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    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 18, 2017
    I'm going to blame myself.
    I have read to my kids since before they were born so my kids have heard a lot of stories. Now my first grader is learning to read on his own and most any time he comes to a word he doesn't know he just makes something up. He knows how stories work in general, and how a particular story is unfolding as he reads it, so he just says something that would go along with what he's just read.
    image of boy reading book

    As a former reading teacher I know he's using context cues as opposed to visual cues in reading when he gets stuck. If he were using visual cues then he'd look at the first letter of the mystery word and try to sound out the parts he sees. But nope, he just picks a word that makes sense in the story regardless of how it matches with the word on the page.

    There are lots of ways to help him pay closer attention to the words in a book. I'm working to teach him that he has to read what he sees. He can't just make stuff up.

    cover image for that is not a good idea
    This book by Mo Willems was a fun read last week because it helped direct his eyes to the words. The little chicks in That is Not a Good Idea warn the characters over and over about impending doom. Each time they are more urgent and each time the reader has to make sure to read the right number of really-s. It's a simple but spot-on practice tool for a 1st grader and it's an extra silly book. That's a win for me and a win for my new reader.

    Let your librarian know if you're looking for books for your new reader. We love helping find just the right books for fun and practice!
    by Erin | Dec 15, 2017

    Hello Universe

    Hello, Universe
    by Erin Entrada Kelly

    Greenwillow Books, 2017

    313 pages

     

    It’s not every day that a middle grade book tackles a concept as poignant as fate, but in Hello, Universe, four kids discover that fate has plans for them.

     

    Virgil: Virgil wants nothing more than to be the hero of his own story. He wants to stand up to bullies, be accepted by his family, and even just say hello to his crush. However, his shyness keeps getting in the way.

     

    Valencia: Valencia is convinced that she doesn’t need friends. All she needs is her zoological diary and the great outdoors. While she may not need friends, she would like someone to explain the weird dream that she’s been having.

     

    Kaori: Kaori is a psychic and a proud Gemini, she also runs a small business in which she reads other peoples’ fates. But when a friend goes missing, Kaori will need the universe’s help in finding him.

     

    Gen: Gen is Kaori’s little sister. She often helps with her older sister’s psychic readings and tends to carry around a pink jump rope.

     

    When a bully throws Virgil’s pet guinea pig into a dried up well, Virgil climbs down and ends up getting stuck. When he doesn’t show up to his scheduled psychic reading, Kaori enlists the help of Valencia and Gen to find him.

     

    Eloquent writing and strong themes of friendship and acceptance makes this book a page turner that is hard to put down. Is it good enough to win the Newbery? We’ll just have to wait and see.

     

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


     

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Teresa Walls | Dec 13, 2017
    Please don't worry; it is just for a few days. The Early Learning Center at the Main Library will be closed Monday, December 18, through Wednesday, December 20, so some maintenance can be done. Thanks for your understanding.
    Early Learning Center closed December 18 through 20, 2017
    by Dawn S | Dec 13, 2017
    Today is the day the Jewish Festival of Lights begins! Here are just some of the hundreds of Hanukkah items we have to borrow at the library. In addition to great print and audio items in our buildings we have hundreds of downloadable items on Hoopla and Overdrive and Freegal.

    cover image for CD the eight nights of chanukah
      music CD
    cover image for enjoy big note jewish holiday songs
      musical score
     cover image for happy hanukkah
      activity book
      cover image for hanukkah
    non-fiction book
    cover image for hanukkah
      non-fiction book
    cover image for hanukkah
      non-fiction book
    queen of the hanukah dosas
      story book
     cover imag for the missing letters
      story book
    cover image for hanukkah bear
      story book
    by Dori Graham | Dec 09, 2017

    Winter Solstice

    Did you know that the sun will set at 5:15 pm on December 21st making that day the darkest/shortest day of the entire year? On that day the sun will be so far away from the earth that its light can only reach us for a total of nine hours!

    That means we've all got an extra excuse to grab a blanket, a shiny flashlight, and a great book or two!

    Join us at the Main Library in the Children's Services department at 6:30 pm on December 21st as we settle in and celebrate the winter solstice with an especially cozy evening storytime. Who knows?! We might even build a blanket fort or two!

    In the meantime, check out some of these great wintry, solstice-y books from an ACPL library location near you!

