Friday, January 29, 2010

Play Well!

While the winter season provides a time of much outdoors fun for children, the daylight hours are short and the weather at times becomes intolerable.

For those who are familiar with LEGO toys, I am sure that you will agree that filling indoor hours with some LEGO time is a good choice.

Whether you have a beginning Quatro block builder (12 months to 24 months), a Duplo builder(ages 2-7), or a LEGO brick builder (ages 6-14) they all enjoy the creativity, curiosity, imagination and thinking that takes place during their playing/building sessions.

Much information regarding the types of LEGO toys and the benefits of using them can be found on the Parents section of their website.

At the library, book covers and stories from the PICTURE BOOK or J FICTION collections can serve as the springboard to ideas for LEGO construction. Also popular in helping to form building ideas is the J SERIES called Bionicle Legends.

For those in 3rd through 8th grade there is a program being held here Saturday, March 6th called LEGOTIVITIES! Registration is done online or by calling the Youth Services Desk at 1-847-376-2839.

Play! Learn! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Getting You There--India

How old do you think India is? I was surprised to learn that India became a democratic republic only 60 years ago. Today, January 26, is Republic Day, a national holiday celebrating the adoption of the Indian constitution. If you can't get to New Delhi for the parade, you can experience India here in our own neighborhood.

Food is an important part of travel, so begin your trip at Cuisine of India, 2348 S. Elmhurst Road, Mt. Prospect. This restaurant offers a lunch buffet daily, so you can try lots of different foods to decide what you like best. Warning: Indian food can be very spicy, so start with small bites.

If you taste something you want to make yourself, go next door to Ambica or down the street to Shreeji Gocers, 1187 S. Elmhurst Road, Des Plaines to shop for ingredients. During my recent visit I bought roti chapati, a delicious flat bread that you can cook in about 2 minutes. Children will love watching it puff up on the stove.

If you want to venture further from home, there are lots of restaurants and shops on Devon Avenue in Chicago.

When you return from your trip, try reading some great books from the library. The Brave Little Parrot is a beautiful introduction to traditional jataka tales.

Indian Children's Favourite Stories is a delightful collection of eight traditional stories that will help you learn about the culture and history of a diverse country.

Homeless Bird is an award-winning book for older children about a 13-year-old girl and her arranged marriage.

Gujarati is one of 16 major languages spoken in India. Check out the English-Gujarati version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to see what Gujarati script looks like.

I hope you enjoy your trip to India. Send us a postcard!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Booklists Galore

Did you know that the library has some pretty neat tools to help you pick books for your children? We know how hard it is to look at the 18 thousand picture books or 10 thousand fiction books and say 'I know exactly what to pick out for my child!'. It is because of this that we have created booklists, which are exactly what they sound like: lists of books.

We have recently updated our grade-level bibliography booklists, which are lists of books we have picked to be the best for a specific age group. Each book on the list comes with a summary of the narrative so that you and your child can look through the list and pick books that he or she might be interested in reading. You can even find the booklists online here, and print them out at home so that when you come in to the library, you already know what books you are looking for. If not, we have plenty of copies here.

This past year, we spent a lot of time creating new picture book booklists as well. These books are grouped by subject. If you know your child really loves reading about Cowboys, then we have a list for you! Again, you can look online here, or you can come in to the library, grab a list and check each book off as you read it. We have plenty more subject booklists such as: princesses and princes, seasons, community helpers, school days, and visiting the doctor. We have created over 20 booklists to make it easier to find the book you are looking for.

As always, you are more than welcome to come in and ask for help at the desk, but we would LOVE to show you how to use our booklists as well!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

And The Winners Are...

Authors, publishers, illustrators, even some librarians were anxious with anticipation this morning. Why? The top awards for children and young adult books were announced today!

The John Newbery Medal, which is for "outstanding contribution to children's literature," went to "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead.

The Newbery Honor Books were:
"Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" by Phillip Hoose
"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" by Jacqueline Kelly
"Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" by Grace Lin
"The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg" by Rodman Philbrick.

For younger readers, the Randolph Caldecott Medal for best picture book for children went to "The Lion & the Mouse" by Jerry Pickney.

