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    by Heather A Grady | Oct 19, 2015

    The Door in the HedgeA few times a year Overdrive, our provider of downloadable books and audiobooks, makes a title available for everyone to check out at the same time worldwide! What a great chance for families or classes to read the same book and discuss it! This time around the book is The Door in the Hedge and other Stories by Robin McKinley. It's a chapter book recommended for kids 10 and up.

     Master storyteller Robin McKinley here spins two new fairy tales and retells two cherished classics. All feature princesses touched with or by magic. There is Linadel, who lives in a kingdom next to Faerieland, where princesses are stolen away on their seventeenth birthdays-and Linadel's seventeenth birthday is tomorrow. And Korah, whose brother is bewitched by the magical Golden Hind; now it is up to her to break the spell. Rana must turn to a talking frog to help save her kingdom from the evil Aliyander. And then there are the twelve princesses, enspelled to dance through the soles of their shoes every night. . . . These are tales to read with delight!

    This book will be available to all ACPL users through October 21st. Grab a copy by clicking  the image or here or by visiting the Overdrive site. Read on!



    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 17, 2015

    Our Homeschool Craft Challenge on Monday at the Grabill Branch Library was making mobiles. After a short intro to Alexander Calder and his work, we dove right in with wire and paper to create our own colorful mobiles.

    Take a look!

    by Pamela Martin-Diaz | Oct 15, 2015
    In an effort to keep pace with the realities of today's families, the American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its stance on screen time and children. Until just last week they were advocating NO screen time for children age 2 and under and at most, 2 hours a day, preferably co-viewing with an adult, for older children.
    baby ipad
    Their new recommendations are a seismic shift, raising questions and concerns for those of us who believe the research that they previously cited to discourage the use of screen time for very young children.(See below for the statement.) They did not cite new research supporting their approval of infant and toddlers watching screens. (See for a summary of research-based concerns.)
    I wish that they had more strongly emphasized the importance of face-to-face interaction between adults and children, especially babies and toddlers who need that kind of contact to develop language. I understand that an app that is engaging and encourages creativity and exploration might not be just fun (although is there anything wrong with that?), but developmentally appropriate. I know that there is a difference between skyping with a relative and passing a device over to a child for entertainment because the child "likes" it and let's be honest, it's easier than saying no. I am also all too aware of adults who are not monitoring their own consumption of media. (Think about the families who eat out, each with his or her own device in lieu of conversation.) I know that I am reading fewer books than I did before the advent of streaming and Facebook; I doubt I am alone in this!
    Policies and recommendations aside, let's use some common sense and ask ourselves some questions before granting young children access to apps and other kinds of programs. Some of these questions are:
         What would the child be doing if he or she weren't using the device?
         Is the child able to adjust to time without a screen without fussing or demanding a device? Is screen time supplanting time spent with family and friends, or even just time for the child to be with his or her own thoughts? What kind of products are being promoted via advertisements as part of free apps?
    What do you think?
        Here are the new guidelines from the AAP:
    • Media is just another environment. Children do the same things they have always done, only virtually. Like any environment, media can have positive and negative effects.

    • Parenting has not changed. The same parenting rules apply to your children’s real and virtual environments. Play with them. Set limits; kids need and expect them. Teach kindness. Be involved. Know their friends and where they are going with them.

    • Role modeling is critical. Limit your own media use, and model online etiquette. Attentive parenting requires face time away from screens.

    • We learn from each other. Neuroscience research shows that very young children learn best via two-way communication. “Talk time” between caregiver and child remains critical for language development. Passive video presentations do not lead to language learning in infants and young toddlers. The more media engender live interactions, the more educational value they may hold (e.g., a toddler chatting by video with a parent who is traveling). Optimal educational media opportunities begin after age 2, when media may play a role in bridging the learning achievement gap.

    • Content matters. The quality of content is more important than the platform or time spent with media. Prioritize how your child spends his time rather than just setting a timer.

    • Curation helps. More than 80,000 apps are labeled as educational, but little research validates their quality (Hirsh-Pasek KPsych Science2015;16:3-34Google Scholar). An interactive product requires more than “pushing and swiping” to teach. Look to organizations like Common Sense Media ( that review age-appropriate apps, games and programs.

