Posts Tagged ‘authors’

National Library Week: 4 Impressive World Records!

Libraries transform readers to writers. Libraries nurture curiosity. Libraries give everyone a chance. Getting a library card is like a rite of passage. Without libraries, we wouldn’t learn about the work of so many diverse authors. We wouldn’t be as informed. We wouldn’t get access to everything print and beyond that libraries have to offer.

April 9th-15th is National Library Week. This year’s theme is “Libraries Transform” and to celebrate, we’ve compiled 4 outstanding library, author, and book-related records that were set according to Guinness World Records.


JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong by Wing1990hk CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong by Wing1990hk CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Highest Library from Ground Level

On November 7, 2003, the library located on the 60th floor of the JW Marriott Hotel in Shanghai, China took this title with a height of 757 feet 6 inches.


Kewanee Public Library by Kepper66 CC-BY-3.0 via<br /> Wikimedia Commons

Kewanee Public Library by Kepper66 CC-BY-3.0 via
Wikimedia Commons

World’s Largest Library Book Fine Paid

On April 19, 1955, Emily Canellos-Simms checked out the poetry book Days and Deeds from Kewanee Public Library in Illinois. Forty-seven years later, Emily found the book at her mother’s house and returned it to the library with a check for $345.14 in overdue fines.

James Patterson by Susan Solie-Patterson CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

James Patterson by Susan Solie-Patterson CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

First Author to Sell More Than 1 Million E-Books

On July 6, 2010, Hachette Book Group reported author James Patterson was the first author to have sold over 1 million e-books. He sold 1.14 million. Self-published author John Locke surpassed this record in June 2011, selling over 2 million e-books.

Comics artist Ken Bald at the 2013 Wizard World New York Experience Comic Con, at Pier 36 in Manhattan, June 29, 2013 CC-BY-3.0 © Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons

Comics artist Ken Bald at the 2013 Wizard World New York Experience Comic Con, at Pier 36 in Manhattan, June 29, 2013, CC-BY-3.0 © Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons

Oldest Artist to Illustrate a Comic Book Cover

At age 95, Ken Bald is the oldest artist to illustrate a comic book cover as verified on November 4, 2015. He illustrated Contest of Champions (2015) #2 (Bald Classic Variant). Ken is also the oldest comic book artist.

How are you celebrating National Library Week? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

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Alex Haley’s “Roots”: The 40th Anniversary

In January 1977, a miniseries aired on ABC, and it would essentially change the face of television.

“Roots,” based on Alex Haley’s novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” won nine Emmy Awards, as well as a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award.

Roots: The Saga of an American Family Research Topic

Roots: The Saga of an American Family Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an African adolescent who was brought to Colonial America and forced into slavery.

The story was based on what Haley claims to have discovered after conducting research to trace his ancestry.

Alex Haley Research Topic

Alex Haley Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

eLibrary offers a multitude of additional information related to the subject matter of “Roots,” including these Related Topics:

Atlantic Slave Trade

ProQuest Research Topic Guide: African-American History

ProQuest Research Topic Guide: Slavery in the U.S.


Slavery in the U.S.

Celebrate Buzz Aldrin’s Birthday

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the Moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the LM, the "Eagle", to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar-orbit.

Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. Flag on the Moon via Flickr [Public Domain]

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin is well-known for being one of the first people to step foot on the moon. He was part of the Apollo 11 mission, which was the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon on July 20, 1969. Although he is now a retired astronaut, he is still active in the space community. He recently wrote a book called “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration” where he explains his ideas for space travel and a future Mars mission.

Buzz Aldrin was born on Jan. 20, 1930 and he celebrates his 86th birthday today. Here are some facts about this famous astronaut:

His nickname “Buzz” was given to him by his sister.

Buzz Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name was Moon.

The name for Disney’s Toy Story character “Buzz Lightyear” was inspired by Buzz Aldrin’s name.


