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Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

As a kid, there was always a cetain feeling of dread combined with excitement when the summer came to a close and my mom and I would go 'back to school' shopping. Whether heading to the first day of preschool or the first day of second grade, I always had butterflies in my stomach and trouble sleeping the night before. Reflecting on my experiences as a child and as a teacher, I thought I would share some books to help prepare your little one for the first day in a classroom or daycare.  I also included a few titles to make your elementary or middle school bound child laugh or feel a sense of ease about the upcoming school year.  

A cute board book for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners.  

See how Dino wins each "match".  


Daddy doesn't stick to the list in this funny story.  

A new book about overcoming elementary school bullies with a great attitude. 

Number 7 in James Patterson's popular middle school series.  This book will have boys and girls ages 9 and up laughing!


Image credit: Flickr


Barbara, Evergreen Library


Dear Duncan,

Esteban the Magnificent here...formerly known as PEA GREEN CRAYON...we don't talk about that though, such an unfortunate color name!

I mean really, PEA GREEN?

Kids hate peas!

Who wants to color with their least favorite food?

Oh...and poor MAROON CRAYON, lost beneath the sofa cushions, just tragic!

And BURNT SIENNA CRAYON...chewed up and spit out by the dog...EWWWWW!

Not to mention TURQUOISE CRAYON...tumbled dry, low!!! The horror!

I recently heard that the Original 12, and you know who you are, almost QUIT!

Can you imagine, crayons quitting? It's back to school time!

Well, they did, and you, Duncan, listened.

I hear the Original 12 have it better than ever now.

Well, we're special too, we're the CRAYON CLASSIC COLOR PACK - 64 COUNT, with sharpener in the back!

There might be a lot of us, but that doesn't mean you can do with us as you please, we have feelings too you know, and we want to come home.

The world can be a cold hard place for a lone crayon.

So Duncan, if you're reading this, remember there's more to life than RED, BLUE and GREEN, we're here for you too, buddy.

We just want to come home (AUGUST 18th, if you'll have us),

Esteban the Magnificent (aka PEA GREEN)


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt


Anna, Kids and Families Librarian


When was the last time you played dress up? I'm guessing your last time was Halloween for most of you. Do you remember how fun it is? Kids enjoy dressing up. I have boys so they dress-up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman, wrestlers and sometimes they like to walk around in my high heels. Whatever your child likes to dress up as, add a book to the mix. Don't forget to get yourself a costume too! Start by letting your children choose a character they want to play from a book. If all of your children want to play the same character, that works too. Fun is the only rule in this family event.

Why am I suggesting this dress-up and read activity? Because Print Motivation is a very important early literacy skill that will keep your child interested books for years to come. Print Motivation is being interested in books and what they offer. Learning to read takes tremendous effort and persistence. For some children it takes more work than others. I can say this because learning to read was not easy for me. So, keep the FUN in reading! Find a book about something that appeals to your child. It could be super heroes, ballerinas, trains, or kitties. Then read and act out the story. Get into character by changing your voice to match the different characters in the story. Ask your children to help you find some props such as hats, goggles, a banana, or a spoon...anything to help the imagination and encourage acting.

Here are some book suggestions:

Birdie's Big-Girl Dress by Sujean Rim 

I Don't Want to Go To School by Stephanie Blake 




Photo credit: Rory Hyde on Flickr 

Sarah, Golden Library

Beat the summer heat with a cool book! Here's my recommendation for a nice chilly read:

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

Elliot, a very proper young man, finds a frosty new friend (named Magellan) at the aquarium. Elliot and Magellan have a "chill" time together at home, but what will Father say when he finds out??

Grab a copy of this great book from your local library and find out!

Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

Having nine nieces and nephews as well as knowing a lot of friends with children, I have been invited to countless babyshowers.  My favorite gift items?  Bath toys!!  You can never go wrong with bathtime books, foam letters or rubber duckies.  Bathtime is a wonderful opportunity to engage your baby, toddler or preschooler in the Five Early Literacy Practices: Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play.  

