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World Turtle Day

Making Slow Strides
Celebrate World Turtle Day on May 23rd. The American Tortoise Rescue, a nonprofit organization founded to protect turtles and tortoises, and their vanishing habitats, established this commemorative holiday in 2000 to encourage people to boost their knowledge of both creatures. 

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Transportation, Fairy Tale Style

Written in a pre-industrial age, transportation in fairy tales typically finds itself restricted to walking on one’s own two feet, riding on horseback or in a carriage pulled by horses, or sailing on a ship. Modern writers, particularly those who write within the genre of historical fiction or pre-industrial, or steampunk fantasy, also rely on those standard forms of transportation, although they often get it wrong.

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The “See-Food” Diet

Diet and nutrition fill over a quarter million pages of text within the World Library’s virtual bookshelves. GoodReads lists 43,181 titles focused on food and drink, and Amazon’s search results for “diet” yields 186,133 titles for printed books and 30,071 e-book titles. Titles focusing on what and when to eat tout their food and drink regimens as the answer to many problems related to health, energy, and moral character.

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

As of 2014, The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there were about 20.3 million American residents who were Asian or mixed with Asian, as well as an additional 1.5 million Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. The celebration was chosen to be in May to honor both the first immigration of Japanese to the United States, in May 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad, in May 1869, by mostly Chinese immigrants.

According to the official Asian/Pacific American Heritage website, the rather broad term Asian/Pacific includes all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island). It’s a much more diverse group than many might realize. 
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Moving Abroad

Expat Writers and Artists
Immigration continues to be a hot topic in cities worldwide. A variety of factors—war, economic opportunity, religious freedom, etc.—drive it. According to information released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 244 million people lived abroad in 2015—an increase of 71 million since 2000.

Top destinations for immigration include the U.S., Germany, and the U.K. A recent article in The Telegraph, published in London, states that “rates of immigration are increasing in the world—with immigrants consisting of 12.1 percent of the world’s population in 2005, compared to 13.2 percent in 2015.” 

Not only have social and political factors motivated people to flee their homelands over the course of history, but so have literature and the arts served as inspiration for many. 
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World Red Cross Day

World of Good
When disaster strikes—whether it’s a devastating natural event such as a powerful hurricane or earthquake, a health outbreak such as Ebola, or a mass evacuation of people fleeing war-torn countries, Red Cross organizations around the globe are quick to respond. 

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Mother Goose

Children’s First Literature
The first literature often introduced to children in the Western world consisted of the rhymes and fairy tales published under the anonymous Mother Goose. This fabled wise woman is often depicted as an archetypal country woman or, yes, a goose wearing a peasant dress and shawl.

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Anti-Intellectualism

A Non-Comprehensive Compilation of Facts of Feelings
A poll was taken in 2014, that revealed one in four Americans thinks that the sun revolves around Earth. Most people agree that global warming is real, but many of these same people believe that it will only affect other people. Non-scientists argue with scientists and doctors about whether vaccines are good or bad. Are these three ideas latent traces of a manifest-your-own destiny, a power-of-the-mind ability to turn feelings into facts? 

This is the battle of intellectualism versus anti-intellectualism.
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A Brief History of Science Fiction

The early canonical works of science fiction have been disputed over the years. Aspects of science fiction such as redesign, post-apocalyptic landscapes, and gods as characters rather than religions, can be found scattered in mythologies and old texts like Gilgamesh. A little closer in our history, we can see dystopian societies and flying islands used satirically in Gulliver’s Travels. Then in 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was born, and most scholars contend that this was the first sci-fi novel. 

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The Limerick and Its Failure to Kick the Bucket

Hard thinking and hard living, the philosopher and the soldier, action and non-action, sense and nonsense, East and West: the ever-critical human has always been prone to compartmentalize things into black and white. We pit things against their opposites and take sides like it’s a sport.

Sense and nonsense—there needs to be a little bridge in between the two that serves as a connector, divider, and just a simple place to watch the big river roll by. This is where the limerick came in:

There was an Old Man of Nantucket,
Who kept all his cash in a bucket,
His daughter, called Nan,
Ran away with a man,
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

From Princeton Tiger, Issue 1902
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Dancing Through Literature

Coventry University in London (United Kingdom, not Ohio) offers a multidisciplinary symposium on the enduring relationship between dance and literature. That relationship has existed since ancient Egyptian times, such that dance “appears frequently across drama, poetry, and fiction to the many dance and physical theatre works based on literary sources.” 

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Newbery Medals

Best of the Best
In 1921, Frederic G. Melcher proposed an award to recognize the authors of “the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children.” The award refers to the name of 18th century British bookseller John Newbery.  

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Honest Literature

The Importance of Being Honest
Literature around the world incorporates common themes that run true throughout the ages: acceptance, preparedness, courage, kindness, cooperation, resourcefulness, compassion, perseverance, friendship, and honesty. Classic literature extols the virtue of honesty, which preoccupies writers even today, and especially in times of political and corporate corruption.
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Class Economics

Stuck in the Middle
For decades, economic forecasters have been predicting the demise of America’s middle class. Even as far back as the 90s, the media reported on the emergence of the income gap between rich and poor, and growing inequality.   

Decades later, the Recession of 2008 certainly exasperated the situation. Many working-class Americans grew even more frustrated as wages remained stagnant or declined as unemployment rates escalated. 

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Tesla

Driving the Future
Several decades ago, it may have been difficult to fathom the everyday use of “futuristic” gadgets such as cell phones and laptops. Since then, these modern devices have become such an integral part of our daily lives—it’s now incomprehensible to imagine navigating life without them. 

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Spring Rituals

In Bloom
In destinations around the globe, many people are eager to celebrate the arrival of spring. After a long, dark winter they’re stepping outdoors to welcome the sunshine. Many cultures have their own ceremonies and festivals to mark this joyous time—a season synonymous with rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.

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Japan's Greenery Day

Nature Reigns
Greenery Day, which is also known as “Midori no Hi” is a national holiday in Japan that is currently celebrated on May 4th.  

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Flowers

Symbols in Literature
“Flowers are the friends of all, and we look with amazement at the person who cannot find some amount of pleasure in their study,” begins Hilderic Friend’s book Flowers and Flower Lore. Indeed, flowers have always held a special place in the heart of humanity. They have remained evocative and highly symbolic for many different reasons to peoples throughout the ages. 

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Junot Diaz

Identity and the Convergence of Cultures
Junot Diaz, a Dominican American writer, is a master of the combinatorial, the high and low brow, the bridge between intellect, crudeness, colloquial, and many silent histories. He’ll have characters using two or more registers of banter, and flip through Spanish and English, and then throw in a region-specific reference as well. He is an utter and quintessential confluence whose books have redefined how we look at identity, homeland, the lasting effects of the convergence of culture and history. 

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William Shakespeare

Forever and a Day
Is it possible for something or someone to be so ubiquitous that it is near negligible, like the air we breathe? Is it merely a sign of the times to know so many a person by name but not by substance? Are we the era of jack of all trades, but master of none?

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