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ICPL, Summer of the Arts Annual Children’s Day Event June 7

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 29th, 2014

Children are invited to celebrate the arts during Children’s Day on Saturday, June 7.

This annual event, produced by the Iowa City Public Library with the Summer of the Arts during the Iowa Arts Festival, encourages kids’ creativity with an extensive lineup of hands-on activities to promote Fizz, Boom, Read – the 2014 Summer Reading Program for children.

More than a dozen booths will be set up on the City Plaza, with activities ranging from fiber art crafts and musical instruments to dinosaurs and magic. In case of rain, art activities will be held inside the Library.garden_3

Children also can enjoy live performances on the Family Stage. This year’s schedule is as follows:

  • 10 a.m.: The After School Specials Rock Concert by Shimek Elementary School BASP
  • 10:45 a.m. Eulenspiegel Puppets presents “Eulenspiegel’s Circus”
  • 11:45 a.m. Orchestra Iowa’s Pied Piper String Quartet Concert
  • 12:30 p.m. Craig Stevens, Magician
  • 1:30 p.m. City Circle Acting Company and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”
  • 1:45 p.m. Mrs. Hinky Dink’s Clown Magic Show
  • 2:30 p.m. Family Folk Machine Sing-Along

Children’s Day also is the official planting day for the Library’s Children’s Garden on the City Plaza. Kids are invited to help Scott Koepke, the education and outreach coordinator for New Pioneer Food Co-op’s Soilmates program, and Rachael Carlson, who works with the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, plant this year’s garden, which will include green beans, lettuce, and carrots.

All produce harvested from the Children’s Garden is donated to Table To Table, which provides food for the area’s hungry, homeless and at-risk population by partnering with nearly 30 organizations in Johnson County.

Children’s Day begins at 10 a.m. with activities concluding at 3 p.m.

For more information about Children’s Day, call the Iowa City Public Library at (319) 356-5200.

For more information about the Summer Reading Program, visit

For a complete schedule of the Iowa Arts Festival, visit

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

by Morgan Reeves on May 23rd, 2014
The Last Wild by Piers Torday Cover Image

Like many children, Kester Jaynes feels powerless, and without much choice in what goes on in his daily life. Kester’s situation is unique in that he is mute; he has no voice. He lives in a world where all of the useful animals and plants have died off due to “red eye,” a terrible plague. Only “varmints,” pigeons, rats, and cockroaches are left alive. Fear of the virus has led to a taboo against touching animals. Food has been replaced by the corrupt Facto corporation with a nutritional slime and the entire human population has been forced to live in cities for their own protection.

Six years ago Kester was kidnapped and brought to live in a home for troubled children, where he is told something is wrong with him. When he starts to hear voices, he thinks he has finally gone crazy. Reality though is even stranger, the voices turn out to belong to a cockroach and pigeons, who help him escape and bring him to a gathering spot of the last surviving animals. These are the last wild; the last living animals and they need Kester’s help. Their leader, a large stag, asks Kester to find them a cure. While Kester feels unprepared for the weight of such a task, he promises to try. He even has an idea of where to start, by finding his way back to his veterinarian father. But traveling with animals that society both covets and fears leads to some dangerous situations. As Kester is forced to make more and more decisions, his self-confidence grows. By the end he has found both his father and his voice, but tensions remain as the cure is not wanted by the food controlling Facto corporation.

Overall an imaginative take on a dystopian world that will strike a chord with kids who are starting to make their own choices.


by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on May 22nd, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library’s Children’s Summer Reading Program begins June 1.fizz, boom, read

Fizz, Boom, Read – the theme for this year’s program for babies and children through sixth-grade – merges reading with children’s natural curiosity in a combination designed to promote reading, creativity, and fun.

Beginning June 1, children can register for the Summer Reading Program at the Library or online at Each participant will receive a game card to track their progress in meeting summer reading goals.

The game card for babies and toddlers promotes early childhood literacy skills. Prizes – a stuffed animal and a board book – are awarded for every 10 activities completed. After the game card is finished, turn it in to be entered in the drawing for the grand prize: a $50 gift card to Prairie Lights.

