Stuck at home? Use your public library!

I know we’re all going crazy with the prospect of “staying at home” for the next several weeks.  I am here to tell you that even if you are home, you can travel the world by checking out E-books and audiobooks from Kitsap Regional Library.

What follows are two videos on how to tap into the massive amount of books available to you from the comfort of your cozy little home.

How do I get a library card if I don’t have one?

Now that I have a library card, how do I access E-content?

 

🎧📚To learn more about why I love audiobooks, go take a look at one of my blog posts from a few years ago: Have you tried audiobooks?

🏀Books for March Madness 🏀

Let’s face it, remote learning has been a drag for most of us. There are a lot of negatives. However, I am not here to discuss them. I am here to share a positive experience that has me and my students smiling.

Typically in library, I spend time teaching lessons about the Dewey Decimal System, how to find books in a library, fiction/non-fiction, digital citizenship, research skills and a whole range of other topics. Although those things are sometimes woven into our Zoom sessions, and are no doubt important, I have been spending a good deal of time on one of a librarian’s most important jobs – instilling the love of reading and listening to books. The best way to draw them in is by reading to them.

Some kids don’t spend any time reading outside of material that is required for their school work. Likewise, some kids have never had the opportunity to sit down with a parent to share the joy and intimacy of reading a story together. During our weekly Zoom meetings, I have been sharing my favorite books on timely topics with them and we couldn’t be happier.

This month is the beginning of “March Madness,” the enduring term for the men’s NCAA championship tournament. Regardless of whether you like basketball, I bet you can walk away from these two read alouds happy that you have taken just a moment to sit down, forget about the world around you and learn a little bit about the history of the game.

Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Glass Invented Basketball (in 1891) is the story of how a determined teacher inadvertently invented one of the most popular games in America.

Girls are ballers, too. Read Wilma Rudolph’s story about how she battled Polio and eventually made her way to the Olympics, becoming the fastest woman on earth in 1936.

Check out these other fun links to keep your head in the game:

🏀 Stomp Makes Basketball Music with the Harlem Globetrotters

🏀 The Swish Machine: 70 Step Basketball Trickshot

🏀 MVP | Animated Short Film Inspired by Kobe Bryant

🏀 Dear Basketball | Academy Award Winning Tribute to Kobe Bryant

Read more

30 Second Book Review: The Witches Graphic Novel

If you know me, you know that Roald Dahl is one of my very favorite authors. You’ll also know that I LOVE graphic novels. When I heard that Witches was going to be adapted to graphic novel format, I just may have squealed with delight.

French illustrator, Pénélope Bagieu’s adaptation was published in September 2020. See my 30 second book review for my thoughts on her book.

Coincidentally in October 2020, HBO Max released a The Witches remake of the original 1990 film. It stars Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch. Although I didn’t hate it, I recommend watching the original if you prefer a movie that actually follows the the author’s original story. Besides, Angelica Houston makes a much more believable Grand High Witch.

Keep reading!

France: Viola! These Books Will Take You There.


“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty,

and in the point of Life.”

Thomas Jefferson

During the summer of 2010, I was preparing myself and my family, including my children who were 5 and 3 at the time to take an adventurous road trip across Germany. As a librarian, it only seemed obvious that books were the place to start. That tradition has stuck with us and even though my kids are teenagers, I begin researching and reading oodles of picture books, chapter books and non-fiction to and with my children.

In 2018 our travels took us on another road trip that included 5 delightful days in Paris. Here are some of the books that set the stage for our adventures. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

⚜️ Heather

France: “Linnea in Monet’s Garden”

🇫🇷 I picked this book up because we were heading to France and I wanted to learn a little more about the culture before we got there.

Linnea is a character created by Swedish author, Christina Björk.

I recognized the book when I picked it up from the public library. Sometimes, I recognize books because they have been in one of the libraries that I have managed. But this time I recognized Linnea in Monet’s Garden because it was published in 1985, the peak of my elementary school days. I had no doubt read it as 12 year old many years ago.

