Tuesday, August 30, 2011

tweet tweet - I am not a bird.

Have you noticed something new?  On the right side of the page, you might notice our 'News from YS' column.  This is directly fed from our newest twitter account.  Anything from a great book we read, to an event in the community, to happenings or general announcements from the library... you will find it all there.  You can look at the last 10 tweets every time you read the blog OR for more up-to-the-minute updates, you can follow us with your own twitter account by clicking on the 'follow me' blue bird.  

Whatever you do, make sure you stay informed!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Good News! Museum Adventure Passes Extended

Very good news for families who loved using the Museum Adventure Pass Program this summer. We have received word that so far 12 participating museums have agreed to extend their discounted admissions to library patrons until October 31st! Please visit us in person at Youth Services desk on the second floor for details about the participating museums and their hours, and to learn which passes are available when. Discounted admissions do vary by museum, but we will be happy to explain these to you as well. Remember, you must use a Des Plaines library card to reserve with us, and only one pass can be checked out per family per week. After a busy week at school, your family deserves a relaxing "field trip" to one of these fine museums!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August is National Inventor's Month

August is a special month for the poeple who involved in the world of inventing: It's National Inventors Month, dedicates a whole month to honor and celebrate their accomplishment. The inventors are the people who have enriched our world with their discoveries from everyday conveniences to modern miracles, and their inventions change the way people live. Inventors are innovative and entrepreneurial. Thousands of inventors have helped to shape the world into what it is today and choosing the best one is no easy task. Computers, microwaves, antibiotics, and vaccinations are routinely listed among the best inventions of all time. While their importance is indiputable, the everyday inventions that make our lives eaiser often get overlooked. As proof that great inventions do not always have to be complicated: The inventions of Kleenex, zipper, wheel, so on so forth. By the time we celebrate National Inventor's Month next year, who knows how many more amazing inventions will make life better for all of us. You could be the one of them in near future.

Some books in our library you may want to read.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Falling for Joey

How many times in your life have you sat down with a book (sometimes thinking you might not like it), and fell in love with its characters?  It happens to me quite a bit - but then again, I have made a life out of reading.... and I get the chance to read tons of really great books.  Did it happen with Charlotte in Charlotte's Web or Laura in Little House in the Big Woods or even Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardobe?

This most recently occurred for me while reading the 1984 novel from Michael Morpurgo, War Horse.  I was forced to read the book because it was nominated for an Illinois state book award and was not looking forward to it, but almost immediately fell in love with the story's main character, a horse named Joey.

Last week, while describing the plot to a coworker in the lunch room, I broke down crying at the absolute beauty of the story.  I tell everyone I meet about how wonderful this book is.  It was while describing this novel to a patron that I was informed that a similar story was coming out as a movie in December.  I immediately ran to my computer to look it up and sure enough - War Horse is being made into a movie, coming to theaters on December 28th.  Not only do the pictures from the promotional materials look absolutely stunning (way more interesting than the cover of the book), but I was pleased to see that Steven Spielberg himself is directing the film.

With the amount of movies being made each year, it is sometimes hard to know when something good is coming out - something with a great moral and a good heart.  This one is not to be missed, but you still have plenty of time before the movie comes out to read the book with your family.... it is an incredible story of courage, love, and understanding in a time of war.  I highly encourage you to check it out and read it together with your family and just like me, fall for Joey.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday

On March 12, 1912, Juliet Gordon Low created the first Girl Scout Troop.  She was born in 1860 in Savannah Georgia to a mother whose own family played a part in creating the city of Chicago.  Being deaf in one ear from birth and deaf in the other from an accident with a grain of 'good luck' rice at her wedding, she searched for a way to make a difference in her community.  In 1911, her friend Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who some of you might know as the founder of the Boy Scouts, encouraged her to take scouting from England to America.  She began her first troop the next year.  Today, there are 3.2 Million members of the Girl Scouts.

As adults, sometimes we look around and think 'there are so many things I'd like to do to change the way my kids are growing up... change the world in which they live' and the Girl Scouts is an easy and fun way to do that.  Does your school have a troop already formed?  If not, you could become the leader.  Contact GSUSA (the Girls Scouts of America) and see what you can do.  Create a better life for your kids and the kids around you.

In the meantime, we have a whole collection of Girl Scout and Boy Scout books in the library.  Take a few out and see what the fuss is all about.  The Boy Scout books just got updated, and the new Girl Scout books are just being released and will be on shelf shortly.  Take a few minutes to look through them... compare them to what they looked like when you were young (they are way different than what I remember).  Get involved in your community - young or old, volunteer and make a difference.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Potty Time!

We did it! My daughter has crossed over from diapers to real underwear adorned with princesses! Phew! I was beginning to think it wouldn't happen.
I've welcomed any advice during the frustrating period of time and thought to share our family's story with any of you who will relate.

Disclaimer: there are many ways to approach this milestone and many factors such as knowing when your child is emotionally or physically ready to the personality of your child. These tips come from my personal experience with one of my children that I hope might be helpful for you.

