February 29th, 2016

Leap Year

Leaping girlLeap Year is the 29th day of February, an occurrence which happens every four years when the calendar year has 366 days, instead of just 365. Why do we end up with an extra day? Because it takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the sun and the regular calendar just has 365 days. Every four years, another day added to synchronize the solar year with the calendar year. If we didn’t do that, eventually the months would become out of sync with the seasons.

This isn’t a new phenomenon; this has been happening for thousands of years! The Egyptians were some of the first to see the need for a calendar based on the sun, but it was under Julius Caesar that it was implemented. Prior to that, the Roman calendar had used a lunar model which sometimes had to add an extra month so they maintained consistency. In 46 BC, the Roman calendar was changed so that it had 12 months and 365 days.

By 1582, the calendar dates were out of sync with the seasons. Roman Pope Gregory XIII ordered that 1583 be shortened by 10 days to “re-sync” the calendar and he established the system of adding leap-year days every four years to the calendar to keep it from falling behind the seasons again. The “Gregorian Calendar” was named for the pope and is the world standard today.

Fun fact: In Ireland, there is a legend that St. Brigid, a fifth century nun, asked St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, for permission for women to propose marriage, instead of waiting for their shy suitors to pop the question! St. Patrick granted her request, but with the stipulation that it could only happen on one day, every four years, Leap Day! Today, there are some who take this legend as truth and think that the woman proposing on Leap Day leads to good luck!

If you’re intrigued by this legend, check out the charming DVD “Leap Year” staring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.

While the odds of having a Leap Year Day birthday are approximately 1 in 1,500, there are about 4 million people worldwide who have February 29 birthdays. The town of Anthony, Texas has been hosting a “Leap Year Birthday Festival” since 1988!

Do you know anyone with a birthday on February 29?


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February 22nd, 2016

Local Author David Teague to Visit

Henry Cicada's Extraordinary Elktonium Escapade by David TeagueIf you have children in elementary or middle school, especially those who are aspiring writers, we have a program that you don’t want to miss. Join us at the Elkton Central Library on February 25th at 4:00 p.m. to meet local author David Teague.

David Teague is the author of several children’s and middle grade books. After finding a niche in storytelling with his kids at bedtime, David began his career by writing picture books. David’s first book, Franklin’s Big Dreams, features a boy named Franklin who cannot sleep. Why, you ask? Because night after night, a construction crew enters his bedroom and starts building railroads, canals, and runways. In an interview about his book, David admits that his idea stemmed from a recurring dream he had as a child. While attempting to fall asleep, David often heard the rumbling of the trains from his bedroom. However, while David’s dreams never led him to the end of the tracks, he wanted to give Franklin the chance to investigate the mystery and follow the path out of his bedroom.

After the success of his first book, David published a second picture book, The Red Hat. He then decided to collaborate with his wife, Marisa de los Santos, on his next two novels. Marisa is the author of several adult books including Belong to Me and The Precious One. What happens when you mix together an adult novelist and a picture book writer? You get middle grade books. David and Marisa’s first collaborative effort was Saving Lucas Biggs, which features a mix of historical fiction and time travel. The novel received critical acclaim and is a Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee for 2015-2016. The couple then paired on Connect the Stars, which was published in September of 2015. When asked about how this collaboration works, David and Marisa note that planning is key. For Saving Lucas Biggs, for example, David wrote the chapters told from the perspective of a 13-year-old boy, and Marisa wrote the chapters told by a 13-year-old girl. This partnership succeeded in producing two books for middle grade readers that are heartwarming, beautifully written, and feature quirky characters that cannot help but make readers laugh.

On January 19th, 2016, just in time for his visit to our library, David Teague released his newest novel, Henry Cicada’s Extraordinary Elktonium Escapade. This is David’s first solo middle grade book, and it has already received 4.2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads from readers of advanced copies. Henry Cicada is a wacky adventure novel that features a tween, Henry, whose mother invented a luminescent green metal called Elktonium. After a run-in with this metal, Henry discovers a telepathic connection to a girl named Lulu. While this sounds exciting enough on its own, Henry soon learns that Lulu is in trouble, and Henry is the only one who can help her.

By the way, did you notice anything about David’s title? The curious metal, Elktonium, is named after our very own town of Elkton! David spent time in Elkton as a child and references our great town in his newest book.

Want to know more about David? He currently lives in Wilmington, DE with his wife, Marisa, his two teens, Charles and Annabel, and their two Yorkies, Huxley and Finn. David plays the violin, loves The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, and teaches literature at the University of Delaware.

To register for this free program, please click here or call 410-996-5600 ext. 481.


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