Now that the weather is warming up, you may be looking for activities for the kids to do outside at home. If you haven’t already, give gardening a try! Gardening provides a relaxing outdoor activity while adding beauty to your space, or food for your tummy. Whether you have a large yard or no yard – there are plenty of ways to incorporate gardens into your life. You could plant a bunch of veggies in your yard, grow a small potted plant, create a fairy garden, plant a tree, or even paint some rocks to create a colorful rock garden. Aside from being a fun activity, kids will activate the creative side of their brain by planning their garden. They will also apply some math and science skills through measuring the spacing/depth when planting seeds, observing garden insects, and making observations on the growth of their plants. Gardening is a great stress reliever as well – listening to the sounds of nature and digging in the soil can feel quite soothing. And seeing the growth of whatever they decide to plant will provide a sense of accomplishment. Picky eaters may even be willing to try new foods if they grow them themselves! I have some picture book recommendations with garden themed stories that may inspire your kids to want to try planting their own gardens. An additional book recommendation has some fun garden experiments to try as well. Even if you decide not to plant a garden, these stories will encourage creative thoughts about gardens that will lead kids to imagine what they’d want to grow in their own garden. This may further inspire an enjoyable discussion and possibly motivate them to want to draw or create their own garden from other materials. Happy gardening!
The simple, yet descriptive rhyming text of this story pairs with delightful illustrations to describe a community garden. Children will see how gardens take work, but also how rewarding they are. The people in this story put a lot of work into their garden, but find ways to enjoy themselves while they wait for their plants to grow. Then they all come together to celebrate the fruits of their labor with a garden feast.
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.
Maisie Dobbs becomes a maid in 1910, at just 13 years old. When her employer discovers her keen mind, she is instead entered into an apprenticeship with a friend of the family. When her former employer’s son signs over his entire fortune to a suspicious, reclusive “retreat” for WWI veterans, Maisie has a chance to repay her old debt to her patron, but doing so means confronting her own ghosts from the Great War. (always available in audio)
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!
You may already know that Mead has a “lucky day” collection of books and movies – new items that are first-come, first-served but have no waitlist. But now, you also have access to Lucky Day ebooks and audiobooks through WPLC/Overdrive/Libby! “No waiting required – these popular titles are available now! 7 day loan period for ebooks and 14 day loan period for audiobooks.”
Looking for something to read right away? Like with the physical Lucky Day items, the selection may change, but here are three that I’ve read and enjoyed that were available as of Monday morning. You can also browse everything in the Lucky Day collection that’s currently available with this link: https://wplc.overdrive.com/wplc-89-116/content/collection/1046004
Anne Perry has multiple mystery series, but the William Monk series is my favorite – he is a London detective and later commander of the Thames River Police in Victorian England. If you can bear to wait, I would start with the first book in the series – The Face of a Stranger – but there’s enough background given that you’ll have no trouble jumping in here, either.
I want to acknowledge all of the parents and caregivers that are adjusting to this whirlwind of lifestyle changes due to the pandemic, while trying to hold yourselves together for the kids in this uncertain time. If your social media feeds are anything like mine, you are being bombarded by free educational resources for families right now – which is pretty great! But it also may feel overwhelming at a time when you are simply trying to mentally process what is currently happening in your life. Aside from protecting ourselves and others from illness, we all need to pay attention to our overall wellness. This can be hard to do while in the midst of these major changes and while feeling cooped up inside. If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety, stress, or grief over the current situation – please, acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to feel them. Something that has given me a sense of peace is knowing we are all going through this together, even at a social distance. Try to take some time to yourself and trust that things will eventually fall into place with new routines. Some suggestions you may want to consider to help give your mind a break: go for a walk, meditate, listen to music, read a book, create something with your hands, journal, or exchange funny memes with friends – laughter is a great stress reliever! We have many ebooks about mindfulness and mental wellness that can currently be accessed through our catalog that may be helpful to you during this time. I’ve highlighted a few below. You can also view videos to help with stress management through Kanopy’s movie streaming site – I’ve included the link to one I’ve found helpful below as well.
This book promotes methods of mindfulness that allow parents to acknowledge their emotions and to be present in the moment. It is broken down into small subject areas that make for easy reading. There are tips for creating a relaxing home, dealing with emotions, handling change, handling loss and grief, the benefits of spending time outdoors, and many other subjects that are relevant to families. You will find these methods helpful with managing stress at home during this time, and any time going forward.
Thanks for the following to my co-worker Aleah! I asked her to recommend some feel-good movies to me, and she sent me the following along with the little descriptions. Now you, too, can “occupy your mind with these feel-good movies you can find through Kanopy’s movie streaming site!”
Introducing Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav. Follow these 3 out-of-date vampires while they navigate modern day nightlife as well as figuring out their relationship as roommates. This movie takes thrills and chills to a whole new comedic level! Anneliese’s note: YES, this movie is absolutely hilarious! WATCH IT!
March 2020 is shaping up to be a huge month for new releases. Huge enough, in fact, that we’ve had to split it into two blog posts. Below, you’ll find the first seven of our trending new books. They are all in the library system already, so get on those waitlists quick! Descriptions below are provided by the publishers.
Stanford Solomon has a shocking, thirty-year-old secret. And it’s about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford Solomon is actually Abel Paisley, a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend.
And now, nearing the end of his life, Stanford is about to meet his firstborn daughter, Irene Paisley, a home health aide who has unwittingly shown up for her first day of work to tend to the father she thought was dead.
These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem. There is Vera, whose widowhood forced her into the role of single mother. There are two daughters and a granddaughter who have never known they are related. And there are others, like the house boy who loved Vera, whose lives might have taken different courses if not for Abel Paisley’s actions.
These Ghosts Are Family explores the ways each character wrestles with their ghosts and struggles to forge independent identities outside of the family and their trauma. The result is an engrossing portrait of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, and the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, and regret. This electric and luminous family saga announces the arrival of a new American talent.
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.