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Storytime Recap: Pioneer Log Cabins at City Park

by Mari Redington on August 11th, 2016

ClotheslineThis week for our preschool storytimes, Casey and I teamed up with the Iowa City Parks & Rec department to explore stories, games, crafts, and even chores common during the time of the pioneers. Despite the heat and humidity and bug bites, the kids enjoyed learning about the history of the cabins on Wednesday. buildingOn Thursday, we were rained out. Sigh. But, kids still enjoyed books, songs and games, as well as building our own indoor cabins with Lincoln logs. Read the rest of this entry »


by Casey Maynard on August 11th, 2016

The final installment of Aaron Becker’s Journey trilogy is finally here and was it ever worth the wait. Return is a breathtaking finale that equals its prior installments in every way. Immensely detailed, cinematic and profound, Return is the perfect denouement to Becker’s seminal series. While in essence this is the culmination of the trilogy, Return denotes and necessitates a renaissance of the Journey,Return to the beginning.

For those of you unfamiliar with Aaron Becker’s work, I highly recommend starting at the beginning of his wordless Journey. Personally I have enjoyed going from start to finish to start–it’s incredible to compare the detail in these works side by side. I look forward to seeing where Aaron Becker will take us next but will go on this journey over and over both in anticipation and continuous wonder. 

Check out the videos below from his website–the first is a mini documentary about the making of Journey the second is the official book trailer for Return. 



Not A Box Party

by Angela Pilkington on August 10th, 2016

This spring I joined the Early Literacy Task Force which is part of  the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce. This weekend we are excited to host a free family Not a Box Building Party!  The next event will be on Saturday, August 13 at Wetherby Park in Iowa City from 3-5pm. notabox

This is a free, all-ages event.  The party will begin with a reading of “Not a Box” by Antionette Portis, a story about imagination and creativity in which a young rabbit’s imagination frees him from the constraints that he has just-a-box, but rather that it can be anything he wants it to be.  The children (and adults) will then have an opportunity to let their imaginations run free and construct whatever they can imagine.  There will be vast amounts of cardboard boxes and tape available as well as volunteers to assist and supervise.  Snacks will be provided and at the end of the event at least 85 families will receive their own copy of “Not a Box” to take home with them.  All children will have an opportunity to choose a free book to take home.

Participating organizations include 4Cs Community Coordinated Child Care, Antelope Lending Library, Iowa Children’s Museum, Iowa City Public Library, Johnson County Empowerment/ECIA, Strive For Success, Iowa City Community School District, NCS Pearson, United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties, Westergaard, LLC, and Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce along with generous donations of materials from General Mills.

Visit the Early Literacy Task Force Facebook event at:

We hope to see you there!

20+ years for Stories in the Park

by Nancy Holland on August 4th, 2016

Nancy ParkLast week brought to a close a lot of our annual summer reading activities at Iowa City Public Library. One summer program that has been  a favorite for the Children’s Department for many years is Stories in the Park.

Our Wednesday morning Stories in the Park at Willow Creek Park started as a unique kind of outreach program provided by ICPL in cooperation with scheduled playground activities provided by the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Division. I’m not exactly sure what year that was, but I’m certain I have been involved for at least 20 years — maybe more. A few years after starting the Wednesday storytimes, we added a Friday storytime at Mercer Park.

The eight weeks of this summer program go by quickly. The weather isn’t always cooperative. Every year is different. This summer we only had to cancel one Wednesday and one Friday storytime for bad weather. The other seven weeks were well attended with totals of 455 people coming to Willow Creek Park and 330 attending the Mercer Park programs.

It’s rewarding for staff to have a chance to get outside and share Library resources with people who might not come to the Library. A few years ago we started taking some books with us so that people with Library Cards had the opportunity to check out items at the storytime if they wanted.  It is so exciting that we will be able to expand on this service next year when we have our new bookmobile for Stories in the Park.

