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

There Is Still Time To Register for 21 Things!


Join in the fun – come play and learn with us!  Register online or contact the Children's Library at childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org or 203-669-5235.

You are raising kids in a digital world. Facebook, Twitter, and a growing number of websites and social tools are becoming increasingly important in most aspects of our 21st century world. Information literacy is crucial to your children’s success in school and technology is now completely integrated into your child’s life. Today’s students want Web 2.0 tools to be a part of their learning lives because these are the tools that enable them to connect, collaborate, create, and engage in learning that is relevant, contextual and experiential.  

Why should they have all the fun?

Join us in 12 weeks of learning through engagement in online technology, in 21 simple activities that you can do on your own time, at your own pace. This program is designed to help you learn about, and how to use, Web 2.0 technologies so that you may better support, guide, and parent your digital native kids safely and confidently through both the perils and the possibilities that this brave new digital world offers. 

This program is inspired by the Learning 2.0: 23 Things program developed by Helene Blowersat the Public Library of Charlotte &Mecklenberg County and adopted by many other libraries and organizations since then. Content and style for 21 Things for 21st Century Parents has been borrowed and duplicated under a Creative Commons license. We thank them for sharing the program so that we may spread the ideas and make learning fun for parents too!

November is Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, a time set aside to raise awareness about children and teens in foster care.  Did you know there are over 115,000 children currently in foster care awaiting permanent placement? 

National Adoption Month goes back to 1976 when Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced the first Adoption Week.  The idea spread rapidly and in 1984 President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week.  In 1995, President Clinton expanded it into the entire month of November.

In 2009, President Obama issued the following statement as part of the National Adoption Month Presidential Proclamation:

"All children deserve a safe, loving family to protect and care for them. In America, thousands of young people are waiting for that opportunity. During National Adoption Month, we honor those families that have strengthened America through adoption, and we recommit to reducing the number of children awaiting adoption into loving families.

America is a country rich in resources and filled with countless caring men and women who hope to adopt. These individuals come from all walks of life, united in their commitment to love a child who is in need of the protective arms of a parent. We must do more to ensure that adoption is a viable option for them. By continually opening up the doors to adoption, and supporting full equality in adoption laws for all American families, we allow more children to find the permanent homes they yearn for and deserve.

This month, we also focus on children in foster care. These children are not in the system by their own choosing, but are forced into it by unfortunate or tragic circumstances. These young people have specific needs and require unique support. Federal, State, and local governments, communities, and individuals all have a role to play in ensuring that foster children have the resources and encouragement they need to realize their hopes and dreams.

The course of our future will depend on what we do to help the next generation of Americans succeed. This month, we celebrate those families brought together by adoption and renew our commitments to children in the foster care system."

Check out the Darien Library's wonderful collection of picture books, informational books, and stories about adoption.  Stop by anytime this month to pick up Adoption booklists created by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

Darien Teacher Orientations. Come On By!

We are super pleased to invite Darien Teachers, Specialists, and Faculty to the Darien Library this fall! 

How do your students use the Library for assignments and book reports?

The Children's Librarians will showcase the Library's physical and virtual collections; highlighting the ins and outs of the Library website, and a tour of the Library.  

No sign up, just drop-in to one of the dates:

Thursdays @ 4 p.m.

-October 28

-November 18

 

 
school bus photo by flickr user 04deveni
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