Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun stuff from publishers

Fans of various series written for children, including The Boxcar Children, will enjoy the activity guides and coloring pages on Albert Whitman and Conpany's website.  This is just one of the many publishers who augment their books with online activities.

HarperCollins has a page just for young readers.  Right now, you can find several sweepstakes for fans of various series to join.  Click on the Games tab to find online games and printables based on HarperCollins' books.

If you like Junie B. Jones, the Berenstain Bears, Thomas the Tank Engine, or books about Sesame Street or based on Nickelodeon, then the site to visit is kids@random.  There are individual sites for many of the series that Random House publishes.  
Take time to investigate the websites of your favorite books' publishers.  Publishers post teacher's guides, art project ideas, online games and more.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Mockingjay, the final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy is here and it is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.  The excitement in these books is breathtaking but the violence is, well, pretty awful.  So be warned.  The horror does not abate in the third book.  It is compellingly awful and fascinating to the very end where readers finally get a moment of peace. Collins has a lot to say about society's obsession with "entertainment" (just look at what passes for "reality" on reality TV) and society's equally disturbing insistence on revenge.  That said, I stayed up until midnight finishing this book and sighed with relief and appreciation when it was all done.

Before the book came out, teens at the Parkland Community Library took a Mockingjay quiz about what they predicted would happen in the third book.  The quiz was multiple choice and contained the YS staff's best guess on what might happen.  Take a look, just for fun, and see if you could have done better.

While waiting for your turn to check out Mockingjay, here is a list of books with similar themes of oppressive future societies.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School

In a matter of days, children and teens will be headed back to school.  Stop by the Parkland Community Library and check out the Back-to-School display to get "in the mood".  The Parkland Community Library has books to help children re-adjust, or simply prepare, for another great school year.

Sesame Street's Elmo has a great video for little ones experiencing Nursery School for the first time.  For parents of all ages, PBS has developed a website of resources.

Here are some new titles all about the joys (and un-joys) of school at all levels.

Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen.  Jim worries about his first day of school and then finds a friend.

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon.  A girl's vision problems make school so much harder until vision screening shows her how the rest of the world sees.

A Pirate's Guide to First Grade by James Preller.  A young pirate survives his first few days of first grade and earns a treasure.

We, the Children by Andrew Clements.  Ben Pratt has a lot of changes to deal with, not the least of which is the destruction of his historic school to make way for a seaside amusement park.  When the janitor gives Ben a mysterious coin, Ben decides to keep the school from being destroyed.  

Griff Carver, Highway Patrol by Jim Krieg.    The mystery of just what Griff did "in the line of duty" that made him persona non grata at his old school is never revealed in this hard-boiled story of justice and crime in a middle school.  There is a lot of "copspeak" and a law-abiding partner that combine to make this a fun read.

How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart.  A boy's best friend ruins the beginning of the school year, so he makes a new friend who leads him to notoriety online.

So gather some books, paper and pencils and off to school you go!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Storytime flier

The Parkland Community Library Fall Storytime 2010 flier is now out. Pick one up today.  Pick up the last Summer Newsletter, too, to read about other Fall activities.

Just remember, the Storytime flier is TWO-sided.  One side is about the storytimes that require advance registration.  The other side is about Drop-in Storytime and Family events.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pirate Name Generator

Last night, the Pirate's HO! party was a big success.  The Pirate Name generator worked out very well.  There are Pirate Name Generators online, like the one at  What my First Mate and I had to do was come up with a way to let young pirates-in-training make their own pirate names that was fast and low tech.

The first step was to come up with likely pirate adjectives and nicknames.  Then we had to find a "formula" for creating a new name.  After playing with ideas like assigning number values to the letters in each person's name and letting children choose the combined amount of the subset of the.....,(WAY too difficult), we took our clue from the Shakespearean Insult page .  We separated the adjectives and nicknames into three piles.  Pirates chose a word from each pile and, voila! a piratical name.

Now here is where the First Mate earns her position as irreplaceable.  She printed each word on a label and the children had instant pirate nametags.

Some names were excellent like "Seven Ocean Kid".  Others were silly, "Silver One-Eye Crow's-Nest".

And what name did I get?  Well, ye be reading the scribblings of one Cap'n Hangin' Ugly, ye be! ARRRRGH! 

And as our pirates sail off into the sunset, Summer Reading Club comes to a close.  Thanks for another great summer.  Stop by the Parkland Community Library to pick up some books about getting ready for school.  Or, choose books just for fun - my favorite kind!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Party like a PIRATE!!! ARRR

What is so appealing about pirates?  I mean, besides Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow - oh and Orlando Bloom as Will Turner!  Is it the lack of washing, schedules and responsibilities?  Is it the loud and sometimes naughty songs?  The colorful clothing and weaponry or adventures as they search for treasure?  When we look carefully into what pirates actually are - thieves, kidnappers and sometimes, even murderers - they do not seem very nice at all.

