New at the library

Whether you’re reading for entertainment or education, the juvenile non-fiction collection at Peter White Public Library offers an array of fascinating true tales. From pioneers to civil rights, animal rescues to America’s oldest farm, stories of these interesting families and individuals inspire and teach. They include: Wild Horses: Black Hills Sanctuary by Chris Peterson, j599.6655PE, An Extraordinary Life: The Story of the Monarch Butterfly by Laurence Pringle, j595.789PR, Tuttle’s Red Barn: The Story of America’s Oldest Farm by Richard Michelson j629.45ST and these others:

Cut Down Shin Creek, The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky by Kathi Appelt, j027.07AP, champions a group of brave women who ride through rugged terrain in the Appalachian Mountains in the bone chilling cold, freezing sleet and through swollen creeks, all to bring library books to isolated houses. One of the poorest states in the country at that time, Kentucky has been especially hard hit after the stock market crash of 1929. As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WPA project, young women are paid $28 a month to deliver books, magazines, reference materials and homemade scrapbooks to the crooks and hollows of the hills of Kentucky. They bring free public library materials to those rural areas for the first time. The women ride horses 12 to 13 hour a day, most without a lunch, and over rough trails. There are no roads. Their determination is inspiring and encouraging, considering that their materials were all donations. The WPA doesn’t pay for a single one.

As pioneers settle the west, the need for mail service across the heartland becomes a necessity and the Pony Express is born. In They’re Off! The Story of The Pony Express by Cheryl Harness, j383HA, the Wild West comes to life. They race horses day and night to deliver the mail, in spite of Apache and Piute warriors, horse thieves and snowy mountain passes. On April 8, 1860, the first rider leaves San Franciso bound for St. Louis, Missouri. What follows is how the Pony Express works through the Paiute War, the Civil War and the invention of “talking wires”, telegraph lines. Though it has a brief existence, the Pony Express is an important part of American History, and Harness’ exciting telling of it is sure to please readers.

Remember Little Rock: The Time, The People, The Stories by Terrence Roberts, j379.263WA, gives first-hand accounts of “The Little Rock Nine”, the first group of African American students to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. They want what their peers want, a chance at the best education in Little Rock and Central High is known for its top notch academics. But the white community of Little Rock, all the way up to Governor Orval Faubus does not want to follow the federal mandate to integrate. The first day of school the Governor orders the Arkansas National Guard to surround the school. They are still there the second day. As the nine try to enter the building, the Guard blocks their paths, turning them back into the cruel jeers, jabs, and for some physical attacks by the mob outside the building. So begins the story of their school year, one riddled with deep hatred and racism. Their firsthand accounts of perseverance, courage and strength through the cruelest of circumstances is a must read for all.

Crows, falcons, ducks, geese, crayfish, bass, weasels, a boa constrictor, mice, and “eek” a tarantula, fly, waddle, swim, run and crawl off the pages of this hilarious chapter book by the author of Julie of the Wolves. The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets by Jean Craighead George, j921GE, tells of George’s family “pets” all wild, and all fun. Her three children delight in raising abandoned wild animals, some that take on human like traits, and others, like a frog, who still act wild. These wildlife enthusiasts can’t get enough of their furry, feathered, scaly pets, raising some for adulthood in the wild and others as lifelong family members. They even build a pond in their living room. Readers who love animals will love these animal tales.

In Adelina’s Whales by Richard Sobol, j599.5SO, young Adelina eagerly waits for the return of the Gray Whales to her tiny village of La Laguna in Baja California, Mexico. The whales come to this remote place to have their babies in the protected lagoon. As we hear stories of Adelina’s grandfather’s first encounter with a gray whale, we see photos of the majestic creatures as they surface for the only human connection they allow at La Laguna. Readers will learn whale facts as well as the interest scientists and researchers have in this tiny ramshackle village that hosts these mamas and babies every January. With a forward from Robert F. Kennedy describing the fight to preserve the Lagoon, readers will understand how precious the lagoon is to the giant mammals.

Stories of courage, bravery, the fight for equal rights and amazing aptitude abound in Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Stone, j629.4ST. It takes 38 years from the time women first test as physically apt as men for the space program, for the first woman to command a space shuttle for NASA. Stone’s thorough research results in stories of 13 women who in 1960 hope to become astronaut candidates. They are the first female pilots to undergo rigorous tests as scientists scrutinize their physical, psychological and physiological characteristics to see if they are capable to astronaut candidates. The women excell at the tests, in some cases perform better than the original Mercury 7 male crew. But NASA, the Navy, and several male astronauts are not ready for females in space and block them at every turn, making it an unattainable goal until 1999. These brave women push anyway, proving that determination and sheer will can see a dream come true.