    • Co-engagement counts. Family participation with media facilitates social interactions and learning. Play a video game with your kids. Your perspective influences how your children understand their media experience. For infants and toddlers, co-viewing is essential.

    • Playtime is important. Unstructured playtime stimulates creativity. Prioritize daily unplugged playtime, especially for the very young.

    • Set limits. Tech use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Does your child’s technology use help or hinder participation in other activities?

    • It’s OK for your teen to be online. Online relationships are integral to adolescent development. Social media can support identity formation. Teach your teen appropriate behaviors that apply in both the real and online worlds. Ask teens to demonstrate what they are doing online to help you understand both content and context.

    • Create tech-free zones. Preserve family mealtime. Recharge devices overnight outside your child’s bedroom. These actions encourage family time, healthier eating habits and healthier sleep.

    • Kids will be kids. Kids will make mistakes using media. These can be teachable moments if handled with empathy. Certain aberrations, however, such as sexting or posting self-harm images, signal a need to assess youths for other risk-taking behaviors.

    Pamela Martin-Diaz
    Early Literacy Coordinator/Branch Manager
    Allen County Public Library

    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 13, 2015

    migloo's day
    Here's a great book for all kinds of kids.
    Are you looking for a book that is...

    • full of lots of detailed pictures?

    • an enjoyable story about a dog?

    • a seek-and-find?

    • great to read over and over because you'll always discover new things?

    • colorful and has fun, silly pictures?

    • appealing to a wide range of ages?

    • full of a variety of characters?

    How did I discover Migloo's Day, by William Bee? The Grabill Library got this as a new book in April but I don't remember seeing it then. I was scanning the shelves in the 'seek-and-find' section of our library trying to find something to keep my kids, ages two and four, entertained on a long road trip. It looked like something they might like so we packed it, along with a great tractor book, and headed to Boston. They both enjoyed looking through it and listening to me read it at bedtime. The pictures sparked lots of interesting conversations. I was surprised that it was also requested as a read aloud while we were on the road. That means it was good enough that they didn't mind if mommy was in the front seat reading and they were strapped in their car seats further back just listening.

    Grab this, and more great seek-and-finds at your local library!

    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 10, 2015
    Check out your library's new book shelf for the latest nonfiction reads!
    how to look after your puppy    everything viking
    music class today
    friend or foe treasuer hunt   iron rails
    ms. spell  weather watcher  wild life of sharks 
    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 08, 2015
    reading tower

    These kids are enjoying the reading tower at the Main Library.
    Where is your favorite cozy spot to read?
    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 06, 2015
    babies reading
    One of my favorite parts of Babies and Books Storytime is the reading we all do together with book sets. Each family in the circle gets a copy of the same book and then we read to the little ones in unison, pausing to look at the pictures and talk about what we see. The wee ones are having fun and getting early literacy skills all at the same time.

    Check the online events calendar for a baby storytime near you!
    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 02, 2015

    This display in Children's Services asks "What is your favorite thing about fall?"

    If you love fall books here are a few great ones!


    by Ken Robbins

    mouse's first fall
    Mouse's First Fall
    by Lauren Thompson

    apples and pumpkins
    Apples and Pumpkins
    by Anne Rockwell

    pick a circle
    Pick a Circle, Gather a Square
    by Felicia Chernesky

    fall leaves
    Fall Leaves
    by Loretta Holland

    by Mary R. Voors | Sep 30, 2015

    The Children's Services department and the Young Adults' Services department are now accepting entries in the Allen County Public Library's 33rd annual poetry contest. In honor of our state's bicentennial, the theme of this years contest is I'm a Hoosier!

    The rules are simple:

    1.  The Poetry Contest is open to all children in kindergarten through grade five, and all young adults in grades six through twelve.

