This year’s Caldecott winner is a children’s picture book called This is Not My Hat, the tale of a small, rather overly confident fish who has just stolen a little Topper hat. He spends the book telling the reader all the reasons why he will get away with stealing the hat from a bigger fish, all the while the pictures in the background tell a very different story than the one the fish is telling. This book is actually a sequel to another picture book called I Want My Hat, told from the point of view of the fish that had his hat stolen, much to his distress. Most of the book is visual humor, with funny background events, wonderful art, and a few good lessons for the kids- everything you could possibly want in your fish-related children’s books.
Rice Library collects the Newbery and Caldecott titles annually, as well as hundreds of others, to support the children’s literature courses on campus. Note the call numbers given for titles in the first section- these and so many others are in the Curriculum Materials collection on our 4th floor!
A Walk through Time in Fashion
The collection will be on exhibit in the Wrights Administration Building through April. We hope you get an opportunity to see this rare collection on clothing as well as a unique hat and accessories display out side the University Archive & Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the Rice Library.
So. I really do love reference books. You never know what you’re going to find when you open one up. Like, when I opened up an e-book we have here at the library called They eat that? A cultural encyclopedia of weird and exotic food from around the world. I looked at its table of contents, and you know what first catches my eye? On their list of contents, a list of which foods they are going to be talking about? The chapter called “humans”. Humans. In the food section. I couldn’t even focus on the camel chapter, or the brains, or other such things I think were served in the dinner scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But, let’s get back to that later. I think we all need to take a second and thank the food gods that most of the food from around the world is actually delicious and interesting, and not….monkey heads or humans flesh.
One place to find interesting and tasty foods would be the international food festival held yearly by USI`s International Club. You can wander the room, and find all sorts of great foods from everywhere from Germany to Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia. When I first went, some of the foods certainly gave me pause, particularly one dish made out of eggplant, hummus, and….some meat thing that I distinctly remember. It was amazingly tasty. But that’s not the only time the International Club gives students an opportunity to try some new foods from different places! They also offer culture nights thoughout the year, focusing each time on a different culture, and usually run by students from those particular countries. And yes, they usually offer food from said cultures.
Have you done all that, and now you’re interested in learning more about foreign food items? Lets get back to that book. I skipped right over to the “Humans” seaction, and it turns out its not a cookbook known as “To Serve Man”, its actually a history of cannibalism and its historical context in history and religion. Oh, and then they talk alot about the details of cannibalism, what parts people have preferred, and I am just going to stop there and skip over to the part where we hear about eating bone marrow and cactus and seal flippers. Because that all sounds incredebly appetizing. Alright, I might try cactus, that sounds kind of good. The foods listed range from creepy sounding, to actually pretty tasty, and no matter what, it’s all done in a way that is filled with historical and social context, keeping the book from seeming like it’s just pointing at the “weirdo foreign food” and laughing, and actually makes the foods sound, if nothing else, interesting. It makes you want to learn more about these foods, and the cultures they come from. People generally have reasons why they eat certain things (like Balut, a fertilized duck egg that has an almost completely developed fetus inside of it, which in the US was an eating challenge on Fear Factor, but in the Philippines is considered a tasty snack that is known to give people a big burst of energy in the middle of the day, having been eaten there for generations). The internet tells me that things like bats and camels are actually quite delicious if prepared right, and several cultures have been eating them for years. Weird food is all relative (I know people on the East Coast who are mystified by the idea of drinking sweet tea) and learning about the foods of other cultures can give you some ideas about the culture itself. Now, the foods served by USI`s international club events will probably not be quite that out of the box, but they are a good way to see what other cultures eat, and what that means to them. This is what I love both about college and reference books. You never know fully what you’re getting into, but if you keep an open mind, you can learn way more than you ever expected. So try something different to eat, and you may be surprised. Just, avoid the human handburgers. Just….no.
So what does that mean for the students? Well, it means that the library listens when students ask for change. Over the last few years, several students have complained that our old computers were outdated, had small screens, and very slow internet. The library listened, and now we have these new ones! They’re an example of the great support the library receives from our friends at Information Technology. They are newer, more convenient, and while they won’t totally revolutionize the lives of students here, I think they will make things a little more pleasant. So what’s the message here? If you have a problem with something in the library, just say something, and hopefully we can all work together to make the library better for everyone! Talk to someone at the reference desk, or maybe send an email; I hear the internet is really quick here these days! Oh, and one more thing. Don’t forget to name and save everything if you leave your computer to get a drink or tell the guy who is STILL blasting Nickelback on his headphones to turn it down, because the computers will still log you off if there is no activity for a while. Some things never change.