Classic Literature for the Littlest Listeners

The Babylit board book series by author/illustrator team Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver introduce concepts like counting, colors, and opposites using adorable designs and eye-catching colors. Adams' simple text and Oliver's sleek and clever designs are a perfect combination. These are books parents will enjoy as much as their little ones, and there are plenty of little details to point out and talk about with your child - counting creatures, naming characters, finding objects, make Babylit books a great interactive reading experience.

The Cozy Classics series by brothers Jack and Holman Wang combines single word storytelling with photographs of elaborately felted object to convey classics like "Les Miserables" or "War and Peace." These wholesome and painstakingly detailed photographs add magic to this very simple retellings.

Check out this list for titles from both series, and start laying the foundation for the future literature lover in your life!

Reading aloud for all ages

Many parents know that reading to young children is beneficial. It is a warm bonding time that promotes literacy and language development.

But what about older children... especially children that can read for themselves?
There are benefits for older elementary and middle schoolers as well. A child's listening level does not catch up to her/his reading level till almost high school. For example reading a book that is above reading level will promote learning new vocabulary as well as more complex grammar and con. Besides the intellectual benefits there are the social benefits of experiencing a story together, the physical closeness, and the opportunity to discuss issues that occur in stories and books as a family.

For great tips (and some read aloud passages) check out Jim Trelease's The Read-aloud Handbook.

Here are some lists to help you create a habit of reading aloud in your family:
Folklore and Fairy Tale Read Alouds
Read Aloud Books for Links
Read-Alouds for the Big Kids
Great Chapter Books to Read Aloud
Read Alouds for Middle School

Parent’s Corner: Go Outside and Play

It’s spring, it’s summer, it’s spring it’s summer! The grass is green, it probably already needed mowing, the lilacs are blooming, baseball practices have started up, and kids are on their bikes all over town! With the warm weather comes kids wanting to go outside. Whether it’s gardening fun or shooting hoops, there are all sorts of ways to keep kids safe and having fun outdoors.

For some guidance the Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and on this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from food and nutrition to potty training to time-outs to homework. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” There are many books on outdoors and gardening with kids! Here are a few to get you started:

Touch a butterfly: Wildlife gardening with kids

How to grow a school garden: A complete guide for parents and teachers

Toad cottages & shooting stars: Grandma's bag of tricks

I love dirt! : 52 activities to help you and your kids discover the wonders of nature

And here are a few more titles to keep you playing outside.

Circle, Square, Moose

From the author and illustrator of the funny and wonderful picture book Z is for Moose comes a new tale featuring Zebra and Moose. As usual, Moose is causing trouble and Zebra just wants order.

In Circle, Square, Moose the very enthusiastic Moose invades a book about shapes and his pal Zebra tries really hard to get him out of the book and out of the way of those beautiful shapes! He wants to teach everyone about shapes. Circles! Squares! Triangles! Not Moose! In the end Moose and Zebra patch things up and the book is saved with the help of a very special shape and a great friendship.

Little Pig, Little Pig

This week Ms. Amanda read piggie stories at preschool storytime and boy did we have fun! We heard the tale of the Long-Nosed Pig and learned how pigs got their short snouts. We listened to Little Pig Joins the Band and we joined Little Pig in marching around the room to marching music by John Phillip Sousa played by the University of Michigan Band. And of course we had to hear an Elephant and Piggie story! These Mo Willems stories are treats and we read Happy Pig Day. If you're in the mood for more stories about pigs, check out some of these titles!

Are you my mummy?

Do you enjoy reading about mummies from Egypt? Are you fascinated by the Terracotta Warriors of China? If so, you should check out At Home in Her Tomb-Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui by Christine Liu-Perkins. In 1972, a tomb was discovered in Mawangdui in Hunan Province. Deep inside was Lady Dai, who died more than 2000 years ago but who was perfectly preserved, along with clothing, games, lacquer dishes, and even food! Her tomb led to many discoveries about life in ancient China and this book brings both the archaeology process and Lady Dai herself to life.

Red: A Crayon's Story

Favorite children’s author and illustrator Michael Hall has given us another lovely book with Red: A Crayon’s Story. A red crayon struggles to draw the things that he is supposed to: fire trucks, strawberries, ladybugs… everything he draws and colors turns out blue! The other crayons all have tips and advice for him, but nothing works. Kids will quickly see the problem: the crayon has been mislabeled and is actually a blue crayon with a red papering! Readers will cheer Red on as he struggles to find his true calling… and will celebrate with him when he ultimately draws a beautiful BLUE ocean and realizes his talents.

Other books by Michael Hall are My Heart is Like a Zoo, Cat Tale, and Perfect Square.

The Lion and the Bird

The Lion and the Bird is a beautiful picture book written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc and published by Enchanted Lion Books. They are creating some of the most wonderful books lately and the illustrations in this book are no exception. It’s a gorgeous book that tells the story of friendship through the seasons.

Lion is working in his garden when he hears a sound. He soon finds an injured bird that he decides to care for. Since Bird can’t fly with an injured wing he stays with Lion all winter long and they become the best of friends. Then spring arrives, and with the warm season comes more birds. Lion knows that Bird must fly off with them. As the seasons change and autumn arrives, the birds start to fly off for winter. But what about Bird? Where will he go? You can only guess.

At the Art Table: Springy Flower Stencils!

The next time you're at the downtown library, bring the kiddos into the youth department to check out what's out at the art table. This month we're exploring texture by using crayons and stencils to make flower rubbings! We have a bouquet of flower stencils for you to work with. And afterwards take a look at the children's art books that are on the kiosk right next to the art table. We have a lot of books on a variety of art styles as well as individual artists!

Gardening with Kids

It's Spring! It's National Gardening Month! It's even almost Earth Day! Perfect time for the whole family to start or nurture a garden together! Gardening with kids is a fun, engaging activity that encourages learning and exploration, building quality relationships, and creating something rewarding. Check out these books for ideas about gardening with youngsters, from toddlers on up:

Gardening Lab for Kids: Fun and easy projects - plant seeds, plan your garden, and make things for your garden (tool totes, rain gauges, stepping stones, terrariums, and way way more!). A beautiful layout and page design makes this an extra good choice for inspiration.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Ever heard of a sunflower house? And what's a pizza patch?? A bean tunnel sounds fun! This highly recommended book will help the family create inspiring, kid-friendly garden spaces and special projects! Illustrated with colorful drawings by the author.

Fairy Garden Handbook: Fairy gardens are a big hit with all ages these days. Why not get a wee one to help make one?! Those little imaginations can run wild with these fairy garden projects and tips. Beautiful photos accompany the text.

The Family Kitchen Garden: A practical guide to growing a garden with the whole family. This book is full of the info adults need to make a successful kitchen garden, while also including guidance on choosing plants, tools, and tasks that make sense for kiddos. Perfectly balanced for creating a functional garden that includes the whole family in a meaningful way.

Ready Set Grow!: Each simple, fun, and colorful spread features a different project, plant, or tip for the garden. Very easy to follow along step-by-step.

Grow It, Cook It: Bright photos for each step of growing edible plants, and then cooking with them, will engage youngsters who are ready to try something new. Recipes include cute tomato eggplant towers, mini pumpkin pies, scrumptious chocolate mint mousse, and more.

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