Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? celebrates 50 years!

by Anne Wilmoth on May 3rd, 2017

This week only, stop by the ICPL Chilimg_4509-1dren’s Department and bask in the rainbow glow of our homage to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, a children’s classic celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Eric Carle, already successful in the advertising industry, never planned a career in children’s books.  But Brown Bear‘s author, Bill Martin, Jr., spotted one of Carle’s advertisements featuring a red lobster in his distinctive collage style.  “The art was so striking,” said Martin, “that I knew instantly I had found the artist to illustrate my next book.”

After Brown Bear was published in 1967, Carle went on to write and illustrate over 70 more children’s books, many of which are similarly beloved by generations of readers.  Brown Bear has been translated into 31 languages and is a wonderful read-aloud for the very young, with its rhythmic text and bold animal illustrations.  (It was the first book I ever read aloud to my firstborn, when she was just four days old.)

If you want to chImage resulteck out the book, the library owns this beloved children’s favorite in English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Braille, as well as a board book and “big book” format.  (Find it in the catalog.)  Once you’ve found your copy, you can also go on a scavenger hunt around the Children’s Department for all 11 hidden Brown Bear characters (get a special Eric Carle prize!) and make a Brown Bear stick puppet.

At toddler storytime on Tuesday, each child created one of these stick puppets.  The room was filled with a rainbow of horses, fish, frogs, cats, and birds!  We then told the Brown Bear story three ways simultaneously: with the book, with flannel board characters, and with puppets – children held up their animal when it appeared in the story.

Happily, this week is also Children’s Book Week, an annual celebration of books for kids and teens.  Children’s Book Week was launched in 1919 and is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.  So we expanded our celebration at storytime to include another Eric Carle favorite, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which I told with puppets and giant story cards.  “I know this book!” one child excitedly whispered.

For more Brown Bear, check out the website of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for a video of Carle talking about Brown Bear, printable activity sheets, and a slideshow of fun facts about the book (a grey mouse and a pink elephant appear in the 1970 edition!).

 

 

Totally Tweens: littleBits Invention Workshop

by Morgan Reeves on August 4th, 2017

This past Tuesday the Library welcomed tween inventors to our littleBits Invention Workshop. We talked about how to use the snap-able circuits to solve problems, like how to wake up in the morning or how to keep someone out of your room.

Each group chose their own problem and brainstormed ways to solve their problem. The kids then got to experiment and try different ways of attaching the bits to create new outcomes, but mostly just for fun.

A frenzy of experiments and prototypes.

A frenzy of experiments and prototypes.

 

Finally each group had created their own invention.

Alarm-o-matic 2000 by Colin

Alarm-o-matic 2000 by Colin

Colin’s Alarm-o-matic 2000 would wake up even the heaviest sleeper with a multitude of flashing lights and loud buzzers. It comes with a convenient dimmer switch if you want to go back to sleep.

Buzzer Fan 8000 by Paul

Buzzer Fan 8000 by Paul

Paul (preferred to not be pictured) put together the Buzzer Fan 8000 in order to keep his brother out of his room. He used a sound sensor and motion sensor to turn on a buzzer and fan, which would alert him if his brother was trying to enter his room.

Volume Volt 2000 AKA Scare-o-matic 4000 by Kaden and Isran

Volume Volt 2000 AKA Scare-o-matic 4000 by Kaden and Isran

Kaden and Isran originally wanted to solve waking up in the morning. They had so much fun experimenting, that they decided to add even more startle power, and created the Volume Volt 2000 AKA Scare-o-matic 4000. With buzzers, fans, and lights triggered by motion sensors, this contraption hit all the senses with sudden stimulation sure to scare your socks off.

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Automatic Art Machine by Lydia and two others

Lydia and two other girls (who didn’t write their names down) created the fantastic Automatic Art Machine. Turn it on, hold it to the paper, and watch art appear with no more effort needed.

Automatic Art Machine by Lydia and two others

Iowa State Fair at the Library

by Mari Redington on August 3rd, 2017

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Thursday August 10th is the last big program day for the 2017 Summer Reading Program season, and we are having one last hurrah to celebrate an amazing summer! Children of all ages are invited to attend a mini-version of the Iowa State Fair in Meeting Room A from 1-3pm. Stop in the enjoy all of the great traditions of the Fair right here in Iowa City, including food, games, prizes and more! Bring your creative skills to make your own “butter sculpture,” not limited to cows. We will also have “tractor races,” a cake walk, carnival games, face painting, and a couple blue ribbon animals to meet. You can create your own “snack on a stick,” guaranteed to be tasty, although not deep fried. Everything is free and all ages are welcome!

billyWe will also have a special State Fair-themed storytime in the morning at 10:30 in Meeting Room A for children preschool age and younger. We will be enjoying stories, songs and a movie about experiences at the State Fair.

