Kids Blog: Easy Picture Book

Spring Activities to do at Home

It isn't Summer just yet, so enjoy these spring themed activities while we are on storytime break.

Seeds and flowers are really enjoyable for young children, and adults, to play around with. The Fantastic Fun and Learning blog and Life Over C's blog both provide fun activities involving seeds for you to do at home with the children. These crafts and activities provide great learning experiences for children that parents can be a part of.

For a beautfiul flower sensory suncatcher activity, check out the Hands On As We Grow blog for a cheap and easy sensory idea that will engage children of all ages.

While you are experimenting with these seed themed activities you can sing this song to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell:

The farmer plants the seeds
The Farmer plants the seeds
Hi, Ho and Cheery O
The farmer plants the seeds.

(Use the following verses.)
The sun begins to shine
The rain begins to fall
The plants begin to grow


Be sure to stop by the library and check out some great books about flowers, seeds, and Spring!



El Dia

Come join us this Saturday for our El Dia Celebration at the Univeristy of Texas at Arlington!

Let's Go to the Circus!

Everybody loves the circus!

We had so much fun at our Teddy Bear Carnival event this past Saturday that it made me want to share a few activities and books that I used for my preschool circus-themed storytime several weeks ago.

I set up by laying our parachute on the ground where the kiddos usually sit. I called it our “circus ring” and they loved the idea. When we sang the songs, we stood around the parachute and acted them out too.

Circus Songs:

Clown Song

Sung to: "I'm a Little Teapot"


I'm a little clown short and fat.

Here is my tummy, here is my hat.

I can do a trick as you will see,

Just turn around and look at me.


Circus Song

Sung to: "I've Been Working on the Railroad"


I am walking through the circus,

Happy as can be.

I am walking through the circus,

Just to see what I can see.

I can see the clown laughing.

I can see the elephant, too.

I can see the lion sleeping.

Look out! He sees you.


I did a flannel activity where I had five felt popcorn seeds and five felt “popped” pieces. Like this:

I used the rhyme:


Five little kernels sizzling in the pot
All of a sudden, one went POP! (count down)


This is great practice counting backwards!


We did a really cute craft that transformed the kiddos into elephants! Just cut out the pieces from construction paper and glue!

They loved stomping around the circus ring and making elephant sounds. I had them follow me in a circle while we sang:


Five big elephants - oh, what a sight,

Swinging their trunks from left to right!

Four are followers, and one is the king.

They all walk around in the circus ring.


We took turns being the “King” elephant and also tried standing on one leg, balancing a ball on our “trunks”, and twirling around.

These are great books and activities for a circus day at home!

4/29/2015 by Ashley W. Add a Comment Share this:

Librarian Adventures

This past week some of your very own librarians visited the city of Austin for the Texas Library Association (TLA) Conference.












The first thing we did was explore the exhibit hall where many library partners set up booths to show off what they had to offer libraries all around Texas.

















We saw a fellow Arlington librarian, Nancy, showing off our brand new Read It Again (RIA)  Kits that will soon be available for you to check out from the library. These themed kits come with books, and other activities that you can do at home to make learning more fun!













Abby and Bethany, two librarians on our Early Learning team, gave a presentation on the new iPads that you might have been seeing in your storytimes.





















We had a lot of fun at the conference, but most importantly we learned a lot that we can hopefully use in the future to make our library even better!












Celebrate Spring!

I was definitely ready for spring with the official first day this past Friday (March 20).  It just makes me smile to see the trees in front of Lake Arlington Branch sprout their delicate white flowers before the leaves come in, to view a carpet of purple buds on the roadside, or feel the warmer breeze.  To celebrate the beginning of this season we will enjoy the follow spring themed books at this week’s storytimes.  

Pear trees sprouting for the spring in front of Lake arlington Branch Library                                         Close up of sprouting buds on pear tree in front of Lake Arlington Branch

Toddler Storytime
Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson
A mouse and its mother experience the delights of nature on a windy spring day.

Peek-a-Bloom! By Marie Torres Cimarusti
Lift-up flaps reveal rabbits, ducklings, flowers, and other signs of spring.


