Friday, December 31, 2010

New Beginnings (a.k.a. The End of a Tough Year)

Through all of the rough-going we've endured here at the library in the last six months or so, it's nice to know that in difficult times your Des Plaines Public Library is OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

We are a wonderful respite for you and your children in the middle of a busy day of shopping.

Work together as a family to select a great book to share, plop yourselves down in a comfy chair or beanbag or on the floor and get lost in a story.

Relax with a good book or catch up on your correspondence while your kids are close-by enjoying our collection of materials or educational computer games.

Looking for some new music? Some of the lesser used parts of our CD collection are on display during this time of year. Discover a new favorite.

You can come and browse, check out, or print delicious and healthy recipes to share with family and friends.

Select a few DVDs to take home. Snuggle the whole family on the sofa during the coldest of January nights and share a movie and a bowl of popcorn.

Books, music, movies, computers, programs - it's all free - every day. That is something for which I am VERY thankful.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Think About Someone Else

Now that this year is coming to an end... did your family do enough to help others this year?  If you are thinking 'sort of, but we probably could have done more', start the year off right and participate in the 14th annual Kohl's Step Up for Kids... You and your family can walk up the 80 floors of the Aon Center, one of Chicago's tallest buildings, and make a difference in another family's life. 

By going to their website here, you can sign up to participate and then gather pledges from family and friends to get them to their goal of $600,000.  All proceeds will benefit the Family Services department of the hospital through their K.I.D.S.S. for Kids organization.  This will provide services for children who might not otherwise afford them and provide housing for families needing to stay near their child during their stay.  You can individually participate and be a great example for your kids, or start a team and get your whole family involved!

Remember that there are plenty of volunteer opportunities throughout the community, so if this one doesn't suite you or your family's needs.... find another!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Always Open @ www.dppl.org

The Youth Services Department staff is very much looking forward to spending some time with family and friends this holiday season. Even though our doors may be closed for a day or two, you can access the library's web resources 24 hours a day at http://www.dppl.org/.
The library will be closed on the following days:
Friday, December 24, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy Holidays to all from the Youth Services Department staff of the Des Plaines Public Library.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There's a Nonfiction DVD collection on the 2nd Floor??!

Our nonfiction DVDs just don't get as much recognition as our Family or Children DVDs. Yes, factual DVDs are a useful tool to help teach information to your child or classroom but are they catchy enough to hold their attention?

Yes! At our library we have many wonderful nonfiction DVDs that you might not know about. Every month I'd like to highlight a different nonfiction DVD series that you should check out. This month's I wanted to draw your attention to a series of awesome science DVDs aimed at older viewers, grades 5-8. This series is The Science of Disney Imagineering. What does Disney know about science you're asking? Let's take a look!

The extremely personable host, Asa, is a Disney Imagineer. What's a Disney Imagineer? Disney Imagineers are the people who come up with and create Disney experiences like cruise ships, resorts, and especially theme parks and rides. Asa explains concepts like magnetism, electricity, energy, and gravity and demonstrates how it is applied in Disney attractions.

While the DVDs may seem to an adult like advertising for Disney parks, to the kids watching it's a fun show, but one that's teaching at the same time it is entertaining. In watching the DVD on Magnetism I learned that magnets can be permanent magnets, which means that they are always "on"-always repulsing and attracting. Then there are magnets that are electromagnetic. These magnets are only magnetic when electricity is running through it. Asa showed examples of each of these magnets-name tags for permanent magnets and a crowd control gate for electromagnetic. Then he showed an example of the two working together. One particular Disney coaster uses both kinds of magnets to push the roller coast car up to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds. Amazing!

Next time you're looking for interesting DVDs that are educational, check out the Science of Disney Imagineering series. Who says science is boring?!

Click here to see the catalog records for Science of Disney Imagineering.



Animal Adaptions: Communication


Design and Models


Newton's 3 Laws of Motion



Levers and Pulleys


Friday, December 17, 2010

Make Your Holiday Magic

After you have hung the lights and trimmed the tree at home, why not light up your winter holidays with a trip to the zoo?

