Posted in Uncategorized

Additional Resources for Helping Kids Process Troubling News Events

It would not be overstating the impact of the last year to think about each day as a fresh catastrophe. No one would try to deny that current events have been especially challenging to negotiate, even as a fully grown adult. What has it been like for children? Their shorter time on the planet means they do not possess the needed context to process the numerous crises that continue to wash over us with each news cycle. We published a resource guide early in January in the wake of the capitol insurgence, which you can read HERE. We also assembled a list of anti-racist resources, which you can read HERE. This post expands upon those resources with a focus on anti-racism and social justice. Let’s give our children the tools to approach the world with knowledge and compassion.

Picture Books for Younger Children

Learn more about the context for this book from a brief interview with the author, Marianne Celano HERE.

Books for Older Readers (8-12)

For Parents

Articles

Websites

A huge THANK YOU to Susan and Erica for assembling this list of resources. All listed books can be found in the Monarch catalog. Do not hesitate to reach out for troubleshooting help requesting material or for additional anti-racist resources.

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.

Continue reading “Love Your Mother Earth”
Posted in Bingo 2021, Bookish Bingo, Film, Uncategorized

Bookish Bingo Challenge: Watch a Movie with Subtitles on Kanopy

I don’t know about you but I have closed captioning on my TV at all times. Whether it’s due to my hearing, or wonky volume settings on the actual television, I can’t make hide nor hair of certain programs without subtitles. Since I like to have CC on anyway, I’m baffled when people won’t watch a foreign film because they “don’t want to read a movie”. Hey to each her own. This leads me to the latest installment of blog posts related to a square on Mead’s Bookish Bingo Challenge bingo card: Watch a Movie with Subtitles on Kanopy. If you have never used Kanopy before, why not give it a try and knock off a bingo square at the same time? Below, I listed several excellent films that as of this post’s writing, are available on Kanopy.

To access films with subtitles, log in and click on “BROWSE”. Hover over “MOVIES” and select “WORLD CINEMA” from the drop down menu. The following screen will provide lists of films by world region or interest area such as “Award Winners”.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) directed by Ana Lily Amirpour

Vampire movies are pretty sweet, right? Nothing better UNLESS it’s an Iranian vampire movie with a feminist tilt. Shot in sumptuous black and white, the girl, of walking home alone at night fame, is actually an undead eldritch horror wandering the streets of Bad City and eating people. The compelling and beautiful cinematography is punctuated by alternating scenes of horrific violence and/or tender understanding between adrift souls, and those who lack them. The Middle Eastern Cinema section of Kanopy contains dozens and dozens of movie titles that have probably never played at an American cinema, and certainly not in Sheboygan. I, for one, relish the chance to see a story narrated in an unfamiliar tongue, and still understand what the hell is going on, all praise be to subtitles. 

Here are some other films from the Middle Eastern Cinema collection on Kanopy:

  • Halfaouine (1995) directed by Ferid Boughedir
  • Timbuktu (2014) directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
  • The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) directed by Abbas Kiarostami
  • The Women’s Balcony (2016) directed by Emil Ben-Shimon
  • Women Without Men (2009) directed by Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari

Inferno (1980) directed by Dario Argento

Singling out a Dario Argento film to talk about Italian cinema is kind of fudging things since his productions lacked, how do you say? Ah yes, continuity, when it came to the language being spoken on-screen. His actors would often not speak the language in the script or even be able to talk to one another, and had to phonetically memorize lines only to have them overdubbed in post-production. The result is that single scenes careen back and forth from English to Italian and back without the actors breaking stride. Inferno is Argento at his creepy giallo best. See also: Suspiria (1977), also available on Kanopy. Similar to Inferno, Suspiria is light on plot, heavy on gorgeous color-saturated framing, and an insane prog-rock soundtrack courtesy of Goblin. Oh! And Udo Kier shows up eventually (heart eyes emoji).

Here are some other Italian-language films available on Kanopy:

  • 8 ½ (1963) directed by Federico Fellini
  • The Dinner (2014) directed by Ivano de Matteo
  • Il Posto (1961) directed by Ermanno Olmi
  • Love And Anarchy (1973) directed by Lina Wertmuller
  • Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (1963) directed by Vittorio De Sica

The Host (2006) directed by Bong Joon-ho 

Ope! Looks like I managed to talk about all horror movies again! Sorry, totally not sorry. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, who won a bunch of Oscars for 2019’s Parasite, The Host represents his third outing as a director. It broke screen and attendance records when it was released in Korea and remains one of their top-grossing films to this day. And, much like Parasite, thinking about The Host in hindsight feels like finding new secrets in a puzzlebox. Elements of slapstick, horror, melodrama, political satire, and more are in the fabric of this production. Those who love their monster movies with a huge dose of heart and humor will be delighted by The Host.

