Chicago Classics: The Oz Books

Long before Lemony Snicket, Captain Underpants, Dr. Seuss, Henry Huggins, Ramona or Pippi Longstocking, there was Oz. Scraps, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, became a movie star before Raggedy Ann was even a twinkle in her parents’ eyes. In 1900, L. Frank Baum, while living on Chicago’s Humboldt Boulevard, published the The Wonderful Wizard of […]

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Books About Elephants To Never Forget

Elephants 1

Elephants have held a special fascination for humans for millenia. Worshipped as gods, feted as performers, trained as workers, they have a special relationship with people. These three books deal with that relationship in its myriad forms. The Tusk That Did the Damage by Tania James is a luminescent book. The story shifts between three perspectives. Emma is a […]

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Talk Like Shakespeare Day, April 23rd

William Shakespeare April 23 1564-April 23 1616 To honor the birth of this genius we have all agreed to talk like the Bard, or failing that, butcher his poetry for the sake of a few laughs. Talk Like Shakespeare Day HQ Chicago Shakespeare Theatre supplies you with DIY Elizabethan ruff and Shakespeare mask projects.  If you don't […]

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Poetry and the Heritage Press Archives

Heritage Press Archives, box 2.

Poetry should treat, Of lofty things, Soaring thoughts, And birds with wings.—Langston Hughes April is National Poetry Month. Let's celebrate by taking a look at the history of an important publishing company, Heritage Press. Heritage Press, founded by Paul Breman and operated out of London from 1962 to 1975, was one of the most important publishers of black […]

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#TBT: Happy Birthday, John Waters!

John Waters at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Filmmaker, writer and photographer John Waters turns 70 this Friday, April 22, so for this Throwback Thursday, let's take a look at his long career. Waters got his start making wild transgressive camp movies in the 1970s. Using a cast of regulars and a Baltimore setting, his black comedies featured desperate people doing outrageous things. In Pink […]

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Celebrate Shakespeare 400 Chicago Day

As You Like It

April 23, 2016 has been proclaimed by Mayor Emanuel as Shakespeare 400 Chicago Day. This day celebrates both the birth and death anniversaries of the playwright, and encourages all Chicagoans to enjoy his lasting influence. Happily, Mother Nature seems to be celebrating too. With warmer weather and daffodils in bloom, has Chicago's typical winter of discontent finally made way for […]

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Top Picks for Zine Fest

This zine collection was photographed and shared by Marcelline Smith on fLICKR

Maybe you thought that zines, those self-published missives that pop up at independent media stores and events, were facing extinction because of computers and blogs. A trip to Chicago Zine Fest, April 29-30, would prove to you that the community is as vibrant and strong as ever. Many authors, and especially comic artists, started out in […]

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Sing Me to Sleep: Picture Books for Bedtime

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star book cover

Babies love the sound of their parents' voices. Whether read or sung, lullabies are a wonderful way to bond with your child and a great way to get young children to fall asleep. Plus, kids don't care how good your voice sounds. The words and rhythms in traditional lullabies and nursery rhymes are very simple […]

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Biggest Bean of All!

Cloud Gate assembly complete

Did you know that April 22 is National Jelly Bean Day? As you consider this, hopefully with a handful of jelly beans, did you know that Chicago has the biggest "bean" in the world? Just don't try to eat it! Cloud Gate, lovingly known to Chicagoans as "the Bean," is Anish Kapoor's iconic sculpture located in […]

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Vivian G. Harsh: Librarian of the Chicago Black Renaissance

Harsh at desk

In January 1932, the George Cleveland Hall Branch of Chicago Public Library opened at 48th Street and Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, during an era that would later come to be known as the Chicago Black Renaissance. The previous summer, the Chicago Defender newspaper announced that a Miss Vivian G. Harsh, with 20 years of service “and considered […]

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