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Children's literary news, book reviews, and more.  rss-icon

    by Kris L | Feb 12, 2017

    It Came In the Mail

    In this fun new picture book by Ben Clanton, Liam learns how fun it is to send and receive letters in the mail.

    With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it's a great time to help your young children write notes and decorate cards for friends and loved ones. Preschoolers can even “write” notes themselves – and then have you help them address the envelopes and mail them.  Both activities help build important early literacy skills. You’ll be having fun and building your child's brain at the same time!


    Looking for more ideas to build early literacy skills in your children?  Talk to your local children’s librarian, download the ACPL Family App, or visit one of our storytimes.    Write on!

    by Dawn Stoops | Feb 09, 2017

    It's cold and shivery outside. We've been bundling up the kids with hats and mittens for what seems like forever, but summer is on the way (despite the groundhog seeing his shadow last week). Did you know that library staff have been working on plans for our 2017 summer reading program since last September?

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    Here are just some of the things we've got in the works for June and July.

    A magic show by Daniel Lusk

    A kids yoga program

    Free lunch sites

    More than 5,000 free book awards for participants

    More than 1,000 storytimes and programs for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school age kids

    hundreds of smiling library staff here to help

    It takes a lot of time and dedication to plan, schedule, and prepare for all this great stuff. We take summer fun pretty seriously (and we toss in lots of summer learning, too). June 1st will be here before we know it so keep an eye on the library's website for more information coming this Spring.

    by Dawn Stoops | Feb 07, 2017
    Ready to have fun with language?
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    Here's a new picture book, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Appelhans, about two creatures who have a tongue twister of a playdate. First we meet greyhound and then we meet groundhog. Both are round and both love to run...around of course!

    Preschoolers will love the big, washy illustrations. Little ones will also love listening to adults try to read all those 'ou' words without mixing it up with a 'groundhoug' in there too.

    To check out this, and other astOUnding books, visit your library today!

    by Dawn Stoops | Feb 04, 2017
    Anyone who loves to garden knows that this is a very special time of year! It's the dreaming and planning part of the year when seed catalogs arrive and hopes of a great harvest begin to germinate.

    Kids and gardens go great together! There are heaps of studies that show how kids grow by spending time outdoors, learning about where food comes from, and getting dirty. There are also plenty of books about how to grow gardens with kids. Here are some great books to get you started.

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    Kids in the Garden
    by Elizabeth McCorquodale

    About half this book is basic gardening info and common practices that every good gardener knows. The other half of the book are two page projects like starting sunflower seeds in pots and growing different kinds of potatoes. There are also recipes for some really tasty stuff!

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    Let's Garden: A step by step introduction
    by Clara Lidstrom & Annakarin Nyberg

    I love the look of this book but it feels a little less like "A Step by Step Introduction" and a little more like a collection of fun and funky gardening projects. The text is brief, but there are projects to paint "Head Pots" and plant "Rabbit Poop Beads".

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    First Garden Activity Book
    by Angela Wilkes

    With a little wider range than just garden vegetables, this book presents info on growing a variety of things from seeds, pits, and cuttings.

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    Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots
    by Sharon Lovejoy

    With charming illustrations instead of photos, this 158 page book covers lots of topics and has great ideas for kid-friendly garden projects like climbing plant tents and garden stepping stones.

    I also recommend a book called The Victory Garden Kids' Book by Marjorie Waters that explains a lot of details that other kids' gardening books miss, like how to prepare the soil in the spring and how to clean out your garden and get it ready for winter.

    Ask about any of these books the next time you're at the library. We'd love to help you find just the right gardening inspiration!

    by Kris L. | Feb 01, 2017
    Babies love to look at bright colors and simple illustrations.  Check the Great Books for Babies Booklist for more fun titles, ask your local children's librarian, or attend a Baby Storytime.   Sharing books with babies is important!

