DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

children’s books

Mar 24 2016

Mommy and Me

by Hope L

MommyRecently the Workplace Advisory Group of the DeKalb County Public Library volunteered for a project to help the Mommy and Me Family Literacy Program located in Clarkston.  The DCPL volunteers will be fixing up a space in the school for mothers and their children to read and relax during their school day.

The Mommy and Me Refugee Family Literacy Program is a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston where immigrant mothers and their children learn together.

When I found out about this program, I was delighted.  For a time I worked at the Clarkston Branch of DCPL, and it was (and is) a very busy place!  There were many immigrant children, most of them refugees whose families fled to this country from their homelands.

According to their website, the school’s students come from more than a dozen countries from around the world: Eritrea, Burma, Bhutan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Burundi.

From the Mommy and Me website,

​We are a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston, Georgia where immigrant mothers and children learn together.

A family literacy program, we offer four components of instruction: (1) ESOL classes for refugee women, (2) onsite early childhood development program for their young children, (3) Parent and Child Time sessions to promote family engagement, and (4) weekly workshops on parenting, health/nutrition, and life skills.

“Clarkston’s transformation dates back to the late 1980’s, when the U.S. State Department and various resettlement agencies chose Clarkston as an ideal site for refugee resettlement.  A mass exodus of middle-class whites to Atlanta’s more affluent suburbs left behind inexpensive apartments that could serve as affordable housing for newly arrived refugee families.  The easternmost stop on MARTA, Clarkston also offered its residence access to public transit and a commute to employment opportunities in Atlanta.”

To find out more about the program or to volunteer or make a donation, click on the link below:

Mommy and Me Family Literacy | about us

 

 

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The world is full of awards for literature—the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the Edgar Allan Poe Award—but a recent conference introduced me to one I had not been familiar with before.

Named after a child born with cerebral palsy, the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award is given every other year to the authors and illustrators of books, written for children and young adults, that show an accurate portrayal of individuals with developmental disabilities.

The award-winning titles feature characters with a range of disabilities, from Autism or Down Syndrome to intellectual disabilities that cause trouble in school.  The authors give us good stories with a lot of heart and help us genuinely empathize with the characters.

A few books I had read and loved previously went on to win this award:

scarA Small White Scar by K. A. Nuzum

In the summer of 1940, all Will wants to do is get away.  He’s sick of working the family ranch, sick of his father holding him back from what he wants to do, and sick of taking care of his twin brother, Denny, who has Down Syndrome.  But when Will decides to run away to compete in a rodeo, Denny follows.

 

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowdlondon

Salim got on the London Eye Ferris Wheel—his cousins Kat and Ted watched.  But when the ride stopped a half hour later, Salim was nowhere to be found.  The police can’t find him, but Kat and Ted, making use of Ted’s unique way of viewing the world, are on the case.

rememberRemember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick

Johnny planned on enjoying his summer, but a change in his mom’s plans means he has to stay with his aunt and take care of his older, autistic cousin, Remember.  Will a pet ferret and the weather channel be enough to save Johnny from complete boredom?

 

The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award is a collaboration between the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the Special Needs Project.  For more information about the award, and a full list of winners, click here.

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Jun 24 2015

And the Winner Is…

by Amie P

I love reading, and I must be a glutton for punishment, because I am serving for a third year on the Georgia Children’s Book Award committee.

The Georgia Children’s Book Award was established in 1968, so it’s nearing its 50th birthday.  Each year children from around the state read books off of the list of nominees and vote for their favorites.  A picture book and a chapter book win the award every year.

You may wonder how this list of nominees appears.  That’s where the committee comes in!  Each year, librarians and teachers from around the state volunteer to be on the Book Award committee, then start reading.  For the 4th through 8th grade category, each person on the committee commits to nominating 20 titles that have been published within the last three years, and the public is able to nominate titles for the award also.

It’s then the job of the committee to narrow down that extensive list to a number that is readable in a couple of months—generally about 50.  After much more reading, discussion, and voting, the list is narrowed down to 20 titles and 4 alternates (in case a title goes out of print or wins an award such as the Newbery that automatically disqualifies it).  Those 20 titles are the nominees for the coming year, designed to introduce children across the state to quality literature and help foster the love of reading.

Since this is my third year on the committee, I can tell you that I’ve read a lot of children’s chapter books in the last two-and-a-half years.  Some of my favorites made the lists, and some didn’t.  For a complete list of this year’s nominees, past nominees and winners, or more information about the awards, click here.

Otherwise, here’s a few highlights for you:

RumpRump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

Thought you knew the story of Rumpelstiltskin?  Think again.  Rump is a 12-year-old boy living with the worst name he can think of in a world where your name is your destiny.  When he discovers he can spin straw into gold, he thinks things are finally going his way, but there are still quests and magic and trolls and poison apples to overcome before he will learn his true name.

