App Chat with the Children's Librarians

Miss Claire demonstrates some great apps.
Miss Claire demonstrates some great apps.

On Thursday, the children's librarians hosted an App Chat. A small but enthusiastic group of parents met with Miss Kiera and Miss Claire to hear about great new apps for all ages and share their own favorites.

Click to view and print the handouts:

Awesome Apps for ages 2 to 5

Awesome Apps for ages 6 to 8

Awesome Apps for ages 9 to 12

What are some of your favorite apps- for children or grownups? Share them in the comments below!

Our Favorite Parenting Blogs

"I'm totally gonna Tweet about this blog."

Whether you're sporting your first baby bump or expecting your third little bundle of joy, chances are there is a parenting blog out there that you'll love. Moms, dads, and caregivers can trade tips, tricks, day-in-the-life adventures, and even shopping bargains through social media platforms like blogs. Here are a few of our favorite parenting blogs:

Pregnant Chicken: Laugh-out-loud funny observations and straightforward information for new parents.

Cool Mom Picks: Real Simple named this shopping blog as one of their top three. The bloggers curate list of great gifts, craft ideas, and products for both baby and mom- so you don't have to. 

OhDeeDoh: From the creators of Apartment Therapy comes this interior design blog that has tips on everything from home improvement projects, to setting up a nursery, to converting a child's bedroom into a cool teen space. 

Babble: More of a parenting website than a blog per se, Babble is a fount of information on everything from taming tantrums to having "The Talk." They also feature some great personal mom/dad blogs.

Autism Spot: An empowering and positive blog with information for parents of children with autism or other sensory integration disorders. Contains news about scientific studies and trials, activities for sensory and social development, and support forums.  

Geek Dad: Several dads (and sometimes moms, too!) contribute to this fun, tech-savvy Wired blog for parents. From books, to video games, to Lego competitions, there is no shortage of great, geeky ideas.

Our Family Eats: Looking for a quick, healthy, and delicious dinner idea? Pop over to this practical foodie blog for busy chefs. 

Radical Parenting: Believe it or not, this insightful and informative blog is not written by parents- but by a group of teen writers. Started by Vanessa Van Petten at age 16, the site is now home to over 120 teen contributors. For an inside look at the brain of a teenager, this is an invaluable resource for moms and dads.  

Did you know we have some amazing parent bloggers right here in Darien? Check out these local mom bloggers and come meet them in person at the Tech Moms panel event next Wednesday, February 15 at 9:30am

Lisa Boncheck Adams ( Writings on breast cancer, grief & loss, life, and family.

Nicole Lyons (All About Darien): A "good-to-know" guide for and about everything Darien.

Jacquie ( Funny, poignant tales of a transplanted Brooklynite (now Darienite) living with her husband and two kids ("The Boy" and "The Girl") in suburbia. 

Jennifer St. Jean (Itty Bitty Bag): Owner and creator of the Itty Bitty Bag company, this Darien mom is a craft and sewing goddess- she can even give detailed instructions how to hem a pleated jumper! 

Have a favorite parenting blog that we missed? Share it in the comments section below!


photo courtesy of Flickr user miguelphotobooth.


Programs for Children


Little Clickers [Fridays, March 23 - April 27 at 10:30AM]


A technology class for three- to five-year-olds with a parent/caregiver. This interactive class will introduce new kid-friendly websites and help your preschooler learn basic computer skills. *Registration is a lottery; register here between Monday, February 27 and Monday, March 12.


Techsplorers [Wednesdays, January 4, January 18, February 1, February 15 at 4:15PM]

Wailtlist for Techsplorers (Space is limited)

Children ages six- to eight-years-old will have the opportunity to reinforce computer skills, explore fun new websites and create unique projects using both traditional and digital art techniques.


iKids [Mondays, January 9, January 23, February 6, February 27 at 4:15PM]

Waitlist for iKids (Space is limited)

A creation-based technology program for nine- to twelve-year-olds. This highly interactive class focuses on using technology to express creativity. From podcasting and digital photography to book trailers and art apps, kids will explore different media and create their own.




Storytubes Creation Lab [December 27 - February 4; see registration form for details]

Click here to REGISTER. 

Calling all kid filmmakers and book lovers! Storytubes 2012 is a national competition in which children combine their love of reading with savvy tech skills to create unique book trailers. Darien Library is proud to be a Partner Library for the 2012 competition! Register to reserve time in the computer lab to use the Children's Library cameras and software to make your book trailer.


Part of Cyber Parents & Digital Natives: A Technology Series for the Modern Family.


Programs for Parents

Monday Matinee Film Series

Grab a coffee on us, get comfortable and explore the role of technology in the lives of children and teens as presented in these eye-opening documentaries:

     Digital Nation [Mondays, January 9 and January 23 at 10AM]  Over a single generation, the Web and digital media have remade nearly every aspect of modern culture. Frontline explores our lives as citizens in a digital age. 90 minutes.

