Celebrate New York Archives Week by coming to the Museum Library to discover the Museum’s rich history of scientific exploration from around the world. Rarely seen collections of field notes, films, photography, artwork, and memorabilia will be on display to tell the hidden stories behind the Museum’s world-famous dioramas and exhibitions.
Watch early moving-image footage from historic Central Asiatic Expeditions to Mongolia, in which a team led by Roy Chapman Andrews discovers the first dinosaur eggs, or browse the original landscape studies painted in the field during Carl Akeley’s perilous expeditions to Africa. The Library staff will explain how these one-of-a-kind objects are cared for and give hands-on demonstrations of the new Digital Special Collections, an online endeavor to make the Library’s extensive image collection available for research and reference.
This event is part of the New York Archives Week, which runs October 5-11, 2014, an annual celebration aimed at informing the general public about the diverse array of archival materials available in the metropolitan New York region.
The tours, which run between 12 pm - 5 pm are free with Museum admission.
My first library job was at the AMNH, handling interlibrary loan requests from institutions around the world . Such a fabulous resource.
See full list here.
As we confront a new threat in Iraq and Syria, I beg you to remember that our enemy is a group of psychotic thugs, who no more represent Islam than the American Mafia represent Catholicism. The Muslim girl in this photo is no one’s enemy, but rather an example of those we were sent to…
CLASSIC BANNED BOOKS
In honor of Banned Books Week, we’ve put together a list of now-Classics that were once—or are still—contested, censored, or banned. So below, check out a few historically hackles-raising Penguin Classics that came to mind around the office. And never forget that reading classics can be rebellious.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck’s legendary depiction of Americans struggling for survival during the Great Depression has been burned, banned, and the topic of numerous censorship trials since its publication in 1939. Though the book’s purpose was to illuminate the plight of migrant families, many authorities felt they’d been depicted in an unfair light. The battles over censoring The Grapes of Wrath have been international, including a Turkish trial in which publishers faced up to six months imprisonment for “spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state.”
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
No stranger to ruffled feathers, John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel Of Mice and Men has managed to amass quite an interesting list of enemies. Along with plenty of school curriculum battles, Of Mice and Men was banned in Ireland in 1953 and condemned by a South Carolina chapter of the Klu Klux Klan. Censorship battles over the novel continue even today.
On The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Among the most controversial works of modern time, Charles Darwin’s revolutionary work in the natural sciences has been banned on numerous occasions. Dramatized in the 1955 play “Inherent the Wind”, Darwin’s theory of evolution was banned from Tennessee schools for 42 years after the infamous Scopes Trial. And the work continues to be an inflammatory topic in many parts of the world, including the United States.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
A title synonymous with investigative journalism, Upton Sinclair turned the meatpacking industry of the early 1900s on its head with his seminal work The Jungle, in which he exposed the mistreatment of immigrant workers and blatant disregard of consumer health. Surprisingly, The Jungle was never suppressed in the United States, but was banned in Yugoslavia and burned by both the Nazis in 1933 and East German communists in 1956.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the psychedelic fantasy depicted in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that many parents have found it a questionable story for children, despite its popularity. However, the book’s oddest opponent surfaced in China, when in 1931 a provincial governor was wildly concerned about the effects of animals being depicted speaking human language, describing it as “disastrous.”
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was making waves in public school districts throughout the country when it first published in 1962. The story of rebellious Randle Patrick Murray as he butts heads with the powerful and manipulative Nurse Ratched in an Oregon mental hospital displayed a scathing critique of institutionalism and the prominent psychology of the time. Fearing the impact the book might have on their children, parents in Colorado attempted to ban the novel from public schools, claiming it “glorifies criminal activity, [and] has a tendency to corrupt juveniles.” In 1986, the book was banned from curricula in Aberdeen, Washington, simply because of its secular humanistic values.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
As a cautionary tale of science and man’s role in the creation of life, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has for the past two centuries found itself at the center of debates over religion and science, its work with these themes resulting in protest from many various Christian groups. Though never governmentally censored in the United States, South Africa banned the novel in 1955 for obscenity.
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
William Golding’s 1954 novel The Lord of the Flies has been in the censorship cross-hairs of American parents for decades. Those attempting to ban the book have done so on the grounds that it is excessively violent, racist, and “implies that man is little more than an animal.” But Golding, a schoolteacher himself, wrote the book in response to an 1858 novel by R. M. Ballantyne, TheCoral Island, in which a group of young boys stranded on a desert island get along quite swimmingly. Though Golding enjoyed the book, his experience with schoolchildren led him to take the morality of the situation in…a different direction.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
When is a word just a word, and when is it something more? Considered the Great American Novel by many, Mark Twain’s use of racially loaded slurs in his novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been the topic of dozens of censorship battles. A disparaging picture of the antebellum South, Twain’s tale of a young man barreling down the Mississippi with an escaped slave has been among the most polarizing works of literature. First published in 1885, the novel has sparked heated debate over the publication and wider cultural effects of racist slurs. Though many cite context and Twain’s aim of revealing Southern racism as justification of the slang’s use, many advocates of censoring the work have called for select slurs to be replaced with simply “The N-Word.”
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Possibly the most unusual banning of a book on our list, Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty was prohibited in Apartheid South Africa based on a misunderstanding. Though Anna Sewell’s novel champions compassion for all living things, its title was misinterpreted by the white National Party as a novel about a black woman and hence deemed not fit for the public. Naturally, the officials were far too busy to actually read the literature considered unacceptable.
Classic Fridays | The world is full of classics. Every Friday, we close the week with one of our favorites.
From Yvonne Ventresca, author of the YA book, Pandemic! What do you do to take care of pets when disaster strikes?
On Sunday, I whipped through the entirety of rachelmwilson's new YA novel, Don’t Touch, published by HarperTeen. And since this is such a substantial and meaty young adult novel (clocking in at 432 pages), that is definitely saying something.
Full disclosure: I know Rachel in real life, and I admire her a lot.
Don’t Touch follows anxious high school student Caddie Finn as she navigates two major life changes: attending a new school (an arts academy, where she’ll be pursuing acting), and dealing with the emotional fallout of her parents’ recent separation. Caddie has a history of panic attacks, ritualized coping behaviors, and magical thinking — all OCD symptoms — and when her father moves out, they come back with a vengeance. This time, Caddie becomes convinced that if she touches another person’s skin — anyone at all, for any amount of time — her father will be gone for good.
Caddie copes with her new compulsion by wearing long sleeves and jeans, even in the stifling Alabama summer, jumping away in fear the moment a person approaches her body, and oh yeah…wearing elbow-length lavender gloves. Every day. For months.
The book dives into Caddie’s high school transition and her coping with mental illness pretty quickly; the entire plot of the book moves at a nice, steady clip without ever feeling rushed or belabored, which I really appreciated.
The reader is quickly introduced to Caddie’s new classmates, all of whom are actors in her program: there’s Mandy, her long-lost childhood friend; Drew, Mandy’s meat-headed boyfriend; Peter, the astoundingly patient and understanding love interest who can also act the hell out of Hamlet; Livia & Hank, the quirky, platonic couple consisting of a gay boy and a straight (?) girl; and Oscar, the sexually harassing, loud mouthed former child actor.
Caddie’s new school is putting on a production of Hamlet, and Caddie desperately wants to play the role of Ophelia. But when she gets the role and her crush Peter gets Hamlet (don’t worry, this happens fairly early in the book), her “don’t touch" rule becomes a lot more difficult to maintain. And to hide from others.
I won’t go any further into the plot, but let’s just say this book explores numerous interesting conflicts. First there’s Caddie’s attempts to overcome her own mental illness. Then there’s her fraught relationship with her absent father, and her parents’ crumbling marriage. There’s Caddie (and all the other students’) stress over putting on the best possible play. There’s Caddie’s frantic, deeply misguided attempts to conceal her OCD from everyone in her life, which constantly places her acting career and her friendships at risk. And finally, there’s Caddie’s internal struggle over her deep attraction to Peter, and her conflicted desire to break the don’t touch rule.
This book has a lot of ideas to juggle, and it does so expertly. Did I mention that it also gets really in depth about what attending an acting high school is like, and seriously grapples with Shakespeare? Yeah. This is not a fluffy YA read. It’s got a lot for the reader to chew on, even if they’re not the typical romance/YA reader.
Don’t Touch isn’t, after all, a romance. It’s an informative, literary tale about overcoming OCD and learning to accept help from friends (and yes, from mental health professionals). That the book also paints such reasonable, accurate portraits of adolescent relationships is just a fantastic bonus. Nothing is fantastical or problematic here — we witness fights and break ups and frustrations and effective communication — exactly what an adolescent reader needs to see.
Finally, Don’t Touch ends with an amazing (and thoroughly researched) author’s note that I am certain will really help a bundle of young adults and adolescents with OCD, and tons of adults and teens with other mental illnesses, too. Rachel has mentioned in multiple interviews that she had her own experiences that were comparable (if not identical) to Caddie’s, and her firsthand experience with anxiety and panic attacks is a huge part of what makes this novel so important as a piece of fiction, and as disability and mental illness representation.
If you like YA, novels about mental illness or invisible disabilities, books about acting, Shakespeare references, or responsible, accurate romance, Don’t Touch is 100% for you. Pick it up wherever you buy your books — Amazon, B&N, Kobo, local book stores, etc etc etc.
I’m honored by this review from the whipsmart Erika Price, whom I know for reals.
I would love to see what kind of captions Adam Gidwitz would come up for these!
“You see, the land of Grimm can be a harrowing place. But it is worth exploring. For, in life, it is in the darkest zones one finds the brightest beauty and most luminous wisdom.
And, of course, the most blood.”
- Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
HEY! IF YOU’RE READING THIS is a bit like 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES but for boys! So fantastic!
Life advice from literature.