Brookfield Zoo is celebrating its 29th annual Holiday Magic Festival of Lights nightly December 26-31 and January 1 from 4:00-9:00 pm

Costumed characters meet you at the gates, dancers, choirs, and musicians entertain you in the Holly Jolly Theater, and you can watch ice carvers work their special magic. As you walk the mall past hundreds of decorated trees, you will see an amazing animated light display of penguins, giraffes, and even the Abominable Snowman. In addition, you can sing carols to the bison and big cats, see swimming polar bears and grizzlies, check out model trains, take a train ride, or enjoy a Dolphin show !

Most animal buildings, including the new Great Bear Wilderness, will be open each evening, as will the Children's Zoo where you can have your picture taken with a real reindeer, and the Hamill Family Play Zoo where you can make a holiday craft. Of course there are also gift shops for last minute purchases, and yummy holiday treats like cookies, hot chocolate, cider and more at the zoo's many restaurants and food stands.

For more information and a daily schedule of events call (708) 688-8000 or go online to Brookfield Zoo's website

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Most adults (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) view snow as a horrible affliction of the winter season. It hinders traffic, it has to be shoveled off driveways, it's cold, it's wet--well it's something we deal with from December to March.

But kids see snow as magical! Snow represents a clean slate, where they can go out and have adventures, build snow forts and snow families, and hope that it snows enough to close down school.

The next time it snows, stop and appreciate what a marvel it is! I just finished reading this amazing book called The Secret Life of a Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht. Dr. Libbrecht is a physics professor at Caltech, and he also takes amazing photographs of individual snowflakes!

What exactly are snowflakes? Dr. Libbrecht explains that snowflakes are crystals of ice. They're not raindrops that have been frozen, but are born from cloud droplets that have turned to ice. It takes about 100,000 droplets to make a snowflake that's heavy enough to fall to the ground. [To explain the difference between a raindrop and a cloud droplet, Dr. Libbrecht explains that a droplet is about 100 times smaller than a raindrop and a million times lighter.

You can also explain to your child that all snowflakes have 6 sides. Why six? Because that's the way water molecules line up to make an ice crystal-they form hexagons. So while every snowflake starts out with six sides, the way the final shape of the snowflake looks depends on the temperature and humidity of the air as the snowflake floats through the sky.

Amazing! Be sure to pick up The Secret Life of a Snowflake so that you can learn more about how snowflakes are born. We have lots of other books about snow and winter too. Feel like being crafty at home or learning more about snowflakes online?

Make a 3D snowflake! These are super pretty-we have some hanging in our office.
Play in the Snowflake Factory where you can make digital snowflakes then make them melt or explode.
Visit Dr. Libbrecht's website to see more excellent snowflake pictures.
Visit SnowDays to create virtual snowflakes that will fall from the sky.

Look for these books the next time you come to the library!
Snow and Blizzards by Robyn Hardyman
The Secret Life of the Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht
Snow Amazing: Cool Facts and Warm Tales by Drake and Ann Love
Flakes and Flurries by Josepha Sherman
It's Snowy Today by Kristin Sterling

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Do You Do at Work, Anyway, Mom?

As I was leaving for work today, my son asked me what I do at work. Truthfully, I was a little insulted because he seemed skeptical that I had a challenging job. (He is a teenager.) I immediately began listing the 14 duties in my job description. He was not impressed. Then I reminded him that I also write for the Kidding Around blog (other duties as assigned), and that if he wasn't careful, he would become the subject of a very fascinating (and potentially embarrassing) post. That got his attention.

From his perspective, when I go to work I'm gone for a few hours at a time, but he doesn't know what I do while I'm gone. You know the saying, out of sight out of mind. He didn't want to take me up on my kind offer to come to the library to watch his mother in action, so I'm bringing the library to him.

I checked out Here Lies the Librarian, a book by Richard Peck, one of my favorite writers. It is a hilarious historical fiction story about the changes in a small town when four enthusiastic young librarians arrive to reopen the library after a tornado.

Since my son doesn't really appreciate my professional expertise, I fully expect that he won't be willing to read this wonderful book himself. Don't worry. I have a plan. I am also checking out the audiobook version, which I intend to play when he is trapped in the car with me.

My son doesn't realize what a great job being a librarian is. One of my favorites of the 14 aforementioned duties in my job description is to answer reference and readers' advisory questions. If your child is interested in learning more about your job, or you have any other questions for me, be sure to ask. I would love to help.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

25 Days of Christmas

No matter what holiday you celebrate in December, you cannot ignore the overwhelming presence and cheer of the people celebrating Christmas.  This is never more present than the days leading up to the holiday itself.