     Remote Control [Mondays, February 6 and February 27 at 10AM]   The average American child spends over 40 hours per week consuming media, the equivalent of a full-time job. Remote Control offers a fascinating look at the centrality of media in our lives, revealing far-reaching effects that we are only beginning to understand. 39 minutes.

     Growing Up Online [Mondays, March 5 and 19 at 10AM]   This Frontline documentary peers inside the world of the new cyber-savvy generation of tweens and teeens; a generation with a radically different notion of privacy and personal space. 60 minutes.


Computer Basics for Parents [Wednesday, January 18, 9:30 - 11:30AM]

Click here to REGISTER.

Have you just begun to dip a toes into the digital waters? We've got the perfect beginner's class for you. Learn basic computer vocabulary and concepts. Play with common applications and software. Ask questions and get answers! 


Facebook & Google+: A Workshop for Parents [Wednesday, January 25, 9:30 - 11:30AM]

Click here to REGISTER.

Are you on Facebook or Google+? How about your tween or teen? In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to navigate privacy settings and keep your profile safe in both Facebook and Google+.


Twitter for Parents

Tuesday, January 31, 9:30 - 10:30AM [Click here to REGISTER.]

Wednesday, February 1, 9:30 - 10:30AM [Click here to REGISTER.]

Tweeting's not just for the birds anymore! Learn the basics of using Twitter and experience how this dynamic tool can connect people across the globe. Find out how to limit settings and establish guidelines for tweens and tween who tweet. Register for one of the two offered workshops.


Tweet Up with the Children's Librarians [Fridays, February 10 at 11AM, March 2 at 11AM]

Whether you're on Twitter 24/7 or just tentatively tweeting, join us for these fast-paced and fun conversations, known as "Tweet Ups", on Twitter. On February 10, we'll be discussing eBooks, eReaders, and best practices for engaging both reluctant and voracious young readers. On March 2, we'll be talking about using Darien Library's interactive website and catalog. Tweet along by using the hashtag #CLTweetUp. Tweet from the Children's Library computers, at home, or on the go!


Tech Moms: A Panel Discussion for Parents [Wednesday, February 15 at 9:30AM]

Click here to REGISTER.

Have you ever thought about starting a blog or a website? Whether you're interested in posting day-in-the-life observations, starting your own online business, or forming parenting network, you'll have the opportunity to meet four local moms who regularly blog, tweet and maintain personal and/or professional websites. Find out how these modern moms successfully use technology for parenting, business, and beyond. Panelists will include Nicole Lyons, Jacquie Miller and Jennifer St. Jean. The panel will be moderated by Lisa Adams.





Etsy Workshop [Tuesday, March 6, 10AM - 12 Noon]

Click here to REGISTER.

Are you crafty? Do you make handmade goods? Etsy is the world's most vibrant place for buying and selling handmade or vintage items. Learn all about how to run an Etsy shop from Jennifer St. Jean of Itty Bitty Bag.


Smart Apps, Sound Screentime: A Panel Discussion for Parents [Tuesday, March 13 at 9:30AM]

Click here to REGISTER.

Touch screen technology and apps have changed the way even very young children interact with media, books and each other. But how much screentime is too much? Where do parents draw the line between healthy does of technology and oversaturation? How can parents find great, educational apps for different age groups? Hear from a panel of experts who will share their experiences and recommendations. This program is co-sponsored by Darien Library and YWCA Parent Awareness, members of Thriving Youth; Connected Community.


App Chat [Thursday, March 15 at 4PM]  

Parents and educators are invited to join the Children's Librarians at this special edition of Children's Library Chat. We'll be discussing great apps for different age groups- everything from interactive eBooks to educational games. We'll also be sharing tips on how to find and evaluate apps for children.


Part of Cyber Parents & Digital Natives: A Technology Series for the Modern Family.



[Tweet bird image and laptop photo courtesy of Flickr user dmitrybarsky]



Morning Matinees for Parents in December

Darien Library will be hosting morning screenings of documentaries in December.  If you haven't had a chance to see one, or both, of these films, please join us!

Miss Representation

Monday, December 19 at 10 a.m. in the Community Room

This film looks at the negative portrayal of women and girls in the media, and its glorification of youth and beauty.  After screening at the Sundance Film Festival, Miss Representation was picked up by the Oprah Winfrey N etwork for their documentary film series.      90 minutes.  TV-14.


Waiting for Superman

Wednesday, December 21 at 10 a.m. in the Conference Room

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim tackles the topic of public education and introduces the viewer to the faces behind the statistics.             102 minutes. Rated PG.


Raising Our Sons and Daughters - A Parenting Program for the New School Year

As a parent, do you: 

• Worry that you are not doing enough?
• Struggle with embarrassing issues?
• Seek ways to reduce power struggles?
• Want to do everything you can to be
 an effective and competent parent?







