Kids Blog

Red, White, and Blue Music

On July 4th, burgers sizzle on the grill, and cold drinks are passed around. Happy dogs play with frisbees, and sunburned kids finally climb out of the pool. In the growing darkness, fireworks begin to crackle and zoom overhead. At last a special song starts playing, and all the people get quiet as they remember the reason for the celebration.

When the American colonists declared independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, they were doing a very brave thing. They knew that there would be no easy way to make the words they put on paper real. The Continental Army would have to fight for the country's right to exist.

People made up new songs, often using old tunes, and sung them in the streets of America. These were full of pride and jokes about the British. There were lots of them! Some, like Yankee Doodle, are classics we still remember, and many songs told the war news, such as An American Frigate,* that tells the tale of one of John Paul Jones' battles on the sea.

Anita Lobel

For years, Anita Lobel shied away from many memories of her childhood, and she had good reason to do so. Born in Poland just before World War II, Anita’s father ran a chocolate factory and the family was rather well off. Her mother had furs and jewels and employed servants to help with the housework and the children, including a beloved nanny, Niania. All that was soon to change when the Nazis marched into Kraków.

Summer Reading Clubs are coming June 1!

It's almost time for the annual library Summer Reading Clubs, which run from June 1 - August 31. They are free to join and a great way to discover new favorite books, win prizes, and have a blast reading all summer long. Kids of all ages and teens will earn prizes based on the number of minutes that they read and enter into their online logs. Special summer events include nature classes, drop-in STEM activities, and fun festivals to wrap it all up.

Adults can submit book reviews and be entered to win a movie pass, 2 Bob Evans restaurant coupons, and other goodies. A grand prize winner at the end of the summer will receive a new EReader! Programs feature a special author visit, a writing camp, and our popular Music on the Steps summer music series.

Sign up will be available online and in the branches starting at 9 am on Saturday, June 1.

Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down! by Mark Alan Stamaty

Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down! by Mark Alan Stamaty

I have never liked getting haircuts. There is just too much room for miscommunication. Too much of a chance for a top-of-the-head surprise that won’t go away. Recently, I have figured out a way around any chance of miscommunication.

“Just make it look like Elvis.”

Shake, Rattle & Turn that Noise Down! is a beautifully illustrated coming-of-age story by Mark Alan Stamaty. He is best known as a political cartoonist, and here his caricatured drawings serve his personal story of discovering Elvis Presley, to the chagrin of his poor mother.

Alphabet Soup Special: Summer Reading Club Kickoff

Picture of two bunnies reading

Dig Into Reading while enjoying fun activities perfect for your preschoolers!

Ages 2-5 with a caregiver. Daycares welcome!

Monday, June 3
Salem Church: 10:00-10:45 and 11:00-11:45 

Wednesday, June 5
England Run: 10:00-10:30 and 11:00-11:30 

Friday, June 14
Porter: 9:30-10:00 or 10:30-11:00 

Friday, June 14
Headquarters:10:00-12:00 

Stopping to Home by Lea Wait

Stopping to Home by Lea Wait

On a cold, March day in 1806, Abbie and Seth lost their beloved mother to the smallpox epidemic that was ripping through the town of Wiscasset, Maine. Without food or wood for the fire, the children were in terrible trouble. They could hear the bell tolling for the dead—so many times for a man, so many for a woman, so many for a child. But how many for a missing father? In Lea Wait’s Stopping to Home, the only hope the brother and sister have to survive is that someone in that stricken town will take them in, if only for a little while.

Christopher Paul Curtis: “Humor Is a Survival Tactic.”

The guy hanging car doors at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, for 13 years was taking home a decent wage, but he wanted much more out of life than that. There was another side to Christopher Paul Curtis—a creative side. On his job breaks, he kept a journal and wrote stories. The first of those, he said, were “just plain bad,”* but he got better. A lot better. His first wife encouraged him to keep writing, so he quit the job at the plant, moved the family just a little way to Canada, took other jobs that were less mind-numbing, as well as courses in creative writing. Ten years later, his first book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963, won the Newbery Honor, the Golden Kite Award, and the Coretta Scott King Award.  

Hardtack, Artificial Oysters, and Goober Peas: Making Do on the March and in a Civil War Kitchen

By Jane Kosa

Food was abundant at the beginning of the war, but it soon became scarce for Southern soldiers as well as for the civilians. Behind the Blue and Gray: The Soldier's Life in the Civil War, by Delia Ray, provides graphic descriptions of the rations that the soldiers received:

"With the lack of fresh food, the Federals resorted to satisfying their hunger on flour-and-water crackers called 'hardtack.' These biscuits were a half-inch thick and so hard they earned names such as teeth dullers' and 'sheet-iron' crackers.' Even worse, the hardtack was frequently infested with worms and weevils. One soldier counted thirty-two worms in a single cracker."
(p. 31)

May Baskets: An Old Tradition Makes New Friends

Officially, May Day is the 1st of May, but really anytime during this splendid spring month is a perfect opportunity to share small gifts of the season with everyone: teachers, friends, neighbors, and family. You can do that with May baskets—a wonderful, old-fashioned tradition.

Farmers' Markets

Books for a Trip to the Farmer's Market

A trip to the farmer’s market is one of the highlights of a visit to “Aunt Bek’s” house.  Recently, my six year-old niece declared she couldn’t wait to go to the market.  The only correlation I could make during the cold winter months was the grocery store and I kept wondering why the sudden interest in food shopping.  Finally it dawned on me that she meant the Farmers’ Market.  Her enthusiasm is understandable.  There she meets the people who planted the seeds and grew the produce.  The farmers welcome her, encouraging her to touch and taste a new and wide variety of food.  Never an adventurous eater, this is a chance for her to possibly expand her palette.  She also loves helping choose the ripest plums, pay for them and carry the bags.  

Starting in May, the library will visit each of the four area Farmers’ Markets once a month, offering information on library resources, checking out a few recipe books for cooking the delicious produce and providing quick, fun hands-on activities for children.