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Saturday Morning Retro Cartoons at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 13th, 2016

Relive the experience of watching cartoons on a Saturday morning with the Iowa City Public Library’s Retro Saturday Morning Cartoons!

Join us in the Storytime Room from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, where we will screen a lineup of Saturday morning classics. Pajamas, pillows and stuffed animals are welcome – we may even have cereal for you to enjoy!

This program is recommended for children of all ages. Parents are asked to sit with their younger children. Retro Saturday Morning Cartoon will replace our regular Saturday Family Storytime on Jan. 23.

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

ICPL Presents FREE Jim Gill Concert at The Englert

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 12th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library is excited to announce that award-winning musician and author Jim Gill will perform from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at The Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City. Parents and children of all ages are invited to attend this FREE concert as part of the Library’s Music is the Word celebration.

Gill is known for his recorded albums and books with musical themes. Music Play for Folks of All Stripes won a Notable Children’s Recording award from the American Library Association in 2012. He’s the author of two children’s books and six award-winning CDs of music play for young children. His work has received five separate awards from the American Library Association.

Gill is currently traveling across the country with his Family Room Concert Tour to promote the benefits of play in young children’s lives. Experience this phenomenon firsthand on Jan. 23, as Gill’s distinctive music will have attendees clapping, singing, dancing, jumping and sneezing along.

No advanced reservations are required for this FREE concert. The first 100 children in attendance will receive a special souvenir.

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

Wolves in Winter

by Casey on December 31st, 2015


This winter I thought it would be fitting to share two newly published and seasonally appropriate picture books featuring one of my favorite animals, wolves. The first of these comes from Emma Dodd’s “Love You” series highlighting the unconditional love between parents and their children.  In Wish, Dodd works magic with simple illustrations and beautiful foil additions, weaving together all the things parents wish for their children.  Simple and touching, Dodd’s newest addition to this series is a fantastic read for adults and children alike.  This series includes other fabulous titles including, I am Small, More and More, Forever, No Matter What, Happy, When You Were Born, Everything, and Just Like You among others. The only thing I can wish for after falling in love with this series is that they would be produced in board book format.

The Wolf-Birds, by Willow Dawson, offers a completely different and highly accurate take on these beautiful animals. A nonfiction picture book portraying the relationships bwolf-birds etween scavengers, predators and their prey, Wolf-Birds outlines the necessity of cooperation in survival. Beautiful, stylized  illustrations not only accompany but serve to soften the harsh realities animals face throughout the long winter. Dawson’s work reminds us all that sometimes sacrifices need to be made to reach success.  wolf-birds

Storytime Recap: Favorites of 2015

by Morgan Reeves on December 30th, 2015
Storytime Recap: Favorites of 2015 Cover Image

Today we started storytime off with our new hello song, “Oh Hey, Oh Hi Hello” by Jim Gill. Hopefully we will be real pros at singing this when Jim Gill gives his show at the Englert on January 23rd. We talked a bit about what everyone’s year of 2015, mostly how good it was. Since this was our last storytime of 2015 I decided we would take a look back at some favorite stories from this year. Our first book, Wait by Antoinette Portis, uses just a couple of words, “hurry” and “wait” to tell the story of a busy morning and remembering to stop and enjoy the little things in life. I read the word hurry and asked the kids to say “wait,” when I pointed to them, a little interaction goes a long way.

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ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Children’s Books

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 25th, 2015
ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Children’s Books Cover Image

This category encompasses everything you’d find on the shelves in the Ellen Buchanan Children’s Room — board books and picture books to chapter books and children’s non-fiction. That might be why our list of Best Children’s Books of 2015 is longer than any other category. Or it could be because there were so many great children’s books released this year!

ICPL’s BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2015childrens room

  • Simon’s New Bed by Christian Trimmer
  • Black Day: The Monster Rock Band by Marcus Sikora with Mardra Sikora
  • All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
  • Painting for Peace in Ferguson by Carol Swartout Klein
  • When You Were Born by Emma Dodd
  • The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
  • Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess
  • Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • P. Zonka Lays An Egg by Julie Paschkis
  • Snoozefest by Samantha Berger
  • The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes
  • Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
  • The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
  • The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems
  • Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
  • Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
  • Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
  • Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
  • Beyond the Western Deep by Alex Kain
  • The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko
  • Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story by Emily Arnold McCully
  • The Story of Life: A First Book about Evolution by Catherine Barr and Steve Williams
  • The Only Child by Guojing
  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
  • The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
  • I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems
  • The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
  • Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba
  • The School for Good and Evil #3: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
  • Wings of Fire Book Seven: Winter Turning by Tui T. Sutherland
  • Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine

Children’s Outreach Services

by Karen Gordon on December 22nd, 2015

Last Wednesday was my last outreach before schools’ Winter Break. The kids say they’ll miss me. They give me hugs before I leave for the library…what’s not to love about my job?
Katherine Habley, Nancy Holland, and I do children’s outreach every week. Maybe you’ve seen us leaving the library with bags of books or puppets hanging out of our wheeled library suitcases. Between the three of us, we visit 40 Iowa City sites, which include preschools, daycares, Neighborhood Centers, and Hacap (Hawkeye Area Community Action Program) centers. We share stories with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
While manning the desk, we’ll often encounter a family whose child runs to us with arms open. The child’s parents are somewhat confused and ask how we know their child, so we explain our outreach program and are acknowledged with immediate smiles and gratitude for our services to the community.
Part of our strategic planning for fiscal year 2016 is to create a bookmark informing parents about our 30-minute storytime. Hopefully, the bookmark will encourage parents to talk and ask open-ended questions about encouraging early literacy in the home.


