Every Child is an Artist!

Every Child is an Artist!

There’s an art wall by the project table in the Children’s Room, where kids can always find supplies to sit down and make something creative. They can take their projects home, leave them to display, or make two, one to take and one to display.

The projects that go on the table are great for tactile learners and creative kids. They all support one of more of the five practices of the Every Child Ready to Read Initiative of the American Library Association.

The leaf project was to decorate a paper leaf with colorful paper bits. It’s amazing how different they were from each other! It tied in with the Writing aspect of the initiative. Picking up the mosaic bits and working with a glue stick helps develop the fine motor skills needed to write, and reading and writing go hand in hand.

 There’s a lot to do in the Children’s Room these days. When kids visit the library they can CREATE (project table,) DO (crawl through the giant caterpillar, play a board game,) READ (book, magazine,) PLAY WITH (train table, computers,) LISTEN TO (snuggle up with together on a cozy couch,) or ATTEND something (a library program- see what there is for your child!).

Nothing is Old to Young Children

There are a lot of new picture books every year, and competition for sales is intense. Many new picture books are really written to appeal to adults who shop for books, and they are sophisticated, full of references to other things and jokes that kids don’t get. It’s a good marketing strategy and everything. But… first things first.

The simple story of The Three Bears is still a new and exciting story to little kids. I read it to preschoolers because they really like it. Of course I know what will happen, and I’ve read it a thousand times! Most of the kids have never heard it though, and they don’t know.

The Gunniwolf, The Turnip, The Gingerbread Man. These books are not trying to be clever, they are just simple, interesting stories for kids. They have been around for hundreds of years because they are timeless.

Author/illustrator Paul Zelinsky says, “From the point of view of very young children, nothing is old or hackneyed. Isn’t it important for them to be exposed to the most basic forms of things? Variations should come second. And winking third.” (You can read his article here: http://www.hbook.com/2012/05/authors-illustrators/interv%20%20iews/five-questions-for-paul-o-zelinsky/.)

 My suggestion: when you are reading a traditional kind of story, start with a basic version like The Little Red Hen by Galdone. Play around with it. Read it with goofy animal voices if you do that – your child can do those parts if you don’t. Later, pretend you are the hen. “Who will help me put away these groceries?”

Next read different versions and expansions like The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Sturges. and compare the pictures and story. Guess what? Not all versions of The Little Red Hen have the same ending. Sometimes the animals get to share the bread (or cake, or pizza) with the hen and sometimes they don’t.

Then go for take-offs or parodies like The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Sciesza (which rhymes with Fresca.) Your child will have the context to get the joke then.

A young child may latch on to a favorite story and choose it over and over again until you think you can’t stand it one more time. Studies have shown that it’s normal and developmentally appropriate. (Ever watched a TV box set or movie more than once? I thought so. Me too.) Don’t worry, the child will move on eventually!

Gold Star Books

If you have been in the Children’s Room lately, you probably had to walk around our shiny new display, the Gold Star Books. We put it where most people walk to make it hard to miss…… as if all the gold stars won’t catch your attention!

It is stuffed with staff picks. By looking at the bookmark inside, you can see which staff member recommended it.  A few of the books won awards, some are our top favorites, and the rest are books that make us say, “Oh, I liked that one, I want someone else to find it!”  If you read one, let us know what you think about it!


Meet Miss Mary Puppet: An Interview with Jan’s Puppet

Miss Mary Puppet and her special quilt
We recently decided to interview Jan’s friend Miss Mary Puppet.

Us: Hi, Miss Mary! Let’s cut to the chase. What’s your story?

Miss Mary: (waving) Hi back! Right now my main thing is helping Jan do the Fabulous Fours & Fives program in the Great Beginnings Series.

Us: That’s the Early Literacy series of programs, isn’t it? Tell us about it.

Miss Mary: Sure, there are different program series for babies, one-year-olds, 2 & 3-year olds, and 4 & 5-year-olds. Babies are a lot different than five-year-olds, so the programs are different too. The Children’s Room people are always learning more about the best ways to do those programs. You could probably ask them if you want to know more about it. I know it’s educational but it just seems fun to me. That’s the idea, I guess.

Us: Interesting! How do you help?

Miss Mary: I always start the program by waving or saying hello, it’s a great welcome for the kids who are new. I love it when they wave or say hi back! We all have a little chat about the stories or something about the program. Sometimes I even lead the first song.

Us: Sounds fun. Do you listen to the stories too?

Miss Mary: Oh, sure. After my part I sit on my special quilt and enjoy the rest of the program. I love it all, especially the stories… and the Dance Along Gong Song at the end. It’s always fun to say hello to new friends.

Us: Why do you call your quilt special?

Miss Mary: Jan’s daughter made it for me a long, long time ago. It is yellow with buttons sewn on it.

Us: Have you known Jan a long time? You seem to work well together.

Miss Mary: I’ve known her since… practically forever. I guess I have been helping her for 20 years or more, pretty long. Before that I was a stuffed animal. That was a great job too. Jan bought me at a garage sale, washed me, and took out the stuffing. Then I could finally get a job where I move my hands!

Us: Wait, so you have been here for 20 years?

Miss Mary: Or more, yes. It sounds like a long time but Jan has been here doing programs for 26 years – and this isn’t even her first library! Sometimes she schedules a vacation for me and sends in another puppet, Zelda or Luna Bella, they like to get a chance too.

Us: It sounds like you have a great career at the library.

Miss Mary: I sure do. Being a favorite teddy bear and then becoming a puppet… who could ask for anything more?

Us: Thanks for telling us about your job, Miss Mary.

Miss Mary: Before we are done, can I add a *special hello* to my 4 & 5-year-old friends, and to my older friends who used to come to the programs?

Us: Of course.

Miss Mary Puppet: (waves) Hello!

Are you familiar with Miss Mary Puppet? Have you ever been to a program with her or with Jan? Comment below and let us know; we’re sure they would both love to hear of it!