Cultural and Literary Events for April 2014

Official poster of National Poetry Month
Write a letter, write a poem, write a card; you can do it all in April and much more. Check with your library, college, government agencies, or community groups for activities in your area.

Not all cultural and literary events are declared official by government agencies. Some are by passionate nonprofit groups whose members want to have fun with their topics or get the word out about their important work.

Listings are USA unless indicated.

National Poetry Month Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Contact your local organizations for readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

School Library Month Founded by American Association of School Librarians in 1985. Jeff Kinney, New York Times bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, is 2014 national spokesperson.

Deaf History Month (March 13-April 15)
Kite Month (March 29-May 3)

African-American Women's Fitness Month
Alcohol Awareness Month
Autism Awareness Month
Bereaved Spouses Awareness Month International
Cancer Control Month
Car Care Month
Card and Letter Writing Month
Child Abuse Prevention Month
Confederate History Month
Couple Appreciation Month
Customer Loyalty Month International
Decorating Month
Defeat Diabetes Month
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Donate Life Month
Emotional Overeating Awareness Month
Fresh Florida Tomato Month
Grange Month
Holy Humor Month
Humor Month
Informed Woman Month
Jazz Appreciation Month
Knuckles Down Month
Landscape Architecture Month
Library Week, April 13-19 
Month of the Young Child
Occupational Therapy Month
Pecan Month
Pest Management Month
Pet First Aid Awareness Month
Pharmacists' War on Diabetes Month
Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month
Rebuilding Month
Rosacea Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month 
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Education and Awareness Month
Soyfoods Month
Straw Hat Month
Stress Awareness Month
Twit Award Month
Women's Eye Health and Safety Month
Workplace Conflict Awareness Month
World Habitat Awareness Month
Youth Sports Safety Month

Tell us what you are doing to observe and write about these or other special events in April. What memories do you have of these evens?

Poster image courtesy

Some listings courtesy Chase's Calendar of Events.

A Boy and His Grandfather Travel through Time

Kai and Carl with their animal friends.
Secrets, magic, and a kingdom at peril—a description of some current television shows, yes. It is also how photographer and genealogy enthusiast Carl James is introducing his four-year old grandson Kai to their family history in an exciting new way, even though they live 1,000 miles apart. Carl lives in Springfield, Missouri and Kai in Richmond, Virginia.

“We only see each other in person once or twice a year, but we Skype quite a bit,” Carl says. “His mother and I brainstormed on how we could stay in contact more often. We came up with the idea for a genealogy book in which Kai and I would time travel to learn about our ancestors.”

After a visit to Springfield by Kai and his family, Carl sent them home with an empty three-ring binder, to which he adds installments combining photos, clip art, and text.

The story
“My family had some history with James VI, who was king of Scotland in the 1500s. The story I’m doing for Kai has him as a knight—Sir Kai, Lord of Wales—and me as Opa Carl, Grand Wizard of Nottingham. Opa is German for grandpa. German is one of three languages Kai is growing up with; the others are Spanish and English."

Sir Kai rides a horse named Flame and Opa Carl has an owl named Hootie on his shoulder. King James the VI, whom the story identifies as Kai’s uncle, tells Opa Carl the kingdom is in danger from people who want to overthrow the king. "Included are members of the Clan Ruthven who are related to us and living in the castle," Opa tells Kai. "The king wants you to investigate the clan to find who he can trust."

Opa Carl and Sir Kai can travel anywhere, past or future. "No one can ever know we are from the future,” Opa Carl cautions. Carl can send Hootie as a scout. Hootie is a shape shifter, an American Indian term for an animal that can change into other creatures. Hootie becomes Mimi the mouse, Ring the raccoon, or Scooby Doo the dog.

A world-wide adventure
Besides the fun of the story—Carl says he is having more fun than Kai—Carl makes the genealogy book interactive for Kai by hiding Mimi and other animals on pages for Kai to find. He also drops in photos of Scotland he took as background for the characters. As the ancestry story develops, Carl will add maps and photos of Japan, England, and Ireland.

How long will it take to finish the project? “Kai likely will be grown,” Carl says.

Carl is a registered architect. He started drafting when he was nineteen. After two years of college, he became an architect’s apprentice for twelve years before passing the Missouri registration examination. He worked for eighteen years for Warren & Goodin Architects and Engineers in Springfield and designed hotels for John Q. Hammons. Parkinson’s disease forced him to retire in 2007 at age fifty-nine.

His book, Aux Arcs, Black & White Photography of the Ozarks Region, combines his love of photography with his poetry. Other of his photographs, poems, and essays are on his website, Liteworx Productions.

What fun new way have you found to tell your family history? Or, tell about such a project by someone you know.

Image: From a page in the James genealogy book. Courtesy Carl James.