Check out Sync Audiobooks for Teens – Now available through Cheshire Public Library

Sync Audiobooks are now available through the Cheshire Public Library for young adults and teens! SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. Returning April 30th and continuing 13 weeks until July 29,  SYNC gives participants two thematically paired audiobooks for free each week.   You can download these titles through Sora, the student reading app available through Overdrive, available on multiple different platforms, including Android, Apple, and tablets.

This is a great opportunity to keep teens reading during the summer, and to encourage a lifelong love of reading! Different free audiobooks are available every week, so if you’re not interested in what’s available for one week, just wait a week and try again. For the week of May 21st, there’s a mix of genres available to download. First up is Sister’s Matsumoto by Philip Kan Gotanda. Described as “Three Japanese-American sisters return to their California farm in 1945, after years in an internment camp. But the once prosperous family finds it’s not easy to pick up the pieces of their former lives.”  It’s a great title for those who are interested in historical fiction, and stories with strong female characters.

Next up is Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork, a mystery of criminal intrigue with  characters who are drawn up into a web of lies. The book description: “Four months ago… Sara Zapata’s best friend disappeared, kidnapped by the web of criminals who terrorize Juarez. Four hours ago… Sara received a death threat – and, with it, a clue to the place where her friend is locked away. Four weeks ago… Emiliano Zapata fell in love with Perla Rubi, who will never be his so long as he’s poor. Four minutes ago… Emiliano got the chance to make more money than he ever dreamed – just by joining the web. In the next four days, Sara and Emiliano will each face impossible choices, between life and justice, friends and family, truth and love.”

This is just a taste of the books that Sync offers, and if you’re not interested in any of these, just wait another week! This program will be going until July 29th, for a total of 26 titles. Each week has a different mood, one week mysteries, the next romance, so there’s plenty for everyone. Below is the full calendar of titles, so you can see what’s coming up next.

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If you’re worried about school ending and summer slide, this is a great way to combat the fear of learning ending when the school year ends. Encouraging a consistent love of reading and learning is a great way to keep your teens reading and discussing books throughout the summer months.

Need help downloading?  Our Librarians are working remotely to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are still available by email or phone Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm to answer your questions, help you download digital materials, or resolve issues with your library account.

Think eBooks are just for adults? Think again!

As we venture through weeks of social isolation, more people are turning to ebooks to get new reading material. With libraries and bookstores closed, physical books are a bit harder to come by these days.  Kids are feeling the pinch, too, but many parents are now realizing that their libraries offer more digital items for kids than they originally thought.

Here at Cheshire Library, we’ve been redirecting some of our physical book budget to buy more ebooks and downloadable audiobooks, for all age groups. This isn’t as simple as it sounds, since downloadable books cost up 4x the price of physical books, and come with many other restrictions (read more about that here), but we are proud of the wide selection of digital titles we can offer our cardholders.  Are you a Cheshire resident without a library card? You can register for a temporary card online to start using our digital platforms.

Our OverDrive/Libby platform has over 2000 juvenile titles, from simple picture books to more challenging chapter books. The OverDrive Kids Page is a good place to start exploring this collection.

 

There are hundreds more children’s ebook titles on RBdigital:

 

Not to mention audiobooks:

 

Tumblebooks has also provided free access to their streaming collection of children’s books through August 31. You’ll find tons of picture books, easy readers, and chapter books for all ages and interests:

  • Tumblebooks: Username: tumble735  Password: books (expires 8/31/20)
  • Tumblemath: Username: tumble2020  Password: A3b5c6 (expires 8/31/20)
  • Teen Book Cloud: Username: tumble2020  Password: A3b5c6 (expires 8/31/20)

If your kids are running out of new things to read, please take a look at our digital collections for kids to tide you over until the library is up and running again!

 

 

 

 

A Lighthearted Romp Through the Spaceways

Our Teen Librarian, Kelley, shares some of her favorite sci-fi:

Recently I rediscovered a book that I loved long ago: The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more than before. The book is a rarity among older science fiction, it doesn’t show its age with ridiculous predictions or stilted dialog and literally feels as if it could’ve been written yesterday. Partly, I believe that this is because it is as much a fantasy book as a science fiction book, but mostly it’s because the author’s writing is funny, imaginative, and clever, and his characters are delightfully quirky and likeable.