Students in pre-school through sixth-grade also receive a game card when they register for Fizz, Boom, Read, with three levels of prizes – coupons from sponsors, a book, and a backpack – to keep participants motivated. Every student who turns in their completed game card will be entered in the grand prize drawing for a Kindle Fire.

Fizz, Boom, Read also has a Bonus Game Card for students who finish early and want to keep reading. Completing the game card will result in more entries for the grand prize.

In addition to the game cards, all summer reading program participants can attend weekly storytimes and special programs at the Library, including Tweens on Tuesday every Tuesday at 2 p.m. (crafts and fun for tween age kids beginning June 10); Little Beakers every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. (a special program for preschoolers beginning June 12); and Knowledge Seekers at 2 p.m. every Thursday, beginning June 12, for school-age children. A complete listing of programs can be found at and on the back each game card.

Fizz, Boom, Read continues through Aug. 2. For more information, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.


Children’s Day 2014

by Casey Lambert on May 13th, 2014

It’s that time of year again!  Our annual celebration and summer reading kick-off event, Children’s Day, is scheduled for Saturday June 7th.  This year, the library is sponsoring a few fun stops and booths for which we are still seeking volunteers: at Crazy Locks Hair Salon we will be spraying hair different bright colors, Silly Props for Photo Ops will entail helping children choose props for goofy photos and at Make your Mark in the City of Literature we will be providing chalk to sign and decorate one of our large bookmarks.

Aside from Library sponsored booths, Summer of the Arts (SOTA) is hosting a veritable smorgasbord of fun activities, events and crafts for children and families to enjoy.

Volunteer shifts are three hours long, one from 9-12 and another from 12-3. Please visit the SOTA website, linked below, for volunteer registration and for a full list of volunteer opportunities.


Early literacy begins with you

by Karen Gordon on May 6th, 2014

Baby Reading

Parents are kids’ first teachers.
From the time a child is born, home is where learning begins.

5 simple and fun things parents can do
to get their kids ready for school.
Reading! Talking! Singing! Playing! Writing!

Reading: Before your baby can read, she/he needs to be familiar with the written word. Your baby needs to look at words, play with books and watch you read. Research shows that kids who see their parents read will be readers too.

Read a variety of books to your children and talk about new words. As children increase their vocabularies, they also increase their reading comprehension.

Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz. “Where are baby’s hands? Under the   bubbles…where are baby’s eyes? under her hat!”


First 100 Animals. Published by Tiger Tales. With 100 animal photographs to look at and talk about, and 100 animal names to read and learn about, too.

This Little Chick by John Lawrence.
A litle chick shows that he can make the sounds of the animals in his neighborhood.


Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora.
A toddler plays peek-a-boo throughout the day.

Whose Baby am I? by John Butler.
The reader is asked to guess who the parent is for nine baby animals.


Activity: Point it out – Point out the pictures as you read. Describe them. Explain what they are.

A Snicker of Magic

by Morgan Reeves on April 29th, 2014
A Snicker of Magic Cover Image

Felicity Pickle is a poem catcher, a word collector, and a wanderer longing for a place to call home. When her mother decides to try moving the family to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, Felicity is hopeful that this might finally be the place where they can settle down. After all, it’s her mother’s hometown, as well as still having just a bit of magic floating around. On her first day at her new school, Felicity makes a new friend, Jonah, who has the not-so-secret occupation of helping people when they really need something. When Jonah suggests she read one of her poems in the school talent show, Felicity agrees, even though she knows she gets stage fright. The family settles in with gruff Aunt Cleo, who shows her softer side in telling stories of the family’s history. It soon becomes apparent that Felicity’s performance in the talent show is the key to shaking off the wandering ways of the Pickle family, which may be tied to a curse tied up in the history of Midnight Gulch. The cast of vibrant characters leap off the page  in this middle-grade tale of tangled up history and yes, just a snicker of magic. To cap off the end of National Poetry Month, give this great read about the meaning of family and home a try.

