When I was born, my parents named me Katie. Well, okay, technically they named me Mary (that’s what’s on my birth certificate) but always intended to call me Katie. That was back in the days when lots of girls were named Mary Chris, Mary Pat, Mary This, Mary That… but weren’t actually called Mary. So, until I was 5, everyone called me Katie.
Then Kindergarten happened. And my 5-year-old self informed the teacher that my name was Mary and I was to be called that. I then proceeded to make everyone else I knew call me Mary instead of Katie. Why did I decide to change my name? I have no idea what was going on in my young brain, but as an adult I’ve speculated that it’s because we’d recently moved to Denver and lived almost next door to a family with two twin girls – one of whom was named Katie. Strangely enough, her real name was also Mary Something.
I’ve been Mary ever since. Kudos to my family for going along with my self-inflicted name change.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because it kind of relates to why one of my favorite books growing up was Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Oh, how I loved the story of Katy, the bulldozer/snow plow who did her work in the City of Geopolis and saved the day one particularly snowy winter. I adored the detailed illustrations with maps of the town so that I could follow Katy’s route as she made it safe for the mail carrier to continue his route and the doctor to get his patient to the hospital. But most of all, I loved that Katy and I shared the same name (albeit a slightly different spelling).
Finding yourself (or even just your name) in a children’s book is a powerful thing. Each year, I am fortunate enough to be able to gift each child whom I visit in my preschool outreach a brand new book. As the kids in one class were making their selections, one young lady saw Anna Quinn’s Lola at the Library. The book features an adorable, smiling African-American child as she makes her regular visit to the library. The young lady pointed at the book, eyes wide, and said “I want THAT one.” What made this encounter so powerful? The girl who chose the book looked EXACTLY like Lola in the story. Right down to the pigtails.
Children need to feel like they are important and have worth, and seeing yourself and your story reflected in a book provides some measure of that. Just as I was proud to share a name with hero snowplow Katy, my young book selector probably was proud to see that she, or a child that looked like her, could be the star of her own story.
What story are YOU the star of? Are there any books that made you think “hey, that’s me!”?
Have you ever met someone that you just can't stand? That's what happens when Cousin Irv comes to town. Teddy's mother tells Teddy to be nice to Cousin Irv, but it's so hard! Cousin Irv listens to terrible music, snores loudly at night and eats way too much.
However, as author Bruce Caplan observes, "If you only see what you don't like about someone, you never see what you do like about them."
Is there hope for Teddy and Cousin Irv? Will they ever get along? Check out Cousin Irv from Mars by Bruce Kaplan and find out!
Looking for some fun Halloween activities? Check out these fun events at the Lakewood Library.
Our annual Halloween Parade will be on Tuesday, October 29th. The parade will be held during our regularly schedule storytimes. Toddler storytime is at 11:00 a.m. followed by Preschool storytime at 11:30 a.m. Children are welcome to wear their costumes. We will share a few seasonal stories then trick-or-treat around the library and administration building.
Dare to be scared (kind of) at the Lakewood Library's Boo Bash on Wednesday, October 30th at 6:30 p.m. We will tell scary stories, make fun crafts, and enjoy some special snacks. This is an event for all ages. No tickets required. Wear your costumes and be ready for an evening of fun and ghoulish surprises.
There's only one squirrel I want in my library and that is Scaredy Squirrel. This month he is busy polishing his vampire teeth and getting ready for Halloween. October is known for Trick-or-treating and squirrels. Well, okay, maybe a few other things too, but it really is National Squirrel Month and Scaredy Squirrel is by far my favorite library rodent. His new book is Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween and it can help you be prepared as well! So, while you are busy planning your costume and what candy you will trade (I like peanut butter cups by the way) take a minute to watch this video trailer for Scaredy's new book. And maybe now that you have met Scaredy Squirrel, you may want to check out one of his many books by Melanie Watt:
Stop by the Golden Library this month and feast your eyes on a vibrant art display by second grade students at Kyffin Elementary.
