The beginning of a new school year always feels like a new chapter, with students from preschool to college starting fresh on a year full of learning and growth, working toward goals, like reading independently, conquering quadratic equations, creating a website, or writing a research paper. Whatever level you or your student are at, the public library has resources to help you be successful.
In 1800, the land held by the new United States was small compared to what was called Louisiana. Louisiana was named for King Louis XIV of France. It was part of a large claimed area in the New World called New France. It stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains.
Sometimes, it seems like everybody goes hiking and camping in the great outdoors in the sticky, sweltering summertime. Those are the days when the bugs are at their worst, and the heat alone can leave you panting on the side of the trail before an hour is done. For an easier time of it, grab your gear in the spring or fall. Cooler days and mostly bug-free trails make for great hiking adventures, whether by the ocean or in the mountains. November 17 is Take a Hike Day, but any day is a good day to hike.
If you are looking for picture books with charming rhymes that tell funny stories to amuse preschoolers and their adults, Julia Donaldson is your author. She got to fame as a children’s author in a roundabout way. Before she set down words between book covers, she used to write children’s songs and plays for British TV and radio.
Julia has written well more than 100 books, and it all began with A Squash and a Squeeze, which was originally written as a song for children’s television. It’s the story of an elderly woman who is unhappy that her house seems so small. Fortunately, a neighbor has a very clever solution!
As a musician, Julia was happy to set her stories down for all to see—and keep: “It was great to hold the book in my hand without it vanishing in the air the way the songs did.”
Elizabeth Winthrop Alsop grew up in a rambling house, surrounded by woods, and with a stream nearby for catching crayfish. With no television until she was twelve, she and her five brothers would make up all sorts of imaginative games. Their home was filled with books to feed that imagination. Among her favorites were C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, as well as books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Charles Dickens. Both her parents loved to read, and her father was a journalist.
A Writer in the Wings
“My father read aloud from Shakespeare—he made us take parts and read from plays in the evenings sometimes… Reading was like breathing.”*
Marc Tyler Nobleman likes comic books. Actually, he loves comic books. And, he loves the histories of his comic-book writers. On Saturday, September 9, from 3:00-4:00 at England Run Branch, Mr. Nobleman will be joining us as part of the University of Mary Washington's Great Lives series to talk about his beloved superheroes, the books he has written, and the inspiration he continues to receive from creators such as Bill Finger, Jerry Siegel, and Joe Shuster.
Where has the summer gone? I feel like it has flown by, and I was starting to get a little down about that, but rather than think, “Oh, my gosh, it’s almost August!”, I decided to take a glass-half-full approach and tell myself, “There are still six weeks until Labor Day!” Plenty of time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. Six weeks of summer means plenty of time to still sign up for Summer Reading at the library, earn fun prizes, and become eligible for raffle drawings for other terrific prizes, including tablets, book bundles, and movie passes.
So far, the numbers from June show that our readers really like Summer Reading:
-7,870 people signed up
-15,639 badges earned
-2,938 titles reviewed
-Games played 11,720 times
-6,432 book lists completed
-5,565 free prizes won
There is a new way for kids to learn at home and at the library! Playaway Launchpads are kid-friendly tablets preloaded with educational (and ad-free) apps, books, and games, available for ages 3-5 and 5-7 for two-week checkout periods. The apps enhance skills in math, science, language learning, English language arts, critical thinking, and creativity. Launchpads are 100% safe and secure. They do not connect to wifi or request personal information. There is even a screen for an adult to check up on what a child has been playing and see which skills have been tested. Kids can score Discovery Points in each activity. With their points, they can "purchase" accessories for their own avatars.