Friday, April 30, 2010

Pfoom! Comic Books and Graphic Novels for Kids

Some parents hate them. Some parents don't get them. Some parents are OK with them, but wish their child would read something else. And a few parents love them because their kids love them and at least they are reading something.

Love them or hate them, graphic novels for kids are here to stay. At Arlington Public Library, we've long had a hugely popular graphic novel collection in the young adult room. Over the last couple of years we've added graphic novels for adults and in our children's collections around the system. Suffice it to say, the books are flying off the shelves--from old standbys like Tintin and Asterix to Kingdom Hearts to Bone to graphic editions of Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys and everything in between.

If you are curious about this popular format, here are some websites to help you navigate the landscape. Graphic Novel Reporter is an excellent source of detailed descriptions and reviews. You may have heard of manga, a Japanese comic book form. Manga for Kids is a good site to learn about different manga series. They also provide a tutorial about how to read manga (hint: back to front, right to left.) Sidekicks is devoted to presenting reviews for kids, as well as parents, teachers, and librarians. If you are a teacher or just curious about the educational potential of comics, Comics in Education provides the history and educational uses of comics, as well as a bibliography and other useful resources. Finally, the Eisner Award, an annual prize given for creative achievement in American comic books, announced the 2010 nominations, including "Best Publications for Kids."

Check them out--you might be surprised what you discover. As always, feel free to stop by the youth services desk for more suggestions. And we'd love to hear your child's favorites--please leave a comment!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Poetry: The Best Words in the Best Order"

So says Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and who are we to argue? There is still a little bit of April left in which to celebrate National Poetry Month--though poetry and " the best words in the best order" should be celebrated every day. Children have a natural disposition toward poetry--they like to play with words and rhymes and sounds naturally. And play they should...

There are many excellent resources for sharing poetry with your children. A search in our catalog for poetry for children resulted in 799 books for children and listed over 1000 authors. Simply browsing the poetry section (J 811) in the children's collections in any of our libraries will be rewarding. You'll find classic collections and old favorites like Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, and will also discover many new poets writing for children. Don't forget to check out children's poetry on audio book. The only thing better than reading poetry is listening to poetry. Treat yourself and your children.

The web is a wonderful resource for both written and spoken poetry. Reading Rockets offers read alouds by poets, poetry booklists for all ages, teaching tools, and much more. Meet the new Children's Poet Laureate, Mary Ann Hoberman and listen to her speak to the value of poetry for children. The Poetry Foundation also provides a wealth of articles, videos, podcasts, author interviews and more for parents and teachers.

Giggle Poetry is one of the many websites directed to children that showcase poems by children, as well as fun activities for them to do. On Kidzpage children can "Have a Bash with Ogden Nash," explore classic nursery rhymes and songs, and best of all, read lots of poems written by kids.

This is only the tip of the iceberg for poetry resources for children. Stop by and ask the children's librarian at your branch for suggestions. My personal favorite poet for kids? Douglas Florian. His poems are often physical and there very shape extends the imagery of the words. Check out the poem Inchworm in Insectlopedia. What poems and poets do your kids love?

Original Image: Creative Independence by Nattu, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Get Out! Great Activities for You and Your Kids on Earth Day and Every Day

We did a post a month ago about books celebrating nature to share with your kids. There are also some excellent websites that promote family time in nature.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, kids who spend time outside have fitter bodies, get better grades, and are less stressed. They suggest 8 ways to celebrate Earth Day with your children. Getting out together makes the whole family feel better and helps promote a lifelong appreciation for nature. Kids can learn how to make a hummingbird feeder, plan a backyard scavenger hunt, and much more at the Be Out There site. They can even sign the Be Out There Pledge!

A nation-wide initiative, Children & Nature Network is committed to help reconnect children and nature and offers resources and information. Locally, ACE (Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment) has family activities planned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Arlington has a wealth of parks and hiking trails, bike trails, and nature centers. You can find out about all the nature programs in Arlington for families, elementary-aged children and even the tiniest tots by subscribing to The Snag and The Snag for Wee Ones.

With the beautiful spring weather we're having, there's no excuse not to get out. Do you have a favorite hiking, biking, or nature trail that your whole family enjoys? Please share it with us!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cuentos y Más shares the joy of stories - in English and Spanish!

Have you seen Cuentos y Más, the one-of-a-kind, made in Arlington, program that promotes reading among children while having fun? 

In each episode Librarian and Storyteller Mariela Aguilar - along with special guests - performs bilingual stories and more for children ages 4-8. The program also enables viewers to practice English and Spanish in a fun and interactive way!

Celebrate the joy of reading with the new episode, "Darkness: Starry & Scary," available on AVN Comcast Cable Channel 25, Verizon FIOS Channel 40, or online.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Seed + Dirt + Sun + Water + Love = Storytime Fun!

If you missed the special Planting Time! storytime on Friday, you can share this video with your children and plant some seeds at home.

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's Planting Time for Preschoolers!

Planting Time!

There will be no regular storytimes at any Libraries locations, from March 29-April 11. But as part of Arlington Reads, preschool-age children and their caregivers are invited to a special Planting storytime program on Friday, April 9 at 10am in the Central Library Auditorium. Children will listen to garden stories, sing songs, decorate a container and plant a seed to start their own garden.

If you'd like to share a book or two with your children about the joys (and challenges!) of gardening, try one of these:
  • In Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming a group of wily rabbits tries to outsmart a persistent gardener with hilarious consequences.
  • The Carrot Seed, a classic written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Crocket Johnson, is a deceptively simple tale of a young boy's hope and determination that the seed he plants will grow, despite the dire predictions of everyone around him. Continuously in print since 1945, this inspiring story is a special one to share with the youngest child.
  • For a fun and lively introduction about how things grow (some vegetables shoot up, some go down, and some twine round and round) check out Up Down and Around by Katherine Ayres.
  • Tomie DePaola brings back some favorite characters in Strega Nona's Harvest. When Strega Nona enlists the help of Big Anthony and Bambolona to plant her vegetable garden things do not go exactly according to plan!
We have many more books about gardening and growing things, including some excellent nonfiction. Check the catalog, or better yet, stop by a public service desk and one of the youth services librarians will be happy to help you find the perfect book for your budding gardener!

We will resume our regular storytime schedule starting the week of April 12 and look forward to seeing you then!