• potty training

    I owe my sanity as a mother to a book I stumbled across at the library. Last spring, I had a few minutes to spare so I decided to take my toddler to the library. It’s sad to say, but because I spend so much of my time working at the library, I don’t bring my kids back as often as I should. I decided to just let her explore. She loved it!  

    After a little while of wandering I decided to find a book about potty training because it is something we had been trying to work on for months and months but with no success. Honestly, I was at the point that I knew I did not have the patience or time to dedicate to getting her potty trained. It was easier to just leave her in a diaper. She had no desire whatsoever to go to the bathroom on the potty.   

    We read through several books and she was mildly interested and then I picked up IT HURTS WHEN I POOP! by Howard J. Bennett. Little did I know that this book would be life changing for us. She was totally engrossed by it. Apparently she related to the little boy who didn’t want to go potty because it hurt when he pooped. He would hold everything inside until he got a stomach ache. This book helped her make sense of the feelings she had and to put words to something she couldn’t express. She studied the pictures and asked me to read it to her over and over. She especially loved the simple drawing of how food goes into our mouth and then through our stomach and intestines and finally ends up in the potty.  

    I’m telling you, she was mesmerized! In the next couple days she totally potty trained herself. I didn’t have to encourage her to get on the potty and she would say she was just like the little boy in the book. I kept waiting for her to go back to needing diapers, but she never had an accident from that point on.  I realize that all of the problems in life can’t be solved by a picture book and that not all potty training will go this smoothly, but for my daughter and me, this book did the trick. It was such a neat process to watch her connect to a book.  

    There is a special spot in the Children’s Picture Book section with all of the picture books that talk about toilet training. Just ask a librarian and we can show you where it is. The library has other great books about potty training that we can recommend if you are in that stage of life. If you are ready to start potty training, don’t get discouraged, you can do it! 

    11.7 Once Upon a PottyONCE UPON A POTTY
    by Alona Frankel

    This book has been around for a long time and is considered a classic picture book on potty training. It goes through the basics of potty training but some people don’t like that it doesn’t use real names for things. There is a version for boys and a version for girls and also a DVD with the same title.  

    11.7 Potty

    by Leslie Patricelli

    This is a fun, humorous picture book about potty training. 


    11.7 Time to PeeTIME TO PEE
    by Mo Willems

    Mo Willems is the beloved author of the Knuffle Bunny, Pigeon, and Piggie &Gerald books. In this cute picture book, sign-carrying mice give encouragement and instructions for how to use the toilet.  

    by Gary Ezzo

    This short book has easy to follow steps to help your child learn to use the potty. It also follows the 1-3 day training process.  



    11.7 Toilet Training in Less than a DayTOILET TRAINING IN LESS THAN A DAY
    by Nathan H. Azrin

    This classic has been around for a long time. I glanced through it several times, but never had time to dedicate to sitting down and reading the whole thing. I have offered this book to may patrons over the years. This process works, but sometimes takes a little bit longer than a day.




  • brain elementary 

    Welcome to the fourth child brain development blog! This time we will cover elementary school-age children, or those 6-10 years of age. If you are looking for information on younger children, be sure to check out earlier posts in the series on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers ( ). At this point in the game, it seems like brain development isn’t emphasized as much. Just send them to school for writing, math, science, and history and that’s it – right? But your little one’s brain is still growing. Even now our three favorite activities are important: reading, singing, and talking! While they might look a little different than they did at younger ages, they are still just as key to brain development at this stage.

    Be sure that your child is reading every day, particularly something that interests them. Textbooks are great, but so are fun stories that inspire the imagination. If you are at a loss for what books are age-appropriate, visit the Children’s Reference Desk in the library. There are booklists for different grades, as well as topical guides and read-alikes. Maybe your child loves dragons or science fiction, or maybe your 2nd grader is reading at a 4th grade level. We’ve got you covered.

    You may find that your child isn’t interested in typical chapter books, but rather prefers comics or graphic novels. These are still great for your child’s development, and may help them find an interest in reading outside of school. Below are some popular choices among elementary school-age children. 

    2.24 The StonekeeperAMULET: THE STONEKEEPER
    By Kazu Kibuishi

    In this series, Em and Navin find themselves living in a mysterious house that leads them on magical adventures to save their mom and, later, fight for justice among a society they had previously never known. 


    2.24 Big Nate In a Class by HimselfBIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF
    By Lincoln Peirce

    Nate is a mischievous middle-schooler, finding himself in detention quite often for his antics. Each of the comics in this series is humorous and fun, while also showing the consequences of acting out in school, making them great for growing kids. 


