Monday, November 25, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
By Jan Pease
It’s time for the last children’s programs of 2013. When I look at the calendar, I know it’s true, but I’m having difficulty believing it. There will be story time on November 29th for anyone who isn’t out shopping for bargains. Sometimes we have a large group on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and sometimes it’s a tiny group. But we will still have fun.
December is crazy busy for most of us, and the library is no exception.
December 4, 5, & 6 are regular Toddler Time, Bedtime Story, and Preschool Story Time. We’ll share one of the new Christmas books that just arrived. On December 9, I’ll visit the ECFE Santa time with a stack of Christmas books. I’m available to read to children, but it’s even more fun when moms or dads read to their little ones. On December 10th Darcy Cole will be at the library for Fun with 4-H, from 3-4:30.
December 12 at 3:00 p.m. is our Beginner Book Club. We will talk about the book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and watch part of the movie that was based on Barbara Robinson’s book. Several of the children in book club are in the play of the same title that will be presented at the Opera House on Dec. 14 and 15.
In the evening on December 12, Santa will come here to the library. He will come at 6:00 and stay until 7:30. Santa promised that he would read a story, sing a song or two, and be available for pictures. An easy craft and cookies will be available in the meeting room.
December 13 at Preschool Story Time, we will read The House that Santa Built, by Dianne de Las Casas. This rollicking book will be the perfect last book for Preschool Story Time.
Once Upon a Time Story Time, our new preschool story hour, happens on the 2nd Saturday of each month. On Saturday, December 14, at 10:00, The Gingerbread Boy will be featured.
On December 19th, the Intermediate Book Club, “Get Caught Reading,” will meet and discuss books that they like. Since some avid readers attend this book club, it could get interesting.
January programs will start with a shazam! Nancy Carlson, a well-known and well-loved children’s author and illustrator, will visit the library on January 11th at 10:00. All ages are invited to meet Ms. Carlson, who has visited Litchfield before.
Mark your calendars! Start your engines! Synchronize your watches and
e-readers! Celebrate the holidays at the library!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Congratulations to Jennah Anderson, the winner of the Teen Read Week short story contest! Jennah's short story, "Finally Free" was selected from among 14 entries by a group of outside judges. Her printed story will remain on display for the public until the end of 2013. She receives a $50 gift card to Walmart which was generously donated by the Friends of the Library group (Thank you, Friends!). Jennah is a serious reader and advocate for library programming for teens. She was recently elected by her peers to the office of President of our new Teen Advisory Group. Jennah is a freshman at Litchfield High School. She enjoys reading, drawing, and is an aspiring writer. Her favorite author is Maggie Stiefvater. Way to go, Jennah!
"FINALLY FREE" by Jennah Anderson
The waves washed over me once again, sending me spiraling towards the cove. I knew if I didn’t get out of the water, and soon, I would die. The island my lifeboat had been headed towards towered above me. I surfaced and gulped in air, trying to see over the waves. My searches were hopeless though, only revealing rocky shoreline. The waves would dash me upon the rocks and that would be the end of little Ana Pierce.
Another wave descended upon me, bringing me even closer to the rocks. Something bumped my leg, but I was far more worried about the rocks than any shark or squid that inhabited these waters. I braced myself for the next wave, getting ready to swim under like I had seen surfers do on TV. As I dove, I felt the water spiraling above me. Coming up again, I looked to the shoreline, praying for a miracle. Being this close to the rocks, if I didn’t find anything in this search, I was a goner.
A sigh of relief overtook me as I found the sandy cove, hidden for view when I was farther out. I began to swim diagonally towards the cove entrance, diving under every wave, swimming closer inch by inch. As I swam closer though, fatigue began to set in, which didn’t surprise me, I had been swimming in the storm for quite sometime. As I began to fantasize about land, a huge tube wave sent me crashing into the rocks. I covered my head, managing to mainly shelter it, though I still hit pretty hard. When the wave subsided, I was carried back out with the next waves undertow. The next one slammed me against the jagged rocks again, and I felt a rib crack. As I was again carried back out with an undertow, something grabbed my pant leg and dragged me farther under. I prayed it would be over soon, as my breath began to leave my lungs, and the world turned black.
I woke up on the beach, facedown. I propped myself up and began to cough up water, scaring myself with the amount I had ingested. Turning over, I sat up, and glanced towards the island, bathed pale white in the moonlight. I sighed as my searching showed me no one, leaving my unanswered question as to who rescued me. I slowly managed to stand up, annoyed with my salt sticky t-shirt and jeans. I made to move forward but I was stopped in my tracks by a pair of glowing red eyes. There, standing before me, is what kept all of us kids out of the ocean. What sent shivers down everyone's spines. And what I had been told had slaughtered a whole towns years before on our home island. An equitum aquæ.
A water horse.
The pitch black stallion advanced towards me, slowly and confidently. I held still, praying it would get bored quickly without any chase. It raised it’s slender head high and let out a shrill sound that reminded me of the sound of hurricane wind. An answering keening came from the sea and the stallion glanced it’s way, pawing the sand. Looking back my way, I could see the hatred in the horse’s eye, and it must have saw my fear. It grinned, a gruesome horrifying smile of sharp pointed teeth, before taking another step further.
A splashing sound drew my attention towards the coves glassy smooth water. The storm had subsided, though a wave was drawing nearer and nearer. The stallion raised his head and let out a scream that shattered the silent night. As the wave reached shore, the stallion rose to meet it. Only then did I notice the other water horse, riding the wave in. The equitum aquæ met each other with a sound like thunder, each keening their challenge to the other. The stallions circled each other in the sand, and I backed away closing my eyes as they rose to meet each other again. I heard a cry of pain and the sound of a horse running into the ocean. I opened my eyes to see the pitch black stallion look me in the eye before retreating to the ocean. With a single splash, he disappeared.
I heard the champion stallion began to keen his triumph, a scary sound sending chills down my spine. I slowly turned to look at the champion, who practically glowed in the night light. His main body was a rich cream color, stained on his neck with a streak of blood, while he had pitch black stockings. His tail swished back and forth, showing that it too, along with his mane he was currently shaking, where pitch black. He rose on his hind legs, pawing the air in front of him with a final scream before landing and turning to me, with his startlingly green eyes.
I dropped to my knees and put my head in my hands, I waited for him to kill me.
“Are you alright?” a quiet whisper reached me.
I glanced up, only to jump back as my eyes alit upon a boy about my age squatting before me. “Who are you? Where the heck did you come from?” I cried, astonished that someone else was there.
He ran his hand through his night black hair, raising his green eyes to meet mine. I gasped, then looked to his neck. I groaned and buried my face in my hands yet again. “Are you serious? Am I really on this island, of all places?” I mumbled through my hands.
A quiet chuckle emanated from him. “Yes it is this island,” he told me quietly, “they must really paint us out as terrible creatures on the mainland.”
“Ya think? You just tried to kill another person...ah..er..horse...or...whatever,” I responded.
“Well, for the record, he was going to kill you. Now I need to get you to safety, he was not pleased with my intervention. He had his mind set on killing you, and he could come back at any time,” the mysterious boy said.
I raised my eyebrows and began to ask a question, but his silent stare stopped me. “No questions, but I promise I can answer them later, once you are safe,” he told me.
To Be Continued...
Monday, November 18, 2013
by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
We are going to begin offering homework and reading help on Mondays at the library. A Minnesota Reading Corps tutor who is working in an area elementary school will be available in the Litchfield Library’s children’s area between two and four p.m. on most Mondays beginning in December. For the kids in Litchfield schools, this will be just a short window after school, but homeschooled students and ACGC students will have a little more time to work with. Our volunteer is also available at the Grove City public library from ten to noon on Mondays when ACGC isn’t in session.
Students in elementary and middle school are welcome to stop in during this time for practice with reading or help with any kind of homework. They do not have to be struggling readers; our homework help time is open to anyone. High school students who need help with reading or writing-related homework can also meet with our tutor, who has taught elementary and middle school in the past. At this point, we plan for it to be a drop-in program, but we may start signing kids up for particular times if we get a big response.
