My KDL Story: Newman Family

"We really leaned on the library this summer. It has always been such a great resource.
I don't know what we would do without the library in our small community..."

Newman FamilyCassandra Newman and her family were having a rough summer.

After the loss of their beloved dog, Max, a 5-year-old English mastiff, Cassie turned to the Spencer Township branch in search of books to help her two daughters, Matison, 5; and Avah, 3.

"Matison knew Max was sick, so I think she was OK with it, for the most part," Cassie said. "But Avah had no idea what was going on. After he died, Avah would always ask, 'Mom, where's Max?' no matter how many times I'd already explained he was in heaven."

Library Assistant Robin Darling's first recommendation was one of her personal favorites: The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst.

Added to the family's stress: Matison had just started kindergarten. Robin recommended books from the branch's Easy Coping series about riding the bus, sharing with other students, meeting the teacher. She didn't mention whether book topics included separation anxiety — on Mom's part.

"I think (the books) might've been more for me than Matison," Cassie admitted.

Shortly afterward, Cassie learned her husband, Jacob, a corporal in the Michigan National Guard, was being deployed to Afghanistan. "How do you explain to a 5- and a 3-year-old what a deployment is?" Cassie said. "I had no idea what to say."

Robin put on her sleuth hat and used KDL's software search superhero, Millennium, to come up with recommendations. Cassie has now read several with her daughters.

One book suggested getting a globe so children can always "locate" their deployed parent, and making a "Daddy box" to fill with projects he can peruse when he returns home. The Newman girls also created a "countdown candy jar," where a piece of candy is removed each day until they know it’s time to go to the airport.

"We really leaned on the library this summer," Cassie said. "It has always been such a great resource. I don't know what we would do without the library in our small community."


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