Hidden Treasures and Tips for Exploring the Children’s Room

As someone who spends most of her working and non working hours surrounded by children and children’s books, I am pretty savvy with how our children’s room is organized and what all the stickers and categories mean. However, not all of it is obvious and I want to share some of the small pockets of the children’s collection with you so that it is easier for you to find just the right book. We have updated our signage to make it easier to find the right section, but there are still some nooks and crannies that you might not know about.

Parents ShelfIMG_3102
If you are looking for books to help you manage the joys of parenthood, including everything from pregnancy to how to have tough discussions with older children, then this area is a great resource. There are non fiction books for parents, DVD’s, and some books to share and read with your children on a variety of topics. Whether you are facing the wonder of potty training or the teen years, there are books here to help. There are also Parent’s Magazines and publications that are free to take. This shelf is right before the play area, so parents can browse with little ones still in sight. The call numbers for these materials all begin with Parent.

IMG_3096Older Picture Books
These books typically look like the average picture book. However, they are shelved after the chapter books and tend to have more words and/or subject matter that might require more explanation or discussion than expected from a picture book. These are great options for readers who are ready for chapter books but do not want to leave behind picture books or easy readers. The call numbers for these books all begin J OPB.

Easy NonfictionIMG_3103
Trapped between the nonfiction books and the picture books are a couple rows on easy nonfiction. You can tell these nonfiction books apart from the rest because of the bold red E under the call number. These are non fiction materials especially suited for Kindergartners through second graders to explore on their own or for reading together. The text tends to be simple, with glossaries for the harder words, and plenty of pictures. The call numbers for these items begin with J E followed by a number.

IMG_3097Fiction and Nonfiction with a Yellow Dot
When exploring the fiction section (including series, science fiction, and mystery) and the nonfiction section of our children’s room, you might notice that some of the labels wear an extra yellow dot. This dot means that it is a transitional or easy chapter book. These books are not quite as easy to IMG_3098read as the easy readers wearing the blue stickers (shelved over by the picturebooks) but are great for the readers who are venturing into the world of chapter books and might be intimidated by the sheer size and lack of pictures in some. The these books tend to have a large font, lots of pictures, and less words on a page that other chapter books.

 IMG_3101ABC’s and 123’s
Between the Easy Nonfiction and the Parent’s Shelf lies a small section of picture books and easy nonfiction books that help teach numbers and letters. All of the books that specifically teach numbers have a yellow 123 sticker on the spine, and the alphabet books have a red ABC on the spine. The call numbers for these items begin with an ABC or 123 as appropriate.

There are a few more special stickers and sections in the children’s room. Please, come explore the room, and if you need help finding anything or want to know what any of the labels mean, stop by the Children’s Desk and we will be glad to help!

Getting Past Captain Underpants

My son was not as instantly attracted to books and reading as myself or his little sister. While he loved picking out books and being read to, once it came time to read on his own he was easily discouraged. He had the skills to read, but had trouble sitting still or focusing on decoding the more challenging words. I offered him every style of easy reader and early chapter book imaginable. Thankfully, as a librarian with many friends that happen to teach, I had plenty of resources. The book that finally caught his attention is one that many try to steer clear of because of its silly and sometimes disgusting humor. However, if he was going to read, and do so happily, I was going to encourage it regardless of the book in question.

captainunderpantsAs you might have guessed, that book was Captain Underpants. He has now read the boxed set of the series through more than a few times, and expanded to other books, all of which I like much better. Now he still loves that silly humor, but he also loves jokes and anything vaguely monster, hero, or adventure. So, for fellow parents that fear the draw of the Captain, there are some great follow up books that a fan might easily and happily transition to. The number of easier chapter books and graphic novels that will appeal to the fans of Captain Underpants is growing, with volume and quality. If you are trying to ease your young reader away from the underwear clad superhero, here are some great options to keep them reading. If the book belongs to a series, which most of them do, I have listed the first book in that series. And on a side note, do not be afraid to introduce harder books via audiobooks! I hooked both my kids on the Magic Tree House series by listening to the audio book collection in the car.captainsquish

Squish 1: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Introducing SQUISH—a new graphic novel series about a comic book-loving, twinkie-eating grade school AMOEBA trying to find his place in the world (or at least trying to make it through a school day).