 

Lincoln's Grave RobbersLincoln’s Grave Robbers

It’s 1875, and the leader of a ring of counterfeiters is caught creating fake money and thrown in jail.  His cohorts decide to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln and refuse to give it back until their leader is released.  Will undercover agents be able to prevent the body theft?  If this sounds like the stuff of fiction, I’m here to tell you it’s not—this book falls into the nonfiction category.

 

True BlueThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

Raccoon scouts, destructive wild pigs, alligator wrestlers, pies, and a mythical swamp creature who won’t wake up—this book has it all, and it’s hilarious.

 

 

LootLoot: How to Steal a Fortune

Twins separated at birth have a lot to learn about each other, and for March and Jules, trying to finish their late father’s last jewel-thief mission makes the learning curve even steeper.

 

 

Prairie EversPrairie Evers

As if moving wasn’t bad enough, now Prairie’s grandmother is leaving and won’t be able to homeschool Prairie anymore.  With a new friend, Ivy, and a flock of chickens, Prairie is going to have to make the best of things.

 

 

Would you like a sneak peek at what might be on the list of 2015-2016 nominees?

Too bad, I’m not telling.  But I am reading, a lot.

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May 25 2015

Seriously Silly!

by Joseph M

Knuffle Bunny by Mo WillemsFans of best-selling children’s book author and illustrator Mo Willems may be interested in a new exhibition at the High Museum of Art. Seriously Silly! The art & whimsy of Mo Willems is a retrospective featuring over 100 works by the artist. It opened May 23 and will run through January 10, 2016. To find out more, see the event page on the High Museum website.

Whether you’re already a fan or if you just want to know what all the fuss is about, DCPL has a substantial collection of works by Mo Willems. Click here to take a look!

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Mar 2 2015

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

by Jesse M

Dr. SeussThe man who would come to be known as Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904. He made his living as a writer and cartoonist, and is most famously an author of children’s books, responsible for such well-known characters as The Cat in the Hat and his nemesis the Grinch. The award-winning author has seen his work adapted into a variety of formats, including animated films, movies, and musical theater.

Although his entire bibliography is worth celebrating, as a child my favorite books of his were those whose pages featured a variety of zany fictional animals, like On Beyond Zebra, Scrambled Eggs Super, If I Ran the Circus, and If I Ran the Zoo. All of those titles and more are available from DCPL!

In recognition of the appeal that his books still hold for young readers, March 2nd has been designated Read Across America Day by the National Education Association. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books!

To view information about Dr. Seuss related programming at DCPL, follow this link.

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Oct 31 2014

Picture this!

by Dea Anne M

I have always loved children’s picture books. Working for DCPL is especially animaliarewarding in this regard as I am exposed to so many wonderful picture books both new and old. I even have a small collection of favorites at home. One of my most treasured books is Graeme Base’s fun and elaborate alphabet book Animalia. While this book has won several awards in Australia, it did not win the Caldecott Medal. Indeed, by the rules of the Caldecott committee, Base as an Australian author/illustrator would not have been eligible as the Caldecott is awarded each year to the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” Since its inception in 1938, the Caldecott medal has been lionawarded to many worthy and wonderful titles including Make Way for Ducklings (1942) by Robert McCloskey, Where the Wild Things Are (1964) by Maurice Sendak, and The Lion and the Mouse (2010) by Jerry Pinkney. You’ll find a complete list of Caldecott Medal winners and honor books here.  You can view Caldecott winners owned by DCPL on our Pinterest page. The board for the winners 1938-1976 is here and the winners 1977-2014 are here.

Speaking of Pinterest, be sure to check out a brand new feature that DCPL is offering through our Pinterest collection.  Inspired by the spirit of the this bookCaldecott awards, DCPL Youth Services staff will regularly be nominating theme-appropriate picture books and you can help us pick each month’s winner by “liking” your favorite (click the little heart button). Check out November’s “Dekalbecott” nominees here. The theme is fall inspired picture books and nominees include such fun titles as Fall Ball by Peter McCarty, Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet, and (probably my favorite) This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne.

What are your favorite picture books?

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Aug 8 2014

The First Day of School

by Glenda

readytoreadHooray, hooray, the first day of school

The library’s quiet and barely full

Hooray, hooray, the first day of school

The children’s area is clean and the shelves are completely full

Hooray, hooray, the first day of school

No children’s programs today, and the café area is not even full

Hooray, hooray, the first day of school

No one’s looking for Margaret McNamara’s The First Day of School

Don’t say it, don’t say it

Hooray, hooray, the first day of school

Because

It is very lonesome when the kids are in school

And

I’m lonely, when do the kids get out of school?