    Look, Look! Baby Animal Friends
    Five Green and Speckled Frogs
    Goodnight Bear
    Hello Lamb by Jane Cabrera
    Moving Blocks
    I See You See Day

    by Heather G. | Jan 27, 2017
    Marvelous Mitten

    How do you make a picture book story come to life? The best way is to allow children to become a part of the story. This is exactly what the Allen County Public Library has been doing for 18 years with the story of The Mitten by Jan Brett. In the story a little boy loses his white mitten while playing in the snow.  The animals of the woods discovered this knitted mitten and one by one crawl in to get warm. Even though each animal is bigger than the last, the mitten just keeps stretching to fit them all.

    In 1998 the library commissioned the creation of a giant size mitten to help Jan Brett’s story come to life. The current mitten measures 9 feet long and 4 feet wide and has been used for storytimes throughout ACPL as well as in child care centers and schools.  

    Preschool through 2nd grade children have enjoyed being a part of the magical story The Mitten. After the story has been read to the children each child gets to decide what animal from the story they would like to be as they crawl into the mitten. Once the mitten is full, the storyteller pretends to sneeze and all the children come out of the mitten just like when the mouse tickled the bear’s nose and he sneezed in the book.

    If you have young children you won’t want them to miss The Magnificent Mitten Program. The schedule for this program is:

    Grabill Branch Wednesday, February 1, 10:30 am
    Waynedale Branch 10:30 am on Monday, February 6 and Tuesday, February 7.
    Pontiac Branch Friday, February 10, 10:30 am
    Woodburn Branch Friday, February 17, 10:30 am

    Can't make it to a program? Get The Mitten on hold and print this "Put the Animals in the Mitten" activity for retelling! Story retelling helps your child reinforce that stories have a beginning, middle, and end as well as reiterate the meaning of included vocabulary. The Mitten features a mole, hedgehog, and other animals that may be unfamiliar.

    by Dawn S | Jan 23, 2017
    This morning the American Library Association announced the 2017 Youth Media Awards. Congratulations to all the winners!

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    Newbery Medal Winner

    The Girl Who Drank the Moon
    written by Kelly Barnhill

    Honor Books
    “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,” written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan 
    “The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog,” written by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly
    “Wolf Hollow,” written by Lauren Wolk

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    Caldecott Medal Winner

    Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat
    written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

    Honor Books
    “Leave Me Alone!” illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol 
    “Freedom in Congo Square,” illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford 
    "Du Iz Tak?" illustrated and written by Carson Ellis
    "They All Saw a Cat," illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel 

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    Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award
    for most distinguished informational book for children

    March: Book Three
    written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powel

    Honor Books
    “Giant Squid,” written by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann,
    “Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story,” written by Caren Stelson
    “Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II,” written by Albert Marrin
    “We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler,” written by Russell Freedman

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    Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
    for the most distinguished beginning reader book

    We Are Growing: A Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Book
    written by Laurie Keller.

    Honor Books
    “Good Night Owl,” written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli 
    “Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper,” written and illustrated by Mike Twohy “Go Otto Go!” written and illustrated by David Milgrim
    “The Infamous Ratsos,” written by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Matt Myers

    Many of these titles are available in eBook and audiobook formats as well as traditional print versions. Take a look at the winners for yourself!
    by Miriam R | Jan 20, 2017
    Today, children and teen librarians as well as book lovers all over the world, are waiting for the American Library Association Youth Media Award announcements on Monday, January 23. 
    Poster image for Best Early Reader Book of the Year program
    While you are waiting, you have an opportunity to vote in this year's ACPL Mock Geisel election this Sunday, January 22.  Drop by Children's Services at the Main Library any time between 2:00 and 4:00 pm and look over our collection of some of the best early reader books published in 2016.  Vote for your favorite and learn about the real Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. 
    You may even win a book!

