The World’s Least Known Endangered Animal

Do you know what a pangolin is? It’s an adorable little creature that is native to areas of Africa and Asia. It looks a little like an armadillo with similar keratin-based scales. They eat mainly ants and termites and roll up in a ball when they feel threatened. They are odd little guys, with tongues that can actually be longer than their body when full extended, which I suppose is extremely helpful when hunting termites.
pangolin4 Alamy Submission January 2013

pangolinIt is also one of the world’s must hunted and illegally trafficked animals on Earth. This one small animal current makes up 20 percent of the black market involving wildlife.  For more information on this oddly adorable creature take a look at Save Pangolins and the dedicated page on the World Wildlife Federation website.  You can also see some children’s books that include the creatures like Roly Poly Pangolin by Anna Dewdney and What on Earth is a Pangolin? by Edward R. Ricciuti.

The third Friday in February has been named World Pangolin Day to help raise awareness and conservation efforts of this endangered animal. This year it falls on February 18th. People are encouraged to recognize the day by sharing information about the pangolin and to help raise awareness about the danger the entire species is in. I think that is a wonderful idea, but we can take it a step further by learning more about a variety of threatened animals.

Sadly, there are many animals out there that are endangered or threatened that people are unaware of, unless they go looking for the information or stumble across it accidentally. That is how I found out about the pangolin. This in turn made me think about the number of animals and insects that make their way on to the endangered or extinct list every year and what can be done to stop (or at least slow) the process.

pangolinwolfThankfully, more and more information is available about animals at risk, and what we can do to help. This is particularly true with children’s books. There are several publishers making an effort to raise interest and awareness. National Geographic has an entire series of books about making a mission of protecting at risk areas. Thus far we have the books: Mission: Tiger Rescue, Mission: Wolf Rescue, Mission: Elephant Rescue, Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue, Mission: Polar Bear Rescue , Mission: Shark Rescue, Mission: Panda Rescue, and Mission: Lion Rescue.

pangolinbatsAuthor Sandra Markle has also research and written several books about creatures that are at risk. So far we have: The Case of the Vanishing Honey Bees , The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats , The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs, The Great Monkey Rescue: Saving the Golden Lion Tamarins, and The Great Leopard Rescue: Saving the Amur Leopards.

While there are many more animals at risk out there, these books are a great way to dive into the information and get kids interested in helping animals, both in our backyard and miles away.

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Anti-Valentines Day Viewing

As Valentines Day looms closer many are feeling the pressure to plan the perfect date, find the perfect gift, or find a way to express their feelings towards that special someone. Others are firmly enjoying their single hood. Some are wishing they could find their perfect match or grieving the loss of someone. And then there are those of us, regardless of relationship status, that are just not into grand displays and all the mushy stuff that comes with the holidays. Regardless, as wonderful as this day can be for some lucky folks, for others it can be a depressing nightmare, or just another day. No matter what camp you find yourself in, finding a book to read or movie to watch that is not all sunshine and roses can be hard, particularly this time of year.valday1

Here are some movies that can be enjoyed by anyone who does not need or want a sappy love story for Valentine’s day but would rather enjoy something distinctly anti-Valentine’s Day.

Ruby Sparks
Struggling with writer’s block and a lackluster love life, p9165539_p_v8_abonce-famous novelist Calvin creates a beautiful fictitious character named Ruby who inspires him. But not only does this bring his work to life–it also brings Ruby to life–literally! Face-to-face with an actual relationship with his once-virtual girlfriend, Calvin must now decide whether to pen this love story or let it write itself.

Happy-Go-Lucky
Poppy is a life-loving and irrepressibly cheerful primary valdayhglschool teacher. She is thirty years old, single, and infinitely optimistic and accepting. She lives with her best friend and flatmate Zoe in London. She is tested by a repressed driving instructor with anger problems, and, in turn, she decides to test him. She has exciting flamenco lessons, an encounter with a homeless man, an argument with her pregnant sister, and a love-affair with the social worker guiding one of her students.

John Tucker Must Dievaldayjohn
When the class-overachiever, the head cheerleader, and the vegan lover discover they’re all dating the same guy – namely the star basketball player John Tucker – the girls decide to recruit a bashful new girl named Kate to become the ideal girl to break Tucker’s bad boy heart. But as Kate uses the girls’ combined wiles to lure Tucker, his interest gives her a social standing she’s never had before. But the intoxicating experience may cost her a chance at honest love with another boy.

Lars and the Real Girlvaldaylars
Lars is a sweet but shy guy who has a hard time talking with his family, coworkers, and neighbors. Although his family fears the worst when Lars brings home Bianca, a life-sized companion doll whom he thinks is a real girlfriend, a doctor encourages them to play along with him so that he can work through his delusions. The whole community rallies to his support, and Lars begins to deal with all of his emotions. He even begins to develop feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker, in what becomes a hilariously unique love triangle.valday500

(500) Days of Summer
For Tom, it was love at first sight when Summer Finn, the new administrative assistant, walked into the greeting card company where he worked.  Soon, Tom knows that Summer is the woman with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life. Although Summer doesn’t believe in relationships or boyfriends, Tom and Summer become more than just friends.

How to Be Single
A young woman searches for love in New York City in this romantic comedy based on the novel by Liz Tuccill.

