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Zoofari Tails This Week!

Folks, we are halfway through NovJan Thomasember, which means it is time for my monthly Zoofari Tails Storytime pitch! Since it is Kansas Reads to Preschoolers week I have chosen a theme based on this year’s selected book Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. This month’s theme will be all about farm animals! We have ‘em all: cows, pigs, ducks, and maybe even a chicken or two! Other stories read will include Punk Farm and Dooby Dooby Moo. Don’t forget about to add a dash of fun songs and rhymes! After storytime, Sunset Zoo docents will present animal biofacts pertaining to farm animals. Children who attend will also receive their very own copy of Is Everyone Ready for Fun? Don’t forget to bring your Zoofari punch card – if you have one – because we only have one month left before we do our yearly membership drawing! Please note that storytime will be held AT THE SUNSET ZOO at 10:00. We hope to see you there!

 

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Celebrate “Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week”

By Laura Ransom, Children’s Librarian

“Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week” is an annual event that promotes reading to all Kansas children from birth through age five. Parents, librarians, and caregivers are encouraged to read the chosen book during the week of November 16-22.

funI am especially excited about this year’s selection, Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. Three happy cows and a frustrated chicken bounce through the pages of this light-hearted picture book. We love promoting this event at Manhattan Public Library, and each child who attends a storytime during the week will receive a free book! Funding for the free books is generously provided by the Manhattan Library Association.
My love for books began when I was very young. I have such fond memories of sitting in my mom’s lap while she read Don Wood’s The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear to me night after night. She later told me that she had the book memorized since I requested it so many times. What a patient parent! Another of my all-time favorites is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. I remember chanting along with that brave engine, “I think I can, I think I can!” These engaging books stirred a desire in me to learn how to read the words on the pages.
readaloudAs a children’s librarian, I obviously endorse reading aloud to children, but research supports it, too. One example is a study by the U.S. Department of Education, which concluded with these words: “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” This quote is from The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, a wonderful book filled with read-aloud suggestions and helpful tips for parents. Books include a wider vocabulary than we often encounter in television shows or everyday conversations. Even though children are unfamiliar with these new words, exposure to them is a stepping stone to reading independently. If they have heard the word before, they will be better equipped to know how to read it on the printed page.
A love for reading is just as important as the actual reading process. The fancy name for the desire to read is called print motivation. This is one of six skills children need in order to read successfully. The other skills are: Notice Print All Around; Talk, Talk, Talk; Tell Stories About Everything; Look for Letters Everywhere; and Take Time to Rhyme, Sing, and Play Word Games. These skills were originally identified by the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read Program. Johnson County Public Library modified the information that program first developed, and they renamed it “6 by 6: Six Skills by Six Years.” Many of these skills are things parents already practice with their children without taking much time to consider the educational benefits. Things like pointing out the letters on a stop sign or words on a billboard can actually help children notice that words are all around them. Little habits like this can truly make a big difference in a child’s attitude toward reading.

Our librarians love to help children discover the joy of reading. Come visit us at the library for great book recommendations and resources for growing readers.

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National Family Literacy Month

by Mary, Adult Services Librarian

I’m a novice Grandma and so excited about helping my little guy fall in love with reading.

Fun activities that involve books and interactive reading can begin the first steps toward this love affair.
index6DNGOOOZA new book that has helped me form new ideas about reading to my grandson is:
Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in the Digital Age–From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything In Between by Jason Boog is a wonderful new book that helps parents learn the advantages of interactive reading.
National Family Literacy Day just passed us by but we are barely into National Family Literacy Month. This November take advantage of the ideas on the familieslearning.org website to enjoy fun times with books. They have an idea for each day that can make reading and learning about literature a game. Try the idea on Day 2-Draw pictures of your child’s favorite book characters and turn them into puppets for dramatic play. Day 10 – Create Picture Stories. Take a photo or draw a picture of your child doing a favorite activity. Write a story together, using the pictures as illustrations. Picture books help children develop critical thinking skills, as their brains take in the picture and the text and make connections between the two.

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Homeschool Afternoon on November 13

IMG_3964For the past two months, families in the community that practice home education have been joining children’s library staff for Homeschool Afternoon.  This monthly event takes place on the second Thursday of the month from 2pm to 3pm.  In September, we studied the history of space exploration by making a human version of the Saturn V rocket.  In October, we investigated forensic science by solving a “crime” committed by a librarian.  Students used their sense of touch to guess what might be in a variety of mystery bags.

