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Foxy. Manga.

by Laura C - 0 Comment(s)

Kitsune at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

Once you've started to read a few manga (Japanese comics) you begin to notice some trends: repeated symbols, plot-lines, art styles, etc. One of these is the motif of the kitsune (fox spirit). The kitsune is associated with numerous Japanese myths and legends and is at home in many fantasy manga series.

In Japan, good kitsune are most famously associated with (and companion to) the shinto diety Inari Okami, the god of foxes, fertility, rice, tea, sake, harvest, industry (among other things). There are over 30,000 shrines dedicated to this deity in Japan, the most famous (and main shrine) being the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. This is one of the featured locations in the film Memoirs of a Geisha.

The fox is present in many different aspects of Japanese culture. For example, if you're a sushi fan, you'll recognize the name Inari Zushi (taking its name from the deity); these deep-fried tofu packets resemble the shape of a fox -- and just happen to be a favourite snack of the kitsune (and mine, as well). Find out more about mythology by doing a search in the Gale Virtual Reference Library found in our E-Library.

In manga, there is no end to allusions of the kitsune/fox spirit. Try some of these:

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto is one of the library's most popular manga series. It's an adventure series whose title character's great dream is to become Hokage, the greatest ninja of the leaf village. To do this he will have to learn to tap into the fearful power of the nine-tail demon fox which has been sealed within him... but first, he has to pass ninja training.

Foxes are not usually referred to as "good" creatures in Japanese mythology and it is not unusual for Japanese foxes to have many tails; they can have as many as nine. The more tails a fox has the older and more powerful it is.

The nine-tailed fox in Naruto is definitely a force to be reckoned with!

Inu Yasha by Rumiko Takahashi is a romantic/adventure series starring Kagome, an average school-girl transported to ancient Japan through an old well. There she discovers that she is the reincarnation of a priestess who once protected the powerful Shikon jewel (which has the power to grant its possessor their wish). When the jewel shatters, scattering pieces across Japan, Kagome must team-up with half-demon Inu-Yasha to reclaim all of the pieces before they fall into the wrong hands.

There are a number of kitsune in this series, including their adorable traveling companion Shippou. But, the most important reference is actually the shikon jewel. The jewel is a common symbol of the kitsune and some tradition even suggests that if you return the jewel to a kitsune it will grant you a wish.

Kamisama Kiss by Julietta Suzuki is the story of high-schooler Nanami who after saving a stranger from a dog is given his home to live in. As she has recently been abandoned by her father and homeless she accepts the gift only to find out that the home she's been given is not a house, but a decrepit shrine and she has become the new earth deity. She works hard in her new role -- and begins to have feelings for her new companion and protector, the fox-spirit Tomoe.

This story essentially twists the elements of the Inari Okami myth with his kitsune companion and turns it into a fun and frolicking romantic-comedy.

Spice & Wolf by Isuna Hasakura is the story of Kraft Lawrence, a 25-year-old traveling merchant who, while traveling through the town of Pasroe, discovers the stow-away wolf/girl named Holo (the wise-wolf) in his cart. She happens to be Pasroe's harvest goddess. Believing that the town no longer has use for her she convinces Lawrence to take her with him on his travels in an attempt to return home.

Despite writing Holo as a wolf instead of a fox, the author seems to have taken elements from several kitsune myths to create her character, including: her wisdom, her ability to transform into human form, and her association with the harvest.

Prevent Summer Learning Loss

by Betsy - 0 Comment(s)

Why is it important for your child to keep reading over the summer? Well, beyond the fact they have been working hard for the last 10 months at school, studies have shown that those students who stop reading over the summer will start the next year well behind their peers that keep reading over the summer months; this is called summer learning loss. Not only that, but that loss will be cumulative, giving the child who keeps reading each summer a distinct advantage over the child who doesn’t read, meaning that by sixth grade the child who doesn’t read will be as much as two grades behind the child who does. This makes the “Library Habit” a great one for the summer. While Summer Learning Loss affects all non-reading children, it is seen most profoundly in children in lower socio-economic backgrounds, as shown in this video, posted by the American Library Association.

