Every Tuesday from 4:00pm-5:00pm, kids ages 9-12 fill the story room in the children’s department for Coding +. After taking the Coding + Basics class on the first Tuesday of the month, they are free to come to other classes that teach them coding skills using Bitsbox, Harry Potter, Codecademy, and more. Not only do they learn a thing or two about coding, but they have fun and make new friends. For those outside of the age range, or looking to learn more about coding at home, below are a few books and websites to get them ready for their future as a programmer.
This workbook provides detailed instructions to take your child from a novice to a programmer using Python. The tasks can be done alone or with a parent to help them along.
A Python textbook made fun, this book takes kids through the basics and into the nitty gritty of programming in Python. With sections dedicated to particular topics and fun programming tasks along the way, this is a great in-depth introduction to programming for kids and adults alike.
Using the website Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/), your child’s favorite Star Wars characters show them how to make games and animations that teach coding principles along the way.
Women have been shaking things up in Utah since before it was even officially a state! Utah women were some of the earliest participants in the fight for women’s voting rights, they helped establish settlements and whole cities as Utah’s population grew, advocated and supplied funding for education and commerce, were active participants in the realms of art, theater, and entertainment, and have long had a hand in government and lawmaking in our great state. Basically, Utah would not be what it is without them!
For Monday's blog post and today's, we’ve compiled a list of notable books about some of these female movers and shakers. Since March is Women’s History Month and the library is hosting a Utah women's history lecture by Better Days 2020 tonight, there’s no better time to use the resources the library provides to learn more about some of the women whose contributions make Utah such a great place to live.
Maybe you want to know more about notable female figures from Utah’s history, but don’t know where to start? Look no further than More Than Petticoats! Containing 12 succinct bios of notable Utah women, this book covers ladies from all walks of life, including Mormon and non-Mormon settlers, polygamy advocates and opponents, actresses who would go on to originate iconic roles, wild western women, and even a notorious “madam” (with a heart of gold, of course). These women broke through social and cultural norms of the day to better the experience of those around them and influence the path of women going forward, both in Utah and beyond.
This title is available as a set for Book Clubs and the broad topics and varied lives and statuses of the book’s subjects lend themselves well to discussion. You can check out our Book Club set here.
Though the above mentioned MORE THAN PETTICOATS book gives Patty Barlett Sessions a chapter, this compilation of her journals is a wonderful deep dive into her life. Patty was a midwife who delivered thousands of babies, and hundreds of these were first generation Utahans. She was appointed by Brigham Young to accompany the first trek of pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley. She administered to the sick and even performed deliveries of babies along the trail.
We know so much about her because she was a prolific journal writer, keeping records of the goings on of the day until she was 92 years old. Her entries are very matter of fact and to the point, but give valuable insight into what life was like for her, and other early Utah settlers, especially women. In addition to medical treatments and her midwifery, she planted some of Utah’s first orchards from cuttings, helped found a women’s organization in the Mormon church called the “Relief Society,” and was an early investor in the “Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution” (ZCMI). Patty used the proceeds she gained from this to open a school, where she also taught classes-- at age 88.
Author and historian Eileen Hallet Stone is a Utah transplant but is nonetheless a notable woman herself! Her work uncovering hidden and forgotten Utah history stories are documented in this compilation of 58 articles she wrote for her Salt Lake Tribune column called “Living History." While not every article in this book is about women, many that are include eye catching front page worthy titles like “Physic Widow Founded Spiritualist Utopia” and “1890s, Utah’s Women Found Freedom on Bicycles."
She includes well researched chapters on the suffragette movement in Utah, women homesteaders (including one with ties to Butch Cassidy), and Utah women’s contributions as pilots and “Rosies” during World War II. This is a gem of a book where you’ll discover many delightful and heartening stories about lesser known historical figures from Utah’s past.
If you’re joining us this Wednesday evening for Better Days 2020’s presentation on Utah women’s history, you’re in for a treat. Katherine Kitterman, the organization’s historical director, will be here to share stories about Utah women, especially Provo and Utah County residents, of all different backgrounds who shaped local and national history.
If you asked a typical Utahn, they’d probably struggle to name more than a handful of significant women in Utah history. Better Days 2020 is an organization committed to changing that through art, education, legislation, and activism. Utah women have a long history of political, social, and artistic contributions, and we’re excited that this history is becoming better known.
Today and Wednesday on the blog, we’ll be recommending a few favorite books related to Utah women's history. As you may have noticed, most of the books on the topic focus on white women, especially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the pioneer and settlement eras. This is somewhat understandable, given the prominence of that group in Utah’s history, but current historians, including those at Better Days 2020, are working hard to bring forward the histories of Utah women of all races, religions, and backgrounds. Look forward to some of those fascinating stories Wednesday night.
