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

    by Miss Heather | Nov 29, 2016
    Most children's books are very gender normative. When asked, "Where are your girl books?" or "Where are your boy books?" I reply, "There's no such thing! All books are for all people!" But you likely know what they mean--"girl books" are pink and feature princesses and fancy dresses and "boy books" include warriors or ninjas and excellent adventures. It's always exciting to find books that don't fall strictly into those categories. 

    Three recent picture books broaden the scope for girls:
    maryUsing the familiar tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," Mary Had a Little Glam tells the story of a girl with panache! Her love for accessories and glam leads her to sprucing up her classmates and community. But full frill isn't always appropriate, particularly for the playground where dress-up must be tossed aside for play clothes showing the reader that "sometimes less is more!" A fun story with a diverse cast and fairy tale tie-ins.

    beautifulWhat does beautiful look like? Does it require the flair and glamour of Mary? Beautiful says no! The text is paired with illustrations that turn the idea of beauty on its head--"Beautiful girls move gracefully"=sports and "Beautiful girls know all about makeup"=pirate gear. From music lovers to tree climbers, all girls are beautiful! Diverse illustrations and a wider diversity of activity make this book a treat for all.

    princessJust because you're a girl doesn't always mean you have to be the princess! Some days are meant to be dragon days! Would You Rather Be a Princess or a Dragon explains the differences between princesses and dragons allowing the reader to decide which she'd like to be. A twist at the end will make this story one you'll be asked to read over and over again.

    If you are looking for gifts or read-alouds for a little girl in your life you'll want to give these empowering books a look! Click on the pictures of each book to find them at your favorite ACPL location.
    by Miss Heather | Nov 23, 2016

    Steve Jenkins has written over 25 books for kids, most about animals. Actual Size helps us understand the real size of animals that would not fit in a book. Animal and weather superlatives are the subject of two titles, Biggest, Strongest, Fastest and Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest. It's always fun to discover things that are the "most" in the world.

    His newest book, Animals by the Numbers; a book of animal infographics, brings us more "things that are the most" in the form of infographics--charts and illustrations that make it easier to understand. The introduction says, "When it comes to animals, numbers are especially important. How big is a whale? How fast is a cheetah? How loud is a lion's roar? It would be difficult to answer these questions--even to ask them--without numbers."

    You may find answers to questions you've thought about but never investigated. Here are a few:
    • Which animals live the longest? The shortest?
    • Which animals cause the most human deaths?
    • What animals thrive in the most extreme temperatures on earth?
    • Which animals survived extinction?
    While we don't want to spoil all the surprises by sharing the answers to the questions above we will share one of the facts. The SPERM WHALE produces the loudest sound of all animals, louder than a jet plane taking off! Good thing they are underwater!

    Get Animals by the Numbers and other Steve Jenkins books at your favorite ACPL location! Looking for activities to pair with Steve Jenkins' books? Find them for eight of his books here.

    by Dawn Stoops | Nov 22, 2016
    In case you haven't seen this great series by Kate DiCamillo, may I introduce the Tales from Deckawoo Drive!

    I love these books because they fit in that perfect kind of middle ground. They are short chapter books, written at about a third grade reading level, that lower elementary kids can read to themselves or preschool kids can enjoy as longish read alouds. Each book has a different main character, but each one is connected to one particular street - Deckawoo Drive.

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    You know who else lives on Deckawoo Drive? Mercy Watson! That's right, the Watsons make guest appearances in the books and Mercy gets more than her fair share of toast with a great deal of butter.

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     cover image for mercy watson princess in discuise
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     cover image for mercy watson something wonky this way comes

    Give them a try! You'll love the humorous artwork by Chris Van Dusen. His pictures make the unique characters on Deckawoo Drive feel like family.
    by Dawn S | Nov 17, 2016
    New chapter books arrive every day. Take a look!

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    by Dawn S | Nov 15, 2016
    Every fall the University of Findlay's Mazza Museum sponsors this wonderful conference where six highly acclaimed illustrators and authors come and speak about their work in children's books. I have been privileged to attend five of these conferences and each time I am amazed and entertained by the artists' stories and skills.
    Last weekend I got to see:Brian Biggs sign at the Mazza Conference
    David Wiesner
    Tony Abbott
    Sergio Ruzzier
    Brian Biggs
    Nikki McClure
    Dan Santat
    Isn't that a great collection of authors and illustrators?

