Kids are curious. They ask a million questions. And as far as I know, there’s no definitive book of answers for how to talk to your little ones about serious issues, such as the Holocaust or slavery or hurricanes or death. It’s difficult to navigate how much to tell them when you want to be honest with them but not scare or overwhelm them with things they aren’t emotionally ready to handle. When you think you are ready to tackle these issues, there are some great books that can help.
“The Whispering Town” by Jennifer Elvgren is a beautifully written, simple book that tells the story of a family who hid Jewish families in Nazi-occupied Denmark and helped them get to Sweden safely. It is based on a true story and tells the clever and unusual plan that little Anett devises to get her “new friends” to safety. A sweet story, with just enough details for curious little ones. Continue reading “Tackling Tough Topics”
Each year the Missouri Association of Library Services (MASL) compiles a list of a dozen books, books written by authors living in the United States and of high literary merit. These books are then read by thousands of children, grades four through six, across the state. These young readers then vote for their favorite title, and the winner is awarded the Mark Twain Reader Award.
Many of the nominees and winners have been from the realistic fiction genre, especially in the early years of the award. Titles like “How to Eat Fried Worms,” “Ramona the Brave,” and “The Pinballs” were all winners in the 1970s, depicting the lives of a variety of young people. The most recent winner of the award, “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio, continues in the vein of realistic fiction with the story of Auggie Pullman and his venture into middle school. Born with a facial deformity, Auggie goes to school outside his home for the first time, experiencing all the ups and downs that come with that. This non-traditional protagonist imparts wisdom and humanity to young readers, providing invaluable lessons of acceptance and love. Continue reading “The Mark Twain Award”
The Newbery Medal is awarded each year to “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” The Newbery Medal is to children’s literature what the Oscar is to the Academy Awards. In plain English: This award is given to the best chapter book of the year. Some popular Newbery award-winning titles include “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate, “The Giver” by Lois Lowry and “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman.
About our Mock Newbery Program:
Throughout the fall, we are inviting youth in grades 4-8 to join us twice per month to discuss this year’s Newbery finalists. Library staff will facilitate the sessions along with Nancy Baumann, a local educator and previous Newbery committee member. This is the fourth year that the library has offered this unique book club opportunity, and we hope that you will consider signing up.
How to get involved:
Sessions will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Columbia Public Library on the following Wednesdays: September 9 and 23, October 7 and 21, November 4 and 18 and December 2 and 16. Registration begins Tuesday, September 1. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161. Continue reading “2015 Mock Newbery Awards”
If you have read any of my other blog posts, you might have noticed my love of fairy tales. Classics, twisted, retold… they are all wonderful in my eyes. When I saw “Super Red Riding Hood,” by Claudia Dvaila, I knew I had to read it. Not only does it tell a new version of Red Riding Hood, but its superhero theme is perfect for this year’s Summer Reading program.
I’m glad I took the time to check out this story – it means I can share this delightful story about a young girl, Ruby, who is actually Super Red Riding Hood! When Ruby puts on her cape and red boots, she becomes a superhero capable of amazing things. Her super traits help her successfully complete her mission into the woods and even make a new friend. Continue reading “Books We Love: Super Red Riding Hood”
Many elementary school curriculum programs encourage kids to read narrative nonfiction (writing that tells a fact-based story) and informational texts. You can inject more facts and concepts into kids’ “reading diets” by enlisting the help of treasured storybook characters.
A newly-published series is Curious George Discovers, in which our beloved monkey learns all about the sun, our senses, rainbows and more.
Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library is a series of nonfiction picture books featuring everyone’s favorite feline. Through funny and friendly storytelling, your child can learn about chimpanzees, reptiles, butterflies and trees, accompanied by the irrepressible Cat. Continue reading “Nonfiction Fun! Win a Curious George Discovers Book!”
Our library hosted its first Cosplay Costume Con in Columbia on Wednesday, July 22. All ages participated, from a teeny, tiny Superman baby to a Mizzou professor dressed as Edward Scissorhands. Brandy Cross, co-owner of Distant Planet Comics & Collectibles, volunteered to help myself and another staff member judge the costume contest. In addition to the catwalk antics of young and old, friends and strangers posed together in front of our cityscape photo op.
Continue reading “Our First Cosplay Costume Con!”
One of the first picture books I can recall with true clarity is about a young boy, a magic pasta pot and three kisses. For the longest time I remembered nothing more than the beautiful illustrations and the warm feeling I always got whenever my grandmother read it to me. Then one day the title suddenly came to me: “Strega Nona,” by Tomie dePaola. I have been pulling his books off the library shelves ever since.
For over 40 years, Tomie dePaola has been writing and illustrating heartwarming books for children. He is best known for his clean, simple line illustrations, filled with bright, bursting colors. His human characters are immediately recognizable with their round faces and puffy-looking clothes. Collections such as “Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose” and “Tomie dePaola’s Book of Poems” are rich with diverse characters, animal and people alike. One of his newer series, about the Barkers family, introduces Spanish vocabulary and blended, adoptive families. Continue reading “Books We Love: The Works of Tomie dePaola”
Summer is heating up, and unfortunately for us, mid-Missouri is about a thousand miles away from the nearest sunny ocean beach. But the library is here to help! Check out these books about the ocean and all the creatures that inhabit it.
“Under the Ocean” by Anouck Boisrobert is a beautiful pop-up book that takes a look at life above and below the surface of the ocean. As readers open the book, the delicate and detailed pop-ups open out and divide the pages between what’s above the surface – boats, fishermen and icebergs – and what’s below – schools of fish, coral reefs and scuba divers. Continue reading “Bring the Ocean to You!”
The library is closed on Saturday, July 4th, but all branches will be open on the 3rd, and the Columbia Public Library will be open its usual Sunday hours on the 5th! Try some of the Fourth of July crafts below – great for kids who want to get in on the fun but might not be old enough for fireworks.
A Handy Flag
- Finger Paint (red, white and blue)
- Construction paper (any color aside from red, white or blue, i.e. typical flag colors)
- Star hole punch (or grab some star stickers)
- Take your star hole punch and punch out lots of little stars.
- Paint the palm of your hand blue.
- Paint your fingers alternating with white and red
- Make your handprint on a piece of construction paper.
- Wash your hands
- While the paint is still wet, put the stars all over the blue paint
- Let dry and wave your hand flag in the air!
This is a fun craft for kids to do during your Fourth of July celebrations. It will keep them busy for a little while … and who doesn’t like getting paint all over their hands!? Continue reading “July Fourth Fun!”