Friday, April 29, 2011

Día! Many Children, Many Cultures, Many Books

April 30, 2011 marks the 15th anniversary of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), also known as Día.

Why is Día so important?
 Día supports literacy through assisting parents who are learning English and encouraging parents to inspire their children to read by reading to them regularly at home.

Books bring families together, and reading daily to your child for at least twenty minutes can become a family tradition. Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning.
      Arlington Public Library wants to help!

      • We maintain a robust English/Spanish bilingual children's collection, a small part of which is highlighted in our Bilingual booklist for elementary-age children.
      • We also offer Cuentos para Niños family storytimes. 
      • And in collaboration with AVN, Mariela Aguilar, one of our talented children's librarians, has long been involved with the innovative bilingual program, Cuentos y Más, which you can watch for free!

      And take a look at this excellent information sheet from the Día website, which includes helpful hints in English and Spanish about reading with your children, as well as more book suggestions.

      So read together and tell your stories. Bring your children to the library. Make it a family tradition!

      Wednesday, April 27, 2011

      Hot Tip: Storytimes Are Not Just for Children

      Do you sometimes wonder why the children's librarian asks parents and caregivers to participate fully with their child in storytime? It's not just to see grownups do silly things.

      When you participate fully, you can extend the storytime experience with your child after you leave the library.
      •  By learning the songs and rhymes, you can help your child enjoy these activities and successfully learn them.  Next time you go to storytime, your child will be able to say "I know that song!"

      • You can also reinforce "narrative skills", an important component of early literacy. Have your child retell a story,  song, or rhyme that was presented during storytime  in his or her own words.  These activities help your child learn about story structure (beginning, middle and end) and learn to organize what they have observed.

      • Your participation models appropriate group behavior for your child--how to interact with other participants, how to be a good listener, how to participate, and how to respond when called upon. These skills are part of kindergarten readiness.

      • As your child's primary role model, your full participation in storytime signals the value you place on it.  A parent or caregiver who acts interested by participating in the program shows your child that this activity is important.  In turn, the activity will be more important to your child.
      To get the most out of storytime, participate fully with your child.  You'll support important learning skills and have a good time acting a bit silly.

      Monday, April 25, 2011

      Children's Choice Book Awards - Vote Now!

      The Children's Choice Book Award is the only national award program where children and teens of all ages select the winning titles - and it's happening right now!

      Kids in K-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th grades, and up through teens can cast votes through April 29, for their favorite books, authors, and illustrators from a list of finalists. Their votes really do count!

      The winners will be announced on May 2, at the start of Children's Book Week, a national celebration of books and reading for youth, began in 1919 with the idea that books can change lives. This year the festivities run from May 2 - May 8.

      The list of this year's finalists, as well as past winners, is also a place to get ideas for books your kids may not yet have read. And remember, these are kid-approved. Chances are your kids will enjoy them, too.

      Saturday, April 23, 2011

      Shakespeare for Kids

      Happy 447th Birthday to William Shakespeare!  We have lots of great books and a few websites to help you introduce The Bard to your children.

      Preschool to Grade 2
      Will's Quills: Or, How A Goose Saved Shakespeare by Don Freeman tells the story of Willoughby Waddles, a goose with a penchant for doing good and a young playwright in need of a pen.

      Grades 3-6
      William Shakespeare & the Globe by Aliki brings Shakespeare's world alive and also chronicles the fascinating reconstruction of the Globe Theatre in honor of the 400th anniversary.

       Bravo, Mr.William Shakespeare! by Marcia Williams uses a full-page comics style to present seven Shakespeare plays.  It's a follow-up to the popular Tales From Shakespeare, which featured Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth, among others.

      William Shakespeare's Macbeth adapted by Bruce Coville deftly weaves familiar quotations with the author's own prose to present the story for the youngest readers and listeners.  Coville also adapted A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet.

      Grades 5-8 (Fiction)
      The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood is the first book in a trilogy about Widge, a young orphan with a unique ability to write in coded shorthand.  He  is ordered by his harsh master to use that skill to steal Hamlet, the new play by the young Shakespeare. When Widge works his way into the Globe Theatre and is embraced by the other players, he must decide if he will betray his new friends or risk the wrath of his master.  The adventures continue in Shakespeare's Scribe and Shakespeare's Spy.

      Finally, a couple of good websites for extending the Shakespearean experience. The Folger Shakespeare Library offers mazes, crosswords, coloring pages, word searches, and puzzles all about Shakespeare just for kids.  And the aptly named Shakespeare for Children includes links to free texts, Shakespeare printables, kid-friendly facts, and much more.

      Wednesday, April 20, 2011

      Celebrate Earth Day with Kids

      Earth Day 2011 has a theme of "a billion acts of green", which sounds like a wonderful way to honor the small choices and contributions we can all make in our day to day lives.

      Children can learn about the first Earth Day, as well as ideas for crafts, games, coloring pages, poems and more to celebrate our beautiful planet. Time for Kids offers some fun activities, also.

      Of course, we have a few books suggestions--please stop by the library for more ideas. And after you've picked up your books, take your kids to Gulf Branch or Long Branch Nature Center, plant a garden, or make a rain barrel!

      Ok Go by Carin Berger
      Fancy Nancy: Every Day is Earth Day by Jane O'Connor
      Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants!: Gilbert Goes Green by Diane deGroat
      Dinosaur Woods : Can Seven Clever Critters Save Their Forest Home? by George McClements. Franklin Plants a Tree by Paulette Bourgeois

      Grades 2-4
      Mallory Goes Green by Laurie B. Friedman
      Judy Moody Saves the Planet by Megan McDonald
      Night of the Spadefoot Toads by Bill Harley

      Grades 4-7
      Who Really Killed Cock Robin: An Ecological Mystery by Jean Craighead George
      Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
      Waterman's Boy by Susan Sharp

      And here's a great book to get the whole family contributing to those billion acts of green:
      True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin

      Monday, April 18, 2011

      Hot Tip: Your Kids Don't Have to Read Every Series in Order

      One of our colleagues, who is also the mother of a 6 year-old, recently mentioned that she felt liberated when we told her that all those beginning series kids love to read - The Magic Tree House, Pony Pals, The Boxcar Children, Cam Jansen, etc. - don't necessarily have to be read in order.

      These kinds of series don't really build on previous books - unlike the Percy Jackson or Harry Potter books, which obviously should be read in order.

      Of course, there are children who will insist on reading every series sequentially*. But in general, after you've read the first Magic Tree House book, you know that in every subsequent book Jack and Annie are going to climb up into that tree house, it's going to spin madly around, and they will end up in the midst of an exciting adventure in another time and/or space.  The consistency and redundancy of these books are comforting to newly independent readers, because it allows them to become more proficient with the act of reading, as they are already familiar with the arc of the story and the format. And repetition is good practice when you are learning something that is still new.

      So don't worry if you can't find #17 in The Secrets of Droon or #23 in The Zach Files.  Just grab a handful that your child hasn't read, and go!

      * Special insider tip: If you do have that child who must read every series in order, or if she is into a series that should be read in order, check out the Mid-Continent Public Library's excellent resource about books in series. It's a gold mine of information.

      Friday, April 15, 2011

      10 Great Poetry Books for Kids

      We're halfway through April which means we're halfway through National Poetry Month. It's a great time to share the wonders of language with your children. Here are ten wonderful poetry books for kids ages 5 and up to get you started.

      Poetrees by Douglas Florian celebrates all things "tree"--from acorns to the giant sequoia--through eighteen double-page poems coupled with wonderful mixed-media collage art.

      I'm sneaking in more than ten right from the start, because I'd recommend all of Douglas Florian's poetry books for children from kindergarten up (try Insectlopedia). His poetry is so playful and much of it is concrete. Kids learn quickly that a line of poetry doesn't necessarily have to be straight. Or rhyme. It's clever in the best sense, short enough for young children, and loads of fun. The paintings are brilliant, too.

      No list of poetry books for children would be complete without Jack Prelutsky, first Children's Poet Laureate. Start with his most recent, The Carnival of the Animals, new verses written to accompany Camille San Saens's musical piece, "The Carnival of the Animals."

      Or try an earlier work, It's Raining Pigs and Noodles for the sheer joy of the language--wordplay, silliness and humor that young children adore.

      And, of course, there is the inimitable Shel Silverstein. Pick up a copy of Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook to get your kids laughing as they try to read these poems, or listen to you read them. Or start with A Light in the Attic.

      Before you tuck your preschoolers-2nd graders into bed, read some poems from Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems by Jane Yolen, a wonderful collection of old favorites and contemporary gems about bedtime. (This would make a great baby gift!)

      Red Sings from the Treetops: A Year in Colors by award-winning poet Joyce Sidman, and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, is an exuberant celebration of both the seasons and color that will appeal to preschoolers through 3rd graders.

      Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by noted poet Marilyn Singer integrates fairy tales in this unique collection of poems that can be read both up and down the page with different results. Kids will be intrigued and maybe even challenged to write their own "reversos", poems that can be read the same backward and forward.

      And just because, let's face it, dogs are such fun, let's include
      A Dazzling Display of Dogs by Betsy Franco for all the dog lovers out there.

      There you have it--ten books that celebrate the joy, wonder, and fun of language. What favorites do you read to your children? Please share them with us!

      Wednesday, April 13, 2011

      Play Ball!

      March Madness is over, the Nats are off to a decent start, and that means it's time for baseball! And that means books about baseball, too.

      Ages 4-8 (picture book)

      For little fans who like to search for all things baseball, try I Spy With My Little Eye Baseball written by Brad Herzog and illustrated by David Milne. There's enough here for repeated enjoyment.

