Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting Good Deals

How money-savvy are your kids? I remember my father telling a story he heard from a colleague. The man's son had gone off to college with a checkbook in hand. The young student assumed that as long as there were checks left in the checkbook, there was still money in the account. You can imagine how that turned out. Teens make up an enormous chunk of the consuming public these days. Advertisers bombard teens with products and services clearly designed for their tastes and interests, and sometimes pushing them in directions they didn't even know they wanted to go. Help your teen be a conscientious consumer. The Des Plaines Public Library is once again a partner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for Money Smart Week 2011, April 2-9. The library is hosting three Money Smart programs in April, one of which is Getting a Good Buy: A Money Smart Week Program for Teens. Professor Helen Roberts of the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Economic Education will present a workshop of educational games and information for students in grades 7-12. Participants will take an active part in learning why the items we want to buy sometimes cost so much more at one store than they do at another, why buying things like smartphone plans and computers makes you feel like you're comparing apples and oranges. In this workshop we will work on taking the frustration and mystery out of getting the best deal.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Countdown to Earth Hour

If you notice the lights around you going out on Saturday at 8:30 p.m., don't panic. Join millions of people and businesses around the world, and turn yours off, too!

We can all be a part of Earth Hour 2011 on Saturday, March 26 from 8:30 until 9:30 p.m. Lights will be turned off around the world to take a stand against climate change. The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Australia started Earth Hour in 2007, and it has quickly spread around the world. Last year people in 128 countries and territories participated.

When I turn my lights off tomorrow, I will also be thinking of the people in Japan who have experienced rolling blackouts during this difficult time in their history. Perhaps you and your family will want to turn off your lights, crank up your "green" flashlight, and read a book about Japan. One book you might enjoy is Welcome to Japan. It touches on lots of topics and includes many photos.

Go to http://www.earthhour.org/Homepage.aspx?intro=no for more information about Earth Hour and ideas for fun activities for your family.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Grandparents are VIPs

Our grandparents are one of a kind! Celebrate them by registering your child (ages 4 - 8 years old) and their grandpa, grandma, or both for the upcoming program, Grandpa, Grandma & Me Time on Saturday, March 26th from 10:30 a.m. - noon.  If you are a grandparent, we'd love to see you there with your grandchildren!  Register at the Youth Services Desk, 847-376-2839 or register online at www.dppl.org. Click on Events and follow directions.
It'll be a "grand" time for all with stories, refreshments, activities and a special photo craft to take home.

Get your children thinking about how special their grandparents are by reading books from the library's collection. Laura Numeroff's book, What Grandpas do Best : What Grandmas do Best is a tribute to the everyday things our grandparents do. Start with Grandpa and when you read halfway, flip the book upside down to start reading about Grandma!

Let's honor and recognize our loving grandparents for who they are to our families!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Preschoolers and the Television

The TV: for adults, although it wastes our time, it can create hours of entertainment.... but for kids, and their still developing brains, it can be detrimental.  Most parents know this, but what they don't know - is how much TV exposure their children are getting when they aren't there.

This past fall, I read an article about how much television children in the United States are exposed to.... two-thirds of them are exposed to more than the recommended two hours per day.  I found the article incredibly eye opening.  Some caregivers aren't aware that there are even guidelines about television exposure for kids.  Make sure that whomever is taking care of your children, they know what YOUR guidelines are for what you want your children to experience.  If you want to read the article, check here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Check It Out: Grammar Tips for Students

Grammar Tips for Students is a DVD series that goes over the rules of English grammar. There are eight separate discs that discuss different aspects of grammar. Instead of playing like a traditional DVD (straight through) you choose what chapters you want to watch. This way you can pick and choose which lessons are ones your child/student needs to watch instead of advancing through chapters or making them sit through all segments. Each segment is between 2 and 4 minutes long and covers a specific grammar lesson.

For example in the DVD Using Capitalization & Punctuation, there were chapters about "Capitalizing Proper Nouns and Proper Adjectives" and "Using Colons." These segments gave easy to understand examples of what proper nouns and proper adjectives are (Even I learned about proper adjectives. Did you know they're formed from proper nouns? Proper nouns can also function as proper adjectives--pretty cool!) as well as colons. The hosts (a boy and girl, roughly 17-20 years old) cheerfully explain what each item is and how you can use it.

The DVDs say that the series is for grades 5-12 and it definitely is. The hosts explain things in detail, but they move quickly through each item. While I liked that they were able to succinctly explain information in under 4 minutes, it moves too fast for younger viewers. If any parents are looking for a refresher to better their proofreading skills for school papers this is the set to check out. I know I'll be checking them out for myself!

