Parent’s Corner: Ready To Read

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from language to tantrums to safety to homework. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

There are some great books in the collection that focus on books and reading, including choosing what to read and help with encouraging children to read. To get you going, check out these titles:

*Book love: developing depth, stamina, and passion in adolescent readers
*Get those guys reading!: fiction and series books that boys will love
*Picture books for children: fiction, folktales, and poetry
*Read with me: best books for preschoolers

And for more see this great list of related titles.

The Long, Long Line, by Tomoko Ohmura

The Long, Long Line is such a charming picture book! Fifty animals line up for an adventure, literally. You’ve got a line that includes a frog, a rabbit, a sloth, a beaver, a hyena, and even a skunk. These fifty impatient critters wait and wait and wait in line. And complain. And get bored. “It stinks,” says one. Another asks “what’s the line for?,” while another furry creature decides to start a word game they can all can play. What are they in line for?! Something giant and fantastic. This cute story features colorful illustrations and a whopper of an ending. It’s a great lap book that teaches the art of waiting.

Going to the Zoo

There’s nothing like a brisk visit to the Detroit Zoo or the Toledo Zoo in the winter time, but if you want to stay warm and cozy with your little one, just stop at the tot table at the Downtown Library. We have the PLAYMOBIL 123 zoo critters for your playing pleasure. This nifty little set, for the very young, was picked up at Learning Express right here in Ann Arbor.

Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table

Do you need some last minute decorations for your holiday meal?
Come to the Pittsfield Branch on Wednesday, November 27, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
to make some decorations for your table. We'll be making our versions of
place mats, candles, turkeys and wreaths.

This is for kids Preschool - 5. All supplies will be provided.

Holiday decorations made by children's loving hands are the best!

For other ideas of Thanksgiving activities, look here.

Shapes In Art

The next time you’re at the Downtown Library stop by the art table in the Youth Department and work with shapes! We have a variety of wooden shapes that children will enjoy making into different designs. We have some templates out for you to get ideas from.

If you’re inspired to read some picture books about shapes, check these out. And for more shapes in art books check out: Museum Shapes, I Spy Shapes In Art, and Shapes.

Welcome To Mamoko

Welcome to Mamoko! There is trouble in town! Follow each character through this wordless picture book and discover a new tale on each page. The pages are full of colorful, detailed illustrations of critters and characters in a bustling town, similar to the style of Richard Scarry’s beloved Busytown. The first pages of the book give you clues to some of the characters to follow through Mamoko. If you have a little one that likes to hunt for things on pages of books, this one’s for you! With its large cardboard pages, it’s great for even the youngest of hands.

Charlotte Zolotow, children's author, has died

This has been a hard week for children's literature. First, we said goodbye to Junie B. Jones creator, Barbara Park. Now, we learn that Charlotte Zolotow, died yesterday at home in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.

Ms. Zolotow, a fearless champion of facing head-on the tough issues of childhood -- loneliness, anger, death -- began her illustrious career, as a powerful editor for children's literature at Harper and Brothers (now HarperCollins Publishers). On her rise through the ranks (she eventually became head of the publisher's children's division, a vice president, and associate publisher and, 22 years ago, she was named publisher emerita), she made the careers of M.E. Kerr, Robert Lipsyte, and Paul Zindel whose 1968 teen novel, The Pigman, a grim tale of the troubled friendship between two unloved high school students and a lonely old man. She also represented Patricia MacLachlan, author of the the children's classic, Sarah, Plain and Tall (19850, which not only won the 1986 Newbery Medal, but was also turned into the 1991 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie by the same name, starring Glenn Close and Christopher Walken.

Ms. Zolotow's work as an editor was a natural segue to her own writing career. She used her books to help children and their parents face emotional subjects. William's Doll (1972) tells the story of a little boy determined to play with dolls when his dad wants him to embrace basketballs and trains. Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (1962), a 1963 Caldecott Honor book, teaches the abstract idea of the power of color. Maurice Sendak illustrated this perennial favorite.