And don’t forget to redeem your Summer Reading prizes at the Children Room Desk during your visit, the last day to qualify for the grand prize drawing is August 11th.

Storytime Recap: Old and New

by Anne Wilmoth on August 1st, 2017

It all started when I was combing through the milk crate of flannel board stories in our back room, searching for something to share at my Monday toddler storytime.  I stumbled upon a “House That Jack Built” story so old that its accompanying story sheet had been typed on a genuine typewriter; even better, the story was typed on the back of a children’s room calendar from 1976!  I adore vintage paper ephemera, so my mind immediately began to race, imagining how I could create an entire storytime around this fascinating bit of library history.

Had my storytime been on a different day this week, I could have easily paired it with a pleasingly alliterative catchphrase: “Throwback img_0222Thursday” or “Flashback Friday.”  Even “Way Back Wednesday” might have worked in a pinch, right?  But alas, my storytime is on Monday each week, so I simply called it “Storytime: Old and New.”

I shared the 1976 “House That Jack Built” flannel board story, handing out the many flannel characters to my toddler attendees ahead of time, inviting them to come forward and place their piece on the flannel board when their character appeared in the story: the “man all tattered and torn,” the “cow with the crumpled horn” and the “priest all shaven and shorn” arrived on cue.  I paired this old flannel board story with a new one, that of Pete the Cat and his four groovy buttons, which is great for toddlers in that it’s colorful, involves repetitive singing and counting, and teaches the Buddhist principle of non-attachment.

I showed everyone the retro calendar I’d found and then showed them a picture of the children’s room in 1965, which I fo6d81bbe1ff985dee2cd794e1db607768-1und on ICPL’s Digital History Project.  Gratifyingly, the parents seemed as delighted as I was by these items.

I read an old book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and a brand-new one – Feathers and Hair: What Animals Wear by Jennifer Ward.  Children rang handbells and danced to an early ’70s hit, “ABC” by the Jackson 5.  Interspersed throughout were songs and fingerplays that I chose because of their nostalgia factor for my own childhood – I vividly remember singing “Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail” at the now-defunct Jack and Jill Preschool.

Despite the regretful lack of a catchy title, I think we had a blast (from the past) anyway!

The Elephant’s Garden

by Casey Maynard on July 28th, 2017

Image result for JANE RAY ELEPHANTS GARDENJane Ray’s new folktale retelling, The Elephant’s Garden is absolutely stunning. Not only is the tale itself lovely, but Ray’s illustrations show her understanding and respect for the folktale’s origins. Be sure to check this one out!

Jane Ray has also been nominated for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award for her body of work.

 

Storytime Recap: Our Community

by Morgan Reeves on July 22nd, 2017
Storytime Recap: Our Community Cover Image

Today’s family storytime was all about communities, both large and small. We read books about community helpers, towns, and families. We sang some happy songs about friends and playing together. I talked about the different community events we have in Iowa City, like the Farmer’s Market, Parties in the Park, Stories in the Park, and bookmobile stops.

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Silhouettes and Shadows by Sea Beast

by Mari Redington on July 19th, 2017

We’ve had a lot of wonderful special programs so far for the Summer Reading Program, including visits from hissing cochroaches, snakes, lizards, a duck, a tortoise and a fancy rat, not to mention Dan Wardell! However, one of my favorite performers to host at the library is a shadow puppet company from Chicago called Sea Beast. Shadow puppetry is considered the oldest form of puppetry in the world. It originated thousands of years ago in China and India. In Western Europe shadow puppetry became popular in the 19th century when the art of cutting silhouettes out of paper was fashionable. In 1926 German shadow puppeteer Lotte Reiniger made the first full length animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmet. Reiniger hand-cut stunning opaque silhouette figures that were moved on an animation table. Sea Beast embodies the evolving history of shadow puppetry in their artistry with an almost extinct technology—overhead projectors. Read the rest of this entry »

Everything’s coming up roses in the Children’s Department…er, petunias, that is.

by Anne Wilmoth on July 7th, 2017

The fun was growing at Earth Friendly Friday on July 7!     img_0015

Children and parents “upcycled” tin cans by covering them with brightly-patterned tape.  Then they planted colorful petunias to enjoy on a windowsill or front porch all summer long.  Teaching children how to plant and care for their flower was Jenni Mettemeyer with Field to Family, an Iowa City organization that works to create a more local, healthy and sustainable regional food system.

