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“Z is for Zombie Apocalypse”

by Casey Lambert on July 19th, 2014

Rebecca Chaperon’s new picture book, Eerie Dearies: 26 ways to miss school, is a hilariously haunting abecedarian that is not for the faint of heart or humorless. While not all of her heroines, and yes they are all female, meet their demise playing hooky, a few are already undead and others are well on their way.

"I is for Insomnia"

“I is for Insomnia”

Each of her full color acrylic illustrations are set on old and well worn book covers with many of the titles remaining visible, interacting with and commenting on the excuse for nonattendance.   With their similar melancholic expressions, elongated features and the whimsical play between page design and illustration Chaperon almost alludes to Edward Gorey’s, The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

Full of excruciating detail that only multiple readings will reveal, Rebecca Chaperon has created a delightfully grim exploration of the alphabet and cutting class.

Disclaimer: I cannot recommend all of these alternatives to attending school.

R is for Revenge

“R is for Revenge”

"J is for Juvenile Delinquent"

“J is for Juvenile Delinquent”

Kids Are Invited to Read with Senior Citizens on Fridays This Summer at ICPL

by Kyle VanNatter on July 8th, 2014

At Rock and Read, kids can read with community members from the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) while working their way toward meeting their summer reading goals.

Rock and ReadEveryone walks away with a smile on their faces after Rock and Read: Children are entertained with stories; RSVP volunteers delight in sharing their love of reading; and parents are pleased knowing their child is developing his or her reading skills and strengthening their appreciation for books.

Vickie Pasicznyuk, Children’s Services Coordinator, says, “Rock and Read is such a popular program in area schools that we wanted to extend that into the summer at the Library. It’s a great community-builder and helps kids love reading.”

Held on Fridays this summer in the Children’s Room, kids can drop in between 1 to 3:00 p.m. to get started. The next Rock and Read will be this Friday, July 11.

Rock and Read is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200.

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

by Morgan Reeves on June 30th, 2014
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel Cover Image

Trains, Sasquatches, and a circus make for an exciting combination in this steampunk adventure story from Kenneth Oppel. During the late 1800′s in Canada, Will Everett grows up witnessing the expansion of the continental railroads as the son of the railway company manager. A shy boy with a talent for drawing, he has always wished for adventure, but never seems to find it. Now on the maiden voyage of The Boundless, the longest train ever built, his adventure finally begins, as he witnesses a murder. In order to stay alive and warn his father about the criminal plot, Will disguises himself as part of a circus with the help of an old acquaintance. He teams up with Maren, the highrope walker from his past, and Mr. Dorian, the circus ringmaster who has an agenda of his own. Together, they try to reach the front of the seven mile train before the criminal gang catches them. The journey, full of perils both magical and real, puts Will’s drawing skills and new friendships to the test. As the train reach the snowy mountains, danger finally catches up to the circus trio, and not everyone will escape uninjured.

The only hitch in this otherwise fantastic story, is the present tense narration takes some getting used to for most readers. Overall this is a page turning story bolstered by mild fantasy elements and plenty of detail from a lesser-known period of history, with some edge of your seat moments that lead to a suspenseful climax.

Families will learn, play during ICPL’s Messy Science Day

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 30th, 2014

Experimenting with science can be fun. It can also be messy. For one day, parents, you won’t be the ones cleaning it up. boy-microscope-post

Join the Iowa City Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 12, for Messy Science Day, a fun-filled family event with all sorts of science experiments.

Librarians will set up the lab on the City Plaza, leading participants through experiments that include the creation of chalk bombs and Mentos soda rockets.

Old clothing is encouraged. Everyone will get messy.

Messy Science Day is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200.

Puzzles prepare preschoolers for learning

by Nancy Holland on June 23rd, 2014

PuzzlesFrom birth through the preschool years children learn mostly through play. Play is one of the practices that librarians encourage to enhance early literacy skills. For many years, the Children’s Room at ICPL has provided free access to a variety toys designed to enhance learning.

