What We’re Reading: Inspiring your children to chase new adventures!

whatreading FPL

By Devin Stanley, Youth Librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library

This summer at the Fayetteville Public Library, we’ll be promoting health and fitness as a part of our Summer Reading Club!

We are big believers in using books to inspire children of all ages to learn new activities and explore their surroundings. Each month we add new picture books to our already expansive collection. We picked a few to share with you today that will help get your kids up and moving!

Gator Dad by Brian Lies

“Come on—let’s go! Let’s squeeze the day!” roared Gator Dad to his three slumbering little gators. So starts an adventurous day with an abundant, though fried and fishy breakfast (what else would gators eat?). Throughout the day, Gator Dad will lead his little ones in supermarket competitions, wilderness explorations, and swing-set races to the moon.

This book not only celebrates the many recreational activities to be found outdoors, at home, and even while running errands, but it also celebrates a special figure in a child’s life: Dad. Gator Dad is a great example of showing how the little things in life are made special through time spent with loved ones, as he says, “I’ll be your raft on a sea of grass and a tree for you to climb.”

Brian Lies is the author and illustrator and his use of rich hues and subtle humor will be engaging for ages 2-4. With Father’s Day around the corner, this book is a perfect checkout!

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The Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino

Tina is a cow but not any ordinary, run of the mill, only eat grass and moo kind of cow. No, Tina is an adventurous spirit, determined to make new discoveries and solve the mysteries of her world.

Unlike her normal (and slightly boring) sisters, Tina explores the outdoors daily, and, thanks to her adventuring spirit, she makes an unlikely friend: a red boot wearing, plant eating dragon. Together they make new and exciting discoveries that are depicted in beautiful watercolor shades of red, yellow, and blue that mix together to make all the shades of the rainbow.

Gemma Merino is the author and illustrator. This book is appropriate for ages 3-5 and will inspire readers to independent thinking and outdoor exploration.

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Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook

“High on the clotheslines/ the clues swing and sway/ who uses these things/ for the sports that they play?” Rhyming riddles catch the reader’s attention as they learn about baseball, soccer, tennis, fencing, basketball, football, and archery.

With so many sports to introduce your young child to, this book is a perfect read aloud to start the conversation and encourage them to try something new.

This book is illustrated by Andy Robert Davies. His use of bright colors with simple, clean edges is perfect for ages 2-5.

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Devin headshot, croppedDevin Stanley has been a youth services librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library for four years. She designs and leads programs for all ages including story time for toddlers and babies, as well as STEM oriented workshops for elementary and teen students.

  She develops three juvenile collections – parenting, easy reader, and world languages; assists in developing picture books, juvenile film, and the read aloud section; coordinates the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, facilitates the introductory volunteer program called 7Ups!, and runs the Homework Helpers afterschool tutoring program.

Devin has worked at the Fayetteville Public Library since the age of 14 and considers the library her second home. She shelved recently returned books and worked the circulation desk for six years before moving to the youth services department and obtaining her Master’s in Library Science and Information Studies.

Event: Summer reading program to kick off at the Fayetteville Public Library!


The Fayetteville Public Library’s Summer Reading Club kick-off party will be Saturday, June 4!

This gonna be FUN! Drop in anytime between 10 am and 1 pm and help FPL kick off the annual summer reading program. Enjoy bounce houses, a photo booth, face painting, balloons, temporary airbrush tattoos, snow cones and more!

FPL ad, Summer Camp GuideOf course, while you’re there, be sure to sign up for the Summer Reading Club. The SRC is for:

If you read more books, there are more chances to win small — and big — prizes! Of course, reading is its own reward, but it never hurts to have a little incentive, right?

What We’re Reading: Best Fairy Tales with a little Twist

whatreading FPL

By Alyson Low, Youth Services, Fayetteville Public Library

Hello, readers. Today, I thought we could have some Fractured Fairy Tale Fun…

Once upon a time, a merry band of authors resolved to take up the charge of turning traditional fairy tales on their heads, accomplishing the feat to very jolly effect. Dukes and duchesses, counts and countesses were delighted with the stories and clamored for more. The warriors of the written word dedicated themselves to answering this call, and all was well in every kingdom across the land…

In Beware of the Bears, Mama, Papa, and Baby Bear attempt to turn the tables on the intrusive Goldilocks by letting themselves into what they believe is her home and creating comedic chaos. They are quite pleased with themselves until she has some unexpected news for them upon her return. Kids will love that the parents behave badly, flinging cereal across the room and jumping on the couch!

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Waking Beauty is the story of a bumbling Prince Charming who, despite very obvious clues from the three fairies, cannot figure out how to wake Sleeping Beauty. His efforts are hilarious flops, and when he does get it right, he’s “rewarded” in an unexpected way. This is a great book for reading aloud as kiddos will quickly pick up on the repetition of “kiss” and say it with greater exasperation each time the prince fails to grasp what he must do to rouse the drowsy girl.


Falling for Rapunzel is also about missing the point, but this time, it’s the damsel in distress who is clueless. Not quite hearing what her handsome suitor is asking, Rapunzel tosses down everything except for her golden tresses – underwear, socks, a pig, a cantaloupe, etc. Kids will love the silly illustrations, especially the horse wearing a pair of frilly bloomers on its head, and there is some clever wordplay adults will enjoy.


With all things princess still trending, these books will be popular at bedtime and work well for a story time at themed birthday parties and sleepovers, also. They promise gales of giggles from little ladies – and little lords, too!

More of Alyson’s recommended fractured fairy tales:

  • Goldilocks and the Three Martians
  • Ninja Red Riding Hood
  • The Princess and the Pizza
  • The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig

Alyson, croppedABOUT ALYSON: Alyson Low has been a youth services librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library for nine years. She designs and leads story times for toddlers and preschoolers; develops four juvenile collections –nonfiction, graphic novels, easy readers, and read-alongs; writes book reviews for School Library Journal; coordinates Sit Stay Read – FPL’s reading program with therapy dogs, and teaches after-school and summer writing classes for 3rd-12th grades. Prior to working at FPL, she was an eighth grade English teacher for nine years.


What We’re Reading: Pansy and the Promise

Happy Wednesday, mamas!

If you’re looking for a great book that you AND your kids can read, we’ve got a good one for you. Pansy and the Promise, by Stanley Ross Rule, is based on real stories about a young girl living and traveling in the Old West. (Full disclosure: The girl written about in the book, Pansy, happens to be my great-grandmother, who I never had the chance to meet.)

What we love about this book is how it combines reading with history and spiritual encouragement. Many home-school moms are using it as history lessons. (If you’d like to do the same, you can download vocabulary lists pansy and the promise325and lesson plans for free at the author’s website: www.pansyandthepromise.com.)

It’s perfect for anyone who loves the Little House on the Prairie series. You can get the book at any online bookseller. Click HERE to read more about the book on Amazon.

Here’s a little more info about what you’ll find inside:

Pansy and the Promise is a book for children based on true-life stories told by the author’s grandmother. This historical fiction gives young readers an exciting glimpse of life, faith, and courage in the latter days of the Old West. It’s written for young minds to easily capture the concept of God’s grace in a story of adventure, mystery, and surprise.

Pansy grew up in a log cabin ranch house in New Mexico in the late 1800s. Anticipation filled the cabin when Papa announced that the family would be taking a trip by covered wagon to Galveston, Texas. Every night along the trail, Papa and Mama Hunt shared campfire stories with Pansy about exciting adventures in the lives of her remarkable family. She learned she had a rich heritage of trusting God in some impossible circumstances.

Read the story of her Great-Grandmother Nancy being rescued from a warring tribe of Indians and how God provided for her Aunt Virginia in the middle of a great drought. These tales combined with her own adventures along the trail help her to spiritually understand how God has promised “to never leave or forsake us.”

