I was definitely ready for spring with the official first day this past Friday (March 20). It just makes me smile to see the trees in front of Lake Arlington Branch sprout their delicate white flowers before the leaves come in, to view a carpet of purple buds on the roadside, or feel the warmer breeze. To celebrate the beginning of this season we will enjoy the follow spring themed books at this week’s storytimes.
Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson
A mouse and its mother experience the delights of nature on a windy spring day.
Peek-a-Bloom! By Marie Torres Cimarusti
Lift-up flaps reveal rabbits, ducklings, flowers, and other signs of spring.
And then it’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
Simple text reveals the anticipation of a boy who, having planted seeds while everything around is brown, fears that something has gone wrong until, at last, the world turns green.
Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck by Lisa Westberg Peters
Early one spring a little duck arrives at her pond and finds it still frozen, but not for long.
My Spring Robin by Ann Rockwell
Before finding the robin she is searching for, a child discovers other interesting fauna and flora in her backyard.
After you attend storytime, I encourage you and your little one to go out and experience the delights of spring with these suggested activities:
Go for a walk…
- Feel the wind and describe the way it is blowing – breezy, wispy, gusty or blustery.
- Stop and listen to birds’ call and possible name the type of birds.
- Find some flowers and name their color.
- Count how many robins you see.
Today is my “Gotcha Day”, so I would like to write about adoption!
For those who don't know, a "gotcha day" is the anniversary of the day a child was adopted.
Adoption books provide great stories and entertainment while also making the topic easier to discuss with your child. As children develop, so do the questions in their minds about where they are from, why they are here and so on. They help bring comfort and normalcy to the idea that a child has two sets of parents: biological and adoptive.
A few things that helped me when I was younger:
- Discuss the topic so your child will feel comfortable asking questions.
- Use children’s books to help explain the idea of adoption to your child. (Fictional stories are easy to relate to.)
- Be attentive to your childs emotions involving his or her adoption.
- Educate family and friends with the process. Also speak with them on effective ways of communicating about the subject with your child.
Here are several excellent books on the topic of adoption:
We have these available for checkout in our system in addition to many more!
Play is the number one way that children learn. Finding new ways to incorporate play into literacy will make learning fun and more affective for your child. Don’t be afraid to be creative in making your own games and activities as you teach letters, sounds, and words to your little ones.
Click on the images below for a few fun ways to teach literacy through play at home:
MY SHADOW by Robert Louis Stevenson
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow --
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.
He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And he can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrogant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
March is Women's History Month! How will you celebrate with your kids or students?
You could make a family tree of all the women in your family history! Include photos of each woman and let your kids decorate the tree as you tell them about the different women in their family.
You and your children or students could dress-up as famous women and discuss what these women accomplished.
And of course, you can read about these amazing women together! There is an ever-increasing number of picture books about women in history being published every year-too many to list here! It might seem daunting to choose a historical or biographical picture book for younger children, but fear not-we have a few suggestions. Here is a list of some of some of my "recommended" Women's History Month picture books organized by age:
Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Holding her stuffed toy chimpanzee, young Jane Goodall observes nature, reads Tarzan books, and dreams of living in Africa and helping animals.
The story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.
You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer: A Very Improper Story by Shana Corey
Amelia Bloomer, who does not behave the way nineteenth-century society tells her a proper lady should, introduces pantaloons to American women to save them from the discomfort of their heavy, tight dresses.
Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan
A fictionalized account of the night Amelia Earhart flew Eleanor Roosevelt over Washington, D.C. in an airplane.
When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan
An introduction to the life of Marian Anderson, extraordinary singer and civil rights activist, who was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, whose life and career encouraged social change.
Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
A 2015 Caldecott Honor Book
A 2015 Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award
Explores the life and creative process of artist Frida Kahlo.
Different Like Coco by Elizabeth Matthews
The story of French fashion icon Coco Chanel.
Coretta Scott King Book Award, Illustrator, Honor
If you hear any mysterious drumming in the air, WATCH OUT! The Wild Things might be near!
My own fascination with the book actually began in college when I was cast as a non-existent character for our university’s children’s production. (Perhaps I felt a bit guilty being in a role not even created by the author, but I still couldn’t help getting swept away in the story).
When Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are was first introduced to the world in 1963, the book received mixed reviews. Some thought it too frightening and even had it banned from their libraries. Despite this setback, children and librarians fought for it to stay on the shelves. Millions of copies later, generations of readers can still enjoy the story of Max today.
To find the closest wild rumpus, journey over this Saturday to the Southeast Branch where our SPRING BREAK PUPPET BONANZA kicks off with Where the Wild Things Are Puppet Show…and other WILD Adventures.
Until then, feast your eyes on the artwork below, curated by Corey Godbey.
The Five Finger Test
Often it's difficult to know if a book is going to be too easy or too hard just by looking at the cover. The Five Finger Rule is one way to "test" a book before you spend too much time with it and get frustrated.
Try these steps to pick the perfect book for you:
1. Select a book you’d like to read.
2. Open to any page in the middle of the book.
3. Begin reading aloud, so you can hear the words you have difficulty pronouncing.
4. Hold up a finger each time you come to a word you don't know right away.
5. If you have all five fingers up before you get to the end of the page, this book may be too difficult for you to read on your own.
Note: You may only have one or two fingers up. However, if you are sounding out most words on the page, this book is still too hard for you. Try an easier book.
Use this graphic as a guide:
Here are some suggested Award Winning titles that you may enjoy:
Caldecott Medal Winners
Newberry Medal Winner & Honor Books
We are excited to officially announce the details for our first ever SPRING BREAK PUPPET BONANZA!
March 7 @ 10:30 a.m.: Where the Wild Things Are Puppet Show...and other WILD Adventures
March 10 @ 6:30 p.m.: Shadow Puppet Play
March 14 @ 10:30 a.m.: Rockin' Sockin' Puppet Palooza
Hope to see you all!
Parents are a child's first and most important teacher in life. As a parent, you can provide your children with a solid building block in literacy by simply reading, singing, and speaking to them even if they aren't old enough to understand what you are saying. Children will begin to pick up on vocabulary, letter sounds, rhymes, and rhythm, which are core elements in our language. With these tools, children will be more successful in school and their adult lives.
Debate time. Who is the world’s most popular puppet? I can almost hear a chorus of people shouting over each other, “ELMO!” “ERNIE!” “KERMIT!” “LAMBCHOP!” But Shari Lewis, Sesame Street, and even Jim Hensen might have to bow down to a certain wooden boy without strings.
Italian writer, Carlo Collodi, led his own thread of adventures before breathing life into the ever-famous Pinocchio. After graduating from primary school he was shipped off to study priesthood but wound up working for a bookseller. He jumped into political journalism, took on the position of magazine editor, and ended up translating Charles Perrault’s fairy tales from French to Italian. It was this new world of fairy tales that set him into thinking of writing his own. Much like Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist, Pinocchio was first introduced to the world through a weekly newspaper serial.
Yet Collodi’s Pinocchio is far more selfish than the wide-eyed character Disney created. The moralistic Cricket gets squashed in the original tale…by the puppet himself! "...I am a heedless Marionette--heedless and heartless," Pinocchio says. "Oh! If I had only had a bit of heart..."
Whichever version you prefer, one thing is certain: something about this wooden boy has captivated generations of readers. Explore the literature and decide for yourself. Then mark your calendars for this spring break when we will be hosting a series of lighter-hearted puppet events for families to enjoy. (hint hint hint: If you happen by East Branch on March 12, you might have the opportunity to see some awesome marionette-inspired moves by Studio 74 dancers).
Until then, here is a fascinating video of a real-life modern Geppetto who works in an Italian toy shop.
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