School is almost out and the summer reading program has begun. Our theme this year is One World Many Stories: Get Reading, Get Moving. Reading folktales is the perfect way to explore this exciting theme and one of the best folktale collectors is Margaret Read MacDonald. Dr. MacDonald lived in Bloomington many years ago when she studied for her Ph.D. in folklore at Indiana University. She lives and works in Washington state today where she is a librarian, storyteller, and author of dozens of books. Some of her books are collections that are perfect for beginning storytellers. Teachers, parents, and kids who want to learn how to tell stories will love The Storyteller's Start-Up Book . These stories are easy to learn and Dr. MacDonald gives great advice on how to present them. When the Lights Go Out: Twenty Scary Tales to Tell is a fun collection of shivery stories that are great to share around a summer campfire. Read more about Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale
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 thought I knew most of what there was to know about Amelia Earhart and her doomed final flight, but this well-researched account, Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming, is both surprising and fascinating!Starting with a haunting account of the coast guard cutter Itasca's fruitlesswait for Earhart to land on tiny Howland Island the morning of July 2, 1937, this book is hard to put down.Earhart's early childhood was a happy one, but by the time she was in high school, her father had descended into alcoholism, sending the family into poverty and shame. Fleming implies that Earhart's desperate wish to fly was at least partly a result of a need to free herself from the unpleasant realities of everyday life.
This week is national Children's Book Week - a time to celebrate all the marvelous books for children you can find at your library! More than 500,000 people voted for their favorite children's book, author and illustrator.
There's two terrific ways to celebrate reading and fabulous stories for children this Saturday, April 30!
From 8:00am to Noon, readers of all ages and abilities are invited to the Bloomington Farmer's Market to help Bloomington read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl aloud on stage. Each participant will have a chance to read a page. And the first 300 students who visit the Bloomington Reads table will receive a free book!
So go early, get your free book, and then hop on over to the Library Auditorium for a special free preview performance of Cardinal Stage's production of A Year with Frog and Toad, based on the stories by Arnold Lobel. The preview peformance, which starts at 11 am and lasts about 30 minutes, will feature the delightfully funny episodes of Frog and Toad sharing cookies and going for a swim. Listen to librarians tell the stories and then see how cast members depict the stories on stage through song. Read more about Bloomington Reads! at the Farmers Market
"What would you do if you knew you had a special gift - a sixth sense - that was passed down from one generation to the next? A gift that could help people in times of need, but one your father often saw as a trap. Would you use that gift?" The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt is the story of Amos Kincaid, a boy who could find water where it lay beneath the land, unseen by ordinary eyes.
After his mother dies in childbirth, Amos is raised by a succession of women who are each symbols of the American West: a missionary, a rough farm worker, a new bride, and his father's second wife, an Otoe Indian woman. Each of them contributes something unique to the boy's upbringing under the watchful presence of his mother's spirit. The boy is also shaped by the rough men of the wilderness: his father Jake, a reluctant dowser and trapper, and the Blocks, a family of boys as close as brothers to Amos. All come together in the vast wilderness of America sharing tragedy and triumph as Amos grows into manhood on a perilous journey along the Oregon Trail.
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." Read more about Some Picture Books Are a Little Scary
I had a great time listening to The True Meaning of Smekday, the recipient of the 2011 Odyssey Award. (The Odyssey Award is presented by the American Library Association to the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the U.S.) How can you not love a friendly, tongue-clacking "Boov" alien nicknamed "J.Lo" (because Boovish names are unpronounceable by humans) who becomes the unlikely companion of an intrepid 11-year old car-driving heroine named Gratutity (nickname "Tip")? Throw in a cat called "Pig," a flying car called "Slushious," and other colorful characters, along with some strange, funny, and occasionally horrifying events - well, the result is a futuristic road trip like you've never imagined.
Whew! Looks like Spring has finally arrived! What a great time of the year to get outside and Get Moving!
Whether you like to hop, jump, skip, kick a ball, ride a bike, or do some yoga, there are a lot of ways to exercise for fun - and we have a lot of books with great tips on how to keep your body fit and strong. Did you know that in addition to keeping your heart and muscles strong physical activity can also keep your brain strong? Read more about Get Reading, Get Moving!
There is nothing that heralds the arrival of Spring like the sound of the spring peepers. I enjoyed listening to their chorus when it was warm enough a couple weeks ago to open the windows and hear them singing in the evening from the creek in the backyard. But frogs are often hard to see - especially now that the weather has turned cold again!
To get a wonderful close up peek at spring peepers and other frogs, take a look at Nic Bishop's book Frogs. It's filled with beautiful color photographs of a variety of frogs and fascinating facts about them, too. Read more about Frogs - Where are You??