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by: 
Mary, Kids and Families Outreach

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!”?

by: 
Marcy, Arvada 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!

by: 
Mary, Outreach

A little more than a week ago, I had the pleasure of attending an event where Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy announced the titles of 25 picture books from the last 25 years that stand as high-quality examples of books that support early literacy learning in young children. The selection was based on the criteria that will be used to select the first-ever CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards later this year. 5 titles were chosen in each of 5 categories: READ, WRITE, SING, TALK and PLAY, which are all activities parents are encouraged to engage in with their children in order to build early literacy skills. When the CLEL Bell Award winners for 2013 are announced, in February of 2014, there will be 5 winners - one in each category.

The selection committee also created an activity sheet to accompany each title, which includes information about the book and how it supports early literacy learning as well as offering suggestions for activities parents and children can do after reading the book to extend learning. To check them out, and learn why each book was selected, click on the category link below! Click on a title to request the book from JCPL!

I'm personally familiar with all of these books and have shared many of them with preschool classes. They are truly wonderful and you and your children will enjoy each of them - even more so if you try out some of the extension activities created by CLEL!

SILVER BELL TITLES for READ:

Backseat A, B, See by Maria Van Lieshout

The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks

Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn (also available in Spanish: Lola en la biblioteca)

Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris

Wolf! by Becky Bloom

SILVER BELL TITLES for TALK:

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora

Tell Me the Day Backwards by Albert Lamb

SILVER BELLS TITLES for SING:

Baby Dance by Ann Taylor

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

Neighborhood Mother Goose by Nina Crews

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb

SILVER BELL TITLES for WRITE:

Andrew Drew and Drew by Barney Saltzberg

A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells

A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom (also available in Spanish: Un amigo de veras maravilloso)

The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer

SILVER BELL TITLES for PLAY:

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

Elizabeti's Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

Meeow and the Big Box by Sebastien Braun (also available in Spanish: Miau y la caja grande)

Pete's a Pizza by William Steig

Press Here by Herve Tullet (also available in Spanish: Presiona aquí)

by: 
Mary, Outreach

Count the Monkeys, a new picture book by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell, is right up my alley. Right up my goofy, silly-sense-of-humor alley, that is. Right from the title page we're invited to count the monkeys in the book. However, upon turning to the first page, we find NO MONKEYS. 1 king cobra has scared them off. When we quietly (so as not to draw the cobra's attention) turn the page to see if the monkeys are there, we are confronted with 2 mongooses (or is it mongeese?) who have chased away the cobra. The story continues in a similar fashion, with various non-primate animals scaring each other away. We have to zig zag our hands, roar, and shout "SCRAM!" in order to be able to turn the page and cross our fingers that we will FINALLY get to count the monkeys.  But will the monkeys ever appear?

This is a silly, engaging, active story that'll be great to share with your preschool-aged children. They can participate in the story by doing the motions described, and helping to count the animals. It will also be fun to anticipate what will happen on the next page - will the monkeys be there, or will another creature have scared them off? After reading, you might try inventing your own cumulative counting story. Ask your child to draw 1 item, then two, then three, etc., while you add the words that they tell you to the page. Telling stories is an important pre-reading skill to develop and helps grow a child's imagination, while drawing is a good way to start building the muscles needed for writing!

Happy reading!

by: 
Trish, Belmar Library

Fans of fairy tales, and fans of poetry are in for a double helping of fun with Marilyn Singer’s beautiful new book:  Follow, Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems.

What is a “reverso poem”?  It is a form of poetry where the poem is presented forward, and then backward, where the last line is read first.  Changing nothing but the punctuation, the sentences still make sense, but often tell a very different story!

All kinds of poets have used this style, including Dr. Seuss.

Marilyn Singer shares the first reverso she ever wrote, about her cat August:

A cat                                  Incomplete:
without                              A chair
a chair:                              without
Incomplete.                       a cat.

Follow, Follow is Singer’s SECOND collections of fairy tale poems. It includes stories from Aladdin, the Little Mermaid, The Three Little Pigs, and Puss in Boots, among others. 

Her first book in this style came out in 2010, and it titled Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse.   You’ll find that each poem in this book is also a fairy tale. Read one way, it tells one side of the story (Snow White, Little  Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks), and then read backwards it tells the other side of the story (The Wicked Step Mother, The Big Bad Wolf, The Prince, The Three Bears).

Singer’s words are wonderful, and placed beside charming illustrations by Josee Masse, the stories they tell are truly magical.

Even readers who don’t generally like poetry will be enchanted by these books. They may even inspire you to write your OWN reverse poem!  Enjoy, Enjoy!

by: 
Carol, Evergreen Library

Are you ready to show how grateful you are to your current (or former) teacher?  It’s not too late!  This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and these hard working, caring and creative people will love being remembered by you all week long.

The library has many children’s biographies on famous teachers – Annie Sullivan, Christa McAuliffe, Colorado’s own Emily Griffith, and Booker T. Washington to name just a few.

There are also many titles about becoming a teacher in our education section, the 371’s and 372’s.

Visit Pinterest or some nifty gift ideas for your favorite teachers.

And, visit the National Education Association's website for more ways to celebrate and support teachers!

Can you name your favorite teacher ever?  Mine was Mr. Beal, my 6th grade teacher who started me reading many wonderful biographies.  Add your favorite to this blog.

by: 
Kristin, Columbine Library

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon is the title of the book that will be given to every 4 year-old in Colorado!

Stop by your nearest Jefferson County Library to get a copy, starting today through May 20.

OR, see author David Shannon read the book himself

Saturday, May 11

10:30 a.m. at Columbine Library, tickets required

1:30 p.m. at Arvada Library

Join us for these exciting events AND pick up your book!

by: 
Diane, Standley Lake Library

Would you like to help your children be good readers? 

Certainly, there are many aids available, but one of my favorites is READING ROCKETS

What a great multimedia source of information for parents, teachers, librarians and other caring individuals to help launch strong, confident readers.  There's a wealth of information from research to current articles to interviews to helpful tips and much much more.  Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Department of Education partner to bring it to you online, on PBS television, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and iTunes!  So start your exploration of this great resource at Reading Rockets!

by: 
Kristin, Columbine Library

Have you heard of Amy Krouse Rosenthal?  If you haven't- you should read all of her books today!  She is one of my favorite authors and has written many fun, creative books for kids.  Amy's imagination is unlimited and it shows in everything she does.  If you have a few minutes, check out her blog which includes ideas for books, cool videos and lots of other fun stuff.    

Amy's most recent book is titled Exclamation Mark and it is every bit as clever and fun to read as her other books.  

Exclamation Mark just doesn't fit in.  He tries everything to be more like the other puncuations, but his enthusiam just makes him stand out.  Once he meets Question Mark, he discovers maybe it's not so bad to be different?   Maybe it's okay to be enthusiastic?!  A perfect book about celebrating individuality-- and kids might learn a little about punctuation, too!

 

by: 
Leslie, Evergreen Library

Wednesday, April 17, at 4 p.m.

At the Evergreen Library  

For kids ages 8 and up

Come meet Andy Griffiths, the nationally known children's writer - the author of The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow, Killer Koalas From Outer Space, What Body Part is That, and The Day My Butt Went Pyscho.  Find out where he gets his crazy ideas, how he knows what will work for a story- AND, what is the title of his new book coming out in July??

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