Media for kids
Bubbie just “vroom-vroomed” through the room, followed by an excited Cubbie. “Watchout, monster trucks coming through!” Our latest favorite library book is Monster Trucks by Matt Doeden and we read it over and over. Do you know what makes a truck a monster?! Check out the book from the library to find out!
We’re also enthralled by Bulldozers and Dump Trucks and Backhoes by Linda Williams; also in Spanish Excavadoras
and Maquinas niveladoras! We can hardly wait to get into the action in our own backyard sandbox and dirt pit.
You may want to look at the list of all the cool books in this book series: Pebble Plus
Along with the flowers, book talks at county middle and high schools are sprouting up all over the place! This season’s top rated titles chosen by our Teen cubs include:
Revived by Cat Patrick. Brought back from the dead five times by a top-secret government super-drug called Revive, Daisy discovers a conspiracy that threatens to undermine the entire program and everything she’s ever know about herself.
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons. When her mother is arrested and jailed for disobeying Article 5 of the Moral Statues by Chase, the one person Ember thought she could trust, Ember decides to break her mother free from prison, becoming a fugitive in a land where she realizes there are few whom she can depend upon to help her.
Summer is right around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about Summer Reading. Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library System’s Summer Reading Programs start on June 15 and runs through August 31. The theme this year is Dig Into Reading! Here are some titles to get you in a summer state of mind.
The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer (Grades 2 – 4) When their parents have had enough of the boys’ behavior during summer vacation, Will and Marty Woodman are forced to spend time reading at the library. But it’s rumored that the librarian, Mrs. “Spud” Murphy, uses a gas-powered gun to shoot potatoes at kids who make too much noise! Could this be true? The first time they visit, Mrs. Murphy leads them to the children’s section and tells them that they are not to leave the carpeted area. But Marty has a problem following the rules and you’ll be laughing out loud when you read what happens when he steps off the rug.
Roller Coaster! Motion and Acceleration by Paul Mason (Ages 9 and up) Summer is the time for roller coasters, and the cubs can’t wait for their first ride of the year! What if you were to design a roller coaster of your own? In order to do that you’d need to know a little bit about the science behind these awesome rides. There are a lot of forces at work to make a roller coaster ride so thrilling. Why does it feel like your insides are moving when you go up or down really fast? Because they are! Put on your seat belt and read all about it…if you dare.
Authors Cohen and Fisher are gardeners, parents, and educators and their experiences in all three of these roles are evident in the resources provided in The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun. They wisely point out that the real benefits of involving children in family gardening activities include getting them outdoors (and away from television and video games), increasing their connection to plants and animals, and helping build enthusiasm for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Instructions and tips are provided on planning a play-friendly family garden with room for swings, places to hide, miniature landscapes for fairies and dinosaurs, kid-sized tools, and plants kids can graze on right off the vine. Get more ideas for bringing learning to life in the garden from Life Lab where Fisher and Cohen are educators – the cubbies especially loved the Bug Races video!
The standard advice to authors is always, “Write about what you know.” The advice to children’s authors is often, “Write about what children know.” No surprise, then, what interesting things writers do with the fascinating topic of The Family.
Average Rating in the library catalog: 4.5 stars
The family meeting of the title is to announce that third-grader Clementine’s perfect family of four is adding a new brother or sister. Clementine’s reaction to the news? “No thanks!” As always in this early chapter book series, Clementine is funny, spunky, stubborn, opinionated, and has a very good heart. Grades 2 – 3.
A Novel in Words and Pictures From the author/illustrator who brought us The Invention of Hugo Cabret,
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 for New York City to seek the father he never knew. There he meets Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words. Rose’s story is in pictures. Grades 4 – 6
the author of the great frontier family story, Sarah, Plain and Tall
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
When Papa goes away for a little while, his family tries to cope with the separation by adopting four dogs and a cat. Commenting in the library catalog, Mewsician said “Short and easy enough for a third-grader to read alone, yet filled with the complex aspects of complete human beings and their relationships. It’s Patricia MacLachlan, after all … This book glows with warmth and love.” Grades 3 – 4.
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, by Jeanne Birdsall
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Soon after the youngest of the Penderwick sisters was born, their mother died. Now, years later, Aunt Claire has come to visit with a letter their mother wrote just before the end, urging their father to begin dating again. The girls immediately launch a funny “Save Daddy” plan to set him up with really awful dates. They don’t want any chance of a stepmother in their lives. Grades 4 – 8.
A Long Way from Chicago, A novel in Stories by Richard Peck
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Joey and his younger sister Mary Alice live in Chicago during the time of gangsters Al Capone and Bugs Moran but all their adventures occur during their annual visits to a tiny rural town “a long way from Chicago” with their feisty, eccentric, larger-than-life grandmother. In eight hilarious episodes spanning the years 1929-1942, Grandma Dowdel hatches outlandish schemes against such wrongdoers as a teenaged vandal, a drunken sheriff and a rich banker. Grades 4 – 8.
Yesterday the Cubbies started to list all the things Scaredy Squirrel is afraid of: green Martians, tarantulas, beavers, rabbits, pirates, jellyfish, seagulls, unicorns, bats, ants, confetti, ponies, well it just got too long to list them all!
We decided to read one of his hilarious stories Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party again, just to see the ridiculous things he does to avoid everything he fears (and there are so many). He wants to have a birthday party without any friends over! Well, maybe just one friend, since in Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, he found out that friends can be quite wonderful.
Scaredy plans everything down to the last minute, and hoping against any surprises, when suddenly his worst fears arrive: party guests! He panics, freezes, and plays dead!
But no need to fear, for when he finally opens his eyes he sees that everyone is sitting quietly and the birthday candles are lit. Scaredy begins to enjoy himself. It all works out OK!
Maybe you’d like to start with his first book, Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts or any of his others! We think he’s quite a nut!
P.S. He’s on the Cartoon Network but we think the book is “better than the movie.” Well, except for the library’s DVD Katie Loves the Kittens and More Funny Stories has Scaredy Squirrel on it. We checked it out and we’re going to watch it before bedtime. Yea!
Now that the weather is warming up, it’s a perfect time to plant some seeds indoors and make plans for outdoor summer projects like a worm bin, sunflower maze, bird feeders or a rain barrel. In Rocks, Dirt, Worms & Weeds, Jeff Hutton provides user-friendly information to help you teach your children about soil and nature as you work on the projects. Chapters follow the seasons, starting with spring and suggesting outdoor activities for each of the seasons. Recent studies by the Children & Nature Network show numerous health benefits to children from contact with the outdoors and nature – and it’s good for the grownups, too!
I heard National Library Week is April 14-20, which reminded me of a question asked by a friend at my cub’s PTA meeting a few days ago. “I know you’re a library supporter,” she said, “but why do we need the public library? Aren’t libraries going the way of the dinosaurs with the advent of eBooks and the Internet?”
I’ve heard that more than once. I could tell you lots of reasons, but instead, I’ll share a few stories my local librarian passed along. These are from quotes from Whatcom County residents.
“We homeschool and the library is a great resource for any materials we need. I have used many of the great preschool kits with my younger children. They are so fun to use and the kids learn a lot.”
“We do not have cable TV, so we use the library to find good videos for us to watch, such as The Way Things Work series for children, various science videos, and also fun videos like Blue’s Clues and Bear in the Big Blue House.”
“The library has been useful for me because I can go up there and use the computers to do my homework for school.”
“The local library was like a temporary office for me when I first started my business. Room to work on my laptop, wifi connection, local resources at my fingertips. What more could I ask for? The icing on the cake was the very friendly and well informed staff.”
“My boss TOLD me to come get a library card because he wants me to be able to use the ReferenceUSA database, just like he does.”
“A Spanish-speaking family came to the library looking for help after losing their job and home. Library staff helped with translating, and the family was informed about a class the library hosted from WorkSource. With that help both parents were able to find jobs and they are now transitioning into permanent housing.”
I urge you to visit your local library during National Library Week and ask what’s new – and be prepared to be amazed!
The cubs and I are planting a garden, so we will have fresh produce to serve at meals all summer long. Here are a few books that get us excited about what’s to come.
Growing Vegetable Soup written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert (ages 2-7)
This book lays out the garden to table concept simply and beautifully. It begins with a wonderful, brightly-illustrated vocabulary lesson showing and all of the tools and vegetables playing roles in this garden. The story then leads us one sentence per page through the entire process of planting, weeding and harvesting. The satisfying ending features “the best soup ever.” It’s a delicious Spring read.
Go Go Grapes! by April Pulley Sayre (ages 2-7)
It’s a fruit cheer that will leave your mouth watering for juicy, sweet produce! Each page shows a beautiful photo of fruit growing or being displayed at a market, and there is a little rhyme/chant to go with each picture. For example, “Ask for apples, / round and ripe. / Try them. Pie them. / Red. Green. Stripe!” Veggie-lovers will also want to check out Sayre’s equally enthusiastic companion title, Rah, Rah Radishes!
Healthy food and good books—it’s a perfect pairing.
Some people like to match their earrings and socks, I like to match my books with food. Teens know that food is critical to enjoying a good book better than most. Here are some delicious teen reads and their perfect food pairings:
Dark Life, Kat Falls: The only way to escape the rising seas and shrinking land is to escape underwater to establish new cities and lives. But the deep dark watery world also has some deep, dark secrets…gummy fish, dried seaweed and jello.
Wrapped, Jennifer Bradbury: Set in 1815 England, brilliant Agnes gets invited to a lavish mummy unwrapping party, after which she finds more than she expected wrapped inside. Onion rings, burrito bites and spring rolls, of course.