The Death of the Picture Book? Hardly!

 A new article in the New York Times, Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children, suggests that the picture book is slowly going the way of the dinosaur.  According the to article, parents are increasingly encouraging their children, as early as kindergarten, to read "big kid" chapter books in order to help their children in an ever-competitive educational environment.  As a result, bookstores are stocking less picture books and publishers are offering less new picture books each season.

I'm curious if the NYTimes' Julie Bosman has visited her local library recently.  I wish she could stop by our Children's Library here in Darien.  She might be quite surprised at the extraordinary number of parents and caregivers curling up with a picture book in one of the big comfy chairs, or on the carpet, or at the puzzle table, or over a hot chocolate by the Cafe.  Her eyes might well pop when she notices the foot-high stacks of picture books that moms and dads routinely check out for their children (of all ages).  

We Children's Librarians know the power of a great picture book.  Using picture books is  staple in our baby and toddler programs.  But did you know that we also use them in our preschool and elementary-aged storytimes?  

The picture book is a unique work of art.  Combining text, illustration, and design elements, a good picture book does more than simply tell a good story.  Picture books can teach and engage a child's understanding of visual literacy (a skill that this new generation of digital natives will absolutely require to be successful in both academia and professional life.)  

Parents invited to be Mystery Readers in their child's classroom often ask us for read-aloud suggestions.  Whether they are visiting a first-grade class or a fifth-grade class, can you guess what kinds of books we nearly always offer?  We even have a special section in the Children's Library filled with picture books specifically for older students.  These gorgeously illustrated works may look thin, but are full of rich themes, well-developed characters, history, and humor.  Perfect for older children who are reading independently.

Graduating from being a pre-reader to an independent reader doesn't have to mean the end of enjoying books with artwork.  Chapter books and picture books can live happily together on a child's bookshelf.  Whether it's revisiting favorite picture books to read again or discovering a new crop of more sophisticated illustrated reading choices, independent readers will flourish when encouraged to read variety of books.  

Stop by the Children's Library soon with your reader and tell us about some of your favorite picture books and let us help you find some new favorites, too.  

photo courtesy of Flickr user John-Morgan

Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids & Teens

Are we creating a generation of young people who have unsustainable spending habits? We know that young adults can have exceptional levels of credit card debt. How can you, as parents, help teach your child Financial Literacy?

Financial Literacy can be taught from a very early age and can come in many forms.  Darien Library is here to help you, help your kids. Use your Library card as a training ground for teaching credit.  We've put together a series of programs that explore fiscal responsibility for kids, teens and parents this fall. Come and join us September to December 2010.

For further reading, see our resource list of Library materials tagged with "kids and money."

The Programs:

For Parents - kids + money

For Parents and Teens - Paying for College and the Teen Debt Crisis

For Children - Counting Coins

For Parents - Family, Money and Habits - Nathan Dungan, author*

For Teens & Children - Tweens vs. Teens Monopoly Showdown

*Mr.Dungan's appearance at Darien Library is made possible by Grammery Advisors, YWCA Parent Awareness and Darien Library.


kids + money - Film screening and discussion

September 16th 7 PM - Community Room

What do teens really think about money? In this documentary, filmmaker Lauren Greenfield goes straight to the source and asks them. After the film, join us for a discussion about how money can play an influential role in their development (with Lauren Pote of Child Guidance, Darien).

*Special Sessions added November 4th 10:30 AM & 7:00 PM

After the 7 PM screening of the film, please join us for a discussion about how money can play an influential role in their development, with Larry Rosenberg, Ph. D of Child Guidance Center of Southern CT.

 

Paying for College and the Teen Debt Crisis

October 14th 7 PM - Conference Room

This program is for parents and teens. Jill Russo Foster, author of “Cash, Credit, and Your Finances: The Teen Years,” will cover the two biggest sources of teen debt: college tuition and credit cards. You'll learn about different funding options such as: student loans, FAFSA, financial aid, work study programs, and more. Jill will help you teach your teens financial management so they'll be ready for life at college and beyond.

