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ICPL to Debut 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program

by on January 29th, 2016

Sharing books and stories is important to a child’s brain development, which is why the Iowa City Public Library is pleased to partner with Pearson for our new 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.1000 Books Before Kindergarten_GeneralPoster.indd

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten encourages parents and caregivers to do just that: read 1,000 books before the child starts kindergarten. In doing so, they strengthen a child’s language skills and build their vocabulary — two important tools for beginning readers. With the support of a $10,000 Employee Challenge Fund for Literacy grant from Pearson, the Library will assist and encourage parents and caregivers as they help children become lifelong readers.

The program will launch at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 5, following Book Babies. Staff from the Library and Pearson will be on hand to register children for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. Children also can register at the Children’s Desk during regular Library hours after Feb. 5.

Each participant will go home with a bookmark to track their first 250 books. Once it’s complete, children can bring it to the Children’s Room for their next bookmark, each one in 250 increments, until they’ve read 1,000 books. Children also will receive a prize after completing each level of the program: a book bag after 250 books; a book plate to be inserted in any children’s book in the Library’s collection after 500 books; a growth chart after 750 books; and a new book of their own at 1,000 books.

“We’re so excited to bring this program to our community and want to thank Pearson for their help in making it an experience that will benefit our young patrons for years,” Library Director Susan Craig said.

ICPL to screen Bessie on Feb. 4

by on January 28th, 2016
ICPL to screen Bessie on Feb. 4 Cover Image

In honor of Black History Month, the Iowa City Public Library will show a free screening of Bessie at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4.

This 2015 HBO TV film about legendary American blues singer Bessie Smith focuses on her transformation as a struggling young singer into “The Empress of the Blues.” Directed by Dee Rees, the film stars Queen Latifah stars as Smith, with supporting roles are played by Michael Kenneth Williams as Smith’s first husband Jack Gee, and Mo’Nique as Ma Rainey.

Bessie received four Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie.

The movie will be shown in the big screen in Meeting Room A. Popcorn will be provided.

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

Mary Cassatt; Extraordinary Impressionist Painter

by on January 27th, 2016
Mary Cassatt; Extraordinary Impressionist Painter Cover Image

In a new picture book biography by Barbara Herkert, a brief text in language appropriate for K-3 grades tells about the strong-willed girl born in 1860 who wanted to be an artist. At 16 she enrolled in art school and studied at the Academy with all the male students.  She next traveled to Paris to study against her father’s objections.  Like many artists, she copied the Old Masters paintings found in the Louvre Museum.  When her artwork was rejected by the Salon, the impressionist painter, Degas, invited Cassatt to join an independent painters’ group and they broke all the rules by using brilliant tones and splashes of white, pastels and soft blurry images.  She captured on canvas what she saw around her.  For Mary, art was life and life was art.  Although she never married, Cassatt painted many beautiful pastels of mothers and babies.  When her family moved to Paris, she used them as subjects of her heartfelt paintings.  Her art now hangs in museums all over the world.  This book will be encouraging to young artists to pursue their artistic dreams.  Cassatt’s paintings continue to inspire, inform, and uplift people today. The illustrations in this picture book are done by Gabi Swiatkowska of France.  An author’s note and list of sources are included in the back of the book.  Before a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, check out this title and share it with your youngster.

Elusive Moose by Joan Gannij

by on January 27th, 2016
Elusive Moose by Joan Gannij Cover Image

Two weeks ago for my in-house Wednesday preschool storytime and all my outreach storytimes that week, I read books about moose.  I borrowed the Storytime Kit #16, “Moose on the Loose,” for inspiration and to use the cute puppet included, but I also pulled some other moose picture books to share.  One that I really like is Elusive Moose by Joan Gannij with artwork by Clare Beaton.  The text is short–just one sentence for each two-page spread, but it is perfect for preschoolers.  I also think the rhyming words make it a great read-aloud story.  The narrator sees horses, beavers, geese, a brown bear, badgers, frogs, an eagle, Arctic foxes, hares, and squirrels, but wishes that he (she) could see a moose.  What children looking at the pictures will delight in, is that there are moose hiding on nearly every page that the narrator is oblivious to.  So the audience is in on the conceit and the successful picture book demands further readings.  But the highlight of Illusive Moose is the creative picture-making.  Beaton has once again used felt, beads, sequins, and colorful fabrics to cut and sew marvelous scenes and then they are captured as pictures for audiences to enjoy.  Her crafty images so meticulously done are great to share because of their different format compared to the usual techniques used in picture book illustrations.  Also, the author has included additional information in the back of the book about the “Animals of the Northern Lands” that would be fun to show to kids.  A page on “Animal Tracks” in the snow and “Meet the Moose!” provide further facts about this largest member of the deer family.  I’m partial to this animal after seeing a real moose up close in the wild with my grandson while vacationing in the Rockie Mountains last summer.  Check out all the books with Clare Beaton’s fabric artwork in the picture book section of the Children’s Room.

Dig the Detectorists

by on January 27th, 2016
Dig the Detectorists Cover Image

I just discovered  a new TV series that has become one of my all-time favorites: The Detectorists.  As the two protagonists keep having to explain, “We’re not metal detectors, we are detectorists”.  That is: they are the guys who operate the metal detectors;  and they take it very seriously.  The show surrounds the efforts of hobbyist treasure hunters who are convinced they are about to discover the lost burial of a Saxon king.  It’s high stakes among the hobby clubs in the area to secure the rights to a farm that is rumored to be a hot prospect.  The show was written and directed by Mackenzie Crook, who you might know as the gung-ho assistant on the British version of The Office.  It is very funny and the dialog is great as is the music and filming.  This is an easy one to binge-watch, so take it easy.  Only watch a couple at a time; there are only six in the first season.

Best of the Best Children’s Books

by 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 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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We love our volunteers!

by on January 25th, 2016

volunteerwordleA huge thank you to the 336 people who volunteered at the Library in 2015!

Volunteers checked in books, ran the Book End bookstore, cleaned the play kitchen items in the Children’s Room, tutored high school students, planned teen programs, indexed the Press-Citizen, hauled books for our book sales, and more.

Their total of 9,567 hours in 2015 was 611 more than last year and equivalent to 4.6 full-time staff.  ICPL wouldn’t be the same without the help of our dedicated volunteers!

Want to get involved?  Read more about volunteering at icpl.org/volunteer.

Check It Out: ICPL’s online newsletter

by on January 21st, 2016

The Library launched its online newsletter today: Check It Out. This newsletter will be sent to subscribers the third Thursday of every month, sharing the latest Library news and upcoming programs.ENewsletterHeader_checkitout

To subscribe, visit the City of Iowa City’s website and fill out the E-subsciption form. If you already subscribe to one or more of the city’s e-mail or text alerts, you can add the Library’s newsletter to your settings by logging in to your account and selecting the ICPL Check It Out newsletter box.

 

 

No Sweat

by on January 20th, 2016

In No Sweat, Michelle Segar offers new ways to approach fitness for people who have a bad attitude (or, as I like to say, a badittude) about working out. In fact, one of the things that Segar promotes is removing the phrases “working out,” “fitness,” and “getting in shape” froNo Sweatm our internal dialogue. It’s called “movement,” and we need it to feel good mentally and physically. Her research is based on what motivates people to move and take better care of themselves. (Evidently, while the pressure to “be fit” is everywhere, it is often not a very motivating message.) This book offers Segar’s findings about motivation and also acts as a type of workbook for changing the way you think about exercise. No Sweat is a practical book about how to prioritize self-care and feeling good instead of stressing out about pounds, inches, and health.

 





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