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

    by Dawn S | Aug 22, 2016
    Here are some great new chapter books! Remember, your library gets new books almost every day so check the new book display often.

     cover image for curse of everlasting regret
      book cover image for friday barnes under suspicion
     cover image for hundred percent
     cover image for slingshot and burp
    cover image for winter soldier
     cover image for where are you going baby lincoln
      cover image for Fuzzy
      cover image for the voyage to magical north
    cover image for applesauce weather
    by Erin W | Aug 17, 2016
    Homeschool Websites

    The Allen County Public Library has many resources that are vital for homeschool families; however, there are also a lot of useful websites that can assist with homeschool curriculum planning. Here you will find an ever-expanding list of helpful websites that can assist with homeschooling.

    Websites for Grownups:

    Christian Homeschool Fellowship
    An interactive Christian homeschool forum.

    Eclectic Homeschool Online
    The magazine for creative homeschoolers, published from a Christian perspective.

    Education.com
    A website that provides worksheets, activities, lesson plans, and much more.

    Home School Digest
    The Quarterly Journal for family discipleship.

    Home School Legal Defense Association
    Advocates for homeschooling.

    Homehearts
    Serving those preparing another generation of hearts at home!

    Homeschool World
    The official web site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine.

    Homeschool Zone
    Offers many resources, including free printables.

    Homework Help Directory

    A directory of links that provide homework help.

    Indiana Department of Education
    Homeschool information from the state of Indiana.

    Khan Academy
    A website that offers practice exercises and instructional videos to help anyone learn.

    Link Homeschool News Network
    The Nation's Homeschooling Magazine.

    National Black Home Educators
    NHBE is a networking organization founded by Eric and Joyce Burges. It was created to provide assistance with information about getting started homeschooling, networking/connecting veteran families with new families, recommending resources such as books, music, films, speaking information, curriculum, etc.

    National Home Education Network
    Changing the way the world sees homeschoolers.

    National Home Education Research Institute
    Serves as a clearinghouse of research, facts, statistics and news about homeschooling.

    Teaching Home

    A Christian magazine for home educators.

    The Well Trained Mind
    A guide to classical education at home.

    Homeschooling on a Shoestring
    Cost cutting ideas for homeschoolers.

    The Home School Mom

    Bringing you the best free homeschool resources.

    World Book Encyclopedia: Typical Course of Study

    As a source of information, World Book offers the results of ongoing research into curriculum requirements and standards. The learning levels include preschool through grade 12.

    Websites for Kids:

    Kids Health
    An article about homeschooling.

    Homeschool Hub
    Online quiz games.
    by Dawn S | Aug 15, 2016
    Today was the day!
    first day of school picture
    This morning I drove my oldest to his first day of Kindergarten. He was pretty chill about the whole thing and I was trying hard to match his mood. What music did we listen to on the way? A new CD called Simpatico from Renee Stahl. It's a great collection with nice variety and lots of special guests.
    cover image for simpatico

    My favorite song on the CD is called "You Were Meant to Be". Renee Stahl sings with Glen Phillips of Toad The Wet Sprocket. It's the perfect love song from parent to child with beautiful guitar parts and fantastic harmonies. It's also very emotional, or makes me very emotional. Maybe, on the fist day of kindergarten, I shouldn't be subjecting myself to tear inducing songs on the way to school. I held it together and my son, having heard the song just once before, said he was starting to like it. We went on listening to some of my other favorite songs from that CD. We didn't get to
    "Starfish and Coffee" (featuring Maya Rudolph) which is more playful and funky, but we did enjoy "Gather Round" (featuring Lisa Loeb) before it was time to turn off the car and head into school.