Pansy and the Promise encourages a child to appreciate life and embrace faith. The book is being used in faith-based school classrooms to lead children into discussions about faith, forgiveness, perseverance, and kindness.


Guest Post: Three easy ways to support your friend diagnosed with cancer

By Marissa Henley, local cancer survivor and author of Loving Your Friend Through Cancer

Has this happened to you? Your phone buzzes, and you look down to see a call from a friend who’s expecting biopsy results.

The minute you hear her voice, you know: it’s cancer.

As you process your shock, sadness and fear, you wonder how you should walk this road with your friend. How will you support her as she endures treatment and survivorship? How will you avoid doing or saying the wrong thing? What does she need most?

loving your friend through cancer, marissa henleyI’ve gotten that phone call from a friend. I’ve also been the tearful voice on the other end of the line. In October 2010, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called angiosarcoma.

I endured several months of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, most of which took place at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. My besties kept my household running, meals showed up three times a week, and the prayers of thousands encouraged and sustained me.

I wish every cancer-fighter could feel as loved and supported as I was. But too often, friends lack confidence and hesitate to reach out with supportive words and actions. If you haven’t already had a friend face cancer, it’s likely you will.

When that phone call comes, here are three simple ways to love your friend through cancer:

1. Don’t just “like” her updates—leave a comment.

Does your friend post online updates to a blog or social media site? You could “like” her post (and please do!), but she won’t be certain you actually read it. Commenting on her updates is a simple way to show support and doesn’t require her to respond.

Writing a comment can feel risky if you don’t know what to say. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Short comments are fine!
  • Keep your comments about her, not about you. This isn’t the time to tell her how upset you are about her illness.
  • Acknowledge what’s happening: “I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been feeling sick lately!”
  • Let her know you care: “I’m praying for you and your family.”

2. Make specific offers of help and let her tell you “no.”

Your friend with cancer will hear this over and over again: “Let me know how I can help!” She knows many of these offers come from a sincere desire to serve; others are flippant words spoken by someone who doesn’t know what else to say.

You can prove your sincerity by making your offer as specific as possible. Think about where your lives intersect and how you can help.

  • Do you drive by her child’s preschool on your way to work? Are your kids on the same soccer team? You could offer to give her child a ride.
  • Do you have a specific pocket of free time each week when you could commit to serving her? Ask what she needs during that time—offer to clean her house or take her to run errands if she’s unable to drive.
  • Are you a terrible cook with terrific technological skills? Offer to set up a master meal calendar and then sign yourself up to bring her take-out!

Once you’ve made your offer, let her tell you “no.” She may not be ready to accept help. She may be clinging to as much normalcy as possible, for herself or for her kids. If she turns you down, tell her you’ll check in with her again in a few weeks to see if things have changed. Make a note to follow up later with another specific offer.

3. Let her know you’re with her for the long haul. 

After my diagnosis, I kept apologizing to my friends. The next several months would be difficult for them, and I hated that reality.

One of my friends finally sat me down and said: “Marissa, you say this is an assignment from the Lord. Well, He didn’t give this assignment only to you. He gave it to us as well.”

Because of her comment and many others, I knew my friends were with me for the long haul, no matter what. I didn’t have to worry that when the newness of my crisis wore off, they would move on.

You can love your friend through cancer by repeatedly letting her know you’re with her. Text her and say, “You’re not alone in this! I’m praying for you.” Let her know you’re by her side for as long as she needs you. Even if her treatment is brief, she will need emotional support as a survivor, too.

Your friend needs your compassionate support. Show her your concern by responding to her updates. Make specific offers and act on them if she accepts. And be a friend she can rely on for as long as it takes.

Marissa Henley headshotMore about Marissa: Marissa Henley, author of Loving Your Friend Through Cancer, is a follower of Christ, wife, mom, and cancer survivor who writes about faith, friendship, and cancer at www.marissahenley.com. Most days, you’ll find her drinking a latte while shuttling her three kids around in a minivan, wondering if the dog will ever learn to stay and if she’ll ever love cooking as much as her husband loves eating.