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What's happening?

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!!!


Anna, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

I recently heard Rae Pica speak on the importance of moving while learning. This is active learning; engaging the body and mind. Research shows children learn best when they experience new ideas and concepts through play and movment. In an article Pica wrote titled In Defense of Active Learningshe explains that moving our bodies helps activate our brains. She had a few cute pre-writing movement ideas I thought would be fun to do at home with your little ones. 

- Hand and Finger Activities: Sing "Open, Shut Them". Many libraries sing this song to begin their Storytimes. This song activates the brains of our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers as they practice their hand-eye coordination; a must-have pre-writing skill.  

- Sky Writers: Use your index finger to "write" a letter, word, or a name in the sky. This will help your child practice the feeling of straight and curvy. You could take this a step further and pretend to put your sky writer in your belly button or on the tip of your nose while writing the word in the air. Kids love the belly button writer and it's super cute to watch too! 

- The Above, Below, and On movement: Tape a line on the floor, use the straight edge of a rug or strech a ribbon across the floor and jump above the line, below the line, or on the line. This will help your child understand where to start and where to finish writing lower case and upper case letters. After playing this game, practice writing letters, words, or names on paper. 

- Build a Story: Start a story and take turns adding to the plot creating the beginning, middle, and end of a story. For example, you could start this activity by saying, " Once there was a dog who..." and let your child add the next idea. Then you, or another family member contributes the following part of the story. This activity demonstrates the beginning, middle, and end of a story. It's a great way to pass the time in the car too! 

-The Mirror Game: This game is important for replicating what the eye sees. This replication is what learning to write is all about. Stand infront of your child and take turns mimicing each others' movements. You and your child should try to move as if you were seeing a reflection of yourself in the mirror. Lucy does it best in this video clip below. Lucy is a crack up and I think this should have you and your child smiling too! Go ahead, throw on that Halloween costume while you do this! 

Come to one of our 'Movin and Grovin' Fests'. The next fest is this Saturday, October 24th, at the Arvada Library and the Evergreen Library from 11:00am-4:00pm. We will have crafts! 

Photo Credit: Neville Nel

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

Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

With the Rae Pica Movin' and Groovin event coming up on October 14 at the Lakewood Cultural Center, I just had to write about movement. Moving our bodies strengthens our brain and reading skills.  Did you know the simple act of touching your left foot with your right hand and vice versa (or crossing the midline) activates each side of your brain?  Crossing the midline powerfully impacts reading, writing and physical development.  

  • Read this article from North Shore Pediatrics.  It gives detailed information about the importance of 'crossing the midline' as it pertains to brain development and future learning. There are activity suggestions like 'Pop bubbles with only one hand' and 'Reach for a bean bag across the midline and throw it' to get you and your child started.

The video from Clamber Club shows children participating in different activities that encourage 'bilateral intergration' or using both sides of the brain.  

Have you ever moved to familiar songs like 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' or 'We're Goin' on a Bear Hunt'?  These songs use TPR or Total Physical Response.  TPR is fantastic for first and second language learning.  Like showing a picture to represent a word, the meaning becomes clear when one sees it in action (ie. moving your arms like the wheels on the bus). Matching actions to words helps children (and adults;) see, feel and hear the meaning.  Did you know you were already an expert in such a sophisticated concept?! 


You will notice we move a lot in Storytime. Try Storytime songs and movement at home! 


Image credit: Flickr

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!!! 

Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

Ever feel rushed?  I have a bad back, which constantly reminds me to stop and take care of myself.  If only I got a text before the twinge of pain!  But wait!  Texts and tweets for healthy living are out there.  And, there are texts and tweets for fun things to do with your child to help stimulate their brains.  Perfect for those days when you are not feeling creative or are just plain rushed.

I love this tag line from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Baby Coalition: "Your baby has you. You have text4baby."  Text BABY to 511411 and get free messages during pregnancy and your baby's first year.   

A local organization, Bright By Three, sends weekly texts in English or Spanish about ways to support healthy development in babies and toddlers.  Just text 'BRIGHT' for English or 'BRILLANTE' for Spanish to 444999.  

Does Jeffco Public Library offer Early Literacy tips?  Oh yes!  Follow us on Twitter: #EarlyLiteracyTips or follow us on Facebook. To access our past Early Literacy posts, click on this link.  Some are simple like, "Sing along with your favorite song" or "Snuggle up with a good book".  Here is one I really love to share: 

My Early Literacy tip for this summer?  Register you, your family and your baby for Summer Reading '15! It's for all ages, 0 to 100 and beyond. Doing learning activities with baby counts as brain exercise and reading minutes.  When you read books, magazines, whatever you fancy, in front of baby, you are modeling that reading is important as well as enjoyable to your baby. Help us reach 1,000,001 minutes in Jefferson County!  You can register online or at the library starting May 29.  Log minutes online weekly and win prizes!  

It may sound silly to have to remind ourselves to sing a song or snuggle up with a book. But, let's face it.  We are busy people!  A little nudge to take 5 minutes to stretch my back saves me lots of time (not to mention money;) that I would otherwise spend at the chiropractor's office.  Happy texting and tweeting!!!  

Image credit: Flickr

Jill J., Outreach Librarian, Kids & Families

When my son was around 3 years old and started showing an interest in super heroes and Star Wars, I became one very excited parent!  

All of a sudden, I realized that I was going to be able to introduce him to Yoda and to explain Thor the Mighty's origin story.

My son is now 5 years old and we both share a love for super heroes and Star Wars.  In fact, I think he might know more details about various characters and realms than I do!  I have been using graphic novels specifically targeted at preschool kids, to bond with my son over a common interest, to nurture a love for reading and to have fun learning about super heroes together.  

 Not so many years ago, comic books in school were considered the enemy. Kids caught sneaking comics between the pages of bulky—and less engaging—textbooks were likely sent to the principal!  Don't let that happen!  

Sharing graphic novels can be a lot of fun for parents and their preschool aged kids. Don't worry about the long held assumption that they aren't good enough because they aren't considered serious literature.  Have fun and enjoy!  

And if you are worried about it, recent research has suggested that:

  • Reluctant readers might pay more attention to graphic novels: The visual component can help kids imagine the story better and may help them become better writers and readers
  • Providing a variety of formats to those already hooked on reading enhances the love of reading
  • Reading graphic novels may enhance creativity and promote literacy by fostering a love for reading

 With Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 2nd and the Denver ComiCon right around the corner on May 23-25, take an opportunity to check out how much fun you and your child can have together exploring graphic novels!

 Here are some great titles that are available at the library:

5 Minute Marvel Stories

The Mighty Thor:  an Origin Story


DC Superheroes Storybook Collection

Wonder Woman:  the Story of the Amazon Princess

 Star Wars The Adventures of Luke Skywalker


Image Credit

Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

This month, we are celebrating One Book 4 Colorado (OB4CO).  The winning title, "How do Dinosaurs get well soon?" or "¿Cómo se curan los dinosaurios?" by Jane Yolen (with awesome illustrations by Mark Teague) was announced on April 13.  Have a four year old?  Bring your child to the library to pick up a free copy and add the book to your collection at home!  

In the spirit of the dino themed book series, I thought it would be fun to share how I have been incorporating dinosaurs into my bilingual storytimes. Reading about dinosaurs is a fabulous way to introduce new vocabulary in English and Spanish.  

First off, my puppet, Tommy T-Rex, gets the kids excited.  We talk about his sharp teeth or 'dientes afilados' and how they are used to only eat meat or 'carne'.  Tommy cracks the kids up as he adamantly describes himself as a meat-eating CAR-NI-VORE or 'carnívoro' and not a plant-eating HER-BI-VORE or 'herbívoro'.  Nope, no herbivores here, just a meat loving carnivore.  Then, we read the book by Jane Yolen. What is so great about the series is that many of her books have been translated into Spanish, including the more recent title "How do dinosaurs stay safe?" or "¿Cómo se cuidan los dinosaurios?".  

