Kids Blog: Easy Picture Book

Ideas to Celebrate MLK Day

There are a lot of ways that you can celebrate MLK Day with your family this weekend! Don't miss this opportunity to talk to your children about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his role in our history.

One way to celebrate MLK day is to have a birthday party for Dr. King. Make a cake together and decorate it, but instead of making a birthday wish, talk about your dreams and what Dr. King's dreams were. Another extension of this is to talk about injustice in your community and what your family can do to make life better for the people around you. It's ok to start small, like donating food or sending encouraging notes to your neighbors.

Over the weekend, take some time to read with your kids about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. These books and DVDs will help you learn more about his work, family, and beliefs.

For a list of family activities to celebrate MLK day in Arlington,visit http://www.arlingtontx.gov/mlk/

Whatever you choose to do, let's celebrate the legacy of this amazing man!

1/16/2015 by Bethany Fort Add a Comment Share this:

Bethany's Top 5 of 2014

Here is the SHORT list of my favorite books of 2014:

1. West of the Moon by Margi Preus

West of the Moon is my vote for this year's Newbery or Printz award. It is one of those novels that falls between the children's and young adult age ranges, and it is a refrshingly unique, enchanting tale about a Norwegian girl named Astri. 

2. Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

I loved this book. Albie struggles socially and academically, always feeling "almost" good enough. Many young readers will relate to Albie, and his story is an excellent addition to the ever-growing multicultural genre. If you enjoyed R.J. Palacio's Wonder, this is a must-read for you.

3. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

I know, I know, everyone loves this book, but I still claim it as a favorite. Novak knows how to make kids laugh, and that makes this book VERY fun to read aloud!

4. Tap to Play by Salina Yoon

Building on the interactive book trend of the last few years, Tap to Play is inventive and creative. It engages children in a variety of ways and links the mental act of reading to the physical book. It's a great choice for young pre-readers. 

5. Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers

Oh, Oliver Jeffers, you've done it again! Admittedly, I am going to love anything by Jeffers, but Once Upon an Alphabet truly is a remarkable accomplishment. This is my vote for the Caldecott this year.

12/31/2014 by Bethany Fort Add a Comment Share this:

Dawn's Top 5 of 2014

I read a variety of wonderful books this year which took me on spell bounded adventures, taught me something new or pulled at my heart.  Below are the five stories that I thought were my favorite reads of this year.

5. The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
I really enjoyed reading this part science fiction, part historical novel,  Janie, a fourteen-year-old American girl meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows when her family moves to London in 1952.  Janie and Benjamin’s life unexpectedly transforms when his father is kidnapped. Through their search for the apothecary, they both uncover the secrets of the his sacred book and get swept up in a race to save the world from nuclear war. This is 1st book in the series.

4. Almost Astronauts: 13 women who dared to dream by Tanya Lee Stone
I love to discover new story about history and this non-fiction book presents the story of the thirteen women connected with NASA's Mercury 13 space mission, who braved prejudice and jealousy to make their mark and open the door for the female pilots and space commanders that would soon follow.

3. Two Hands to Love You by Diane Adams
This is a sweet book of simple illustrations and rhymes that shows how the guiding hands of a family are always there to love and nurture a child, from birth to the first day of school.

2. Perfectly Percy by Paul Schmid
Another picture book about Percy who loves balloons, but there is just one problem he is a porcupine.  I love his determination and creativity to find a way to keep them from popping. This is a great read aloud for Pre-K -1st grade!

1. Dead City by James Ponti
And my favorite book of the year was a surprise to me.  Each year I read many titles from the Bluebonnet list and this book is one for 2014. I was not sure that I would like this one at first though because it about zombies (I am not a fan of zombies.)  I gave it a try and it I was soooo good!  The book has zombies, yes, but also has a strong girl character, page turning adventure, an intriguing mystery, and great surprise end (which prompted me to read the 2nd book in this series.)
“Seventh-grader Molly has always been an outsider, even at New York City's elite Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology, but that changes when she is recruited to join the Omegas, a secret group that polices and protects zombies.”


What was your favorite book you read in 2014?

