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Picture Book Activity Blog w/PBS KIDS

As summer winds down to a close and the cold weather comes creeping in, a few new picture books give us the warm reminder that we can always transport ourselves to somewhere greener through our imagination and a finely illustrated and well-written book.  New to the Library this month are seven titles that stand out for not only being beautiful depictions of nature, but also for illustrating the interconnection between all living things.  PBS Learning Media activities have been paired with each picture book to extend learning to home, your backyard, and your neighborhood.

Whirl

by Deborah Kerble

Whirlers, helicopters- did you have a name for maple seeds when you were a child? The way they spin as they fall freely through the air is a sure sign that the warm season is in full swing.  Follow the life-cycle of a maple seed as it falls from the tree, and travels about before being planted in this beautiful wordless picture book from Deborah Kerble.  The gentle illustrations are bound together with a thread of wind that entwines each of the pages as you create the dialogue with your imagination. A back page of maple seed facts inspires young explorers to conduct their own experiments with seeds. 

Curious about the way seeds travel?  Explore with this video Seeds on the Move with Meghan from Growing Great, and compare the shapes and sizes of seeds and how this might affect how they move.  Next play Seed Racer from Plum Landing and help an extraterrestrial collect and plant seeds on the mountain to help keep the ecosystem healthy.  The game is interspersed with facts about seeds, so have fun playing while learning!

A Dream for Every Season

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A Shameless Plug For A24 Movies

Fun fact: when I’m out and about and see anything that features an “A” and “24”, I feel a jolt of excitement. No matter where I am, I’ll whip out my phone and snap a photo of this occasion. It then gets put on my Instagram where I tag the account @a24 and just feel slightly more satisfied. I feel like a weirdo but I take solace in the fact I’m far from the only cinephile that does this.

Mead’s very own A24!

This, my friends, is the power of A24!

Let me explain.

A24 is, at its simplest form, a film company. The company does both production and distribution of films. (Fun history: This wasn’t always the case; A24 started off as just a distribution company.) I believe that A24 is important, even crucial, to the world of cinema. A24 excels at bringing diverse movies into the world. They work hard to have diverse casting, strong female leads, debuting directors, and so many different kinds of stories. A24 has a lineup of movies that spans across literally all genres! Honestly, the most common theme with A24’s movies is that they’re probably going to be hella unique. While I don’t love every A24 movie made, I will happily try out any film their logo is on.

The logo! It’s so pretty!

To me, it’s crucial to support a group promoting fresh story ideas and diversity. I hope this is important to you, too.

To watch a plethora of A24 films, check out Mead’s wicked video collection or Kanopy, a library provided movie streaming service. Both are amazing, free options! Not sure where to begin in the A24 catalog? Check out my list of recommended A24 films below!

Eighth Grade
Want to relive the horror of eighth grade? Me either. Still, this film perfectly captures the awkwardness, humor, and heart of an eighth grade girl.

Ex Machina
Would you go on a work trip to see the newest technology breakthroughs if you had to sign a non-disclosure agreement? Our main character says sure. Things get complicated when he meets the almost human AI, Ava.

Moonlight
Best picture winner following an African-American boy growing up.

Under the Silver Lake
A modern Hollywood mystery with Andrew Garfield learning some weird sh*t after his neighbor disappears.

The Farewell
A girl joins her family in China for a fake wedding to say goodbye to her dying Grandma. Grandma doesn’t know this is the reason for this shin-dig. Based on a true story. And I thought my family had drama!

Swiss Army Man
Is Harry Potter dead to you? Well, is this film, he literally is. Danielle Radcliff plays a zealous corpse that helps pass the time when a man marooned on an island bonds with him. Yes, it’s as bizarre as it sounds.

The Florida Project
A coming-of-age tale that takes place at a purple hotel right by Disneyworld. Features Willem Dafoe in not enough scenes.

Saint Maud
Creepy vibes meets religion meets hospice in this psychological thriller. Spooky vibes = perfect for fall.

The Lobster
In this film’s world, if you don’t find a significant other, you’re going to be made into an animal of your choice. Our main character selects a lobster in case this is will be his fate. This is just the start of this film. And I thought online dating was brutal.

Everything Everywhere All at Once
Imagine a superhero multiverse movie with, well, a little bit of everything. Seriously, there’s even bagels.

I had to restrain from listing even more titles in my excitement of gushing about these films. All of A24’s films are so different from each other that I feel comfortable saying there’s something for everyone. Now what are you waiting for? Go to our catalog! Download canopy! Watch new films!

-Aubrey

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Picture Book Activity Blog w/PBS Kids

Change happens regardless of the season. But in Fall, a new school year is guaranteed to cause some shake-ups and anxiety both for children and caregivers. Many children will be subject to new routines, including heading to school or daycare for the first time, and navigating the difficult emotions that come with separation from their caregiver.  Other children may be moving to a new city, or switching schools; or maybe their friends have moved or will be attending a different school and they are struggling with ways to stay connected.  While not traditionally thought of as grief, these are moments of loss that require gentle reassurance that change is normal, and that it takes time to adjust and get used to new things.  

