Parenting and Kids Blog

News, events and resources.

Reading with Bailey – Not Just for Summertime

The Eastwood Branch Library is currently hosting an exciting program called “Reading With Bailey” every Thursday in January from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. Children (and their parents) can sign up for a fifteen minute session to read to Bailey the lovable and easy going Schnoodle (Schnauzer Poodle mix) dog. Bailey is certified through Therapy Dogs International. His credentials even include the Canine Good Citizen Award! Nine-year-old Bailey and his owner, Anita Lawson, have been involved with this successful program at KPL for three years. Thanks to a generous donation in support of Reading with Bailey, as of mid-2010 the library even has a special collection of dog books with Bailey’s name on them!  

Reading out loud to therapy dogs has been recognized as an effective and positive way to improve reading /literacy skills in a unique, fun and non- threatening way. While it is especially helpful with children who struggle with reading and possibly low self-esteem, reading to a therapy dog like Bailey is a wonderful way to spend time at the library for all children. Reading Education Assistance Dogs, or R.E.A.D., promotes Reading with Dogs programs.

Call the Eastwood Branch Library at 269-553-7811 to Read with Bailey!

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Aerial Angels and Yo Ho Holiday Pirates

It's become a holiday tradition. Aerial Angels, Kalamazoo's own high-flying female circus artists, will perform at the Central Library on Wednesday, December 29th, at 11 am. Performing feats of grace, strength, and beauty suspended between floors of the library rotunda, the troupe presents a new show in which pirates invade the library. If you've yet to see an Aerial Angels performance you will be amazed at the artistry, athleticism, and just plain fun that these experienced performers bring to your library in a program with the highest "thrill" factor around.

Children and families can enjoy a special circus themed storytime in the Central Library Children's Room immediately following the Aerial Angels' performance.

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Yo Ho Holiday Pirates with the Aerial Angels
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The Last Butterfly Post

The second of two Monarch butterflies emerged from its chrysalis yesterday afternoon in the children's room. It emerged when one of the librarians stepped away to display more new books. When she returned, the butterfly was hanging from the open shell of the chrysalis where it had spent the last eleven days metamorphasizing. The chrysalis had been hanging in the jar since changing from a caterpillar into a chrysalis. In this picture of the chrysalis only a few hours before emergence, you can see the black and orange wings through the clear chrysalis walls.

Now that it's a butterfly, it's using the sun to stay warm and looking for food. Come to the children's room or any of the library branches and tell us what you're interested in. We're happy to help you find out more about it - whatever it is.

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The Last Butterfly Post

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Happy Birthday Butterfly!

This morning at Family Storytime, we made birthday cakes and even met the Very Hungry Caterpillar who surprised us with a visit! It was a good day for happy birthday stories because the first of our Children’s Room Monarchs emerged as a butterfly just before 10 am. At first, the butterfly’s wings were all wrinkled up. I guess anyone’s wings would be a little crumpled if they had been stuffed in a little bundle like that when they formed. It’s amazing that they formed all crumpled up in the chrysalis and then, after drying for almost three hours, were ready for use.

At Family Storytime in August, we’ve been reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar and following our real-life Monarch friends. Take a look at programs for children coming up in the fall. Some programs require registration. You can register for September registered programs online or you can stop in or call the library.

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Happy Birthday Butterfly!
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Very Hungry Caterpillars Part Three

“He built a small house, called a (chrysalis) around himself” - in space? The Monarchs in the Children’s Room are no longer in the caterpillar stage. Each has now gone through a final molt and is now a chrysalis. One should emerge as a butterfly next week and the other a few days later. 
Did you know that butterflies can go through their life cycle in a nearly weightless environment? I didn’t know until a patron told me about an experiment in which Painted Lady caterpillars were brought to the International Space Station and successfully went through metamorphosis. The experiment has been repeated with Monarch butterflies in space. I'm always amazed by what I learn when I visit the library. If you're curious about emerging butterflies, emerging space technology, or anything else for that matter, come visit. 

The YouTube video below is pretty amazing. You can see what it looks like when a Monarch caterpillar changes from caterpillar to chrysalis - right here on Earth.

Very Hungry Caterpillars Part Three

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Very Hungry Caterpillars Part Two

" ... he wasn't a little caterpillar any more. He was a big fat caterpillar." The Monarch caterpillars in the Children's Room started out small but after lots of milkweed leaves - it's what's for dinner, and breakfast and lunch - they really are big.

This morning, one of the caterpillars was suspended with a silky tether. This afternoon, the caterpillar molted one last time and is now a fresh chrysalis. The amazing thing is how fast the caterpillar molted. Wriggling away hanging from its silky thread, it took less then half an hour to go from stripy to leafy green little bundle. The chrysalis will hang out for the next few weeks before it emerges as a butterfly.

For now, the other younger caterpillar continues to be very hungry. It won't be long before it, too, goes all chrysalis on us. Stop in to check on these little bundles of nature whenever you'd like.

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Very Hungry Caterpillars Part Two

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Very Hungry Caterpillars

Two very hungry Monarch caterpillars visited the Children’s Room at Family Storytime on Monday morning. We also got to see this Monarch chrysalis bivouacked out beneath an aloe plant, of all things. Soon a butterfly will emerge from the chrysalis. Can you spy the chrysalis hanging with its golden dots?
If you stop by the Children’s Room soon, you might be able to see a very hungry caterpillar eating milkweed leaves on its way to becoming a chrysalis and, eventually, a Monarch butterfly. And if you see my butterfly gardener mother, tell her thanks for supplying us with these amazing creatures! Family Storytime continues Monday mornings at the Children’s Room.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Reading with Bailey

Summer Reading Games have begun! You can pick your time to read to Bailey, the lovable Schnoodle, in the Alice in Wonderland Storytime Room! Thanks to a special bequest in support of Reading with Bailey, the Central Library will have lots of great new books about dogs that Bailey will love to hear before they're added to the Children's Room collection. You can get a preview when you read to Bailey! Call the Central Library Children's Room at 269-553-7804 to reserve your 15 minutes of fame with the best dog that loves to be read to!

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Reading with Bailey
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Make a Splash!

The countdown has begun! Summer Reading Games are right around the corner. Beginning on June 15th, you can sign up to win prizes, read lots, and enjoy fabulous programs at the library with a water theme. There's a game for all ages: Read to Me for preschoolers, Make a Splash for children entering 1st to 4th grade in the fall, plus Tween, Teen and Adult Summer Reading Games. Save the date for the end of summer party, a celebration on Sunday, August 29th with games, snacks and fun!

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Make a Splash

 

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Octy Phone Home

Inky sent us a postcard all the way from Sydney, Australia. I'm not surprised it's Inky who does all the writing. Inky wrote: "Octy and I are having a wonderful time traveling all around and getting to know each other. Octy is a cheerful traveling companion. We'll see you back at the library soon! Your friend, Inky. PS Octy says beep boop!" 

Maybe Octy and Inky will join us at our next evening Sing Along Storytime in May. I hope to see you there because we'll have songs, stories, fingerplays, rhymes, and a craft.

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