Oh, the Thinks You Can Think

Testing, Testing, Testing...

It’s test time again for Indiana students. Children in grades 3-8 are taking the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) tests to measure student achievement in the subject areas of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science (Grades 4 and 6), and Social Studies (Grades 5 and 7). This seasonal event - and the recent news that teachers and parents in Chicago decided to boycott the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, an annual test for Illinois students in third through eighth grade - brought to mind the book: The Report Card by Andrew Clements.

Clements is one of my favorite authors. He writes thoughtfully about school-age students, the issues they face, their relationships with each other and with their teachers. And many of his books pose a “what if” question that make for marvelous discussion opportunities.  In The Report Card, it’s 5th grader Nora who ponders:  what if students just all refused to take tests? What if they intentionally answered all the questions incorrectly?  

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Kadir Nelson“Painting historical American subjects pushes me to learn more about who I am, where I come from, and the role my ancestors played in helping form our country.” – Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of Heart and Soul.

Kadir Nelson’s work brings history alive for students today. In the Prologue to Heart and Soul he notes that young people won’t always have the chance to speak with the people who lived through the Civil Rights Movement, or who played baseball for a league that no longer exists. So he documents the stories from these people, vividly portrays them, so that they will be known and remembered, learned and absorbed by future generations.

"Heart and Soul is not only the story of my family, but an intimate introduction to American history that I hope will remind readers of our extraordinary story and inspire them to learn more about America as I have done – by exploring their unique family stories and their connection to the American story."

Find Heart and Soul and other outstanding  books by Kadir Nelson through the Library’s catalog. See Kadir Nelson’s website to learn more about him and his art. Visit the African American History Month website from the Library of Congress to discover more about the remarkable people and events that connect us all.

WearetheShipbyKNelson

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

Caldecott Worthy Books from 2013

It's award season again! And in the Children's Department that means we're looking forward to the upcoming ALA Youth Media Awards. On Monday the 2014 winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards will be announced honoring the most distinguished books published in 2013. In particular, the Caldecott is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the artist of the most outstanding American picture book for children. For the second year in a row we put together what we've deemed the CaldecartTM, a library cart full of picture books published last year. For the first Caldecart we looked at around 30 books. This year we went crazy with 66 to peruse and evaluate!

Locomotive by Brian Floca

Combat Cabin Fever in The Learn and Play Space

Catching butterflies in the Learn and Play Space
Grandparents are so important in a young child’s life. Whether you see your grandkids every day or once a year, you want to share experiences that form a lasting bond with them. During these chilly days and freezing evenings, the library is the perfect destination for grandparents with their visiting grandchildren to find relief from cabin fever. Children’s Services offers many great features for young ones in our preschool area and in the Learn and Play Space. Children and their grandparents can take a break from selecting books, CDs, DVDs and computer games to explore all of the things to do in the gathering area near the baby board books. You will find comfy seating, a doll house, a train table, activity cubes, a puzzle table and a nest of AWE computers preloaded with exciting learning games.

Catching butterflies in the Learn and Play Space

The Learn and Play Space is a room dedicated to children ages birth through 6 years. Here you will find a Writing Center to practice writing notes and drawing pictures. There are a Kitchen, a Store, and a Puppet stage where you and your grandchildren can engage in pretend play. The center of the room features puzzles and other activities on our theme of the month, ”Winter.” The building area houses an exciting polar scene where children can build a world of igloos and icebergs. You'll even find a place dedicated to babies who are not yet walking.

Creating a masterpiece at the writing center in the Learn and Play Space.

These areas were designed to support your grandchild’s early literacy development. Studies show that guidance from a caring adult is critical to helping children get the most from these experiences. Come visit the library. Your grandchildren will think you are playing together, but you will know that you are helping to lay the foundation for their future success in reading and in life.

Having fun at the train table!

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