Here's a fun family activity for the summer: when you're preparing food together, write down the ingredients and steps together to make a family cookbook. A family cookbook doesn't have to be fancy. To me, the fun is in talking through the steps involved, the ingredients used, and the quantities. At any age, children benefit from this time spent together with you. There is so much hands-on learning that happens when kids and their adults think about an easy recipe (lemonade, anyone?) and write it down.
You can develop your own recipes by experimenting with what happens if you add another teaspoon of lemon juice. Kids learn about measurement, cause and effect, procedure, cooking skills, and much more. And who knows, this fun project might become a family heirloom. Keep it simple, give it a try, and have fun!
Summer Reading Challenge is almost here! Signup begins June 1st. Read or listen to books every day and mark each day you read 20 minutes or more. Then come in and let us know when you've read 15 days and get a prize. It's easy and it's fun and, for the first year ever, KPL is offering an online reading challenge, where you can log your daily reading, view book lists and get book recommendations, and earn badges for completing cool activities. Summer Reading Challenge is for everyone - all ages. When you read to your baby, it counts for you and your baby. We'll have a Summer Reading kick-off party in front of the library on Saturday, June 4th.
Your library's picture book collections are now organized into Picture Book Neighborhoods. If you're looking for books about cars, trucks, boats, etc, you'll find them all together in the Things that Go neighborhood with a red spine label. Books with yellow spine labels are Concept books. They're all about letters, numbers, opposites, and other basic concepts. Other neighborhoods are:
- Favorites - Where you'll find so many favorite authors and characters
- Festive - Birthdays and celebrations, parades and festivities
- Growing Up - First day of school, bedtime, bereavement, divorce, new baby, potty training, etc
- Nature - Seasons, trees, animals, pets, and other nature related themes
- Our Town - Farm market, dog park, stores, libraries, community helpers and more
- Rhymes and Songs - Mother Goose and more plus favorite songs old and new
- Stories - Dinosaurs, princesses, pirates, and so many more
Come visit our neighborhoods at any Kalamazoo Public Library location!
Bookworms is a book club for kids and their grown-ups. It's really fun for kids and grown-ups to get together and talk books. You should try it! This month's choice is the Caldecott Medal book Fables by the great Arnold Lobel. It's funny with wonderful illustrations, a modern classic, and there's so much to talk about. Plus, it's not too long to read before we meet next week.
Each of the twenty original fables is one page with an accompanying illustration.We still have a few copies available so come in to the Central Library, sign up for Bookworms and get a copy of the book, and then join us to discuss on Thursday, July 23rd.
It's winter recess, holiday break, whatever you call it, and kids have some time away from school. Enjoy some of the great children's programs happening at Kalamazoo Public Library over the next few weeks! Cupstacking, Bubbleman, Yoga Storytime. LEGO at the Library, Stories and Dance, Yummy New Year's Hats, Family Game Day, Movie and Snacks, Flying Aces Frisbee Team... all the details are at Kalamazoo Public Library's online calendar. And, with the Michigan eLibrary, KPL provides access to fun online educational content as well. Take a look at the Michigan eLibrary datase Early World of
Learning and the MeL Kids Gateway. There really is a lot to enjoy!
Maybe you've heard about Derek Jeter's new book The Contract. It begins with a young Derek Jeter sitting in his third grade classroom in Kalamazoo and dreaming about baseball - sliding into home base to win the World Series. Derek Jeter always knew that he wanted to play baseball. Shortstop. For the New York Yankees. The Contract is the first book in Jeter’s middle-grade reader series. The book is based on Jeter’s own experiences as he begins playing little league. A central element of the narrative is the contract that Jeter enters into with his parents specifying how he will prioritize his time in order to really focus on baseball while achieving good grades and spending quality time with his family. The Contract is a readable and inspirational book for middle-school aged readers and their adults.
Summer is a great time to make things with your kids. Whether you are a dad or a mom, you'll find good ideas for collaborative projects to DIY with daughers and sons in Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter Projects. Written by Mark Frauenfelder, the editor in chief of MAKE Magazine, these projects vary in complexity. Most require some kind of tooling but can be adapted in different ways. There are woodworking projects like laminating up wood veneer layers while it's bent to make a pre-sprung long board to cruise the streets. There are imaginitive electonics projects like a kite-mounted video camera. There are plenty of whimsical, imaginative projects here. Also included are tips for devoping practical skills like creating and hosting your own podcast and using a variety of tools. I thought this book was suitable for parents and their elementary or middle-school aged children and up.
This spring, we celebrated the 20th year of the Global Reading Challenge! This quiz-bowl program is for 4th and 5th graders. Students form teams at their schools, read ten books chosen by KPL children’s librarians, then work as a team to answer questions about the books, earning points with correct answers.
Our intent is for kids to have fun reading the books and participating in a team activity. The ten books are carefully chosen to reflect our diverse world and to show characters successfully solving problems, contributing to their communities, and learning that people are more alike than they are different.
The first Challenge, in 1994, featured 19 teams from Lincoln, North Christian, and MLK Westwood; the winning team was the “Bookworm Warriors” from MLK Westwood. This year we had 129 teams from 17 schools! The District Final Challenge featured teams from Edison, Arcadia, Prairie Ridge, Spring Valley, and Northglade. The champion was the “Crazy Cougars” team from Prairie Ridge. Thanks to the students, parents, teachers, principals, and coaches for another successful year of books and reading!
Over this summer, librarians will be reading and choosing the books for the 2015 Global Reading Challenge. Team applications will be accepted in October and the book titles will be announced in December.
Global Reading Challenge
The Developmental Timeline from parentingcounts.org includes some great research-based parenting tips videos. Many have good advice for any caregiver of young children about how to speak "parentese, or speak in a way that actually encourages language development. Other videos linked from within the different tabbed domains in the timeline show the world from a child's perspective. If you are parent or caregiver, you might find them interesting, too. I like the videos that try to portray the world from a child's perspective. Other videos have good tips about how to make reading fun from the very beginning. These are things that come naturally to parents when we make the time to read to our kids. I like to think about how many parents and children are making memories reading 1000 Books Before Kindergarten together.
Making Reading Fun
There are lots of fun things to do at Kalamazoo Public Library locations during Spring Break. If you're at the Central Library and want to borrow child/family movies and music, come to the Children's Room. That's where those materials are now located. Maybe you've been wondering what those lullabye renditions of Michael Jackson music sound like. Or maybe it's time to see how Danny Devito voiced The Lorax. Or revisit that beautiful Carl and Ellie sequence from Up. You'll find something that you'll enjoy in this collection and you'll be able to check it out at the kiosk in the Children's Room, too. And while you'll be able to find Dr. Seuss books in the Children's Room, you'll want to go to the lower level to find Thriller and The Wiz. You'll find lots of movie musicals and documentaries that make great family viewing in the lower level, too!
Movies and Music in the Children's Room