Kids Blog: Easy Picture Book

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:

Fall in love with fall children's books!

Owl Craft image by The Educators' Spin On It

The Fall season is officially upon us. With temperatures dropping and leaves beginning to fall, what better way is there for you and your children to get into the spirit of the season than with some fun children's books about fall? This week at the Arlington Public Library, we will be reading some of our favorite books about fall, such as Who Loves the Fall? by Bob Raczka. Follow along with the children in the story as they leap into a pile of leaves, pick their own apples, attend fall festivals, and go pumpkin hunting among many other fun fall activities. We will also read about The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri as he gets ready for winter and is too busy to enjoy the fall to nibble a pumpkin with mouse  or play with his animal friends.

Of course fall fun wouldn't be complete without some fun crafts and activities to do with your children. Check out this homemade owl rubbing I found on The Educators' Spin On It blog or make a leaf crown thanks to instructions by The Imagination Tree.

Leaf crown image by The Imagination Tree

Don't forget to check out these books about fall at your library!

A Book! Book! Book! Storytime

I wanted to start off the semester with a book and library-themed storytime.  For my first picture book, I chose Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke. This is a fun and silly picture book about a group of farm animals who go into a public library.  I used farm animal toys to help the students recognize the story patterns and to make it more interactive. This text goes over really well with PreK students!

I chose Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw for my second picture book.  This is my favorite picture book about the library for PreK students.  I especially like how the author points out that no one tells Lola to "Shh!" at the library and depicts her singing and playing- the library is fun, not quiet!

I also used some really fun book-themed songs.  I did a variation on "If you're happy and you know it" so that, instead of clapping, we inserted library actions: "If you're happy and you know a book, swipe your card, turn the page, check it out, etc."

I tweaked the classic "Herman the Worm"  to "Herman the Bookworm" so that Herman could eat a word, a book, and an entire library (the students pointed out to me that this was absolutely ridiculous).

One of my new favorite action rhymes is "Let's Take a Look at this Book."  Be prepared to do this one 2-3 times so the students can really learn it!

Here are a few other book-themed books that you can check out from the library:

What are some of your favorites?

9/15/2014 by Bethany Fort Add a Comment Share this:

Second Saturday Storytime

Our Second Saturday Storytime is this Saturday!

Come join us at the Southeast Branch this Saturday for our Family storytime all about Animals.

This special storytime starts at 10:30 and is for especially for families.  We will have fun music and crafts for all ages!

A visit to the Library is the perfect way to begin your Saturday!

Return of Storytime, YEAH!

I am so excited that after a month of planning, fall Storytime session started this week.  It was great to hear enthusiastic exclaims of “Ms. Dawn, Ms. Dawn” as several of my returning storytime kiddo entered the room.  I was also pleased to meet several new families that join us for the new storytime session. We all had a great time with this week’s theme, Wake Up and Get Dressed!   I hope you can come to a Storytime very soon.

Here are the books and songs we enjoyed

Toddler Storytime


A Child’s Good Morning Book by Margaret Wise Brown
As the sun rises, birds, horses, rabbits, flowers, bugs, and finally children get up to start their day.

Time to Get Dressed! By Elivia Savadier
While time flies by on a busy morning, Solomon is determined to dress himself, but his father intervenes and all goes smoothly--for a while.


We also sang "Dressed in the Morning" song to: "This is the way" tune (Original Author Unknown)

This is the way we get dressed in the morning, dressed in the morning, dressed in the morning
This is the way we dressed in the morning, so early in the morning!
This is the way we put on our shirt, put on our shirt, put on our shirt
This is the way we put on our shirt, so early in the morning!
(Act out each movement.....continue adding items of clothing depending on the
weather or season you want to discuss.  (Socks, shoes, pants, rain coat, sweater, etc.)

Preschool Storytime

Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Ella Sarah’s parents make clothing suggestions but she knows the perfect outfit to wear for the day.  

Miss Mouse's Day by Jan Ormerod
Miss Mouse's day includes getting dressed, having breakfast, drawing, having a picnic lunch, gardening, and other activities before she gets a goodnight kiss and a cuddle.

Time to get Up, Time to Go by David Migrim
 From morning until night, a young boy stays busy by playing, doing chores, and eating.


"The Wake Up Song" by Lisa Loeb from her cd Camp Lisa

We listen to this lively tune that had us all clapping, jumping, and dancing. It was so much fun we listen to this song twice and I was energized for the rest of the day.

9/4/2014 by Dawn Reyes Add a Comment Share this: