Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

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.

Digital Learning Day is February 1

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: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

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.

Gold-Medal Books Storytime and Reception on Monday



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.

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Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at MCPL!

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!
 
 

New Ambassador for Young People's Literature


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.

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Pop-up Book Favorites

Did you give or receive a book as a gift for the holidays? Did you give or receive an e-book reader for the holidays? PBS's "Mediashift" blog reported recently that despite the ever increasing popularity of e-books and Kindles and Nooks, "Print Books Still Rule the Holidays." The article - and a poster we uncovered in our storage room last week - reminded me that one of my favorite kinds of books to give and receive as a gift is a pop-up book. (A pop-up book is truly, as the old poster stated ... a Gift you Open Again and Again.) I enjoy getting any kind of book as a gift, of course, but as space in my home becomes more limited, I like to own books that I can't borrow from the library. And pop-up books are just not transferrable to e-book format. They are works of art designed for the physical, 3-D world.

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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

One request we get all the time at the library is for Star Wars origami books. In the past, we've had to refer people to websites, but now we can finally offer our customers an actual book with instructions for one Star Wars origami figure - speaking of Yoda, I am. Sixth-grader Tommy has an eccentric and socially challenged friend named Dwight, who is somehow able to channel very wise, if sometimes unclear, advice through his origami finger puppet Yoda. Tommy keeps a journal (his "case file") on the advice Yoda offers, in an attempt to determine if people should really listen to Yoda, or if he's just a "green paperwad" like Tommy's friend Harvey claims.

Creative Crafts for Kids


When it is too cold to play and you're stuck inside, you might get a little bit of cabin fever. One sure cure for this dreaded, boring condition is to make something fun. The Children's Department has hundreds of books filled with ideas and instructions to help you create colorful crafts.
One great example is Creative Crafts for Kids published by Reader's Digest Children's Books. Here you will find instructions for making fantastic greeting cards, balloon monsters, floral picture frames, and much more. This book will help you get creative with paper, wire, paint, felt, glitter, and glue. Creative Crafts for Kids is right for children in 3rd grade and older, but the library has great craft books for all ages. We also have a wide selection of seasonal craft books to help you and your family celebrate the holidays. So don't suffer from cabin fever...come to the library to find a cure for a boring winter day.

I Want My Hat Back

Hurrah for end of the year "best of" lists! They often tip me off to some great reads, or games or films, etc. that I hadn't yet discovered on my own. But they also often affirm that I wasn't the only one who thought a particular book or movie was worthy of special mention. That's the case with I Want My Hat Back, a picture book by Jon Klassen. I was pleasantly surprised to see this title included on the New York Times list of Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2011.
The story features a large bear who has lost his hat. When he meets different woodland animals, he asks each one: Have you seen my hat? They each respond in the negative, but the pictures tell a different story, and bear is a bit slow to realize that one of the animals was not telling him the truth! The story itself is slight, but the short sentences, repetition, and mischievous humor will hold appeal for beginner readers looking for a funny story to read on their own -- as well as older readers who enjoy a slightly devious tale!

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