Simple wooden puzzles help children build skills they need to read, write and solve problems. Even before the age of two, children will show an interest in knobbed puzzles that are easy to grasp as they develop eye hand coordination. Manipulating puzzle pieces help develop the fine motor skills that little hands will need to grasp a pencil or crayon.

Puzzles also provide great opportunities for language development as you describe shapes, sizes and colors with your children.

Children do “learn” puzzles and always like the chance to try something new. If you have young children, consider borrowing a puzzle or toy for three weeks from our circulating toy collection.at ICPL.

TALKING AND LISTENING

by Karen Gordon on June 20th, 2014

Reading! Talking! Singing! Playing! Writing!

These 5 simple and fun skills are important in getting your child ready for school.

TALKING

How do you go about this you ask? Asking your baby questions is good practice in talking. Keep questions short and simple. It’s important after you make a comment or ask a question that you wait 5 seconds for your baby to say or do something in response. This teaches your child that conversation works two ways and teaches your baby to listen to others and then respond.

TELLING STORIES

Get your children talking! When children become storytellers, it boosts their reading comprehension and writing skills.
All of baby nose to toes 

All of Baby Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler.

Rhyming text celebrates everything about a beloved baby,  from eyes to toes.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman.

An unobservant zookeeper is  followed home by all the animals he thinks he has left behind in the zoo.

the very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Follows the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats  his way through a varied and very large quantity of food.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox.Ten little fingers and ten

Rhyming text compares babies born in different places and in different circumstances, but they all share ten little fingers and ten little toes.

Spot says goodnight Spot Says Goodnight by Eric Hill.

Spot has a busy day, and now he has to go to bed.

 

Here is a clever game to encourage questions:

Me Too

How to play: Have a conversation with your baby. Ask him/her a question and pause for an answer. Then provide a response.

Example: “Would you like to go outside?” Pause. “You would? Me, too! Let’s go outside.”

ICPL Announces Tweens on Tuesday Summer Program

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 3rd, 2014

Tweens, are you looking for something fun to do this summer? The Iowa City Public Library has you covered.

Tweens on Tuesday is a special program geared specifically to students in third through sixth grades. Held every Tuesday as part of the Summer Reading Program, Tweens on Tuesday promotes fun and learning for elementary students in the “in between” ages of summer programming.Tuesday

“We have a great lineup of summer activities, but some of the programs can feel a bit too young for older elementary students,” Children’s Librarian Katherine Habley says. “At the same time, these kids aren’t old enough for the Teen Summer Reading Program. Rather than have them feel left out, we decided to design a program specifically for them.”

Starting June 10 and continuing through July 29, each Tweens on Tuesday activity will be held in the Storytime Room beginning at 2 p.m. The following is a list of all Tweens on Tuesday events:

  • June 10: Hawk Eyes on Science — The zany scientists from the U of I department of Physics and Astronomy return with knock-your-socks off experiments with lasers, electricity, and 3D wonders.
  • June 17: Tween Yoga – Practice yoga with Dana Robinson of Sweet Feet Yoga.
  • June 24: Dangerous Decibels — This fun and interactive program will teach you about sound, how we hear, how we can damage our hearing, and how to prevent hearing loss.
  • July 1: Movie and Popcorn – Come to the Library for a special screening of “The Lego Movie.”
  • July 8: Altered Book Art – Join us as we get creative with books.
  • July 15: Lego Robots – Is there anything Legos can’t do?
  • July 22: Terrariums – Ever wanted to make your own terrarium? Mari will show you how!
  • July 29: Healthy Treats with Cathy Gehris – Everyone loves snacks, but not all treats are good for you. Join Cathy to learn more about choosing healthy treats that taste great and will keep you moving!

For more information, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

New Technology in Children’s Room

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on June 2nd, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library’s introduced its newest piece of technology – an interactive touch table described as a table-sized iPad – to its youngest patrons today.Interactive Table

“The Ideum PLATFORM 55 is the final piece of the Children’s Room technology update,” Information Technology Coordinator Brent Palmer says. “It is an exciting piece of technology, but there isn’t that much ready-made software that would take advantage of its features.”

