Sweet April showers do spring May flowers!
Rain, rain, go away – come again another day.
April is the kindest (or is it the cruelest?) month.
Maybe we all need an April in Paris.
There are holidays and observations every day of the month – so many reasons to celebrate.
I’m not saying there should be cake every day, but I’m not saying there shouldn’t be cake every day, either.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Virginia Code § 46.2-818.2 went into effect January 1, 2021, making it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving. The article Phone Down. It’s the Law from DriveSmartVirginia gives more information and background on the new law.
National Card and Letter Writing Month. Originally celebrated just the first week in April, in 2001 the USPS decided that one week just wasn’t long enough – and dedicated the whole month of April to writing, sending, delivering and receiving hand-written cards and letters. Check out Paper by Mark Kurlansky – a thoroughly entertaining look at the evolution of paper, or Trash-to-treasure Papermaking by Arnold Grummer – how to make your own handmade paper out of all kinds of easily found items. If you’re not feeling crafty, check out the “curated selection of paper stock, envelopes, (and) greeting cards” at MerryMaker Fine Paper in Carytown. And then to inspire you to send someone a hand-written missive, take a look at these RPL booklists: Epistolary Fiction: Novels in the Form of Letters, Notes, and Other Correspondence and Dear Diary: Fiction in the Form of Diary Entries, Journals, Screenplays, Marginalia, and More.
National Inventors Month
Check out Who Built That by Michelle Malkin – awe-inspiring stories of American “tinkerpreneurs”. The library also has lots of biographies of famous and not-so-famous inventors. Try a keyword search “inventors” in the RPL catalog, or call your local RPL branch for assistance. If you have created a unique and useful invention, you might want to check out Patent it Yourself by David Pressman – a step-by-step guide to filing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
National Kite Month
Check out The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – available as a book, in large print, as a graphic novel, sound recording, eBook, or as a DVD. Or watch Peppa Pig Flying a Kite and Other Stories – a DVD for the little ones. If you want to make your own kites, Instructables has lots of instructions – from easy peasy kites made from garbage bags or newspapers, to complicated giant kites, and even a kite cake and box kite nightlight!
National Lawn Care Month
Check out Lawns Into Meadows by Owen Wormser – a guide to organic and regenerative meadow making. Or maybe Beautiful No-mow Yards by Evelyn Hadden – 50 amazing “lawn alternatives”. (also available as an eBook through Hoopla). Then enjoy some lawn fiction – for adults, check out Lawn Boy – an eBook or eAudio title by Jonathan Evison available through Hoopla. For kids, try Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen.
National Pet Month and National Pet First Aid Month
April 10th is Train Your Pet Day
Check out How to Train Your Dragon – humorous juvenile fiction title.
April 11-17 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The American Veterinary Medical Association has some helpful and practical information on their website.
April 19th is National Cat Lady Day
Check out Girls and Their Cats (or eBook from Hoopla) by BriAnne Wills – which may or may not be a primer for aspiring Cat Ladies. Or maybe The Trainable Cat by John Bradshaw – a practical guide to making life happier for you and your cat. Available as a book or an eAudiobook from Hoopla.
April 24th is World Veterinary Day. Check out the website for Not One More Vet – a resource for veterinarians and staff facing crisis in a demanding and sometimes heartbreaking profession.
April 27th is Little Pampered Dog Day. Take a look at this video of an adorable little poodle who crashed a parade for Pope Benedict XVI and got all the applause!
April 28th is International Guide Dog Day. Find out more information from the International Guide Dog Federation. Then check out A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz – a memoir of Trixie, a Koontz family beloved pet and a retired service dog with Canine Companions for Independence.
National Poetry Month
Take a look at poets.org for poetry, inspiration, and more. Launched by the Academy of American poets in 1996, this is the 25th annual celebration. Sign up for a poem-a-day delivered to your inbox. Search the RPL catalog for poems and poetry, or call your local RPL branch for help locating a book.
April Fools’ Day
Check out a couple of children’s books: April Fools’, Mr. Todd by Megan McDonald and April Fools’ Fiasco by Ron Roy.
Fun at Work Day
Check out Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, a novel about an imploding company and the employees trying to stay afloat. Or maybe try Work Won’t Love You Back by Sarah Jaffee, a deeply-reported examination of why “doing what you love” may not be the best idea.
National Burrito Day
Check out this blog post from burrito connoisseur (and great author) John Scalzi. Or follow him on Twitter, where he shares his weird burrito concoctions almost every day.
