Mother’s Day at the Library

by Morgan Reeves on May 14th, 2017
Mother’s Day at the Library Cover Image

At the library, we love books and we love our moms. So of course, we love books about moms. Here are some new titles and old favorites about all kinds of mothers. Come in to the library today to check these out and make a a special Mother’s Day treat during our Sunday Funday program at 2pm.

And I Have You  by Maggie Smith celebrates the bond between mothers and babies both animal and human.

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ABC’s Saturday: Art, Books & Children 2017

by Mari Redington on May 4th, 2017

childrens-day-2On Saturday June 3rd, 10 am-3 pm, we are celebrating Art, Books and Children, or the ABC’s, during the Iowa Arts Festival!  Mark your calendars now for this annual event, formerly known as Children’s Day, produced by the Iowa City Public Library with Summer of the Arts. This is a great time to sign up for the ICPL’s summer reading program—Build a Better World. Learn about art, music, science and more with activity booths from local groups 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! Read the rest of this entry »

STEAMfestival @ Iowa City Public Library May 20

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 4th, 2017

Its full steam ahead for the Iowa City Public Library’s first-ever STEAMfestival!steamfestival_0

Come to the Library on Saturday, May 20, anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for fun, adventures and activities that encompass all things STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

Start your adventure at ICPL’s STEAM Engine. Our main floor meeting rooms will be transformed into a train transporting all curious passengers on an expedition of knowledge. Continue your journey outside to the Ped Mall and MERGE, where the National Center for Science Education Science Booster Club, the University of Iowa College of Engineering, Iowa City Parks and Recreation, Alliant Energy, MERGE, and the Grout Museum of History and Science will provide a variety of hands-on activities. Climate change, genetics, wind energy, pressurized rockets and coding are just a few of the topics you’ll explore.

Don’t forget to trek back to ICPL’s Storytime Room for Absolute Science with Rick Eugene Brammer at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. This fun and educational program encourages children of all ages to be engaged in the world of science through demonstrations and experiments, including Dry Ice Exploration and Fantastic Foam.

The STEAMfestival @ Iowa City Public Library is made possible with the generous support of the Community Foundation of Johnson County and the Bywater Family Endowment Fund, the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation, and the Rev. Dr. Barbara Schlachter Memorial Fund.

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

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!).

 

 

Not Quite Narwhal

by Casey Maynard on April 28th, 2017

Image result for not quite narwhalPrepare to go on a journey of self discovery with a little unicorn named Kelp. Jessie Sima’s premier picture book is a winner and definitely one not to miss.  The illustrations are beyond adorable and the story is particularly sweet, but I won’t ruin the ending for you. Keep your eyes on Jessie Sima, she’s bound to make a splash!

Storytime Recap: Things That Go

by Morgan Reeves on April 27th, 2017

As the new ICPL Bookmobile is starting to make stops around the community, we celebrated all kinds of things that go this week in storytime. Today, as usual storytime began with our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” I talked a little about different ways of getting from one place to another. Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL, Prairie Lights Host Writing Program for K-2 Students

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 26th, 2017

Budding young authors will have the chance to put their imagination on paper during Invent Your Own Story from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, in the Storytime Room at the Iowa City Public Library.

Attendees will write the story they’ve been dying to tell, and then share it in a book also created at the event. This program is for students in kindergarten through second grade. Registration isn’t required and there’s no cost to attend.

Invent Your Own Story is co-sponsored by the Library and Prairie Lights Bookstore in celebration of Children’s Book Week. Children’s Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. Established in 1919, it is the country’s longest-running national literacy initiative.

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

Celebrating National Library Week at Preschool Storytime!

by Anne Wilmoth on April 13th, 2017

In the mid-1950s, the American Library Association grew concerned over research that showed Americans were “spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments.”  In response, the ALA launched the first annual National Library Week in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!”

Since then, National Library Week has been observed across the country each year during the second full week in April, as a time to “celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.”  (For more on National Library Week, check out this ALA fact sheet.)

The 2017 theme is “Libraries Transform,” and preschool storytime today was transformed into a jubilant celebration of all the things we love about being kids at the library!  It was difficult to choose which picture books about libraries to share with the children – there are so many good ones in our collection (see photo).  I finally settled on Bonny Becker’s A Library Book for Bear, a side-splitting read-aloud with sweeping watercolor illustrations about a bear’s first experience of the library – he’s initially skeptical (who needs more than seven books, really?) but is won over when he stumbles onto a storytime featuring a book about pickles and bears (subjects that resonate with him).  We also read Deborah Bruss’s Book Book Book, a fun read-aloud about a group of farm animals attempting to make themselves understood by the librarian and receive the books they’re after – a book that engages young listeners with a series of participatory animal sounds.

