Since making his debut in Action Comics #1, Superman has been an American icon. That 1938 appearance brought the crime-fighting Kryptonian into the imaginations of children and adults, first bringing hope throughout the Great Depression, and later being a moral hero through confusing times. Originally created by two high school students, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster in 1933, Superman was soon sold to Detective Comics, now DC Comics, where he first donned his “S” emblazoned costume.
Over the last 80 years, Superman has met sidekicks and enemies including Supergirl (1959) and even Batman (and Robin), beginning in World’s Finest (1941). He joined the Justice League in 1960, fighting alongside a rotating team of heroes including Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern. Although his love interest with Lois Lane started in Action Comics #1, Superboy #10 introduced Lana Lang, Superman’s high school love interest—a relationship that was elaborated upon in the television show Smallville (2001).
Since his inception, the “Man of Steel” has seen numerous incarnations across comic books, television, and movies. He has been the subject of many live action and animated shows, beginning with Adventures of Superman (1952) starring George Reeves, to The Adventures of Lois and Clarke (1993), Superman: The Animated Series (1996), and most recently, with the ten season run of Smallville, which focused on the life of the teenage Superman.
The larger than life hero has been brought to the silver screen nine times since the often-forgotten black and white serials, Superman (1948) and Atom Man versus Superman (1950). George Reeves began his role in the next film, Superman and the Molemen (1951), followed by Christopher Reeve’s iconic portrayal in Superman: The Movie (1978), and the subsequent Superman II-IV (1980, 1983, 1989). More recently, Superman Returns came out in 1996.
After an almost ten year break, Man of Steel is in theaters now. The film’s villain, Kryptonian General Zod, though less well-known than frequent nemesis Lex Luther, was first introduced in Adventure Comics #283 (1961).
The film’s release promotes DC Comics’ new comic universe reboot known as the “New 52.” Debuting in 2011, the New 52 hopes to bring a new generation of comic book readers to the DC Universe. The publisher ended all of the existing stories and started over, making the plots more accessible and bringing the stories together.
Superman (and other comic books) can be found in the Birmingham Public Library in the Fiction Department, typically with Graphic Novels under FIC SUPER.
To read more about Superman and the DC Universe, see Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye; Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel by Daniel Wallace; Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster - The
Creators of Superman by Brad Ricca; and DC Comics: The Ultimate Character Guide by Brandon T. Snider.
Comic book collectors can check out the Comics Buyer’s Guide: Comic Book Checklist and Price Guide and Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.
Superman was created by two high school students; do you want to draw your own comics? Try The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O'Neil; So, You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist? by Philip Amara; Superhero Explosion : 60 Easy Lessons for Drawing Comics! by Neal Yamamoto; Stan Lee's How To Draw Comics: From the Legendary Co-Creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Iron Man by Stan Lee, and Writing for Comics with Peter David by Peter A. David.
All of these books, as well as many others, can be found at the Birmingham Public Library.
Submitted by Allie Graham
Arts, Literature, & Sports Department
Free but space is limited. Pre-register by e-mailing email@example.com.
If you’ve read any of my past blogs, you know I have spasms over Bill Bryson’s books. I do go on a bit. Still, after reading and liking several of his titles, I’d put this one off. A memoir about growing up in Iowa in the fifties? I doubted even Bryson could sell that. Looking back, I’m puzzled by my hesitation. All I had to do was read one paragraph.
I quickly saw that, of all the times and places Bryson had traveled to, researched and written about, none was more exotic than his childhood. Des Moines at midcentury was a place where kids watched TV through their neighbors’ windows. TV was so rare, they didn’t care if they couldn’t hear the sound. Fear of polio was ever-present; to avoid contract, a magazine advised against “admitting new people to the family circle.” The nation’s top food writer, Duncan Hines, went to Europe, came home and told his fellow citizens they weren’t missing anything if they hadn’t eaten there. Food was bland. People liked it that way. Chain stores scarcely existed; each community had unique shopping. Parents let their kids run all over town. Parking lots were few in number. “It was a greener, quieter, less intrusive world,” concludes Bryson. Optimism was rife. “People were radiantly unsophisticated.” This is very much what I imagined Midwest life to be like then. This is not at all what I’d imagined. My view now of Middle America in the fifties has been smeared, blurred and contradicted by Bill Bryson. I now look at it with shock, dismay, dislike, admiration and not a little awe. The author makes it all plausible, real, tactile. Well, almost all of it. There’s some serious hype here, but that’s how kids saw things then, and still do. Bryson himself that the book’s true, “more or less.” The hype ultimately translates into the higher plain of exuberance, and this is one of the two blessings of Thunderbolt. The other is humor. It is funny as hell.
