Posted in Award Winners, Fiction, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12, Staff Picks, Uncategorized

Code-Switching in Children’s Literature

Code-switching is becoming an increasingly popular practice in writing children’s literature.  Code-switching happens when one moves fluidly between two languages within written or spoken dialogue.  It is often used when a word cannot be directly translated or loses meaning in translation, or as a way of better illustrating themes where another language may describe something better or be more appropriate than English. Spanglish is a common word used when referring to the code-switching between English and Spanish.

Children’s books are an enjoyable way to introduce your child (or yourself) to another language.  If you are looking to incorporate a second language into your daily life or to keep a language alive in the home, books that use two languages are a good place to begin.  They often include a glossary with translations and use repetition to emphasize words that are in the language other than English. These books can be found in a variety of languages, but the most common are English to Spanish.  Below are a selection of favorites from Mead Public Library’s children’s collection (descriptions provided are taken from the book publishers):

La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya

The Princess and the Pea gets a fresh twist in this charming bilingual retelling, winner of the Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration.

El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree.

The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too . . .

Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

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Posted in Adult, Kids 5-12, Teen & Young Adult, Uncategorized

Back to School!

Summer continues to simmer as we fall into Autumn. Our students, teachers, parents and caregivers prepare for another new and unusual year of learning, returning to a school schedule into a new grade – all while still navigating the pandemic. This year brings us a mixture of school anxiety and excitement as we build relationships and grow as we learn together. We wanted to share some books from our Monarch system, as well as local and national online resources to assist in making the transition to this new year a little easier with enjoyable, engaging tools sprinkled in. The books listed below are available for request through the Monarch library catalog. (Descriptions provided are taken from the book publishers.) Be sure to take a look at the additional resources we included as well. We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable school year!

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

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Posted in Fiction, Kids 5-12, Uncategorized

Alternative Series for Junie B. Jones Lovers (or Haters)

I often receive requests from young patrons wanting to find Junie B. Jones books. Young readers seem to really enjoy reading her series. She has a spunky personality that kids find hilarious. Not all grown-ups seem to love her though (she is pretty sassy)! I have some alternative series recommendations from our children’s library for Junie B. Jones fans (or for those needing a break from her) that will appeal to new readers just starting to read chapter books. These are all shorter chapter books with illustrations and relatable characters that are appealing to kids building up their reading stamina. Whether you share the love for the popular Junie B. or not, we have many options your new readers will enjoy.

Ivy + Bean series by Annie Barrows

Second graders, Ivy and Bean, are a likeable pair of best friends. They have very different personalities and at first, didn’t even want to be friends with each other! They discover that their differences actually complement each other to make them a dynamic duo. You will enjoy their creative problem solving and humorous adventures, which don’t always go as planned – despite their good intentions. The large font, short chapters, and humorous illustrations will appeal to early readers of this series.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Summer Reading Survival

Are you looking for books for your middle grade reader to spice up their summer reading list? Consider including some survival stories! Survival stories keep readers on the edge of their seat with their dramatic twists and turns. Readers vicariously experience obstacles and witness the strength of the human spirit through the perspective of the characters involved in their struggle to survive. I have some recommendations from our children’s library below that will keep readers in suspense and anxious to find out what happens next.

Ground Zero by Alan Gratz

You will not be able to put this book down! The chapters in this book alternate between characters: 9 year old Brandon on September 11, 2001, and 11 year old Reshmina in 2019. Brandon is supposed to spend the day with his father while he works on the top floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. Brandon winds up on a different floor of the tower from his father when the tower is hit by a plane, and he doesn’t initially understand what is happening. The full scope of what happened unfolds as Brandon tries to make his way through the building in an effort to get back to his father, but then realizes he must make his way out of the building in order to survive. Readers are introduced to Reshmina as she tries to convince her twin brother he shouldn’t join the Taliban, while living in their small village in Afghanistan. Events unfold that lead to Reshmina risking the safety of everyone in her village by taking in a wounded American soldier. Both Brandon and Reshmina experience extreme danger and witness horrific events, all in one day. Their stories, while absolutely riveting, seem to be unconnected at first. As the story progresses, readers uncover how connected they actually are. These are fictional characters, but their stories are based on true events. There is an author’s note at the end of the book that provides further information on the history of the WTC, details on the attacks occurring on that day, the terrorists involved, the war in Afghanistan, and the way life has changed in America as well.

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Posted in Kids 5-12, Nonfiction, Science, Uncategorized

Love Your Mother Earth

Environmental issues have been receiving increasing attention in recent years. Earth is facing a lot of problems, many as a direct result of human activity. With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, this is a great time to remember to bring awareness to the issues our planet is facing and what we can do as individuals and communities to help care for our planet and keep it healthy. Have a conversation with the kids in your life about what it would mean to them to have a healthy place to live and what they can do to help make that happen. Take this day as an opportunity to show Mother Earth some love and participate in an environmentally friendly activity together. Some fun and easy ideas you may want to consider trying include: taking a walk and picking up trash around your neighborhood, planting a tree, planting a pollinator garden, repurposing unwanted items, doing a closet cleanout and donating no longer needed items for others to use, or creating an art masterpiece from recycled materials. Remember, the kindness we show our planet doesn’t have to take place on just one day. We can take steps to reduce our negative impact each day through simple acts. Supplement your environmentally friendly activity with a book that covers an environmental issue of interest. I have some nonfiction children’s book recommendations from our library that will educate and inspire kids to find ways they can help our planet and prevent issues from worsening.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, Oscar! by Mary Lindeen

Sesame Street fans will appreciate the basic information given in this book that introduces younger readers to the concepts of recycling, reusing, and reducing in an effort to care for the environment. Sesame Street characters provide explanations for why we need to do these things, along with clear examples of how we can easily do them. Abby Cadabby gives readers the idea to reuse a can to hold pens, Oscar recommends eating foods that don’t have wrappers to reduce waste, and Rosita shows us a set of chairs that are made from recycled plastic. Delightful illustrations also include photographs of children demonstrating ways they help to take care of the environment.