The Caldecott Honor books were:
"All the World" by Marla Frazee and Liz Garton Scanlon
"Red Sings From the Treetops: A Year in Colors" by Pamela Zagarenski and Joyce Sidman

For excellence in young adult literature, the Michael L. Printz Award was rewarded to "Going Bovine" by Libba Bray.

There were four Printz Honor books:
"Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith" by Deborah Heiligman
"The Monstrumologist" by Rick Yancey
"Punkzilla" by Adam Rapp
"Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance, 1973" by John Barnes

Please click on this link to read more about the other awards that were announced, such as the Coretta Scott King Book Award and the Odyssey Award.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? I fell in love with "All the World" so I'm happy that more people will get to read it. Or is there a book you thought should have won that didn't?

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Brothers Grimm

A new year brings a desire to share new experience with your children. Exploring the world of fairy tales with your child can provide that, and the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales have been famous throughout the world for more than two centuries!

The Grimms were mid-eighteenth century German language scholars known for their collection of fairy tales. The stories they collected were folklore and legend in oral form told by peasant villagers in Europe. The Grimm's tales have all the elements of popular literature: the characters are universally appealing, and the plots are recounted with spellbinding quality and the search for love and happiness. With a unique combination of fantasy and reality, the stories have stood the test of time; not only do they entertain, but they inspire imagination, offer solutions to problems, promote confidence, and generally enrich their readers' lives.

The Friends of the Library are sponsoring Grimm Brothers: Four Plays presented by the Ouroboros Theatre Company this Sunday, January 17 at 2 p. m. here at the library. Join us, share a wonderful time with your family, and give yourselves something to talk about for the new year. When the program is over, stop by the Youth Services desk on the 2nd floor to find great folk and fairy tales to share at home!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Preschool Fair for Parents

The annual Preschool Fair is this upcoming Saturday, January 16th from 11 am to 12:30 pm in Friends Rooms B/C. Representatives from local preschools will be present to answer questions, recommend programs, and provide information.

If you have young children and are overwhelmed by all of the preschool options in the area, don't miss this event. In Des Plaines alone, we have over 30 preschool and day care programs, and the thought of exploring all of them on your own can be a daunting one. Come to the preschool fair and relax!

The first 40 Families to come to the fair get a free tote filled with preschool information and goodies. Be sure to get there early!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Grab Your Shades, it's Winter Reading Club!

Winter Reading Club begins this Saturday, January 9th. To kick off our Reading is a Beach Party themed program, we have musical guest Rick Kelley performing live from 1:30 to 2:30pm in Friends Rooms B/C! Families of all ages are welcome.

Remember to stop by the 2nd floor desk before or after the program to sign your child up for Winter Reading Club, get their log, and help them put their beach ball on our beach. They need to read 8 hours (by themselves) or 16 books (with you or another adult) to complete the program. Stop by with your child weekly so they can be entered into the raffles for great Chicago Wolves prizes, and make sure to have them turn in their completed log by February 28th to be entered in the grand prize drawing.

Get out there, get reading, and remember that you can always stop by to get great book recommendations!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Routine Tips for Parents

It can be a trying time as your child grows older and schedules get tighter. They want to do one thing, but you need to get two other children to different practices and to the grocery store so that you have something to eat for the next few weeks. As a mother of three boys, I know from experience that the following tips will help your child as he or she transitions through life and get on board with daily routines.

Take the time to think about your child's day from the time he or she gets up until bedtime and create a schedule. You can then see possibilities of what you could change or do differently to help your child with daily routines.

One example might be eliminating going to the grocery store before you pick your child up from school. Could you go to the grocery store before you pick up your child? It might be easier for you both.

Be prepared for any down time by caring a bag of tricks with books, small toys or coloring books in your car or purse for those times you are waiting or stopped at train tracks.

Creating a consistent routine for your child will let them know what to expect every day, and it becomes easier for you and the child. When a change of schedule arises, talk about it in advance if possible.

When at home, have activities that you can pull out while you are busy with things like housework or phone calls.

Have a special box or container that is separate from the everyday toys. And let the child know they can only be played with when you get them out so you can play together.

Take time to play with your child each day. Turn off the TV. Put on some music. It's good for brain development and also gets everyone moving. Look at photo albums and tell stories about the people in the photos. Sing together into a pretend microphone.

Turn these sometimes-stressful times into fun, magical times that will create wonderful memories for you and your children.