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Best of the Best Children’s Books

by Jennifer Eilers on January 26th, 2016

It’s a librarian’s job to know about the best books for the library’s collection; and I’m lucky enough that a bunch of my co-workers bought me their favorite children’s books to help me welcome my second child. Having had the time to read through the books now several times with both of my children, I’ve picked my top five favorites to share with you. To find them in the library’s collection click on the title!

  1. The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

I had never read a book by Dubuc until I received it as a gift, and I am so thankful I got this one. The book is about the relationship betweenThe_lion_the_bird a lion who finds and cares for an injured bird. The two become friends but eventually the bird must fly away for the winter leaving the lion behind. Like the lion you feel the heartbreak of missing a dear friend through Dubuc’s prose and illustrations. The illustrations are lush and vibrant but somehow understated. Paired with the story, it weaves a magic that is more than the sum of its parts.

2. The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

Sometimes before bedtime you need a laugh and Beaton’s book delivers. Like any kid, Princess Pinecone has some definite princess_ponyexpectations for herself as a warrior and for the pony she hopes to receive as a birthday present. Beaton’s story challenges kids and adults to consider stereotypes and stereotyping in a humorous way – it’s chock-full of sweater-wearing warriors and princesses who can and do hold their own. Plus, who can resist a fat pony that farts?

3. Hide and Seek by Taro Gomi

hide_seek

This clever little board book has bright illustrations that my baby can appreciate while my preschooler plays along with the hide and seek game. On each page there is a group of animals where one animal is cleverly hiding an object, for example, a raccoon hides a striped sock on its tail. Just like in any good hide and seek game, you may need to look twice to find what you’re looking for!

4. Orange Triangle Fox by Sarah Jones

orange_triangleEvery baby needs a book that teaches them shapes, colors, and animals. Jones combines each of these things to create cute and colorful illustrations. While some shapes seem readily built for the colors and shapes Jones chooses for them, others are unexpected. This combination makes this book delightful in its simplicity.

 

5. Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek

Full disclosure – sheep are a BIG deal in my family. My preschooler has a flock ofWhere-Is-the-Green-Sheep-image sheep with names as expected as Lambie and nonsensical as Dr. Higgin Flower Busters. In this book, sheep are limitless. They break away from being black and white and do more than bleat on a farm. These sheep are red. These sheep take baths. These sheep are clowns. So as the book begs the question, “Where is the Green Sheep?” you can challenge your little one to think outside of the box.

 

Fired Up Bowls Ready for Pick Up

by Morgan Reeves on January 26th, 2016

fired upWe had a great time painting ceramic bowls with help from our friends at Fired Up Iowa City last Monday. A great turn out of enthusiastic artists helped make this program a success. I am amazed each year at the creative ability of our patrons. I already can’t wait until next year. In the meantime the bowls have all been glazed and fired and are now ready to be picked up at the library. Come in and ask at the Children’s Desk to claim your finished bowl.

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Awful Purdies to perform at ICPL Jan. 30

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 19th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library will host the Awful Purdies for a Special Family Concert from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, in Meeting Room A as part of its ongoing Music is the Word celebration.

The Awful Purdies are an eclectic quintet of female multi-instrumentalists who take turns stepping up as songwriter and lead singer. Featuring Katie Roche, Nicole Upchurch, Katie Senn, Sarah Driscoll, Marcy Rosenbaum, and a host of instruments ranging from the mandolin to the penny whistle, the Awful Purdies recently celebrated 10 years of making and sharing music together.

This performance is free and open to parents and children of all ages. It will be broadcast LIVE on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

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

Did you know?

by Karen Gordon on January 15th, 2016

It’s a new year and Kathy, Nancy and I are busy doing children’s outreach storytimes out in our community. This is a perfect time to talk up the services the Children’s Room has to offer to preschools and daycare facilities in Iowa City.
Did you know that you can call the Library every week for a Book Pull? Leave a phone or email message with your topic for your curriculum and the Children’s Room staff will set aside 15 of our favorite books for you to come in and pick up at the Children’s Room Desk. We ask for 24 hours advanced notice for this free service.

Big Books
We have big books for check-out, too. I love using big books at storytime and out at my outreach sites. Kids love the big pictures, and I never worry about a child not being able to see from the back row.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention our Storytime Kits! If you aren’t familiar with our collection of boxed thematic Storytime Kits, please stop in the library sometime and take a look at this unique collection. These kits contain 10 picture books and a puppet, rubber stamp, lacing cards, puzzle, etc. They are geared for 3-6 year-olds and you check out the whole plastic bin for three weeks. We have over 80 kits to choose from and you will love using them for your own circle time with your children.

Frog kit

IMG_2201Finally, I’m excited to tell parents and teachers about the new initiative the Library will be launching in February. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, sponsored by Pearson in Iowa City, is a program that encourages parents and caregivers to provide positive, nurturing early learning experiences by regularly reading aloud to their children . More information will be coming soon.

And the winner is….

by Angela Pilkington on January 13th, 2016

On Monday, January 11, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2016 Newbery and Caldecott award winners. These books have won the most prestigious prizes in children’s literature.

The 2016 John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature went to: “Last Stop on Market Street,” written by Matt de la Peña,and illustrated by Christian Robinson. This picture book tells the story of a young boy who rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: “The War that Saved My Life,” written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley; “Roller Girl,” written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson; and “Echo,” written by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2016 Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children went to:

“Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear,” illustrated by Sophie Blackall, and written by Lindsay Mattick.  Blackall tells her young son the true story of  how his great-great-grandfather, Captain Harry Colebourn, rescued and learned to love a bear  cub in 1914 as he was on his way to take care of soldiers’ horses during World War I, and the bear  became the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: “Trombone Shorty,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews; “Waiting,” illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes; “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford; and “Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de le Peña.

Coretta Scott King  Book Award, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults 2016 award went to:

“Gone Crazy in Alabama,” written by Rita Williams-Garcia, tells the story of the Gaither sisters, who are about to learn what it’s like to be fish out of water as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime.

 

For other award winners, see the full list.

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

Wish

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



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