Category Archives: Kids

Back to School!

By Jeffie Nicholson, Adult Services Manager

Book List by Julie Duke, Youth Services Manager

The first day of school is an exciting time for parents and children. Many of us experience different level of anxiety as the summer ends and the school year approaches. Make the beginning of school an easier transition for first-timers and returning students with some of these easy tips!

1. Practice the morning and evening routine. Give yourselves a week or two before school to ‘reset’ your internal clocks and on a sleep to rise schedule that will be the norm for the next 9 months.
2. Let them pick out a school supply with you that will help them get excited about the school year. It can be anything from unique pencils to their backpack. It’s fun to have something special and gives one a sense of control over events.
3. Remind them that everyone is nervous and excited even the teachers! First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg is a funny picture book that illustrates this point perfectly.
4. Visit the school before the first day. Lots of our local schools have an evening opportunity to visit before the first day so everyone gets to see their classroom and meet each other. You can still visit the playground and walk around the outside of the school. Returning students could have a playdate on the school playground as several are open to use year-round.
5. Talk about it. Be realistic and optimistic. For some, it can be disappointing if the first day isn’t as wonderful as they thought so temper enthusiasm with realism. Be prepared to deal with ‘the teacher didn’t let me lead the line’ disappointments with the fact that there are still 270 days of the school year so plenty of opportunities are left to be had.
6. Read about it. A book about the first day of school is a great gift. The library also has several to choose from to help prepare for the big day. Our favorites include:

o   The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (Parents may need a box of tissues when reading this one)364588

o   The Ticky-Tacky Doll by Cynthia Rylant

o   Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

o   Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss

o   I Don’t Want to Go Back to School by Marisabina Russo

o   Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School by Herman Parish

o   Arthur’s Back to School Day by Lillian Hoban443799

o   The Berenstain Bears Go Back to School by Stan Berenstain

o   Mouse’s First Day of School by Lauren Thompson

o   How do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen

o   First Day of School by Anne Rockwell

o   Emily’s First Day of School by Sarah, Duchess of York615265

o    Clifford’s First School Day by Norman Bridwell

o   Biscuit Goes to School by Alyssa Capucilli

7. Take lots pictures and give lots of hugs. Make time that evening to talk about the first day with your child, their work and any special moments that they had on the first day of school.

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Miniature Horses at Leiper’s Fork

By Emily Anglin, Leiper’s Fork Branch Head

Cowboys and Cowgirls gathered from all over the Leipers Fork area in July to hear cowboy and horse stories at Leipers Fork’s Cowboy Story Time. I read one of my favorite stories to the children, Are You a Horse? By Andy Rash. It’s about a cowboy who gets a saddle for his birthday, but he doesn’t know what a horse even looks like! We also enjoyed an award winning book about miniature horses: Bucky & Bonnie’s Library Adventure, written by our very own director Dolores Greenwald and library staff.

Now we’ll get down to the real reason so many kids and parents were here. To see our very special guest Buddy the miniature horse from Angel Heart Farm. He was such a sweet little fellow. The children enjoyed getting to pet Buddy and have their pictures made with him. Yes, we had a horse inside the library!

What makes Buddy such a special horse? He works with children that have chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Buddy’s human Tracy Buddy4Kujawa, founder of Angel Heart Farm says that “it’s our mission to bring horses and children together for healing.” “We have created a safe and caring environment where children can experience the warmth and peace of bonding with animals, which has a positive effect in the healing process.” And that is why Buddy is such a special little guy, along with all the other horses on Tracy’s farm. Angel Heart Farm is a non-profit organization. If you’d like more information about this organization visit angelheartfarm.net, if you’d like to see some books about cowboys and horses visit your local library branch.

Bird Appreciation Books 101 for Children—Starters

By Lance Hickerson, Reference Assistant

My fourth grade elementary school teacher was an avid bird watcher, even when she was teaching class. We might be in the middle of multiplication tables, when a rare bird at the class feeder would turn our attention from the wall-to-wall chalk board to the windows behind us. I had no idea at the time how I was being taught a love of nature in general and of birds in particular. Bird watching has been a highly rewarding hobby ever since.   Since it is only natural to want to pass on a love of nature and birds to the next generation, I am always on the lookout for books in the library that might instill, and maybe even ignite, aviary wonder.

