Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Awards Beaucoup!!!

This morning at 8 am, the American Library Association announced its annual Youth Media Awards!  19 different awards were handed out, including best picture book (Randolph Caldecott Medal), best beginning reader (Geisel Award), best young adult book (Michael L. Printz Award) and best book for children (John Newbery Medal).

If you are crazy about keeping up on the best children's literature, stop by your library and check out one of these destined classics!

Award: Newbery Medal
Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherina Applegate
Find this book at your library

Award: Caldecott Medal
Title: This is Not My Hat
Author: Jon Klassen
Find this book at your library

Award: Geisel Award
Title: Up! Tall! and High
Author: Ethan Long
Find this book at your library

Award: Paula Belpré Award - Illustrations
Title: Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert
Author: Gary Schmidt
Illustrator: David Diaz
Find this book at your library

Award: Paula Belpré Award - Text
Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz 
Find this book at your library

Award: Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrations
Title: I, Too, Am America
Author: Langston Hughes
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Find this book at your library

Award: Coretta Scott King Award - Text
Title: Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America
Author: Andrea Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Find this book at your library

Award: Sibert Medal
Title: Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
Author: Steve Sheinkin
Find this book at your library

Award: Odyssey Award
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Produced by: Brilliance Audio
Find this audio book at your library

Award: Printz Medal
Title: In Darkness
Author: Nick Lake
Find this book at your library

For more ALA Youth Media Awards and more information, visit the Association for Library Services to Children's website here.

Photo by: Danielle Keller

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday!

Today we present a brand new rhyme video featuring Miss Jeanie from the Cedar Mill Library's Bethany Branch.  The rhyme is titled "Zoom Zoom Zoom, We're Going to the Moon! 

Zoom Zoom Zoom We’re Going to the Moon 
(use your hands to make a rocket ship)
Zoom zoom zoom
We’re going to the moon
Zoom zoom zoom
We’ll get there very soon
If you want to take a trip
Climb aboard my rocket ship
Zoom zoom zoom
We’re going to the moon
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2…. 1

As kids count down from 10 to 1, they will grow more and more excited anticipating the final blast-off.  Keeping contained is an essential skill that kids will need once they get to school and begin to learn how to read.  Learning to read takes a lot of focus and determination.  Rhymes like "Zoom Zoom Zoom" give kids the opportunity to practice being patient while having fun at the same time!

We invite you to visit our website to learn more about helping to get kids ready to read.

Folks are invited to visit their local Washington County library to pick up a free copy of our Fingerplay Fun rhyme booklet, which features many of the rhymes found on our website.
photo by: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Syllable Silliness

 In Crisis in the Kindergarten, an eye-opening report on the importance of play in early childhood education, authors Edward Miller and Joan Almon make a truly remarkable observation: "Young children work hard at play."  While it might not look like hard work to us, when kids engage in play they are perfecting a multitude of skills and are learning a great deal about how the world works.

We would like to share a fun game that can challenge young children and encourage later reading success. 


This game helps kids practice "taking words apart" and "putting them back together." Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words is an important skill that helps contribute to reading success.  Kids who are able to manipulate the smaller sounds in words have an easier time learning to read.

STEP ONE: Find a picture of an object that your child is familiar with.


STEP TWO: Cut the picture into the number of pieces equal to the number of syllables of the object.


STEP THREE: Practice saying the words with the pieces put together.  After saying the words quickly, challenge your child to say the words slowly.  Break the pictures apart and practice saying the words slowly:
"MON" --pause-- "KEY"
"EL" --pause-- "E" --pause-- "PHANT"

STEP FOUR: When your child is able to say the words broken apart without your help, try some of the following:
a) Mix up the pieces and ask your child to put them back together and tell you what the words sound like normally and "broken apart"
b) Lay out three different two-syllable picture puzzles and have your child say one of the words slowly while you try to guess which one she or he is saying.
c) Ask the child to put the words together backwards or in other silly ways.



Here is a great book that helps develop the skill associated with picking out the smaller sounds in words:

Title: Tanka Tanka Skunk!
Author: Steve Webb
Find this book at your library 

This super-fun book introduces kids to the sounds that make up words.  A playful elephant and skunk lead the reader in drumming out the beats that make up a bunch of animal names.  Highly recommended.

Photo by flydime [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday!

For nearly a year, WCCLS has been sharing online rhyme videos in hopes that we can connect parents and caregivers with some ultra-fun ideas for interacting with their kids while at the same time building pre-reader skills.

We are constantly adding new rhyme videos.  It is my intention to present a new video each and every Friday.  We will begin today with a brand new video entitled "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"

This rhyme features a familiar "Itsy Bitsy Spider" cadence and introduces children to some fun vocabulary.  This is a great way to build word and world knowledge.  Pair this rhyme up with a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and take it a step further with a fun caterpillar craft or a mini-science lesson!


