What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in December

We’re working our way back to in-person programming this month, with a variety of programs meeting in-person, on-line, or a hybrid of both. Here’s what we’ve got planned for December:

December Teen Volunteering Challenges

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All month long

Earn community service hours by submitting a photo, video, or other content that may be added to CPL’s social media pages! Each submission will be awarded 2 community service hours. December’s challenges include:

  • Art: It’s the month of Decembird! You can draw, paint, or sculpt, but make it for the birds- 12 birds of Christmas, backyard winter birds, or whatever kind of bird you like!
  • Writing: We challenge you to write a tiny holiday story! Any holiday. Any story. Fact or fiction or something in between. But it must be 200 words or less.
  • Food: December 8th is National Brownie Day- select your favorite brownie recipe, and bake a batch of brownies. Share them with someone special!
  • Reading: Read a book about a holiday you don’t celebrate at home.
  • More Reading: Read a book while wrapped in a favorite blanket. Add a cup of hot cocoa if you’d like.
  • Even More Reading: Think ahead: What’s something you want to learn more about in the New Year? Read a book on that topic to get a jump start!
  • Extra Credit: Change your life forever by learning a new language- check out Mango Languages on our website, and send us a screenshot of what you are working on… ganbatte!!

If you participate in the challenges, earn community service credit by submitting your creations so we can share them on our social media pages.

Book Buzz Teen Book Club: Two Can Keep a Secret

All month long

This month we are going to read Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. Books will be provided and are yours to keep! To pick up your Book Buzz book, starting on November 1st, you must register for this event. Then you can come into the library and pick up your book at the Children’s Desk. Join us online here (our Google Classroom page) to share and hear our different points of view about the book! This book discussion group will be available all month -and beyond- and you can interact with us and post your thoughts any time that’s convenient for you.

Cheshire Art League: The Art of Colonial America

Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 6:30 – 8:00pm

The Cheshire Art League is hosting lecturer Bob Potter, who will discuss the The Art of Colonial America, and featuring the works of artists such as Charles Wilson Peale, Benjamin West, Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley, and more. This is a hybrid program, register to attend either in-person or online.

Minecraft Mania

Thursdays, December 2, 9, and 16, 2021, 3:30-5:00pm

Join Minecraft Mania for an afternoon of challenges, building, and creativity! Learn physics, statistics, and engineering concepts through hands-on activities! You will be given access to a free Minecraft account. Best for kids and teens in grades 5-12. This is a hybrid program, register to attend either in-person or online.

Theremin and Piano

Friday, December 3, 2021, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us as we explore the music and the history of the Theremin, one of the world’s strangest insturments. The library’s own Jared Goldman and pianist Perla Palomo will perform a mix of modern hits and classics. This concert will feature music as well as a look at how the instrument works and it’s uses throughout the century. This is an in-person event at the Cheshire Library. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed for the entire event. Registration is required.

Meditative Mondays

Mondays, December 6, 13, 20 from 2:00 – 3:00pm

Learn to master your thoughts, be in control of your mental & emotional well-being, and discover a world you never thought possible. This 7 session online class will be teaching you various meditation techniques along with topics of awareness for inner transformation. Dress comfortably and enjoy the experience! Please register in advance to receive a link to the presentation an hour before the start time.

Ball and Socket Project: Where Do We Stand?

Monday, December 6, 2021, 7:00 – 8:00pm

Please join us as Ilona Somogyi, President and Co-Founder of the Ball & Socket Arts, Inc. will update the community on construction progress and answer questions. This is an in-person event at the Cheshire Library. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed for the entire event. Registration is required.

Chinese for Families

Tuesdays, December 7, 14, 21, 28, 2021 4:00 – 5:00pm

(classes will continue in January)

We are so excited to partner with NeuLingo, a live, engaging online Chinese program to offer free Chinese language and culture classes for children! Join us to go on a virtual tour of the most charming cities in China, learn and experience the traditions and stories behind Chinese festivals, pick up a few Chinese words, and practice them with other children through meaningful social interactions! This is an online program, best for ages 5-12. Register once per family to attend all classes.

Author Talk: No Dead Air by Larry Rifkin

Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Larry Rifkin’s career in Connecticut broadcasting spans five decades and includes varied roles including television programming executive, radio personality and now podcaster. In his new book, No Dead Air: Career Reflections from the TV Executive who Kept Barney the Dinosaur from Becoming Extinct, Larry Rifkin reflects on an improbable career that spawned two groundbreaking hits, ‘Barney & Friends’ and ‘UConn Women’s Basketball’. This is an in-person event at the Cheshire Library. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed for the entire event. Registration is required.

Cat Tales Writers Group

Thursday, December 9, 2021, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us virtually for an open writing group that can help answer your questions on writing, editing, grammar, and publishing. Read a selection of your work to the group for general constructive feedback, or discuss a book you’ve read that might help someone else. Join us once, join us every month! This is an in-person event at the Cheshire Library. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed for the entire event. Registration is required.

Trivia Night 

Thursday, December 9, 2021, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Come by yourself or bring your friends. Test your knowledge from general categories, including pop culture, current events, history, music, and of course literature! It’s all For Pride, Not Prize. This is an in-person event at the Cheshire Library. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed for the entire event. Registration is required.

Food Explorers: Cookie Decorating

Wednesday, December 22, 2021, 5:00 – 6:00pm

Join Food Explorers for a holiday cookie extravaganza! Frost and decorate your own holiday cookies by coloring your frosting with fruits! This program is nut free but will contain dairy and/or eggs. For children in grades 3-8. This is an in-person event at the Cheshire Library. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed for the entire event. Registration is required.

Builder’s Guild 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 4:00 – 4:45pm

Design, build, and play with different building materials in this program for budding engineers! Today, we’ll challenge ourselves to design structures with wooden Keva Planks. For children in grades K-3. This is an in-person event at the Cheshire Library. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed for the entire event. Registration is required.

Books Over Coffee: Winter’s Tale

Wednesday, December 29, 2021, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Want to engage in great discussions about books? Meet new people? Join us for an adult monthly book club program called Books Over Coffee. We will meet in person in the library Loft! This month’s book is Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. 

Coding for Teens and Tweens 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021, 2:00 – 4:45pm

Learn HTML/CSS/JavaScript programming! For grades 6 through 12. Each person will need their own laptop (it can be one you bring from home- or you can use one of the library’s laptops) and you’ll need a personal email/password in order to open an account on the website repl.i t. Then you will learn how to create your own website! For kids and teens in grades 6-12. This is an in-person event at the Cheshire Library. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed for the entire event. Registration is required.

Teen Book Reviews: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Holes

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from a teen who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, reviewed by Ali A.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book about a Native-American boy named Arnold Spirit. Arnold was born with “water in his brain” and lives in the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. His reservation is full of drunk and violent people who often die to alcohol overdose. In fact, Arnold said he had been to 42 funerals by the age of 14. Everyone in the reservation has accepted the fact that they are poor and that there’s no hope for them, except Arnold. Arnold realizes that the only way to make it out of his sad life is to go to a predominantly white school in Rearden. However, things aren’t easy when Arnold begins his high school life in Rearden. Rearden High School is 22 miles away from Arnold’s home, so his dad can only afford to drive Arnold only once or twice a week due to gasoline prices, so Arnold has to dangerously hitchhike with strangers to get to his school. Occasionally, Arnold can’t find anyone to drive him so he has to walk the full 22 miles! And once Arnold gets to school, he has no friends and everyone mocks him. After Arnold finally starts sticking up for himself and fights Roger, the school’s football star, Arnold feels more respected at Rearden and Arnold thinks that he can put his reservation days behind him. He quickly starts making friends with the school brainiac, Gordy, and even Roger becomes friendly with him. Arnold then tries out for the basketball team and actually becomes a starter for the varsity team and their best shooter. Everything seems to be going well, until the reservation turns on him. People from the Spokane Indian Reservation label him as a traitor and his former best friend, Rowdy, starts hating him. Arnold’s grandmother and sister both die, and Arnold begins to feel depressed. Finally the reservation starts to accept Arnold after he had to endure those tragic losses. Humorous, heart-breaking and amazingly written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian reflects the life of an teen attempting to break away from the hopeless life he was destined to live.

4 Stars.

Holes by Louis Sachar, reviewed by Ali A.

Holes one of my favorite books and I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy adventure books. Holes is about a kid named Stanley Yelnats who is wrongfully accused of stealing a pair of shoes from a famous baseball player named Clyde “Sweet Feet” Livingston. Clyde Livingston’s shoes were supposed to be donated to charity, but instead Stanley found the old shoes on his way home from school. Stanley was unaware that those shoes belonged to the baseball player so he instead brought them home for an experiment his father was conducting. Once the police found out that Stanley was in possession of the shoes, they arrested him and sent him to Camp Green Lake, which is actually a dessert where the prisoners dig holes from dawn to dusk. Stanley starts making friends, and one of them is Hector “Zero” Zeroni. Stanley is finds it strange that Zero keeps trying to excessively help him dig holes, until he finds out that Zero was the one who stole Clyde Livingston’s shoes and dumped them on the sidewalk to avoid getting caught. Stanley forgives Zero and they both decide to escape the harsh conditions on Camp Green Lake. As Stanley and Zero make their journey, they make discoveries about Camp Green Lake and why the counselors force the prisoners to dig holes all day long in the desert heat. I’d rate this novel a 5/5 because of all the details Louis Sachar incorporates into Holes. This book also makes me think about all the people around the world that are wrongfully accused and jailed for things they didn’t do, except that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you enjoy Holes, I’d also recommend Small Steps, which is a book about what happens to some of the boys after they leave Camp Green Lake.

5 Stars.

November is NaNo Month!

It’s NaNoWriMo season again!

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, run by a non-profit group aiming to help young, new, and aspiring writers to find their voice and learn to hone the craft of writing. It began in 1999, with a challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Hundreds of thousands of writers participate each year. Once you sign up and log in, your progress is tracked in real-time, and you can reach goals and earn reward stickers.

Hundreds of thousands of people will try and may actually succeed in completing the challenge, but does it really get you anywhere?  Mmm, depends on how good you are. Water for Elephants began its first draft as a NaNoWriMo project. It was picked up, sold more than four million copies, and in 2011 became a major motion picture. So yeah, dreams do happen.

I must make this perfectly clear: Dreams do happen, after LOTS AND LOTS OF EDITING. Please don’t send your finished first draft to any non-family member to read. Poor editing will kill your chances before you even think of your book cover. Edit, edit, edit. If you can’t pay for a professional editor, then check out some books and learn to do it yourself.

But have no fear!  Cheshire Public Library can help you with that as well. Join us once a month for Cat Tales, an open group for writers of anything, beginner to published, playing with a rough idea or finished draft in hand. Talk about the ins and outs, the how-tos, editing, publishing, development, and more. Read us something you’d like feedback on, or maybe try a writing prompt.  Subject doesn’t matter – Memoir, non-fiction, fiction, romance, science fiction, action-thriller, young adult (Who doesn’t love Hunger Games?) – we can talk about them all. Learn how to take that NaNoWriMo novel and beat it into shape.

Cat Tales has been meeting virtually during the pandemic, but will be returning to in-person meetings this winter. Check the calendar for the next meeting!

Patriotic Read-alouds for Veteran’s Day

November 11 is Veteran’s Day, a day to celebrate our American veterans: their patriotism, their willingness to serve, and the sacrifices they’ve made. We’ve put together a list meaningful books to read with kids for Veteran’s Day and beyond!

What is Veterans Day? by Elaine Landau. An introduction to Veterans Day with an easy activity.

The Wall by Eve Bunting. A boy and his father come from far away to visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington and find the name of the boy’s grandfather, who was killed in the conflict.

Brave Like Me by Barbara Kerley. Describes the experiences of a boy and girl who struggle with worries and fears while their parents serve their country during wartime.

Nubs : The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery. The true story of a mutt named Nubs, who was befriended by a marine on duty at the Iraqi border and became so devoted to the marine that he followed him on foot to his next post more than seventy miles away.

Tucky Jo and Little Heart by Patricia Polacco. A young soldier in World War II meets a sweet young girl in the Philippines who helps him remember what he is fighting for as he helps her and others of her village, and many years later she returns his kindness.

Henry and the Cannons by Don Brown. The true story of bookseller Henry Knox’s heroic contributions during the Revolutionary War, describing how he dragged fifty-nine cannons to Boston across 225 miles filled with danger and hardship.

Gabe : The Dog Who Sniffs Out Danger by Thea Feldman. Gabe is a real dog who works with the United States military. He has an important job: he uses his sense of smell to find weapons before they hurt anyone. Read his story to find out more about Gabe and what makes him a hero dog.

Sky High : The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss. Tells the story of Maggie Gee, from her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area to becoming one of only two Chinese American Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) to serve during World War II, with powerful illustrations depicting the pilot’s bravery.

Nugget on the Flight Deck by Patricia Newman. Aboard an aircraft carrier, a lieutenant introduces a new aviator to the “lingo” and layout before taking him on a practice dogfight.

America : A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney. Filled with historical quotations and lively illustrations, this alphabet book doubles as an introduction to American history, paying tribute to American diversity, faith, and determination.

Bundle Up With a Good Book

Do you like certain types of books – stories about dogs, or maybe vacations in Italy? Perhaps you like adventure stories, or space opera, or a good forensic mystery, but don’t know what to read next.  Do you like binge-reading a good series? 

Have you noticed the case of bound books in the middle of the lobby?

Take a closer look at our Book Bundles.

Book bundles are three books of a common theme bound together, so you can binge-read on a topic you enjoy. It might be outdoors, kidnappings, or WWII stories. It could be autism, award winners, westerns, Book Club Favorites, art heists, robots, or gothic horror. There’s always something new on the shelf, so check it frequently. Intrigued by a category? Check out the bundle and explore!

But not all of the titles seem interesting to me – what if I only want to check out one or two?

You can check out one or all three, whatever you’d like. Just return the unwanted ones to the desk and we’ll find them new partners. 

Don’t see anything to your liking? Prefer existentialist graphic novels? Right now you’re only reading novels that have cats in them? Trying to catch up on real-life medical stories? Let us know! We’d be happy to take requests!

There’s nothing like finding a good book, and it’s even better when you find three new favorites at once. A whole new world of reading adventures awaits!