The humor mostly derives from the fact that Bill Bryson delivers in print what it feels like to be a footloose, fancy-free boy, a small anarchist taking on and artfully dodging the world. He does this better than any nonfiction writer I know. When dad threatens the little hellion with military school, Bill cleans up his act for a couple of days, but figures that, if worse comes to worst, he didn’t mind the notion of “being at a place where rifles, bayonets and explosives were at the core of the curriculum.” That gets at what it’s like to be a boy—it’s gangbusters. If anyone got in Bill’s way, he would adopt his ever-available alter ego, the Thunderbolt Kid, and “vaporize” them.
Though the book takes place in Des Moines, Bryson switches from it to the national scene many times to show us how closely his world mirrored the American one. Niceness, modesty, naïveté, obliviousness, paranoia, violence and conformity plays out on both levels. Of course, it couldn’t last. That many people couldn’t stay that sheltered forever. (Young Bill gradually discovers poor white people and, later, Negroes. These are shocking events for him, but he later adapts.) The contradictions of the Fifties would work themselves out in the Sixties. They still work themselves out. But, before they did, before the scales started to fall, this seeming utopia was all there for Bill the child to explore and blast his way through. He got up to more trouble than just about any kid I’ve come across. It’s a major miracle he grew up to write this, or grew up at all. He kept at least some of his vaporizing theoretical. I’m glad, and relieved, that this roller coaster didn’t crash and burn. Don’t hesitate to read it like I did.
- July 8 – Keyboarding: Introduces you to the basics of working with the computer keyboard and the mouse. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.
- July 9 – Basic PC: Introduces people to the computer: basic PC terms, components, hardware, peripherals, desktop features, etc. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.
- July 10 – Basic Internet: Introduces people to the history of the Internet, how to access and surf the Web, what web browsers are, what search engines are available, and basic search methods. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
- July 15 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to Word 2010, a word processing application that is part of the Microsoft Office suite. It is recommended that participants to take all three parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
- July 16 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 2
- July 17 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 3
- July 24 – Email Workshop: Helps people set up email accounts and learn to maneuver their way through email browsers. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course.
- July 22 – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to PowerPoint 2010 presentation software. It is recommended that participants take Microsoft Word 2010 prior to taking this course. It is also recommended that participants take both parts of the course. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
- July 23 – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Part 2
- July 29 – Microsoft Excel 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to Microsoft Excel 2010, a spreadsheet software in the Microsoft 2010 Office Suite. It is recommended that participants take Microsoft Word 2010 prior to taking this course. It is also recommended that participants take both parts of the course. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
- July 30 – Microsoft Excel 2010 Part 2
- July 31 – Introduction to Social Media – TWITTER: Introduces people to the history, elements, and software used in social media interactions. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course. An email account is needed for this class.
The U.S. continues to experience a sluggish labor-market recovery, despite better than expectant job creation numbers released for the month of May. According to the many media outlets, the jobs behind the numbers are mostly low-paying positions. During the economic downturn, numerous high-paying jobs were eliminated, leaving many high-skilled workers unemployed. With so many people looking for employment, how does one gain a competitive edge over the competition when interviewing for a job? Be prepared.
One way to prepare for an interview is to research the company ahead of time for which you seek employment. This step can give you an edge in answering potential questions about the company and also a heads up in knowing what questions to ask. Most people think that going to the company’s website is the only way to research a company. Unfortunately, not all websites provide all the information you’ll need to have to get a leg up on your competition.
The Birmingham Public Library provides remote access to Mergent Online, a one-stop shop for researching public and private companies. This database includes company information such as, contacts, business description, company history, executives, joint ventures, properties, subsidiaries, long term debt, and capital stock. It also includes company financials like ratios, income statements, balances sheet, annual reports, ratio analysis, news reports, and competitors.
The Birmingham Public Library also has many helpful books about what type of information to look for when researching companies. Written by Levinson and Perry, one such book is Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0. In Chapter 5 (Research Plan), the authors provide you with several categories to consider when researching a company, in addition to various questions to consider under each category. For example:
- What do the numbers say? How are the company’s balance sheets, income statement, earnings per share, dividend(s)? What do they indicate about the company’s health?