So I read it again.

If you have ever re-read a book from your past (childhood, high school, college, a specific time in your life) you know that you may often glean something new or unexpected the second or third or fourth time through. With maturity, oftentimes you understand more, appreciate more, linger in the words or the themes just a little bit more. This was true for me while reading about Linnea.

In it’s most basic form, it is the story of a girl and her adventures with her neighbor, Mr. Bloom. To a child it may be nothing more than a story about the places that they visit. But for me, it was a delightful non-fiction account of the beginnings of Impressionism and the painter that created the genre.

Appropriate for ages 8 and up (simply because of the length and complexity of the material). This is a great book to get conversations started about art, artists, gardens and France.

Take a visit to Monet’s Garden.  Available at the Kitsap Regional Library.

Cuba: “All the Way to Havana”

Since we traveled quite extensively at the beginning of the summer, I decided that I would like to write some posts suggesting books that can help you go on a vacation “by the book,” (by reading a great story). I have seen the book All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle in a handful of the trade journals that I read in order to hear about the best books to hit the market. This book seemed to fit the category I was aiming for, so I thought I would give it a try. I have never really thought much about Cuba until a friend told me that she was going to visit this year for Spring Break. She told me about all of the extra steps that her family needed to take to travel there because of US/Cuba relations and rules set up by the American and Cuban governments. Upon completing her trip, she posted pictures of her travels and it became evident that some aspects of Cuban life were frozen in time. One of those things is cars. As the author explains in the author’s note, “due to a complex historical situation, many of the American cars on the island of Cuba are pre-1959.”That’s what this book is about: a family that travels into Havana in their 1954 Chevy Delray in order to celebrate and visit a newborn family member. Ms. Engle’s poem is beautifully illustrated by Mike Curato in this standard-sized picture book. This book can be adapted for a variety of age levels. Use it as a richly illustrated picture read-aloud for littles or the springboard for an in-depth discussion about politics, history and foreign relations. Available at the Kitsap Regional Library (as soon as I return it).

France: The Story of Diva & Flea

Diva and Flea
The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi

I first came across this lovely little book in the Horn Book, a magazine dedicated to exploring children’s and young adult books and authors.  When I dove in and looked a little closer, I found that the author was Mo Willems (of Knuffle Bunny fame).  How can you go wrong with Mo Willems?  But even further inspection revealed that the illustrator was Caldecott medal winner, (and Spiderwick Chronicles co-author) Tony DiTerlizzi.  Sold!

I requested it from the public library and, as if I didn’t already know, I loved it from the moment it was in my eager little hands.  

Set in Paris, The Story of Diva and Flea is a tale about an unlikely friendship between a refined, bow-adorning white pup and the more rugged but worldly black cat, Flea.  Written in chapter book format, this book is appropriate as a read aloud for younger readers or as a delightfully illustrated treat for older children.  The colored pen and ink drawings and chapter title pages do a marvelous job of capturing the essence of Paris.

If you’re itching for a book that will transport you to Paris, or if you’ve been to Paris and want to revisit it in your mind, check out The Story of Diva and Flea.  You’ll love it!

Au revoir!

 

For more on Tony DiTerlizzi: http://diterlizzi.com/

For more on Mo Willems: http://www.mowillems.com/

 

 

Have you tried the Epic! app yet?

I am not sure how I stumbled upon this phenomenal app called Epic!, but I am glad that I did.  Epic! is an app (available for iOS or Android) that gives you instant access to over 15,00 books. Good books.  Not the ones that your child doesn’t want to read. It is designed to be used in a classroom setting or at home with your own children.

Epic! is free for verified educators and $4.99/mo. for parents. Parents can even try it out free for 60 days by using the promo code: “EPICREADS” at  www.getepic.com/promo

Aside from INSTANT access to ebooks, audiobooks, articles, short educational videos and ‘read it to me’ books, my kids and I really like the the variety of content available.  Epic! also keeps track of what my kids are reading, how long they have read for, and the number of ‘pages flipped.’  I can even view and print their reading log by week, month or year.  My kids stay motivated, partly because they know I am checking their profiles, but also because they can earn badges.

