Ask UsCalendar Catalog

Children’s Room December Events Announced

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 30th, 2016

Snowman socks, reindeer games and gingerbread fun are among the programs and events the Iowa City Public Library’s Children Room has planned during December. Our calendar is stuffed with things to do, see and make all month long!

Wednesday, December 7, 10:30 a.m. in Meeting Room A: Preschool Storytime – Winter Sing-Along

Bring your best caroling voice, and get ready to interact with instruments, stories and winter fun! Whether there’s snow on the ground yet or not, stick around for an indoor snowball fight to end the program!

Read the rest of this entry »

Thanks for giving- Kids books that inspire giving

by Angela Pilkington on November 22nd, 2016

As parents, we tirelessly work to instill a sense of gratitude within our children and in today’s culture of more and better, it’s easy to overlook the many small blessings in our everyday. So as we turn our attention on giving thanks this week, let us not forget the power and importance of expressing gratitude all year long. Children’s books are fantastic resources when talking to kids about the importance of giving. Whether we choose to incorporate books about generosity into our daily reading rotation, or serve others as way of giving thanks, let’s continue inspiring grateful young hearts at home today and every day and in every way. Here are a few books to get you started.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

If you’re looking for a children’s book that teaches generosity or unselfishness, most people will point you right to The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein’s lovely story of a tree that will do anything for the boy it loves — and for good reason. This classic is always a good place to start.

An Awesome Book of Thanks! by Dallas Clayton

A delightfully quirky list of things we ought to be thankful for, from the simple to the extraordinary. It teaches children how beautiful life can be when we give thanks. Your child will love the whimsical childlike artwork of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, aerobic alligators combined with heartwarming prose is sure to make this book a family favorite.

It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni

Lionni is the master of picture books with simple, inspiring messages that never feel preachy. And a lesson on sharing is the first one kids need on their way to generosity. In this one, three selfish frogs spend their days arguing with the same refrain: “It’s mine!” T
hen a bad storm (and a big brown toad) teach them that sharing is indeed more rewarding than trying to lay claim to everything for ourselves.

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell

 Mooch the cat decides to give his pal Earl the gift of nothing. But there’s an important message in this picture book about knowing how to recognize when you have enough — and Earl, in fact, has everything he needs. Turns out a gift of nothing — save friendship — is just right, and often giving our friendship is everything.

Look and Be Grateful by Tomie dePaola

A young boy awakens with the dawn, opens his eyes and looks closely at his world. He admires all that surrounds him, large and small, from the radiant sun to a tiny, but exquisite ladybug. “Today is today, and it is a gift.” We are encouraged to be thankful and to express gratitude for each unique day.

We could add several more to this list, what are some of your favorite books about being grateful?

I Will Not Eat You

by Casey Maynard on November 9th, 2016

From the author of Warning: Do Not Open this Book, Please, Open this Book, and Chicken in Space comes a brand new adventure! I Will Not Eat You by Adam Lehrhaupt, illustrated by Scott Magoon, is a delight and perfect for this late-onset autumn. It has everything you could possibly want as the days get shorter: mystery, suspense, chase scenes and happy endings (maybe?).
The dark color palette hints at the story’s capacity for equally colored humor and continually builds suspense concerning who our not-so-hungry protagonist might be. It is only when the stakes are highest that the true identity of the creature in the cave is revealed.  For more fun hints as to the identity of this stranger, check out the book trailer below, or better yet, the book!


ICPL to Host Annual Chess Tournament Nov. 19

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 9th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library’s Totally Tweens Chess Tournament will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, in Meeting Room A at the Library, 123 S. Linn St.

A staple of the Library’s tween programming, the tournament is held in honor of Steve Young, who was active in the community’s chess population until his death in 2012.

The tournament is open to students in third through sixth grades. Members of the United State Chess Federation (USCF) in this grade range also are welcome. Players rated over USCF 1,000 will be in a separate section.

This event is free, but pre-registration is required. Children can register by e-mailing Eric Vigil at Walk-ins may register the day of the event from noon to 12:45 p.m.

Refreshments will be provided. Participants should plan to stay for the entire afternoon.

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

We Vote for These! Picture Books For Election Day

by Angela Pilkington on November 3rd, 2016

With the Presidential Election less than a week away, talk of politics are everywhere and children are bound to be curious about what the adults are talking about. Talking to children about the voting process in the United States is important.

These seven books will help introduce your children to the complexities of our electoral process in terms they can understand. They’re funny, engaging, and might even make voters out of your kids.

Bad Kitty for president / Nick Bruel  All politics is local, and that couldn’t be clearer in Bad Kitty for President. When it comes time to choose the new president of the Neighborhood Cat Coalition, Bad Kitty learns the importance of registering to vote. Meanwhile, the neighborhood holds its breath to see if the election will be decided by a single ballot.

Vote! / Eileen Christelow  Using a town’s mayoral election as a model, this lively introduction to voting covers every step in the process, from the start of the campaign all the way to the voting booth. There’s even a recount! The cast of characters includes two dogs (and a cat), whose questions and comments mirror those of young readers and help to explain some of an election’s more confusing aspects.

Vote for me! / by Ben Clanton   The donkey wants your vote. So does the elephant. And each will do just about anything to win your support. Brag? Sure! Flatter? Absolutely! Exaggerate, name-call, make silly promises and generally act childish? Yes, yes, yes and yes. What happens when the election results are in? Well, let’s just say the donkey and the elephant are in for a little surprise!

