Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

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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Annie: A Cardinal Stage Preview Performance

Go ahead, admit it. You've sung the song "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie, at least once in your life. (After a few straight days of non-stop rain, I'm singing it right now! The sun'll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun...)

Well, whether or not you know by heart the lyrics to "Tomorrow" or the other catchy tunes featured in the show, we are betting that you'll enjoy the free sneak preview of Cardinal Stage Company's performance of Annie, this Saturday, December 3, from 11-11:30 a.m. in the Main Library Auditorium. Cast members will present a couple scenes, and you'll have a chance to ask some of the children performing in the play what it's like to be in a musical.
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Wonderstruck

I'm excited about the movie Hugo, opening this week, based on Brian Selznick's amazing book The Invention of Hugo Cabret (winner of the 2008 Caldecott Award). Selznick's newest title, Wonderstruck, is no less incredible. Alternatively told in pencil drawings (Rose's story, set in the late 1920s) and words (Ben's story, set 50 years later), the tales eventually intertwine in ways that are surprising and poignant. Even if you think you're not interested in the history of museums and dioramas, wolves, deafness and deaf culture, constellations, and silent movies, you'll find Selznick's blending of these elements creates a spellbinding read as well as a visual treat. Listen and watch Selznick tell us about his newest masterpiece at Scholastic's Wonderstruck website, and visit Selznick's website for some more insight into the man and his work and interests, including a list of his favorite "weird websites." Recommended for grades 4 and up.
 

Early Literacy at The Learn and Play Space

If you know a child who is 7 years old or younger, the Learn and Play Space in the Children's Department at your Monroe County Public Library is the perfect place to visit. Children and their adult caregivers may explore several learning stations that were designed to help build early literacy skills. Children grow vocabulary when they work puzzles and play with puppets. Imaginary play in the store and the kitchen builds narrative skills which help children make meaning of words when they begin to read. The letter wall is a great place to learn the names of the letters and to practice the sounds the letters make. The writing center is stocked with cards, paper, envelopes, and markers so children can write books, mail letters, and draw pictures. Trained supervisors are available during most open hours to guide learning experiences, play games, and provide craft materials. There is even a dedicated space that is reserved for infants who are not walking and their caregivers exclusively. This engaging space has been made possible by support from the Smithville Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Monroe County Public Library. Paper supplies for the writing center are received from the Reuse Center at the District.
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Meet Olivia at the Library


Olivia captured my heart the moment I opened her first book, more than ten years ago, and saw a trail of deselected items of clothing littering the floor as she squeezed into her just-right sailor dress. Whether she's taming lions or sailing on a gondola in Venice, Olivia always has the right outfit for any occasion.

While there are lots of opportunities to enjoy Olivia, including her television show on Nick Jr., the best way to get to know Olivia is through her series of picture books. In Olivia Forms a Band, discover Olivia's resourcefulness when she supplies her own music to a fireworks display. Revel in Olivia's amazing power of deduction when she solves the case in Olivia and the Missing Toy. Travel with Olivia by gondola in Olivia Goes to Venice. See astonishing feats of daring and imagination in Olivia Saves the Circus. Along the way you'll meet Olivia's delightful family including her little brothers William and Ian.
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First Snow in the Woods

While some Monroe County residents grumble about the deer that tread too closely to their homes or raid their gardens, I relish seeing the deer emerge from the woods that surround my home. My son recently reported that he had seen six deer of various sizes while he was playing in our front yard. They observed him cautiously for a moment before stepping quickly across the lawn, confident that his remote controlled car would not harm them!

It's a little easier to spot the deer now that most of the leaves have fallen from the trees. But if you don't have a chance to see deer right in your neighborhood, the picture book First Snow in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy features stunning color photographs that provide a vivid and intimate way to admire deer and other wildlife that live in the woods. The book also profiles the changing seasons as different animals describe how they prepare for the arrival of winter weather.
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Festival of Ghost Stories, Friday 10/28

Several of the Children's Librarians, members of the Bloomington Storytellers Guild, will be telling spooky stories at Bryan Park this Friday, 7-8:30 pm, as part of our annual Festival of Ghost Stories. Not intended for young children, this free event is a chance for older children, teens and adults to enjoy hearing some spine-tingling tales. So grab a lawn chair, or bring a blanket, and join us for some stories - and a couple songs - certain to give you the shivers!

(In case of rain, the event will be held indoors at the Main Library. We'll know by late afternoon, so give us a call at 349-3100, to check on the location.)

Dead End in Norvelt

Jack Gantos is one of my favorite authors, especially when I'm in the mood for a quirky, darkly funny read. Dead End in Norvelt is no exception - in fact, it had me laughing out loud in several places about the (fictional?) escapades of the protagonist, also named Jack Gantos! I wish I'd been witness to the real-life childhood of Gantos, to see exactly which of the characters and situations in this novel occurred exactly as he describes. So many favorite scenes - one where Jack is enlisted to dress as the Grim Reaper to determine whether an old person is dead or not, another when his nose bleeds AND he faints after seeing what he thinks is a woman stripping the skin off her arm with her teeth.

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Slightly Creepy Stories for Fall

The nights are growing chilly and the leaves are starting to turn. All of the apple and pumpkin books have been checked out at least once and soon the Halloween shelves will be bare. If you are looking for something slightly creepy to fit the season, you may have to dig a little deeper. We have two booklists to help you suss out books that will give you the shivers. Preschool and early elementary book lovers will enjoy selections from
The Not-Too-Scary Stories booklist. Older readers who have a high tolerance for terror should look for the Horror display and
booklist.
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