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

    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.
    by Dawn S | Aug 26, 2015

    “Dream Big With Books” sounds like a cheesy summer reading program slogan, but it’s true!

    Beautiful Lego Book CoverTake this book, for instance. Beautiful Lego, by Mike Doyle, is a 267 page book filled with LEGO block creations by artists from around the world. Most of our libraries have it in their adult book sections. The LEGO models you find in this book are complex and no instructions are given. This book is kind of for grown-ups, but that doesn’t mean kids shouldn’t enjoy it too. There’s something powerful about kids getting their hands on an adult book related to their interests. For me, it was photography. I loved taking pictures and I dreamed of being really good at it some day. I discovered photography magazines when I was about nine years old. I didn’t understand most of what was written in the articles, but I did understand that there were tools and skills out there that, when combined with talent, could make some amazing images! I’m so glad I had a public library where I could explore more than just the kids’ section. Every child needs the chance to Dream Big!

    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.