      Ages 7 and up (nonfiction)
      The Unforgettable Season: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and the Record-Setting Summer of '41 written by Phil Bildner and illustrated by S.D. Schindler, tells the story of two of baseball's most enduring heroes and records--DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and Williams's single season batting average of .406. Filled with fun facts and statistics, and beautifully enhanced with warm, retro illustrations, this book will engage young fans.

      If you want to know even more about the man some call the greatest hitter of all time, check out No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season by Fred Bowen, illustrated by Charles S. Pyle.Bowen's writing lends authenticity to the exciting story and Pyle's illustrations capture and extend the thrills and the drama.

      Ages 8-12 (nonfiction)
      Baseball Heroes by Glenn Stout is the first book in a new nonfiction series for middle grade readers called Good Sports. Baseball Heroes highlights the inspiring stories of Jackie Robinson, Hand Greenburg, Fernando Valenzuela and Ila Borders. Fans of Matt Christopher and Mike Lupica will enjoy this new series.

      Ages 7-11 (nonfiction)
           If you are interested in the first (and only) woman ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, read She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate. Effa Manley loved baseball from the time she was a child, and she loved to watch Babe Ruth play for the Yankees. She grew up to be the owner of a baseball team and a strong advocate for the rights of all players.

      Ages 9-12 (fiction)

      Former Baltimore Oriole and record-holder himself, the "ironman" Cal Ripken, Jr., along with sports writer Kevin Cowherd, has written a baseball book for kids in the 3rd grade and up called Hothead. Conner is the star of his middle school team, but when his dad loses his job, Conner starts losing his cool during games, and has to learn some tough lessons to go with the baseball he plays so well. Another good choice for Mike Lupica fans.

      As always, this is just a tiny sample to whet your appetite. Take a look at the baseball list on What'sNext, our readers suggestion tool. Do a catalog search for baseball, and limit it to kids for many more results. Or better yet, stop by the children's desk at any of our locations and we'll help you find the perfect book for the baseball fans in your life.

      Monday, April 11, 2011

      Read-Aloud Winners

      On the heels of our recent post about one dad's experiences reading aloud to his children comes the announcement of the 2011 E. B. White Read-Aloud Awards.

      Created by the ABC Children's Group at the ABA, these awards "recognize books that reflect the playful, well-paced language, the engaging themes, and the universal appeal to a wide range of ages embodied by E.B. White’s collection of beloved books."

      The 2011 middle reader award went to one of our favorites, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angelberger. Last June, we were lucky enough to host the author at Central Library. His book makes a great read-aloud for kids from 4th to 7th grade.

      The 2011 picture book award went to the deliciously titled, Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown.

      Four classics were inducted into the Indies Choice Book Awards Picture Book Hall of Fame (scroll down):

      Corduroy by Don Freeman
      Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee burton
      The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
      The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

      Check out the list of previous winners, all obviously great read-aloud suggestions. And we'd love to hear what books you enjoy reading out loud to your children--please leave a comment!

      Thursday, April 7, 2011

      Send a Wounded Soldier a Card

      Children have been busily creating cards to send to wounded soldiers as part of this year's youth component of Arlington Reads.
      Just a reminder that materials will be available in the children's areas at all library locations through April 30.

      Thanks for participating!

      Wednesday, April 6, 2011

      "Safety is No Accident"

      That is the slogan for National Public Health Week from April 4-10, 2011. Sponsored by the American Public Health Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year's focus is on safety.

      Check out the video below to learn more. And take a look at useful tips to keep your children and yourselves safe at home, at work, at play, on the move, and in your community.

      A little further down, we offer a few book suggestions.

      Fire Drill by Paul DuBois Jacobs is a simple introduction to a fire drill in a kindergarten class.

      In Please Play Safe! Penguin's Guide to Playground Safety by Marjorie Cuyler, Penguin and his friends learn all about what are safe (and unsafe!) behaviors at the playground.

      The Berenstain Bears: Safe and Sound! by Jan and Stan Berenstain addresses the importance of wearing helmets at the skate park.

      A Smart Kid's Guide to Social Networking Online by David J. Jakubiak explains the issues around social networking sites for elementary-aged children and suggests age-appropriate options.

      This is just a sampling of books about health and safety. Stop by and ask for more!


      Monday, April 4, 2011

      Paws to Read, Take 2

      Our first Paws to Read program was a resounding success!  Check out the video below.. 

      If you have a 6 to12-year-old who would enjoy reading to a trained therapy dog, you can still register for the April 11 and April 25 sessions by calling  703-228-5946.

      Friday, April 1, 2011

      Don't Tell Them It's Educational

      PBS Kids has consolidated a collection of games for teachers to use with whiteboards in the classroom. But they are just fine for playing on a home computer, as well.

      The games cover language arts, the arts, math, and social science, the majority for preK-2, with some options for grades 3-5.

      Your kids will have so much fun, they may not realize how much they're learning!