Friday, May 28, 2010

Preschool Storytimes End May 29 and Will Begin Again July 12

There will be a break from all preschool storytime programs from May 30-July 12. Here is the summer storytime schedule, which begins July 13.

We take this hiatus from preschool programming in June because this is the time of year when our focus shifts to the elementary school population. Members of the youth services team head to each and every public elementary school in Arlington County, encouraging children to sign up for our summer reading program and whetting their appetites with enticing booktalks. (We'll be posting some of those booktalk videos here over the summer so be on the lookout for those.)

If you have elementary school-aged children in Arlington, chances are excellent that they will be seeing an Arlington youth services librarian in their school in the next few weeks and you'll be hearing about this year's Get Caught Reading program.

Registration for Get Caught Reading 2010 begins Saturday, June 12. You can register online starting June 12 at @ or at any Arlington Public Library. Check back for more details soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's Next? Read All About It!

What's Next? Booklists for Children and Teens is a one-stop resource now available on the web. Arlington youth services librarians have been working on this for the past year and a half and we hope you will find it useful.

You can still find PDFs of our recommended graded reading lists and preschool lists.We still have new and featured lists, including beginning readers lists, new chapter books for kids, new picture books, and our monthly featured titles lists.

But the big difference is now you can also find subject guides to
picture books for young readers, kids chapter books, and young adult books. How excited should you be about this? Very excited if you ever need to find books in a particular subject area for a child. If, for example, you're the "library parent" for your child's preschool and need animal books, if your granddaughter is coming for a visit and you need some princess books, if your son has read through all the Wimpy Kid books and you want to find something else to hook him, if you're looking for a book for your tween in the YA room that "won't make her blush," you will be thrilled with What's Next?

A couple of things to remember: The titles on What's Next? are not necessarily recommended books, as our PDF lists are--they are simply lists of books by subject. What's Next? is and will always be a work in progress. We are constantly adding new subjects and titles. (We welcome suggestions if you have them!) We are trying to further divide the subject categories by grade to better help you find just the right book for your young readers. Oh, and you can search the site, too!

So, please go to, take a look around and let us know what you think!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Inspiring Young Artists!

During the month of May, Shirlington Branch Library is displaying artwork created by Drew Model Elementary School 3rd-5th graders, inspired by the artist Henri Matisse. Stop by and see their work when you're in the neighborhood!

If you have a budding young artist in your life, Arlington Public Library has many books about art and artists to inspire, activate, and enliven their natural artistic inclinations. You can search our catalog or ask a librarian for help finding them. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started with Matisse:

Matisse: Dance for Joy by Susan Goldman Rubin is a perfect board book for the youngest art lover, using Matisse's cutout collages to introduce babies and toddlers to contemporary art and movement.

An excellent book for children ages 4-9 is A Bird or Two: A Story About Henri Matisse by
Bijou LeTord which describes the work of Hente Matisse, particularly his joyful use of color, with simple text and bright illustrations.

For grades 6 and up, Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt, provides an intorduction to fifteen famous artists with examples of their work, unexpected facts about their lives, and a watercolor portrait for each one.

Do you or your child have a favorite art book? We'd love to hear from you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

What are Smories?

Smories are free, original stories for kids, read by kids. Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar, a couple from Great Britain, got the idea for this site when their 8-year-old daughter filmed herself reading Enid Blyton stories and played them back for her 6-year-old sister on a long car trip in South Africa. The children were enthralled, both with the process of recording and then listening to the stories.

Lisa and Ralph created this safe space where kids can listen to other kids read stories to them. They solicit stories from writers--published, unpublished, professional, amateur--all over the world. They choose the 50 best stories and the top 5 win a little prize money. Writers retain all rights to their work. Children practice reading them once and then record them for other children to enjoy. A simple, brilliant idea! As they are based in the U.K. most of the readers have English accents at this point. They plan to add more U.S. narrators beginning this summer.

I've found myself clicking from one story to the next, enjoying both the stories and the wonderful young readers. One of my favorites is Anna Paula, The Girl Who Wouldn't Comb Her Hair by Antonio Destro read by a darling boy with a delightful smile. Take a listen with your kids and see which ones they like. Maybe it will inspire them to record a "smorie" of their own!

Photo from Microsoft Office Online

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Children's Book Week!

Sponsored by the Children's Book Council and administered by Every Child a Reader, Children's Book Week began with the idea that children's books can change lives. A major component of Children's Book Week is the Children's Book Choice Awards. The beauty of this award is that children themselves vote for their favorite books, authors, and illustrators, rather than a bunch of librarians, teachers, or other adult-types. As a youth services librarian, I'm always happy to recommend a book to a child that has a "kid seal of approval!"

Here's a complete list of the 2010 Children's Book Choice Awards winners finalists. If you want to see which books the children chose, here are the winners! Check them out!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Guys DO Read - Here's How to Keep Them Reading

But first, a joke from some (mostly) guy authors.

Welcome to the world of Guys Read, a "web-based literacy program for boys of all ages" originally created by author Jon Scieszka. The mission is simple: to help boys become motivated, life-long readers.

The categories on the Books That Guys Read page include "People Being Transformed into Animals," "At Least One Explosion," "How to Build Stuff," "War," "Monkeys and/or Apes," "Outer Space, but Without Aliens," and "Outer Space, but With Aliens," among others. The contributors to this site "get" boys. They provide insight into why so many boys seem to have trouble with reading. In fact, sometimes it's not the boys who are having trouble; they are reading--gaming strategy guides, cereal boxes, comic books, the sports page, magazines, and nonfiction. They just aren't reading what some teachers, parents, and other well-meaning adults think of as the right kind of reading. So boys often get a message that they aren't good readers. They also can get turned off to reading when it becomes a struggle.

The good news is that there are more and more resources like Guys Read to help parents, teachers, and guys themselves find engaging books with guy appeal. Judy Freeman discusses some of the differences between how boys and girl read and offers a great list of books for boys of all ages via James Patterson's excellent Read Kiddo Read site. APL youth services librarians have compiled a list of "guys read" suggestions that we will continue to update. If you have a title we should add to that list, please let us know!