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Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

If you have been following my last three blogs, you may already be engaging your little one with a second language! But, what happens when you get stuck on a phrase or cannot pronounce a word in another language?  Do you give up?  

One of the things I found myself doing in the past was holding back because I was afraid to make mistakes. I learned from many people whose second language is English to just let go and try. So, I make a mistake. Who cares?

I have Spanish speaking friends who sometimes misuse a phrase or mispronounce a word in English.  Does that stop us from talking?  No way!  It becomes a teachable moment between us.  I might teach the correct phrase or pronunciation and they might share a way to express that phrase or word in Spanish.  And vice versa when I make an error.  Let's face it, no one can be a true master of any language, including his or her own native language.  For example, do I know every medical term known to my physician? Even more, I am learning new technology terms and phrases from our Digital Experience team all the time.  Talk about another language!  All I can do is keep learning and trying.

Still edgy about pronouncing words in another language?  Try uniteforliteracy.com. There are 100 digital or ebooks created right here in Colorado.  The books have been translated into over 20 different languages. Let the books do the reading for you! The best part is, because the books were locally designed, the topics are relevant to your child and his or her daily experiences.  There is even one called 'Who lives at the Denver Zoo?'

And never forget our own library.  Check out audiobooks in Spanish:

And find a few titles on Hoopla:

Mistakes?  Errores? Don't give up! Carry on mis amigos, carry on...

Photo credit: flickr 


Jill J., Outreach Kids & Families

My son loves monsters. We have monster puppets, monster books, monster toys, shirts with wacky monster designs, monster socks etc. These are goofy, silly, harmless monsters. Sometimes at night, however, he is afraid of the scarier kind of monsters. Recently, he had a couple of nights where he was afraid there was a monster under his bed. So, I was inspired to track down some books and ideas to help him battle his nighttime monsters. I discovered a fantastic book called:

 Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin

This book is hilarious AND it makes scary monsters look totally silly! These monsters are actually terrified of tiny, harmless bubbles! This book really helped my son to laugh at these silly monsters and it made him feel brave, too. 

Extend the storytime experience by blowing bubbles after reading the story. This way, your child can show how brave they are by popping the bubbles eagerly. They aren't afraid of bubbles like those super silly monsters are! Also, take a look on Pinterest to find fun ideas and recipes for making a "monster repellent" or "monster spray" to let your child use in their room. You could also ask your child to use washable markers to draw a picture of a scary monster. Tape the drawing up outside. Hand your child a squirt bottle full of water and let your child "wash" away the scary monster!

Image Credit

Jenny, Golden Library

Did you know that you can gain free entry to some popular museums in Denver and along the Front Range, merely by virtue of being a JCPL cardholder? I know! Awesome, right?!?

You can book your tickets online - using your library card number - up to 30 days in advance. Chances are you'll be happier with the overall experience of using your Culture Pass if you have a fair amount of flexibility in your schedule. For instance, if you want to visit the Butterfly Pavilion on a Saturday, you'll almost certainly want to plan it 30 days out - it's far and away the most popular Culture Pass destination.  

Other destinations include:

When it opens in May, don't forget to use your Culture Pass to take a ride on the Platte Valley Trolley.

Where will the Culture Pass take you?

Plan your trip today!


Image credit: flickr


Jill J., Outreach Kids & Families

Make some noise!!!!

Making silly sounds for storytime is fuuuuun! More importantly, hearing a variety of sounds and noises helps a child develop the ability to hear the sounds that make up words in spoken language.

Otherwise known as phonological awarenss, this ability is one of the foundations of developing early literacy in infants and young children. Plus, the more engaged, excited and silly you are with your sounds the more your child will enjoy the story!

Here are some great books that give you as the storyteller an excellent opportunity to give your vocal cords a good workout, get silly and boost your child's early literacy skills:

Trains Go By Steve Light

Planes Go By Steve Light

Diggers Go By Steve Light

The Book with No Pictures By B.J. Novak

And now, to show how fun phonological awareness can be, I will end with one of my all time favorite silly songs: Apples and Bananas!

Sing with me!


