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Mister Rogers & Simple Kindness

Mister Rogers is certainly having a moment these days. For those of you keeping score at home, here's the summary: There was a documentary film that came out in June. A forthcoming biography is due next month --  And a big-budget Tom Hanks movie is on its way next year. To top it all off, you can now find any number of fun sweater- and trolley-themed gift items. (And we've got some here at The Bookloft – see below.) Cue the cheers from Generation X as one of their soft-spoken heroes gets a pop-culture encore.

But why is this happening all of a sudden?

The timing of all this is noteworthy. Fred Rogers' message of simple kindness and Just-The-Way-You-Are acceptance is clearly resonating in American culture right now. If you saw the excellent documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor, you were most likely struck by one of the film's most powerful scenes: Fred Rogers goes to Washington to testify before a Senate subcommittee on behalf of PBS. It's 1969 and committee chairman/curmudgeon Sen. John Pastore is ready for a fight in an attempt to decimate PBS' funding. But what you see in the archival footage is shocking. Even the meanest political ogre is visibly shaken by the gentle goodness that Rogers displays. That scene alone from the documentary shows with emotional clarity how our world craves the simplest acts of love and kindness.

(Watch the archival footage on Youtube here.)

(Watch the "Won't You Be My Neighbor" trailer.)

 

Marielle Heller, director of next year's film You Are My Friend starring Tom Hanks as Rogers, says “It’s a story for our times, a story about kindness and family connection and trying to tap into our better self. God knows we need that right now!”

 

The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King (out September 4th) will be the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers, and tries to convey why he has become such an enduring American icon. You can pre-order it now. The audiobook version is read by Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton (nostalgia high-five!) and Libro.fm is hosting an audiobook giveaway that you can enter.

 

Fred Rogers had said that “love is at the root of everything...love or the lack of it.” It's easy to see both sides of that equation in America today. And if there's an upside to the landscape of unkindness all around us, it's that the simplest act of love, gentleness, and compassion stands out like a light in the darkness. Right now is a perfect time to remember Mister Rogers' mission "to make goodness attractive." The host of a bygone era's children's television show succeeded at that, and reminds each of us that we can succeed at that, too.

"There are three ways to ultimate success," Mister Rogers said. "The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind."

Love and acceptance truly do make a beautiful day in any neighborhood.


Get your Neighborhood Goodies!

Five Books that Would Have Made Oscar-Worthy Films

by Will McIntosh (Via TOR.com)


Hyperion cover art by Gary Ruddell

You often see speculation about the next SF/F book series Hollywood should make into a trilogy of big-budget films. That’s understandable, since spec fic is rife with action-packed series played out against visually impressive backdrops. But there are others SF/F novels out there. Some are beautiful, lyrical novels that aren’t suitable for blockbuster trilogies, but would make the sort of film that takes home Academy Awards. Where has Hollywood missed out on SF/F novels with emotionally powerful, memorable stories that might have merited a Best Picture Oscar? I’m going to consider only older books—pre-2000—because it’s always possible newer books are currently in development as films.


Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Bantam, 1992)

 

How is this book not a movie? Not only is Doomsday Book an emotionally wrenching and unforgettable story, it has something else Hollywood loves: a premise that can be summarized in one line. A time-traveling researcher who is sent back to the Middle Ages is accidentally dropped into the middle of the Black Death pandemic. It’s a bleak novel, and it would make for a bleak film, but with all of the films out there about theoretical pandemics of apocalyptic proportion, isn’t it time for a film exploring the actual pandemic of apocalyptic proportions humanity survived?


Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop (Bantam, 1994)

 

In Bishop’s gorgeous baseball period piece, young shortstop Danny Boles leaves home to play minor league baseball in the deep south during World War II. His roommate is the well-read and articulate Henry Clerval, who is seven feet tall and hideous. Brittle Innings came very, very close to getting the big-screen treatment. So close, in fact, that the cover of some editions includes a Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture tagline. The film was set to star Arnold Schwarzenegger as the eloquent giant Henry Clerval. And then, as so often happens in Hollywood, things fell apart, and the film was never made. It’s a shame, because it’s a wonderful story with a brilliant twist.


