OpenDyslexic Font Option for Library eBooks

For many of us, reading is a pleasurable and relaxing way to spend time. For people who struggle with dyslexia, it can be a source of frustration and stress, and the opposite of relaxing.

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability, and how it manifests itself can vary greatly from person to person. At its core, though, is a difficulty with reading words, and with identifying how speech sounds relate to letters and words. Many people with dyslexia have trouble “decoding” certain letters or numbers that they see, they don’t always interpret them correctly. For these people, different font types can make a difference in how they see the letters and words they are trying to read.

In 2008, Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer,  who struggled with dyslexia, started working on a font that would help him read more easily. The Dyslexie  font used heavier line thickness to emphasize the bottom of most characters. This was to try to “anchor” the letters since some people with dyslexia may have trouble getting letters on the page to stay still.  In 2011 a similar (and free)  open-source font was released, called OpenDyslexic. It has been updated continually and improved upon based on input from dyslexic users.





OverDrive began offering OpenDyslexic as a font option for its ebooks back in 2015. The wider spacing, bottom heavy and unique character shapes can help make it more difficult to confuse letters. If you or someone you know has trouble “decoding” printed words, try downloading an eBook from our OverDrive collection and using the OpenDyslexic font to read it. While it’s not a cure-all, it may make reading a little bit easier.

For more information, Cheshire Library also has many books on dyslexia,  in both print and  audiobook formats.

The Irish in Fiction: 10 New Books

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and what better way to celebrate than with some new fiction that either takes place in Ireland or has main characters who are Irish. So when you’re wearin’ the green you can also be reading the green, too.


 Murder at an Irish Wedding by Carlene O’Connor
(Available as a Book and Downloadable Audiobook)
Any wedding is a big deal in the small village of Kilbane-even more so when the bride is a famous fashion model. It’s also good for business; Siobhan O’Sullivan’s bistro will be catering the three-day affair. When the drunken best man is dis-invited, Siobhan’s own beau, Macdara, gladly steps in. But finding the original best man murdered in the woods casts a pall over the nuptials. And when a second member of the wedding party is poisoned, Macdara goes from being best man to prime suspect.


 Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by Ruth Gilligan
At the start of the twentieth century, a young girl and her family emigrate from Lithuania in search of a better life and end up in Ireland.
In 1958, a mute Jewish boy locked away in a mental institution outside of Dublin forms an unlikely friendship with a man consumed by the story of the love he lost  two decades earlier. And in present-day London, an Irish journalist is forced to confront her conflicting notions of identity and family when her Jewish boyfriend asks her to make a true leap of faith. These three arcs, which span generations and intertwine in unusual ways, come together to tell the haunting story of Ireland’s all-but-forgotten Jewish community.


 Days without End : a Novel by by Sebastian Barry (Available as an Audiobook on CD, Book, E-Book and Downloadable Audiobook)
Entering the U.S. army after fleeing the Great Famine in Ireland, seventeen-year-old Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, experience the harrowing realities of the Indian wars and the American Civil War between the Wyoming plains and Tennessee.


 The Stolen Child : a Novel by Lisa Carey
St. Brigid’s Island is a place that people move away from, not to–until an outspoken American, also named Brigid, arrives to claim her late uncle’s cottage. Brigid has come for more than an inheritance. She’s seeking a secret holy well that’s rumored to grant miracles. Emer, an inhabitant of the island, has good reason to believe in inexplicable powers. Yet Brigid has a gift too, even more remarkable than Emer’s. As months pass and Brigid carves out a place on the island, a complicated web of betrayal, fear, and desire culminates in one shocking night that will change the island, and its inhabitants, forever.

 The Last Night at Tremore Beach by Mikel Santiago
Recently divorced and in the middle of a creative crisis, Peter Harper decides to take shelter on Ireland s scenic and isolated Tremore Beach. But after he is struck by lightning after one stormy night, he begins experiencing terrible headaches and strange dreams. As the line between his dreams and reality begins to blur, Peter realizes that his bizarre dreams may be a warning of horror still to come.

