The Benefits of Puzzles

Since we just stocked up on brand new puzzles here in the Children’s Department, I thought I would take a moment to talk about some of the benefits puzzle-play can bring your toddler. We all know kids love the challenge of fitting a shape into the correct spot, but what’s going on at a deeper developmental level?

Hand-Eye Coordination and Fine Motor Skills:     

This may be an obvious one, but it’s importance can’t be overstated. Creating the connection between what the eyes see, how the brain processes it, and how the fingers and hands must move to manipulate objects develops the foundation for critical skills later on.

Problem Solving:           

Trying to fit the intricacies of a puzzle together can provide a wealth of problem-solving opportunities for your toddler’s brain. Just watch your child next time as they try first one possibility, then another…that’s perseverance in action! Puzzles can also teach your child to set and achieve smaller goals in order to achieve a larger goal, such as finding and connecting all the edge pieces in order to provide the framework to complete the puzzle. Critical thinking comes into play as a child analyzes the negative space and chooses the piece that will fit. Abstract thinking develops when the child looks at the image as a whole and then tries to see what is needed to complete it.

Puzzles are more than a fun educational tool- they help your child develop foundational life skills that will serve them well as they grow. Stop by our puzzle section and see what’s new!

I used two sites as inspiration for this article:

Miss Janna


Help Your Child Get Ready to Read…With Demco’s Upstart and “Every Child Ready to Read”

In our storytime planning, we like to incorporate the “Every Child Ready to Read” 5 pre-literacy practices. These seemingly simple practices help us to model to and encourage parents on how to help their child become a great reader.

Here are those five practices:

1. Talking: Talking with children helps them learn oral language, one of the most critical early literacy skills. Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and joining in the conversation.

2. Singing: Singing develops language skills. Slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words. Helps children learn new words and information.

3. Reading: Reading together develops vocabulary and comprehension, nurtures a love for reading, and motivates children to want to learn to read.

4. Writing: Children become aware that printed letters stand for spoken words as they see print used in their daily lives.

5. Playing: Play is one of the best ways for children to learn language and literacy skills. They learn about language through playing as the activities help them put thoughts into words and talk about what they are doing.

As a parent, you can incorporate these five practices very easily in your daily routine!  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Talking:  Keep up conversations as you go about your daily routine, for example, as you walk down the sidewalk, point out a street sign and say “Here’s the name of our street!  It’s called Main Street”.  Or talk about the color socks they are putting on.  Or count the number of crackers or apple slices they are having for a snack.
  2. Singing: Sing familiar songs together – I’ll bet your child sings some storytime songs at home!  Ask him or her to sing it again, or teach it to you.
  3. Reading: It goes without saying that you should be reading to your child every day.  If you haven’t already, enroll your infant-preschool aged child in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
  4. Writing: Drawing, scribbling, and practicing letters all help those emergent fine- motor skills and print recognition.
  5. Playing: This is the work of childhood!  Play with your child often!

If you need more ideas to help you incorporate these five practices into your daily routine, here’s a link to a fun calendar produced by Upstart (part of Demco, a library supply company).  This calendar prompts you to do one fun thing each day of the month that will that will help your child build pre-reading skills:  Daily Fun with Your Little One!

Download a free calendar each month!

Miss Teresa

My Lunch with Author Jill Esbaum

One of the perks of being a children’s librarian is that we sometimes, once in a while, get to meet some pretty amazing people in children’s-book land! Today I was able to join children’s book author Jill Esbaum for lunch here at the library cafe and learn a little more about her. Having read her books with my kids, and to groups of kiddos as part of our regular programming, it was so interesting to hear first-hand a little bit about how she became an author, her writing process,  and just enjoy seeing her face light up as she described working with different publishers and illustrators- a special behind-the scenes glimpse at how the books my kids and I know and love were created.


Jill will be here at the library this Saturday, April 14th at 2pm at a special event celebrating her books, including her newest one, How to Grow a Dinosaur. We will have games, activities and fun crafts based on several of her books at this event for all ages.

Wondering if you’ve read any books by Jill? I bet you have, and you just may not know it! She’s written over 40 books, many of which are favorites here at the library. If you haven’t, be sure to come check these out next time you visit us! My kids absolutely LOVE Estelle Takes a Bath, and with its goofy rhyming it makes a perfect read-aloud. They were completely engrossed by Teeny Tiny Toady, and even got a little teary as the tiny toad struggled to find her bravery and get her mama out of the bucket, and cheered when she used her smarts to find a way. And of course, her work for National Geographic has been amazing!

Miss Janna

Jill Esbaum is Coming to Our Library!

Each spring,  thanks to the Rotary Club, Moline 2nd-Graders are bussed by MetroLink to the Moline Public Library to meet a children’s book author!  They get to hear directly from the author how he or she became an author, what the writing process involves, have an opportunity to ask questions, and, best of all, they have a chance to win one of the author’s books! In previous years, we’ve hosted several authors, including Gary Metivier, Dori Hillestad Butler, and Jill Esbaum.

This year, we are pleased to once again host the very popular and award-winning author,  Jill Esbaum!  Jill lives on a farm near Davenport, Iowa, and has written nearly 30 books, both picture books and non-fiction.  Some picture books you might be familiar with are:  Tom’s Tweet, I am Cow, Hear Me Moo and Teeny Tiny Toady. Jill has written several books for National Geographic, including the Angry Birds Playground series.  2nd-graders and their teachers will get to meet Jill on Thursday, April 12, and hear all about her picture book,  Frankenbunny.

Now here’s the exciting part for the general public:

Jill Esbaum is returning to the Moline Public Library on Saturday, April 14 at 2pm!

So everyone (the whole family) can come join in the fun!  Jill will be reading her very newest picture book, How to Grow a Dinosaur, and answering questions.  Then all the kiddos can have fun with crafts and activities based on several of Jill Esbaum’s other books.  You won’t want to miss this special event!

For more information about Jill Esbaum, go to her website, or her blog, that she shares with other fun children’s authors.






Miss Teresa