Carrots, Parrots, and the Merits of Garden Reading

What happens when you mix reading, plants and animals? Magic. Really. These three ingredients, when stirred in a cauldron with care, prove to be the key to a fun and intriguing learning environment.

Acting as children’s activity librarian at Churchill’s Garden Center has let me play with this idea, integrating the beautiful grounds into toddler story time and kids club activities. Living treasures among the greenery include a parrot, dove, donkey, goat, chicks, and ducklings, all favorites among the children.

Oliver the parrot joined us for our very first story time, piping in with commentary of course.

We read two books with Oliver, Terrific and If You Were a Parrot. Not only did this second book contain the beak-making craft that I wanted to do, but it also got kids into role-playing mode. Despite the somewhat creepy anthropomorphic nature of the illustrations, If You Were a Parrot does a wonderful job using role-play to help the children recognize their own empathy toward the birds as living creatures.

In Terrific, a grumpy old man finds friendship and happiness when he relates to the feelings of his new feathered friend. Very well-written piece of fiction, and captured the children’s attention.

Terrific, Jon Agee

Terrific, Jon Agee

If You Were A Parrot, Katherine Rawson

If You Were A Parrot, Katherine Rawson & Sherry Rogers

An additional story time focused on carrots following our seed starting program the previous week. A wonderful opportunity to integrate additional animals into the mix! The theme was inspired by the book The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, in which a boy plants a seed, cares for it tenderly, and never gives up hope that it will sprout into a beautiful carrot. A great introduction to the patience and reward of gardening, in addition to an early, gentle lesson of perseverance when facing doubt from others.

Carrot Soup was a favorite! Rabbit orders, plants, and cares for the carrot seeds in his garden, preparing for the harvest when he can finally eat his favorite meal– you guessed it! Carrot soup. But alas, the carrots are gone! As it turns out, (spoiler alert) Rabbit’s friends gathered the carrots from the garden to make Rabbit’s soup for him at a surprise party! Such a fun story of friendship and carrots.

Carrot Seed, Ruth Krauss

Carrot Seed, Ruth Krauss

Carrot Soup, John Segal

Carrot Soup, John Segal

Without any rabbits at the garden center this year, who else on the list might enjoy a carrot snack? Scooter the donkey of course! Plus some of the kids– after all that carrot talk they each wanted a crunchy healthy snack. We took an in-house field trip across the grounds to visit Scooter, who relished in the children’s attention! And food!

I have been so happy reading at Churchill’s, where the world is alive around us and we may use the living treasures as tools for lessons in caring and the pleasure of reading. Please join us soon if you are in the Exeter area- upcoming events are below if you are interested.

May 7th Toddler Story Time: Click Photo to Register

May 9th Kids Club, Make Paper Flowers for Mom: Click Photo to Register.

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Happy Earth Week!

Reading aloud to children

Reading to kids at Churchill’s Garden Center, April 18, 2015.

I had a wonderful time kicking off Earth Week at Churchill’s Garden Center on Saturday. We read some of my favorite stories and sang some of my favorite Earth Day songs!

Wait, Earth Day songs? 

That’s right… it’s a good thing. Check out Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights for some pretty awesome children’s songs that I sometimes forget to turn off after my kids have gotten out of the car. So catchy.

It was a perfect day thanks to Sam’s face painting, Trey’s craft station, and Sherry’s planting table! Thanks everyone!

Toddler story time in the Garden!

Churchill's

Toddler Story Time @ Churchill’s Gardens. Every other Thursday starting April 9th!

Garden story time is coming and we’re starting off the series by reading alongside Oliver the parrot in the beautiful tropical greenhouse! Join us April 9th and every other Thursday by registering here – free event!

I am very excited to be starting this new adventure with the kids of Exeter! Can’t wait to see you all 🙂

April Doorpost Column

Hello Library Lovers!

We at the library have been busy planning several exciting projects.

First, the online library survey is available through April. Thanks for the rapid response! Please let Sara know if you would like a paper copy to fill out, it just takes two minutes. Participants can choose to be entered in a raffle for a gift cards to RiverRun Bookstore, Friendly Toast, or Portsmouth Book & Bar. Thank you for your input- we want to make sure the library fits your needs!