Preschool Storytime
And then it’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
Simple text reveals the anticipation of a boy who, having planted seeds while everything around is brown, fears that something has gone wrong until, at last, the world turns green.

Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck by Lisa Westberg Peters
Early one spring a little duck arrives at her pond and finds it still frozen, but not for long.

My Spring Robin by Ann Rockwell
Before finding the robin she is searching for, a child discovers other interesting fauna and flora in her backyard.

After you attend storytime, I encourage you and your little one to go out and experience the delights of spring with these suggested activities:

Go for a walk…

  • Feel the wind and describe the way it is blowing – breezy, wispy, gusty or blustery.
  • Stop and listen to birds’ call and possible name the type of birds.
  • Find some flowers and name their color.
  • Count how many robins you see.
3/24/2015 by Dawn Reyes Add a Comment Share this:


Today is my “Gotcha Day”, so I would like to write about adoption!

For those who don't know, a "gotcha day" is the anniversary of the day a child was adopted.

Adoption books provide great stories and entertainment while also making the topic easier to discuss with your child. As children develop, so do the questions in their minds about where they are from, why they are here and so on. They help bring comfort and normalcy to the idea that a child has two sets of parents: biological and adoptive.

A few things that helped me when I was younger:

  • Discuss the topic so your child will feel comfortable asking questions.
  • Use children’s books to help explain the idea of adoption to your child. (Fictional stories are easy to relate to.)
  • Be attentive to your childs emotions involving his or her adoption.
  • Educate family and friends with the process. Also speak with them on effective ways of communicating about the subject with your child.


Here are several excellent books on the topic of adoption:

We have these available for checkout in our system in addition to many more!

Celebrate Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month! How will you celebrate with your kids or students?

You could make a family tree of all the women in your family history! Include photos of each woman and let your kids decorate the tree as you tell them about the different women in their family.

You and your children or students could dress-up as famous women and discuss what these women accomplished.

And of course, you can read about these amazing women together! There is an ever-increasing number of picture books about women in history being published every year-too many to list here! It might seem daunting to choose a historical or biographical picture book for younger children, but fear not-we have a few suggestions. Here is a list of some of some of my "recommended" Women's History Month picture books organized by age:


Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Holding her stuffed toy chimpanzee, young Jane Goodall observes nature, reads Tarzan books, and dreams of living in Africa and helping animals.

Mama Miti : Wangari Maathai and the trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli

The story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer: A Very Improper Story by Shana Corey

Amelia Bloomer, who does not behave the way nineteenth-century society tells her a proper lady should, introduces pantaloons to American women to save them from the discomfort of their heavy, tight dresses.

Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault

Vanessa's sister, Virginia, is in a "wolfish" mood-- growling, howling and acting very strange. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell.


Kindergarten-4th Grade:

Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan

A fictionalized account of the night Amelia Earhart flew Eleanor Roosevelt over Washington, D.C. in an airplane.

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan

An introduction to the life of Marian Anderson, extraordinary singer and civil rights activist, who was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, whose life and career encouraged social change.

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

A 2015 Caldecott Honor Book
A 2015 Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award

Explores the life and creative process of artist Frida Kahlo.

Different Like Coco by Elizabeth Matthews

The story of French fashion icon Coco Chanel.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell

Coretta Scott King Book Award, Illustrator, Honor

This book is an extraordinary portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world.



3/5/2015 by Bethany Fort Add a Comment Share this:

Tired of Frozen?

If your children are obsessed with Frozen and you are ready for something different, here are some alternatives!


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Let it go and watch these movies with your children instead:


Just like Frozen, these movies include adventure, friendship, and of course snow!


Do you want to build a snowman?

It might not be very cold outside, but children still love to imagine building their own frosty friend. Pick up one of these great books about snowman to entertain their imagination.

The cold never bothered me anyway

It is definitly not cold enough for snow, but children will enjoy any one of these snow-themed sensory play bins.They are easy to make and a great way to work on learning the five senses.

The Snow Queen

Did you know that Frozen is based off the fairy tale The Snow Queen? Here are some other stories about snow royalty.


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

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: