No matter how hard we try to shelter young children from disturbing news, it has the unfortunate tendency to get through, whether from an overheard conversation or even by putting their new found reading skills to use and learning it for themselves. School begins in a couple of days and your child may be expressing more than the usual post-holiday, lack of interest in returning. Or perhaps they’re clingier than usual and you find you’re exhausting your bag of tricks to help them feel safe and reassured. When you are running out of comforting words, the public library has books that can serve as conversation starters and offer new techniques to support you and your child in managing their fear and anxiety.
Did you know that dogs are the top pet owned by U.S. households (46.3 million dogs, to be exact), and that beetles have the most species identified of all insects? How about the fact that extreme weather in January 2012 broke U.S. records for cold, snow, and heat? All of these facts, along with colorful pictures, are contained in the 2013 Almanac for Kids from Scholastic. Kids ages 8 and up will love to tote around this compendium of trivia, which puts more than 300 pages of statistics, charts, tables, maps, and more at their fingertips.
Do you like learning about mummies? Well, Bodies From the Bog, by James M. Deem, tells us about a type of mummy that you have probably never heard of before. One morning in April 1952, Danish workmen digging in a peat bog made an astonishing discovery. Their shovels struck the head of a dead man – his face flattened by the weight of the peat and his skin as brown as the earth in which he lay. Who was he and how had he come to be there?
When the war in Iraq started, there were more than 600 animals being kept in public zoos and on private premises in and near Baghdad. Lions and tigers and bears…oh, no; were they safe? Were they being cared for? Were they hurt and in need of medical attention? Were they scared and hungry? Saving the Baghdad Zoo, by Kelly Milner Halls and Major William Sumner, is a wonderful story of the animals and those people who stepped up to the challenge of caring for them.
Jimi Hendrix was an iconic force in rock and roll. His name is synonymous with music. In the book Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow, author Gary Golio introduces us to the young Jimi. The book begins in 1956 in Seattle, Washington, where Jimi was living with his father. They were not wealthy, but Jimi's father recognized that his son had a love for music. Jimi often practiced on his one-string ukele. With it he recreated the sounds the raindrops made as they hit the roof and the windowpanes. Even as a very young boy he interpreted the city sounds that he heard outside the boardinghouse where he lived with his Dad and turned them into melodies.
This book is another example of why I love reading children's books. The Chiru of High Tibet by Jaqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Linda Wingerter, introduced me to an animal I knew nothing about--the chiru. Chiru are unique animals resembling antelopes, but related to wild goats and sheep. Their wool is special also and is considered to be the finest in the world. It is called shahtoosh, the king of wools. In order for this wool to be used, the animal has to be killed.
A man named George B. Schaller was very worried about the chiru and its existence. He was afraid that if something was not done to protect them, they would become extinct. So Schaller decided to do something. He wanted to protect the chiru from the hunters. In order to do that, he had to find the secret place where the female chirus gave birth. After several attempts to locate this elusive spot failed, four mountain climbers offered to help Schaller.
They set out on the journey with no trucks and no camels or donkeys that would need feeding. They pulled their supplies in wheeled carts across the plains of Tibet. When you read this book you will find out how their journey went and how the chiru situation was resolved.
Once there was a little girl named Hana Brady. She lived in Czechoslovakia with her beloved family. She liked to ski cross-country with her brother and play with her wolfhound and her fluffy, white kittens. She helped her father at the family’s general store. More than 50 years later, a suitcase with her name on it was sent to an education center in Japan. School children learned all about Hana and what happened to her during the Holocaust, a story told with words and photos in Hana’s Suitcase.