Growing up, my sister and I spent many a night in December watching our favorite holiday films.  They were easy enough to find.  We would go through the TV Guide, mark the days on the calendar when our favorite movies were playing and mark it down in the square: Dec 17, 7pm Santa Clause is Comin' to Town.  Now, ABC Family has made it even easier with their '25 Days of Christmas'.  This has been running for several years now, but if your family is not familiar with it, you can visit www.abcfamily.com/25days  to look at the line-up and see what it is all about.

In case your family doesn't have cable, or you miss your favorite movie, we have plenty of copies of your favorites here at the library.  Stop by and check out a few for your family, and while you are in, take out a book on your favorite December holiday as well.  Grab a bowl of popcorn and all the blankets you can find... I guarantee your family will have a great time!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wrap It Up Green! 
How many gifts are you planning to wrap this holiday season?

According to recycleworks.org, "In the U.S., annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals four million tons." Not a very nice present for Mother Nature. I hope knowing this information will make you consider some eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper.

Need some ideas?

 **Reuse brown paper bags, tote bags, newspapers, comic books, phone books, magazines, butcher paper or tissue paper. 

**Use fabric gift bags. Sew a gift bag out of colorful pillowcase, sheet or old clothes.

**Instead of a bow, use a natural finishing touch and pick up some evergreen or leaves from your yard. 

Don't have the time to be this creative? 100-percent-recycled gift-wrap is also available at a number of online retailers or stores.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Lighting Street Festival

It is the week after Thanksgiving, the plates have been cleaned, the holiday decorations have been changed over, and your children are starting to dream of 'sugar plums'.....  If you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, at 5:30pm on Friday December 3rd the holiday lighting ceremony and street festival will be taking place. 

This annual 'flipping of the switch' marks the beginning of the holiday season in Des Plaines.  You and your family can enjoy hot chestnuts and fresh kettle corn as they listen to the Maine West marching band perform and look at the neat decorations that school groups from around the area have used to decorate the various evergreen trees.  For more information, look here.

If that doesn't fill your holiday cup, there is more fun to be had on Saturday and Sunday at Lake Opeka.  The annual Lake Wonderland Winter Festival will be running from 11am to 5pm on both days.  For those interested, there will be free pictures with Santa and horse drawn sleigh rides.  You can find more information about the winter festival here.  When you are there, don't forget to find the Des Plaines Public Library's tree.  See if you can spot your favorite childhood book among the 'ornaments'.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eight Nights of Light

Over the years some wonderful books about the holiday of Hanukkah (also spelled Hanukah, Chanukah) have passed through my hands. Hanukkah will be arriving this year at sunset on Wednesday, December 1 and continue through December 9 so take a minute before, during, or after one of the eight nights to share a story or learn a little more about this upcoming Festival of Lights.
This is the Dreidel, a cumulative story with delightful illustrations, is a great introduction to the vocabulary of Hanukkah. Though this story doesn't go into much detail about the history of the festival or the deeper meaning behind the symbols, it does introduce the basics. And it's great fun to read.

If you are a fan of The Gingerbread Man, don't miss The Runaway Latkes. Three big latkes (that's potato pancakes to you and me), crisp and brown, jump out of the pan and roll off to see the town. You'll love the participatory aspect of the story, and there's a recipe for latkes on the last page!

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, published in 1989 and a prestigious Caldecott Award Honor Book in 1990, is now considered a classic of children's literature and a favorite of the season. Hershel of Ostropol, a trickster character, must save a village from the goblins who prevent the villagers from lighting their holiday candles and enjoying the seasonal festivities.

In addition to these wonderful stories, we also have in the library plenty of books that will help you learn more about the meaning and significance of Hanukkah itself. Please visit our holiday display of books for some suggestions. Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Looking For a Great Gift?

Sometimes during the holiday season, books can be overlooked as a great gift for kids. Some kids just want that new barbie dream house or G.I. Joe battleship... but books can make great gifts, are fairly inexpensive, and can be a source of great entertainment long after the "new plastic" smell is gone from the air. Here at the Des Plaines Public Library, we would be happy to suggest great titles for your child, niece, nephew, neighbor, or grandchild. You might even get a few minutes of 'cuddle time' with them while you read the first few pages of the book together.