Counting Coins

October 19th 4:15 PM & December 8th  4:15 PM - Children’s Program Room

It’s 1880 and here comes the Wells Fargo horse-drawn wagon! Using interactive activities based on the historical experiences of the great American Express trade, this program introduces kids to money and finance - how to distinguish between needs and wants and how to build savings.
For children ages 5-8; sign up by calling or emailing the Children’s Library (203) 669-5235 childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org
This program is made possible by Wachovia Bank, Darien Branch

Family, Money and Habits - Nathan Dungan

November 10th 7 PM - Community Room

In this highly interactive presentation, participants will:
• Discover new ways to talk and think about money among family members and between generations
• Develop a financial decision-making process that honors each person’s values
• Set clear financial goals that include saving and sharing
• Receive take-home tools to use with other family members, peers, etc.

Nathan Dungan is the founder and president of Share Save Spend®. For over 20 years, he has been an industry thought-leader on helping youth and adults link their money decisions to their values. He is the author of Prodigal Sons & Material Daughters; how not to be your child's ATM and his new book Money Sanity Solutions; linking money and meaning comes out this fall.

*Mr.Dungan's appearance at Darien Library is made possible by Grammery Advisors, YWCA Parent Awareness and Darien Library. Darien Library and YWCA Parent Awareness are members of Thriving Youth: Connected  Community.

Teens vs. Tweens Monopoly Showdown

November 13th 2 PM - Conference Roommonopoly game money & pieces

Will you rule Park Place or build an empire on Atlantic Avenue? Show off your financial wizardry in our first-ever Tweens (kids ages 10-12) vs. Teens (12 and up) Monopoly Showdown! No sign up necessary. Just drop-in!

 

Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs on Thorndal Circle (behind Nielsen’s).


Photos courtesy of Flickr Users - Ken Wilcox (clear piggy bank), All In Green (pink piggy bank), mtsofan (Monopoly pieces)

Parents' Film Screening - How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Worshop

Parents' Film Screening

How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop

Wednesday, May 19

9:30 am and 6:30 pm

On Wednesday, May 19, there will be two screenings held in the Library's Community Room of the film        How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop.

In this film experience the frustration, anxiety, and tension felt by children with learning disabilities. This groundbreaking workshop led by Richard Lavoie, a nationally known expert on learning disabilities, parents and teachers are shown what the world looks like through the eyes of a LD child.

Running Time: 70 minutes

 

How do you use the Children's Library?

The new Darien Library has officially been open for a year!  Can you believe it?!

If you've used the Children's Library relaxing, reading together, searching for books, movies (and more!), using the computers, researching for homework...how was the process?

 

 

Is the room set up to assist with what you'd like to find?  Please tell us.  Here's a survey that asks about your experience using the new Children's Library.

 

  

 

One of the reasons why the Microsoft Surface was moved from the original spot was due to feedback.  We ask for it, and really appreciate it!

Thanks a whole bunch!

 

Rhymes & Songs - Why Nursery Rhymes?

In our First Five (F5) collection, a great section to look for books for your babies in is the Rhymes & Songs glade (dark blue labels).

Before babies can understand our spoken words, nursery rhymes help demonstrate the rhythms, patterns and sounds of our speech to them.  By sharing nursery rhymes with your baby, you will be helping them build pre-literacy skills.  As they grow, learning the rhymes themselves will help them expand their vocabuary, learn number skills and give them confidence to express themselves through speech.

Another benefit to using nursery rhymes are that the books and stanzas are short so you can share them in bits and pieces. That will come especially in handy when your baby becomes a toddler and can't sit still for very long! 

Some of my favorites from this section are:

 
If You're Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera
Knock At The Door And Other Baby Action Rhymes by Kay Chorao
Here Comes Mother Goose by Iona Archibald Opie
Tomie DePaola's Mother Goose by Tomi DePaola
 

 

 

YouTube Jr.

Youtube videos are everywhere, but how can you be sure you won't come across something with questionable content?  Try Totlol!  This new sub-site of YouTube is a parent moderated video community aimed at kids under the age of 13. There are videos about music, phonics, classic cartoons, even some cool series like Signing Time where you can learn sign language!  The selection is huge and if you like, you can participate too by creating a free account, creating your own playlist. The site has gotten some good reviews from ReadWriteWeb and Wired Magazine. Find our more information about how it works here and see if you'd like to join in!

Other Online Video Alternatives:

Sesame Street also shares videos on their site and you can never get enough Elmo! Check out all the fun videos about reading!

blip.tv is where our library shares videos like Opening Day and time lapse videos of it being built.  See what it looked like one year ago this month!

Vimeo has fun videos like Bob Shea's Dinosaur vs. Bedtime (a personal favorite book of mine!)


