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


Sep 24 2008

Children and Poetry

by Ginny C

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of including nursery rhymes when reading to young children.  Along those same lines, introducing children to poetry at a young age can help foster a life-long love, not only of poetry, but also of words and reading.  Incorporating poetry into your regular reading habits isn’t as daunting as it may sound.  Many picture books are already written in rhyming verse, so chances are, your child already has some experience with it.  Quite a few well-known poems have even been adapted into a picture book format.  The Owl and the Pussycat and Casey at the Bat are two famous ones.  Other popular adaptations include The Spider and the Fly, Wynken, Blynken and Nod and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

If you’re still unsure where to start, Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky are perennial favorites.  They’re smart, laugh-out-loud funny, and usually pretty short.  Other well known authors and poets have books that have been written specifically for, or adapted for, children, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou.

Reading poetry should be fun and enjoyable for both you and your child.  Browse the poetry section of your library for more books.  Remember, the goal isn’t to analyze it.  Listen to and enjoy the words and imagery.  Then, if you or child wants to, discuss it as you would any story you’ve just read.


Sep 10 2008

Homework Help

by Ginny C

With school back in full swing, lots of students are coming to the library in need of homework help.  Books are great places to start when doing research for reports and projects.  Sometimes, though, the book your child needs just isn’t available.  More often, teachers are requiring students to use books AND articles.  We have several databases that are designed specifically for students in elementary, middle in high school.  They can be found here or by going to our homepage, clicking on Reference Databases under the Research tab and scrolling down to Student Resources.

Each database has a short description of the kind of information and the subject areas it covers to help you choose.  If you need help navigating the databases, library staff are always happy to help!


Aug 27 2008

Nursery Rhymes and Fingerplays

by Ginny C

Most parents know the value of reading to children. But did you also know that nursery rhymes and fingerplays are equally important? They increase vocabulary, introduce rhyming and rhythm, develop motor skills and coordination, and introduce phonetic awareness (the different sounds that make up a word.) And besides all that, they’re fun. I’ve listed a few nursery rhyme and fingerplay books to get you started. As always, ask your librarian for more recommendations.

My Very First Mother Goose edited by Iona Opie: A collection of more than sixty nursery rhymes including “Hey Diddle, Diddle,” “Pat-a-Cake,” “Little Jack Horner,” and “Pussycat, Pussycat.”

Mother Goose’s Storytime Nursery Rhymes by Axel Scheffler: An illustrated collection of more than one hundred nursery rhymes, interspersed with vignettes about Mother Goose and her three young goslings, Boo, Lucy, and Small.

This Little Piggy: lap songs, finger plays, clapping games and pantomine rhymes edited by Jane Yolen: A collection of singing games and nursery rhymes involving various parts of the body, to be used with very young children.

Do Your Ears Hang Low? Fifty more musical fingerplays by Tom Glazer: Presents words and music to 50 songs with directions for accompanying fingerplays.


Aug 6 2008

Back to School

by Ginny C

It’s back to school time!  (For Dekalb County Public School students, anyway.)  I hope you took advantage of the Tax Free holiday last weekend to stock up on school supplies.  Don’t forget that the Library can help with the back to school preparations, too.  We have many (many, many) books on starting Kindergarten, starting grade school, first day jitters, how to deal with new teachers, starting a new school, schools in other countries, separation anxiety and more.  We have picture books, chapter books, beginning reader books and teen books.  We also have books for parents on how to prepare your child for school and what you can expect him or her to learn and experience with each new grade level.  There are too many titles to list them all, so I’ve included just a few to get you started.

I Don’t Want to Go Back to School by Marisabina Russo:  Despite his older sister’s dire warnings of all the terrible things that could go wrong on his first day in the second grade, Ben has a wonderful time.

Mama, Don’t Go by Rosemary Wells: Yoko loves kindergarten, but she doesn’t want her mother to leave–until her new friend helps her realize that “mothers always come back.”

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis: Dexter knows everything there is to know about kindergarten and is not at all scared about his first day there, but his stuffed dog, Rufus, is very nervous.

Back to School, Mallory by Laurie B. Friedman: After moving, eight-year-old Mallory struggles with being new at school, especially because her mother is now the music teacher and director of the third grade play.

How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler: Seventeen-year-old Sugar Magnolia Dempsey is tired of leaving friends behind every time her hippie parents decide to move, but her plan to be unpopular at her new Austin, Texas, school backfires when other students join her on the path to “supreme dorkdom.”

What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a good first grade education Edited by E.d. Hirsch, Jr.:  For parents, these books describe what your child will be learning in each grade level, up to sixth grade.

There are many more titles available, too.  If you want more recommendations, please ask a librarian.  We’d love to help you find one that’s just right for you.


Jul 30 2008

Christian Fiction for Kids and Teens

by Ginny C

Christian fiction has changed in the last several years, especially titles written for children and teens. When I was growing up (which was not so very long ago), Christian fiction was, well, boring.  And a little too sweet for my tastes.  Now, there is so much more to choose from, in many different genres.  Realistic fiction has kids and teens facing real problems (broken families, romantic relationships, peer pressure) and hard solutions.  And then there’s fantasy and science-fiction and mysteries and even graphic novels.

The following is a list of a few of the authors and titles that you can find at the library.  On the fantasy front, Ted Dekker, who has written quite a few adult novels, and Wayne Thomas Batson both have series’ written for teens and tweens. 

Frank Peretti writes a mystery series, the first of which is Hangman’s Curse.

Stand alone titles include Perch, Mrs. Sacket’s and Crow’s Nest by Karen Pavlicin and A Friend at Midnight by Caroline B. Cooney.

There are plenty more that I didn’t mention, as well as some adult titles that might appeal to older teens.  Don’t forget to check out your branch’s paperback collection as lots of titles are not published in hardcover.  Some authors to look for are Melody Carlson, Stephanie Perry Moore (the Laurel Shadrach series and the Payton Skyy series), Wendy Lawton and Robin Jones Gunn.

I still haven’t found a really good site that lists authors and titles for this age group, but a quick Google search will find several and I know I can rely on TeensRead.com to highlight a few Christian fiction new releases.  Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite Christian author or title or know of a good website for updates on new titles.

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Jul 16 2008

Baseball for Kids

by Ginny C

The Major League Baseball All-Star game was last night, which means the 2008 baseball season is half finished. That means it’s not too late for those of us who still haven’t made it to Turner Field this year to see the Braves play. It’s never too late, however, to sharpen your baseball skills and improve your game. We have several books and dvds for children and coaches on how to be a better baseball player.

Here are some good books to get you started. Play Ball Like the Hall of Famers features tips from baseball greats such as George Brett and Johnny Bench. Derek Jeter, Pedro Martinez and others offer suggestions on how to play the game in Play Ball Like the Pros. The Kids’ Baseball Workout gives ideas for how to start and structure a workout to help improve your game.

For all the parents who coach their kid’s baseball team or those that just want to help their child improve, we have stuff for you, too. Baseball Drills for Young People and Backyard Baseball Drills are worth looking into. And regardless of your skill level, remember to have fun!


Jun 25 2008


by Ginny C

Darkside Jonathan Starling has stumbled into Darkside.  Darkside is a hidden part of London, governed by the descendants of Jack the Ripper, where thieves and murderers reign.  While his father lies ill in an asylum, Jonathan searches Darkside for Carnegie, the only man who can help him.  Carnegie, though, is a wereman: half man, half werewolf.  Determined to elude kidnappers who want to sell him to the evil Grimshaw as a sideshow act, Jonathan must put his trust in Carnegie.  Grimshaw is only one of the dangers in Darkside and only one of the people out to get Jonathan.  The evil vampire Vendetta has his own reasons for wanting Jonathan dead.  With few people he can trust, Jonathan must escape Darkside and save his father before it’s too late.

Darkside, the first novel by Tom Becker, is spooky, shivery fun.  Perfect for middle schoolers who like the Artemis Fowl series and the Fablehaven series.  Even better, this is the first in the series, so fans can look forward to more adventures with Jonathan and his new friends.


School’s out for the summer and your child is looking for something to read.  Newbery and Caldecott Award winners are a good place to start, but if you’ve exhausted those lists or you’re looking for something more recent, I’ve listed a few of my favorite sites below.

TeenReads is a great site for new releases, book reviews and author interviews.  They feature only books that are written for the teen audience, and have special sections for graphic novels and Christian fiction.  You can also browse their archive as far back as 2002 for books you might have missed when they first came out.

KidsReads is a similar site, but geared toward children in preschool through middle school age.  They review picture books, beginning chapter books, as well as fiction books for elementary and middle school.  Their special features include a list of books that have been turned into movies, popular series, and books soon to be released.

The American Library Association also has lots of good lists.  YALSA, the division of ALA devoted to young adults has lists of popular paperbacks, good books for college bound teens, great graphic novels and more.  ALSC, the division of ALA devoted to children’s services, has many lists, including bilingual books, books about diversity, and books for preschoolers, middle schoolers, and elementary age children.

The last site doesn’t contain book reviews, but it’s helpful if you’re looking for all the books by a particular author or the list of books in a series.  The Mid-Continent Public Library has put together a site that keeps an updated list of just about every series written for children and teens that you can think of.  You can search by title, author or series.  New books are added as they come out.  Books in a series are listed in chronological order so you’ll always know which one comes next.

If you have a favorite site to look for children’s books, list it in the comments.


Apr 7 2008

Summer and Kids

by Ev S

It’s that time of year again moms and dads. The time where we start counting the days until the kids go back to school. Yup, it’s summer vacation.  While the kids are hopping around in joy, you’re probably wondering what to do with the little critters for the summer.

Now if you’d like you can go for some high cost options: American Adventures, Six Flags Over Georgia, and Six Flags White Water.  You’ll spend a ton of money at these places. I know, I once went with five adults, one teenager, and two children. We were all broke and exhausted by day’s end. But even if you go to all these places twice during the summer you’ll still get the infamous “I’m booooored!” whine.

There are less expensive places that are educational like: Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, BabyLand General, Imagine It! Children’s Museum, and CNN tours.  But you get the same set of problems as from the more expensive places; they’re bored and you’re broke.

There is really only one place that I know of that will not break the bank and keep the kids happy. Yup, you guessed it (or should have), the library.  We’ve got the same thing we have all year round: books, CDs, DVDs, audio books, and computers.  But we also have dynamic children’s programming.  I know that at my branch we will have storytellers, magicians, crafts, food, animals, how to draw comics, and more. And that’s just one library.

So check out what’s going on this summer at your library. Not only are these programs fun and educational, they’re FREE!