Children's Book Columns

04/28/2014 - 3:12pm
Duck, Duck, Moose

Some books just aren’t meant to be read alone by an adult sitting quietly on her couch with no children in sight; naming no names of course.  They demand an audience so that the actions aren’t just read, but performed, and so that the words aren’t just said, but shouted!  You don’t need a room full of children to enjoy books at this level, this is the kind of fun that can be had even if there are just two of you!

03/25/2014 - 12:58pm
George Washington

Recently at the library, it’s all about George.  In preparation for our current Rappahannock Reads title, “George Washington, Spymaster” by Thomas B. Allen each branch has cardboard cutouts of the big man himself just waiting for you to take a selfie.  If you aspire to be more like George, then your family can enjoy our scavenger hunt and claim your prize--a George Washington mask!

03/11/2014 - 1:08pm
Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka

It is vital for early elementary aged children to read introductory chapter books that they enjoy.  Reading is fun, but when you’re just learning sometimes you need encouragement that the hard work is worth it!   Even if your young person isn’t ready to tackle the following books independently, they are great read alouds that you both will enjoy while reinforcing the message that--you guessed it--reading is fun!

03/06/2014 - 2:26pm
Dr. Seuss

The library is having a party and everyone is invited!  More than two decades after his death, Dr. Seuss’ March birthday has become an annual, nationwide celebration for libraries and schools, and we are joining the fun!  After all, it’s only fitting that one of the most beloved children’s book authors receives such recognition.  His books are an intrinsic part of American cultural knowledge and span the generations with the first, “And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” published in 1937 to the last, “Oh, the Place You Will Go” in 1991, and include over 60 titles.  I bet most Americans even know many of his most memorable lines by heart.  While I could write an entire column about my favorites (“Green, Eggs and Ham,” “The Lorax,” and anything with Horton,) part of what I find so fascinating about Dr. Seuss is Theodor Geisel, the man behind the legend.      

06/07/2011 - 10:22am

Exciting things are happening at your local library. The summer reading club has begun!

There's a program for children and another for teens. Both are free, fun and designed to keep students reading all summer long. After all, whether it's a book, comic or magazine, summer reading equals summer learning.

The theme for this year's children's club and this column is "Amazing Tales." Be they of the animal, tall, folk or fairy variety, all can be found at your library!

04/05/2011 - 9:40am
17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore

Rules. Sometimes they’re awful and constricting, keeping us from doing what we want. 

That’s the situation in “17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore” by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter. It’s a humorous look at a child learning the rules by doing the wrong things. “I had an idea to do my George Washington report on beavers instead. I am not allowed to do reports on beavers anymore.” The poor girl progresses through a variety of bad ideas like stapling her brother’s hair to his pillow and giving him the gift of cauliflower. All, she learns, are forbidden. Illustrated with pen and ink, actual photographs of the offending items, (the stapler, the cauliflower) are humorously interspersed.
 
03/29/2011 - 8:48am
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!

I like to sing. I don’t do it terribly well, but I don’t let that stop me! Especially, when it comes to books that are songs. They are fun to share with preschoolers who love to hear them. Even if you read them instead, they will enjoy the rhythm of the words. Here are some favorites.

03/22/2011 - 2:39pm
Love that Puppy! The Story of a Boy Who Wanted to be a Dog

Remember comic books? They’re still popular, but so are graphic novels; stories told using the comic form, but published as books. They can be an original tale or a retelling of traditional fiction. “The Swiss Family Robinson,” for example, was recently published as a graphic novel. Well loved by all ages, these books are great for reluctant readers. The combination of minimal text and many pictures grabs their attention and makes reading more accessible. Try some of these with your elementary school students.   

 Peter decides to become a dog in “Love that Puppy! The Story of a Boy Who Wanted to be a Dog” by Jeff Jarka. Not everyone thought it was a good idea, but Peter was happy. Besides he was good at being a puppy. He knew how to sit, beg and perform simple tricks. There were some downsides. His schoolwork suffered and his excuse? He ate it. He also developed an unhealthy interest in the mail and the mailman! Finally, his parents had had enough. That made Peter sad, but he decided to do what they wanted. He hung in there for a while, but one day he couldn’t contain it any longer. Out it came. “Meow?” This laugh out loud book has vibrantly colored illustrations.
03/15/2011 - 3:32am
Beastly

You’re never too old for fairy tales! As proof, “Beastly” and “Red Riding Hood,” two movies aimed at teens, have recently been released.” 

03/08/2011 - 9:55am
Look! Look! Look!

 My week has been filled with art! Last weekend, my husband and I enjoyed the Picasso exhibit at the Richmond Museum of Fine Arts. This week, I have been working with colleagues on the 16th Annual Teen Art Show. Both are awe-inspiring and worth a trip! There is a charge for the Picasso, in Richmond through May 15th, but the teen art is absolutely free and runs through March 30 at the Headquarters Library. If you attend either event, or know a child who’s interested in art, there are books to enrich their experience. 

 Three mice find a postcard that was delivered in the people’s part of the house. “Look! Look! Look!” they cry, in this book of the same name. On one side is a beautiful painting of a woman. “They looked from top to bottom, side to side, bottom to top.” One mouse, cuts viewing frames out of pieces of paper. Using their frames they discover the painting in new ways. They notice the patterns on her dress and the way her hand looks so real. They see each individual color and notice which ones are missing. Inspired, they draw the lady using only lines, but soon they recreate her using shapes and before long, are making completely new art. This book, written and illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace with Linda K. Friedlaender, is a wonderful introduction to not just looking at art, but truly seeing it.