 Through Your Eyes by Shannyn Schroeder
Deirdre Murphy has had her life planned for her since she was born: Work in her parents’ noisy pub in rural Ireland. Live with her family until she marries. Marry her childhood sweetheart ASAP, since he’s decided sexy fun time should wait for marriage. None of it excites her. But before her fate closes in, Deirdre’s got one last visit to her Chicago cousins–where she can spend her mornings in a peaceful bakery, keep to herself, and savor the space she needs… Until she meets Tommy O’Malley.

 Saints for all Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
(Available as an Audiobook on CD, Book, E-Book, Downloadable Audiobook, Large Print Book)
Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she’s shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn’t sure that she loves. Theresa is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan–a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children and Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. A sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago.

 Beyond Absolution : a Mystery set in 1920s Ireland by Cora Harrison
Reverend Mother Aquinas must discover who murdered a much-loved priest in the third of this compelling new Irish historical mystery series. Pierced through to the brain, the dead body of the priest was found wedged into the small, dark confessional cubicle. Loved by all, Father Dominic had lent a listening ear to sinners of all kinds: gunmen and policemen; prostitutes and nuns; prosperous businessmen and petty swindlers; tradesmen and thieves. But who knelt behind the metal grid and inserted a deadly weapon into that listening ear?

 The Irish Inheritance : a Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery by M J Lee (Downloadable audiobook)
July 8, 1921. Ireland. A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublinches. November 22, 2015. United Kingdom. Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father. How are the two events linked? Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery: a killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past.

 Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict
Clara Kelley is not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills she doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as steel coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer.

Little Starlings

I am a deep introvert. I’m perfectly fine talking only to the cat or TV. Hence, when my son was born, I figured if I didn’t start talking to him, he’d never learn to talk (my first mistake), and thus began thirty years of talking to myself and narrating what I’m doing.

Research published in the book Meaningful Differences, by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley, showed a direct link between the number of words a child heard at home by the age of three, and their academic performance in Grade 3 (the age of 8). Children in poor/welfare homes heard, on average, 600 words an hour. Children of working-class homes heard 1200, and children of professional parents heard 2100. That racked up to children of professional parents hearing 30 million more words by the age of three than a poor child. So?

Exposure becomes verbal fluency. Verbal fluency is required for reading proficiency, and reading proficiency is required for academic proficiency.  The child who has minimal language is going to lag far behind on reading and academics.

How many words is your child really hearing?

Based on these studies, along comes VersaMe’s Starling, a handy-dandy little device that tracks just how many words your baby hears during the day.  It’s just a little clip-on star that records the number of words a baby hears, not the actual words (no one will hunt you down because of what you said when that [jerk] cut you off ). It’s convenient, easily rechargeable, and holds a charge for up to three days, so you don’t have to worry about plugging it in every night. It uses Bluetooth technology to report in real time to your smartphone, so you can track as you go. The clip is rather strong – the first day, it took my 14 month old 4 hours to wrestle it free, and by the next day, she wasn’t paying it any attention. It is fully waterproof, drool proof, and not particularly chewable, which was nice.

The first day we broke 10,000 words, the second day 11,000, and the third day for some reason, even though we went to a party with lots of people talking to her, it didn’t record, which was disappointing. Our best was 16,000.

Per day, 11,000 words seems like a lot, but when you figure the child is only awake 12-14 hours, and take out an average of three hours for naps, we didn’t even hit Middle-Class. Yet, I have a toddler who is off the charts in vocabulary and language skills.  Even the authors of the original study admit that quantity is nothing in the face of quality. Ten minutes spent reading a book with your child will go farther than three hours of TV.  And no, Starling can’t differentiate between people and TV.

Should you try Starling?

If you are a new parent with questions, if you’re the parent of a developmentally delayed child, if you’re just curious about yourself, then by all means give the Starling a try. It’s easy, it’s fun, and interesting to see the results. But remember, worrying about arbitrary marks isn’t good. Children, toddlers, babies all need critical down time to process all that information they’re learning.  Imagine someone following you around talking to you every waking second. You’d lock yourself in the bathroom for just 5 minutes of quiet. Your baby is no different. Language is important, but so is quiet alone time.

Starling is fun. It’s informative. Use it as an investigative tool, maybe increase some quality time or have an extra imaginary conversation on a play phone. If you want to try out a Starling, you can borrow one from the library.