    Most speakers talk a little about their childhood and how they got interested in art. We get to see lots of pictures of early artistic work, the process sketches behind their best known books, and sneak peeks of upcoming projects that aren't yet published.
    brian biggs speaking at Mazza conference
    brian biggs speaking at mazza conference
    There is also time for book signing!
    brian biggs speaking at mazza conferencebrian biggs book signedbrian biggs book signed

    It was great to see these talented people talk about their work and I can't wait to go again next November and hear another batch of great children's book people talk about how and why they make such wonderful books for kids.
    by Dawn S | Nov 07, 2016
    Comic books with factual content sometimes seem like a mean trick by grown-ups to get information into young brains on the sly. This book is not like that!
    Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton is a fun romp with two sea creatures who become friends.
    cover image for narwhal unicorn of the sea
    On their first meeting, Jellyfish and Narwhal aren't sure the other is a real animal. Jellyfish says "Look...things like you don't exist. I mean what is up with that horn?" The conversation just gets funner from there. Turns out they both like waffles and parties. After this silly introduction we get some great facts about narwhals and jellyfish, maybe to help prove that they are real sea creatures?

    Of the several chapters, the one about the Imagination Book is probably my favorite. Jellyfish meets Narwhal one day while he's reading his favorite book. Narwhal is happy to share it with Jellyfish, but there's a little explaining to do when Jellyfish discovers that the book is just made of blank pages.

    According to the last page there may be more Narwhal and Jellyfish adventures to come, like Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt. I can't wait!
    by Erin | Nov 03, 2016
    Makerspace Supplies

    I'm sure you know about the Maker Labs located at the Main Library and Georgetown Branch; however, did you know that the Children's Services department at the Main Library also has a makerspace specifically for children ages 11 and younger?

    This makerspace is located in the Children's Services Computer Lab, and it is available every day from the time the library opens to the time the library closes.

    It may be more low tech than our other Maker Labs; however, the Children's Services makerspace promotes creativity, problem solving, and engineering skills as children design and build whatever they can imagine!

    Here's a VERY small selection of some of the amazing things that kids have made in the makerspace:

    Makerspace Creations

    If you have young makers at home, bring them to the Children's Services makerspace and see what they can create!
    by Becky C | Oct 31, 2016

    The Screaming StaircaseBook Review:  The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

    No one knows why, but over the past fifty years, all sorts of ghosts have been appearing throughout London.  While characteristics vary from one Visitor to the next, the one thing that seems consistent is that they all pose some sort of danger to the living.

    While anyone of any age can be harmed by the Visitors, young people are typically the only ones who can see or sense them.  Several Psychic Detection Agencies have emerged, employing young people to seek out and remove the threat.

    Lucy, Anthony, and George are Lockwood & Company, the only Psychic Detection Agency without adult supervisors.  Before the story is over, they will agree to take on Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England.

    It’s been awhile since I’ve read them but this series-starter reminded me of The Three Investigators series I loved so much growing up.  The difference may be that while Jupiter Jones, Peter Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews investigated baffling phenomena, they typically found living people at the heart of the mystery.  The supernatural is very real in this series, although the living are just as likely to be behind disturbances as well.  Well-crafted, believable mystery with truly spooky moments.

    The Screaming Staircase is the first in the series.  To date, it is followed by The Whispering Skull, The Hollow Boy, and The Creeping Shadow.

    Grades:  3-7

    *I also highly recommend Stroud’s Bartimaeus series, although it targets readers in grades 6-8.

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her thumb has no hint of green whatsoever but luckily her plants are forgiving. Her favorite books are The Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
    by Erica Anderson-Senter | Oct 28, 2016

     “He’s a BIG idea guy,” Jessica told me about her son Jackson, age 8, as the three of us sat between the stacks of books, talking about the contest he won. Throughout the final summer months a big ol’ tub of LEGOs sat on the Reference Desk in Children’s Services and I challenged kids: CAN YOU ESTIMATE HOW MANY LEGOS ARE IN THIS TUB? 455 people wrote down their approximatiojackson1n and hoped for the best. Jackson guessed 1,203. The correct number of LEGOs, you may be wondering, was 1,212. JACKSON WAS ONLY 9 AWAY. 

