• boredom 1

     Summer is upon us, and the excitement of days filled with constant sunshine and homework is a thing of the past. Kids love summer break, but the infamous words “Mom, I’m bored” will slowly begin to creep into the day. There is a strong contrast between structured school days and hours of open-ended possibilities.

    In this Huffington Post article, Dr. Lapointe explains how we should embrace the bored. Children need to be bored: it is where creativity and imagination are born. Children need to delve into the freedom of time and space and discover their true interests. They need to decide what drives them and makes them happy. Caregivers and parents should allow large blocks of time for children to play because this is when they form new ideas, create, experience, and discover.

    I can’t think of a better place than the library to help children discover their hobbies and interests. There are books about origami, crafts, photography, acting, outdoor activities, calligraphy, and weird facts most kids find amazing. The library also provides a never-ending supply of books to read, letting the reader become lost in the new world they find. Children need summer to be unencumbered by scheduling—filled with time and space to play. Here a few books to inspire your summer play: 

    6.28.17 RoxaboxenROXABOXEN
    By Alice McLerran. Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

    There was a time when children played outside and created cities and towns with dirt, rocks, and sticks. McLerran describes childhood memories like these in this story. The nostalgia felt will inspire adults and children to allow for the time to create these outdoor play experiences. 

    6.28.17 Out of the BoxOUT OF THE BOX
    By Jemma Westing

    The cardboard box has always been the classic open-ended play material. With colorfully painted engineering masterpieces, Westing gives pages of ideas illustrating what can be done with a simple cardboard box. The ideas include step by step instructions and templates in the back to trace.


    6.28.17 Unplugged PlayUNPLUGGED PLAY
    By Bobbi Conner

    This book provides more than 710 games and play ideas for children, and none of the ideas include electronics or batteries! This book is divided into three different sections based on age. It’s a great resource to help children who need play tutoring as they get used to having open-ended time for creating and coming up with their own ideas.


  • LEGO

    Around our house Legos bring about feelings of awesomeness. Not everyone is obsessed with Legos and collecting them, but my son aspires to be a Lego designer in the future. There are large numbers of Legos around and long amounts of time spent constructing. I didn’t play with Legos enough when I was young.  We didn’t have access to them or maybe I didn’t have access to my brother’s and I didn’t have any of my own. I feel as though I am making up for it now, because I love having Legos around and letting everyone in the family have access to them. I am not amazing at creating structures from pure imagination, like my son, but I do find a lot of satisfaction from sorting and following a pattern or instructions. 

    Sometimes, after amassing a large amount of Legos in your house, there may be times where you need a spark of creativity to extend Lego play or to entice those who play with Legos less often to start playing with them more or in a different way. The cool thing about Legos is they are open-ended and there isn’t a right or wrong way to play with them. Anyone can be successful to their own degree or desire. Lego books are out there for everyone from the young to grown-up and for every level of interest to extend Lego play. The newest builder up through the professional level can be inspired by books. Some have specific patterns that are easy to follow and fool-proof. There are other idea books without any patterns that just spark creativity to use the bricks. Here are a few fun books the library has:

    7.1 Amazing Brick MosaicsAMAZING BRICK MOSAICS
    By Amanda Brack

    This guide contains instructions to create beautiful 2-D mosaics. The plan for each creation is divided up in four quadrants with a picture of each specific brick needed to complete the design. The designs are intricate, but the instructions help simplify the process. It is a great place to start getting into mosaics. After my son checked this out, he was able to create his own from imagination.  


    7.1 Amazing ABCAMAZING ABCS
    By Sean Kenney

    Lego books are created even for the youngest of readers. This board book has bricks made into each letter of the alphabet, perfect for introducing the excitement of Lego to the next generation of builders.  


    By Daniel Lipkowitz

    Lego bricks are easy to collect and although there are endless possibilities, sometimes looking through someone else’s ideas can really spark creativity. This idea book has several different chapters, each with an idea subject created by Lego fans.  


    By Alice Finch

    This idea book is for serious Lego fans, especially those interested in architecture details to add to their structures. Finch relates it to how a thesaurus would be useful for writers, this guide with detailed ideas can help to augment structures for Lego builders with the ideas she has compiled over years of working with Legos professionally. 


    7.1 Beautiful LEGOBEAUTIFUL LEGO
    By Mike Doyle

    Just as the title describes, Doyle has gathered together a large collection of incredible Lego structures, over 267 pages of mostly photographs. The bricks are themselves a medium artists use to create structures. More than just Lego fans can appreciate the talent that goes into the works of arts contained inside.

  • BFYR 2

     The best part of reading is getting lost in another world. The easiest way to do that is reading something by a good writer. Deborah Wiles fits that bill. It is easy to become friends with the characters she creates and become emotionally involved in their world. Most of her work is set in the Southern United States in the 1960s, and whether you were around in the 60s or not, you feel like you are there as you read her work. How lucky we are to have her coming for the Symposium on Books for Young Readers on July 13-14.  

    Wiles uses her own life experiences as a place to create her stories. On her website, she describes each of her books within the context of the life experiences and emotions she channeled to write the story. Even some of the characters are based on real people in her life. The grandma in "Love, Ruby Lavender" is based on her own grandma Eula, who shares the same name as the grandma in the book. Friendship and family are strong themes throughout a lot of her writing. 

    After researching about Wiles, my favorite part of her website is her life notice rather than an end-of-life notice. The notice is written by a fictional character, Comfort Snowberger, from her book "Each Little Bird That Sings.” The life notice is very detailed and hilarious. It is geared toward younger students and children who are doing research on Wiles, but I found it enjoyable and informative as a full-grown person. 

