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ICPL to Host Annual Chess Tournament Nov. 15

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 7th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library’s Kids Chess Tournament will be held from 1 to 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, in Meeting Room A at the Library, 123 S. Linn St.2013 Chess Tournament5

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.

This is a free event, available to students in third through sixth grades. Younger children may participate if they are a member of the United States Chess Federation.

Registration is required. Children can register at the Library the day of the event from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or by e-mailing Eric Vigil at evigil@gmail.com.

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

ICPL presents Read to Feed

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on November 5th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library invites children to kick off the holiday season by giving at Read to Feed.ReadtoFeed-Poster (2)

Stop by the Storytime Room anytime between 2 and 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, to donate non-perishable items for The Crisis Center of Johnson County. Then stick around for stories, songs, snacks, and activities.

The Crisis Center’s Food Bank provides weekly food assistance to Johnson County residents. Of all the households served, one third has children in the home. The Food Bank always welcomes donations of peanut butter and canned meat, pasta and rice, soups and stews, canned vegetables, toilet paper, baby formula, diapers, and laundry detergent. Read to Feed also will collect new children’s books for The Crisis Center.

Read to Feed is sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library and Rock & Read volunteers from RSVP, Elder Services, Inc.

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

Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt

by Morgan Reeves on October 30th, 2014
Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt Cover Image

Not since first picking up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone have I read a book that started off full of so much life and mystery. But this is just how Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt begins. As dramatic as any play, the scene is set when a letter arrives inviting Max Starling’s actor parents to visit the Maharajah of Kashmir. His parents say Max will be coming too, but when the steamship leaves, Max is left behind. Determined to be independent until his parents return, he decides to find a job. But jobs for twelve year old boys don’t pay very well, so Max uses his experience of growing up in the theater to disguise himself and act older. To his surprise, he discovers he has a talent for solving problems for other people. He is not quite a detective and not quite a life coach, but something in between, a Solutioneer, as he calls himself. Cases start rolling in, a lost dog, a lost Baron, even a lost spoon, Max finds the solution to them all. This wonderful beginning of a trilogy weaves tricky problems and spirited characters into the the overarching story of what has happened to his parents.  A story that leaves readers both satisfied with Max’s solutions and eager to find out more about Mister Max, Solutioneer.

http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389591922l/17471117.jpgMister Max: The Book of Secrets is the recently released second title in the trilogy, which follows Max on his most important case yet. The problems are bigger and more complex, but Max is sure he can handle them. Fires have been springing up in small businesses, but no one will talk to the police, and with a visit from the Royal family approaching, the Mayor is desperate stop the fires without a fuss. Enter Mister Max and his ability to get people talking without knowing who they are really talking to. But with the appearance of an old schoolmate, for the first time he must deal with the possibility of being recognized, which could ruin Max’s independent lifestyle. Help is provided in the form of his librarian Grammie; his tutor Ari; and the sometimes irritating, very talkative Pia, who insists she is his assistant. All the while Max continues to receive troubling hints on the whereabouts of his parents. A great follow-up to the first, this story manages to leave some solutions open-ended while setting up the last book and what readers will hope to be Max’s reunion with his parents.

Read to Feed

by Vickie Pasicznyuk on October 30th, 2014

ReadtoFeed-Poster (2)

With November just around the corner, I am starting to think about FOOD! Holiday menus, edible gifts, cookie exchanges, hot chocolate…and Read to Feed!

Read to Feed is a library program that gives your family an opportunity to kick off the season with true holiday spirit—by giving! Join us in the Storytime Room on Wednesday, Nov. 12, anytime between 2-4 pm for stories, songs, activities, and snacks—and a food drive for The Crisis Center of Johnson County, hosted by The Iowa City Public Library and Rock & Read volunteers from RSVP, Elder Services, Inc. Did you know that one third of the people in households served by the Food Bank are children? Read to Feed gives kids a chance to show they care.

Take advantage of a no-school day (for students in the Iowa City Community School District) for some mid-week entertainment. Rock & Read volunteers will share some of their favorite books, and library staff will lead the group in campfire songs and chants. Throw in some fall snacks, and it’s sure to be a great time!

Drop in anytime and stay as long as you can! The only admission requested is a donation for The Iowa City Crisis Center, such as nonperishable food items or new children’s books. We invite you to join us—partnering together to feed the minds and bodies of Johnson County!

Upcoming Totally Tween Events at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 13th, 2014

Halloween costume designs, chess and holiday crafts are part of the Totally Tweens lineup at the Iowa City Public Library.

Totally Tweens is a once-a-month program featuring hands-on activities specifically for students in third through sixth grades.

Monday, Oct. 20: Tweens are invited to join Morgan in the Storytime Room for Totally Tweens: They’re Alive. Tweens can paint and decorate a mask to bring their Halloween costume to life. The program begins at 3:30 p.m.Minecraft Challenge2

Saturday, Nov. 15: The annual ICPL Kids Chess Tournament will be held from 1 to 5:15 p.m. in Meeting Room A. Students in third through sixth grade are invited to complete; younger children are welcome if they are a member of the United States Chess Federation. You may register the day of the event from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or e-mail Eric Vigil at evigil@gmail.com. Registration is required.

Wednesday, Dec. 10: Tweens are invited to get crafty at Totally Tweens: Holly Days Crafts. Supplies will be provided for tweens to create unique holiday crafts to take home. The program begins at 3:30 p.m. It will be held in the Storytime Room.

Tween Minecraft at ICPL

In addition to these special Totally Tween events, the Library also has Tween Minecraft Time from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3, and Monday, Dec. 1.

Registration is required for Tween Minecraft Time. You can register online at calendar.icpl.org by clicking on the date of the event you wish to attend. Each participant may only register for one time slot.

Tweens need to have a Minecraft account to play in multiplayer mode. Players without an account may use a library account, but these are limited and first come first serve. Otherwise players without an account may still play in single player mode.

For more information about any of the Totally Tween events, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Popo’s Puppet Festival at Iowa City Public Library Oct. 25

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on October 10th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library’s annual Popo’s Puppet Festival from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 25, in Meeting Room A is a Halloween special featuring our favorite clown, Popo. He will be joined by Bony Legs and the Jester Puppets.

Join ICPL staff and puppeteers Deanne Wortman, Dave Panther, Kevin Coble, and Buffy Quintero for a delightfully haunting morning full of jumps, squeals, laughter and activities.

Halloween costumes are optional.

This event will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 10.

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

Bob Books are back!

by Karen Gordon on October 1st, 2014

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By popular demand, Bob Books by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John R. Maslen are back on our shelves. I’m so thrilled these wonderful readers are available. They fit perfectly in a child’s hands, have brightly colored jackets, and have colored illustrations throughout which makes reading so much more fun for our youngest patrons!   images

I’m frequently asked by families and homeschoolers for early reader recommendations. We have a variety of readers marked with all reading levels, but levels on these books can be confusing. One publisher labels a book level 1; another publisher marks a similar book as level 2. Many early readers contain words that are too difficult for a child who has just learned the sounds of the alphabet. So many parents are looking for readers to help make this process simple, positive, and fun, which is why I recommend the Bob Books.

Parents, do you want to capture your child’s interest in reading? Do you want your child to feel confident reading? It’s so good to hear your child say, “I read the whole book all by myself!” The Bob Books series makes learning to read so simple. I think these are the “best learning to read on your own,” books.

30349The next time you visit the Children’s Room, look for fun Bob Books apps on our children’s ipads and AWE Early Literacy Station. This app makes Bob Books characters come alive!

Now Starring….You!

by Vickie Pasicznyuk on September 30th, 2014
Now Starring….You! Cover Image

Librarians love picture books that are interactive and encourage kids to participate with the story, making it a more meaningful and memorable experience. I’ve recently had fun exploring a genre of picture books that take “interactive” to a whole new level, involving the reader as an integral character in the book. These books give the reader instructions to follow—physical activities that build the story—like an app in paper format!

One of the original books in this genre is The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, featuring Grover from Sesame Street. Readers are instructed to not turn the pages because Grover has heard about the monster at the end of the book and he’s scared. Or course, this just makes us turn the pages until we discover what kind of monster is at the end of the book—Grover himself! First published in 1971, this book stirs nostalgic memories for many parents.

The concept of including the reader as part of the story has become more popular with children’s pictures books in the past few years. Jump into this genre with these titles:

Press Here and Mix It Up by Herve Tullet—Learn about colors and design while playing with paint splotches in these two books.

Can You Make a Scary Face? By Jan Thomas—A bossy ladybug initiates a game of pretend.

Shout! Shout It Out! By Denise Fleming—Show off your knowledge of numbers, letters, colors, and more by shouting it out!