    The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice
     by Wendy Pfeffer

    Winter Moon Song by Martha Brooks

    Winter Friends by Mary Quattlebaum

    A Solstice Tree for Jenny by Karen Shragg







    by Teresa Walls | Dec 07, 2017
    Librarians, teachers, and other adults interested in picture books for children and young teens are invited to participate in the annual Allen County Public Library's Mock Caldecott Discussion and Election. Each year the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, awards the Caldecott Medal. As stated in the ALSC's Caldecott Medal Terms & Criteria, the Medal is awarded "to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year." The artist must either be a resident or citizen of the United States.

    Don't miss out on the fun as we try to determine the books that might win the actual award. Books we will consider are from 2017, and 50 titles have been selected from the ones posted on the ACPL Mock Caldecott Pinterest Page. On February 3rd, we'll get together for a presentation about the award and art elements. We will then debate, discuss, critique, and decide on the ACPL Mock Caldecott winner for 2018. Advance registration is requested for this program; call Children's Services at 260.421.1220 or register online.

    Here are the titles we’ll be discussing in-person on February 3rd.

     
    by Mary Voors | Dec 06, 2017

    Cover of Ethan I Was Before
     



















    The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish
    Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2017
    352 pages

    The Ethan I was Before by Ali Standish is a story about a boy struggling to work through profound grief. It's also a book full of secrets and mysteries to be resolved. The biggest mystery is trying to figure out what exactly happened to Ethan’s best friend Kacey – the girl who was always ready to accept any dare Ethan offered. The reader knows it was something dramatic enough for the entire family to be uprooted from Boston to his grandfather’s home in a small town in Georgia but doesn’t know exactly what happened.

    When Ethan makes a new friend in Georgia, he begins to think that maybe, just maybe, he could start to become the boy he used to be… as long as the preponderance of secrets don't pull everyone under.

    My favorite line of the book resonated strongly with me and in many ways sums up this title’s theme:  “Trying to destroy hope is like trying to clean sand out of your beach bag…. There’s always going to be a grain or two left.”

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Cindy H | Dec 04, 2017
    9780545700306_mres
    For many, Santa is one of the most magical parts of childhood. As a parent, deciding whether or not to teach your children to believe in Santa, and how to handle the difficult conversations that often surround the subject, can be daunting. Martha Brockenbrough's sweet book, Love, Santa, is one way to help children understand the wonderment that surrounds Santa.

    The book is about a young girl named Lucy. Each year, she writes a letter to Santa. For example, when she was five, she wrote a letter asking Santa how he stays warm at the North Pole; Santa brings her a red coat that year. As Lucy gets older, she starts to question more and more how Santa works his magic. When Lucy is eight, instead of leaving the letter for Santa, she leaves it on her mother's pillow. She asks, "Dear Mom, Are you Santa?" The next morning she receives a letter from her mom, explaining that she isn't Santa, "Santa is a teacher who helps us believe...Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness, and now you know the secret of how he gets down the chimneys on Christmas eve...He has help from the people whose hearts he's filled with joy. I am on his team, and now you are, too. Love, Mom." Lucy feels better knowing the truth, and although she does have mixed feelings of happiness and sadness, ultimately she is ready and excited to go out and be on Santa's team.

    I found this story very sweet and uplifting. I have often struggled with the notion of telling children about Santa; I do not want to lie, but I also do not want to ruin the magic and hope that he brings. I think this story provides a wonderful way to explain the truth about Santa, and remind us that Santa stands for something special that we can hold onto all year long. The book has lovely illustrations and includes Lucy's actual letters in envelopes that can be taken out and perused. It is available in print at the library, click the picture of the book's cover to place on hold!
    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 01, 2017
    Helping kids grow and learn is such a joy, and sometimes just plain hard. When you're navigating real world stuff with kids it's nice to know that there's a book out there to help. Here are just some of the kinds of books available on real world topics.