The TD Summer Reading Club is open to all children in Calgary, who can keep track of either the time they spend reading or the books that they read on a passport or activity booklet. The SRC's official Kick-Off date is Saturday, June 15th, (with scavenger hunts held at every branch!) This is a program designed to keep children reading all summer – with weekly ballots and prize drawings at every branch, and a grand prize draw to be done at the end of the summer.

This year's theme is Go! How can you participate? Go! to the Library! Think about where you've Gone!, where you would you like to Go! and let staff at your local Library find you and your child some great books to read to, listen to, or just let your imagination do the work while the library helps you Go! wherever you want this summer with the TD Summer Reading Club. Here are a few suggestions to get you started (don't forget to check for electronic resources, too.)

31 Ways to Change the World31 Ways to Change the World Dinosaurs Before DarkDinosaurs Before Dark Invention of Hugo Cabret (Book CD)Invention of Hugo Cabret (Book CD)

Top Ten Fiction Titles

by Jan S - 3 Comment(s)

Have you ever been curious about what books are the most popular at the Library? Want to know what other Calgary Public Library customers are reading? Well I am here to satisfy your curiosity and share with you the Top 10 Adult Fiction Titles currently circulating at Calgary Public Library. Starting with the most popular the list is:

  1. The Racketeer by John Grisham - A legal thriller that follows detective Malcolm Bannister as he investigates the death of a federal judge. Full of twists and surprises, this fast paced novel has thrilled CPL readers who are checking the book out more that any other fiction title in the system.
  2. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter is a hard act to follow, but JK Rowling introduces a new cast of characters that occupy the small English town of Pagford. In the picturesque town not all is as it seems.
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - A mystery about a marriage gone wrong. On the fifth wedding anniversary of Amy and Nick, Amy disappears. Everyone, including many CPL readers, have picked up the book and found out what happened to Amy.
  4. 419 by Will Ferguson - The winner of the 2012 Giller Prize, the novel follows Laura Curtis from her quiet life in Calgary as she embarks on a mission to understand the death of her father. Her journey's take her into the dangerous world of Internet scams.
  5. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult - Powerhouse writer, Picoult's latest novel tackles the holocaust and looks at what it means to be good or evil and whether evil can or should be forgiven.
  6. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James - Some love this book, others hate it, but clearly it's been a popular read here at the Library. The erotic novel about Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey continues to draw readers and interest making in to number six on the list.
  7. Winter of the World by Ken Follett - Historical fiction at it's best, or a least most popular, Winter of the World is book two in Ken Follett's Century Trilogy. If the popularity of this book indicates anything it's that the third book should show up in the top ten list after it's release.
  8. A Wanted Man by Lee Child - Jack Reacher is back in the latest installment in Lee Child's thriller series. All seventeen of the Jack Reacher novels remain popular with CPL customers.
  9. Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum is at it again in Notorious Nineteen. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around.
  10. The Forgotten by David Baldacci - Army Special Agent John Puller is back and investigating his most personal case to date. This case takes Puller to Paradise, Florida where his aunt has been found dead.

If you are looking for a great read, why not take it from other CPL customers and check out one of these books. Copies are currently available for a number of these titles, (only numbers 3, 4 and 5 have hold lists!) so get your hands on one of these books today. The Racketeer by John GrishamCasual Vacancy by JK RowlingGone Girl by Gillian Flynn419 by Will FergusonThe Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Fresh! National Geographic Magazine

by Lorrie - 0 Comment(s)


National Geographic Magazine brings back many fond memories. While I was growing up, it was always around the house. My father would sit in the living room after dinner and read the latest issue from cover to cover. When he was finished, it was shelved on a special book shelf that he built himself. We had many shelves filled with that magazine with the classic yellow spine.