As a department, we have constructed a list of what we think are the best gift books for kids. You can take a look at the list, look at the physical book in our collection, and then head out to the nearest retailer to grab a copy. You can find the list on the second floor of the library and it will soon be available online.

Remember to enjoy the simple things this holiday season, and have a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Kwanza, a Happy Three Kings Day, and most importantly, remember that whatever you are celebrating this season, have a wonderful time doing it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Storytime Sharing: You Can Raise a Reader

We love sharing age appropriate books, songs and rhymes from our storytimes. We strive to teach the six early literacy skills at storytimes and offer suggestions for how you can reinforce these skills at home.

This week in Toddler Storytime we learned about being thankful, thanksgiving and turkeys, and how squirrels are getting ready for winter.

We read the book,
The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri which emphasized the pre-reading skill of Narrative Skills. Narrative Skills is the ability to tell stories, describe things and events. You can reinforce these skills at home by telling stories together, encourage pretend play and let your child be a storyteller. We also read the story, Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes and expressed our thanks for the small and big things of our lives, most importantly, our families. Here are some songs we danced along to:
  • Turkey in the Straw from Turkey in the Straw: Bluegrass Songs for Children by Phil Rosenthal. We used clappers to the music!
  • The Turkey Hop from H.U.M. All Year Long :Highly Usable Music Kids can Sing, Dance & Do! by Carole Peterson. Just follow along.
  • Mahalo from Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner. You can move side to side or use a scarf to the music.
These rhymes are sure to please the family gathered at your home this Thanksgiving:

The Soup is Boiling Up
The soup is boiling up,
the soup is boiling up,
Stir Slow, around we go,
The soup is boiling up.

First we put in the carrots,
Then we put in the onions,
Stir slow, around we go,
The soup is boiling up.

(continue to other vegetables!)

My Turkey
I have a turkey bog and fat,
He struts around this way and that,
His daily corn he would not miss,
And when he talks,
he sounds like this- gobble, gobble!

You can show your child how to make a special turkey:
  • Have them place their hand on a piece of paper, fingers spread out.
  • Then trace around the fingers and connect the bottom of the palm
  • Have children add eyes and mouth where their thumb outline is and then color in their finger outlines as feathers.
Additional information for planning Thanksgiving day:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day of Thanks

This Thanksgiving, you may be wondering what you can do to help teach your children to give back to the community.  Most high school service groups hold food drives, collecting food for the needy during the holiday season, but you may be looking for something more to do.  My family goes every year to the Salvation Army and wraps pairs of socks to be given as presents during the holiday season.  Your family can find their activity too!  

Our website has a page of charities and organizations that may need your help, and you can find it here.  If what you are looking for is not on that list, you can look for information at www.volunteerinfo.net, which will list out northwest suburban volunteer opportunities.

Don't forget to teach your children about volunteering and how it is an important part of being a community.  If you need help, stop in to check out some books.  We have plenty of materials to go around and lots of books about volunteering for kids from Preschool to Middle School.

Happy Volunteering!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Get Your Game On @ Your Library!

Board games, computer games, sports, video games-games are all around us. Why is gaming so important? For younger kids gaming is important because it teaches hand-eye coordination, counting, colors and matching, as well as important skills like sharing and taking turns. Gaming is relevant for older kids because it also teaches teamwork (not to mention sharing and taking turns which is important at any age). But it has far reaching benefits that scientists are just learning about.

In 2009 a paper was published by Richard Haier,a pediatric neurologist and professor emeritus at the School of Medicine at the University of California at Irvine. His studies showed that after three months of Tetris playing that teenage girls were not only better at the game but their brains were more efficient. A paper published in Archives of Surgery shows the results of the laparoscopic surgical skills of surgeons that are gamers versus surgeons that aren't in a simulated skills course. The results were very interesting: surgeons who are current video game players made 32% fewer errors, were 24% faster and scored 26% better overall than their nonplayer colleagues. And surgeons who had previously played games for more than three hours did even better-they made 37% fewer errors, were 27% faster and scored 42% better overall than those who'd never played. Other studies suggest that memory and vision also improves for those that play video games.