For a helpful look on the making of brilliance and achievement, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. For a fascinating look on the importance of auditory language, check out I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey Through the science of Sound and Language (it’s not as sciency as it sounds), by Lydia Denworth. It’s awesome!

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in March

In like a lion, out like a lamb, & all that. March in New England certainly keeps the weather unpredictable, but you can count on great things happening at CPL, no matter the weather.  Our calendar is packed with terrific programs this month, here’s a sampling:

Kitchen Céilí

Sunday Mar 4, 2018, 2:00 PM

This Irish/New England band serves up healthy portions of spirited tunes and songs in an atmosphere of unpretentious good humor. Their repertoire includes driving reels and lilting jigs as well as stately waltzes, slow airs, and old and new songs. No registration required.

Spring and Summer Gardening Tips

Monday Mar 5, 2018, 6:00  –  7:30 PM

Spring and summer is a great time to be working in the garden for beauty and foods, but you might encounter a number of puzzling issues. This presentation will answer and discuss some common questions about general care, pruning, water management, fertilizing, and disease control in lawns, flower gardens, small fruits, and vegetable gardens.  Registration is required.

Introduction to Gmail

Thursday Mar 8, 2018, 6:30  –  8:00 PM

We will learn how to compose an e-mail, send an e-mail, create folders, organizing e-mails, and working with attachments. Prerequisite familiarity with computers and internet. Space is limited and registration is required.

Library After Hours: KC Sisters Family Concert

Friday Mar 9, 2018, 5:00 PM  –  7:30 PM

Join us for a family concert featuring the KC Sisters, a family band featuring 5 sisters with dad on piano! Music will include multi-harmonized songs, country fiddling, originals and a wide variety of standards from jazz to country to pop to oldies. There will be some simple crafts in the Children’s Room and pizza and drinks will be available for sale from the Friends of the Library.  There is no admission fee, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per family to help offset costs.  Registration is requested. (Please note that the Lower Level of the Library will not be open to the public. )

Drop-in Tech Help

  • Saturday Mar 10, 1:00  –  3:00 PM
  • Tuesday Mar 13, 1:00  –  3:00 PM
  • Tuesday Mar 20, 1:00  –  3:00 PM
  • Saturday Mar 31, 1:00  –  3:00 PM

Do you have questions about your computer, smartphone, or iPad? Do you need help navigating Facebook or downloading an ebook? Let us help! Our weekly drop-in sessions are available on a first come first served basis, and may be limited to 15 minutes per person. In the event your question or issue is more involved, we may ask you to schedule an appointment to come back for one-on-one help. Please be sure to bring your device, and make sure it is fully charged. No registration required.

Pysanky Egg Decorating (ages 8 – adult)

Saturday Mar 10, 2018:

  • Session 1: 11:00 AM  –  1:00 PM
  • Session 2: 1:30 PM  –  3:30 PM

Bring your friends & family and learn the art of Pysanky Egg decorating from the egg lady Sharon Leonard. This form of Ukrainian egg decorating uses special wax and color to make beautiful eggs.  Each participant will be able to go home with one decorated egg.  Registration is required for each participant, children must be over the age of 8 and please sign up for only one session. Please tie back hair and refrain from loose fitting clothing, as open flames are used during this process.

Author talk : Kate Moore, author of Radium Girls

Thursday Mar 15, 2018, 6:30 PM

Please join us as we welcome KATE MOORE, the author of Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, who is coming from England to do a U.S. promotional tour of the paperback version of her non-fiction bestseller. Moore is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. We are thrilled to have her at Cheshire Library to talk about the incredible true story of the young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium and their brave struggle for justice. Bookclubs are encouraged to attend. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing, registration is required.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Friday Mar 16, 2018, 10:00  –  11:00 AM

Learn about the origins of St. Patrick’s Day with volunteers from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. We’ll read folktales from Irish culture, make crafts, and even explore science! Registration required starting February 15 for Cheshire residents and March 1 for nonresidents.

Your Chemical Free Home

Wednesday Mar 21, 2018, 6:30  –  8:00 PM

Discover how the chemicals lurking in your home directly relate to your body and health. Not all green cleaners are 100% natural.   Presenter Marie Bristol will explain how to tell what is really in your cleaners, and share options for better, healthier ways to clean. Registration is required.

