OWL: Observe, Wait, Listen

If you’ve visited the Children’s Department of the Cheshire Public Library you’ve probably noticed the large amounts of toys we have. We love to see kids play and love to see them playing with their caregivers together even more! We view play as a fundamental building block for preparing children to read as well as the general development of any child.

There are a few easy steps that you can take to enhance play with your little one in the easy to remember acronym OWL.  This system was developed by the Hanen Centre,  a not-for-profit charitable organization committed to promoting the best possible language, literacy, and social skills in young children. We provide parents and professionals with a variety of resources and trainings to help them maximize the early language learning of all children – including those with or at risk of language delays and those with developmental challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. For more tips and strategies on building interaction into every part of the day, visit their website at www.hanen.org

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Listen

Observe: Understanding what your child wants or what is going through their mind is difficult.  Taking the time to observe your child and see where their attention is focused on can help you share the moment with him/her.

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Wait: Waiting gives your child time to start an interaction or respond to what you’ve said or done.  Waiting means three things: stop talking, lean forward, and look at your child expectantly.  Waiting can be one of the most difficult things for parents/caregivers to do.  Counting to 10 to yourself can help ensure you don’t rush.

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Listen: Listening means paying very close attention to your child’s words and sounds and ensuring that you don’t interrupt him/her.  This can be difficult, especially when you are trying to figure out what your child is trying to tell you.

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 We have many books and DVDs by the Hanen Centre that expand on OWL at the Cheshire Public Library in the Parenting Collection in the Children’s Room.  Check them out today.

You can also attend our parent workshop: Helping Your Child Learn. We’ll go over ways you can incorporate the practices into playtime, reading time, and everyday activities.  Dinner and childcare will be provided.

Collection Spotlight: Lit Kits

When you were growing up was there a subject that you were obsessed with? Perhaps you are a parent or caregiver and a little one in your life has a similar obsession. Maybe you want to teach your little ones about your favorite subject, or you are a teacher and want to introduce a subject or idea. We have a simple answer for all of this, we call them Lit Kits.

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A Lit Kit is a box that includes a DVD, CD, book of related activities, picture books, and board books on a given topic. The collection of materials circulate in a blue storage box  for the standard 28 day period, the same check out time as out regular books, CD’s, and audiobooks. They are the perfect solution for entertaining and teaching our youngsters. We currently have 40 Lit Kits in our collection, with plans for adding more. You can place holds on the kits if the subject you are looking for is checked out. Our Lit Kits are located on the bottom shelf of the book case that houses our Parenting collection. 20161104_103952Our Lit Kits include: Firefighters, Babies, Birds, Apples, Winter, Shoes, Spring, Food, Sleeping, Chickens,FishFish #2, Transportation, Wheels, Rain, Friends, Monsters, Frogs, Summer, Colors, Dinosaurs, Animals, Families, Nursery Rhymes, Circus, Clothing, Pizza, Teeth, Shapes, Monkeys, Cats, Fall/Autumn, Bears, Dogs, Princesses, Bugs, Farms, Sports, Beach, and All About Me.

We are planning on building more kits, so if you have a suggestion for a subject please share it here.

The World’s Least Known Endangered Animal

Do you know what a pangolin is? It’s an adorable little creature that is native to areas of Africa and Asia. It looks a little like an armadillo with similar keratin-based scales. They eat mainly ants and termites and roll up in a ball when they feel threatened. They are odd little guys, with tongues that can actually be longer than their body when full extended, which I suppose is extremely helpful when hunting termites.
pangolin4 Alamy Submission January 2013

pangolinIt is also one of the world’s must hunted and illegally trafficked animals on Earth. This one small animal current makes up 20 percent of the black market involving wildlife.  For more information on this oddly adorable creature take a look at Save Pangolins and the dedicated page on the World Wildlife Federation website.  You can also see some children’s books that include the creatures like Roly Poly Pangolin by Anna Dewdney and What on Earth is a Pangolin? by Edward R. Ricciuti.

The third Friday in February has been named World Pangolin Day to help raise awareness and conservation efforts of this endangered animal. This year it falls on February 18th. People are encouraged to recognize the day by sharing information about the pangolin and to help raise awareness about the danger the entire species is in. I think that is a wonderful idea, but we can take it a step further by learning more about a variety of threatened animals.

