Virginia Johnson

04/03/2014 - 9:03am

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.

07/22/2015 - 1:40pm
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.

07/07/2017 - 2:55pm

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.

03/20/2014 - 3:02am
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.

03/11/2014 - 12:41pm

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.

07/22/2015 - 1:42pm
The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Lady Jacquetta inherited the gift of Second Sight from a long-ago river goddess, or so the family legend went. What is obviously true is that she does get glimpses of what will happen to her and those around her. For example, Joan, the innocent, brave peasant girl her family has held captive to trade to the English, is almost certainly doomed. As for her own lot, the beautiful teenager who will be called The Lady of the Rivers has captured the attention of a powerful man twice her age and in time she will be his—but not as she imagines.

05/24/2017 - 12:44pm

Virginia Hamilton, self-described writer of "Liberation Literature,"* was born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the same place where her grandfather was brought to freedom as an infant through the Underground Railroad. Yellow Springs has a connection to our area because it was here that Moncure Daniel Conway brought his newly-freed slaves from Stafford County to settle in the days just before the Civil War.

08/31/2016 - 4:01pm

Magical fall weather is a perfect reason to spend the day in the company of the little people. Find a friend, and fill baskets with things to enjoy a special morning outdoors among the spring flowers.

Before starting out, you can make fairy wreaths and prepare a picnic fit for the wee folk. Fairy Bread is easy to make and is a favorite in the Australia, the land down under. Just spread slices of bread with soft butter (a fairy favorite), shake on colored baking sprinkles, and cut into triangles. Pack your favorite juice, and you have a simple, sweet treat to take along on your travels.

If it's a cold or rainy day, you can create your own fairies to keep you company safe inside.

07/22/2015 - 1:44pm
The Nightingale Gallery: Being the First of the Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother A

There are graphic novels that literally paint then print images onto the page. The Brother Athelstan books are another kind of graphic novel. They have a very visual feel to them, only it’s done with words. Some medieval mysteries are as stuffy as a centuries-old cupboard. P.C. Doherty’s The Nightingale Gallery isn’t like that. Its characters breathe and move and love and murder with a striking vivacity.

07/22/2015 - 1:45pm
Shadows by Robin McKinley

Maggie’s new stepfather gives her the creeps. Not only is he short and hairy and definitely not her Dad, but he speaks with a strange accent and spends most of his time in a shed doing who-knows-what. True, it is not his fault that he cannot replace her dead father, and her mother seems to really, really love him, but somehow that only makes worse the Shadows that follow him everywhere—dozens of them that no one else seems to see.

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