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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reader Spotlight: Nebiyu Eyassu

Nebiyu Eyassu is a journalist, author, television presenter and dedicated library user. After spending his childhood and early years in Ethiopia, he has made a career in media in the United States.  The library has been there every step of the way for him and his family.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a journalist and an author. I was born and grew up in Ethiopia. I taught history for less than two years in my early twenties. I worked for Addis Ababa Bank for almost three years where I organized a labor union along with a few class-conscious colleagues. As a Secretary General of the Bank Workers Union, I was lucky enough to witness the first baby steps of a burgeoning labor organization in Ethiopia. In 1973 I became a journalist working for a government-owned daily newspaper written in my native language, Amharic. Journalism is the profession that opened my eyes, fashioned my imagination and shaped my world view. It also got me in trouble with the government in the 1990s. I was accused by the totalitarian government of inciting the public, though as a matter of fact I was reporting the truth. After I came to the United States in June 1994 for journalism training sponsored by USIA, I decided to stay here and applied for political asylum.

What made you decide to become a journalist?    

I have been a journalist for the last four decades. I first joined the profession to make a living, but in a few months, I fell in love with journalism. The profession is so exciting and competitive. You come across people of different careers and get involved in reporting different events. This is a profession where you can never get bored. Even with all the risks involved in working as a journalist under a tyrannical regime, I still preferred to stay in this exciting career. The hectic newsroom taught me time management, responsibility and discipline.  

Tell me about some of the work you have accomplished in your career.

As a journalist, I have traveled extensively to all provinces of Ethiopia and many countries of Africa and Europe and talked to people of different professions. My reports and programs were often related to agro-industrial production, labor unions, peasant associations, civil wars, border conflicts, revolutionary movements and upheavals. I spent frightening months on the front lines of civil wars and border wars. I spent some fearsome days and nights in Ethiopian jails accused of “inciting the public” in my journalistic work. I had a chance to report on Ethiopia’s unusual wildlife, intriguing historical and religious sites and breathtaking scenery. I have written for print and electronic media. I have produced television programs and hosted panel discussions on many subjects, presented research papers in symposiums and wrote six books.

How does the library help you in your work?  

The library is my second home. Here is where I spend the most time next to my residence and work place. While I was studying computer science, I used the library as a place to study and get books on the subject. In addition, the books I read on interview techniques helped me get a job as an Internet systems engineer in a web hosting company. When I was writing my books, the library was where I got most of the reference books I noted in my bibliography. I use books I borrow from the library to produce documentary programs for broadcast to East Africa via Ethiopian Satellite Television. These would not be possible without the help and resources I get from the public library. The library is my favorite place. I can’t think of life without books, and I appreciate the service and hospitality that library professionals give to all users.

Describe your library life with your children.

I used to take my children to the public libraries of our neighborhood (Richard Byrd, George Mason Regional and Centreville Regional) at least three days a week for a few hours when they were in elementary, middle and high school. This helped them to develop a culture of reading and love for books on any subject. Every time they asked me to take them to a playground, I told them that they have to spend at least two hours in the library reading books before going to places of their choice. This system worked well, and through the years, they became good readers and successful students. Particularly my son Daniel has made books his best friends. He got his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Radford University and worked as a research assistant for the FDA and later became a department head in a food processing company. He is now studying at George Mason University to get his master’s degree in global food security. His success is based on his love for books, which he nurtured by going often to the public library.

What do you like to read for fun?  

Other than reading and writing, my hobbies are sports, music and travel. I read books about these subjects for fun. I also like to read joke books, biographies and autobiographies of famous people. Examples are books about soccer, swimming, and sightseeing, travel magazines and biographies of great people like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, etc.   

Do have any memorable library moments that you recall?   

Some days I was so late leaving the library I left after most of the lights were put out. I lived with the fear that I might be locked in one day. One evening, I was in a hurry to evacuate before it was locked, and I forgot my reading glasses on the table. Luckily, they kept them for me, and I got them the next day, for which I am very grateful.

-Rebecca Wolff, Centreville Regional Library





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Frightfully Fun Picture Books - Part 2

Now Halloween is just around the corner, and you can’t find a single picture book to share. What a nightmare! Well, walk on past the empty holiday shelves to find some monstrous books to read aloud. It’s a lucky thirteen title round-up!{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis (JP ARM)

A countdown of monsters, some meeting unfortunate ends, closes with a Halloween worthy twist.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Kristyn Crow (JP CRO)

A skeleton cat emerges from his grave ready to pursue his dream of being a drummer in a rock band. Crazy cat!{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Margery Cuyler (JP CUY)

It’s hard to get rid of the hiccups when you’re a skeleton who can’t try the usual tricks. Simple text, fun concept.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Chris Gall (JP GAL)

An unusual substitute makes for a school day like no other in this great read aloud choice for older kids.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Rebecca Emberley (JP EMB)

A classic song with a monster twist and bright, not-scary illustrations makes for a rousing preschool sing-along.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Joan Horton (JP HOR)

A whole world of mummies is explored in rhyming couplets and appropriately spooky illustrations.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Elizabeth Loredo (JP LOR)

This is a longer story about a skeleton who loves to dance and finds a way to take his passion beyond the graveyard.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Daniel J. Mahoney (JP MAH)

Starting school is hard for everyone, including little monsters learning to be scary. Boo!{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Amanda Noll (JP NOL)

When Ethan’s under-the-bed monster is on vacation, he looks for a new monster. If only he weren’t so picky…{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Susan Pearson (JP PEA)

A traditional action story gets an update with dark skies, spooky shadows and a ghostly graveyard.
Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex (JP REX)

Enjoy this fun parody of the classic book Goodnight Moon with a werewolf child and a trouble-making goon.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Rick Walton (JP WAL)

It’s way darker than Madeline, with most of the monsters losing their heads, but clever for older readers.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER

by Arthur Yorinks (JP YOR)

A mean witch, a scarecrow child, evil magic, and a loving friend come to a happy ending in this suspenseful story.
- Pamela Wasserman Coughlan, Kings Park Library

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Read at Your Own Risk: Teen Horror Series

October is a month for costume-making, pumpkin spice lattes and horror movies. It also happens to be when we observe Teen Read Week, an annual celebration of reading for fun. And what's more fun than a good scare? Move over R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. These spine-tingling horror series will have you reading long into the dark and creepy night. Don't say we didn't warn you.

In Bad Girls Don't Die by Kate Alexander, Alexis' fairly typical teenage life takes a bizarre and frightening turn when her little sister Kasey starts behaving strangely, not at all like herself. Then there are the unexplained and unsettling events happening around their old, Victorian home. But no, she must be imagining things. Ghosts aren't real.

Does the thought of a sanatorium for the criminally insane get your heart racing? In Asylum by Madeleine Roux, Dan Crawford is among the students housed in an old psychiatric hospital at New Hampshire College Prep, a summer program for gifted students. Follow Dan and his new friends as they uncover the asylum’s dark secrets and allow yourself to get totally creeped out by the accompanying spooky photographs.

Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Like many in her family, Daisy Goodnight has a special talent. She can speak to the dead and sometimes uses her abilities to help the police solve cold cases. But when the FBI pulls her out of school to work on a murder/kidnapping, she gets kidnapped herself. Can she solve the mystery in time?

In The Devouring by Simon Holt, Reggie happens upon an old journal at the bookstore where she works and reads about Vours, evil demons that feed on fears and possess humans. Being an avid horror fan, she jokingly attempts to summon the Vour to predictably catastrophic results. Will she be able to face her fears and save her family?

If you find serial killers fascinating but want to stick to the YA section, give I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga a try. Jasper Dent has seen more of the dark side of humanity than anyone his age should. But that’s not very surprising considering he is the son of a notorious, imprisoned serial killer. When murders begin again in Lobo’s Nod, Jasper joins the police in the search for the killer to prove to everyone, including himself, that he is not his father.

Meet Benny Imura, apprentice zombie hunter, in Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. Benny doesn’t want to work with his older brother, but he is 15 now and must either find a job or give up half of his rations. Tag along as he is forced to venture out from safety into the zombie apocalypse.

Do you need EVEN MORE scary books? Find recommendations from Neil Gaiman, Harper Collins, the Washington Post and more at All Hallows Read. All Hallows Read is a new tradition started by best-selling author Neil Gaiman where you give someone a scary book on or near Halloween. Follow the link to find out more.

-Rebecca Molineaux, George Mason Regional Library