Staff Picks: Books
Staff-recommended reading from the
What Can a Crane Pick Up? is a perfect read aloud for young children. Author Rebecca Kai Dotlich has written an easy to share book about a high-interest topic for young children. The rhymes in the book perfectly flow from one to the next and even have some unexpected surprises that will have your toddler or preschooler giggling. And then of course you will be giggling too! It's silly in some parts and at the same time kids will know just a little bit about cranes and their many uses after reading this book. I predict it will be one they'll want to read again and again as they study the engaging and colorful illustrations by Mike Lowery. This book is definitely a gem to add to your story rotation!
See the adorable book trailer here.
What Can a Crane Pick Up?
It's no secret that I love Amy Krouse Rosenthal's books. At least it's no secret in the Children's Room. I just love her charming characters and the way she plays with words and typography. My favorites are the books she has done with Tom Lichtenheld. With Amy and Tom together, it's sure to be a great book. The newest is called Exclamation Mark! and it's a great story about the importance of celebrating our differences and being happy about what makes us special. I love that this book teaches such an important concept in a fun way and that in the end the differences between Exclamation Mark and his friends, make the entire group stronger! You can find more of Amy's books here. And more Tom Lichtenheld books here.
I love crafting books and crafting blogs and I always have! Nothing gives me more inspiration than reading stories about projects other people have figured out. At least right now with a full-time job and a toddler at home, that's what works for me. Hand in hand: crafting with kids, edited by Jenny Doh, is a book I really enjoyed recently that gave me lots of fresh inspiration for crafting with my girl at home. Not only is it full of inspiring parents who have simple and effective ideas for crafting with children, each person featured is a blogger with a blog full of other ideas. I love it! I've always loved making things but it can be hard as a parent to involve children in the process. As an adult, I can become product-oriented and it's important for me to remember that young children are more process-oriented. They want to experience things, not just get a finished product put together. And in that experience, they can practice all kinds of wonderful skills like fine-motor development, conversation, measurements, etc. If you're looking for some fresh ideas from real parents who craft with their children, this book has plenty. And if you are a parent who just likes to unwind with a craft book, even though you have no intention whatsoever of adding new projects to your long to-do list, don't worry....I'm right there with you and I won't tell. You can just soak up that inspiration and save it for a rainy day when you need the perfect new activity to keep everybody smiling! Happy crafting!
Hand in Hand: crafting with kids
Does anyone else make reading goals at the beginning of the year? I find it so interesting how different readers approach reading. Everyone does it a little bit differently but the goals are often the same: reading for pleasure, reading to learn, reading to grow, reading to escape for a bit! It's always at the end of the year when I am reflecting on the year that has passed and preparing for the new year that I'm thinking about personal reading goals. More reading is always on my goal list.
Last year, I challenged myself to read 100 books and keep track of them on Goodreads. I love having a record of what I've read! In 2013, I'll try to read 100 books again, but I think I'll choose 12 personal growth books or lifelong learning that I've been wanting to read but don't make time for. They are going on a list and I'm plowing through them, one month at a time. Knowledge is power, friends!
Number 1 on that list: Help, Thanks, Wow: the three essential prayers by Anne Lamott. If you know me, you probably saw that coming! I'm also looking forward to Daring Greatly: how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead by Brene Brown. Have you seen her TED talk on vulnerability? So inspiring!
What books are you looking forward to making time for in 2013? If you need some best of lists, KPL's staff lists are great. Our staff has diverse tastes but share a love for reading, listening and viewing. I love that the lists are linked to our catalog so I can search for the location or place holds as I peruse the favorites! I also love this list by NPR, this list and this list by the New York Times, and this list of notable fiction by the Washington Post.
Happy new year to all! I wish you many hours of enjoyable reading for fun, reading for growth, and reading just because you can!
I might be an extravert but I'm not sure. I don't like labels. Personality and temperment are just not that simply defined. I picked up the book, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, because personality psychology is a topic that interests me. I was hoping to better understand introversion and extraversion and how our culture values, or perhaps undervalues, either trait. I think Susan Cain does a great job of explaining the theories and research behind this aspect of personality. The book is well-written and the research presented is compelling. And it doesn't read like a psychology textbook so that's a plus!
I'm not sure exactly sure where I fall on the introversion/extroversion continuum. Socially, I much prefer small groups to large parties and while I don't seem to "need" solitude, I enjoy it and feel refreshed by it. Regardless, I think it's important that society learn to value people as they are, without requiring a certain level of extroversion. I can already tell I'll be thinknig about this book for a long time. I hope it sparks a movement toward greater acceptance and celebration of every individual's strengths, whatever they may be.
It's time for Music and Make Believe again! This week the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra String Quartet and Kalamazoo Public Library will collaborate to bring you this special program. Preschoolers will enjoy hearing the story, The Maestro Plays, and completing a craft in the children's room. Then we all go upstairs, where the KSO String Quartet will be waiting to illustrate the story again with music. Kids will love the interaction with the orchestra members and the beautiful music.
