“If PT Barnum was the famous face of the circus, James Anthony Bailey was the heart.” for intermediate readers by Gloria G. Adams.
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Bailey was a Detroit orphan named Jimmy McGinnis who ran away from his sister’s harsh treatment into a life of migrant labor. At age 13, two months into the Civil War, he joined a traveling circus. The circus agent treated Jimmy so kindly that he took his name.
Although PT Barnum was the “biggest showman,” Bailey was the organizer, known for his generosity and honesty.
The book includes reproductions of full color circus posters promoting tightrope acts, geese and of course the elephant Jumbo. Sidebars offer odd circus terms: “alfalfa” is paper money; “Screamers” are marching tunes.
James A. Bailey (48 pages, hardcover) is $21.95 from Slanted Ink and is recommended for readers ages 9-12. Gloria G. Adams is also the author of Who Sees You at the Zoo? and Ah-Choo! She lives in Stow as a former children’s librarian.
“Profiles in Resilience”
As efforts to ban books mount, librarians have come under fire over new policies regarding books dealing with racism and sexuality, but there are other forms of diversity addressed in books as well. One of them is economic diversity.
Profile in Resilience: Books for Children and Teens That Center the Lived Experience of Generational Poverty, by Christina H. Dorr, examines narratives of poverty in fiction and non-fiction.
Former University of Akron faculty member Cynthia Rylant used her childhood in a house with no plumbing in a tiny West Virginia town with no library as material for her children’s books, including the 1993 Newbery Medal-winning Missing May. Dorr interviews librarians about their admiration for various authors who grew up in households with drug-addicted or abusive parents or parents in prison; Writers who have been bullied because of their ethnicity or because they were given a free lunch at school.
Native American author Joseph Bruchac explains in an interview how his impoverished childhood and supportive teachers helped develop the characters in his books. Dominican-American writer Elizabeth Acevedo, whose The Poet X won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, says, “My characters aren’t wealthy, but… we need to write characters that recognize that they’re emerging from an economic depression come realms and that it is inherently unfair.”
The second half of the book features stories from inspiring people who grew up in varying degrees of poverty, including Sonia Sotomayor and John Lewis. Dorr says, “All children need a wide range of books to engage in, to see themselves and others, and to see the possibilities that are out there.”
The profiles are followed by inviting lists of books by and about the authors.
“Profiles in Resilience” (224 pages, softcover) costs a conflicting $49.99 from the American Library Association’s ALA Editions, suggesting that it is intended as a library resource. Christina H. Dorr has taught library science at universities such as Kent State University.
Scholar Owl Bookstore (204 N. Main St., Hudson): Gabe Goldman signing his picture book, The Loving Wind, Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Brandy Gleason will be signing “100 Things To Do In Amish County Before You Die” Saturday from 1-3 p.m.
Wayne County Public Library (220 W. Liberty St., Wooster): Lindsay Bonilla reads from her storybook, I Love You with All of My Hearts, Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Register at wcpl.info.
Cuyahoga Falls Public Library (2015 Third St.): Children’s book author Lindsay Ward appears on Zoom Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. to direct an art project based on her book, Pink Is Not a Color. Each registered child will receive painting materials and a copy of the book. Register at cuyahogafallslibrary.org.
Massillon public library: Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Merlin Missions and Magic Tree House series, will be participating in a virtual interactive appearance at the Summer Reading Program on Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Hudson Library & Historical Society: Jennifer Chiaverini will be speaking on “Switchboard Soldiers,” her novel about Signal Corps telephone operators during World War I, in a Zoom event Thursday at 7 p.m. Register at hudsonlibrary.org.
Wadsworth Public Library (132 Broad St.): Laura DeMarco will be giving a presentation based on her photo book, Lost Civil War: The Disappearing Legacy of America’s Greatest Conflict, Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library (Coventry Branch, 1925 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights): Poets Elsa Johnson, Terry Murcko and RC Wilson read from their work, Thursday 7pm.
Visible language books (2258 Professor Ave., Cleveland): Poets LaTonya Fenderson-Warren, Truth Taylor, and Beverly Wells read from their work, Friday 8 p.m.; Caryn Rose speaks on “Why Patti Smith Matters” at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Maple Valley Branch, 1187 Copley Road): Clarence Bechter talks about the bike ride he wrote in The Time of My Life with Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers 2019: 3000 Miles San Diego, California, to St. Augustine, Florida, 2-3 , recorded am Saturday. Register at akronlibrary.org.
Email information about books of local interest and event announcements to BeaconBookTalk@gmail.com and email@example.com at least two weeks in advance. Barbara McIntyre tweets @BarbaraMcI.
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