Duck for President / Doreen Cronin  Duck isn’t happy with things on the farm, so he takes matters into his own hands and convinces the other animals to let him replace Farmer Brown. However, Duck discovers that running things is hard work, so he does what any self-respecting politician would do — he runs for higher office.

Grace for president / by Kelly DiPucchio  Where are the girls? When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school’s mock election. But soon, she realizes that she has entered a tough race. Her popular opponent claims to be the best man for the job–and seems to have captured all the male votes–while Grace concentrates on being the best person. 

Amelia Bedelia’s first vote / by Herman Parish  Letting an elementary school vote on school rules? It probably won’t end well, but Amelia Bedelia’s first foray into the democratic process is a clever way to engage kids in a discussion of the upcoming Presidential election. Kids will learn about absentee ballots, run-offs, and the power of persuasion. They may even learn how to convince the administration to adopt homework-free Wednesdays, but you didn’t hear it from me.

So you want to be president? / by Judith St. George  On this stroll through 43 of our past Presidents (apologies Barack Obama, who was elected after the book was published) you’ll learn what it takes to make it to the White House, as well as some of our former leaders’ idiosyncrasies.

Find these books and more in the Children’s Room in the library!

New Program: Story Play

by Angela Pilkington on October 27th, 2016

Where fun & learning come together!story_play1

The library is a great place for little ones to begin or enhance their educational journey through our Storytime programs. Story Play will help to build upon and to incorporate social and emotional components to our Storytimes.

Our newest program encourages you to bring your child to the library for a play-date! There will be books, toys, music and games to play and interact with. Caregivers can have the chance to meet and talk with one another. Story Play will take place on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s after Storytime beginning November 7th from 11:30-12:30 in our Storytime Room.
Many studies show that young children actively explore their environment and the world around them through learning-based play. Play is a vital part of a child’s optimal social, cognitive, physical and emotional development. Researchers agree that play provides a strong foundation for intellectual growth, creativity, problem-solving and basic academic knowledge. ICPL hopes that through Story Play young ones will grow in their learning skills through play with others.
Please feel free to bring lunch or snacks for you and your little one! No registration required. For ages 0-5 with a caregiver who must be present the entire time their child is at the library.

ICPL Family Storytime: Autumn Yoga with Karen on Nov. 5

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 27th, 2016

Come to the Iowa City Public Library Storytime Room from 10:30 to 11 a.m. November 5 for Family Storytime: Autumn Yoga with Karen.

Through yoga postures, breathing techniques, and creative movement, kids will learn to listen to their bodies connecting to the 4 B’s: body, brain, breath and balance. This session will focus on movements inspired by autumn. Bring yoga mats if you have some; we’ll have a limited amount available for those who don’t.

Saturday Storytime is designed for the whole family and presented at a time convenient for most working parents. It’s recommended for all ages, but parents are asked to sit with their younger children.

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

Your Vote Needed in ICPL’s Mock Caldecott Award

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 25th, 2016

Have you ever wanted to award a prize to your new favorite book? Here’s your chance!

Voting in the Iowa City Public Library’s Mock Caldecott Award begins Tuesday, November 1. The public is invited to cast their votes for their five favorite picture books out of 15 titles nominated by ICPL’s Children’s Room librarians. The titles include:

The Night Gardener by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Poor Little Guy by Elanna Allen
Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski
When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek
A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Hand in Hand by Rosemary Wells
Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole
Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
Home at Last by Vera B. Williams and Chris Raschka
Have you Seen Elephant? by David Barrow
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled by Lynne Rae Perkins
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards and Brian Karas
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan

Voters will be asked to rank their choice, 1 through 5, and adhere to the one vote per person policy. The title with the most No. 1 votes will win ICPL’s Mock Caldecott Award.

The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year. Named in honor of the nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott, the first medal was awarded in 1933.

The 2017 Caldecott winner will be announced in January. ICPL will announce its Mock Caldecott winner on January 3.

For more information about the Caldecott Award, visit For more information about ICPL’s Mock Caldecott Award, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

Fresh Picks: Election Edition

by Morgan Reeves on October 19th, 2016
Fresh Picks: Election Edition Cover Image

It may seem like this election season may never end, but soon enough it will be Election Day (November 8th this year) and we will have a new president. While kids may not be able to have an official say just yet, they can check out some of our newest presidential reads from the jNonfiction section. Read the rest of this entry »

Popo’s Halloween Puppet Festival at ICPL Oct. 22

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 12th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library’s annual Popo’s Puppet Festival will be held from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, in Meeting Room A.

This year’s festival features three acts. Come for one performance or stay for all three!

First, join Parasol Puppets at noon for their performance of The Teeny Tiny Woman and Other Halloween Tales. This audience participation version of the old English folk tale features a teeny tiny woman who takes a teeny tiny walk and finds a teeny tiny bone. Suddenly, her teeny tiny house echoes with the cry of “Give me my bone!”

Popo’s Halloween Show takes the stage at 2:30 p.m. for a performance that will have the audience laughing so hard, it’s scary!

Finally, at 3:30 p.m., enjoy a shadow puppet show. Sea Beast Puppetry’s hero gets lost in the shadow. Will she ever be saved?

Stick around after the performances for crafts, or put on a show of your own with the Library’s collection of puppets.

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