- What is the debt-to-income ratio? Remember, cash is king.
- How is the stock pricing doing? Why is it moving?
- How is the stock doing against its competitors? Against the market as a whole?
- Are there other companies where you should be interviewing?
- What do the analysts think?
Is it time for a new career? How about a different aspect of your current job, such as upgrading and advancing? Perhaps you’re underemployed and looking for a higher paying job. Whatever situation you find yourself in, the Birmingham Public Library has resources that can assist with gaining a competitive advantage over other candidates.
Submitted by K. Jackson
Business, Science, & Technology Department
Monday's Tot Time at the Avondale Library was all about gardening. I created a felt board to tell the feature story, Tops and Bottoms, by Janet Stephens. In this folk tale, Rabbit offers to plant a field for Bear, and gives him the choice of 'tops' or 'bottoms' from the harvest. When Bear chooses tops, Rabbit plants carrots, radishes, and turnips. When Bear chooses bottoms, Rabbit plants lettuce, broccoli, and celery. Bear cries, "NO FAIR! This time I want tops and bottoms!" So Rabbit plants corn. Bear learns a lesson about work and self reliance, and Rabbit buys a farm with the proceeds from selling his vegetables.
The paper mounds on the felt board were made from grocery sacks. The felt vegetables were hidden in the paper mounds and 'grew' to be harvested by Rabbit. As the vegetables were harvested, the tops were "un-velcroed" from the bottoms. This visual helped the younger children follow the story. I designed our craft of creating a storyboard for retelling the story to help develop the sequencing and narrative skills of our participants.
Thanks to Western Supermarket on Highland Avenue for donating the grocery sacks for our craft! Tot Time at Avondale Regional Library is held on Monday mornings at 10:30, and is designed for children ages 2-4. Call 226-4003 to register.
Submitted by Eve Parker
BPLYP Rikesha Foster
What is your full name, age, and occupation? Rikesha Suelena Foster, 34, Special Education Teacher with the Birmingham City School District.
What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham? Slice Stone Pizza and Brew in Lakeview.
Why did you get involved with the BPLYP? I've been an avid supporter of the library for years. I've served as a volunteer, monthly donor, and as a participant in various library programs. So when the opportunity arose to join the BPLYP board, I felt that was a perfect opportunity to continue my efforts to support the mission of our library.
Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch? Avondale.
Name some of your favorite books as a child or teenager. Wow...what a hard question to answer! I have always loved reading, but will try to narrow my selections: Charlotte's Web, Sweet Valley Twins series, The Little Princess, and Les Miserables.
What genres do you read the most as an adult? Christian Fiction.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Local Christian Fiction author Vanessa Davis Griggs and Stacy Hawkins Adams.
What is your wish for the city of Birmingham? My wish for Birmingham is that everyone, from school leaders, community members, business owners, everyone, work together communicating ideas to make the city a better place for future generations.
Do you have a special talent? If so, what is it? I work with special needs students and wouldn't trade it for the world!
What is your favorite quote or inspirational saying? Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in The Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.
Teens have until Friday, May 31, 2013 to sign-up for a FREE football clinic: Skills and Drills with the NFL's Jerricho Cotchery
The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host “Score Big”with the Cotchery Foundation on June 14 and 15, 2013. Jerricho Cotchery, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed up with the Library to host yet another amazing series of events for 2013’s Teen Summer Reading Program, “Beneath the Surface.”
Born in 1982, Cotchery grew up to be an incredible athlete. He excelled at Phillips High School in Birmingham and attended North Carolina State University. The New York Jets drafted him in 2004 and the Pittsburgh Steelers added him to the roster beginning in 2010. Birmingham is proud of this native son and we at BPL are grateful to partner with him for Summer Reading.
Students between the ages of 11 and 17 may sign-up at any BPL location until Friday, May 31, 2013. These unique experiences (including the football clinic and teen tailgate party) are free. The Cotchery Foundation will provide free cleats and swag at the "Skills and Drills" football clinic. While registering at the library, teens will provide their shoes sizes for the cleats.
Jerricho would like to encourage all students ages 11 to 17 to read by participating in the 2013 summer reading program. BPL has had a record-breaking number of participants the past few summers. Space is limited, so visit your nearest BPL location to sign-up today.
In the coming weeks, we'll announce another chance for Birmingham teens to meet Jerricho during some free “Jam Sessions” at BPL locations the week of his visit. For more information, please contact your nearest BPL location. Jerricho and the Birmingham Public Library both look forward to seeing you soon!
Alabama Power Company (APCO), the A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club, and the Birmingham Public Library will launch the A.G. Gaston American Dream Entrepreneur contest for area students with the first of two panel discussions with local entrepreneurs. Students who attend one of two panel discussions and submit a business idea will be eligible to win a laptop computer.
Students in grades 5-12 are eligible to participate in the contest. To be eligible to win a laptop, students must attend one of two panel discussions taking place Friday, June 14, at the Central Library, and Monday, June 24, at the Smithfield Library. Both panels will take place at noon.
Through the contest, partner organizations hope to introduce young people to the late A.G. Gaston, who rose above poverty and discrimination to build a long list of successful Birmingham companies.
Participating students will be encouraged to read Gaston's memoir, Green Power, which was recently republished for the first time in four decades. The book tells Gaston’s story, from his first foray into business, selling rides on a swing in his grandmother’s backyard, to the founding of the Booker T. Washington Burial Society, to his expansion into a host of other prosperous enterprises, including a motel, a real estate company, and a life insurance company. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to the A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club. The book is available on the club’s website, www.aggbgc.org, and on Amazon.
This contest, along with a gallery exhibit at APCO's archives museum that opens June 13, are part of the company’s ongoing “Power of Leadership” commemoration, which focuses on celebrating some of the unheralded leaders of the civil rights movement: pioneers of business.
“We’re excited to continue our 50th anniversary commemoration with this art exhibit, and with an education initiative we hope will inspire a new generation of Birmingham leaders,” said John Hudson, Alabama Power’s vice president of public relations and charitable giving.
For more information about the exhibit and the American Dream contest, contact Robin Oliver: firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-322-7557. For more information about the 50th anniversary of Birmingham’s civil rights movement and the most up-to-date listing of events, please visit www.50yearsforward.com.
The Avondale Library Storytellers were Digging Up Trouble at the Titusville Library today as part of the Summer Reading Program, Dig into Reading. If you missed today's fun, you can still catch them on June 14th at the Southside and Eastwood Libraries, or on June 18th at the Avondale Regional Library. Check your program guide for times. We hope to see you there!
If you must have computer access, you are welcome to visit our other branches in the Birmingham Public Library system.
By Erin Hart
Set in modern-day Ireland, The Book of Killowen reaffirms the power of language and the never-ending mysteries of good and evil. With its haunting lyrical storyline, it brings together forensics, archeology, and the history of Ireland.
In the Bog of Killowen, the well-preserved body of a 9th century man is found buried in the trunk of a car. As the bog man is studied, the archeologists discover that the ancient corpse is not alone. Pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for only two months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart, so how did they end up buried together
in the bog?
Bogs,Women pathologists,Ireland, Archaeologists
Father's Day is a time to celebrate the men in our lives who have raised and loved us.
According to Wikipedia, since Mother's Day was such a success in the United States, Father's Day was considered a way to celebrate fatherhood and male parenting. Sonora Dodd is credited for the establishment of this celebration.
Father's Day was founded in Spokane, Washington, at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children. After hearing a sermon about the founder of Mother's Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Initially June 5, her father's birthday, was suggested as the day to honor father's. The celebration was set for the third Sunday in June to allow pastors enough time to prepare their sermons.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon made Father's Day a national holiday.
Below is a selection of titles that celebrate fatherhood.
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
"In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ('celebrities for little kids') to toddlers’ communication skills ('they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news'), to the eating habits of four year olds ('there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor'). Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home."
Dads are the Original Hipsters by Brad Getty
"He listened to vinyl before you did. He drank whiskey before you did. He had a mustache before you did. Admit it: your dad was a hipster before you were! Based on the blog phenomenon of the same name, this book celebrates dads as the original hipsters. Vintage photos of real dads back in the day in their short shorts and tight tees playing arcade games accompany snarky captions that at once tip a cap to Dad's glory days and poke fun at modern hipsters. Featuring tons of never-before-seen content, this is the perfect gift for dads, hipsters, and those who love to tease them!"