We sang a wacky song called “Bananas Unite,” with plenty of movement, silliness, and an eventual invitation to “GO BANANAS!”  I told the children I selected this song not only because it’s super fun, but also because it’s okay to go a little bananas in the children’s library!  We don’t have to whisper or tiptoe, but can get excited about books and be regular kids in the children’s department.  We also shook egg shakers to the beat along with Tom Knight’s boogie-woogie tune “The Library Song,” a little ditty that lists the wonders to be had at the library – “all you need is a library card!”

Finally, we capped off our half-hour of library love with a mini “behind the scenes” tour of the library – we put some books through the book return slot, then went to the “other side” of the book return to find our books there.  While we were there, several patrons passed by and put materials in the slot – the children gasped and cried, “WHOA!” as they watched the books tumble through the slot and thump into the bins below.  They seemed content to hang out and watch the book return in action for as long as I might let them, but we eventually returned to the storytime room to watch a hilarious classic Sesame Street clip wherein Cookie Monster nearly gives a straight-laced librarian an aneurysm by repeatedly requesting a box of cookies.

If you couldn’t make it today, don’t despair!  National Library Week storytime is happening again on Saturday, April 15 at 10:30am, with some new books, songs and activities.  Come celebrate libraries with us!

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Fresh Picks: Middle Grade Medley

by Morgan Reeves on April 11th, 2017

booksThere’s something for every interest on the New Juvenile Fiction shelves. I’ve collected a few standouts for middle grade readers to showcase today. Fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, adventure, realistic fiction, and even a novel in verse. Check out one of these terrific titles today.

 

 

 

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This Won’t End Well: Tragic Middle-Grade Reads

by Anne Wilmoth on March 17th, 2017

If, like me, you don’t mind wallowing in despair, as long as a good story has led you there, try one of these new works of juvenile literature.  Eye-opening and morally challenging for middle-grade readers, and equally moving for adults, these two novels and one biography will be read through tears.

Thumbnail   The Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin

Dog books are notoriously sad, and this one is no exception.  However, instead of doggie death coming at the end of the story, in this book tragedy occurs right at the beginning – 12-year-old girl Daisy is killed in a car crash, and her soul returns to Earth in the body of a dog.  A mistake has been made, though, that allows her to recall her previous life as a girl while living her new life as a dog.  Daisy’s one goal is to find her former home and return to living with her parents, but as their dog.

This intriguing concept plays out in a story that is heartbreaking but also sweet and humorous at times.  Daisy finds that “the responsibilities of a dog are enormous” and though her life may be heading in a completely new direction she can’t control, there is meaning and love and hope in store for her.

 

Thumbnail   The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero by Patricia A. McCormick

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German minister who conspired with others to assassinate Hitler at the height of the Holocaust.  Long a crusader for social justice, Bonhoeffer was one of the earliest critics of the Nazi regime.  At first, he sought the support of other church leaders in condemning Nazism – few did.  Later, Bonhoeffer graduated to espionage, traveling widely outside Germany to share news of the horrors being leveled against Jews – almost no one believed him.  Finally, Bonhoeffer determined that he had no choice but to take part in a daring scheme to end Hitler’s life.

This juvenile biography raises fascinating moral and ethical questions; through reading, we are privy to Bonhoeffer’s decision to turn to violence, despite his religious convictions and commitment to pacifism and nonviolent social change.  Bonhoeffer’s courage and willingness to stand alone is breathtaking; readers will relish this page-turning volume that exposes little-known history.

 

Thumbnail   The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz

To escape gang violence in their small Guatemalan village, 12-year-old Jaime and his cousin Angela embark on a risky journey north, through Mexico and across the border to Texas and safety.  The drug-trafficking gang that controls their town has killed their cousin and promises they’ll be next; their impoverished family, terrified, scrapes together the money needed to finance their escape.  Along the way, Jaime and Angela are locked in a sweltering boxcar for days, dodge murderous gangs as well as the police, endure hunger, and put their lives in the hands of strangers.

This morally complex book is an important read at a moment when immigration is a hot topic around the world. As USA Today reported, in the first 11 months of the 2016 fiscal year, 54,052 unaccompanied minors made the trek from Central America into the United States.  Based on true events, this novel is the tense, heartfelt story of two of these children, for whom an incredibly dangerous journey is their only hope for the future.