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    Here are some of the books we are considering:
    Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World
    Duck, Duck, Porcupine!
    Go, Otto, Go!
    Is That Wise Pig?
    My House
    Owl Sees Owl
    Rabbit and Robot and Ribbit
    Snail and Worm
    The Cookie Fiasco
    The Thank You Book
    They All Saw a Cat
    We Are Growing
    We Found a Hat

    by Dawn Stoops | Jan 18, 2017
    I initially picked up this book because it was so pretty! All that pink with flowers called to me when I first saw it in November. After reading The Lines on Nana's Face by Simona Ciraolo, however, I had many other reasons to love this book.
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    Our young narrator wonders why her grandma has so many lines on her face. She seems to look happy and sad and worried and excited all at once. Nana explains that the lines on her face are where she keeps her memories. For the majority of the story, the little girl points to lines and asks about the memory for each one. Each time, the grandmother gives a short, simple explanation then we turn the page and see a beautiful full page spread of the event she is thinking about. So, for instance, one of Nana's wrinkles contains the memory of "that morning, early one spring, when I solved a great mystery". The next picture shows a young Nana peeking behind a bush to find her cat tucked away snugly with four new kittens.

    I can think of so many people who will enjoy this story; small ones with grandparents either near or far, older kids who like to ponder how the pictures tell important parts of the story, and adults who love sharing memories and appreciate the wisdom (and wrinkles) that many memories bring. The art is such a treat too! I encourage you to stop by your local library and take a look.
    by Miss Heather | Jan 14, 2017
    While it is important to read picture books (often over and over again) with your preschooler, reading non-fiction is just as valuable. Often the theme of a picture book will lead you to a non-fiction book naturally. Researchers have acknowledged the importance of non-fiction particularly when building background knowledge and vocabulary. Gone are the factual books meant only for research with few pictures and lengthy paragraphs. Today our shelves feature non-fiction picture books meant for sharing or even for reading independently.

    Hibernation is a fascinating topic for kids and there is much to learn about the variety of animals and different ways those animals prepare and deal with winter. Here are four books about hibernation--two are non-fiction titles heavy on photographs; two are illustrated with drawings and use repetitive phrases making them more along the line of a traditional picture book. Click on the book cover to find the book at ACPL.

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    As you share these or other non-fiction titles you'll want to take notice of unusual words particular to the topic. For this theme, hibernation itself may not be known to your child. There are two kinds of hibernation: true hibernation in which woodchucks, ground squirrels, hedgehogs, chipmunks, and bats enter a state of lowered body temperature, heart rate, and breathing, and torpor, the state bears, raccoons, skunks, and opossums enter. Torpor is more like a state of light sleep that includes time to forage between winter snows. Cold-blooded animals like snakes, turtles, and frogs bury themselves below the frostline.

    Ask a librarian for more non-fiction books great for preschoolers and enjoy them while YOU hibernate this winter!
    by Dawn Stoops | Jan 10, 2017
    New fiction for the new year!

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    by Dawn Stoops | Jan 06, 2017
    Downtown Fort Wayne will have winter fun of all kinds at Winterval on Saturday, January 28th. Some of the many events happening that day take place at the Main Library.
    Children can get crafty with snowflakes anytime between 2:00-4:00 pm in the Children's Services department.
    snowflake craft supplies
    There will also be an ice sculpting demonstration on the Library Plaza from noon to 2:00 pm.
    ice sculpture of stack of books
    Come celebrate the wonders of winter at Winterval 2017!
    by Dawn Stoops | Jan 04, 2017
    Duck, Duck, Porcupine! is a delightful book by Salina Yoon.
    cover image for Duck Duck Porcupine

    With a nice mix of big colorful pictures and word bubbles, this picture book spans categories by feeling kind of like a comic book and a little like a chapter book with three sections. As the stories progress, Big Duck and Porcupine have all of the speaking parts, and Little Duck does much of the comedic work while not saying a thing.

    My favorite chapter is called "The Campout". Bossy Big Duck has some crazy ideas about what they should take on their camping trip. Little Duck works silently to collect the few items he needs and then has a lovely time by the fire while the others load themselves down with snacks, shovels, and other odd things on Big Duck's list. This is one of those great books for young readers where the pictures tell a part of the story all on their own. It's also great that Little Duck seems to occasionally 'talk' to the reader with glances like the one on the cover. Sometimes I imagine him saying "Really?" and rolling his eyes.

