by Vickie Pasicznyuk on April 30th, 2015
It’s almost May, and we all know how quickly the rest of the school year goes! At the library, we’re planning an exciting kick-off to your summer season—Children’s Day, June 6, 2015! Mark your calendars now for this annual event produced by the Iowa City Public Library with Summer of the Arts during the Iowa Arts Festival. This is a great time to sign up for the ICPL’s summer reading program—Every Hero Has a Story. You can also get creative at the activity booths and enjoy a show on the Family Stage. With live performances, arts and crafts, fun activities, and Planting Day for ICPL’s Children’s Garden, there’s something for everyone!
SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 10 am to 3 pm
Sponsored by MidWestOne Bank
sponsored by Dr. Suzanne Stock, Orthodontist
10:00 AM Jester Puppets H.E.R.O.s
10:45 AM Zach Metzler Juggling
11:00 AM Mr. S and the Sand Box Band
12:15 PM Zach Metzler Juggling
12:30 PM Mrs. HinkyDink Clown and Magic Show
1:00 PM Zach Metzler Juggling
1:15 PM The After School Specials concert by Shimek Elementary BASP
2:15 PM Zach Metzler Juggling
2:30 PM Kol Shira band
10:00 AM – 12:30 PM Dean Franzen, the Dean of Juggling and Unicycling
12:30 PM – 3:00 PM Tubador
- Every Hero Has a Story ICPL summer Reading Registration
- Catch the Beat with Yahoo Drummers
- Celebrate Caribbean-Style Carnival with the Iowa City Carnival Project
- Chess Quest with Douglas Narveson
- Crazy Locks Hair Salon with ICPL
- Dinosaur Hollow with Jack Neuzil
- Electrifying Spin Art with Johnson County 4-H and Big Brothers, Big Sisters
- Fiber Art Kids with the Craft Guild of Iowa City
- Furry Friends with the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center
- Make Your Mark in the City of Literature with ICPL
- making “Music Together” with Preucil School of Music
- Paint the Town with ICPL and Blick Art Materials
- Picture This! Silly Props for Photo Ops with ICPL
- Read, Learn, Grow! Children’s Garden with Scott Koepke & Soilmates
- Sing & Play & Learn Today with West Music
- Sit, Stay, R.E.A.D. with the Therapy Dogs of Johnson County
- Super Hero Capes with the Iowa Children’s Museum
- The Wheels on the Bus with Iowa City Transit
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on March 30th, 2015
New in the Children’s Room—Sensory Storytime Kits! These kits are now available to check out and are shelved in the Storytime Kit collection. Designed to make storytimes accessible and enjoyable for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory disorders, or other special needs, these kits include books, props, music cd’s, puppets, flannelboards, fidget toys, and information on presenting Sensory Storytimes. Though created with a specific audience in mind, all children will enjoy the interactive components of these kits. Choose from Good Morning, Good Night; Teeth!; What’s the Weather?; and Pick a Pet. Kids will enjoy getting a monkey all dressed for his day, brushing giant teeth, matching clothes to the weather, voting on which pet to get, playing with puppets, and more. If you’d like to share stories with high audience participation, you’ll want to check out the Sensory Storytime Kits. Many thanks to the Pilot Club of Iowa City, which provided grant funding for this project.
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on February 3rd, 2015
On Monday, February 2, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2015 Newbery and Caldecott award winners. These books have won the most prestigious prizes in children’s literature.
John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander–Twin brothers Josh and Jordan are basketball stars and great friends, until a girl gets in the way. A middle grade story of brotherhood and basketball told in a variety of poetic styles.
Newbery Honor Books: El Deafo by Cece Bell and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, written and illustrated by Dan Santat–An imaginary friend sets out on a journey to find a real child to befriend.
Caldecott Honor Books: Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo, The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPre, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet, and This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki.
For other award winners, see the full list.
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on January 27th, 2015
Sam and Dave have dug a hole in my mind. At the risk of sounding like a heretic in the realm of children’s librarians, I’ll admit that I’ve not been a fan of Jon Klassen’s hat books. Grim humor is just not my thing. So with reluctance, and only after hearing all the buzz, I decided I did need to read Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. And my first reaction was bewilderment—“What happened there?” So I read it again. And again. And yet again. And then looked at the illustrations. And then looked at them some more. I shared it with my teenage daughter, who shared it with her friends. (“Freaky!” was their verdict, which was a compliment.) And somehow, it has grown on me. I still don’t really understand it. Neither does anyone else, I’ve learned. There are many theories about what it really means. But what did the dynamic duo of Barnett intend for it to mean? And will we ever find out where Sam and Dave really are? The ending is unnerving, and I keep turning it over in my mind. The spare text, subdued illustrations, and determined characters remind me a bit of The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson, though a bit grimmer. (Still, The Carrot Seed family is a bit harsh, too, don’t you think?) Will Sam and Dave achieve the same classic status? If you haven’t read it yet, get your hands on Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. And please…explain it to me!
