Are you trying to squeeze in some last minute gift-shopping for a child in your life? I may be biased since I'm a librarian but the best gift you could give a child is a really great book.
On Christmas Eve, my family always exchanged gifts and when I was 9, I was given a copy of Stuart Little by E.B. White. I spent most of the next day curled up on the couch immersed in the world of that little mouse who was adopted by a family and went on some great adventures. What a wonderful memory for me.
All children should have books of their own to keep and to read over and over. According to research studies, the number of books in the home is one of several factors directly connected to reading achievement in kindergarteners. Books to own don't have to be expensive. Many schools have programs for purchasing inexpensive paperback copies of books. And the Friends of the Library always have lots of gently used books at great prices for children of any reading level.
If you need help selecting a great book for a child, check in with us at the Library and ask for some recommendations.
Aside from Stuart Little - which is about at third grade level, here are a couple more of my favorites. Can't You Sleep Little Bear? - by Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth is a sweet book for a preschool aged child about a little bear who needs a very special night light.
I Will Surprise My Friend! by Mo Willems is a beginning to read book so hilarious, you'll be laughing out loud the whole time you read it. Elephant and Piggie are an unlikely pair of best friends, but they are so much alike and so very silly.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is a book that will grab the attention of any middle-schooler no matter how much they say they don't like to read. A boy is the sole survivor of a plane crash and must make it on his own in the wilderness. This book is short and the story is so compelling, you can't put it down!
So even if you've finished your holiday shopping, get one more present for the child in your life - make it a book - and make it a holiday tradition!
Feliz Navidad is a fun book in which artist David Diaz created pictures accompanying the lyrics of the beloved song “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano. The reader views beautiful illustrations of Christmas celebrations in Puerto Rico as well as in colder climates.
In the book Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid, written and illustrated by Xavier Garza, Santa Claus needs some extra help delivering gifts to children who live along the Texas/Mexico border. Whom does Santa Claus ask? Vincent’s uncle: Tío Pancho, also known as “Charro Claus.”
The Legend of the Poinsettia, retold and illustrated by Tomie DePaola, is a retelling of a Mexican legend about the origin of poinsettia flowers, also known as flores de Navidad and flores de la Nochebuena. This book is also available in Spanish.
Too Many Tamales, written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez is a story about a family celebrating Christmas Eve by making tamales. This title is also available in eAudiobook format, Spanish book, and Spanish Book and CD Kit.
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Susan L. Roth is a nicely illustrated book depicting adorable mice celebrating Hanukkah. The "Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah" song that starts out with the words "Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, oh light the menorah" accompanies the colorful collage illustrations. Susan L. Roth's website contains other pictures from her books, as well as some pages describing her collage techniques.
Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap, written by Deborah Bodin Cohen, and illustrated by Shahar Kober, features Ari, a train engineer who steers his train toward his destination. On the way, Ari sees a camel is resting on the railroad tracks. What will happen next? Will Ari get to celebrate with his friends in time? Read and find out!
Hayim, the poorest man in the village, asks the local scribe write a letter to the Almighty. In his letter, Hayim requests enough oil to light all menorahs in town. Will Hayim receive a response? Read Letter on the Wind: a Chanukah Tale, written by Sarah Marwil Lamstein, and illustrated by Neil Waldman in order to find out!
Customers at the Evergreen Branch Library voted for their favorite book in October. All votes were tallied on Election Day (November 6, 2012) and The Hunger Games series has been chosen as the favorite.The other titles in the top five are Harry Potter, Goosebumps, Magic Tree House and Captain Underpants.
If you are looking for something new to read, try one of these.
Second Grade Rules, Amber Brown by Paula Danzinger
Amber Brown is in second grade. She is good with racing, and has no problem with following the second grade rules such as Always be respectful, Be on time, Do your own work, Never say "I can't", and Always say "I'll try." Until one day, her teacher, Ms. Light adds a new rule "You have to keep your desks clean", then, Amber Brown starts to have real trouble. Mrs. Light tells the class that the desk fairy Deskarina (cousin of the tooth fairy) will come to their classroom every once in a while; she will leave treats and a Clean Desk Award-a shiny blue ribbon-on all the neat desks.
After seeing that her classmates, one by one, all got an award from Deskarina, Amber decides to make efforts throwing things out, one thing every day. But then, she puts two more things in. She is having real problem cleaning her desk. Then her mom tells her to practice the cleaning job on her room. Her mom says it would be a treat for mom if they could find the floor in that room sometimes. Then Amber tries to work harder cleaning her desk during free time, and she keeps working at cleaning, until one day she figures out the best way to clean and organize her desk. Finally, one day, when she gets to her classroom, she discovers that Deskarina left her a...treat and a...ribbon. Amber Brown is so happy and so proud.
The conclusion of the book is funny because Amber Brown, after all, still has problem finding a space on her bulletin board in her room to put that ribbon...
The Harry Potter series has been chosen by the children at Almaden as their favorite. In the past month or so, we had our own election of sorts, and we have just tallied our results. The numbers are in: Harry Potter received 14 votes out of the 120 titles entered. Children were asked to nominate their favorite titles: some nominated up to 5 titles. Of the top five, the other titles are: Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Hunger Games, Swindle, and Geronimo Stilton. Only one title is a single title, Swindle, by Gordon Korman. Here is the run down:
Harry Potter 14
Percy Jackson 12
Hunger Games 10
Geronimo Stilton 7
Happy Reading! If you haven't tried one of these titles, perhaps you may be enticed to try one, since so many children have read them and can attest to their quality. One caveat: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Lightning Thief) and The Hunger Games are considered teen titles in other words for 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
During the month of October and the first few days of November, kids at the Edenvale Branch Library voted for their favorite books and series. After the 151 votes were counted, we discovered that these are the most popular books in order of number of votes they received:
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald
Ivy + Bean series by Annie Barrows
Supergrandpa, sixty-six-year-old Gustaf Hakansson, loves to ride his bicycle. Over his regular breakfast of sour milk and lingonberries, he reads about an upcoming bicycle race, the Tour of Sweden. It is over 1,000 miles long and will take several days to complete. His family tells him that he is too old to ride and that he will "keel over." Even the bicycle race's judges think Gustaf is too old and will not let him enter the race. But Gustaf is determined.
Author, David Schwartz, and illustrator, Bert Dodson, bring the true story of Gustaf Hakansson to life. Schwartz takes some liberties with the story’s details, but he includes Swedish phrases and words to enhance the setting. Dodson impeccably portrays the Swedish landscape and style of clothing worn by spectators and cyclists.
Gustaf’s adventure will inspire cyclists and non-cyclists to look beyond stereotypes and to follow one’s dreams.
The Day of the Dead = El Día de los Muertos is a fun bilingual (Spanish-English) book written and colorfully illustrated by Bob Barner and translated into Spanish by Teresa Mlawer. A family celebrates El Día de los Muertos by honoring their ancestors in traditional ways. Happy skeletons can be seen on some of the pages.
Clatter Bash! A Day of the Dead Celebration written and illustrated by Richard Keep is another fun book for young children and families. This delightfully illustrated book is from the point of view of the visiting skeletons. The back of both of these book have a nice descriptions of the holiday.
Strega Nona's Harvest, written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola, is a deligtful story about vegetable gardening. Big Anthony and Bambolona help Strega Nona plant a vegetable garden in her backyard. Later, Big Anthony plants his own vegetable garden in his backyard. While Strega Nona's garden is orderly, Big Anthony's garden is chaotic. How will the harvest turn out? Read and find out! Tomie dePaola has written and illustrated other fun books featuring Strega Nona and Big Anthony.
Growing Vegetable Soup, written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, is another fun story about vegetable gardening. A father and child plant a garden in the spring. A few months later, they prepare and cook vegetable soup with their bountiful harvest. This book is also available in Spanish.