Virginia Johnson

07/22/2015 - 12:20pm
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Brooklyn is a tough place to grow up in the early part of the 20th century.  It’s made of immigrant families struggling to get by. Young Francie Nolan, half German and half Irish, adores her handsome father, the sometime singing waiter, and her more hard-minded mother who scrubs floors and does much to give her kids a better life. But, uneducated as her parents are, they have few choices and huge problems that a bright girl like Francie can certainly see.

07/22/2015 - 12:21pm
Before Versailles by Karleen Koen

Karleen Koen’s Before Versailles is a splendidly rich story of romantic intrigue set in the early days of the Sun King’s rule. Louis XIV is a very young and handsome king. Newly-married to a virtuous if plain Spanish princess, he is determined to be true to his vows, but the ladies at court have other ideas—particularly his brother’s wife.

06/02/2015 - 2:28pm

Every morning, Patricia (Trisha) Polacco wakes to the sounds of singing birds on her old Michigan farm. She goes downstairs, pours herself a cup of coffee, and then plays an antique music box, enjoying its magical beauty. She then sits in her favorite chair, rocks and rocks, and dreams of stories, old and new, that she can tell to children through her words and her drawings.

06/02/2015 - 3:18pm

Pet rocks are back! Or, maybe they never went away. They've got a really, really long lifespan, after all. These throwbacks (careful where you aim them, though!) to the 1970s can be a lot of fun to collect or just use for interesting paperweights.

05/29/2015 - 9:00am

They flutter around the tall, bright flowers in springtime and summer, only stopping to drink sweet nectar or lay their eggs on green leaves. Who would believe a gorgeous butterfly could come from a homely caterpillar?

You can watch this miracle happen at your house. Grab a butterfly book from the library to learn how to find their eggs and raise them from creepy-crawlies into splendid winged beauties. While you wait for them to grow, try a butterfly folktale or two. People around the world have made up stories about butterflies!

05/29/2015 - 9:18am

"Long, long ago, when the earth was set down and the sky was lifted up, all folktales were owned by the Sky God."

So begins an Ashanti tale, Anansi Does the Impossible!, retold by Verna Aardema. Anansi the Spider and his clever wife, Aso, use their wits to buy the folk tales for the Ashanti people. Verna Aardema spent much of her life retelling these folktales.

05/29/2015 - 12:38pm

Take a moment to savor the summer delights and craft some new traditions while learning the legends of summer.

Ancient Stargazers

05/01/2015 - 3:06pm

Two-time Caldecott medalist Nonny Hogrogrian grew up in a stone house in the Bronx, New York which had belonged to her family for three generations. She came from a hard-working and artistic family with strong Armenian roots. When very young she would settle into a big chair in the home library and page through books of beautifully illustrated children’s stories dreaming about one day drawing such pictures herself.

05/01/2015 - 3:41pm

As every baby who's ever beaten a spoon against her high chair knows, there's nothing more fun than the rhythm of a pounding drum sound. Fast or slow, loud or soft, people around the world use the drum to build community spirit.

05/01/2015 - 4:53pm

Before you finally finish your grade and head out for a summer of fun, there’s still one more thing to do. Your teachers have worked hard all year to get you ready for your future. So now it’s time to think about a little way to say thanks for all they do. Teachers are special people. They do not go into the job for the money they can make. The best teachers are there because they love to teach.

As the school year winds down into lazy summer days, take a little time to thank your teachers. Not everybody can afford to hand out gift certificates, so here are some thoughtful, inexpensive ways to let your teachers know you care.

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