The Moon and the Sun by Vonda McIntyre (Pocket Books, 1997)

[Currently out-of-print.]

A sentient sea monster is captured and placed in the fountain at Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, and a woman at the court forms a deep emotional bond with the creature. The plot is reminiscent of The Shape of the Water, although The Moon and the Sun was published twenty years before Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning film. For my money, The Moon and the Sun is the richer of the two stories, and the critical success of The Shape of the Water hints at how The Moon and the Sun might be received if it ever reached the big screen. This one is an odd case, because as it turns out, The Moon and the Sun has actually been filmed! It was set for release in 2015, then just three weeks before it was to come out, Paramount cancelled the release. The film was then retitled The King’s Daughter, and here we are, three years later, with no release date set.


Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Doubleday, 1989)

 

Hyperion follows seven pilgrims, each of whom tells their story as they travel to the time tombs to encounter the mysterious shrike. This would be a challenging novel to adapt, and veers closer to big-budget Hollywood blockbuster territory than the others, but if it were well-executed a Hyperion adaptation might look something like Cloud AtlasHyperion has been almost continuously optioned for film since its publication, but evidently no one was able to create a satisfactory screenplay. The entire Hyperion Cantos series is now in production as a TV miniseries, slated to air on SyFy. Perhaps a TV series is a better medium for such an ambitious novel, although it would have made quite a film.


The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (Villard, 1996)

 

Powerful and gut-wrenching, delving into questions of theology and ethics, The Sparrow recounts the story of a Jesuit Priest’s experiences on a planet that is home to two distinct sentient species. Not one, but two attempts have been made to bring The Sparrow to the big screen, the last with Brad Pitt slated to play the lead role of Father Emilio Sandoz. On her blog, Ms. Russell wrote that neither screenplay had much in common with her novel. She has since revoked all film rights, and co-wrote her own screen adaptation. Evidently that version hasn’t gotten much traction. Sigh.


When I compiled this list, all I knew for sure was that none of these novels had been released as a Hollywood film. A little research revealed that film adaptations have been extensively pursued for at least four of the five, and I’d wager a first edition of Doomsday Book that there’s an extensive film option history behind it as well. It just goes to show, Hollywood will break your heart.


Will McIntosh is a Hugo award winner and finalist for the Nebula and twelve other SF/F awards. His novels include Faller (Tor Books), Love Minus Eighty (Orbit) and Soft Apocalypse (Night Shade), and three of his novels are currently optioned for film or Television. His newest book, young adult novel The Future Will Be BS Free, releases July 24 from Penguin Random House. Will was a psychology professor before turning to writing full-time. He lives in Williamsburg with his wife and their twins. You can follow him on Twitter @willmcintoshSF, or on his website.

Children's Summer Reading Bingo

This summer we've merged our Children's Summer Reading Challenge with Reading Without Walls' Bingo!

Will you meet the challenge?

Come in to get a Bingo sheet (or print one by downloading it here) to get started. Then, get reading and start winning!

Complete as many rows as you want (diagonals included!) and win a prize for each one. Multiple Bingos are allowed. Complete the whole card to get an extra special prize! Please bring your card in by September 1st to claim prizes.

Plus, get 15% OFF any five books that you buy here at The Bookloft that let you complete a row for Bingo!

Find Waldo in Great Barrington

This July, The Bookloft will be hosting an exciting month-long scavenger hunt to find Waldo in 17 participating local businesses throughout Great Barrington.

Throughout the entire month of July, Great Barrington is playing host to a citywide Find Waldo scavenger hunt. Seventeen local businesses are participating. The Bookloft will be your Find Waldo Local Headquarters, where you can collect your prizes, and join up for a Waldo Party at the end of the hunt!

Don't live in the area?

Use this interactive map to find a host bookstore near you!

How To Play:

Each player gets a “Find Waldo Local in Great Barrington!” passport to help them find Waldo and log their search. A player may start at any business listed on the passport; the list travels with the player. Waldo is hiding - somewhere - in all the listed businesses. He's six inches tall, and he might be in any public part of the establishment.

Download the Find Waldo Passport here, or pick up a copy at any of the 17 participating businesses.

Instructions:
  1. When you spot Waldo at any one of the participating businesses listed on your passport, collect a store stamp or signature.
  2. When you spot at least one of the following lost items at The Bookloft, collect a store stamp (or signature): Waldo’s key, Woof’s bone, Wenda’s camera, Wizard Whitebeard’s scroll, and Odlaw’s binoculars.
  3. When you’ve collected at least 8 different store stamps/signatures, bring them to The Bookloft, your FIND WALDO LOCAL headquarters, to claim an “I Found Waldo” button and a “$1 Off” coupon (limited to first 125 Waldo spotters).
  4. If you collect at least 12 of the 17 possible store stamps/signatures, bring your passport to The Bookloft to get a button and a coupon PLUS be entered in a drawing for a deluxe set of Waldo books and other great prizes.

Plan to attend the Waldo grand celebration and prize drawing on July 28th here at The Bookloft!

Summer Listening Challenge

It’s summer time! The Libro.fm Summer Listening Challenge is back in 2018, and this year you could win a year’s supply of free audiobooks.

There are so many fun things to do during the summer, and audiobooks can be a great companion for art projects, exercise, gardening, and car trips—we like to call it #handsfreereading. And with Libro.fm, each audiobook purchase means supporting US, your local bookstore, and investing in your community!

Listen to 5 audiobooks or the equivalent of 20 hours of audiobooks between June 15th and September 4th and track your progress using this Listening Challenge Worksheet. Either email a picture of your completed worksheet to bookstores@libro.fm or fill out this online form, and you will be entered to win free audiobooks for a year!

Need some awesome listens to queue up for summer? Libro.fm has plenty of fantastic playlists including our Summer Listening Challenge playlist, curated by independent bookstores around the country. Looking for great titles recommended by the experts (booksellers)? They have recommendations from us and other indie bookstores. If you already know the titles you’re looking for, just head over to Libro.fm and search for the ones you want!

Happy Listening!

Storytime with Momo!

Every last Sunday of the month, at 2:30, we will be hosting a children's Storytime with Momo! Momo is our special guest-star, who will be reading fun stories of love and acceptance.

About Momo:

Moamer (Momo) Alsaedi is a student at Bard College at Simon's Rock, where he is studying neuroscience, psychology, and social change. Momo's studies focus on understanding the development of children and how their environments impact their neurological and psychological processes. Wherever he is, Momo strives to be as positive, caring, and supportive as he can possibly be. 

Dates:

Sunday, May 27th at 2:30pm
Sunday, June 24th at 2:30pm
Sunday, July 29th at 2:30pm RESCHEDULED to Sunday, August 5th at 2:30pm
Sunday, August 26th at 2:30pm
Sunday, September 30th at 2:30pm

Children's Book Week 2018

Celebrate with us April 30th – May 6th!

 

As part of the longest-running national celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading, over 750 schools, libraries, and bookstores will celebrate Children’s Book Week from April 30 to May 6 from coast to coast in all 50 states. This May marks the 99th anniversary of Children’s Book Week; the theme for this year’s celebration is “One World, Many Stories.”

Here's how The Bookloft is celebrating:

  • Bookmark Design Contest
  • 10th Annual Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards Voting station
  • Prizes for Book Reviews

 

We will have free activity sheets available (while supplies last), and kids from home can have access to original bookmarks created by five of today’s most innovative children’s book illustrators at Every Child a Reader!

BOOKMARK DESIGN CONTEST

Here's how you can design our next official Bookloft bookmark!

Come to The Bookloft Sunday, May 6, between 2-4pm and create your bookmark design.

Or, here's how to make it at home:

  • Get a Bookmark Template:  Download it here to print, or stop by the store to pick one up.
  • Draw your original artwork inside the box on the template.
  • Turn it back in to The Bookloft by Sunday, May 7.

We will select our favorite and make that our next official Bookloft bookmark!

VOTE FOR THE CHILDREN'S & TEEN BOOK AWARDS

Voting for the 11th Annual Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards, the only national book award voted on solely by kids & teens, has been in progress since March 1, and you can be a part of it! Stop by The Bookloft and cast your vote before May 6, or use either of the buttons below to vote online now!

Vote for Children's Choice Book Awards Vote for Teen Choice Book Awards

REVIEW A BOOK AND EARN A PRIZE

Write a review for a book you've read recently, bring it to The Bookloft, and we'll give you a free prize! Make sure to include your first name, your age, and the title of the book you read, along with your review.

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Children’s Book Week is a cornerstone program of Every Child a Reader, a 501(c)(3) literacy charity dedicated to inspiring a lifelong love of reading in children and teens across America. Other national programs include the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards, Reading Without Walls, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, in partnership with the Library of Congress, and new to us this year, Get Caught Reading.

 

Introducing: Audiobooks for Cats

April 1, 2018

Audiobooks for dogs, sure, they'll listen to anything—easy to please, happy to oblige, tail wags galore. The real challenge? Audiobooks for cats. Those who view cats as challenging or hifalutin are right: the feline is selective, loyal, and highly discerning when it comes to literature. That’s why Libro.fm has created and curated an audiobook selection proven to put a purr into even the most cantankerous of kittens!

Check out new release A Tail of Two Kitties by Mr. Bigglesworth and read in the original Cat!

A Tale of Two Kitties


https://libro.fm/audiobooks/5184389278146

Independent Bookstore Day 2018

Independent bookstores all across America are having a party on Saturday, April 28th. Come on out to The Bookloft for a fun day of exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on this day at a store. Not before. Not online. Not after they run out.

Chat with Author Kathline Carr

Author Kathline Carr will be here from 1-3pm to meet & greet all you Indie Bookstore Day supporters! She'll be signing Miraculum Monstrum, a contemporary feminist fairy tale, and you will have a chance to ask her what "hybrid poetics" means. And then tell us, please, because we're dying for a good answer!

Here's the List of Exclusive IBD Items:

  • "Fight the Power" Utility Pouch -  Handy 100% cotton canvas zippered pouch featuring a quote from Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.
  • $6 Story: A Book on the Table - This year's collection features flash fiction from great short story writers including A.M. Homes, Etgar Keret, and Amy Bloom.
  • “Bad Citizen” Graffiti Stencil - This year’s stencil features a quote from Margaret Atwood: DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN.

  • A Literary Map of the Universe - A giclee print. The 25 titles featured on this beautiful literary map of the universe are a mix of modern classics and obscure science fiction titles.
  • Redlands, Vol. I - A special SIGNED edition of this acclaimed feminist comic with an exclusive cover and signed by BOTH creators!
  • Literary Tea Towels - This year’s flour sack tea towels feature two food-related literary quotes from Julia Child and Anthony Bourdain.

  • Dragons Love Books! Onesie - A super-soft onesie for bookish babies based on Adam Rubin’s Dragons Love Tacos books illustrated by Daniel Salmieri.
  • “Read with Me” Maisy plush - A plush featuring everybody’s favorite preschool mouse Maisy wearing an exclusive READ WITH ME t-shirt with pride!
  • “Read with Me” Horton plush - A plush featuring Dr. Seuss’s Horton wearing a pro-reading, indie message on his t-shirt!

  • golden thread signed print - Exclusive print honoring Pete Seeger SIGNED by author Colin Meloy and illustrator Nikki McClure.
  • Ungrateful mammals (SIGNED edition) - Special editions of Ungrateful Mammals with a unique cover hand drawn by Dave Eggers.

 

...and more!

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