Notable Children’s Books of 2018

Summer Reading. Those two words can strike panic into parents and kids alike. Finding quality books for children to read can be quite a challenge – you can always ask a Children’s Librarian for suggestions, or how about a whole group of them? The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children, and they know a thing or two about Children’s Literature.

Each year a committee of the ALSC identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.

Pinterest LogoThe annual Notable List  is long, but we have simplified it somewhat by creating Pinterest Boards for the three grade-level lists: Younger Readers (preschool – grade 2), Middle Readers (grades 3 – 5), and Older Readers (grades 6 – 8). With book covers, descriptions, and links to each book in our catalog, you can browse the Boards, see which books are on the shelf or place requests for books that are out, all from the CPL Pinterest account. You may even see something else that strikes your fancy while you’re there!

 

 

 

The full 2018 Notable Book List can be found on the ALSC section of the ALA website. Past lists for each year going back to 1995 are also archived.

What other things would you like to see us feature on our Pinterest account? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Unforgettable Teen Vacation Trips

Summer can be a trying time for parents and kids alike, and teens are often the most difficult to entertain. Being seen with family is bad enough, but being dragged on vacation to another boring site-seeing trip when they could be doing anything else is totally bogus.

It doesn’t have to be that way!  Here are several attractions within a day’s drive that are sure to get a nod from even the grumpiest teen (and their school-aged siblings):

Rustic Rides Farm, Block Island: Ride horses on wooded trails or on the beach at sunset, just like in the movies. Is there anything better?

New York: There are so many things to do in New York City they can’t be listed, from Broadway to the Ninja Restaurant to a hundred movie sets (you can tour them). For something indoors, try Ripley’s Believe It or Not, with fun facts and crazy but true tales to delight children and adults alike. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum is like attending a cocktail party with the stars – and you can stand next to them for photos as long as you don’t touch. Something quieter? Try the Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image – Sesame Street, Muppets, and Henson’s larger works like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Avoid New York City like the plague? Try Howe Caverns – let out your inner Indiana Jones, explore the labyrinth of caves and take a boat ride through a dark and bat-infested cave – if you dare.

Philadelphia: Liberty Bell and the Declaration of Independence too much like school? Then check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art – see the statue of Rocky Balboa, run the steps, and explore the amazing collection of armor and swords, some dating back to the Vikings – as well as some cool art. If your kids are High-School aged, make sure to stop at the Mutter Museum of the Philadelphia College of Surgeons, one of the premiere collections of medical oddities this side of Ripleys – the Soap Lady, the Wall of Skulls, and drawers of weird things people have swallowed. Probably not best for younger kids. And you’re only an hour from the Ripley’s Museum on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, where you can match the street names to the Monopoly board and try – just try – to walk through the spinning tunnel.

Washington DC:  DC is second only to New York in attractions, but many of them are free! White House tours are free, but it can take years to get tickets. The Smithsonian holds something for everyone, but the sheer size needs days to see more than one building, and may overwhelm smaller children. While the docents are proud of their knowledge, kids only need about 15 minutes at Ford’s Theater – they came, they saw, Lincoln died. The Mall is a cool place you see on TV and in the movies, but in summer the Mall and Arlington can be brutally hot (every time I try to go there, it’s 100 degrees), and it’s still just something to stare at. The place to take your kids (12 and up) is the International Spy Museum. Not only does it have all the cool spy paraphernalia, but the one thing you can’t miss is the interactive hands-on exhibit. You (and your group) become the spies in a real-time adventure, searching for clues, deciphering radio broadcasts, interviewing suspects, and fleeing the scene to be “rescued” by helicopter from a roof top. It is over-the-top live-action fun for the entire family that they will never forget.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to make memories with your teens (anywhere from Ogunquit Beaches [3 hours] to Philly [3.5 hours] can be done as day trips if need be), so get out there and try something new!

                   

               

            

The Founding Fathers’ Families in Fiction

As Independence Day nears, we are all reminded of our nation’s founding fathers, and the way they shaped our nation. These men have become icons, but they were just human beings, often quite complicated human beings, with wives, mistresses, and children (both legitimate and illegitimate).

Historical fiction can flesh out the characters we know from our history books and give us a look at what life may have been like in those tumultuous times. Here are five novels featuring the men who were there at our nation’s beginnings, and the women who were at their sides.