IMG_5820
Screenshot of Epic! on my iPhone

Kai is ten and going into the fifth grade.  She likes that you can put in your age and multiple interests and it will help you find things that you are interested in. She says, “if nothing stands out you can just go to the ‘popular’ category and browse through what other people like.”

For educators, Epic! is completely free.  After setting up a teacher profile, you can add up to 36 student accounts to keep track of student progress. The website also offers .pdf flyers to send home to families to explain the app.  Students are able to read at school and then pick right up where they left off on a device at home.  It’s seamless! Like in a parent account, Epic! enables teachers to view and print reading logs.

As an educator, my favorite thing about Epic! is that it gives students that struggle with reading a positive way to interact with books – by listening to them.  Listening to books not only helps students build vocabulary and fluency but it also offers students opportunities to engage in reading material that may be above their reading level but is not above their interest level.

Watch this short informational video to find out about Epic! for yourself!

Get it here:
Epic! in iTunes Store
Epic! in Google Play Store.

 

My Summer Reading List

I hope you have all taken a look at my previous post about summer reading incentive programs. You can earn free goodies just by reading!

My goal this summer is to earn my 100 hours of reading shirt from Kitsap Regional Library. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble achieving that goal if I start making my way through my summer reading list.

Here it is (in no particular order):

  • Plastic Ahoy: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman
  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller (graphic novel) by Joseph Lambert
  • Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin
  • My Country ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights by Claire Rudolf Murphy
  • Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Beneath Your Feet by Jane Price
  • Baba Yaga’s Assistant (graphic novel) by Marika McCoola
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
  • Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts by Susan Cain
  • Some of My Best Friends Are Books by Judith Wynn Halstead
  • Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me (graphic memoir) by Ellen Forney
  • In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
  • Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome by Brad Montague & Robby Novak
  • Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
  • The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
  • Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson
  • The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.
  • tiny beautiful things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
  • Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things by Carlos Bueno
  • Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Schamander
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Geektastic: Stories from the Nerdherd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenon
  • When to Rob a Bank…And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
  • Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier
  • Bad Unicorn by Platte F. Clark
  • The Land of Stories: Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide to Royalty by Chris Colfer
  • The Land of Stories: The Mother Goose Diaries by Chris Colfer
  • An Author’s Odyssey (Land of Stories Book 5) by Chris Colfer
  • Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War by Jessica Dee Humphreys & Michel Chikwaine
  • Phoebe and Her Unicorn (graphic novel) by Dana Simpson
  • Unicorn vs. Goblins (graphic novel) by Dana Simpson
  • Unicorn on a Roll (graphic novel) by Dana Simpson
  • Who is AC? (graphic novel) by Hope Larson

 

 

Summer Reading Incentive Programs

Free Summer Reading Programs

Kitsap Regional Library

Register at any Kitsap Regional Library location starting June 1st and receive a tracker that will help you keep track of your reading and learning. Complete 10 hours of reading to receive a free paperback book as well as a ticket to the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede (while supplies last). Read 100 hours to earn a free t-shirt.

Barnes and Noble

Participate in Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Triathalon to earn a FREE BOOK from their selection on the Reading Journal list at the store.

Chuck E. Cheese

Your child can keep track of their reading through one of their downloadable rewards calendars.
http://www.chuckecheese.com/deals-offers/rewards-calendars
Once your child has completed two weeks of reading he or she can submit the completed Chuck E Cheese calendar for 10 free tokens

Half Price Books

Kids should read (or be read to) for at least 15 minutes a day during June and July.  Once they read 300 minutes, they can turn in their log and earn $5 in Half Price Books Bookworm bucks.  The closest Half Price Books is near the Tacoma Mall. http://b.hpb.com/fyb/started/

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

According to Scholastic’s website, “the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes.”
http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2016/parent