Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

Mahjong, Soybeans, and Sisters: Growing Up Chinese in Indiana

I'm a bit biased about how wonderful Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic and Mahjong All Day Long are. Full disclosure: I'm from Illinois and I've lived in Indiana. And I'm moving to China in a month! (And I have 2 awesome sisters!) So, they're the perfect books for me, but they might just be great for you too. They are such a sweet celebration of  family traditions, so culturally specific and yet so universally heartwarming, that I can't help but want to share them with everyone I know! So let's travel from place to place, book by book.

Animals in Winter: Preschool Science and Math

 

As any parent knows, young children are curious about the world. At the library, we explore a range of topics during Preschool Science and Math. When the weather turns cold, I turn to one of my favorite themes for preschool science: Animals in Winter. Here are some of the activities we did in December!

Playaways!

Did you know MCPL now has Playaways? In Children's Services, we have over 30 titles available for check-out (or for placing a hold if already checked out). Simply insert an AAA battery and some headphones, and you've got yourself a portable audiobook. The player itself is smaller than a deck of cards, and they're packaged in bright orange cases.  We've placed them near our books-on-cd. Come check one, or more, out!  (3-week check-out.)

TumbleBooks eBooks Updated for the iPad

TumblebooksIncreasingly, our patrons are asking about downloadable ebooks and audiobooks for children. You can search our online catalog for downloadable materials, and when you connect to our partner provider - Indiana Digital Media (also known as Overdrive) -- you can further limit your search to juvenile materials. These items can then be downloaded to a number of different mobile devices.

Many parents and teachers have also turned to TumbleBooks, an online collection of animated picture books and "read-along" chapter books, as another way to access ebooks for children. Available for free through the library's website, TumbleBooks offers a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles especially for young children. (Find a link to TumbleBooks on the right side of the Children's Services home page: mcpl.info/childrens.)

A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse

Did you know there's a place in Antarctica where it's warm enough to swim? It's true! It's heated by an active (though not actively erupting!) volcano. Mouse and his human friend have set out on a long journey to that spot, and we're along for the adventure.

A Trip To The Bottom Of the World with Mouse, written and illustrated by Frank Viva, is the tale of a mouse in a stripey hat, and a bald-headed boy in a shirt with a bat on it, amusing themselves aboard a big boat bound for Antarctica. Mouse is antsy to get where they're going -- Mouse is always antsy -- and the boy is seasick. So they chat about everything they can think of to keep their minds occupied. The story progresses as a series of lists under discussion: things that are hard to do on a boat on a rough ocean, things to wear when it's cold, and the different kinds of penguins inhabiting the icy expanse.

National Bullying Prevention Month

Author and Illustrator Patricia Polacco has a knack for creating picture books for older readers. Her thoughtful, sensitive stories have addressed a range of issues including cancer, cultural differences, race relations and slavery. Her most recent book, Bully, takes on a topic she has written about previously in both Thank You, Mr. Falker and Mr. Lincoln's Way, but this story depicts how bullying can take place via social media, as well as through direct interactions with peers.

Bully describes how Lyla attempts to make friends and fit in at her new school. A new friend encourages her to get a cell phone, a laptop computer, and a Facebook account so that she can "stay connected with the world!" Her parents relent, and her new friend Jamie, who is a computer wiz, helps her set everything up. The cool "celebrity" girls invite Lyla to join their clique -- not for her newfound electronic communication skills, but for her tumbling and cheerleading abilities.

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