Children's Library Holiday Gift Ideas

Check out the Children's Library's gift-giving list for book and more for kids ages 0 to 12.

 

 

Every Child Ready to Read: A Workshop for Parents

Read together to develop reading skills.
Read together to develop reading skills.

The next Every Child Ready to Read Workshop will be held on Tuesday, December 11 at 10 a.m.

Register Online

The children's librarians will be hosting a special parent workshop, Every Child Ready to Read!

Parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are invited to learn about:

- early literacy development

- the fundamentals of learning to read

- tips, advice, and practical takeaways on how parents and caregivers can support early literacy skill-building

Developed by the American Library Association and the Public Library Association, the Every Child Ready to Read workshops have been developed after years of research on early brain development and the correlation between early experiences and future academic success. 

 

The Librarians Are Talking About...Splendors and Glooms

Dancing puppets!
Dancing puppets!

Whenever a former Newberry-winning author releases a new book, librarians sit up and take notice. When that Newberry winner is the author of A Drowned Maiden's Hair (a book both Miss Kiera and Miss Elisabeth love!) we have to talk about it. Laura Amy Schilitz, author of the Newberry-winning Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! has come out with a new book, and librarians around the country are buzzing - Splendors and Glooms is a dark, creepy, fantastical thriller.

Gaspare Grisini is the best puppeteer London has ever seen. With the help of his overworked, underfed orphan assistants, Lizzie and Parsefell, he puts on a daily puppet show in Hyde Park. A rich child named Clara Wintermute begs her father to let the puppeteer perform at her 12th birthday party. Gaspare Grisini leaves with his orphans after the party - and Clara disappears.

As her frantic parents try to locate their missing daughter,  Lizzie and Parsefell discover a horrifying secret. Grisini is a wizard, an evil one, and there's a new puppet in his theater that will send Lizzie and Parsefell out of London and into a trap set by Grisini's oldest rival, a witch bent on terrifying revenge.

The Librarians are Talking About...Three Times Lucky

Message in a bottle!
Message in a bottle!

Librarians like to talk about good books. In fact, its one of our favorite ways to pass the time! Right now, the Children's Librarians are talking about a great new work of fiction for our 4-6th graders. If you like mysteries and independent kids, then the we have a new book for you -Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage.

Three Times Lucky comes with a lot of Newberry buzz and starred reviews. It's a book about luck and a book about mysteries - three mysteries, in fact. The main character, Moses "Mo" LeBeau washed up on shore as a tiny baby during the last major hurricane to hit the town of Tupelo, North Carolina. No one knows who she is or where she came from. That's the first mystery. Mo is adopted by a mysterious man who also came to Tupelo Landing the night of the hurricane. Known as The Colonel, he opens up the only cafe in town with Miss Lana. No one knows who The Colonel is or where he came from either. That's the second mystery.

But the third mystery is the biggest mystery of all. Someone seems to be killing the customers at The Colonel's cafe. With the help of her best friend Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, can Mo find out the connection between herself, The Colonel, and the murders before the next big hurricane comes to Tupelo Landing?

Dealing with Bullies Booklist

photo courtesy of Flickr user Eddie~S

From pushes on the playground to mean instant messaging, bullying is an issue that almost all children face at some time or another.  With a recent surge in media attention and a new focus on cyber-bullying, parents may wonder where and how to find the best information and ways of talking to their own kids about bullies. 

What if my child is the victim of bullying?

A recent article in Parenting magazine offered the following 3 Step process for parents:

Step One: Find out what's going on.  Get the facts and reassure your child that you will both work together on a solution.

Step Two: Help your child figure out how to respond.  Some responses include:

  •  Stand tall and act brave
  •  Ignore the bully
  •  Stick with friends
  •  Tell an Adult

Step Three:  Take action yourself.  Set up a meeting with the teacher, parent, or caregiver. 

What if my child's friend is the bully?

One of the hardest things for a child to learn is how to stand up for what's right, even in the face of possible scrutiny or embarassment. 