Rainy Day at the Library

Frog Vs. Armadillo in the library!

Come check out some of our bookbundles. Can you find armadillo?

Every day is an adventure at the library!

12/19/2014 by Kayla Parker Add a Comment Share this:

Holiday Pajama Storytime

This past week children came to the library dressed in their favorite pajamas for a special holiday pajama storytime! After reading some festive holiday books and singing everyone's favorite holiday tunes, we finished the night by constructing reindeer hats and feasting on cookies and hot cocoa. 

We will be taking a break from storytimes for the rest of December but we will start back up the first full week of January 2015. Due to the Central library's closing there have been some changes to the spring storytime schedule so please check out our storytime page to find out more information on those times and locations .

Happy Holidays from the Early Learning Team

Get Ready for the Turning a Page Celebration

If you don't have the Turning a Page Celebration on your calendar for this weekend-stop reading and write this down!

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, from 2-6 p.m. at Central Library

Through the years, the George W. Hawkes Central Library has provided our community with wonderful memories and rich experiences. Turning a Page: A New Chapter for Arlington's Central Library is an opportunity for the public to celebrate the history, experience the present, and imagine the future of the Central Library.

Families can come to the children's section on Saturday to walk through the history of the Arlington Public Library and children will get to help us design the future library!

Some old and new picture books about the library

What's your favorite book about the library?

12/11/2014 by Bethany Fort Add a Comment Share this:

Picture Book Rebels: Interactive Picture Books

French author Hervé Tullet's innovative book Press Here was published in the United States in 2011. Since then, Press Here has inspired many other "interactive" picture books that challenge traditional picture book formats and encourage play.

A few of the recently published interactive picture books are Tap to Play by Salina Yoon, Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson, and Don't Push the Button by Bill Cotter. 

Harper Collins Publishers describe Tap to Play as an "interactive video-game-inspired picture book," but all of these books are clearly app-inspired as well. They have clean formats, simple illustrations, and are promoting play by giving small challenges to the reader like "flip the book" or "push the button." Even the book titles invite the reader to physically manipulate the book, whether that means to press, tap, push, shake, or turn the book around. These interactive books are unique in that they don't have any lift-the-flaps, die-cuts, or sensory pages. The images are flat, asking the child to use their imagination to make the book come to life.

After reading several interactive picture books, I asked, "why this new book trend and why now?"  These new picture books are reminiscent of the digital app style-without the sounds and moving images. These books are spanning the divide between physical books and apps by demonstrating how the physical book can be as engaging and interactive as an app, while at the same time complimenting the design and innovation of app technology.

Why now? The book vs. app controversy is complicated and divided, but interactive picture books compliment the unique nature of each form by combining our technology-based culture with the traditional picture book. These books allow children to participate in the reading experience in fresh, exciting ways that are familiar to children who use digital media and still engaging for children who do not. Interactive picture books are spanning the divide between the physical book and apps and-BONUS!-they are really fun to read.

What is your opinion on interactive picture books?  Do you have a favorite? Try reading an interactive picture book at home or in school and let us know what you think!

11/20/2014 by Bethany Fort Add a Comment Share this:

November is Picture Book Month

When I first heard that November is Picture Book month, I felt overwhelmed with joy. Picture books are my favorite type of books and I get swept up in the wonderful tales of friendship, family life, bedtime adventures, and hundreds of other topics. Then the artwork and image styles take me away to another place, whether the illustrations are boldly colored blocks or muted line drawings. I also like that picture books help readers experience life in a fun way, and the combination of books and art add to the special place these books have within the library. I feel privileged to have the chance to share these stories with children in storytime every week. It is an amazing experience to enjoy these tales with descriptive words and charming pictures that work together perfectly.

Here are just a few of the picture books that I love for their sweet, funny, or enduring stories:


Two Hands to Love You by Diane Adams
Illustrations and simple rhyming text show how the guiding hands of a family are always there to love and nurture a child.

 
Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke
For young Jay Jay, Sunday dinner at Gran's house is full of hugs and kisses, tasty dishes, all kinds of fishes, happy faces, and love.