Among the many good books out there, here are a few I came across.

I.   Starting for K-2nd grade:

  1. Feathers For Lunch

Feathers for Lunchby Lois Ehlert (Harcourt, Inc.: 1990, 36 pages)

Storyline: A housecat escapes to the outdoors and encounters twelve species of birds, but is unable to catch even one. Along the way the cat and the reader learn something about each bird, from its appearance to song.

Sideline: The birds are shown by effective cut-paper illustrations. Along with the birds are cut-paper plants common to the bird’s environment.  So a plant book as well as an animal book.

Bonus: Several back pages contain more information on each cut-paper bird

  1. BirdsongsBirdsongs 2

by Betsy Franco and Steve Jenkins {illustrator} (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007, 40 pages) Caldecott Honor Medalist

Storyline: The book begins early one morning and goes through to the end of the day identifying some 11 birds and their sounds. The illustrations sport a dimensional appearance due to being refined cut paper designs.

Sideline: There is a counting theme throughout as the birds call out their songs a given number of times. In addition to bird sounds, children can practice counting.

Bonus: The last few pages tell interesting “feathery facts” about the birds.

  1. Aviary Wonders Inc.: Spring Catalogue and Instruction Manual

Aviary Wondersby Kate Samworth {author and illustrator} (Clarion Books: 2014, 32 pages)

Storyline: This wonderfully illustrated book is an imaginary and futuristic catalogue that permits readers to design their own birds. There is more to the bird than most imagine as choices include types of beaks, tails, legs, wings, flight patterns, and colors.

Sideline: The reader learns about various extinct birds in our history. There is an environmental, conservationist theme throughout.

Bonus: By involving the imagination in applying bird anatomy, the reader becomes aware of many various markers that are important for understanding and identifying birds.

  1. Birds: A Guide to Familiar American Birds  A Golden Guide - Birds

by Herbert Zim and Ira Gabrielson {illustrated by James Gordon Irving} (Golden Press: 1987, 160 pages)

Storyline: No story but rather a straightforward and simple guide to 129 birds commonly seen in America. Each bird has its own page and is illustrated by colorful and accurate drawings. The simplicity of this now classic book makes it a wonderful beginner’s guide. It is important to supplement the many photo books available today with artful drawings like here, for the drawings can emphasize significant markings of the bird that photos often do not. For instance, because I had seen the Wood Thrush painting in this book, I was able to recognize a real Wood Thrush in nature several years later.

  1. The New Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America: Peterson Field Guides

A New Birder's Guideby Bill Thompson III {illustrations by Julie Zickefoose and Michael Digiorgio} (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 368 pages)

Storyline: No story but a wonderful new beginner’s bird guide to common birds in America. Carefully selected photos and drawings help in positive identification. There is just enough information to make it interesting and useful. It’s the best new beginning bird book to bring into the field with children. It might well become a classic in its own right.

Bonus: Wow Facts are given for each bird disclosing interesting and significant information

Dogs in the Library!

Dog_with_book_5516202508By Betty Kirkeminde, College Grove Branch Manager

Every Thursday afternoon, there is a dog in the College Grove Community Library. In libraries across the country, you can find the same scene, children reading to friendly, tail-wagging dogs. The atmosphere is relaxed. Reading to a dog is fun!

For some children, it is more than just a novel experience. Reading ability, like any new skill, takes practice. For beginning and struggling readers, reading aloud to adults or classmates can be stressful. Reading to a trained therapy dog takes away the stress – the dog is a non-judgmental listener. The child can relax with the dog and focus on reading.

Two recent studies by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine showed improvements of as much as 30% in reading fluency when children were paired with reading therapy dogs.

A five week study by Tufts University found that reading to a dog improved children’s reading ability and attitude toward reading.