National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
Check out Peanut Butter and Jelly, a kid’s graphic novel about a narwhal and a jellyfish who have absurd underwater adventures. And then, just for fun, check out the video Peanut Butter Jelly Time.
Find a Rainbow Day
Check out Rainbow Warrior by Gilbert Baker, the story of the creation of the iconic LGBTQ+ rainbow flag. Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook from Hoopla. Then knit your own rainbow with a pattern from Knit Happy With Self-Striping Yarn by Stephanie Lotven.
International Pillow Fight Day
Check out Good Night Pillow Fight by Sally Cook, a picture book about parents trying (and failing) to put their unruly children to bed.
National Robotics Week is April 3-11. Check out the oh-so-very talented Boston Dynamics robots dancing to Do You Love Me. If you think that maybe those robots could be sentinent, you might want to check out Are Robots Aware They’re Robots? by Madeline King, part of the juvenile series Answer Me This, World Book.
Follow the Harris Tweed Authority on Facebook or Twitter for some peeks at gorgeous tweed cloth, stunning vistas, and interesting history.
National Library Week is April 4-10. The theme for 2021 is Welcome to Your Library, celebrating that libraries welcome everyone, and that they extend far beyond the four walls of a library building. National Library Workers Day is April 6th. We hope there will be pizza!
Read a Road Map Day
Check out On the Map by Simon Garfield, a mind-expanding exploration of the way the world works. Then check out The Address Book by Dierdre Mask, a look at what street addresses reveal about identity, race, wealth, and power. Also available as an eBook from OverDrive. And finally, read How Black Cartographers Put Racism on the Map of America – an article in The Conversation about Black cartographers and others using geographic data to engage in counter-mapping – a way to communicate complex information about inequality in an easy-to-understand format.
Check out A Time of Love and Tartan, the 12th book in the “44 Scotland Street” series by Alexander McCall Smith.
National Beer Day
Check out The Greatest Beer Run Ever, a memoir by John Donohue of his 1967 quest to take beer and cheer to American troops in Vietnam. (Soon to be a Peter Farrelly movie staring <maybe> Zac Efron and Russell Crowe). Then read an article about Richmond’s “beer trail” – RVA’s Craft Beer Scene.
National No Housework Day
Check out The Gentle art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson (also available as an eBook from OverDrive) or Clean my Space: the Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster — and Loving Your Home Every Day by Melissa Maker – just two of many books RPL owns on upping your housework game, giving your more days to do no housework.
National Walking Day
Check out 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Richmond: Including Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville by Phil Riggan. Or if you prefer a more aimless approach, try Walking: One Step at a Time by Erling Kagge, an homage to just putting one foot in front of the other. Also check out the American Volkssport Association, “America’s walking club” and a non-competitive sports organization committed to fun, fitness, and friendship.
Draw a Picture of a Bird Day
Check out This Strange Wilderness by Nancy Plain, a book about the art and life of John James Audubon, one of the world’s greatest bird painters. Then enjoy It Jes’ Happened by Don Tate, a children’s biography of Bill Traylor, a self-taught African American folk artist. Take a look at his work Yellow Chicken in the MoMA – doesn’t it just make you happy?
Name Yourself Day
A day meant to think about your name, and to consider a new one if you’d like. Not sure what name you’d choose? Try Googling “random name generator” for oh so many options! Then check out I Love You, Fred, a delightful picture book by Mick Inkpen (now that’s a moniker!) about a little dog who has trouble learning his name. Or maybe The Other Wes Moore, a memoir about two boys with the same name, from the same neighborhood, and close to the same age – but with lives that could not be more different. Also available as an eBook from OverDrive. Then try Will Grayson Will Grayson, YA fiction about two very different teens with the same name. Also available as an eBook from OverDrive.
National Siblings Day
Check out The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt – a sort-of noir gothic Western action quest novel that defies description, but is very good, and has one of the best book covers ever. Also available as an eBook from OverDrive, and as an eBook and eAudiobook from Hoopla.
National Farm Animals Day
Check out Lambslide, a picture book by Ann Patchett about a flock of lambs who hilariously mishear a word. Also available as an eAudiobook from Hoopla. And if you really want to waste a whole lot of time, search “baby goats” on youtube. Who knew that watching baby goats jumping around (and in pajamas!) was so addicting?
National Clean up Your Pantry Day
Check out Martha Stewart’s Organizing, which is subtitled “the manual for bringing order to your life, home and routines”. Also available as an eBook from OverDrive. Or, if you prefer a quicker read, check out Martha’s advice on How to Keep Your Pantry Clean and Organized All Year Long.