    In reading about her, I learned that Wiles didn't realize as a child she could be a writer when she grew up, but becoming a mother was something she had always wanted to do. In her 20's she decided she could write while also spending time being a mother to her 4 children. She became a writer after years of hard work, writing, rewriting, and more hard work. Her dedication to her dream pushed her to submit work that was rejected. She decided to go back to school in her forties, pursuing her desire to become a writer. Her perseverance is remarkable, and now she is an accomplished author with many of her popular books receiving recognition awards. She regularly uses her own experiences to teach others about writing.  

    Here are a couple of her picture books that I’ve read and enjoyed: 

    7.5.17 Freedom SummerFREEDOM SUMMER
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    Illustrated by Jermone Lagarrigue

    This picture book was inspired by the summer when the Civil Rights Act was passed in the United States in 1964. Two boys of different ethnicities have a friendship that involves swimming in the lake. They are excited to finally be able to swim together at the pool, but find that change can be difficult, even good changes. I had never looked at the passing of the Civil Rights Act in the light of children and how they might have been affected. Through it all, friendship is the theme. 

    7.5.17 One Wide SkyONE WIDE SKY 
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    Illustrated by Tim Bowers

    Wiles’ other picture book is actually a lullaby. When she shares it at schools and with others she includes the music. She dedicates it “For my children, remembering our days together under one wide sky.” 

    Want something a little longer? Wiles has written plenty of longer titles for children. Here are some owned by the Provo Library: 

    7.5.17 Love Ruby LavenderLOVE, RUBY LAVENDER
    Written by Deborah Wiles






    7.5.17 The Aurora County All StarsAURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS
    Written by Deborah Wiles






    7.5.17 Each Little Bird that SingsEACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS
    Written by Deborah Wiles





    7.5.17 CountdownCOUNTDOWN
    Written by Deborah Wiles






    7.5.17 RevolutionREVOLUTION
    Written by Deborah Wiles






  • Preschool Play is available in the children’s department Mondays from 11:00 am-12:00 pm and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm. Toys are placed in the story circle available for open-ended play, especially suited for preschool-aged children. Curious how many toys we have? (hint: it's a lot)

    preschool play 01

  • early literacy

    If you have been to any of our many story times, you’ve probably heard us belt out the “Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play” song. You’ve also probably received a few early literacy tips and a fun star-shaped handout as a reminder. So why do we focus so much on talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing? Because these tools for early literacy have been shown to be the most important activities parents and caregivers can do with their children to help them learn, grow, and develop. 

    Very young children aren’t specifically being taught to read—they are getting ready to read. It is important that a distinction is made between the two learning processes. The process of learning to read begins at birth as children are exposed to language and sounds. Forming relationships and learning to love books as they grow will help them understand that reading and writing have power in their lives. They will be so excited to have and use this power if they have had positive early literacy experiences. Reading will come naturally to them. 

    During the few short years of early childhood before entering school, kids need to play, explore, and engage in conversation with caregivers. “Talk, sing, read, write, play” is an easy mantra to remember and is simple to incorporate in just minutes throughout the day. Caregivers can make it a fun and enjoyable experience to learn. And if you need some good books that facilitate both reading and playing, check out this list of my favorite interactive picture books to share with your children. 

    Don’t forget that the children’s department also teaches an Early Literacy Class for parents and their 2-3 year olds that is held on Monday mornings at 9:30AM in the story room. This 30 minute class provides hands-on learning and ideas to help you incorporate talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing into a child’s daily experiences. Be sure to check out the website to register the week before class!

  •  Letter Writing

    There is a lot of excitement around our house when the mail carrier drives down the street every afternoon. We are lucky and our mail is delivered after school.  My kids inevitably fight over whose turn it is to get the mail. If it happens to be close to someone’s birthday there will be a birthday card from my grandma, but other than that, it ends up mostly being junk. I have started wondering . . . 

    Do children even know what an actual, real-live letter is? The digital world has taken over and understandably so. Communication is much quicker through texting and email. The up and coming generation’s knowledge of “mail” mostly consists of fliers with a few bills mixed in (and even most of those are now paperless). I have realized they don’t have very many opportunities to experience true letter writing. The idea of writing a letter and having to wait for a response almost seems to be a foreign concept in today’s world. All types of news can be received almost instantaneously. I wanted to have my children understand what it used to be like, when all communication had to be through letters. Enter the world of reading. A person can be engulfed in a pretend sequence they have never experienced for themselves. I am intrigued and amazed by authors who use letters back and forth to characters in order to tell the story. It adds an interesting element for the reader. Around our house we have read some books recently that reminded us how exciting the process of letter writing can be.   

    6.25 Love Ruby LavendarLOVE RUBY LAVENDER
    By Deborah Wiles

    Nobody likes it when their grandma moves away. Ruby had been living with her grandma and they were basically best friends until her grandma moves to Hawaii—of all places—to be with a new grandbaby. Ruby sends letters to her grandma to keep her informed of all the happenings in their small town and to ask, every letter, when she is coming home. Ruby is taking care of some chickens she rescued and the chickens have babies. There are some hard elementary school friend growing pains she experiences, which are harder because her grandma isn’t around.  


    6.25 Extra CreditEXTRA CREDIT
    By Andrew Clements

    Abby does not want to flunk the sixth grade, so when her teacher offers an extra credit assignment to have a pen pal in Afghanistan, she signs up. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Sadeed wants to do the pen pal assignment as well, but deeming it inappropriate for an 11-year old girl and an 11-year old boy to be pen pals, Sadeed enlists his little sister to be Abby’s pen pal. Abby has to post the letters she receives on the bulletin board to receive the full extra credit points. Some interesting twists and turns make it tricky to decide if she can post all the letters she receives. She comes up with clever ideas to get her extra credit, but also be true to her pen pal—or pals as the case may be.  


    6.25 Dear Mr. HenshawDEAR MR. HENSHAW
    By Beverly Cleary

    Leigh Botts writes a letter to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw, every school year. He finally receives a reply and Mr. Henshaw asks Leigh questions and asks for his reply. Reluctantly, Leigh answers the questions Mr. Henshaw asked in his letter. Leigh decides he might actually like writing and Mr. Henshaw encourages him to keep a diary to help him cope with his parent’s divorce and some hard relationships at school, including someone who is daily stealing from his lunch. 

  •  abc books

    I have always loved alphabet books. My grandparents had a Sesame Street book where Grover forms his body into each letter of the alphabet. I remember trying to shape myself into the letters by watching how Grover did it. ABC books span from beginner to advanced. The library has alphabet books about every subject you can imagine. When you read you begin with ABC, when you write it seems as though you do too.  When I think of ABC books, though, I generally think of picture books that I read to children to help them develop their early literacy skills. Reading is fun, of course, but reading to a child also helps  them gain the skills necessary to be ready to read. 

    We currently have an alphabet book section in our Hot Topics area of the Children’s Department. Early literacy is important at the library and ABC books are an important element of early literacy. They are also just plain fun to read. The reader feels a sense of completion when the author’s subject utilizes every letter of the alphabet (even if I secretly come to “x” in every book wondering, what creative word the author was able to stretch to fit their subject). Here are some of my favorites:  

    1.14 Dr. Seusss ABCsDR. SEUSS'S ABCs
    By Dr. Seuss

    This is my favorite ABC book of all time. The rhyming is classic Dr. Seuss. It makes reading fun and enjoyable for the caregiver and the child. I ended up memorizing some parts because we read it so many times. It includes a lot of alliteration helping children hear the beginning sounds of the letters over and over again. 


    1.14 On Market StreetON MARKET STREET
    Written by Arnold Lobe
    lIllustrated by Anita Lobel

    This Caldecott Honor book is another classic I remember being read while I was in elementary school. The character in the book goes to the market and the pages are items from the market designed as a person for each letter of the alphabet. The illustrations are incredibly detailed and imaginative. 


    1.14 Eating the AlphabetEATING THE ALPHABET
    By Lois Ehlert

    Children need to be exposed to different foods sometimes before they are willing to try them. This is a perfect book with different fruits and vegetables for every letter of the alphabet! 


    1.14 Bad KittyBAD KITTY
    By Nick Bruel

    Silly books make for the best books to read aloud to children. Bad Kitty is pretty particular about the food she eats. When the food runs out and there is no time to go to the grocery store, bad kitty gets pretty upset and does a mean thing for every letter of the alphabet. When a trip to the grocery store happens, there is a list including a type of food for each letter of the alphabet, crazy concoctions you will have never heard of that Bad Kitty absolutely loves. She is so happy she does one thing for every letter of the alphabet to make up for the bad behavior. 


    1.14 I StinkI STINK
    By Kate and Jim McMullan

    Children have a fascination with garbage trucks. They are pretty interesting if you think about it. When my kids were really little we would run like the wind when we heard the garbage truck coming. They loved watching it pick up the big dumpster and empty the trash into the incredible truck. Of course, this has been a favorite of ours to read together. It mentions a type of trash for each letter of the alphabet.

  •  mother child books

    It’s Mother’s Day month and the library has a lot of books that focus on the relationship of mother and child. I can’t help but reflect on my relationship with my children and feel nostalgic about when they were really little. There are little mothering moments that I remember and cherish. Reading, of course, happens to be my favorite. These days instead of picture books, my children have the attention span to listen to a chapter from a longer novel, and it is still my favorite thing in the world. Nothing really compares to snuggling on the couch and reading all together. Right after having my first child we created a nightly ritual. It makes all the hard moments worthwhile, even though it turns “getting ready for bed” into a marathon-long nightly routine. Every so often we pick a book about the relationship of mother and child, and as the pages continue to turn, tears eventually come to my eyes because the story is that touching. With all the adorable mother-child relationship books I see, I decided to share my favorites.    

    When I Carried You In My BellyWHEN I CARRIED YOU IN MY BELLY
    by Thrity Umrigar. illustrated by Ziyue Chen

    A mother looks back and describes to her child all the experiences she had while she was pregnant, and how they helped create who she is today. The strong relationship shared between her and the child is perfectly experienced by the reader. 

    Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little ToesTEN LITTLE FINGERS TEN LITTLE TOES 
    by Mem Fox

    This simple story has always been one of my favorites. The board book version is perfect for reading with babies. It goes through the experience of babies from different parts of the world. Even though they come from different places, they are all similar in so many ways, but of course, each baby has their own special mama.    

    by Allison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds

    Mcghee and Reynolds have captured the memorable, special mothering moments and combined them with the hopes and dreams every mother has for her own children. This sweet, simple story can be shared with children and treasured by mothers.

    The Kissing HandTHE KISSING HAND 
    by Audrey Penn

    This story is perfect for the beginning of the school year, especially for a child who is nervous about the experience. I still give my daughter a kissing hand every night before she goes to bed, and she says, “Mama loves me.” We first read this book together a few years ago, but she has carried on the nightly tradition. Penn also perfectly describes a mother’s feelings in sending a child to school for the first time. Sometimes it is just as hard as it is for the child.  

    The Runaway BunnyTHE RUNAWAY BUNNY 
    by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

    This timeless classic continues to be a staple of every reading collection. Brown captures the lengths a mother will go to be with her child, and Hurd’s pictures perfectly accompany the story. Every other spread contains illustrations with no words, which provides time to have the children tell the story and describe what is happening along with the reader. This story is perfect for a child of any age, especially the youngest listeners.


