A passage in “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams Bianco never fails to bring tears to my eyes: “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.” Even as an adult, I relate to Skin Horse at that moment because he is experiencing human emotions.
For most of us, childhood is when we learn to master feelings and emotions. And this can be challenging to say the least. Just ask any adult who has carried a screaming child out of a store.
According to an article in Psychology Today, reading to your child is one of the best ways to help them develop their emotional skill sets. Children realize they are not alone when they see fictional characters struggle to make sense of their emotions. They learn that it’s okay tohave feelings that you don’t always understand and that working through them is just a part of growing up. Continue reading “Feelings Are Universal”
The main character of “The Bad Seed” is a bad seed. Everyone says so, even the seed himself. He admits to all sorts of naughty things, like not putting things back where they belong, being late to everything, not washing his hands (or feet) and he even cuts in line! Why is he so bad? Will he be bad forever?
Jory John (author of “Penguin Problems,” and “Goodnight Already!“) tells the story from the seed’s point of view. He describes the simple sunflower he lived in with his family (back when he was just a humble seed, living in an unremarkable field of sunflowers). Then some stuff happened — it’s all kind of a blur for our seed character — and now he is a bad seed. Not just any kind of bad seed, but a baaaaaaaaaad seed. Continue reading “Books We Love: The Bad Seed”
One little quirk about me is that I love PAW Patrol. The puppies are cute, and each episode has many important lessons about friendship, teamwork, sharing and being kind. Because I enjoy the TV show so much, I get giddy about new PAW Patrol books. When I first saw “Why Do Dogs Drool?” and “Hometown Heroes,” I knew I needed to check them out.
These PAW Patrol books are part of an easy-to-read nonfiction series that inserts small factoids or jokes on every page. The information is a great way to start discussions with your child. However, my favorite parts of the books are the jokes (aka, the puppy punchlines). What kind of book does a rabbit like to read? One with a hoppy ending!
Does your child love PAW Patrol like me? Click here for all the titles we have at our branches and bookmobiles.
“Auld Lang Syne” is a song that’s often a part of many New Year’s traditions. The term “auld lang syne” roughly translates to “days gone by” or “old times.” Even though the New Year is often focused on looking towards the future with intentions of self-improvement, this classic song asks us to reflect upon the past year(s) and be introspective about what has changed. Its lyrics help us think about all of the adventures we’ve experienced and the friendships that have come and gone. It’s a nice way to stay thankful, humble and mindful. Here are a few excerpts (translated):
“Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
So on this New Year’s, try to reflect on the past in addition to planning for the future. This opens up a whole lot of activities and exercises that can be done with kids. You can discuss fond memories or perhaps memories long forgotten. You can ask them whether they have become closer to anybody or if they have grown farther apart from someone and how that makes them feel.
It can also be an excellent time to look at some old pictures that were taken and talk about memories experienced together. This can improve not only memory but also imagination, storytelling and critical thinking skills. Plus, it’s always fun to reminisce on the past.
As 2017 comes to an end, the children’s staff at DBRL have been reminiscing about the fabulous new books that arrived on our shelves this year. While it’s hard to pick a favorite, there are some books that stood apart from the rest. Here are our favorite 20 favorite books for kids published in 2017.
“Around the World in a Bathtub: Bathing All Over the Globe” written by Wade Bradford and illustrated by Micha Archer
This book shows how everywhere in the world, parents have to coax children into the bath. In many different languages you hear “no, no” from children and “yes, yes” from parents, until it’s time to get out and the words reverse.
“Assassin’s Curse” by Kevin Sands
“Assassin’s Curse” is the third in the Blackthorn Key series and is just as compelling as the first two! Young Christopher Rowe travels to Paris with his friends Tom and Sally to crack the curse on the royal family and find the treasure of the Knights Templar. The book is very well written historical fiction with lots of puzzles, mystery, poison, ciphers and action. And the best part–it looks like there will be a number four!
When it comes to road trips, summer may be number one, but winter is a close second. It seems like everyone is either driving to the snow or driving away from it! But while you may be thinking, “Getting there is half the fun!” your kids may not agree. Car seats and wiggles go together about as well as fire and ice. Those initial giggles of excitement all too rapidly evaporate into, “Are we there yet?!”
While modern technology offers a plethora of entertainments, from video games to movies, there’s something to be said for “old-fashioned” options that many of us remember when we were knee-high to grasshoppers. A favorite of mine was when my mother would sing silly rhymes with us while Dad tried to navigate with little more than an atlas and a prayer.
To help make your winter journeys a bit less stressful, so everyone can truly enjoy the ride, here are a few sing-songs to add to your repertoire.
Little ones like figuring out the answers to problems, especially if there is a reward at the end. (For example: How do you escape the playpen? Where did mom hide the cookies?) You can encourage problem solving by creating situations where your child gets to explore and work out their own solution in a safe and stress-free environment. One way to do this is to make a sensory basket. If you have a basket (laundry baskets of any size or shape work well) and string or yarn, then you can create an activity that will encourage little hands to work out how to retrieve their toys.
Discovery basket instructions:
Place some toys in the bottom of your basket.
Tie the end of your string or yarn to one side the basket and cross to the opposite side.
Loop the string through and around a hole, and then it pull taunt. Keep doing this over and over, forming a spider web-like structure through out the basket, with the toys ‘trapped’ in the bottom.
‘Tis the season for lots of traveling. And when you’ve heard the same children’s songs over and over and over again, going on a long car ride may not seem enjoyable. That’s where the library comes in! We have over a thousand different music titles just for kids alone. We have music for all ears–instrumental, Kidz Bop, Laurie Berkner, soundtracks from children’s movies and so much more.
Did you know you can also check out magazines? You may check up to 5 of back issues at a time, and they check out for 3 weeks just like books! We have all the classics such as Highlights and Ranger Rick plus new titles such as Kazoo.
To see a list of all children’s magazines at our branches and bookmobiles, click here.
Want to see the library carry a specific magazine or music CD? Click here to suggest a purchase!
What’s the app all the kids are raving about? You know, the one where they wander around in real life interacting with critters and waiting for eggs to hatch? It stars a brightly-colored beloved character you might recognize from your own childhood–and it’s not Pokemon Go! I’m talking about “My Very Hungry Caterpillar AR” app by StoryToys Entertainment Limited ($2.99).
This app is recommended for ages 4 and up. There is no text in this app, and you only have to know how to drag and drop to begin game play (which makes it perfect for a younger audience). The primary goal is to feed and care for your caterpillar. This is a great way to talk about the life cycle of a butterfly, though it is not 100% scientifically accurate. (You can play catch and create artwork with your caterpillar, which not something I would try real life!) As of right now, this app is only available for iPhone and iPad.
If you are interested in a free Eric Carle app, you should try “The Very Hungry Caterpillar–Play & Explore.” Both apps are super cute and engaging but also have some in app purchase options, so make sure you enjoy them together with your child.
“10 Little Ninjas” takes the classic “5 Little Monkeys” formula and completely flips it on its head. Books like this are loads of fun; they feature just enough familiarity for kids to easily catch on, yet there is so much new content to discover. Sing along as Miranda Paul’s original rhymes flow across Nate Wragg’s playful illustrations!
As the book counts down, it displays unique themes that kids have always loved to role-play. Number eight in the countdown features kids in race cars: “8 rapid racers revving out the gate–one left late and couldn’t drive straight!” Flipping through the remaining pages reveals prowling tigers, rowdy cowboys and so many other children’s favorites. Kids will absolutely love to race, growl and lasso their way through the pages with you!