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett—Embark on crazy escapades in an attempt to count monkeys.

Warning: Do Not Open This Book by Adam Lehrhaupt—Really? Who can follow that advice? But beware of letting the monkeys out!

On October 18, I’ll be featuring some of these titles during our family storytime. Join us to play a leading role in some favorite picture books!

Listen Up to Neil Gaiman on Disc

by Morgan Reeves on September 30th, 2014

I listen to very few books on disc. I am generally just not able to immerse myself in the audio version of a book as well as I can in the print version. I end up listening to the same passage multiple times because I zoned out or got busy doing something else. If that sounds like you, try listening to anything written and narrated by Neil Gaiman. So far I have listened to three of his audiobooks; The Graveyard Book, Fortunately the Milk, and Odd and the Frost Giants. In the telling of all three stories Gaiman is engaging and brings each character to life with a distinct and unique voice. As the author, he of course has special insight into how characters are supposed to sound, but his range of believable voices is impressive. Gaiman can imitate the confused innocence of a child and in the next breath reply in the piercing tones of a talking eagle. In addition to Gaiman’s performance, the stories themselves are always imaginative and full of life. I imagine they would be riveting in any format, not just audio.

The Graveyard Book  follows the story of young Nobody Owens, or Bod for short. His entire family was murdered when he was just a toddler. He would have been killed too, if not for wandering into a graveyard and being adopted by the resident ghosts. He grows up under the tutelage of his two ghost parents and his guardian Silas, who may or may not be a vampire. As a child given the freedom of the graveyard Bod learns lessons both practical, moving through shadows, and personal, how to do what is right even when it is hard. At times scary, this is great coming of age story for grades 3rd-6th.

Odd and the Frost Giants introduces Odd, a perpetually grinning Norse boy with a bit of bad luck. His leg has been crippled, his father died in a Viking raid, and winter has gone on much too long. In an attempt to get away from it all, he retreats to his father’s old woodcutter’s hut in the woods. While out walking he befriends a bear, a fox, and an eagle, who quickly reveal they are the gods Thor, Loki and Odin. They have been trapped in animal bodies by a Frost Giant who has taken over Asgard and is the cause of the long winter. With his usual good humor Odd decides he has nothing to lose by attempting to defeat the Frost Giant, returning the gods to their true forms, and ending winter. Nothing too scary here, good fantasy adventure for grades 1st-5th.

Fortunately the Milk is a shorter story about the extraordinary adventure a father endured in order to bring his children some milk for their breakfast. Dinosaur scientists, volcanic sacrifices, time travel, pirates, aliens, and even ponies are all a part of this very funny book. An amusing tale that can be enjoyed by the whole family, particularly grades 1st-5th.

ICPL’s Sunday Fun Day Presents: October Improv! The Story’s the Thing

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on September 18th, 2014

The Iowa City Public Library invites children interested in the performing arts to join them every Sunday in October for October Improv! The Story’s the Thing. Drama-Club-poster2

Using a variety of drama techniques to bring popular children’s stories to life, October Improv! will explore the many ways there are to tell stories, and how actors can experience the character, action, and themes inside of stories.

These weekly drama sessions will be led by AmyRuth McGraw and students from the University of Iowa’s “Drama in the Classroom” course. AmyRuth has a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University. She spent four years as the Associate Director of Education for Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York, and was an Outreach Specialist for Sunshine, Too, a touring theatre company sponsored by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Caps for Sale, designed for children in grades kindergarten through second grade, will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 in the Storytime Room, in conjunction with the Iowa City Book Festival. Children are invited to take on the role of monkeys and experience this well-loved story in a new way. They’ll also learn to build a story with their bodies, voices, and an empty room.

The Legend of the Shooting Star, designed for students in third through sixth grades, will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12 in the Storytime Room. Participants will explore how storytelling devices prepare them for drama work, music inspires movement, and playing broadens the creative mind.

The Little Engine That Could, designed for children in grades kindergarten through second grade, will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, in the Storytime Room. Participants will use their bodies as building blocks, creating machines and exploring how to give trains personalities.

Stone Soup, for students in third through sixth grades, will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, in the Storytime Room. Participants will explore the difference between drama and reader’s theatre, learning how an actor communicates character and action by blending narration, vocal work, and limited movement.

October Improv! The Story’s the Thing is free to attend, but registration is required. To register, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.




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