Sardine in Outer Space by Emmanuel Guibert
Sardine and her uncle, Captain Yellow Shoulder, sail their ship, The Huckleberry, across the universe meeting up with monsters and aliens in order to confront Supermuscleman, who is trying to take over the galaxy.

captaingeorgeGeorge Brown, Class Clown: Super Burp by Nancy E. Krulik
When fourth-grader George starts at a new school, he vows to become a model student instead of the class clown he has always been, but just as his plan is going really well, he is overtaken by a magic burp that turns him back into a mischief-maker.

The Fake Cape Caper by Greg Trine

Melvin Beederman, superhero in charge of Los Angeles, attends the Superhero’s Convention in Las V egas, leaving his young sidekick to keep Los Angeles safe from evil bad guys and bullies.

Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight
Fourth-grader Frankie Piccolini has a vivid imagination when it comes to cleaning his disastrously messy room, but eventually even he decides that it is just too dirty.

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There is an increasing number of wonderful books for this reading level and age group as of late. If you have already read all of these and are still looking for me you might also want to try: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne, The High and the Flighty by Catherine Hapka and Lisa Rao, Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy: The Hero Revealed by William Boniface, Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons by Troy Cummings, Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Wiley & Grampa’s Creature Features by Kirk Scroggs,Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon, Looinverse: Stranger Things by David Lubar,  My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara, Galaxy Zack: Hello Nebulon by Ray O’Ryan, and Attack of the Giant Hamster by Paul Harrison.

Recommended Books for Newly Independent Readers

If you have a young reader that is able to read independently (for the most part) and ready to make the change from the more difficult easy readers to chapter books then this is the list to take note of. When a child begins reading fluently their efforts are more automatic and exploring a wider variety of subjects and authors and showing less reliance of the illustrations to glean the meaning of new words and phrases. They are using more expression and taking pauses to coordinate with punctuation and the natural flow of language. Their energy is devoted to understanding, have good command and use of the various comprehension strategies, and can correct their own mistakes most of the time while still being willing to ask for assistance as needed.

Here are some suggestions, including some I brought home for my son this week. As usual, I am 20140303-164915.jpgsure I missed some perfectly wonderful books for this reading level, and if I missed your favorites please mention them in a comment so others can check them out. If you are browsing our fiction shelves in the children’s room looking for books for these readers, I can give you some quick hints to find even more. The transitional chapter books have a yellow dot sticker on the spine with the call number. This makes spotting one or two when you are browsing with no specific author in mind super easy. Do not rule out books in the Easy Reader or Easy Non Fictionsection at this stage either- some books here do have  vocabulary that can help your young reader continue to grow.

Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions by Margaret Musgrove.
Explains some traditions and customs of 26 African tribes beginning with letters from A to Z.

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, #1) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Eight-year-old Jack and his younger sister Annie find a magic treehouse, which whisks them back to an ancient time zone where they see live dinosaurs.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl.
Three farmers, each one meaner than the other, try all-out warfare to get rid of the fox and his family.

Mrs. Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater.
Nick and Maxine have a new babysitter–the eccentric Mrs. Noodlekugel who lives in the funny little house behind their drab high-rise apartment building along with her feline butler, Mr. Fuzzface, and three myopic mice.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Mercy Watson #1) by Kate DiCamillo.
After Mercy the pig snuggles to sleep with the Watsons, all three awaken with the bed teetering on the edge of a big hole in the floor.

The Case of the Lost Boy (The Buddy Files, #1) by Dori Hillestad Butler.
While searching for his mysteriously lost human family, Buddy the dog is adopted by another family and helps solve the mystery of their missing boy.

26 Fairmount Avenue  by Tomie dePaola.
Children’s author-illustrator Tomie De Paola describes his experiences at home and in school when he was a boy.

Other titles or series starters that I would recommend are: Ivy and Bean (Ivy and Bean, #1) by Annie Barrows, The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume, The Beast in Ms. Rooney’s Room (The Kids of the Polk Street School #1) by Patricia Reilly Giff, Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs (Roscoe Riley Rules, #1) by Katherine Applegate, Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look, Ellray Jakes is Not a Chicken by Sally Warner, Nate the Great (and the entire Nate series) by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, Snake and Lizard and Friends  by Joy Cowley, Wonder Kid Meets the Evil Lunch Snatcher by Lois Duncan, Stinky: a Toon Book by Eleanor Davis, Bink & Gollie, Best Friends Forever by Kate DiCamillo, and The Big Something by Patricia Reilly Giff.