On pbs.org, they describe many ways you can encourage language and literacy development during bathtime; from naming body parts to asking your child what are they going to need for bathtime.  There are even suggestions for first graders. My favorite one was to make up stories about the different bath toys.  Once upon a time, there was a Pirate Duck named Orange Beak.  He was on a mission to locate the treasure stolen by Princess Barbie and her Little Pony friends...

Ideas that incorporate the Five Early Literacy Practices into bathtime:

TALK- Use different words to describe how toys move in the water: splash, dip, sink, float, rock, glide, etc...

SING- Sing to baby about body parts (ie. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes).  Make up or learn new bathtime songs like the one about the turtle, Tiny Tim, on Jbrary (I LOVE JBRARY!!!)

READ- Read bathtime books to your baby or point out words on your child's bubble bath or shampoo bottle

WRITE- Use bathtime crayons to write baby's name on the tile or use foam letters to spell out words

PLAY- Mix in science and math concepts by adding measuring cups and spoons to your bathtub toy collection

Read a good book before or after bathtime:


A board book. Great for babies and toddlers!

A cute story about an elephant reluctant to take a bath.

One of my favorite characters, the Pigeon!  Mo Willems' books make me laugh!

Rub-a-dub!  Now get those kiddos into the tub!  And keep logging Summer Reading minutes!

Barbara, Evergreen Library

STORYTIME: a regular time at which a story is read aloud to children. 

Wanna get jazzed for the day? Just come to a storytime at your local library!

I do a weekly toddler storytime at the Evergreen Library and I look forward to it all week! It is my time to shine...use silly voices, see lots of smiling faces, Shake My Sillies Out, and end with a grand finale of the Hokey Pokey...this is not your mother's storytime! Gone are the days of hushed voices and long stories. Instead today's storytimes are interactive and most of all fun!!! Filled with well illustrated and age appropriate books, songs, fingerplays, felt board and interactive activities there is something for everyone at your libraries weekly storytimes.

According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights EARLY LITERACY STORYTIMES as one of the crucial activities designed to promote early literacy in young children.

Why it's Important:

Literacy-based storytimes offer libraries a way to be partners in education with parents and caregivers. Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) supports the definition of a literacy-based storytime as one that contains the following components:

  • Parents and caregivers are invited to attend storytimes with their children
  • At least one early literacy practice is highlighted during each storytime
  • Storytime leaders model activities that build early literacy skills
  • Books and activities promote the use of early literacy skills and practices
  • Information about early literacy skills and practices and/or tips for building skills are provided to parents and caregivers during storytime, either verbally, via a handout, or both

At the library we LOVE storytime and we want you and your child to LOVE it too! So, drop on by and give us a try, we can't wait to see you!!! 

Jenny, Golden Library


We're back! Yay!

And we hope you'll join us for storytime!

You may have heard that Golden storytimes require registration now - and that's true - but we've streamlined the process to make it easy for you. Here's how:

Registration opens one week in advance for all storytimes. You can register online, in-person at the library, or by calling us at 303-235-5275. If you pre-register, your space will be reserved for you - just check in at the registration table in the children's area to claim your spot.

If you're hesitant about registering because you're just not sure how your morning will go - fear not! If you don't come, and people are waiting 5 minutes after storytime begins - we'll give them your spot. No worries. 

If you don't pre-register - please join us anyway! Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Since we've reopened, we have usually had space for drop-ins. However, if storytime happens to be full, the library is still a really fun place to be. You can snuggle with a good book, cook a meal in the play kitchen or get a head start on the storytime craft!

Jenny, Golden Library

I have a confession to make. I've had the Monkey Preschool Lunchbox app ($1.99 Apple/Android) on every device I've owned since I first discovered it several years ago. It's so simple, so fun, and so rewarding that even though my kids first started playing with it when they were each about 18 months old, they still play at 5 and 3. Here's why:

It's varied: there are 7 different mini tasks - counting, letter recognition, matching, colors, puzzles, shapes and sizes. A sweaty-palmed 2 year old may have trouble with the puzzles at first, but that same child in a few short months will be waving your expensive phone/tablet around in triumph. 

