoming book today, but my feelings about it were not entirely positive, which seemed like a downer for Thanksgiving week. So, instead, I’m going to talk about books I’ve read in 2014 for which I’m thankful. This is NOT a best of list—for one thing, I’ve still got an entire month of reading ahead of me, and as a first-round Cybils panelist, that means that in December, I’ll probably read three times more books than usual; for another, not all of the books on the list came out this year—but, as I said, a list of books that I’m feeling especially thankful to have read this year.

Best Books of 2014: Duncan Tonatiuh

Nov. 24th, 2014 07:35 am
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Duncan Tonatiuh lives in-between in more than one way—he lives some of the time in Mexico and some in the United States (he has dual citizenship), and his published name is half-Anglo and half-Aztec (“Duncan” is, intriguingly enough, his great aunt’s name, and he shares Tonatiuh with the Aztec god of the sun). There is nothing in-between, however, about Tonatiuh’s bold, unforgTonatiuh Duncan book. ettable picture book Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation, which was released in May. In it, Tonatiuh, who writes and illustrates the book, reveals the struggle that Sylvia Mendez’s parents endured to enroll their daughter in a public school near their farm in Orange County, California seven years before Brown v. Board of Education. Tonatiuh creates stark images that don’t just reference but actually mimic pre-Columbian iconography: tear-shaped eyes, blocky arms and legs, a curl in his characters’ ears that we spy in Aztec art. In those images, Tonatiuh makes it clear in Separate Is Never Equal that the Mendezes’ fight for justice was an emotional, personal one. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tonatiuh has an opinion about the debate that’s been raging about the lack of diversity in children’s books. “I think we’re all responsible in different ways,” he says. Publishers—not necessarily his own—may say there’s not enough profit in publishing books for minority markets, but Tonatiuh disagrees. In 2013, he published Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale. “Teachers and librarians and kids really appreciated it,” he says. “There’s definitely a market for them. I understand publishing is a business, but I think there is money to be made there, and I think it’s a matter of being courageous and trying things out.” – Claiborne Smith

A Rabbit's Thoughtful Send-Off

Nov. 21st, 2014 05:57 pm
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I’ve had more than one person this year ask me if I’ve seen Bárður Oskarsson’s The Flat Rabbit, released by Owlkids Books back in September. My friends and colleagues know I love picture books and write about them a lot, and given that this one is so distinctive, they were curious to know if I’d taken a look. My response to their queries, which they usually paired with a scratching of the head and a wild-eyed look, was always, “yeah, I’ve seen that bizarre book, but I just haven’t written about it yet.” If you’ve seen the book, you might get this. It’s about roadkill, for one thing. And it’s, hands down, the most ambiguous picture book of 2014, maybe only tied with Mac Barnett’s Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, illustrated by Jon Klassen. The Flat Rabbit is a good book—Kirkuseven gave it a starred review—but it’s definitely unlike all other picture books you’ve seen this year. I hadn’t written about it, because I was still thinking about it. It’s the kind of story you mull over.
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In 1932, an appliance salesman named Isidore Hochberg wrote a set of politically charged lyrics for a satirical musical called Americana. In one tune, the narrator builds railroads, fights wars, plows fields and erects skyscrapers in the space of a few verses, only to be undone by predatory capitalists. The show closed after only a couple of performances, but that song, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” became a smash hit, recorded by a young Bing Crosby.
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Posted by Daniel Cornwall

Daniel Cornwall:

Some thought provoking reading.

Originally posted on Blogging for a Good Book:

handI work on a public service desk, so I see lots of people from all walks of life and economic classes. When they ask for computer help, or to use the phone, it is impossible not to see or hear what they’re doing. (The cardinal sin of librarianship is denying them service based on those observations.) But when I hear someone reeking of cigarettes negotiating a payday loan, or see a woman with a toddler and a baby bragging about her sexual adventures on Facebook, it’s hard not to mentally question their choices. Linda Tirado has given me 191 pages of smackaround for my presumption in asking those questions.

Tirado came to international attention when her essay on the bad decisions many poor people make went viral. Based on that attention she was able to get a book deal to expand on the post, and to share the experiences of other…

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One step in integrating fat politics into your life is refraining from imposing fatphobia on others, which means (among other things) refraining from urging weight loss on anyone. Much urging of weight loss hides behind the guise of concern for health when really it’s an insidious mix of aesthetic, moral, and cultural discomfort at fat people existing—and especially at fat people existing without trying to lose weight. Refraining from saying or hinting that fat people in general or a certain fat person should strive to be less fat—that’s big. Once folks are on board with fatpol, they pick up this important step pretty quickly.

Something that’s harder for folks learning fatpol to absorb is that making a statement about oneself is actually making a statement about other people. When a person talks about their own weight-loss diet—or some exercise that they hope will lead to weight loss or prevent weight gain, or the notion of calories being burned, or a diet food they purchased or ate—that’s feeding into cultural fatphobia. There’s no way to say those things without reinscribing the status quo fatphobia. Simply saying that you are trying to lose weight—or wish you could lose weight, or bought a Lean Cuisine, or burned some calories doing whatever—taps into the current of fatphobia. Fatphobia is a fierce and unforgiving current that never stops flowing. There’s no still pool into which your simple comment can go. When you mention weight loss stuff—unless you’re questioning or undermining the assumption that weight loss is good—you are invoking cultural fatphobia. You’re giving fatphobic oppression a tiny boost.

