by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on March 13th, 2017
The Book Madness brackets have been updated to show titles advancing to the Second Round.
2017 BOOK MADNESS – CHILDREN’S BRACKET
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
- Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
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by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 30th, 2017
The Iowa City Public Library will celebrate the first year of its 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program during a special storytime Saturday, February 11, at 10:30 a.m. in the Storytime Room.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten encourages parents and caregivers to read 1,000 books to children before they start kindergarten. In doing so, they strengthen a child’s language skills and build their vocabulary — two important tools for beginning readers.
The Library launched the program in February of 2016. Join us as we celebrate our first birthday, as well as the children who reached their 1,000 Books goal. These participants will receive a special certificate to celebrate their “graduation.” We’ll also kickoff our second year of the program, so be sure to stop by, sign up and have some cake, too.
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by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 25th, 2016
“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” — Frank Serafini
If your child is searching for their favorite book, or looking for a new title to add to a growing list of beloved stories, check out our favorite children’s books of 2016.
ICPL’s BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2016
- Thunder Boy Jr by Sherman Alexie
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
- Have You Seen Elephant by David Barrow
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
- Eek! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton
- The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
- The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton
- Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole
- Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
- Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly DiPucchio
- Together by Emma Dodd
- The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan
- Bear & Hare — Where’s Bear? By Emily Gravett
- The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield
- Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
- Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
- We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
- I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
- The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
- Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
- Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer
- Pax by Sara Pennypacker
- They All Saw a Cat by Brenden Wenzel
- Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
- Little Red by Bethan Woollvin
by Angela Pilkington on November 22nd, 2016
As parents, we tirelessly work to instill a sense of gratitude within our children and in today’s culture of more and better, it’s easy to overlook the many small blessings in our everyday. So as we turn our attention on giving thanks this week, let us not forget the power and importance of expressing gratitude all year long. Children’s books are fantastic resources when talking to kids about the importance of giving. Whether we choose to incorporate books about generosity into our daily reading rotation, or serve others as way of giving thanks, let’s continue inspiring grateful young hearts at home today and every day and in every way. Here are a few books to get you started.
If you’re looking for a children’s book that teaches generosity or unselfishness, most people will point you right to The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein’s lovely story of a tree that will do anything for the boy it loves — and for good reason. This classic is always a good place to start.
A delightfully quirky list of things we ought to be thankful for, from the simple to the extraordinary. It teaches children how beautiful life can be when we give thanks. Your child will love the whimsical childlike artwork of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, aerobic alligators combined with heartwarming prose is sure to make this book a family favorite.
Lionni is the master of picture books with simple, inspiring messages that never feel preachy. And a lesson on sharing is the first one kids need on their way to generosity. In this one, three selfish frogs spend their days arguing with the same refrain: “It’s mine!” T
hen a bad storm (and a big brown toad) teach them that sharing is indeed more rewarding than trying to lay claim to everything for ourselves.
Mooch the cat decides to give his pal Earl the gift of nothing. But there’s an important message in this picture book about knowing how to recognize when you have enough — and Earl, in fact, has everything he needs. Turns out a gift of nothing — save friendship — is just right, and often giving our friendship is everything.
A young boy awakens with the dawn, opens his eyes and looks closely at his world. He admires all that surrounds him, large and small, from the radiant sun to a tiny, but exquisite ladybug. “Today is today, and it is a gift.” We are encouraged to be thankful and to express gratitude for each unique day.
We could add several more to this list, what are some of your favorite books about being grateful?
by Karen Gordon on September 7th, 2016
Wow! What a busy time in the Children’s Room this summer! Now that the kids are back at school we are busy planning fall and winter programs.
It’s also that time of year to talk up the services the children’s room offers, like our outreach program, because outreach is such a fun part of our job.
If you are not familiar with the Iowa City Public Library’s outreach service, Casey Maynard, Nancy Holland and I do children’s outreach each week and visit 40 Iowa City sites, which include preschools, daycares, Neighborhood Centers, and Hacap (Hawkeye Area Community Action Program) centers. We share 30-minutes outreach stories with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Do you know that we have boxed thematic Storytime Kits? Please stop by the library and take a look at this unique collection.
These kits are geared for 3-6 year-olds and you check-out the whole kit for three weeks! We have 80 kits and you will love sharing them for your own circle time with your children.
Finally, for your convenience, you may call the library each week for a Book Pull with your topic and the Children’s Room staff will set aside 15 books for you to pick up at the Children’s Room Desk. Just give us 24 hours’ notice for this free service. Let us be your resource for the best children’s books available and fun guest storytimes!
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on July 13th, 2016
Receiving a letter in the mail was a big deal when I was a child. It didn’t happen often, so the days I’d come home from school and find an envelope with my name sitting on the kitchen table were treasured. I’d rip it open and start reading before taking off my coat, devouring the words the sender shared with me.
I think it’s my love for mail that launched my love of epistolary novels – books written as a series of documents, such as letters and journal entries. There’s something real about these stories because the reader instantly becomes part of the character’s personal life. Then again, there’s also a thrill that comes from reading another person’s journal – even if they are fictional.
You can check out some of my favorite epistolary novels on the new pop-up display on the Library’s first floor, located near the Help Desk. Choices include everything from young adult fiction, such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboksky, to fiction titles, including Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell.
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by Shawna Riggins on March 21st, 2016
While I am loving my slow trek through Tolstoy’s War and Peace as part of a book group, I do appreciate some additional input after finishing some chapters. While searching online recently for a chapter summary and analysis, I found an edition of War and Peace that really broke the book down to a level that I could certainly understand and included some beautiful images. While actually intended for babies and toddlers (considering it is a board book), I must admit I wasted no time in ordering a copy from Amazon.
I was happy to discover this edition of War and Peace is merely one in the delightful Cozy Classics board book series. On their website, creators, Jack and Holman Wang explain, “…no classic was written for the classroom; every one was written to give pleasure. We prefer to get away from the classroom and have kids grow up thinking of The Great Books as great fun.” This series, with its simplified stores and beautiful art, is a great way to make classics interesting and accessible at an early age. Find books in this series including Pride and Prejudice, Tom Sawyer, and others in our collection. Jack and Holman Wang introduce little ones to other essential stories with their similar series, Star Wars Epic Yarns, also available from ICPL. Still curious about these books? Check out their YouTube Channel for book trailers and behind the scenes clips.
Now be honest, who will be more excited about these books; you or the little one in your life?
by Shawna Riggins on March 9th, 2016
The temperature may be warming up outside but Pugs of the Frozen North written by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre will transport you to the magical cold of True Winter and the Great Northern Race. After an unusual weather phenomenon leaves young ship-hand, Shen, alone in freezing temperatures with 66 cold and hungry pugs, he finds friendship, support, and a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in a nearby city. Throughout Shen & his new friend Sika’s journey as participants in the Great Northern Race, they work with each other, their goofy yet gallant pugs, and even (most of) their competitors. If after reading this book your thoughts are not lingering on the excitement of the race and the antics of the adorably odd pugs, you might be mulling over the message that people (and dogs) can overcome expectations and reach their dreams.
Though certainly enjoyable for readers of all ages (especially for pug-lovers like myself), the exciting illustrations paired with text makes this a great book for children transitioning to chapter books. If you or your child liked the illustrations in Pugs of the Frozen North, try out McIntyre’s tutorial to draw your own puggy pups!
If this wacky adventure sounds right for you or a reader you know, check out other books from Reeve and McIntyre’s series of Not-So-Impossible Tales.
My pug Fifi wasn’t so keen on the idea of pulling a sleigh.
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!
- 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 between 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 expectations 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
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
Every 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 of 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.
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.
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.
Finally, 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.