July 2021 Issue #9
July 1, 2021
Welcome to the ninth 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: Simpsonian Muse
Thanks for joining me on this adventure. I hope you will find something to inform and entertain you.
~ NEWS ~
It's officially summer, which means the Summer Reading Programs are in full swing at your local libraries!
At the Stratford Library, where I work as Head of Children's Services, we have a full slate of activities for kids, teens, and adults. Check out what we have to offer at:
Meanwhile, the Connecticut Governor also promotes an annual summer reading program. I'm proud to say that my books appear on the K-2 summer reading list! Here I am on page 3, with a photo, even:
But wait, there's more!
On August 1st, I will be selling my Toyshop Tale books, The Dreidel That Wouldn't Spin, and Esther's Gragger, at the Shoreline Jewish Festival in Guilford, CT. This wonderful family event features Jewish music, crafts, and food and will take place from noon to 5 pm. If you live nearby, come by and join in the fun:
You Wouldn't Want To … series
Do you think life would be better without insect, pain, or extreme weather? Could you get by without vaccinations or clean water? Think again!
These 32-page nonfiction books from Scholastic use humor to explain scientific concepts, discoveries, and inventions. As the reader, you get to see first-hand the dangers and inconveniences of living without forces of nature, scientific advances, and other facets of life we take for granted. The books may look outrageous, but everything in them is true. Colorful illustrations, captions, and factual sidebars make them great choices for school reports, too. Here are some sample titles:
You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Insects! by Anne Rooney
You may think of bugs as nasty stinging creatures that destroy crops and spread disease. But without insects to pollinate flowers, we wouldn't have fruit. Without bees, we wouldn't have honey. Even maggots are useful. Read this book and find out why!
You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Clean Water! by Roger Canavan
How would you cope in a world without clean water? Learn how water keeps us healthy, how it's used around the world, and why we need to make sure it's not polluted or wasted.
You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Pain! by Fiona Macdonald
A pain-free world may sound wonderful, but if pain did not exist, our lives would be very dangerous. We probably wouldn't survive for long and – believe it or not - we would actually be less healthy.
You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Vaccinations! by Anne Rooney
Sticking sharp needles into people doesn't sound like a nice thing to do, but vaccinations have saved millions of people from deadly diseases since the 18th century. Thank science for these life-saving medications!
You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Extreme Weather! by Roger Canavan
It's a nuisance when it rains on a picnic. It's a tragedy when a tornado destroys a neighborhood. But our planet would be a very different place if it did not have extremes of weather. Find out how weather has shaped the world we live in and why it's important.
Did you know July is National Ice Cream Month?
According to the Every Day's a Holiday Calendar, other noteworthy dates in July include:
- July 1 – International Reggae Day
- July 2 – World UFO Day
- July 4 – Sidewalk Egg Frying Day
- July 7 – Global Forgiveness Day
- July 8 – Be A Kid Again Day
- July 12 – Etch A Sketch Day
- July 13 – Embrace Your Geekness Day
- July 15 – Gummi Worm Day
- July 16 – Guinea Pig Awareness Day
- July 23 – Gorgeous Grandma Day
- July 27 – Walk on Stilts Day
- July 31 – National Mutt Day
~ VIEWS ~
In honor of the Olympics, which (supposedly) will take place in Tokyo this month, I want to travel back to my 2013 visit to Katakolon, Greece, the site of the original Olympics from 776 BC to 393 AD. Although earthquakes destroyed many of the buildings in the 6th century, the site is still fascinating. I was able to purchase a tour book that compared the ruins to what the buildings originally looked like. Here are a few photos and pictures from the tour book to show how the buildings used to look.
First is a picture of the main area. The long white building is the Temple of Zeus, because the boss god naturally had the biggest building. The rectangular building with the red roof in the upper left corner is the Temple of Hera, honoring his wife. The row of small buildings in the top center are the row of Treasuries. Beyond them is the entrance to the stadium – the yellow piece in the top right corner is the beginning of that.
Let's start with the Temple of Zeus, which used to look like this:
But now, looks like this photo from the tour book:
The Temple of Hera looked like this:
But all that is left now is this:
Our tour guide brought us past the row of treasuries to the arched entrance of the stadium:
We walked through a long corridor to get to an empty field where athletes would enter for track events.
The round Philippeion is located to the left of Hera's temple but cut off from the first picture:
You can still see the round pedestal but only three columns remain:
Some structures that are located outside the main area were used as training facilities for the athletes. First, the Palaestra:
The remains of which are shown here:
And then the Gymnasium:
Which is now:
Although the buildings are now ruins, it's still an awesome feeling to be in the place where the Olympic games started all those centuries ago. If you ever get a chance to visit there, you will know what I mean!
~ STUFF YOU CAN USE ~
Here's a simple craft you can do with kids – making a necklace using Fruit Loops and Life Savers as beads.
- Use a large, flat tray or plate to work on while making the necklace.
- Cut a length of plastic lacing that is long enough to loop over your child's head easily. You could use yarn or string, but I think plastic lacing works best because it's stiff and easy for young children to handle.
- Tie a loose knot at one end of the string so the cereal "beads" won't fall off.
- Let you child string the beads along the plastic lacing. They may want to create a pattern or just choose them randomly.
- Don't string beads on the part that will go behind the neck.
- When your child is done, untie the first knot and make a new knot to tie both ends together.
You can also use Cheerios, Apple Jacks, or whatever cereal you like that has a hole in the middle. You can even use Life Savers to contrast with the size and color of the cereal.
Although the necklace is made of edible beads, it may not be a good idea for kids to eat them after all that handling. Use your best judgement, and have fun!
That will do it for this month.
Until next time, enjoy the summer and amuse your muse!