This spring, we celebrated the 20th year of the Global Reading Challenge! This quiz-bowl program is for 4th and 5th graders. Students form teams at their schools, read ten books chosen by KPL children’s librarians, then work as a team to answer questions about the books, earning points with correct answers.
Our intent is for kids to have fun reading the books and participating in a team activity. The ten books are carefully chosen to reflect our diverse world and to show characters successfully solving problems, contributing to their communities, and learning that people are more alike than they are different.
The first Challenge, in 1994, featured 19 teams from Lincoln, North Christian, and MLK Westwood; the winning team was the “Bookworm Warriors” from MLK Westwood. This year we had 129 teams from 17 schools! The District Final Challenge featured teams from Edison, Arcadia, Prairie Ridge, Spring Valley, and Northglade. The champion was the “Crazy Cougars” team from Prairie Ridge. Thanks to the students, parents, teachers, principals, and coaches for another successful year of books and reading!
Over this summer, librarians will be reading and choosing the books for the 2015 Global Reading Challenge. Team applications will be accepted in October and the book titles will be announced in December.
Global Reading Challenge
Summer at the library officially begins on Monday, June 2! Sign up for Summer Reading Games at any of our locations beginning June 2. Kick off the summer by attending some of the library's great programs for the whole family, starting next week. Preschoolers ages 3 to 6 can explore strength and materials at Central'sLittle Scientists program on Monday, June 2 at 10:30am. Later that evening, join us at Oshtemo for an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Learn how to beat the heat by brewing your own iced tea with Tudor House Tea & Spice at Washington Square on Tuesday, June 3 at 6pm. Calling all nerdfighters! Head to Central on Tuesday, June 3 at 6:30pm for An Abundance of John Green and enter to win movie tickets to The Fault in Our Stars. LEGO fans can practice their skills at Oshtemo on Saturday, June 7 at 10:30am. The week wraps up on Saturday, June 7 at Central with the Summer Reading Kickoff Party at 1pm, featuring music, games, obstacle courses, and a bounce house!
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Developmental Timeline from parentingcounts.org includes some great research-based parenting tips videos. Many have good advice for any caregiver of young children about how to speak "parentese, or speak in a way that actually encourages language development. Other videos linked from within the different tabbed domains in the timeline show the world from a child's perspective. If you are parent or caregiver, you might find them interesting, too. I like the videos that try to portray the world from a child's perspective. Other videos have good tips about how to make reading fun from the very beginning. These are things that come naturally to parents when we make the time to read to our kids. I like to think about how many parents and children are making memories reading 1000 Books Before Kindergarten together.
Making Reading Fun
There are lots of fun things to do at Kalamazoo Public Library locations during Spring Break. If you're at the Central Library and want to borrow child/family movies and music, come to the Children's Room. That's where those materials are now located. Maybe you've been wondering what those lullabye renditions of Michael Jackson music sound like. Or maybe it's time to see how Danny Devito voiced The Lorax. Or revisit that beautiful Carl and Ellie sequence from Up. You'll find something that you'll enjoy in this collection and you'll be able to check it out at the kiosk in the Children's Room, too. And while you'll be able to find Dr. Seuss books in the Children's Room, you'll want to go to the lower level to find Thriller and The Wiz. You'll find lots of movie musicals and documentaries that make great family viewing in the lower level, too!
Movies and Music in the Children's Room
Well, here it is, the last day of Black History Month and all month I have been reflecting on what an honor it is to be working at a trailblazing library system, such as Kalamazoo Public Library. Why would I call KPL a trailblazer? Well, it all started with Mrs. Alma Harrod Powell. She was before her time. She went from being a housekeeper to a Library Assistant to a renowned storyteller and historian. It all started while working in the home of a world traveler, Mr. Larry Firth. Mr. Firth would return from Africa with artifacts that heightened Mrs. Powell interest in African history. In 1944 she participated in an apprenticeship course at KPL and in 1946 she became a KPL Library Assistant. In 1957 Mrs. Powell received a citation from the Michigan Library Association which acknowledged her skill as a storyteller. In 1968 a small library room in Lincoln School opened and was named Alma Powell Library Project. Mrs. Powell was followed by Mary Mace Spradling and Roberta Cheney. They were trailblazers in their own rights.
