Brrrr! Chilly temps and frozen precip are on the way! But for those of us who love to read, this is not a problem. Honestly, what could be better than a cozy chair and a good book? So, while making preparations for this time of year is a good idea – such as stocking up on woolly socks – equally important is stocking up on books!
This time of year is also the beginning of the long holiday season, so, holiday books are a real treat for young and old alike. Who doesn’t like to hear stories about family traditions, special foods and (of course!) gift-giving?
At DBRL we offer a wide assortment of wonderful holiday books to delight all ages! To start you off, here are a few suggestions that go particularly well with hot cocoa and a toasty fire. Enjoy!
Thanksgiving: November 23
Although there are more books available now than ever before, not all books are appropriate for all audiences. For this reason, parents and guardians can struggle with helping children make good choices in regards to selecting age-appropriate reading materials.
This is especially true when it comes to young children. For instance, some subjects can be too intense for little ones who have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary. Keeping up with precocious readers can be equally challenging. Kids reading above their level can be exposed to situations, language and content that is beyond their maturity.
At DBRL, we offer a list called “Gentle Reads: Chapter Books for Kids” that recommends great chapter books for kids that contain little to no violence, sex or strong language. The selected books also tend to be positive and have happy endings. The list includes titles from beloved classics such as “Winnie the Pooh” and “The Giving Tree” to more recent favorites, such as “Crenshaw” and “Seagulls Don’t Eat Pickles.” Continue reading “Discovering Gentle Reads”
On September 24, 1991, the world mourned the loss of beloved author, Theodore Seuss Geisel. Better known as Dr. Seuss, Geisel published more than 60 children’s books, the majority under the Dr. Seuss pseudonym (with more than a dozen as Theo LeSieg and one as Rosetta Stone).
Known for his whimsical characters, Geisel’s rhyming, sing-song approach to storytelling continues to delight young and old alike. Geisel’s books are fun to read, yet the messages within the pages are equally important.
Many of Geisel’s books address common childhood issues, such as fitting in and bullying, while others deal with political and social issues, such as taking care of the environment. As Geisel’s characters work through these issues, they learn valuable life lessons.
Here is an excerpt from the book “The Sneetches: And Other Stories,” where the author teaches children about tolerance and acceptance. Continue reading “Life Lessons From Dr. Seuss”
Elwood P. Dowd has Harvey, Calvin has Hobbes and Big Bird has Mr. Snuffleupagus. Imaginary Friends! They come in all shapes, sizes, genders and even species. Although not all children develop these special invisible relationships, imaginary friends are a normal part of the childhood experience. According to a 2004 study, by age seven, 65 percent of children have had an imaginary companion.
Yet, parents and guardians are often concerned when they find out their child talks to and/or interacts with an pretend friend. Questions arise, such as, “What is wrong with my child?” or “Why can’t they make real friends?”
However, these make-believe relationships are often beneficial. According to psychologist Tracy Gleason, professor of psychology at Wellesley College, having imaginary friends help children develop a “Theory of Mind” or ToM. Dictionary.com defines ToM as “the ability to interpret one’s own and others people’s mental and emotional states, understanding that each person has unique motives, perspectives, etc.” Equally important, interacting with an imaginary friend helps a child develop their imagination, practice their social skills and overcome shyness. Continue reading “Imaginary Friends”
Warm days and cool nights make summer the perfect time to play outside, but not just for us! Take bugs, for instance. They love summer too. For this reason, you will see them everywhere this time of year.
But what is a “bug?” Merriam Webster defines a bug as “an insect or other creeping or crawling small invertebrate.” ASU (Arizona State University) School of Life Sciences expands this definition a bit further: bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. “The key difference between true bugs and other insects is their mouth parts. True bugs suck. That’s right, the true bugs have specialized mouth parts used to suck juices. Mostly they suck fluids from plants, but there are some true bugs, like bed bugs, that feed on animals.” Continue reading “Bugs Love Summer, Too!”
What is it that everyone can do that typically doesn’t cost any money and has almost infinite opportunities? Volunteering, of course!
In truth, numerous organizations rely on volunteers to stay afloat. With extra hands always appreciated, volunteering is good for the soul. Children who volunteer can learn the joys of caring for others, as well as the world we live in.
Below are some ways you can volunteer as a family.
- Start a garden together. Gather the food grown, and give it to a local food pantry that distributes food to people in need.
- Offer special chores that allow your children to raise money to buy something for an organization they are passionate about.
- Cook! Make goodies for a neighbor or family member who could use some TLC.
- Support local heroes, such as firefighters and policemen, by writing thank you notes for their service.
- Set aside a “spring cleaning day,” regardless of the time of year. Have your children select gently used items, such as clothing and toys, to give to local shelters or charitable organizations in your area.
- Be on the lookout for canned food drives. Allow your children to choose canned goods from your own pantry or let them buy them from a store to donate.
- Pick up trash at parks and other public places you visit. Be sure to use disposable gloves, and deposit the trash or recyclables in nearby receptacles.
Continue reading “Build a Better World by Volunteering”
Hooray! Summer is almost here! Whether you and your family plan to spend the next few months traveling to exotic places, basking on a tropical beach or simply enjoying the occasional backyard BBQ, summer is the best time to rest, relax and read. For this reason, books are as essential as sunscreen.
But with so many books to choose from, selecting something to read can be challenging, especially for children. When this happens, some adult guidance can go a long way. One fun way parents can help is by suggesting a theme. Pick out books with your kids on topics such as animals, sports, nature, camping or travel. Be creative!
“Opposites” is a theme that I particularly like to use. In this case, have your children look for two books, each with opposite words in the titles. Some examples you might consider are–up and down, in and out, north and south or rich and poor. To get you started, here’s a list of books I came up with using the opposites hot and cold. Continue reading “Rest, Relax and Read!”
The words “weather” and “climate” are often used interchangeably. But while they both tell us something about what to expect when we head out the door and help us answer important questions such as, “Is this a good weekend to go camping?” they are far from synonymous terms.
Merriam Webster distinguishes between the two in this way: weather is “the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness,” whereas climate is “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation.”
Here at DBRL, we offer a wide variety of books and materials for all ages to help you learn more about weather and climate (as well as climate change and global warming). Here are a few suggestions for our younger patrons! Continue reading “Weather vs. Climate…and What About Climate Change?”
Friends are such a gift! The best ones not only allow us to be ourselves but also lift us up when we are down. To quote former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.”
Learning to make friends is an important part of early childhood. Take it from Piglet in “Winnie the Pooh,” “It’s so much more friendly with two.” But for many children, stepping out of their comfort zones, interacting with others and forming these important relationships can be challenging.
Parents and guardians can help pave the way by providing ample social opportunities, such as play dates, which allow children to make friends at their own pace. Equally important is reading with your child about making and keeping friends. Here are just a few of the many friendship books we offer at DBRL to help you get started:
Young children often struggle to be understood, especially in stressful situations. When this happens, frustration can quickly escalate to a full-blown tantrum.
As adults, we recognize the fact that developing the skill sets necessary to avoid going from zero to meltdown takes time and a lot of practice. One way today’s parents, guardians and educators are helping children cope with stress is by teaching children to meditate. However, equally important is the practice of mindfulness.
Psychology Today describes mindfulness as “a state of active, open attention on the present. … Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.” Continue reading “Meditation and Mindfulness for Children”