Friday, December 28, 2012

Right Book, Right Time

Not sure if your 6 year-old is ready to tackle reading Harry Potter?  Finding the right book at the right time can be a challenge for the parents of eager young readers.  Janice N. Harrington, an associate professor of English Literature at the University of Illinois, has some interesting insights on this dilemma in her online article posted on  Click on the link below for some helpful advice.

The Children's Room staff is happy to help you find the right book for your child.  We read widely,  and we have a plethora of book lists and other tools that we can use to help you identify the books that meet your child's interests and are developmentally appropriate.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Family Time

School’s out and it’s time for family, friends, and fun.  We blogged before about reading aloud, but there are lots of possibilities for taking a quick “book break.” Consider some of these:
  • Joke books – just be prepared to hear the same joke again & again!
  • Folk & fairy tales – we have a large collection, including variations of tradition tales – consider versions of Cinderella from Persia, Korea, Egypt, Mexico, and more – there’s even a Cinderella Skeleton!
  • Anthologies of short stories – in addition to folk and fairy tales, consider Encyclopedia Brown (short mysteries) or any of the “Guys Read” series by Jon Scieszka.
  • Poetry – I recall loving the story and the rhythm of Longfellow’s “Hiawatha”. We have a tremendous variety of poetry books, including some “concrete poems”.
  • Non-fiction- look for trivia books, or any of the incredibly detailed and beautifully illustrated DK books on a huge range of subjects, including history, animals and science (Robots! Weather!)
What kinds of books do you like to share with your family?

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Old" Favorites for Christmas

Perhaps no other time in our calendar is so tied to tradition and nostalgia as Christmas.  Re-reading and re-viewing favorites of the season is part of baking cookies and putting up the tree.  Christmas is really not Christmas for me until I read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.  Published in 1972, this funny, warm, charming, and ultimately very moving account of a family caught up in the annual staging of Jesus' birth never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit.  It also makes a great read-aloud for all ages.  Even if the book is not technically an oldie, I am also drawn to Christmas stories of times past.  Here are some recent books you might consider adding to your Christmas repertoire.
Visit 1930s Maine
Visit a rustic time past
Visit NYC in the 1800s

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stories With Santa!

Thank you to all those who joined us for Stories With Santa. Click here to view the album of pictures from the event. Enjoy your photo and have a happy holiday!

Monday, December 3, 2012

New Audiobooks!

Audiobooks are a great way for children and families to experience literature. Listening to books can help children understand story structure and develop a fondness for reading. In a practical sense, audiobooks can be a great source of entertainment while you're in the car with your kids--whether you're running errands around town or heading to Grandma's house in Michigan. To highlight new additions to our audiobook collection, we're now shelving new audiobooks with new print chapter books. Check out these recent additions to our collection--and happy listening!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Santa is Coming to the Library!

The children's staff at River Forest is happy to report that Santa will be taking some time off from his busy holiday schedule in order to make a visit to the River Forest Public Library. Santa will be here on December 8th from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. Children of all ages are invited to participate in a holiday craft, listen to cozy Christmas-themed stories, and of course visit with Santa upstairs by the fireplace. Library staff will be on-hand to take a picture of each child with Santa. These pictures will then be posted here on the Children's blog after the event, but feel free to bring your own camera as well. This is a drop-in, free, fun, family program.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wimpy Kid Wrap-Up

Many thanks to the kids who joined us for yesterday's Wimpy Kid Party! We had a blast playing games, cartooning and celebrating the Wimpy Kid series. Keep a look out on our website for more fun programs coming up in December and into the new year. Also, don't forget to stop by RFPL to check out a copy of the new Wimpy Kid book: The Third Wheel

Monday, November 19, 2012

International Reading

Have you ever wanted to practice your high-school French or enrich your child's learning with some basic bilingual vocabulary?

The International Digital Children's Library is a non-profit organization that has compiled an enormous list of children's literature; from glossy, full-color picture books to a complete copy of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in  Wonderland."

The books are in the public domain and are free to read (no registration required). They are available in a multitude of languages--many of which include English translations. The website is child-friendly, with such features as searching by cover color and age range. Why not take a moment to share a book in Polish, Farsi, or Tagalog with your child while also bonding over the magic of reading?

The River Forest Public library has an account with saved, recommended books on our digital bookshelf--come explore a new way to read on our computers and on our borrowable iPads!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We're Thankful!

It’s almost Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving, hooray! 
Say what you're thankful for today.

Visit our family-friendly Children’s Room  - we’re thankful for families, especially yours.  Check out a book or DVD from our display “Give thanks for families”. We have  a nonfiction* series, “Families of the World”,  about 20 different countries. Each DVD recounts the lives of 2 children from different areas of the country. It’s narrated by the kids and tells of their everyday lives, cultures, celebrations, and communities. They are great glimpse into kids’ lives around the world.
*Nonfiction DVDs are always free.

