Here are a couple of books to celebrate the season:
Sophie’s Squash written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Ann Wilsdorf (ages 3-8)
Young Sophie finds a beautiful, firm butternut squash at the Farmer’s market and names her Bernice. She’s just the right size and weight to be a doll, and with a smiley face drawn in permanent marker, she’s always a cheerful companion. Sophie and Bernice do everything together, but when Bernice starts to develop “freckles,” Sophie seeks advice on how to keep her friend well. Sophie puts Bernice’s needs first and is willing to separate from her for the winter. Thankfully, her patience and steadfastness pay off in the following seasons. This is a charming story about friendship and a welcome new addition to Fall storytimes.
Ouch By Ragnhild Scammell illustrated by Michael Terry (ages 2-5)
Little hedgehog has just finished building her winter nest and is getting ready to settle in when a shiny, red apple falls from above and lands squarely on her spines. Oh dear, it’s stuck, and she no longer fits into her nest. Squirrel offers to help, but…oh no…his acorns get stuck in the spines in the process. As more and more friends turn up to help, more and more items get stuck in hedgehog’s back. Each friend is adorably illustrated and they are all so eager to help, but it’s not until they meet a hungry goat that the collection on Hedgehogs back starts to dwindle. It’s a great story about friends, problem-solving and perseverance.
Curl up and read with your cub. It’s a great way to stay warm this season.
From the time Cubby and Bubby were old enough to ask “Why?” we have worked together to try and figure out life’s little mysteries. So mystery books were a natural progression for our family. From funny stories that have us rolling on the floor with laughter, to the more serious stories that really get us thinking, we are hooked. Here are some mystery resources your family might enjoy:
Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? by David Levinthal (Grades K-4) Officer Binky (a toad dressed in a suit and hat) is on the case when Humpty Dumpty has a tragic accident and falls from the top of a great wall. Or was it an accident? He was first on the scene when the dwarves called 911 for Snow White, and was quick to find out who broke into the Three Bears’ home. The evidence against the girl was overwhelming! He quickly got to the bottom of things when Hansel and Gretel claimed self-defense in the demise of the wicked witch, and when a giant fell to earth from high in the sky, it’s Officer Binky who solves the case. You’ll laugh out loud as, one by one, these cases are closed.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Grades 4 – 7) Sixth-grader Miranda Sinclair is content with her life in New York. She and her best friend, Sal, spend most of their time together, roaming the safe places in their neighborhood. But things change, seemingly all at once. Sal stops talking to her, her spare apartment key is stolen, and she starts receiving very strange notes. The sender seems to know all about her, even things that haven’t happened yet! And Miranda has the feeling that all this is somehow connected to the strange, laughing man who hangs out on the street corner.
MysteryNet.com’s “Kids Mysteries” Mysteries to solve, scary stories, magic tricks, and mystery stories written by kids.
Today’s press release from the Downtown Bellingham Partnership:
The Downtown Bellingham Partnership invites children with their families to attend the annual Downtown Trick or Treat, sponsored by Little Tiger Toys, on Thursday, October 31, from 3pm to 6pm. Downtown merchants will scare up a delightful array of in-store “treats” for kids dressed in costume.
Over 100 downtown businesses participate in this safe and festive Halloween alternative for young trick or treaters. Trick or Treat posters will be placed on the doors and windows of participating businesses. Look for balloons to guide you on your journey!
While downtown, stop by the Depot Market Square for the Downtown Halloween Carnival from 4pm to 6pm. For ages 2nd grade and younger, the carnival will feature 13 booths, a bouncy house, face painters, balloon artists and circus performers. Admission to this event is $3/child and adults are free!
Free Parking in the Parking Garage at 1300 Commercial Street starting at 3pm, courtesy of the City of Bellingham. Join us for the festivities in Downtown Bellingham!
After Bubby and Cubby are tucked safely into bed, double check the locks on your doors and then pull out one of these bone-chilling reads for the older cubs (or their parents).
Splendor and Glooms, Laura Amy Schlitz
This chilling tale is about a mad puppeteer whose sinister magic enables him to turn children into puppets. Two imaginative orphans, forced to be the puppeteer’s assistants, find themselves at the heart of this multi-layered, Victorian-era deliciously dark and creepy novel. A Newberry Honor Book.
Ten, Gretchen McNeil
What starts off as a fun weekend house party on a remote island in the San Juans for ten teens quickly turns murderously frightening in this classic thriller with modern twists. No cell reception, a raging storm and an ominous message left in the DVD player puts these teens at the center of a murderer’s plan with only their wits to help them escape off Henry Island alive.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Mathew Quick
Suicidal teen, Leonard Peacock, says goodbye to those closest to him by delivering gifts he’s picked out for each special person in his life. This bleak story, laden with quirky humor and masterful prose, takes us deep into the dark places of Leonard’s mind as we follow him through what Leonard insists will be his last day on earth. If you loved Thirteen Reasons Why, check out this title that is gaining lots of buzz.
When our oldest child was a toddler he starting asking questions that were hard to answer– and this was just the beginning! I’m not talking about the factual questions (although it’s depressing to be stumped by a three year old with “Why’s the sky blue?”) but the more value-laden inquiries. Now, after nearly 20 years parenting and countless questions I know some answers & want to share some tips fortricky questions:
- Where do babies come from?
- Why does so-and-so’s family not… eat healthy food, brush their teeth, go to our church, etc.?
- Why isn’t the world fair and some people are rich and some poor?
- What’s the f-word? Why is that a swear word?
- What is sex, rape, murder, marijuana, etc.?
- Why doesn’t Santa bring toys to poor kids?
- Why does so-and-so have two daddies?
- Why is so-and-so’s skin so dark/light/etc?
- Why do I have to….?
Step 1: The basic rule of thumb is to listen and ask a follow-up question like “Why do you think?” This will allow you a few extra moments to think and provide you with more information about what your child is really asking.
Step 2: Give a simple answer– kids will ask for more if they want to know! For example, the answer to the second question is “Babies grow in a special place inside their mommies”– no need to explain how they got there until you are asked.
Step 3: If you can’t come up with an answer, tell them you don’t know and then be sure to get back with an answer soon (once you’ve looked it up or figured it out!)
Step 4: One of my favorite responses to many of these questions is “Different families make different choices. In our family we …” This covers quite a lot without encouraging your child to be judgmental ( such as a quote from one of mine at 5 years old to another parent “my mom says Lunchables are not real food”)
Step 5: Other favorite answers are;
- ”parents like to give their children a gift too”(skirting the Santa issue)
- “There are some things that are grown-up words that I’ll explain when you are older”
- “Because I’m the mom/dad and grown-ups make the decisions”
- “I love you because you are my only (daughter, 4 year old, redhead, etc.)
Step 6: Sometimes the best you can say is simply “That’s a great question but I don’t know…” such as the fairness one.
The most important thing is to be an “askable” parent because these early years set the stage for whether your kids will go to you with questions later in the teen years! For tips see : http://www.family-resources.net/Documents/Becoming-an-Askable-Parent.pdf
It was a great summer, beautiful weather and we had lots of fun during our arts camps! Now, fall is here, school has begun and so has spending more time indoors. It can be hard to find differnt projects to do with the little ones, this is a great one and they may spend more time doing it than you think! I set this out for some 3 and 4 year olds and they were thouroughly entertained for just about 30 minutes!
This is a great, no mess project, where your little one can learn their colors and strengthen their fine motor skills. Simply use either toilet paper or paper towel tubes and cover them with construction paper using the rainbow of colors (ROY G BIV). Next you will want colored pom poms which you can get fairly cheaply at Joann Fabric Stores or the Dollar Store and some chopsticks. Personally I like the chopsticks made for children and Launching Success has them in all shapes and sizes. If your child likes dinosaurs, tractors or…they have them! Now, if you want an additional lesson, write the words for each color on the tube, this will help with word association. Next, hand over the chopsticks, dump out the pom poms and let your child try to match the correct color pom pom into the correct color tube. When all the pom poms are in the tubes let your child knock the tubes over and watch the pom poms fall out. I had little prizes, like erasers and note pads I purchased at the dollar store for birthday parties and handed those out when the game was complete. The students would stack the tubes back up and do it all over again.
It’s an odd fact: Most awards for “best” kids’ books are chosen by adults. Not so the Sasquatch Award and the Young Readers Choice Award. Kids themselves vote for their favorite from a ballot of books they’ve had a chance to read all school year. Voting takes place in the spring. (These are fun reads for anyone, whether they’ll have a chance to vote or not. )
The books are already two years old when they’re put on the ballot. They’ve developed a following. Here’s a sampling of the 2014 Sasquatch Reading Award ballot from the Washington Library Media Association. I’ll let enthusiastic young readers tell you about them. You can find the complete list of 2014 ballot titles in the library catalog here: Sasquatch
The Boy at The End of the World by Greg Van Eekhout,
“This is a really good book! Even better than his other book, called Kid Vs. Squid. I really really liked it. I recommend it for readers who like books that are funny in some parts but really it has a serious quest.” Gr. 4 – 6
The Midnight Tunnel by Angie Frazier
“I like how it takes place in the past (1900s) and how the unexpected happens.”
“No less than 5 stars. I mean, yeah, there are a ton of mystery books. But you can’t get any more exciting than The Midnight Tunnel. “ Gr. 4 – 6
Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tom Greenwald
“It was one of the best books I ever read about real life. Charlie Joe will do anything to not read. He said reading is evil and it makes you fat.” Gr. 4 – 6
And the 2013 Sasquatch Award winner?
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.
“This is an amazing book! Sometimes I seem to forget that Melody can’t actually talk and how she actually looks, because I can see what’s in her mind, and I can understand sometimes how frustrated she is, because we all have those moments when people don’t understand our side of the story, but we’re lucky that we can even explain our side of the story as long as someone’s listening. I LOVED this book!”
Even cool cats like Splat and Pete get first day jitters. Luckily they’ve got these stories to help fellow newbies look forward to the big event.
Splat the Cat written and illustrated by RobScotton (for children ages 3-7)
Splat is a likable, relatable character bursting with energy and charm. He’s quite nervous about his first day, so he packs his best buddy, a mouse named, Seymour, into his lunch box and brings him along for company. It’s quite a shock for Splat to learn that cats chase mice! Luckily, Seymour proves to be a valuable guy to have around, and all goes so smoothly that Splat finishes his first day by looking forward to his second.
Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean (for children ages 4-6)
As in the first Pete the Cat book, Pete faces new experiences and setbacks with a positive attitude and a song. Although Pete seems to be starting elementary school in this book (he experiences new things such as the library, the bus, the cafeteria, etc), preschoolers will enjoy Pete’s straightforward story, his can-do spirit and his rockin’ song which can be downloaded for free from the publisher’s website http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/feature/petethecat/ .
With school already underway, your new student will feel like an old pro when they read about the first day experiences of Splat and Pete.
Just like Rory, most teen and bear cubs love to use computers but how about adding in an element of fun and invention? There are lots of interesting products out now that help young and old alike learn about electronics, circuitry and still have fun.
Here’s one we hear great things about: MaKey MaKey
Imagine turning your computer into a piano and then use bananas to play it. Sounds wacky, but it really is a brilliant, simple invention kit that any age can use. MaKey MaKey is a circuit board that connects to your computer and then turns everyday objects into touchpads.
They call it an invention kit for the 21st century. We just call it a ton of fun. Learn more at http://www.makeymakey.com/
AAA released this information today as part of Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week, Sept. 15-21:
An average of three children age 14 and younger were killed and 469 were injured every day in the United States in motor vehicle crashes during 2011. That same year, an estimated 263 children under age five were saved by proper child restraint use. In fact, the number of fatalities for children age 8-14 decreased by 49 percent from 2002-2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Despite the downward trend, motor vehicle crashes were still the leading cause of death from 2009-2011 for children ages 0-17 in Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Health. The risk of death for infants riding in a properly fitted and installed child safety seat decreases by 71 percent and by 54 percent for toddlers. Additionally, child passengers who experience minor injuries or are not injured at all in a collision are properly restrained 86 percent of the time.
“A properly fitted and installed child safety seat is a parent’s best defense in saving the lives of and preventing injury of their children in crashes,” said Jennifer Cook, senior manager of Corporate Communications at AAA Washington. “Three out of four car seats are not installed properly. AAA Washington encourages parents to follow the directions of their vehicle and car seat manuals for proper fit and installation. Parents can have their safety seat installation checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety technician to ensure the safest ride possible for their child.”
Child Passenger Safety Week marks the perfect time to visit a car seat inspection event near you. Visit AAA’s Traffic Safety page at www.aaasafeseats4kids.com and click “Seat Check Locator” to find an inspection event near you. This website also features information and videos about proper child safety seat selection and installation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child rear-facing until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their safety seat or up to their second birthday. For older children, it’s safest for them to ride in a booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least eight years old. Visit www.aaasafeseats4kids.com for more tips to help ensure your child is properly restrained in the car.