ICPL Preschool Storytime at Upper City Park Log Cabins

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 3rd, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library’s Wednesday and Thursday preschool storytimes will move to a special location Aug. 10 and Aug. 11.017 (resized 75 x75)

The Library will host a Pioneer Storytime and Picnic Lunch at the historic log cabins at Upper City Park, 200 East Park Road, from 10:30 a.m. to noon on both days.

The program will include stories, games, pioneer crafts and learning about Iowa City history. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring lunch for themselves and their children to enjoy an outdoor picnic.

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

ICPL Presents Songs of Peter Rabbit

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 27th, 2016

The Iowa City Public Library will celebrate Beatrix Potter’s 150th birthday next week with a special reading and performance of The Songs of Peter Rabbit.peterrabbit_peter_1280

Based on Potter’s beloved classic, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, the adaptation by composer Dudley Glass captures the trouble-making spirit of Peter Rabbit without losing the story’s cautionary lesson. Written for voice and piano, Glass’ version will be performed by ICPL children’s room staff during preschool storytime from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, and Thursday, Aug. 4.

Both storytimes will be held in Meeting Room A. The performances also will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 20.

The Library’s preschool storytime is recommended for children between the ages of three and five. Younger and older siblings are welcome to attend, too.

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

Poor Little Guy

by Casey Maynard on July 18th, 2016

Elanna Allen, illustrator of the Violet Mackerel series, has released a new picture book–Poor Little Guy. Following the troubles of a tiny fish who, unfortunately, is caught in the clutches of a much larger bully–Poor Little Guy packs a surprising punch. Allen uses the entire picture book to move the narrative forward. This includes an initially subtle shift in the background palette as our protagonist gets consistently more frustrated, from blue-green to deep purple and back again as the situation resolves itself. Be certain to take extra care with the endsheets, framing, pacing, font and color choices within the work as each aspect of this book is purposeful. Children will delight in the triumph of the underdog and the foreshadowing of the further trials of our puffer protagonist. Fans of dark humor and just desserts will not be disappointed and will beg for rereads.

Click Poor Little Guy to see a book trailer from Penguin Young Readers Group.

Take a Summer Field trip!

by Mari Redington on July 1st, 2016

As a former teacher, current part-time nanny, and a librarian who has witnessed many busy summers in the Children’s Room, I know that kids can get stuck in summertime rut of computers, video games, and TV. While the library is always a great place to find books to read, attend storytime, and collect SRP prizes, I love to recommend some local educational getaways for the family, and of course some awesome books from the children’s nonfiction section to supplement learning. Just because school’s out on summer vacation, doesn’t mean your brain has to be.

A millipede from the Blank Park Zoo visits the library.

A millipede from the Blank Park Zoo visits the library.

Think of it as summertime field trip, and field trip day is the best day of the whole school year!  This year I am watching a four-year old and an eight-year old, which is pretty much the perfect age range for these enrichment activities. To be honest, I am probably more excited about our little trips than they are. Luckily I can keep my cool under pressure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Soak up the rest of summer!

by Angela Pilkington on July 1st, 2016

summer16July is here, which means our Summer Reading Program –On Your Marks, Get Set, Read! is half over! With the program coming to an end July 31st, there is still plenty of time to sign up to get your reading done to earn great prizes and a chance for one of the grand prizes!

We also have a full line up of great programs coming up in July, here are a few of our bigger children’s events:

Read the rest of this entry »

Birds of a Feather

by Casey Maynard on June 27th, 2016

Flora is at it again in the latest installment of Molly Idle’s wordless series. Flora and the Peacocks is a beautifully wrought sequel to Flora and the Flamingo and Flora and the Penguin. In this latest iterance, Flora continues dancing through life and lessons with two new friends who just happen to be peacocks.

Characteristic of her style, Idle has dressed Flora with matching colors and accoutrements that mimic the body type of her avian dance partner: a fan with peacocks, flippers for the flamingo and ice skates for the penguin. Beautiful, delightful and humorous, audience members should prepare for this pas de trois to turn a little fowl before the bold finish. Idle  has continued to impress with this series and remains an enduring contender for the Caldecott.

For a book trailer from Chronicle Books visit: Flora Book Trailer