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Monday, August 21, 2017

Book Suggestions by Kids!

Over the summer, we visited with many children.  Lots of them came in to record the minutes they read for the Summer Reading Program (yes, teachers some children actually did practice reading over the summer!).  Tons of books were checked out (rarely was there a copy of Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy Kid on the shelf!).  Many children also participated in the program entitled Read-2-Gether.  The really cool thing about this program is that children entering Grades 1-3 come in once a week and read with a teen for 30 minutes.  The group focuses on a type of literature through a read-aloud and then they have a scavenger hunt in the library looking for a specific title.  Once the title is found, the teen and child look through it and discuss a little bit of the book with everyone.  We have some of the titles below that these children found.  Can you guess our genre?   Click on the book to hear a snip-it of a few of the titles!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Solar Eclipse of the Heart

August 21 is a big day throughout America.  No, the kids are not going back to school (but almost).  On this big day, being referred to by some as the "Great American Eclipse," the sun will disappear for a few minutes across the entire continental United States.  In some parts of the country, the sun will completely disappear behind the moon.

 "So what's the big deal?"  The big deal is that a total solar eclipse hasn't been seen from our soil in 38 years! "Why should I be excited?"  Well, give me a few moments and I'll tell you why.

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the Sun, blocking out its light.  The Sun is 94 million miles away from us.  The moon is only a fraction of the size of the Sun, but the Sun's distance allows the moon to block out the Sun's rays across a small portion of the surface of the Earth.  

"Why is this so rare?"  Well, there are two reasons.  First, the moon has to be in the "new
New moon phase
moon" phase, which positions the moon between the Earth and the Sun.  Due to this position, we see the "dark side of the moon" (no, not the Pink Floyd album) and it looks to be invisible.   July 23 was the last new moon before the August 21 eclipse.

"But the moon phases occur about every 29.5 days, so why don't eclipses happen more often?"  Boy, you have an inquisitive mind!  It has something to do with the tilt of the moon's orbit with respect to the Earth.  Ever wonder why the moon seems to be in a different spot every day?  This has to do with the moon's orbit and the Earth's seasonal orbital "wobbles" which happens so that we can have seasons.  But typically, twice a year the two orbits line up just right and an eclipse occurs.  If you are lucky enough to see it, it's a beautiful sight.   Remember the last time we saw a total eclipse here in the U.S. was 38 years ago.

Do NOT look directly at the sun at any time during the eclipse unless you are wearing the special eclipse glasses. Sunglasses are not enough protection!  The eclipse cannot be viewed through binoculars or telescopes because these devices intensify the Sun's light and will harm your eyes.  You need to have a certified solar filter to fit your device and you need to know how to use it. 

More eclipse information
Eclipse viewing safety

Monday, August 7, 2017

Last minute travel

I cannot believe the Summer Reading Program is over!  So many of you met your goal.  Were you lucky enough to get picked for the grand prizes?  Don't feel bad, I wasn't either.  I also cannot believe it is August.  There are only a few more weeks until school starts (I can hear all the parents out there
Hiking at Devil's Lake in Wisconsin
yelling - Hurray!).  Hopefully your family is lucky enough to take a trip somewhere before the end of summer (my favorite season and it always seems to go by so fast!).  Maybe you're going hiking nearby, like at Starved Rock or Devil's Lake (very cool hiking).  Or perhaps it's a beach you are going to hit along the east or west coast.  Traveling can be a wonderful experience where you spend some quality time with family and friends.  But before you can relax and have fun, you have to get there - either by plane, train or automobile.  Now the first half an hour into the trip is fantastic.  Everyone is so excited!  And then you realize it's another 2 hours or maybe it's another 20 hours.  What do you do?  Scream?  Nope.  Lucky for you, you stopped by the library before you left and checked out some incredible audio books for Suzy and Playaway Views for Timmy.

Audio books are a real life saver and make the time travel by so much faster.  You can either play them in CD format for the car or get a set of earbuds for the Playaway  (just like a little MP3 player).  You can also check out an adapter from the library for the Playaways which will allow you to play them through your car's speakers.  For the little guys who cannot read yet, the Playaway Views offer an hour of entertainment through an animated book filled with music and moving pictures.  The views come with their own speakers, so Timmy doesn't need to use headphones if he doesn't feel like it. 

Playaway Views
Did you know that listening to audio books helps children build their
literacy skills?  Here are some of the benefits:
  • introduces children to books above their reading level
  • models what good reading sounds like
  • teaches critical listening
  • introduces new vocabulary
  • provides a bridge to important topics of discussion for parents and children who can listen together while going places 
 So make sure you add the library to that checklist of places you need to visit before you leave for vacation.  Pick up some great titles to listen to while you are traveling.  If you're going to be going for a longer period of time, stop by circulation and ask them if they will extend the due date for you. 

Playaway titles
Audio books on CD
Playaway View


Monday, July 31, 2017

Sister's Day - August 6th

Love them or hate them, sisters are important - and sticking together, especially during the difficult times, is one of the first rules of survival in family life.  My sister may drive me crazy at times, but I've got her back and I know she has mine. 

One of the most recent iconic set of sisters is Elsa and Anna from Disney's film Frozen.  It uses the classic fairy story The Snow Queen, yet adds the sister relationship to it.  It changes the emphasis of the original story and the relationship between the two sisters becomes the focal point. 

There are some good sister stories for young
readers, too.  Beverly Cleary created her Ramona series about Ramona and her older sister Beezus.  She wrote this series because she realized the importance of siblings.  Have you ever wondered how Beezus got her unusual name?  According to Cleary, she tossed in a little sister to explain Beezus's nickname.  She never expected Ramona to become as big a part of the series as she did.  In the book Beezus and Ramona,  is told from the perspective of both sisters.  This story is one of the most popular as there was even a movie made about the book.

For an older reader, Louisa M. Alcott's Little Women is an excellent story of the March sisters.  Meg is the eldest , Jo is the tomboy who wants to be a writer, Beth is sweet-natured and always puts other's first and then there is the youngest, Amy who is very intelligent.  Set place during the war, times are tough with money being tight and dad away.  They have happy and sad times together and the sisters discover that at times, growing up is very hard to do.

So celebrate your sibling not only on August 6th but every day of the year.  Try to spend some time together and reclaim that bond from childhood. 


Monday, July 24, 2017

International Day of Friendship - July 30

Friendship can have a different meaning to different people.  It comes in all shapes, colors and sizes.  There are distinctions such as true friends, best friends, good friends, casual friends, work friends, school friends, social friends and friendly acquaintances.  No matter what your definition of friendship is, friendship undeniably contributes to our psychological development and well-being throughout our life. 
Friends benefit from one another in innumerable ways.  They listen, encourage, give advice, help with chores, have fun and simply "are there" for one another.  Good friends are open, genuine and honest with each other.  They appreciate each other's differences and honestly criticize when necessary. 

Friendship is a time honored theme throughout literature, especially between humans and animals.  These are some classic stories of friendship that are must reads for children. 

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894)

Mowgli, a man cub, grows up in the jungle alongside Baloo the Bear and Bagheera the Panther.  He must take care to avoid attracting the tiger Shere Khan because he wants Mowgli gone.  The original  format of the book is written in fables with the animals offering moral lessons. 

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (1928)

It's a passage of childhood to spend time in Ashdown Forest with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger and Roo.  Pooh is the center of all his friends' activities and they usually help him through his errors.  The manner in which each of the friends looks out for the other is as charming as it is believable.  What makes this story unique is that there are no villains, just lots of fun and games that only true friends can have together. 

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (1952)                                                         

A pig and spider friends you say?  There is something magical in this novel of Charlotte the spider spinning words of support for her friend Wilber, when it looks like he is going to be turned into bacon.  It is a beloved story of friendship but keep a box of tissues nearby because you'll need it.

So celebrate International Day of Friendship by telling your friends how much they mean to you.  Read a story about friendship too.  There are some great ones out there!


Monday, July 17, 2017

First Moon Landing

Have you ever looked up at the sky, especially when there is a full moon and wondered what it would be like to travel to or walk on the moon?  I'll admit I have as I've gazed at the night sky.  I love my movies about space - Star Wars, Star Trek, The Martian to name a few.  So imagine my interest when I realized that each year in July, it marks another anniversary of the first walk on the moon.

Flashback to July 18, 1969 and the blast off of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.   The mission of Apollo 11 was to complete a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy back in 1961 to land a human crew onto the moon's surface and then return to Earth.  On board were three astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins.  On July 20th, two days after lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the lunar module,Eagle detached from the Columbia command module and made it's descent to the moon's surface.  Armstrong and Aldrin landed the Eagle onto the moon while Collins remained aboard the Columbia.  As he stepped out onto the lunar surface, Neil Armstrong uttered these famous words as the world watched from Earth:  "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."  The two astronauts conducted scientific tests and samples of soil and rock were collected from the moon.  The American flag was planted as a reminder of their visit and then they left the surface of the moon.  NASA has some footage of that historic walk.

The Eagle reconnected to the Columbia and the journey back to Earth was started.  Once it reentered the Earth's atmosphere, the parachutes opened and the module safely landed into the Pacific Ocean. Then helicopters picked up the crew and flew them back to a nearby recovery ship.  If you'd like to see what this looked like, check out this clip.  This is so unlike what we are used to seeing today when the space shuttles land like an airplane.  Back then, the astronauts had to stay in quarantine because scientists were uncertain whether space travel would have any negative effects on humans.

Although this mission only lasted eight days, it is one of the most famous missions of the space program.  To learn more about the mission, we have several great books on the subject that you can check out.  Moonshot by Brian Floca (2012 Monarch nominee), Eight Days Gone by Linda McReynolds or Team Moon:  How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh are just a few of the great titles about the Apollo 11 mission you'll want to read.

Apollo 11 books

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Fun July Family Events at the Library

I cannot believe it is the second week of July!  Summer is flying by.  Slow down, please!!!  I hope you have had time to sign up for the summer reading program and partake in our Thursday programs.  This weekend we have a very SWEET event coming up.  It's the annual summer Ice Cream Social.  It's taking place on Saturday, July 15th from 12-2 PM.  Bring the whole family to enjoy face painting (you know grandma wants her face done), play games (watch out for dad, he cheats), earn prizes and of course, dine on some delicious ice cream!  This is an event you do not want to miss and it's FREE, FREE, FREE!

On Monday mornings throughout the month of July, there is Krafty Kids from 10:30 AM until noon.  This is a drop-in program where families can come and make a craft.  We supply all the materials; you supply all the creativity!

Also in July is What's Up With Kids.  This program is for children in grades 2 through 6 who love to write.  Come join Mrs. A. in the storytime room where you will brainstorm ideas for topics to write about - poetry, short stories, movie or book reviews - you select it, you illustrate it, and RPL will publish it.  What's Up With Kids meets on Thursday, July 13 at 6:30 - 7:30 PM, with a follow up meeting in August to turn in the writing pieces to publish.  Just drop by the YS-Ask Me Desk to pick up the paperwork to join and be published!

So that's July in a nutshell.  Check out our end of June blog for our Thursday afternoon programs that continue until the end of July.  You can also check them out on our events page as well as sign up to attend one.  You'll want to book your spot as soon as you can.  Spots are limited!

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