    Give this book a try and keep a lookout for another collection of stories by Yoon coming later this month!
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    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 29, 2016

    I love collecting materials for preschool storytime. There are so many wonderful books, songs, rhymes, and activities to share! Just this week I piled my desk high with teddy bear books to decide which ones should make the cut for read-alouds next week.

    I'd like to share some of my favorites. They all hit that preschool audience, though, some are better one on one and others work great with a room full or preschoolers.

    cover image for where's my teddy
    Where's My Teddy?
    by Jez Alborough

    It's not just kids who need teddy bears! This story has an adorable twist as a little boy searches the woods to find his lost teddy. Preschoolers will love the cartoonish pictures.

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    My Bear and Me
    written by Barbara Maitland
    illustrated by Lisa Flather
    The youngest bear lovers will enjoy this story with bright pictures and simple text like "We sing together, we swing together,". This girl and bear pair share a fun day and a cozy night.

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    George in the Dark
    by Madeline Valentine
    It's tough to be brave in the dark, but when you're without your bear, then it's almost impossible! Preschoolers will love this relatable book with such an expressive protagonist.

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    I Love You Mister Bear
    by Sylvie Wickstrom
    Mister Bear is a yard sale find, and in this three part story he gets a new home and a little extra love. Showcasing pretend play and everyday activities like taking a bath and getting dressed, this is a preschool crowd-pleaser.

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    Ira Sleeps Over
    by Bernard Waber
    I have to add a childhood favorite! This one is pretty long and thus not really suitable for group read-alouds. When you've got a preschooler snuggled on your lap, this is such a fun read. And afterwards, you can have conversations about fears and friends and sisters and all sorts of things.

    What are some of your favorite Teddy Bear stories?
    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 27, 2016
    We know you love these fabulous characters, so enjoy their new books!

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    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 24, 2016
    This week the Aboite Branch Library had a special guest!
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    Here's hoping that your holidays are full of wonder.
    by Miss Heather | Dec 21, 2016

    Winter BreakLooking for winter break fun? ACPL’s got you covered! We are offering drop in events as well as scheduled programs. This list includes elementary thru teen events. Contact the hosting library for more details.

    Aboite Branch:

    Tabletop Crafts (a new craft each day), December 12-17
    Pokemon Party, Thursday, December 29, 2-3pm

    Georgetown Branch:
    Lego Club, Wednesdays, December 21 & 28 and January 4, 3-4:30pm

    Grabill Branch:
    Lego Club, Wednesday, January 4, 3:30-4:30pm

    Hessen Cassel Branch:
    Winter Break Fun (make-and-take crafts), December 21-January 4, 10am-6pm
    Winter Storybook Fun (stories, games, snack about snow), Wednesday, December 28, 10:30 and 2:30

    Main Library:
    Lego Club, Thursday, December 29, 3:30-4:30
    Noon Year's Eve Celebration on Saturday, December 31st from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
    Who Done It? Mystery Challenge, Tuesday, January 3, 2pm and 6:30

    New Haven Branch:
    Stuck in the Middle: Escape the Room, Tuesday, December 27, 2-4pm
    Get Your Lego On!: Wednesday, December 28 and January 3, 1-3pm
    Harry Potter Extravaganza, Friday, December 30, 2-4pm
    Winter Wonderland Masterpieces, Tuesday, January 3, 2pm

    Shawnee Branch:
    Lego Club: Wednesday, December 21 & 28, 3:30-4:30 pm

    Tecumseh Branch:
    Winterfest, December 22-January 4

    Waynedale Branch:
    Lego Club, Wednesday, December 28, 3:30-4:30

    Main Library:
    Creative Cookie Decorating, Thursday, December 22, 2pm
    Zentangle and Coloring, Tuesday, December 27, 2pm
    Jewelry Making, Wednesday, December 28, 2pm (Call 421-1255 to sign up)
    Virtual Reality, Thursday, December 29, 2pm
    Ian’s Awesome RPG: Dungeon Blitz, Friday, December 29, 2pm