In an article from The Boston Globe from October 12 2009, Cheryl Olson, co-director of the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital is quoted as saying: “There’s still a tendency to think of video games as a big wad of time-wasting content. You would never hear a parent say we don’t allow books in our home, but you’ll still hear parents say we don’t allow video games in our home.Games are a medium. They’re not inherently good or bad.’’

There is more to learn about what affects gaming has on its players. What we do know is that games are fun, promotes bonding with friends and family members, and helps us develop critical thinking and strategy skills. And we pretty much knew that without scientists telling us right?

This Saturday will be the 3rd annual National Gaming Day, which was developed by the American Library Association to bring communities together through their libraries via the social, educational, and fun medium of all different kinds of games. The Des Plaines Public Library will be participating in an all ages event. Stop by the 2nd floor information desk and check out a board game to play with your kids. Come into the 2nd floor program room to test your skills at Wii bowling or figure out how to get ahead in Mario Kart.

If you can't make it in to the library why don't you pull a board game out of the closet and gather the family together to play. Or check out our cd-rom collection and get one of our awesome educational games where kids are having fun while learning. Or put on a jacket and race the kids outside! The weather is supposed to be about 50 this weekend. A nice game of catch or tag will warm everyone up right away. However you decide to celebrate, make games a part of your weekend.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Leaf Fun

As the weather has turned cooler, your kids have probably been having tons of fun  watching the leaves change colors, fall, and then raking those leaves into big piles and jumping in them.  Just as they have had fun helping to take care of the leaves, you can have them help them dispose of them too.  You will find more information about how to dispose of your leaves here at the City of Des Plaines website.

Don't forget to rake the leaves into the street (where applicable) for village leaf pick-up so that we can keep the streets from flooding later in the winter and the spring due to leaves clogging the sewer system.

If your kids want to know more about what happens to the leaves and why they change color, bring them into the library.  We have plenty of books with information about what is happening outside  during the fall and we would LOVE to share them with your family.

Remember to make taking care of the environment (and your house) a fun and enjoyable activity, and have some hot apple cider or hot chocolate waiting for them when they finish helping out with the lawn.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Illinois State Book Awards

If you have been in the library lately, you are sure to have seen the displays of Caudill, Bluestem, and Monarch books.  These books on display have been nominated for an Illinois Book Award by students, parents, teachers, and librarians throughout the state.  Then, children throughout Illinois read at least three of the books for their designated award and vote for their favorite in the spring.  If your child reads a book that they really enjoy, they can nominate it for one of the awards (Monarch is for K-3, Bluestem for 3-5, and Caudill for 4-8).  

To nominate a book, look no further than the appropriate book award's website.  See the links below to help your child nominate their favorite books on-line.

While your child waits to have their book show up on the list, if he or she is looking for a great book to read, look no further than this year's nominees.  These books were nominated by their classmates and the best of the nominations were put onto the final list of 20-25 books. Take your pick... they are all great!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trick or Treat Safety for Your Family

Halloween is almost here! Most children will no doubt mention they're favorite part of Halloween is the CANDY from trick-or-treating!

If you are cringing at all of the tummy aches and tooth decay that might ensue, try some other options, such as: pretzels bags, cheese and cracker packages, granola bars, fruit snacks and raisins. Non food items include: stickers, pencils, erasers, temporary tattoos, spider and pumpkin rings, crayons, etc.

Curious what kids think about all that candy and how other families decide on eating it? Look at KidsHealth.org's Kid's Talk About Halloween Candy! According to 1,200 surveyed children, most children receive at least 50 pieces of candy, with over 44% saying they received more than 100 pieces. About half of the children surveyed were interested in non-candy treats instead!

Here are some Halloween Safety Tips:
Your Home:
-Make sure your porch and front steps are well lit
-Give out individually wrapped store bought treats
-Check your town's official trick-or-treating hours, here is the link for the City of Des Plaines press release on Halloween Safety

Your Costumes:
-Avoid dark clothing for costumes and use flashing pins, reflective tape, etc.
-Use flashlights and glow sticks
-Avoid masks, use face paint instead
-check the length of costumes so children don't trip and fall

Your Rules:
-Adult supervision for the young ones, teens should have a set time to come back home and check in
-Stay on sidewalks and cross the street at crosswalks and corners and not in between parked cars.
-Inspect all candy

More Halloween Safety can be found at:

Wishing your family a Fun and Safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Hoopla

Every year, the city of Des Plaines hosts a Halloween Hoopla, a safe Saturday of fun activities and 'Trick or Treating' around the downtown area of the city.  This year's festivities are being held on Saturday, October 23rd.