–by an exhausted children’s librarian after a great, busy, fun-filled summer

Here are a few other first-day-of-school books:

Ham and Pickles: The First Day of School by Nicole Rubel

First Day of School: All About Shapes and Sizes by Kirsten Hall

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

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May 21 2014

Old Lady Blues

by Hope L

hopscotch-ladies“You can only be young once.  But you can always be immature.”  Dave Barry

I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror and saw an old lady looking back at me. When I was a youngster, let’s say a pre-teen, I thought  “old” was around fifty.  And fortyish was middle age because most people live until age 80-85.

But now, having turned 51 this past January, I notice I’m feeling older physically but my mind still feels quite young–juvenile even.  But I remember the truth when I see my AARP card.  Or my gray hair.  You get the idea.

Suzanne Somers, yes, the creator of the “ThighMaster” (or Chrissy, as those of a certain age will remember) says the key to slowing the aging process is, among other things, bioidentical hormones.   In her book Ageless: The Naked Truth about Bioidentical Hormones, she claims:

“By adding back to my system what stress and toxins have depleted, I am reversing the aging process by making myself younger on the inside.  I am staving off disease so that even while growing older chronologically, I am restoring and preserving internal youth and energy.  The number of my age has become irrelevant.  It’s about having young energy.  I have it … you can, too!”

Young energy!  That’s what I’m missing!  Bring on the hormones.

Oh, and also my memory is slipping.  Can’t Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research by Sue Halpern compares ordinary age-related memory loss to diseases like Alzheimer’s:

“Here are some numbers:  Eighty-three percent of us are worried about not being able to remember one another’s names.  Sixty percent are concerned about our tendency to misplace the car keys.  Fifty-seven percent of us are disturbed that we can’t recall phone numbers a few minutes after we’ve heard them.

“When researchers from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands queried four thousand people, one in two people over sixty-five said they were forgetful.  While that may not be surprising, the researchers also found that one in three people between twenty-five and thirty-five reported memory problems, too.  Invariably, though, the younger folks attributed their lapses to stress, while the older ones thought that they were caused by disease.”

OMG!  (The juvenile in me coming out.)  Just last night I was getting ready for bed and started to spit mouthwash into the trashcan instead of the bathroom sink. I knew immediately it was a mistake, of course, definitely not an old-age thingy (juvenile language, again!). Perhaps I was just tired or preoccupied. Maybe getting old is on my mind lately because I just helped my parents move into an independent living facility here in Decatur.

I’m convinced, though, that exercise is the answer.  In Fitness After 50 by Walter H. Ettinger, MD,  Brenda S. Wright, PhD, and Steven N. Blair, PED, the authors claim the benefits of exercise include:

“Increasing physical activity improves longevity, flexibility, function and independent living, bone strength, restful sleep, weight control and well-being.  Increasing physical activity decreases risk of heart attack, stroke, developing type 2 diabetes, some cancers, fractures, depression, obesity, memory loss and dementia, and gall bladder disease.”

That’s why I see septuagenarians and octogenarians at the gym tearing it up!

“Old is always 15 years from now.”  Bill Cosby

Now, I don’t want to sound dumb, but the one good thing I must say about getting old is that some things are finally making sense.  For example, in my younger days I never understood why the signs on 285 sometimes said north, south, east or west–but now I know it is because it is a circle.  Hence the name “The Perimeter.”   I’ve also just learned that not only are both “baldfaced” and “boldfaced”  lies  acceptable terms for shocking behavior, but that actually most Anglophones in the world  use  “barefaced.”

By age 80, I might just get algebra …

“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”  Maria von Ebner

 

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Feb 10 2014

Laura’s world

by Dea Anne M

Getting snowed in the week before last  reminded me of a much-beloved book from my childhood. I’m thinking of course of  The Long Winter which is part of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series of books. Set in the later 1800’s and forward and based on the Ingalls family’s peripetatic life (Wilder changed some things – most notably some of the chronology and the age of the main character whom she based on herself) the series begins with Little House in the Big Woods and ends with The First Four Years (which was published after Wilder’s death). The Long Winter is a fictionalized account of an actual event which took place in De Smet, South Dakota. Blizzards began in the early fall of 1880 and continued through the late spring of 1881 and attacked the area with such frequency that trains were snowed in on the tracks and the townspeople faced lack of fuel and near starvation. I don’t know about you, but that puts some aspects about our recent snow storm into perspective for me.

It’s difficult for me to exaggerate how much I loved these books as a child. That isn’t to say that there weren’t some aspects of the stories that bothered me. Some of the characters express very unpleasant racial attitudes (especially Ma Ingalls) and I was always vaguely troubled by Pa’s insistence on uprooting his family so dramatically and so often. In the books, the Ingalls family moves from Wisconsin to Kansas then back to Wisconsin then to Minnesota and finally to South Dakota. Of course, by the time I turned ten my own family had moved at least that many times, and always for my father’s work, so make of that what you will.

Now you shouldn’t think that I actually wanted to be a pioneer girl myself what with all the stampeding oxen, creeks filled with leeches and grasshopper invasions but it was delicious to read about such exotic things. It was also comforting to recognize things that Laura’s world and mine had in common – sibling love and combat, strong parental affection, animals, school and, of course, mean girls like Nellie Oleson. I especially loved reading about the clothes the characters wore and how they fed themselves (or couldn’t as in The Long Winter ) and to this day I love books that describe fashion and food in detail (like the books in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series).

Would you like to explore the world of “Little House yourself or rediscover its pleasures? If so, DCPL has what you need. Here’s a list of the books and all are available from DCPL.big woods

cookbookAfter reading about such exotic foodstuffs as prairie chicken and maple sugar on snow you might get the urge to try out some frontier cooking of your own. If so, Barbara M. Walker’s Little House Cookbook: frontier foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic stories will be just what you need. I can’t promise that you’ll care for blackbird pie (Little Town on the Prairie) or stewed jack rabbit and dumplings (Little House on the Prairie) but you might very well love fried apples and onions (Farmer Boy) or vanity cakes (On the Banks of Plum Creek). All in all, this is a charming companion to the series.

wilderIf you really develop a fascination with all things Laura, don’t miss The Wilder Life : my adventures in the lost world of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. A lifelong devotee of the books, McClure begins to delve deeper into the world of the series. She even goes so far as to buy a churn on eBay. She sets up the churn, works the churn for about twenty-five minutes, and when she looks inside she discovers…butter. Butter which tastes remarkably like regular butter. McClure reports that “…I felt like a genius and a complete idiot at the same time.” McClure is an engaging writer – both sincere and hilarious. I’ve only just started the book and I’ve laughed out loud at least a dozen times. Highly recommended.

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Mar 18 2013

Listen Up!

by Nancy M

Bloody-Jack-298431Spring Break is just a few weeks away and I’m sure many of you out there have road trips planned. Personally, I hate being in the car. I was the youngest of 3 kids who always had to sit in the middle seat for our endless 16 hour drive to Lake Michigan every summer. These days, I have a long daily commute to the Library and on my weekends I get to drive around with a toddler who hates being in the car just as much as I do. But I really can’t complain (I know it would seem that’s all I’m doing) because I have access to something amazing…audiobooks!

Now, we have a pretty extensive audiobook collection and they get checked out quite a bit so I know most of you out there know about audiobooks. But what you may not know is how beneficial they can be to your child’s reading abilities. Listening to audiobooks carries many of the same benefits that reading instills in your child plus more. They can help improve language skills, (“oh, so that’s how you pronounce that word!”), concentration, and allow many children who might not be strong readers to enjoy a range of books without hampering their confidence. Plus, there are a ton of really great kid and teen audiobooks out there that parents can enjoy with their kids.

Here is a listing of my top 3 favorite audiobooks in the following categories:

Teen (12-13 and up)

3.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and narrated by Kate Rudd (be warned, especially if you are driving, that you will cry your eyes out. This was the 2013 Odyssey winner.)

2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (narrated by the author as well as a full cast. This is truly an amazing imaginative audiobook experience. The Golden Compass is the first in the trilogy His Dark Materials. Book 2 is The Subtle Knife and book 3 is The Amber Spyglass.)

1. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer (hands down my favorite audiobook ever! Katherine Kellgren is the most talented narrator out there today and Bloody Jack is just the beginning of an expertly narrated series. Check out her other books as well; she is building quite a resume.)

Middle Readers (8-12)

3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (13 books in total with Tim Curry narrating a number of them. The first book is called The Bad Beginning.)

2.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and narrated by the author (Neil Gaiman lends a perfectly creepy voice to this perfectly creepy tale.)

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and narrated by Jim Dale. (117 hours of pure storytelling delight. Peter & the Starcatchers is the first in another great series narrated by Dale)

For Younger Children

3. Frog and Toad Audio Collection by Arnold Lobel and narrated by the author.

2. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne and narrated by the author.

1.  The One and Only Shrek! Plus 5 Other Stories by William Steig and narrated by Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep.

You can check out audiobooks at your local DCPL branch or you can download some of them by accessing OverDrive on our website. Click here for Amanda’s tips on how to download audiobooks or check out a tutorial here. And please feel free to share your own audiobook favorites for any age. I’m always looking for good suggestions!

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