Between the 1940s and the 1970s Schmitz wrote a large number of short stories and several, fairly short, novels. His fiction is characteristically light-hearted, fast-paced, amusing and entertaining. It straddles the SF/fantasy genres, can be equally enjoyed by adults and younger readers, and (very unusual for the time and genre) features female characters who are every bit as strong and interesting as the men. This spurred me on to read more of Schmitz’s work, happily most of which are again available, both digitally and in hard copy, and a lot of it is available online for free.  I read all of it- Eternal Frontier, the Agent of Vega story sequence, all of his series set in the “Hub”, and all of the numerous independent tales. Twelve of his stories are available from Project Gutenberg , and more are available from Free Speculative Fiction Online (including the entire full-length novel The Witches of Karres). I loved them all, but I still love Witches best.

The Witches of Karres was originally a novelette published in the December 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Schmitz expanded the novelette into a novel in 1966, and it is unusual in being relatively long. As is common with this author, it is set in a far-flung future in which humanity has spread across many planets in a substantial part of the galaxy. The story is about Captain Pausert, an amiable, well-intentioned, but inexperienced young space ship captain who finds himself increasingly embroiled in wild adventures when he rescues a young female slave from an abusive owner. Events snowball from there, and he soon finds that he has purchased three young sisters. But these are no ordinary girls; they are from Karres, the witch world, and skilled in manipulating klatha – the universal force which powers witchcraft. This is the start of a whole series of adventures in which Pausert and his feisty and formidable young allies face multiple threats and problems as a result of attracting the attention of some powerful and dangerous organizations, with the survival of civilization being ultimately at stake.

And- if you found Witches as utterly funny and charming as I did, you are in luck! The story has been continued by other authors (but are not unfortunately available online for free). The Wizard of Karres, by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer, The Sorceress of Karres by Eric Flint and Dave Freer, and (forthcoming) The Shaman of Karres also by Eric Flint and Dave Freer are direct sequels but were written long after James Schmitz’s death in 1981, the first being published in 2004. The authors make a good job of matching Schmitz’s light and amusing writing style and they pack in enough new ideas to keep readers involved and entertained. These stories are not quite as terrific as the original, of course, but still great fun, as are all the James H. Schmitz stories linked above. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

If you enjoy The Witches of Karres, here are some other titles from our downloadable audiobook collection you might like:

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What’s up all you cool cats and kittens? Books for those craving more Tiger King!

You, like many others across the world, just finished watching Tiger King. The Netflix docuseries just launched on March 20th, and it’s already taken the world by storm. The series received acclaim from critics, and according to Nielsen ratings, was watched by 34.3 million people over its first ten days of release, ranking as one of Netflix’s most successful releases to date.

The series follows the larger than life character Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, and his sprawling zoo, the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. Joe has quite the history, with the law and with other big-cat owners. He twice unsuccessfully ran for public office, first for President of the United States in 2016 as an independent, and then for Governor of Oklahoma in 2018 as a Libertarian. In 2019, Maldonado-Passage was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse (eight violations of the Lacey Act and nine of the Endangered Species Act) and two counts of murder for hire, for a plot to kill Big Cat Rescue CEO, Carole Baskin. He is currently serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison.

It doesn’t seem like reality until you’re watching it unfold in front of your eyes, and like some terrible fire, you can’t pull your eyes away from the madness. There are no “characters” you can root for, except for the cats. As a true crime lover, I felt myself wanting more after the credits rolled! Instead of digging deeper into the depths of Netflix, I decided to do some digging through the libraries’ digital collections to satisfy my craving for tiger true crime mania.

Due to the fact that the library is closed at this time, we’re recommending books and audiobooks that are accessible through the libraries’ digital services, including RBdigital, Libby, and Overdrive. If you need help accessing these services, help is available on our website, and librarians are available by phone remotely. Call 203-272-2245 and leave a message. Someone will get back to you shortly! 

First up is The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy. The book is described as “The Sopranos of Snakes”, focused on the fascinating account of a father and son family business suspected of smuggling reptiles, and the federal agent who tried to take them down. If you’re looking for more animal justice and federal takedowns, then The Lizard King is the perfect fit. The audiobook and ebook are available online through RBdigital.

Next is a little bit more fanciful, but showcases a star tiger, Richard Parker. Life of Pi is a classic, and mixes fantasy and dangerous reality into a beautiful story, in which you can’t quite tell reality from fiction (much like tiger king, is this guy real life?) The story’s back cover states: ” Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. ” The story is an escape from reality all of us could use right now. The audiobook and ebook are available online through RBdigital. 

