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Recommendations

by: 
Jill J. Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

One the most fantastic ways to bond with your child is through being silly and laughing together. But let’s not stop there! Did you know using humor is also beneficial to enhancing learning, teaching empathy and self–regulation in kids?

An article from KidsHealth emphasizes that “Laughing together is a way to connect, and a good sense of humor also can make kids smarter, healthier, and better able to cope with challenges.” Children who develop a good sense of humor increase their ability to:

  • see things from many perspectives other than the most obvious
  • be spontaneous
  • grasp unconventional ideas or ways of thinking
  • see beyond the surface of things
  • enjoy and participate in the playful aspects of life
  • not take themselves too seriously

Books that emphasize humor encourage this as well.  That’s why I believe reading silly stories is one of the best ways to nurture and encourage a developing sense of humor.  You have a perfect opportunity to use different voices, make noises, be dramatic and sometimes sing silly songs too! Here are a couple of great titles that should get you and your pre-school/ early grade school child laughing heartily together:

Rude Cakes

Robo-Sauce

<p">The Book with no Pictures

 

Stop that Pickle!

Laughter is contagious and we could all use more of it in our lives. In fact, Psychology Today points out that the average 4 year old laughs about 300 times a day.  The average 40 year old? ONLY about 4 times a day!

Here are some other fun tips from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) on how to incorporate humor into daily life: 

  • Try tongue twisters together
  • Make up silly rhymes 
  • Sing silly songs
  • Be absurd! “What should we make for breakfast? Pickle pancakes?!”
  • Replace key words in familiar songs
  • Have a silly face contest

Let’s celebrate silly stories and bring a little more humor and laughter into our lives!

by: 
Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian


There is something so special about a Snow Day.  As a child, my brother, sisters and I would suit up and spend the day outside making snow angels, building snow forts and creating snow families.  Whether you love being out in the snow or staying warm inside with a cup of hot cocoa, a snow day is a lovely surprise at any age.

Here are some snow-inspired books perfect for a day inside or for curling up together after a snowy adventure outside. 

Snow by Sam Usher.  A sweet story about a little boy who waits for grandpa to play in the snow.

 

The Thing About Yetis by Vin Vogel.  Yetis love all things winter, but also need a little warmth and sunshine from time to time.

 

Froggy Se Viste or Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London.  One of my favorites in Spanish or English.  Froggy wants to play in the snow, but mom has to remind him to put on his winter clothes!  

 

Up & Down by Britta Teckentrup. Little Penguin wants to visit his friend on a faraway iceberg.  A lovely lift the flap book that teaches positional vocabulary words (high above, deep below...).  

 

 

Max and Marla by Alexandra Boiger.  Twos friends who aspire to be in the Winter Olympics find joy in the journey of practice and perseverance.  

 

When I Grow Up by Emma Dodd.  About to hit the shelves at the library!  This book is a beautiful short story of how little bear wants to be like his parent when he grows up.  

Image credit: Flickr

by: 
Sandi, Arvada Library

Twenty-five years ago thriteen pieces of art were stolen from the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston.  The art has never been recovered, except in the pages of Pieces and Players, the latest installment in mystery writer Blue Balliett's Chigaco based detective series.  Her five detective heros from earlier books join forces to find, at last, the thirteen pieces of art, worth over 500 million dollars.  The art has been missing only a few weeks, and Petra, Calder, Tommy, Early, and Zoomy use their unique abilities to try crack the case, with the help of thier teacher, art benefactor Mrs. Sharpe, and her mysterious nephew.  Whatever the outcome of this story, it is not fact.  The paintings and sculptures are still missing.   

Read all six of Blue Balliett's books.  Which will be your favorite?  Mine is Danger Box.  



Chasing Vermeer
, by Blue Balliett: Petra and Calder investigate the theft of a valuable painting by artist Vermeer,and fear their teacher may be responsible.  



The Wright Three
, by Blue Balliett: Calder, Petra, and Tommy use their unique abilities to save the historic Robie House, imagined and constructed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  



Calder Game
, by Blue Balliette: Calder goes missing at the same time as a priceless mobile by Alexander Calder. Tommy and Petra travel to England to find Calder, and the stolen mobile.



Danger Box
, by Blue Balliett: Zoomy's criminal father steals an extremely valuable book.  A crowed of villains are after the book, and Zoomy is determined to defend it.  Not an easy task when you are nearly blind, and make lists to calm down.  Be frightened for friend Zoomy.



Hold Fast
, by Blue Balliett:  When Early's father disappears, presumed a criminal on the run, she never looses faith in him, or her ability to bring down a criminal ring operating out of the Chicago Public Library.  