Sadly, there are many animals out there that are endangered or threatened that people are unaware of, unless they go looking for the information or stumble across it accidentally. That is how I found out about the pangolin. This in turn made me think about the number of animals and insects that make their way on to the endangered or extinct list every year and what can be done to stop (or at least slow) the process.

pangolinwolfThankfully, more and more information is available about animals at risk, and what we can do to help. This is particularly true with children’s books. There are several publishers making an effort to raise interest and awareness. National Geographic has an entire series of books about making a mission of protecting at risk areas. Thus far we have the books: Mission: Tiger Rescue, Mission: Wolf Rescue, Mission: Elephant Rescue, Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue, Mission: Polar Bear Rescue , Mission: Shark Rescue, Mission: Panda Rescue, and Mission: Lion Rescue.

pangolinbatsAuthor Sandra Markle has also research and written several books about creatures that are at risk. So far we have: The Case of the Vanishing Honey Bees , The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats , The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs, The Great Monkey Rescue: Saving the Golden Lion Tamarins, and The Great Leopard Rescue: Saving the Amur Leopards.

While there are many more animals at risk out there, these books are a great way to dive into the information and get kids interested in helping animals, both in our backyard and miles away.

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Collection Spotlight: Magazines for Children and Teens

20161104_104441Cheshire Public Library subscribes to a variety of magazine, both in print and digitally. Print Magazines for adults are kept on the lower level, and get a good amount of traffic. Our digital offerings via Zinio and Overdrive also get a good deal of use. However, I think people forget about the print magazines we carry for our children and young adult readers.

Our children’s magazines live on and end caps of the children’s chapter books shelves. Included with the children’s magazines are a few selections for parents and family reading. New items are 20161104_111026on one side of the shelf and back issues are on the opposite end of the same shelf.

The young adult magazines are housed in the teen room in a corner by the bistro table and end of the manga collection. All magazines circulate for a two week loan period, but are renewable. If the issue you are looking for is not available a hold can be placed on it. Simply stop by any service desk or call to place a hold.

askOur children’s magazine collection includes: LEGO Club Magazine, The Horn Book Magazine, Kids Discover, Chop Chop, National Geographic Kids, Discovery Girls, Girls’ Life, American Girl, Ladybug, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Zoobooks, Ask!: Arts and Sciences for Kids, Plays, Muse, Highlights HelloRanger RickRanger Rick Jr, Boys’ Life, Brick Journal, Highlights for Children, and Cobblestone.

gameinformerThe magazines for parents and family include: Practical Homeschooling, Parents, and Family Fun.

Our young adult magazine collection includes: Game Informer Magazine: For Video Game Enthusiasts, Teen Vogue, Mad, Seventeen, J-14, and Twist.

High Interest Books for Middle Grade Readers

I have talked before about reluctant readers and transitional readers, particularly about finding books that can interest and engage them as they work to become more confident readers. (Check out the list here if this would apply to the books you are looking for). However, my kids are a little older now, so I have spent more time looking for the elusive perfect middle grade book to interest my high energy readers. They both love to read but only if the subject matter and action level meet their specific standards. I know this is a common issue since I have helped many a frustrated parent and child find something to read while working in the children’s room.

Why do I bring this up? Well, this week as I was unpacking a new order of children’s books I was thrilled to see a large number of books that fill this sweet spot of reads that would interest many middle grade readers. Right away I started mentally listing some of the best and realized how many zany, energy packed reads are available.middlegrade1

Here are some high interest, high humor, and high action reads for those who have trouble getting into a book, or who have convinced themselves that reading is boring. These are not readers who have trouble reading, only who are tired of being told what to read or have not found highly entertaining books and might have lost interest in books because of it.

Most of these suggestions are series starters or are by authors who consistently write this style of book, middlegrade2so if you find one that makes your reader happy they will have more to follow it up with.

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier & Douglas Holgate

Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson

Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein

Marvin and the Moths by Matthew Holm and Jonathamiddlegrade3n Follet

Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beaty

The Hero Revealed by William Boniface

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R.A. Spratt

Wonkenstein by Obert Skyemiddlegrade5

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

My Rotten Life by David Lubar

As usual, I found more books I wanted to include than can fit in a simple list, so more suggestions are: The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, SPHDZ by Jon Scieszka, The Robe of Skulls by Vivian FrenchHerbert’s Wormhole by Peter Nelson and Rohitash Rao, Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka, The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke, Dodger and Me by Jordan middlegrade6Sonnenblick, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis, My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara, The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry, The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, and The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson.

Did I miss a book that was a hit with you or a reader you know? Share the title here so we can give it a look too!