Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our Sad News

If you have been in the library in the past few days, you may have noticed that the staff on the 2nd floor have seemed a bit sad. Judy, one of our own, passed away early Monday morning. You may have read one of her great blog posts, signed your child up to participate in one of her wonderful programs, or had your questions answered in her positive, friendly way, but Judy was by all accounts the nicest person that any of us have had the pleasure of knowing. There aren't many of us in the Youth Services department and we work closely together and quickly become family, but Judy's ability to make each and every one of us feel loved, comforted, and accepted goes beyond any work relationship.

As with all grief, it can be hard to express how you feel and different people react in different ways. While we all feel the loss of Judy in our own ways, your child might feel their own loss differently than you would. In our parenting and picture book collections, we have many books that deal with loss, from the loss of a grandparent to the loss of a pet. Sometimes it helps to read about others dealing with a similar situation to help your child cope with their own feelings. This also gives you the opportunity to discuss happy memories and learn to talk about your loss.

Here are a few of our favorite Judy memories:

~Judy was incredibly creative. With her ideas for Story Explorers and Stories and More, and craft and program ideas.

~Her excitement for the kids participating in her programs.

~Judy loved to take pictures of each of the kids not only because she wanted them to have recognition for the great things they were doing, but also because she was so incredibly proud of them.

~How much she loved her family, and how much she talked about how wonderful they were.

~Judy was always ready with a new craft idea. She purchased the books for that part of our collection and loved every minute of ordering them.

~Judy never had a bad word to say about anyone, and never uttered a complaint.

~Judy was an extraordinary person who always smiled, opened her heart, listened with a caring ear, gave generously, lived humbly, had true patience, gave her time freely to others, loved the library, loved our library families, and abounded with wonderful program ideas. Her life is an example for us all.

~She really had a joy for life that came out in everything she did.

~Judy loved working at the library. Whether it was dressing as Auntie Em for last year's Wizard of Oz program, corralling a group of excited girls and boys building LEGO creations, or being the Mistress of Ceremonies at the Battle of the Books, Miss Judy always gave it her all.

Please share your memories of "Miss Judy" with us here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Getting you to. . .Bronzeville

One of the museums featured in our Museum Adventure Pass program is the Bronzeville Children's Museum. My family visited there recently to check it out. While the museum is more structured than many other children's museums, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip. We learned lots about Bronzeville, a neighborhood in Chicago where African-Americans settled after coming from the South. Tours of the exhibits are designed for children ages 3 to 9, and include video presentations, crafts, and hands-on activities. The tours are offered on the hour, so you should schedule your trip accordingly. Be sure to get travel directions before you go because the museum is actually located a little south of the Bronzeville neighborhood.

After you finish your museum visit, you can head north to visit Bronzeville for some great soul food. My family and I enjoyed Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles, 3947 S. Martin Luther King Drive. The wait for a table can be quite long, so we felt lucky to be seated after only 20 minutes. Eating fried chicken and waffles together was a unique sweet and salty experience. Even if your children aren't adventurous eaters, they will enjoy the mac & cheese. You may even be able to persuade them to try some excellent collard greens or red beans & rice.

After your trip, come to the library for some great books to check out by or about African-Americans.

This year's Caldecott Award winner, The Lion & the Mouse is a beautiful, wordless book by Jerry Pinkney.

We Are the Ship: the Story of Negro League Baseball is a fascinating history of Negro League baseball from the 1920's through 1947.

More Tales of Uncle Remus is a lively book of trickster stories about Brer Rabbit that is fun for families to read aloud together.

Savion!: My Life in Tap is an autobiography by Savion Glover, a dancer and choreographer who has appeared regularly on Sesame Street and Broadway.

I hope you have a chance to celebrate Black History Month with some great books and a trip to Bronzeville.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

Looking for something interesting to share with your kids this weekend? The 2010 Winter Olympic Games begin with the opening ceremony tonight at 6:30 pm on NBC, channel 5. The opening ceremony can be a really fun experience, and you can make it educational as well. Come to the library and check out one of our world atlases. Then, as each country is called to enter the stadium, have the kids find it on the atlas. Make it a contest to see who can find the country first!

Another fun activity for this weekend is to go Ice Skating. If you already have skates, head to Lake Opeka where they have a man-made rink already set up! If you don't already have skates and are feeling adventurous, you can always head downtown to Millennium Park where they have skate rentals and lots of hot chocolate for when you get cold. Sunday afternoon at 3:30 is when Olympic Ice Skating starts, so have your own fun and then sit down to watch some of the world's best ice skaters.

If you are looking for the entire Olympic Line-up, look here, and remember to have lots of fun this weekend.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Boy Scouts of America Turn 100!