Barbershop Quartet Day
Although most Barbershop quartets are not performing publicly at the moment, you can listen to music, find a local chapter, and much more at the Barbershop Harmony Society.
National Submarine Day
Check out Going Deep by Lawrence Goldstone (also available as an eBook from Hoopla) or The Deadly Deep by Iain Ballantyne (also available as an eBook and eAudiobook from Hoopla), both nonfiction books about submarine warfare. Maybe the word submarine makes you hungry for a big sandwich. Most people call them subs, but there is much regional variation on the nomenclature of sandwiches made from various meats, cheeses, and fixings on an oblong roll. Find out more in this article.
National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day
Check out Grilled Cheese, Please! by Laura Werlin – 50 (50?!?) scrumptiously cheesy recipes.
International Day of Human Space Flight
In 2011, the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/65/271 declared April 12th as a day to “celebrate each year … the beginning of the space era for mankind … and … to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes”. Then check out two books by astronaut Scott Kelly: My Journey to the Stars for grown ups, and Goodnight, Astronaut, a picture book for children.
Polio Vaccine Anniversary
Take a look at UM’s School of Public Health polio vaccine page to read the 1955 press release declaring the polio vaccine “safe, effective, and potent” – and more polio vaccine history. Then check out Between Hope and Fear, A history of vaccines and human immunity by Michael Kinch. (also available as an eBook from Hoopla)
Make Lunch Count Day
Whether you skip lunch, brown bag it, get takeout, or eat at home, you should check out the DVD The Song of Lunch, starring Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. (Also available as a streaming video from Hoopla).
National Scrabble Day
If you want to up your board game skills, check out Board Games in 100 Moves by Ian Livingstone. Or maybe Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis, a book about the heartbreaks, triumph, genius, and obsession in the world of competitive scrabble. (Also available as an eBook from Hoopla).
Be Kind to Lawyers Day
Did you know that the Richmond Public Library has a public Law Library? The Law Library’s hours follow those of Curbside Pickup. You can contact them M-F 10-4:45 at 804-646-6500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Law Library cannot do anything that would be considered “practicing law” (giving legal advice), which is prohibited, but can help you with legal research.
International Moment of Laughter Day. Laugh at work week is April 1-7, and the whole month is National Humor Month. Because laughter IS the best medicine.
Check out a pair of booklists: Funny How it All Began – first titles in funny series, and Families Sure are Funny – humorous memoirs of unconventional upbringings.
Look up at the Sky Day. Sky Awareness Week is April 18-24, and the whole month is Global Astronomy Month
Check out The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque, about the enduring story of astronomy’s vanishing explorers. (also available as an eBook and eAudiobook from Hoopla). Or maybe The Stargazer’s Sister by Carrie Brown, fiction about brother-sister astronomers. Then take a look at the website Astronomers Without Borders, because “boundaries vanish when we look skyward”.
National Pecan Day and National Pecan Month
Check out The Pecan Man – a short, bittersweet little southern novel by Cassie Dandridge Selleck set in Florida in the 1970s. (Also available as an eAudiobook from Hoopla).
National Laundry Day
I’m pretty sure that every day is laundry day at my house. Check out Adulting – light-hearted essays from blogger Kelly Williams Brown on how to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps. While you fold laundry, you might want to watch the Criterion Collection movie My Beautiful Laundrette – an unconventional love story about two friends who decide to open an upscale laundromat in London. (Also available as a streaming video from Hoopla).
World Art Day
Take a look at Google’s Arts & Culture – an online platform of high-resolution images and videos of artworks and cultural artifacts from partner cultural organizations throughout the world.
National Stress Awareness Day and the entire month is Stress Awareness Month
Take a look at the booklist What Doesn’t Kill You – books to help you find ways to reduce stress, live better with the stress you can’t eliminate, and how to tell the difference.
National Cheeseball Day
Check out That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life by Marissa Mullen – cheese by the numbers! Or maybe Processed Cheese by Stephen Wright – a fiction book that starts with a bag of cash falling out of the sky, and goes downhill from there.
Bat Appreciation Day
Check out a pair of children’s picture books about bats: Stellaluna by Janell Cannon, a classic (and beautiful) book about a bat raised as a bird; and Benny’s True Colors by Norene Paulson – about a bat who is convinced he is a butterfly.