     

    cover image for what if i need stiches 

    What If I Need Stitches
    written by Therese Shea
    There are a lot of books for preschoolers about going to the doctor, but this is a great book for older kids about a specific kind of injury. This series, called "Benched: dealing with sports injuries", includes books about breaking a bone, concussions, and other sports injuries. The photos and text give important facts in a reassuring way. If you're reading this together after an injury, it should help calm fears about what to expect during the healing process.

    cover image for poverty and hunger

    Poverty and Hunger
    by Louise Spilsbury
    This book is part of a series called "Children in Our World". It gets right to the point with gentle yet honest text about how some people lack basic things like food and shelter. It does a superb job of tackling the topic on a younger child's level. The second half of the book describes ways to help others and there are websites and resources listed on the last pages for more concrete action.


      cover image for going on an airplane
    Going on an Airplane
    written by Harold Rober
    Lots of firsts are exciting and nerve wracking. This book, written at a preschool / kindergarten level, is great for showing the basics of boarding a plane and riding with confidence. The colorful pictures are perfect for little ones!



     

    What other books might you find helpful for tough and new experiences? Our libraries have books about divorce, getting a pet, death of a loved one, moving, alcohol abuse, parents in jail, and many others. Librarians are always ready to help find books on just the topic you need. We've also made some great online book lists on difficult topics. Check out our children's book list page HERE.
    by Teresa Walls | Nov 29, 2017
    book cover Clayton Byrd Goes Underground





















    Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
    HarperCollins, 2017
    166 pages

    Clayton Byrd thinks he's ready to play a solo, a blues harp (harmonica) solo during a set with his grandpa, Cool Papa Byrd; Cool Papa's guitar, Wah Wah Nita; and the rest of the Bluesmen.

          Cool Papa disagreed. "No, son," he said with a smile in his eyes. "Not yet."  
          Big Mike said, "You gotta bend that note like you bend the truth."
          Hector Santos said, "Like you bend backward, especially when you don't want to."
          "Yeah, man," Jack Rabbit Jones said. "Gotta get that round-the-corner, back-to-tell-the-tale blues bend."
          "Got to feel it deep down. In the gut," Papa Byrd said. He patted himself somewhere between his heart and belly. "That's when you know you're crying."
          "Just before you laugh," one said.
          "Sometimes after," another said.
          "But son," Cool Papa said, "a bluesman ain't a bluesman without that deep-down cry."
       
                                                                                                                                                      (p. 9-10)


    Clayton doesn't understand, but he dearly loves Cool Papa. Clayton and Cool Papa often sneak out when Clayton's mother is working a double-shift. They sneak away to meet up with the Bluesmen and play to the crowds who love that music called the blues. Clayton's mother, Juanita, does not love the blues. In Clayton's eyes, she also does not love Cool Papa Byrd, her father whom she feels left her and her mother too many times to go on tour.

    Williams-Garcia descriptions of music, both blues and hip-hop, are wonderfully clear. The complexity of this family's relationships is well-drawn. Clayton's interactions with his grandfather, his mother, and his father are realistic, sometimes painful.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018, at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Dawn Stoops | Nov 24, 2017
    November has been a great month for new children's chapter books! Take a look at just a few of our newest titles.

    cover image for team bff race to the finish
     
    cover image for a skateboard cat-astrophe
     
     cover image for battle for the z-ring
      cover image for cowboy pug cover image for polaris
    cover image for magical misfits
     
    cover image for open if you dare
     
     cover image for me and mister p
    cover image for out of remote control
     
    by Erin | Nov 22, 2017

    When you think of the Newbery Medal, you may not think about graphic novels. After all, when selecting potential books for the award, the committee can only consider illustrations as part of their criteria if the illustrations detract from the story. Otherwise, they must focus solely on the text. Seeing as graphic novels are stories that are told primarily through illustrations, you would think they would be more or less disqualified for this award.

     

    However, Newbery committee members have been selecting graphic novels in recent years, looking past the illustrations and giving credit to the writing. Both Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson and El Deafo by Cece Bell have gotten Newbery honor awards within the past few years.

     

    Because of this, we have not just one, but two graphic novels on our current Mock Newbery list: Real Friends by Shannon Hale and All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson.

     

    Real Friends

    Real Friends
    tells the story of Shannon and Adrienne. The two have been inseparable since Kindergarten, but find themselves being torn apart in middle school due to cliques and popularity. While this is primarily Shannon’s story, readers also get to see what life is like for other characters as well, which does a wonderful job of illustrating the nuances of middle school life.

    All's Faire

     

    All’s Faire in Middle School also focuses on friendship and popularity, but it adds a Renaissance faire into the mix. In this graphic novel, the main character, Imogene, goes off to middle school and attempts to make new friends while keeping her side job as a performer in a Renaissance faire a secret. She also has to deal with the fact that her family isn’t as rich as some of her classmates, and her younger brother is a bit hyperactive.

     

    Along with popularity and friendship, each of these stories deal with issues such as bullies, growing up, socio-economic class, and standing up for what you believe in despite what others may think. Those are all pretty serious themes. Will one of these two graphic novels win the coveted Newbery Award? I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Dawn Stoops | Nov 16, 2017
    cover image for my first book of patterns
    My First Book of Patterns by Bobby and June George is truly a book for babies of high style and discerning taste. It's not everyday that books for such little ones use words like "Argyle" and "Chevron".

    It is indeed a delightful book. It will engage wee ones with its high contrast picture style and add a little fun for the parents as well. The entire book's design is pretty classy, from the lovely patterns on the cover, to the festive everyday scenes that illustrate each pattern (hello plaid city).

    book image for my first book of patternsbook image for my first book of patterns
    This board book lives with many, many other board books at your library. Grab a bag full today and read to those babies!
    by Teresa Walls | Nov 14, 2017

    book cover Patina by Jason Reynolds

    Patina by Jason Reynolds
    Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017
    233 pages

    Patina, nickname Patty, is the main character in this second book of Jason Reynold's Track series, described on the inside book cover as an explosive series about "a fast but fiery group of kids who have a shot at the Junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first -- to one another, and to themselves." A book in a series can be a bit tricky when thinking about the Mock Newbery because the book should be able to stand alone as a distinguished book. No problem with this novel; it does stand on its own.

    Patty and her sister are living with their aunt and uncle since their mother has many health complications due to diabetes. Throughout the book, Patty struggles with fitting in with the "hair flippers" at her new school. Her little sister is at the school too, but as Patty says about her sister, Maddy:

    she loves it, but that's because this is the only school she's ever been at. She's never been in a school where you didn't have to wear pleated paper bags. She never went to a school with boys, and yes, boys make school really, really annoying sometimes, but they also can make it pretty fun. Or at least funny. Maddy never went to a school with mostly black kids either. She's only known life as a "raisin in milk," as my Ma puts it. (p. 29)

    Patty's is a strong voice. She is also a strong runner. I am not a runner, but Reynold's description of the races and being on a track team seem spot-on to me. Reynolds dedicates the novel "For those who've been passed the baton too young." Patty is passed the baton literally and figuratively; her story is well worth reading.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Dawn Stoops | Nov 09, 2017
    Can you guess the book characters? Move your mouse over each picture to see who it is.
    hidden picture of Lola hidden picture of Yoko hidden picture of brother and sister bear
    hidden picture of Junie b jones hidden picture of pete the cat hidden picture of buster and arthur
    hidden picture of fancy nancy hidden picture of piggie hidden picture of bob the builder
    Thanks for playing!
    by Mary Voors | Nov 08, 2017

    Cover of book Wishtree


    Wishtree
    by Katherine Applegate
    A Feiwel and Friends Book, 2017
    215 pages

    The summary offered by the publisher in our library's catalog is: "A red oak tree and a crow help their human neighbors work out their differences." This summary does not begin to express the complexity and thoughtfulness of this book.


    Wishtree begins simply enough with a comment from Red, the main character: "It's hard to talk to trees. We're not big on chitchat."


    The story revolves around Red, an oak tree who is "two hundred and sixteen rings old" and his friend, Bongo, a crow. Red watches over the neighborhood while protecting the natural community which takes shelter among its leaves and branches and hollows of its trunk. He also watches over the people in his neighborhood.

    While I am not normally a reader who enjoys "talking animals" stories, I totally fell for this book; a story which can be read on many levels. It will serve well as a read-aloud to primary level children about the importance and value of friendship. At the same time, its beautiful metaphors make it an amazing parable about welcoming and embracing diversity, not judging others before getting to know them, and recognizing that difference can bring strength.


    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)


    by Dawn Stoops | Nov 03, 2017
    cover image for building amazing creations

    For all those lovers of LEGO Bricks, there's a new book you've got to see!

    Sean Kenney, a renown LEGO Brick artist, is the author of Building Amazing Creations. This isn't Sean's first book about LEGOs but it is the first one to show his studio, give lots of details about his work and exhibits, and have hundreds of pictures of his cool creations. It truly is a feast for the eyes with so many brightly colored sculptures. 

    The book is broken down into 13 chapters like 'Animals', 'Robots', and 'Behind the Scenes'. I loved learning that the mama polar bear is his largest sculpture and weighs 625 pounds with more than 125,000 bricks. I also found his studio photos interesting with drawers and tubs and boxes of bricks all sorted by size, shape, and color. Building Amazing Creations is 382 pages of fascinating facts, glorious LEGO sculptures, and information about the life of an artist. All ages of LEGO fans will find something to love in this new book!

    Curious about Sean's other books?
    Check one, or five, out at your local library!

    cover image for totally cool creations
    cover image for cool city
     cover image for cool cars and trucks
    cover image for cool robots
    cover image for cool castles
    cover image for cool creations in 101 pieces
      cover image for cool creations in 35 pieces  

     
    by Mary Voors | Oct 31, 2017

    It’s one of my most favorite times of the year!  No, I don’t mean fall, or Halloween, or even winter or the upcoming holiday season. I mean the time when lovers of children’s literature start talking about which book might win the Newbery Award! Which kid's book, published in 2017 in the United States, by an American author or resident, will be chosen as the “most distinguished” book for kids?

    Every year for the last several decades – we’ve forgotten exactly when we first started doing this – the Children’s Services department at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana has offered a Mock Newbery reading list and discussion. We share our list, talk among ourselves & online, and get together a week or so before the real Award is announced to select the ACPL Mock Newbery winner.

    Sound like fun? You bet it is! You can register for the “in-person” program which will take place on the afternoon of February 3, 2018 here.

    Are you interested in joining the discussion online before you come to chat in person? Beginning next week, and every week through January, we'll start a conversation about one or two of these titles on this blog.

    Here – in no particular order – are the titles we’ll be discussing online throughout the coming months. We will be talking about these same titles in-person on February 3rd.


    What fun, right?!??!!!  Hope you’ll join us! Click here to sign up for the “in-person” discussion. And be sure to stop back to this blog each week as we discuss another title.

    by Mary Voors | Oct 26, 2017

    poetry contest poster
    Entries are still being accepted in the Library’s Annual Poetry Contest!  All kids and young adults in kindergarten through high school are invited to submit a poem on the topic of their choice. The deadline to get your poem submitted is Monday, November 6. You can drop your poem off at any Allen County Public Library branch or at the Main Library. Just Write It! -- there is no specific theme this year.

    All winning poems will be added to the permanent library collection in both print and digital form. If you are interested in last year’s winning compilation of poems, you can place the print version on hold here or read the entire book of winning poems online here.

    Want more information about this year’s poetry contest? Here are the official rules:

    1. Poetry Contest is open to all children in kindergarten through grade five, and all teens in grades six through twelve.
    2. Only one entry per student.
    3. Poem 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, email (if available), school, and grade on the back of the poem.
    6. Poetry Contest starts on Monday, September 11, 2017.
    7. Poetry Contest ends on Monday, November 6, 2017, 9:00 pm.
    8. Criteria for judging of poems includes
    • understanding the concept of a "poem"
    • creativity
    • legibility
    • originality

       9. Awards for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and HM will be chosen for each grade.
     10. Winners will be notified by mail.
     11. The Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony will be held at 10:30 am on December 9th.
     12. All Poetry Conest entries become the property of the Allen County Public Library.
     13. For further information, call the library at 260.421.1220.

           What are you waiting for? Start writing YOUR poem to enter!

    by Dawn S | Oct 24, 2017
    Most moms I know who get their little ones to storytime each week don't spend a lot of time browsing the adult non-fiction stacks while they're here. They just don't have time. The thing is, there are so many great books out there on all sorts of mom topics. I love the baby/family cookbooks, decorating books for kids' rooms, crafty books, and the rest!

    Here's just a sampling of what's out there.

    cover image for pottery barn kids room
     
    cover image for the mindful mom to be
     
     cover image for nourishing meals
      cover image for the black woman's guide to breastfeeding cover image for the playschool guide to baby play
    cover image for baby and me
     
    cover image for baby says sew
     
     cover image for how to parent your anxious toddler
    cover image for around the world in 80 purees
     

    There really are thousands of great books to choose from so ask your librarian for more choices next time you stop in!