Book Review: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier


The latest graphic novel from Raina Telgemeier, Ghosts, is the story of Cat and her little sister who has cystic fibrosis. Because of her sister’s health, the family moves from Southern California to the Northern California coast. Cat is unhappy to leave all her friends behind and even less happy to find out the town they have moved to seems to be well-known for its ghosts. What will happen when Cat and her sister meet some ghosts? And how will Cat handle the big Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration? Check out this terrific graphic novel to find out. If you like Raina’s other graphic novels, Smile, Sisters, and Drama, you are sure to enjoy this one as well.

Jenn – Hervey Memorial, Utica

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Hello Friends!

As we progress through winter, and move towards spring, cold or rainy days are a perfect time to visit the library. During your visit be sure to pick up your favorite book, or find a new favorite.  While searching for a book, or during a reading session, practicing good book care is important. The following tips will keep your books neat and tidy:


  • Never write or mark in library books.
  • Use caution when turning pages so that they do not tear or bend.
  • Keep Library books away from drinks and food.
  • Keep books in a special place that is dry, and safe from pets and babies.
  • Wash hands before reading library books.
  • Return books on time, so that everyone has a chance to enjoy your favorite books.
  • Always use a book marker to save your place.



Sometimes accidents happen, and your book may need some repair. If so, just bring the book back to the library, and our staff will fix it using our special materials.


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Tip of the Month: What exactly is the big deal with safety scissors?

It seems counterintuitive to hand a young child a tool that they could hurt themselves with or use to damage items around the house.  While it may be nerve-racking to allow your child to handle scissors, with proper guidance and supervision, scissors activities can become a fun way to make early literacy activities a staple in your household.

There are several types of safety scissors on the market that you can try out with your child.  Most will have a rounded tip with blades that are just sharp enough to cut paper, but not sharp enough to cut skin.  Two brands that have high reviews are Crayola and Westcott.

Research has shown that children should be learning to handle scissors by the age of two to help strengthen and build the fine motor muscles in their hands.  According to occupational therapists, children should roughly follow these benchmarks for scissors skills[1]:

2 years: snip the ends of a piece of paper

2.5 years: cut through a piece of paper

3.0-3.5 years: cut on a ½” darkened line (cannot cut off of the line more than 3 times)

3.5-4.0 years: cut out a circle with darkened lines (has to stay close to the line for ¾ of the circle)

4.5-5.0 years: cut out a square with darkened lines (corners should be sharp)

Scissors help children practice what is known as a tripod grip.  This grip engages the pointer and index fingers along with the thumb.  As children practice this grip, they build the necessary muscle and fine motor control needed for holding and using writing utensils.

Scissors skills are considered an essential skill for kindergarten readiness.  Along with writing, letter recognition and sounds, number recognition and counting, shapes and colors, the use of fine motor skills along with cutting will help your child succeed in their first year in school.

There are several ways to get your child practicing with scissors.  Have children practice snipping play dough or modeling clay to practice their tripod grips before moving on to paper.  Once they are comfortable holding and manipulating scissors, move on to activity pages that encourage cutting through lines.  Make it a fun activity that you do together.  Modeling the tripod grip and correct scissors skills for your child is very important to help them see and understand how scissors are supposed to work.

[1] Wiggins, Kimberly. “Scissors and Your Child.” G&E Therapies. (accessed January 24, 2017).


For additional information on this topic please reference the following articles:

Scissor Cutting Skills

Developmental Milestone: 13 Ways To Teach Kids How To Use Scissors

Teaching Preschoolers To Use Scissors

5 Easy Ways To Introduce Scissors Skills To Toddlers

Scissors And Your Child

Scissors Skills



Main Library

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Toddler Science

A brand new toddler program is on the way– Toddler Science!

Think magnification.  Think test tubes and concoctions.  But, first and foremost, think curiousity!  Get ready for fun and exploration in this new program designed with toddlers in mind.  It all begins on March 23rd at 10 AM!

P. S. If you have particular objects you like to investigate (especially objects found outdoors like acorns or leaves…), bring them along for a closer look.

This program is for ages 2-4.  Registration required.

-Kathy @ Main

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Book Review: Snow White by Matt Phelan


Snow White by Matt Phelan is a retelling of the classic fairy tale set during the Great Depression. It starts out before the Great Depression with the loss of Samantha White’s mother to illness. Years later when her father marries the Queen of the Ziegfeld Follies, Samantha, called Snow by her parents, is sent away to school. Instead of a magic mirror, the queen is given advice by a ticker tape machine. Snow’s little heroes are orphans of the streets of New York. A wonderful retelling with a little historical fiction on the side to possibly inspire kids to learn more about the Great Depression and the Ziegfeld Follies.

Jenn – Hervey Memorial, Utica

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We Drum A Lot

wedalDid you know that besides being fun, group drumming can improve your immune system, reduce stress and keep kids in school? It’s true according to research done by REMO (a drum head manufacturer) on their HealthRHYTHMS program.

