Lois Ehlert has long been a favorite picture book author/illustrator of mine. Her books are perfect for storytimes with their large beautiful collage illustrations and short text. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this Milwaukee children’s book author a couple of times and she is just as colorful in her dress and lively in her conversation as you would expect from her artwork. She collects folk art from her travels and many of those items like fabric and toys from other countries are found in her picture books. Her latest book, The Scraps Book; Notes from a Colorful Life, is a delightful insight into her creative process when making picture books for children. The reader learns a little about her life and sees photos of her parents, the house she grew up in, early sketches of some of her books, tools she uses to create her artwork, and some of her actual collections– fishing decoys, folk art dolls, items from the natural world. The collage of photos on the end papers are inspirational for young artists as is her simple text with notes throughout that makes reading this book pure joy. The Scraps Book is a unique autobiographical picture book that will be enjoyed by young artists and readers, not to mention art teachers and parents. Hurray for creativity and inspiration for children to make their own art and learn about bookmaking in the process by a very gifted artist.
The Iowa City Public Library ended the 2014 Summer Reading Program with a bang, recording record participation numbers among all age levels – babies, kids, teens, and adults.
In all, 4,822 patrons registered for the 2014 Summer Reading Program, with 2,205 participants turning in completed game cards by Aug. 2.
The kids program had the highest number of registrants – 2,720 people – and the highest completion rate – 1,386 people.
More than 1,250 adults signed up for the program, with 453 turning in completed game card.
The teen program had 404 registrations and 184 completed game cards handed in, while the babies program had 440 registrations and 183 game cards returned to the Children’s Room.
All completed game cards were entered in a drawing for the Summer Reading Program Grand Prize, which varied depending on the program level. The winners were chosen by a random drawing and contacted by Library staff.
Congratulations to everyone who received a Summer Reading Program prize and thank you to all who participated!
Babies Summer Reading Program Grand Prize: A $50 gift card to Prairie Lights
- Winner: Treymire Johnson
Kids Summer Reading Program Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire
- Winner: Edward Li
Teen Summer Reading Program Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire
- Winner: Anh To
Adult Summer Reading Program Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire
- Winner: Mamta Gautam
Both the teen and adult Summer Reading Programs had additional prizes. In the teen program, first prize winners include:
- John Green prize: Morgan Louvar
- Day Dreams Comics prize: Madeline Van Horn
- Prairie Lights Bookstore prize: Thomas Duong
- Movie Theatre Prize: Ashley Rose Joens
Second prize winners received Taste of Iowa City tickets. The winners of this prize includes Palmer Love; MaryClare Greer; Emma Dochterman; Noah Bullwinkle; and Abby Walling.
The winner of the first prize in the adult program – a bag of books – is Lenore Maybaum.
Second prize winners also received Taste of Iowa City tickets. The winners of this prize include Ellen Lee-Andino; Rachel Carmen; Wesley Beary; Brittni Stille; and Jennie Fischer.
Sing, Play, Grow! 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Aug. 8
Come sample West Music’s own early childhood music and movement program, Sing & Play & Learn Today!
This is a fun, engaging program that explores instrument playing, singing, moving and so much more!
To learn more about West Music’s Education program, visit their website.
Chinese Storytime 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Aug. 22
Book Babies will host Emily Jia. Emily will introduce families to Chinese language.
Come have fun learning Chinese songs, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, Chinese Classics, and instrument play. (Older siblings are welcome, too!)
“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!
I have been looking forward to reading this latest and perhaps last tale from the late and fantastic, Diana Wynne Jones, ever since it was announced. Finished by her sister Ursula, The Islands of Chaldea is a fitting bookend to such a long and varied career. The story begins as Aileen, a young magic user in training, discovers that she doesn’t seem to be all that magical. Devastating news for a girl from a long line of powerfully magical Wise Women of Skarr. Aileen is not given any time to dwell on this as she and her no-nonsense Aunt Beck are sent on a quest by the king of their stony grey island. Their quest is in response to a prophecy, that only a Wise Woman and a man from each of the four Islands of Chaldea will be able to remove the barrier that separates them and reunite them as one kingdom. At the end of the last battle between the islands, Logra was magically sealed off from Skarr, Bernica, Gallis, with the barrier in place for most of Aileen’s life. They set off accompanied by Ivar, an arrogant prince of Skarr, and Ogo, a Logran abandoned during the war.
After an eventful start involving poisoned clothes and a sometimes invisible cat, the companions arrive on Bernica. As they wander through rolling green hills, a traveling monk joins them, bringing with him a bird who may tell the future. After Aunt Beck runs afoul of a queen and her donkeys, Aileen begins to come into her own as a leader. She gets them all safely to Gallis, where spells are sung and a religious order reigns supreme. Here they find the relatives of Aileen’s long lost father, who offer them a way over the barrier to Logra, via hot air balloon. Together with her newly discovered cousin and his size changing dragon, they make it over the barrier only to crash land and be taken prisoner. In the capital, the companions find that the poor Lograns have blamed the barrier on the other three islands, and hope for its removal as much as the rest of Chaldea. Who then put up the barrier in the first place? As a decades long conspiracy begins to unravel, Aileen must become the Wise Woman she was meant to be and bring together the four magical guardian animals of Chaldea to overcome the great evil intent on keeping the islands apart.
A great read for fantasy fans, The Islands of Chaldea is a fantastic coming of age adventure, full of the magical comedy Diana Wynne Jones was best known for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From 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.
Reading! Talking! Singing! Playing! Writing!
These 5 simple and fun skills are important in getting your child ready for school.
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.
All of Baby Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler.
Rhyming text celebrates everything about a beloved baby, from eyes to toes.
An unobservant zookeeper is followed home by all the animals he thinks he has left behind in the zoo.
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.
Rhyming text compares babies born in different places and in different circumstances, but they all share ten little fingers and ten little toes.
Spot has a busy day, and now he has to go to bed.
Here is a clever game to encourage questions:
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.”