Children's Book Columns
Thousands of kids and hundreds of teens have already signed up for this year’s summer reading clubs at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. Now that schools are letting out, librarians are bracing for even more eager readers swarming into our branches.
Summer means the youth services librarians get to turn their attention form homework help to one of their very favorite jobs: matching readers with books. Getting kids started on a great series is a special thrill as kids fall head over heels into characters and stories that continue in book after book.
This week’s column was supposed to be about great summer reads. But after the lightning strike that killed a twelve-year-old boy and critically injured his friend last week in Spotsylvania, our community’s attention has turned to grieving families and friends.
With summer almost here, it’s time for kids to find a cozy seat, a tall glass of lemonade and a good book, and read till the fireflies come out. This kind of leisurely, just-for-fun reading is at the heart of the summer reading club at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, “Be Creative @ Your Library!”
Start your New Year off right by sharing with young readers one of the most inspiring children’s books of 2008. “Planting the Trees of Kenya” by Claire A. Nivola is the true story of 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, a woman who changed her country one tree at a time.
This year marks the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his ground-breaking book, “On the Origin of Species.” Kathryn Lasky’s new illustrated biography, “One Beetle Too Many,” makes an appealing introduction for nine- to twelve-year-olds to the man and his “idea that scared the world.”
If you have a Rick Riordan fan at your house, you’re well aware that the final book in his Percy Jackson series has just been published.
Percy, now 16, is a “half-blood,” the son of Poseidon, the ocean god, and a human mother. In “The Last Olympian” he leads the final battle between the Greek gods and the forces of Kronos. Strong characterizations, surprising plot twists, and enough mystery and suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats have made this series a best-seller, and Riordan does not disappoint in the final book. Readers new to the series would do well to start at the beginning with “The Lightning Thief.”
Developing empathy, reducing impulsiveness, improving decision-making even when upset – these are all social and emotional skills that children build slowly, with lots of help from caring adults.
Poetry books are well represented on library shelves and eagerly checked out by readers raised on Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. Fans of their humor and wordplay will love Adam Rex’s two monstrous poetry collections, “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich” and the brand-new ”Frankenstein Takes the Cake.” Each book features poems about famous monsters – Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera, Bigfoot – and their trials and tribulations.
The Week of the Young Child, running now through Saturday, celebrates wee ones as well as their parents and caregivers. Hats off to all the child care providers, nursery school teachers, parents and grandparents who nurture and educate our youngest citizens!
Check the back seat of the car and under the bed – it’s Food for Fines Week, and that means you can return your overdue library books and do a good deed at the same time. Through next Sunday, for every canned good or non-perishable item that you bring to any branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, we'll deduct a dollar from your overdue fines, up to a maximum amount of $10.00. All contributions go to local food banks.
While you’re at the library, be sure to take a look at the exhibits. This month at the Headquarters Library, matchbox cars from the collection of Jeremy Harrison fill the second floor exhibit case. Dozens of brightly painted metal cars are set up in and around a garage, complete with service bays, ramps and even a heliport.
After your children have had their fill of the exhibit, be sure to check out a few books for young auto enthusiasts.