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Come by and see what’s on display in the children’s rooms

By Laurie Lyda

Rowan Public Library

If you’ve wandered through the children’s department at any of Rowan Public Library’s branches (headquarters in Salisbury, East in Rockwell, and South Rowan Regional in China Grove), then you know that displays are common. Children’s staff put a lot of time and energy into creating displays that accentuate areas of their collections.

Holiday displays are especially popular with patrons. For St. Patrick’s Day, South Rowan Regional’s children’s staff created a fun display with a variety of books about the history of the day and variations on the legends related to St. Patrick.

One of the books is “St. Patrick’s Day” by Gail Gibbons. This early reader book, originally published in 1994, addresses the holiday’s history, mentioning Patrick’s presumed birth in Britain in 380, his work in the church, and his death on March 17, 461, and subsequent sainthood, bestowed by the Catholic Church. Gibbons also addresses the tradition of wearing green on March 17, the legends about leprechauns, and other ways people celebrate the day.

“Harp O’Gold,” written by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Jill Weber, is also designed for early readers. The cautionary tale shares the story of Tom, an Irish minstrel, who trades his beloved wooden harp for one of gold, only to learn that while the gold one (and its tinny music) brought riches and fame, it also cost his freedom. Will Tom learn his lesson? Will he be able to get his wooden harp back and live a life of warmth, happiness and music?

There are also non-holiday books on display, as well. Gloria Houston’s “My Great-Aunt Arizona,” illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb, pays tribute to Houston’s great-aunt and to the impact and influence of teachers everywhere. Arizona was born in a log cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and while she never went to the “faraway places” that she dreamed of, she touched the lives of generations and, as Houston writes, “travels with me and with those of us whose lives she touched. … She goes with us in our minds.”

Among my new favorites is “I Love It When You Smile,” written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Charles Fuge. The tale of a grumpy little Roo who resists his mother’s efforts to cheer him up is adorable, and the illustrations complement the story well, with Fuge capturing Roo’s grumpiness perfectly. Roo’s mother finally makes him smile after an accident that involves a muddy hole and results in two mud-covered kangaroos. The book’s closing “I love it when you smile” sentiment leaves the reader with a smile, too.

Other children’s books guaranteed to make someone smile include the Pete the Cat series. Created by James Dean, many of the books are a collaboration among Kimberly and James Dean and Eric Litwin. Pete the Cat is a mellow feline, who stars in stories that teach early readers about moving along “because it’s all good” and how to make new friends when they’re very different from you.

A less mellow cat is the star of Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty series, which I always find hilarious (perhaps because I’ve been guardian to a “bad kitty” more than once in my life). Bad Kitty wants to be Good Kitty, but life throws her curve balls (hair balls?) that waylay her efforts sometimes. Her adventures include a review of the alphabet that will be useful for early readers.

The next time you visit your nearest branch of RPL, take a moment to peruse the children’s department’s displays. Whether you’re reading for yourself, for a child, or for a classroom, there are plenty of fun titles to be enjoyed. For those who don’t have time for in-person perusals, visit the catalog via www.rowanpubliclibrary.org. If you have an RPL card in good standing, you can place books on hold and have them ready for pick-up at your nearest branch (you’ll receive a notification when they’re ready). You will need to know your four-digit PIN, so if you’ve forgotten that, call an RPL branch or stop by during business hours to reset it.

Organizing your Genealogy: Headquarters, March 17, 10 a.m. This class focuses on how to organize genealogical information, including forms, notebooks/binders and archival housing. The class will concentrate on software to organize data, vital records, photos and other documentation. Co-hosted by the Genealogical Society of Rowan County and the Edith M. Clark History Room of RPL, free, open to the public. Call 704-216-8253 for more information.

Makerspace open house: Headquarters, March 19, 6 p.m. Learn about the latest filming and editing tools the RPL makerspace offers, including GoPro cameras and green screen. This program partners with Catawba College education majors, who will demonstrate and present their projects. All ages welcome.

Friends of RPL and Cheerwine Concert Series: Charly Lowry, Headquarters, March 20, 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Lowry has appeared on “American Idol” and is the lead singer for Dark Water Rising. Free, open to the public, all ages  welcome.

Adulting 101: 8. When you’re a kid, you think the grown ups have it all figured out, but now you’re almost a grown up and you have no idea what you’re doing. This program that will teach you how to become a functioning adult without having to call your parents for help. March’s program will focus on finance; April’s program on food. Headquarters, March 13, 4:30 p.m.; East, March 12, April 9, 6:30 p.m.

Escape! at the Library: March’s escape room is the St. Patrick’s Day-themed “Shamrock Shenanigans.” See if you can solve the clues and puzzles to steal the leprechaun’s gold and escape the enchanted forest. March 19, 6:30 p.m., East branch, Rockwell; March 20, 4:30 p.m., headquarters; South, China Grove, March 21, 6 p.m.

Random Fandom: Do you have what it takes to be a super sleuth like Sherlock Holmes? We’ll test your detective skills and deductive reasoning with puzzles and challenges, including a Sherlock Escape Room. East, April 2, 6:30 p.m.; headquarters, April 3, 4:30 p.m.; South, April 4, 6 p.m.

Murder Mystery Night: There’s been a murder at the library! Search the crime scene for clues, interview all the suspects, and be the first to find out who the culprit is. The murderer could be anyone — including you! Headquarters, April 17, 4:30; East, April 16, 6:3- p.m.; South, April 18, 6 p.m.

Teen Makerspace Night: A teens-only open house. Learn about the technology in the makerspace, and try hands-on activities. Part of the NC Science Festival. Headquarters, April 10, 4:30 p.m.

Book Bites Club: South, March 27, 6 p.m. Free, open to the public. A free book club where we discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme. March’s title is Carson McCullers’ “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” Need more information? Call 704-216-7730.

Teen Board: Want to be part of a Teen Advisory Board and make decisions about upcoming teen library programs? Or just want to play some board games? Now you can do both. Headquarters, March 27, April 24, 4:30 p.m.

Lego Saturday: South, March 17, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Legos available for creative free play. For children only.

St. Patrick’s Storytime with Mr. Robert: Headquarters, March 17, 11 a.m. Geared for ages 3 through 8, though all children are welcome.

PJ Storytime: Headquarters, March 19, 6:30 p.m. Put on your pajamas, grab a blanket and your favorite stuffed animal, and join us for a special storytime. Recommended for children 3-11 years old, though all children are welcome.

STEAM into Adventure: East, March 17, 11 a.m. Enjoy hands-on science, technology, engineering, art and math  activities and crafts; one hour.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: 7 to 9 years old. Children can practice reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Canine listeners provided by Therapy Dogs International. Headquarters, selected Tuesdays, 4 p.m. Call 704-216-8234 for details. East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m., Call 704-216-7842 for details.

Chapter Chats: Weekly book club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, though all are welcome. Mondays, 5 p.m. at East Branch, Rockwell. Contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842. March 12.

Displays: Headquarters, Rowan Doll Society; East, celebrate Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day by Tammie Foster; South, crochet art by Sheila Weaver and fairy gardens by Maria Cannizzaro.

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

Baby Time: Birth-23 months. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Toddler Time: 18 to 35 months. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.; South, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschoolers: 3-5 years. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; South, Mondays, 10 a.m.

Noodlehead Storytime: Pre-K to fifth grade. Headquarters, Thursday, 4 p.m.; East, Tuesdays 3:30 p.m.; South Wednesdays, 3:30 p.m.

Art programs: Pre-K to fifth grade. Art in the Afternoon, headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; Bethany’s Brushes, East, Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; Canvas Kids, South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

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