Subtraction in Action!

Lakeshore Learning Material's Subtraction Machine is a new addition to our line-up of fun and educational toys for children's use during their visit to the Ann Arbor District Library! The subtraction machine gives kids a hands-on way to practice their math skills with immediate feedback on their answers. The toy features a grid of 81 subtraction problems; when you press on the equation button, the answer pops up! The equations reinforce whole-number, single-digit subtraction. The library provides a variety of toys and manipulatives at each location. These tools aren't just fun, they help young people learn.

For more ideas about having math experiences with young people you might visit PBS Kids, Online Schools which has compiled a list of math resources, or this site which is dedicated to math games.Subtraction ToySubtraction Toy

Exercise Your Creativity at the AADL Kid-i-Cotts!

by Marc Davis, Flickr.comby Marc Davis, Flickr.com
The Caldecott Winners and Honor Books have been proclaimed, including A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Ann Arbor's own Erin Stead! Now it's time for you to get in on the action. Stop by the Downtown Library Multipurpose Room this Saturday from 1 to 2:30 to hear a storytime presentation of one of these fine books, followed by a creative craft. Let your imagination take flight!

Youth and Teen Magazine Update -- Mars, Manga and the World's Greatest Drummers

by Nadya Pekk, Flickr.comby Nadya Pekk, Flickr.com
Want to jump into January 2011? Try these magazines -- with awesome new issues for the New Year!

For kids:
Ask Magazine: Giant dinosaurs, an island of tiny humans, and the reason giants don't exist.
Muse Magazine: Women Astronauts, Space-Sickness and Martians, oh my!

For teens:
Drum! Magazine: The Ultimate Readers' Choice Awards -- The World's Greatest Drummers!
Otaku USA Magazine: News, reviews and, of course manga! This month Otaku USA features sneak peeks at Lychee Light Club and Street Fighter Gaiden, with reviews of FLCL, Gravitation, Xam'd: Lost Memories.

Read 'em while they're new, people!

Literacy Series -- Multicultural Literacy

by neokainpak, Flickr.comby neokainpak, Flickr.com

"Multicultural literacy" means an understanding of the similarities and differences between cultures, along with the understanding that one's values, customs and beliefs are influenced by one's own culture. The U. S. has been a multicultural nation since its birth. With cultural and ethnic diversity projected to rise over the next 50 years, and technology and business increasingly connecting the U. S. to other countries, now is the time for young people to become culturally literate!

Fortunately, reading can be a great way to explore the world through the eyes of people who are very different from you. Here are some suggestions for multicultural reading:

1. Read books in other languages (if you can!) -- check out our World Language collection. Of course, if you don't already speak another language, you can learn one!

2. Read books about other countries.

3. Read folktales from other cultures -- you can learn a lot about another culture from their folklore. And folktales are fun to read!

4. Read about America's immigrants -- Try the World Book of America's Multicultural Heritage to learn the long history and contributions of immigrants in America.

Multicultural books for young readers:
Check out "Books With a View", a list of books for children and young adults featuring characters from around the world.
Across Cultures: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children
Breaking Boundaries With Global Literature
Crossing Boundaries With Children's Books
The New Press Guide to Multicultural Resources for Young Readers
The World Through Children's Books

Multicultural Resources for Parents:
Multicultural Manners
A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism
Raising the Rainbow Generation

Celebrate the New Year!

Do you need some silly hats and noisemakers for your New Year's celebration?
Come to the Traverwood Branch at 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 28 and make some festive gear for your party. All supplies will be provided. This program is for preschoolers through fifth graders.

For other New Year's decorating ideas, go here.

Cyber-Safety Series -- Parenting in the Digital Age

by pescatello, Flickr.comby pescatello, Flickr.com

With the rapid evolution of technology over the past few years, children are growing up in an incredibly new and unique environment. In fact, a whole new term has been coined for today’s youth – “digital natives.” For digital natives, born after the development of digital technology, the fantastic gizmos and gadgets of the modern age are seamlessly integrated into everyday life, altering learning and social interaction. Of course, for parents who are not digital natives, the virtual world where their children live may seem like a lawless frontier, inscrutable to outsiders. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help digital immigrants to be involved in their children’s online lives:

Background on digital natives: Born Digital by John Palfrey.

Understanding your digital kids:
What in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?
Totally Wired: What Our Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online
E-Parenting: Keeping Up With your Tech-Savvy Kids

Cyber-safety issues and kids:
Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens
Generation MySpace: Helping Your Teen Survive Online Adolescence
MySpace, My Kids – a Christian writer offers guidance to parents about MySpace.

