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.
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.
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.
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!
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
School is out and summer vacation is upon us! This is a great time for kids to read for pleasure and also to keep up with the reading skills they worked hard to develop during the school year. If you have a new reader transitioning into reading chapter books, I have some early chapter book series suggestions for you. Early chapter books are written for readers that are still building up their reading stamina, and include stories with illustrations and short chapters. Click on the links below if you are interested in reading more about the individual books in these series and would like to reserve a copy from our catalog.
This series is written like a diary with chapters for each daily entry. The short text and colorful illustrations will appeal to beginning readers. A young owl named Eva records her daily experiences in her diary. Readers will enjoy following Eva’s life as she learns valuable lessons in these easy-to-ready books with high-interest stories.
The Bad Guys want to do good things in this funny series that flips the script on these normally bad characters. With short text and fun illustrations, even reluctant readers will enjoy the hilarious situations these bad guys get into as they set out on their missions to be heroes.
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.
With busy days of working and doing schoolwork at home, you may be looking for ways to break up the day a bit. Have you considered having a storytime at home? How about a family storytime that caregivers can sit back and enjoy? You can even set it up for the kids and take advantage of having a bit of free time for yourself while the kids are occupied by their story. Mead Library cardholders have access to Hoopla. Hoopla offers a variety of media for both children and adults to check out – up to 10 items per month. Included in this media selection are thousands of children’s audiobooks. There are short stories for younger listeners, as well as chapter books for older listeners. You can search for specific books, or simply browse the children’s selection. I have some recommendations for chapter books that will appeal to school-age children. Try pairing a story up with another relaxing activity, such as coloring or doing a puzzle. Listen to a couple of chapters, and enjoy a screen-free break in your day!