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May Is National Correct Posture Month


The information (including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material) contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


Posture is how you hold your body.

There are two types different types of posture: Dynamic and Static.

-Dynamic posture is how you hold yourself when you are moving, like when you are walking, running, or bending over to pick up something.

-Static posture is how you hold yourself when you are not moving, like when you are sitting, standing, or sleeping.


Poor posture (such as slouching or slumping over) can affect you head to toe, contributing to a number of problems:

Cause neck, shoulder, and back pain

Cause headaches and jaw pain

Cause knee, hip, and foot pain

Decrease your flexibility

Affect how well your joints move

Cause Shoulder pain and impingement

Affect your balance and increase your risk of falling

Make it harder to digest your food

Make it harder to breathe

Misalign your musculoskeletal system

Wear away at your spine, making it more fragile and prone to injury


  • Be mindful of your posture during everyday activities, like watching television, washing dishes, or walking
  • Stay active. Any kind of exercise may help improve your posture, but certain types of exercises can be especially helpful. They include yoga, tai chi, and other classes that focuses on body awareness. It is also a good idea to do exercises that strengthen your core (muscles around your back, abdomen, and pelvis).
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can weaken your abdominal muscles, cause problems for your pelvis and spine, and contribute to lower back pain. All of these can hurt your posture.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes. High heels, for example, can throw off your balance and force you to walk differently. This puts more stress on your muscles and harms your posture.
  • Make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height for you, whether you’re sitting in front of a computer, making dinner, or eating a meal.


  • Stand up straight and tall
  • Keep your shoulders back
  • Pull your stomach in
  • Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet
  • Keep your head level
  • Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides
  • Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart


So many of us spend a good deal of time sitting – either at work, at school, or at home. It is important to sit properly, and to take frequent breaks:

  • Switch sitting positions often
  • Take brief walks around your office or home
  • Gently stretch your muscles every so often to help relieve muscle tension
  • Don’t cross your legs; keep your feet on the floor, with your ankles in front of your knees
  • Make sure that your feet touch the floor, or if that’s not possible, use a footrest
  • Relax your shoulders; they should not be rounded or pulled backwards
  • Keep your elbows in close to your body. They should be bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
  • Make sure that your back is fully supported. Use a back pillow or other back support if your chair does not have a backrest that can support your lower back’s curve.
  • Make sure that your thighs and hips are supported. You should have a well-padded seat, and your thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor.


You can take a posture test at home without any equipment. You will need someone’s help to take a measurement with a ruler or tape measure.

First, stand against the wall, with the back of your head touching the wall. Place heels 6 inches out from the wall.

Your buttocks and both shoulder blades should be touching the wall. Have someone measure the space between your neck and the wall. Also, measure the distance between the wall and the small of your back.

Both these measurements should be less than 2 inches. If the measurement is greater than 2 inches, you likely have poor posture and a curved spine.

There’s an app for that.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month


* The information (including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material) contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. *

 What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence refers to sexual activity when consent in not obtained or not freely given. The term sexual violence can refer to any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. Sexual violence impacts every community and affects people of all races, religions, cultures, sexual orientations, socioeconomic and age groups. 

 Sexual Violence Statistics

Sexual Violence Myths & Facts

There is a lot of information (and misinformation) that circulates about sexual violence and the people affected by it. The following myths are common and can impact survivors of assault or abuse, as well as the behavior and effectiveness of friends, family, medical, social service and law enforcement personnel. This will help clarify some of the most common myths.

Myth: Sexual Assaults are not that common.

Fact: There is an average of 433,648 victims ages 12 or older of rape and sexual assault each year in the U.S. This means 1 sexual assault occurs every 73 seconds.

Myth: Only women are victims of sexual assault/Men cannot be sexually assaulted.

Fact: A victim of sexual assault can be of any age, race, class, gender, or sexual orientation. According to RAINN (The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), one in ten victims of sexual assault is male, and three percent of American men are victims of rape or attempted rape.

Myth: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers.

Fact: Most sexual assaults and rapes (8 out of 10 in fact) are committed by someone the victim knows, or is acquainted with. Only about 19.5% of sexual assaults/rapes are committed by someone completely unknown to the victim.

Myth: A person cannot be sexually assaulted by their partner or spouse.

Fact: Sexual assault can be committed within any type of relationship, including in marriage, in dating relationships, or by friends, acquaintances or co-workers.

Myth: Sexual assaults most often occur in deserted areas like garages, stairwells, or wooded areas. 

Fact: The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices. 55% of rape or sexual assault victimizations occur at or near the victim’s home, and 12% occur at or near the home of a friend, relative, or acquaintance.

Myth: If a person is aroused s/he is assaulted, then it is not really sexual assault.

Fact: Arousal and/or an Orgasm does not mean that someone “enjoyed” the sex, or that they wanted it. Arousal and/or an Orgasm can be a natural biological reaction that someone can’t control; it does not mean that forced or coerced sexual activity was consensual and often this is used to silence the survivor.

Myth: If a victim of sexual assault does not scream or fight or has no injury, it could not have been a sexual assault.

Fact: Submission is not consent; lack of a “no” does not mean “yes”.  There are many reasons why it may not be “safe” or possible for someone to physically resist or fight back. – Many survivors experience something called tonic immobility or a “freeze response” during an assault where they physically cannot move or speak.

Myth: It’s only considered “forced” when there is some form of violence.

Fact: Force is: blackmail, emotional coercion, manipulation, threats, intimidation, the use of alcohol and drugs, the use or display of a weapon, physical battery or assault, immobilization or restriction and any combination thereof.

Myth: People that have been sexually assaulted will be hysterical and crying.

Fact: Survivors of sexual assault elicit a range of emotional, physical, and mental reactions to the trauma of being sexually assaulted, including not having any reaction at all. Each victim will respond differently.

Myth: Sexual assault is caused by lust or uncontrollable sexual urges and the need for sexual gratification

Fact: While some offenders do seek sexual gratification from the act, sexual gratification is most often not a primary motivation for a rape offender. Power, control, and anger are more likely to be the primary motivators.

Myth: Sexual assault is provoked by the victim’s wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively, or drinking/using drugs.

Fact: Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault, and has nothing to do with their actions, behaviors, or by the way they dress. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion.  No one “asks” for or caused their assailant to commit a crime against them.

Myth: People who commit same-sex sexual assault must be homosexual.

Fact: Sexual assault is about power and control and happens regardless of sexual orientation. Forcing sexual acts is one tactic an offender can use to dominate, humiliate, and exert power over another person regardless of that person’s gender. It can occur in same-sex and heterosexual relationships and victims of sexual assault can be any gender. In one study, 98% of men who raped boys reported that they were heterosexual.

Myth: Being sexually assaulted by someone of the same gender can make a person gay or lesbian.

Fact: The assault is typically not based on the sexual preferences of the victim or rapist, and therefore does not necessarily change the victim’s sexual orientation.

Myth: People with disabilities are at low risk for sexual assault.

Fact: People with disabilities are victims of sexual assault twice as much as people without disabilities.

Myth: Sex workers cannot be raped because they are selling sex.

Fact: Sex workers have the right to give and withhold consent to any sexual activity, and therefore, can be assaulted or raped just like anyone else.

Myth: A lot of victims lie about being raped or give false reports.

Fact: The incidence of “false reporting” is estimated at 2-6%. Reporting a sexual assault is not easy, and most sexual assaults are not reported. The false report rate is no greater than the false report rate for any other felony.

Myth: Getting help is expensive for survivors of assault.

Fact: Services such as counseling and advocacy are offered for free or at a low cost by sexual assault service providers.

Myth: There is nothing we can do to prevent sexual violence.

Fact: There are many ways you can help prevent sexual violence including intervening as a bystander to protect someone who may be at risk.

FACT: It is NEVER the victim’s fault.

 What to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, you may have many mixed emotions. You may also ask yourself many questions. All reactions are valid.

 Steps to take after a sexual assault.

After a rape/sexual assault, it’s hard to know how to react. You may be physically hurt, emotionally drained, or unsure what to do next. You may be considering working with the criminal justice system, but are unsure of where to start. Here are some steps you can take…

  • Address your immediate safety. Get to a safe place/Call 911 or other local emergency personnel.
  • Call someone. No matter how late it is, you should not be alone. Call a trusted family member or friend. You can also contact an advocate from a local crisis center. (You’ll find a list of hotlines/helplines below.)
  • Consider your medical options – Remember, the choice to seek medical treatment is yours alone. Many survivors may be reluctant to pursue medical attention in the immediate wake of a sexual assault. It is ultimately up to you to decide what to do in accordance with your own physical, psychological and emotional needs. Please keep in mind that you do NOT have to report what happened to the police to receive medical attention.

Although the choice is yours, it’s recommended that you seek medical attention from a private doctor, clinic, or hospital emergency room for treatment of any injuries (including internal injuries of which you may be unaware), as well as preventative medication for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

  • Consider getting a sexual assault examination or “rape kit.” This preserves potential DNA evidence. If you decide that you do want to proceed with official charges, this evidence will be invaluable.