Second grade students created colorful still life projects depicting fruits, vegetables and flowers. This gorgeous art display will be at the library through the end of October. Don't miss it!
Do you like comic books? Would you like a free Halloween themed comic book? October 26th and 27th is Halloween ComicFest. Local comic book stores across the country will be giving away 22 different titles designed for people of all ages. Several Denver area comic book stores are participating. The offical Halloween ComicFest website has a store locator to help you find the store closest to you.
While you wait for your free comic, why not try one of these graphic novels from the library?:
What is your favorite comic book?
On Saturday, October 5 the Belmar Library hosted its second annual Star Wars Reads Day. Young Jedi from around the area (some in costume!) enjoyed crafts, snacks and games, as well as a special space-themed story time. Activities included making light sabers and Wookiee stick puppets, origami Yoda, pin the tail on Jabba, and a Star Wars Trivia Quiz.
We also had a double-Darth sighting!
Star Wars Reads Day is billed as "a day-long celebration of literacy and Jedi, Sith, Wookiees, and all things Star Wars" and is celebrated all over the country to encourage reading - especially Star Wars-related stories. It was launched in 2012 by Lucasfilm and several publishing houses. Last year there were more than 1200 events and this year they hoped to have even more!
Thanks to everyone who participated - a fantastic time was had by all! Look for our next Star Wars Reads Day coming next fall, and in the meantime, check out these Star Wars materials from the library!
Have you ever wondered: why do we do crafts at story time?
Creating crafts at story time allows children to use their creativity and imagination. It helps them practice the fine motor skills they will use when they begin school. Children get to take home a tangible reminder of storytime, which may even prompt them to tell you the story all over again! Mostly, it is great fun.
To me, the best crafts are those that the child can do with little assistance and that utilize objects found around the house or outdoors in nature. Crafting does not have to be expensive, although it can be a bit messy! Here is an example of a craft I did in conjunction with a fairytale storytime.
Simply paint a rock green and let dry (triangular shaped rocks work well.) Add googly eyes and draw on nostrils with a sharpie. Add a little gold crown cut out of construction paper or craft foam, and glue the rock to the frog base. Couldn't be easier!
So, jump on in...and get crafty!
I remember my first encounter with an offbeat princess book: It was The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. It taught me that princesses could be feisty under that jeweled tiara!
If your child is into princesses and you’re getting tired of reading the same Disney Princess books over again, try these titles from JCPL. They’re not your traditional princess books – all have interesting plot twists that create a new take on the princess theme:
Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater
A feisty princess, who tends the most dangerous garden in the world, makes a new friend when a shy prince gives her some rather unusual seeds for her garden.
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley
In this cooperative fairy tale written by a little boy and girl, a beautiful princess has her ponies stolen and a muscular biker agrees to guard the last pony in exchange for gold.
Princess in Training by Tammi Sauer
Viola is not your typical princess; she loves skateboarding, moat-diving and karate chopping, much to the distress of her royal parents.
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple Yolen
A reaffirming tale, full of princesses who play sports and garden in the dirt without giving up their tiaras.
What is your favorite princess book? Is it a traditional tale or a contemporary princess story?
Ever wonder what your favorite fuzzy friend does while you’re sleeping? Children found out after attending a storytime and then leaving their special friend at the library to spend the night. We took pictures of some of the silly things we caught them doing after the library was closed…
Can you "Moooo" as well as cow? Cow can certainly teach you how!
Zelda Anne spends some quality time surfing the web! What a tech-savvy monster!
Iza tries her best to reach her favorite snacks from the vending machine! Just a little higher, kitty!
Julie Flower aka "Tiarra" dreams of Broadway. This kitty has her eyes and paws set on rocking the stage with her sweet dance moves!
Sparky has a talent for standing on one leg, but has decided to take a THRILLING ride on this fire truck!
To see more of the mischief your fuzzy friends got into, and meet some of their human friends, visit the library's flickr page!
Come have some Halloween Fun at the next Columbine Family Fun Night on October 8 at 6pm!