Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Notable Site: Greater Good Parenting

I recently discovered the Greater Good Parenting site - part of the Greater Good Science Center at University of California Berkeley. "The Greater Good Science Center is an interdisciplinary research center devoted to the scientific understanding of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior," according to their website. The Parents section offers research, discussion, podcasts, videos and and the Half Full blog by sociologist Christine Carter.

For a preview of what you'll find, take a look at this video on Emotional Literacy and Children:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Train Stories - New & Old

Many young children find trains a fascinating subject. Just ask a children's librarian - "where are books about trains?" is a question we regularly hear from the youngest children on up. Often the "favorites" are checked out regularly and read over and over again. Perhaps you've already found and read all of the train books. But there just might be a hidden gem still waiting for you at the library. Using the kids' catalog, you can search by the subject heading "trains" to find fiction and nonfiction books about trains. You can also search the classic catalog, setting your limits to the "J Easy Book" collection, and then searching by the subjects containing "trains" to limit your results to only picture books about trains.

Here are a few of my favorite train picture books:
The Train by David McPhail
A young boy is busy playing train when his parents announce that it is bedtime. When he can't fall asleep, he takes an imaginative ride on his toy train and gets busy helping the train run.
A Train Goes Clickety-Clack by Jonathan London, illustrated by Denis Roche
This simple, colorful book is great for sharing with toddlers and preschoolers who love trains. Easy, rhyming text describe the various uses of different kinds of trains.
Railroad John and the Red Rock Run by Tony Crunk, illustrations by Michael Austin
Lonesome Bob and Granny Apple Fritter are in a hurry! They must get to Red Rock by 2:00 or he'll miss his wedding! Railroad John is running late - really late - andLonesome Bob fears he'll never make it. Will they get there in time? The sepia-toned artwork is beautiful and the end depics a boy playing with an antique train in an attic filled with items found throughout the story. Older preschoolers and early elementary-aged children will enjoy this one.
Jiggle Joggle Jee! by Laura E. Richards, illustrated by Sam Williams
Join a baby and his stuffed animal friends on a rollicking, rhyming train ride. This one is great for babies, wobblers and toddlers who will love the repetitive refrain and alliteration of "jiggle joggle jee!"
Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand
The childhood song "Down by the Station" is beautifully depicted in this fun, colorful book by Will Hillenbrand. Sing along and pay close attention to the pictures as the train picks up new animal passengers on its way to the children's zoo. There's just the right amount of drama as the end passengers' car breaks lose and plummets into a small pond. They are quickly rescued and hurry to rejoin the head of the train as it rolls along the track.
Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis, illustrated by Daniel Kirk
This is a fantastic book that toddlers and preschoolers just love! There's just the right amount of text for a younger audience and rhythmic refrain of "Chugga-chugga Choo-choo/ Whistle blowing/ Whoooooooo! Whooooooooo!!" begs for repeated reading-aloud. This story follows a toy train's busy day and Daniel Kirk's color-saturated, dramatic computer-aided illustrations are full of shine and life.
And the Train William Bee
The train rolls down the track going, "Click clack, clickerty clack." Along the journey each of the train cars inhabitants add their own sounds to the symphony of the train. The highlight is at the end when a parrot who had been carefully listening the whole time repeats all of the wonderful sounds heard.
All Aboard! by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Amiko Hirao
A girl goes on an overnight train ride with Mr. Barnes, her stuffed rabbit, to visit her grandparents. The story joggles between real and imaginary scenes. Young children who've had the experience of riding on a train - and those who anticipate such an event - are sure to enjoy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Winter Early Literacy Newsletter

The Winter edition of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library's Early Literacy Newsletter is here! Check out this quarterly publication for seasonal rhymes, children's book and music recommendations, early literacy tips and more.

Topics inside include:
*writing - mail & letters
*exploring art

To download a pdf copy of the winter newsletter, click here. You will need Adobe Reader to view it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Best Books 2008

The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library created a list of highly recommended books published in 2008 for all ages of children and teens. If you're looking for a good book to recommend or purchase for young person, take a look here: Books for Giving.

School Library Journal's book review editors have also recently published their list of the best books of 2008. Check out this list here: School Library Journal's Best Books 2008.

Pick of the Week: Too Many Toys

Too Many Toys by David Shannon (Blue Sky Press, 2008)

This is the kind of book that many parents will appreciate and relate to - especially right after any holiday gift-giving frenzy. Spencer is a boy with - as the title implies - too many toys. He gets toys on birthdays, holidays, at friends' birthday parties, from kids meals, for being brave at the dentist and doctor, and even for the 4th of July! When Spencer's mother demands that he fill a box with toys to give away, David Shannon's color-saturated illustrations aptly depict the panic Spencer feels at this proposition. With every suggested toy to donate, Spencer can easily come up with a reason to keep it. After much debate, mom and son come to an agreement and Spencer finds toys he can live without...that is, all except one - the best toy of all. And what do you think this must-have toy is???

