November is Picture Book month and around here we love celebrating any kind of book but picture books hold a special place in our hearts. For most children, picture books are an introduction to the world of reading and the love of books. The tradition of parents reading to their children each day is one that has endured for a long time. There is no reason to believe that this tradition won’t continue to be a big part of the day for families all around the world. Picture books not only provide an introduction to the sounds of letters and words but they also provide great visual experiences for young children and develops their sense of wonder for the world. Picture books aren’t just for very young children either. Today there are picture books written for audiences all the way up to high school. And for parents who are reading to their children every day, (let’s face it, it is sometimes a tedious task) there are plenty of picture books that provide a twist or a turn to keep the adult readers entertained.
One thing we like to point out here is that reading picture books to your children doesn’t have to end when your child learns to read on their own. As a matter of fact, continuing to read picture books to your independently reading child reinforces engagement with story, continues to introduce new words and concepts to your child and keeps boredom from reading the very simple “I can read” books over and over from setting in. Plus, reading with your children is a fine way to spend time together. Read more »
Aviary Wonders Inc.: Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth is another of our favorites here at the Library this summer. This book is another example of a picture book for older readers. Part bird book, part catalog and part futuristic dystopian fiction, this clever work imagines a world (2031 - not too far out in the future) where very few species of birds exist. Aviary Wonders, Inc. allows people to peruse their catalogs looking for bird parts that have been beautifully handcrafted so that they may craft their own new species of bird. The "catalog" has choices of feathers, bodies, beaks, tails, legs and feet. There are collards, crests and wings to choose from too. There are assembly instructions and quick tutorials on teaching your birds to sing and fly. The end of the catalog includes a special "troubleshooting" section. There is even a fictional "company founder" who devotes a paragraph in the beginning of the catalog to tell the story of how he came to start this bird assembly company. It is the short paragraphs on several of the pages that educate us about different birds that have gone extinct that makes us realize this made up world might already be in the making. Older readers will grasp the eerie amusement in this story. How silly to think we'd someday be making up our own fake birds - that could never happen. Or could it?
A first glance at the picture above will reveal itself to most viewers to be a waterfall. And what a waterfall it is. This stunning work of art is a collage, made of torn strips and bits of paper and arranged just so. It is just one of the many collages that make up the illustrations for the book Parrots over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth. The Library recently purchased this book for the 2014 Summer Reading Program. It is the story of the parrots, the millions that once inhabited the island and the twenty-four that existed by the mid -1960s, and the exhaustive effort by scientists to bring the birds back from near extinction. It is also the story of Puerto Rico - the early inhabitants who lived on the island thousands of years ago, the first contact with Europeans, and the beginnings of the slave trade and the island's eventual connection to the United States. All of the historical events figure into the story of the near demise of the parrots and the author and illustrator portray the events in a way that will engage young people with the story. This is not a picture book for preschoolers, although they will certainly enjoy and benefit from looking at the illustrations. No, this is a picture book to engage all the senses and education thus far gleaned in elementary school aged children and any adults who read the story with them or stumble onto it when their child brings it home. Read more »
Manawa hosted author Eric Litwin on Monday October 15th at Manawa Elementary School. Mr. Litwin is the author of the increasingly popular "Pete the Cat" books and most kids in Manawa ages 0-4 were well versed in all things Pete the Cat by the time of the big event.
"Pete the Cat" is the main character in a series of books written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. The books are great picture books for many reasons and kids and parents everywhere have embraced the books and made them popular. The books came to the attention of Library staff two years ago when "Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes" was published. The book became a hit at story hour and soon the book was never on the Library's shelves. The next year "Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes" came along and this book featured Pete going to school and it became a perfect fit for the annual Kindergarten visits the Library has. With the help of high school students playing guitar, "I Love My School Shoes" has become a popular refrain in Manawa and beyond. The books became more and more popular and the eventual "wouldn't it be great if we could get the author to come to Manawa" discussion was had only this time we didn't stop at the discussion part. We just kept on going with this pipe dream we had and a year and a half later it came true. It's not every day that a New York Times bestselling author comes to town, but it's not every town that can make it happen either. Here is how Manawa did it. Read more »
I am catching up on small jobs today - tasks that need to be done but keep getting pushed aside for one or another things that come up. I'm making signs and sending out a press release about our holiday hours, I'm posting photos of our program yesterday to Facebook, I'm organizing our photos on my computer and I'm writing a long overdue blog post. While organizing the photos on my computer I came across two photos I took in June of some of the shelves in the youth section. As any user of this Library knows, the summer months are a little busy here. The beast that is the summer reading program has become a labor of love for us here. We are exhausted at the end of every day, but it is such a satisfying exhaustion. The interaction we have with area youth during these months is priceless. And the icing on the cake is that a lot of books get checked out and read. Read more »
It seems like just yesterday I was writing about my Christmas of one year past and how much (or how little) books figured into my Holiday. I was concerned at what I perceived as a decline in the amount of book gift giving I saw in my family and in talking about books in general. I pledged that in 2010 all of my gifts would be books and while this did not completely come to pass I did make a good faith effort to achieve this goal. And this holiday also found me discussing quite a few books with family members and friends so as the Holiday week-end came to a close I felt a contentment that was missing somewhat last year at this time. Here are the books that played a part of my holiday: Read more »