And, for kids themselves:
A Smart Girl’s Guide to the Internet

For more information, here’s a Frontline documentary/workshop on digital parenting that you can watch at home.

New Toys at AADL--Snap-Together Letter Blocks!

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Introducing Snap-Together Letter Blocks: one of many new toys at the AADL this season! Who needs flash cards when tots can learn letters and spelling with fun, colorful letter blocks that snap together! Plus, each block features the uppercase and lowercase version of one letter—so they reinforce letter recognition, too! The blocks are at the youth department in the Downtown branch now, but they'll move to another AADL location soon! Come check out the blocks, and all our new toys!

Take Part in Art -- Art that Tells a Story

by "T" altered art, Flickr.comby "T" altered art, Flickr.com

People have been using pictures to tell stories since…well, forever! Cave paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and the Bayeux Tapestry are all ancestors of modern picture books and graphic novels. To explore the relationship between art and storytelling, you could always come visit the Youth Art Table downtown, or enjoy our abundant and awesome resources at home.

Some excellent artists – modern and historical – have focused on using art to tell stories. To learn more about these artists try reading:
Brueghel: A Gift for Telling Stories – about the life of Dutch artist Pieter Brueghel.
En mi Familia and Family Pictures by Mexican-American artist Carmen Lomas Garza.
Pretty much anything about Norman Rockwell.

To explore how artists tell stories using pictures, try these books.
Telling Stories in Art by Joy Richardson provides examples readers can use to create their own story in art!
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud describes how graphic novelists use pictures to tell their stories, and Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel guides readers in creating their own graphic novels!
Read a wordless picture book to see how amazing a story without words can be.

If you have children ages 4-7, you can also attend one of the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s Storytime in the Museum programs starting January 8. University of Michigan students read stories related to the art on display at the museum to bring art to life!

Finally, to see how art can tell different stories to different people try Twice Told -- a collection of short stories based on paintings. The twist? Each painting inspires two stories by different authors. See how different stories based on the same picture can be! What story would you tell?

Youth/Teen Magazine Update -- Kid Wrestlers, Tall Men and Carnivorous Teddy Bears

by Doug L., Flickr.comby Doug L., Flickr.com
Hello young magazine fans of AADL! A new crop of mags is upon us, so hurry on down to take a look.

For the kids we have:
*Turtle -- Valentine Crowns, "Three Little Kittens," and Pinwheel Bagels...yum.
*Zoobooks -- One word "Gorillas." Ok, four more words: "Stronger than six men!"
*WWE Kids -- featuring your favorite wrestlers' childhood pictures, and an interview with R-Truth.

Teens shouldn't miss:
*Us Magazine -- Royal Wedding Secrets!!!
*Slam -- This issue features John Wall, Evan Turner, and a look back at the life of "one of the greatest shot blockers in NBA history," Manute Bol. (A ridiculously tall man -- 7'7"!)
*Giant Robot -- Interviews with, among others, Artist Luke Chueh, who makes disturbing paintings of teddy bears, and Takayuki Higashino, freestyle motocross star.

Cyber-Safety Series -- Cyber-Bullying

by Steven Fernandez, Flickr.comby Steven Fernandez, Flickr.com

Cyber-bullying – bullying conducted over the Internet, using e-mail, social networks, texting and/or attack websites – is an increasingly common problem, and could affect as much as 33% of young people. Lately, high-profile cases of cyber-bullying have been covered by the media, inspiring legislation and crackdowns. President Obama himself has made a strong statement condemning all forms of bullying. Luckily, there are many resources, both in the library and on the Internet, to help parents prevent and respond to this problem.

StaySafeOnline.org offers an excellent list of tips for cyber-bullying prevention and response, as does the National Crime Prevention Council. Check out the Cyberbullying Research Center for research and news about cyberbullying, as well as printable resources for school or home. Stop Bullying Now, a website of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is designed specially for kids, and includes animated videos.

For more information on cyber-bullying and bullying in general, take a look at these books and resources:
7 Ways to Block a Cyberbully and Cyber Safe: Identifying and Combating Cyber Bullies (DVD's).
Girl Wars
The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander
And, for kids:
Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends
Hot Issues, Cool Choices
Jay McGraw's Life Strategies for Dealing With Bullies

Whether you look at any of the resources above or not, here are some tips to remember:
1. Being involved in your child's online life and knowing what they do online can help prevent cyber-bullying from getting out of hand.
2. Know the resources available to you -- your school may already have an anti-bullying policy. Your e-mail, social network and cell phone providers probably have policies to respond to online harassment.
3. Remember, bullying is not normal, and no one should have to put up with it!

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