Josh W.'s blog

Arabic and Persian for Children!

Alef Ba in the Learn and Play Space

Connect with the World in our Learn and Play Space!

Every Saturday morning we offer Arabic and Persian language immersion learning in the Learn and Play Space.

These programs are made possible through a partnership with the Bridges Project, administered by the IU Center for the Study of Global Change.

The Bridges: Children, Languages, World Project strives to expose children to less commonly taught languages and culture through play, games, crafts, stories, puppet shows, and interactive activities. Exploratory programs in Arabic and Persian are led by IU students, some of them native speakers of their respective languages.

No registration is necessary for these programs. Just drop in!

Alef Ba (Arabic), Saturdays, 10:30 – 11:15 a.m.

Yek, Doh, Seh (Persian), Saturdays 11:30 a.m. – noon

Alef Ba and Yek, Doe, Seh

Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz


There are plenty of scary stories out there to keep you shivering beneath the blankets long after you've turned out the lights. But Raven's Gate, by Anthony Horowitz stands out for its great characters and ever mounting action and suspense. Fourteen-year-old orphan Matt Freeman is framed for a violent crime and given the choice of getting locked up or going into a reform program in the rural English town of Lesser Malling.
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Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl


Looking for a fantasy story that treads new ground? Look no further than Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch. This refreshingly offbeat graphic novel tells the story of a young girl in an isolated community who wants to be a dragon slayer. Mixing elements of fairy tale, Yiddish folklore, and small town dynamics, Barry Deutsch has created a coming-of-age hero tale that is also a magical and poignant picture of Orthodox Jewish life. Recommended for grades 4 and up.

Best. Folktales. Ever.


What would you do if the leader of your country ordered you to kill your parents? What if you had a talking mask that looked just like your best friend? Imagine finding a village of tiny people who all rode on rabbits. What would you say if they told you that you could live forever?

I just came across Mirra Ginsburg's The Kaha Bird: Tales from the Steppes of Central Asia. If you like your fairy tales to surprise you, check this book out. Although Mirra Ginsburg is best known for her picture book adaptations of such tales as The Clay Boy and Two Greedy Bears, she collected stories from all over the world and retold them for children and adults.

Find her in our stacks, but fasten your seatbelt before reading these stories. They have teeth! The Kaha Bird is recommended for grades four and up.

Some Picture Books Are a Little Scary


I was thinking about Swimmy, by Leo Lionni, and how as a child I was both drawn to and scared by the story. If you don't know, this book for preschoolers and primary grade children features a little black fish who must undertake the classic hero's journey after his entire family is eaten by a giant tuna. While I love to share this book, I recommend it carefully. No one deserves to get frightened when they're not looking for a scare. But what about when they are?

In School Library Journal (www.slj.com) John Peters notes that, "do you have any scary stories?" is second only to "where's the bathroom?" in the list of most commonly asked reference questions from very young children. We have a natural instinct to protect children from things that might frighten them, but what are they telling us when they ask for these stories? According to Peters, children who ask for scary stories are "searching for ways to articulate, control, or at least build a little resistance to the fear that comes from feeling surrounded by a world rife with shadows, sudden dangers, and unknown rules."
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Watership Down


Are you a fan of Erin Hunter's Warriors Series or the swashbuckling adventures of Redwall Abbey? If so, you owe it to yourself to check out Watership Down by Richard Adams, one of the greatest animal fantasy novels of all time.

A band of brave rabbits sets out from their doomed warren on an epic journey across a dangerous land. Along the way, they must face weasels, birds of prey, cats, men, and hostile bands of other rabbits. Filled with nail-biting escapes, brave heroes and terrifying villains, Watership Down will keep you up way past your bedtime. It's one of those rare, "stand alone" fantasy novels, but the characters searching for a new home in this story will stay with you for years to come. Recommended for grades 5 and up.

Ready for Action!


Want to know how to fend off a shark, cross piranha-infested waters, or escape from quicksand? Do you know how to find water in the desert, escape from a crocodile, or survive when you're stranded on an iceberg? The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook [Extreme] Junior Edition tells you how to survive these and many other dangers.

With helpful diagrams and simple instructions, this book makes it easy for you to get ready for your next adventure. Recommended for grades 4 and up.

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