Lisa C.'s blog

Things That Go

ISBN: 
9780061958090

I anticipated needing to learn many new things as a new parent, but when the time came, I was wholly unprepared to engage in “truck talk” with my toddler. Whether my inadequacy was due to having grown up in an area that did not have combines rolling down the highway, slowing traffic for miles, or the fact that my own interest in vehicles has never expanded much beyond whether it’s green or blue – I needed to get up to speed fast to help satisfy my son’s thirst for knowledge on all “things that go.”

Fortunately, MCPL Children’s Services offers a wonderful variety of books and DVDs to meet the demand for information on this topic. We can help you find the right nonfiction book the next time you need help distinguishing a bulldozer from a compactor (See Cool Construction Vehicles by Bobby Kalman), or want to satisfy curiosity about what's inside a fire truck. In the meantime, here are a few new picturebooks to share with your young fans of cars and trucks...

And The Cars Go

TootToot

Go, Go, Go, Stop!

Night Light

 Alphabet Trucks

Testing, Testing, Testing...

ISBN: 
9780689845154

It’s test time again for Indiana students. Children in grades 3-8 are taking the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) tests to measure student achievement in the subject areas of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science (Grades 4 and 6), and Social Studies (Grades 5 and 7). This seasonal event - and the recent news that teachers and parents in Chicago decided to boycott the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, an annual test for Illinois students in third through eighth grade - brought to mind the book: The Report Card by Andrew Clements.

Clements is one of my favorite authors. He writes thoughtfully about school-age students, the issues they face, their relationships with each other and with their teachers. And many of his books pose a “what if” question that make for marvelous discussion opportunities.  In The Report Card, it’s 5th grader Nora who ponders:  what if students just all refused to take tests? What if they intentionally answered all the questions incorrectly?   Read more »

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

ISBN: 
9780061730764

Kadir Nelson“Painting historical American subjects pushes me to learn more about who I am, where I come from, and the role my ancestors played in helping form our country.” – Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of Heart and Soul.

Kadir Nelson’s work brings history alive for students today. In the Prologue to Heart and Soul he notes that young people won’t always have the chance to speak with the people who lived through the Civil Rights Movement, or who played baseball for a league that no longer exists. So he documents the stories from these people, vividly portrays them, so that they will be known and remembered, learned and absorbed by future generations.

"Heart and Soul is not only the story of my family, but an intimate introduction to American history that I hope will remind readers of our extraordinary story and inspire them to learn more about America as I have done – by exploring their unique family stories and their connection to the American story."

Find Heart and Soul and other outstanding  books by Kadir Nelson through the Library’s catalog. See Kadir Nelson’s website to learn more about him and his art. Visit the African American History Month website from the Library of Congress to discover more about the remarkable people and events that connect us all.

WearetheShipbyKNelson

Show Me a Story! (Why Picture Books Matter)

ISBN: 
9780763635060

“Before they read words, children are reading pictures. In picture books, the illustrations work in concert with the text in a way that is unique among art forms.”

In the forward to Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators, award-winning author and illustrator David Wiesner explains why we celebrate National Picture Book Month in November (actually, MCPL Children’s Services Librarians celebrate them year-round! Here’s more from Wiesner about why we love picturebooks…): Read more »

Smart Searching with Grolier Online

Grolier Online logoThere is so much information available through the Internet the challenge these days -- especially for kids -- is knowing where and how to search.  And for students still learning how to evaluate information and discern a reliable source from one that is suspect, starting a search with a reputable research tool like Grolier Online gives them a way to focus their search and get trusted  information tailored to their reading level and information need.

Read more »

Big Library Read features Nancy Clancy eBook

ISBN: 
9780062082947

It’s always hard to say goodbye at a story’s end to characters you’ve grown fond of and enjoyed spending time with. That’s one of the great joys of series books and why they appeal to readers of all ages: you don’t have to say goodbye; you can look forward to meeting up with familiar characters in the next book.

Books in a series are especially popular with transitional readers, children moving beyond beginner reader chapter books but who are not quite ready for longer novels. Having background knowledge of a character or setting aids readers who are still developing their fluency and comprehension skills. Think Nancy Drew stories. After reading a couple, you know that she is an adventurous girl with sparkly blue eyes who has a plump cousin and a kind housekeeper. Eventually, you are able to skim the familiar descriptions and devote your energy to deciphering the plot. Knowing that they already enjoy reading about a certain character also helps motivate transitional readers to continue reading. And regular reading practice is one of the best ways to build reading skills.

For all these reasons, it’s good news for fans of Fancy Nancy that author Jane O’Connor has continued to offer new stories featuring the flamboyant young girl who enjoys sprinkling her wardrobe with sparkly accessories and her vocabulary with dazzling words. The character who was first introduced in 2006 in picturebook format with appeal to preschoolers, and progressed to beginner reader format books with an early elementary aged audience, now appears in first chapter books aimed at transitional readers in grades 2-3.

In these latest stories, Fancy Nancy has morphed into Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth with a pink trenchcoat and a rhinestone studded magnifying glass. Always on the lookout for mysteries to solve, Nancy and her friend Bree have designed their own business cards (Partners in Crime: N & B) as well as their own secret code for safely exchanging messages. And while attempting to solve the Mystery of the Missing Marble, Nancy Clancy pauses to ponder: What would Nancy Drew do?  Whether or not they are familiar with Nancy Clancy’s mentor, Nancy Clancy fans will delight in hunting for clues and deciphering codes with the new Super Sleuth on the block.

The other good news for aficionados of Fancy Nancy Clancy is that Overdrive has designated Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth as the featured title for its current Big Library Read program. From September 16th – 30th Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth - Book 1 will be available in both eBook and audiobook formats for anyone wanting to read it – no waiting, no holds! Find the title in the library catalog, or go directly to Indiana Digital Media and log in with your library card to claim your copy. As Nancy Clancy would say: Stupendous! Magnificent! And double ooh la la!