Ms. Zolotow's titles have been illustrated by some of the giants of children's illustrators. Garth Williams, Tana Hoban, and H.A. Rey are just some of the artists paired with Ms. Zolotow's books.

The death of Ms. Zolotow, who was 98, was announced by her daughter, Crescent Dragonwagon, a well-known children's author in her own right.

Barbara Park, creator of the beloved Junie B. Jones children's books, has died

Barbara Park, who combined her inner six-year-old self with a fantastic sense of humor to create the popular Junie B. Jones chapbooks, has died.

Ms. Park discovered her love of reading in high school and her writing gifts in the 70s when, as a military wife, she put to paper the antics of her young boys. Her first books were stand-alones that spoke to children about tough subjects with her uniquely child-oriented perspective, such as The Kid in the Red Jacket (1987) which covers the stress of moving and being the 'new kid' in school.

In 1992, Park found her popularity soar with the publication of the first of her 28 Junie B. Jones chapter books. First up, Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. The eponymous five -year-old hates her first bus ride to school so much that she refuses to go home at the end of the day.

Through 16 more entries in the series, Junie B. Jones stayed in kindergarten. Finally, in 2001, Junie B. Jones graduates. In Junie B., First Grader (at Last!), Junie B. faces the twin traumas of losing her best friend to TWINS and of having to get her first pair of glasses.

The last Junie B. Jones title, #28, Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff), was published last year.

Ms. Park had battled ovarian cancer for several years. She was co-founder and CEO of Sisters in Survival, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women navigate the many challenges of a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Barbara Park, a longtime resident of Scottsdale, AZ, and winner of multiple children's literature awards, was 66 years old.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown

Mr. Tiger is bored with being proper. He wants to have more fun. So he decides to go wild, which is just what this suit and tie wearing tiger does! He goes a little bit too wild and ends up confusing his fellow proper animal friends. They tell him he should go to to the wilderness where he belongs! And he does go away, but he gets lonely and misses his city and his friends. When he gets back to town he is so surprised and happy by what he sees.

Peter Brown is a Caldecott Honor illustrator and the images in Mr. Tiger Goes Wild were made with India ink, watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper, then digitally composited and colored. They are simply amazing in this picture book.

The book was recently listed on Publishers Weekly's Best Picture Books of 2013.

Choosing Books That Are Right For Your Family

Everybody has specific ideas about the material they're comfortable with their children reading. Maybe you're okay with exposure to some swear words but not others. Maybe violence is out, swearing is tolerable, but you're concerned about how your child is exposed to different social situations than what he's used to. Maybe you have a 7-year-old who's worked through everything you can think of written for that age group, and you need to feed that child's voracious reading appetite without giving her nightmares. Maybe you just want to be prepared for questions your kids might ask you as they work their way through a book.

Bookalachi can help. This site was created for this very purpose and includes parent reviews of children's books. They also tell you how they approach reviewing books. They consider content in these categories: language, sexual content, alcohol/drugs, violence/scary/disturbing, social/family, and religion. Their intent isn't to censor books, but to provide parents with tools to make the best decisions considering their own family's values.

Here's a taste of what this site offers. Bookalachi will tell you that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone that language-wise the book is a Level 1. Level 1 books include words like "hell" and "bastard," but not four letter words. It also lets you know that in the book, the reader will see an adult kiss another adult on the cheek. Under alcohol/drugs, the site tells you that there is an "item described as looking like a ‘cigarette lighter’" in the book; also adults drink brandy and wine and in several cases it changes their behavior. A number of factors are listed under violence/scary/disturbing. The social/family category tells you that Harry's parents are dead and that he is raised by an Uncle and Aunt who actively dislike, neglect, and abuse him, and mentions a few other things. The religion entry points out that the book features "witches, wizards, ghosts, poltergeists, and fortune-telling. It also includes this quote from the book, "There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."

This is a great resource for parents who like to know the content of the books your children read, but who don't have the time to read it all beforehand.

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