    New Haven Branch:
    Teen Murder Mystery—Homicide at the Tacky Sweater Shindig, Thursday, December 22, 3:30pm
    Nail Art, Thursday, December 29, 3:30pm

    Tecumseh Branch:
    Teen Day, Wednesday, January 4, 3:30pm

    Waynedale Branch:
    Beatles Rock Band, Saturday, December 31, 10am-12pm

    Movie Night @ the Library Tuesday, December 27, 6:30 pm, Main Library Theater. Lower Level 2
    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 20, 2016
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    Here's a fun new book with lots of potential. It's a simple collection of more than 300 words each accompanied by a single illustration. The illustrations are great. Christoph Niemann didn't just choose nouns or simple verbs to illustrate, he included illustrations for words like 'next', 'might', and 'always'. Niemann has a lot of fun with his work. The illustration for the word 'always', for instance, is a drawing of a piece of jelly toast falling jelly-side down.

    Everything is in black and white and the images are pretty spare, which is part of the appeal. How would you illustrate 'sometimes' with just a black marker and a small sheet of paper? Niemann does it with a hand picking from several clovers where 'sometimes' a four leaf clover gets found.

    I'm imagining lots of fun uses for this book. If you have a little one, then just flipping through and reading some words while appreciating the pictures would be a good vocabulary building activity. For older kids I can see a class assignment or group project where the concept of the book is introduced then everyone gets to illustrate a few words in the same style. Or maybe a game between friends where the illustration is visible without the word and you take turns guessing the word.

    No matter what you do while you enjoy Christoph Niemann's book, it's better with a friend.

    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 16, 2016

    Among the library's wealth of resources available to check out, media kits are sometimes overlooked. A media kit is a plastic bag containing a book and matching audio CD. Little readers can look at the book and listen to it being read at the same time. It's a fun way to enjoy a good book! It's also very helpful for kids of all ages with learning disabilities or those who just need a little extra boost.

    Maybe you didn't know there are a variety of media kits available. Take a look at this sample list and ask a librarian for more suggestions when you visit the library.

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    When Marian Sang
    written by Pam Munoz Ryan
    illustrated by Brian Selznick
    Here's a biography with a bonus! Actual recordings of Marian Anderson singing are interspersed with the reading of the book's text. Other little touches like applause make this book an especially great one to enjoy as a Media Kit.

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    Anansi and the Magic Stick
    written by Eric Kimmel
    illustrated by Janet Stevens
    You can find folk tales and fairy tales as media kits too. Fantastical characters, magical creatures, and adventures await!

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    States and Capitals
    by Kim Mitzo Thompson
    Try a nonfiction title to help you learn fascinating facts. This kit about states has music designed to help kids in memorization and also fun puzzles to use with a class.

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    Hi Fly Guy
    by Tedd Arnold
    Early Readers are great to share in audio because they sometimes give new readers that little extra boost to become more confident about words, pronunciation, pacing, expression, and plot.

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    Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!
    by Mo Willems
    Yes, there are lots of picture books in the media kit section. In some cases, like this book, you get some fun little audio extras like the author reading part of the book. Another bonus, the author's daughter, Trixie, narrates the part of Amanda.

    The Allen County Public Library has thousands of these fun and useful kits. Ask us to show them to you. We're happy to help!
    by Dawn S | Dec 12, 2016
    You never know who you'll meet at the library!
    Star Wars characters at Grabill Librarystar wars characters at Grabill Library
    Saturday, families at the Grabill Branch Library got to hang out with Star Wars friends, eat wookie cookies, go on a scavenger hunt, and watch The Force Awakens. Programs like this one happen every week at our libraries.

    Click here for our calendar of events for December and beyond.