It’s hard to resist the call of the sea in these books

Published 12:02 am Sunday, March 15, 2015

By Marissa Creamer

Rowan Public Library

Growing up near the Chesapeake Bay, I was always surrounded by water. The Tidewater region of Virginia is home to one of the world’s largest natural harbors, which incorporates the mouths of the Elizabeth, Nansemond and James rivers with several smaller rivers, and empties into the Chesapeake Bay near its mouth leading to the Atlantic Ocean.

Instead of rolling hills, there are wetlands, with snowy white egrets and great blue herons waiting patiently for a catch. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway runs near my family home, and we always timed our outings to the schedule of the drawbridge. We canoed, swam and lured blue crabs into our nets with a chicken neck on a string. A day at the beach was as common as a day at the park in this area.

Of course, I took it all for granted, and never realized how much I would grow to miss it when I moved inland. After nearly 30 years living away, I still feel the pull of the sea and never feel quite at home until I’m back at the coast. So I felt a kinship with Maren, the girl who is turning into a mermaid in “The Mermaid’s Sister” by Carrie Anne Noble.

The year is 1870, and Maren and her sister Clara live with their guardian in a cottage high atop Llanfair Mountain. Auntie tells them fabulous tales of fairies and faraway lands, but their favorite story is of three orphan infants: Clara, who was brought by a stork; Maren, who arrived in a seashell; and their best friend O’Neill, who was found beneath an apple tree.

Maren has always loved the water, and as she grows older, shimmering scales begin to appear beneath her skin, and webbing grows between her fingers and toes. Clara wants Auntie to use one of her healing potions to cure Maren, but as Auntie tells her, “There is no cure for being who you truly are.” Maren is slowly turning into a mermaid, and soon it becomes obvious that she must be taken to the sea or she will not survive.

So Clara and O’Neill set off in a wagon with Maren, but their journey to the sea does not go smoothly and they encounter unexpected obstacles. Will they reach the sea in time to save Maren? Find out what happens in this 2014 winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Young Adult Fiction.

Helen Dunmore’s “Ingo” also deals with the pull of the sea. On the coast of Cornwall, 11-year-old Sapphire and her older brother are determined to prove that their father did not desert them or perish at sea. They believe their father was lured into the sea by the siren calls of the Mer people. Sapphire soon finds herself drawn towards the ocean to the underwater world of Ingo by voices that only she can hear. Will she leave behind her earthbound life for the magical sea kingdom of Ingo?

Mythical sea creatures are also featured in Lydia Millet’s new novel “Mermaids in Paradise.” This satirical novel takes place at a Caribbean resort, where newlyweds Deb and Chip meet a marine biologist who claims to have seen mermaids in a coral reef. In a comedy of errors, our newlyweds join forces with others to protect the mermaids’ habitat from a resort chain that wants to turn their reef into a theme park.

Put winter behind you and answer the call of the sea with these books from Rowan Public Library.

Computer classes: If you’re new to computers or never felt comfortable, Computer Basics is for you. Classes are free. Sessions: 90 minutes. Class size limited and on a first come, first served basis. Dates and times subject to change without notice. Call 704-216-8242 for more information. Headquarters, March 26, 9:30 a.m.

Headquarters , Getting to Know Your iPad,  March 24,  7 p.m. Registration required. We’ll discuss components, navigation and use of apps. Must bring own iPad, charged, and have an updated iOS (operating system). Bring current, valid Apple ID. For more info or to register, call Paul Birkhead at 704-216-8242.

MuVchat for teens: All 5:30-7 p.m. Headquarters, March 17; South, March 24; East, March 24. Free and open to middle and high school teens. Enjoy snacks and a movie. For more information call 704-216-8229.

Book Chats for Children: Book discussion group for children (different grade each month), South only, registration required; space limited. Call 704-216-7728 for more information. March 19, 4:15 p.m., grades four and five, discussing “Grant Torelli” by Sharon Creech.

Second Rowan Reading Rendezvous: March 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., headquarters. Meet local, regional and national authors. Books available for purchase to benefit Friends of Rowam Public Library. Authors will meet fans, give talks and sign books. Call 704-216-7841 for more information.

It’s Not What You’re Eating, It’s What You’re Not Eating workshop: South branch, China Grove, March 23, 5:45 p.m. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, learn more about protein and nutritional food that will keep you full and energized for the day. Led by Morrison Healthcare, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. This free workshop is part of the 2015 Learn.Act.Grow. series. Register online or call 704-216-7734 to ensure your spot.

Explorers Club: Headquarters, March 28, 11 a.m. Investigate different genres through activities based on books from the collection. Programs for children in third-fifth grade last one hour. This month’s theme, Go Green with Team Green.  Have fun and gain knowledge about our world with guidance from Rowan County Cooperative Extension. Call 704-216-8234 for more details.

Matthew Weaver and Clay Lunsford in concert: March 31, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium, headquarters. These two talented musicians bring bluegrass and country music to a new level with stunning performances on piano and guitar. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show sponsored by Friends of Rowan Public Library.

Book Bites Club: March 31, 6:30 p.m., “The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman. Book discussion groups for adults and children at South Rowan Regional Library meet the last Tuesday of each month. Open and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments. For more information, call 704-216-7841.

Displays: Headquarters, log cabins byNorth Hills Christian School; South, stained glass by Betty Corriher and Sandra Collins; East, Kim Davis.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second  language.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly events for children through April 30. For more information call 704-216-8234.

Baby Time — Simple stories and songs for 6-23 month-olds with parent or caregiver. Program about one hour. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays,  10 a.m.

Toddler Time — Sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills; 18-35 months old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.

Tiny Tumblers — Stories, musical scarves and instruments for ages 6-23 months with parent or caregiver. Same program offered twice a week;  30 minutes. South, Tuesday and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool time — Encourages exploration of books and builds reading readiness skills for children 3-5 years old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head storytime — For children 4 years and up to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

Art programs — Based on various themes and media. Activities vary by branch.  Children 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult.; 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Emma’s Easel, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Art with Char, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.


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