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Read Across America is more than Cat in the Hat

Read Across America is more than Cat in the Hat

By Rachelle Golde, Litchfield Children’s Librarian

March 3, 2021

As we move into the month of March, we look forward to warmer spring days ahead and think about the little flowers that will begin to emerge with all of their bright colors. Like bright spring colors, Dr. Seuss loved to find creative uses for colors within his illustrations and with his words as he authored many children’s books now thought of as classics.  Read Across America is celebrated this year on March 2nd. Often, we associate Read Across America with Dr. Seuss and the famous Cat in the Hat.  However, Read Across America is much more than the Cat in the Hat.

The National Education Association (NEA) initiated Read Across America in 1998 as a year-round program to motivate children and teens to read through books chosen around a specific yearly theme. The themes are selected to motivate, excite, and teach children and teens about reading, as well as, teach the students about themselves and others who are different from themselves. The suggested books offer a diverse collection of children’s and young adult titles. While many still honor Dr. Seuss during Read Across America, the program is currently independent of any particular book, author, publisher, or character.

The monthly themes for 2020-2021 include: Empower Student Voice, Foster Inclusiveness, Activate Young Citizens, Celebrate Indigenous Peoples, Explore Identity, Explore Families and History, Practice Empathy, Cultivate Compassion, Inspire Stewardship, Develop Passion and Perseverance, Promote Respect, and Build Community.

The Litchfield Library has a list of books suggested by NEA for each of these themes for picture books, children’s chapter books, and young adult or teen books. This list is also available on the Read Across America website hosted by the NEA. The suggested titles for this month include:

 Picture book: Tiara’s Hat Parade by Kelly Starling Lyons

Book CoverChildren’s chapter book: Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya; and

Book Cover Young adult: They Called Us Enemy by Eisinger Scott Becker

Anyone can celebrate Read Across America. Schools, libraries, athletes, actors, authors, illustrators, grandparents, parents, teachers, and kids of all ages can celebrate Read Across America. Here are a few ways you can celebrate:

  • Read through the suggested titles provided by the NEA. The full list of books can be found on their website at https://www.nea.org/professional-excellence/student-engagement/read-across-america or you can Google Read Across America and easily find the website.
  • Read a book with a child or teen
  • Create your own reading challenge or book list that goes with the monthly themes.
  • Check with your child’s teacher to see if there is a school celebration.

The Pioneerland Library System does have many of the titles suggested within the book list by the NEA; however, if you cannot find one we are happy to help you find it at another library just ask a librarian if you need help. You can also check out the book display at the Litchfield Library.

Until next time, happy reading!

Escape to Another Era in a Book

Reading books set in other times of history can give us insight into those times and sometimes our own. It can also be a good escape, especially these days when we’re living through our own difficult and interesting time in history. Won’t it be interesting to see what novels will be written about our current era in the future?

A number of new books at the Litchfield library are classified as historical fiction.

Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson is a novel set in the South in the 1800s. Pheby, the main character, is born a slave. Light-skinned, the daughter of the plantation’s medicine woman, and doted on by the master’s sister, Pheby grows up sheltered and is promised her freedom upon her 18th birthday. Instead, she is sent to the infamous slave jail, Devil’s Half Acre. Once there, she has to contend with the notoriously cruel slave trader Robert Lumpkin, and her life goes in a surprising direction. Based on a true story, this novel is described as well-researched and moving with a compelling narrator.

Another novel inspired by a true story, The Paris Children by Gloria Goldreich is a novel set during World War II. Madeleine Levy was the granddaughter of World War I hero Alfred Dreyfus, and she stepped up to do her own part to fight for France as a member of the resistance under German occupation. Madeleine was a young social worker when she began rescuing Jewish children and smuggling them out of the county. The novel illuminates the good that was done amidst this bleak and dangerous time.

World War II is an ever-popular time period for novels. Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson is another of our new books set in that time. Antonina is a young Jewish woman in Italy, where the Nazis are occupying most of the country. In an attempt to survive, she leaves Venice and poses as the new bride of a man who left seminary to run his family’s farm. Nina and Nico must put on a convincing front for the neighbors and for a Nazi official who harbors a vendetta against Nico. This novel is also inspired by real-life events.

Minneapolis writer Amy Lynn Green is a finalist in the genre fiction category of this year’s Minnesota Book Awards for her debut novel Things We Didn’t Say.  This epistolary novel (a novel in letters) tells the story of U of M linguistics student Johanna Berglund who is sent to her small Minnesota hometown to work as a translator at a German POW camp during World War II. Johanna finds townsfolk hostile to the Germans, while she becomes sympathetic to the POWs after interacting with them and censoring their letters. This Christian fiction novel examines issues of prejudice, compassion, and treason.

Another work of Christian historical fiction, If I Were You by Lynn Austin is set in and after World War II. Audrey is a widowed war bride from England who comes to America with her young son in 1950, seeking her American in-laws whom she has never met. She discovers that her longtime friend Eve has been impersonating her in the U.S. for four years. Eve’s mother was Audrey’s mother’s servant, and the pair of young women had worked together as ambulance drivers in the war. The focus on the pair’s friendship in the midst of class differences gives this a bit of a new spin on the World War II novel.

Other recent additions in the historical fiction vein include Endless Mercy by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse, The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas by Jodi Thomas, and When We Were Young & Brave by Hazel Gaynor. Whether you pick them up curbside or set up a Library Express appointment to come inside the library, library staff are happy to help you order and check out novels that carry you away to different times and places.

Audiobooks are great for families!

February 3, 2021
by Rachelle Golde, Children’s Librarian

Audiobooks can offer a new or different way to experience the world through books. As adults, we know that audiobooks are a great way to pass the time while commuting to work or during a long road trip. I enjoy listening to audiobooks while I am cleaning, sewing, or working on house projects like painting a room. Audiobooks are a great option for children and teens as well.

There are many audiobooks to choose from within children’s and young adult/teen collections within the Pioneerland Library System. Most libraries, including the Litchfield library, have audiobook collections on CD for checkout. There are even books that include an audiobook CD; these kits are awesome for children who like to read along with the audiobook or need the book for the illustrations. You can schedule a 15-minute browsing appointment to come in and look through the available audiobooks on the shelf.

Pioneerland offers digital audiobooks as well through the Libby and Overdrive apps. These digital collections have materials for very young children through adults. It’s fast, easy, and free to set up Libby for access to these materials. Libby works well on most mobile devices and computers and is very user friendly. Another perk is that there are never any late fees when you use Libby as the digital items that are checked out are automatically returned on their due date. There is the possibility to renew the item though if you are not quite finished with it. You will need a Pioneerland Library card to access the materials in our digital collection in Libby. If you need assistance with setting up your account, please give the Litchfield library a call.

Audiobooks can be used as a form of entertainment for kids as they work on projects, cleaning their rooms, or share a story together during car rides. However, audiobooks offer a lot more to children and teens than entertainment.  Audiobooks can help youth improve their literacy skills such as comprehension and vocabulary. Audiobooks take away the barrier of books which are too hard for them to read on their own and helps them to decode and pronounce words they may otherwise not know yet.  Children and teens can become immersed in a story without the need to struggle with words and comprehension. Many audiobooks help expand the story as the reader adds emotion and voice to the words for the child. Children are often exposed to a larger quantity of higher-level vocabulary when they are read aloud to or listen to audiobooks. When children listen to a book read aloud and follow along with the book with their eyes, they are getting a multisensory approach to the story. They are truly immersed in the story.

Children’s audiobooks are fantastic for parents and caregivers as well. They give parents a break from reading aloud, provides a story that can be shared between the children and parents during otherwise dull tasks like driving, cleaning, etc. Audiobooks can also give parents the opportunity to provide an independent reading activity that can increase interest in reading and improve literacy skills.

There might be some concerns that using audiobooks is cheating on reading programs. This is not true! Audiobooks are counted as reading in all of the children’s and teens’ reading programs within the Litchfield Library.  We currently have a non-fiction reading challenge for both teens and children at the Litchfield Library and non-fiction audiobooks will count towards this reading challenge.

Until next time, happy reading or listening!

 

Magazines and newspapers available for checkout

The Litchfield Library has the following publications available for checkout (2 weeks for magazines, 3 days for newspapers):

American Patchwork & Quilting
Atlantic Monthly
Car and Driver
Consumer Reports
Country Living
Eating Well
Family Handyman
Food Network Magazine
Forbes
Health
HGTV Magazine
Horse Illustrated
House Beautiful
Looney Tunes comics
Martha Stewart Living
Men’s Health
Midwest Living
National Geographic
National Geographic Kids
Northern Gardener
People
People en Espanol
Popular Mechanics
Prevention
Readers Digest
Scientific American
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated Kids
Taste of Home
Time Magazine
St. Cloud Times
Pioneer Press
Star Tribune
West Central Tribune
Hutchinson Leader
Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch
Eden Valley Voice

Contact the library to request the issues you would like or pick them out at your Library Express appointment. All of these these publications can be checked out to you and delivered curbside.

Openings for Litchfield Library Board Members

Do you love the Litchfield Library and have some time to give back to it? The local library board is looking for a couple of new members. This group is an advisory board to the city of Litchfield on facilities matters for the library: building, grounds, maintenance, furnishings. They meet four times per year at 5:30 p.m. Since the pandemic began, meetings have been virtual and probably will be for a little longer. Most of the members need to live within the city limits of Litchfield, but some can be from elsewhere in Meeker County. If you’d like more information, contact County Librarian Beth at the library. If you’d like to apply, contact city hall.

Sign up for the Adult Winter Reading Program

This year’s Adult Winter Reading Program began January 15 at the Litchfield Public Library and runs until March 15. Sign up any time in January or February.

As in previous years, participants read and rate books to earn prizes. Winter can be a good time to have a reading goal, and this year it’s true more than ever. Participants get one prize after reading three books, and another after a total of six.

It’s possible to participate in this year’s program without ever setting foot inside the library if you choose. Everything can be done either inside the library or through curbside service.

To participate in the program, ask to sign up when you call from outside to pick up your things curbside, or sign up when you’re in the library for a Library Express appointment. Participants will get a reading log, a bookmark, and a small portable hand sanitizer container with a clip to attach to a bag.

The portable hand sanitizer bottles are gone now, but you can still sign up for the program!

The hand sanitizer is this year’s sign-up incentive instead of the usual tote bag. Bags will be available as a prize choice.

Any type of book can be counted for the program: new or old, library book or your own, fiction or nonfiction, ebook, audiobook, or print. Write down your books on the reading log and rate them.

When you have read three and again when you have read three more, you can turn in your reading log inside the library at your Library Express time and get your prizes immediately, or you can put your reading log in the book drop. Before dropping the sheet into the book drop, be sure to write down your prize choice. Library staff will be in contact if that prize is no longer available. Prizes can be delivered curbside, and if you turn in your sheet after three books, your reading log will be returned to you so that you can finish the program.

Prizes this year include a mug, a tote bag, a memo book, a large candy bar, and an insulated bottle cover. The mug is more golden than it appears in the photos.

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