Dinosaur vs. Bedtime from bob shea on Vimeo.

Kids Music That Rocks

Kids have a natural love of music. They love to dance, shake and explore sounds and movement. Like with so many things in their lives, music is much more fun when it is shared with the grownups and siblings in their lives!  Music can help focus their attention, music can lift their spirits and research shows that music can help make them smarter!  

Many researchers believe that the earlier kids are exposed to music, the more their sponge-like brains absorb and respond to tones. In Early Literacy research, this is beneficial to their pre-literacy development and is known as Phonological Awareness. There are lots of ways you can help build this skill in and with your child including:

  • clapping with the syllables
  • using spoons to bang on pots and pans (note: do this with asprin handy!)
  • making shakers by putting rice into and empty water bottle with a secure screw cap
  • using scarves or sticks or anything to play! There are more ideas about making your own instruments here

Good Kids music is not something that is easy to find. A lot of the albums are hit or miss with quality and enjoyableness for the grownups who have to listen to it too.  We read a blog called Kids Music that Rocks and are introduced to lots of new artists and albums through there. Kiera wrote a piece a while back with links to some of her favorites from our collection like Elizabeth Mitchell, They Might be Giants and the Terrible Twos.  To her list, I'd to add some World Music presented by Putumayo (Kids):

Hawaiian Playground

Reggae Playground Folk Playground African Playground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 And now I leave you with some fun music from Feist from a guest appearance on Sesame Street. Have fun listening to music with your little one!!!

Baby Play

Babies learn through their senses. Ever wonder how a baby can be so fascinated with an object? They are exploring the texture, color, shape and even taste of the things they come in contact with.  Just like with words (the more you expose them to, the more they absorb) play is an essential part of your child's development. They don't just learn about the objects however. They are learning important concepts like cause and effect; when they touch the rattle, it makes a noise.  And boy do they like to move!  Just watch this short video of a baby at play (note: the adults were edited out of the video for streamlined baby adorableness).

 

 

Interested in learning more?  Talk to a Librarian and check out some of the great books we have in our Parents Section (F5 Parents) in the Children's Library:

Baby Steps: A Guide to Your Child's Social, Physical, Mental and emotional Development in the First Two Years by Claire Kopp

Baby Minds: Brain Building Games Your Baby Will Love by Linda Acredolo, PhD and Susan Goodwyn, PhD

Games to Play with Babies by Jackie Silberg

125 Brain Games for Babies: Simple Games to Promote Early Brain Development by Jackie Silberg

 

Have fun playing with your baby!

 

Reluctant Reader Tip#2

If you're the parent of a reluctant reader, fear not!  There are many things you can do to encourage a lifelong love of reading without resorting to bribery. 

I'll be blogging Reluctant Reader Tips (check out Tip #1) over the course of the next few weeks.  Here's Tip #2:

Silly Does It! 

Almost all kids like things that are funny, silly, and gross.  Especially if reading feels like a chore, having a laugh-out-loud book can help reinforce the idea that reading can be fun (gasp!). 

Alright, so high-brow and sophisticated Captain Underpants is NOT.  But, it certainly has phenomenal appeal for young boys- and that interest can be just the spark needed to transition into more sophisticated chapter books. 

Here are some favorite Silly Books:

 

 

 

Reluctant Reader Tip #1

If you're the parent of a child who does not like to read, you are not alone. 

Studies have shown that reading tends to drop off as a preferred activity as children get older and progress through elementary school.  Getting your child (re)interested in books can seem like an uphill battle.

What can you do?  Here's my Reluctant Reader Tip #1:

Try a graphic novel!

 
The Babymouse series follows the  hilarious adventures of a little mouse and her school friends.  And don't let the pinkness fool you- boys like it, too!   Not so much into pink?  Give Jeff Smith's Bone series a try. It's got humor, adventure, and friendship. Consider Amelia Rules! the Peanuts of the 21st century.  A cast of kids who can make you laugh, cry, or both.

 

Comic books have come a long way!  Graphic novels have great appeal for children who are visual learners.  Like their more traditional cousin, the novel, they help increase vocabulary and narrative skills.  Graphic novels, however, have the added bonus of helping children develop an increasingly important skill: visual literacy.  Plus, they are super funny!

For future Reluctant Reader Tips, stay tuned to our blog.  And add your own tips in the comments section!

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