Kids Blog: Easy Picture Book

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:

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