If the assault occurred within the past 120 hours (5 days), you can receive a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, also known as a ‘rape kit.’ During the exam, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will collect patient history and information about the crime that occurred, and collect physical evidence, including photographs of injuries.

Try not to not shower, bathe, eat, drink, smoke, change clothes, or use the restroom if at all possible. This is important to preserve evidence. If possible do not change your clothes, if you already changed, put your clothes in a clean paper bag (not plastic bag) and bring those clothes with you to the hospital.

You don’t have to decide right away if you’re going to talk with the police about what happened or press charges against the person who assaulted you. If you choose not to report to police right away, the evidence collected during the exam will be kept in an anonymous rape kit, which is called an Anonymous Report or Jane Doe Report. The evidence collected will be stored for one year, to give you time to decide whether you want to report the crime.

  • Find mental health support. A sexual assault service provider or your local crisis center can connect you with professionals skilled in this area of support.
  • Figure out your next steps: A sexual assault service provider can help answer any questions you may have. They can also connect you with resources you may need, including legal options.

Remember, the sexual assault was not your fault and you are not alone.

 Where to go for help:

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse, you don’t have to go through it alone. The websites and hotlines listed below can help!


National Sexual Assault Hotline: National hotline, operated by RAINN, that serves people affected by sexual violence. It automatically routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. The hotline operates 24/7.

Hotline number: 1-800-656-4673

National Street Harassment Hotline: Created by Stop Street Harassment, Defend Yourself, and operated by RAINN, the National Street Harassment Hotline is a resource for those affected by gender-based street harassment.

Hotline number: 1.855.897.5910

National Sexual Violence Resource Center: NSCRV provide supportive services to victims of sexual assault: mental health support, advocacy, accompaniment during medical exams and law enforcement interviews, education, follow-up services, and referrals to other resources.

Hotline Number: 1-877-739-3895

Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault Helpline: MECASA is organized to end sexual violence and to support high-quality sexual violence prevention & response in Maine communities.

Helpline number: 1-800-871-7741

Maine Statewide Crisis Hotline: This is a 24-hour crisis hotline where callers can speak with a trained crisis clinician who can connect them with the closet crisis center.

Hotline number: 1-888-568-1112

National Domestic Violence Hotline: NDVH’s advocates are there to listen without judgement. They are there to help you begin to address what’s going on in your relationship. Their services are always free and available 24/7.

Hotline number: 1-800-799-7233

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: The NTDAH’s peer advocates are reachable by phone, text and online chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hotline number: 1.866.331.9474

Text: LOVEIS to 22522

Chat Live:


After Silence: On this Web site, you will find a support group, message board, and chat room for survivors of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse.

The National Center for Victims of Crime: The mission of the National Center for Victims of Crime is to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives. They are dedicated to serving individuals, families, and communities harmed by crime.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center: This site offers a wide variety of information relating to sexual violence (including a large legal resource library) for survivors, friends & family, and advocates & educators.

The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website:  The NSOPW is an unprecedented public safety resource that provides the public with access to sex offender data nationwide. Users can search the state, territorial and tribal sex offender registries all in one place.

Victim Connect Resource Center: The VCRC website is a place where victims can learn about their rights and options confidentially and compassionately. Victims can find information and connect with resources, craft their next steps, and access referrals.

Sexual Assault Resource Guide: Healthline covers a wide range of information including what is sexual assault, what is consent, what is force, how to make a police report, how to find medical care, how to get legal support, how to find mental health support, and more.

 References/Source Information:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (Rainn)

Women’s History month

Though women in history haven’t always been able (read: allowed) to fight in wars, publish books, or live adventurous lives, that has never stopped women disguised as men from stepping up to the plate and taking care of business. Women who pretended to be men have helped win wars, shape nations, and set precedents for everything women are capable of.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re here to celebrate some daring women who weren’t afraid to break barriers and don men’s clothing to seek their fortunes and serve their countries!

Jeanne Baret/Jean Baret (1740-1807)

Baret is recognized as the first woman to have completed a voyage of circumnavigation of the globe, which she did via maritime. In the 1700s women were banned from being aboard French Navy Ships, but that didn’t stop Jeanne Baret from doing what she dreamed of—exploring the world in search of new plants. When Jeanne’s lover Philibert Commerçon, a Royal Botanist and Naturalist, was recruited by Admiral Louis-Antoine de Bougainville for his round-the-world expedition, the pair came up with a plan to get her on-board. She disguised herself as a man and showed up on the docks to offer “his” services the day the Etoile was set to depart. Philibert hired “him” on the spot as his valet and assistant. Their plot worked, and from 1766–1769 Jeanne Baret was a part of Bougainville’s colonial expedition.

Jeanne was involved with collecting more than 6,000 plant specimens on the voyage, including her greatest find in Brazil: Bougainvillea, the spectacular pink vine she named in honor of their captain. According to Bougainville’s account, Baret was herself an expert botanist and convinced the French Navy to award her an annual pension for her work gathering plants. In 2012, Jeanne finally received well-deserved recognition when a new South American plant species was named in her honor.

Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot)

Mary Ann Evans (1819 –1880), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She wrote seven novels, Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–63), Felix Holt, the Radical (1866), Middlemarch (1871–72) and Daniel Deronda (1876). Her novels (most famously ‘Middlemarch’) are celebrated for their realism and psychological insights, as well as sense of place and detailed depictions of the countryside.

Although female authors were published under their own names during her lifetime, she used a male pen name to ensure her works were taken seriously in an era when female authors were usually associated with “silly” romantic novels.

Mary Anderson (Murray Hall)

At the turn of the twentieth century (a time when women were still fighting for the right to vote) a politician was garnering popularity in New York City and becoming a household name. His name was Murray Hall, and he was known as a poker-playing, cigar-chomping, whiskey-drinking, “man about town.” Hall was a leader of New York City’s General Committee of Tammany Hall, a member of the Iroquois Club, a personal friend of State Senator “Barney” Martin and other officials, and one of the most active Tammany workers in the district… However, after Hall’s death, it was revealed that she was in fact female, born as Mary Anderson (1841 − 1901), but had been living under the guise of her male alias in order to participate in political suffrage for over 25 years. Hall managed to vote and serve as a political leader in an era when women were denied the franchise.

Hannah Snell/James Gray

‘Why gentlemen, James Gray will cast off his skin like a snake and become a new creature. In a word, gentlemen, I am as much a woman as my mother ever was, and my real name is Hannah Snell.’

Hannah Snell (1723-1792) spent five years of her life disguised as a male soldier named James Gray. She enlisted in the Marines, traveling as far as India, and fighting in multiple battles including the siege of Pondicherry where she was severely wounded; including a hit to the groin, but managed to still mask her true identity until returning to London. After revealing herself, Snell was honorably discharged, granted a lifetime army pension from Royal Chelsea Hospital, and opened a pub called The Female Warrior. She lived for another forty years, marrying twice and raising two sons.

Margaret Ann Bulkley /Dr. James Barry

James Miranda Steuart Barry (1789–July 1865) was an Irish-born military surgeon in the British Army. Barry obtained a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh Medical School, then served first in Cape Town, South Africa, and subsequently in many parts of the British Empire. Before retirement, Barry had risen to the rank of Inspector General, the second highest medical office in the British Army, which put him in charge of all military hospitals. Barry not only improved conditions for wounded soldiers, but also the conditions of the native inhabitants, and performed the first recorded caesarean section in which both the mother and child survived the operation… The catch? Dr. James Barry was born Margaret Ann Bulkley. Barry’s was able to hide his real identity until his passing when a maid preparing his body for the funeral got quite a shock!

Sarah Edmondson/Frank Thompson

Desperate to escape an abusive father and a forced marriage, New Brunswick-born Sarah Emma Evelyn Edmonds fled home at age 15. Knowing a woman traveling alone wouldn’t make it very far, (not to mention her father was undoubtedly looking for her) Sarah cropped her hair, tanned her face with stain, and donned a suit of men’s clothing; and so Frank Thompson was born.

 In May of 1861, posing as Thompson, Edmonds joined a regiment called the Flint Union Grays, which became Company F of the 2nd Michigan Infantry. Edmonds’s duties as a soldier ranged from that of a male nurse to the regiment’s postmaster, and finally a mail carrier. In addition to duties as a nurse, which included burying the dead soldiers, she picked up a gun and participated in the Battle of Williamsburg and the Seven Days’ Battles. Edmonds witnessed some of the most infamous battles of the war, including First Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.

 In 1882, Frank Thompson revealed her true identity to the utter amazement of the veterans of her regiment. Edmonds is the only known women to receive a regular army pension from the Civil War and the first women to be inducted into the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans’ organization.


In times when a woman’s role was fixed and certain, these women were brave enough to live on their own terms, no matter what it cost them!


Celebrate Banned Books

Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3, 2020) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. (ALA)

How did Banned Book Week Start?

Banned Books Week was launched in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges, organized protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.