This all happened at KPL in Kalamazoo, Michigan before the civil rights movement. As a black female Mrs. Powell was a pioneer and Kalamazoo Public Library was a trailblazer. And we keep right on blazing because this year KPL will be the first library in Michigan to have its own antiracism team. We have begun selecting a team and we will begin training and working towards institutional equality.
Yes, as I said, it is truly an honor to be a part of this historical establishment.
We’re seeing more and more dads in the Children’s Room, as they bring their kids to storytime, choose books to take home, and share in the fun of playing with toys in the Story Place.
As more dads take on caregiver responsibilities, we are glad to see more parenting books written just for them. A Dad’s Guide to Childcare is one that I like. It’s practical, has clear photos that illustrate step-by-step processes, and even addresses difficult situations that may come up.
As part of the renovation of the Central Library Children’s Room, we’ve added some more Parenting books to our shelves. If you’re looking for books about parenting children from birth to 5 years, you can now find those books in the Children’s Room. We’d be glad to help you find the books that are just right for your family.
A Dad’s Guide to Childcare
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is an exciting new program at Kalamazoo Public Library for all children from birth to entering Kindergarten. It's super simple, self paced, and provides a way for your child to earn a prize for every 50 books you read aloud to her and then a gift and certificate of completion when you reach 1,000 books. More important, since reading aloud to your child is the best way to prepare for kindergarten, 1,000 Before Kindergarten is a way for you to do just that - read lots of books with your child!
A parent asked me if the books she reads to her child for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten need to be library books. They do not. While Kalamazoo Public Library certainly has many thousands of books we can all share together with our preschool aged children, you might find yourself reading a book aloud to your child that you found at the Friends bookstore or that was passed along to you or purchased elsewhere. Of course this is just great! And the way you read the books is also completely up to you. Some books are made to be sung to your child. Other books benefit from the animal sounds you supply. There is a whole world of fun to be had reading to our children.
It's easy to sign up at the any KPL location. Learn more about 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten at KPL and continue down the road to Kindergarten. And if you're in the mood for a fun read aloud that will help you think ahead to Springtime, check out 999 Frogs Wake Up.
999 Frogs and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!
The newly renovated Children's Room is open and ready for you to explore! There are many exciting new features including a parenting section, folk and fairy tales highlighted in the Alice in Wonderland Room, and more display space for new Fiction, new Non-fiction, and new Picture Books.
The Story Place has room for Lego at the Library, story time programs, and more. I hope you'll take time to come in and see the new Children's Room over the holiday break.
Come See the New Children's Room!
We've been busy renovating the Children's Room. Now there's a brand new Story Place! Soon there will be a new shelving layout and an exciting new Fairy Tale room that continues to feature Conrad Kaufman's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland themed murals and Jamie Rife's "Tall Small Alice" stained glass installation that so many have enjoyed over the years. The Children's Room will be closed Monday, December 16th, through Wednesday, December 18th, in order to change the way the room is arranged. The new Story Place will remain open for Toddler Storytime on the morning of Tuesday, December 17th. When Children's Room reopens on Thursday, December 19th, we hope you'll find an exciting new layout.
We're in the brand new Story Place this morning,
We're reading stories and we're having fun,
We're glad you came to Story Time this morning,
I hope that you will want to sing along!
Children's Room Changes
Our next Musical Storytime is coming right up! Last time, the multi-talented Mr. Ben Lau showed, played, and told us all about the pedal steel guitar! What an interesting mechanical musical instrument! It was neat to see how the cables, rods, and pedals work with Ben's musical playing to create music. Plus the pedal steel guitar makes some pretty great letter crane sounds!
At Musical Storytime, we read stories, sing songs, play musical games and generally have fun with music, songs, and our imaginations. Everyone is always welcome. The program is designed for children from preschool age up to about eight years old.
Pedal Steel Musical Storytime