Friday, March 30, 2012

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Every year, books are published - some good, some extremely good... and every year, there are four Illinois book awards that recognize those books that go above and beyond and make it as an exceptionally great title; the Monarch Award, for books for kids in Kindergarten through 3rd grade, the Bluestem Award, for books for kids in 3rd to 5th grades, the Caudill Award, for books for kids in 4th to 8th grades, and the Abraham Lincoln Award for books for kids in high school.  These awards are given out in March, and are voted on by children in the appropriate age ranges that have read some of the titles on the nominations list.

Each award has its own nominations list, and those books go on display here at the library.  The books are voted on in February and the winner announced in March.  Did you know that your child can help create the list of nominations?  After reading a book they thing was great, you can go online to nominate it for the award.  All of the nominees are read and then the best 20 of them are presented to the public for voting.  Help your child become a part of this fun process - see if their favorite book wins!  For more information on each award, click on the links below.

Monarch Award

Bluestem Award

Caudill Award

Abraham Lincoln Award

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mr. Madison's War

This year is the bicentennial of Mr. Madison's War, also known as the War That Nobody Won.

You might not think you remember much about this war. After all, who would believe that the United States would invade Canada? Two hundred years ago we did just that.

Consider these events during the conflict. Our "Uncle Sam" got his name. A lawyer named Francis Scott Key wrote a little ditty called "The Star-Spangled Banner". Andrew Jackson became a hero by winning the Battle of New Orleans--two weeks after the war had ended. He is the same Andrew Jackson who became our seventh President

Perhaps by now you have used your critical thinking skills to figure out that the more common name for Mr. Madison's War is the War of 1812.

These are books to help you read more about it.

How to Draw the Life and Times of Andrew Jackson is a great biography for the artist in your family.

The Flag Maker was written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, a fantastic nonfiction writer for children.

The singer in your house might enjoy The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key. This illustrated book includes history, lyrics and sheet music for our National Anthem.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Meet Raina!

When I was younger my absolute favorite book series in the world was the Babysitter's Club by Ann M. Martin. What's the Babysitter's Club? It's about a group of girls who met weekly to take calls to arrange babysitting jobs for themselves for parents in their neighborhood. They were awesome. When I was a kid that was what I wanted to do.

So imagine my complete happiness when a couple of years ago I discovered that the first four books of the series had been adapted as graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier. Raina is an incredible graphic novelist. She did a fantastic job with the stories. When I read them, it was like I was revisiting my childhood and Raina captured exactly how I imagined the characters to be and seem in her amazing drawings.

Then two years ago she released another book that was even more incredible. Her book Smile is an autobiographical account of her time in middle school. In it she deals with friends (if your friends are mean to you are they really your friends?), family (sometimes mom, dad, and siblings just don't understand), as well as the trauma of unending trips to the dentist to repair her mouth when she knocked out her two front teeth. Raina, in her personal experience, captured the highs and lows (and there are many--at least for me) of middle school and high school. Both boys and girls have enjoyed reading it--a rare treat.

I'm so happy to announce that Raina will be hosting a program for the library called Creating Comics: A Hands-on Workshop. In the program, teens from grades 6-12 will learn about writing stories and making illustrations for comics and then get a chance to start their own. After the program Raina will be signing copies of Smile for them. Each teen who comes will get a copy of Smile to take home with them as a memento of the program. Copies of Smile were generously donated by the Friends of the Library.

This program is being held at Algonquin Middle School in the Library Media Center. A map of where Algonquin Middle School is located can be found here.

When: Thursday, March 22 from 4:30-5:30, book signing to follow
Where: Library Media Center in Algonquin Middle School

BSC #1 Kristy's Great Idea
BSC #2 The Truth About Stacey
BSC #3 Mary Ann Saves the Day
BSC #4 Claudia and Mean Janine

Friday, March 9, 2012

Battle of the Books Teams Forming Now

Team registrations for the 2012 Battle of the Books begin this Sunday, March 11. Phone or visit the Youth Services Desk to sign up your child's team of three or four participants to compete either on Friday, April 27 (6th - 8th graders) or Friday, May 4 (4th - 5th graders). Both competitions will be held from 6:45 - 8 p.m. in Meeting Rooms B/C.

What do we need for registration? The names of the children participating, their school and grade, phone number, and an email address. Books will be available for check-out beginning Sunday, March 11 as well.

If your children have participated in previous years, you'll know that these events are always guaranteed to be lots of fun -- for participants and observers. We've selected some great titles this year, and for the first time many of the books are available to be downloaded to your e-reader through the library's catalog. In addition, we have two Kindle e-readers loaded with all eight of the 6th - 8th grade titles. They may be checked out for four weeks.

For more information or to see a list of this year's titles, please click here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Welcome to Women's History Month!

March is Women's History Month, a wonderful time to explore and discuss the contributions made by women today and throughout history.

Visit the Des Plaines Public Library to browse our display collection of Women Building Careers - a selection of books highlighting women in the arts, industry, medicine, politics...you name it.

Also visit the Library of Congress's Women's History Month web site at http://womenshistorymonth.gov/

Put the power of primary sources to work in the classroom. Browse ready-to-use lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids from the Library of Congress here.

Happy Women's History Month!