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Learn a new language with Mango system

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to learn a new language, the Roswell Public Library is a great place to start!

The library offers a free language-learning system called Mango Languages, which offers more than 70 different languages to learn including English for non-native speakers, Hebrew and Cherokee in addition to French and Spanish and all you need is your library card number. Mango Languages can be found under the “Databases” section of the library’s website and there are also apps available for Android and iOS devices. For more information you can contact the library by calling 575-622-7101, visit us at 301 N. Pennsylvania or the website at roswell-nm.gov/405/Roswell-Public-Library.

Book Talk by Claire Gutierrez
Children’s Librarian

Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal-winning author of “The One and Only Ivan” released a new middle-grade title this past fall that is sure to warm the hearts of young readers and adults alike. At first glance, “Wishtree” is a cute book about trees and anthropomorphic animals, but once you dig a little deeper, it is also an important story about inclusion, acceptance, and community.

“Wishtree” is narrated by an oak tree named Red who has lived for hundreds of years. Red is both wise and silly, often telling corny jokes to its best pal Bongo, a crafty black crow. Red is genderless and for the past several generations has become its neighborhood’s “wishtree,” where every May on Wish Day people throughout the neighborhood gather to tie their “wish” on Red’s branches hoping for it to come true. Some of the wishes are silly, like wishing for chocolate spaghetti, but others need to be heard.

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One day, a new family of three arrives in the home where the wishtree resides. The young daughter Samar is quiet with the look of “someone who has seen too much.” Red and all the animal residents find her peaceful and take a liking to her for her gentle qualities. She comes home crying one day and ties a wish to the tree. Her wish was to have a friend. She has a next-door neighbor named Stephen, but he isn’t allowed to talk to her. On a regular morning after Samar heads to school, an unassuming boy carves a terrible word into the tree. “LEAVE” was carved into Red’s bark in large, scratchy letters. Red explains to the reader that many families of all different backgrounds have lived in the neighborhood and were welcomed with open arms, but Samar’s family is different. Cars drive by with grown men yelling, “Muslims, get out!” as they throw raw eggs at Samar’s house. The family next door refused to welcome them, and Samar is sometimes taunted all the way home.

After seeing the vandalism on the wishtree, Francesca, the landlord over Samar’s house, vows she will have the tree cut down after Wish Day. But Red has a passion for life, so he and his friends hatch a plan to make Samar’s wish come true before Red is cut down. In doing so, they discover a lost secret that will change the lives of those in the neighborhood.

“Wishtree” is a beautifully written, middle-grade novel which can be enjoyed by both young and old. It is a quick read at 224 pages, sure to leave its readers smiling and perhaps wiping a quick tear from their eyes, and will hopefully instill an important message to all about inclusion and what it means to be a real community and a real friend. Highly recommended for all middle-grade readers. Find this title in the Children’s Fiction section.

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