Family Traveling for the Holidays? Bring Along an Audiobook!

by Anne Wilmoth on November 8th, 2017

Each year, while traveling literally over the river and through the woods to southeastern Michigan for Thanksgiving, I’m determined that the family unity and togetherness will start the moment we back out of the driveway. Translation: no screens, kids. Instead, I cue up an audiobook I’ve carefully selected for family listening pleasure. It can be a challenge to find something that everyone is engaged by – but when I do, it makes the miles zip by. Some we’ve enjoyed recently:

Thumbnail The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, 2014

This was a hit with everyone in the car – my 55-year-old mother-in-law, my husband, my “tween” daughter and my 6-year-old. It moves fast, and it’s written in verse – who doesn’t enjoy listening to poetry read aloud? Those who are into sports will enjoy it, as it’s about a pair of basketball-star twins and their exploits on the court, but it has plenty for the non-sports-fan as well – it’s just as much about family relationships, loyalty, and coming-of-age.

 

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio, 2012

This book about a fifth-grader with a facial abnormality is an excellent bridge to a family discussion about inclusion and kindness. The life of the protagonist has been shaped by the reactions of others to his striking physical differences, despite being a totally “regular kid” on the inside, and now he’s about to start at a new middle school. Different actors narrate the sections of this book, which are told from the perspective of a variety of characters. The dialogue and situations feel very authentic, and the message hits home without being heavy-handed or precious. You’ll be ready to see the screen adaptation that comes out this month!

 

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When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, 2009

A one-of-a-kind historical sci-fi/mystery so suspenseful that you won’t want to press pause at a rest stop! Miranda tries to unravel who – or what – is behind the prophetic notes that keep appearing in her personal items. Other mysterious characters and unexplained events pop up, and there seems to be no earthly way all these intriguing but disparate elements could possibly be tied together by the end – but they are. Also, time travel, if you’re into that.

 

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Ghost by Jason Reynolds, 2016

Ghost is a gifted sprinter, and when he impulsively tries out for a local track team, a tough-love coach sees potential in him. But Ghost has to learn to control his anger to become a team player and succeed on the track. The audiobook is engagingly narrated by the author, who brings laugh-out-loud personality to the coach’s dialogue. This book was recently named the 2018 All Iowa Kids Read selection, so listening to it would be a great way for all your kids to participate at once.

 

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Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm, 2016

10-year-old Beans Curry cooks up schemes and gets into scrapes during one summer in Depression-era Key West. Adults will be fascinated by the historical details of how Key West was deliberately remade from an isolated and impoverished island community into a hot tourist attraction – this novel is based on true events – while kids will thrill to Beans’ wacky adventures and wonder what he’ll do next. Narrated by the author, fans of Holm’s popular Babymouse series will not be disappointed in this listening experience.

 

These audiobooks are available on CD at the library, or in digital, downloadable format via OverDrive. Happy listening, and happy, harmonious traveling this season!

 

Real Friends

by Angela Pilkington on November 3rd, 2017

Last week Publisher’s Weekly announced their best books of 2017 list. While looking over the children’s list I came across a couple titles that I had somehow missed, so I have set out to read them before the end of the year.

The first one I grabbed was Real Friends by Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale, with artwork by LeUyen Pham. This graphic novel is a semi autobiographical account of Shannon growing up from Kindergarten to fifth grade and finding her real friends.

If I told you this book did not bring up memories of my own childhood and finding friends or that I am now going through this with my own 10 year old daughter, I would be lying. I can vividly remember my mother soothing my tears and giving me her best advice on how to deal with the cruel words or actions of the girls. I now have her advice and this book to talk to my daughter with when situations, like being a part of the club arise’s.  Like Shannon in the book, there were days when I was part of the club and other days when I suddenly found myself on the outs.

That said, I still really enjoyed this book and Shannon’s story. LeUyen did a wonderful job with her artwork to bring out the emotions from Hale’s characters with facial expressions. You will truly feel Shannon’s insecurities, her happiness, her sadness, and her confusion. More importantly, though, you will feel. You’ll be feeling the entire time, but you’ll root for Shannon, and a lot of that comes from Phan’s artwork.

This story was perfect for my 10-year-old and really for any child. Real Friends looks at the complex relationships among elementary school girls and by reading it together we were able to discuss important feelings and our reactions. The book echoes to readers that good friends don’t treat you badly and that in the end, all the hard work and the journey that comes with it are worth it.

Belly Babies at the Iowa City Public Library!

by Karen Gordon on November 2nd, 2017

Parents who are expecting the pitter-patter of little feet are invited to the Iowa City Public Library’s Belly Babies.bellybabies-logo

This is a pre-birth class held in the Children’s Storytime Room each Saturday afternoon from 3-4 pm.

The topic this Saturday, November 4, 3 to 4 p.m.: Staying Fit & Fabulous, with certified yoga teacher Jenna Gibbs.

Join certified prenatal yoga teacher and University of Iowa College of Public Health researcher, Jenna Gibbs, as she discusses creative ways to stay active despite appetite changes, discomfort, & fatigue throughout all stages of pregnancy. Jenna is a mom to 2 month old Gracie, and teaches yoga at the University of Iowa and Downward Dog Yoga in Coralville.

Families at any stage are welcome, whether it’s your first or later child!