Emmeline B. Wells is a personal hero of mine and was arguably Utah’s best known women’s rights activist in her day. Utah Territory granted women the right to vote in 1870 (a right the national government rescinded 17 years later), and Utah women became some of the most outspoken advocates in the country for female political rights.
As part of this movement, Wells served as editor of Woman’s Exponent for nearly 40 years, urged Utah’s Territorial Legislature to allow women to serve in public office, developed personal friendships with national suffragists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, walked a precarious line between pro-polygamy Utah suffragists and anti-polygamy suffragists on the national stage, served as president of the Utah Territorial Women’s Suffrage Association, spoke internationally before the International Council of Women, and organized the Relief Society’s grain-saving program that saved hundreds of lives during World War I. In her last eleven years, Wells also served as Relief Society General President, being released at the age of 93, just three weeks before she passed away.
Ulrich won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for History for A MIDWIFE’S TALE, which revolutionized the historian’s field with its remarkable examination of social history. In addition to being a renowned historian (and the person who coined the phrase "well-behaved women seldom make history"), Ulrich herself is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, giving her unique insight into her subject matter in A HOUSE FULL OF FEMALES. Don’t be fooled by the narrator’s mispronunciations of common Utah names and Mormon words if you listen to the audiobook – Ulrich knows what she’s talking about.
Much of published research into Utah women's history has focused on the hotbed of political and social activism that occurred in the late 19th and early 20th century, so it’s a nice change to read about the lead-up to that time period. Ulrich is a master of reconstructing a society based on journals, letters, meeting minutes, and even quilts, and you’ll come away from this book with a much more complete understanding of regular LDS and Utah women’s experiences in the early days of polygamy.
WORTH THEIR SALT offers a glimpse into the lives of a wide variety of Utah women, some familiar, others less so. These include Indian rights advocate and diplomat Chipeta, mining queen Susanna Engalitcheff, Catholic nun and education reformer Mother M. Augusta, artist Mary Teasdel, Greek midwife Georgia Lathrouis Magera, actress Maude Adams (who originated the role of Peter Pan on Broadway), journalist and Japanese-American newspaper owner Kuniko Terasawa, and United States Treasurer Ivy Baker Priest.
A variety of professional historians, journalists, descendants, and enthusiasts contributed essays for WORTH THEIR SALT. It’s a collection well worth reading for anyone interested in broadening their familiarity with prominent women in Utah history.
Be on the lookout for another post later this week with more recommended reads on this topic. Whether you're able to attend on Wednesday of not, we hope these books will get you hooked on the remarkable history of Utah women!
I am an avid non-fiction reader, and as such, serious topics sort of come with the territory. While I enjoy the occasional 800+ pages tome about historical events or people, inspiring self-help selections, or the latest book from a scientist much smarter than I’ll ever hope to be, full of words I can’t pronounce and concepts that merit an earnest Google-ing, I also like my non-fiction with a side of comedy.
In a day and age where the headlines are often dark and depressing, we can benefit from the wisdom of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote, "A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing." There are options to suit every person’s sense of humor with authors willing and able to provide respite from the weighty topics of many non-fiction books and use their wit and wisdom to cast the world in a more comedic hue.
When life feels a bit too gloomy, and laughing out loud is what the doctored ordered, reach for a library book with some humor, like one of the options below!
Part comedic memoir, part travel journal, this familiar story of a woman who, after a break-up, embarks on a solo road trip across the U.S., may feel trite or contrived in less funny, and capable hands. Instead, Jacobson creates an honest and relatable ride-along with plenty of self-reflection and laughs along the way.
With a healthy dose of nostalgia for the iconic computer game, this book gleans important life lessons on being an adult from the 8-bit world of The Oregon Trail. Complete with pixelated art work, quips like “It’s still fashionable to dress like a pioneer: you just have to put a bird on it.”, and plenty of pop culture references, this is a book for the generation who played this game growing up and “just can’t even” with adulting.
If you’ve never read a book by David Sedaris, start now with his newest collection of essays! Sedaris has both a keen observational eye to spot the absurdity in the everyday world around us, and a sharp writing style to accent the hilarity that comes with being human. Whether he’s describing ways he’s enslaved to his FitBit, his admittedly odd family gatherings, or the friendly fox who follows him on walks through the woods, there’s always something relatable, heartwarming, or laugh out loud funny to enjoy with every turn of the page.
How can topics like race, feminism, gender, and skin care be funny? Robinson has accomplished just that in this charming and poignant collection of essays. A mix of cultural criticism rolled together with hilarious experiences from her life, this book will not only make you laugh, but will lift you up and help you feel like there is hope for the world after all.
If you’re looking for a clean, family oriented observational comedy book, look no further! In the vein of Jim Gaffigan, stand-up comedian Tom Papa writes about the often ridiculous situations that accompany parenting and family life, and does so without making anyone blush.