  •  interactive picture books

    I have memories from when I was about two or three of my grandpa reading me MR. BROWN CAN MOO by Dr. Seuss. I vividly remember him doing all the fun noises Mr. Brown does when the book itself poses the question, “Can you?” A child can’t help themselves: They have to make the noises too. The words in this book are multi-colored, enlarged, and enticing. Words like “M-O-O-O-O-O” are drawn out to make the sounds come alive on the page. When it’s time to “whisper, whisper” like a butterfly, the letters are light and tiny, visually signifying how to make the noise. I’ve made these sounds once again as an adult while reading “Mr. Brown” to my children, and I hope they cherish the memories as I have.

    Picture books are often about more than just reading—and sometimes about even more than just the pictures and the story. Children learn with all their senses. This is what makes interactive picture books so much fun for them. They involve touching, listening, seeing, moving and experiencing all at the same time. They facilitate play on many different levels: some are even specifically meant to be a game. My kids love when I bring home interactive picture books. They make sure they each get a turn reading and playing.

    These are some of our favorite Interactive picture books: 

    8.8 The Monster at the End of this BookTHE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK
    By John Stone
    Illustrated by Michael Smollin

    This classic continues to live on. I remember this book being read to me when I was little and feeling torn as to whether we should really turn the page, since Grover pleads so adamantly not to. Grover remains his lovable self throughout and, although intense in the middle, it turns out ok in the end. 


    8.8 Press HerePRESS HERE
    By Hervé Tullet

    Tullet has created a fun, interactive experience that requires no screens! The reader is empowered to change what happens as they touch the dots. Each page gives instructions of when and how to touch the dots and it is exciting to see what happens. 

    8.8 This Book is MagicTHIS BOOK IS MAGIC
    By Ashley Evanson

    Although I believe reading is always magic, a child can become a true magician as the pages instruct the reader to “wave their hand” and recite specific magic words. As each page turns the magic is revealed! 


    8.8 Tap the Magic TreeTAP THE MAGIC TREE
    By Christie Matheson

    It begins with a tree that has no leaves. The reader is instructed to tap a certain amount to give the tree different qualities. The tree and its leaves then change through the season, each phase having its own beauty. 


    8.8 Bunny SlopesBUNNY SLOPES
    By Claudia Rueda

    You get to help the bunny go on a ski trip. You are required to turn the book at certain points to make sure the bunny goes where she is supposed to. Children and adults alike will enjoy becoming an integral part of the character’s experience. 


  • kids albums

     A few months ago I got into the car and a CD started to play. I found myself singing along, enjoying myself, belting out the melodies and harmonies. Then I realized my kids were not sitting in the back of the van. They were at school and I was alone, driving to work. All. By. Myself. The CD was made for kids and here I was, an adult, with no kids in the car. I hadn’t cringed and turned it off when it came on or immediately switched the music. I actually enjoyed it enough to sing-along. 

    Sometimes you have to do a little digging to find music the whole family can enjoy. I listen to a little bit of everything, so I love exposing my children to a variety of music genres. Sometimes I do end up listening to music specifically designed for children, but I am picky about making sure that parents can also enjoy the music. It becomes something we do together as a family. Here are some of our favorites . . .   

    9.22 Snack TimeSNACKTIME
    Barenaked Ladies
    Desperation Records 

    Of all the albums, this is most definitely our family favorite. Classic Barenaked Ladies with fun harmonies and rhythms. The songs are clever and often laugh-out-loud funny. In “7 8 9” six is afraid of seven because seven ate nine! “The Crazy ABC’s” uses words that are correct but don’t sound right: like “m” for mnemonic (among others).  This album has upbeat songs mixed in with some ballads—something for everyone. It‘s just plain fun.  

    Jack Johnson

    One of the best things that can happen when parenting small children is when one of your favorite artists comes out with a children’s album. Jack Johnson was a favorite of mine before kids and this came out just in time for my children to listen to when they were young. 

    9.22 Family TimeFAMILY TIME
    Ziggy Marley
    Tuff Gong Worldwide 

    This album is full of fun songs with Jamaican rhythms that are enjoyable and stand out from the other albums. It also includes a couple of stories at the end read by Jamie Lee Curtis.  

    Lisa Loeb 

    This album has more of a camp-song feel, and the kids love singing along with her. The songs are catchy, and most of the words are simple to learn. Just be careful with this one: the songs will get stuck in your head.  

    9.22 Here Comes ScienceHERE COMES SCIENCE
    They Might Be Giants
    Walt Disney Records 

    Thank you “They Might Be Giants” for putting facts to tunes! These songs have a lot of teaching involved. They are basically scientific facts woven into fun music. This band has a lot of different fun kids music albums, so if you haven’t ever tried them, you need to.       

  • chapter books to films

    Children who can read chapter books independently open up a whole new world for themselves—and provide enjoyment for the whole family. I remember thinking that when my oldest son learned to read, it was equally as magical as when he learned to speak. As a family you can have extended activities that go along with reading. It can add some variety to the normal routine or inspire a child who doesn’t particularly love reading. You can create a family book club where each child reads the book, and after having a discussion about the book, everyone can watch the movie. You can also choose a fun read-aloud and as a family when you finish the book, watch the movie. Of course, the book and movie might be very different, but the discussion that comes will be enjoyable, and everyone can participate because they read the book or had the book read to them! Last year I wrote a post on movies inspired by picture books. Consider today’s post a follow-up with a list of our family’s favorite longer chapter books that have inspired movies.  

