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Wayne Newnam, librarian at Sasebo Naval Base, looks through books aimed at teaching manners to youngsters. Newnam will offer a library program in February challenging kids to read a series of books on the subject.

Wayne Newnam, librarian at Sasebo Naval Base, looks through books aimed at teaching manners to youngsters. Newnam will offer a library program in February challenging kids to read a series of books on the subject. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The base librarian here says part of his job is to encourage young people to read and, he hopes, make it a lifelong habit. If they learn some manners along the way, that’s OK, too.

Librarian Wayne Newnam is challenging 3- to 9-year-olds to read 11 books from Feb. 15-28. Each book is designed to encourage courteous behavior.

Youngsters from 10 to 17 also are being challenged to read 22 books, also focused on manners.

“I’m not doing this because I think kids here have bad manners,” Newnam said. “My primary goal … is simply to encourage young people to read more.”

The books for the younger children, he said, explain why it’s important to share, use the word “please,” admit mistakes and offer apologies. Older students will read about honesty, self-respect, responsibility and tolerance of others, among other topics.

“For the younger children, especially, this will give parents an opportunity to work along with their kids on these subjects,” he said.

The series “Courteous Kids” will be used with the younger children, with each title focusing on a particular aspect of manners. For instance, Newnam said, one book is “Courteous Kids: Sharing” by Janine Amos, published in 2002 by Gareth Stevens Publishing.

The series for older kids is “Character Education.” One of those titles is “Character Education: Responsibility” by Lucia Raatma, published in 2000 by Bridgestone Books, the librarian said.

Participating readers will have cards to be stamped after they complete each book. Those who read the most receive prizes, Newnam said.

“I mainly want them to read, but also, hopefully, when they are older and out on their own they’ll have already learned these lessons,” he said.

Call the library at DSN 252-3593 for more information.


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