February 8, 2010 marks 100 years since the founding of the Boy Scouts of America. Congratulations to the many members and leaders that helped to form and to those who actively make the Boy Scouts what it is today.

The Boy Scout slogan, which all involved strive to achieve, is "to do a good turn daily."

For 100 years boys have been taught character, merit, leadership, and service. Locally, for anyone who wants to learn more about Boy Scouts, the Northwest Suburban Council website is an excellent resource. There, I found a poem called The Scouting Trail by Norman Rockwell:

"This is the Trail that the Scout shall know
Where Knightly qualities thrive and grow;
The trail of honor and truth and worth....."

Please visit the new Boy Scout handbook and merit badge resources that the library has to offer, look for this special display to be highlighted in the Youth Services department beginning February 15.

Our library has been the recipient of many visiting Cub Scout/Boy Scout troops throughout the past years. The resources and meeting spaces here have proven valuable to leaders as they present project components to their members. If you lead a Boy Scout troop or have a scout in your family, you are invited to explore the possibilities of utilizing the library while traveling "the Scouting Trail."

Happy 100th Birthday to the Boy Scouts of America. Here's to the next 100!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Storytime Sharing: You CAN raise a reader!

We love sharing age appropriate books, songs and rhymes from our storytimes with you. 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 sang, danced, and read about snow! Good thing the weather came through just in time and dropped enough snow to have some fun. We read the book, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert which emphasized the pre-reading skill of Print Awareness.

Print Awareness is noticing print, how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow words on a page. As we read the story, we see how a bag full of seeds, popcorn, buttons, strings and other found things can decorate an entire family made of snow! We had fun rotating the book to see each member of the snow family. When the bright sun comes out, we said farewell to the melting snowballs.

We also read Under My Hood I Have a Hat by Karla Kuskin which emphasized the vocabulary literacy skill. As a little girl and her dog undress from all the warm winter layers to enjoy milk and cookies, we learn about various clothes, including a muffler.

Then, in Pip & Squeak by Ian Schoenherr, two tiny mice are heading out to a party, but with all the excitement of fresh fallen snow, they forget their gift!
Traveling to the party, they are not doing so well in finding a gift until they spot something orange on a snowman and think it's cheese (children will quickly identify it's a carrot). At the party we see that their friend rabbit loves their perfect birthday gift! Let your child be a storyteller and retell this charming story, so that they can deepen their narrative literacy skill.

We also had fun with songs, flannels and body puffs! For this snow rhyme, use a cotton ball or make a paper snowflake:
Snow on my forehead, snow on my knees, snow on my eyes, it's getting hard to see! Snow on my boots, snow on my hair, snow on my mittens, snow everywhere (throw your snowflake up and watch it fall)!

Make hand held bells by threading a pipe cleaner through 3 small jingle bells. Tie to make a circle and ring with delight as you march around the house with Frosty the Snowman from Kidz Bop Christmas playing in the background.

Find a new use for your body puffs! Play Carole Peterson's The Freeze song from Dancing Feet, as the whole family throws "snowballs" at each other and freezes when the music pauses.

We also sang to five little snowmen by Karen Banks-Lubicz from Karen for Kids, and counted down as each snowman melted. Your child can draw the five snowmen each on a sheet of paper and count down as they melt.

Our drop-in Toddler Storytimes continue on Thursdays at 10:30 and drop-in Preschool Storytimes continue on Tuesdays at 10:30 for the month of February.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's Groundhog Day !

What's the only mammal that has a holiday named in its honor?

The groundhog, also known as the woodchuck or marmot, is the lucky animal who replaced badgers and hedgehogs in US folklore. And how did this chubby, toothy rodent gain fame as a weather forecaster? When German farmers came to America and settled in Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, they already believed that hibernating animals were able to predict the arrival of spring by coming out of their dens. Since February 2nd is halfway between the first day of winter and the first day of spring, the farmers's folk wisdom was that if a groundhog does not see his shadow (on a cloudy day) it must be a mild weather day and spring will arrive early. However, if he sees his shadow (on a sunny winter day) he will be startled and return to his den for another six weeks.

Today, people who are tiring of winter, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and many other cities in the US and Canada will celebrate the modest groundhog's coming-out party with food, speeches and plays. In 1993, the movie Groundhog Day was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois.

If you would like to meet a real groundhog, visit the Children's Zoo at Brookfield Zoo today. Cloudy and Tumbleweed will be looking for their shadows and enjoying a special sweet potato cake at 10:30 am. At 11:30 am, in the Hamill Family Play Zoo, a keeper will present a chat about hedgehogs, and children can make groundhog shadow puppets to take home. Admission to Brookdfield Zoo is free on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends in February (Parking fee is $9).