Posts Tagged ‘NDLA’

November Is Picture Book Month

Celebrate picture books during the month of November! Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book in an increasingly digital age.

Two picture books that we highly recommend are One and Zero by Kathryn OtoshiOne was selected for a 2012 Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award by children of North Dakota.  The award was presented to Kathryn Otoshi at the North Dakota Library Association Conference in September.

We have a Children’s Collection at the BSC Library … there’s great stuff for kids of all ages.  Check it out!





Under the Twisted Cross by North Dakota Author Margaret M. Barnhart

As part of the North Dakota Library Association annual conference, a book is selected for the Conference Book Club.*

This year’s selection is Under the Twisted Cross by Margaret M. Barnhart, a novelized account of her father’s experiences when he was a POW (prisoner of war) in Germany during World War II. Her father, Nick Schuld, was held at Stalag II B, just outside Hammerstein in Pomerania (now Czarne, Pomorskie, Poland), “where treatment of prisoners was considered worse than at any other camp in Germany established for American POW.” In January 1945, he and other POWs were forced to go on a “death march” to the Western Front. This was ordered by their Nazi captors in an effort to avoid surrender to the Russians on the East. It was one of Germanys’ worst winters ever; hundreds of POWs perished along the way.

The book’s main character, Nick Bremer, is patterned after Barnhart’s father.

“Lying in a shelter on an Italian battlefield, Nick Bremer wakes to the sound of German voices. Without ammunition, his squad has no choice but to surrender. Thus begins months of peril as the men go from prisoners-in-transit to permanent internment in Stalag II B, reported by 1943 Military Intelligence as the worst POW in Germany. Heartened by memories of home, buoyed by a brotherhood of prisoners, Nick combats suspicion and hopelessness, endures near-starvation, physical torture, psychological terror, and mind-numbing monotony. His tenacity and wit help him survive the brutal European ‘death march’ to the Western Front.” — Back cover

Author Margaret M. Barnhart has taught literature and writing courses at Dickinson State University since 1992. Under the Twisted Cross is her first novel; she has also written and published many short stories, poems, and essays. An excerpt from a personal essay, “Ghosts,” was included in the nationally-released anthology, Leaning Into the Wind (1997 Houghton Mifflin).**

Barnhart knew about her father being a POW from stories he shared when she was growing up. Late in his life, she discovered documents from his war experience, including a military intelligence review of conditions at Stalag II-B, and three typed pages of memories of the death march. An historical memoir was not possible without more information and exact detail, so Barnhart wrote a novel based on her father’s memories instead. Her father did not get to read the book; he died in 2003 before the book was completed.

I finished reading Under the Twisted Cross last night and look forward to the author-led discussion at the NDLA Conference in September. The book is well-written, interesting, and thought-provoking. It made me think about the power of the human spirit, war and why we fight, and how conflict and hardship can bring out both the best and the worst in people.

I recommend Under the Twisted Cross. We have a copy at the BSC Library … check it out!

— Marlene Anderson, Director of Library Services

*Note: The 2011 conference book club selection was Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For by Brenda K. Marshall, which then became a selection for BookTalk at BSC 2012.

**Note: A poem, “Display Grounds” by BSC’s own Janelle Masters, is also included in this anthology. 

Banned Books Week – September 27 – October 4

From Christine Kujawa, Intellectual Freedom Chair for the North Dakota Library Association:

Banned Books Week is just around the corner.  This annual event reminds us not to take our freedom to read for granted.

ALA (American Library Association) explains that, “Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.”

Banned Books 101

  • Intellectual freedom: The right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.
  • First Amendment to the United States Constitution: Protects several essential rights and civil liberties: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
  • Challenge: An attempt to remove or restrict access to materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.
  • Ban: The removal of challenged materials from the library.
  • Expression of Concern: An inquiry that has judgmental overtones.
  • Oral Complaint: An oral challenge to the presence and/or appropriateness of the material in question.
  • Written Complaint: A formal, written complaint filed with the institution (library, school, etc.), challenging the presence and/or appropriateness of specific material.
  • Public Attack: A publicly disseminated statement challenging the value of the material, presented to the media and/or others outside the institutional organization in order to gain public support for further action.
  • Censorship: A change in the access status of material, based on the content of the work and made by a governing authority or its representatives.  Such changes include exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade level changes.

Celebrate your right to read!