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Children’s books tackle some pretty heavy issues

By Pam Everhardt Bloom

Rowan Public Library

Inquisitive children make the best patrons at a library and often ask the toughest questions.

With tablets in their hands and a bombardment of news surrounding them, sometimes these queries arise from subjects adults might deem unsuitable for kids. The right words may be difficult to find, particularly with young children. Some recent additions to the Children’s Room at Rowan Public Library will resonate with young and old alike and may trigger some important conversations.

Sudden death can be inexplicable, and young children, often excruciatingly literal thinkers, may ask questions adults aren’t prepared to answer. Two books written by mother and son, Elke and Alex Barber, illustrate the questions Alex had when his father died unexpectedly when he was 3. “Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute?” and “What Happened to Daddy’s Body?” are both followed by the subtitle, “Explaining (Sudden) Death in Words Very Young Children can Understand.”

Forewarning — the straightforward stories from these books are reality based and adults may find them difficult to read. Be reassured, the illustrations by Anna Jarvis depict events from ambulance to crematorium in a kid-friendly style and the books are packed with hope and love.

A new series for the library, “Being the Best Me!” By Cheri J. Meiners, provides short, illustrative stories about feelings in a story format with large illustrations that depict differing facial expressions. Each book also includes a longer adult guide for reinforcing the book theme and a list of games and activities to reinforce each concept. Titles are: “Forgive and Let Go,” “Be Positive,” “Bounce Back,” “Feel Confident” and “Have Courage!” This series not only answers questions, the books also promote emotional intelligence.

The following new biographies provide a historical perspective to many social justice questions children may inadvertently view on the news. Pete Seeger gave author Anita Silvey his blessing to write his biography, “Let Your Voice Be Heard, the Life and Times of Pete Seeger.” The dialogues in the book come directly from Seeger and are factual accounts of what he said and what others said to him. Complete with photographs, source notes, an informative afterword, and under 100 pages, this book is an excellent fit for age 10 and up. Just add music and you will be ready for thought provoking discussions.

Other new biographies include, “The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, Poet” by Don Tate; “Believe, the Victorious Story of Eric Legrand” with Mike Yorkley; “She Stood for Freedom, the Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland,” by Loki Mulholland and Angela Fairwell; “The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch,” by Chris Barton and “Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells, the Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist,” by Philip Dray.

Hug your child and become as inquisitive as your kids. Stop by for a look at juvenile nonfiction. Find answers for those hard questions in life while enjoying a good read. You may discover that today’s popular adult narrative nonfiction style has long been present in the Children’s Room at Rowan Public Library; children just call them stories.

2016 Bookmark Contest for children: For children 4-11 years old. Entries will be accepted at any library location Oct. 24 through Nov. 5. Prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place winners in each age group of 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11 years old. See official entry form for more details or contact the Children’s Room at 704-216-8234.

Spooktacular: Oct. 29, 10 a.m., headquarters. Come and enjoy fun in the Children’s Room — spooky stories and light refreshments.

Spooky Science for Teens: Join us as we look at, create and explore hands-on experiments and activities that will get us in the “spirit” of the Halloween season. It’s science, not scary. All programs 4:30-6 p.m. Oct. 24, East; Oct. 27, South.

Teen Advisory Board: Teens who join this board provide input on the library’s teen programming and selection, as well as discuss current events and issues. Meets once a month at each library location from 4:30-5:30 p.m. TAB members can count their hours of participation towards school community service requirements. Oct. 25, headquarters.

Evening o’ Fun & Treats: Monday, Oct. 31, 5:30 p.m. East branch, Rockwell. Enjoy a seasonal film showing and popcorn and lemonade. Costumes welcome but not required. Trick-or-treaters are welcome to stop by the upstairs reference desk for treats – no tricks allowed. All ages are welcome; this event is free and open to the public.

Technology Tuesdays: Computer safety, Oct. 25, 7-8 p.m., headquarters. Learn how to keep your computer healthy and stay safe online. Seating is limited. To reserve your spot, please call 704-216-8248 or email info@rowancountync.gov

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Oct. 25, 6-7 p.m. Free, open to the public. We discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme.”The Devil in the White City.” Need a copy? Call 704-216-7841.

Displays: Headquarters, Family Crisis Council — Domestic Violence (purple shoe display) and NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness Awareness; East, historic photos, Tim Linker; South, miniature doll houses, Donna Deal and Terri Correll.

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.

Weekly events for children through Nov. 18

Baby Time: A loosely interactive program of simple stories and songs for infants up to 23 months with parent or guardian. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Char’s Little Stars, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Tiny Sprouts, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South, Miss Pat’s Tiny Tots, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.

Toddler Time: Sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills for children 18-35 months with parent or caregiver. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Reading Rumpus, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Tammie’s Tot Time, Mondays at 11; South, Miss Pat’s Wee Readers, Tuesdays, 10:30.

Preschool Time: Encourages the exploration of books and builds reading readiness skills for children 3- to 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 Story Times: Children of all ages can listen to silly books and tales together. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays at 4 p.m.; South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

Art programs: Activities and instruction based on various themes and media vary by branch. Pre-kindergarten through fifth grade; 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Bethany’s Brushes, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Emma’s Easel, Wednesdays, 4:30.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children 7-9 can practice their 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 recommended, not required. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m., call 704-216-8234 for details; East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m.,  Oct. 24, call 704-216-7842 for details; South, selected Saturdays, 10 a.m., call 704-216-7728 for details.

Chapter Chats Book Club: A weekly club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, but all are welcome. Meets at East branch meeting room, Tuesdays, 5 p.m., through May 2017.

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