Minnesota Reading Corps is an AmeriCorps program. AmeriCorps was founded in 1993 as part of the Corporation for National and Community Service. It is sometimes called “the domestic Peace Corps”. According to their website, the volunteers are mostly full-time, and they typically make a service commitment of 10 months to a year.
Minnesota Reading Corps is the largest state AmeriCorps program in the country. They provide trained literacy tutors to schools for children age three through grade three. Their tutors work in Head Start classrooms, preschools, and elementary schools throughout the state. The goal is to help students who are just below proficiency in reading become successful readers by the end of third grade.
Why third grade? It’s the year when students switch from learning to read to reading to learn. Multiple studies have found that students who are behind in reading skills in third grade begin to fall behind their peers, because reading is an essential way that students learn science, history, and other subjects. A study released in 2011 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
The Reading Corps follows a research-based program to help kids who are just a little behind in reading skills catch up so that they can be successful in school in the years to come. We are happy to work with this valuable program to bring their trained tutors into our libraries.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
By Jan Pease
As I’ve mentioned in the past, as we work on ordering books for our Meeker County libraries, Beth and I use a tool called standing orders. These are lists of authors and series that we can choose to receive automatically in the next year. I have many authors that are predictable and that I would purchase. Think of a writer/illustrator like Eric Carle. His books have that “Eric Carle” look, are bright, cheerful, and sure to be a hit with younger children. He never fails to bring out wonderful books, but he never surprises me with a full length novel.
When I think of Donna Jo Napoli, I think of her retelling of fairy tales, like Beast or her version of Cinderella, set in China, Bound. Ms. Napoli does an extensive amount of research for her novels, so it isn’t surprising that she would write Treasury of Egyptian Mythology. This beautiful book follows her impressive Treasury of Greek Mythology. Egyptian mythology is loaded with colorful images and information about little-known major and minor deities.
Another standing-order author, Alexander McCall Smith, has begun to write Precious Ramotswe Mysteries for young readers. I haven’t read the whole “No. 1 Ladies Detective” series, but I am a big fan of Precious Ramotswe. The first book in the children's series,The Great Cake Mystery, introduces Precious. The second book, The Mystery of Meerkat Hill, tells the story of how Precious used her detective skills and found her family’s cow.
Jenny Nimmo, another well-known, standing-order author, has continued her “Chronicles of the Red King” series with Leopard’s Gold . Leopard’s Gold features the nine children of King Timoken and is a fantastic family drama, full of fantasy, magical siblings and friends, and a spectacular story line.
Jan Brett is a favorite of mine. The cover of her new book, Cinders: a Chicken Cinderella, features an ornately dressed chicken in a sleigh pulled by large ducks, driven by mice footmen. Ms. Brett visited St. Petersburg, Russia and was inspired by the architecture and the snowy landscape for this retelling of a favorite fairy tale. The fold out page of the hens and roosters dancing at the ball would make a beautiful poster, if you really like chickens. The real chickens who inspired the characters are Edwina and Elof, who are both beautiful Phoenix chickens.
Finally, fans of the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series have been waiting for book 12, The Royal Ranger. John Flanagan is another author on the standing order list. This is the final book in the series. It’s time for Will Treaty, who has become the finest Ranger in the land, to take on an apprentice. His companion series, The Brotherband Chronicles will continue with the fourth book coming out next year. Could Will’s apprentice begin a new series of adventures? Time will tell. See you at the library!
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Friday, November 1, 2013
by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Our library will be closed on Monday, November 11, to observe Veterans Day. This seems a good time to highlight some of the recent books about American veterans that we have available.
Thank You for Your Service is an account of the impact of war on veterans after they return home. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel followed some of the soldiers from the unit with which he was embedded during the Iraq surge. He describes the struggles and suffering they and their families experience after they go back to civilian life. Finkel asks and answers questions about what we ask of the men and women who go to war, and what we thank them for when they return.
Another of the books we have on World War II includes the experience of a local resident, Wanda Nordlie. Wanda, Lieutenant Thoen at the time, was an army nurse who helped to liberate the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria. The book Inside the Gates by Dr. Richard MacDonald tells the previously untold story.
There is so much to learn about the experiences generations of veterans have had in war and peacetime. We thank them for their service to our country.