    3.9 Charlottes WebCHARLOTTE’S WEB
    By E. B. White

    Fern saves the runt of a litter of pigs and cares for it as her baby. When Wilbur, the pig, gets big enough, she takes him to her uncle’s farm. It’s easy to fall in love with both Wilbur and Fern. She is easy to relate to and the reader can feel happy and sad right along with her. Wilbur has to find a way to prove to the farmer it is worth keeping him around and he finds a true friend to help him on his quest. 


    3.9 Charlottes Web DVDCHARLOTTE’S WEB

    This cartoon classic is perfect for younger chapter-book readers. There is some sadness, but children can gain empathy for future experiences from both books and film. There is also humor throughout. The characters are lovable and it is an inspiring story of friendship children can learn from as they go through their elementary school years. 


    3.7 The Tale of DespereauxTHE TALE OF DESPEREAUX
    By Kate DiCamillo

    This Newbery winner begins when a kingdom famous for its marvelous soup encounters tragedy. A rat falls into the queen’s soup, causing her to have a heart attack and die. Soup and rats are then outlawed. A smaller-than-average mouse with large ears, a big heart, and incredible bravery starts his adventure to return happiness and peace to the land, save a princess, and do other heroic things brave mice usually end up doing. 


    3.9 The Tale of DespereauxTHE TALE OF DESPEREAUX

    It seems that children identify with small creatures that defy the odds and are courageous in fighting for what they believe in. Despereaux is just such an inspirational character. Adults and children will enjoy this family friendly adventure. 


    3.9 HolesHOLES
    By Louis Sachar

    Yet another Newbery winner is perfectly crafted to include a mysterious curse that spans generations. Stanley Yelnats is framed for a crime he did not actually commit, but he serves the time at a camp for troubled youth. The campers dig holes to help build their character. Stanley meets a fellow camper who helps him solve the mystery of Kissin’ Kate Barlow and the real reason they spend every day digging those holes. 


    3.9 Holes dvdHOLES

    The film has something for everyone. It can be tricky to find a movie that everyone in the family truly enjoys, but this is it. Mystery, romance, and humor are all there and well done. There is seamless transition from present to past and back again. All the characters are well-developed and my favorite, of course, is Sam the onion seller. 


    3.9 The Lion the Witch and the WardrobeTHE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
    By C. S. Lewis

    Four siblings are sent to live with their uncle. They play hide and seek one day and find a mysterious world, Narnia, on the other side of the wardrobe. The people of Narnia are under the terrible reign of an evil queen. The children go on a crusade to bring peace back to the land. 


    3.9 The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe dvdCHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

    It seems every child has an inner hope to enter a magically secret world and escape the mundane regular world. The characters, costumes, scenery, and especially the music of this film bring to life the land of Narnia. It truly feels magical. 


    3.9 The BFGTHE BFG
    By Roald Dahl

    I remember reading this in the fifth grade, and it’s a classic that continues to make my kids laugh. Dahl has created characters that readers can really relate to. He understands what school-agers find hilarious. The detail he uses really helps the reader create a picture in their mind. 


    3.9 The BFG dvdTHE BFG

    There are some amazing things about technology. Creating a computer-generated Big Friendly Giant is definitely one of them. The giant really comes to life in a way that previous technology would not allow. My favorite is definitely the scene where the giant visits the queen. The magnitude of having a giant come to dinner is so fun to be a part of.

  • picture book films 01

    It’s exciting when a movie is announced that’s about a book you have read. Often, people are eager to criticize a movie for not being “as good as” a book. My husband has a film degree and loves movies, so in our family there is less of a debate between which is better. He brings up the fact that each is a different art form; so instead of debating, we discuss how the story was portrayed differently. What had to be changed for the story to make sense in a new medium? What details had to be described in the book in detail, but were easily portrayed in film? Either way, it’s possible to enjoy both formats, book and movie, no matter who you are. It’s fun to see how someone else interpreted the book you enjoyed. 

    In our family, even the youngest loves watching movies that were made from books. Young children can have a picture book read to them, and then enjoy a family-friendly movie. You can easily make a family activity out of reading the book, watching the movie, then discussing which elements were the same or different. Even though a full-length movie can only be inspired by a picture book, it’s fun to see what elements are still present. Here are a few of our favorites . . . 

    11.3 JumanjiJUMANJI
    By Chris Van Allsburg

    This is the Caldecott winner for 1982. The illustrations have amazing precision and detail. They look like black and white photos. The idea is so clever and imaginative, a game where the creatures and plants appear in real life when it falls on your turn. 

    11.4 Jumanji movieJUMANJI

    I grew up watching this movie and have always enjoyed it. We recently watched it as a family and it’s nice to find a movie that the parents enjoy watching as much as the kids. It does involve action an adventure, with some intense jungle scenes, but it also has a lot of comedy weaved throughout. 




    11.4 The Night at the MuseumNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
    By Milan Trenc

    Larry is excited for his new job as a night guard at the Natural History Museum. His first night on the job his duties end up being different than he expected! This story is fun with cartoon drawings and geared for even the youngest children. 



    11.4 Night at the Museum movieNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

    This is a movie I didn’t realize was inspired by the book! There are so many fun characters and lots of fun and adventure. Again, it is fun to watch with the whole family and the kids will laugh out loud. 




    11.4 ShrekSHREK
    By William Steig

    Shrek is an ugly, fire-breathing ogre, who encounters a witch who predicts he will go on a journey and find a princess who is even uglier than he, and he will marry her. There is poetry throughout his epic journey. The story is funny, but more suited to older children who will understand the humorous situation. 


    11.4 Shrek movieSHREK

    This will forever be my sister’s favorite movie! Some of the jokes will go above the heads of children, but the message in the end is positive, and it’s fun that it is different than the normal “happily ever after”. 