America’s First Daughter America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie.  This carefully researched tale  imagines the experiences of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Patsy, who while accompanying her father to Paris struggles with his past affair with a slave and falls in love with his protégé against a backdrop of a growing revolution.

Mount Vernon Love Story Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark by Mary Higgins Clark. In researching George Washington’s life, Mary Higgins Clark was surprised to find the engaging man behind the pious legend. Her novel tells the story of a rare marriage between  Washington and Martha Dandridge Custisand, and brings to life the human side of the man who became known as the father of our country.

Benjamin Franklin’s BastardBenjamin Franklin's Bastard by Sally Cabot by Sally Cabot. This work of literary historical fiction that brings to life a little-known chapter of the American Revolution — the story of Benjamin Franklin and his bastard son, William (a steadfast loyalist), and the women who loved them both.

Patriot Hearts Patriot Hearts: A Novel of the Founding Mothers by Barbara Hambly by Barbara Hambly. The triumphs and turmoil of early America are revealed through fictional portraits of four women–Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Sally Hemings, and Dolley Madison–who played key roles during four presidential administrations.

The Hamilton Affair The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs by Elizabeth Cobbs. A tale inspired by the true romance between Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler traces Hamilton’s rise to one of America’s most unlikely heroes and Schuyler’s establishment of New York’s first orphanage.

 

 

 

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in July

Summer is a busy time at CPL, and we’ve packed July with amazing programs every day we’re open. Here are some of the highlights, check out our Events Calendar to see the full roster!

Turtle Rock Music showBorn to Read Music, Bubble, and Comedy Show

Tuesday Jul 3, 2018, 4:00  –  5:00PM

This movement-focused 60-minute performance by Turtle Dance Music is designed to get kids moving using awesome music, original stories, incredible visuals, exciting games, and interactive music technology to promote fitness, healthy eating, going to your library, and celebrating music! Appropriate for ages 2 and up. Registration is required.

Unbound Book Club (Gr 3-6)

Mondays, July 9, July 23, Aug 6, 2018, 4:00 – 4:45PM

A casual book club for kids entering grades 3 to 6 with no parents and no required reading! Come every other week and talk about what you’re currently reading, get recommendations from other kids, do fun activities, and play games. No parents or caregivers allowed! Registration required starting June 18 for Cheshire residents and July 1 for nonresidents. Unbound Book Club meets three times: July 9, July 23, and August 6.

Nature Nick program at Cheshire Public LibraryNature Nick’s Animal Adventures

Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 3:00 – 4:00PM

Nature Nick is back! Get ready to meet some of the most exotic animals in the world! All ages are welcome. No registration required.

Connecticut Vanguards : historic trailblazers & their legacies by Eric D. LehmanConnecticut Vanguards

Tuesday, July 10, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Connecticut author Eric D. Lehman will discuss Connecticut Vanguards: Historic Trailblazers & Their Legacies, his chronicle of two dozen state residents whose inventive spirits and talents influenced the state and the world. Lehman has published a dozen books of history, travel and fiction, many of which have won awards. Registration is required.

Intro to Guitar for Adults

Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Join music instructor Dan Fontana as he reviews what you will need to know about learning to play the guitar as an adult. He will provide an overview of what it takes to start and the benefits of learning how to play music. Fontana will provide in-class and online materials that attendees can access at home. All the students have to bring to this workshop is their guitar and some paper to take notes.
Registration required starting June 20 for Cheshire residents and July 4 for all others.

Kindness Rocks

Thursday, July 12, 2018, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Help us promote random acts of kindness around Cheshire by participating in our Kindness Rocks event!  Adults are invited to help us paint rocks with inspirational pictures and words. After,  the class will leave the rocks around town. Patrons are encouraged to take pictures of the rocks you find #CPLKindnessRocks and post them on social media, and tag us @cheshirelibrary. Space is limited for this adult program. Registration is required.

Acrobat Li Liu performs at Cheshire Public LibraryLibrary After Hours: Acrobat Li Liu

Friday Jul 13, 2018, 5:00  –  7:00PM

Join us for an acrobatic performance, children’s activities, and more!  Li Liu will perform plate spinning, trick cycling, Chinese water bowl manipulation, and other acrobatic feats at 6:00 pm. Pizza, snacks and drinks will be available for sale from the Friends of the Library. Please register in advance so we know how many goodies to have on hand! There is no admission fee, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per family to help offset costs.  Please note that the Lower Level of the Library will not be open to the public.

