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Friday, November 18, 2011

Strange Dees, Indeed: The Reading List

Here's a first draft of the official Strange Dees, Indeed reading list, a collection of books related to the songs on the album.

I'll continue to add to this. Get started on these books and by the time you finish them all I'll have added some more to the list.

Books are organized by song title. I've included books for kids and grown-ups.

Have books you like related to these topics? Please let me know. I'll add them.

1. Ah Ahimsa

Gandhi by Demi
a gorgeous picture book

Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth 
by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi, translated by Mahadev H. Desai 

2. Cool Papa Bell
                                                                                                                                                 FOR KIDS
We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson 

Kadir Nelson makes Negro League stars look like superheroes. This book rules.

Only the Ball Was White by Robert Peterson
I'm forever recommending this one. Peterson's book was the first major history of the Negro Leagues to fully utilize stats and historical research. Previous histories had relied primarily on anecdotes.

3. a song for Abigail Adams

Servant to Abigail Adams: The Early Colonial Adventures of Hannah Cooper by Kate Connell
Solid YA historical fiction about the life of a servant who followed the Adams family to the White House

A Picture Book of John and Abigail Adams by David Adler
Adler's books aren't exciting, but they are well done. Worth a read or two.

John Adams by David McCullough
It's hard to beat McCullough for highly-readable history books. He has a particular knack for even making everything cinematic -- even dry policy discussions.

My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams by Abigail Adams, John Adams, edited by Margaret A. Hogan and C. James Taylor
And if you'd like to read the real letters...

4. The Golem 

Golem by David Wisniewski
Cool, creepy picture book good for advanced kindergarteners or elementary-aged kids. For younger kids, try Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by John Ed. Mayer and Trina Schart Hyman. It's not about the Golem but it's another eerie Jewish tale with scary creatures. My son loved this book when he was two. 

The Golem and the Wondrous Deeds of the Maharal of Prague
by Yudi Rosenberg, translated by Curt Leviant
A book for grown-ups that tells a detailed version of the Golem of Prague story and digs deep into the cultural and religious history of the character

The Golem by Isaac Bashevis Singer, illustrated by Uri Shulevitz
out of print, but available online-- looks awesome

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
The best first 100 pages of a novel I've read in a while features an escape from Prague inside a Golem. Don't want to say anymore and ruin the fun.

5. Marie Curie

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by 
Lauren Redniss
A collage biography. Sort of a graphic novel but different. Totally unique. Must must read. 

6. Sojourner Truth 

Only Passing Through by Anne Rockwell and R. Gregory Gregory Christie
Lovely picture book. When I imagine Sojourner, I often see her the way she's drawn here.

Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth and Nell Irvin Painter
Her story in her words. Yeah.

7. River of Blood 

The Heart: Our Circulatory System by Seymour Simon
Simon has a whole series of books about the body with great pictures and explanations. 


Overcoming Medical Phobias: How to Conquer Fear of Blood, Needles, Doctors, and Dentists 
by Martin Antony Ph.D. and Mark Watling MD
Whenever I intro this song at shows -- which requires me to say the word "blood" -- at least one grown-up looks queasy. I thought this book might help.

8. Penny Farthing 

The Bicycle Man by Allen Say
Elegant picture book about Japan after WWII.

Around the World on a Penny Farthing: From San Francisco to Yokohama by Thomas Stevens
Out of print but available online various places. This dude went all over the place on a penny farthing in the 1880s. 

Bicycle: The History by David V. Herlihy
Imagine if Mark Kurlansky wrote a book about bikes. 

9. Mayor LaGuardia's Stomach

Amelia Bedelia 4 Mayor by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynn Sweat
Couldn't find a children's book on LaGuardia and I love Amelia Bedelia. This one is by Herman Parish, nephew of original author Peggy Parish. Peggy's books are pure genius and difficult to mimic, but Herman gets the basic idea. A little Amelia B. is better than none. 

The Napoleon of New York: Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia by 
H. Paul Jeffers 

10. Sacagawea
11. Sacagawea (Sock It To 'Em Disco Addendum) 

A Picture Book of Sacagawea
by David A. Adler and Dan Brown
Yeah another Adler book. They're good for what they are.

Sacagawea Speaks: Beyond the Shining Mountains with Lewis and Clark 
by Joyce Badgley Hunsaker
Sort of an encyclopedia of Sacagawea featuring artwork, photos, historical documents, all sorts of stuff. Get it from the library and keep it in your bathroom for a couple of weeks. 


