Maine’s future prosperity depends on advancing innovative solutions to address community challenges, connecting people to opportunities, and strengthening our social fabric through broader civic engagement. This is the daily work of the nonprofit sector, aptly exemplified by Portland Public Library.
Step inside on any given day to find the Library connecting people to economic opportunities, nurturing innovative ideas, inspiring creativity, and fostering a joy of reading. This is all made possible by champions of a civil society in which free access and open exchange of ideas is valued and advocated. Our libraries are the repositories of the stuff that fuels our minds and souls, and I am continually impressed by the proactive ways my library colleagues share this deep well of knowledge and information with the community.
A true community center, Portland Public Library serves an impressive diversity of people. I am inspired by and grateful for this space where neighbors actually see and talk to one another face to face, given our evolving society that increasingly relies on virtual spaces for communication and dialogue.
The Maine Association of Nonprofits’ mission is to improve the quality of community and personal life in Maine by strengthening the leadership, voice, and organizational effectiveness of our state’s nonprofits. As a MANP member, the Library is part of a network of more than 800 nonprofits throughout Maine that are united around a common purpose: to advance the common good.
One of the larger nonprofits in Maine, the Library is part of a significant economic engine. In 2014, the state’s nonprofit sector employed 1 in 6 workers and contributed $11 billion to the economy. Portland Public Library is just one example of Maine’s approximately 3,000 public charities, sustaining dozens of jobs, while providing services and programs that make our community a better place to live and work.
Nonprofits are critical partners with government and business. Every day, they are hard at work, often with the help of hundreds of volunteers, weaving strong social fabric, cultivating civil society, and stimulating a healthy economy. Working hand in hand, we all can play a part in maintaining and improving the quality of life of our state.
Goblin lives in a subterranean dungeon with the rats and bats. He lights the torches, feeds the rats and has a mundane existence. Other than the rats and bats his only companion is Skeleton – and they are the best of friends. But one day the adventurers descend upon the dungeon and Goblin hides under his bed. When the marauders are gone he comes out of his hiding place to find that they took everything – including Skeleton. Without hesitation Goblin ventures out into the world to find his friend. He tells his neighbor, Troll, that he is off to find Skeleton. And the Troll says “be careful, nobody likes a goblin.” It is soon clear how right Troll was – his first encounter with a farmer leads to a chase by all and sundry. During the chase Goblin finds Skeleton – and runs for his life with his friend. Hiding in a cave he is fortunate to meet a slew of goblins who believe they have found the Goblin King (Goblin is wearing the crown borrowed from Skeleton.) There is a happy ending – and Goblin even returns Troll’s goose. Goblin is a terrific friend. He is kind and thoughtful. He is loyal and lovable. The subtle point that Goblin isn’t liked because he looks different should lead to good discussion. The illustrations are charming and convey the story-line perfectly. Bound to be popular with the preschool set.
This is a love poem to Ezra Jack Keats – the man who gave us Peter and his snowy day. The book opens with Peter (Brown-sugar boy in a blanket of white./Bright as the day you came onto the page./From the hand of a man who saw you for you.) – and moves right into the story of Jacob (Jack) Ezra Katz.
In free verse his life sweeps onto the page. His Polish immigrant parents work hard to support their family – but the hardship of establishing a life in a new land leaves the family poor and struggling. Ezra’s artistic talent is clear from an early age – his father sees a career as a sign painter, his mother sees the fine artist she dreamed of being herself. He is encouraged by parents, teachers, friends, and librarians to improve his “knack.” Ezra has to pass on college scholarships and work for the WPA when his father dies the day before his high school graduation. His talent is used in the Air Force during World War II. After the war he sees discrimination up close and “rearranged his name” to counter the ads saying “No Jews Need Apply”. He became Ezra Jack Keats. Keats cut some photos of a little black boy from a life magazine and hung them near his desk for years. When asked to write and illustrate his own book he was inspired by this little boy staring out at him.
This is an homage to Ezra Jack Keats and The Snowy Day (and Peter) that is lyrical, thoughtful and loving. The illustrations complement the poem – and the art work of Ezra Jack Keats. Through mixed media collage Fancher and Johnson have captured the essence of Keats’ style perfectly.
This is the perfect book to highlight during Poetry Month! Pick up a copy today