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June 2021     Issue #8




Happy June!


Welcome to the eighth issue of The Simpsonian Muse. I am your scribe, Martha Seif Simpson, Author and Children's Librarian. As the header says, this monthly newsletter will feature:

  • News – Mine as well as other interesting tidbits
  • Views – A few photos from my world travels
  • Stuff You Can Use – A mish-mash of activities, crafts, recipes, or whatever I am excited about sharing

If you missed the previous newsletters, you can click the button on the left sidebar on my website to catch up or click here: Newsletters


Thanks for joining me on this adventure. I hope you will find something to inform and entertain you.


 ~ NEWS ~


Last month, in honor of National Asparagus Month and Mother's Day, I asked readers to tweet about my book on Twitter or post a photo on Instagram using the hashtag #whatnototgiveyourmomonmothersday


I am happy to announce that Linda Plevak is the winner of an asparagus coffee mug! Her posts also served as publicity for my appearance at the Zoom program she held on May 5th at Ozuna Library at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, TX. I had a great time reading What NOT to Give Your Mom on Mother's Day to the kids and talking to them about the book. Thanks for a fun evening, Linda and friends!


But wait, there's more!


The Connecticut Library Association held their annual conference in May. I am very proud to announce that I was the recipient of the Faith Hektoen Award, which is given annually by the Children's Section of the CLA to recognize the efforts of an individual or group that has made an impact on library services to children in Connecticut at the local, regional, or state level.


I was nominated for my work on the Healing Library project, and especially for creating an online kit in April 2020 so that families would have access to resources during a time when the Stratford Library was not open to the public. Coping With the Coronavirus and Covid-19, as well as an online version of our Death of a Loved One kit, have been accessed by parents and caregivers both locally and nationally. 

You can find them here:

Healing Library kits

And the press release about the award is here:

Faith Hektoen Award press release         


After almost 28 years at the Stratford Library, it is gratifying to receive Connecticut's highest honor for a children's librarian! 




In recognition of Pride Month, I want to share some of my favorite LBGTQ+ books.


The Best Man by Richard Peck

This laugh-out-loud story begins and ends with a wedding. Archer Magill has important roles in both of them. Archer is surprised and pleased to find that his class will be taught by the first male teacher to work in his school. He is equally surprised when his favorite uncle and role model becomes romantically involved with his teacher. This romance, and Archer's involvement in it, help Archer grow as he learns to be the best man he can be.


Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

In the second book featuring Magnus Chase and Norse mythology, the hammer of Thor is missing. Magnus and friends have to find it on order to keep giants from invading the human realm. This book won a Stonewall Award for youth fiction for its inclusion of a gender fluid character, Alex Fierro, who can match up to any tough scenario the gods can conjure.


Better Nate Than Ever

Five, Six, Seven Nate

Nate Expectations

by Tim Federle

The first book introduces 13-year-old musical theater-loving Nate Foster, who runs off to Broadway, determined to try out for a part in E.T.: The Musical. Of course, things don't go as planned, but he finds help in unexpected ways and manages to make his dream come true, sort of. The sequels further explore Nate's life on Broadway, and then his return home to work on another musical at school.


Author Tim Federle is a former Broadway performer with inside knowledge of life in the New York theater scene and a flare for comedy. Nate experiences all the highs and lows of being an aspiring actor, as well as a boy who is trying to figure out his sexuality.

Lots of fun, especially for fans of musical theater. Better Nate Than Ever was a Stonewall Honor book.




Did you know June is Gay Pride Month?

According to the Every Day's a Holiday Calendar, other noteworthy dates in June include:

June 1 – Go Barefoot Day

  • June 5 – Hot Air Balloon Day
  • June 6 – Yoyo Day
  • June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
  • June 13 – National Sewing Machine Day
  • June 15 – Nature Photography Day
  • June 18 – International Sushi Day
  • June 22 – National Onion Rings Day
  • June 23 – International Women in Engineering Day
  • June 24 – International Fairy Day
  • June 25 – Color TV Day
  • June 29 – Waffle Iron Day
  • June 30 – Meteor Watch Day 

Celebrate Appropriately!




This month, I look back to the September 2018 bus tour through Europe that John and I took, and our stop at Mt. Pilatus in the Swiss Alps.


Here I am, at the foot of the mountain.



A map of the mountain, with hiking trails, if you care to walk up. (No thanks!)



This is the entrance to the cable car that will take us to the top of the mountain.



The car ahead of us at we approach the top. That's a long way up!



The sign at the top of the mountain.



Here we are together atop the mountain. What a view!



John, with the visitor's center in the background. Notice the trail along the edge of the mountain beyond the building.



We walked along that trail and found these guys.

Mountain music!



The trail was narrow, but reinforced, thank goodness!



When the trail became even narrower and curvier, we decided to turn back.



Remember the hiking trails on the map? This is what some of them look like when you are standing atop the mountain.



There were more trails in the other direction, going to an even higher point.



This train was the other way to go up and down the mountain. We took the train down instead of the cable car. Notice the trail zig-zagging up the mountain.



We passed some impressive rock formations.



And farms with cows.



A sign with some information about our transport.



Back on the ground.



This trip was a of fun, as long as you aren't afraid of heights!

We had perfect, sunny weather, too.




With summer approaching, librarians are gearing up to launch their summer reading programs. The Stratford Library SRP starts registering people on June 1st, and a heavy load of programs kick off at the end of the month after school gets out. This year our theme is "Reading Colors Your World" and the Children's Department is handing out various Grab & Go craft kits each week. For the June Stuff You Can Use, I want to share a simple craft we will be offering to our kids.


I like to use recycled items in craft projects as much as possible. You most likely have a few CDs lying around the house that you don't need any more, right? Here's a simple, fun craft to re-purpose those old CDs and turn them into a sparkly sun catcher. The other items can be found at your local dollar store.


You will need:

  • 2 CDs
  • Liquid glue
  • An 18-inch length of ribbon
  • 2 large round stickers, about 1 ½ inches across
  • Assorted stick-on gems 
  • Assorted smaller stickers (optional)

Directions for making a CD Sun Catcher:

  • Put wet glue on the print side of 1 CD.
  • Put another CD on the top of the gluey one, print side down. The shiny sides should show.
  • Press CDs to make the glue stick.
  • Wipe off any excess glue that may leak out and set aside to dry.
  • When the glue is dry and the CDs are stuck together, thread the ribbon through the hole in the CDs and tie ends together.
  • Place 1 large round sticker over the center hole of one CD.
  • Turn to the other side and place the other large round sticker over the center hole.
  • Use the smaller stickers and gems to decorate both sides of CDs. Use a sticker or gem to keep the ribbon in place on each side.

Hang up and enjoy!




Easy, right? In our sample, we just used gems. I am always amazed at how creative kids get when decorating these. Some design a pattern and others just have fun with a totally random arrangement. Either way, their creations shine.


That will do it for this month.


Until next time, get ready to enjoy summer and amuse your muse!



~ Martha