Palmer has contacted local software developers and student groups to build custom applications for ages six through 12 that are multi-touch, multi-player, and easy to operate. The vision for this table is that it will foster collaborative fun and exploration.

“On one level, the table will bring kids together in the Children’s Room but on another level, it will bring the community together as we determine what people want this technology to do,” Palmer says.

University of Iowa’s EPX Studio and indie developer Virtually Competent have already produced prototypes of custom apps for the table. Palmer is facilitating partnerships with groups and individuals, including a possible Hackathon with Iowa Tech Chicks and the Library’s CoderDojo group later this summer.

If you have an idea or want to help build something for the table, contact Brent Palmer at brent-palmer@icpl.org.

ICPL, Summer of the Arts Annual Children’s Day Event June 7

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 29th, 2014

Children are invited to celebrate the arts during Children’s Day on Saturday, June 7.

This annual event, produced by the Iowa City Public Library with the Summer of the Arts during the Iowa Arts Festival, encourages kids’ creativity with an extensive lineup of hands-on activities to promote Fizz, Boom, Read – the 2014 Summer Reading Program for children.

More than a dozen booths will be set up on the City Plaza, with activities ranging from fiber art crafts and musical instruments to dinosaurs and magic. In case of rain, art activities will be held inside the Library.garden_3

Children also can enjoy live performances on the Family Stage. This year’s schedule is as follows:

  • 10 a.m.: The After School Specials Rock Concert by Shimek Elementary School BASP
  • 10:45 a.m. Eulenspiegel Puppets presents “Eulenspiegel’s Circus”
  • 11:45 a.m. Orchestra Iowa’s Pied Piper String Quartet Concert
  • 12:30 p.m. Craig Stevens, Magician
  • 1:30 p.m. City Circle Acting Company and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”
  • 1:45 p.m. Mrs. Hinky Dink’s Clown Magic Show
  • 2:30 p.m. Family Folk Machine Sing-Along

Children’s Day also is the official planting day for the Library’s Children’s Garden on the City Plaza. Kids are invited to help Scott Koepke, the education and outreach coordinator for New Pioneer Food Co-op’s Soilmates program, and Rachael Carlson, who works with the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, plant this year’s garden, which will include green beans, lettuce, and carrots.

All produce harvested from the Children’s Garden is donated to Table To Table, which provides food for the area’s hungry, homeless and at-risk population by partnering with nearly 30 organizations in Johnson County.

Children’s Day begins at 10 a.m. with activities concluding at 3 p.m.

For more information about Children’s Day, call the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200.

For more information about the Summer Reading Program, visit www.icpl.org/srp

For a complete schedule of the Iowa Arts Festival, visit www.summeroftheARTS.org

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

by Morgan Reeves on May 23rd, 2014
The Last Wild by Piers Torday Cover Image

Like many children, Kester Jaynes feels powerless, and without much choice in what goes on in his daily life. Kester’s situation is unique in that he is mute; he has no voice. He lives in a world where all of the useful animals and plants have died off due to “red eye,” a terrible plague. Only “varmints,” pigeons, rats, and cockroaches are left alive. Fear of the virus has led to a taboo against touching animals. Food has been replaced by the corrupt Facto corporation with a nutritional slime and the entire human population has been forced to live in cities for their own protection.

Six years ago Kester was kidnapped and brought to live in a home for troubled children, where he is told something is wrong with him. When he starts to hear voices, he thinks he has finally gone crazy. Reality though is even stranger, the voices turn out to belong to a cockroach and pigeons, who help him escape and bring him to a gathering spot of the last surviving animals. These are the last wild; the last living animals and they need Kester’s help. Their leader, a large stag, asks Kester to find them a cure. While Kester feels unprepared for the weight of such a task, he promises to try. He even has an idea of where to start, by finding his way back to his veterinarian father. But traveling with animals that society both covets and fears leads to some dangerous situations. As Kester is forced to make more and more decisions, his self-confidence grows. By the end he has found both his father and his voice, but tensions remain as the cure is not wanted by the food controlling Facto corporation.

Overall an imaginative take on a dystopian world that will strike a chord with kids who are starting to make their own choices.