Between the Lines December 2023: Positivity, fables, donations, and more!

Welcome, to Between the Lines!

Welcome to Between the Lines! Each month you will discover new themes and adventures as you complete reading challenges and beyond the book activities for grades K to 8. Track your reading for each challenge using the Beanstack App. Complete all 4 reading challenges for the month and you’ll have the chance to win a prize! Each month you can also submit your reading log for the chance to recommend your favourite book to other library customers with our Between the Lines bookmark!

Post your Between the Lines reading and adventure challenges on social media with the hashtag #MPLBTL to help other library users join in the fun. 

Let the reading adventure start now!


December Reading Challenges


1. Read a book with a positive message

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, it can seem hard to find the light. It’s time to get into a book with a great message! Reading feel-good stories can help you feel happier and less alone, plus they put you in a great mood! That’s why a lot of books have happy endings so that when you put them down, the positive feelings stay with you! Try a feel-good book for your next read and feel happy long after the last page!

Reading List: Great Books with Great Messages, opens a new window

Reading List: Picture Books with Great Messages, opens a new window


2. Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title

With the long nights in winter, it’s no wonder that so many celebrations this time of year recognize finding light in the darkness. Holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas mark the days or events with the lighting of a candle. Darkness and light are important themes of many of our favourite stories and characters: we need both parts to see a complete picture. Read a book with the words “Light” or “Dark” in the title and see what you discover!

Reading list: Light and Dark - Books for Kids, opens a new window


3. Read a fairytale or fable

Dragons, princesses, and knights, oh my! Fairytales and fables are timeless and feature stories, themes and many characters that we have come to know and love. Some famous Disney characters such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel are from fairytales. The Grimm brothers recorded fairytales and fables throughout their travels in Germany. Did you know that The Grimm Brothers published their first book, called Children’s and Household Tales on December 20, 1812? Who is your favourite Disney character (e.g. princess, hero, etc.) and are they from a fairytale or fable?

Reading list: Fairytales, Myths and Legends from Around the World, opens a new window


4. Read a short story (or a book of short stories)

The Shortest Day of the year is December 21 (with just under 9 hours of daylight) and we're celebrating by reading some fun and action-packed short stories! Short stories can create huge worlds and memorable characters in the span of a few pages. Sometimes it's not about the size or length of the book, but what's inside of it. As Walt Disney said, “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island.” Read your favourite short-story or read a short story that you have always wanted to read!

Reading List: Read a short story, opens a new window


Beyond Books Challenges


1. Donate a food item or toy to a charity

‘Tis the season for giving! When we share what we have, we acknowledge that others don’t necessarily have the same privileges we are granted. For this challenge, we ask you to donate a food item or a toy to a charity of your choice. Before giving, lots of charities have a list of what is acceptable (such as clean, well-kept items), and what is not (such as damaged items), listed on their website or at their location. Can’t send items, or drive too far out? Try visiting local community spaces for donation boxes! Don’t forget to ask your friends and family to see if they would also like to donate. Even your school may have a food or toy drive available. Let your heart grow three sizes this end of year and spread acts of kindness for all to hear!


2. Attend a winter break event at MPL or the City


Did you know that MPL and the City of Markham are having a wide variety of programs from December 27th to January 5th? How cool is that?! During the winter break, it can be nice to sit back and relax, but it's even more fun to go on an adventure and explore what your city has to offer! Use this time to take yourself on an adventure and slide yourself into action by attending a winter break program or event in Markham or at MPL. We hope to see you there!

Reading List: Winter activities for kids and families, opens a new window


3. Do a crossword puzzle (or any puzzle)

Hm, what’s a nine letter word that’s a popular word game, consisting of black and white squares? Oh yes! C-R-O-S-S-W-O-R-D! Crossword Puzzle Day is December 21st, which celebrates the first crossword puzzle being published in 1913 (exactly 110 years ago)! When you work on a crossword puzzle, you can improve your memory and thinking skills, reduce stress, increase your vocabulary, and expand your world knowledge with facts and trivia! For this day, complete a crossword puzzle (or any puzzle) that you can find in newspapers, online, or even a crossword puzzles book. Don’t worry, you can ask a friend or family member for help! Down or across, we’re sure you’ll get them all!


Featured Markham Public Library Online Resource: World Book Activity Corner


Looking for some ideas to keep your family busy this winter? This hidden gem is a great resource for thousands of different crafts and activities for all ages. You can search by age range, type of activity, themes/celebrations and even the length of time it takes to complete. Each activity or craft includes step-by-step instructions. 

World Book is a publisher that has been publishing encyclopedias since 1917. They have many great online resources, like Activity Corner, that you can access with your library card. Find their main page here, and here are links to all of their other great databases: World Book Kids; World Book Discover; World Book Student; World Book Wizard; World Book Advanced; World Book Reader; World Book Timelines. Explore them all today!

There are even more online resources for children to explore under the “For Kids” section of our Online Resources page.



Markham Public Library Programming

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