Pieces and Players
, by Blue Balliett:  Petra, Calder, Tommy, Early, and Zoomy join forces to find thirteen pieces of stolen art.  They are open minded, finding and considering clues where most adults would only laugh.  

by: 
Jill J. Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

Recently, I have been focusing on encouraging my kindergartner to use his narrative skills. This is an important early literacy skill because it involves having kids describe things and events by telling stories, knowing the order of events, and making predictions. Many of our story times have involved my son “reading” to me and telling me stories. For example, he has especially enjoyed reading and acting out the classic story the Three Little Pigs. Check out Paul Galdone’s version of the classic tale.

By asking my son questions about the stories we read together, he can practice being a narrator or storyteller. This helps kids make connections between books and their own lives. Also, don’t be afraid to read a story over and over again. When kids hear a story over and over again, they are absorbing the structure of that story.  This helps them to be able to act it out on their own.  And THAT gets them excited about reading!

You can expand this by asking your child to talk about doing an activity in various steps. For instance, have your child help you bake cookies. Then, have them talk with you about what you did first, then next, then next and what you did last. Or have them draw a picture of the cookie making process and show it in stages. You could even have them draw the scenes in separate boxes. Cut out each “boxed “ scene and then have your child put them in sequential order. Some of the first stages of writing involve drawing pictures and then telling stories about what the pictures represent. Encourage a child's narrative skills by saying, “Tell me about this picture!” or “What's happening in this picture?”

Here are some great wordless books that kids can use to have fun exercising their narrative skills:

Red Hat by Lita Judge

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Quest by Aaron Becker

 

Image credit: Casa Thomas Jefferson on Flickr.

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Things to be grateful for:

Family - Check

Friends - Check

Living in Colorado - Check

Health - Check

Low Gas Prices - Double Check

Great Books I've Read, or Am Planning to Read This Year - Check

Sharing That List with EVERYONE - Check

MY DIARY FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Jodi Lynn Anderson

 THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH

Ali Benjamin 

THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE

Kim Brubaker Bradley

 GEORGE

Alex Gino 

LOST IN THE SUN

Lisa Graff

 LISTEN, SLOWLY

Thanhha Lai 

FRIENDS FOR LIFE

Andrew Norriss

THE NEST

Kenneth OPPEL

 THE MARVELS

Brian Selznick

 GOODBYE STRANGER

Rebecca Stead

 Wonderful People to Share My Favorite Books With - CHECK!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...a farm boy, a jedi, a smuggler, a wookie, a sith lord, two droids and a princess walk into a bar, quite literally, and set the stage, for the ultimate battle of good vs. evil, and the Star Wars universe was born! If you're like me, and a few million other fans, you only watched Monday Night Football last week to see the, latest and last, trailer for Star Wars the Force Awakens, and it didn't disappoint. Now you ask, what is a diehard fan to do, between now and December 18th?

READ of course! and attend an upcoming Star Wars Program @ your local library.

(If you missed, or even if you didn't, the Star Wars the Force Awakens trailer, check out the video at the bottom of this post!)

Star Wars, a New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy

by Alexandra Bracken

Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to be a Jedi?

by Adam Gidwitz

Star Wars, Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side

by Tom Angleberger

Star Wars the Weapon of a Jedi: a Luke Skywalker Adventure

by Jason Fry

Star Wars Moving Target: a Princess Leia Adventure

by Cecil Castellucci

Star Wars Smuggler's Run: a Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure

by Greg Rucka

Happy Reading and May the Force be With You!!!

 

by: 
Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

I love the fall! From the changing leaves to drinking hot apple cider on chilly evenings, the fall brings a rich variety of things to do and to make.  When I was a teacher, we would go on nature walks and talk about the season changes while collecting leaves for crafts and games.  I thought I would share a couple of my favorite craft activities as well as some fall themed books.  I savor this season as long as I can before the snow flies!

*I found instructions for these activities and more on www.kidsactivities.net. Make sure to check out 'Stained Glass Leaves with crayons'.  Another one of my favorites!

1. Sun Prints

You will need: Colored construction paper (that can fade in the sun), leaves gathered outside, glue stick or liquid glue, tape

  • Dab a bit of glue into the back of a leaf.  I suggest using leaves that are not too crunchy.
  • Glue the leaf to a piece of construction paper.
  • Tape the paper to a sunny window with the leaf facing outside.  Leave for 3-4 days or until you notice the paper color has faded.
  • Remove from window and gently peal the leaf off to reveal the print.  
  • Talk science with your child! Why did the paper around the leaf fade? (bleaching)  Why didn't the paper under the leaf fade? (not exposed to the light or shadowed)

2. Leaf Animals, People, Cars...

You will need: A variety of leaf types- different shapes, sizes and colors, construction paper, liquid glue, tape, crayons or markers

  • Gather different kinds of leaves outside- make sure they aren't too dry!  Talk about sizes, shapes, colors.  
  • Arrange leaves on paper to make an animal or person or car.  What other things can your child think of?
  • Glue each piece on the paper.  Let your creation dry.  Tape can help hold leaf edges down.  
  • Use crayons or markers to draw eyes, other body parts and details.  Make a fall scene! 

