By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Each October, a plethora of children head to their local library to participate in autumn-themed activities. One of my favorite activities as a reporter is covering these seasonal events; each one brings a unique quality to the festivities. The creative activities mixed with a bit of childhood nostalgia always makes me smile, even after the toughest of days.
This year, though, presents a unique challenge for local librarians. Most libraries remain closed and their dedicated staffs are doing their best to adapt some of the fan-favorite seasonal activities to Zoom. On Friday, October 16, the Sherborn Public Library Children’s Librarian Cheryl Ouellette took on the challenge and took "Storytime about Falling Leaves” to Zoom.
Ouellette kicked off with an opening song before transitioning to the first book of the event. Ouellette read "Fall Leaves Fall!" by Zoe Hall. The other attendees and I listened to the story about two kids and their favorite activities during the fall. Like the characters in the book, I remember drinking cups of apple cider and eating sugar cookies that my mom only made for the season.
After finishing the book, Ouellette introduced the audience to another tune. Keeping with the leaf theme, the song was called “Five Golden Leaves.” Each verse came with its own unique added sound effect that mimicked the wind blowing or the leaves shaking. I watched as some of the kids listening counted on their hands. With each verse, I felt myself ease up a little bit more. I was relaxing in my office chair by the end.
Ouellette’s next book choice was “Mouse’s First Fall,” by Lauren Thompson. The story is about two mice who find fun in the autumn. They observe all the leaves falling and have fun making leaf piles. As I listened, I recalled watching the leaves change color as a child, and forming giant leaf piles with my brothers to jump in, all while my mom watched on in case one of us got hurt.
By “Five Little Pumpkins,” I was the most relaxed I had been in over a month. Seriously - sing some of your favorite seasonally-themed childhood tunes. During the song, Ouellette used her fingers to represent each of the pumpkins and their respective lyric lines. “Let’s put it all together and if you want to try, it give it a try,” said Ouellette, while the audience joined her in a harmonized rendition of the tune.
It is disappointing that library favorites, like this festive seasonal story hour, have been moved to Zoom in this moment of pandemic. Credit is due to Cheryl Ouellette and the Sherborn Library for ensuring that the activity remained just as fun and relaxing as ever. Even over Zoom, these activities still keep kids just as busy, and reporters just as entertained, as they do in person.