March 2022 Issue #17
March 1, 2022
Welcome to the seventeenth 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: https://www.martha-seif-simpson.com/newsletter.htm
Thanks for joining me on this adventure. I hope you will find something to inform and entertain you.
~ NEWS ~
Last month, I revealed the winners of the 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award, along with the honor and notable books. From February 7-11, the winner and honor authors and illustrators were interviewed for the Blog Tour. You can find links to all the interviews, as well as the Book of Life podcast featuring the winners in all three categories – Susan Kusel and Sean Rubin (The Passover Guest), Veera Hiranandani (How to Find What You're Not Looking For), and Aden Polydoros (The City Beautiful) at: https://jewishlibraries.org/2022-blog-tour/
I hope to meet many of these authors and illustrators at the Association of Jewish Libraries Annual Conference in June. More on that later.
But wait! There's more…
My big news is that I retired on February 18th!
I had a wonderful career at the Stratford Library for over 28 years, serving as Head of Children's Services for most of that time. The library director, Sheri Szymanski, and my co-workers organized two special days in my honor.
February 5th was Take Your Child to the Library Day (a national holiday initiated by Caitlin Augusta, who is the new Children's Department Head). This year, it was also Martha Simpson Day, complete with balloons, party hats, cupcakes and other fun giveaways. My family and many of our library patrons, past and present, stopped in to wish me well.
One of several Martha Simpson Day banners posted in the library.
Tess put up a bulletin board and made a scrapbook with pictures of my time at the library.
And Caitlin used the photos to make this video:
Sheri read a Proclamation in my honor. This photo also shows a giant cutout of me and a display of some of my books.
A close-up of the Proclamation.
On February 18th, Sheri and other Stratford Library staff members gave me a sash and tiara that said, "Officially Retired." There were more balloons and cupcakes – plus flowers and cards and presents! Several people who used to work at the library came by, as well as library board members and many others.
My Children's Department co-workers – Tess, Caitlin, (me), Melissa, Janice, and Emily.
Here I am with Corey, who started as a Teen Volunteer and later became a library page and Circulation clerk before moving away. Overlooking us is Igor the purple balloon dragon, a gift from the library department heads.
Later, my family took me out to dinner. Now that I was really "Officially Retired", I posed with my sash and tiara.
Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate my career at Stratford Library. I enjoyed working there and meeting so many great people.
So what will I do now that I am not working at the library? More writing, of course!
Purim starts on the eve of March 16. People celebrate by dressing in costumes and telling the story of how Queen Esther saved the Jewish people form wicked Haman.
My book, Esther's Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim is about a girl who stands up to a bully, just as her namesake did. D. Yael Bernhard did the lovely illustrations. Check my website for more information about the book and activities. Esther's Gragger
Here are some other kid's books about Purim.
Esther Didn't Dream of being Queen by Allison Ofanansky and Valentina Belloni
The story compares Esther to Cinderella, but unlike the fairy tale character, Esther didn't want to marry royalty.
Queen Vashty's Comfy Pants by Leah Berkowitz and Ruth Bennett
Vashty was the queen before Esther, but she was dismissed from the royal court because she defied the king. This is a humorous look at what might have happened.
Sweet Tamales for Purim by Barbara Bietz and John Kanzler
In America's Wild West, a diverse community celebrates Purim in a unique way.
Talia and the Haman-Tushies by Linda Elovitz Marshall and Francesca Assirelli
Grandma teaches Talia about Purim as they prepare hamantaschen.
The Seventh Handmaiden by Judith Pransky
This Sydney Taylor Notable book tells the story of Esther from the point of view of a slave girl who was assigned to serve her.
Did you know that March is National Craft Month?
According to the Every Day's a Holiday Calendar, other noteworthy March dates include:
- March 2 – Banana Cream Pie Day
- March 7 – Plant Power Day
- March 9 – Panic Day
- March 15 – National Brutus Day
- March 11 – World Plumbing Day
- March 17 – Submarine Day
- March 18 – Biodiesel Day
- March 22 – National Sing Out Day
- March 23 – Chip and Dip Day
- March 29 – World Piano Day
- March 30 – Take a Walk in the Park Day
- March 31 – National Crayola Crayon Day
~ VIEWS ~
One of my favorite things about being a Children's Librarian is that you don't have to grow up! So instead of showing travel pictures this month, I'm going to post a few of the many costumes I wore for various Children's Department programs.
In November 2011, we held a fundraiser at the Milford, CT Barnes & Noble. We all dressed up in fairy tale costumes. Here I am as Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother with Janice Snow White's evil queen.
In 2010, our theme was Alice in Wonderland. I was the Mad Hatter, with Tess as the White Queen, Caitlin as Alice, and Diane as the White Rabbit.
I dressed as a clown for this circus program.
Tess and I wore our PJs for Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day.
The library held several Harry Potter events over the years, and I dressed as a different character each time.
In 2000, Tess was Professor Trelawney and I was Professor Sprout.
In 2005, Tess played Dumbledore and I was Molly Weasley.
This time, I was Potions Master Severus Snape.
For our Fantastic Beasts program in 2018, I was Professor Lupin and taught kids how to fight a boggart and a dementor with our special Patronus wands.
These were fun times. Being a Children's Librarian is the best job ever!
~ STUFF YOU CAN USE ~
With Purim coming up, here's a word search puzzle you can do.
That'll do it for this month.
Until next time, remember to amuse your muse!