Building a Better World: Literature Inspires Service
By Jane Manners
This summer, libraries across the country have the opportunity to promote the idea of building a better world. Here at Southport’s Pequot Library, we see this theme through the lens of building a stronger community with acts of service and charitable work, both locally and globally. Our summer programs — rich in music, art and service — not only reflect this perspective, but are also lots of fun!
Pequot’s Build a Better World Summer Reading Program begins June 9 at our Annual Potluck Dinner, a community effort, where children, up to and including 12th grade, can sign up and start reading! Also in June, children can take part in various week-long art workshops where they’ll learn fine art techniques, study landscape and still life drawing, and discover modern artists such as Matisse, Miro and Monet.
July brings a new program aptly titled Summer Service Workshop that teaches kids the value of service to others through stories, games and projects. Children will discover that they have the power to make a difference in their local and global communities with small acts of kindness.
The following month, the musical duo Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, also known as Hungrytown, head down from the green hills of Vermont to share their acoustic-based folk music on August 29. Admission is free, but we ask all listeners to bring a canned good to donate to our local food pantry.
Bringing art, literature and music to children encourages self-expression, broadens their perspective and keeps them on a steady and ever-enriching path to building a better world. Here is a mere sampling of Pequot’s children’s book collection: exceptional books that explore community service and kindness for young readers.
Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree, written and illustrated by Naoko Stoop; Ages 3 to 6.
What do you do with a hollowed-out nook in a tree? Well, if you’re Red Knit Cap Girl, you put the book you’re reading in the nook to share with others. Soon all the animals of the forest want to share, too.
Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf by Olivia Bouler; Ages 3 to 9.
Written by an 11-year-old artist and wildlife advocate, Olivia’s Birds sets out to educate young readers about all kinds of birds and the dangers many species face. The young author has drawn more than 120 species of birds, many on display in the pages of this book. Readers will be inspired by what one young girl can do to make a big impact on animal welfare.
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport; Ages 4 to 8.
Life has given Ada and her town of Cateura garbage — lots of it. Fifteen hundred tons
every day! Living in a slum filled with trash leaves its neglected inhabitants utterly empty. But all that changes when Favio Chavez comes to offer music lessons to the children. What happens then, in this true story, is simply remarkable!
The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen, Illustrated by Elaine Greenstein; Ages 6 and up.
One winter day, old Sarah watches children build a snowman outside her house. One boy stands apart, his hands pulled up inside the sleeves of his coat. The boy has no mittens! Old Sarah can solve this problem with a pair of knitting needles. Sarah’s gift-giving multiplies, and her mittens cover the branches of a blue spruce tree. Soon it’s time for the gift receivers to give back.
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, Illustrated by Judy Pedersen;
One by one, a diverse community in Cleveland comes together to plant a garden in a vacant lot, transforming their neighborhood and themselves in the process.
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen; Ages 10 and up.
When Roy moves to Coconut Grove, Florida, he befriends Mullet Fingers. Together, the boys set out to prevent a popular pancake-house franchise from building a restaurant that would kill a nest of endangered owls.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar; Ages 10 and up.
Marshall and Tamaya tackle bullying and a biological catastrophe in Louis Sachar’s latest novel. As a bully chases the two friends through the woods, Tamaya picks up some fuzzy mud from the ground and flings it back at him, initiating a chain of events that reveal this fuzzy mud may be more sinister than it appears.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio; Ages 8 to 12.
Auggie Pullman’s facial deformity has kept him isolated from the outside world, until his parents decide that it’s time for him to attend school in the fifth grade. At Beecher Prep, Auggie is ostracized for his different appearance, but gradually he makes friends and finds acceptance.
The Pequot Library is located at 720 Pequot Avenue. For more information, please visit our calendar of events at pequotlibrary.org. Happy Reading!
Jane Manners is the Children’s Librarian at the Pequot Library.