Kids Blog

December All Fun: Make Your Own Holiday Cards

Mass-produced holiday cards first appeared in Europe with the early printing presses, hundreds of years ago. As early as 1467, the Christ child appeared on a card in Germany wishing the receiver a good and happy year.

In older times and in other countries, New Year's was a time to give little presents, sometimes food, sometimes jewelry, sometimes money. In some countries, they still prefer to send New Year's cards to Christmas cards.

December Author of the Month: Jan Brett

Bored? Nothing to do? Jump into a cozy picture book on a winter night. Troublesome trolls and a beauty's Beast! Helpful hedgehogs and polite polar bears! Whether you find yourself surrounded by swirling snowflakes or a chilly blue twilight, there are no better companions for winter's frozen brightness than Jan Brett's tales from the European tradition. Read our author profile for more.

Rainy Day Pick Me Up

After a few days of rainy weather you may be looking for a pick me up, and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett is just the ticket to chase the gloom away.  In the town of Chewandswallow, clouds don't bring rain or snow. They bring dinner (and lunch and breakfast). People just take their plates and bowls outside and catch the meal of the day. But what happens when storms brew? How do you handle pea soup fog? Will the residents survive the food weather catastrophe? Put "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" on your plate and find out!

Real Kids, Real Problems, Real Funny

    Oliver Olson’s problem is over-protective parents.  When his third grade teacher opens a space unit by asking, “How many of you would like to walk on the moon?”, Oliver doesn’t raise his hand.  “Oliver’s parents would never let him walk on the moon.  The moon was too far away.  It was too cold.  It didn’t have enough gravity. The rocket might explode.”  And when his teacher announces that the whole class is invited to a space sleepover at school, he knows he won’t be allowed to go.  Ever since Oliver was a sickly preschooler, his parents have worried about him too much.

Happy 40th, Sesame Street

Today, Sesame Street turns 40 years old. As a child of the '70's, Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, and Grover became my very close pals. The music–from the uplifting "Sunny Days" intro theme to the swinging "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-tweeeelve" pinball disco song–became personal anthems. I learned phonics from the letter of the day and counting from...who else?...The Count.

Hilarious Series

Right now there is a sick kid upstairs, reading and coughing. And laughing, in between coughs. "Mom, this book is hilarious!" he manages to squeak out, somewhat breathlessly. When I ask what the book is, I'm told, "This Book is Not Good For You," which doesn't sound like a promising read when you are ill. The plot summary includes something about adventure, chocolate, and kidnapping. And a narrator who writes himself into the story, sometimes even falling asleep for pages at a time.

Creating Geniuses, One Book at a Time

    If your children watched the “Baby Einstein” videos, but failed to turn into geniuses, you can get your money back.  A recently settled suit against Disney, the owner of the popular series, asserts that the claim that the videos are educational is unfair and deceptive.  Parents can get a refund of $15.99 for up to four of the videos.  


    Fortunately, at least one way to help your child to grow intellectually is free and widely available.  You guessed it – reading to your child from books you can borrow from your local public library.  Not only is it free, but numerous studies show the benefits of early read-aloud sessions.  Just pick up one of our “Every Child Ready to Read” brochures, and plunge in!

Who Was First?

“In fourteen hundred and ninety-two/ Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”  But there’s more to the story.  As Columbus Day approaches, take a new look at the explorer in Russell Freedman’s “Who Was First? Discovering the Americas.” 

Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie

 Lauren Thompson’s story begins, “This is the pie, warm and sweet, that Papa baked.”  But how did Papa make the pie?  Start with apples, “juicy and red,” then the tree, “crooked and strong,” and so on until we come to “the world, blooming with life, that spins with the sun, fiery and bright…” 
 Perfect for this time of year, “The Apple Pie That Papa Baked” is a rollicking picture book illustrated by Jonathan Bean in tones of cream, sepia, black and red, evoking classic illustrations by Virginia Lee Burton and Wanda Gag. 

Geocaching @ Your Library!

Today's libraries are not just for books, computers and magazines – the Salem Church library now has its own geocache!  In geocaching, participants obtain the location of a geocache from a geocaching Web site www.geocaching.com, use a GPS to arrive in the area of the cache, and then follow clues or simply hunt for the cache.   There are over 1000 caches waiting to be found within a 25 mile radius of the Fredericksburg area!