Monday, January 23 from 4:30-5:30 children in 3rd-6th grades can experience the benefits of group drumming. Jesse Douglas will be leading a group drumming session at the Main Library in the Story Time Room. Jesse has 30+ years of drumming experience (including REMO HealthRHYTHMS) and has developed his own unique group drumming method, We Drum A Lot. Children will learn basic drumming rhythms and have fun making noise! It is a unique experience with lifelong benefits.

*Please register for this event.

Meghan, Main Library

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Winterball for Princes and Princesses

Image result for disney princess moanaImage result for disney princes

Hear ye! Hear ye! Calling all Princes and Princesses! Come to the Grand Winterball where we will dance, do some crafts, play games and have light refreshments. This program is for children ages 3-12. Please feel free to dress up in your best Prince/Princess outfits! Registration is required. You can register here!




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Tip of the Month: An easy way to include early literacy skills in your everyday life

Developing fine motor skills in your hands is essential to learning to write.  What are fine motor skills, you ask?  An easy way that I remember the difference between gross motor skills (the large muscle groups that control crawling, walking, dancing, jumping, etc.) and fine motor skills (the small muscles that allow us to grip pencils, pinch with our index finger and thumb, and use scissors) is that fine motor skills need a lot of finger finesse.  When thinking of fine motor skills remember the fingers.

Encourage your pre-writer to practice finger finesse skills by providing different mediums to experiment with such as shaving cream, salt, bird seed, sand, or any other material that is easily manipulated and then reformed. When using sand, salt, or any material similar, place it in a tray to contain it.

Print out large practice letters to help your pre-writer visualize what they will be writing.  Have your pre-writers practice with both their pointer fingers and a utensil such as a paintbrush to mimic holding a pencil.
Both motions use different fine motor groups that are essential to writing.


Remember this activity is a fun and engaging way for early literacy skills to become a habit in your

home.  Don’t take it too seriously, and let the play guide the practice.  The more fun your img_8844pre-writer has with this activity, the more likely they are to want to repeat it.  It is alright if they are not forming letters, or they are not making them “right.” Model correct letter formation with them, and allow them the freedom to explore with these fun materials.  The purpose of this activity is strengthening fine motor skills that will allow them to learn to write with better confidence.

Have fun with this, and please remember to let us know if you try this skill at home.  We love to hear your feedback.


For more information on this topic please consult the following articles:

Help Your Child Build Fine Motor Skills

Developing Motor Skills

Understanding Physical Development in Preschoolers

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Noon Year’s Eve!

Image result for noon year's eveThere will not be a story time on Saturday December 31st. The final Saturday of the year will be celebrated with a Noon Year’s Eve celebration! This family friendly program is a way to ring in the new year! Adults get all the fun at midnight, how about the kids?! We will have a count down, crafts, music, light refreshments and of course, a ball(oon) drop at Noon! The festivities will start at 11:30 AM at Main Library! If you have any questions, please contact us at the Main Library.




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Winter Fun Indoors



When you are stuck indoors because of blustery winter winds this season, why not find a cheery DIY project pass the time in a fun, crafty way?  Or maybe attempt a tried-and-true, yummy cookie recipe?

Well, we have a couple of zesty suggestions: orange and clove pomanders and lemon Christmas tree or orange cookies.

The best pomander instructions we’ve come across can be found on this website-


And Liz, in the Children’s Department, shared the two awesome family citrus cookie recipes listed below:


Granny’s Christmas Tree Cookies


  • 6 Tablespoons butter + 6 Tablespoons of shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon lemon flavoring or 1 teaspoon vanilla (the lemon is what makes this recipe, though!)
  • 2 ½ cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt1.
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix well the shortening and butter; add sugar, eggs, and lemon flavoring.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. When combined, add to the egg mixture.
  4. Chill the batter for at least an hour.
  5. Once chilled, roll out onto floured board and sprinkle flour on top; coat rolling pin with flour. Roll out until about an inch think, and cut out cookies using a cookie cutter. Repeat as many times as needed.
  6. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 6-8 minutes, or until edges are just brown.
  7. Decorate cooled cookie with your favorite type of icing and sprinkles!


Granny’s Orange Cookies


  • 5 cups sifted flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 oranges, juiced = 1 ½ cups liquid (use as much orange juice as you can get out of the oranges and make up the difference with either frozen orange juice, or milk with orange extract mixed in)


  1. In your largest bowl, cream together shortening and sugar, then add the eggs.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.
  3. Pour liquids (orange juice/mix) into a separate third bowl.
  4. Alternate adding the liquid mix and flour mixture to the eggs mixture.  (For example: add a third of the flour mixture, stir, then add a third of the liquid mix, stir. Repeat…etc.)
  5. Once batter is combined, drop spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet (cookies don’t have to be perfectly round!)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes, or until edges are golden-brown.
  7. To make the icing combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk and a teaspoon of orange extract or juice (if desired). Grate the rind of one of the oranges into the icing. Ice cookies once they are completely cooled.


Happy Holidays!

Kathy, Main Library


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