In November, we will be learning about the artist Henri Rousseau.  Rousseau painted jungle landscapes using animal camouflage concepts; each student will get to make a jungle landscape after discussing camouflage and how we can use it in art.  Join us for this program on Thursday, November 13 from 2pm to 3pm in the Groesbeck room on the 2nd floor of the library

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Zoofari Tails Storytime AT THE ZOO

Join us at 11:00 for tOwlhis month’s Zoofari Tails Storytime! This month’s theme is all about – wait for it – Owls! Stories read will include “Little Owl Lost”, “Owl Babies”, and “I’m Not Scared”. Children’s staff will also present engaging rhymes and songs all about owls! Zoo docents will give information about owls, and even show children a LIVE screech owl! Any child who comes will have a chance to win a free book, courtesy of Clafflin Books. Children and adults who attend will also receive free admission to the Sunset Zoo! If you have a Zoofari Punch Card, don’t forget to bring it because we only have a few months left before our annual drawing – children who have 6 punches on their card will be entered to win a free year-long membership to the Sunset Zoo. Come ready to screech, squawk, and flap your wings at this mega-fun storytime! Please note that storytime will be held in the rotunda building at the Sunset Zoo. All attendees are more than welcome to wear a Halloween costume too! WHOOOOOO will be there?

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Share Books to Introduce Fire Safety

By Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager

MHKFDDuring National Fire Prevention Week, our local firefighters visited schools to talk to students about fire safety and prevention, show them some equipment they use and make sure they would never be afraid of a firefighter in uniform. Notes were sent home reminding families to practice with their kids so they know what to do if the smoke detector goes off. Reading books about firefighters and fire safety is a great way to start this discussion with young children and let them talk about their concerns.

The library has an excellent collection of children’s materials on this topic, thanks to the Manhattan Firefighters Union Local 2275. They have donated funds for the past three years to boost the library’s collection, so more kids and teachers can check out books and make sure everyone knows how to stay safe.
For some fun read-alouds to start off with a lighter approach, these picture books are sure to be a hit:

“I’m Brave” by McMullan is told from the point of view of a “good looking” fire engine. He goes through all his equipment, including the usual hoses and axes, as well as duckbill pliers and rabbit ear bolt cutters. Kids who love fire trucks will also enjoy  “Firefighters: Speeding, Spraying, Saving” by Hubbell.

The exciting illustrations in Dale’s “Dinosaur Rescue” make it a perfect book to share with preschoolers, and Scarry’s “A Day at the Fire Station” in Busytown will always be good for some giggles, too. “Fire Drill” is a short picture book by Jacobs that describes the scenario of fire drills in a school setting with simple text and pictures, making the actual event a little less scary.

fire safety 1Some children are fascinated by emergency vehicles, from police cars to fire engines. For facts and photos about fire trucks, check out “Fire Trucks and Rescue Vehicles” from the Mighty Machines series, or “Fire Trucks in Action” by Hanson. “Rescue Vehicles” by Gilpin includes cross-section illustrations to show what is inside fire engines, ambulances, police cars and more. These books are now housed in our “Transportation” neighborhood in the Children’s Room.

A number of books for children have a very direct educational approach, which is great for covering the basics of fire prevention and procedures in case of a fire. “Contain the Flame” by Donahue covers outdoor and campfire safety, and “Being Safe with Fire” by Kesselring provides safety tips in everyday living, as well as steps to make an escape plan. Learn more specifics about firefighters’ jobs in books like “Firefighters Help Us” by Murray or “A Day with Firefighters” by Shepherd.

Our newest additions to the collection this year are two kits that include multiple books plus activities that can all be checked out together. The tote bag story kit, “Firefighters,” is geared toward preschool and early elementary ages. It includes six fun picture books, such as “Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill,” two informational books, a DVD of “Elmo Visits the Firehouse” and a cool firefighter costume for dress-up play.

The discovery pack, “Fire and Rescue,” comes in a backpack and is for kids in grades 2-6. It includes informational books about firefighters, fire dogs, smoke jumpers, rescue vehicles and fire safety. A large maze game will challenge older kids to think about fire safety, as well as test their logic and problem-solving skills.

fire safety 2Special thanks goes out to our local firefighters for all they do to keep us safe, educate us, and provide this kind of support to the whole community.

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Progress in the new space

Stop by and see the progress in the north addition to the Children’s Room!  Carpet is down in this area, and temporary shelving has been set up so we can move some books out of the current space for the rest of the carpeting.  The new area will be open to the public in a few weeks while renovations in the old room are finished up.  We can’t wait for kids to try out the window seat!

windows and carpet

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“Where Is It?”

Once again, many books in the children’s collection have been moved and rearranged due to the construction project. We are also preparing for a different arrangement of our books when the new north addition is completed.  Children’s nonfiction books will be divided into various “neighborhoods” centered around popular subjects to make it easier for kids to browse and find the books they are interested in.  The neighborhood sections will be Animals, Arts & Crafts, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Geography, History, Science & Nature, and Transportation.  We will also have special areas for Graphic Novels, Beginning Readers, Toddler & Board books, and a new section we’re calling Early Chapter Books.

To find out if a children’s book is in a special neighborhood, when you bring up the title in the library catalog, just click on the button to the right that says, “Where is It?”  For example, Surviving the Oregon Trail by Rebecca Stefoff has a call number of “J 978 Stefoff.”

where is it button

This image shows the library catalog record with the “Where is It” button on the right. Click image to enlarge.

When you click on “Where is It?,” you can see that it is in the “Children’s History Neighborhood.”  You can also see the call number again, where the neighborhood is located (currently some neighborhoods are on the 2nd floor due to construction), whether the book is available or when it is due back to the library, and the type of item (book, audiobook, DVD, etc.).

where is it screen jpeg

This image shows the library catalog record after clicking on the “Where is It?” button. Click image to enlarge.

Please ask library staff to help you locate specific books. We love to help our customers!  And things are changing in our room so quickly these days, it’s impossible to keep up to speed.  Soon we will be rearranging again and making space for the current Children’s Room to get new carpet.  Books and other materials should be in their final spots by the end of the year!

Science & Nature books are now together in the Children's Room, including related picture books.

Science & Nature books are now together in the Children’s Room, including related picture books.

History, Geography, and Fairy Tales & Folklore Neighborhoods are being housed on the 2nd floor right now.

History, Geography, and Fairy Tales & Folklore Neighborhoods are being housed on the 2nd floor right now.

Early Chapter Books have been pulled from the regular fiction. These books have about 100 pages, larger text size and simpler vocabulary than longer children's novels.

Early Chapter Books have been pulled from the regular fiction. These books have about 70-120 pages, larger text size and simpler vocabulary than longer children’s novels.

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Zoofari Tails Storytime AT THE ZOO

I can’t believe that it is almost OctoZoofari Septemberber, but – that being said – I am excited to announce our Zoofari theme for the month: Bird Migration! Join us at the Sunset Zoo to hear stories, songs, and rhymes related to birds. Stories read will include “Today I will Fly”, “Birds”, and “Flight School”! Children who attend will be entered to win a free book, courtesy of Clafflin Books. Also, remember to bring your Zoofari punch card – if you get six punches throughout the year you will be entered to win a free year-long membership to the zoo! After storytime, zoo docents will present animal biofacts or lead tours to specific animal exhibits. If all of this isn’t enough for you then let me put the icing on the cake; families who attend will receive free admission to explore exhibits after storytime! Please note that storytime will take place at the Sunset Zoo in the rotunda building. We hope to see you there!!!!

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In Defense of the Graphic Novel

By Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian

The concept of telling stories through images has been around since the beginning of time. The idea has evolved in many ways, including the introduction of the comic book. From superhero stories to biographies, one can find a graphic novel about almost any subject. In recent years, the literary merit of reading comic books has come under fire, and many educators and librarians have joined the debate in defense of the graphic novel.

Reading visuals and text together requires the reader to make inferences about what is happening in the scenario or storyline. Think about the experience of reading picture books to your child. Very rarely will the characters’ emotions be portrayed through text; often, the illustrator allows the character to emote through illustrations. These inference skills start developing at the beginning of a child’s life and should continue on throughout the rest of his young adult and adult reading life.

Graphic novels also allow the reader to explore time and motion in a different way. As a young reader’s comprehension and reading levels increase, he wants to read stories with more characters and complicated circumstances. The same concept applies to graphic novels, as authors add more panels and more scenarios. A graphic novelist may make the storyline move faster and slower by modifying panels and introducing visual transitions. (more…)

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