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‘Houdini’ to make an appearance at the library

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“Mystery, Myth & Magic of Houdini” will be this Saturday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Roswell Public Library. Bill Martin will be appearing as he believes Harry Houdini would return today and present a discussion and performance of the incredible life and times of Houdini, the greatest magician, escape artist and showman of his time.

Throughout the show, you will learn how the Jewish kid from Budapest became known as “the great self-liberator” to the new American immigrants and how his dangerous escapes inspired their personal freedom.

Martin is a retired Naval Aviator who put together impromptu shows to entertain children in foreign ports of call. He has performed Houdini’s famous milk-can escape on national television and will be performing escapes and other tricks during the presentation. This program is open to all ages and free to attend and is sponsored by the New Mexico Humanities Council.

A new series of workshops for teens who want to make a difference will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m. Teens who want to be leaders in the community can bring their passion, skills and a list of problems and together turn them into a venture to make the world a better place. Based on the book “Be A Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters” by Laurie Ann Thompson, this series will also be of value for those seeking service credit for future job and college applications.

There is no cost to attend or registration required.

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Book Talk by Trish Koenig,
Children’s Librarian

Historical fiction has become popular with adults thanks to many television shows and movies being adapted, but historical fiction is also something children can enjoy and learn from. When presented as an interesting story, the historical surroundings and happenings become more approachable; and having a specific story to link it to can help with learning subject matter more than just memorizing dates and facts.

Reading stories centered around individual children during these times can help foster empathy for others, as well.

“Orange for the Sunsets” by Tina Athaide is a powerful story of friendship set in 1972 Uganda during a time in history that many of us know very little about — Idi Amin’s expulsion of thousands of Indians from the country.

This story is told from the alternating perspectives of two 12-year-old best friends — an Indian girl, Asha, whose family faces eviction from Uganda, and an African boy, Yesofu, whose family presumably stands to benefit from the new order. Through Asha and Yesofu’s friendship, the events of the Indian removal from Uganda is sensitively told. Asha and Yesofu learn about acceptance, understanding, and the ways in which we can always remain connected. This historical fiction highlights the impacts of racism and hatred as a leader practices discrimination.

Yesofu’s mother works for Asha’s family. Everything is mostly okay, aside from some middle school drama with his other friends — that is, until Idi Amin announces that all Indians must leave the country in 90 days. As the days to expulsion count down, violence against Indians increases. People who were once friends turn against them. Asha does not want to have to leave and does something that ends up costing her more than she could imagine.

Asha and Yesofu’s differences become more relevant. What will happen to their friendship? What will happen to Asha’s family?

This middle-grade novel is available in the Children’s Fiction collection.