Folks are invited to visit their local Washington County library to pick up a free copy of our Fingerplay Fun rhyme booklet, which features many of the rhymes found on our website.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Picky Eaters

It's a parent's worst nightmare (right up there with a child who refuses nap time): PICKY EATING!!

Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard you try, you just can't get your little one to try something new (especially if it is good for them).

Books can be great for helping kids work through issues that challenge them, like picky eating.  They show that the child's challenges are not unique and that many other kids have the same likes and dislikes.

Here is my top-ten list of Picky Eater Picture Books:

Title: Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast
Author: Philip C. Stead
Find this book at your library

Wild Man Jack is not easy to please and there is one dish he hates more than any other: creamed tuna fish & peas on toast.

Title: Night of the Veggie Monster
Author: George McClements
Find this book at your library

A little boy begins to transform into a veggie monster at the slightest taste of a pea. Wait a second, maybe they aren't so bad after all!
Title: Princess Picky
Author: Marjorie Priceman
Find this book at your library

The royal courtiers pull out all the stops to get Princess Nicki to try a vegetable. Finally, a wizard cooks up a plan to make all of Nicki's wishes come true.
Title: The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster
Author: A. W. Flaherty
Illustrator: Scott Magoon
Find this book at your library

On a cross-Atlantic sea voyage, Katerina-Elizabeth unknowingly creates a monster by tossing her oatmeal overboard. When they dock in Scotland, "Nessie" moves into the nearest Loch.
includes directions for determining if you are a supertaster
Title: Sugar Would Not Eat It
Author: Emily Jenkins
Illustrator: Giselle Potter
Find this book at your library

No matter how hard he tries, Leo can't get his new kitten to eat birthday cake.  He eventually learns that some foods are better for kittens than others.
Title: Little Pea
Author: Amy Krouse
Illustrator: Jen Corace
Find this book at your library

Poor Little Pea just hates eating candy. That's what you have to eat every night when you're a growing pea. She would much rather eat SPINACH!!
Title: Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli
Author: Barbara Jean Hicks
 Illustrator: Sue Hendra
Find this book at your library

Monsters eat tractors, rocket ships, boulders and trees. They most certainly do not eat broccoli. Wait, are those monsters eating broccoli? Nope, it's just crunchy little trees.
Title: The Seven Silly Eaters
Author: Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrator: Marla Frazee
Find this book at your library

A house full of picky eaters wear out their mother and stumble upon a brilliant discovery when they bake the perfect birthday surprise!
Title: Burger Boy
Author: Alan Durant
Illustrator: Mei Matsuoka
Find this book at your library

Burgers are all Benny will eat. It isn't too surprising when he turns into a burger himself (you are what you eat!).
Title: Tales for Very Picky Eaters
Author: Josh Schneider
Find this book at your library

A collection of short and hilarious tales about why it is sometimes a good idea to step out on a limb and try something you think you won't like.

Picture by: Anirudh Koul

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Engaging Picture Books

Photo: Hans Lachmann

Many young children have a hard time sitting through a whole picture book.  They are simply far too busy and active to focus on the story.  This can be especially frustrating for parents and caregivers who want a little book sharing time with their little ones. 

Instead of constantly pausing to correct squirmy and unwanted behavior, one suggestion is to look for books that tap into a child’s need for movement. 
Some books are specifically designed to engage children in acting out the story.  Others are just so infectious that kids can’t help but chant along with a repeated line.  By choosing task-driven books, you will create a book sharing time where “no” and “settle down” are phrases you simply won’t have to use.  At the same time, you will be enforcing the message that books are fun.  

If there is one thing that research shows us, it is that children who have a difficult time learning to read are more motivated to do the hard work and persevere when they see a positive benefit to their efforts!

The librarians at the Washington County Cooperative Library Services encourage you to stop by your library and stock up on a great big stack of fun picture books for sharing!

Here is a list of time-tested books from our librarians that really get kids engaged: 

Movement Books
 (these books are great for kids to act along with)

Ballerina! by Peter Sís. Greenwillow Books (2001).
Can You Growl Like a Bear? by John Butler. Peachtree Publishers (2007).
Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas. Beach Lane Books (2009).
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. HarperCollins (1968).
Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley. Puffin (1992).
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. HarperCollins (1997).
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard. Scholastic Press (2007).
Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda. Abrams Appleseed (2012).
I Am a Backhoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines. Tricycle Press (2010).
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont (illus. by David Catrow). Harcourt (2005).
If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera. Holiday House (2005).
Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. Beach Lane Books (2011).
It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle (illus. by Jeremy Tankard). Chronicle Books (2012).
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraidof Anything by Linda Williams (illus. by Megan Lloyd). HarperCollins (1986).
Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb. Orchard Books (2003).
Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres (illus. by Nadine Bernard Westcott). Candlewick (2007).
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (illus. by Helen Oxenbury). Margaret K. McElderry Books (2009).
Wiggle by Doreen Cronin (illus. by Scott Menchin). Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2005).

