The holiday season is a particularly bountiful time of year for sharing stories with children. There are so many beautiful children’s books about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more – and reading stories with children is a wonderful way to keep family traditions alive and build new ones. When my own children were young we started a family tradition of keeping a basket of Christmas books on the hearth in December, inspired by childhood memories of my dad reading aloud from The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. That book was the first one I put in the hearth basket, and each year my children and I would add a book to the basket, so that eventually we could read a book almost every night leading up to the 25th.
The one I love the most is Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. Like Mr. Moore’s well-known tale, this is a story in verse and a bouncy, joyful read-aloud. The story opens with the arrival of a Christmas tree bought by the dapper and wealthy Mr. Willowby, a tree that turns out to be just a bit too tall. When a hasty solution is devised, to the dismay of Mr. Willowby’s butler, readers are treated to a rollicking tale of generosity and gratitude that moves through the snowy countryside surrounding Mr. Willowby’s grand estate and ends up in a surprising place. With charming illustrations and a satisfying ending, this clever story is sure to bring smiles and laughter to your jolly holiday! The hearth basket of books is a tradition that is easily adapted to any of the holidays celebrated at this time of year. For inspiration, visit the Children’s Room at Rogers Free Library, or try a Keyword search of our online catalog for holiday-themed books and request they be sent to RFL for easy pickup! – Kristen Q.
Recommendation by Katie
If there is only one thing that readers take away from my review, let it be this:
This is essentially what the big Oscar-bait film boils down to, but it is so much more about the nuanced journey than the destination. Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz feature in this jet black loosely historical comedy based on the reign and life of Queen Anne. During the midst of war with France, all the ailing monarch can focus on is her own pain and pleasure. Every person that serves her from the lowest chambermaid to the nobility clamors for her attention. The favor of the queen is the most valuable asset a person can claim, even if it is fleeting.
Abigail Hill (Stone) comes to court a destitute young maid who was gambled away by her father. Wide-eyed and covered in filth, she stumbles into this grandiose world with only her naive charm and a seizable bag of ambition. Abigail lies in wait surveying the politics of her new habitat and observes the massive influence that her cousin Sarah Churchill (Yes, that Churchill) has over Anne. Anne is a terrible Queen. She has the most mercurial temper, she is very self conscious, and she would prefer the company of her 17 rabbits to affairs of state. Lady Sarah (Weisz) is Anne’s lover and more importantly the woman behind the woman. As the queen’s favorite she is given unparalleled influence and effectively rules the country. Abigail wants that power and the course of this movie is the rabbit race for supremacy.
This movie is exceptional. Even though there are a lot of dramatic moments throughout I found myself laughing uncontrollably. Having watched three Yorgos Lanthimos films, the absurdist and often unnatural-sounding dialogue works really well as a source of comedy. This is what I think makes The Favourite and The Lobster enjoyable when I found The Killing of a Sacred Deer painful to sit through.
Despite how much I have been propping up the comedic aspects of this film, it also has some jarring moments of pathos. Even though all of these people are terrible and weird, the acting of the three brilliant leads causes you to root for them both as flawed individuals and as couples. (Team Sarah!!!!) The Favourite made me reflect on the nature of love. Sarah is not frost-cold and unfeeling toward Anne, but she does have to be the heavy a lot of the time and tell her when her makeup looks terrible or not to overindulge in sweets. Abigail is superficially more kind to Anne but everything she does has an ulterior motive. Will honesty and sense win the day or will Anne be blind to Abigail’s flattery?
I’m Ann Kathrin (Uhn-kah-treen). I recently relocated to the US from Berlin, Germany. It isn’t a coincidence that my work has been centered on the written word in some form or other, from lettering comics to casting actors to translating and editing screenplays. I am taken by the art of storytelling.
But just because I’m a bookworm and a film buff, doesn’t mean I’m a couch potato. I’m an avid walker, biker and yogi. I also started playing on a softball team this past summer and went rowing for the first time the other day on the East Bay (so much fun!).
I’ve been at the Bristol library for close to three months now and feel like I’ve hit the jackpot: I get to be surrounded by books and films and also be part of a friendly and vibrant community. Thank you to my colleagues and patrons for the warm welcome. If you need a foreign movie tip, would like to brush up on your German or just feel like sharing a good read, please always feel free to stop by the circulation desk and say hello.
by Dinah Fried
I LOVE this book!!!! If you are a fanatic about classics and art then you will certainly enjoy this. Artist, RISD grad and now author Dinah Fried opens the book with her memories of reading the classics like Heidi, Lolita and Moby Dick. One of the more significant parts of these books though, for her, were the meals! Some of us might not think twice about that! Fried uses her talents as an artist to recreate some of the meals she read about and then photograph them. These meals are carefully curated and include a small excerpt from the story about the food along with some helpful and fun footnotes. It’s something book nerds and foodies can rejoice about! – Kristin
There is nothing worse than waiting a week for a good book, coming here to pick it up, only to find you accidentally ordered the movie or cliff notes. Let us help you with that. When you are searching our catalog for say, Where the Crawdads Sing, you may find yourself with a long list of items to choose from. The fastest way to work with this list is to filter it by type using the bar on the top right of the search:
You can filter your search by adult, children, teen, magazines, large print, graphic novel or even by library branch!
If that doesn’t work for you, each list has an icon directly to the left of the item. Look carefully at each icon:
Each icon is clearly labeled, which is a great help!
We hope this helps you master the art of searching the catalog!
How Can I Encourage My Child to Jump into Summer Reading?
Did you know, a great way to support your child’s summer reading practice is to let them choose their own books? Children and teens who choose their own books are more likely to find books they love, and people who read books they love are more likely to become lifelong readers.
We have a marvelous universe of books available for summer reading in the Children’s Room at RFL! Browse our picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter book series, and top-notch fiction and nonfiction books. Need a launchpad, a place to start? Look for our READ MORE Rhode Island Children’s Book Award displays. The RICBA is a children’s choice award. Each year students in grades 3 to 5 vote on their favorite book from a ballot of 20 selections nominated by a panel of librarians, reading specialists and teachers. Likewise, the Rhode Island Middle School Book Award winner is chosen each year by students in grades 6 to 8. So, if we’ve marked a book with a RIMSBA sticker or RICBA sticker, you’ll know it’s a stellar choice for summer reading!
And if you really don’t know where to start, our library staff can recommend excellent books and proven authors for kids who would rather do anything other than read this summer – and for kids who would rather read than do anything else!
Big thanks to staff member Kristen Q for this great advice!