There are a few stand-out titles new to the Library this month that explore the theme of change and connection.  We’ve paired them with exceptional resources from PBS LearningMedia to help extend your learning.

See You Someday Soon

by Pat Zietlow Miller

In this heartfelt picture book, a child imagines ways to connect with a grandmother who lives far way. Whether by rocket ship or jet pack, train or in a plane, any journey is worth it to see someone you love.

With inviting and accessible text by Pat Zietlow Miller paired with inventive art from the critically-acclaimed illustrator Suzy Lee, this picture book reminds us that, no matter the physical distance between us, the people we care about are never far from our hearts. The book features clever and innovative die-cuts throughout, adding a creative, thoughtful and discussion-worthy novelty aspect to this layered and deeply emotional story.

Explore some of the ways we can keep in touch with Penny and KidVision VPK kids and join them on their Post Office Field Trip to learn about the journey of a letter.  Martha’s Email from Martha Speaks series, explores how email works when Helen helps her grandmother set up an email account 

And in this video, I Really Want to See You from Let’s Learn, Maria Begg-Roberson and her son, Miller, read I Really Want to See You, Grandma! by Tarō Gomi. After the story, they lead viewers in a craft to send to someone they love and miss.

The Long Ride Home

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Posted in Fiction, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12, New & Upcoming, Uncategorized

PICTURE BOOK ACTIVITY BLOG w/PBS KIDS

New to the Library this month are several titles that encourage kids to look and listen carefully.   Learning to look and listen carefully are important when considering all aspects of learning.

When we look and listen carefully we are slowing down, allowing time to pay attention to the smaller details like the sounds of words while learning to read.  When we make careful observations through looking and listening, we notice details about the world around us, helping to build basic science skills and background knowledge to support later learning.  And focusing in on one thing at a time is a principle of mindfulness, which is known to decrease stress levels and allow for more productive learning.  Check out these titles from our collection and PBS LearningMedia activities to encourage active looking and listening.

Look and Listen by Dianne White

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Gaming in a Winter Wonderland

The weather has been less than predictable lately. That’s not too unusual for Midwestern winters. But that means I don’t get out much lately, not that I need to with so many new games. Here’s a sample of the games to look forward to in 2022. Under each listing, you’ll find the game’s description from our catalog.

Elden Ring (PS4/PS5/Xbox)

“The Golden Order has been broken. Rise, Tarnished, and be guided by grace to brandish the power of the Elden Ring and become an Elden Lord in the Lands Between. ELDEN RING, developed by FromSoftware Inc. and produced by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc., is a fantasy action-RPG and FromSoftware’s largest game to date, set within a world full of mystery and peril. A NEW FANTASY WORLD – Journey through the Lands Between, a new fantasy world created by Hidetaka Miyazaki, creator of the influential DARK SOULS video game series, and George R. R. Martin, author of The New York Times best-selling fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Unravel the mysteries of the Elden Ring’s power. Encounter adversaries with profound backgrounds, characters with their own unique motivations for helping or hindering your progress, and fearsome creatures. WORLD EXPLORATION IN THE LANDS BETWEEN – ELDEN RING features vast fantastical landscapes and shadowy, complex dungeons that are connected seamlessly. Traverse the breathtaking world on foot or on horseback, alone or online with other players, and fully immerse yourself in the grassy plains, suffocating swamps, spiraling mountains, foreboding castles and other sites of grandeur on a scale never seen before in a FromSoftware title. GENRE-DEFINING GAMEPLAY – Create your character in FromSoftware’s refined action-RPG and define your playstyle by experimenting with a wide variety of weapons, magical abilities, and skills found throughout the world. Charge into battle, pick off enemies one-by-one using stealth, or even call upon allies for aid. Many options are at your disposal as you decide how to approach exploration and combat.”

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

Children’s Award Books 2022

The American Library Association recently announced the winners of the 2022 Youth Media Awards. Materials for children and teens were selected by committees of literature and media specialists under different categories for their excellence. I’ve listed some of these remarkable award winners below with their publisher’s summary, and also included links to our catalog so you can reserve your copies today! Scroll to the end of the post for a link to the full list of this year’s award recipients.

John Newbery Medal

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
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Posted in Adult, Nonfiction, Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolutions: is 2022 the year you decide NOT to go on a diet?

It seems that every January we are inundated with ads, articles, and conversations about diet, weight, and body size. As we take some time to reflect on the last year and make plans for the upcoming one, can we resolve to reject the dieting cycle in favor of truly improving our mental and physical health? The following books can help you shift your relationship to food, exercise, and body image and their connections to mental health in positive ways. 

Also, consider some self-development goals that are not connected to diet or exercise: sign up to learn a new skill with Gale Courses, enroll in one of many Great Courses through Hoopla, or learn a new language with Rosetta Stone.

Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison

Over two-thirds of Americans have dieted at some point in their lives– and upwards of 90% of people who intentionally lose weight gain it back within five years, often gaining more weight than they lost. Harrison shows that diet culture, a system of beliefs that equates thinness to health and moral virtue, promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, and demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others. It’s sexist, racist, and classist– and embedded in the fabric of our society. Harrison exposes all the ways it robs people of their time, money, health, and happiness. She provides a radical alternative to diet culture, and helps readers reclaim their bodies, minds, and lives so they can focus on the things that truly matter.

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Posted in Adult, Award Winners, Fiction, Uncategorized

Library Reads: Top 10 of 2021

Every December, hundreds of librarians from across the country vote for their favorite books of the year. This year’s picks include a thriller about what happens to the survivors after the credits roll in a horror flick, a historical novel about an abandoned mother who works to save her family during the Dust Bowl, and a fantastical love story between a ghost who needs to cross over to the other side and the ferryman responsible for transporting the souls of the dead.

Top Pick: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Elsa Martinelli has two children, an unhappy marriage, and a farm that she stubbornly helps tend. But when the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl hit, the family’s relations are stretched to the brink. Abandoned by her husband, faced with dying livestock and failing crops, Elsa must choose whether to stay with the land she loves or flee in search of a better life for her and her children.

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Bookish Bingo: Read a Biography about an Influential BIPOC Woman in STEM

This week’s Mead Bookish Bingo challenge uses a couple of anagrams in order to fit on the game square, so let’s start there. If you are unfamiliar, BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and this week’s challenge is specifically about BIPOC women in STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Pictured above is Dr. Mae C. Jemison: physician, engineer, scientist, and NASA astronaut. Jemison was also the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

STEM fields are male-dominated, and like artists, many women in STEM receive recognition posthumously. One famous example is Ada Lovelace.  Ada Lovelace is now credited with being the first computer programmer because of the algorithm she created to be carried out by a machine, Charles Babbage’s analytical engine—a predecessor of the electronic computer which was invented over one hundred years before the first modern computer was built.

Lovelace was not a woman of color, but she is a notable woman of STEM and is the namesake of the international holiday Ada Lovelace Day (ALD).  ALD is recognized worldwide on the second Tuesday in October to raise the profile of women in STEM and celebrate their achievements.  The intention is to inspire more women and girls to pursue their interests and careers in STEM.  For more information on ALD and events taking place, check out findingada.com.

Women of color are even less represented and acknowledged than white women for their achievements, so I’d like to spotlight a few more STEM superstars that everyone should know.

Among the many women of note in “Born Curious”, Dr. Patricia Era Bath was both a physician and inventor who created the Laserphaco Probe—the machine that uses lasers to remove cataracts from eyes.  Read more about Dr. Bath and her many other accomplishments, including being one of the first black women to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame!

Dr. Ellen Ochoa is an American engineer, astronaut and was the first Hispanic director of the Johnson Space Center. Ochoa was also the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

The Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid was the first woman and Muslim recipient to win the Pritzker Prize, known as the Nobel for architecture. Hadid was also the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) gold medal.

While “Women in Science” is chock-full of amazing female scientists, Chien-Shiung Wu should be particularly noted as a Chinese-American physicist who made significant contributions in the fields of nuclear and particle physics. Wu worked on the Manhattan Project, where she helped develop the process for separating uranium into uranium-235 and uranium-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion.

In my search to discover the best and most current books on women in STEM to share with you, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that there are not very many full-length biographies for adults written about women and their successes in STEM fields, particularly BIPOC women. Are you listening writers?

In the meantime, here are a few additional titles that include brief biographies on many influential women in STEM: “Wonder Women” by Sam Maggs, “Women in Space” by Karen Bush Gibson, “Twentieth Century Women Scientists” by Lisa Yount, “Women Who Dared” by Linda Skeers, and “Women of Steel and Stone” by Anna M. Lewis.

And if you haven’t read it or seen the movie, yet, check out “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly. Just do it! It’s amazing.

One last thing. I would be remiss if I did not mention one of my absolute favorite fall events: Mead Public Library’s Tea & Tech: Girls’ STEM Day coming up on October 23. This virtual program is open to girls ages 8-17 and will feature NASA Langley Research Center’s Dr. Julia Cline, Gearbox Lab’s Isabel Mendiola, Spectrum News 1’s Brooke Brighton, and Laser Tech FTC—as well as, hands-on activities and lightning talks by local women in STEM.

And tea. Of course, we will have tea. And swag. We have some amazing swag bag goodies to share with our T&T participants, courtesy of Starbucks, MilliporeSigma, Gearbox Labs, Spectrum News 1, the Wisconsin Science Festival, and Mead Public Library.

Looking for even more STEM activities this month?  Check out the Wisconsin Science Festival.

*Details of the featured women in STEM were courtesy of Wikipedia, NASA, and the National Women’s History Museum.

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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