Category Archives: Kids

Do you have any more books like Number the Stars by Lois Lowry?

By Liz Arrambide, Children’s Department

In the Children’s Section in Franklin, whenever we are asked (and it’s often) “Do you have more fiction books about World War II?”, usually the class has been reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. So here are some great reads that feature different aspects of World War II:90a

  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (JF LOW in the Newbery Medal Collection)
    • In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.
  • Is it Night or Day? By Fern Schumer Chapman (JF CHA)
    • In 1938, Edith Westerfeld, a young German Jew, is sent by her parents to Chicago, Illinois, where she lives with an aunt and uncle and tries to assimilate into American culture, while worrying about her parents and mourning the loss of everything she has ever known. Based on the author’s mother’s experience, includes an afterword about a little-known program that brought twelve hundred Jewish children to safety during World War II.
  • The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone (JF STONE)
    • During World War II, eleven-year-old Felicity is sent from London to Bottlebay, Maine, to live with her grandmother, aunt, uncle, and a reclusive boy who helps her decode mysterious letters that contain the truth about her missing parents.
  • Romeo Blue by Phoebe Stone (JF STONE)
    • During World War II, Felicity Bathburn is living in Bottlebay, Maine, with her eccentric relatives and their foster child Derek, whom she has grown to love, but when a man claiming to be Derek’s true father arrives and starts asking all sorts of strange questions Felicity becomes suspicious of his motives.I-Survived-the-Bombing-of-Pearl-Harbor-1941
  • I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by Laura Tarshis (JF TAU)
    • Sand flew up into Danny’s eyes. And then from behind him, a huge explosion seemed to shatter the world. The force lifted Danny off his feet and threw him onto the ground. And then Danny couldn’t hear anything at all.
  • Blue by Joyce Hostetter (JF HOSTETTER)
    • When teenager Ann Fay takes over as “man of the house” for her absent soldier father, she struggles to keep the family and herself together in the face of personal tragedy and the 1940s polio epidemic in North Carolina.
  • Ted & Me by Dan Gutman (JF GUMAN)
    • When Stosh travels back in time to 1941 in hopes of preventing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, he meets Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Includes notes about Williams’ life and career.
  • Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall (JF PEARSALL)
    • In 1945, thirteen-year-old Levi is sent to find the father he has not seen in three years, going from Chicago, to segregated North Carolina, and finally to Pendleton, Oregon, where he learns that his father’s unit, the all-Black 555th paratrooper battalion, will never see combat but finally has a mission. Includes historical notes.820910
  • The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss (J 940.5315 REI)
    • A Dutch Jewish girl describes the two-and-one-half years she spent in hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a farmer’s house during World War II.
  • I survived the Nazi invasion, 1944 by Laura Tarshis (JF TARSHIS)
    • In one of the darkest periods in history, one boy struggles to survive. In this gripping new addition to the bestselling I SURVIVED series, a young Jewish boy escapes the ghetto and finds a group of resistance fighters in the forests of Poland. Does he have what it takes to survive the Nazis — and fight back?
  • A boy at war : a novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer (J F MAZ)
    • While fishing with his friends off Honolulu on December 7, 1941, teenaged Adam is caught in the midst of the Japanese attack and through the chaos of the subsequent days tries to find his father, a naval officer who was serving on the U.S.S. Arizona when the bombs fell.
  • Courage has no color : the true story of the Triple Nickles : America’s first Black paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone (J 940.541273 STO)
    • Examines the role of African-Americans in the military through the history of the Triple Nickles, America’s first black paratroopers, who fought against attacks perpetrated on the American West by the Japanese during World War II.
  • The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the impossible became possible on Schlinder’s List by Leon Leyson (J 92 LEYSON)
    • This is an amazing story of a young boy who lived in Poland when the German Nazis invaded. The Nazies rounded up all the Jewish people and only let them live in certain areas of the cities. Leon and his father evemtually worked for a man named Schlinder. Leon was ten years old and the youngest person on the now famous Schlinder’s list. This is his true story.
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Supporting School Age Children and their Reading at Williamson County Public Library Children’s Section

By Liz Arrambide, Children’s Librarian

Frequently Asked Questions

What resources are available at the library to help my children find books that they can read?

Answer: We have lists available in the Children’s Section that are some of our favorite books for different grade levels. Feel free to ask us where they are. These are also available on our website. Click on our Kids page. On the right you’ll see “Let’s Read Books Lists”. This will link you to lists of books by grade level.

My child is reading at a specific reading level. How can I find books with that reading level and are your books color codes by reading level?

Answer: Many schools use Accelerated Reader (AR) reading levels. The child takes a STAR test on the computer. AR reading levels are given in two numbers such as 3.2. The first number is the grade level.   In this case the child is reading at a third grade reading level. The second number is the month. This child is reading at a third grade, second month reading level. We do not have the books color coded by reading level.

You can use our on-line catalog to find books by AR Reading Level.