Banned books were showcased at the 1982 American Booksellers Association (ABA) BookExpo America trade show in Anaheim, California. At the entrance to the convention center towered large, padlocked metal cages, with some 500 challenged books stacked inside and a large overhead sign cautioning that some people considered these books dangerous.

Drawing on the success of the exhibit, ABA invited OIF Director Judith Krug to join a new initiative called Banned Books Week, along with the National Association of College Stores. The three organizations scrambled to put something together by the September show date and ended up distributing a news release and a publicity kit, hoping that with their combined membership of 50,000 people, they could continue to spark a conversation about banned books.

The initiative took off. Institutions and stores hosted read-outs, and window displays morphed into literary graveyards or mysterious collections of brown-bagged books. Major news outlets such as PBS and the New York Times covered the event, and mayors and governors issued proclamations affirming the week. (

Here is a small sample of some of the top Novels of the 20th Century that have been challenged, removed, banned, or burned.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Reason: “Coarse language, racial stereotypes and use of racial slurs.”

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Reason: “profanity, offensive and obscene passages referring to abortion, and used God’s name in vain.”

 Beloved by Toni Morrison

Reason: “depicted the inappropriate topics of sex, bestiality, and racism.”

Black Boy by Richard Wright

Reason: “themes of Communism, racism and atheism.”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Reason: “obscenity and vulgarity, racism, and anti-religion, anti-family, and blasphemous content.”

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Reason: “Themes of homosexuality, alcoholism, infidelity.”

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Reason: “”anti-white, profanity, sexual scenes, things concerning moral issues, excessive violence, and dealings with the occult.”

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Reason: “Reasons: profanity, descriptions of drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct, and torture, and negative images of black men.”

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Reason: “Obscene language, references to smoking and drinking, violence, and religious themes.”

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Reason: “violence, sexually explicit material, infanticide, euthanasia, occult related themes, and usage of mind control, selective breeding, and the eradication of the old and young when they are weak, feeble and of no more use.”

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Reason; “recurring themes of rape, masturbation, violence, and degrading treatment of women.”

The Grapes of Wrath  by John Steinbeck

Reason: “book uses the name of God and Jesus in a “vain and profane manner along with inappropriate sexual references.”

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reason: “reference to drugs, sexuality, and profanity”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Reasons “homosexuality, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group”

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Reason: “Violence, sexual content, and obscene language.”

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Reason: “profanity and images of violence and sexuality.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Reason:  profanity, contains adult themes such as sexual intercourse, rape, and incest, use of racial slurs promotes racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and promotes white supremacy.”

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Reason: “profanity, sexuality, racial slurs, and excessive violence.”

Native Son by Richard Wright

Reason: “profanity, violence, explicit sexual content.”

1984 by George Orwell

Reason “Reason: pro-communism ideas, explicit sexual matter.”

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Reason: “blasphemous, offensive language, racism, violence, and sexual overtones.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Reason: “offensive and obscene passages referring to abortion and used God’s name in vain.”

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Reason: “depictions of torture, ethnic slurs, and negative portrayals of women.”

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Reason: “profanity and sexual explicitness.”

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Reason: “Misogyny, encouraging disobedience, violence, animal cruelty, obscene language, and supernatural themes.”

For a more in-depth list visit: LibraryThing Book Awards : Radcliffe Publishing Course top 100 of the 20th Century

Did any of the books on this list surprise you?

Just for fun, here are a few banned book themed word searches!

Home Schooling Information

Homeschooling vs. Distance-Learning

Though homeschooling and online schooling have similarities, and many people tend use these terms interchangeably, there are certainly some differences between the two.

Homeschooling is when a parent or other caregiver is physically present in the home and actively teaching the student. It is home education and the biggest difference is that the caregiver is the full-time instructor/primary educator.

Distance learning, also known as online schooling, is any form of remote learning where the student is not present at school but is being taught through communication with the school/teacher. With this type of learning students are asked to complete work that is similar to the work they do in the classroom. Students are expected to check-in with their teacher, complete structured assignments, and continue to meet learning objectives.

Homeschooling is regulated by the state rather than the federal government; this means that laws and regulations differ from state-to-state. You will need to look at the laws and regulations specific to Maine. Please visit the Maine’s Department of Education website.

How to Start Homeschooling in Maine

The steps to start homeschooling in Maine are the following:

1. File a written notice of intent to homeschool with your local school Superintendent. This notice of intent is a one-time thing, and must include the following information:

    1. The name, address, and signature of the parents (or guardian.)
    2. The student’s name and age.
    3. The date that home schooling will begin.
    4. A statement that says the parent/guardian will provide their student with at least 175 days of instruction per year.
    5. A statement that says the parent/guardian will cover the required subjects. (See below)
    6. A statement that says the parent/guardian will perform and submit a year-end assessment for each student. (See below)
    7. Keep a copy of this notice in your personal records. It must be available for view if the commissioner of education requests to see it.

The Notice of Intent form can be submitted in 2 ways :

a.) Manually – Print, fill out, and send (or drop off) a signed copy to your local Superintendent or the Home Instruction Consultant:

RSU 11/MSAD 11 Superintendent Details:

Name: Patricia Hopkins

Address: 150 Highland Ave.

Gardiner, ME 04345

Phone: (207) 582-5346

Fax: (207) 583-8305


(If your school is not part of RSU 11/MSAD 11 you can look up your superintendent information here:

Home Instruction Consultant,

Maine Department of Education

23 State House Station, Augusta, ME – 04333

Printable Form:


b.) Electronically – Fill out and submit the form online

Online form:

Each year thereafter, you will need to send a letter to the local school superintendent by September 1 which includes the following: a. a copy of the student’s year-end assessment, and b. a statement that you intend to continue homeschooling. Maine law dictates that a copy of the student’s year-end assessment, and the annual statement that you intend to continue kept in your personal records.  It must be available for view if the commissioner of education requests to see it.

2(e). Teach the required subjects.

You must teach all of the following subjects:

Computer Proficiency (one time class to be taught between grades 7 and 12)

English and Language Arts

Fine Arts

Library Skills

Maine Studies (One time class to be taught between grades 6 and 12)


Physical Education and Health


Social Studies

3(f). Submit a year-end assessment.

For your child’s year-end assessment, you can:

1.) Submit the official results of any national standardized achievement test.

2.) Submit the results of a test developed by local school officials.

3.) Submit a review and acceptance of progress letter by: 1.)  a Maine certified teacher; 2.) a homeschool support group that includes a Maine certified teacher or administrator who has reviewed a portfolio of the student’s work; or 3.) a local advisory board appointed by the superintendent composed of two homeschool teachers and one school official (this must be arranged with the school district before the school year starts).

For more information please visit the Maine’s Department of Education website:

We’ve built a small collection of the most highly utilized or highly reviewed free and paid educational resources for homeschooling and/or supplemental learning.


A2Z Homeschooling:

The A2Z Homeschooling website has rounded up a large collection of free: websites, videos, games, printables, projects, field trips and more that cover language arts, math, social studies, science, fine arts, health & fitness, foreign languages, and computer literacy to help make homeschooling easier, cheaper, and fun.

Website: A2Z Homeschooling


AmblesideOnline is a free homeschool curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason’s classically-based principles. AO’s detailed schedules, time-tested methods, and extensive teacher resources allow parents to focus effectively on the unique needs of each child

Website: Ambleside Online

The Big History Project:

The Big History Project is a free, online social studies course for middle- and high-school students. Run the course over a full year or semester, or adapt it to your child’s needs. Use teacher-generated lessons or create your own using the content library. Everything is online, so content is always available, up to date, and easy to download. The Big History Project helps users meet Common Core ELA standards from the ground up, starting with the learning outcomes, and including assessment and lesson activities.

Website: The Big History Project

Chrome Music Lab

Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. Educators are able to use Chrome Music Lab as a tool to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more.

Website: Chrome Music Lab


CK-12 is committed to providing free access to open-source content and technology tools that empower students as well as teachers to enhance and experiment with different learning styles, resources, levels of competence, and circumstances.

Website: CK12

Core Knowledge:

The Core Knowledge Curriculum Series™ provides comprehensive, content-rich learning materials based on the Core Knowledge Sequence. Student readers, teacher guides, activity books, and other materials are available for Language Arts and History and Geography.

Website: Core Knowledge

Discovery K12:

Discovery K12 Offers a free non-Common Core, traditional, secular curriculum that integrates STEM and the Arts without the use of any textbooks and requires no lesson planning for grades K-12. Their lessons cover 7 standard subjects including Reading/Literature, Language Arts, Math, History/Social Studies, Science, Visual/Performing Arts and Physical Education, and their Extra Curriculum includes Spanish 1, HTML Coding, Healthy Living, Personal Finance, Business Apps, and Business 101. (*There is the option of creating a teacher/parent account for $99 per year, however it is not required.)

Website: Discovery K12

Easy Peasy:

Easy Peasy is an all-in-one elementary homeschool curriculum’s lesson plan/printables website. Easy Peasy uses only free resources to cover reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, math, history/social studies/geography, science, Spanish, computer, music, art, PE/health, and logic.

Website: Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool


Funbrain is a site created for kids in grades Pre-K through 8, has been the leader in free educational games for kids since 1997, offering hundreds of games, books, comics, and videos that develop skills in math, reading, problem-solving and literacy

Website: Funbrain

HippoCampus is a core academic website that delivers rich multimedia content–videos, animations, and simulations–on general education subjects free of charge to students in middle-school and high-school. While HippoCampus is not a credit-granting organization, and therefore does not monitor, grade, or give transcripts to anyone using the site, it is still used by many home schooling families as content to supplement or guide their home curriculum. – The website covers subjects such as Math, Natural Science, Social Science, and Humanities.

Website: HippoCampus

Home Educator:

There are hundreds of free government resources that homeschoolers can take advantage for lesson plans, activities and more The Home Educator website has broken down resources by grade levels and categories that include health, biology/nature, earth science, astronomy, economics, American government/history, fine arts, and more.

Website: HomeEducator

Homeschool Buyers Co-Op

The Homeschool Buyers Co-Op website has put together a database of free curriculum and other educational resources such as websites, videos, games, printables, projects, online interactive lessons, and virtual tours. These curriculum/resources include the subjects of language arts, math, social studies, history, science, art, and music.

Website: Home School Buyer Co-Op

Khan Academy:

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computing, history, art history, economics, and more, including K-14 and test preparation (SAT, Praxis, LSAT) content.

Website: Khan Academy

Maine Connections Academy

Maine Connections Academy is the state’s first virtual public charter school for students grades 7-12. The program combines certified teachers, an award-winning curriculum, technology tools, engaging electives, and social experiences to create a supportive and successful online learning program for students and their families. As a public school there are no fees to attend, no tuition charges and no materials fees. MCA virtual school classes meet and exceed all national and state standards.

Website: Maine Connections Academy

PBS LearningMedia:

Maine PBS and WGBH have partnered to create PBS LearningMedia, a trusted source for PreK-12 classroom resources. It offers free and easy access to thousands of lesson plans, videos, interactives, and curated content collections to help you create one-of-a kind learning experiences for your students. Browse by age/grade, subject, and resource type.

Website: PBS Learning Media

SAS Curriculum Pathways

SAS Curriculum Pathways is available at no cost and used by thousands of educators in all 50 states. SAS Curriculum Pathways provides academic instruction of English, mathematics, social studies, science and Spanish. Social studies materials include an interactive atlas. In math, an interactive tool helps students develop basic algebra skills. Enhancements to the award-winning Writing Reviser in the English module help students master sentence fundamentals. Spanish materials help students develop reading and listening skills in real-world situations.

Website: Curriculum Pathways

Sheppard Software

The Sheppard Software website has hundreds of free, online, learning games (solitaire, brain teasers, puzzles, memory/matching games, etc.) for kids in a variety of subjects such as: math, science, language arts, health, nature/animals, geography, and more.

Website: Sheppard Software

Smithsonian Learning Lab:

The Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 major research centers, the National Zoo, creating content with online tools, and sharing in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning.

Website: Smithsonian Learning Lab

Starfall Education

Starfall Education offers activities for kids in pre-k through 3rd grade.Starfall activities are research-based and align with Individual and Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics. The program emphasizes exploration, play, and positive reinforcement—encouraging children to become confident and intrinsically motivated. (*There is the option of creating a $35 annual membership provides additional activities, however it is not required.)

Website: Starfall


The WeAreTeachers website that has tons of resources for learning at home. The website will point users in the direction of fun websites, games, apps, virtual field trips, and hands-on activities to assist and extend the distance learning for student’s K-5. (*The website also provides a list of Children’s Authors doing online read-alouds & activities. You can view their list here: We Are Teachers Virtual Author Activities)

Website at: We Are Teachers



Pre K – 6th $19.99 per year

8th – High school, and/or Special education materials $39.98 per year.

edHelper is an online subscription service that provides printable worksheets for teachers and homeschooling parents. edHelper offers a wide range of materials, including math, language arts, reading and writing, social studies, science, foreign language and more.

Website: Edhelper

$15.99 per month or $119.88 per year. caters to grades K-5 and has 30,000+ digital and printable learning resources. The websites offers both digital and printable worksheets and workbooks, digital games, interactive stories, lesson plans, weekly recommendations, and more.

(There is a Basic (free) membership allows users to access three free content downloads each month.)


Power Homeschool Services

$25 a month – 7 courses

Power Homeschool is a program intended to aid parents in homeschooling their student. Power Homeschool course materials are standards-based and provide a full online learning experience in each subject area. Each student may take up to seven courses simultaneously and the selection of courses may be adjusted at any time. Power Homeschool allows students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. When a student struggles, the system provides additional instruction and practice as needed.

Website: Power Homeschool Services


Pre K – 8th $19.95 per month / Highschool $30 per month

Time4Learning is an online, interactive curriculum for students in PreK-12th for homeschool, afterschool, and skill building. Time4Learning’s award-winning, comprehensive program offers a variety of math, language arts, science, social studies, electives, and foreign language through a combination of a 1000+ animated lessons, printable worksheets and graded activities.

Website: Time 4 Learning


Some of our recent family friendly and educational blogs are linked below.

Virtual tours of: Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, National Parks, Historical Places/Landmarks, NASA Research Centers, and more!

Outdoor/Animal Webcams of Wildlife, Farm Life, Zoo Life, Iconic Landmarks, Lake Life, Ocean/ Sea Life, and more.

Apps for learning about: Wildlife, Birds, Bugs, Trees, Flowers/Mushrooms, Weather, The Night Sky and more.

As well as educational (and/or entertaining) apps and streaming services for both children and adults.

The Great Outdoors

Bring The Outdoors In

Looking For Something To Do








Short of walking a mile in another’s shoes, reading someone’s story is one of the best ways to gain understanding. Reading the work of Black authors can help the world to better understand both the difficulties and achievements of people of color in America. From classic artists to new voices and leaders, this list includes a wide range of voices and insights, as well as a variety of genres.  We hope you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading list.


Well-Read Black Girl

by Glory Edim

Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of their lives—but not everyone regularly sees themselves in the pages of a book. In this timely anthology, Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black women writers to shine a light on how important it is that we all—regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability—have the opportunity to find ourselves in literature.

“Yes, Well-Read Black Girl is as good as it sounds. . . . [Glory Edim] gathers an all-star cast of contributors—among them Lynn Nottage, Jesmyn Ward, and Gabourey Sidibe.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The Fire Next Time

by James Baldwin

At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle…all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of literature.

“So eloquent in its passion and so scorching in its candor that it is bound to unsettle any reader.” –The Atlantic

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


Such a Fun Age

by Kiley Reid

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

“Kiley Reid has written the most provocative page-turner of the year….[Such a Fun Age] nestl[es] a nuanced take on racial biases and class divides into a page-turning saga of betrayals, twists, and perfectly awkward relationships….The novel feels bound for book-club glory, due to its sheer readability. The dialogue crackles with naturalistic flair. The plotting is breezy and surprising. Plus, while Reid’s feel for both the funny and the political is undeniable, she imbues her flawed heroes with real heart.” —Entertainment Weekly


Between the World and Me

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

“Extraordinary . . . [Coates] writes an impassioned letter to his teenage son—a letter both loving and full of a parent’s dread—counseling him on the history of American violence against the black body, the young African-American’s extreme vulnerability to wrongful arrest, police violence, and disproportionate incarceration.”— The New Yorker


Red at the Bone

by Jacqueline Woodson

An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other. Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.


“In less than 200 sparsely filled pages, this book manages to encompass issues of class, education, ambition, racial prejudice, sexual desire and orientation, identity, mother-daughter relationships, parenthood and loss….With Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson has indeed risen — even further into the ranks of great literature.” – NPR

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

By Ibram X. Kendi

Some Americans insist that we’re living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America–it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.

As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial inequities.

In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.

“An engrossing and relentless intellectual history of prejudice in America…. The greatest service Kendi [provides] is the ruthless prosecution of American ideas about race for their tensions, contradiction and unintended consequences.”―Washington Post

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The Invisible Man

By Ralph Ellison

A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of “the Brotherhood”, and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.

“Invisible Man is certainly a book about race in America, and sadly enough, few of the problems it chronicles have disappeared even now. But Ellison’s first novel transcends such a narrow definition. It’s also a book about the human race stumbling down the path to identity, challenged and successful to varying degrees. None of us can ever be sure of the truth beyond ourselves, and possibly not even there. The world is a tricky place, and no one knows this better than the invisible man, who leaves us with these chilling, provocative words: “And it is this which frightens me: Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?” –Melanie Rehak (New York Times best-selling author)


Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do

Jennifer L. Eberhardt

How do we talk about bias? How do we address racial disparities and inequities? What role do our institutions play in creating, maintaining, and magnifying those inequities? What role do we play? With a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt offers us the language and courage we need to face one of the biggest and most troubling issues of our time. She exposes racial bias at all levels of society—in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and criminal justice system. Yet she also offers us tools to address it. Eberhardt shows us how we can be vulnerable to bias but not doomed to live under its grip. Racial bias is a problem that we all have a role to play in solving.

“Combining storytelling with a deep dive into the science of implicit bias, Eberhardt explains how bias and prejudice form—and she describes their pernicious effects on all of us. But she doesn’t stop at the problem: Her book shines a spotlight on what we can do to fight bias at a personal and institutional level.”—Greater Good Magazine

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.



by Yaa Gyasi

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half-sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.

Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

“[Toni Morrison’s] influence is palpable in Gyasi’s historicity and lyricism; she shares Morrison’s uncanny ability to crystalize, in a single event, slavery’s moral and emotional fallout. . . . No novel has better illustrated the way in which racism became institutionalized in this country.” —Vogue


When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

By Patrisse Khan-Cullors  &  Asha Bandele

Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.

Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin.

Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love to tell the country―and the world―that Black Lives Matter

“This is a story of perseverance from a woman who found her voice in a world that often tried to shut her out. When They Call You a Terrorist is more than just a reflection on the American criminal justice system. It’s a call to action for readers to change a culture that allows for violence against people of color.” – TIME Magazine

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.



by Toni Morrison

Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. – NYT


So You Want to Talk About Race

By Ijeoma Oluo

Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy–from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans–has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair–and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

“Oluo gives us–both white people and people of color–that language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases.”

–National Book Review


Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

by ZZ Packer

Her impressive range and talent are abundantly evident: Packer dazzles with her command of language, surprising and delighting us with unexpected turns and indelible images, as she takes us into the lives of characters on the periphery, unsure of where they belong. We meet a Brownie troop of black girls who are confronted with a troop of white girls; a young man who goes with his father to the Million Man March and must decide where his allegiance lies; an international group of drifters in Japan, who are starving, unable to find work; a girl in a Baltimore ghetto who has dreams of the larger world she has seen only on the screens in the television store nearby, where the Lithuanian shopkeeper holds out hope for attaining his own American Dream.

“ZZ Packer writes a short story with more complexity and kindness than most people can muster in their creaking 500-page novels. It is the kind of brilliance for narrative that should make her peers envious and her readers very, very grateful.”—Zadie Smith  (New York Times best-selling author)


The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley

In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.


“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama


Loving Day

By Mat Johnson

Warren Duffy has returned to America for all the worst reasons: His marriage to a beautiful Welsh woman has come apart; his comics shop in Cardiff has failed; and his Irish American father has died, bequeathing to Warren his last possession, a roofless, half-renovated mansion in the heart of black Philadelphia. On his first night in his new home, Warren spies two figures outside in the grass. When he screws up the nerve to confront them, they disappear. The next day he encounters ghosts of a different kind: In the face of a teenage girl he meets at a comics convention he sees the mingled features of his white father and his black mother, both now dead. The girl, Tal, is his daughter, and she’s been raised to think she’s white.

“[Mat Johnson’s] unrelenting examination of blackness, whiteness and everything in between is handled with ruthless candor and riotous humor.”—Los Angeles Times

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

by Michelle Alexander

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

“Rothstein’s work should make everyone, all across the political spectrum, reconsider what it is we allow those in power to do in the name of ‘social harmony’ and ‘progress’ with more skepticism… The Color of Law shows what happens when Americans lose their natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or in the case of African-Americans, when there are those still waiting to receive them in full.” – American Conservative

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

By Barack Obama

In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey—first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.

“Beautifully crafted . . . moving and candid . . . This book belongs on the shelf beside works like James McBride’s The Color of Water and Gregory Howard Williams’s Life on the Color Line as a tale of living astride America’s racial categories.”—Scott Turow


Behold the Dreamers

By Imbolo Mbue

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

“A witty, compassionate, swiftly paced novel that takes on race, immigration, family and the dangers of capitalist excess.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.




How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide

By Crystal Marie Fleming

How to Be Less Stupid About Race is your essential guide to breaking through the half-truths and ridiculous misconceptions that have thoroughly corrupted the way race is represented in the classroom, pop culture, media, and politics. Centuries after our nation was founded on genocide, settler colonialism, and slavery, many Americans are kinda-sorta-maybe waking up to the reality that our racial politics are (still) garbage. But in the midst of this reckoning, widespread denial and misunderstandings about race persist, even as white supremacy and racial injustice are more visible than ever before.

Combining no-holds-barred social critique, humorous personal anecdotes, and analysis of the latest interdisciplinary scholarship on systemic racism, sociologist Crystal M. Fleming provides a fresh, accessible, and irreverent take on everything that’s wrong with our “national conversation about race.”

“Fleming offers a crash course in what will be a radically new perspective for most and a provocative challenge that should inspire those who disagree with her to at least consider their basic preconceptions . . . . A deft, angry analysis for angry times.” —Kirkus Reviews

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


Brown Girl Dreaming

By Jacqueline Woodson

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

“Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

“The Warmth of Other Suns is a brilliant and stirring epic, the first book to cover the full half-century of the Great Migration… Wilkerson combines impressive research…with great narrative and literary power. Ms. Wilkerson does for the Great Migration what John Steinbeck did for the Okies in his fiction masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath; she humanizes history, giving it emotional and psychological depth.”— Wall Street Journal


Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

By Janet Mock

With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.

“An eye-opening and unapologetic story that is much greater than mere disclosure…. An enlightening, much-needed perspective on transgender identity.”, Kirkus Reviews

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy)

By Marlon James

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that’s come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

“Black Leopard, Red Wolf is bawdy (OK, filthy), lyrical, poignant, violent (sometimes hyperviolent), riotous, funny (filthily hilarious), complex, mysterious, and always under tight and exquisite control…A world that is both fresh and beautifully realized….Absolutely brilliant.” —LA Times


Fire Shut Up in My Bones

By Charles M. Blow

Charles M. Blow’s mother was a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, and a job plucking poultry at a factory near their segregated Louisiana town, where slavery’s legacy felt close. When her philandering husband finally pushed her over the edge, she fired a pistol at his fleeing back, missing every shot, thanks to “love that blurred her vision and bent the barrel.” Charles was the baby of the family, fiercely attached to his “do-right” mother. Until one day that divided his life into Before and After—the day an older cousin took advantage of the young boy. The story of how Charles escaped that world to become one of America’s most innovative and respected public figures is a stirring, redemptive journey that works its way into the deepest chambers of the heart.

 “Some truths cannot be taught, only learned through stories – profoundly personal and startlingly honest accounts that open not only our eyes but also our hearts to painful and complicated social realities. Charles Blow’s memoir tells these kinds of truths. No one who reads this book will be able to forget it. It lays bare in so many ways what is beautiful, cruel, hopeful and despairing about race, gender, class and sexuality in the American South and our nation as a whole. This book is more than a personal triumph; it is a true gift to us all.” – Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow)

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The Nickel Boys

By Colson Whitehead

When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades.

Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.

“Whitehead’s magnetic characters exemplify stoicism and courage, and each supremely crafted scene smolders and flares with injustice and resistance, building to a staggering revelation. Inspired by an actual school, Whitehead’s potently concentrated drama pinpoints the brutality and insidiousness of Jim Crow racism with compassion and protest. . . . A scorching work.” —Booklist, starred review


How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice from White People

By D.L. Hughley, Doug Moe

In America, a black man is three times more likely to be killed in encounters with police than a white guy. If only he had complied with the cop, he might be alive today, pundits say in the aftermath of the latest shooting of an unarmed black man. Or, Maybe he shouldn’t have worn that hoodie … or, moved more slowly … not been out so late … Wait, why are black people allowed to drive, anyway? With so much heartfelt guidance flying around, it seems there’s been a failure to communicate.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. White people have been giving “advice” to black folks for as long as anyone can remember, telling them how to pick cotton, where to sit on a bus, what neighborhood to live in, when they can vote, and how to wear our pants. Despite centuries of whites’ advice, it seems black people still aren’t listening, and the results are tragic.

Now, at last, activist, comedian, and New York Times bestselling author D. L. Hughley offers How Not to Get Shot, an illustrated how-to guide for black people, full of insight from white people, translated by one of the funniest black dudes on the planet. In these pages you will learn how to act, dress, speak, walk, and drive in the safest manner possible. You also will finally understand the white mind. It is a book that can save lives. Or at least laugh through the pain.

“In his hilarious yet soul-shaking truth-telling book, Hughley touches on politics, race, and life as a black American as only he can.” – Black Enterprise

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America

by Ibi Zoboi

Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.

Whether it’s New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writing about #blackboyjoy or Newbery Honor-winning author Renee Watson talking about black girls at camp in Portland, or emerging author Jay Coles’s story about two cowboys kissing in the south—Black Enough is an essential collection full of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America. (less)

“A compilation of short stories that offers unique perspectives on what it means to be young and black in America today. Each entry is deftly woven and full of such complex humanity that teens will identify with and see some of their own struggles in these characters. The entries offer a rich tableau of the black teen diaspora in an accessible way.” –  School Library Journal

 This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.