Library Survey Snapshot

Library Survey Snapshot

In the coming months, we are planning to integrate brand new computer workstations for your use, both Mac and PC! Thanks to MJ Shoer, Howard Rubin, and all of our library fund donors for making this possible!

Sara has been revamping the teen area, planning additions to the collection and recataloging fiction for easy browsing. We now have a teen graphic novel section- come check it out!

In addition, we are excited to announce the prospect of an official rare book collection in the library! The committee is currently researching proper archival cases to display some of our treasures. If anyone is looking for a worthy cultural cause to donate to, please keep this project in mind. Rabbi Senter helped us sort through crates full of antiquarian and other special Judaica that we would like to keep safe and protected while on display in our lovely space.

A friendly reminder to check your shelves for library items– although we do not have late fees, we do need to replace items that are not returned in a timely manner. Contact Sara if you would like to renew items you are still using.

Lastly, movie night will be announced soon thanks to a cultural endowment grant! We’ll be in touch with a date and movie title soon.

 

Sara Lesley Arnold
librarian@templeisraelnh.org
(603) 436-5301 x25

The Jews of the Seacoast NAACP

OK, I know Jews are all about justice. It shows in our giving tzedakah, community activities, even when making academic and career choices. Such involvement is definitely not unique to the Jewish community, but Justice is one culturally-ingrained Jewish value that parents begin instilling in their children at a very young age (although maybe Bibi’s parents didn’t get the memo).

I also know that each time Jews face hate and hardship themselves, they have the opportunity to reevaluate their responsibility to ensure that all people are treated justly. What I did not know, however, was that Jews make up 90% of my local NAACP chapter’s membership. Michelle Obama This past week I spoke informally with Fred Ross, President of the seacoast chapter of the NAACP, who is in the midst of planning an exciting regional event. He says that local members of the Jewish community are huge supporters of his organization, often contributing to advancement efforts well into retirement.

We New England Jews and our friends have a great opportunity to show support for our African-American brothers and sisters this coming May 15th in The Unity Relay for Justice that starts in New Hampshire. It is an eight-day, 130 mile relay march from the State House in Concord to Beacon Hill, and then to the State House in Providence, Rhode Island. During the march, participants may walk however long they wish, from a single block or the whole distance. The NAACP is looking for participants of all ages, religions, colors, and lifestyles to unite in this cause. Organizers say the event will “address disparities in the criminal justice system and law enforcement policies and procedures.”

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in forming or being part of a seacoast NH team of walkers. librarian@templeisraelnh.org

Lincoln and the Jews at New York Historical Society

New display starting March 20th at the New York Historical Society. Contains many photos and primary sources that exhibit Lincoln’s early support for civil rights for Jewish Americans. Sure, the Civil War was highly economy-driven, but Lincoln’s decisions were clearly influenced by his deep-seated belief in equal treatment for all.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln in 1958, wearing Samuel Alschuler’s velvet trimmed jacket. Alschuler was the Jewish photographer.

An excerpt from guest blogger Harold Holzer at NYHS: “The show reminds visitors that Lincoln made humane decisions when they mattered most. Throughout American history, military chaplains were required to represent some “Christian denomination.” Lincoln advocated for Jewish chaplaincy rights, arguing that Jewish Union soldiers deserved the comforts of religion, and eventually signed the bill extending that right to Jews. He appointed the first Jewish army quartermasters, as well. And when General Ulysses S. Grant issued his infamous “General Order Number 11” expelling all Jews from his vast military command in the West, Lincoln rescinded the command—quietly enough to maintain Grant’s loyalty and morale, but loudly enough so American Jews understood and appreciated his resolve to allow no official discrimination.”

Literary Cookie Cutters

Have you ever wanted to make sweet treats in the shape of Mr. Darcy’s profile? Wouldn’t it be great if you could choose what onomatopoeic phrase you could put on your Amazing Spider-man comic book cookies?  Well, here’s a great list of book-inspired cookie cutters!

Literary cookie cutters

Literary cookie cutters: Harry Potter glasses and &