Here are some other Korean-language films available on Kanopy:

  • I Saw the Devil (2011) directed by Ji-woon Kim
  • Lady Vengeance (2005) directed by Park Chan-wook
  • Mother (2010) directed by Bong Joon-ho
  • The Royal Tailor (2014) directed by Wonsuk Lee
  • Seoul Station (2014) directed by Sang-ho Yeon

Fear not, Kanopy has non-horror movies for the non-spooky population. It’s just the direction my personal gravity has been pointing these days. Check back with the Mead blog often to get suggestions for other bingo squares throughout the year. As always, do not hesitate to reach out for troubleshooting help with tech stuff, or for additional recommendations. Before you know it, you’ll have a BINGO!

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:

Continue reading “Children’s Award Books 2021”
Posted in Uncategorized

5 Ways to Get Your Sea Shanty Fix

If you spend much time on the internet, you may have gotten caught up in the swelling sea shanty craze.

(If not, take a moment to enjoy this rendition of “Soon May the Wellerman Come” and join the crew of the nautically-obsessed.)

Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys collected by Hal Willner

Not sure where to start? Pick up this wide ranging collection of shanties and work songs, featuring artists from John C. Reilly to Sting. Sung in styles ranging from classic to rock, Willner’s collection showcases these songs both as they were and in their more modern, evolved forms.

Continue reading “5 Ways to Get Your Sea Shanty Fix”
Posted in Uncategorized

Fake News-Spotting; a Brief How-To

This week has been fraught by intense, rapidly changing news cycles. With so much information being released online at once it can be tricky, verging on the impossible for the uninitiated, to discern fact from fiction. Below, we have compiled some quick tips to help information-seekers hone in on quality online news sources. 

Here are some basic steps to keep in mind when you are evaluating your news source:

  • Consider the source Read more than the article you clicked on. Read the “about us” information. What is the site’s mission? What is their contact information? If these things are lacking it may be a sign that your news source is suspect. 
  • Don’t just read the headlines Headlines often use inflammatory language to get clicks. Make sure to read the article to understand what is really being reported on. 
  • Author check! Who wrote the article? Are they credible? Do a quick check to find out whose words you are reading. 
  • Supporting Sources If supporting sources are given, click the links. Clicking the links allows the opportunity to check if the information being used actually supports the story.
  • DATE CHECK! This one is all-caps shouting because I see this on social media all the time. Old stories do not necessarily relate to or support current events. 
  • Satire check! Are you accidentally reading news from a joke site? Even after a year like 2020, if the information being reported seems too outlandish, it is worth your time to dig deeper. The most famous example of satirical news is The Onion which I have known fully grown adults to fall for as legitimate news. 
  • Confirmation Bias Check! Our beliefs color our perception, so it’s important to reflect on personal opinions that can cloud judgement. 
  • Librarian Check! When all else fails and you still feel uncertain, your friendly local librarians were BORN to help you find quality, reliable news sources. 
Continue reading “Fake News-Spotting; a Brief How-To”
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.

Continue reading “Look Ahead to a New Series”
Posted in Adult, Uncategorized

Close but no Cigar, COVID

My housemate arrived home one day to say that “a coworker came to work and announced his wife tested positive for COVID and then he wouldn’t leave the building.” Well. Isn’t that some marvelous news. I have been wearing a mask in public. I have been keeping socially distanced from friends and family. I have been foregoing things I love in the interest of my health and the health of the public, so it was with great dismay that I found myself needing to isolate despite taking every measure to stay safe. Here’s what I learned from that experience:

The Pandemic was not built for people without an automobile

Continue reading “Close but no Cigar, COVID”
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.

Continue reading “How Are You Feeling?”
Posted in Adult, Nonfiction, Uncategorized

Warm Curry for Cold Nights

We’ve been having some nice weather recently – but as we all know, it’s inevitable that the nights are going to start getting colder and colder. And what is better on a cold night than a warm curry? Here are some cookbooks that should help no matter what type of curry is your favorite!

Complete Curry Cookbook by Byron Ayanoglu

When people hear “curry,” some people think of India, some of Thailand – but there are a lot of different curries from around the world. And that’s the subtitle: 250 recipes from around the world! So if you’re looking to expand your tastes in curries, this would be an excellent choice.

Continue reading “Warm Curry for Cold Nights”