Parents of boys and girls in 3rd and 4th grades are invited to join this monthly Parent Discussion Group held in the Darien Library Conference Room. Using the Raising Our Sons and Raising Our Daughters parenting guides, you will meet monthly with other parents with children of the same age/gender. This program is designed to be a pro-active approach to prepare for the tween and teen years.

Wednesdays, 10 to 11:30 AM

The first session will meet on Wednesday, October 12 at 10 AM in the Library's Conference Room.



Darien Library is a member of Thriving Youth: Connected Community, an initiative of the Human Services Planning Council for developmental asset building through meaningful relationships, experiences, skills and opportunities that benefit all our children. Thriving Youth: Connected Community is a movement in Darien to address the needs of our young people which were brought to light in the Fall when the Search Institute conducted the 40 Developmental Assets survey in our Middle and High Schools. If you missed the results when they were announced you can still view the presentation as a pdf here. Some of the sessions will be facilitated by Moira Rizzo, LMFT.

To see the list of Developmental Assets that will be discussed in this series, click here. To learn more about the Raising Our Sons and Daughters program, visit the Family Empowerment Network's website.

Space is limited - Register online here, or by calling the Children's Library at (203) 669-5235.

Jefferson's Sons, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

In her new book, Jefferson's Sons, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley does something truly remarkable. She takes a complicated and controversial idea, that Thomas Jefferson had children by his slave Sally Hemmings, and writes about it in a simple, eloquent way that children can understand.

This book is definitely for advanced readers. The themes it tackles are complex and readers need a working knowledge of early US history to understand the world that Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston live in. The story does not shy away from the horrors of slavery - families are broken apart, friends are sold, and slaves who run away are punished when they are caught. However, by presenting the book from the perspectives of children, Bradley is able to convey her story without graphic details.

This book is generating a lot of Newbery buzz for its honesty and the high quality of its storytelling. There is a recomended reading list at the back of the book, and Bradley writes an afterword in which she details how she did her research and where she located most of her information (in primary sources from

I would recomend that parents read this book themselves if they have a child who would like to check it out, as it is a tale likely to generate a large amount of discussion.

Further reviews can be found here , here, and here. Highly recomended for children 9+.


Fantasy Friday: The Boneshaker by Kate Milford

Welcome to the Innagural Fantasy Friday Post!




Kate Milford's The Boneshaker: a book I would highly reccomend it to everyone who likes thrills, chills, visions, prophecies, the midwest, history, and battles with great and terrible Evil.








It's 1914, and Natalie Minks lives in a quiet, sleepy town. A slightly strange, quiet, sleepy town, situated just down the road from the former town. Old Aracane burned  to the ground under mysterious circumstances 200 years before, and the crossroads it stands on have been known to flicker in the night.

Natalie loves two things more than anything else in the world. She loves the legends her mother tells her each night before bed, strange stories where men meet the Devil at the crossroads and survive, or don't. And she loves her father's mechanic shop, where she spends her days learning how things work.

Life is great until the day the doctor leaves town to help with a mysterious flu epidemic 200 miles away. As the doctor leaves town, Dr. Jake Limberleg's Nostrum Fair and Medical Show arrives. And there's something not-quite-right about Dr. Jake, who wears clothes from a 100 years ago and won't ever, ever take his gloves off.

Worse, there's something truly wrong with the medicines he begins to dispense to the town and the men who help him dispense it. Somehow, Natalie knows that there is a great evil at work in Arcane. And she may be the only one who can stop it.

Have you ever met the Devil at the crossroads? Because it looks like Natalie's about to...

Talking About September 11 with Children

It's dfficult to realize that many children alive today have no living memory of September 11. In an article published by School Library Journal, Frances Jacobson Harris notes that for students currently in school, "September 11 had become history, an event that held no direct, personal signifigance for them. "

As the anniversary draws closer, we will be witness to a flood of media coverage and rememberances. Your children may ask you questions about the events of that day. If you have concerns about handling a family discussion of September 11th, or would like more information about speaking to your children about difficult topics in the media, we invite you to consult the resource list below:

This PDF from the 9/11 Memorial's official website is extremely helpful, particularly the advice to "Answer questions with facts."

9/11 Heroes offers their own guide, and provides a space for parents to upload their children's poems and pictures commemorating the heros of September 11th.

This link from is a great resource for talking to your children about any tragedy or current event.


You may also want to check out some of the Children's Library materials about September 11th:


One Day in History: September 11, 2001

Rodney P. Carlisle








 Turning Points in U.S. History: September 11, 2001

 Dennis B. Fradin








 September 11: Then and Now (A True Book)

 Peter Benoit








If you have any additional questions about September 11th materials, feel free to contact the Children's Library at

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