Family Movie Matinees

Tuesdays at 3:30PM, no registration required.

The Farmington Canal

Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 7:00 – 8:00PM

Thought you knew everything about the Farmington Canal? Think again! Cheshirepedia Inc. is sponsoring a talk by Carl Walter, the country’s leading authority on the Farmington Canal.  Registration is required.

Backpacking Gear Show and Tell

Thursday, July 19, 2018, 3:00 – 5:00PM

A casual drop-in program to demonstrate backpacking gear used for multi-day trips into the wilderness, hosted by staff member and Long Trail thru-hiker Lauren Gledhill. Come in any time between 3:00pm and 5:00 pm to ask questions and see photos of life on the trail. Children are especially encouraged to attend! For children and adults of all ages, no registration required.

Vinyasa Yoga

vinyasa yogaMonday, July 23, 2018, 6:30 – 8:00PM

A vinyasa style class suited for all levels.  Students will be introduced to dynamic sequences and a variety of pranayama or yogic breathing techniques.  Focus is on linking movement and asana to the breath and building internal heat.  The instructor will offer options and modifications for all levels of practice.  Bring your own mat and water bottle and props such as yoga blocks or yoga blanket if you would like. Registration is required.

DIY: Marble Roller Coasters (Ages 7-12)

Thursday, July 26, 2018, 3:00 – 4:00PM

Explore kinetic energy, gravity, and other physics concepts by making your own 3D marble roller coasters! Can you keep your marble on the track? For ages 7-12.  Class size is limited, registration is required.

Meditation

Monday, July 30, 2018, 6:30 – 7:00PM and 7:00 – 7:30PM

Meditation is a practice in mindfulness and an exploration of the inner self.  Through guided imagery, focusing on the breath, and sitting in stillness students will begin to facilitate a feeling of inner peace and tranquility that can be carried out into their everyday lives. his class is open to all, with or without experience to come and explore and hold space together.  Please dress comfortably and bring a blanket or cushion if you would like. Registration is required.

Writing Fiction: The Creative Process

Tuesday, July 31, 2018, 6:30 – 7:30PM

Join writer Patrick Scalisi for this workshop, where he’ll discuss:

  • What do you like to write? (Some broad genres, finding examples of the work you like, reading to become a better writer)
  • Barriers to creativity
  • Coming up with ideas
  • Developing ideas (i.e. character, setting, dialogue)

Attendees will be presented with writing prompts to attempt in the session. Registration required starting July 10 for Cheshire residents and July 24 for all others.

 

 

 

 

Travel the World: Novels Set in Other Countries

I’ll admit that I’m an arm chair traveler. I open a book and I’m instantly in another place. I love a story that really immerses the reader in the details of the setting: the water, the mountains, the sounds and smells. I’ve traveled the world via books.

Here are a few titles where the setting is an integral part of the story. So settle into  your favorite chair and escape…

The Rocks by Peters Nichols
Majorca, Spain
This story is set against dramatic Mediterranean Sea views and lush olive groves. What was the mysterious, catastrophic event that drove two honeymooners apart so absolutely in 1948 that they never spoke again despite living on the same island for sixty more years? And how did their history shape the Romeo and Juliet like romance of their (unrelated) children decades later? Centered around a popular seaside resort club and its community, this double love story  begins with a mystery, then moves backward in time, era by era, to unravel what really happened decades earlier.

 Half a Lifelong Romance by Eileen Chang ; translated by Karen S. Kingsbury
Shanghai, China
Shen Shijun, a young engineer, has fallen in love with his colleague, the beautiful Gu Manzhen. He is determined to resist his family’s efforts to match him with his wealthy cousin so that he can marry the woman he truly loves. But dark circumstance force the two young lovers apart. A glamorous, wrenching tale set against the glittering backdrop of an extraordinary city.

 Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker
Dordogne, France
Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, is a policeman in a small village in the South of France who loves the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes all that. Now Bruno must balance his beloved routines—living in his restored shepherd’s cottage, shopping at the local market, drinking wine, strolling the countryside—with a politically delicate investigation.

 The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
Newfoundland, Canada
Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack, is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife dies. An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland. Here, on desolate Quoyle’s Point, in a house empty except for a few mementos of the family’s unsavory past, the battered members of three generations try to cobble up new lives.