Those involved in reading therapy programs find that children who participate are more comfortable reading aloud and read more often. As their literacy skills improve, they look forward to reading.

Two branches of the Williamson County Public Library system have reading therapy dogs who visit regularly. Children of all ages and reading abilities are invited to read to one of our reading dogs.

Betsy or Darby, who are certified by Therapy Dogs International as Tail Waggin’ Tutors, will be at the College Grove Community Library on Thursdays at 2:00 pm during July.

Reuben or Sadie, registered Reading Education Assistance Dogs, are at the Nolensville Public Library one Saturday each month. Their next visit will be on Saturday, July 26, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

Please check the library’s website, wcpltn, or call the branch for updates to the schedule.

Terry Hedges, Master Magician comes to WCPLtn!!!

If you missed Terry Hedge’s performance on Thursday, June 5, you’re in luck!

Check out some of the photos from the event and remember, it’s still not too late to stop by and sign up for SUMMER READING!!!

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The Animal Appetites Show!!!

In case you missed our Summer Reading Kickoff show, on May 17, here are a few pictures to recap!

Bob and Caiman

Everyone had great fun learning about the wildlife food chain thanks to Bob Tarter of the Natural History Education Company!

Bob and Fennec Fox

We assure you, fun was had by all, and ALL of the animals behaved 🙂

Owl with wings open_1

 

Pixels AND Pigments are for Kids

Benefitting from Wildlife Books with Drawings and not Simply Photos  

By Lance Hickerson, Reference Assistant

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A few months ago in the children’s library I stopped abruptly upon glimpsing a book on the shelf that I had not seen since childhood. It was my very first bird book, the Golden Press Guide, Birds. Certainly it had an updated cover, but inside were many of the same drawings that started my birding in the fourth grade. Alongside the classic book were other bird guides for children. Some of them, like Birds A to Z by Chris Earley, contain clear and close up photos of the same birds covered by drawings in the Golden Guide. It was then that a question arose: Why have a bird book with drawings when you can have one with well-done photos? Aren’t we in the digital age? Why had Golden Press continued to use drawings when so many good photos were now available?

At first I thought the answer might be that the latest version of the Golden Guide continued to use drawings for cost-saving reasons. But near the Golden Guide were newer books like the World Book Science and Nature Guide to Birds, and the Usborne Spotter’s Guide to Birds, both full of detailed drawings and no photos. Is there something about drawings that photos cannot do?

I asked a similar question some years back to a talented painter who trained at Parsons and traveled to Nice, France each year creating Matisse-like water colors that hang on walls the world over. My question to her was this: “Why would anyone want a painted portrait, when they could hire a good photographer to do the same?” Her answer was instructive. She explained that a painting is able to express things a photograph might only accidentally show. A painting can reveal marks of character that endure over time, those aspects of heart that a single photographic instance will often miss. And that is why good portrait artists continue to get commissions, like Paul Emsley who recently completed a painting of Kate Middleton entitled, Portrait of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
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Is there a sense in which the principles of portraiture apply to pictures of animals in general and birds in particular? Do we see good “portrait artists” of birds receiving commissions? The answer surprised me at first. A survey of some of the best bird identification field guides presently available shows that, while some have outstanding photos, others continue to offer painted bird drawings. Among these are The Sibley Guide to Birds, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, and the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America.

The lead artist for the National Geographic book, Jonathan Alderfer, comments on using illustrations versus photography. “Even though a series of photographs can reveal minute details, most birders eventually come to realize that illustrations are more helpful than photographs in a field guide. Art distills the image of a bird into what our brains experience rather than what a camera sees in a single instant, and illustrations are much easier to compare … “

David Allen Sibley recently released an update to his 2000 best seller, The Sibley Guide to Birds. He was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal (Ellen Gamerman, “Bird-World Star David Allen Sibley Releases New Guide,” March 12, 2014) which reveals the following:

A perpetual researcher, Mr. Sibley brings his binoculars everywhere, even to the gas station. He is always sketching in the field, a process he calls “interviewing the bird,” which he said allows him to internalize each bird’s gestures and shapes.

