Around this time of year, I always feel like I have gotten out of all my routines, and I think our children sometimes feel the same way. After weeks of staying up later than normal, traveling, and attending special events, it can be a challenge to get “back into the swing of things” after the holidays. Along with re-establishing school night bedtimes and homework schedules, January is a great time to refocus on a reading routine. Sharing some new stories with children can remind them how fun reading is and rekindle their passion for reading time. Try these fun stories with unexpected twists to delight the young ones.
Tart or sweet, cherries are a favorite flavor, and there's more to cherries than meets the eye. Cherries actually belong to the rose family. Cherry's rosy relatives include other stone fruits such as almonds, apricots, plums, peaches, and nectarines.
February is a terrific month to dig into cherries. For years, people have made cherry pies to celebrate George Washington's birthday on February 22. Why do we think of cherries when we think of our first president?
Have you ever been in a place where there were lots of buildings but no trees? New housing developments or parts of a city that have been neglected for a long time may not have the shady spots and fresh air that trees give. As trees breathe, they let out oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Their roots hold the ground together, making sure the soil doesn't blow away in the wind. When a tree dies naturally in the forest, its wood becomes a home for insects and a cafeteria for the hungry birds who eat those insects. Trees provide so many good things for the Earth.
In my first few years as a librarian, I was responsible for serving library customers of all ages and read children’s books as well as books for teens and adults, so I could recommend books to someone of any age. In the last few years, I have been focused on serving children and teens and now read almost exclusively for those age ranges. Sometimes my non-library friends pity me because they feel I am deprived in some way, reading only books for youth, but I don’t feel that way at all. My literary world is rich with books that have been written with children or teens in mind but are just all-around good books and excellent reads for adults. As I wind up this year of reading, I am recommending books written for youth that are great reads for adults.
Leo Lionni was born into a family that appreciated art, and, from a very young age, he knew he wanted to be an artist. He loved nature and started keeping small creatures—minnows, birds, fish, and more—in his attic room in Amsterdam. He also created terrariums, and many of these natural details found their way into his later work. Like so many successful children’s authors, Leo Lionni was able to remember and tap into the things that were important to him when he was a child.
Diwali, or Dipawali, is Hinduism's biggest and most important holiday of the year. It takes place in mid-October. Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith. Along with Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs may all celebrate Diwali.
Circles, squares, pentagons, octagons, polygons, angles, rays, points, and lines, there are so many names to learn in geometry. They may sound strange and new, but geometry is all around you. Your computer monitor's surface is more or less a rectangle, your pencil is roughly a cylinder, and, viewed from the top, the cable from your mouse to the computer, is a line segment. Once you start thinking about geometric shapes, you'll find them everywhere.
An aquarium is a watery world in miniature. It can be as complicated as you want or just a simple and safe place to keep a beautiful and patient pet. If you're new to fish keeping, you should start with the basics, but even beginners can have a terrific aquarium. Both beta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish or bettas) and goldfish are good for first-timers. They're attractive and not so demanding of a special environment in order to thrive.
Young adventurers in grades K-6 will delight in mini survival challenges based on Lauren Tarshis’ extremely popular I Survived series. Like Tarshis' young protagonists fighting to survive historical disasters, Fab Friday attendees will find themselves faced with challenges. They might build and test an “unsinkable” Titanic-style ship, create a marshmallow-toothpick structure subjected to the forces akin to those of the San Francisco earthquake, unearth a Lego city buried by Pompeii’s volcanic debris, and more. Even those who haven't read the I Survived books will be eager to get their hands on these disaster challenges!
"Artists need to fill themselves to overflowing and give it all back." -- E.B. Lewis
E.B. Lewis almost didn’t become an illustrator. Which means he almost did not open a visual pathway to African American culture and history that can be enjoyed by children in libraries and schools all around the country. He thought of himself as an artist, not an illustrator. When he thought of children’s book illustrations, he imagined pictures that were engaging, funny, sometimes almost cartoon-like. That wasn’t for him.
But an agent saw his work and insisted E.B. look at what was going on in children’s books now. As he sat in a bookshop, poring over the many wonderful books available for young audiences, he realized he wanted to be a part of this. He had been teaching art to special needs kids, a job he would have to set aside because publishers were hungry for his art to accompany the great stories they had already bought from the writers. He plunged into illustrating full time, sometimes working 15-to 18-hour days. He’s illustrated dozens of stories, including a Caldecott Honor book, and several projects have won the Coretta Scott King Award.