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Blog Posts by Subject: Mythology and Folktales

Medium Rare: Ghostly Stories from Rare Books

On Halloween, we pull back the curtain between real and unreal, reveling in the spooky, mysterious, and inexplicable. What better way to celebrate the holiday than communing with the spirits and ghosts who reach out to us from the pages of the Rare Book Division?Read More ›

Fairy Tale Villains We Love to Hate-Read

Get ready for the worst of the bad; these villains will make you remember just how Stygian children's stories can be.Read More ›

I Stayed Up Late Reading Cruel Beauty and Why You Should Too

If you want a YA book with demon lovers, fairy tale-Greek mythology mashups, wicked heroines, a castle full of shadowy secrets, and a passionate romance that begins with a murder attempt, look no further.Read More ›

Banned Books Week: The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was controversy surrounding The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales. The time was in fact the early 1990s, and the places were California and Arizona. In 1990, a California school district pulled an illustrated edition of Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman (originally called Little Red-Cap in the Brothers Grimm 1812 version) from a first-grade 

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The Influence of Struwwelpeter

Heinrich Hoffmann's Struwwelpeter from Andy's Early Comics ArchiveStruwwelpeter is a children's book that has been endlessly imitated and retold, while providing the inspiration for countless parodies.

Struwwelpeter, pronounced Strool'vel-pay-ter, is a collection of cruel and frightening stories written and illustrated by Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann in 1844. Wanting to buy his three-year son a book for Christmas and dissatisfied with what was available, he wrote his own. His 

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2013: The Year of the Snake

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2013 is the Year of the Snake. In the Chinese zodiac, the snake is equivalent to the Taurus in Western tradition. February 10th, 2013 to January 30th, 2014 will mark the Year of the Snake.

In the Chinese zodiac calendar, the snake is the sixth animal and symbolizes grace and calmness — it is introspective, cunning, and modest, but also mysterious, deceptive, and possessive. Those born in 2013, 2001, 1989 

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Booktalking "To Ride the Gods' Own Stallion" by Diane Lee Wilson

To Ride the Gods' Own Stallion by Diane Lee Wilson, 2000

In 640 BC, in an ancient Assyrian kingdom, 13-year-old Soulai created horses and other animals out of clay and decorative harnesses. Soulai's father said that he should never have been born, and continues in that vein when 

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Happy Paul Bunyan Day!

By C Jill Reed via Flickr.Since we can't visit all the great statues across the country, In observance of Paul Bunyan Day we're reading about the larger than life lumberjack and his best blue buddy, Babe (and, of course, celebrating anything really 

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Segal and Sendak: A Grimm Collaboration

Earlier this year, the NYPL Manuscripts and Archives division acquired the papers (PDF finding aid) of the acclaimed novelist and children's book author Lore Segal. The collection contains letters and literary manuscripts documenting her life as a Jewish refugee in England during World War II and her subsequent writing and teaching 

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Children's Literary Salon in Retrospect: International Books on May 5, 2012

Introduction of Speakers

Elizabeth Bird started the Children's Literary Salon, as usual, with an introduction of the speakers: Constance Vidor, Sharon Elswit, Pnina Moed Kass, and Rebecca Linde. Linde is the director of sponsorship and marketing for the New York International Children's Film Festival. She explained that the program would be started by a presentation on the International Board on 

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"Once Upon a Time" … Reading Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales at the Library

Popular fairy tales are coming back to life in the 21st century to put true love to the test once again in a time travel battle between good versus evil.

Once Upon a Time is a drama filled with adventure and fantasy. Every fairy tale character is linked to another in a parallel, ancient world full of mystery and magic They are all entangled and stuck under a spell in the small town of Storybrooke, Maine, where Regina Mills (the Evil Queen) is the mayor.

Wait a minute... What's going 

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A Secret Commonwealth: The Otherworld in Nonfiction

Most people have experienced brushes with the Otherworld, that liminal place where dimensions overlap and reality shimmers, shivers, and breaks apart: seeing ghosts, dreaming "true" dreams, meeting that strange and uncannily helpful "person" at just the right moment... These situations are more common than we collectively admit — but attitudes are shifting. According to the Institute of Noetic Sciences, "The paranormal is no longer a fringe subject. Need proof? Only 32 percent of Americans report no 

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2012: The Year of the Dragon

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. In the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is equivalent to the Aries in Western tradition.

January 23, 2012 to February 9, 2013 will mark the Year of the Dragon. According to tradition, the dragon is the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac and symbolizes loyalty — it is noble, gentle, and intelligent, but also tactless, stubborn, and dogmatic. Those born on 2012, 2000, 1988 or any 

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Far Memory: Ancient Egypt Through Western Eyes

Ancient Egypt has long held a fascination for the West. The idea of Egypt was transmitted to Roman culture through Greek accounts, and after Late Antiquity, existed in the European imagination as an exotic and ancient location in the Bible's Old Testament account of the 6th century BCE Israelite diaspora.

The Western Mystery Tradition had its earliest beginnings in the cult of Isis, which reached Rome in the 

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"Drink, Slay, Love": A Review

Pearl is like a lot of 16-year-old girls. She likes to steal cars and drive too fast with her handsome, dangerous boyfriend Jadrien. She wears a lot of black. She is extremely flammable in direct sunlight.

Okay. Maybe Pearl isn’t exactly an average teenage girl. But she is an average vampire. Completely ordinary and almost completely evil, Pearl is the perfect predator at the top of the food chain in her Connecticut town. And she is fine with that.

With the vampire king of New England coming soon for the annual fealty ceremony that marks the start of a 

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Being Spirited Away on Halloween: A Review

In the spirit of Halloween, I decided to avoid the typical horror films of vampires, zombies, ghosts,

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"Raised by Wolves": A Review

When Brynn was four years old, her life changed forever when a rogue werewolf killed her parents. Rescued by the Stone River Pack and Marked by the pack’s alpha, Callum, Brynn’s safety is a matter of pack law.

The only problem is Brynn is human. Even as a member of the pack, living with a bunch of werewolves is dangerous. Weres can smell fear. They are faster. They are stronger. Most of them are older and more experienced. One lapse in control could leave a human very dead.

Even if that human is a 15-year-old girl named Brynn who knows almost 

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Enchanted Ivy: A Review

Lily Carter’s future is at Princeton University. Her grandfather went to Princeton. Going to Princeton would allow Lily to move away from home without feeling guilt about not taking care of her mother. It’s the perfect school. Most importantly, Lily desperately wants to follow in Grandpa’s footsteps to make him and her mother proud.

Turns out her chance at Princeton might come sooner than she thinks when Lily accompanies her grandfather and mother to Princeton Reunions weekend where, thanks to Grandpa’s connections, Lily has a chance to take 

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Reader's Den: "Incarceron" Discussion Wrap-up

Thank you for joining this month’s Reader’s Den featuring Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. Although the month is over, feel free to return to this post to continue to discuss and comment on the novel.

If you enjoyed Incarceron you might also enjoy the titles below:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins   ... Read More ›

Reader's Den: "Incarceron" Discussion Questions

I hope all of you enjoyed Incarceron by Catherine Fisher this month as much as I did.

Feel free to share your favorite moments, characters, or whatever below.

Here are some discussion questions to sink your teeth into:

What did you think of the ending? Did you anticipate the prison's location or was it a total surprise? Finn, Keiro, Claudia and even Attia are not always morally upright. How did you feel about reading about a ... Read More ›
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