It all kicks off with the annual costume parade around Metropolitan Square, with each costumed participant receiving a trick-or-treat back and a special prize.  Every year is more magical than the next, and this year, the library is presenting our Glow-in-the-Dark Juggler at 1pm followed by a Spooktacular Craft sponsored by the Des Plaines Park District.

This year, treat your family to a fun Saturday event and test out their costumes!

Friday, October 15, 2010

LEGO Time!

Isn't it amazing to think that LEGOs have been around for 50 years? This simple toy has played a pivotal role in many imaginations. Kids can create cars, houses, robots, space shuttles, Hogwarts-anything they put their mind to!

If you're looking for something to do Halloween weekend, consider going to LEGO KidsFest. It's happening October 29th through 31st at McCormick Place in Chicago. There will be Construction Zones where kids can build, build, build! Your child can also participate in Cool Creations. If they have created a model that they want to show off, this is the perfect chance. Register their creation online and bring it with when you go to the KidsFest. Attendees will be able to vote on which model they think is the best. I thought the best thing was the Mystery Mural Build. Kids will get to build a tile that will get added to the mural and slowly the mystery image will unfold!

Continue your LEGO adventure by coming to the library and getting some books. We have LEGO books for all reading levels. If your child is just starting to learn to read, go to the Early Readers section and look under LEGO. Choose from exciting titles like Fire Truck to the Rescue! or Troll Attack. If they enjoy the Bionicle sets, have them try Bionicle Legends, which is located in our J Series section. Start out with the first book in the series, Island of Doom. One of my favorite LEGO creations is the mini figure. Luckily I can learn more about them in the book Standing Small.

So have the kids fire up their imagination and get creative with LEGOs! Then continue the fun by bringing them to the library and picking out books featuring their favorite toys.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Parenting Books

Didn't I Feed You Yesterday?: A mother's guide to sanity in stilettos.
Brutally honest, outrageous, and sure to raise a few
eyebrows, this is a riotously funny read.
J Parent Collection 306.8743 BEN

Raising Confident Readers
This book provides an outstanding guide for parents to help
their children get a jumpstart on early literacy experiences.
J Parent Collection 372.6 GEN

The Sound of Hope
Simple truths in recognizing, coping with,
and treating your child's auditory processing disorder.
J Parent Collection 618.920978 HEY

The Everyday Advocate
A stand-out resource for families caring for children
with special needs.
J Parent Collection 618.9285882 MAR

Eat, Sleep, Poop
A common sense guide to your baby's first year from an
award-winning pediatrician.
J Parent Collection 649.122 COH

Help! My Baby Came Without Instructions
This book is a blend of common sense tips and
heartfelt perspective to comfort new moms and
new babies alike.
J Parent Collection 649.122 LIP

Your Baby's First Year
Is an all-in-one guide to caring for your infant.
J Parent Collection 649.122 YOU

Friday, October 8, 2010

Columbus Day

The observance of Columbus Day in the United States has a very long history dating as far back as 1792 and the 300th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage. Although President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in 1892 encouraging a patriotic celebration of the 400th anniversary of the voyage, there seems to be some confusion about dates and official holiday status.

Columbus Day was first a state holiday in Colorado in 1906. Then, urged by the organization Knights of Columbus, congress and president Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared Columbus Day a national holiday. Some sources say 1934, others say the year was 1937. Yet another source, the Congressional Research Services, indicates that Columbus Day may not have become an official federal holiday until 1968. And still another source, World Book Encyclopedia, gives that year as 1971.

Click the link to check out our Biography in Context database to read a wonderfully concise biography of Christopher Columbus.

The Library of Congress web site contains beautiful photos and artwork pertaining to the story of Columbus and his voyages as well as Columbus Day celebrations over time. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/oct12.html

We have a new biography of Columbus on the shelves this year from the Great Explorers of the World series, but there are many good Christopher Columbus biographies and histories that are wonderful resources for school reports and general interest. Check one out today!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

National Friends of Libraries Week

October 17-23, 2010 is National Friends of Libraries Week.

Perhaps you attended the recent Friends of the Library fall book sale and found some bargains?