Fatherhood: And Other Stories by Thomas H. Cook
"A debut volume of collected short stories from Thomas H. Cook, one of America's most celebrated crime fiction authors. The range of this collection is, itself, astonishing. From a backwoods Appalachian shack during the Depression (Poor People) to a Midwestern college campus in the
throes of Sixties revolt (The Sun-Gazer) to a midtown Manhattan bookstore on Christmas Eve, The Lessons of the Season,' this collection demonstrates precisely that, in the words of Michael Connolly, 'no one tells a story better than Thomas H. Cook.' "
One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
"Drew Silver is 44, divorced, and living alone at the Versailles, anapartment complex off the interstate and home mainly to divorced men. His ex-wife is about to marry a respected surgeon. His 18-year-old daughter, headed to Princeton in the fall, is pregnant. And now a heart ailment forces Silver to begin to take life seriously before it prematurely ends."
Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood by Drew Magary
"Drew Magary, journalist for GQ and Deadspin, brings his unique voice to a memoir. In Someone Could Get Hurt, he reflects on his own parenting experiences to explore the anxiety, rationalizations, compromises, and overpowering love that come with raising children in contemporary America."
And more books on fatherhood...
Submitted by Felita Yarbrough
East Lake Library
Flow Tactics is sponsored by The Real Life Poets, the Mayor's Office Division of Youth Services, YMCA Youth Center, and the WORD UP! Student Poetry Slam Committee of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. WORD UP! is an annual poetry slam for Jefferson County high school students hosted by the Birmingham Public Library.
Monday's Tot Time at the Avondale Regional Library was all about animals that burrow.
The feature story was Ouch!, by Ragnhild Scamell. Ouch! is a wonderful story reminding us that when we are in trouble, there are always those around who will help. The props are made of foam core purchased from the Dollar Tree. Hedgehog's quill's are made of toothpicks.
This is my peek-a-boo bag. For this year's theme of Dig into Reading, I glued felt onto my bag to create "burrows." We tried to guess which burrowing mammals were hiding in the hole and shared amazing facts about each one. It looked like there was a worm peeking out of the side of the bag, but it was really a mouse! Mouse has a tail as long as his body! Bunny's ears were peeking out, and he was nibbling a carrot to wear down his front teeth. Did you know they never stop growing? I poked my head into the bag, and PEE YEW! It was a skunk's hole, and I scared the stink right out of him! Last, I reached in and OUCH! Was it a pin cushion? No, it was a hedgehog! Which led us into the story, Ouch!
We had lots of fun burrowing through the tunnel while listening to songs about groundhogs, rabbits, mice, and other such critters.
Hope you'll be able to join us next Monday morning at 10:30 at the Avondale Regional Library for another fun filled adventure! Call 226-4003 to register! Tot Time is for children ages 2-4 with a caregiver.
Submitted by Eve Parker Avondale Library
The Great Doughnut Parade by Rebecca Bond
Daisy the Donut Fairy by Tim Bugbird
Donuts by John Edge
Disappearing Donuts by Gail Herman
Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller
Donuts by Elinor Klivans
Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut by Paul R. Mullins
The Donut Chef by Bob Staake
Who Needs Donuts? By Mark Alan Stamaty
A Baker’s Field Guide to Doughnuts: More Than 60 Warn and Fresh Homemade Treats by Dede Wilson
Submitted by Carla Perkins
The roar of the crowd. The crack of the bat. Few things are more fun than a Barons baseball game.
But have you checked out the 40 Public Libraries in Jefferson County recently? We have some exciting things going on too!
Join the public library staff of Jefferson County for Public Library Night at Barons Park, Saturday June 15. The first few hundred attendees who show a library card will receive a free gift, compliments of your public libraries.
Stop by your local library today—it’s a home run!
Summer Reading is always a blast! But, Summer Reading, it passes really fast.
So sign up now, don't miss any more fun, Ages 0-120, it's for EVERYONE!
You'll make new friends and great memories, so please join us for Summer Reading at your local library!
Submitted by Eve Parker
haven’t changed much.) The jacket blurb from Frank McCourt says it all: “Thank you, O Lord for sending us Susan Gilman’s tales.”
Today a patron brought in half a dozen books on dogs and how to care for them. It is my firm belief that animals in general and pets in particular enrich our lives. I was interested to see that one title dealt with caring for dogs that are blind. What’s the point you ask? Compassion, for one. How we treat animals is usually a strong indicator of how well we treat each other, whether the elderly, the young, the infirm, and those who are down on their luck. Perhaps someone soon will have a need to care for an animal that is blind. Hopefully, this book will be a big help for them.
So, bring on those donations! I am interested to see what hidden gems the next batch will reveal.
(All BPL locations will accept book donations. Thanks for your support!)
Submitted by Jonathan Newman