By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Educators, visit ProQuest SIRS Discoverer for student resources on Buzz Aldrin and space exploration. Here are some examples of searches to get you started:

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin

Outer space, Exploration

Space flight to the moon, Apollo Project

Celebrate National Book Blitz Month

When you were growing up, did you love to read? I did. Reading is a passion of mine that began at an early age. Many of my all-time favorite books are the ones that I was assigned to read in school. Books such as The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Outsiders, and Wuthering Heights enhanced my love for reading. January is National Book Blitz Month. It is a great time for librarians, media specialists, and teachers to promote reading and introduce students to new authors. In honor of National Book Blitz Month, here are 10 web sites from ProQuest SIRS WebSelect and Research Topics from ProQuest eLibrary about notable authors suitable for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Child Reading at Brookline Booksmith

Child Reading at Brookline Booksmith
By Tim Pierce (originally posted to Flickr as lost) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1. Emily Bronte was an English author and poet. She is best known for writing Wuthering Heights, her only novel. The enduring tragic love story of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw is regarded as a classic of English literature. Her sisters, Charlotte and Anne Bronte were also famous writers. (Emily Bronte Research Topic)

2. Beverly Cleary is an American author, whose contributions to children’s literature have made a lasting impact. She has written over 30 books for children and young adults since 1950. Her beloved characters, including Ramona and Beezus Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ribsy, and Ralph S. Mouse have delighted readers for generations. (Beverly Cleary Research Topic)

3. Charles Dickens was a well-loved 19th century English author whose works were widely read during his lifetime. The famous Victorian novelist created unforgettable characters, including David Copperfield, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Oliver Twist. His classic novels–A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities remain popular to this day. (Charles Dickens Research Topic)

4. Anne Frank was a Jewish victim of the Holocaust. Anne and her family went into hiding for two years during World War II to escape Nazi persecution. While in hiding, the teenage girl kept a diary in which she chronicled her experiences. Sadly, Anne never saw her dream of becoming a famous writer realized as she died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15. Her wartime memoir Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was published posthumously and has been read by millions. (Anne Frank Research Topic)

5. Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss was a beloved American author and illustrator of children’s books. The best-selling author combined fantastic creatures with wild rhymes to create stories that both educate and entertain children. Some of his most popular books include The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Lorax. (Theodor Seuss Geisel Research Topic)

6. Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, literary critic, and editor. He is best known for penning mystery and macabre tales. He is remembered for his popular poems and short stories, including “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” and is regarded as the inventor of the modern detective story. (Edgar Allan Poe Research Topic)

7. J.K. Rowling is a British author whose best-selling series of fantasy novels about Harry Potter, a young wizard in training, captivated children and adults around the world. Her seven books chronicling Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry achieved critical acclaim and unprecedented commercial success. (J.K. Rowling Research Topic)

8. William Shakespeare is regarded as the world’s greatest dramatist. He was an English playwright, poet, and actor. His plays, written in the late 16th and early 17th centuries can be divided into three genres: comedies, histories, and tragedies. Some of his most recognizable plays include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet. (William Shakespeare Research Topic)

9. Shel Silverstein was an American poet, musician, illustrator, and author of children’s books. He wrote several successful children’s books, including The Giving Tree, The Missing Piece, and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O. His masterful poetry collections, including Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic still resonate with children today. (Shel Silverstein Research Topic)

10. John Steinbeck was an American author, best remembered for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Considered Steinbeck’s masterpiece, the iconic novel portrayed the struggles of migrant laborers during the Great Depression. His other major works include Tortilla Flat, Of Mice and Men, and Cannery Row. (John Steinbeck Research Topic)

Poetry for Children

Robert Frost once defined poetry as “serious play.” Poetry does many things to help children learn about their lives and feelings. Poems can be silly or funny while providing serious messages. Rhyming makes poems easier to memorize and fun to read aloud. Countless authors have written poetry for children. SIRS Discoverer also provides content on these authors as well as further reading about children’s poetry.

Limerick by Edward Lear

Limerick by Edward Lear
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here are 10 authors who write poetry for children. Who is your favorite?

