Kids Blog

Getting to Know Abraham Lincoln

Our 16th president was a very odd-looking man. Long-limbed and raw-boned, this frontier president grew up without a lot of the niceties we take for granted today. He grew up surrounded by wilderness and not having much schooling. As he remembered it, "...I could read, write, and cipher (simple math) ... but that was all."

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl is Ben Hatke's second comic book about a gutsy gal who just happens to be lost in the universe. Zita has already saved the planet Scriptorus and is now on a publicity tour, hopping from world to world to shake hands and answer questions from all sorts of alien beings.

Blackout by John Rocco

Blackout by John Rocco

A young boy just wants to play a board game, going from family member to family member without any luck. But when all the distractions are gone, that game looks pretty tempting.

The power outage that affected the northeast United States and Canada in August 2003 was thankfully a peaceful one, especially in New York City. Blackout by John Rocco, revolves around how that lack of electricity affects one family who are all normally just too busy.

Phone calls, dinner, and work on the computer are all more important than a mere board game...until the lights go out Without power, what will everyone do?

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

It sounds almost too perfect to be true. Famed primate expert Jane Goodall had a stuffed toy chimpanzee as a little girl. She went everywhere with it, and together they explored the mysteries of nature. 

Me...Jane is Patrick McDonnell’s peacefully expressive interpretation of Goodall’s childhood through his art, actual photographs of Jane, and the drawings of her youth. Jane starts out a very curious young girl, studying all sort of animals around her home. That curious nature leads to many answers.

Perfect Picture Books for Holiday Giving

Perfect Picture Books for Holiday Giving

Growing up there was one present I looked forward to more than any other--a box of books.  As an adult, it’s still a favorite and I carry on the tradition with my son, nieces and nephews.    Whether you give a box full or a handful, here are a few of my favorite 2012 picture books that are perfect gifts for the holiday season.

As soon as they open the book, readers will recognize “Black Dog” by Levi Pinfold as something special.  The illustration on the end pages is beautiful--snowy woods with tall, bare trees whose height is echoed by a narrow red house.  Turn the page and you see the home’s interior is cluttered, cramped and delightfully cozy.  Although similar in theme to the classic storyline, in this case the “monster’s” not under the bed, but outside the house.  Both parents and older siblings are frightened by the mysterious black dog they see through the windows and who grows in size as each new member discovers it.  It’s not the parents who vanquish the creature, but instead Small Hope, the youngest, tiniest member of the family.  She bundles up, steps outside and bravely confronts it in a remarkable illustration where she is a mere yellow spot, barely an inch tall in front of a dog that covers a 2-page spread.  His large, realistically rendered nose is so lifelike you can almost feel when it “snuffs” at her.  Leading him on a wild goose chase, under a bridge and through a tunnel, the black dog magically shrinks in size until finally, he fits through the home’s doggie door.  The rest of the family who has hidden behind a makeshift fort, wearing various household items to protect their heads, gaze in wonder at their heroic little girl. 

Citizen Science -- No Degree Required

Citizen Science -- No Degree Required

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to help astronomers learn about the Universe. You don't need a degree in biology to help track bird populations.  Interested in what whale songs mean? You guessed it—you don't need to be an oceanographer to help scientists figure it out. All it takes is an interest and computer access and you can join the growing ranks of Citizen Scientists. Most projects provide tutorials or clear instructions on their websites. You don't even have to be an adult!

Mossy by Jan Brett

Jan Brett's Mossy is a special turtle because she has a gorgeous garden growing right on her shell. The moss that grows on her carapace is a perfect spot for wildflowers and ferns to take root. When Dr. Carolina sees the magnificent turtle strolling around Lilypad Pond, she takes Mossy back to her museum. Dr. Carolina believes that because Mossy doesn't need to worry about finding food, staying warm, or escaping from danger, she will be happy. But Dr. Carolina doesn't know that Mossy just met someone special—another turtle friend named Scoot—and that Mossy dreams of being back at home with her friend.

Headquarters' Decorations - Go Green with the Grinch!

Headquarters' Decorations - Go Green with the Grinch!

This year the second floor of the Headquarters Library decided to do something a bit different for their holiday decorations. The Youth Services staff made the decision to have all of their decorations made from recycled and repurposed materials, specifically focusing on books weeded from the collection due to extreme damage. Then the system-wide Teen Council and teen volunteers from Headquarters handled the majority of the decoration creation. Over the course of three weeks these groups worked together to create the trees, snowflakes, paper chains and houses that make up the majority of the second floor decorations while staff members created the complementary hedgehogs. One fun twist that came from using old books was creating a game to go with the decorations.

Five trees created from old books are on the Youth Services Research Desk. We encourage all customers to come and try to guess which books were used to make the trees for a chance to win a prize. To go with the theme of recycled and repurposed decorations the Teen Council decided on the slogan “Go Green with the Grinch” to help tie all of the decorations together.

Check out this slideshow and view on Flickr to find out more about how some of the decorations were made.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

"Irish businessman will pay large amount of U.S. dollars to meet a fairy, sprite, leprechaun, or pixie."

The ad was posted on the Internet. Indeed, it generated numerous fraudulent responses, but the person who placed it only needed one true lead for his purposes. He had studied all he could in the mundane world he inhabited, but he knew the important secrets of the Fairy would only be known by others of their kind in Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer.

After a wild goose chase in Cairo, at last the trail led to Ho Chi Minh City. Artemis Fowl the Second, latest in a thousand-year-old line of criminal masterminds, sweltered in the heat of a Vietnamese summer, carefully noting every detail of the passersby as he waited to make contact with his source. He was accompanied by his devoted servant, Butler, who served as confidante as well as being an amazingly lethal bodyguard.

Made in Virginia: These Reads Carry a Touch of Home

Made in Virginia: These Reads Carry a Touch of Home

Shop local--authors that is!  Many people apply this well known encouragement to some aspect of their life: visiting one of the area Farmer’s Markets, eating at a locally-owned diner or buying jewelry from the artist that lives down the street.  Local authors probably aren’t on their radar, but they should be!  We are home to many who write for children and teens.  Their books are available for pre-purchase perusal at the public library and for sale in area bookstores. Here are a few recommended, recently published titles that are perfect for holiday gift-giving.  As an added incentive they are all are set in Virginia.

ABC’s From the Rappahannock River, With Love” by Betty Lewis Ellett can be enjoyed on several levels.  Readers of any age will enjoy the lovely, full-page photographs of our beautiful river and its environs.  Share only the first line of every page, and preschoolers will enjoy it as a vocabulary expanding alphabet book, for example “P...is for pier,” with an accompanying photo that perfectly illustrates the new word.  Children with longer attention spans can read the detailed text and learn about the various aspects of the river, from man-made structures such as the bridges, features like the quarry, and wildlife like herons and eagle nests.  This attractive and informative picture book provides a fresh look at a major area feature, and will make a great gift for preschool and early elementary aged children.