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Just for Book Babies

by Karen Gordon on August 4th, 2014

Summer Reading Program is over, but we still have fun programs at the library in Baby ReadingAugust. Take advantage of these special Book Babies programs on Aug. 8 and Aug. 22.

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!)

Playing is Learning!

by Vickie Pasicznyuk on July 31st, 2014

playingIsLearning

“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!

The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones

by Morgan Reeves on July 28th, 2014
The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones Cover Image

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.

“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”

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.




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