    Your local library has hundreds of CDs to choose from and Freegal, the library's downloadable music service, has thousands more. If you need something to serve as your back to school soundtrack we'd love to help!



    by Becky C | Aug 11, 2016
    flora and ulyssesBook Review:  Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

    “The story begins with a vacuum cleaner. And a squirrel. Or, to be more precise, a squirrel who gets sucked into a Ulysses Super Suction wielded by Flora’s neighbor, Mrs. Tickham. The rather hairless squirrel that is spit out is not the same one that went in.”  Booklist

    Luckily for the squirrel, Flora has read every issue of Terrible Things Can Happen to You! and knows CPR.  She names her new companion after the vacuum cleaner that nearly took his life and intends to keep him as a pet.  She soon discovers that he’s been transformed from an ordinary squirrel, to one with superhero strength, the ability to fly, and a love for poetry.  And he’s just what this self-proclaimed cynic of a little girl needs.  She envisions that together they will conquer villains, defend the defenseless, and protect the weak.  Or something.  And they do.

    DiCamillo takes a sad situation, two lonely children who have been let down by their parents, and offers something hopeful.  Flora believes that her mother loves a lamp more than she loves her — and she misses her dad who now lives in an apartment across town.  William Spiver’s mother has sent him to stay with his Great Aunt, Flora’s neighbor, Mrs. Tickham.  Ulysses brings the children together and helps them break down the protective walls they’ve each built for themselves.  And by the end of the book, he’s helped the adults see things more clearly as well.  He’s definitely a superhero as far as my daughter and I are concerned!

    Endearing characters and a rich vocabulary make this a standout book.  The comic-style graphics which accompany the story, complement it nicely. 

    Our favorite parts:

    Becky:  The poem Ulysses wrote for Flora.  Quotes like “This malfeasance must be stopped.”

    Miss D:  Ulysses got superpowers after being vacuumed!  And it was a really cute story with lots of twists and turns.  The poem Ulysses wrote for Flora.

    Discussion Questions:  http://www.floraandulysses.com/teacher.html , http://samanthagreenmysteries.com/src

    Readalikes:

    What We Found in the Sofa by Henry Clark, The Lost Treasure of Tuckernuck by Emily Fairlie, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee.

    Grades:  3 -6


    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 Dawn Stoops | Aug 08, 2016
    I'm naturally drawn to the two main topics of this book - children and art. Maybe you are too? Really, if you work with children in any arena you probably know someone who would benefit from this wonderful new book.

    Art Workshops for Children by Herve Tullet


    cover image for art workshops for kids

    First, a word about the author. Herve Tullet is such a talented author and illustrator who clearly has fun with his craft. He understands children's love of play and works it into books in amazingly unique ways.
    Here are just a few examples.
     cover image for mix it up
     cover image for i am blop
      cover image for the game of mix and match
     

     
     
     

    So, imagine this joy and creativity used in art workshops for children. Tullet has led these workshops in a variety of places and in this book he describes the process of planning and implementing art workshops for children. These are the kind of events that completely take over the room and get everyone involved in collaborative art creation. He describes a kind of buzz that happens as the children listen to directions and put paint to paper. Each workshop is focused primarily on the process with tons of playfulness and imagination as the project evolves. The book even gives a kind of running dialog the presenter can use to get everyone involved. Yes, the end result is pretty cool, but no one child can take the credit.

    From what I can tell, it sounds like a messy and sometimes chaotic way to create art with kids, but one that lines up perfectly with growing minds and developing bodies. I'm eager to try it out with a group at my library soon!

    by Becky C | Aug 03, 2016
    rumpBook Review:  Rump, the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

    Twelve-year old Rump has been raised with the belief that his name is his destiny.  And while a name that seems to only be a playful term for butt doesn’t seem like it holds much of a destiny, he’s also always believed that Rump was not the full name his mother intended for him.  But how can he discover his true name when his mother was the only one who knew it and she died shortly after he was born?

    When he finds his mother’s spindle, his life takes a dramatic turn.  He can spin straw into gold.  He’s thrilled at first, believing that he and his Gran will never have to go hungry again.  But then he realizes there’s a catch to his magic — he can trade the gold that he spins but he has to accept whatever is offered to him, no matter how unequal the trade.  No matter how repellent.  He doesn’t think his situation can get any worse but it can.  It does.

    Spun gold is finer than the meager bits of gold typically found in the mountains and it captures the attention of the King who comes to the village in search of its source.  For reasons of his own, the miller claims that his daughter is the spinner of the gold.  And Rump knows that he must spin for her or the king will punish her and the people of The Mountain.  But, because magic operates under its own rules, she must offer him something in return.  And unfortunately, Opal lacks imagination, locking both of them into an agreement neither wants.

    Desperate to escape the terrible promise Opal has made him, Rump goes on a quest to find his mother’s family, hoping they know something about his magic that he does not.

    My daughter and I loved this book!!!  Shurtliff offers a touching and believable twist on a familiar tale.  Every story has at least two perspectives, after all, and we enjoyed being given a glimpse of the “villain’s” side of things.  We also loved the hints about other fairy tale characters and their alternate stories.  Gnomes who run messages, pixies who love gold, and trolls who want pets are just a few of the lighthearted details that make this such a fun read.

    Discussion Questions:  http://lieslshurtliff.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Rump-Readers-Guide.pdf


    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 Dawn S | Aug 01, 2016
    Impress your friends with great facts you learned from reading these books! We've got lots of new non-fiction to choose from.

     cover image for who was jules verne
      cover image for science experiments you can eat
     cover image for emergency rescue
     cover image for giraffes
    cover image for how deep is the ocean
     cover image geography
      cover image for beginners united states atlas
      cover image for spaceships and rockets
    cover image for becoming president
    by Dawn S | Jul 29, 2016
    It's a comic book. It's a science book. It's both!
    We just got two books in this series of non-fiction comics. They're colorful and engaging with lots of extras like a glossary, bibliography, and list of additional resources.
    Here's a little more about each one.


    cover image for coral reefs
     

    Coral Reefs: cities of the ocean
    by Maris Wicks
    This book starts with an introduction by the Associate Research Scientist of the New England Aquarium, Dr. Randi Rotjan. Once the comic gets started we're being addressed by a very knowledgeable yellow fish. As narrator, he starts with the basics of coral reefs by contrasting plants and animals. After a brief history lesson on the formation of the earth we're introduced to some of the over 6,000 species of coral.
    There's a lot of great stuff packed into this comic!


    cover image for Dinosaurs
    Dinosaurs: fossils and feathers
    by M.K. Reed

    Unlike the Coral Reefs book, we can't see the narrator in this comic on Dinosaurs. The dinosaur facts are presented as we learn how scientists and fossil hunters first discovered dinosaur remains. Mistakes, rivalries, and superstitions drive this narrative forward and make it more interesting than a mere breakdown of known dinosaur species. The book ends with a note of all there is yet to discover about dinosaurs.

     
    question mark

    What topic would you like to see in this series?
    (I think Bats and Volcanoes are in the works!)






    by Erin W | Jul 26, 2016
    ...But there's still time to turn in your timesheets or bonus round bookmarks! The Summer Reading Program officially ends on Sunday, July 31st. The Main Library will be open that day and will be accepting timesheets and bonus round bookmarks, so be sure to pay us a visit!

    At the Main Library, each child who completes a bonus round bookmark gets to sign his or her name on a star that will be hung on the orange ribbon. We're trying to make it all the way back to the fish tanks, but could use some extra help!

    Summer Reading Stars

    Other locations are also doing fun stuff for the bonus round, so feel free to stop by your favorite branch to see what they're doing! Here's when various libraries will be open:

    Friday, July 29th:

    Main Library is open 9am - 6pm

    Branch locations are open 10am - 6pm

    Saturday, July 30th:

    Main Library is open 9am - 6pm

    The Aboite Branch, Dupont Branch, Georgetown Branch and Shawnee Branch are open 10am - 6pm

    Sunday, July 31st:

    Main Library is open from Noon - 5pm.

    by Kris L | Jul 25, 2016

    Summer is a time when many families travel together – explore new places, see new things, have grand adventures.  Many families visit museums, amusement parks, zoos, state and national parks, and these are all wonderful things.  But have you even considered visiting LIBRARIES when you travel?

    This family traveled from Ohio to visit Fort Wayne and made a point of visiting not one, but TWO libraries – the Georgetown branch, where they visited their former hometown librarian, Ms. Courtney, pictured below, and the Main Library.  They have a wonderful tradition of visiting libraries whenever they go out of town.  So far, they have been to 21 different libraries!    

    Here in Allen County, we don’t have to travel far to visit a new library.  Did you know that there are 14 different Allen County Public Library locations?  Why not make a point of visiting a new-to-you library during the last few weeks of summer?   

    Family visiting the Georgetown branch library

      

    by Miss Heather | Jul 21, 2016
    Our times are tough. It seems like the masses are polarized--republican vs. democrat, black vs. blue, rich vs. poor, young vs. old. Some of these divisions have been around for ages, others are newer and seemingly divide us further than we have been in decades. Do we want those divisions passed on to and through "our" children? How do we set examples to the contrary when all we want to do is to cheer on a particular viewpoint?

    I just pulled together a booklist for a parent asking for books to help her discuss race and racism with her 2, 5, and 6 year olds. Wow. Where to begin? In my search I stumbled on a couple books I had not read. I've read them now and want to pass along the titles as they do a great job of talking about conflict and division in a story format perfect for the younger set.

    1. Green Lizards vs. Red Rectangles by Steve Antony

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    From the book jacket: "The green lizards wanted to defeat the red rectangles. The red rectangles wanted to defeat the green lizards. They were at war! Eventually they realized, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! They stopped fighting and by working together, the green lizards and the red rectangles found a way to live peacefully."     
    It takes SO MUCH work to get along! This book doesn't sugar coat the process--it takes so many tries to get to co-existence.



    2. My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald & Freya Blackwood
    two blanketsFrom the book jacket: "Cartwheel moves to a new country with her auntie--and everything is strange: the animals, the plants--even the wind...
    An old blanket gives Cartwheel comfort when she's sad--and a new blanket just might change her world."

    This simple tale works for the topic of moving as well as acceptance of those who are different. Encourage your kiddos to be the friend to someone who hasn't anyone. And help your kiddo understand that it is okay to be sad about things for a while. It takes time to feel better and we often need to do that on our own.

    The other books I recommended included Mem Fox's Whoever Your Are, Michael Tyler's Skin You Live In;  and Bell Hooks', Skin Again. Are there books you'd recommend to other parents on the topic of getting along, tolerance, conflict, and/or race and racism?


    by Dawn S | Jul 19, 2016
    Take a look at these new early readers!

     cover image for lights out
      cover image for dog-gone school
     cover image for teacher's pet
     cover image for how not to run for class president
    cover image for incredible insects
     cover image for fancy nancy splendid speller
      cover image for build dogs build a tall tail
      cover image for favorite stories from cowgirl kate and cocoa spring babies
    cover image for amazing mammals
    by Dawn Stoops | Jul 15, 2016
    Last week was vacation time for me and my family.
    http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=52949&
    My husband and I zipped along the highway to central Wisconsin with two kids and two grandparents sharing the back seats. Grandma brought along two new books for the kids, but my kids LOVE new stories and by the time we'd passed through Chicago all the grown ups were sick and tired of the limited reading selection.

    What to do?
    overdrive app advertisement

    Overdrive to the rescue! With a few taps on my phone, we had access to the library's Overdrive account with lots of wonderful audio books just for kids. Winnie the Pooh saved the day! We could just as easily have listened to Hi Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold, Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems, Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes, or Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry. There were plenty of choices for our preschool passengers. The kids and adults rode happily for the rest of the trip.



    by Dawn S | Jul 13, 2016
    It's July 13th and maybe you're worried that the Summer Reading Program has passed you by. If you haven't started yet, there's still time! You've got until July 31st to track the time you spend reading and get your gifts. Just check out the details here!

