Book Gift Giving

Books make great gifts for children but it can be difficult to know what is age appropriate, especially if you are not with the child on a regular basis. Going through many pictures books at a bookstore can be a lot of fun but it can also be overwhelming. Below is a guideline to help you in choosing a book for a little one.

For infants to children about 9 months, the word to keep in mind is simple. Their eyesight is developing so books with simple pictures is a must. Look for board books, or books with indestructible pages as babies are reaching out and grabbing. Touch and feel books work great with this age group as are books that feature babies. Simple text and rhythm and rhyme help to keep a child’s interest.

Once the child is crawling and starting to walk—up to 18 months, add books with simple stories with bright illustrations. Rhymes and songs are great to share. As children start to say simple words, find books with objects they can easily find and point to. You’ll probably want to still keep with board books with this age group.

Toddlers are developing their attention span. They like books that have some action in them. Look for books with simple plots, sounds and repetition. They will become more involved in the story, pointing at things, repeating words and asking questions. Books that introduce colors and numbers are good too.

Preschoolers can sit still between 5-10 minutes for a picture book if you have their attention. They are interested in the world around them and are starting to ask questions including for books they want to hear read such as dinosaurs, trucks, trains, TV characters. Sounds, action, repetition are still of interest but you can also start picking out books with more involved plots. Introducing ABC books can be fun for preschoolers as well as some simple information books.

Kindergarteners and older preschoolers will enjoy longer stories, fairytales, and participation books. Your child may enjoy hearing chapter books as well, so starting with chapter books that have some pictures may be a good transition.

The above list is not a hard and fast rule, and you may discover that some books that appeal to Toddlers still have a great appeal to children in Kindergarten. You can also give a favorite book to a child to be shared with them when they are older. What is important, is that you like the book you are giving to the child. After all, you want to share a book you enjoy!

Miss Christina

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Learning is Everywhere

December brings a lot of craziness. However, the next time you stop by the library to pick up holiday books or Playaways and Launch Pads for the car rides to relatives, make certain you take a moment to stop by the children’s desk to pick up a free copy of United Way’s new 2018 calendar.

This calendar has a daily activities for you to do with your child, plus tips and suggestions of things you can do to boost you child’s language development to help prepare them for Kindergarten. There is also an animal connect the dot activity for each month to help children develop writing skills. The animals are so cute, my first thought was they would make a great puppet by cutting them out and taping it to a craft stick after each month was over.

What I really like about the calendar is that even though it is meant for the preschoolers, the activities work well for the entire family to do together. Activities like play Hide and Seek, take silly selfies, and go on a scavenger hunt. (If you have troubles with ideas for that last one, ask us for the scavenger hunt kit you can check out from the library.) There are practical things like practice fire safety and washing hands and there are more quiet activities like share a favorite book or practice being quiet for a minute. (No giggling!)

Just like sharing a book, sharing this calendar can be a fun way to help your child mentally and physically develop while bringing your whole family together. Plus, it is a great reminder that learning is everywhere. It doesn’t have to be costly, or time consuming and it can be a lot of fun for everyone. Enjoy!

Miss Christina

Nursery Rhymes and Songs

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. People are gathered together. There’s lots of food, and talking. Unfortunately, your toddler is not happy and ready for a meltdown. It may be because of the obvious hungry, tired and diaper needs changing, or simple overload from so many people and being ignored.

If your usual trick of distraction doesn’t work, try a nursery rhyme or two. I’ve had enormous success with singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider with many children. Of course it may be that having a stranger waving her hands and croaking out a tune is  so alien to the child they stop crying in amazement. Or, it may be that a familiar tune has a calming effect and someone else is paying attention to them.

In any case, carrying around an action play or song in your mind is a lot easier than carrying around another toy that could easily be left behind. Get the entire family involved. See who remembers the most rhymes and songs from their childhood. If you can’t remember the words, make some up. You may not have noticed that many of the tunes to nursery rhymes are used over and over. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star for example, uses the same tune as the ABC song.  Getting your little one familiar with the tune, puts your child that much closer to learning their ABC’s.

Nursery rhymes and songs also help teach your young  child to hear the beat and rhythm of language which is linked with  the skill of syllable separation and to help teach prediction. Knowledge of nursery rhymes can also be a strong predictor of later reading success. So sing with gusto with the entire family this Thanksgiving. You’ll be doing both you and your child a favor.

Humpty Dumpty ….. After the Fall

 

So many authors have wondered what happened to Humpty Dumpty after the “great fall”, and they’ve come up with some terrific picture books to entertain that idea! Here are some titles for you and your child to explore.