Perhaps you recently attended one of our many wonderful library programs and learned something new or were entertained?

Hip, hip, hooray for the Friends of Des Plaines Public Library!

If you've read the news lately, or even if you haven't, you know that times are hard all over. How lucky we are to have a vibrant Friends of the Library group that is a tremendous supporter of the library, its collections, and its programming.

Recently our Friends group approved funding to help the library through a tough time. A small collection of new books, dvd's, music, magazines, and audiobooks will be purchased by the Friends. Their generous contribution to the library's collections will help us ensure that you have the latest Wimpy Kid book, the newest of the Knuffly Bunny saga, and a chance to see Toy Story 3, among many other things. They may not have arrived at the time you're reading this, but rest assured that due to the Friends and their hard work, Des Plaines Public Library will have copies of these long-awaited items for you to take home and enjoy.

Please also check out some great Friends-sponsored fall programs. Join us in October for a special Glow-in-the-dark Juggling program, and be delighted in November when we host Spoonman: A Utensil-filled Holiday Dinner.

Want to help support the Friends or become a member? Get a brochure at the first floor Registration Desk. For more information, click this link to see the Friends of the Library page on our web site.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Incoming Eggbeater

Keep your eyes on the sky at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. You may get to see the giant eggbeater land. Don't know what a giant eggbeater is? Well, it is sometimes called a whirligig, a rotorcraft, or a chopper. In this case, it is a medevac helicopter that is scheduled to land in the back parking lot at Holy Family Medical Center during the Family Fun Fest. In addition to touring the helicopter, many other free activities will be available from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Of course, the library has lots of great books to help you find out more about helicopters. For the youngest readers, try Rescue Helicopters (Machines at Work series).

For children ready for chapter books, check out Choppers! by Susan Goodman.

Helicopters (The Story of Flight series) includes fascinating pictures and information about many types of helicopters.

Since you never know when you might be called upon to save the day, just like James Bond or Alex Rider, brush up on flying a helicopter with The Boy's Book: How to Be the Best at Everything.

Have a great time at the Family Fun Fest, and let us know what you learned about helicopters!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Juvenile Accidents and What You Can Do to Help

Accidents happen. Whether you were watching your child when it happened, you weren't watching when it happened, it happened under the watch of someone you trust with your children or not... accidents just happen.

Recently I read an article on CNN about what to do in an emergency situation after an accident happens, and it is not what you think. The old wives' tales tell us to put a tooth that has been knocked out in milk or a fingertip that has been severed on ice; these home remedies are actually completely wrong and could cost you or your child their body part.

As it turns out, while milk does contain calcium, it is its perfect PH balance of 7 (just like water) that makes it great for rinsing off teeth that have been knocked out. However, the procedure for dealing with a knocked out tooth is not to place the tooth in a cup of milk and head for the emergency room as we have all been told. What actually needs to be done with a tooth that still has the root attached is to be cleaned and placed back into the hole that was created when it fell out. While your child might be losing their teeth naturally and you have nothing to worry about, once those adult teeth grow in, those are all your child has and this could be critical.

You can learn all about the exciting (and totally gross) things that you can do to help your child in an emergency situation such as this one in the article here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Finding 'THE' Book

I was reading an interesting article in The Horn Book Magazine (September/October 2010) called "Reading on the Spectrum" by Ashley Waring (you can read the piece here). In it, Ashley talks about finding books to share with her son. This is a common issue with many parents--wanting to find books with which their child can find a deep connection. Ashley's son has autism, so finding books that he is interested in is especially challenging. Ashley used his specific interests in letters, numbers, and music to get him involved in books. After he had spent enough time looking at the parts of the book that really interested him (like the letter 0) he started interacting more with the story and forging new connections. For him, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is 'THE' book.

Finding 'THE' book is different for everyone, both in what it means and at what stage of life it's found. Though Ashley found Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, she's not going to stop trying different books and looking to make new connections. And you shouldn't stop trying either! Maybe your child "doesn't like to read" because they haven't found THE book. One of our librarians, Courtney, was older when she read Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach and that book opened up a new world for her. After that, she devoured nonfiction about Shakespeare and English nobility. Each child can have that type of success with reading, it is just a matter of finding the right book.