    2.  Only one entry per student.

    3.  Poems must be student's original work.

    4.  All entries must be submitted on 8.5" x 11" paper.

    5.  All entries must have student's name, address, phone number, school, and grade on the back of the poem.

    6.  Poetry Contest starts on Sunday, September 13, 2015.

    7.  Poetry Contest ends on Monday, November 2, 2015, 9:00 pm.

    8.  Criteria for judging of poems includes:
           - understanding the concept of a "poem"
           - creativity
           - legibility
           - originality
           - following the "I'm a Hoosier!" theme

    9.  First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention will be chosen for each grade

    10. Winners will be notified by mail.

    11.  The Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, December 12, in the Main Library theater.

    12.  All Poetry Contest entries become the property of the Allen County Public Library.

    13.  For further information, call the Library at (260) 421.1220.

    Sound like fun?  Send your entry to: Children's/YA Poetry Contest at the Allen County Public Library  900 Library Plaza  Fort Wayne, IN  46802

    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 28, 2015
    Did you know that the library has lots of Big Books which are great for reading aloud to a group (or maybe a cozy read by yourself)?
    big books

    Try searching the online catalog for big books by limiting your search by 'subject' to 'big books'. Here's a list of about 300 from the online catalog.
    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 24, 2015
    Here's a scene from my house a few days ago. I'm in the kitchen and my four-year-old comes in to ask me a question. In the middle of his sentence he slows down and stutters. He's got a thinking look on his face. I answer his question when he's done and he runs off to play. For a brief minute I wonder if he's developed some sort of speech issue I should ask the doctor about. Then I realize what his little brain was doing!

    He's learning letter names and sounds at home and at school. All the early literacy information that's being carefully funneled into his brain is taking hold. He's thinking about how words sound and how letters relate to words. He's testing his skills out on his own. He's trying to figure out what sound a particular word starts with and if he can identify that sound as a letter he knows. It's all happening in his head and the only evidence I see of this learning looks like a stutter. Well, I'm excited about this development and I can't wait to see what happens next.

    I love being part of this journey and I love being part of the early literacy journey for all those kids I see at the library.
    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 23, 2015
    Take a look at these great new books for kids!
    kyle goes alone   superstar it's your world 
    smuggler's run treasuer hunt  hilo 
    flinkwater factor astounding broccoli boy  happy birthday strawberry shortcake 
    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 21, 2015
    What will you create today?

    This is Julianne at a craft adventures program sponsored by the Georgetown Branch Library. Check out our online events calendar for craft programs happening near you.
    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 17, 2015
    As a children's and teen librarian I love helping kids find books for school. We get lots of requests, and the specifics of each one make them like little puzzles to solve.

    Say, for instance, that a 3rd grade girl needs a book that has an Accelerated Reader (AR) test and is listed as a 6th grade reading level. When elementary school kids are 'star readers' it's sometimes hard to find a book that is challenging enough but also appropriate in content. In these cases, one of my first suggestions is to take a look at nonfiction. There are so many great nonfiction books out there about all sorts of fun stuff! The specific vocabulary they use and the more complex ideas make them a fantastic choice for kids who are reading at high levels.

    Here are some examples.
    er vets 

    ER Vets: Life in an Animal Emergency Room
    by Donna Jackson
    88 pages
    AR level 8.1

    Escape: The story of the great Houdini
    by Sid Fleischman
    207 pages
    AR level 6.6

    project seahorse
    Project Seahorse
    by Pamela Turner
    51 pages
    AR level 6.6

    no pretty pictures
    No Pretty Pictures: a child of war
    by Anita Lobel
    190 pages
    AR level 5.0
    american plague
    An American Plague:The true and terrifying story of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793
    by Jim Murphy
    165 pages
    AR level 9.0
    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 11, 2015
    September is Happy Cat Month. Celebrate with these purrfect reads!

