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

    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 16, 2016

    Among the library's wealth of resources available to check out, media kits are sometimes overlooked. A media kit is a plastic bag containing a book and matching audio CD. Little readers can look at the book and listen to it being read at the same time. It's a fun way to enjoy a good book! It's also very helpful for kids of all ages with learning disabilities or those who just need a little extra boost.

    Maybe you didn't know there are a variety of media kits available. Take a look at this sample list and ask a librarian for more suggestions when you visit the library.

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    When Marian Sang
    written by Pam Munoz Ryan
    illustrated by Brian Selznick
    Here's a biography with a bonus! Actual recordings of Marian Anderson singing are interspersed with the reading of the book's text. Other little touches like applause make this book an especially great one to enjoy as a Media Kit.

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    Anansi and the Magic Stick
    written by Eric Kimmel
    illustrated by Janet Stevens
    You can find folk tales and fairy tales as media kits too. Fantastical characters, magical creatures, and adventures await!

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    States and Capitals
    by Kim Mitzo Thompson
    Try a nonfiction title to help you learn fascinating facts. This kit about states has music designed to help kids in memorization and also fun puzzles to use with a class.

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    Hi Fly Guy
    by Tedd Arnold
    Early Readers are great to share in audio because they sometimes give new readers that little extra boost to become more confident about words, pronunciation, pacing, expression, and plot.

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    Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!
    by Mo Willems
    Yes, there are lots of picture books in the media kit section. In some cases, like this book, you get some fun little audio extras like the author reading part of the book. Another bonus, the author's daughter, Trixie, narrates the part of Amanda.

    The Allen County Public Library has thousands of these fun and useful kits. Ask us to show them to you. We're happy to help!
    by Dawn S | Dec 12, 2016
    You never know who you'll meet at the library!
    Star Wars characters at Grabill Librarystar wars characters at Grabill Library
    Saturday, families at the Grabill Branch Library got to hang out with Star Wars friends, eat wookie cookies, go on a scavenger hunt, and watch The Force Awakens. Programs like this one happen every week at our libraries.

    Click here for our calendar of events for December and beyond.

    by Teresa Walls | Dec 07, 2016
    Next month, the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, will be announcing its selections for various awards. One of the awards is the Caldecott Medal, the award for the best picture book for children. Eligible books must be published in the United States the previous year by an illustrator who is a citizen or resident of the United States. There's a range of criteria that is considered.

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    What does this have to do with you? Well, we offer a program for adults who are interested in children's picture books. Children's librarians of the Allen County Public Library have selected picture books that were published in 2016 to consider for our own 2017 ACPL Mock Caldecott Election. Our entire list is available on our ACPL Mock Caldecott Pinterest page. This list has been narrowed down a bit and is listed below. Stop into the Children’s Services Department to see these books before the program.

    So, if you enjoy art and children's literature and you’re free Saturday, January 14, from 9 am to 1 pm, register to join the fun.

  • The Airport Book
  • Among a Thousand Fireflies
  • Are We There Yet?
  • Before Morning
  • Bloom
  • The Cat from Hunger Mountain
  • Come Home, Angus
  • Cricket Song
  • Daniel Finds a Poem
  • The Dead Bird
  • Du Iz Tak?
  • Fearless Flyer
  • Flora and the Peacocks
  • Freedom in Congo Square
  • Freedom over Me
  • Horrible Bear!
  • I Am Pan
  • Ideas Are All Around
  • Jazz Day
  • Lift Your Light a Little Higher
  • Little Penguins
  • Lucy
  • March, Book 3
  • Maybe Something Beautiful
  • Miracle Man
  • Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
  • The Night Gardener
  • Old MacDonald Had a Truck
  • A Poem for Peter
  • The Princess and the Warrior
  • Radiant Child
  • Real Cowboys
  • Return
  • Samson in the Snow
  • School's First Day of School
  • The Secret Subway
  • Snow White
  • The Sound of Silence
  • Spot, the Cat
  • Steamboat School
  • The Storyteller
  • Swap!
  • Their Great Gift
  • There is a Tribe of Kids
  • They All Saw a Cat
  • This is Not a Picture Book!
  • Thunder Boy Jr.
  • The Tree in the Courtyard
  • Twenty Yawns
  • The Typewriter
  • The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
  • We Found a Hat
  • The Whale
  • What to Do with a Box
  • by Dawn Stoops | Dec 05, 2016
    When the wind is blowing and the snow is falling, gather the little ones and stay cozy with some good picture books!

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    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 01, 2016
    boy putting letter in post box
    For years, kids have written Santa Claus letters asking him questions about his special job and requesting certain gifts. Writing a letter to Santa is fun and it's even more magical to get a letter back in response! Right now, through December 15th, kids can write a letter to Santa at the Hessen Cassel Branch Library. All letters will be mailed to Santa Claus, Indiana where special elves will make sure each child gets a response from Santa himself!
    This super fun holiday program has some bonus brain boosting power! Just look at the benefits of this one simple activity.
    • It's a FUN reason to practice writing.

    •  Kids may seek help spelling girl writing a letter to Santawords they don't usually use, like sleigh.  

    • Practice writing a letter helps kids understand that written communication takes different forms depending on the situation. 

    • It's good handwriting practice too. Santa can't respond to a letter he can't read!




    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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    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

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    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
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    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
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    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.