A ‘mini’ party with mega fun at Mentor Library

Lynn laughs it up with her doll, Sarah, during the American Girl party at Mentor Library on Valentine's Day.

Lynn laughs it up with her doll, Sarah, during the American Girl party at Mentor Library on Valentine’s Day.

About half of the guests at Mentor Library’s Valentine’s Day party were only 18 inches tall. They were, after all, American Girl dolls.

But their short stature fit the party’s pastiche. The kids who came to our party Saturday played mini-games, made tiny clothes for their dolls and snacked on mini pizzas.

The only thing that wasn’t ‘mini’ at this party was the fun.

Olivia made a party hat and horn (yes, that's apparently what they call those little blower things) for her American Girl doll, Samantha.

Olivia made a party hat and horn for her American Girl doll, Samantha.

The girls got to decorate their dolls for the party, making them tiny party horns—yes, that’s apparently what you call those little blower things—and hats.

And the snacks may have been for the kids, but they were still delightfully lilliputian. The girls made little ice cream cones by scooping ice cream into Bugles and tiny cakes with cookies and frosting.

The girls made tiny cakes for their dolls using cookies and frosting.

The girls made tiny cakes for their dolls using cookies and frosting.

If your kid (or kids) love American Girl, we have a club dedicated to their books.

Our American Girl Book Club meets on the first Wednesday of each month to discuss a different American Girl book and make a new craft. (We’ve made everything from rag dolls to dreamcatchers to guacamole.)

Our next meeting is 4 p.m. on March. 4 in the children’s section of our Main Branch on Mentor Avenue. The girls will be meeting Caroline.

You can register your child for the book club on our web site or by calling (440) 255-8811 ext. 221.

Party like an American Girl

Party like an American Girl

For more photos from our American Girl party, visit Mentor Library’s Facebook page.

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10 Books, Movies & Documentaries for Presidents’ Day

Presidents Day

Of course we love Presidents’ Day at Mentor Public Library. A president lived right down the street from us! (And his son was the architect of our first branch.)

And we think one of the best ways we can celebrate Presidents’ Day is by staying open and making sure people can get books and documentaries about their favorite (or least favorite) president.

We’re also participating in Yours Truly’s annual Presidents’ Day dinner with the historical reenactors from We Made History.

And, as always, we have some seasonally appropriate reading suggestions:

1. The Trial of the Assassin Guiteau: Psychiatry & Law in the Gilded Age by Charles Rosenberg

We partner with James A. Garfield National Historic Site for a monthly book club dedicated to our hometown president. We meet at 6:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at our Main Branch. On March 12, we’ll be discussing The Trial of the Assassin Guiteau. If you like American history, you’ll enjoy our book club.

2. Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy by David O. Stewart

The worst presidents make for some of the best biographies, and Andrew Johnson was objectively one of the worst. (Seriously, he was James Buchanan bad.) His inauguration began inauspiciously after he imbibed too much *cough* medicinal *cough* liquor. And his presidency devolved from there until he became the first president ever impeached.

3. In the Days of McKinley by Margaret Leech

This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography might be better remembered than its subject, President William McKinley. (The Ohio presidents are numerous but, unfortunately, also an oft-forgotten bunch.) Leech provides an exhaustive history of McKinley, as well as the life and times he inhabited. For some stories in this biography, McKinley is on the periphery or even absent; but this book is wonderful for those interested in both the president and his era.

4. John Adams by David McCullough

I can’t imagine the research that must have gone into this biography. McCullough unearthed fascinating details that help tell the story of this brilliant and contentious founding father. (The miniseries is pretty splendid too.)

5. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

There are hundreds of biographies and documentaries about Abraham Lincoln (and at least one film about him hunting vampires ;) but this one best demonstrates Lincoln’s counter-intuitive brilliance. The story focuses on Lincoln’s cabinet, which consisted of disparate and often conflicting opinions. (Lincoln named three of his presidential rivals to his cabinet.) By the way, this book “inspired” Steven Spielberg’s LincolnBoth the movie and book are good but they, in no way, resemble each other.

6. The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 by Douglas Brinkley and Luke A. Nichter

President Richard Nixon’s infamous tapes recorded about 3,700 hours of conversation between the president and some of the world’s most powerful people; but, until recently, only about five percent of those tapes were ever transcribed and available to read. But Brinkley and Nichter have pored through the tapes to highlight fascinating conversations about Nixon’s re-election campaign, arms agreements and opening relations with China.

7. One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev & Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs

Get new insight into one of the most dangerous moment’s in human history—the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dobbs’ research includes reading a draft of the Khrushchev Peace Initiative agreement (the final version of which was never committed to paper because of fear it might look Bobby Kennedy look less “tough.”) The author manages to add something new to one of the most discussed moments in one the most discussed president’s life.

8. The American President

The American President documentaries discuss every American president through George W. Bush and group them by themes (generals, those who reluctantly took office etc.) so we can see what our leaders—separated by era and even outlook—had in common.

9. The Real George Washington

The Revolutionary War, the Constitutional Convention, the first national administration—all likely would have failed had it not been for George Washington. But what do you know about him? Learn about Washington’s humble beginnings, his relationship with slavery and how he, in fact, could tell a lie, especially if that lie offered a military advantage.

10. All the Presidents’ Wives

Behind every president (except James Buchanan) was a strong woman. Learn more about these women and how they influenced our country’s history. And, if you like that, check out Women in the White House too.

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Our Favorite Love Stories for Valentine’s Day

As you wish...

“Princess Bride” is always a good answer, regardless of what the question is.

Valentine’s Day is this Saturday. (Consider that your last warning if you still need to buy a gift.) If you’re still looking for something for your kids to do that day, we have three recommendations.

To coincide with the season, we polled our coworkers and asked them, “What is your favorite love story?” The answers came from books, movies, songs and even a ballet.

Feel free to let us know your favorites too:

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Valentine’s Day at Mentor Library

Brianna makes valentines Monday at Mentor Library's Main Branch.

Brianna makes valentines Monday at Mentor Library’s Main Branch.

We started celebrating Valentine’s Day early at Mentor Library and the fun has just begun.

On Monday, kids used melted crayon shavings, heart-shaped stencils and wax paper to make their own translucent valentines Monday at our Main Branch. We also played Valentine’s Day-themed games and read poetry!

Akshat and our volunteer Sam check out how the light transforms his translucent heart.

Akshat and our volunteer Sam check out how the light transforms his translucent heart.

And the party’s not over! There are still more Valentine’s Day crafts to makes and candy hearts to distribute. All three of our branches have programs scheduled this Saturday, and your kids can join the fun.

Children can come to our Headlands Branch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or until supplies run out) and make a pretty Valentine tea-light craft. You can also grab a cookie while you’re there as part of Patron Appreciation Day.

Meanwhile, at our Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch, kids in kindergarten through fifth grade can play a special game of Valentine’s Day Bingo and make valentines for their loved ones at 2:30 p.m.

Finally, we’re having an American Girl party at our Main Branch that starts at 2 p.m.

Girls ages 6 to 12 can bring their American Girl dolls (or any other 18-inch doll) to the library for an afternoon of mini-crafts, mini-snacks and American Girl games. The only thing that won’t be “mini” is the fun!

You can register for any of these programs on our website or by calling the respective branch of Mentor Library.

Kadence makes her own valentines with melted crayon shavings and wax paper.

Kadence makes her own valentines with melted crayon shavings and wax paper.

For more photos from our early Valentine’s Day craft and other programs, visit Mentor Library’s Facebook page.

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American Girl Book Club makes dolls of their own

Abby names the rag doll she made Mia during the American Girl Book Club meeting at Mentor Library.

Abby names the rag doll she made Mia during the American Girl Book Club meeting at Mentor Library.

Usually the young ladies of our American Girl Book Club bring their dolls with them to the meetings. This time, they made their own.

On Wednesday, the girls made rag dolls—just like Felicity did while growing up in Revolutionary War-era America. (Felicity was the book club’s American Girl of the month.)

The girls used yarn, fabric scraps, markers and ribbon to make their own dolls and give them personality. (And they snacked on gingerbread cookies while making them.)

Sophie works on her rag doll while her American Girl doll rests.

Sophie works on her rag doll while her American Girl doll rests.

Our American Girl Book Club meets on the first Wednesday of each month to discuss a different American Girl book and make a new craft.

If you have a daughter who likes the American Girl books or dolls, then she can join the fun. She can even bring her dolls with her, if she likes. (Of course, the dolls aren’t required.)

Our next meeting is 4 p.m. on March. 4 in the children’s section of our Main Branch on Mentor Avenue. The girls will be meeting Caroline.

You can register your child for the book club on our web site or by calling (440) 255-8811 ext. 221.

Giselle and Lynn pick which markers they want to use to draw their dolls' features.

Giselle and Lynn pick which markers they want to use to draw their dolls’ features.

We’re also having a special American Girl program at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at our Main Branch—Celebrate the American Girl Way.

Girls ages 6 to 12 can bring their American Girl dolls (or any other 18-inch doll) to the library for an afternoon of mini-crafts, mini-snacks and American Girl games. The only thing that won’t be “mini” is the fun!

You can register for the party on our web site, as well, or call Mentor Library to sign up.

Claire snacks on a gingerbread cookie during our American Girl Book Club meeting.

Claire snacks on a gingerbread cookie during our American Girl Book Club meeting.

For more photos from our American Girl Book Club and other programs, visit Mentor Library’s Facebook page.

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