Before having my daughter, I was on the fence about whether we would attempt to do sign language with her. I LOVE the look of ASL, but I wasn’t sure what the impact would be on her language development. Then I read that multiple studies have shown children who are signed to as babies have “larger vocabularies and stronger verbal language abilities later in life.*” Add that information to the fact that my aunt is an interpreter for American Sign Language, and my interest in ASL has grown exponentially over the last year.
"Oh, by the way... "
Those were always the words my parents dreaded hearing when my brother and I were growing up. Usually, because it meant that one, or both of us, forgot about an upcoming project. Luckily, for us and my parents, we usually remembered sooner rather than later—but sometimes we did push it kind of close.
It’s not uncommon for parents and kids to come rushing into the library the night before a project is due looking for information and inspiration—but have no fear! We have some amazing project books here at the library that can help out students in just this situation. My booklist by no means has every book that would help, but it features some of the lesser known ones. Now, without any further procrastination, check out my "So, I have this project..." booklist.
Last year, some library staff members, including myself, challenged others—and our customers—to complete the 2016 Read Harder book challenge from Book Riot. I’ve been trying to expand beyond the books I typically read within the children’s department (and outside of it), so that I will have a better base for recommending books. However, in May, we had our first child. So I did what I could, but a newborn really does eat up a lot of time and energy. Unsurprisingly, I did not read a book in every Book Riot category, although I read multiple books in some categories. Here are the books I read for Book Riot's 2016 Read Harder Challenge. If you are interested in seeing what books other staff members have read, check out our 2016 Reading Challenge Pinterest board here.
If you would like to participate in a reading challenge in 2017, look at our 2017 Reading Challenge Pinterest board, where we are featuring more than one reading challenge to try. Will I read for all of them? Will you? Let's make this a challenge accepted.
Now that I have a young child, I’ve become more aware of how short her attention span is. I know that I can have one, maybe two short books in a row before her attention wanders away, and she wants to do something else (which also explains why we love songs and playing so much in our Grow a Reader classes). Since making this discovery, I’ve been on the hunt for some books that are short and colorful that she’ll enjoy and ones I’m enthusiastic about reading to her. So, I’ve gathered together a list of shorter picture books that make her giggle, coo, and generally pay attention.
There are a few things people may not know about librarians, or at least this librarian. And that is that I LOVE research. Seriously. So when I found out I was expecting a bundle of joy, I did exactly that. I wanted to know what to expect and how to handle any situation that came up (yes, that was naive of me, I know). But by doing this I discovered some amazing books about pregnancy, infants, and things to do with your bundles of joy once they arrive. There are so many pregnancy books out there that it can be a tad overwhelming, so here are my favorite books about pregnancy and beyond, and I hope that they help you as much as they helped me . . . or will help me in the future.
I grew up on Harry Potter: going to the midnight release parties at Borders for the books, going to the movies as each one came out, and, of course, wishing that my Hogwarts letter would arrive, even if it was years later than Harry's, Hermione's, and Ron’s. One of the reasons that I loved the wizarding world that Harry Potter and his friends lived in was all the wonderful creatures they encountered, both the good and the bad. I would spend hours imagining how our muggle world would be different if they existed—or maybe . . . if we knew they existed.
One of the defining features of the Fredericksburg area is the Rappahannock River. It played a large role in history, and we Virginians love our history. But this year, we want to focus on a different aspect of the river. This year, let’s talk about its wildlife.
As part of our Summer Reading celebration, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library is happy to welcome back The Wildlife Center of Virginia for one of our programs! You can meet some of the wild animals that depend on the river for survival and find out how your actions affect the river, the surrounding environment, and ultimately the animals themselves in a special program: Journey Along the River.
April is National Poetry Month, which is a perfect time to highlight all the amazing poetry that is out there, but . . . UGH . . . POETRY. At least, that’s how I used to feel. When I was a kid I LOVED poetry, especially Shel Silverstein. But as I got older, and school started requiring me to think about the poetry we were reading and what the deeper meaning might be, I started to resent it. I mean, couldn’t I just ENJOY the poetry instead of trying to decipher how the poet might have been feeling when he wrote it? Apparently not.
Then I started working as a youth services librarian, and I was introduced to novels in verse. All of those middle school and high school memories came flooding back, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Until I read one. Then I read another and another. Finally, I realized I LOVED novels in verse! Why? Because they are complete stories told through a collection of poetry. Poetry rarely takes up a whole page, which made the books super fast to read! It also amazed me how by simply changing the spacing or even font size within a poem an additional meaning was made clear.
As adults, we often take the vocabulary we read in our books for granted, but, for a child, that vocabulary is like a treasure, waiting to be discovered through the sands of all the other words in a story. Children are still building a base of words, and often times it’s not until they ask for a definition that we adults realize that children don’t always know what we’re saying.
For me, the realization came during one of my Mother Goose Time Grow a Reader classes. I was reading Oh My Oh My Oh, Dinosaurs by Sandra Boynton (a favorite author of mine). At one point she tells of the dinosaurs of being crammed in an elevator. A child quickly interrupted me and asked me what crammed meant . . . and I had to think about it! It’s one of those words we adults just know, but how to define it in a way that a young child would understand? I think I ended up defining it by example. I asked her if she had ever put all of her stuffed animals into a small space where they didn’t really fit. She said yes, and I told her that means she crammed them into a location—just like the dinosaurs were crammed in the elevator!
Technology has become an integral part of our lives, to the point that many of us can’t imagine (or remember) life before we had personal computers and cell phones. Technology is also a huge part of literature, from characters with cell phones to cyborgs & robots to space travel. In honor of Teen Tech Week (March 6-12, 2016), I’ve created a list with some of my favorite young adult titles that feature technology—and one that features life after technology fails.