Conn-Men A Cappella

Sunday Mar 25, 2018, 2:00 PM

The Conn-Men are UCONN’s premier all-male a cappella group.  Join us for an exuberant concert, no registration required!

#TimesUp: Unpacking the #MeToo Movement

Tuesday Mar 27, 2018, 6:30 PM

Join staff from Hartford’s Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in discussing sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement, developing a more complete understanding of these important issues, and placing them in their cultural and historical context. This dialogue-based program gives everyone the chance to “share the air” as part of a thoughtful conversation that creates opportunities for learning, understanding, and empathy. Bring your thoughts. Registration is required.

March Madness Math (Grades 3-6)

Thursday Mar 29, 2018, 4:00  –  4:50 PM

As the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball teams dribble and shoot their way to the championships, we’ll learn about sports math with hands-on experiments. We’ll look at player statistics, explore the geometry behind throwing the ball, calculate our own shooting percentages, and decide if it’s better to shoot two-pointers or three-pointers. For kids in grades 3-6. Registration required starting February 15 for Cheshire residents and March 1 for nonresidents.

18 Books Hitting the Big Screen in 2018

Film adaptations of books have hit the ground running in 2018, with bestsellers Horse Soldiers, The Death Cure, and Fifty Shades Freed released in theaters already, and we’re barely into the year. Here’s some of what’s in store for the rest of 2018 (release dates may be subject to change), if you want to read them before you see them:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Every Day by David Levithan (release date Feb. 23). A 16-year-old girl falls in love with a spirit named “A”, a traveling soul who wakes each morning in a different body.
  2. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (release date Feb. 23).  A group of female scientists undertakes an expedition to “Area X”, a portion of land in the United States that has been secretly quarantined due to abnormal activity.
  3. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (release date Mar. 2).  Ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is recruited to ‘Sparrow School’ a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon.
  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (release date Mar. 9). After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend across the barriers of space and time to find him. The all-star cast includes Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Chris Pine.
  5. The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian (release date Mar. 9). An elderly couple suffering from cancer and Alzheimer’s decide to sneak away from their doctors for one last hurrah and escape on a cross-country trip.
  6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli (release date Mar. 16).  Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family or friends that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online.
  7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (release date Mar. 30). The buzz about this film adaptation began almost before the book was even published.  Directed by Steven Spielberg, this dystopian thriller takes place in a future where more and more people are escaping into a virtual reality world that’s more bearable than the real one. Expect a kind of Matrix-y vibe with a bunch of 80’s pop culture references.
  8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows (release date Apr. 19).  A writer doing research learns about a unique book club that the residents of Guernsey formed as a front during German occupation in WWII.
  9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (release date May 11). after her eccentric, agoraphobic mother disappears, 15-year-old Bee does everything she can to track her down, discovering her troubled past in the process. Starring Cate Blanchett in the title role.
  10. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (release date Aug. 17).  American-born Chinese economics professor Rachel Chu  accompanies her boyfriend to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding only to get thrust into the lives of Asia’s rich and famous.
  11. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (release date Aug. 31). After being summoned to treat a patient at dilapidated Hundreds Hall, Dr. Faraday finds himself becoming entangled in the lives of the owners, and the supernatural presences in the house in this horror-thriller.
  12. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (release date Sep. 14). In this sci-fi thriller, sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run “rehabilitation camp” for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children.
  13. The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs (release date Sep. 21). A young orphan aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world. Starring Cate Blanchett (again), Jack Black, and Kyle MacLachlan.
  14. Boy Erased by Garrard Conley (release date Sep. 28).  In the film adaptation of thie memoir, the son of a baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program. Starring Lucas Hedges in the title role, with Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as his parents.
  15. First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen (release date Oct. 12). Ryan Gosling stars in the title role in this true story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961–1969.
  16. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (release date Oct. 19). Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.
  17. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (release date Oct. 19). Young and adventurous Mowgli meets Bagheera (Christian Bale), Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), and other animals while growing up in the jungle.
  18. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (release date Dec. 14). Millennia after much of the world was destroyed in a cataclysmic event,  cities survive a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.