 

Fall themed books to inspire you! 

Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland. Gorgeous Illustrations light up each page!

Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston. See the fall through the little girl's eyes as she returns to same place to watch autumn change to winter.  

 

Photo credit: Flickr

by: 
Sandi, Arvada Library

I’m almost too late to wish a Happy 150th Birthday to Alice, the curious, determined heroine from Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  Published in 1865, the children’s book was unique because it did not teach a moral lesson, but led readers on a grand adventure. 

Lewis Carroll made up the story for Alice Liddell and her sisters when on a boating trip in 1862.  Alice begged Lewis Carroll to write it down for her, and he did in his own handwriting and with his own illustrations.  150 years later, we can read and listen to Alice Liddell’s copy of the book, thanks to generous Americans who donated it to the British Library. 

Make your own Alice paper doll while you listen, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, and illustrator Charlotte Whatley. 

Celebrate "Alice's Day" with enthusiasts from Oxford, England (video).

Take a moment, and think about our literary friend Alice, and what she means to you.  Don’t miss your chance to wish her “Happy Birthday.” 

Photo credit: Creative Commons

by: 
Jenny, Golden Library

My three year old loves this app ($2.99 apple/android) but I was hesitant to recommend it, at first. It doesn't SEEM like an early literacy app. It seems like a cute diversion for waiting rooms and restaurants (and it is that!), but the more I thought about it, and I thought about WHY she likes it, I figured I should share with you. 

Jinga the cat is going on a road trip to visit your child's choice of 3 friends: a dog, a rabbit, and a bird. Each friend lives in a exotic locale: mountains, pyramids or beach. You tap a friend to get started on your trip. 

Next, you must pack Jinga's suitcase. And this is where I started to realize that Road Trip is an excellent app for teaching narrative skills. We talk about where Jinga is headed: "Do you think she's going to need her swimsuit in the snowy mountains?" "What else do you think she should bring?"

Then, you choose a car. There are normal cars, sure, but the ice cream truck, pickle car, and shoe car are big favorites in our house. All you have to do to get Jinga going is tap her car. The more aggressively you drag Jinga, the faster she goes - much to her dismay at times. She has wonderful expressions for bumpy roads and hard landings. My daughter's favorite part is making Jinga look positively terrified. 

Other features include the ability to stop for a car wash and gas. Once Jinga reaches her destination, you're back to the map and ready to choose another friend to visit! There aren't any levels or time limits, it's just a child-driven road trip adventure with fun cartoon friends. 

As is, this is a great addition to a "first app" collection for 2-4 year olds. Talking about the story and the choices your child makes for Jinga along the way (the middle) from Point A (the beginning) to Point B (the end) also makes it a fantastic app for practicing Narrative Skills

Bonus: no in-app purchases! No ads! No Wifi needed to use the app once its downloaded!

Caveat: it's kind of expensive for what it is, but it's offered for free fairly regularly. We've also got Sago Mini Boats (pretty much the same, but with boats!) and Friends (an animal friends playdate) and didn't pay for any of them. Try Apps Gone Free (apple) or App of the Day (Google Play).

by: 
Jill J. Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

As the weather turns colder, we find ourselves spending more and more time indoors.  Why not turn cooking with your kids into a fun, healthy experience which helps reinforce elements of early literacy too? 

Recently, my 5 year old son came home and asked me “Mommy, what is lasagna?”  I used this opportunity to have a lot of fun!   I found a cookbook with attractive photographs  and showed him how to use the index to look for “L” for lasagna.  After we found a great recipe, we grabbed some paper and pencils to create our shopping list.  I had him do a combination of drawing pictures of food and writing words.  We headed to the store, looked for our ingredients together, brought them home and got everything ready to go.  We had a lot of fun reading the recipe together and following the different steps on our way to making our fantastic lasagna dish.  My son had so much fun with this cooking adventure and felt very proud for helping make such a yummy creation.  To top it off, he got to practice reading and writing activities AND we got to spend some wonderful, fun, quality time together. 

Check out your local library for some great cookbooks.  Be sure to look for ones that focus on cooking with kids to find simple, fun recipes with colorful photographs to really attract your kids’ attention.  Here are a few I would recommend:

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