Posts Tagged ‘Kids’


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!

 

Everything’s coming up roses in the Children’s Department…er, petunias, that is.

by Anne Wilmoth on July 7th, 2017

The fun was growing at Earth Friendly Friday on July 7!     img_0015

Children and parents “upcycled” tin cans by covering them with brightly-patterned tape.  Then they planted colorful petunias to enjoy on a windowsill or front porch all summer long.  Teaching children how to plant and care for their flower was Jenni Mettemeyer with Field to Family, an Iowa City organization that works to create a more local, healthy and sustainable regional food system.

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Exclamations of “That was fun!” and “This is beautiful!” were overheard.  Join us next Friday, July 14, from 1-2pm to learn about recycling with Iowimg_0004a City Recycling and Landfill representatives.

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Fresh Picks: Beautiful Nonfiction

by Morgan Reeves on August 31st, 2016
Fresh Picks: Beautiful Nonfiction Cover Image

In the world of children’s literature, picture books are the shining jewels that we admire for their beautiful illustrations and imaginative stories. Nonfiction titles are often seen as unglamorous workhorses, judged on their ability to meet educational standards in imparting information to their young readers. While there is certainly a necessary place for curriculum supporting, report fodder nonfiction, there is plenty of room on the shelves for nonfiction that captures the imagination as well as presenting the facts.

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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:

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Read Aloud 15 Minutes A Day

by Angela Pilkington on June 16th, 2016

summer15minutesRead Aloud 15 Minutes is a non-profit organization that is working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes the new standard in child care/parenting. “Reading aloud is the single most important thing a parent or caregiver can do to improve a child’s readiness to read and learn.” Their newest survey found that fewer than half (46%) of parents read aloud to their children every day, and only 34% do so for at least 15 minutes. Less than one in 10 parents reported reading aloud daily for 15 minutes from birth, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing eMagazines for Kids on Zinio

by Morgan Reeves on May 24th, 2016

Zinio, the eMagazine service, keeps getting better and better. First, it became even easier to access all of your favorite magazines online–you just need to log in once. Now, the service has added new titles, this time for children of all ages. I’ve put together a handy guide for ages and interests.

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Great Picture Books to Celebrate Earth Day!

by Angela Pilkington on April 20th, 2016

Help your little one celebrate and learn more about our planet for Earth Day coming up this Friday, April 22nd! While I believe we should celebrate Earth Day everyday, books are a great way to help kids learn about it in an exciting and relatable way! Here is a great list of earth friendly picture books to honor this day with your child through reading:

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Take Care of The Earth Everyday by Tammy Gagne.   While not a picture book, it is a short book showing how Earth is our home and how to care for it on a daily basis, including recycling, planting trees, and caring for plants and animals.

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The Earth Book by Todd Parr.  A great book that is simple and gives clear examples for how to save the earth as well as easy to understand reasons for why we need to.

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Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland.  This book about a bear who hugs everything in sight is sure to elicit giggles from young audiences, but it also has an important message about preservation.

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10 Things I can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh.  This super child-friendly book has beautifully die-cut pages filled with ways that even young children can help the environment, from planting seeds to turning off the lights when they leave a room.

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Gabby and Grandma Go Green by Monica Wellington.  This book introduces to little ones what it means to be green with Gabby and her grandma who have a ‘green day’ together.

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The Green Mother Goose : Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time by Jan Peck.  Mother Goose has gone green-and this playful picture book invites kids to join the fun. These are delightful “recycled” rhymes, perfect for Earth Day.

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Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel. Michael Recycle tells the adventures of a young superhero whose power allows him to teach people about recycling. The rhyming text and a child superhero is perfect for reading aloud together.

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The Little Recycler by Jan Gerardi. This board book makes the concept of recycling fun and exciting for your little ones, and there’s plenty of machinery interest for those little engineers!

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The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Last, but not least, the classic Dr. Seuss book that is synonymous with Earth Day. Even though is a long read, is a perfect story on the importance of taking care of our place no matter how big or small you are.

Remember to make Earth Day everyday!

Happy 100th Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

by Angela Pilkington on April 4th, 2016

Happy (almost) 100th Birthday to beloved author of Ramona, Beezus, Henry, the Mouse and more!

Born April 12, 1916, Beverly Cleary, has become one of the most beloved and successful children’s author, whose work has affected generations of readers and writers. With over 91 million copies of her books sold worldwide, she began writing stories for children while working as a librarian in Yakima, Washington. She realized the children at her library didn’t have chapter books that represented them and what they liked to read. She began writing relatable fiction that spoke to children in her community and soon around the world.

Her first book published was Henry Huggins in 1950, she followed it with several more Henry books with stories including two supporting characters, Beezus and Ramona, who would soon have their own series of books in 1955. Beverly has gone on to write over 40 books, with many having TV or movie adaptations. She won the prestigious Newberry Medal in 1954 for Dear Mr. Henshaw, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1975 and was named a Library of Congress Living Legend in 2000.MouseRamonaQ

In honor of her upcoming birthday, check out your favorite Beverly Cleary book to reread or share with a new generation! My favorite is a toss-up between Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Both have distinct memories attached to them!

What is your favorite Beverly Cleary book?

For more information on Beverly Cleary check out her website here.

Children should learn that reading is pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school. -Beverly Cleary

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Crazy 8’s Spy Training

by Angela Pilkington on March 30th, 2016

The Big Idea this week was learning how to be spies by solving coded messages, cracking codes to find treasure, and ending by coding their own phone number!

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So what math did we use tonight as we were training to be spies? Number recognition, pattern recognition and completion and associations between sets.

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By the end of class we all used our super-stealthy math skills to become super-secret spies – and to ace math class in school! The kids all took home their magnifying glasses, codes, and clues to practice more math sleuthing!

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Tune in next week for high flying marshmallows and more mischievous math!

Finally, an edition of War and Peace I can understand!

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. 20160321_104309While 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. 20160321_104333Find 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?