Lisa C.'s blog

Grolier Online and other Homework Help Tools

I live with a wonderful third grader. But on occasion, he forgets to tell me until late at night that he has a homework assignment due the next day. Now, I'm as big a fan of Google as anyone, but when I need to find information quickly from a trusted source at a reading level suitable for a third grader, or other school-age student, I am grateful to have access to Grolier Online.

Grolier Online is a multimedia encyclopedia that provides you with a wealth of information on a range of topics. Topics include links to related magazine articles and recommended web sites. And most topics include images and maps, when relevant. The Monroe County Public Library's subscription to Grolier Online includes the reference databases America the Beautiful for information on states, and Lands and People for information on countries around the world. MCPL card holders can access all the resources free from home by logging in with their library card number.

So the next time you are tempted to just "Google it," try Grolier Online instead! And take a look at the other Online Homework Help Resources we recommend, too.

Click Clack Moo: A Special Preview Performance

As a student of journalism, I am a true believer in the power of the written word. And, apparently, so are the cows in Doreen Cronin's hilarious picture book: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. When the cows discover a typewriter in their barn, they begin making demands of Farmer Brown. It's cold in the barn. They want electric blankets.

Ridiculous, thinks Farmer Brown, and he refuses their request. But then the cows refuse to give any more milk. And the hens join the cows in solidarity and refuse to give any more eggs. The duck is the barnyard mediator, shuffling typed messages back and forth between the farmer and the cows. But, it seems that even ducks have desires for creature comforts.
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Nurse, Soldier, Spy: A Civil War Hero

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. This isn't an anniversary to "celebrate", but such a pivotal conflict in our nation's history is certainly one to commemorate and learn more about through the amazing stories told by the people involved. Sarah Edmonds was one of those people.

In the picturebook biography Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, A Civil War Hero,
we learn that when she was just 16, Sarah disguised herself as a man and ran away from her home in Canada to escape an arranged marriage. She came to the United States and assumed the name Frank Thompson. When the call came in Michigan for young men to join the Union army, "Frank" wanted to sign up as a way to thank the country she had been living in for the last three years. While the other soldiers teased Frank about her small feet, no one ever guessed that Frank was actually a woman.
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Bark, George and other Stories for Dog Days

Join us this Wednesday, August 31, at 10 am in the Library Auditorium for Storyhour Extravaganza! Since the hot days of August are often described as the Dog Days of Summer, we're celebrating the end of this blistering season with a variety of stories about dogs - including my personal favorite: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. George, a puppy, seems to have a duck stuck in his throat, or perhaps a cow, or a cat, because he keeps saying these other animal sounds instead of "bark." So, George's mom takes him to the vet who eventually gets to the bottom of George's troubles. Highly recommended for preschoolers to children in grade 2, this humorous story typically brings on a case of the giggles and is especially fun to tell with puppets!

We'll also show the film versions of Let's Get a Pup, Said Kate and Whistle for Willie. What's your favorite dog story? Let us know!

Parents' Choice and the 4Cs of Learning

I've been following the Parents' Choice blog: Read More. Play More. Learn More recently via Twitter. The Parents' Choice Foundation was established in 1978 as a nonprofit guide to quality children's media and toys. You may have seen their round labels of recommendation on toys, but they also review books, audiobooks, DVDs, music, magazines, television shows, videogames, websites and software -- including mobile apps for kids. You can use their online product finder to search for their award winners by type of product, the age of the child for which the product is designed, and more.

But their blog caught my attention because the title echoes philosophies of Children's Services at Monroe County Public Library: reading is a key to learning, children learn through play, and learning is fun! Our Summer Reading Game is designed to promote these concepts, and now as children head back to school we find ourselves thinking more about essential skills and knowledge for children. Traditionally, essential skills have been described as the 3Rs: Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmetic. But as a recent post to the Parents' Choice blog reminded, essential skills for the 21st Century include the 4Cs: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
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Library Carnival on Monday!

Did you get to go to the Monroe County Fair this year? We hope you stopped by the library's booth, went on our mini jungle walk and pet our giant stuffed orangutan! You can visit with the orangutan this Monday night between 6 and 7:30 pm. He will be welcoming everyone to our Library Carnival in Meeting Rooms 1A, B and C. We'll have games, prizes and ice cream treats for you to enjoy. And it's all free -- thanks to the Friends of the Library!
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Find Ebooks and Games on Tumblebooks

The library has a growing collection of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks for children. But for young children, the pictures are still an essential part of story. You can access a wide variety of ebooks and audiobooks with pictures for children through our Tumblebooks subscription. This online collection of animated picturebooks include sound and music, and you can choose to have the story read aloud to you, or read on your own. The Tumblebooks site also features stories in French and Spanish as well as puzzles and games to play. You can search for titles in a variety of ways, including by subject and by reading level. To access the collection without having to enter a login, visit the Children's Services home page and click on the Tumblebooks button. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

The Daring Book for Girls

I purchased a copy of The Daring Book for Girls for myself a couple years ago and was reminded of all the cool content it contains when I conducted a program this week featuring hopscotch games and jump rope rhymes. Perhaps I'm partial to this book since it was written by women who, like me, "were girls in the days before the Web, cell phones, or even voicemail. Telephones had cords and were dialed by, well, actually dialing."

Today, you may have your own cell phone, email account and iPod, but certainly a deck of cards and a good book should still be included on the list of "essential gear" you keep close at hand. In The Daring Book for Girls, you'll find the rules for playing card games like "Hearts" and "Gin" as well as the rules for outdoor games like Four Square, various games of tag and hopscotch - a game that was initially played by Roman soldiers and is now played in countries around the world.
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Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

Learning how to be patient can be a difficult skill to acquire -- as many parents of young children can attest! Recommended for ages 3-6, the new picturebook Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan with delightful watercolor illustrations by Stephane Jorisch, humorously portrays Betty Bunny's efforts to tame her desire for instant gratification and perfectly captures this battle of the will that so many of us (younger and older alike) struggle with!
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Dancing Men - and Women!

I enjoy a good mystery - and when it involves a code to decipher - it just doubles the fun with two puzzles to solve in one story!

In the graphic novel mystery Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Dancing Men, master detective Sherlock Holmes receives a picture of stick figures with their arms and legs positioned in different ways so it looks like they are dancing. The stick figures are appearing around the home of Mr. Cubitt who asks Sherlock Holmes if he can determine what the pictures mean. Holmes examines different samples of the drawings and believes they are a code used to communicate messages in secret. When Holmes travels to Mr. Cubitt's home to inform him of what he has learned, Holmes encounters another mystery: Mr. Cubitt has been murdered! Immediately, Holmes begins questioning the servants and looking for other clues that will reveal the identity of the murderer.
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