RFPL is thankful for books—add your own favorite book to our lobby display.  Just pick up a book shape at one of our desks, jot done your favorite, and add it to our bulletin board. Some children’s favorites already on the board:  Goodnight Moon, Harry Potter, Peter Pan, and Wonderstuck.



Monday, November 5, 2012

Reading aloud to independent readers

At what age should we stop reading with our children? A good answer to that question would be "as long as they'll possibly allow it... don't stop!"   Everyone knows the importance of reading aloud to emerging readers.  However, did you know that reading aloud remains important as children become fluent, independent readers? 
Reading aloud to independent readers:
·         Helps expand your child’s vocabulary as you may be able to read more complex material to them than they could handle on their own.
·         May increase your child's reading comprehension if you ask questions to encourage interpretation or expand upon ideas to support understanding of the text.
·         Helps to broaden his or her interest in new genres, authors and topics.
·         Offers a starting point for discussion of social concerns and your family values.
Families are busier than ever and shared down time is a precious commodity.   What better quality time can be found than curling up with your child, no matter his or her age, and getting lost in a good book together?  The Children’s Room staff members would love to assist you with finding good chapter books to  read-aloud with your independent reader.   Here are some new books that we think would be great to share aloud and discuss with your 4th or 5th grade child.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Reading for Information

Very soon schools throughout the state, including River Forest School District 90, will be adopting the Common Core Curriculum.  One of the important initiatives within this curriculum is the emphasis on reading for information.  This means that our children will be reading more nonfiction.  While great children's fiction from Dr. Seuss to Ramona Quimby to Little House on the Prairie to Harry Potter will never, ever be replaced, reading nonfiction can also be a joyful exploration of new worlds and new ideas.  Here are some books that combine wonderful illustrations, interesting formats, and well-told facts.  I learned a great deal from each!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Resources That Rock: NoveList K-8 Plus

You may or may not know that RFPL offers its patrons a host of Premium Online Resources. These can be found by visiting our website and clicking on the Online Resources tab at the top of our homepage.  

NoveList K-8 Plus is particularly useful for kids, parents and educators looking for their next great read. Librarians use this resource regularly to help patrons find great books--and they’re usually surprised to learn that they too have access to this great tool with their library card! You can search for books by title, author, subject, keyword or genre. You can also limit your search results by age, grade level, and Lexile reading level.

NoveList can also help you find read-a-likes. For example, if your child loved reading Frindle, you can search for that title in NoveList. The record for Frindle will include a list of similar reads that your child may also enjoy.  

NoveList records often include a reading level info, a summary, reviews, book lists and articles. It is worth noting that not all books that are listed in NoveList K-8 plus are available at RFPL, so be sure to check our catalog to see if a title is available. 

For educators, NoveList offers up great features like picture book extenders, book discussion questions, and curriculum-based book lists. 

Go to RFPL Premium Resources page and check out NoveList K-8 plus today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Calling All Ghosts, Ghouls, and Goblins (Family Fireside Halloween)


Calling all Ghosts, Ghouls, and Goblins
Our Family Fireside Halloween event is almost here! This year we are co-hosting the event with the River Forest Park District. There will be ghoulish games, creepy crafts, spooky stories, wagon rides, s’mores, and pumpkin painting. Although this event is usually at the library, it will be housed within Keystone Park this year, which should make for an even spookier setting. All of the River Forest Public Library  Children’s staff have agreed to dress up for the event. Can you guess what we will be wearing? I’ll give you a few clues. We usually live in castles, many of us have had horrible wicked step-mothers, and we love to dress up and wear beautiful gowns! If these clues haven’t cued you in, I guess you’ll just have to come to the event and see for yourself. See you there!  

Location: Keystone Park and the Park District Depot: 401 Thatcher Avenue
Date and Time: Friday, October 19th, 6-8 P.M.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Harvest Around the World

It’s that time of year again—the leaves are beginning to turn gold, red, and brown as they fall, the pumpkins are fat and round, and the farmers are beginning the rush of work to end the season. Autumn means a lot of things to a lot of people, but across the world it indicates harvest time.

Here in the United States we celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving, rake up piles of leaves (and jump into them!), and drink warm cider, but what about in other parts of the world?

In Québec, well-known as one of the French-speaking provinces of Canada, everyone gathers together on October 9th to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving day. Due to their French background, foods like French apple tart and French bread are served alongside the turkey and seasonal vegetables that Americans also serve at their Thanksgiving.

A cailleac/corn husk doll
Even across “the Pond,” the harvest is celebrated! In (mostly) rural parts of Britain, people celebrate the last harvest by singing, dancing, and decorating the village with harvested materials like dried flowers, fruits, and vegetables. As part of the festival, they take the last sheaf of corn, called the cailleac, and form it into a doll. This doll is meant to represent the spirit of the field and so the harvesters soak the doll with water as a rain charm to bring good luck. The cailleac is saved until the spring planting.

