Posts Tagged: Friends of Decorah Public Library

Spring 2022 Inspire(d)

Spring 2022 Inspire(d) cover

The Spring 2022 Inspire(d) encourages you to look at this season as an opportunity to Restart. Just as the world begins anew, growing out of the muck, so can you. Inside, you’ll find inspiration for restarting your goals, gardens, and more! 

Restart with Spring! Q&A with MN Artist Amy Rice • Circular Economy – Secondhand as a Way of Life • Climate Advocacy – Ayla Boylen & Leslie Smith Sand • Community Builders: Friends of DPL; Renée Bergstrom; Bree Breckel & Eric Weninger • Spring Gardens • Mental Health – Restart Your Goals • Sum of Your Biz: Jamie Gavle of Rendered Unique • Spring Ephemerals • DIY Scratch Notebooks • And More!

Read the whole thing online here!

A note from Aryn:

The first thing we do when something’s not working – a computer, a coffee grinder, a phone – is do a restart.

We power it off. Sometimes we even unplug it, and then we power it back up again, hopefully with its functions restored and ready to restart.

Sidenote: Pretty much every day I get a prompt from my computer: Updates available. Restart  > now; later; remind me tomorrow?

Every time, I click “remind me tomorrow.” Ha! We are all works in progress!

And that’s more than okay. Our mental health writer, Olivia Lynn Schnur, gives us a background on why restarting – a goal, a day, your life – is a worthwhile endeavor (pg 36). She writes: “Each time we restart, our why becomes louder and our why not loses its voice.”

Minnesota-based artist Amy Rice (featured on the cover) made a conscious decision to restart her creative direction more than a decade ago, painting her future, rather than her present or past. Much of her work switched to featuring the flower farm of her future – which is now a reality! Inspire(d) is sponsoring Amy’s upcoming show at Lanesboro Arts, “A Few Steps Ahead: Finding Hope in a Seed Started.” Her work often features reuse of items like old maps, love letters, and stamps – a good way to restart the life of these items, and a perfect fit for this issue (pg 16).

This Restart theme is also a nod to Earth Day. I can’t let an opportunity to love the Earth slip on by; it needs all the love it can get!

Kristine Kopperud met up with two women who are both working to spread that message: Ayla Boylen of Cedar Rapids, and Leslie Smith Sand of Decorah. They have found a way to advocate for climate action on a community level, building their communities up as they go (pg 56).

We have other great Community Builders in this issue as well – read about Decorah’s own Friends of Decorah Public Library; Renée Bergstrom of Lanesboro, Minnesota; and Bree Breckel and Eric Weninger of Cashton, Wisconsin, and how each group, person, or partnership has worked to make their hometowns a better place to live.

Speaking of “re-” words, reuse is the name of the game in our piece about four awesome, women-run secondhand stores in the Driftless (pg 50). Plus, our Sum of your Business features Jamie Gavle and Rendered Unique, home to great rehabbed and vintage furniture, handmade jewelry, Midwest-inspired apparel, and more (pg 42).

Dreaming of restarting my garden is one of the things that gets me through the end of winter. You too? Check out inspiration on page 48. Love plants that don’t require weeding? Conservationist writer Craig Thompson gives us a tour of nature’s spring ephemerals (pg 60). Don’t know that word? I didn’t either. It means: “lasting a very short time.” Which is often the case with the entirety of spring, so let’s soak it up!

Spring can be a time where our dreams from the start of the year have fallen to the wayside. But just as the world is restarting its life outside your doors, peeking out of the earth toward the sunshine, so can you. Press restart today.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

A Few Groovy Questions with Author and Musician Eric Litwin!

Inspire(d) was thrilled to have a chance to ask Eric Litwin, original author of Pete The Cat, The Nuts, and Groovy Joe, a few groovy questions! 

Eric Litwin will sing, dance, and read live at the Decorah Middle School Auditorium on Saturday, November 18, at 11am. Registration is free, but required to attend the event. Click here for more details from the Decorah Public Library!  This event is brought to the community by the “Friends of Decorah Public Library”.

Mr. Eric is a song-singing, guitar-strumming, New York Times Best Selling author who brings early literacy and music together. His dynamic performances are fully interactive. According to Joan Roach, Children’s and Youth Librarian at Decorah Public Library, “Litwin has a unique musical approach to early literacy. He brings stories to life with interactive songs that get families singing, dancing, laughing, and falling in love with literacy.”

Litwin is the original author of the beloved first four “Pete the Cat” picture books: I Love My White Shoes, Rocking in My School Shoes, Four Groovy Buttonsand Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. These four books have sold over 10 million copies, are #1 New York Times Bestsellers, have been translated into 14 languages, and won 19 state and national literacy awards including a Theodor Geisel Seuss Honor Award!

At the Decorah performance, Mr. Eric will share his “Pete the Cat” books as well as The Nuts and Groovy Joe. Following the show, Litwin will also do a book signing.

And now…. a few groovy questions!

Inspire(d) – I(d): What came first, writing stories or playing music? 

Eric Litwin: Playing music and “telling” stories came at the same time. This means I was a folk musician and storyteller. As a teacher I realized that many of the characteristics within folk music and folks tales, such as call/response, repetition and melody, would help early literacy. So I adapted them to early literacy books.

I(d): We’ve heard that Pete the Cat was based on a real cat. Groovy Joe seems like a pretty neat pup – is he based off of a real dog as well?

Eric Litwin: Groovy Joe is amalgamation of many groovy things. There are some favorite beloved pet/dogs as well as myself and the artist Tom Litchenheld. And, then again Groovy Joe is his own unique groovy personality as well.

I(d): Your books always include music – with a great story. What was your inspiration for that and how does it effect your readers?

Eric Litwin: All my books have music because music helps children learn to read. It also engages them in the reading process. And, it makes early literacy more FUN.

I(d): Are you more of a plain ice cream fan or load it up with yummy stuff? What about Groovy Joe?

Eric Litwin: I am a solid chocolate ice cream guy. No need to load it up.

I(d): The Washington DC area is home for you, correct? Any unsung regional literary or music heroes you’d like to share with our readers?

Eric Litwin: I moved to Washington DC a few years ago. I live in an area called “Shaw” that was the home of many inspiring jazz players such as Duke Ellington. Their creativity inspires me.

I(d): Who is your favorite Nuts character? Do you think the Nuts have a larger lesson for our world (that often seems nuts)?

Eric Litwin: I love all the Nut Family characters. And, yes, the Nuts have a message. That message is that nutty (unique/fun) is normal. And love and acceptance keeps a family together and strong.

I(d): Speaking of Dinosaurs and ice cream – do you know how to make a dinosaur float?

Place one scoop of ice cream in a glass of root beer and add one dinosaur… ROARRRRRRRRRR! (It’s a terrible joke, we know…)

Eric Litwin: I love terrible jokes. Keep them coming!

Eric Litwin’s performance is generously sponsored by Friends of the Decorah Public Library with support from the Walmart Foundation. The Decorah Community School District is graciously hosting this event. For additional information, please contact Joan Roach, Children’s and Youth Librarian, at jroach@decorah.lib.ia.us or (563)382-3717. Full details online here.