As a child, I loved to look at the beautiful photographs of far away people and places. Travelling the world travel was not as common then and National Geographic was a way to visit exotic places. The photographs were also essential for iillustrating our social studies or geography school projects. Now, my own children use Google images to find photos for school assignments and it takes only seconds on their computers. I, on the other hand, would spend hours combing through a stack of National Geographic looking for that perfect picture for my project.

astronautThe golden rule at our house was no clipping out photos until at least the next issue had arrived. Of course, it was usually the current issue that had just what you needed but, we never broke that rule.

Today National Geographic's gorgeous photography continues to be outstanding and I still enjoy the informative and topical articles. And, using your Calgary Public Library card for access to the electronic version, you never need worry about the photos being cut out!

National Geographic in our E-Library is a powerful tool providing the ability to search through 100+ years of beautiful photographs and articles. Browse by issue or do an image search to find that perfect picture quickly. The magazines are indexed from Oct 1888 to the present. Just looking at the covers transports you to dramatic moments in time when scientific discoveries or historical events occurred.

Fresh! Birds On Film

by AnneMarie - 0 Comment(s)

birds of paradiseA National Geographic clip making the rounds on Youtube on the Birds-of-Paradise has a natural link to the Calgary Public Library's collection. "Beautifully bizarre" is an excellent description of the fabulous birds featured in the project by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Geographic. In the dense jungle of Papua New Guinea, Edwin Scholes and Tim Laman have captured crystal clear images and curious behaviours of spectacular and unique birds which have evolved to their specific enivronment.

Any curiosity piqued by the Youtube film clip can be fully indulged by visiting the Calgary Public Library's website and collections. The complete film, called "Winged Seduction: Birds-of-Paradise; Revealing the World's Most Extraordinary Birds" is available as a DVD in the library's collection. Bonus features include a photo gallery and some incredible footage of the Papua New Guinea expedition to film the birds.

An equally delightful discovery is the book Birds of Paradise about the same project featuring fabulous still photography of those amazing birds. So you can enjoy birds on film and in print! Birds of North America is still another great resource created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and available 24/7 when you sign in to Calgary Public Library's E-Library with your library card. With images, silhouettes, information and an especially handy audio gallery of bird calls, this is a great way to find out more about the birds just outside your window.

Fresh! Books for Sharing

by Betsy - 0 Comment(s)

Mustache BabyMustache BabyOne of the great pleasures of working at the Library is finding books that beg to be shared.

One such book coming out later this spring is a very funny picture book by Bridget Heos, called Mustache Baby. When Billy is born, his family notices something odd; he has a mustache. Will it be a good mustache, leading him to be good and true — like a cowboy, or a police officer, or will it be a bad-guy mustache, making him a pirate, or a cereal criminal? Only time will tell, but perhaps all of us have good and bad mustache days. Joy Ang's goofy illustrations add a lot to the text, making this a wonderful read aloud for older children as well, who will be able to appreciate the humour.

Nugget & FangNugget & Fang



Another funny picture book coming out this spring is the story of two unlikely BFFs in Tammi Sauer's Nugget & Fang: Friends Forever — or Snack Time? The idyllic friendship that a shark and a minnow have had is disrupted when the minnow goes to school and learns about food chains in reading group. How Fang proves to the minnows that he although he will always be "toothy" he is not just another shark is a winsome story of loyalty.


Exclamation MarkExclamation MarkOne last recent favorite is the newest offering from the team behind Wumbers: it's a word cr8ted with a number!, author Amy Krause Rosenthal & illustrator Tom Lichtenheld. This time around they present readers with Exclamation Mark, a story that uses punctuation to show that it is not only okay, but that it actually can be a good thing to be different from everyone else. This is a very clever book, as its illustrations allow for an amusing introduction of its point, in one case illustrating children as a group of periods in which the exclamation mark has never quite fit, until one day along comes a question mark, asking as many questions as children are often wont to do, and the exclamation mark finds his perfect role.

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