I came across a series of bilingual books at the library like this in the 'Español Reader' section:

And I found a Spanish version of a 'Harry and the dinosaurs' book!  His name is 'Dani' in the Spanish editions.

Moving and singing are great for learning new words!  I came up with 'T-Rex, T-Rex turn around' (instead of Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear) and translated it into Spanish.

T-Rex, T-Rex turn around (da una vuelta)

T-Rex, T-Rex, touch the ground (toca la tierra)

T-Rex, T-Rex, stomp your feet (pisan los pies)

T-Rex, T-Rex, eat some meat (come la carne)

T-Rex, T-Rex, roar with all your might (ruge con todas tus fuerzas)

T-Rex, T-Rex, say goodnight (di buenas noches)! 

It can be tough to engage children in learning new things.  Ask what they are interested in and go with it.  Remember, when it stops being fun, try something else or try again later!  



Photo credit: flickr

Robyn, Kids & Families

Attention caregivers of four-year-olds! As your child's first and most important teacher, reading together helps them get ready for kindergarten. The One Book 4 Colorado project wants to make this possible by giving every four-year-old his or her own book to keep. During April 13-27, JCPL will join with this community-based partnership to distribute books to four-year-olds. First, we need your help to choose the giveaway book!

By March 1, check out fun videos of Colorado celebrities reading each of this year's One Book 4 Colorado options, in English and Spanish. After watching, vote for your favorite to be the 2015 winner.

Last year, over 75,000 books were given away at libraries and clinics in Colorado. JCPL is planning special events during the April giveaway period to celebrate the book with readings and activities. Look for more information on our website, on this blog, and at your local library.

Watch, and vote here!

Drumroll please....will the winner be:





 Happy voting! 






Jenny, Golden Library

You know, even when the weather is delightful, it can be challenging to come up with new and fun things to do with kids. There are naps to contend with and snacks to pack and diapers and toys and it can seem like it's probably just easier to stay at home and have a pretend adventure.  

Follow Me! is a new series in which we'll explore fun places for kids in or near Jefferson County. The places we'll highlight will be free or extremely affordable or just so totally worth the price of admission that I can't resist sharing them with you.

I have 2 kids and I'll be absolutely straight with you: I'll tell you who had a good time, who needed to be older or younger and/or if anyone cried the whole time (even if it was me). I'll let you know if the staff and other patrons were actually welcoming or if anyone cringed and fled when they saw us coming. I'm a mom who happens to be an information professional: just like you, I want to know if getting everyone out the door is really going to be worth it.

But first - there are some fun holiday happenings this weekend that I don't want you to miss:

Friday, December 5 beginning at 4:00pm - There will be dancing, caroling and free photos with Santa before the annual Olde Golden Candlelight Walk. You may bring your own candles, or purchase them at the Golden Chamber of Commerce. Consider visiting the Golden Library beforehand for cider and to explore our collection of holiday books to enjoy following the festivities!

Friday, December 5 at approximately 5:30pm - Santa and Mrs. Claus are going to light the community tree at the Evergreen Lake House, followed by the annual Holiday Walk from the Lake House through Downtown Evergreen! Visit the Evergreen Library before visiting Santa to get holiday books to share after the festivtities! 

Saturday, December 6 noon-3pm - Bring a camera! Santa will be in Arvada's Olde Town Square every Saturday afternoon until Christmas! Guess what else is near Olde Town Square! (Do you see where I'm going with this? Wait for it...) Visit the Arvada Library before or after seeing Santa, choose some holiday books and films and keep the spirit of your super-fun adventure going well into the season. 

Watch this space for more kid-friendly fun!

Photo credit: Vicky Brock on flickr



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