For our very youngest library customer, we have Humpty Dumpty by Jonas Sicklar. If you are not familiar with the “Indestructibles” books, they are designed for the way babies “read” – with their hands and mouth. This version of Humpty Dumpty has the egg man on the Great Wall of China!

Next up is Humpty Dumpty by Daniel Kirk. After Humpty climbs the proverbial brick wall to get a better look at the young king in his birthday parade, the obvious fall happens, and it’s young King Moe who puts Humpty back together, “like a puzzle”!

In Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again by Dave Horowitz, Humpty’s shell has been fixed, but he’s lost his confidence. The author cleverly inserts other popular nursery rhyme characters in this “eggsistensial tale of hope”.

For beginning readers, check out Humpty’s Fall by Dosh Archer, one of the Urgency Emergency! Early Readers series. In this fun adventure, Humpty arrives at the hospital with a cracked shell and severe yolk seepage …. can the doctors at City Hospital save him?

Two fun picture books by Joe Dumpty (as told to Jeanie Franz Ransom) are What REALLY Happened to Humpty? and The Crown Affair (both are from the files of a hard-boiled detective! These stories take place in Mother Gooseland, so you’ll be sure to see some of your favorite characters making an appearance.

We have a series of picture books called Flip-Side Rhymes, where half-way through the book, you must flip the book to get another side of the rhyme. By Christopher Harbo, you may not want to read this Humpty Dumpty version if you are appalled by the ending … [SPOILER ALERT!!!] … poor Humpty gets scrambled and eaten!

Bob Graham tells the story of Humpty’s little sister in Dimity Dumpty. The author believes that Humpty’s notoriety for not doing much at all (basically just falling off a wall!) was not very clever, so he’s telling the story of his little sister, who was quite the heroine.

In Ode to Humpty Dumpty by Harriet Ziefert, the author blends the traditional rhyme with new characters. The whole book is done in rhyme, which makes it fun and playful.

And finally, the book that inspired the title of this post, is After the Fall – How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Caldecott Medal winner Dan Santat. From the book jacket: “Inspiring and unforgettable, this epilogue to the beloved classic nursery rhyme will encourage even the most afraid to overcome their fears, learn to get back up – and reach new heights”.

Miss Teresa

Holiday Reading Traditions

As we get nearer to Christmas, I’m gearing up for one of my favorite holiday traditions with my kiddos- 25 days of Christmas books! I love making reading an integral part of our family traditions, and this is a truly meaningful way for us to both celebrate the season, expand our love of books, and bond together in shared reading. Every year, come November, I pull out my box of Christmas books, gathered over the years from Goodwill raids, yard sale finds, hand-me downs and library book sales. It’s surprisingly easy to find amazing Christmas books on the cheap, especially in November, before the holiday rush really picks up steam, so start your collection now! I wrap up each one, and starting December first, every evening, my Ruby and Edwin each get a book to unwrap and read before bedtime. As the years have passed, they treat the return of each book like the return of a long- lost friend, so excited to see and read them again. Our lives are so rushed, it’s hard to squeeze in meaningful holiday traditions, and while this is a small one, it means so much to all of us and is such a simple way to celebrate the season together.

So pull out your Christmas books, wrap them up, and start counting down to Christmas!

literary-advent-6

Miss Janna

Nursery Rhyme Time: Humpty Dumpty

 

 

Humpy Dumpty sat on a wall…

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall….

Can you complete the rhyme?  We find that many adults are not familiar with children’s  nursery rhymes anymore, but there are good reasons that they should be!

Learning nursery rhymes help children develop language and vocabulary – and help them form the foundation for learning to rhyme words on their own.  Many nursery rhymes also contain phrases that start with words that all have the same beginning sounds, so this helps children begin to become aware of the sounds of their language.

As children learn these traditional rhymes, they exercise and stretch their memory skills, which helps them prepare to memorize future materials, such as the alphabet, sight words, or math facts.

So, brush up on your nursery rhymes, and teach them to your children!

To get you started, here’s the full rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King’s horses,

And all the King’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

To extend the fun of learning the rhyme, here’s a craft you can make with your child. I created the pattern based off this craft my son Adam made over 20 years ago!

  1. Color and cut out the Humpty Dumpty body and legs.
  2. Color a sheet of paper to resemble a wall.
  3. Glue Humpty’s legs to the wall.
  4. Attach Humpty’s body to the legs with a brad.
  5. As you say the rhyme Humpty can swivel as he falls!

Have fun! To learn more, here are links to good web articles on why nursery rhymes are important:

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/nursery-rhymes-not-just-babies

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-tips/the-surprising-meaning-and-benefits-of-nursery-rhymes/

https://www.themeasuredmom.com/10-reasons-why-kids-need-to-know-nursery-rhymes/

Miss Teresa