National Haiku Poetry Day
Check out The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault – a short novel about a postman (and his goldfish) and a kinda sorta love triangle – and haiku. Then try a pair of children’s haiku books: Siberian Haiku by Jurga Vile, and Horse’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen. Maybe you want to write your own Haiku. Should be easy with the 5-7-5 syllable format, right? Hmmm, maybe not. Maybe you should try one of the many (many!) online Haiku generators like the one from Poem of Quotes.
Historic Garden Week, April 17-24
The Garden Club of Virginia has one week to showcase amazing gardens throughout the Commonwealth during Historic Garden Week. April is also National Garden Month. Richmond Public Library has partnered with the Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener program to bring you The Master Gardener Virtual Help Desk. You can search the answer database, browse answers by topic, or submit your own vexing garden problem and get expert answers from certified Master Gardeners. The library also has gardening books for every gardener and every size and type of garden. Search the library’s online catalog or contact your nearest branch for assistance.
National Park Week is April 17-24. Take a look at the NPS home page to explore the vast array of parks in the U.S, or limit your search to just the national parks in Virginia.
Chinese Language Day
Put your RPL library card to work with access to not one but two language databases. Rocket Languages is available courtesy of the Library of Virginia. And Transparent Language Online is one of RPL’s “premium” databases. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
National Look-alike Day
Check out The Look-Alike – a thrilling psychological mystery by Erica Spindler.
Administration Professionals Day
Everyone knows that “the admin” in any office setting is the person who keeps the organization running smoothly. See the International Association of Administrative Professionals for more information.
First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is now a world-wide movement. You can find more information on the official Earth Day website. Then check out a pair of children’s books: My Friend Earth – a picture book by Patricia MacLaclan, and Every Day is Earth Day – an “easy reader” by Jordan Brown.
National Picnic Day
Check out Picnic in the Ruins – a mystery by Todd Robert Petersen set in a remote national monument site. Or maybe Picnic at Hanging Rock – a 50th anniversary edition of the haunting novel by Lady Joan Weigall Lindsay.
National English Muffin Day
The delectable “toaster crumpets” are not English, but American. The English Muffin is Not English at All is an informative little article by Anna Goldfarb of The Kitchn. A recipe is included, even though the original recipe is under lock and key.
World Immunization Week is April 24-30
A World Health Organization campaign celebration the last week in April which “aims to highlight the collective action needed and to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease”.
National DNA Day
Check out The Milkman’s Son: a Memoir of Family History, a DNA Mystery, and Paternal Love by Randy Lindsay or The DNA of You and Me – a novel by Andrea Rothman.
National Telephone Day
Check out Telephone – a novel by Percival Everett about a hapless father who sets off on a quixotic rescue mission, or The Operator by Gretchen Berg – a novel about smalltown America in the 1950s when switchboard operators connected telephone calls for everyone.
National Pretzel Day
Take a look at a pair of articles about pretzels: The Pretzel: a Twisted History from the The History Channel and We’ve Been Eating Pretzels All Wrong by Christie Deitz from The Spruce Eats (includes recipes!)
National Superhero Day
Check out True Believer by Abraham Riesman – a biography of Stan Lee, the creator of much of the Marvel Comics universe. The library has books (and eBooks, DVDs, and more) for every superhero interest and age level. Search the library catalog or call the nearest RPL branch for assistance.
National Zipper Day
Check out Zipper by Robert Friedel – an exploration in novelty. This is an older book, so it’s a good subject opportunity for aspiring writers! Or read the article The History of the Zipper by Mary Bellis in ThoughtCo, a website of “expert-created education content”.
International Jazz Day and Jazz Appreciation Month
Check out a trio of Jazz Age non-fiction books: Smoketown by Mark Whitaker – the untold story of a Black Renaissance in Pittsburgh; The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott – about a bootleg king, the women who pursued him, and a shocking murder; and King Con by Paul Willetts – the bizarre adventures of the greatest imposter of the Jazz Age. While you’re reading these books, set the mood with some jazz music from Hoopla – your library card is your ticket to thousands of digital musical soundtracks. Don’t have a library card? Find out how to get one here.
National Honesty Day
Check out Cheaters Always Win by J. M. Fenster – a social history of the American way of cheating and dishonesty, and Half-truths and Brazen Lies by Kira Vermond – an honest look at lying for children.
National Hairstylist Appreciation Day
Some of us have not had our hair professionally cut for over a year – and it shows. When it is safe to go back to your stylist, tip well! In the meantime, check out How to Cut Your Own Hair (or Anyone Else’s!) by Marsha Heckman/