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 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 Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12

Helping Kids Process Troubling News Events

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.

Read Aloud: The Breaking News

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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 5-12, Teen & Young Adult, Uncategorized

Was the Book Better?

You are likely familiar with the phrase “the movie was good, but the book was better”. But is that always true? Many movies are based on books, and oftentimes readers prefer the book over the movie. Sometimes as readers we may even feel like a movie ruined the story we had read and loved. Nothing beats reading a well-written story, and reading can feel like an intimate experience for the reader. We allow the words on the pages to guide us into envisioning the settings and characters to the extent that our imaginations take us. Movies on the other hand, can really bring these stories to life in a way that we, as readers, may not have even been able to imagine. I love watching movies based on books I’ve read and comparing their portrayal to how I’d imagined the story. There are many movies based on children’s literature. Your family may enjoy reading a book together and then watching the movie version of the story with a movie night! Have fun sharing your opinions with each other on which one you liked better, or maybe you’ll decide they were both well done. Take a look below for some great books that also have movies based on their stories.

So B. It by Sarah Weeks

Twelve-year-old Heidi has a lot of questions about where she came from, but it hasn’t been easy finding the answers. She lives in an adjoined apartment with her mother who has an intellectual disability, and Bernadette – her unofficial guardian who has agoraphobia. She doesn’t know who her father is, or how she and her mother came to live in their apartment. Her mother doesn’t have the ability to give her the answers to her questions. Bernadette doesn’t know where Heidi and her mother came from, but cares for Heidi as if she were her own daughter. A box of old photos of her mother is eventually discovered that provides clues to a location she’d lived. A determined Heidi sets out on an emotional adventure to that location to find out who she is. This is a touching story, and the movie can be requested here.

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