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> SOMETHING TO READ

"Sign Language" by Amy Ackley; Viking, $16.99.

Twelve-year-old Abby North is an only child but she's been best friends forever with her neighbor Spence. And Abby loves her house, located in a row of old homes on the Lake Michigan Upper Peninsula just steps from the lake.

Then her father, a teacher, is diagnosed with cancer and has a kidney removed, but Abby is in denial about how sick her father really is.

This affecting novel, of an adolescent dealing with the serious illness of a parent in the midst of tough issues all kids face, was based on the author's experience losing her father to cancer.

-- Jean Westmoore

> SOMETHING TO DO

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, will continue its Santa series with lunch at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by a visit with Santa, crafts and activities. At 1 p.m. Lorna Czarnota will present holiday stories. Cost is $8 for lunch or $5 for just the afternoon activities. Reservations required; call 693-1885. For more information, visit www.carrouselmuseum.org.

> SOMETHING TO LEARN

Breathe in. Now exhale. Everyone can thank the world's trees for those deep breaths. Planting trees helps improve the quality of the air we breathe by cleaning the atmosphere of carbon dioxide. When trees take in carbon dioxide, they exhale oxygen, which humans and animals need to live.

-- Time Book of Why