But, Jack Sparrow and his predecessor, Long John Silver, are pirates with hearts of gold, and a hunger for the cold yellow metal.  They are scamps and rascals and not entirely to be trusted.  But when the chips are down and it comes to a BIG decision, well, they usually choose the right course of action - away from cowardly villainy, toward kindness and courage. These are the pirates we pretend to be - lawless, free, brave and gallant.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, August 17th, from 6:30  to 7:30 pm, it's the golden hearted scamps I want to see at our Pirates HO! party.  Join the Parkland Community Library staff and volunteers as we make pirate crafts, walk the plank, get pirate names, and help tell pirate stories.  Come dressed as a pirate, if you can, for an hour of fun and piratical hi-jinks.

To get ready, here are some excellent pirate books for all ages.

That's Not My Pirate... written by Fiona Watts.  Textured pages let little ones explore scarves, beards, eyepatches and other pirate garb until the right pirate is found.

A Year on a Pirate Ship by Elizabeth Havercroft.  Each page pictures activities for a month of the year and a couple of items for young readers to find in the crowded illustrations.

Roger, the Jolly Pirate by Brett Helquist.  Roger is too pleasant to be a REAL pirate but when he is stuck in the hold during a battle with the Admiral, his attempt to bake a cake saves the day - AND creates a brand new pirate flag, the Jolly Roger.  Helquist's pictures make this clever story even more exciting.

Dirty Joe, the pirate : a true story by Bill Harley.  Dirty Joe terrorizes the seas in his quest for dirty socks until he meets his big sister, a worse pirate than Dirty Joe in every way.

Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi.  Book loving Henry disappoints his father, Captain Barnacle Blackear, until Henry's book learning helps out in a storm.

For readers who want true life adventure, here are books that explain what a pirate's life was really like.

Piracy & Plunder : a murderous business by Milton Meltzer.  Meltzer gives readers the history, lifestyles and fates of pirates in this book for older readers.

Piratology : the sea journal of Captain William Lubber, pirate hunter general by Dugald A. Steer.  This attractive book includes flaps, small booklets, fold-out pages and maps that purport to explain how pirates behaved.  The book is great for middle grade readers and fun for young pirates to look at.

You wouldn't want to be a pirate's prisoner! : horrible things  you'd rather not know, written by John Malam.  Part of the You wouldn't want to be... series, this book delves into the seamiest sides of pirate life, including shackles and chains, flogging and beating, and disease and death.  YUCK!  For readers with better stomachs!

And now for a pirate chant!  Be prepared to shout this tomorrow night:

Yo Ho Ho!  Yo Ho Ho!
I'm a pirate from me head to me toe.
Yo Ho Ho!  Yo Ho Hi!
I'll be a pirate 'til the day I die!  ARRRRRRRRRRR

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Artemis Fowl tour

Eoin Colfer starts his tour for the new Artemis Fowl book, The Atlantis Complex, in September.  Colfer plans to interview Artemis on this tour and include music as well.

Go to Artemis Fowl's website to listen to some of the songs planned for the tour and to see a trailer for the book.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Reading Club

The Make a Splash - READ!  Summer Reading Club at the Parkland Community Library ends on August 14th.  Please log in all of your time spent reading and listening by the end of Saturday, August 14th.

Last minute prizes can be picked up from 1 to 5 on Monday, August 16th, Tuesday, August 17th and Wednesday, August 18th.

Pirates, HO! The Final Party will take place on Tuesday, August 17th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at Jordan Lutheran Church on Snowdrift Road.  Come in your best pirate garb to walk the plank, make crafts, play games and be part of a Pirate adventure, created by the Black Rose (arrrr) Teen Tellers of the Parkland Community Library and you! 

Pirates, HO! is open to all members of the Maker a Splash- READ! Summer Reading Club.

Summer fun doesn't end with the Summer Reading Club.  Stop by on August 31st from 6:30 to 7:30 pm for a visit from Chippy Chipmunk's creator, Kathy Miller.  Watch a wonderful slide show and hear Chippy's story as Kathy talks about her award winning book, Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden.  This program is open to the public - of all ages.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Chippy Chipmunk at the library

Local author, Cathy Miller, will bring her award-winning picture book,  Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden, to the Parkland Community Library on Tuesday evening, August 31st, from 6:30 to 7:30.  Cathy will have copies of her book on sale and will stay to sign them. 

The summer is drawing to a close and s****l will start soon (shhhhhhhh!).  PBS has an excellent website that explains what most children learn in different grades.  The websites has tips for getting ready for the best school (oops, it just slipped out!) year ever.

"Make a Splash-READ!" has almost two more weeks to run.  If you haven't signed up yet, there is still time to earn prizes for the time you spend reading.  Click here to sign-up or log on.