Recent Performances

Brainspace Magazine

Brainspace is a new addition to KPL's magazines for children 8 to 14 (or so). Brainspace is a all about interactivity with a variety of topics. There are articles and activities on a variety of topics, including one about NASA's OSIRIS-REx, the first spacecraft ever to travel to an asteroid to collect samples (launched in Fall 2016). The Winter 16/17 issue contains articles about math, history, space, music, geography, climate, biology, and the science of art. In addition, the Make It content offers templates to engineer unusual shaped boxes and a recipe for Oobleck, a non-Newtonian fluid named after the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, of course.

Brainspace is a Parents' Choice Gold Award winner that blends print and digital content. I downloaded the free Blippar app on to my device and scanned an image from the magazine. The video content (making and demonstrating Oobleck) loaded and displayed in the app as if it was playing in the magazine where the still image is. What a cool way to utilize augmented reality to expand upon an index of great content (the print magazine itself).


Talk, Read, and Sing!

Talk, Read, and Sing is an initiative that highlights the everyday fun activities that parents, grandparents - all caregivers - can do to help ensure early brain and language development. Talking, reading, and singing to your baby in your native language helps to grow compassionate and capable kids who enter kindergarten ready to learn. Your library has so many materials available for you to read, sing, and talk about with baby. Programs like Play and Learn, 1,2,3, Play with Me, Baby Storytimes, and many more, are good places to meet other caregivers and get some great ideas to share with baby.

Check out some of the resources available from Talk, Read and Sing!


Let’s Talk about the World Poster


Family Cookbook

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!

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.


Picture Book Neighborhoods

Picture Book Neighborhoods

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!

Picture Book Neighborhoods



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.



Lots To Do at the Library!

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!


The Contract

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.


DIY with the Kids

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.


Maker Dad

Global Reading Challenge

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