By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

“Masterful. . . . An expansive, epic love story. . . . Pulls no punches with regard to race, class and the high-risk, heart-tearing struggle for belonging in a fractured world.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

“Beautifully written in Starr’s authentic first-person voice, this is a marvel of verisimilitude as it insightfully examines two worlds in collision. An inarguably important book that demands the widest possible readership.” – Booklist


Five-Carat Soul

By James McBride

The stories in Five-Carat Soul—none of them ever published before—spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.

“McBride delivers pure gold… Five-Carat Soul shakes with laughter, grips with passion and oozes wisdom.” —Shelf Awareness


Don’t Call Us Dead

By Danez Smith

Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality―the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood―and a diagnosis of HIV positive. “Some of us are killed / in pieces,” Smith writes, “some of us all at once.” Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America―“Dear White America”―where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.

“These poems can’t make history vanish, but they can contend against it with the force of a restorative imagination. Smith’s work is about that imagination―its role in repairing and sustaining communities, and in making the world more bearable. . . . Their poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy. . . . But they also know the magic trick of making writing on the page operate like the most ecstatic speech.”―The New Yorker

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

By Clemantine Wamariya

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.

When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States; there, in Chicago, their lives diverged. Though their bond remained unbreakable, Claire, who had for so long protected and provided for Clemantine, was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, while Clemantine was taken in by a family who raised her as their own. She seemed to live the American dream: attending private school, taking up cheerleading, and, ultimately, graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old

“Heartbreaking and honest, this important memoir explores the lasting effects that trauma and destruction have on an individual and emphasizes the human ability to overcome it all and build a new future—even when that new life comes with horrors of its own.” -Real Simple

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The Underground Railroad

By Colson Whitehead

Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood—where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him. In Colson Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the terrors of the antebellum era, he weaves in the saga of our nation, from the brutal abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is both the gripping tale of one woman’s will to escape the horrors of bondage—and a powerful meditation on the history we all share.

“The Underground Railroad enters the pantheon of . . . the Great American Novels. . . . A wonderful reminder of what great literature is supposed to do: open our eyes, challenge us, and leave us changed by the end.” —Esquire


Devil in a Blue Dress

By Walter Mosley

Set in the late 1940s, in the African-American community of Watts, Los Angeles, Devil in a Blue Dress follows Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

Devil in a Blue Dress, a defining novel in Walter Mosley’s bestselling Easy Rawlins mystery series, was adapted into a TriStar Pictures film starring Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins and Don Cheadle as Mouse.

“The social commentary is sly, the dialogue is fabulous, the noir atmosphere so real you could touch it. A first novel? That what they say. Amazing. Smashing.” – Cosmopolitan


The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

By Anissa Gray

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.

“The inequities of the justice system, the fortitude of women of color, and the bittersweet struggle to connect are rendered ravishly in this bighearted novel.” —Oprah Magazine

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


The Confessions of Frannie Langton

By Sara Collins

All of London is abuzz with the scandalous case of Frannie Langton, who is accused of the brutal double murder of her employers, renowned scientist George Benham and his eccentric French wife, Marguerite. Crowds pack the courtroom, eagerly following every twist, while the newspapers print lurid theories about the killings and the mysterious woman being held in the Old Bailey.

The testimonies against Frannie are damning. She is a seductress, a witch, a master manipulator, a whore. Frannie claims she cannot recall what happened that fateful evening, or how she came to be covered in the victims’ blood, even if remembering could save her life.

But she does have a tale to tell: a story of her childhood on a Jamaican plantation, her apprenticeship under a debauched scientist who stretched all bounds of ethics, and the events that brought her into the Benhams’ London home—and into a passionate and forbidden relationship.

Though her testimony may seal her conviction, the truth will unmask the perpetrators of crimes far beyond murder and indict the whole of English society itself

 “A well-crafted, searing depiction of race, class and oppression.” – New York Times


Secrets We Kept

By Krystal Sital

There, in a lush landscape of fire-petaled immortelle trees and vast plantations of coffee and cocoa, where the three hills along the southern coast act as guardians against hurricanes, Krystal A. Sital grew up idolizing her grandfather, a wealthy Hindu landowner. Years later, to escape crime and economic stagnation on the island, the family resettled in New Jersey, where Krystal’s mother works as a nanny, and the warmth of Trinidad seems a pretty yet distant memory. But when her grandfather lapses into a coma after a fall at home, the women he has terrorized for decades begin to speak, and a brutal past comes to light.

Violence, a rigid ethnic and racial caste system, and a tolerance of domestic abuse―the harsh legacies of plantation slavery―permeate the history of Trinidad. On the island’s plantations, in its growing cities, and in the family’s new home in America, Secrets We Kept tells a story of ambition and cruelty, endurance and love, and most of all, the bonds among women and between generations that help them find peace with the past.

 “One reads Sital’s story appalled and moved by the suffering of these indomitable women…A reader can only applaud the author who has so skillfully preserved them in such loving, precise detail.”

– New York Times

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


How to Be an Antiracist

By Ibram X. Kendi

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society

“What do you do after you have written Stamped From the Beginning, an award-winning history of racist ideas? . . . If you’re Ibram X. Kendi, you craft another stunner of a book. . . . What emerges from these insights is the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind, a confessional of self-examination that may, in fact, be our best chance to free ourselves from our national nightmare.”—The New York Times

This title has been ordered, but is not currently available at Gardiner Public Library.


Have an author/book we didn’t include? Please let us know in the comments!









The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

Apps and Websites that help you connect with nature/wildlife!

As we mentioned in our previous blog, spending time outdoors, even as little as 15 minutes a day, is an excellent way to take care of your mental and physical health! – We hope these will encourage you to get outside!

Leaves and paws, roots and wings, these resources cover all wild things!

Project Noah

Project Noah is a fun way to explore and document wildlife. The technology platform and community provide a powerful way for research groups to collect important ecological data. The purpose of the project is to mobilize and inspire a new generation of nature lovers. It began as an experiment to see if they could build an app for people to share their nature encounters and has evolved into a powerful global movement for both amateurs and experts. The name “Noah” is an acronym that stands for networked organisms and habitats.

Website: Project Noah

Facebook: Project Noah

Seek by iNaturalist

One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over a million scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. – Use the power of image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you. Earn badges for seeing different types of plants, bugs, fungi and more!

Website: iNaturalist

Google Play Store: Seek by iNaturalist

Apple App Store: Seek by iNaturalist

The National Wildlife Federation Guide

America is privileged with a stunning array of animals, plants, and wild destinations—each with its own incredible story. Get to know the amazing wildlife in your backyard and beyond.

Website:Wildlife Guide


Animals are around us in the woods, but we often don’t know that they are there. They lurk in the thick brush, hide in the trees or are nocturnal and only come out at night. However, if conditions are right, you may stumble upon some scat or tracks that they have left behind… Here are some websites to help you identify what scat and/or tracks belong to which animal!

Here’s a great guide from Alan’s Factory Outlet showing 50 Animal Footprints found in North America!

See the full version here: Ultimate Animal Track Guide

This page on the GreenBelly website gives examples of 36 common animal tracks broken down into categories such as canine, feline, hoof, bird, reptile, rodent, and more. It also gives a little information on walking patterns (such as: zig-zaggers or hoppers) and track characteristics (such as Width/Length and number of toes.)

Link: Animal Tracks Identification Guide

Animal Scat Resources:

WLR Scat Identification Guide: Animal Poop Identification Guide

North Woods Field Guide: Animal Scat Notes



Audubon Bird Guide

The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to more than 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Built for all experience levels, it will help you identify the birds around you, keep track of the birds you’ve seen, and see where the birds are with nearby birding hotspots and real-time sightings from eBird!

Google Play Store: Audubon Bird Guide

Apple App Store: Audubon Bird Guide

Birds Complete Reference Guide

A complete birding reference app that includes songs, calls, images and videos for over 11,400 species of birds!

Google Play Store: Birds Complete Reference Guide

Apple App Store: Birds Complete Reference Guide


NestWatch is a nationwide monitoring program designed to track status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive. Have you found an unidentified nest, and want to know what bird it belongs to? With a little detective work, you can determine whose nest or eggs you found with the help of NestWatch!

Website: NestWatch

The Feather Atlas

THE FEATHER ATLAS is an image database dedicated to the identification and study of the flight feathers of North American birds. The feathers illustrated are from the curated collection of the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory. – Browse feathers, look up particular species, or identify a feather of your own!

Website: The Feather Atlas

A few other bird sources:

Wild Bird Egg Identification: Wild Bird Egg Identification

All About Birds.Org: Bird Guide – Browse By Shape



Pest World for kids

A great website for kids full of “bug” related information, ebooks, games, crafts, fun facts, and videos!

Website: Pest World For Kids


SnakeSnap is a mobile application that uses photo identification to help identify unknown snakes, and teach us about the uses and benefits these animals provide to our eco-system. Built for everyone from an avid snake enthusiast, to anyone just interested in learning more about all snake species. SnakeSnap’s mission is for everyone to learn how to co-exist with these beautiful creatures.

Google Play Store: SnakeSnap!