Show Us Your Library Card!

Librarians with MCPL Library Cards

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month. Of course, you can get a library card any time of the year, but in September, back-to-school season, we like to remind that a library card is an essential school tool. Just as important as having a notebook, folder and pen in your backpack, is having a library card tucked in your pocket. Best of all, library cards are free to Monroe County residents of all ages!

In addition to giving you the ability to borrow books, movies and music, your library card provides you with access to a number of electronic resources the library has purchased especially for Monroe County residents to use. Some of these resources are designed for kids.  To access them from outside the library, you will be prompted to enter your library card number. It’s a simple step to gain entry to a wealth of authoritative information and images to suit your needs. You can find a complete list of electronic resources on our A-Z Research Tools page. Some e-resources and downloadable options of special interest to school-age children include:

  • Grolier Online – for information about states, countries, current events and more
  • Indiana Digital Media – to download ebooks and audiobooks, including titles for kids
  • Freegal – to download music. Once downloaded, songs are yours to keep

LibraryCardpromoYour library card makes these reputable resources available to you around the clock. We love that you can access these resources even when our physical doors are closed for the night. But even more, we love to see young children come in to the library with their families – with library card in hand.  How many places can children go where they are welcome to pull items from the shelves, look through them and choose which ones they would like to take home? We are continually delighted to observe children claim their books or movies and then proudly walk up to the self-check machine and check them out to take home and enjoy. We see how empowered they are by this, the confidence it instills, and we know it helps launch them on their journey of life-long learning.

So next time you are in the library – show us your library card! We’d love to hear what you like about it, and how you use it most. And in September and October, children who show us their library cards will receive a special sticker and bookmark – and a chance to shout “Hooray! I used my library card today!”

 

Learning Right From Wrong with the Brief Thief

ISBN: 
9781592701315

We often get requests for books that help teach children about proper rules of behavior – everything from sharing to telling the truth. While we frequently turn to our nonfiction collection for titles designed to teach children about specific subjects or topics, often picture books more powerfully portray the importance of doing the right thing.

The use of humor is one reason the messages in picture books can have a greater impact with children. And you can’t get much funnier with preschoolers (or even the K-2 crowd) than the word underpants – not to mention the word poo. (Please, don’t mention it!) The picturebook Brief Thief by Michael Escoffier uses both words in a span of a few pages while reminding readers that it’s not right to take things that don’t belong to you.

You see, poor Leon the Lizard finds himself without a necessary item after relieving himself. He notices an old pair of underpants hanging from a nearby tree branch and uses them to “finish his business.” As he discards the underpants behind a bush, a voice calls to him. It claims to be Leon’s conscience: “The little voice you hear inside your head whenever you get up to something naughty.” The voice continues: “… Since when are we allowed to touch other people’s things? What do they teach you in school, anyway?”

Leon never learns the real identity of his conscience, but readers will be amused to learn that the voice belongs to a rabbit who had been using the underpants to complete his superhero costume. We don’t learn his superhero name, but I’m guessing that it’s Superego.

Recommended for ages 3-8.

 

Summer Reading - Why it Matters

ImageAbout this time of year, my colleagues and I begin to ponder just why it was we chose careers that see us at our busiest in the summer months -- at a time when it seems the rest of the world is looking to kick back and relax. Along with other public libraries around the country, we spend months planning and preparing a Summer Reading Program, we spend weeks visiting area schools and encouraging students in grades K-6 to participate in our Summer Reading Program, and then we have thousands of kids come through our doors eager to pick up a Summer Reading game board and attend special events. Why? Why do we do this? Couldn't we just quietly go about our business and slip away to the lake more easily in June?

And then we remind ourselves. We do it because it matters. We invite kids to take part in our Summer Reading Program because studies have shown that "students who participated in public library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year." (Public Library Summer Reading Programs Close the Reading Gap, 2010)

We know that developing and improving reading skills takes practice. The more you read, the better you get. And we know that when kids get to choose what they want to read, they are more likely to read for fun. Yet, when schools close for the summer, many students no longer have access to reading materials that appeal to their interests and suit their reading ability. Your public library fills that gap. Our free Summer Reading Program is all about encouraging kids to read for fun so that they sustain and build a reading habit over the summer. They can choose books, magazines, graphic novels, audiobooks, ebooks, fiction, nonfiction -- they're all included in our summer reading program.

Visit our Summer Reading website for details about our program, or give us a call at 349-3100. But most of all -- we hope to see you here at the library this summer. As we've been reminding kids recently: We're open 7 days a week, including evenings and weekends. In between the other fun things you have going on this summer, we encourage you to stop in to the library and choose something fun to read. We won't even be jealous if you tell us you're going to read it at the lake.

For more information about the benefits of library Summer Reading Programs, see our Get Reading, Get Moving page. And to see how much fun we have with our Summer Reading Program, watch our video: Dig Into Reading!

Summer Reading at Your Library!

ImageSo many opportunities for reading fun this summer as we kick off our Summer Reading Programs. We have something for everyone! See the following Summer Reading websites for details:

Dig Into Reading - Children's Program, begins May 28
Groundbreaking Reads - Teen Program, begins May 28

Or stop in and visit any help desk. We can get you registered for the Summer Reading Program that's right for you. You can also sign up for Summer Reading Programs on the Bookmobile.

Questions? Give us a call:

Children's Services: 349-3100
Adult/Teen Services: 349-3228
Ellettsville Branch: 876-1272

All of our Summer Reading Programs and special events are free, thanks to the Friends of the Library!

 

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