Our final stop in our whirlwind tour takes us to India and the rice harvest festival. In the state of Tamilnad in particular, the traditional south Indian sweet made of rice, sugar, fruits, and butter used to celebrate the harvest is called pongal, which is also the name of their festival. Before Pongal, everyone cleans their homes—either whitewashing the walls or covering them with red clay before painting designs on the walls and even the floors. Pongal is celebrated over the course of three days: on the first day, the people thank the gods for the rain that made a good harvest, on the second day, they express their gratitude for the sun, then on the third day, everyone honors the cattle who have helped to both plow the fields and gather the harvest. The families take their water buffalo, wash it, then they paint its horns and hang garlands of flowers around its neck.

Want to learn more about festivals and events in other countries? Ask our librarian to show you our intercultural celebrations section. For books, stories, and information on the harvest and autumn—we have a display right behind the Children’s Room desk; any book that you see is yours to check out and take home!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Old-fashioned games @ your library!

We have a new DIY program for October - a variety of old-fashioned (low tech!) games.  From simple wooden toys to puzzles and games, there is something for all ages. Try your hand at tangrams or solitaire, play with one of the shape puzzles, or test your aim with marbles. Play Shut the Box or Nine Mens Morris, and take a look at some of our books for outside game ideas.  Fill out a raffle ticket for a chance to win a prize!
Try Shut the Box -  roll the dice, "shut" the number rolled, OR any combination of numbers adding up to that number, and see if you can shut the doors on all the boxes.  Challenge yourself, your friends, and your family.
We have scoresheets so you can keep track.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Movies

We've added two new movies to the DVD collection:

Gulliver's Travels starring Jack Black is a comedy-adventure based on the classic story by Jonathan Swift. After a shipwreck Gulliver finds safety on the island of Lilliput where everyone is tiny! He is a giant there and has many adventures with the Lilliputians. Rated: PG

Not sure if this movie is right for your kids? Check out the website Common Sense Media. Its mission is to improve the lives of kids and families by providing trustworthy information about books, movies, and music. Here's a link to their review of Gulliver's Travels.

First Dog is about a boy named Danny who finds a friend in a lost dog. Danny soon discovers that this dog just happens to be Teddy--the President's pup. The two head out on a cross-country adventure to get Teddy home to the White House. This film features original songs by Dolly Parton.

RFPL cardholders can check out 2 free movies on Wednesdays!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month defines bullying as:  unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. We can help kids understand bullying by talking about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Kids need to know that bullying is unacceptable and they need to know how to get help if it is happening to them or if they see it happening to someone else. 
Sharing books is a great way to start the discussion with kids.  Check out some of these titles from our collection:
Bully by Patricia Polacco
My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
I am Jack by Susanne Gervay
Chrissa by Mary Casanova

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mother Goose

The RFPL has long offered a Mother Goose Storytime, which currently meets on the first three Tuesdays of the month at 10AM.  This storytime is designed for our youngest patrons from birth to 18 months and their caregivers.  Our time together offers an opportunity to sit on the floor with your child and sing, read books, play finger games, make music, and dance.  It is often the highlight of my week!  All of our work is really play and is closely aligned with the Every Child Ready to Read @ your Library initiative that some of our previous blog posts have highlighted.
The character, Mother Goose, is synonymous with childhood rhymes and songs, often called nursery rhymes.  Building familiarity with these nursery rhymes is a great starting point for developing strong pre-reading skills.  Many of them offer a bit of nonsense, animal fun, and most importantly a strong rhyme scheme which catches the ears of little ones.  Most of us can quickly recite a few nursery rhymes without too much thought since they are also brief.  During Mother Goose Storytime we incorporate these traditional rhymes with new favorites.  The library has a variety of Mother Goose books for families to enjoy.  Check out one today and rhyme and sing with your child!

Monday, September 10, 2012

September App Spotlight

We’ve added some great apps to our Early Literacy iPads since our last App Spotlight. Many are enhanced eBooks. Enhanced eBooks typically feel less like games and act more like interactive books.  These books often include a “read to me" feature but can also be read independently. Children can also interact with illustrations to reinforce themes or learning objectives. Stop by the RFPL Children’s Room to give the Early Literacy iPads and enhanced eBooks a try.

New Enhanced eBooks at RFPL:  

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
This enhanced eBook reads one of Dr. Seuss’ most famous titles to readers. Children have the option to touch the “page” and learn more about the illustrations.

Moo, Baa, La La La!
Based on the book by Sandra Boynton, this silly story will have the youngest readers laughing and practicing animal sounds. This app has the feel of a pop-up board book. The illustrations are fun to interact with and help to reinforce animal sounds for young readers.

Press Here
This app is a playful adaptation of Hervé Tullet’s playful book about dots. Each dot on the home screen leads to a different game or scenario that children can interact with. Some games can even be played with a companion (a great option for siblings or friends sharing the iPad).