The US Department of Health and Human Services has a kid-friendly website called Stop Bullying Now that features info, games, quizzes, and webisodes all designed to address the issues of bullying , offer meaningful discussion starters, and help promote positive ways of combatting this childhood problem.  Check out this video featuring the character Melanie and her struggle with a friend who is a known bully.

What if my child is the bully?

It can sometimes be hard to tell if childhood squabbles are simply "kids being kids" or if there is a more serious problem.  

Stop Bullying Now offers the following advice to parents:

  • Make it clear to your child that you take bullying seriously and that you will not tolerate this behavior.
  • Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your children's behavior. Praise and reinforce your children for following rules and use non-physical, non hostile consequences for rule violations.
  • Spend more time with your child and carefully supervise and monitor his or her activities. Find out who your child's friends are and how and where they spend free time.
  • Build on your child's talents by encouraging him or her to get involved in prosocial activities (such as clubs, music lessons, nonviolent sports).
  • Share your concerns with your child's teacher, counselor, or principal. Work together to send clear messages to your child that his or her bullying must stop.
  • If you or your child needs additional help, talk with a school counselor or mental health professional.

The Children's Library also offers some great books for both children and parents on the subject of bullying.  These are a few of our favorites: 

 

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 (LisaBAdams.com): 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 (Afterwordsblog.com): 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.

 

Great Websites for Kids

 Looking for fun and educational websites for kids? The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), which is a division of the American Library Association, just launched a fantastic, newly-designed resource: Great Websites for Kids

The site compiles exemplary websites geared to children from birth to age 14 and are selected by a committee of librarians from around the country. To help narrow down the many choices and select only the best of the best, the committee uses the following guidelines (adapted from the Great Websites for Kids Selection Criteria): 

 

 

How to Tell if You Are Looking at a Great Website

  • Author/Sponsorship: Who Put Up the Site?
  • Purpose: Every Site Has a Reason for Being There.
  • Design and Stability: A Great Site Has Personality and Strength of Character.
  • Content: A Great Site Shares Meaningful and Useful Content that Educates, Informs, or Entertains.

You'll Like This Picturebook

Oliver Jeffers' new book, Stuck, starts out simply and gets out of hand very quickly, with very funny and unexpected twists. 

Poor Floyd's kite gets stuck in a tree behind his house.  To get it out, he throws his shoe...which also gets caught in the tree.  He throws his other shoe (it gets stuck), then his cat Mitch (he gets stuck), then goes to get a ladder...and hurls it into the tree (yep, it gets stuck, too).  By the end of the story, a fire engine (and its firemen), a lighthouse, the house across the street, and a whale are all stuck in the tree.  How does it all end?  Does Floyd get everything out of the tree?  You'll get a kick out of the surprise ending. 

Kids with big imaginations, who like big stories and silly ideas, will love this story, and the grown-ups who read it to them will like it, too. 

Fantasy Friday: Breadcrumbs

Fantasy Friday (and new book alert!): Breadcrumbs  by Anne Ursu.

"It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems. It was the sort of snow that transforms the world into a different kind of place. You know what it's like - when you wake up  to find everything white and soft and quiet, when you run outisde and your breath suddenly appears before you in a smoky poof, when  you wonder for a moment if the world in which you woke up is nt the same one that you went to bed in the night before. Things like that happen, at least in the stories you read. It was the sort of snowfall that, if there were any magic to be had in the world, would make it come out. And magic did come out."

Unfortunately, the magic that comes out of that wonderful, marvelous, story book snow is evil magic- in the form of The Snow Queen. She spirits Jack away from Hazel and everyone he knows into a deep, dark forest. And even though Jack has stopped talking to Hazel, she is still his best friend. Best friends save each other, no matter what.

This marvelous, magical retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen is a must-read for anyone who loves a heroic, epic adventure, dazzling fantasy worlds, and a character who's learning what it means to grow up.

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