    11.4 Curious GeorgeCURIOUS GEORGE
    By H. A. Rey

    I have linked to the library’s copy of a collector’s edition printed from H. A. Rey’s original watercolors, with an introduction that discusses the life and experiences of H. A. and Margaret Rey. They had to escape During World War II and come to the United States where they were able to publish the classic Curious George books. 


    11.4 Curious George movieCURIOUS GEORGE

    The whole family can go on an adventure with fun, lovable George.





    11.4 Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsCLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
    By Judi Barrett
    Illustrated by Ron Barrett

    A grandfather tells a tall tale to his grandchildren that involves a world filled with food that falls from the sky instead of rain. It works at first, but it starts to be overwhelming and the people of the town eventually have to leave their town of food. 

    11.4 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movieCLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS

    Inspired by the book there is a town that has food come from the sky, but it is because one of an inventor’s many machines gets stuck up in the clouds and drops food from the sky. This is exciting at first, until the machine starts malfunctioning and has to be stopped! This one is definitely more fun for the kids, lots of silliness and jokes meant for them.




  • nonfiction favorites

    Several years ago, I joined a book club. A friend invited me because I had told her that I wanted to read more books, but life had gotten in the way. It seemed that having a deadline and a group of people to hold me accountable was just what I needed. 

    The group read almost exclusively fiction novels. And for my first few choices, I had us read fiction too until someone outside our book club recommended a nonfiction book to me that sounded really interesting, which I devoured. The Authors had taken mountains of research and turned it into a nicely condensed book that kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the night. The book was filled with information that changed the way I thought about everyday life—my mind was blown, and I loved it.

    On my next turn, I had the book club read nonfiction. Since then I have chosen non-fiction every time, which has elicited a few eye rolls. The fact that I enjoy non-fiction has become characteristic of my personality.

    There are non-fiction authors who can keep the reader on their toes the same way intense fiction can. It is good to stretch outside your comfort zone now and then. Find a topic you love and read a nonfiction book about it. You will never turn back.

    Here are a few of my favorite recommendations to help you get started:

    By Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

    Each chapter devotes itself to interesting child development ideas that are different than you would expect because Bronson and Merryman claim that many common strategies for nurturing children are backfiring. I have changed the way I speak to my children based on these ideas.




    female brainTHE FEMALE BRAIN
    By Louann Brizendine

    This book is good for women as well as the men who spend a lot of time with them. So many sections left me in awe of how accurate it described the way I think and experience life.




    By Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

    This book is a far cry from a boring economics lesson: My mind was blown. This book uncovers the real human desires that drive economics. The authors shared research and conclusions I would have never expected, and I was especially interested in the section on what parents choose to name their children.


    By Charles Duhigg

    You probably already know that habits are important, but Duhigg shows that habits are even more important in our lives than we previously thought. He explains why we are compelled to continue a habit that we want to get rid of and how to attempt to rethink why we do what we do.




    Susan Cain

    Introversion can be a confusing subject. As an introvert, this book helped me understand myself as well as the positive side of being an introvert. It’s good to know that introverts can be leaders too. It is more about where you get your energy from, quiet introspection or being with other people. Group brainstorming and group projects are not always as productive as society makes them out to be. I felt validated for being myself.


  •  In Memorium

    I was saddened to learn that my favorite mystery author of all time died Friday, January 31st at the age of 92. Mary Higgins Clark was a New York Times bestselling author for over 40 years and wrote over 50 books including two children’s books as well as a memoir. Her persistence to become a published author was very inspiring to me and I feel, as many of her readers do, that her books were written just for me. She had a way of writing characters that I could relate to. She always showcased women who were strong and would triumph over any danger that came along, which influenced me greatly.            

    I realize that not all readers love mysteries as much as I do, but when you find a book genre that you connect with, it becomes the motivation you need to become a lifetime reader. As a child, I loved being read to but I hated reading books on my own. I don’t remember ever finishing a book until I discovered my first mystery novel. The suspense and wonder of what would happen next was the motivation I needed to keep reading until the last page.            

    If you also enjoy reading a good mystery, pick up one of Mary Higgins Clark’s books and read. You might find yourself reading until 4 in the morning just to find out whodunit! There is a reason Mary Higgins Clark was crowned “The Queen of Suspense” and was one of the world’s most popular writers. She will be missed. 

    2.10 A Stranger is WatchingA STRANGER IS WATCHING 
    By Mary Higgins Clark

    Ronald Thompson is about to be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. The murderer has unfinished business he is trying to complete. While avoiding  the police a string of bad luck begins to catch up with the real murderer and the clock is ticking as a journalist tries to uncover the truth.   


    2.10 Remember MeREMEMBER ME  
    By Mary Higgins Clark

    Menley  and her husband decide to rent a house on Cape Cod with an interesting and spooky history.  While Adam, her husband and lawyer, works on a high profile murder case Menley decides to do some research for her new book. While she is digging up some history on the house they are staying at, Remember House, she uncovers her own past ghosts and a possible killer who lives down the beach. 


    2.10 Moonlight Becomes HerMOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU: A NOVEL  
    By Mary Higgins Clark

    Maggie, a fashion photographer, reunites with her stepmother at a family reunion and is invited to spend two weeks with her in Newport, Rhode Island. When she arrives she finds her stepmother murdered. As she begins to look into the strange clues of her stepmother’s death she discovers a pattern. As she begins to uncover a sinister plot she unknowingly leads the killer right to her.  