Apple App Store: SnakeSnap!

The Butterfly Website

A website dedicated to our pretty little winged friends… Discover all kinds of butterfly facts, get checklists, get help identifying butterflies, learn how to say butterfly in different languages, and more!

Website: The Butterfly Website

Check out their dragonfly website as well: The Dragonfly Website


A few bee resources:

Did you know there are about 20,000 different species of bees in the world? Use these resources to learn all about bees and other stinging insects such as wasps and hornets!

Stinging Insects 101: Learn the difference between bees, wasps, hornets, and more: Pest World – Stinging Insects

How to identify different types of bees: Mother Nature Network – Bee Identification

”Sciencing”: How to Identify Bees, Wasps & Hornets: Sciencing – Bee Identification

Tick safety

Ticks are arachnids, like spiders and mites. They are mostly found in wooded areas and the open or grassy areas at the edges of wooded areas. Tick-borne diseases have rapidly become a significant public health issue in Maine and throughout much of the United States. The incidence and distribution of these pathogens continues to increase, and can result in severe health issues for those affected. Of the multiple tick-borne diseases found in the U.S., five are known to occur in Maine, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi disease, and Powassan encephalitis. All five of these diseases can be transmitted by the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis).

The following resources will help with tick protection, prevention, identification, and management.’s tick information page: – Tick Information’s downloadable tick guide: – Tick Identification

UMaine’s Cooperative Extension: Tick Lab: University of Maine – Cooperative Extension : Tick Lab




PlantNet is an application that allows you to identify and better understand all kinds of plants living in nature (such as flowering plants, trees, grasses, conifers, ferns, vines, wild salads or cacti) simply by photographing them with your smartphone.  PlantNet is also a great citizen science project: all the plants you photograph are collected and analyzed by scientists around the world to better understand the evolution of plant biodiversity and to better preserve it.

Google Play Store: PlantNet Plant Identification

Apple App Store: PlantNet Plant Identification

 Arbor Day Foundation’s  What Tree Is That? (Online)

A Guide to More Common Trees Found in North America

Website: Arbor Day Foundation – What Tree Is That?

Flora Incognita

The Flora Incognita App enables you to identify plants automatically quickly, easily and accurately. In addition to the specific plant species name, a species profile page presents further information such as characteristics, distribution or protection status of the species.

Google Play Store: Flora Incognita

Apple App Store: Flora Incognita

Shroomify – USA Mushroom Identification

Mushroom ID made easy, by selecting the characteristics of the fungi you would like to identify the in-app algorithms work out the most likely matches. The app comes pre-loaded with over 400 common Fungi and over 1000 images. You can also view the ‘Top 20’ of the month which lists all the common Fungi you can find in the month you are in!

Google Play Store: Shroomify – USA Mushroom Identification

Apple App Store: Shroomify – USA Mushroom Identification

A few other fungi resources:

United States Forest Service downloadable field guide: Field Guide to Common Macrofungi in Eastern Forests and Their Ecosystem Functions

David Fischer’s Mushroom website: American Mushrooms

Mushroom Expert website: Mushroom Expert


SkySafari – Astronomy App


SkySafari is a powerful planetarium that fits in your pocket, puts the universe at your fingertips, and is incredibly easy to use! Simply hold your device to the sky and quickly locate planets, constellations, satellites, and millions of stars and deep sky objects. Packed with interactive information and rich graphics, discover why SkySafari is your perfect stargazing companion under the night sky.

Google Play Store: SkySafari – Astronomy App

Apple App Store: SkySafari – Astronomy App

Star Walk 2 Free – Sky Map, Stars & Constellations

Star Walk is a great astronomy guide to explore the sky day and night, identify stars, constellations, planets, satellites, asteroids, comets, ISS, Hubble Space Telescope and other celestial bodies in real time in the sky above you. Learn a lot about the solar system, constellations, stars, comets, asteroids, spacecraft, nebulas, and more!

Google Play Store: Star Walk 2

Apple App Store: Star Walk 2

Stellarium Web

Stellarium Web is an online planetarium running in your web browser!  It shows a realistic star map, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. Includes information on stars, constellations, planets, comets, satellites (such as the ISS), and other deep sky objects.

Website: Stellarium

Field Guide to Clouds

The UCAR Center for Science Education’s Field Guide to Clouds is a portable guidebook to identifying clouds. Learn about the different clouds in the sky, including how they form, how they get their names, and what they can tell you about the weather.

Google Play Store: Field Guide To Clouds

Apple App Store:  Field Guide To Clouds

A few other cloud sources

NASA downloadable Cloud Identification Chart: S’COOL Cloud Identification

Arizona Edu Lecture: Cloud Types

WeatherWizKids: Weather Wiz Kids






Kenai Flords National Park, Alaska

Rappel into a crevasse, kayak through icebergs, and watch a glacier recede.


Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Fly over an active volcano, explore a lava tube, and look out across volcanic cliffs.


Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Explore incredible formations, trek by headlamp through a cave, fly with thousands of bats, and even “see through the eyes of a bat.”


Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Gaze up at the night sky, ride horse-back through a canyon, and see hoodoos up close.


Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dive a shipwreck, swim through the third-largest coral reef in the world, and tour a Civil War-era fort.


Great Wall of China Virtual Tour

Commonly considered a wonder of the world, the Great Wall of China boasts a history of over 2,000 years and stretches more than 3,000 miles across several provinces of northern China, making it one of the most impressive ancient structures on the planet.


The Great Pyramid of Giza Virtual Tour

The Great Pyramid of Giza is a defining symbol of Egypt and the last of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. It is located on the Giza plateau near the modern city of Cairo and was built over a twenty-year period during the reign of the king Khufu (2589-2566 BCE, also known as Cheops) of the 4th Dynasty.


Fairbanks, Alaska – Virtual Tour

Explore the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights, Float down the Chena River, Experience the thrill of Dog Mushing, and more!


Great Barrier Reef – Virtual Tour

Explore one of the greatest wonders of the natural world on an engaging and in-depth interactive journey with David Attenborough.



Tall Sky Walker’s hikes include: Yellowstone National Park, Moraine Lake, Ponderosa Pine Forest, Smith Rock State Park, Waldo Lake, and many more!


The Flying Dutchman’s hikes include: Olympic National Park, Hoh Rain Forest, Silver Falls State Park, Redwood National Park, Havasupai Falls, and more!


4K Relaxation Channel includes virtual hikes, walking tours, drone/bird eye views, and many other beautiful nature videos.




Want to see what African wildlife is up to? Need a dose of cute kittens and puppies? Feel like floating around with some jellyfish, seals, or manatees? Interested in taking a snoop inside a Honey bee hive? Curious what our feathered friends as doing? Want to take a peek at some animal sanctuaries? Just need some Zen? Explore Livecams has got you covered!


Smithsonian’s National Zoo – LiveCams

Lions, and cheetahs, and bears, oh my! – The Smithsonian National Zoo has a handful of LiveCams for your viewing pleasure!


Goat Milk Stuff & Beekman Farm – LiveCams

Is there anything cuter than baby goats?! Watch these little cuties sleep, eat, and play on Goat Milk Stuff & Beekman Farms webcams!

Link 1:

Link 2:

EarthCam – LiveCams

The EarthCam website offers an array of creatures to watch including Giraffes, Meerkats, Wolves, Sea Otters and more! (They also have cams that highlight Iconic Landmarks, Lake Life, Ocean and Sea Life, and more)




Don’t forget to actually get outside! – Take a hike, go for a bike ride, walk around your neighborhood, or even just hang-out in your back yard! Spending time outdoors, even as little as 15 minutes a day, is an excellent way to take care of your mental and physical health!


The American Hiking Society has a few guidelines for safe outdoor use:

-Follow whatever the local government guidelines, such as social distancing, are (every city is under different restrictions right now).

-If possible, stay within close enough distance of your home that you can avoid stopping for gas, snacks, restroom breaks, etc., none of which allow for social distancing.

-Do not carpool with friends or family who are not members of your household.

-Avoid parks or trails that have become crowded, even if the area is officially open.  If the parking lot is crowded, there are already too many people there. Turn around and find another location or go home.

Bass Falls Preserve:

Curtis Homestead Conservation Area:

Happy Farm Trail:

Hidden Valley Nature Center:

The Kennebec Rail Trail:

Papermill Trail/Miller Park:

Salt Bay Heritage Trail:

Smithfield Plantation:

Stetser Preserve:

Trout Brook Preserve:

Webber-Rogers Farmstead Conservation Area:

Whitefield Salmon Preserve:

Maine Trail Finder

The Maine Trail Finder website is a great resource for finding hiking/biking/walking trails in Maine.  The site enables you to search by activity, difficulty, distance, area, and status.

Visit their site here:


Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a GPS or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the state.  Geocaching is fun activity for the entire family, a good excuse to get out outdoors and enjoy some fresh air and exercise!

Join the world’s largest treasure hunt:

Venture Outdoors: Youth Explorer Button Series

This series is great for families who want to feel more comfortable getting outside! The Button Series is comprised of 8 different activities designed for youth ages 5-11. Complete each component in the series to earn a button. Complete all activities to earn a Venture Outdoors special prize.