Parents, if you have had success, please leave a comment and share your story. If you're looking for a book for your child, don't forget to stop by the Youth Services Desk on the 2nd floor. We want to help you find books for your child that will excite them and turn them into lifelong readers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goodbye Summer, Hellooooo Phonics!

Is your child starting to read? With the beginning of the school year underway, I wanted to bring your attention to our great phonics collection in the Early Reader section of the 2nd floor.

We have a great collection of different phonics book sets to teach your child the different sounds that letters can make. In addition to these, we have groupings of books called BOB books, which are designed to help your child read, and read a whole book at that! Each group of 10 books introduces harder and harder sounds so that your child can easily progress through them.

This month, we added a new group of BOB books to our collection. While the rest of the BOB book groups focus on phonics and learning phonic skills, these two new groups focus on building vocabulary through sight words and we have sets for both Kindergarten and First grade! Each book in a group introduces three new sight words, and after reading through the books your child can easily point out words such as can, down, fly, had, jump, and look.

For the rest of us who aren't teachers ourselves, the terminology used to explain learning to read can be daunting. Sight words are common words that appear over and over again throughout school textbooks and the other reading material your child encounters. The best part is, these sight words are usually short enough that they can be easily sounded out and memorized for future use.

We have several collections of Phonics sets, but just recently acquired a new set called 'It's the Alphabet!' which has a book for each letter instead of a book for each sound a letter or group of letters can make as in other sets. Come in and check them out today!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Storytime Sharing: You Can Raise a Reader

We love sharing age appropriate books, songs and rhymes from our storytimes. We strive to teach the six early literacy skills at storytimes and offer suggestions for how you can reinforce these skills at home.

Apples, Apples, Apples!

It's already cooler outside, there's a crispness to the air and fall decorations are out and so this week in Toddler Storytime we learned about apples! We started our fun by looking at real red, green, yellow and mixture of color apples! We read the book, Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington which introduced us to a busy apple farmer who harvests various apples and has many uses for them, such as applesauce, apple cider and selling them at the market. This book emphasized the pre-reading skill of vocabulary. When reading this book to your child, you can point to the signs and labels in the illustrations, such as butter, apple cider, applesauce, baking soda, etc, taking time to read them. This will also help your child with print awareness, which includes noticing print all around them and that print has meaning.

Show your child this apple fingerplay:

The Apple Tree
Way up high in the apple tree (arms up high)
Two red apples smiled at me. (hold up 2 fingers and point to yourself)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (shaking motion with hands)
And down came the apples, (arms in the air, falling)
Ummm, they were good! (rub tummy)

Then, in the Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall, we take a journey through the seasons to learn as an apple tree grows leaves, then blossoms which turn to tiny green buds, which grow into ripe fruit to be picked. The story finishes with the family sharing their yummy baked apple pie.

For Preschool children getting ready for a school trip to the orchard, read Apple Countdown by Joan Holub.

We sang along to the song, Five Green Apples from Friends Forever by Sharon, Lois and Bram and moved our colorful scarves along to Apples and Bananas from New Shoes by Steve Beno.
Singing along to songs helps with phonological awareness, the ability to hear and play with the sounds in words. Five Green Apples has repeating phrases such as "Farmer Brown has 4 green apples hanging from a tree" to help your toddler learn the song and have fun.

Some activities you can do at home:
Make Applesauce, Apple Muffins and Apple Pie from the recipes in the back of Apple Farmer Annie and Apple Pie Tree mentioned above.

Create Apple Prints by cutting an apple in half and piercing each half with a fork to use as a handle. Dip apple half into red, yellow or green paint and press down on paper. Continue with various colors to create patterns and finish with a dash of glitter.

Create an Apple Purse by drawing a large apple with a stem onto foam. Cut out the apple and trace onto another piece of foam and using a hole punch, starting on one side of the apple, punch holes every inch, stopping at the opposite side leaving the top of the apple as is. Have your child use string or wool to lace the foam apples together. Add a green felt leaf and make a purse strap from a long piece of ribbon.

Fingerpaint Apple Tree, learn how your child can use his hands to create this project from DLTK-KIDS website.

Visit an Apple Orchard and pick your own apples as a family. Many orchards have corn mazes and other fall children's activities. Oaklee's Family Guide lists Apple Holler and Jonamac Orchard and offers coupons located in their print guide that you can find here at the library, while supplies last.