Every summer, area school and public librarians are faced with a challenge; find twenty of the best books for middle schoolers that have been published in the last twelve months. We’ve been meeting every two weeks since June, reading and discussing thirty-eight titles. Last week, we chose the twenty books that we believe teens will enjoy and that offer the best discussion possibilities. Besides the fact that we love books and reading why go to all of this trouble? For our Cafe Book program of course! During the school year, seventh and eighth grade students from fourteen area middle schools will read from among these titles and vote on those they feel merit a Cafe Book Top Teen Pick award. The other eighteen are still great teen reads; here are a few of my favorites that didn’t make the cut.
Each February, hardworking area kindergarten teachers connect their students to our kindergarten library card campaign. Our goal is for every child to have the opportunity to explore the wonderful world of books, classes, and events available to them at the public library. With the teachers' help, students can easily register for a public library card and take an important step toward lifelong reading and learning.
Connecting with kindergartners in this way would be impossible to do without the teachers. This year, thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Library, one teacher at each branch was randomly selected to receive a Friends' book bag filled with wonderful books for their classroom.
Kindergarten students can join in the fun, too! Any time between now and May 31st, bring your child to any branch. Tell someone at the Children's Desk that he or she is in kindergarten to receive a free prize.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Kindergarten Library Card Campaign teacher prizes!
The library staff often journeys into the community to share our many wonderful educational, cultural, and recreational resources. From May through October you will find us at area farmers' markets. Stop by to learn about our great services while your children complete a quick and fun STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activity. You can even check out a cookbook full of tasty recipes to use with the fresh produce you just purchased!
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!
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!
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!
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.
There are two approaches when it comes to reading books destined for the big screen. Some like to read the book first, and others, like me, don’t. My initial excitement in seeing Harry Potter brought to life, ended in disappointment. Due to the constraints of the format, I knew they would have to leave much on the cutting room floor, but for me those fallen scenes were the most important. In comparison, “The Hunger Games” is one of my favorite teen book to movie renditions, but even they soft-pedaled one of the most emotionally charged parts of the book--the genetically engineered, shockingly horrific mutts--probably and understandably for that PG-13 rating. These days though, so much young adult fiction is Hollywood-bound that I read the book before I know its future.
Not to add to your stress, but the holidays are just around the corner. Take time to relax and enjoy the spirit of the holidays at one of the many wonderful events presented at the library this December. Don't forget to take home some of the enchanting books, music and movies that also celebrate the holiday spirit.
Our dog Archie may be mostly blind and have hips that decide he needs to sit down mid-stride, but this time of year, the moment he steps outside he’s like a pup again. Head and tail up, he treks jauntily around the yard enjoying the cool air and its accompanying breeze. I know just how he feels! Although my step isn’t as jaunty, I, too, am at my most puppyish in the fall. Put a pile of leaves in my path or anywhere I can easily reach, and I will joyfully kick my way to the other side.