Check Out These New Books!

by Casey Maynard on October 23rd, 2017

“Rapunzel”, by Bethan Woollvin is a cut above. Prepare for a delightful and unconventional heroine. Much like her first picture book, “Little Red”, Woollvin’s next installation is a joyful romp. Be sure to look under the dust jacket for a fun surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for duncan tonatiuh danzaDuncan Tonatiuh’s “Danza” is a lovely biography of Amalia Hernández, the founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México.  If you are unfamiliar with the Folkloric Ballet this is a wonderful place to start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for sam the most scaredy cat kidMo Willems took his time giving us a sequel to “Leonardo the Terrible Monster”. “Sam, the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the World” is a fun extension for these beloved characters and, per usual, Willems delivers high quality frivolity. Look for pigeon cameos, and read back to back if you want to see the play between the two books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “In Your Hands” by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Brian Pinkney, is not only timely but beautifully rendered. It encompasses what we all hope for our children, brothers and sisters as they set out into the world. While God and prayer are central here, this title resonates on a truly humanitarian level.Related image

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

by Mari Redington on October 14th, 2017

pashminaAll of the Children’s librarians were abuzz this week after voraciously reading Pashmina, the first graphic novel from artist Nidhi Chanani. Born in Kolkata, Chanani brings her Indian heritage and her talent and love of art together in this story about Priyanka, a young girl who knows very little about India. As a second generation Indian American, Priyanka is torn between two worlds. She tries not to stand out too much at school by shortening her name to Pri, and she doesn’t understand all of the Hindu traditions her family practices at home.

India is her mother’s homeland which she fled at a young age and where she has vowed to never return. Pri can only imagine what it would be like to live in India until she discovers a forgotten pashmina in her mother’s belongings that transports her to beautiful and fantastical Indian landscapes too good to be true. She doesn’t realize the truth about why her mother left until a cash prize from an art contest allows her to travel to India to stay with her aunt. Pashmina explores bicultural and immigrant culture clashes as well as a feminist look at ways women are constrained by patriarchy. Chanani’s beautifully drawn images uses color to draw a clear contrast between Pri’s real life which is shown in pale neutrals and her wondrous visions of India, bright and vivid like the cover art. capture

Belly Babies at the Iowa City Public Library!

by Karen Gordon on October 10th, 2017

Parents who are expecting the pitter-patter of little feet are invited to the Iowa City Public Library’s Belly Babies.bellybabies-logo

This is a pre-birth class held in the Children’s Storytime Room each Saturday afternoon from 3-4 pm. You’ll learn early literacy tips, songs, and rhymes. Community guests will share helpful information. Our goal is to help you build a community of support, prepare you right from the start.

The topic this Saturday, October 14, 3 to 4 p.m.: Finding a Balance with a Baby with Helen Kudos, MSW, LSW, of Eastwind Healing. Helen will share tips and best practices about keeping the lines of communication open and finding balance during this unpredictable time.

Families at any stage are welcome, whether it’s your first or later child!

Storytime Recap: Welcome Fall

by Morgan Reeves on September 23rd, 2017
Storytime Recap: Welcome Fall Cover Image

It may not feel like it but yesterday was the first day of autumn. To welcome fall (and some hopefully cooler weather) we read a poem and a story about how summer changes into fall and danced like falling leaves. We followed a bear on a hike over a mountain and marched along. Then we read and sang about my favorite part of fall, apples! We learned how an apple tree grows apples throughout the year and then pretended to be apple trees. Finally we watched a movie based on the book by Peter Brown which follows a bear explaining why Children Make Terrible Pets. Check out the list below of books, songs and rhymes.

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Why I Love Kim Krans

by Casey Maynard on September 14th, 2017

For those of you who are unfamiliar with author/illustrator, Kim Krans, I highly recommend her picture books. Not only are they stunning, but her work is highly original and full of whimsy. Both ABC Dream and 123 Dream are wordless, however, Krans uses the format to allow audiences to explore her artwork and discover all the ways her choices align with the numbers and letters represented. They are also a challenge to see how much you and your little ones know about your numbers and letters.

Her most recent picture book, Whose Moon is That? differs from the Dream series in that it’s a short narrative conversation regarding ownership of the moon. The story is sweet, insightful and will get your little ones excited about looking up at our night sky. Image result for kim krans

 

Looking for more fabulous Kim Krans artwork? She is also the creator of the highly acclaimed Wild Unknown Tarot.

ICPL Bookmobile adds special preschool visits to fall schedule

by Mari Redington on September 6th, 2017

bookmobile-preschoolStarting this month, the ICPL Bookmobile will be making stops at area preschools on Wednesday mornings. This will be an additional service for several preschools who are already receiving regular visits from an ICPL Children’s librarian each month for a classroom Storytime. Preschoolers and their families as well as teachers will have the opportunity to check out books on the bookmobile, sign up for library cards, and even redeem prizes for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program! While the Wednesday morning preschool visits will not be publicly advertised on the schedule, if you happen to see the bookmobile parked at a school, the public is welcome to return library books, pick up holds, check out library items, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytime Recap: Labor Day

by Morgan Reeves on September 2nd, 2017
Storytime Recap: Labor Day Cover Image

Today’s family storytime was in honor of Labor Day. We read books about all kinds of jobs and worker’s rights. We sang songs about marching and celebrating together. I told everyone about how workers came together and demonstrated for better pay and working conditions. We talked about how even children used to have hard jobs to do. I asked the children what kind of jobs they have now and what they might want to be when they grow up. We also talked about how a lot of people get Labor Day off of work or school to relax and have a good time. Read the rest of this entry »