June 17th, 2014

On the Road Again

roadtripsSummer is here and my girls have signed up for CCPL’s Summer Reading and Learning Program. It’s open to kids, adults and teens. Are you registered to read for rewards?

Summer is also the season of road trips in my family – but there’s one big problem – my girls can get car sick before we’ve come to the end of our lane. How do we survive a six-hour trip when reading, video games, coloring, journaling and DVD-watching are all destined to create emergency roadside stops?

Audiobooks! “Hands free reading” isn’t just for adults.  It’s a great way to make the hours go by and listening to audiobooks counts toward the summer reading program!

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I’ve tried to share my childhood delight in Little House on the Prairie with my daughters, but they’re not particularly interested. They tell me the “prairie” was so long ago it’s boring. But if you lend voices, experiences, emotions and adventures to those dates and people… you’ve happened upon what I call “entertainment learning.”

On our road trips and many excursions north and south along 213 we’ve listened to Harry Potter and the Warriors series. But here’s where I got “mom sneaky” – I started playing the Dear America series. These historical fiction books are based on real girls and young women who kept journals during important times in our history such as the Colonial settlements, Oregon Trail, Civil War and World War II. The heroines describe everyday life and how they were affected by these moments in history. There’s humor and adventure, but also stark description of sacrifice, sorrow and hardship. The resulting conversations with my daughters have been fascinating. The books end with historical notes about what happened to the girls and their families after the story ends.

While traveling I-95, we’ve discussed big topics like slavery and the Holocaust.  We’ve talked about what it was like to be a woman in different times in history, as well as the bravery and conviction of the American spirit. We’ve also discussed how many conveniences we take for granted in our modern life, such as plumbing, electricity, freedom.

When we travel to visit Massachusetts this summer, I plan to borrow Dear America: A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower 1620. For Royal enthusiasts, there’s a great series called The Royal Diaries that features princesses from around the world and from many time periods throughout history.

And if you have young men in your car, there are plenty of titles written from boys’ perspectives, too. Try The Watsons Go to Birmingham on CD or Dear America: My Name is America in print. And don’t forget to check our eBook and eAudiobook collections for downloadable options.

How do you keep your kids entertained (and learning) in the car?

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June 3rd, 2014

Perfect Book Gifts for Grads

graduationIf you’re anything like me, the beginning of June means a growing stack of graduation announcements and party invitations sitting on your kitchen counter. Graduation is such an exciting time, but for us party-goers, it also means we need to figure out a lot of presents. Instead of opting for a check in a card, think about one of these books that would make a perfect gift for any high-school or college grad.  Interested in checking one out for yourself?  Click the links below or ask our staff about Marina InterLibrary Loan.


The Dorm Room Diet by Daphne Oz
Forget the freshman 15! This book will help any college student learn how to eat properly when all their options come from a dining hall, and how to cultivate a healthy lifestyle they can continue throughout their life…not just during their college years.

The Naked Roommate & 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College by Harlan Cohen
This bestselling guide is full of advice and tips from how to share a bathroom with an entire floor of people to sharing lecture notes. Grads will get the answers to all the questions they need to know, but never thought to ask.

How to Survive Your Freshman Year
While similar to “The Naked Roommate,” this advice book for college freshman is written by former and current college students. The advice ranges from laundry to social media to dealing with roommates and saving money.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
While this classic might not be go-to reading for most high-school graduates, it provides great advice about how to become a successful individual. This book can be a motivator for any age and delivers great life lessons.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Personally recommended by our Young Adult Librarian in Elkton, this novel is all about following your heart and learning to live for more than what meets the eye. This book can be a great read for any student and teaches the reader about being true to themselves in life.

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
A funny read for anyone nervous about living with a roommate that they have never met before — this book might just be the comforting voice they need to hear!


The Can’t Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified! by Jessica Seinfeld
After my college graduation this past year, my biggest worry was cooking. The dining hall was gone and now I had to make meals I could live on. Enter this cookbook. It explains everything a beginner cook needs to know, from how to clove garlic to how much a ‘pinch’ really is to how to use the food processor…properly. These yummy recipes are easy and impressive and can make a recent graduate feel like they really can do anything.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
Marina Keegan was a 2012 Yale graduate who tragically died in a car crash five days after her graduation. This book is a collection of her writings, put together by her family, friends and professors. Her writing is exceptional, her stories are brilliant and a good reminder for all college graduates about how precious life really is.

Make the Most of Your Time on Earth
A perfect gift for the graduate who wants to travel the world, this book is full of stunning photos that highlight voyages on all seven continents.

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman
Graduating from college can be a rough wake-up call when the first student loan payment kicks in. Full of practical advice, this book is a great read for financials newbies or anyone who just needs a refresher on paying off debt, finding a job, buying a home or figuring out what insurance to buy.

Congratulations graduates!  What’s your favorite book to give to new grads?

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