Big and small. Furry and smooth. Fierce and calm. Animals are incredibly diverse and represent so much that is amazing about our vast planet. 

Grab your favorite one, two, three, or four-legged friend and get ready to investigate and discover more about what makes animals such a gift to our lives. 

Activities

The world's oldest known postcard was first sent in 1840. Since then, postcards have been flying around the world. Possessing brief messages and requiring cheaper postage than a standard letter, postcards are ideal for sharing a quick note of something funny, delightful, and heartfelt. 

Creating and sending postcards can also be wonderful opportunities for creativity and expression. The links and ideas below can help you perfect your postcard message, look, and learn more about where to send it.

Activities

Kelley Moote recommends Attached by Amir Levine. Kelley shares that this book, "...really helped me understand my attachment style and that of others. It's written in a way that's easy to understand and keeps the reader engaged." Kelley also says, "I think everyone of all ages should read it to understand the 'why' behind our thoughts and actions in all relationships."

In this groundbreaking book, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Amir Levine and psychologist Rachel S. F. Heller reveal how an understanding of attachment theory-the most advanced relationship science in existence today-can help us find and sustain love. Attachment theory forms the basis for many bestselling books on the parent/child relationship, but there has yet to be an accessible guide to what this fascinating science has to tell us about adult romantic relationships-until now.

Attachment theory owes its inception to British psychologist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby, who in the 1950s examined the tremendous impact that our early relationships with our parents or caregivers has on the people we become. Also central to attachment theory is the discovery that our need to be in a close relationship with one or more individuals is embedded in our genes.

In Attached, Levine and Heller trace how these evolutionary influences continue to shape who we are in our relationships today.

Sarah Perry recommends Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar. "2019 was an extremely difficult and stressful year for me, personally. By the time I made it to December, I was ready to say 'goodbye' to 2019 and start fresh in 2020. I came across the book, Christmas at Frozen Falls and thought it sounded cute, so I bought it and read it before Christmas. I can't remember the last time a book just made me feel happy." 

 

*Currently unavailable at CPL, but click here for other options.

 

Art is a line around your thoughts. --Gustav Klimt

 

The crazy nature of life can sometimes make it difficult to harness how we're thinking and feeling. Art can be a cathartic way of trying to make sense of what feels hard in life. But art and expressing oneself needn't be fussy. Grab that bucket of sidewalk chalk, take a deep breath of the fresh air, and let the driveway and sidewalk be your canvas. 

Need some inspiration? Take a peek below. 

Activities

Janice Ford recommends A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Buckinham Slade. Janice shares, "Katherine was a math whiz, who was African American and was instrumental in providing the necessary math calculations for NASA's first human space flights." Janice also shares, "I selected this book because, as an engineer, I want to share Katherine's contribution to the world, especially with young girls and minority children in our community. I want them to be encouraged to dream big and to plunge into the Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) fields." 

The inspiring true story of mathematician Katherine Johnson--made famous by the award-winning film Hidden Figures--who counted and computed her way to NASA and helped put a man on the moon!
Katherine knew it was wrong that African Americans didn't have the same rights as others--as wrong as 5+5=12. She knew it was wrong that people thought women could only be teachers or nurses--as wrong as 10-5=3. And she proved everyone wrong by zooming ahead of her classmates, starting college at fifteen, and eventually joining NASA, where her calculations helped pioneer America's first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth, and the world's first trip to the moon!

Alefia Hakim recommends This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. Alefia shares, "I would love for others to read this book because it's an excellent example of family ties, decisions made as parents, and the love and support from siblings. The author has an amazing depiction of marriage between the main characters. It reminded me of my own relationship and how a supportive and encouraging partner can make a great relationship."

This is how it always is by Laurie Frankel
Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook | large print

This is Claude. He's five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They're just not sure they're ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes.

Laurie Frankel's This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it's about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don't get to keep them forever. 

Zainab Hakim recommends Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Zainab shares, "This book is extraordinary in all aspects! The plot is so unique, main and side characters have amazing arcs, the worldbuilding is, well, out of this world, but above all, it is one of the most exquisitely written books I have ever read. The sentences are lyrical and poetic and will immediately transport you directly into the story."

Strange the dreamer by Laini Taylor
Also available in: e-book | audiobook

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around--and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was just five years old, he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the form of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? And who is the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams?

In this sweeping and breathtaking novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

The answers await in Weep.

Joshua Jargowsky recommends The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Joshua shares, "I chose title because it really speaks to me. It's a heartwarming story of regeneration through nature. Mary Lennox goes from being spoiled, to being open and kind to those around her, and loving to get dirty in the gardens. Collin goes from being bedridden and hidden in a room, to being to walk and being healthy, simply by having some experiences, even if he needs to sneak out at first. It's truly enjoyable to watch these characters grow and change throughout the book, and that's one of the reasons why I've read this book many times, and found new insight each time."

The secret garden by 1849-1924 Frances Hodgson Burnett
Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook | video

A beautiful and timeless portrayal of friendship and the human spirit, The Secret Garden tells the story of the courage of two unhappy children who become determined to make their lives, and the lives of others around them, more joyful. Orphaned Mary Lennox is sent to live in her uncle's house on the Yorkshire moors, and the house is an unhappy one. Miserable and lonely, Mary starts to explore the house's gardens and she discovers a key to the secret garden.

Did you know that popular, bestselling authors frequently have their titles simultaneously released in regular print and large print (as well as in audiobook and e-book formats)? And for those titles, such as J.D. Robb's Golden in Death below, the library has you covered. We strive to purchase enough titles to keep hold lists manageable and in the format that you are interested in. For each book listed below, additional formats are highlighted.

Also available in: print

Levitin looks at the science behind what we all can learn from those who age joyously, as well as how to adapt our culture to take full advantage of older people's wisdom and experience. Throughout his exploration of what aging really means, using research from developmental neuroscience and the psychology of individual differences, Levitin reveals resilience strategies and practical, cognitive enhancing tricks everyone should do as they age.

Successful Aging inspires a powerful new approach to how readers think about our final decades, and it will revolutionize the way we plan for old age as individuals, family members, and citizens within a society where the average life expectancy continues to rise. 

Also available in: print

When they were children in the suburbs of Los Angeles in the 1950s, Diane Keaton and her younger brother, Randy, were best friends and companions: they shared stories at night in their bunk beds; they swam, laughed, dressed up for Halloween. Their mother captured their American-dream childhoods in her diaries, and on camera. But as they grew up, Randy became troubled, then reclusive. By the time he reached adulthood, he was divorced, an alcoholic, a man who couldn't hold on to full-time work--his life a world away from his sister's, and from the rest of their family.

Now Diane is delving into the nuances of their shared, and separate, pasts to confront the difficult question of why and how Randy ended up living his life on "the other side of normal." In beautiful and fearless prose that's intertwined with photographs, journal entries, letters, and poetry--many of them Randy's own writing and art--this insightful memoir contemplates the inner workings of a family, the ties that hold it together, and the special bond between siblings even when they are pulled far apart. Here is a story about love and responsibility: about how, when we choose to reach out to the people we feel closest to--in moments of difficulty and loss--surprising things can happen. A story with universal echoes, Brother & Sister speaks across generations to families whose lives have been touched by the fragility and "otherness" of loved ones--and to brothers and sisters everywhere.

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