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Dear Friend,
I have always loved the library with its caverns of fact and fiction. With Ted, my best friend, most loyal opponent, and cousin all wrapped in one, our best adventures were spent as pirates bringing home our booty of buried treasure from the stacks.
 
Reading the pictures and the stars, we blasted off with Captain Video. Later, with better information, we were space travelers breaking the surly bonds of earth with directions in hand, imagination in mind and a mile-high tower of Grandma’s pillows and chairs readied for launch.
 
Those days could not last. The furniture couldn't take it.
 
When my daughters were little, I got to renew my vows with them as weekly guests of the children's library. Each visit was a voyage to a magic land. Strange untold characters would mysteriously appear. The otherwise impossible would become demonstrably true.      
 
Because I was big, I'd already unearthed proof of The Little Engine That Could and everyone just had to Make Way for Ducklings. When it became Ayo and Dara's turn to lead the expedition, we never knew where we would end up, or who would show up, or what would become of us. We just knew it would happen. Magic was in the air.
 
On one particular visit to the Greenwich Library, then six-year-old Dara was on a crusade in search of her grail. With librarian Portia Byrd in tow, she transcended all our previous mere-mortal magical missions. Dara was determined to make magic.  Literally.
 
Into the children's stacks we trooped. Portia began by asking Dara the nature of her quest. Dara responded that she needed a special magic book. On what? asked Portia. You'll see, Dara hailed the brigade with the authority of classic suspense.
 
One book was pulled, perused; then rejected. Another met the same outcome.  Still another and another: each with the same sense of hope, each fated to the same shelf of rejection.  It was a Bad Day at Black Rock, indeed.
 
As travelers, we had always sailed a steady stream. We had seen ancient times, future worlds; we had done it all together with our books. Now, despite Dara's plight, each book refused to aid us in our time of need.
 
Our mates were in mutiny. We were adrift. The four of us—Portia, Ayo, Dara and me—sat crossed-legged and hardly stoic in the hold.
 
Then Portia asked Dara to steer a more definite course. Will you tell us more, Dara? Where are we headed here? What are we asking the books to do? Moaned Dara: "I want the books to make my doll disappear."
 
With that, I made Dara disappear and to my surprise, Portia Byrd became my friend. Together we had been shipmates, sailing the seas of childhood wonder.
 
Now, all these years later, as I prepare for my upcoming talk at the Wilton Library next Sunday (see below), I can’t wait. 

Moving to Wilton way back when, I was delighted by the arrival of another unsuspecting librarian—Karen Ronald, and her friend, Sandy, a library dog with a nose for books unequaled by merely two-legged patrons.  I knew I'd met a soul mate.  Sandy led me on a tour of the Children's Room where plans were underway for a young readers' sleepover under the stars and among the stacks.
 
What more could one ask (except to be shorter)? Growing up in “the city,” who knew it could be like this!  I raced home to call Dara—then away at college—with the news.  I’d found a magical place where she and Ayo's future daughters' daughters' dolls would have the best of times discovering and disappearing to their hearts content for generations to come.
Have a comment?
SPEAKING AT THE WILTON LIBRARY NEXT SUNDAY, JANUARY 29
Planning to be in or around Wilton, Connecticut?  I’ll be returning to The Wilton Library and the town where my daughters and I spent eleven “magical” years next Sunday, January 29, at 4:00 pm.

My talk, “Bending the Arc” (a nod to Dr. King’s quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”) launches this year’s Scholarly Series co-sponsored by the Library and the Wilton Historical Society: “A Rocky Road: The Struggle for Rights in America.”  How was Reconstruction derailed, Jim Crow apartheid set in motion; and, how did we get from there to here?  
 
Learn more and register for the four-lecture series that connects the dots of African American, workers’, women’s, and LGBTQ rights here.
 
Invite me to speak at your next event
ON THE SHOW
January 28: 
THE FIFTH LITTLE GIRL
Guests: Sarah Collins Rudolph and Tracy Snipe, PhD
 
As we move from Dr. King Birthday remembrances into Black History Month, it seemed a good time to look back in wonder on one of those how we got ovah! moments of the Civil Rights Era.  Sixty years later, we’re still not sure how we, as a people, made it through The Birmingham Church Bombing.
 
On Sunday, September 15, 1963, in a now-infamous Civil Rights era terrorist attack, White supremacist pro-segregationists detonated a bomb at the 16th Street Baptist Church, murdering those "Four Little Girls."  Rarely mentioned, a fifth girl, 12-year-old Sarah Collins, was the severely-injured sole survivor in the church’s basement ladies’ room that day.  Telling her story in her own words and voice, Sarah Collins Rudolph is this week’s guest.  She’s joined by Tracy Snipe, PhD―co-author of her memoir, "The Fifth Little Girl."
 
How poignant it is to not just “know our history,” but to remember our families and friends—the real people whose lives revealed the measure of us all.  How did a young father, just 34-years-old, known as Mike to his friends and Dr. King to the rest of us get ovah?  Steady himself to do the unthinkable: eulogize children?  How did another young father, President Kennedy, bring conscience to a nation of unconscionable hatreds that would rob him of his own life two months later?  How does a child survive the murder of her sister and her friends to: live with the pain in relative obscurity, rise up reborn, and inspire the rest of us with her singular tale?

Download this Apple podcast here.
THE JANUS ADAMS SHOW airs and streams live Saturdays at Noon eastern time on WJFF Radio Catskill, www.WJFFRadio.org. For extended show notes, visit my website: JanusAdams.com/show.

LISTEN and SUBSCRIBE to the podcast on:
Apple, Soundcloud, Spotify, and Stitcher
 
AND ONE MORE THING . . .

RATING, REVIEWING & FOLLOWING "THE JANUS ADAMS SHOW" on APPLE PODCASTS here.

Thanks for listening to "The Janus Adams Show" podcast.  Please rate and review the show—FIVE STARS—if you love listening as much as I love producing it for you.  Your ratings and reviews help me reach and inspire more people, just like you, with engaging insights into “race and courage” by thought leaders you’d like to hear more from and neighbors you’d like to learn more about.  And, if you haven’t done so yet, please FOLLOW the podcast and leave a COMMENT!  My team and I value your opinion.
 

Harambee!
Janus


* Harambee is a Ki-Swahili term popularized by the Kenyan Independence Movement meaning "let's all pull together!"

** Pictured at the top: "Into the Mystic," a book sculpture, is the work of artist, Malena Valcarcel of Valencia, Spain.  View and purchase her work here.

Emmy Award-winning journalist, author, historian, keynote speaker, 
Dr. Janus Adams is publisher of BackPaxKids.com and host of public radio’s
“The Janus Adams Show” and podcast.
www.JanusAdams.com

www.BackPaxKids.com

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