Repeated Phrase Books
 (these books have repeated phrases that are fun for kids to say along with the reader) 
The Baby Beebee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie (illus. by Steven Kellogg). HarperCollins (2003).
The Baby Goes Beep by Rebecca O’Connell (illus. by Ken Wilson-Max). Roaring Brook Press (2003).
The Big Red Bus by Judy Hindley (illus. by William Benedict). Candlewick (1995).
Cows in the Kitchen by June Crebbin (illus. by Katharine McEwen). Houghton Mifflin (2000).
The Gunniwolf by Wilhelmina Harper. Dutton (1967 & 2003).
Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli. Candlewick (2009).
Little Bunny Foo Foo by Paul Brett Johnson. Scholastic Press (2004).
Overboard! by Sarah Weeks (illus. by Sam Williams). Harcourt (2006)/
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell (illus. by Patrick Benson). Candlewick (1992).
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin (illus. by James Dean). HarperCollins (2010).
The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort (illus. by G. Brian Karas). Henry Holt (2000).
Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler (illus. by S.D. Schindler). Margaret K. McElderry Books (2002).
Smash! Crash! by Jon Scieszka (illus. by David Shannon, Loren Long and David Gordon). Simon & Schuster (2008).
Snip Snap! What’s That? by Mara Bergman (illus. by Nick Maland). Greenwillow Books (2005).
A Soup Opera by Jim Gill (illus. by David Moose). Jim Gill, Inc (2009).
Suddenly by Colin McNaughton. Harcourt (1995).
Uh-Oh! by Rachel Isadora. Harcourt (2008).
Wait! I Want to Tell You a Story by Tom Willans. Simon & Schuster (2005).
Yuck! by Mick Manning (illus. by Brita Granstrom). Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (2011).

Find the Object Books
 (these books have objects hidden in the pictures that are fun for kids to find) 

Hide and Snake by Keith Baker. Harcourt (1991).
Where is That Cat? by Carol Greene. Hyperion Books (1998).

Question & Response Books
 (these books ask questions throughout and it is fun for kids to answer & interact)

Cat’s Colors by Jane Cabrera. Dial Books for Young Readers (1997)
Do Monkeys Tweet? by Melanie Walsh. Houghton Mifflin (1997).
The Doghouse by Jan Thomas. Harcourt (2008).
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. Hyperion Books (2003).
How Many Cats? by Lauren Thompson (illus. by Robin Eley). Hyperion Books (2009).
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas. Atheneum Books (2009).
Whose Baby Am I? by John Butler. Viking (2001).

Reader Interaction Books
 (these books require the reader to interact in some way, turning pages and touching stuff)

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone (illus. by Mike Smollin). Golden Books (1980).
Press Here by Hervé Tullet. Chronicle Books (2011).
There Are Cats In This Book by Viviane Schwarz. Candlewick (2008).
Tickle the Duck! by Ethan Long. Little, Brown & Co (2006).
Tuck Me In by Dean Hacohen (illus. by Sherry Scharschmidt). Candlewick (2010).
We Are In a Book! by Mo Willems. Hyperion Books (2010).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Monsters of the Deep!

Giant Squid
Photo: José-Manuel Benito Álvarez

For the first time in human history, the giant squid (Architeuthis) has been filmed in its natural habitat, over 2,000 feet beneath the ocean's surface!

This marine marvel has been the stuff of legends for countless generations.  The "kraken" was believed to be a sea monster capable of dragging whole sailing ships down into the inky depths of the sea.  The giant squid was featured in Jules Verne's classic submarine adventure tale 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and found its way into many popular films including Clash of the Titans and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Scientists are getting a clearer picture of this fascinating creature.  What an exciting time for marine-life enthusiasts!

For children who are intrigued by ocean animals, I heartily recommend two of my favorite picture books that feature the giant squid:

Title: I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean
Author: Kevin Sherry
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (2007)
Find this book at your library

A silly squid shows us all of the things that it is bigger than.. almost!

Title: Down, Down, Down
Author: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2009)
Find this book at your library

Beginning at the ocean's surface, the reader is slowly taken on a downward journey into the dark depths.  Along the way, a wide variety of marine life is discovered.  The giant squid shows up at the 10,000 feet mark, depicted in battle with its natural predator, the sperm whale.