You can find these DVDs in our Nonfiction DVD section. Click on the titles below to see more information about the item in the library catalog. Feel free to stop by the desk for other recommendations as well.

Using Verbs
Using Nouns and Pronouns
Using End Marks and Commas
Using Clauses and Phrases
Using Capitalization and Punctuation
Using Adjectives, Adverbs, and other Modifiers
Sentence Structure
Common Usage Errors

Check It Out blog posts take a look at DVDs in the Youth Services collection that you might not know about. Look for more Check It Out segments in the future.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I recently read a wonderful biography for children that made me think about children reading good biographies. Imaginative as children are, there are times when they prefer to turn to facts. I find that facts are the essence of biographies, revealing the truth of history with more drama than it is possible to convey in most other nonfiction books.

Biographies tell of real people and real events, and may encourage imitation while depicting the difficulties and achievements of others. Because of their reality, biographies can help clarify and focus youthful ambition.

When my son was in 4th or 5th grade, he read the 'Gerrard Discovery Biography' series during his summer vacation. They were interesting and well written. Each volume gave a different impression and a new perspective on a famous person's life.

One biography or memoir I recommend often is 'My Thirteenth Winter', by Samantha Abeel. Samantha Abeel tells her own story of being diagnosed and living with a learning disability in spite of being incredibly gifted in most other areas like creative writing and poerty. I would like to recommend this book for 5th grade or older students.

We have impressive BIOGRAPHY collection that offers titles from social reformers and presidents to inventors and more. Please check the area and find someone your child might like to read about.  If you don't find what you are looking for, feel free to ask!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Remember the Ladies

The nation celebrates National Women's History Month during the month of March! The achievements and contributions of women to the world throughout history is certainly interesting and inspirational to us all.

While, most of us recognize the names of Amelia Earhart, Emily Dickinson, Marie Curie, Helen Keller, Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony, Jane Addams, Frida Kahlo and Rosa Parks, there are many others that have made their mark in history, challenged society, fought for equal rights, advanced medicine and technology, achieved greatness, and changed our lives.

Here are some recommendations of books, a program opportunity and a electronic resource that might open a window of insight and inspiration for today's generation:

Join us for HANDS ON SCIENCE - THIS SATURDAY, March 5, 2011
Make your own contribution to science! Enjoy a fun filled workshop honoring the contributions of famous women in science. You'll make a chemical cold pack, change protein molecules and make a model Saturn planet to take home. Be inspirered by learning about these oustanding scientists: Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and Sally Ride. Registration is required. Register at the Youth Services Desk, 847-376-2839 or resiter online. Click on Events and follow the directions.

Almost Astronauts; 13 Women who Dared to Dream By Tanya Lee Stone. Winner of the Siebert Award (for the most distinguished informational book published each year)

Michelle Obama: Mom-in-Chief

For additional information, browse the "Notable Women" section in Biography In Context, an online library resource you can access from home with your Des Plaines library card or utilize while at the library. This database is a great source for any inquiry as it contains over a million biographical entries.

See if you can "Remember the Ladies" by making your own top 10 list. Who is important to you and your family? Who will make your list and why?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Friends of the Library Book Sale

It may not feel like spring, but the change of season is definitely on its way. Get a head start on some of your spring cleaning ambitions by donating your used books and other media to the Friends of the Library Book Sale, coming this April 1-3. Half the battle of cleaning house is knowing there is a place to deposit the items you discard. Most organizing experts say that it's best to start with three piles: 1) items that may be recycled, 2)items that may be for the trash, and 3) items that may be of use to others and so donated to a place that can redistribute your belongings. The Friends are happy to redistribute your items that were once loved, but are now just taking up space that could work harder for you than acting as receptacle for your read-once books and now uploaded CD's.

The Friends are a generous provider of funds that allow our Youth Services department to bring great entertainers to the library, to offer support for our programs such as Winter Reading Club and Summer Reading Club, and to assist us in providing ease of use to services like our Book Bags for Teachers.

April 1 is a members only chance to get first crack at the great deals the sale has to offer on used books and other materials. You can become a member at the door: $5 for individuals, $10 for families. The sale is open to the general public on Saturday April 2 and Sunday April 3.

See you there! I'm still enjoying the several cookbooks and exercise dvd's I picked up at last fall's event. You never know what kind of gems you might find...