Barbara, Evergreen Library

Print Awareness: noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow the written word on the page

 Words, words, WORDS, wOrds...everywhere words...

 words in a BOOK, just take a LOOK

words in a CAR, both NEAR and FAR

words are BLACKBLUE and READ

words are everywhere you will SEE

words are everywhere for YOU and ME

 Can pointing out printed words help your child get ready to read? YES, and according to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), that's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights PRINT AWARENESS as one of their 6 early literacy skills designed to promote early literacy in young children.

Why Is It Important?

Children have to be aware of words before they can read them. They need to know how books work--the front cover, what's upside down, which page to start on, how to look from left to right.

 When kids are comfortable with books, from knowing how to open a book to understanding what those black squiggles are, they can concentrate on starting to read the words.

What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?

  • Read board books that your child can handle on his/her own; let him/her turn the pages as you read together.

  • Sometimes point to the words as you read.

  • Talk about print even when you are not reading together. Look for letters and words on signs, labels, and lists.

Words, words, WORDS, wOrds...everywhere words...OH beautiful WORDS!


Barbara, Evergreen Library

I really love February!

The holidays are over...the children's award books from the previous year have been named, and it's time to look forward to another year of great reading.

As my daughter gets older, I love using books not only for entertaiment, but also as an amazing way of teaching life lessons.

February is Black History Month, and I have found two amazing new books to add to my list of captivating portraits of African American life, both past and present:

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award Winner

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Running out of night, Sharon Lovejoy

A Children’s Book Review Seven Middle Grade Books for African American History Month Pick

Fans of Elijah of Buxton, Trouble Don’t Last, and Stealing Freedom will be drawn to this tale of the incredible journey of an abused twelve-year-old white girl and an escaped slave girl who run away together and form a bond of friendship while seeking freedom.

Every day is a misery for a nameless, motherless Southern girl who is treated cruelly by her pa and brothers. Her life changes forever when a runaway slave named Zenobia turns to her for help and shelter. Longing for her own freedom, the girl decides to run away, and she and Zenobia set off on a harrowing journey. Along the way, Zenobia names the girl Lark, after the bird, for her ability to mimic its song.

Running by night, hiding by day, the girls are pursued by Lark’s pa and brothers and by ruthless slave catchers. Brightwell, another runaway slave, joins them, and the three follow secret signs to a stop on the Underground Railroad. When the hideout is raided and Zenobia and Brightwell are captured, Lark sets out alone to rescue her friends.

Books give us reason to celebrate and to cry...what better life lesson can we share with our children?


Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

Why yes, I do have manners, gracias.  

A great approach to find out more about other languages and cultures is learning about greetings and customs. What better way to incorporate a second language into your day than to learn to say 'hello' and 'goodbye' or 'please' and 'thank you' in another language? 

When I was a teacher, I got into the habit and still say 'yes, please' in daily interactions.  I had to model what I wanted to teach my students.  Once the students got some manners down in English, I would start to incorporate other languages into our day. They loved it and would surprise me by saying 'sí, por favor' and 'no, gracias' during meal times.  After I subbed at the 'Había Una Vez' bilingual story time at Belmar Library, I was delighted by the children whose parents encouraged them to personally thank me in Spanish!

Here is a link to digital dialects.  On it, you will encounter 70 different language games. When you click on the language you would like to practice, the following page has several learning topics. The first learning topic is 'phrases and greetings'.  Languages like Spanish, French and Chinese have an audio learning feature.  First, you practice the phrases and then you can play the matching game. 

Check out books about baby sign or American Sign Language (ASL) like this one by Sara Bingham at the library.

Or, try 21 word or phrase signs to practice with your child, courtesy of parenting.com.  

And, my newest discovery!  'El Perro y El Gato' from HBO Latino!  Look for these funny, yet educational videos about a cartoon cat and dog practicing Spanish on youtube.  The following video is about 'manners' or 'modales'.  

Signing 'thank you'?  Saying it in Chinese?  Have fun and use the words right along with your child!

¡Buen día!  Have a great day!


Photo credit: flickr.com


Sarah, Golden Library

 Ahh. Valentine's Day. The day of hearts and flowers, wine and romance... and sticky gluey kiddo fingers making cute V-Day crafts! :) 

As a Children's Librarian, I've seen my share of Valentine's Day crafts over the years. I put together this roundup of three sweet little crafts that caught my fancy because they're simple, yet super adorable!

Bling your kids out with these Hershey Kisses rings. Once they're done sporting them, the ring makes a delicious treat!

If you're using sign language with your kids, this card project is a perfect for your family!

Hoo Loves You, indeed! I've done many paper plate animal crafts before, but never a Valentine Owl!

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day making memories with the family!

Image Credit: History.com

Jill Hinn, Outreach Librarian, Kids and Families


Gimme an R! Gimme a W! Gimme a T! Gimme an S! Gimme a P! Or maybe I'll give them to you. How can these letters help you help your child become a good reader? Let me tell you:

Read! --Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt helps families see that books and reading can be a joyful part of their day.

Write! --The Crayon by Simon Rickerty portrays two crazy characters scribbling, a precursor to writing.

Talk! --Froodle by Antoinette Portis shows how to have fun with language and sounds. 

Sing! --I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison shows us how to celebrate sound and music all throughout the day

--Tea With Grandpa by Barney Saltzberg is a great example of one of the ways to do that, even from far away.

These are the 5 early literacy practices that when used regularly will help a child be prepared to learn to read. For more information about the 5 practices and 6 early literacy skills check out CLEL's website.

The 5 books shown with each practice are the 2014 CLEL Bell award winners, announced today, February 5th! Each book has an early literacy activity sheet that will help you continue the experience after the book is closed. Go to http://www.clel.org/#!2015-bell-awards-titles/c1wgl to see the list of winners and links for the activity sheets. For more great books exemplifying each practice, take a look at the shortlist, which has 5 titles in each category. And be sure to take a look at last year's winners!

Jenny, Golden Library



The Monster at the End of This Book is the first book I read all by myself. Well, I memorized it and could recite it before I could really read it, but memorization is a part of a child's literacy development, so it totally counts. After all, reading is knowing that this group of letters makes this sound. While early literacy development has traditionally begun with sharing books and other literacy materials like paper and crayons, we now have access to apps that can enhance the story experience.

Last week I found The Monster at the End of This Book and it's sequel, Another Monster at the End of This Book, on the shelf at the library and decided it was time to share them with the kids. Later that night, Little Sister sat on my lap, Big Brother sat next to me, I did an appalling impression of Grover's voice and they couldn't have been more delighted. We tickled and giggled our way through both books. Little Sister would only agree to go to bed once I promised we'd read them again in the morning. Lest I forget, she came into my room at o'dark thirty and plopped the books on top of me. I'd created a monster of my own.

Fortunately, I remembered that we'd once had an app of Another Monster at the End of This Book ($3.99 idevices and Kindle, sometimes offered for free), I redownloaded it and her brother showed her how to use it. Picture this, if you will, 2 kids, 1 iPad: no fighting! They were giggling! They were sharing! Real sharing! We had an App Store credit which I used to download the original Monster at the End of This Book ($4.99 idevices) as well. 

If you don't already know, in both stories, Grover is trying to prevent you from turning the pages because he doesn't want to meet the (presumably scary) monster at the end. In the apps, Grover (or Elmo) narrates and the text is highlighted as each word is spoken. Unlike the book, you (or your child, I don't judge) have to manually disassemble the obstacles Grover puts in your way - tap to unclip the paper clips, swipe to wipe off the glue - in order to turn the page. 

Now, in my heart of hearts, I am a children's librarian - so you can't say you didn't see this coming - a physical book shared with a child should always be our goal and is the very best practice for getting our children ready to read. However, if in the course of your day, you find yourself needing to make a phone call, or dinner, or use the bathroom alone, I highly recommend these interactive story apps.

Don't want to buy the apps? I don't blame you. The vast majority of apps we have were free for a limited time when we got them. I use Apps Gone Free (idevices - search the App Store/Android) and the hardest part is just remembering to check it - well, that and managing my storage space. For now, check out the videos for a very-close-to-the-real-thing Monster app experience!

Check back next month for another APPily Ever After!


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