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.

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 Monticello.org).

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+.

 

Early Literacy iPad Kits

If you and your children have been enjoying the Early Literacy iPad Kits along with the iPad mounted in the Children's Library, we have great news!  We recently revamped our kits to include newly acquired apps for you and your children to enjoy! We've also organized the apps, old and new, into convenient folders.

Updated list of Early Literacy iPad Apps

Additional resources on digital literacy and children

Place a hold on an Early Literacy iPad Kit

 

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. " http://www.slj.com/2011/08/sljarchives/not-fade-away-ten-years-after-911-how-do-you-teach-kids-about-a-tragedy-they-cant-remember/

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 PBS.org 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 childrenslibrary@darien.org.

True Small-Moment Stories from Holmes School

Stories come from all sorts of interesting places.  Sometimes we find great stories within the pages of a book at the Library.  Other times we may hear a terrific tale from a grandparent or teacher.  Sometimes, we create our very own! 

The collected anthology below contains real life stories written by the fifth graders at Holmes Elementary who participated in the Writing Workshop.  Each writer began by creating a writer's notebook and selecting two original stories as seed ideas.  Then they each chose two drafts to revise, edit, and ultimately, publish. 

The Darien Library is proud to host these wonderful original works for the entire community to enjoy.  Click the page below to open. 

 
 

Talking to Kids About Current Events

Whether you get your news from tv, the web, radio, Twitter, Facebook, or a newspaper, you've likely seen the headlines about the death of Osama Bin Laden. For adults, news like this can bring up a variety of emotions and take a while to fully process. Imagine then, the difficulty that many children have in trying to contextualize and fully absorb current events of this magnitude.

For tips on talking with children about tough issues and somewhat scary current events, check out this article from PBS.org.

Since many young children were born after the events of September 11, 2001, a conversation about the history leading up to this week's news may be in order. The Children's Library offers several child-friendly databases for history, social studies, and biographies.  These online resources, while compiled from print sources (and thereby appropriate for most homework assignments), are updated continually and offer the most current information for students. 

For additional resources and information, stop by the Children's Library or contact us at childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org.

photo courtesy of Flickr user Abhisek Sarda

21st Century Parenting Discussion: Multi-Media Narratives & Interactive Fiction

Multi-Media Narratives & Interactive Fiction:  The New Reading Experience for Kids & Teens

Wednesday, March 9 at 7 PM in the Community Room

The media complains that kids don't read anymore--they are too tired, too distracted, and too busy to read books for fun.  In fact, in Darien, only 22.5% of students in grades 7 to 12 said they spend three hours a week reading for pleasure (Search Institute Youth Survey Results, 2008).  Would that change if we changed the way we think about reading?

Ariel Aberg-Riger, Chief Creative Officer at Fourth Story Media (NY), explores interactive fiction for teens in this talk about multi-media narratives and the new reading experience for young people.

This talk will explore how an interactive fiction series for teens works--what's in books versus on the web, how the community interacts with a story and with each other, and present examples of members' creative writing.  There will be a discussion focusing on exciting reading-based interactive projects and initiatives, and where the future of multi-media narratives for kids and teens is headed.

Raising Our Daughters - Raising Our Sons

book cover of Raising Our Daughters        

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?

 

book cover Raising Our Sons

Parents of boys and girls in 3rd and 4th grades are invited to join this 10-week Parent Discussion Group held in the Darien Library Conference Room. Using the Raising Our Sons and Raising Our Daughters Parenting Guides you will meet weekly with parents of children of the same age and gender to help prepare you and your children for the tween and teen years.

Tuesday mornings, 10 - 11:30 AM

February 15, 2011 - November 15, 2011

The first session will meet on Tuesday, February 15 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.

To see the list of Developmental Assets that will be discussed in this series, click here.

Space is limited - to register for this program, sign up by calling (203) 669-5235 or email childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org

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