Looking for more movies to binge watch this holiday or to just enjoy without all the sappy love? Here are some more distinctly anti-Valentine’s Day movies that you might enjoy; Muriel’s WeddingThe Break-up, Fried Green TomatoesSwimfan, Baby Mama, Under the Tuscan SunThe Shining, High FidelityShame , Young Adam , Think Like a Man, Blue Valentine , Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Mystic Pizza , Jeff Who Lives at HomeMy Bloody Valentine, and Thelma & Louise.

Collection Spotlight: Magazines for Children and Teens

20161104_104441Cheshire Public Library subscribes to a variety of magazine, both in print and digitally. Print Magazines for adults are kept on the lower level, and get a good amount of traffic. Our digital offerings via Zinio and Overdrive also get a good deal of use. However, I think people forget about the print magazines we carry for our children and young adult readers.

Our children’s magazines live on and end caps of the children’s chapter books shelves. Included with the children’s magazines are a few selections for parents and family reading. New items are 20161104_111026on one side of the shelf and back issues are on the opposite end of the same shelf.

The young adult magazines are housed in the teen room in a corner by the bistro table and end of the manga collection. All magazines circulate for a two week loan period, but are renewable. If the issue you are looking for is not available a hold can be placed on it. Simply stop by any service desk or call to place a hold.

askOur children’s magazine collection includes: LEGO Club Magazine, The Horn Book Magazine, Kids Discover, Chop Chop, National Geographic Kids, Discovery Girls, Girls’ Life, American Girl, Ladybug, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Zoobooks, Ask!: Arts and Sciences for Kids, Plays, Muse, Highlights HelloRanger RickRanger Rick Jr, Boys’ Life, Brick Journal, Highlights for Children, and Cobblestone.

gameinformerThe magazines for parents and family include: Practical Homeschooling, Parents, and Family Fun.

Our young adult magazine collection includes: Game Informer Magazine: For Video Game Enthusiasts, Teen Vogue, Mad, Seventeen, J-14, and Twist.

High Interest Books for Middle Grade Readers

I have talked before about reluctant readers and transitional readers, particularly about finding books that can interest and engage them as they work to become more confident readers. (Check out the list here if this would apply to the books you are looking for). However, my kids are a little older now, so I have spent more time looking for the elusive perfect middle grade book to interest my high energy readers. They both love to read but only if the subject matter and action level meet their specific standards. I know this is a common issue since I have helped many a frustrated parent and child find something to read while working in the children’s room.

Why do I bring this up? Well, this week as I was unpacking a new order of children’s books I was thrilled to see a large number of books that fill this sweet spot of reads that would interest many middle grade readers. Right away I started mentally listing some of the best and realized how many zany, energy packed reads are available.middlegrade1

Here are some high interest, high humor, and high action reads for those who have trouble getting into a book, or who have convinced themselves that reading is boring. These are not readers who have trouble reading, only who are tired of being told what to read or have not found highly entertaining books and might have lost interest in books because of it.

Most of these suggestions are series starters or are by authors who consistently write this style of book, middlegrade2so if you find one that makes your reader happy they will have more to follow it up with.

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier & Douglas Holgate

Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson

Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein

Marvin and the Moths by Matthew Holm and Jonathamiddlegrade3n Follet

Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beaty

The Hero Revealed by William Boniface

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R.A. Spratt

Wonkenstein by Obert Skyemiddlegrade5

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

My Rotten Life by David Lubar

As usual, I found more books I wanted to include than can fit in a simple list, so more suggestions are: The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, SPHDZ by Jon Scieszka, The Robe of Skulls by Vivian FrenchHerbert’s Wormhole by Peter Nelson and Rohitash Rao, Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka, The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke, Dodger and Me by Jordan middlegrade6Sonnenblick, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis, My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara, The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry, The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, and The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson.

Did I miss a book that was a hit with you or a reader you know? Share the title here so we can give it a look too!

Fictional Family Troubles For Young Readers

Oftentimes reading about another person in a similar (or worse) situation than your own helps a reader of any age feel less alone and better about their personal situation.  It can also help them process what is happen and deal with their own emotions. While nothing helps more than a solid support system or counseling, reading a book that we can relate to can also do wonders. This is true for the children and teens in our lives, not just for adult readers.

If familythere is something serious going on in the home life of a young child in your life, here are some books they might relate to that could help them know they are not alone. They can also see someone else come to terms with and learn to cope with the same issues with which they are currently dealing. Most of these novels deal with the characters coming to terms with family issues such as separation or divorce, but some also include other family changes or conflicts.

family1Shelved in Childrens:
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
I, Lorelei by Yeardley Smith
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Sarah Simpson’s Rules for Living by Rebecca Rupp
The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner
Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes
family2What Would Joey Do? by Jack Gantos
How Tía Lola Learned to Teach by Julia Alvarez
Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro by Amy Axelrod
The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister by Charlotte Agell

Shelved in Young Adult:
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
family3Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
Dark Water by Laura McNeal
Far from Fair by Elana K. Arnold
Black, White, Other by Joan Steinau Lester
The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens by Ashley Juergens
Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
family4Zipped by Laura and Tom McNeal
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

As always, these are just some suggested titles, there was no way to include all the wonderful books out there that might help.  If you have a favorite book that you would suggest on this topic please share it in the comments.