    Jackson sat across from me, dapper and confident: spiky hair, permanent smile, and a suit jacket with a red and blue tie. To say the very least, I was instantly impressed with this young man. Talking with his hands, he explains to me what he likes to read (Captain Underpants and Comics), what he does for fun (plays LEGOs and with his friends outside), and how he made such a precise estimation. He counted horizontally and came up with a number in a “section” and then he counted up vertically how many sections the tub had and then multiplied. Jessica told me that they try to “use numbers organically” so it makes sense when Jackson said he basically just got a “rough idea” and tweaked the guess a tiny bit with his dad’s help. Told you he was impressive. 

    Jackson, who visits both the Waynedale branch and the Main Library, not only plays with LEGOs “more than you want to know”, his favorite food is pineapple pizza with stuffed crust and ice cream to round out the meal. His favorite color is blue, and has been since he knew colors. Jessica also told me that Jackson is an encourager and a bit of an inventor. When I asked him what he wanted people to know about him, his response was perfect:

    I’m a bit funny, love video games, and I always like to build.

    The craft of estimation is an essential tool in trusting one’s instinct when it comes to reasonable answers for calculations AND, in real life, a powerful life skill. This all starts super early! Babies are already starting to formulate can I reach that rattle and the various sizes of different objects by 6 months old! This particular skill is critical in laying a foundation for a strong future in mathematical make-up. And good news! There are ways to stretch your child’s basic understanding of estimation. Follow these links to read MORE about this integral skill. Isn’t it exciting to know that YOU can help your young learner grow in huge and capable ways that will help your child forever?    

    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 27, 2016
    Monster books may be just what you need on a moonlit night. Here are some great options for the preschool crowd!

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    by Dawn S | Oct 20, 2016
    Maybe your Halloween costume includes some crazy makeup. Maybe you need a fancy princess hairdo. These books will give you lots of fantastic ideas!

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    Face Painting
    by Karen Harvey

    Create over 30 fantastic different designs with this easy to follow step-by-step guide to face painting. --Publisher.

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    Disney Princess Hairstyles

    Table of Contents:
    Braidschool -- Ariel -- Aurora -- Belle -- Cinderella -- Jasmine -- Merida -- Mulan -- Pocahontas -- Rapunzel -- Snow White -- Tiana

    cover image for a big book of face painting

    A Big Book of Face Painting
    by Charlotte Verrecas

    This is a guide to face painting for children which provides essential tips based on expert knowledge. It details different materials, including paint recommendations and an explanation of brushes, and covers the techniques needed to achieve the 18 painted face designs in the book.
    -Catalog summary
    cover image for fun face painting for kids

    Fun Face Painting Ideas for Kids
    by Brian Wolfe

    All ages and all skill levels will learn the secrets to creating awesome face art with easy-to-find materials, friendly instruction for beginners, and fresh inspiration for more seasoned face painters.


    by Dawn S | Oct 17, 2016
    Take home a pile of picture books today!

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    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 13, 2016

    Everyone enjoys Lego Club!

    3 lego kids at lego clubboy at lego clubgirl at lego clubtwo boys at lego club
    Check our online calendar to see where there's Lego action near you! Just use the search term 'Lego'.
    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 11, 2016
    I'd like you to see this new book!
    They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
    cover image for they all saw a cat

    I'm totally in love with this book's concept. As the cat walks through the world you see HOW each animal and person sees the passing cat. The mouse, for instance, sees this simple brown cat as a massive, fierce, black monster. The child who sees the cat sees a version that looks somewhat like a drawing he might make of the cat's big eyes and yellow bell. The bee who sees the cat sees colored spots. What a great way to introduce (or emphasize) personal perspective and identity! It's also a fantastic jumping off point for some amazing science lessons. Do skunks really see in black and white? What were the squiggle lines on the page with the worm? So many questions can spring from this simple book!

    The story's text is spare and poetic. The pictures are great. You just really need to see this book!

    by Dawn S | Oct 07, 2016
    poster image for abe lincoln's friend

    Please join us for a special program in the Main Library Theater!

    Tuesday, October 11th @ 12:45 PM
    Wednesday, October 12 @ 9:45 AM and 6:30 PM
    Thursday, October 13th @ 9:45 AM

    Storyteller Doyne Carson returns for this exciting dramatic presentation about Abe Lincoln's youth. Her storytelling targets fourth and fifth grade students. Groups should pre-register by calling the Children's Services department at 421-1220.
    by Dawn Stoops | Oct 04, 2016

    It hasn't happened yet, but someday soon the fall colors will arrive and the foliage all around us will transform. There are countless books that feature trees and leaves and maybe at this time of year you'd like to enjoy some with your students or family. Here are just a few you might like.

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    Leaf Man 
    by Lois Ehlert
    Lois Ehlert's fall tale of a man made of leaves is fun and imaginative. My favorite leaf creations were the fish. Maybe you'll be inspired to make your own leaf man (or leaf fish).

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    A Leaf Can Be...
    by Laura Purdie Salas
    With poetic tone, this book simply and beautifully lists the amazing things a leaf can be. The note in the back gives interesting leaf facts. This book is a lovely read alound for preschoolers or a starting point for older kids doing nature research.

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    Science Project Ideas About Tress
    by Robert Gardner
    This book is packed with experiments to help you learn about how leaves work and how trees grow. There are more than 20 projects each briefly explained with a list of materials needed.

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    Applesauce Weather
    by Helen Frost
    Local author, Helen Frost, has a new book celebrating the season of fall. This great little chapter book,told in verse from varying perspectives, focuses on family, love, and the power of stories.
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    Fancy Nancy and the Fall Foliage
    by Jane O'Connor
    Fancy Nancy's family is busy raking leaves. Those leaves sure are beautiful! What can Fancy Nancy do with the most beautiful ones she collects?

    by Mary Voors | Sep 27, 2016
    Entries are now being accepted in the annual Allen County Public Library Poetry Contest. This year's theme is "That's What Friends Are For." Entries from kids and young adults will be accepted at all ACPL locations through November 7th.

    We can't wait to read your poems!
    Poetry Contest
    by Teresa Walls | Sep 23, 2016
    parent and child making a cornhusk doll

    This weekend (September 24 and 25, 2016), ACPL Children's Services is offering a program in which children, ages 6 and up, with a grown-up, can learn how to make a cornhusk doll. Call Children's Services at 421-1220 to register. Space is limited. Each program begins at 2 pm. This is
    part of the series of programs Beyond the Book: Salt: A Story of Friendship in Time of War.

    The program will be offered at the Little Turtle Branch Library at 2 pm, Saturday, October 15, and at the Grabill Branch Library at 2 pm, Saturday, October 22. Registration is required.
    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 22, 2016
    Here's a new music CD perfect for fall!
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    Wake Up & Sing by Red Yarn, a.k.a. Andy Furgeson, has fiddles and folksy guitars galore. It makes me think of bonfires, starry nights, and friends telling stories. Most of the songs on the album are traditional folk songs but the ones written by Red Yarn fit in seamlessly. My favorite song tells the story of a little squirrel named Shadow. It was a perfect accompaniment with storytime this week. Our preschool group loved listening to what the squirrel was going to do next and then acting it out themselves.

    Give this CD or his other one, Deep Woods Revival, a try!

    by Dawn Stoops | Sep 19, 2016
    One of the things I like best about working at a public library is the variety of people and books I come in contact with on a daily, or hourly, basis. In one day I may help a grandmother apply for a job online, find rhyming books for a preschool teacher, look up a particular dog breed for a family, and help a new Kindle owner borrow an ebook from OverDrive.

    So today, I'd like to share a random list of great books.
    You never know what you'll find at the library!

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    Born to be Wild
    by Hattie Garlick

    Try this fun new book for adults if you need some creative ideas for outdoor time. This book has more than 200 pages of ideas for things to make and do with kids of all ages.

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    Laugh-Out-Loud Spooky Jokes for Kids
    by Rob Elliott

    Just in time for Halloween, jokes for vampire and monster

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    A Prayer for World Peace
    by Jane Goodall

    Beautiful illustrations by Feeroozeh Golmohammadi bring Jane Goodall's prayer for peace to life with color and power. This is a book worth many re-readings!
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    Drive: a book of roadside opposites
    by Kellen Hatanaka

    This family car trip demonstrates lots of opposite pairs in each picture, like in and out, over and under. My favorite is the pull out spread with a worm's-eye view and then, opened up, a bird's-eye view