If you say that kind of thing near a fat person—if you mention joy at weight loss, wish for weight loss, sadness about weight gain, purchase of a diet food, the burning of calories—you are talking about that fat person. Even if you mean to be talking only about yourself, you’re not. You can’t. You don’t have that power. It’s not your fault that you don’t, but you don’t. Cultural fatphobia is that strong.

I don’t mean that it’s anti-fatpol to mention activities that happen to burn calories. But it is anti-fatpol to mention the calories. If you mention calories, you’re referring to weight loss and weight control. There are plenty of ways to talk about the jumping, dancing, running, swimming, sex that you just did or are about to do without tying it to weight control. Don’t mention the calories.

Or, you know, do. It’s your right to mention whatever you want. Maybe you are trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain. Maybe your cousin is, and you just toss that fact into the conversation. You and your cousin have the right to do whatever you want with your own bodies. But know that when you talk about it—even the quickest mention of calories or Slimfast—you’re not talking only about yourself. You’re talking about the fat person near you and all the fat people who aren’t near you. You can’t help but. There is no neutral. Cultural fatphobia is just that big.

It’s like individual book characters. A fat bully character in a book implies that fatness is connected to bullying—because our culture already has that stereotype entrenched. A fat bully character in an individual book invokes the culture in which it exists, and brings all that to bear. Can’t help but.

You know how I said there’s no neutral? There’s a good side to that. If you seem to be actually achieving neutral, you’re probably actively helping. If you refer to yourself or a book character as “fat” and you say it neutrally, without denigration and without symbolism? That’s helping. That’s activism. If you write a fat character whose fatness isn’t symbolic of anything? That’s helping. If you go through the world—no matter what your body size—as if fatness is a neutral trait, that’s helping. That’s magnificent.
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Crazy by Linda Vigen Phillips has some interesting things about the treatment of mental illness in the 1960s. I have reservations about the ending regarding treatment of mental illness and would like to discuss the ending if any of you have read it.

Meanwhile, Crazy holds a stellar example of how white America uses the notion of Indian-ness as something for itself. There are no Indian people in the book. There are three mentions of a mountain range near the white protagonist's house. Here's the first one (slashes indicate a line break; the prose is free verse):

“my favorite mountains, / the ones that always remind me of an old Indian chief / lying on his back / with his hands across his chest / like he’s sleeping peacefully, / and I can smell the wild sage growing / in the field across the road / and the crisp air feels good / on my hot cheeks” [42].

Two later references to the "Indian chief" mountain shape [81, 163] are about the same. Indians aren't real breathing humans; they're a concept for a white character's metaphorical and emotional use. Indians connote nature and romanticized comfort for this white girl. Indian-ness is not about real Indian people; Indian-ness is a symbol, for white people to use for themselves.

Harnessing the Stars

Nov. 17th, 2014 03:49 pm
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Here’s my take on wishes: They’re generally a bad idea. Whether you end up sparring with a loophole-loving genie; you get exactly what you thought you wanted, only to find it’s not all it’s cracked up to be; or you end up selling your soul to the Devil or a future favor to one of the fae, you’re more likely to end up with a greasy sausage hanging off of your nose than you are to gain fame or fortune or beauty or strength or love or whatever else you might desire.

Catholic, Again

Nov. 17th, 2014 05:30 am
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Posted by Daniel Cornwall

Hi All,

I’m posting this entry because back in 2012 I blogged the reasons that I left the Catholic Church. About a month ago I returned to the Church.

My main reasons are twofold – one is that my wife, a cradle Catholic, has really re-engaged with our parish over the last year or so and it was hard for me having her go to one service and me to another. I completely respect mixed marriages that can make separate services work, but that isn’t where I am.  The other reason was realizing that my political differences with the US Catholic Bishops Conference was not the same as having fundamental faith differences with the Catholic Church. To me, I can now see it as analogous as to being very unhappy with Congress, but not giving up my US citizenship over that unhappiness.

I don’t feel ready to have a discussion of my choice with the blogosphere at large, so I do not have comments enabled on this post. But since I used this platform to proclaim a break with the Church, I feel compelled to use it use it to announce my reconciliation and reunion.

I haven’t abandoned my political differences. I still see the US Bishop’s interference on civil marriage and adoption issues to be unacceptable in a pluralistic society. But I’m done with letting the political get in the way of faith. Although I still love the Episcopal parish of Holy Trinity in Juneau, Alaska, where I found a home for two years; I feel like I’m where God wants me to be at this time.


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Fighting Fear with a Lion's Help

Nov. 14th, 2014 05:16 pm
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Back in 2001, the great Russell Hoban wrote a picture book called Jim’s Lion with velvety-soft illustrations from Ian Andrew. On shelves this week is a new edition of the book, re-imagined as a graphic novel with the artwork of talented British illustrator Alexis Deacon. I don’t know if we have the publisher, Candlewick Press, or the illustrator (or even someone else) to thank for the bold idea of transforming this into a graphic novel. This could have ended poorly, but it really works. I think, in fact, this is a story that was nearly begging to have new life in this way, with all respect to the work of Ian Andrew. Deacon takes the story in all-new, unsettling and beautiful directions.

Swashbuckling with Heidi Schulz

Nov. 13th, 2014 05:21 pm
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A narrator who despises children. The daughter of Captain Hook himself, who fails miserably at finishing school and, instead, sets out to avenge her father’s death. A ticking crocodile, numerous swords, frequent swashbuckling and lots of bravery. They all add up to the debut middle-grade novel from Heidi Schulz, Hook’s Revenge, which includes cover art and interior illustrations from John Hendrix. 
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