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Friday, March 8, 2013

Finding Spring in National Geographic

If you're impatient for springtime, why not use your online access to National Geographic to find beautiful images and wonderful writing about spring. There is a surprising amount of material about spring from around the world in National Geographic. Over 100 years worth, in fact. And it's all easy to search for and find with your library card.

Blooming Trees

National Geographic, October 01, 1957, Vol.CXII, Issue Four, p.535.

Spring means budding and blooming trees. These illustrations of the eastern redbud pop with vibrant color. According the article they accompany, the redbud was one of the “first trees botanically ‘discovered’ in the new world.” The tree's wood is too soft to be useful. But people have cultivated it for ornamental reasons for over 400 years. In some places, though, people eat the leaves in salads, fried as fritters, or even for medicinal purposes.

Spring in Paris

National Geographic, October 01, 1936, Vol.LXX, Issue Four, p.501.

The best National Geographic articles capture a sense of place for the reader. They try to convey what it might be like to climb this mountain or cross that tundra.. These images of zoos, cafes, and street vendors in Paris certainly do that. The author opens by saying “Spring flows across Paris in waves of joy.” Even though this article was published in 1936, those “waves of joy” still emanate from these pictures.

Spring for Some, but Not All

National Geographic,February 01, 1983, Vol.163, Issue 2, p.206.

Spring can come in fits and starts--we're no strangers to that in the Midwest. But in some parts of the world, the division between seasons is event more fluid, even dangerous. In this article from 1983, the author explores the lives of people who live in what he calls “the Soviet artic.” For these people, the birth of reindeer is a notable springtime event, “like the gathering of a new harvest.” The author is quick to point out though that “despite the thawing of the frosts and the sun's unexpected blizzard may blow up, and defenseless reindeer calves can die.”

These articles give a sense of the breadth of material you can access in our National Geographic subscription, even when you focus on a particular topic like spring. So, I invite you to try it out and start exploring the world, one page at a time!

Can I access these resources from home?

Yes, you can!

With a valid Des Plaines Public Library, any of the links above should take you right to the online resource.

Don't have a library card? Stop by sometime and get one. Any Des Plaines resident can apply.

Want to read more?

“Eastern Redbud Heralds Spring with a Blush.” National Geographic 1 Oct. 1957: 535+. National Geographic Virtual Library. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.

 “Paris in Spring”  by Maynard Owen Williams. National Geographic 1 Oct. 1936: 501+. National Geographic Virtual Library.

“People of the Long Spring” by Dean Conger Dean and Yuri Rytkheu. National Geographic 1 Feb. 1983: 206+. National Geographic Virtual Library.

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