The Sibley guide has one main purpose: to help identify and differentiate more than 900 species. Mr. Sibley’s birds aren’t the most lifelike . . . but instead demonstrate the most essential traits of a species.

“Sibley’s achievement has been to draw birds not as they are but as they appear to the birder trying to identify them,” novelist Jonathan Franzen, an avid birder, wrote in an email. “They’re brilliant drawings of ideas, of what the birder needs to be seeing.”

In all this there is a strong irony. One of the greatest bird artists of all time has a wonderful society by his name (Audubon) that publishes an indispensable bird guide full of photographs. But as we have seen, others continue the drawing tradition that even today plays a significant role in acquainting us with nature. Bird watching is an increasingly popular hobby with presently around 47 million Americans participating. If the latest Golden Guide to birds (Birds of North America, Golden Field Guide from St. Martin’s Press) becomes our childrens’ first bird book among so many available, we have done well. There will always be good photos, but drawings can express things photos cannot. It is good that we, and our children, benefit from both.

 

Avoid the Summer Slide!

By Susan Fisher, Bethesda Branch Manager

Summer’s here and school’s out! Time to relax and have fun, but did you know that kids can lose as a month or more of academic progress during the summer if they don’t read? It’s called “summer slide” and it’s what happens if kids don’t use their hard-earned skills during summer vacation.  According to a report from the National Summer Learning Association, teachers often have to spend the first month of school reteaching old material to their students, causing time to be lost that could be spent on new learning.

How can summer slide be prevented? The key is to keep kids reading all summer long. If you have a reluctant reader, here are some ideas:

  • Let your child’s interests guide their reading. It’s summer, so give them the freedom to read whatever they want.
  • Your summer schedule may be busy, but be sure to set aside time for reading among all of your activities.
  • Leave reading material around your house about subjects that interest your child.
  • Let your child see you reading for pleasure. By setting a good example, you show your child that you value and enjoy reading.

Another remedy for summer slide is our Fizz Boom Read 2014 Summer Reading Program! Lots of fun programs keep kids coming to library and checking out great books all summer long. Registration is going on now at your Williamson County Public Library branch. Stop in today to sign up and start reading! We also have summer reading for teens and adults, with some great programs and prizes. Check it out on our website, WCPLtn.org

Celebrate Children’s Book Week with WCPLtn !

By Jeffie Nicholson, Adult Services Manager

How you ask?

Read !!!

Everyday… but specifically May 12 -May 18, 2014

Children’s Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.

It started in 1919 due to Franklin K. Matthiews’ belief that children’s books and literacy can change your life. He was the librarian for the Boy Scouts of America and he started promoting higher standards in children’s books in 1913. He proposed creating a Children’s Book Week to publishers, booksellers, and librarians.

You can participate and enjoy the week by reading a children’s book today!

Want to have more fun after reading?

Visit http://www.bookweekonline.com/puzzles to get a puzzle based on previous winners of the Children’s Choice Book Awards which are voted on by parents, young people, and librarians. If you have a Fancy Nancy fan, you may want to order one of the free Children’s Book Week poster http://www.bookweekonline.com/poster.

Bookmarks are available to print for free online too at http://www.bookweekonline.com/bookmark.

Visit http://ccbookawards.com/ if you’d like to vote for your favorite children’s book or see past winners and runners up.

Need a book? Then come see us at Williamson County Public Library, we’d love to see you in our Children’s or Teen rooms and help you find the perfect book or books to enjoy this week.

 

Bucky & Bonnie Do WCPLtn !!!

Our littlest readers were in for a treat this past Wednesday,  when our two favorite (and published) miniature horses, Bucky & Bonnie came to a special storytime!

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Our director, Dolores Greenwald, read the book Bucky & Bonnie’s Library Adventure and the mini horses joined us after the reading!

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They offered hoof print autographed copies to patrons, and our Friends group sold copies of the book to our die hard fans!

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If you missed this awesome event, log in to your Facebook account and click here to view our photo album!

And if you’re on twitter, you can click here to view our stream of live tweets of the event!

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