It's repetitive: yes, this is also one of its drawbacks, but young children thrive on repetition. It provides opportunity to both practice emerging skills, and gain mastery of the concepts presented in the game. Before she'd perfected the art of the swipe, my daughter would simply hand me the phone when she reached a task she couldn't complete. I would help her do what was asked, and she would take over again. We both win.

It's fun: I mean, it has a little Memory game in it. The monkey does flips when you pack its lunch! Flips! And then you get to choose stickers that dance around because they're so excited that you're such an amazing genius. Or your kid is. Whomever. I also sort of like the calypso/calliope music...for a little while. 

Since they've discovered YouTube, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is no longer the go-to app on any of our family devices anymore. But if we're out at a restaurant, or stuck in a doctor's office, or really anywhere there might be a long wait and no wifi, we are playing this game and loving it. I downloaded the app when it was featured for free, but if you have young kids and smartphones, this may be the best $1.99 you ever spend.  

If your kids, like mine, have pretty much mastered these skills, you may want to try Monkey MathSchool Sunshine. It's got 9 more mini-games that teach sequencing, patterning, counting, adding and subtracting. My 5 year old son loves the connect-the-dots to help the baby turtle find the ocean.

I didn't know until right now that they'd also developed a reading game. I'll bet you can guess what I'll be using our next app store credit for...


Anna, Kids and Families

Colorado summers are so beautiful and children enjoy being outside. So, let's take our books outside and read under the shade of a tree. What if we enhanced this outdoor reading by adding an activity that will help our early readers retell the story?

Retelling a story is an early literacy skill that builds their reading comprehension confidence. This confidence will keep kids excited and motivated to keep reading. This outdoor storytime won't require much.

Here is what you will need:

  1. A blanket to sit on
  2. A book of your choice
  3. Some crayons or a set of paints, brushes, and cup of water
  4. Something hard to color on such as a piece of cardboard, and;
  5. A few sheets of blank paper.

Once you've found the perfect shady spot in your yard, explain to your children that they can draw the story as you read it. They may need 3-5 sheets of paper in order to continue drawing throughout the entire story.

After you finish reading the book, ask your child this question: "Tell me about your picture". Asking them to tell you about their picture will encourage them to retell the story in their own words.

Stay away from questions like "What is that?" or "Is that a dog?". These questions can be limiting. You could ask: "Who is in this story?","Where did this story take place?","What happened next?", or "How did the story end?" Your child might end up drawing the butterfly that flew over you as you read. That is okay. The idea here is to create a positive experience with you and a book.

Here are a few suggestions of picture books and chapter books that are great for this reading comprehension skill: 

Remember to log those minutes!

The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone 

If You Give a Moose a Muffin  by Laura Numeroff 

 Otis by Loren Long

 I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen 


Do you want more than picture books? Check out these chapter books. 

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo 

 Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne 

Image Credit: Jeff Golden

Jill J. Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

One of the most difficult things for parents to manage is witnessing their children experience intense emotions. How do we help our children manage these powerful and sometimes upsetting experiences?  

Parents don't need to go through lenghty, verbal explanations of emotions.  We can help our kids explore self identification using books that show emotions simply through pictures. With my own 5-year-old son, I find that many picture books help connect him with characters and scenarios he can relate to and empathize with. 

From my experience, one of the best books I have seen that helps kids focus on and identify emotions is:

How are You Peeling? Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann  

I have read this book to groups of kids spanning a pretty big range of ages: from 15 months to 6 years old. Each time I read it to a group, I notice that the kids become very quiet and focused. Since kids are so very observant of the world around them, I think this particular book grabs their attention.  The pictures are intruiging to look at because they are so uniquely expressive. The author creatively transforms a variety of fruits and vegetables into creatures who show a range of emotional facial expressions. It is kind of strange but it works!  Kids really focus their attention on this book.

Check it out at the library and see how your kids respond to these creative pictures! You can also try to incorporate crafting, drawing and painting to tie into this book. Try your hand at creating your own expressive fruit and veggie creatures with your kids. Freymann's other books are full of great ideas.


Image credit: Flipsen&Gaabstra on Flickr 


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