We'd love for you to join us at one of the 5 Music and Make Believe sessions this week. Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:30 and 10:30 am at Central. And Thursday at 10:30 am at Eastwood.
Register on our website or call 553-7804 for more information.
The Maestro Plays
Moonlight by Helen Griffith is easily one of my favorite pictures books of 2012. I picked it up in the Children's Room because of the beautiful cover but was delighted by the words and story when reading it to my toddler. It's a perfect bedtime book--very soothing with simple, rhyming text. My daughter calls it the butter book because the "moonlight falls like butter" according to the poem in the book. The yellow brushstrokes of moonlight on each page are beautiful enough that she reaches out to touch them. And when we finally see rabbit's dreams, she loves to call out the things she sees (strawberries, radishes, cabbage). It's been our favorite for a month or so now!
Moonlight by Helen Griffith
Sue already blogged about one of my favorite books of the past year. But I wanted to share about the impact I think this book can have. Wonderby R.J. Palacio might be the best fiction book I've ever read that deals with the difficult issue of bullying. I love the main character, Auggie's, spirit and resiliency but most of all I love the author's honesty about the issues Auggie faces. She doesn't shy away from exploring authentic thoughts and feelings that children experience whether they are the bullied, the bystander, or the bully. I think this book is fantastic and has the power to make positive changes as teachers and librarians and parents use it to engage children in dialogue on bullying. It's also a quick and delightful read. It's funny and inspiring in addition to the important issues it explores.
Random House has launched a "Choose Kind" anti-bullying campaign in response to the droves of librarians, teachers, parents, and children who love this book. On the website, people can share their experiences with bullies and their reactions to the situations in the book. You can also pledge to Choose Kind and print a certificate. The #thewonderofwonder conversation on Twitter has been another great place for discussion of the importance of this book.
In the book, Auggie's principal tells the middle-schoolers that when they have a chance to choose to be kind or be right, they should choose kindness every time. A great way to live life! So check out Wonder from the library soon and join in the Choose Kind movement!
Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers. She brings humor and grace to so many of the hardest things in life. Her voice has challenged me and made me laugh out loud throughout the years but never more than when reading her newest book Some Assembly Required:a journal of my son's first son. It is a beautiful look at the first year of parenting from an overly involved grandmother's perspective and it is co-written with Anne's son, Sam. I found it both poignant and heartwarming. Many quotes were hastily scribbled down to remember and share with others. Parenting is tough and parents are imperfect people wanting to do the absolute best they can for their children. Some Assembly Required reminds us that it truly does take a village and nobody is perfect. This newest book is a follow-up to Operating Instructions, Anne's journal of her son's first year. Another great book full of Anne's characteristic humerous and vulnerable writing.
Some Assembly Required
Some books are just great to look at. I love this new book, Green by Laura Vaccaro Steeger. My favorite color is green and so I was naturally interested in this book as soon as I saw it. From the inside flap:
"How many kinds of green are there?
There’s the lush green of a forest on a late spring day, the fresh, juicy green of a just-cut lime, the incandescent green of a firefly, and the vivid aquamarine of a tropical sea."
On each page of this beautiful book a different shade of green is explored. My favorite was the just-cut lime. The artistry is so masterful and there are cut-outs between the pages that completely delight. As you flip through the pages the cut-outs allow you to see glimpses of the pages before and after. I don't want to give anything away but look for the fireflies that turn into apples on a tree. Each time I look through it I notice something new. It's a wonderful picture book for readers, young and old.
Most of the time I’m waiting for one book or another to come out. Knowing forthcoming publication dates is part of this profession but I think I’d be this way regardless. Most of the time, I think the anticipation is fun and I even add reminders to my online calendar so that I don’t forget to put the book on hold.
The hardest part of reading a good series is waiting for the next book. Sometimes I’m so anxious to read it, I have to work hard to distract myself with other good books. Other times I forget about a series for awhile and then am pleasantly surprised when a new book comes out. A few times in my life, I’ve purposely waited until the whole series was available before reading because I just new it would be so good that I’d want to read it all at once. It’s hard to avoid spoilers but it’s pretty great to not have to wait for the next book. I read the Harry Potter series this way, start to finish. That was a great two weeks!
Early 2012 seemed to be a busy reading time for me with new additions to some of my favorite series for children and teens coming out. I really enjoyed Trenton Lee Stewart’s new book, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, a companion to his Mysterious Benedict Society series. This series is great for elementary aged kids but I know a fair number of adults who like it too. I think it’d be great for reading as a family or listening to on a road trip. Suspenseful and touching with lots of mystery and problem-solving. Funny, engaging characters. This latest book was easily my favorite of all four.
Now I’m moving on to Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. It’s a companion book to “Graceling” and “Fire” and I’m hoping it’s just as wonderful. I've been waiting a long time to read more about Bitterblue, Po, and Katsa!
So what books are you marking your calendar for? Anything I should be looking out for too?