Antes del Cinco de Mayo

mexico-641595_1920The fifth of May will be here soon.

Perhaps you’ll celebrate by wearing a sombrero, but Mexican culture is much more than a hat, a taco or a margarita. So if I may, I’d like to suggest a few more books, movies and artwork from Mexican artists for consumption.

1. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

One of Mexico’s famous novels tells the story of Tita, who is not allowed to marry her love, Pedro. Instead, she has to take care of her mother, so she can only express her love through cooking.

Esquivel’s book is sweet and funny and lovely and sad. It also experiments with form. Each chapter begins with a recipe for a traditional Mexican dish that will later tie into the story.

Not only is Like Water for Chocolate a wonderful book. It also made for a great movie.

2. Pan’s Labyrinth

Guillermo del Toro is one of the most popular and successful directors in Hollywood; but (give or take Pacific Rim) he is best known for a Spanish-language film about an oneiric girl living in Franco’s Spain.

Pan’s Labyrinth mixes fairy tales and frightening reality as the girl must face the magical denizens in her garden to save her mother. However, her final threat does not come from the world of magic.

You will smile several times while watching, but you’ll finish the film in tears.

3. Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera

I intended to write separate entries for both of these artists, but they are so often paired together that it seemed unnatural. Of course, these artists were married (and divorced) (and then remarried;) but they are just as important as individuals as they are a couple.

Kahlo’s best known for her self-portraits; but, by painting herself, she depicted the female form and experience without compromise. Her work celebrated both Mexicans’ national and indigenous traditions.

Meanwhile, Rivera is best known for his frescoes and his role in establishing the Mexican Mural Movement. He painted murals in Mexico City (including in the National Palace), Cuernavaca, Detroit, New York and San Francisco. His murals sometimes included elements of culture, politics and religion (which he regarded as a collective neurosis.)

4. The Poems of Octavio Paz

Octavio Paz is a singular poet. I could tell you his awards. (He’s won the Nobel and Miguel de Cervantes prizes.) Discuss his subject matter. (Reality, revolution, love.) Try to give you comparisons. (Walt Whitman meets Jorge Luis Borges, maybe?)

But none of that cuts to the quick, and the quick is this: Paz is an intense, thoughtful poet. His words will move you.

5. The Book of Life

Jorge Gutierrez’s first feature film uses Mexican folklore and the celebration of the Day of the Dead to tell the story of three friends’ love triangle.

Gutierrez said one of his goals for the movie was to “show you what I think are a hundred of the thousands and thousands of ideas of what a Mexican is.”

6. Ugly Betty

You’re snickering or indignant right now. I just lumped in Ugly Betty with Frida Kahlo and Octavio Paz. How dare I?

But the telenovelas on which Ugly Betty is based and emulated are a big part of Latin American culture. Also, don’t be so judgmental. Ugly Betty was great. (Jane the Virgin‘s incredible too, if you want to check it out.)

7. Y tu Mamá También

Before Alfonso Cuaron directed Harry Potter or Gravity, he wrote and directed this story about two teens who travel across the country with an older woman. However, their mutual attraction for the woman threatens their friendship.

Beyond this septet of suggestions, we have hundreds of books, films and albums about Mexico, its history and culture. Check it out! You never know what you’ll learn.

(You can still have the margarita too.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where should Mentor Public Library pop up next?

A girl picks through our Pop-Up Library during Concord Community Days. Where do you want our Pop-Up to appear next?

A girl picks through our Pop-Up Library during Concord Community Days. Where do you want our Pop-Up to appear next?

We’ve popped up at schools and concerts, marshes and malls, parks and parties.

Wherever our Pop-Up Library appears, it comes filled to the brim with free books.

That’s right, the books in our Pop-Up Library are free for you to keep forever.

You don’t need a library card to take one or to return the book when you’re finished. (But you should have a library card anyhow. And you can always leave the book in one of our Little Free Libraries if you want to pass it on.)

And we’re not done. You’ll be seeing our Pop-Up Library all around Mentor and Mentor-on-the-Lake this spring and summer.

We’ll be at the Mentor Rocks concerts, BeachFest, CityFest and more! Visit our online event calendar to see all the places we’ll be popping up.

If you want us to bring our Pop-Up Library to your school, church or workplace, email our community outreach coordinator at jason.lea@mentorpl.org.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Barking up the right tree at Mentor Public Library

Claire takes a quick break to give Diva a scratch behind the ears during Paws to Read at Mentor Public Library.

Claire takes a quick break to give Diva a scratch behind the ears during Paws to Read at Mentor Public Library.

Books and bulldogs, pages and pups—Paws to Read is back!

Every month, we pair young readers (between the ages of six and 12 years old) with therapy dogs, who listen to the children as they read.

The dogs make an ideal audience—supportive and adorable—and all they ask for in return is the occasional belly rub. The program helps build the child’s confidence and makes reading fun for them.

If your child can read independently but doesn’t like to do it in front of other people, you might try signing them up for Paws to Read. The program works well for dog lovers, but it’s also helped some kids who are scared of dogs get over their phobia.

Colin demonstrates his ambidextrousness. He can read with one hand and pet Captain Jack Sparrow with the other.

Colin demonstrates his ambidextrousness. He can read with one hand and pet Captain Jack Sparrow with the other.

Our next Paws to Read program will be Wednesday, May 18, at our Main Branch. There will be two 30-minute sessions; one beginning at 6:30 p.m.the next at 7 p.m. Registration begins May 4.

We only have so many therapy dogs; so, unfortunately, there’s a limit on how many kids can participate each month. Also, spots sometimes fill up quickly, so contact the children’s department at Mentor Public Library soon if you think you child would enjoy Paws to Read.

For more information on Paws to Read and other children’s programs at Mentor Public Library, call (440) 255-8811 ext. 221 or visit our online event calendar.

Makenna strokes Kody's fur while they share a book.

Makenna strokes Kody’s fur while they share a book.

For more photos from Paws to Read, visit Mentor Public Library’s Facebook page.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Join our Winnie-the-Pooh Tea Party

Winniethepooh

Not to sound braggy, but we’re pretty good at tea parties at Mentor Public Library.

Be they princess, Pinkalicious or Poppins parties, the kids always have a good time. (And we do too!)

Now we’re about to throw a tea party so fun that it could even make Eeyore smile (a little.)

Join us at noon on Saturday, May 7, for a very special tea party with games and crafts. And it’s all dedicated to everyone’s favorite bear, Winnie-the-Pooh!

We’ll make honeycomb necklaces and party hats, play games, and, of course, enjoy afternoon tea. (Here’s hoping there’s enough honey…)

The party is for children, ages three and up, accompanied by an adult. So we can accommodate as many children as possible, there will be a limit of one adult per family.

We also ask that you bring your own full size teacup.

The party is free but registration is required. You can sign up by calling (440) 255-8811 ext. 221.

See you at the party!

Jane Austen Tea 2

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Getting money smart at Mentor Public Library

Maddie paints her robot bank green during the Money Smart for Kids program at Mentor Public Library.

Maddie paints her robot bank green during the Money Smart for Kids program at Mentor Public Library.

Most of our Money Smart Week programming is for adults, but you have to teach the youth too.

Kids learned about saving and spending during a special program Monday evening. They also painted their own Robot Banks. (Sure, pigs are cool; but robots are where it’s at.)

For more photos from our Money Smart program for kids, visit our Facebook page.

Jovie tilts her robot's neck so she can paint it more easily.

Jovie tilts her robot’s neck so she can paint it more easily.

We have more Money Smart programs set for this week, including:

All Money Smart programs will be held at Mentor Library’s Main Branch. They are free to attend, though registration is required.

You can sign up on our event calendar or by calling us at 440 255-8811.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment