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Celebrate Screen-Free Week May 4-10

Screen-free week is an annual, international celebration when families, schools, and communities swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen. Instead of watching tv, surfing the web, or playing with apps, they read, play, think, create, get active, and spend time with family and friends.

Starting May 4, you and your children can participate by pledging to go seven days without using a screen. Talk about your pledge with family and friends, and help spread the word about the benefits of going screen-free. For activity ideas for all ages, download the free organizer’s kit at www.screenfree.org, or check out fun activities for babies at Lemon Lime Adventures.

You are invited to bring your children to the library anytime to explore activities and check out a bag of books to take home. We’re also hosting a special storytime for kids age 0-5 on Thursday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m. Join us for a fun evening of stories, songs, and dancing!

When we stop to consider the amount of time we spend using screens, it becomes a little shocking. On average, preschool children spend over four and a half hours a day consuming screen media, while older children spend over seven hours a day in front of a screen (including multitasking). Excessive screen time is linked to a number of problems for children, including childhood obesity, poor school performance, and problems with attention span. Try going screen-free for a week and see how it changes your life!

Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is coordinated by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a national advocacy organization devoted to reducing the impact of commercialism on children. Since the Week’s founding in 1994, it has been celebrated by millions of children and their families worldwide. For more information, visit www.screenfree.org. Local participation in Screen-Free Week is organized by USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden Parents as Teachers.

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ZOOfari Tails Storytime: Llama Drama

cover art for Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna DewdneyThe next ZOOfari Storytime is this Friday, April 24 at 10:00 a.m., and it’s all about llamas! Bring your kiddos ages 0-5 to the library on Friday  to hear Mr. Brian and staff from the Sunset Zoo read the stories Maria had a Llama, Llama Llama Red Pajama, and Is Your Mama a Llama. We’ll sing and dance to fun llama songs and rhymes, too! Plus, zoo staff will bring animal biofacts to share.

Since ZOOfari is so popular, you may need a few extra minutes to find a parking spot. We hope to see you there!

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A Playful Destination

By Jennifer Bergen, Children’s Services Manager

kids climbing on furniture in children's room

The new layout of the Children’s Room has provided opportunity for more interactive features to engage children while they are at the library looking for books, learning about something new, or just playing. Having time to play and pretend is important to a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development, from early childhood on. With busy schedules and more structured activities, spending a few hours at the library can be the perfect time to encourage children’s freedom. They can choose from thousands of books to look through, play with different games or activities, or draw their parents into some free play as well.

Kids using the Beginning Readers and Early Chapter Books area are learning to read or becoming more confident readers. Some fun activities we have had on the magnet/dry erase board include Mad Libs with magnet words to fill in the blanks, and letter stencils to trace and spell. Now, kids can try out a Velcro rhyming tree by sticking leaves with rhyming words on the same branch. Finding fun ways to play with language and words gives kids another way to practice their reading.

In the Arts and Crafts Neighborhood, a craft project is always available at the table. We have used fun die-cut shapes for kids to create pictures, cards, door hangers, headbands and other take-home crafts. To celebrate spring, kids can glue cut-outs of the stages of a growing plant, from a seed under the soil to a tall, leafy stem.

This craft leads nicely into our Science and Nature area next door. One or two games or manipulatives are available at a table or from the Children’s Desk to encourage kids to build, experiment or test their science knowledge. For example, kids can build the “food chain” in order with Mega Bloks, or put together an intricate Lego machine from the Lego Crazy Action Contraptions Set.

Creativity abounds with children, and new outlets for their ideas are exciting. In another section, children are encouraged to create their own comics, using dry erase crayons on the Graphic Novels Neighborhood sign. Blank comic book panels encourage kids to draw and write a short comic strip. Some of our favorites have included librarian superheroes!

The gear wall in the Transportation area is a fun experiment for kids of all ages. Magnetic gears have to be connected to reach a pulley that will spin an airplane propeller high on the wall. Some skill is involved, since the gears tend to slip away if they are turning too fast. We’ve watched kids try different tactics until they get it going just right.

In the Geography space, a two-foot diameter globe with more than 1000 place names spins at just the right height for young knowledge seekers. Families who have moved here from abroad or visited places around the world love finding beloved spots on the globe, and sometimes kids just like to spin it and see where their fingers land. A unique feature is that the globe does not use conventional North American names for places, so Germany is Deutsche Land and China is Zhong Guo, giving children a chance to learn more about the world.

Our History area contains a large portion of the children’s nonfiction and is another great stop along the way. A bulletin board highlights historical facts or events, and a display case showcases special items. Currently, kids can view a collection of vintage model cars and trucks with amazing detail, on loan from Doug Schoning.

Slide down to the Animals Neighborhood to get a glimpse of a baby ball python, borrowed from Sunflower Pets. Our pet snake enjoys basking under the heat lamp, resting in a pool of water, or hanging out under her log. Earlier this winter, two Oriental fire-bellied toads occupied this space, and we hope to switch out with a new pet every few months.

The Fairy Tale and Folklore Neighborhood is a popular stop, with dress-up clothes to reenact stories or make up a new one. It is common to find moms, dads or grandparents sitting on the fairytale bench with a tiara or a wolf hat on their heads. Kids love to see their parents dressed up and playing along.

Putting on puppet shows is another favorite activity in our Early Literacy Center, along with magnet and felt board manipulatives and a variety of puzzles. A table dedicated to “6 By 6” early literacy skills includes fun activities for preschoolers revolving around a great children’s picture book. This month, it is Andy Rash’s “Are You a Horse?” with options to act out the story using puppets and stuffed animals, as well as “sewing” the letters for the word HORSE with mini lassoes.

Each area of the Children’s Room features wonderful collections of books to keep kids interested and coming back for more. We love seeing the library used, not just a stop on the way somewhere else, but a destination – a place to hang out for a while and spend some quality time together.

Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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Nonfiction for Young Readers

By Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian

When you think about your reading life as a child, do you remember going through phases?  Maybe you couldn’t get enough of the Berenstain Bears as a preschooler?  Maybe there was a time when Nancy Drew was the only fiction you would read?  A lot of readers might remember devouring nonfiction in the early elementary years.  This trend is still true today, with boys and girls alike asking for nonfiction throughout their elementary years.  Publishing companies invested in children’s reference books have made great strides in producing quality material for all ages.  In the Children’s Room, we have nonfiction books for preschoolers, sixth graders, and every age in between.  Here are some great series of books to consider for your young nonfiction reader.

dk“DK Kids”:  Dorling Kindersley is the world’s leading illustrated reference publisher, and it is very apparent in their kids’ publications.  DK Eyewitness books are aimed at older elementary readers and teens, while DK Eyewonder books are intended for younger elementary readers.  Full of color pictures and information on subjects like animals and history, these books are perfect for children wanting to explore new topics.

“Let’s Read and Find Out Science”: Books in this series range from topics on weather and the earth, to how our bodies work.  Hand-drawn illustrations are used, helping children to transition from picture books to nonfiction.  These books are shorter, intended for preschoolers or younger elementary age students.

“National Geographic Kids”: The National Geographic Society has a wealth of information and photos about the world around us, so it should come as no surprise that their children’s publications are stellar.  The titles are a great stepping stone for early readers, as they each contain a picture glossary, captions, and large text.  This series comes in four reading levels, allowing students to “graduate” to the next level of reading but stay in the same format of book.  National Geographic Kids also has many titles for older readers, such as bird guides, almanacs, and atlases.

“You Wouldn’t Want To” series: Aimed at older readers starting to think critically about science and history, this series examines what it was like to live at a certain time period.  Titles include “You Wouldn’t Want To Sail with Christopher Columbus” or “You Wouldn’t Want To Work on the Great Wall of China.”  Told in second-person narrative, these books allow readers to truly enter into the lives of people in history.

amelia“Childhood of Famous Americans”: This series explores the early years of important American figures.  Though each book is a fictionalized account of one life, the stories are true to the values and experiences of Americans during that time.  Readers can find out what gave Thurgood Marshall a passion for justice, or what made Mark Twain such a gifted and honest writer.

If your children are interested in nonfiction reading, make it a priority to encourage them down this path.  There is so much to learn about history, nature, and how things work.  If you don’t know where to start, ask a librarian.  We will be your advocates in exploring this part of your child’s reading life.

 

 

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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Zoofari Tails: A Quacky Storytime!

Get ready, because Zduckoofari is tomorrow! Join us this month as we present a duck-themed Zoofari Tails Storytime! Stories read will include “Duck to the Rescue“, “Ducks” a short non-fiction book, and even “Duck Says Don’t“. Along with these great stories, we will also be waddling and quacking up a storm – trust me you don’t want to miss this! Sunset Zoo docents will also present biofacts AND a live duck! Due to lack of parking, we will start a few minutes after 10:00, so don’t be discouraged if you come a little late. We hope to see you there! Quack, Quack!

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, library services, Parents

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Read a Tale, Tell a Tale

By Jennifer Bergen, Children’s Services Manager

February 26 is National Tell a Fairy-Tale Day.  I know you already know them, but in case you need some inspiration for your Thursday bedtime story, come visit our Fairy Tale and Folklore Neighborhood in the Children’s room. Look for the banner with the impressive Neuschwanstein Castle pictured atop its woodsy Bavarian hillside. In this section, we have pulled together our fantastic collection of anthologies and picture books so you can find plenty of options, including classic tales, tall tales, new tales, whimsical or “fractured” fairy tales, and stories from around the world.

A few recent additions to this neighborhood include:

chickenBrave Chicken Little retold and illustrated by Robert Byrd. Chicken Little is sure the sky is falling, and he gathers an even larger than usual crowd of animals in his wake when he runs into that sly Foxy Loxy.  This time, Loxy has a wife and seven little kits “who frazzle my wits,” and they are all hungry. Down to the cellar the other animals go, waiting for the stew water to boil. Can little Chicken Little save the day?  Byrd turns the tables on this tale and gives kids an unlikely champion for problem-solving and resourcefulness.

My Grandfather’s Coat retold by Jim Aylesworth. Children love the old Yiddish tale “I Had a Little Overcoat,” with the continual surprises of what the old man will make out of his clothing next.  This retelling has just the right amount of repetition for young listeners to get into the rhythm and start chiming in: “He wore it, and he wore it. And little bit by little bit, he frayed it, and he tore it, until at last…he wore it out!”  Barbara McClintock’s illustrations of family life add a personable tone, showing how the overcoat lasts for generations until “there was nothing left at all. Nothing, that is, except for this story.”

Twelve Dancing Unicorns by Alissa Heyman. In this magical fantasy, a king has 12 unicorns chained to trees in a pen. Only a little girl with a special cloak can discover the mysterious secrets of the mythical creatures and try to save them. This story is sure to satisfy young unicorn lovers with beautiful illustrations by Justin Gerard.

blueThe longstanding favorite anthologies by Andrew Lang are being reissued with the original illustrations, and you can find The Blue Fairy Book, The Yellow Fairy Book and The Green Fairy Book in the library’s collection, each with dozens of tales from around the world including both well-known stories and rare little gems. Lang’s prefaces are worth reading aloud, during which he generally acknowledges the superiority of the child’s mind over the dull thinking of grown-ups.

Two Robert Sabuda pop-up books are also displayed in the Fairy Tales & Folklore Neighborhood: Dragons & Knights and Beauty & the Beast. They are not available for check-out due to their delicate inner workings, but kids and adults love to pore through them while sitting on the fanciful purple bench.  So come read some books, play dress-up with your child, gaze into the “magic” mirror and be inspired to tell a thrilling tale with your own new endings on Fairy-Tale Day.

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Mercury Column, News

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Spring Book Sale at the Library

little boy reading a book in the romance section

The Manhattan Library Association’s annual book sale will be held Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1. 

Visit the library at 629 Poyntz Avenue to find incredible prices on books, CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks that have been donated throughout the year or removed from the library’s collection. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Manhattan Public Library.

The annual book sale has the best bargains in town with hardcover books for $1.50, paperbacks for 75 cents, DVDs and CDs for $2, audiobooks for $4, and children’s books for 75 cents. All of the money raised will be used to fund library programs such as guest speakers, children’s puppet shows, and summer reading programs.

The first night of the sale is open to Manhattan Library Association Members only from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 27. Memberships are available at the door starting at $10. Join the Association to get first choice of materials.

Stop by the sale on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can also find extra fuel for your shopping at the Teen Library Advisory Board’s Annual Bake Sale from 10:00 – 2:00 p.m.

On Sunday, March 1, the sale will be open from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. with special deals on the remaining materials.

This is truly a community event, staffed by wonderful volunteers like Bob Newhouse, Roger Brannan, Wilma Schmeller, and Carol Oakrup who devote countless hours of work organizing the sale.

For more information, visit the library at 629 Poyntz Avenue or call us at (785) 776-4741.

Posted in: For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, News

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Evening Storytime with Mr. Brian

Evening Storytime on Tuesdays at 6:30 is a great option for families with working parents.  Children can come ready in their pajamas if they want to, and join us for fun stories, singing, action rhymes, games and dancing.  Mr. Brian is an engaging presenter and loves to involve children in the telling of stories.  Families are encouraged to attend together.

storytime photo

Mr. Brian has volunteers from the audience help with the story “More Bears!”

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Reading Round-Up on Tuesday Afternoons

Ms. Amber leads the Reading Round-Up Storytime on Tuesday afternoons at 1:30.  This storytime focuses on older preschoolers (ages 4 & up), and incorporates some games and activities to encourage letter recognition, phonemic awareness, rhyming and other early literacy skills. Amber uses interactive stories where children can help by repeating phrases, acting out parts of the story, or helping with puppets, props or flannel board pieces.

Reading Round-up letter C

Children use their arms and bodies to make a letter C during storytime.

Parents can find more ideas for encouraging early literacy skills at the State Library of Kansas’s “6 By 6” website.

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