  1. Dr. Seuss
    One of the most famous and beloved authors for children. Most of his writings are in verse. All kids know The Cat in the Hat.
  2. Edward Lear
    This English humorist popularized the limerick. His most famous nonsense poem is The Owl and the Pussycat.
  3. J. Patrick Lewis
    Inspired by Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, Lewis has written over 50 books of poetry for children on a wide variety of subjects.
  4. Jack Prelutsky
    In 2006, Prelutsky became the first Children’s Poet Laureate. His popular books delight readers with poems and illustrations of made-up creatures.
  5. Jacqueline Woodson
    Woodson began writing poetry as a child. She has won numerous literary awards and was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate in 2015.
  6. Jane Yolen
    Yolen writes poetry based on science and history. Her book Owl Moon is written in verse and is intended to help owl species.
  7. Mary Ann Hoberman
    Hoberman also served as the Children’s Poet Laureate. Her poems are about everyday topics such as family, animals, and nature.
  8. Roald Dahl
    Another big name in children’s literature, Dahl’s poems subverted nursery rhymes and fairy tales and often contained surprise endings.
  9. Shel Silverstein
    Silverstein remains hugely popular for his quirky wit and style. His iconic works include Falling Up and Runny Babbit.
  10. Kenn Nesbitt
    Nesbitt served as the Children’s Poet Laureate in 2013. His poems are humorous and he often visits schools to teach children about poetry writing.

Celebrating Jane Yolen


Jane Yolen
Source: Luigi Novi [CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Jane Yolen was born on Feb. 11, 1939. She has published hundreds of books, novels, poetry and short stories suitable for children and teens. Her novella geared for young adults, “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” draws on Holocaust history to captivate readers and was turned into a made-for-TV-movie in 1999. Her ever-growing imagination and talent for fiction-writing has led her to win notable awards and accolades. While she is now both a mother and grandmother, her love for children’s literature began way before having children of her own. She has written stories and penned poems since childhood, though she jokingly refers to the first poem she ever wrote, “Bus, bus, wait for us!” as being “truly awful.” To celebrate Jane Yolen’s birthday through the power of literature and prose, think about incorporating a mix of ProQuest resources and educational activities into your next lesson:

1. ProQuest eLibrary Research Topic on Jane Yolen: ProQuest eLibrary Research Topics are carefully hand-crafted with curated materials to meet your educational needs.

Jane Yolen Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Jane Yolen Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

2. ProQuest SIRS Discoverer not only guides you in the right direction, but is also a great resource for discovering other children’s book authors and their works. Here are a couple of articles to get you started: see Poet Finds Inspiration All Around Her and Jane Yolen: A Writer for Every Reader.

3. Jane Yolen’s For Teachers PageA wealth of teacher resources for use in the classroom can be found on Jane Yolen’s web site.

4. NPR Interview: Kids Author Jane Yolen Never Too Old For Comics: Audio interviews as primary sources are both personal and informative.

5. Reading Rockets: Interview with Jane Yolen: Video interviews can be a wonderful way to complement a lesson and bring an author’s experiences to life.

Let’s Read!: Elementary-School Author Studies

Beverly Cleary, author of the "Ramona" series <br > by Alan McEwan, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

Beverly Cleary, author of the “Ramona” series
by Alan McEwan, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

Good reading skills are critical to a student’s education. So how do elementary-school teachers foster their students’ love for reading while building critical-thinking skills? There are many ways, but there is one unit lesson that seems to be increasingly popular among teachers and students alike: Author Studies. Author Studies ask students to select an author, learn about his or her life, read his or her books, make connections, and consider the author’s purpose. Conducting Author Studies in the classroom is a great way to introduce students to a variety of authors and literary styles, not to mention getting students to read! Students are able to develop their reading, critical-thinking, research, and writing skills while nurturing a connection to literature and to the author. Reading becomes a personal experience.

SIRS Discoverer can be a valuable Author Studies resource for both students and teachers. Check out how Mary Pope Osborne’s life influenced her creation of her Magic Tree House series. Learn about Mo Willems’ development of his books, and click on the link to the accompanying Teacher’s Guide PDF. Looking for book-cover photos for a Powerpoint presentation on Author Studies? SIRS Discoverer has many to choose from. Students can use these for Author Studies projects, too. Authors Studies have the potential to be gratifying for students and teachers alike. When reading is fun, what’s not to love?

Thoreau’s “Walden” Published 160 Years Ago

Walden Pond“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” (1)

This week, 160 years ago, Henry David Thoreau published “Walden; or, Life in the Woods.” For two years, two months, and two days, Henry David Thoreau spent his time in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, a plot of land just outside of Concord, Massachusetts owned by his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is where the seeds of “Walden” would be cultivated and influence every environmental and conservation writer since.

Most people think of Thoreau’s “Walden” as a meditation on simply living, self-reliance, and the value of nature and wilderness. But for Thoreau the value of wilderness wasn’t just about the superficial appreciation for nature, it was also an appreciation of wilderness as a metaphor for the adventurous human Henry David Thoreau3spirit. “Be rather the Mungo Park, the Lewis and Clark and Frobisher, of your own streams and oceans; explore your own higher latitudes … be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you …”. (2) With “Walden,” Thoreau became the leading light for all writers to follow in the coming environmental and conservation movement. His introspections on nature and wilderness and why it is valuable to human existence influenced the later writings of many leading environmentalists and conservationists, past and present, including John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Wendell Berry.

eLibrary has an array of resources on Henry David Thoreau, “Walden,” and other nature writers and writings on wilderness and conservation of wild places.

Explore these resources and more:

Research Topics:

Henry David Thoreau
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Walden; or, Life in the Woods

Browse Topics:

American Literature
American Transcendentalism
Conservation & Biodiversity
Henry David Thoreau

(1) Corrente, Linda. Walden, Barron’s Booknotes. Barron’s Educational Series Inc., 2004. eLibrary.
(2) Richardson, Robert D. “Walden’s Ripple Effect.” Smithsonian 01 Aug. 2004. 106. eLibrary.

Anniversary of “The Raven”: Why Poe’s Famous Poem Lives On Forevermore

On this day in 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s narrative poem, “The Raven,” was published in the New York Evening Mirror. Although the poem earned him a mere nine dollars upon its publication, it immediately captured readers’ imaginations and made Poe a household name. More than a century and a half later, our continued fascination with Poe and his mythical bird are evident throughout popular culture. What other poem can be said to have inspired an NFL football team (the Baltimore Ravens), a rock album (Lou Reed’s “The Raven”), a Hollywood film (“The Raven,” starring John Cusack as Poe) and an episode of “The Simpsons” (“Treehouse of Horror”)? Even those who’ve never read the poem are likely to recognize its most famous line: Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

Poe considered the death of a beautiful woman the “most poetical topic in the world,” and he believed that bereaved lovers made great narrators. Thus “The Raven” follows an unnamed narrator who is beset with grief over the death of his beloved Lenore. Late one dreary December night while reading a book in an effort to distract himself from his sorrow, the narrator is visited by a mysterious guest—the raven, who answers the narrator’s every inquiry with a single, maddening word: Nevermore. The poem’s supernatural atmosphere and gothic setting give “The Raven” its spooky appeal. But the narrator’s mental anguish gives the poem its emotional power. By the end of the poem, the bereaved narrator, so distraught at the prospect of never seeing his love again, has lost his sanity. If you’ve never gotten around to reading this most famous of American poems, give it a shot! Find out why “The Raven” continues to haunt and enthrall readers. After you’ve read it, visit the Literary Corner in SIRS Renaissance to learn more about the poem and its legendary author.

SIRS Discoverer and World Poetry Day

"Angle by Shel Silverstein." Photo credit: dustynrobots / Foter / CC BY-SA

“Angle by Shel Silverstein.” Photo credit: dustynrobots / Foter / CC BY-SA

Designated by UNESCO, March 21 is World Poetry Day. A day to promote poetry and its significance, it’s an opportunity to share poetic works with students and have discussions about what makes certain writers so well-known throughout generations. In SIRS Discoverer, explore the world through poetry. There are Shakespearean works, folklore, literature from places as far reaching as China and Korea, poetry listed by author and poems for multiple age-groups. Our collection of poets covers a wide variety of topics and issues that can be relevant to the subjects of literature, history, and even art.  Poets such as Emily Dickinson and Ralph Waldo Emerson can be found within SIRS Discoverer along with many other historic, lyrical and creative poets, authors and writers. Writing activities located within SIRS Discoverer are wonderful accompaniments to any lesson or project. One example of a poetry writing activity includes distinguishing the differences between poem structures. By accessing our wide array of poetry, creativity will flourish as students learn to write their own. Once you’ve found an inspiring poem for your lesson, project or presentation, pair it with a graphic of the poet or his or her work.