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt is a true crime classic, covering art dealings, murder and mystery, all in the deep south. It includes the same courtroom drama that was brought to life in Tiger King. The book is described as: ” Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.” Another classic worth checking out from our digital collections, available online as an audiobook through RBdigital, and ebook through Overdrive.

If you spent the whole documentary wishing they’d focus more on the tigers less on the mullets, then The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus could be your fit. Written by Jacques Cousteau, an author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water, the book “weaves gripping stories of his adventures throughout, he and coauthor Susan Schiefelbein address the risks we take with human health, the overfishing and sacking of the world’s oceans, the hazards of nuclear proliferation, and the environmental responsibility of scientists, politicians, and people of faith”. It’s a heartfelt tale which inspires us to do better, and be better for our planet, and the animals we share it with. It’s available online as an audiobook through RBdigital.

“A man is killed for his prized pet fish” Whaaaaaat? That first line hooked me right away on The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story Of Power, Obsession, And The World’s Most Coveted Fish“A tycoon buys a single specimen for $150,000. Meanwhile, a pet detective chases smugglers through the streets of New York. Delving into an outlandish realm of obsession, paranoia, and criminality, The Dragon Behind the Glass tells the story of a fish like none other” This book follows tiger kings footsteps in chasing animal smugglers throughout the globe, all for the very expensive, very lucrative, animal black market. Download the audiobook through RBdigital.

Looking for more? Here are a few more titles available through RBDigital, Overdrive and Libby for your phone, tablet, or computer!

 

Spring Babies

Spring is here, and that means baby animals cavorting through backyards. Baby animals are about as heart-warming as mammals can get, and that’s a deliberate act on nature’s part. Round faces, big eyes, short noses, and large foreheads are the hallmark of babyness, and those features are deliberately meant to instill attraction and protection in adults so that we will attach and nurture those babies, ensuring survival of the species. We are genetically engineered to think babies are cute, whether they’re human or bunny. This is the entire rationale behind Persian cats and teacup dogs.

 Dogs and cats we know and love, but what do we do when we find a wild baby animal all alone? They’re no less adorable than that puppy or kitty, and no one on your street has a baby squirrel or fox or raccoon, so why not keep it and raise it as your own?

  1. It may not be abandoned
  2. It may be sick or carrying something harmful (squirrels and prairie dogs carry bubonic plague; groundhogs can carry hepatitis). 
  3. You have no idea how to feed it to keep it healthy.
  4. It’s a wild animal. No matter how much you love it and how tame it might get, the call of the wild is too strong. It will try to return to nature but won’t know how, because it hasn’t been raised with others of its kind. They will not respond to it. Your animal won’t know how to fend for itself, find food, hide from predators, and has a high chance of dying miserably. Or it may attack you, your pets, or your children.

So what should you do if you find a baby animal all alone?

Different animals require different approaches. The best thing to do is just wait, and watch. Some babies are left alone during the day, and mom comes back every few hours to check and feed. Baby bunnies nest in tall grass, so finding them alone in brush is normal. While you shouldn’t randomly handle wild babies, few mothers will abandon them just because you touched them. The mother may not like your smell, but their need to nurture is too strong. 

If you find a bird with no feathers, or the beginnings of them, put the bird gently back in the nest if possible. If it’s fluffy with feathers, leave it alone. Birds mature in 2-3 weeks, and it’s probably ready to leave.

Deer: If it is wandering around and crying, leave it alone. Mom will return. If it’s moving about and distressed, call rescue.

Squirrels: if it’s got a bushy tail and is playing and climbing, leave it alone. If it’s tiny, give mom a chance to find it. If mom hasn’t returned by nightfall, put it in a warm box and call for help.

Fox: If they’re happy and playing, they’re fine. Call for help if they look weak or sickly.

Raccoons and skunks: DO NOT handle raccoons or skunks, as they have a very high rate of rabies. If in doubt, place a laundry basket over the baby and place a weight on top. Mom will flip the basket to get her baby back.

Rabbits: Baby rabbits may be left alone for hours at a time. Mark the spot with an X of yarn. If mom comes back, she’ll disturb the string. 

Possums: if a possum is more than 7” long, it’s old enough to be on its own. If smaller, call for help. Possums are marsupials, not mammals. They need pouches and don’t feed like a “regular” baby. 

Do not attempt to rehabilitate wildlife by yourself. In many cases, it’s illegal to do so. Call the police department, or the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Dispatch  at 860-424-3333, and they’ll send someone out.

For a safer approach to wildlife and animal rescues, check out these books!