    There's also still time to do all sorts of fun summer stuff!
    Have you...


    cover image for the help yourself cookbook for kids
     
    ...done any cooking?

    cover image for the flying machine book
    ...flown any paper airplanes?

    cover image for real or fake
     
    ...played 'real or fake' with a friend?

    cover image for rocks and minerals
    ...found any cool rocks?



    It's not too late!


    by Dawn Stoops | Jul 07, 2016

    Summer fun at the library isn't just for those big kids who go to school in the fall. It's for smaller ones too!

    For the third year, libraries are offering Toddlerpalooza. Toddlers and their grown-ups are invited to a raucous good time of reading, talking, singing, playing, and writing. We'll have stations set up with wonderful things to explore.

    toddler playing

    Little Turtle Branch Library • 7/8 • 10:30 am

    Waynedale Branch Library • 7/12 • 10:30 am

    Shawnee Branch Library • 7/14 • 10:00 am

    Monroeville Branch Library • 7/18 • 3:30 pm

    Tecumseh Branch Library • 7/21 • 10:30 am

    Georgetown Branch Library • 7/23 • 10:30 am

    Grabill Branch Library • 7/26 • 10:30 am

    Children's Services @ Main Library • 7/29 • 10:30 am

    by Dawn S | Jul 05, 2016
    Here are some new books that go along with summer movies and TV shows. Do you have a favorite?

     cover image for a day with doc
      cover image for ice age collision course
     cover image for fuli finds her place
     cover image for meet criffin rock rescue character guide
    cover image for pete's dragon
     cover image for finding dory
      cover image for teenage ninja turtles out of the shadows
      cover image for the bfg
    cover image for ghostbusters movie novelization
    by Dawn S | Jul 01, 2016
    We hope you got to meet the Cookie Mouse who visited libraries all around Allen County last week. Before he left, he gave us some book suggestions for fun summer reading. Check it out!
    kids posing with the cookie mouse character

    Of course, Cookie Mouse loves all the books about his own adventures.

     cover image for happy birthday mouse
     cover image for if you take a mouse to the movies
      cover image for the best mouse cookie
     

     
     
     


    He said these were great too!

     cover image for mouse count
      cover image for big bad bunny
      cover image for you're too small
      cover image for the mouse with the question mark tail
    cover image for ralph s mouse
     cover image for mouse mess
     
     

    by Dawn S | Jun 27, 2016
    The Main Library's Plaza is a busy place this summer!
    Recently kids had the opportunity to create chalk art for everyone to enjoy.
    kids drawing with chalk
    In July, Jim Gill will be preforming a couple of concerts for families who love to sing and play together. Bring your blankets and chairs on Friday, July 8th, for the 10:30 am or 6:30 pm show.

    Thursday, July 7th, try out the Makerspace Create: Tensile Bubbles program that will include bubble blowing on the plaza. Both sessions,10:30 am and 2:30 pm, will meet in the Children's Department first.

    For more information on these fun outdoor programs call Children's Services at 421-1220.
    by Dawn Stoops | Jun 21, 2016
    You can never have too many picture books on hand for summer reading!
    Here are a few great new ones.

     book cover for this is my dollhouse
      book cover for busy builders busy week
      book cover for otter goes to school
      book cover for  the moon's almost here
    book cover for my hand
     book cover for splat the cat and the big secret
      book cover for go pete go
      book cover for little wing learns to fly
    book cover for animal talk
    by Dawn S | Jun 17, 2016
    Open Art is your chance this summer to get crafty, and maybe messy, at the library.

    girl with craft creation

    What is this?

    It's a wonderful craft creation made by a girl and her dad earlier this month at the Grabill Library. The wonderful thing about Open Art is that it's totally up to you and your creativity. We'll have a variety of supplies and you can just create. Make something big or small, bright or dark, complicated or simple. It's totally up to you. All kids are invited!