 
Lunch by Denise Fleming
A very hungry mouse eats a large lunch comprised of colorful foods.


The Birthday Box : Happy Birthday to me! by Leslie Patricelli
An imaginative young child has a wonderful time playing with his birthday present and the box it came in.

 
Fox makes Friends by Adam Relf
Fox is bored, so he decides to make a friend out of twigs and an apple, but it doesn't quite work out as he had planned.

Here are what a few children's writers think about picture books. What is your favorite?

11/14/2014 by Dawn Reyes Add a Comment Share this:

Picture Book Rebels

A new book was published this fall by comedic writer/actor B.J. Novak, and it has already received a lot of attention-mainly because it is missing a key element.  Novak's The Book With No Pictures is literally a picture book with no pictures, making me wonder what makes a picture book a picture book.

In a Vanity Fair interview, the author B.J. Novak says that he wrote The Book With No Pictures to show how the written word is "rebellious and a form of freedom—that a kid can learn is on their side whenever they want it to be."  In The Book With No Pictures, the "game" begins when the text explains to the child audience that, in a book, the person reading has to say whatever the words say...then, the text continues by making the adult reader say silly nonsense words to the great delight of the children. Seeing the children's reactions to Novak's reading of this book was enough to convince me that a pictureless picture book can be as powerful as a traditional picture book-you can watch Novak's reading here:

A pictureless picture book is unusual, but wordless picture books have been around for a long time.  A few of my favorites to use with young children are:

If you've never read wordless or pictureless picture books with your children or students,  try a few of these and see what the children think about them.  These books are written to empower the child-to help write the story with wordless picture books or to see how words are "on their side" with the pictureless picture books.  These books also teach children the different functions of words and pictures and show how they work together to create meaning. 

Try one of these out and let us know what you think in the comments section!

If you're interested in more information about using wordless picture books with young children, check out this article from Reading Rockets.

10/27/2014 by Bethany Fort Add a Comment Share this:

Children's Books from Across the Pond!

Having just returned from a trip to London, my head is filled with the sights, sounds, and history of England. Something that’s almost impossible to miss as you tour the city is all the literary landmarks – especially ones from children’s literature! Peter Pan graces the beautiful grounds of Hyde Park, Paddington Bear greets travelers in Paddington Station, and Harry Potter’s luggage cart hangs halfway out of the wall under Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station. So today I want to share a few of my favorite reads from our authors across the pond!

First up is Julia Donaldson. If you have not yet been charmed by the words of this delightful woman, drop everything and pick up a copy of one of her books. Start with The Gruffalo, a tale about a little mouse who makes up stories about a fearsome beast in order to scare away other creatures in the woods who want to eat him. The mouse is in for a surprise when the real Gruffalo shows up! The Gruffalo’s Child introduces a baby gruffalo who has heard stories of a Big Bad Mouse, and goes off to find him during a snowstorm. Donaldson uses rhyming language throughout her stories, and you’ll likely find yourself repeating phrases from the books long after you put them down. Also worth reading by Donaldson are The Snail and the Whale and Room on the Broom. Once you get your fill of the books, check out the animated versions of The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom, both of which were nominated for Best Animated Short in previous Oscar seasons!

I’m not alone in saying that my introduction to Mary Poppins came from the Disney movie. I decided to remedy this by reading the books by P.L. Travers, and I highly recommend you do the same! Travers actually wrote about everyone’s favorite nanny in a series of short stories – perfect for bedtime reading with a little one. Start with Mary Poppins, and delight in scenes you saw in the movie, such as the tea party on the ceiling, and the visit to a carnival via a sidewalk drawing. Then, tuck the kiddos in for the night and watch Saving Mr. Banks to get some background on Ms. Travers and how her inspiration for the character developed.

Two other classics I would be remiss not to mention are Paddington by Michael Bond, and Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Again, you’ve likely encountered these characters on-screen, but consider meeting them on-page. Paddington’s adventures in London will delight young children, and the adventures of Peter Pan make for great family reading!

Happy reading!

10/9/2014 by Abby Dozier Add a Comment Share this: