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Nov. 29, 2020

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Check It Out: 7 observances in September inspire this reading list

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Guess what? It’s still September…yay! I haven’t yet lost that loving feeling for September, so I’m devoting this column to some of the lesser known national and international celebrations taking place this month. I have to admit that it was hard to limit myself to seven observances because there are a gazillion special days, weeks and months. Gazillion is probably an exaggeration, but let me tell you, there are a lot. In fact, I can’t stick to seven because I just know someone would be upset if I didn’t mention International Turkey Vulture Day. And, lo and behold, there is a perfect book to pair with ITVD: “Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird” by Katie Fallon. That’s right, an entire volume devoted to turkey vultures.

I’m also pretty sure there would be disapproving looks if I didn’t remind readers that World Beard Day happens in September. There are so many ways I could go with this: bearded dragons, bearded irises, bearded ladies — there’s even a bearded vulture (I can’t begin to tell you how tickled I am about this). But I decided to go with the true intention of WBD, and single out a picture book about facial hair, “The Lumberjack’s Beard” by Duncan Beedie. When felled trees displace woodland creatures, Big Jim Hickory, the lumberjack, feels really bad. How he helps his new friends is clever and pretty darn sweet.

By the way, I’ve included a cat book in the reading list even though there aren’t any cat-related celebrations in September. I do, however, tie the book to a September celebration. Why did I do this? Because cats.

• National Chicken Month:

“Arithmechicks Add Up: A Math History,” by Ann Marie Stephens.

I like chickens, but I like little fuzzy chicks even more. In this picture book, ten little fuzzy chicks are not only cute but smart. Smart enough to do math and add a new friend while doing addition. No “cheep” tricks here.

• National Love People Day:

“Before You,” by Rebecca Doughty.

I know it’s difficult, if not impossible, to love all people. So, I think it’s OK to call this National Love Some People Day. One way to celebrate this slightly revised observance is to read this lovely picture book. Rebecca Doughty’s simple yet powerful story perfectly expresses the feelings that happen when we love someone. From “I was a polka with no dot,” to “You put the cozy in the nook,” this is a book to share with anyone you love.

• National Courtesy Month:

“Fergal and the Bad Temper,” by Robert Starling.

Fergal is a young dragon. Sometimes Fergal loses his temper, especially when he’s told to do something he doesn’t want to do — such as eating his vegetables or playing the goalie during soccer. Being a fire-breathing dragon has its disadvantages when it comes to feeling mad because, you know, fire. When Fergal’s friends get fed up with having their things burnt to a crisp, he has to learn how to keep his cool. Young humans may not breathe fire, but they do have tempers, so check out this book to help them relate with Fergal as well as learn ways to redirect fiery emotions.

• National Potato Month:

“I’m a Baked Potato!” by Elise Primavera.

I LOVE potatoes. Baked, fried, boiled, sliced, diced, shredded, it doesn’t matter, I’ll eat them up. But what if a baked potato is actually a dog? Read this story about a pup trying to figure out if he’s a groundhog, bunny rabbit or a baked potato, and I’ll bet you’ll want to eat him up, too.

• National Farm Animals Awareness Week:

“Once Upon a Goat,” by Dan Richards.

Hand me a book about a goat and I’m a happy camper. “Once upon a Goat” is no exception. In fact, this story about a king and a queen who ask a fairy godmother to give them a child and instead get a baby goat is so adorable that I wish I could ask a fairy godmother for the same thing. Or would that be a fairy goatmother?

• National Wildlife Day:

“Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet,” by Sara O’Leary.

Why is this alphabet book “unusual?” It includes every letter from A to Z, so that’s not unusual. Each letter is represented by an animal, so nope, that’s not unusual either. Well, I’ll tell you why this is an unusual alphabet book: dragons cry at happy endings, and yaks giggle at their own jokes. That’s right, these alphabet animals share some of their deepest secrets … except, of course, the owls.

• World Gratitude Day:

“Tiny but Mighty: Kitten Lady’s Guide to Saving the Most Vulnerable Felines,” by Hannah Rene Shaw.

Many of you who read this column know that I am a certified Crazy Cat Lady. I know that the world is a better place because there are felines, so I choose to observe World Gratitude Day by saying I am grateful for cats. I’m also grateful for people who rescue and help animals including kittens, and that is why Hannah Rene Shaw’s “Tiny but Mighty” is on this list. Full of kitten-friendly information, wonderful stories and super cute photographs, this adult nonfiction book will warm the cockles of your heart, or in my case the tips of my whiskers. Told you I was crazy.