P.S. Check out Barnett and Klassen’s other collaboration Extra Yarn, which I love. It’s sweetly satisfying and will always remind me of Iowa City’s Tree Huggers!
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on December 22nd, 2014
If you’ve been waiting for information about One Book Two Book, the annual celebration of children’s literature in the City of Literature, here’s the scoop—the date has changed! Traditionally held in January, the festival will be moving to March 6-8 in 2015. All events will be held in downtown Iowa City, based at the Sheraton Hotel.
Author and illustrator David LaRochelle will be visiting and sharing his work. He has written several picture books, including Moo!, It’s a Tiger, and The Best Pet of All, as well as a young adult novel, Absolutely, Postively Not. LaRochelle didn’t start out to be an author. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a balloon man or maybe a cartoonist like Charles Schulz. During college, his dreams shifted to becoming a Hallmark card illustrator, until he was told he didn’t draw well enough. He decided to become a teacher. While teaching elementary school, LaRochelle began writing for kids. With over 25 books published, LaRochelle now writes and illustrates full-time. Although he no longer teaches, he visits schools and libraries regularly to talk about his books. In his spare time, he is also a professional pumpkin carver, whose artistry has been featured on the Good Morning America show.
One Book Two Book will also feature additional authors, and the full line-up will be announced soon. Other activities will include special events to recognize local student authors, a children’s book fair, live entertainment, face painting, arts and crafts, and more. Kids will also get to meet other special guests—children’s book characters Frog & Toad, Martha from Martha Speaks, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Babymouse, and Geronimo Stilton. It will be a fun-filled weekend, so get out those brand new 2015 calendars and save the dates for One Book Two Book!
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on November 24th, 2014
“3 weeks 2 sisters 1 car” Perfect for the holidays—the quintessential family road trip!
I’m not generally a fan of graphic novels, but author and illustrator Raina Telgemeier does a great job of convincing me to broaden my horizons. I just read her newest title, Sisters, which explores the complexity and humor of sibling rivalry and family relationships. Sisters evokes a universal familiarity. Who doesn’t remember the family road trip as the perfect time to fight and bond?
Telgemeier’s first autobiographical novel, Smile, continues to be incredibly popular. Booklist described it as “possibly the only universally embraced graphic novel on the planet.” Sisters continues Raina’s story, sharing how she and her sister Amara fight their way to common ground, against the backdrop of a family reunion, also filled with family fights and affections. Sisters left me with a smile and warm memories of my own sisters…and wishing for more. Perhaps Telgemeier will turn me into a graphic novel fan yet!
Sisters and Smile both have hold lists on them at the library, but they are worth the wait. (And the lists aren’t too long!) While you’re waiting, you could check out a couple of my other favorite sister books, touching picture books great for all ages: Big Sister, Little Sister by LeUyen Pham and Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols.
This week I get to see one of my sisters, and I’m excited to share Sisters with her. We can relate–it’s surprisingly like our story!
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on October 30th, 2014
With November just around the corner, I am starting to think about FOOD! Holiday menus, edible gifts, cookie exchanges, hot chocolate…and Read to Feed!
Read to Feed is a library program that gives your family an opportunity to kick off the season with true holiday spirit—by giving! Join us in the Storytime Room on Wednesday, Nov. 12, anytime between 2-4 pm for stories, songs, activities, and snacks—and a food drive for The Crisis Center of Johnson County, hosted by The Iowa City Public Library and Rock & Read volunteers from RSVP, Elder Services, Inc. Did you know that one third of the people in households served by the Food Bank are children? Read to Feed gives kids a chance to show they care.
Take advantage of a no-school day (for students in the Iowa City Community School District) for some mid-week entertainment. Rock & Read volunteers will share some of their favorite books, and library staff will lead the group in campfire songs and chants. Throw in some fall snacks, and it’s sure to be a great time!
Drop in anytime and stay as long as you can! The only admission requested is a donation for The Iowa City Crisis Center, such as nonperishable food items or new children’s books. We invite you to join us—partnering together to feed the minds and bodies of Johnson County!
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on September 30th, 2014
Librarians love picture books that are interactive and encourage kids to participate with the story, making it a more meaningful and memorable experience. I’ve recently had fun exploring a genre of picture books that take “interactive” to a whole new level, involving the reader as an integral character in the book. These books give the reader instructions to follow—physical activities that build the story—like an app in paper format!
One of the original books in this genre is The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, featuring Grover from Sesame Street. Readers are instructed to not turn the pages because Grover has heard about the monster at the end of the book and he’s scared. Or course, this just makes us turn the pages until we discover what kind of monster is at the end of the book—Grover himself! First published in 1971, this book stirs nostalgic memories for many parents.
The concept of including the reader as part of the story has become more popular with children’s pictures books in the past few years. Jump into this genre with these titles:
Press Here and Mix It Up by Herve Tullet—Learn about colors and design while playing with paint splotches in these two books.
Can You Make a Scary Face? By Jan Thomas—A bossy ladybug initiates a game of pretend.
Shout! Shout It Out! By Denise Fleming—Show off your knowledge of numbers, letters, colors, and more by shouting it out!
Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett—Embark on crazy escapades in an attempt to count monkeys.
Warning: Do Not Open This Book by Adam Lehrhaupt—Really? Who can follow that advice? But beware of letting the monkeys out!
On October 18, I’ll be featuring some of these titles during our family storytime. Join us to play a leading role in some favorite picture books!
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on August 28th, 2014
Do you have a child just learning to read? Congratulations! Your child is on the verge of exploring a whole new world! The path to becoming an independent reader can seem slow and arduous at times, but here are some tips to help your child stay the course and discover the joy of reading.
Let your child choose books he wants to read. This sounds simple, but so often we get derailed by two little words—“reading level.” Kids need to read “easy” books to build fluency and comprehension, so let them choose books below reading level. Just like practicing an instrument, reading an easy book or an old favorite will refine skills. Kids need to read what they’re interested in—even if it’s hard. So let them choose books above “reading level,” and they’ll tackle challenging vocabulary just because they care. And if they need help, you’ll be there to ease the way.
Which brings up the next tidbit of advice- kids need you to read to them. Don’t abandon reading aloud once your child begins reading. Your reading models skills they need—cadence, speed, inflection, pronunciation, vocabulary. Even more, your read-alouds remind them why they’re working so hard—for the love of story and information! So the next time they choose a book that’s above their reading level, help them meet the challenge—share the reading, model for them, and let them echo you.
The mechanics of learning to read can be hard work, but be careful about making it a “chore.” Your child’s motivation to read is a huge indicator of how accomplished he’ll become. And, let’s face it, how motivated are we by our chores? Beginning readers are encouraged to practice their skills at least 20 minutes a day, but it’s important to not become clock-watchers. Keeping track of time is fine, but shift the focus away from that in hopes that your child will one day completely lose track of how long he’s been reading.
While your child is practicing, be a great listener. Don’t correct mistakes unless it changes the meaning. Help your child when he needs it. Be patient and nonjudgmental. Find fun and alternate ways your child can practice—with siblings or family pets, or even leading a stuffed animal storytime. Soon, you’ll discover that you’ve raised a reader!
by Vickie Pasicznyuk on July 31st, 2014
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
The wisdom of this age-old proverb becomes new in the recent research on the correlation of play and learning. Although playing is an important way children learn, it’s often overlooked. Professor Laurel Bongiorno says that playing and learning are intertwined, like a science lecture and a lab. “Play is the child’s lab,” she explains in her article 10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play.
The Delta Center, an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Iowa, has been studying the importance of play with a project called Playing is Learning. They’ve identified eight skills that playing builds—creativity, self-regulation, spatial awareness, language, healthy bodies, number knowledge, social skills, and conceptual thinking. They’ve partnered with the Iowa Children’s Museum, connecting exhibits with research, focusing on the power of play. It’s all pulled together in the Game of Games, a deck of cards full of creative ways for parents and their children to play together.
We are excited to announce that the Delta Center is bringing a new edition of Playing is Learning to the Iowa City Public Library! They have studied how kids play at the Library and will link that to their research, creating activities that correspond. We expect a debut this fall. For more information on Playing Is Learning, visit www.playingislearning.org.
In the meantime, even as our children head back to school soon, let’s make sure they have time to play each day!