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):
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.
When something troubling happens in the news, it can be overwhelming for adults to try to make sense of it all, and it can be even more difficult for children. Here is a list of resources for caregivers that can help kids process major news events, and the general stress of these turbulent times.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Does your child need additional practice with literacy skills? Or are you looking for an additional resource to add some entertainment to your child’s day? If so, TumbleBooks may be a great option for your family. TumbleBooks are animated picture books that highlight sentences as they are read aloud. You can access them with your library card number through their website, or you can download the app to your device. There are unlimited copies of each title, and there are no limits to how many books you may access at a time. TumbleBooks users have access to storybooks, read-alongs, ebooks, graphic novels, non-fiction books, language learning, National Geographic videos, music, puzzles, games, and playlists. If you’re interested in reading, browse the individual book titles or take a look through the playlists. Playlists are a series of saved stories that are played one after another. You can use them as a storytime, or to group stories together surrounding a theme of interest. Create your own playlists, or choose from a selection that have already been created. You can browse playlists by a variety of time ranges and different themes. I will be highlighting a few of these below.
Here is a playlist to help your kids unwind at the end of the day. Included are the stories Go Back to Bed! by Ginger Foglesong Guy, Into the Tub! by Laura Beaver and Jill Nolen, and Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. You can choose to read one story, or all three for a total of 13 minutes. Go Back to Bed! Is a funny story of a boy that keeps finding excuses for getting out of bed. Each time he gets up, he finds his parents doing wild and fun things without him. Into the Tub! is a rhyming story of a little mouse that must be patiently persuaded by her mom to get ready for bed. Little Hoot is an adorable bedtime story about a little owl’s late bedtime. Little Hoot just wants to go to bed early like his friends do, but he must stay up late and play.
The American Library Association recently announced the winners of the 2020 Youth Media Awards. Materials for children and teens were selected by committees of literature and media specialists under different categories for their excellence. Below is a list of some of the notable award recipients. Be sure to click on the titles of those that interest you to reserve your own copy through our catalog.
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 New Kid, written and illustrated by Jerry Craft. This is a graphic novel about a boy of color who begins attending a prestigious school in an upscale neighborhood, with a mostly white student body. He finds himself struggling to belong in his new school, as well as in his own neighborhood with old friends.
Four Newbery Honor Books were also named this year:
The Undefeated, written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the ALSC to the artist of the most distinguished illustrated American children’s book. This year’s winner is The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander. This is a beautifully illustrated poetic picture book about the trials and tribulations of black Americans.
There were also three Caldecott Honor Books named this year:
Bear Came Along, illustrated by LeUyen Phamand and written by Richard T. Morris
The Michael L. PrintzAward is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association and sponsored by Booklist. It is awarded annually to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. This year’s winner is Dig, written by A.S. King. This is a surreal story of white privilege and a legacy of hate as experienced by five teenage cousins in a dysfunctional family.
Four Printz Honor Books were also named this year:
Pura Belpré Awards are awarded annually by the ALSC and REFORMA. They are awarded to a Latinx writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latinx cultural experience.
The Pura Belpré Author Award winner this year is Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, written by Carlos Hernandez. This is a story about Sal, a thirteen-year-old magician, who teams up with Gabi, the student council president. Together, they try to uncover the mystery of how Sal breaks the universe.
The Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner for this year is Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln, illustrated by Rafael López and written by Margarita Engle. This is a delightfully illustrated picture book about the life of the Venezuelen born pianist Teresa Carreño, who by the age of nine, played the piano for President Lincoln at the White House.
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually by the ALSC to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The winner is Fry Bread Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, written by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. This book shares the story of fry bread as a tradition for Native Americans across tribes and time. A recipe is included, along with an author’s note with more information on the history and cultural ties to fry bread.
Coretta Scott King Awards
The Coretta Scott King Awards are awarded annually by the ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table. They are awarded to African-American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The King Author Book winner for this year is New Kid, written by Jerry Craft. The King Illustrator Book winner is The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander. New Kid also won the Newbery Medal and Undefeated also won the Caldecott Medal this year, scroll up for a summary for each of these.
When the weather outside is cold and dreary, and the fun holiday events are over, kids may begin feeling a bit bored. Why not create a masterpiece or build something out of supplies you likely already have? Winter is a great time to try a new hobby or to expand on your skills. We have a wide variety of children’s books full of ideas and how-tos that are sure to pique the interest of kids fighting the inevitable boredom that comes from being cooped up inside on these cold days. I recommend the following books to keep kids busy and entertained.
This book has step-by-step instructions for 36 different squishy, slime, and putty creations. Not only are they fun to make, but playing with them helps to relieve excess energy and stress. You will likely already have most of the supplies needed for making these. Colorful photos and illustrations add to the appeal of creating projects such as: burger and fries squishies, narwhal squishies, fluffy unicorn milkshake slime, fried egg slime, farting putty, snowman putty, and so many more! These projects are recommended for ages 7+.
There is bound to be something appealing for any Disney fan in this book that includes more than 100 Disney crafts, activities, and games from classic and modern characters. Create an Aladdin shoebox theater, Inside Out memory spheres, Baymax origami, Ursula bath bombs, princess selfie props, Miguel’s guitar…and the list goes on. There are also several Disney games with detailed instructions on how to play. There are lots of options to keep you busy! The difficulty levels of these projects vary, but there are projects suitable for all ages.
You get to be a maker with the projects in this book. Most of the materials required are commonly found at home. Scientific facts and prompts are also included to get you thinking about what is happening in each project. You can rescue a dinosaur from ice, create a rainforest in a bottle, prepare a skee-ball challenge, design a Rube Goldberg machine, build a truss bridge, and do so many more fun activities that will keep you thinking. This book is recommended for ages 8+.
Acts of kindness sometimes feel like they are in short supply when we as a society are so often bombarded by negative stories. But if you look for it, you will see that kindness can be found in many places. Children don’t always know how to show kindness, but they can learn through our examples. It’s important to model kind behavior and to be mindful of what we say to and about others. Setting examples of how to show gratitude and sharing encouraging words, as well as modeling how to feel empathy for others are wonderful ways to teach kind behavior. Sharing picture books with children about kindness is also a great way to provide different perspectives and methods of showing kindness. Through these stories, children will see how even small gestures of kindness can leave a lasting impression on others and how kind acts often multiply as the kindness is paid forward. There are many fantastic books about kindness in our library, that when shared with children, can lead to wonderful discussions on how we can choose to act with kindness in our own lives. The following are some of my favorite picture books about kindness.
Tanisha spills juice on her outfit at school and gets laughed at by other children. One of her classmates feels bad when she sees that happen and wants to try to make her feel better. This leads her classmate to ponder what it means to be kind and to wonder how she can help. Readers are taken through a series of thoughts on ways to be kind in small ways, and then shown how those simple acts of kindness can have a ripple effect that touches even more lives.
Summer vacation has come to an end, and many of the children in our lives are getting back into the routine of more structured days, and reuniting with old friends as well as making new friends. For some, it is a brand-new experience that can be both scary and exciting! Reading picture books about school can help calm some of those fears, as well as share common experiences. As parents and caregivers, we can use these stories as a starting point to talk to our children about the experiences they are having at school. School should feel like a safe and enjoyable place to be. We have many stories about school in our children’s book collection ranging from serious to silly, and I will be highlighting some of my personal favorites here.
This is a must-read! With bold, detailed illustrations and a story that follows a day at school for a diverse group of students, children are given the message that they are all welcome at school. “We’re part of a community. Our strength is our diversity. A shelter from adversity. All are welcome here.” This book promotes acceptance and brings warm feelings to readers.