  1. Go to our website: http://lib.williamson-tn.org/
  2. On the left put your cursor on “Find books and more”.
  3. Click on “Classic Catalog”.
  4. In the first box that says “title”, use the down arrow and change it to read “ keyword”.
  5. Determine the interest level of your child. Select one of the following.
    1. LG (lower grades) Kinder thru 3rd grade
    2. MG (middle grades) 4-8th grades
    3. MG+ (Middle Grade Plus) 6-8th grades
    4. UG (upper grades) 9-12 grades
  6. Write the AR in capital letters. Then enter the interest level also in capitals. Then write the numeric level. So I would write: AR LG 3.2 and up comes a list of all the books at that level.
  7. You can limit it by Selecting Children’s. Then click on “modify search”. Put a check on” limit search to available items”. Select the “location” you want.
  8. This method works fairly well. Sometimes books that are at other reading levels also are pulled up. Double check that the BL (book level) is the one that you are looking for.

There is also good website: The AR Bookfinder

This site can also help you find the AR Book level for books that you have at home. You can also use it to find the AR reading level of the books on our reading lists.  They now also have the Lexile level.

My children prefer to browse looking for books. How can I help them find books that are not too hard or too easy?

Answer: Have the child open the book and read a page. The child holds up a finger for every word missed. If more than five words are missed on a page, the book is too hard. This is often called the 5 finger rule. You can also tell by how fast or slowly the child reads. If she is reading the text very slowly and not missing any words, it still could be hard for her to read a chapter book at this speed. Try a book a little easier.

At school my child has a DRA reading level. How do I find books at that reading level?

Answer:

  1. The DRA test is given by the teacher rather than by a computer test, such as the AR Star test. Here is a chart that gives the reading levels by various reading programs/tests.
  2. Here is an article that explains about how to find books using the DRA level.

How do I find a book using Lexile Reading Levels?

Answer:

  1. Here’s a good article.
  2. This website finds books according to Lexile.
  3. In the Williamson County Library Catalog follow the directions of #3 above.  Instead of putting in an AR Reading level, write the number of lexile followed by Lexile. So if you write 830 Lexile you will get a list of books that we own at that level.

My child is struggling with the basics of reading. How can I help him learn to read?

Answer: There is an excellent website named Progressive Phonics.  It has a systematic collection of books that teach you how to instruct your child. The books are in color. They are funny and have parts for you to read aloud and for your child to read out loud.

What are some fun ways to learn the words they don’t know?

Answer:

  1. Notebook: You can keep a notebook and offer to write down the words that your child doesn’t know. This way you know what patterns need to be taught or reviewed. If you need to, you can look them up on the Progressive Phonics website.
  2. Play Memory: Make 2 flash cards on index cards for each of 10-15 words. Mix the cards up and turn the cards over. Each person takes a turn, flipping over two cards at a time. When the person finds a pair, he keeps them until the end of the game. The person with the most pairs at the end of the game, wins.
  3. Personal Speller: Make on a computer or in a notebook, a personal speller. This is a list of words in alphabetic order that the student has trouble understanding or spelling. This helps the student learn to read and spell the words and is very handy to have for writing assignments. This works well for older students.
  4. Post words that are being learned on the refrigerator or on a dry eraser board.
  5. For difficult words or word patterns, find a little tune to use as a memory devise. The B-I-N-G-O part in the song Bingo works well for the “ight” word family.
  6. For words that may be difficult to learn, may try writing the word using art supplies. Words like “though” might be hard to learn, but fun to do in crayon, glitter and glue. Spending the time on each letter might help make a connection. This can be hung on a cabinet, so it is easily seen.

My child is reading above grade level. How do I find books that are appropriate for his/her maturity?

Answer: We have grade level lists. These books are appropriate even for younger children. We often suggest lists that are above the grade level that match their reading level.

We know our child’s reading level. Does she/ he have to read at that level all the time?

Answer: Particularly children who are reading above their grade level find that they like to read at different reading levels. Sometimes they will read books that their peers are reading. Sometimes they enjoy quick, fast reads. Other times they want a challenge. It is good for students to read at various levels. This way they’ll read books that are meant for their age group as well as enjoy the challenge.

My child’s teacher says that although he is in third grade, he reads at an eighth grade reading level. How do I find appropriate books?

Answer: This is a challenge. One way to approach it is to find books at the next reading level up. So in this case, it would be fourth grade. If he stretches up to eighth grade, he’s going to miss a lot of great books and be in material that he’s not ready for. Going through the fourth grade and then the fifth grade lists, he’s going to have a lot of fun and occasionally will find a more challenging read and enjoy it. Another great resource is The Volunteer State Book Award lists. These are books and authors that are selected by librarians across the state for their great writing and have been published in the last few years. The kids vote on their favorites at the end of the year. We keep lists from preceding years, because these books are still great books and we have lots of copies.

I want to read out loud to my kids. What are good books to read?

Answer: Parents often find that it helps to read one grade level above where the children are. This way, they are exposed to ideas and vocabulary that the parent can explain.

If you need help, feel free to ask the Children’s and Young Adult library staff. They’ll be glad to make suggestions. Have a great adventure!

 

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.

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

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