    2.10 Daddys Little GirlDADDY’S LITTLE GIRL 
    By Mary Higgins Clark

    Ellie was seven years old when her older sister was murdered. Years later the man convicted for her murder, is up for parole and Ellie is determined to keep him in prison by proving his guilt.  As she starts to do her own investigating she uncovers facts that begin to shed new light on her sister’s murder. As she gets closer to finding out the real killers identity she comes closer to a confrontation with a desperate killer. 


    By Mary Higgins Clark

    Laurie Moran is a television producer for a reality drama called Under Suspicion where they solve cold case crimes. As they take on a new project involving the murder of Susan Dempsey, a beautiful talented college student, whose body was found miles from her parked car, they begin to find justice for the family as they unearth clues leading to her death. 

  •  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.


    Children need open-ended creative opportunities, so the children’s department has added a new weaving board in the back corner behind the Juvenile Fiction books. The weaving board has wooden dowels attached to a frame, and a basket of colorful fabric strips and ribbon entices children to use the board as a loom. Open-ended play materials like this make it possible for any child to be successful and have a positive experience creating.

    There is no right or wrong way to weave the materials. One child may find just attempting to weave enough of a challenge, where an older child can sort through the different colors and printed material to make a woven pattern that is very intricate. I love walking by the weaving board in the morning to see what possibilities have been imagined and carried out the previous day. No explicit instructions or patterns are included. Having materials available to children is all that is necessary. Their amazing, growing, imaginative minds do the rest. Come in and try it for yourself!

    If you are looking for ideas about how to provide similar opportunities at home, I have included a few books to get you started. 

    01.03.2018 The DotTHE DOT
    By Peter H. Reynolds

    Vashti doesn’t believe she is an artist. Her paper is still blank when her teacher walks by. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you,” the teacher says. Vashti makes one dot on the paper. Her teacher asks her to sign the page, and the story unfolds to describe Vashti’s beginning artist experiences. Too often creativity is squashed out of children as they become concerned with what others think or that their drawings aren’t “right.” Reynolds perfectly shows the potential of each person to become the artist they were meant to be. 


    By Jean Van’t Hul

    Parents who don’t know how to start introducing art to their children—pick up this book! Van’t Hul sets the stage by explaining why art is so important in the lives of our families. She continues to provide ideas in the first section “Preparing for the Art” including storage ideas and ways to include art experiences into busy day-to-day life. The second section contains 61 art projects with a detailed list of materials and instructions to carry out the projects, accompanied with vivid photographs. After reading this handbook you will be compelled to encourage creative, process-oriented art experiences with children. 


    01.03.2018 Kids WeavingKIDS WEAVING
    By Sarah Swett, Illustrations by Lena Corwin, Photographs by Chris Harlove

    This guide to weaving introduces children to endless possibilities. All of the projects in the book are done with homemade items, starting with basic crafts for beginners and progressing in complexity. First, a pencil, then a cardboard loom, and finally the instructions for building your own PVC pipe loom. 

  • 11.27 Raising Readers

    Reading aloud to children leads to children being able to read themselves. It is necessary to have books available at home for children to pick up on their own to read and explore. 

    It may be obvious to state, but each child has different books that interest and engage them. My son loved the MAGIC TREE HOUSE series by Mary Pope Osborne, so I bought the first half of the series. When my daughter got to the age of beginning chapter books I tried to convince her to read the Magic Treehouse books (since we owned the numbers in order!), but she was just not interested. She was obsessed with JUNIE B. JONES by Barbara Park instead. Her twin sister would have nothing to do with Magic Treehouse or Junie B Jones. She would only read the PRINCESS IN BLACK series by Shannon Hale 

    I decided buying books for all of my children wasn’t going to work. They are unique individuals interested in completely different books. There are times they get in a groove and read multiple books in a day. My budget can’t keep up. I would be so bold as to say, to raise an avid reader without the library would be nearly impossible. 

    Thank you to the library. We have literally checked out hundreds of books and plan to check out thousands more.

  • Music Books

    Music is important in our house. I play a little piano, my husband plays the guitar and ukulele, my children are taking piano lessons, and we all love to sing. We own a lot of music books and sheet music, but as much as I would love to have my own full music library, it isn’t possible.

    Thankfully, the library has tons of music! There are many compilations, anthologies and a huge span of books from classical to currently popular artists and musicals.

    I love checking out music from the library. It adds variety to what we own. I have a chance to try out music I am considering to purchase. I am not an accomplished pianist - I'm mediocre at best - and I often need to see if the book will be enjoyable for me to own, based on how well I am able to sight-read the music (though if I would just buckle down and practice more often I would be able to play the more advanced stuff). 

    Here are a few of my favorites from the library I have tried.

    2.12 NewsiesNEWSIES
    Composed by Alan Menken

    I was probably a little obsessed with the movie Newsies when it came out. My friends and I basically watched it every chance we could and memorized all the songs. The library has the original motion picture music as well as the new Broadway adaptation music book. I may have also recently shown the movie to my children and given my daughter the soundtrack on CD. It makes my heart happy to have the obsession continue to the next generation and have the music playing in my home. 


    2.12 The Man from Snowy RiverTHE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER
    Composed by Bruce Rowland

    When I was in high school I learned to play “Jessica’s Theme” and “The Man from Snowy River: Main Title Theme”. I just had the sheet music for those two songs. I love that the library has the entire book of music from the movie. 


    2.12 Disneys Princess CollectionDISNEY’S PRINCESS COLLECTION
    By Walt Disney Company

    This “Big Note Piano” version is available in the children’s department. If you have a princess lover, this is the collection for you. This is a simplified version even beginning piano students can successfully play. 


    2.12 The Greatest ShowmanTHE GREATEST SHOWMAN
    Composed by Benji Pasek

    Greatest Showman songs exploded last year. I loved that it was a well done movie, with amazing music AND I could share the entire experience with my children. We listened and sang along with the music together. It has been fun to extend our experience and fill our home with the music on the piano and guitar.  


    2.12 La La LandLA LA LAND
    Composed by Justin Hurwitz

    I have always loved musicals and I am glad they are popular again. Although I haven’t yet shared this movie experience with my children, I love tinkering around and singing along to the jazzy songs on the piano. 

  • star wars

    I have a 10-year old son who is a serious Star Wars fan. Per his request, in the recent weeks I have watched A NEW HOPE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RETURN OF THE JEDI, and ROGUE ONE. I have Star Wars on the brain. Working in the library, I end up checking out anything I come across that is Star Wars themed. If Star Wars is your thing, there are some fun books we have available. If you’re a fan, but fall short of obsession, let the library help you truly eat, breathe, and live this fandom. Not only can we extend Star Wars into more aspects of your life, we can also help convert fans from the youngest ages. There is truly a Star Wars book of some sort for everyone: board books, easy readers, comic books, and novelizations. Here are a few examples:  

    The Empire Strikes Back Board BookTHE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK 
    by Jack Wang

    This board book is for the fans who don’t even know they are fans yet. This epic yarns series is geared toward very young children with only one or two words on a page, yet the plot line is still present in these few pages, which is fun for parents, too. Each page is an intricate movie scene created from felt.  

    Goodnight Darth VaderGOODNIGHT DARTH VADER 
    by Jeffrey Brown

    No need to imagine what it would look like if Darth Vader was reading a story to Luke and Leia as children, trying to get them to settle in and go to sleep. Jeffrey Brown has imagined it for you and created this entertaining story. There are many characters from all the Star Wars movies doing silly things as the Vader’s story continues to lull Luke and Leia off into dreamland.  

    by Emil Fortun, illustrated by Tim McDonagh 

    I am learning more about Star Wars all the time. Having all the maps laid out together has really helped my mental image of how all the planets and moons in their universe look. All the characters are listed, including those in Rogue One, with a brief description of each.  


    Star Wars Craft BookTHE STAR WARS CRAFT BOOK 
    by Bonnie Burton

    From puppets and pillows to holiday decorations this craft book is an excellent source for helping your fandom get to the next level. There are simple crafts for young children and more complex crafts that even adults will find a challenge. I have several crafts on the waiting list and have made one trip so far to the fabric store. This has been a hit with my little Star Wars fan.  

    by Robin Davis

    This cookbook is perfect for planning a Star Wars party. The name of each item is Star Wars themed and frankly quite clever. “Yoda Soda” and “Boba Fett-uccine” were my favorites. The “TIE Fighter Ties” are the cutest, little hotdogs with breadsticks wrapped around in the shape of TIE Fighters.  


    Art2 D2s Guide to Folding and DoodlingART2-D2'S GUIDE TO FOLDING AND DOODLING 
    by Tom Angleberger

    This is a companion guide to the juvenile fiction Origami Yoda series. Angleberger has tutorials to make Star Wars finger puppets, step-by-step instructions to draw Darth Vader’s mask, and other various doodling and folding ideas.  




    music by John Williams, arranged by Dan Coates

    Even if you aren’t an accomplished pianist this sheet music is “easy piano,” so if you have been wanting to learn, this will help motivate you! The music of Star Wars will fill your home over and over. The classic Star Wars main title is included, as well as The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme), along with several others.



  • reading aloud

    Getting a child “ready” to start school seems to be on every parent’s mind as they look at preschool registration. There are plenty of ideas about what children need to be ready to learn. Parents often ask, "What do they need to know? Have I taught them all the things the teacher will expect?"

    What if I told you the absolute best thing you can do to prepare a child for Kindergarten is read to them from the day they are born? Really. No need to spend time using flashcards when they are toddlers or preschoolers in a drill and kill fashion. Just start reading to your child early on—every day. If you don’t have a routine yet or didn’t start early, start now: read stories and books 15-20 minutes each day. Spend time engaging with your child by asking questions, pointing to pictures, laughing and crying at wherever the story leads.

    Research has shown time and time again the success of children who have been read to. Children who were not read to spend years making up for lost time. From ages 0-3 the brain of a child is forming, making connections, and soaking up all the information and experiences in life. The best time to start exposing children to reading and new vocabulary is during these early years. Do you need more information to help you start? These will get you going . . .

    1.31 Read Aloud HandbookTHE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK
    By Jim Trelease

    You know when a book is on its 7th edition that it must have some good information! Jim Trelease has continued to update the statistics of his handbook that was originally released in 1982. He answers the why, when, and how of reading aloud. He includes stories of people who have been impacted by experiences with reading aloud to their children. There is a treasury of read aloud books in the back which Trelease updates in every edition, especially for those who are new to the idea of reading aloud and are wondering what books to start with. 


    By Mem Fox

    Fox’s enthusiasm for reading to children is contagious. This quick read is a perfect jump-start to inspire parents and educators to implement more reading aloud. If you already have been reading aloud to children, it is the reminder that what you are doing is important. When a child is between the ages of 0-3 the benefits are not always as obvious right away; it is reassuring to know that spending the necessary time reading aloud to children is worth it. 


    By Dana Suskind

    This is a heavily research-based guide on the importance of speaking and engaging with children in the early years. Suskind, a medical doctor, has found through her practice that the success of cochlear implants depend on the involvement of parents who spend time talking and interacting with their children. It doesn’t matter if the children have the ability to hear if there is no one helping them exercise those new abilities. Suskind started an initiative to educate parents, using what she has learned about the importance of her easily implemented “Tune in, Talk More, and Take Turn” program. Every child benefits when they have caregivers who know how powerful these simple ideas are in the life of a child.