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Exclamations of “That was fun!” and “This is beautiful!” were overheard.  Join us next Friday, July 14, from 1-2pm to learn about recycling with Iowimg_0004a City Recycling and Landfill representatives.

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Jim Gill comes back to Iowa City!

by Angela Pilkington on June 26th, 2017

Music lovers of all ages will find themselves clapping, singing, dancing, jumping and sneezing along with the folk music of family entertainer, Jim Gill, as he strums his energetic, rhythmic tunes on the banjo at the Library during his “Vote For Jim” musical performance, in the library’s meeting rooms on Thursday, June 29 at 10:30 am.

Jim Gill is a musician and author, but also a child development specialist, having completed graduate studies in child development at the Erikson Institute of Chicago. His special brand of music contains the opportunity for interaction between children and their caregivers or parents, and promotes family togetherness through play.

Jim has six award-winning CDs to his credit, as well as two children’s books, including, A Soup Opera, a sing-along opera inspired by concerts which received an American Library Association award in 2010.

Jim has won acclaim for bringing the same emphasis on family play to his live concerts. Anyone who has ever attended one of Jim’s family concerts knows that rather than performing for the children and parents, Jim leads them to sing and play together.

Jim has released six award-winning CDs of music play for young children that are favorites in family rooms, classrooms and playrooms. We have them available for check out in the Children’s Department. He is also the author of two children’s books. His latest, A Soup Opera, is a sing-along opera inspired by concerts that Jim performs with symphony orchestras.

You and your kids will have a fantastic time doing the list dance or taking a spin in a washing machine at his free concert this Thursday! Don’t miss it!

 

 

Read with Pride: Celebrating LGBTQ+ with Children’s Lit

by Mari Redington on June 21st, 2017

Every June I am happy to see the wonderful and fun ways that Iowa City celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. I feel very fortunate to live in a progressive and diverse city that is frequently recognized for its equality and inclusion year round, but even more so during the week of Iowa City Pride. For example, did you know that Iowa City scored a perfect 100 on the annual index by the Human Rights Campaign?  This recognizes cities that excel at creating legislation for relationship equality, nondiscrimination in employment, fairness to LGBT city employees, and other areas which are paramount to the LGBT community, and citizens at large.

This month of Pride was celebrated in the Children’s Room with a display showcasing some of our favorite picture and chapter books for children that celebrate LGBTQ+ families and young individuals as well as sharing some more fun facts about Iowa City’s supportive community, such as the university’s role–the University of Iowa was home to the first nationally recognized college LGBTQ organization in 1970, the group now known as Spectrum UI. Stop by the small display case in the Children’s Room during the remainder of June to read more about equality in Iowa City and more LGBTQ+ titles you can borrow from the library.

this-dayThis Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman

This colorful picture book illustrates a pride parade and provides a reading guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways. The illustrations in this books are filled with detail, and very much has the spirit of the Pride parade here!

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Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer stella

Stella’s class is preparing for Mother’s Day. She is feeling anxious because she doesn’t have a mother — Stella has two dads instead, plus an assortment of other relatives, but no mom. This adorable picture book shows Stella’s solution!

george-smallGeorge by Alex Gino 

George may look like a boy and her family and classmates may treat her like a boy, but she knows she’s really a girl. When her fourth grade class performs the theater production of Charlotte’s Web and she is denied her desired role because of her gender, she teams up with a good friend who makes her realize the importance of being yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin.

Home at Last by Vera B. Williams hom

After Lester is adopted by Daddy Albert and Daddy Rich, he develops a big problem—he can’t fall asleep. A poignant, apt, and significant picture book about fear, adoption, family, and the joy of fatherhood, written by award-winning author Vera B. Williams and illustrated in collaboration with two-time Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka.

 

Father’s Day at the Library

by Morgan Reeves on June 18th, 2017

It’s Father’s Day and we are celebrating all of our dynamite dads at the library. We’ve put our favorite books about all kinds of fathers on display in the Children’s Room. Come in to the library to check these out and stop in for our Sunday Funday at 2pm to make a Father’s Day craft.

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