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Hanukkah Books

Two new delightful books on Hanukkah have arrived at the library:

Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter with illustrations by Marilyn Hafner (Little, Brown Children, 2008)

On the eighth and final day of Hanukkah, a family is busy lighting the menorah, making dreidels and decorations, preparing latkes, and sharing in song, food and celebration. A brief explanation of Hanukkah is given in a note at the end of the book.

The Hanukkah Mice by Steven Kroll (Marshall Cavendish, 2008)

Author Steven Kroll ahs written numerous holiday books and his newest addition, The Hanukkah Mice, is another great addition to the genre. In The Hanukkah Mice a young girl receives a dollhouse for her first Hanukkah gift. As she and her family continue to celebrate Hanukkah, a family of mice enjoy their own holiday celebration in her new dollhouse. Miniature latkes are prepared and served alongside applesauce in tiny dishes; a miniature menorah is placed in the dollhouse; and the holiday is wonderfully celebrated by both big (human) and tiny (mouse) families alike.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Book on Boys & Education

The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card by Peg Tyre (Crown Publishers, 2008)

"From the moment they step into the classroom, boys begin to struggle. By eighth grade huge numbers are reading below basic level. Perhaps most alarmingly, boys now account for less than 43 percent of those enrolled in college, and the gap widens every semester! The growing gender imbalance in education portends massive shifts for the next generation: how much they make and whom they marry. Interviewing parents, kids, teachers, and experts, journalist Peg Tyre drills below the statistics to examine how the educational system is failing our sons. But this passionate, clearheaded book isn't an exercise in finger-pointing. Tyre, the mother of two sons, offers the testimony of teachers and school officials who are trying new techniques to motivate boys to learn again, one classroom at a time. This book is a manifesto for change--one we must undertake right away lest school become, for millions of boys, unalterably a "girl thing."--From publisher description.

This book follows the author, Peg Tyre's previous article in a 2006 cover story on "The Boy Crisis" in Newsweek. A September 8, 2008 article, "Struggling School-Age Boys" in Newsweek can be accessed here.

Are you an educator, child care provider or parent of boys? What do you think?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snowy Fun

The weather report hints at snow for the weekend, so I thought I'd share a few snow-related books and activity ideas.

That's Not My Fiona Watt (Usborne Touchy-Feely Books)

This touch and feel board book is irresistible for little eyes and hands. I shared this with a group of one-year-olds this morning and they just could not resist interacting with this snowman book. New copies of this board book can be found at the library in the board book bins.

All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle (Harcourt, 2002)

Lists everything that one needs to build the perfect snowman, from the very first snowflake that falls. Great for building narrative skills!

Snowden by Nancy Carlson (Viking, 1997)

Kelly doesn't know how to ice skate. But, fortunately, she meets a magical snowman who teaches her that with a little help and patience, wonderful things can happen!

Snow by Roy McKibe and P.D. Eastman (Beginner Books, 1962)

Two children enjoy sledding, skiing, making tracks, building a snowman, and other activities in the snow. This early reader is lots of fun to share with preschoolers and young school-aged kids.

If you're looking for snow-themed crafts and activities, try:

Preschool Snowman Arts & Crafts from Everything

Winter Fun: Snowmen Snacks & Crafts from Family Fun online:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pick of the Week: What Do Wheels Do All Day?

What Do Wheels Do All Day? by April Jones Prince, illustrated by Giles Laroche (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

Many a small child is fascinated by things that go and what makes things turn. Wheels! This fantastic book introduces a variety of wheels with great cut-paper illustrations and very simple text. Certain to be enjoyed by fans of transportation and curious young minds. This would also be a useful title to use to prompt conversations about wheels, how they are used and how they work to make things move. A simple math lesson could even follow.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fun for Little Ones

As the weather becomes colder, you might find yourself looking for more indoor activities to do with a very small child. Check out these resources for great ideas to keep boredom at bay:
: Lil' Fingers Storybooks is a site for toddlers with educational games, storybooks and coloring pages. Literacy Center Play & Learn - get to know letters, numbers, colors, shapes and more. Preschool Express: Toddler Station offers a wealth of activities to enrich your toddler's day. Preschool Rainbow provides ideas and inspiration for early childhood educators, care providers and parents alike!

Feeling Under the Weather?

With cold and flu season here, you might be looking for a book to share with young children about those unfortunate days when they are not feeling so well. Iris Has a Virus by Arlene Alda, with pictures by Lisa Desimini is a funny, sympathetic, and informational story. When Iris comes down with a virus, her brother Doug is upset that she has spoiled the family's plans to visit Grandpa. After much rest, TLC, wild dreams about what made her sick, and a trip to the doctor, Iris gets well.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Get Ready to Laugh: Wild Boars Cook

They're bossy. They're stinky. They're hungry. They're wild boars! The wild boars are back and are ready to cook. One of them has found a sweet, sticky, incredibly messy recipe for a Massive Pudding that only a wild boar could love! Certain to tickle your funny bone and keep listeners begging for you to read it one more time.

Wild Boars Cook by Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall (Henry Holt and Company, 2008)