Virginia Johnson

Making a Marvelous Mother's Day

The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and a certain Sunday is just ahead. So, what are you getting that amazing mom for Mother's Day? You don't have to spend a lot, but you do need to remember her in a special way. If you have brothers and sisters, or at least a very loud voice yourself, you can serenade your mom as you bring her breakfast in bed. Look here for songs for little ones. Older kids might want to check out Rise Up Singing, a group song book with the words to lots of old favorites.

Not a singer? Time to get crafty and make her something to treasure, or you can give her coupons for treats mothers love. Sometimes the best way to celebrate Mother's Day is to spend some time just with her, sharing a book that the two of you will enjoy.

The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin by L. Jagi Lamplighter

The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin by L. Jagi Lamplighter

At home in England, she’s Lady Rachel and waited on by servants whilst living at the ancient family manor. She loves nearly everything about Gryphon Park—except being alone. But all of that is about to change. As the youngest child in a family of powerful magicians, Rachel is about to embark on a great adventure as she enters Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts. Invisible to the Unwary, the campus holds glorious wonders, age-old treasures, and is a gateway to secrets beyond Rachel’s imagining.

Oregon Hill by Howard Owen

Oregon Hill, by Howard Owen

Welcome to Oregon Hill, a hardscrabble neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia, where people may move away but they never really leave. Willie Black, a 49-year-old crime reporter with the only major newspaper in town, is such a one.

Willie is an old-time journalist, maybe a relic, who watches the decline of the traditional press with many a rueful sigh and stubbed-out cigarette. He’s seen a lot in his years, but the gruesome murder of a pretty, young girl found by the South Anna River does manage to unnerve him and kindles within a fire to find out the truth—a truth that doubles back and leads home to Oregon Hill.

Simply Circuits

How does a flashlight work?
By using a battery hooked up to an electrical circuit system.

How does an electrical circuit system work?
A battery has negative electric charges and positive electric charges. If you look at a battery, you will see that there is a + sign at one end and a - sign at the other. The opposite charges are drawn to each other, but without an easy path, they will remain separated. That's where a circuit comes in handy.

A Power-full Bridge

Finding Your Marbles

Need a game that's good for springtime? Marbles can be played outside or inside, so it doesn't matter if a quick, spring shower comes through your neighborhood. You just need a flat, smooth surface, like the kitchen floor or the blacktop at a playground. You can buy marbles at just about any place that sells toys. Grab a bag and get going for fun times practicing a classic game of skill.

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Leo Stepanovich Demidov, a war hero and rising star in the MGB--Stalin’s state security force, is proud of his country. Yes, he has to do some unpleasant things, such as supervising the torture of suspected persons—and there are many suspected persons, the list growing daily. But all of that is surely necessary to protect post-World War II’s Russia in Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44.

Paula Fox

Award-winning author Paula Fox had an extremely unusual childhood. Given away by her parents at birth, she spent the first few years of her life in a small town on the Hudson River. Her guardian, a poor minister, was a bachelor who looked after his very ill mother. He was a kind and cultured man who taught her to read and encouraged her to grow. But this pleasant time wasn’t to last.

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

Sometimes a quiet, imaginative book is what’s best before bedtime, and Emily Winfield Martin’s Dream Animals answers that need. Gentle pictures show small children making their way to their dream destinations on the backs of robins, a tiger, a fox, and even a narwhale. Where do the dreamers go? One to an elfin hollow, some high in the sky, another beneath the Seven Seas and one as far away as the moon and the stars themselves.

April Showers

Let's have fun in the rain with springtime games, crafts, and rainy day books.

Puddle-Jumping

It's raining. It's pouring. The old man might be snoring, but you're not. You're BORED. Tired of being in the house with nothing to do. There's no Cat in the Hat to get things going, but if you've got your galoshes and your rain coat (and a willing grownup) there's something you can do after the rain—puddle-jumping!
Run through the puddles very fast. Or, jump in big puddles as hard as you can. Play follow the leader and have a blast.

Getting Cellular

Cells make up you, your friend, your hamster, and your mom's broccoli surprise. If it's alive or ever was alive, it is made of cells. Space scientists looking for life on Mars are trying to find simple cells-- not little green men, and biologists who search for cures to diseases work with cells. Small as they are, cells determine how life unfolds from its beginning to its end.