How our family did it:
  • Both parents getting to that moment of it's all or nothing: After more than 6 months of modeling, occasional weekend training, and carrying potty books wherever we went , I literally said to my daughter, "oh oh, no more diapers left." Then had to explain we couldn't go to the store today to buy more so it's time to keep trying to go potty all day. After that, there is no turning back- so be prepared!
  • An incentive: My daughter needed that gentle push in the right direction into embracing the all or nothing approach. In addition to PLENTY of high-fives and hugs and calling someone almost every time she went potty, we started giving her 1 M&M for recognizing it's time to potty and telling us and another M&M for completing the job. It only took about 4 days of M&Ms! (note: we are so excited still that we continue the high fives and hugs:)
  • Trust: This is hard, especially if you have other children to look after. Did she really go potty- it doesn't look like it, or questioning incessantly that she must need to go now since it's been a couple of hours. I have been there, take a breath and trust your child. If you show her you do, she'll develop good confidence and self-esteem.
  • Patience/body language: If you model patience, your child will have less stress and pressure. At some point your child will want to learn because his or her friends or cousins have graduated from diapers to underwear. Accidents? Well they happen, it's a part of learning. Praise her for her effort in trying to go and remind her were to go potty or teach her about what happened and how she can recognize to use her muscles down there to hold the pee until she makes its to the bathroom. It's a team effort and empathy, patience, positive reaction go a long way.
  • REAL cotton underwear: what can i say- there is nothing like feeling wet to get the message through. We've found that using the disposable training pants did not work for us...she never felt wet and thought it was a diaper. They did come in handy for overnight though.
  • Books (and sometimes video to reinforce): We are a bilingual house so any potty books for girls in the Polish language were golden.
I would say it can be summarized by this formula:
Successful potty training = Preparing ahead of time with reading books/ asking others to help you develop your own approach with each unique child + reading books with your child to introduce potty time and then reinforce your modeling + patience and understanding
+ potty supplies!

Here are some resources to get you started:

Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel Editions available for girls and boys and Spanish and Polish languages.

The Potty Book for Girls by Alyssa Satin Capucilli Editions available for girls and boys.

Danny is Done with Diapers: A Potty ABC by Rebecca O'Connell

On Your Potty, Little Rabbit by Kathleen Amant

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten

The first day of kindergarten is approaching quickly and for many children the first day of school, particularly kindergarten is a cause of anxiety. Here are a few books to read with your soon-to-be kindergartner that may help ease them into the hustle and bustle of school:

A mother reassures her son when he imagines increasingly silly things that might go wrong on his first day of kindergarten.

Although kindergarten provides unique challenges for a young buffalo, one who follows the rules and tries his best will get along fine.

A brother and sister describe the things they love to do during their day at kindergarten.

Annalina's diary entries reflect her feelings and experiences as she goes from being afraid to go to kindergarten to loving it during her first month of school.

A boy visits the classroom where he will attend kindergarten the following fall and finds out what is in store for him.

Dexter knows everything there is to know about kindergarten and is not at all scared about his first day there, but his stuffed dog, Rufus, is very nervous.

Discover more of our favorite first day of school books here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Check It Out: How'd They Build That? Fire Truck

How'd They Build That? is a series of videos that looks at how one company builds and puts together school buses, concrete trucks, or in the case of the video I watched, fire trucks. This video looks at the Seagrave Fire Apparatus company which builds fire trucks and fire engines in Wisconsin.

Fire Truck is full of action shots of firefighters, fire trucks, and fire engines. Did you know that there is a difference between fire trucks and fire engines? I didn't before, but I do now! Fire trucks and engines are also marked on the front and side with either a T for truck or E for engine followed by the company number that the vehicle belongs too.

While it was fun watching all the trucks and seeing them get put together, the video is geared towards a 2nd-4th grade level. There is some background information about how the Seagrave company got started and I think that's where a lot of viewers might wander away from the TV. They do show some neat pictures of what fire engines used to look like.

During the video a narrator talks about the different parts and how they might be built. The video covers the cab, hoses, ladders, the base, and the inside. When the narrator isn't talking light rock guitar music plays in the background while different shots are shown. When the video transitions from one part of the truck to another (for example from ladder to cab) Fun Facts come up on the screen. One fun fact let me know that it takes about 1500 to 3500 hours to build just a single truck.

Kids are going to love watching all the different trucks and seeing what they look like as they're being built. Even if they're not interested in learning about the company that can easily be fast forwarded past it. One of my favorite parts was seeing that fire trucks don't have to be red, they can be any color.

If your child is interested in how fire trucks are put together make sure to check out How'd They Build That? Fire Truck. And be sure to look for other How'd They Build That? DVDs in the library.

How'd They Build That? Fire Truck

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, August 2, 2011

Read Aloud to your children

Reading aloud to children is one of the best ways to help them discover the joy of reading.

It's never too-early-or too late-to start. All children, even infants, can benefit from listening to you read aloud.

Reading aloud can be done anywhere, anytime, with almost any book.

A few quick tips!

*Take books everywhere (the car, bus, doctor office and vacation.)
*Read everyday items, food labels, maps, menus, cereal boxes, road signs, catalogs and newpapers.
*Come to the Des Plaines Public Library.  We will help you find books that meet your child's interest and needs.
*Set up a home library area. A few books on a special shelf is a great start. Find books at our Friends Book Sales, garage sales, bookstore sales, and flea markets that children will treasure for years.