One of the great things about good books is that they can reveal life through another person's eyes. That revelation is especially engaging when the character has some barrier to ordinary self expression. I recently read two fine books that offer fresh perspectives on school and life in general from characters who have trouble communicating with the world. Read more »
In 1984, Jumanji author Chris Van Allsburg compiled a storybook made up only of images with captions that hint at the fantastical and the scary, the strange and the beautiful. These mysterious illustrations were said to come straight from a man named Harris Burdick and, in the years since the pictures reached the public, the illustrations in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick have been used as a storytelling guide and even a jumping off point to help kids to their own fiction.
More recently, Van Allsburg hired a list of favorite children’s authors to interpret the images from Van Allsburg’s popular work. The result is The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, a 221 page compilation of short stories that flesh out the weird and fantastical elements present in Van Allsburg’s original images. Authors ranging from Sherman Alexie to Stephen King, from Walter Dean Myers to Kate DiCamillo and many, many more all lend their voices to very different types of stories. The compilation also features an introduction from favorite, but oddball, author Lemony Snicket. Read more »
Friday, March 2 is Dr. Seuss' Birthday! Visit the Main Library Children's Dept. Friday afternoon between 4 and 5:30 pm and make a joyful noise using the Dr. Seuss Band app for iPad. We'll have one of our iPads out at the "Ask Questions Here" desk for you to try. You can create your own crazy musical instrument and compose your own song. (If you have your own iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, you can download this app for free, for a limited time. See the iTunes Preview page for details.) Read more »
Jane Goodall has had a lovely life. From her childhood love of the outdoors to the chance day she contacted famed scientist Louis Leakey, she always knew what she wanted to do: go to Africa and work to help animals. In her life, Goodall has been many things, including an activist for the environment and a UN Ambassador of Peace; however she is most known for her lengthy career working with chimpanzees. In 2011, two books were created that help us to explore Jane’s life from its roots to the present. Read more »
February is National African American History Month, and fittingly, Kadir Nelson's Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, recently won the American Library Association's 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award. Nelson has provided an overarching introduction to the difficult history of African Americans, told in the voice of an elderly female whose grandfather was born in Africa and was kidnapped and taken to America as a slave at age six.
For decades now, teachers and others have recognized that technology can play a role in enhancing education and opportunities for learning. To help promote the efforts of teachers who have effectively incorporated technology in their instructional practices - and to encourage others to experiment with digital tools and discover how they may be used to strengthen student learning - the Alliance for Excellent Education has declared Feburary 1 as national Digital Learning Day. Read more »
Alvin Ho is afraid of many things including, but not limited to elevators, tunnels, bridges, thunder, substitute teachers, scary movies, shots, and school. Most of all...school. Descended from a long line of Chinese farmer-warriors he loves to run around his house as a noisy superhero called Firecracker Man in a costume his gunggung (that's grandfather) made, complete with a spaghetti drainer on his head. School takes too much of his energy so he is only Firecracker Man on weekends and holidays. It takes a lot of energy for Alvin to make it onto the bus and into the school building. Once he is there he can't think, read, smile, sing, or even scream. Worst of all, Alvin can't talk at school. In spite of his mutism, Alvin is determined to make friends with the help of a list of rules suggested by his brother, Calvin.
On Monday, January 23, we will be celebrating award-winning books all day with special programs. The American Library Association announces the 2012 Youth Media award winners at around 8 am that morning. Join us at 10 am for a special storytime where we will feature picture books from years past that have won a Caldecott Award for their illustrations.
Last year's winner, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, is especially popular this time of year when sniffles and sneezes run rampant. Amos is a zookeeper who consistently cares for his friends at the zoo, always making time to play chess with the elephant and run races with the tortoise. When he is too sick to take the bus to the zoo one morning, his friends decide to travel to him! They cheer him up with some quiet, sitting-in-bed activities. Amos feels better by the end of the day, and the visit turns into a sleepover. Since the story concludes with everyone saying goodnight to each other and looking forward to the next day, this soothing picturebook serves as a gentle bedtime story, too, with appeal to ages 3-8.
Monday, January 16, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Please come to the library for children's films (including Martin's Big Words) and readings of children's books promoting diversity, tolerance, and equal rights, and last but not least, to do crafts and activities provided by local group Nur Festivals. Most activities will occur between 10 a.m. and noon, and all are drop-in events. Help us celebrate a special day and a remarkable man!
Award-winning author Walter Dean Myers was named the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature earlier this week. The position was established in 2008 to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.