Autism Awareness Month

by Vickie Pasicznyuk on April 23rd, 2014


April is National Autism Awareness Month. According to the Autism Society, autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. In fact, one child in every 68 will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

One year ago, the Iowa City Public Library started offering Sensory Storytimes, designed for children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration issues, or other developmental disabilities. Sensory Storytimes combine stories and songs with tactile activities and props to create sensory-rich experiences. Other details help create a safe and welcoming environment for kids and their families:

  • A visual schedule to help us transition from one activity to the next
  • A room free of distractions
  • The expectation that kids will talk and move during the program
  • Sharing the experience with other families that understand

Through the summer, Sensory Storytimes will be held on the first Saturday of each month at 1:30 pm, lasting about 30 minutes. Our next one is on May 3. To prepare for your visit, take a look at our “Child’s Introduction to the Library” social story, available at

In planning for the next school year, the Library is looking for your input. If you have a child who would benefit from Sensory Storytimes, please let us know what times would work best for you and how else we can meet your needs at the Library. You can email your suggestions to me at

Little Poems for Tiny Ears by Lin Oliver

by Katherine Habley on April 23rd, 2014
Little Poems for Tiny Ears by Lin Oliver Cover Image

I wrote a Press Citizen article about new poetry books for children earlier this month in honor of National Poetry Month, but there is another title I want readers to know about on our New Book shelves in the Children’s Room.  Little Poems for Tiny Ears is a collection of short poems for babies and toddlers written by Lin Oliver and illustrated by the one and only Tomi dePaola.  This lovely book celebrates the everyday things that delight little ones and is the perfect introduction to the bouncy, playful sound of poetry. The beloved artwork of dePaola perfectly matches the short verses and depicts children of many races.  Some of the topics covered in individual poems are toes, walking, in my stroller, my nose, dogs, my car seat, my high chair, peekaboo, diaper time, cats, bath, blankie, and my belly button. Of course, I also recommend any of the library’s books of Mother Goose rhymes for this age.  Oliver’s book would make a great new baby gift, and in fact, I am going to buy a copy for my new grandson and take it with me when we visit him in Oregon next month!  Enjoy the special bond of sharing this book snuggled up with your precious little one.


by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 18th, 2014

Spring has sprung in the Iowa City Public Library’s children’s room.scavenger_hunt

The theme of the Sunday Fun Day event is a Spring Scavenger Hunt. Eggs, flowers, birds, bunnies, and other spring icons will be hidden around the children’s room for families seek and find. There will also be a movie and a small craft.

The activity begins at 2 p.m. in the Storytime Room.

Sunday Fun Day features fun activities for families to enjoy together. Each day has a theme with stories, crafts, or games to celebrate it.

Sunday Fun Day happens every Sunday except the first Sunday of the month. That afternoon is reserved for Sit, Stay, R.E.A.D. with Therapy Dogs of Johnson County.

Upcoming Sunday Fun Day events include:

  • April 27 Origami Creations
  • May 11 Make a Pinwheel
  • May 18 Fun with Bees and Bugs
  • May 25 Memorial Day stories and crafts

All Sunday Fun Day events begin at 2 p.m.

For more information, visit the Library’s calendar or call the children’s desk at (319) 887-3402.


Who’s over the Rainbow?

by Karen Gordon on April 16th, 2014
Who’s over the Rainbow? Cover Image


April is a great time to talk to your kids about rain and all the wonders of spring. Green grass, flowers, warm sun, and worms.

Yes, kids like to talk about worms.

Recently, it rained on my way home from work. Halfway home dark clouds parted and a bit of sun peeked through. I thought, “Maybe I’ll get to see a rainbow” and, as if on command, a beautiful rainbow appeared.

I couldn’t ask for better story to share with the kids at outreach, or a better story to read aloud than “Wow! Said the Owl” by Tim Hopgood.

This sweet story is about an owl who stays up all day and discovers a world of colors, beginning with the yellow sun, to the blue sky, the red butterflies and the green leaves to the rainbow filling the sky. It’s a perfect book to introduce little ones to the world of color.

Click here for a fun rainbow activity you can do with your child(ren) at home!