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Posted in Award Winners, Fiction, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12, Nonfiction, Teen & Young Adult, Uncategorized

Children’s Award Books 2021

The American Library Association recently announced the winners of the 2021 Youth Media Awards. High quality media for teens and children were awarded for their excellence under different categories. I’ve listed some of these remarkable award winners below and included links to our catalog so you can reserve your copies today!

John Newbery Medal

The John Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. This year’s winner is When You Trap a Tiger, written by Tae Keller. In this story, a magical tiger from Korean folklore appears to Lily after she moves in with her dying grandmother. Something was stolen from the tiger long ago and an incredible deal is offered for its return.

Five Newbery Honor Books were named this year:

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Posted in Fiction, Kids 5-12, Uncategorized

Look Ahead to a New Series

It’s that time of year when we can take a moment to look back on our experiences of the past year and look forward to what’s to come in the new year. I decided to take a look back on what our young readers checked out the most this past year. Books from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series were the top six circulating titles from our children’s fiction collection. This series has maintained its popularity for over a decade now! The series follows a boy named Greg as he records his humorous experiences with middle school in his journal. Comical illustrations accompany his daily journal entries in this series that now includes 15 books. For fans of this series who may be looking for a new-to-you series for the new year, I’ve created a list for you all to check out below. I’ve included our catalog summaries of the first book of the series with each recommendation. Be sure to click the links below to request your copy through our catalog!

The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

“Who wouldn’t want to live in a treehouse? Especially a 13-story treehouse that has a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank full of sharks, a library full of comics, a secret underground laboratory, a games room, self-making beds, vines you can swing on, a vegetable vaporizer and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots your favorite flavored marshmallows into your mouth whenever it discerns you’re hungry. Life would be perfect for Andy and Terry if it wasn’t for the fact that they have to write their next book, which is almost impossible because there are just so many distractions, including thirteen flying cats, giant bananas, mermaids, a sea monsters pretending to be mermaids, enormous gorillas, and dangerous burp gas-bubblegum bubbles!” Take a look at the rest of The Treehouse series here.

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Posted in Fiction, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12, Nonfiction, Uncategorized

How Are You Feeling?

Understanding and communicating feelings can be challenging for young children. They don’t always have the words to express the feelings they are experiencing. You can help them learn how to express themselves by modeling appropriate ways to express your own feelings, describing how and why people feel the way they do in certain situations, and complimenting children when they use their words to describe their feelings. Reading picture books about characters going through different feelings, and discussing them is a fun way to help children to understand their own feelings as they relate to the characters. You can point to the characters’ facial expressions and ask what they are likely feeling and why, as well as ask the child if they have ever felt that way before. Learning to recognize and manage feelings is an important skill for children to learn. It will help them to build strong relationships and guide them in making good choices for themselves. There are many children’s books with characters experiencing different feelings. I have some recommendations below that are available from our children’s library.

How Are You Peeling?: Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann

This is a really fun book that uses fruits and vegetables with faces carved into them as delightful illustrations. Each face has a different facial expression to go along with simple rhyming text that covers many different feelings and asks the reader how they feel in different situations. Have your child answer the rhyming prompts, and have them look at the facial expressions of the characters and try to describe what they think the characters are feeling.

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Posted in Fiction, Horror, Kids 5-12, Uncategorized

Chills in the Air

October is my favorite month of the year. I love the chill in the air and the spooky vibes that come along with Halloween. It’s the perfect time of year to curl up under a cozy blanket with a scary story! There are many horror stories written for middle grade readers ranging from the mildly creepy to downright terrifying! I have some recommendations below that can be found in our children’s collection. Click on the titles that interest you to request your copy straight from our catalog.

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

Ease young readers into horror stories with this ghostly murder mystery! 12 year-old Amy has an extended visit with her aunt who is cleaning out her deceased great-grandparents’ home. Their deaths happened many years before Amy was born and have always been a mystery to her. The mystery begins to unravel when she uncovers a beautiful dollhouse modeled after their house, stashed away in the attic. The dolls in the dollhouse seem to move on their own. Are they trying to tell her something? Any mention of the dollhouse or the great-grandparents upsets her aunt, so Amy has to do her own research to uncover what really happened to her family years ago. This story has a low level of supernatural creepiness that pairs well with its fascinating family mystery.

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Posted in Fiction, Kids 0-5, Uncategorized

Shake This Book!

Interactive picture books provide an engaging reading experience. They are fun for young listeners/readers, and are an especially great option for those not ready to sit for a full story. These books require active participation in the story by encouraging readers to complete a small task before turning the page. The story may request for you to shake or tilt the book, blow on or trace a picture with your finger, spin the book or your body, clap your hands, or even count to a certain number to help move the story along. Once you’ve completed your task, turn the page to see the effect your action had on the story! There are many entertaining interactive children’s books available in our library. I’ve listed some of my favorites below!

The Cat Book by Silvia Borando

You will be busy taking care of your cat in this fun book. Once you’ve woken him up, you will have to pet him, squish some fleas, dry him off after he gets wet, try to scare away a bird so he doesn’t eat it, and then help him go to sleep. Readers of all ages will enjoy interacting with this cute kitty!

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