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Learn about the true meaning of friendship at the library

By Pam Everhardt Bloom

Rowan Public Library

“Fate chooses your relations. You choose your friends.” This quote from Jacques Delille, a French poet and classicist, may aptly describe what we enjoy most about friends — choice.

Friendship could be defined as a personal connection with people you like and with whom you share similar interests. What makes long-term friendships special? Do they survive because of similarities or do real friendships thrive with friends that push us out of our comfort zone? The following books explore many aspects of friendship and include selections for all ages.

“An Improbable Friendship, the Remarkable Lives of Israeli Ruth Dayan and Palestinian Raymonda Tawil and Their Forty Year Peace Mission,” by Anthony David, is both biography and a story of friendship. As Ruth Dayan, 99, and former wife of the late Israeli military leader and statesman Moshe Dayan and Raymonda Tawil, 76, and mother-in-law to the late Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization confirm, “We love each other. Enemies can be friends and friends can be enemies in this country.” After reading the saga of Ruth and Raymonda’s behind-the-scenes friendship, you may nod at the author’s sentiment “that with empathy and common sense, the seemingly insolvable Middle-Eastern conflict can have an end.” Theirs is an amazing story not to be missed.

A young adult non-fiction selection, “I Will Always Write Back, How One Letter Changed Two Lives,” by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch, is a book appropriate for many ages. This friendship began in September 1997 when Pennsylvania seventh-grader Caitlin chose Zimbabwe as her country for a pen pal because it sounded cool. Fourteen-year-old Martin Ganda received her letter and replied. Their correspondence continued for six more years and they are friends to this day. This dual memoir demonstrates how friendship, love and awareness of others can change our world and may leave you thinking about your place in the world long after finishing the last page.

Another book for older juveniles and young adults, “We Beat the Street, How a Friendship Pact Led to Success,” by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt, with Sharon M. Draper, tells the true story of three street-tough Newark boys whose friendship was their sustaining guidepost as they become doctors in spite of insurmountable odds.

Hunt explains how difficult it could be in his community to actually “choose” your friends: “We forged bonds with those who lived around us. We had no other choice … unfortunately … it became the norm to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing.” And then in 10th grade he met Davis and Jenkins and formed a friendship that changed their lives. Today they are cofounders of the Three Doctors Foundation and are still friends.

If you enjoy this book, you might also like two more adult-oriented books by these authors, “The Pact, Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream” and “The Bond, Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect with Their Fathers.”

Friendships happen when we connect. And although we may choose our friends, these wonderful connections may happen in surprising ways. Delve into the following books for more stories of friendship: Adults: “The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice” by Patricia Bell-Scott; “So Brave, Young, and Handsome” by Leif Enger; “Friends for the Journey” by Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw.

Older juveniles to adult: “Born to Bark, My Adventures with an Irrepressible and Unforgettable Dog” by Stanley Coren; “Wonder” by R.J Palacio; “Wild Things” by Clay Carmichael; “Hold Fast” by Blue Balliet. Younger children and up: “Owen & Mzee, the True Story of a Remarkable Friendship,” told by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu; “Help” by Holly Keller; “Do Unto Otters” by Laurie Keller.

Dollar-a-Day Boys — a musical tribute to the CCC: Thursday, March 17, 2 p.m., headquarters. Bill Jamerson presents a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments, including authentic CCC cookies, will be provided. For more information about Jamerson and his program, visit billjamerson.com.

Darrell Connor and the Country Music Legends Band in Concert: Tuesday, March 29, 7-9 p.m. Headquarters. The band describes their performance as “playing the best of country, bluegrass, Gospel with a little rock & roll and beach.” Admission is free thanks to sponsorship by Friends of Rowan Public Library and Cheerwine. Program starts at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30.

Family movie night: “Chicken Little” (G). Tuesday, March 29, 5:30-7 p.m., East branch, Rockwell.  Chicken Little is a little guy who has a difficult time convincing the townspeople of Oakley Oaks that the sky really is falling due to an earlier claim that turned out to be a false alarm. Refreshments will be served. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Computer basics class: Tuesday, March 8, 7-8:30 p.m. at headquarters., 201 W. Fisher St. If you’re new to computers or have never felt comfortable with them, this is the class for you. We’ll go over the very basics of computers, from computer components to how programs are opened and closed. Class on second floor of library. Also Tuesday, March 8, 7-8:30 p.m.

iPad basics: Tuesday, March 22, 7-8 p.m., headquarters. Become a confident iPad user in this free class. Requirements: Pre-registration; bring your own iPad; iPad needs to be charged and have an updated iOS (operating system); bring a current, valid Apple ID.  Free sign-up at:  https://appleid.apple.com/. Space is limited, so call Paul Birkhead at 704-216-8242 to reserve your spot. Class on second floor of library.

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Tuesday, March 29, 6-7 p.m. Free, open to the public. We discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme. “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler. Need a copy? Call 704-216-7841.

Learn.Act.Grow.: DIY Vinaigrette. Monday, March 28, 5:30-7 p.m., South Regional. Free. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, Chef Chris Herron and his crew will to teach you how to make your own inexpensive vinaigrette dressings to spruce up a variety of greens. Samples will be provided. Register online or by calling 704-216-7734 to ensure your spot.

Displays: Headquarters, Carolina Artists and Rowan Doll Society; South, artist Joseph Johnson; East, Community Care Clinic.

Gallery at headquarters: ‘Listening to My Ancestors,” an exhibition of watercolors by Robert Crum, through March 31. Funded, in part, by an Arts and Cultural Development Grant from the Rowan Arts Council.

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.

Teen Advisory Board: Teens who join this board provide input on the library’s teen programming and book selection and discuss current events and issues in Rowan County. TAB meets once a month at each library location from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, East, Rockwell; Thursday, March 24, South Rowan Regional, China Grove.

Anime Club (for teens): Tuesday, March 8, 4:30-5:30 p.m., headquarters. Celebrate and learn all things Anime. Programs are the second Tuesday of the month.

MuVchat Movie: Free movie and snack in pop-up video style. Open to middle- and high-school teens. Tuesday, March 22, 5:30-7 p.m., all branches.

Chapter Chats Book Club: A weekly book club for teens ages 14-17 primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, but all are welcome. Meets at Yosties, 202 N. Main St, Faith, Tuesdays, 4 p.m., through May 24.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children ages 7 to 9 can practice reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Reading Therapy dogs registered through Therapy Dogs International are available for beginning and struggling readers to read aloud to them. Reservations are recommended but not required. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m. East, Mondays, 3:30 p.m., March 14 and 28 and April 11 and 25. South, Saturday, 10 a.m., March 19 and April 16.

Lego free play: Legos help children’s reasoning and problem-solving skills. The library’s Lego collection will be available for free play, or you can bring your own, Saturdays at 10 a.m. March 12 at East; March 19 at South and at headquarters.

Adventure Club: Headquarters, March 12, 11 a.m.-noon. Adventurous hands-on science activities and projects.

Book Chats: Thursday, March 31, 4:15-5 p.m., for children in fourth and fifth grades. A book discussion group. “The Magician’s Elephant,” by Kate DiCamillo. A limited number of books will be available at all library locations, so registration is strongly recommended.

Weekly events for children, Feb. 1-April 30:

Baby Time — 6-23 month-olds with parent or caregiver. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays,  10 a.m.

Toddler Time — 18-35 months old with parent or caregiver. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.

Tiny Tumblers — 6-23 months with parent or caregiver. Same program offered twice a week. South, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool time — 3-5 years old with parent or caregiver. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head storytime — For children of all ages. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

Art programs — Art activities appropriate for preK through fifth grade. 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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