Join the adventure here:


Venture Outdoors: Adult Adventure Learning Series

This series is great for anyone who wants to feel more comfortable getting outside! They provide information to help you learn and engage in a variety of outdoor experiences that can be done both in and outdoors. Categories include: Knot Tying, Trail Basics, Tree Identification, and more

Join the adventure:

Right now the American Hiking Society is holding a weekly photo contest (prizes vary) to encourage each other to share our photos of our little outdoor escapes whether it be a hike, a walk around your neighborhood, or just playing in your own backyard, any outdoor activity counts!


Quarantine Bingo

The Washington Post has created both indoor and outdoor Bingo cards to keep you busy during quarantine!


Looking For Something To Do?



Crackle is a free to use video entertainment network featuring full-length movies, TV shows, and original programming. Crackle is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles, or online at:


Filmrise offers a great selection of movie and TV entertainment. Enjoy hit shots, popular movies, riveting documentaries, kids shows, world cinema and more. Pluto is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, YouTube, video game consoles, or online at: provides safe entertainment for children ages 1-10. Kids can watch non-stop rhymes, music, popular shows, stories, and movies. is available on: Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles or online at:


Hoopla is a web and mobile library media streaming platform for TV, movies, music, magazines, audio books, comics, and e-book. Hoopla allows Gardiner Public Library patrons to download or stream media content. Hoopla is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles, or online at:


PBS Kids features more than 1,000 videos from over a dozen top PBS KID TV series, including Curious George, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Dinosaur, Train, Sesame Street and more! PBS KIDS is available on: Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles or online at:

(The also website offers Apps, Albums, E-books, and more.)

Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers 250+ live TV channels & 1000s of movies on-demand. Enjoy news, sports, lifestyle, reality shows, movies, documentaries, and much more. Pluto is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles, or online at:


Tubi is a free to use video entertainment network featuring the largest free library of popular movies and TV Shows. Tubi is available on: Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles or online at:



batteryPOP features the best fun, kid safe educational videos for math, science, health, animals, reading, computers, and more! batteryPOP is available on: Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or online at:

The British Museum – Virtual Tour (

The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence. Visit their touring page here:

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – Daily Videos (

The mission and vision of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is dedicated to creating adventure, conveying knowledge, conserving nature, and serving the community. The Zoo is currently holding daily Home Safaris on their Facebook page. Visit their page here:

Georgia Aquarium – Animal Cams (

The Georgia Aquarium is a public aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Georgia Aquarium is home to hundreds of species. The aquarium currently has webcams set up in 9 different animal areas including Beluga Whales, Sea Otters, Penguins, and more! Visit their cams here:

The Houston Zoo – Animal Cams (

The Houston Zoo is a 55-acre zoological park located within Hermann Park in Houston, Texas. The Zoo prides itself on connecting communities with animals to inspire action to save wildlife. The zoo currently has webcams set up in 6 different animal areas including chimps, giraffes, elephants, and more! Visit their cams here: or visit their Facebook at:

The Louvre – Virtual Tour (

The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. The museum currently has virtual tours of 4 famous exhibits. Visit their touring page here:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Virtual Tour (

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially “the Met”, is the largest art museum in the United States. “Viewers can experience the magic of standing in an empty gallery after-hours, witnessing a bustling space in time-lapse, or floating high above The Met Cloisters for a bird’s-eye view.” Visit their touring page here:

The Museum of Modern Art – Virtual Tour (

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Manhattan, New York City. Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, The Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to being the foremost museum of modern art in the world. Visit their touring page here:

NASA – Virtual Tour (

NASA Glenn Research Center ( is a NASA center, located in Cleveland, Ohio. The center designs game-changing technology for spaceflight that enables further exploration of the universe. Visit their touring page here:

Langley Research Center ( located in Hampton, Virginia is the oldest of NASA’s field centers. NASA’s Langley Research Center is working to make revolutionary improvements in aviation, conducting comprehensive studies of Earth’s atmosphere, and developing concepts and technologies needed for the journey to the Moon, Mars and solar system. Visit their touring page here:

The San Diego Zoo – Animal Cams (

The San Diego Zoo is a zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, is a non-profit wildlife sanctuary which is home to over 3,700 rare and endangered animals from over 650 species and subspecies, and over 700,000 exotic plants. The zoo currently has webcams set up in 11 different animal areas including tigers, polar bears, pandas, and more! Visit their cams here:

The Shedd Aquarium – Daily Videos (

Shedd Aquarium is an indoor public aquarium in Chicago, Illinois, The aquarium is currently holding daily animal videos on their Facebook page. Visit today to experience unbelievable animals from around the globe, including sea otters, dolphins, penguins and more! Visit their page here:

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Virtual Tour (

The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. – The Smithsonian has created a room-by-room 360-degree view of the entire museum. Visit their touring page here:

The Smithsonian – Streaming App

The Smithsonian also offers streaming videos. Stream free award-winning entertainment from Smithsonian Channel and explore worlds of history, mystery, science, and pop culture. The Smithsonian streaming app is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles, or online at:

Scholastic – Daily Projects

Children’s book publishers Scholastic has launched Learn at Home, a website offering daily enrichment projects for kids stuck at home, sorted by grade level. Some of the lessons for younger kids use Scholastic’s BookFlix service, but Scholastic has created a generic login and password (username: Learning20, password: Clifford) to unlock access. Visit this website at:

Ted Talks – Streaming App

Ted Talks streaming allows users to browse more than 2,000 Ted Talks from remarkable people, by topic, and mood, from tech and science, to the surprises of your own psychology. The Ted Talks streaming app is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles, or online at:

The Vatican Museums – Virtual Tour (

The Vatican Museums are the public art and sculpture museums in the Vatican City – Rome, Italy. The museum currently has 7 site tours including Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Raphael’s Room, Visit their virtual tour here:

WeAreTeachers – Website

WeAreTeachers is a website that has tons of resources for learning at home. The website will point users in the direction of fun websites, games, app, and hands-on activities to assist and extend the distance learning for student’s K-5. Visit this website at:   *The WeAreTeachers website also provides a great list of Children’s Authors doing online read-alouds & activities. You can view their list here:


ABC News – Streaming App

The ABC News app offers coverage of the most important news stories of the day, breaking news, live streams, and clips covering events at home and worldwide from Good Morning America, World News Tonight with David Muir, Nightline, 20/20, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. ABC News App is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles, or online at:

CBSNews Live 24/7 – Streaming App

The CBS News app features CBSN, the 24/7 digital streaming news network from CBS News, as well as on demand video from CBS’s award-winning news programs such as CBS Evening News, CBS The Morning, 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, Sunday Morning, and Face the Nation. Find on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles, or online at:

Haystacktv – Streaming App

Watch 200+ Local and World News TV channels suchs as CBS Interactive, Newsy, C|Net, and more. The perfect channel or screensaver for those that like to be in the know! The NewsON app is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or online at:

NBCNews – Streaming App

Explore world-class video from NBC News and MSNBC. Get the latest clops about the most important news from shows such as Nightly News, TODAY, Meet the Press, Morning Joe, and The Rachel Maddow Show. The NBC App is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, video game consoles and online at:

NewsON – Streaming App

Watch live, local newscasts from 200+ local news stations for free. Live news, previous newscasts (up to 48 hours), or news clips from your favorite stations. The NewsON app is available on Roku, Amazon Devices, Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or online at:


Audible Stories

For as long as schools are closed, Audible is open. Kids (from little listeners to teens) everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet. Visit this website at:



The CloudLibrary is an easy-to-use digital lending service which hosts a collection of downloadable audiobooks and e-books supported by public, academic, and school libraries from around the state of Maine. The app is compatible with tablets, laptops, smart phones, Kobo eReaders, Nook Readers, Kindle Fires, and Desktops. The CloudLibrary App is available in Google Play Store, The Apple App Store, The Kindle App Store, or online at:


LibriVox is a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public domain texts creating free public domain audiobooks for download from their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet. Visit this website at:


ManyBooks was established in 2004 with the vision to provide an extensive library of books in digital format for free on the Internet. Their library currently has 50,000+ ebooks in genres such as: Romance, Mystery & Thriller, Classic, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Biography, and many more! New books are uploaded daily! (ManyBooks has also become a platform where self-publishing authors have the opportunity to introduce their work to our community) Visit this website at:

Open Library

Open Library is an online project (of Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization) intended to create “one web page for every book ever published”. Open Library currently provides online access to 1.7 million public domain books public domain and out-of-print books in PDF, ePub, Daisy, DjVu and ASCII text. Visit this website at:

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to “encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks”. Users can borrow from a library of over 60,000 ebooks (mostly older literary works), and either download them or read them straight from the website.

Storyline Online

Storyline Online is a free literacy resource for home use. Storyline Online, streams imaginatively produced videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. For each book, supplemental curriculum developed by a literacy specialist is provided, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners worldwide. You can access Storyline Online via their YouTube Channel: or Website: