Cora’s Corner remembers a precious girl

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Librarian Julie Kennedy stands in Cora’s Corner, a children’s section dedicated to her daughter.

CAMBRIDGE — Even a brief life can have a lasting effect on others.
“She was 2 when she passed,” Julie Kennedy said of her daughter Cora. “She loved books.”

And now, there is a special area in the Central Library in Cambridge, “Cora’s Corner,” dedicated to the little girl.

Cora became ill in 2012 and only a week later, her family was faced with her loss. But even that grief held the seed of something joyful.

“I knew I wanted to do something right away,” Ms. Kennedy said.

As the assistant director for youth services at the library, she was inspired to create the corner especially for young children. Her family and friends in the community and at the library — “Everyone here is like family,” she said — supported her dream.

Her father, an architect, sketched the design, and donations started coming in to fund the work. “We had a lot of people donate,” she said.

It took shape over the years, as books were added to the collection, including the type of board books that Cora enjoyed. They even feature a sticker inside the cover, with a photograph of the toddler.

“It’s essential to read to them,” Ms. Kennedy said. “I want people to know.”
Fellow library employee Miriam Moran began a mural with a crepe myrtle tree and a rising sun – Mace’s Lane Middle School teacher Sarah Kinser finished the job.

On a recent afternoon, the bright and colorful corner saw a steady stream of little readers, who chose favorite titles with their parents’ help.

“They naturally gravitate over here,” Ms. Kennedy said. “It’s a cozy corner.”
Just the kind of place young minds can have fun and grow, learning with their loved ones. The kind of place Cora liked.

Now, her special place will welcome other children who share her love of reading. “She ended up touching a lot of lives,” Ms. Kennedy said.

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