Great Plains by Ian Frazier
Got this after reading and loving Frazier's Travels in Siberia. A grand tour of the beautiful states in the middle of country that weaves Frazier's own travels with histories of many people who went before him: Crazy Horse, Billy the Kid, Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, and many others.

The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick
Not about Sacagawea. But this new examination of the Battle of Little Bighorn taught me a lot about Native American history I didn't know.

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
If you didn't read it in college, now's the time.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
He's gimmicky but he's really the only major author writing about Indians (he prefers "Indian" to "Native American") in this way. Funny, irreverent, good for reading on the plane.

12. Camperdown Elm

A Little Guide to Trees by Charlotte Voake, Kate Petty, Jo Elworthy
Adorable and info-packed at the same time. 

Complete Poems by Marianne Moore
"The Camperdown Elm" is in here. So is a lot of other stuff. Difficult stuff. Worth your time, though.

13. Birds of America Don't Care-Oh 

Audubon's Birds of America Coloring Book by John James Audubon
You could also buy a first edition of Birds of America itself. But those pictures have already been colored in. 

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon
by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Melissa Sweet


John James Audubon: The Making of an American by Richard Rhodes
Recent bio. You can finish it in 7 or 8 subway rides.  

14. Whaleship Essex

Revenge of the Whale by Nathaniel Philbrick
The YA version of one of my top 5 nonfiction books of all time: 

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
If you haven't read this yet I don't know what to say. Please?

Moby Dick by Herman Melville
If your kid isn't quite ready for the whole thing, get one of the many illustrated or other abridged versions. 

15. Skating in Old Bryant Park


Top Cats: The Life and Times of the New York Public Library Lions by 
Susan G. Larkin

William Cullen Bryant: Author of America by Gilbert H. Muller 

16. Phineas Gage Has Something to Tell These People 

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman 

17. Dead Horse Bay

Kids Making a Difference for Animals by Sheryl L. Pipe
Some of the stuff that washes up on Dead Horse Bay in NYC is from a glue factory that used to be in the area. I thought a book about kids helping animals would be a good follow-up to any discussions you might have about what actually happened in a glue factory.

Forgotten New York: Views of a Lost Metropolis by Kevin Walsh
And if you like Dead Horse Bay and other little-know odd places in the city...

18. Henry (Hudson), How Ya Gonna Find a Way?

Beyond the Sea of Ice: The Voyages of Henry Hudson by Joan Elizabeth Goodman and Fernando Rangel
Hudson's adventures in exciting kid-ready form.

River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River by Hudson Talbott
Hokey cover hides a thorough and fascinating book. 

Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World by Douglas Hunter 

19. Bluebird > Redbird, Redbird > Reef

Subway Story
 by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Thanks to our librarian friend Joanna Nigrelli for telling us about this one, a book that seems made to be read with our song. 

The City Beneath Us: Building the New York Subway by the New York Transit Museum and Vivian Heller
Highly-detailed history that focuses on the materials and the machines.

The 1964 World's Fair: Creation and Legacy (Images of America) by Bill Cotter and Bill Young.
Yet another in that sepia-toned series they have everywhere. Although the image quality could be a little higher (do they print these books on the cheap?) these volumes do collect a lot of nice images. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Join the Dees in the Rumpus Room

The Deedle Deedle Dees are playing the Sirius XM Kids Place Live Rumpus Room on December 12th. Want to come? It's free, but you have to RSVP. Details:

When: Monday, December 12, 2011, 4- 5 pm
Sirius/XM Radio
1500 Eckington Place NE
Washington, DC 20002 
RSVP: by December 6, 2011
Hope to see you there!
Lloyd (AKA Ulysses S. Dee)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Help us get the word out about Strange Dees, Indeed

Strange Dees, Indeed, is now available as a physical package and as a digital download at CDBaby, Amazon, iTunes, and many other outlets. We really need your help to get the word out. Here are two things you can do right now:

1. Send your family and friends to our website,
Tell them how much you like the album and how much they'll like it also.

2. Request us on Kids Place Live on Sirius XM. They just started playing us a couple of weeks ago and we'd really like them to keep playing us. Visit their blog or their Facebook page to request a tune. Right now they're playing "Ah Ahimsa," the opening track of Strange Dees, Indeed -- that's probably the best one to ask for.

And if you have friends in education or the media who you think should hear the album, let us know. We'll get them a free copy.

Strangely yours, 
Lloyd (AKA Ulysses S. Dee)