Outreach bm

  Here are the bookmarks we’ve been handing out to sites since the beginning of the school year.

Outreach is a big part of the joy we get from our jobs. We get the “warm and fuzzies” after each visit. There’s nothing better than reading books and getting smiles, hugs, and kisses after storytime. Our job is as Mister Rogers sings, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Storytime Recap: Get Ready for Winter

by Morgan Reeves on December 16th, 2015

Today we started storytime off with a new song, “Oh Hey, Oh Hi Hello” by Jim Gill. This is a fun way to say hello in a bunch of silly voices, plus it’s a great way to practice for when Jim Gill comes to town on January 23rd. I talked first about how winter would officially be here next week, but that animals have already been getting ready for winter for awhile now. I then introduced a vocabulary word for the day, “hibernation.” We had a smart group today, as a few already knew that hibernating meant sleeping in the winter for a long time. Our first story followed a squirrel getting ready for winter, The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri.

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Warmth of Friendship, Depths of Winter

by Casey on November 30th, 2015

Camille Garoche, AKA Princesse Camcam, is a brilliant artist working with paper cutting and photography. Her intricately woven stories take shape through meticulous and breathtaking papercut illustrations, implying the third dimension within the two dimensional book format.

Published by Enchanted Lion Books, her two works currently available in the US are Fox’s Garden and The Snow RabbitBoth wordless books focus on the power of being kind in the coldest season. If you’re looking for beautiful reads to warm the bones as it gets colder then look no further and celebrate the beauty of the coming season with Camille Garoche’s lovely works.




See more of her works here.


Storytime Recap: Noisy in the Library!

by Angela Pilkington on November 30th, 2015

There was no SHHHHHHing in the Library Saturday! Family Storytime was full of CLAPs, STOMPs, SNAPs and of course LAUGHING! It was time to wake everyone up from their food comas from all the holiday meals they may have had over the last couple of days!

To start us out we sang along to Jim Gill’s Oh Hey Oh Hi Hello! This is a great song by a Children’s Musician who likes to make noise!  Look for a future announcement from the library about him coming to Iowa City to perform on Jan. 23 2016!

After making tons for noise with our hello song we read the book, Too Noisy! by Malachy Doyle and illustrated by Ed Vere. Everyone is Sam’s family is just too loud for him. With all the booming, twooting, banging, clanging  his family does, Sam decides to set out to find some peace and quiet and in the end finds there is no better place than home.


The next book we read was, Dog’s Noisy Day by Emma Dodd. The clumsy canine star of Dog’s Colorful Day had the children barking, braying, chirping, and hooting with laughter. It is always a delight to hear the kids yell out all the animal sounds!


I asked if we could be quiet mouses like the ones that visit Dog at the end of his story and taught them our next fingerplay:

“Quiet Mouse”
Here’s a quiet little mouse
Living in a quiet little house (hold thumb in fist)
When all was quiet as could be
OUT! popped he! (pop out thumb)


Our next story was, Click, Clack, Peep! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. Farmer Brown is back and is oh-so-sleepy, because he has a new, adorable – and LOUD – duckling to deal with on the farm! The kids had a blast making all the farm animal noises and parents chuckled from experience when Duck finally got duckling asleep.


Then, we got up to stretch and recite this action rhyme:

 “Loud and Quiet”
Quietly, quietly not a sound
I’m listening and I’m listening
As I look around
No sounds as I nod (nod)
No sounds as I clap (clap)
No sounds as I tap my hands on my lap (tap)
Loudly, loudly, stamp and clap (stamp and clap)
Loudly, loudly, stamp and clap (stamp and clap)
Loudly, loudly, stamp and clap (stamp and clap)
All that noise, well fancy that!

That brought us to the end of the Storytime, so we said our goodbye chant:


And as a bonus I showed the movie, Noisy Nora! This is a classic from my childhood and from one of my favorite authors, Rosemary Wells, who will be at the Library this Sunday, Dec 6 at 2pm! The group laughed a lot during this one, especially given all the mischief that Nora gets into.


What a noisy and fun day we had! Don’t forget to visit us for more noisy and fun times when Rosemary Wells (12/6/15) and Jim Gill (1/23/16) personally come to town!

Author Rosemary Wells at ICPL on Dec. 6

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 25th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library and Prairie Lights Books are pleased to welcome children’s author and illustrator Rosemary Wells to the Library at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, in Meeting Room A.

Wells is the creator of many popular children’s book characters, including Max and Ruby, Yoko, and McDuff. She is known for using animal characters rather than humans in her stories, telling the children’s journal Stone Soup that this allows her to “address sophisticated, controversial topics in way children can understand and adults can accept.”yoko

Wells’ presentation at the Library will include a video tour through her studio, as well as her thoughts about reading, writing, and illustrating. There will be a book signing afterwards. Copies of Wells’ books will be for sale at the event and at Prairie Lights Books prior to the event.

This author reading is co-sponsored by the Library and Prairie Lights Books, and will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20. The event is free and open to the public.

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