Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Busy Bees and Books, Too !

Bee in the Know! 

There will be no regular storytimes at any Libraries locations, from March 29-April 11.  But as part of Arlington Reads, we welcome elementary school students and their families to join beekeeper Paul Diehl as he explains how bees make honey--and how to become a beekeeper, too! The program is Saturday, April 3 at 11am in the Central Library Auditorium.

Here are some fun bee-themed books to share with your children:
  • Bees, Snails and Peacock Tales by Betsy Franco explores the hidden world of shapes in the natural world, including beehives.
  • Honey in a Hive by Anne Rockwell investigates the life cycle of honeybees and the production of honey.
  • Busy, Buzzy Bee by Karen Wallace is a good beginning reader that explains how bees collect nectar and how they care for their eggs and the queen.
  • Gail Gibbons's The Honey Makers covers the whole range of the honey making process and the beekeepers role, as well. You can never go wrong with the fabulous Ms. Frizzle as she drives The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive by Joanna Cole with illustrations by Bruce Degen. And if your child wants to delve into fiction about bees, try The Honeybee Mystery, one of the Boxcar Children books by Gertrude Chandler Warner.
We will resume our regular storytime schedule starting the week of April 12 and look forward to seeing you then!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Books Celebrating Nature for You and Your Children!

It is not exactly breaking news that children today have less time and opportunity to "muck around" in ponds, woods, and other outdoor environments the way many of us did growing up.

In Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder, author Richard Louv chronicles a host of childhood disorders that can result from the loss of connection to the natural world. Author and father Rick Van Noy describes his attempts to get his kids out of their suburban house and into the natural world in A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature Through the Seasons.

With warm weather and spring breaks upon us, it's a perfect opportunity to get outside with your little ones and enjoy the season. If you are looking for fun activities for your kids, check out Get Out! Outdoor Activities Kids Can Enjoy Anywhere (Except Indoors) by Hallie Warshaw. Or try Let's Go Outside! Outdoor Activities and Projects to Get You and Your Kids Closer to Nature by Jennifer Ward. For a kid-friendly guide to hiking and camping, Jessica Loy's Follow the Trail: A Young Person's Guide to the Great Outdoors is a wonderful introduction to those activities. Noted children's author Jean Craighead George recently published Pocket Guide to the Outdoors: [based on My Side of the Mountain].

This is just a small sampling of the many books promoting fun outdoor activities for the whole family. And of course we have beginning field guides to everything from insects to the night sky. Just stop by the youth services desk and ask for help finding these and other titles to get you where you want to go! And please let us know of any books that enrich your family's forays into the wild!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cracking the Code in the "J ROOM"

When you are looking up a book in the library catalog, have you ever wondered what all of those letters stand for? JROOM? JP? JE? JF? J590? JB? JHOL? JAV? It is not a particularly intuitive system so I thought I'd try to shed some light to help you navigate the system and hopefully make it easier to find what you are looking for.

JROOM simply refers to the whole of the Children's Room. The J stands for "juvenile," a term used by publishers to indicate books and other materials for children under ages 12 or 13 which are shelved separately from the young adult and adult collections. Here's the complete breakdown:
JP=juvenile picture books which are generally shelved by author's last name.
JE=juvenile easy readers, also known as beginning readers. We have these books color-coded: JE RED for the very beginning readers; JE YELLOW for the next step up; and JE GREEN for those moving into the newly independent reader category, the step before beginning chapter books. The easy readers are shelved by the author's last name. Nonfiction easy readers follow fiction and are arranged according to the Dewey Decimal system.
JF=juvenile fiction, also known as chapter books. This category covers everything from The Box Car Children to Harry Potter. They are generally shelved by the author's last name with some notable (and not always consistent) exceptions. Some books are shelved by the series name. Check the catalog--or please ask a librarian--for specific locations if you can't find something under the author's name.
J590=juvenile nonfiction titles. These are arranged by subject using the Dewey Decimal system, 590 being an example of where to find books about animals.
JB=juvenile biography and are at the end of the J nonfiction collection. Biographies are arranged by the last name of the subject, so just look for a book on Abraham Lincoln under JB Lincoln.
JHOL=juvenile holiday books which are separated out and arranged as the holidays fall chronologically through the year.
J/CD/Books and J/PLAWY=juvenile books on CD and juvenile books on Playaway, a relatively new format that is a self-contained devise that simply requires ear buds--no iPod or mp3 player required. These are shelved separately in the JROOM, but look for the playaways to be interfiled with the J/CD/Books in the coming months.
J/CD/Music=juvenile music on CD which is arranged by "subject," e.g. "Classical," "Lullabies," "Soundtracks," or "Songs." J/DVD= juvenile DVDs which are arranged by title for feature films and Dewey Decimal system for nonfiction DVDs.
JREF=juvenile reference which is a collection of reference materials that can be used in the library but not checked out.
Of course, ALWAYS ASK FOR HELP if you can't find what you're looking for. The librarians sitting at the desk are there to answer your questions and help you find what you need. You are not interrupting us--that's what we love to do!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

2010 Notable Children's Books, Recordings and Videos

Each year, a committee of the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) selects the best of the best in children's literature for children from birth to age 14. The 2010 Notable Children's Books annotated list includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and picture books and is divided between younger readers, middle readers and older readers. There are titles for every reading level and interest and you should be able to find books of excellent quality to appeal to your particular young reader.
If your child prefers or enjoys listening to books, there is an ALSC committee to help you find the best of the best of recorded books for children. The 2010 Notable Children's Recordings is an annotated list with age recommendations. And finally, if you are searching for excellent videos for your child, you can check out the 2010 Notable Children's Videos.

photo from Microsoft Office Online

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kids Love Animals--and Books & Websites About Animals, Too.

We have thousands of great picture books and chapter books featuring animals of every variety. But many of my favorite animal books for children are nonfiction and some are so compelling they read like fiction. Here is just a sampling:
Elephants Can Paint, Too! with pictures and text by Katya Arnold tells the fascinating story of elephants in Thailand who were taught to paint. The author implemented this unique program after slowing of the logging industry resulted in a loss of support for elephant care. A fun and informative book for older preschoolers through 3rd graders with lots of laugh out loud moments over the antics of the artistic pachyderms.
Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship told by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Carla Kahumbu with photographs by Peter Greste is a remarkable collaboration. Isabel Hatkoff was seven years old when she and her father Craig saw a newspaper article about a young hippo separated from his mother in the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. The baby hippo was dramatically rescued and taken to a Kenyan nature preserve. Once there, he sought the protection of a 130 year-old giant tortoise named Mzee who, remarkably, tolerated the 600 pound baby hippo. Their curious bond grew and their story is continued in Owen & Mzee: The Language of Friendship. Children from kindergarten up to grade 5 will enjoy these amazing books.
Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery describes another story of friendship, this one between the leader of a feral pack of dogs in Iraq and a Marine. Major Brian Dennis found the dog in the desert and named him Nubs, since his ears looked like little nubs. The two formed a strong and immediate bond. But Marines are not permitted to keep pets and when the Marines traveled 70 miles through Iraq from the border of Jordan to the border of Syria, no one imagined that Nubs would follow. But he did. Eventually, Major Dennis and his friends raised enough money to send Nubs to the U.S. where they were reunited after Dennis returned home from Iraq. A heartwarming story for kids from grades 2-5. Don't forget the wonderful books by the masterful collage artist Steven Jenkins, such as Actual Size; Sisters & Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World; Move!, and many more. Kids from preschool through 3rd grade will love them.

And here are a few fun and informative websites about animals that your children will love: Animal Fact Guide, ASPCA'S Animaland, and the wildly fun Build Your Wild Self. Check them all out--your children will have lots of fun while learning cool stuff! Please let us know what animal books your children enjoy--we love to hear from you!

Photo from Microsoft Office Online