    2.24 Dog ManDOG MAN
    By Dav Pilkey

    Dog Man is a superhero who is half dog, half-policeman. His enemy, Petey the cat, provides him with plenty of crimes to fight. 


    2.24 SmileSMILE
    By Raina Telgemeier

    Raina tells the story of how her dental problems affect her growing up. She addresses her appearance and self-esteem, making this a very relatable comic for kids in school. 

    Singing is a fun activity that can transition into other artistic outlets as well, to encourage creativity. While we encourage literacy at the library (and it is extremely important), there are other areas of the brain that need stimulation, and creativity is a huge part of that. Drawing, painting, music, and other artistic activities can help your child make neural connections to improve their memory, social skills, cognitive abilities, and much more. We have great activities in the library, such as Make-and-Take crafts and Kids with Cameras, where your child can be exposed to different artistic techniques to try out.

    Talking is very important at this age as well, not just with parents, but also with peers. Socializing with other children helps your child to understand and empathize with others and gain a better theory of mind. While previously your child was more egocentric as they worked on understanding their place in the world, they are now trying to understand their place in the world in relation to others. We never quite stop learning about either of these, but this is a key point in your child’s development. Coming to events in the library, like those mentioned above, provides the opportunity for your child to socialize with other children. We often place them at tables together and encourage them to help one another, so it’s a great experience outside of the typical school setting they may be used to.

    If you are interested in learning more about how your child’s brain develops and strategies to help them along, check out the following book. 

    2.24 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
    By Daniel Siegel

    This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth. 

  • Bedtime Story

    Bedtime can be a challenge. There are baths to take, teeth to brush, and pajamas to get on. Add to that the fact that kids are often bouncing off the walls because they are too wound up or are too tired to understand that they should want to sleep. I totally get it! I have had my fair share of times I couldn’t get a small kiddo to go to sleep. So here are my five favorite books to help with those bedtime blues.

    3.22 Dont BlinkDON’T BLINK 
    By Amy Krouse Rosenthal

    The idea behind this book is that every time you blink, you have to turn a page. But if you don’t blink, you won’t get to the end of the book—and thus you won’t have to go to bed! This is a hilarious bedtime book that just dares kids to not blink and to try to stay awake. As the adult reader, I have to watch to see when the child blinks (and thus to turn the page). And if the kid stares for a while, we just sit on that page for a bit. It is totally a good way to try to get kiddos to close their eyes and keep them shut until morning—or at least to get them to try!


    3.22 Hooray for TodayHOORAY FOR TODAY 
    By Brian Won

    This is a great picture book. Owl wakes up and is excited to play—only it is nighttime and all his friends are sleeping (or trying to sleep). This is a good book to read to help little ones realize that sleep is important for all sorts of animals (and people) and they shouldn’t keep others awake. This is also a good book to start a discussion about day or night.


    3.22 How do Dinosaurs Go to SleepHOW DO DINOSAURS GO TO SLEEP?
    By Jane Yolen
    Illustrated by Mark Teague

    Jane Yolen is a master at helping kids understand the right and wrong ways to act at certain times—such as bedtime. By showing dinosaurs doing the wrong (and then the right) ways to go to bed, kids can learn how good little dinosaurs (and children) should approach bedtime. And if a youngster loves dinosaurs, then bonus! Teague shows a plethora of dinosaurs and has names for the little aspiring paleontologists.


    3.22 Hush a Thai LullabyHUSH! A THAI LULLABY 
    By Minfong Ho
    Illustrated by Holly Meade

    This is one of my all-time favorite bedtime books. It is a classic! This book was first published in 1996, and it is still one of the best! In this story a mother keeps telling all sorts of animals to be quiet since baby is sleeping—only she doesn’t see that baby is actually awake and moving around. Kids will like seeing where baby goes and will potentially be lulled to a calmer state due to the soothing cadence of the rhythms and rhymes.


    3.22 The Perfect SiestaTHE PERFECT SIESTA 
    By Pato Mena

    In this book jaguar is very hot and tired in the jungle—so he decides that he wants to take a nap, a siesta. Only he wants to wake up in 10 minutes so that he can get up and go about his day. So he asks coati to wake him up. Coati agrees, then gets tired and wants to take a nap as well so he asks cockatiel to wake him up (and so on and so on down the animal alarm-clock chain). This is a fun book that shows kids how naps (which are often similar to bedtimes) are a happy thing that animals (and people) should be excited about. 

  •  mindfulness

    There is so much stress in the world. Although some aspects of stress can be motivating, too much stress, without a way to manage it, is not good. It is important to find ways to balance stress, finding time to relax and play. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own deadlines, we forget that children also need ways to wrap their growing minds around their stress. Even though their stressors are different than ours, they are real. Tools are necessary to help them manage their thoughts and combat the ever growing numbers of young children experiencing anxiety and depression. Recently, mindfulness has become a trending topic and a way to restore the balance that is needed in this busy world. 

    The ideas surrounding mindfulness recognize that hard things happen and storms rage, but with practice, thoughts can be controlled and managed to find peace inside, despite surrounds that cannot be controlled. Each individual can make a difference for themselves and others. Gaining the knowledge and making time to exercise the mental capabilities that make peace possible will benefit all. These are a few picture books published recently geared specifically to children and mindfulness. 

    5.9 I am PeaceI AM PEACE
    By Susan Verde
    Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

    Simply looking through this book makes me happy. The warmth of the pictures brings the peace that is described in the book’s pages. This is the perfect introduction to mindfulness. As the book is read calmness enters the reader and the listeners of the story. As it progresses and peace increases, the empowerment to share the kindness and peace that results is invited. 


    By Miriam Gates
    Illustrated by Margarita Surnaite

    Gates gives specific instructions to guide a classroom of preschoolers or one-on-one guidance to teach children to recognize the sensations, feelings, and emotions they are experiencing and how to process them. Breathing, relaxing, and listening are the important elements. 


    By Kate Combs
    Illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen

    The poems are written in a Japanese poetry form called tanka, an earlier version of haiku, as described in the back of the book. Many of the poems contain analogies of nature to help the reader transform their thoughts in the mindfulness experience.

  •  Utah

    Summer vacation is right around the corner and I have to be honest and say that part of me is dreading it! I love my kids and I love having them home but after about a week I start hearing, “I’m bored!”, “There’s nothing to do!” or worse, they start bickering with each other. I am determined to make this summer different. I want to make plans to get out and discover fun things to do in the area. There is a great link on the Provo Library website of What To Do In Provo that has lots of ideas for each season. Here are several books that are perfect for planning some fun adventures. 

    By Emily Smith Robbins

    This is an amazing book, full of fun color photos and tons of ideas for things to do around the area. It is broken up into the following categories:

    • Museums & More
    • Animal Attractions,
    • Historic sites,
    • Gardens & the Outdoors
    • Playgrounds & Parks
    • Hikes & Nature Walks
    • Performing Arts
    • Indoor Play Spaces
    • Hands-on Experiences
    • Amusement Parks & Fun Centers
    • Splash Pads & Fountains
    • Indoor Swimming
    • Outdoor Swimming
    • Story Time & Libraries
    • Tours!
    • Unique Adventures
    • Ski Areas & Resorts
    • Sporting Events
    • Park City
    • Heber City

    Each entry lists the address, hours, admission, parking, food rules, where to find discounts, what to expect and other nearby attractions. I seriously love this book and plan on letting my kids look through it to help plan our adventures for this summer. 


    5.15 Fun with the Family in UtahFUN WITH THE FAMILY IN UTAH
    By Michael Rutter

    This guide is divided up by regions in Utah and then within each section it divides it by cities. There are fun little facts spread throughout the book. This book is a little dated, so it would be good to double check the information on the internet before you head to one of these destinations, but it is still a good resource to get some ideas. 


    By Robin Norris & Freddie Snalam

    This guide is divided by types of activities. You can find things like bird watching, ballooning, boating, camping, fishing, golf, hang gliding, horseback riding, ice climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, scuba diving, wildlife-watching, and lots of other outdoor activities. Each entry gives basic information and description. This book was published in 2003 so it would be a good idea to double check the information and make sure the venue is still open. 


    By John P. Livingstone

    Downtown Salt Lake City is full of many historical sites. This small guide divides the city into three walking tours: Temple Square, Pioneer Business District, and Capitol Hill and Pioneer Memorial Museum. Colored boxes give the walking directions as you move from one point of interest to another. This book is full of historical facts and colored pictures.   


    By Brandon Griggs

    This book is full of fun things that make Utah unique. It’s not a guide to the state, but it would definitely make a road trip more interesting.  Divided into 7 geographical areas, the author talks about interesting people, restaurants, museums and natural landforms for each area. It is a fun book to browse! We live in a pretty amazing state.