A recent New York Times Book Review article sings the praises of audio books and recommends several gems for family road trips. With summer right around the corner, it’s a nice reminder that audio books are the perfect way to keep the whole family happy on long car drives.
I have three children, and when we take a road trip, we always have several audio books on hand. I find they are far superior to DVDs for making a road trip a fun family experience. Unlike videos, which only the kids can watch, audio books are something the whole family (including the driver of the car!) can enjoy. In addition, we can listen to the audio books while also looking out the window. And – really – what’s the point of a road trip if you aren’t taking in the majestic scenery rolling past?
Every month, librarians from Denver Public Library branches get together to talk about new books for school-aged kids. With summer vacation just around the corner, here are some great new titles to keep you reading all summer long.
Letters to Leo by Amy Hest. Annie's dad has finally given in and let her get a dog, so now Annie writes letters to her new pet during the school day so he can keep up with all of the exciting things that happen to her while she is away from him. Annie is not exactly a "model citizen" and there are lots of funny stories and drawings throughout the book. Recommended by Gigi from the Children's Library.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13th. Impress the mom in your life by teaching her about the history of Mother’s Day. Then give her a day to remember by taking part in some of the following fun activities in and around the city or plan a relaxing day at home.
In the United States the first known suggestion for Mother’s Day came in 1872 from Julia Ward Howard, author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". Howard envisioned a day of peace, but her idea didn’t catch on. Finally, in 1907 on the anniversary of her mother's death Anna Jarvis arranged a church service in Philadelphia to honor all mothers. She then began a letter writing campaign to congress and news outlets.
In 1841, fourteen-year-old Nakahama Manjirō is fishing with friends when their boat is shipwrecked on an island off the coast of Japan. They are rescued by an American whaling ship and after requesting to stay aboard the ship, Nakahama becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States. This incredible true story is the basis for NPR's Back-Seat Book Club selection for May.
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus is the story of a boy who is a simple fisherman but dreams of becoming a samurai. He never lets go of his dreams, despite living in a society where there is no chance for changing your station in life. After his rescue from the island, he is given a great opportunity: travel to California and begin a new life.
Transformation is the theme of April's selection for NPR's Back-Seat Book Club for 9 to 14-year-olds.
In Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, an eight-year-old girl named Kim starts an unexpected revolution in her Cleveland neighborhood with one simple act: planting lima bean seeds in a vacant lot. When a neighbor observes her action and shares her concern for the seeds with another neighbor, who decides to plant his own garden, the transformation of trashed lot to community garden begins.
The Denver Public Library is pleased to host the annual Denver Public Schools K-8 Art Exhibition from April 5 to April 19. Come see these wonderful works created by Denver’s elementary and middle school students. While you're downtown, visit some other art institutions around Denver. Then bring out your child’s (and your) creativity by making art from materials found around the house.
Participation in the arts provides many benefits for children of all ages. According to Americans for the Arts making art strengthens critical thinking and problem solving skills, bolsters self-confidence, and improves memory. After viewing the Denver Public Schools exhibit on Level 5 of the Central Library, take advantage of Denver’s active art community and spend a day immersing your child in visual art.
A growing body of research is discovering that there is a real crisis in boys’ reading. Boys are reading less and less well than their female peers, and this gap only gets worse as children get older. Much of the reason for boys' poor reading is that the types of books being offered to boys in school often hold little or no interest for them.
Jon Scieszka, award-winning author of The Stinky Cheese Man and other favorites, has started a campaign called Guys Read to encourage boys’ reading. He believes that simply offering boys books that they will enjoy is a huge step in making the shift from reluctant to motivated readers.
Research shows that over summer break thoughts of swimming and lemonade push out recently learned reading and math skills. Combat summer learning loss with gardening, not flash cards! Gardening is fun, educational, good exercise, and a great way to connect with your child.
Spring is here and it's time to start planning your garden. If you don't have a yard, get creative and plant your seeds in a window box like the little girl in Flower Garden by Eve Bunting. You can also use a large pot or go green and reuse a cardboard box or a basket.
Spend some time with your child as scientists observing your garden this spring and summer. Things to notice:
NPR's Back-Seat Book Club for 9 to 14-year-olds has selected a best-selling, eccentric adventure for March: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.
The Mysterious Benedict Society is a curious story, indeed! It all starts with several children answering the following newspaper ad: "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" Once the chosen few have passed a series of bizarre tests, they are trained, their special gifts are sharpened, and they are set for – what else – an undercover mission to stop evil!
This month NPR's Back-Seat Book Club for 9 to 14-year-olds has two selections: The Hundred Dresses and Shooting Kabul.
The Hundred Dresses is a 1944 classic by Eleanor Estes. In this age where bullying is a serious topic, the story of Wanda Petronski, who is teased for her name, where she lives, and the fact that she wears the same faded dress every day, will really hit-home with readers. Wanda insists she has one hundred beautiful dresses at home and when the girls at school mock her for it, she stops coming to school and her family decides to move to a bigger city.