    Skippyjon Jones is the star of several wild picture books full of adventure. This adorable Siamese cat thinks he's a chihuahua. You'll love reading about all his imaginary adventures in 'old Mexico' and other exotic locations.

    the night world
    The Night World, by Mordicai Gerstein, is a new book featuring a cat named Sylvie. Sylvie invites her boy outside in the strange world of night so they can see something amazing. You'll love the pictures in this one and marvel at how the darkness of night is portrayed by this talented artist.
    hello kitty  If you love Hello Kitty the library has plenty of books for you to enjoy. Hello Kitty and her friends have mysteries to solve, parties to throw, and places to visit.
    pete the cat buttons
    Really, everything about Pete the Cat is groovy, not just his buttons. Some of Pete's adventures, created by James Dean, work great for read-alouds where everyone joins in at the repeating parts. Other Pete the Cat stories are written just for new readers to practice their skills, and laugh some too!
    hero cat
    Hero Cat, by Eileen Spinelli, is such a sweet story about a mama cat who saves her kittens. Kids love this book because the mama cat is so brave and smart. I have known adults who cried at the happy ending.
    These are just a few picture books for cat lovers, there are lots of chapter books and non-fiction books too.
    What's your favorite cat book?

    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 09, 2015
    Some say cats are bossy animals, and in this new book by Kes Gray and Jim Field we certainly get that impression.
    frog on a log

    Frog on a Log starts with cat's stern instruction; "Hey, Frog! Sit on a log!" The rest of the book is a conversation between cat and frog about who sits where. We learn that cats sit on mats, goats sit on coats, puffins sit on muffins, and snakes sit on cakes. The cat knows all of this and lectures frog saying, "It's not about being comfortable, it's about doing the right thing."

    These silly rhymes (and super silly pictures) make us smile, but they also help little brains understand how words are related to each other. When you play with the rhymes in books you're working on an important early literacy skill, phonological awareness. So read this one together and laugh as you learn!
    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 04, 2015
    Hack Your Fashion!
    The Grabill Branch Library is hosting this creative homeschool program on Monday, September 14 from 10:30-11:30am. This program is designed for kids ages 6-16. We'll use old fleece jackets to create hats, scarves, and other high fashion.

    There are lots of homeschool programs at other locations of the Allen County Public Library for all kinds of kids with all kinds of interests. These programs are free and provide a great way to learn, explore, and share with other homeschool families.

    by Kris L | Sep 02, 2015
    Scratchboard art is created by scratching lines onto a specially coated piece of paper or cardboard to reveal the colors underneath -- like magic! At the Georgetown branch library recently, we experimented with a couple of different types of scratchboard, as well as different scratching tools, and then created our own scratchboards with paper and crayons.
    IMG_2311 (3) Scratchboard Art
    Beth Krommes is a children's book illustrator who works with scratchboard to create AMAZING artwork for children's books. Check out some of her books to see her illustrations in detail -- like the Caldecott-award-winning title, The House in the Night.
    They are beautiful!

    Why not give this art form a try? It's scratch-tastic!
    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 01, 2015
    Reading for fun or reading for school? These new chapter books might be just what you're looking for!
    zombie night divided lost in rome
    moving target digby o'day firefly hollow
    wolf wilder lunchbox jones night on fire
    by Dawn S. | Aug 28, 2015

    Last week I was looking through a pile of well reviewed illustrated books for kids.  These were books that might be good enough to merit the Caldecott Medal in 2016.  As you can imagine, mostly the pile contained picture books and some poetry books with a few non-fiction books thrown in too.  Then there was this one!

    Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson, is a 239 page graphic novel about a fifth grader named Astrid.  After watching her first roller derby bout she's fired up to join derby camp in the summer and meet her hero, Rainbow Bite.  There's just as much action in this book as you'd expect from a book about roller derby but there's lots of preteen drama too.  There are new friends and old friends and mothers who don't understand.  Everything about his book was engaging and fun.  Oh, and educational!  I learned how scoring works in a roller derby bout and what different positions do for the team.

    What makes this book even greater is knowing that the woman who wrote the story and made all the great illustrations is also a roller girl!  You can visit her website here to learn a little more about her writing, drawing, and skating.

    dawn Dawn S, Editor - Dawn is a librarian, mother, and crafter who loves stories and art, so it’s only natural that she loves kid’s books the best (with cookbooks a close second).  Her favorite story is Duck on a Bike by David Shannon and her favorite illustrator is Lisbeth Zwerger.