Monthly Archives: January 2012

Super Science Lab Report

Hello fellow scientists!  This month in Super Science Lab, we did magnet experiments!  We made our own compass, practiced a floating paper clip magic trick, and made a magnet picture frame!

In case you missed it, here is the take home experiment that was passed out at the class:

Experiment:  Will it stick?


  • A magnet
  • 20 items to test
  • A chart
  1. On your chart, list the 20 items that you will test.   Think of items that you can find around your house.
  2.  Go around the house and find the items that you have listed.
  3.  See if your magnet will stick to the item.
  4. If the item sticks, put the letter X in the YES column.  If the item does not stick, put the letter X in the NO column.

Magnets will only stick to items that contain a fair amount of Iron, Steel, or Nickel.  Many metals, such as aluminum, are not magnetic.  A more powerful magnet is more likely to stick to an item that contains a smaller amount of magnetic metal.

Next month make sure to register for Frosty Investigations on February 25th at 1:30 pm or 3:00 pm.  Registration opens on February 11th at 9:00 am.  Please have your library card ready.   I will be on maternity leave and Mrs. Andreea will be hosting this program.  The program should be a lot of fun with Mrs. Andreea so be sure to check it out!  See you all in a few months!

-Mrs. Ashley

Mommy & Me Knitter’s Nest

Blue yarnWorking on a knitting or crochet project?  Want to hang out with other knitters and your kids?  Drop in on the Mommy & Me Knitter’s Nest Thursday, January 26 from 10:00 a.m. to noon.  We will have activities for small children ages two and up to keep them busy while you knit!  Please note, we will not be teaching children or adults to knit or crochet at this event.

American Library Association announces 2012 Youth Media Award winners | American Libraries Magazine

American Library Association announces 2012 Youth Media Award winners | American Libraries Magazine.

World without Wikipedia

What would you do in a world without Wikipedia?  The Chicago Tribune has suggested some other information websites to use while Wikipedia goes dark today.  But if you’re in need of good online information, you can also use the library databases.  We will be offering a class for tweens (students in grades 4 to 8) on Monday from 2:00-3:00 while the Valley View schools are closed.  Sign up and learn how you can get a lot of good information for your homework for free!  (If you really feel the need for Wikipedia today, there are ways to work around the blackout.)

We’re open for Martin Luther King Day!

The very first book to ever be recognized with a Coretta Scott King Award was Martin Luther King, Jr.: Man of Peace by Lillie Patterson.

The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
, compiled by Coretta Scott King, received a special citation in 1984.

Lillie Patterson received an Author Honor in 1990 for Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Freedom Movement.

A title I especially like to recommend for younger children, Martin’s Big Words

Martin's Big Words

by Doreen Rappaport, features actual quotations from Dr. King with amazing collages by Bryan Collier which received the 2002 Illustrator Honor.

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

We haven’t seen much snow this year.  For some people that’s just fine. But,  without snow there would be no sledding! Without snow there would be no snowmen! With out snow there would be no snowballs! There are many fun things we would miss without snow .So for those of us who love the snow I say Let it snow! For those  who  would rather appreciate the snow from the warmth of your house click here for  Make A Flake   or click here for  Popular Front Snowdays  and make a snowflake of your own.

-Miss Chris

CSK Author: Walter Dean Myers

This month, the Librarian of Congress named Walter Dean Myers the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.  He is also a five time Coretta Scott King Award winner and seven time honoree for young adult fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  (The poetry often features illustrations by his son Christopher Myers, an award-winner in his own right.)  His books have also earned the Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature and multiple Newbery Honors, among other awards.  He is best known for what is often called “urban lit,” which he has been writing since the 1970s and which was a major focus of the interview I heard on the radio this morning.  In addition to these stories about contemporary city life, he is known for his war stories and his research into unusual historical topics.  His stories for younger children are less well-known, but Me, Mop and the Moondance Kid often makes lists of recommended books for adopted children.

New Year, New Passwords

The New Year is a great time to change your password!  Here are a few tips from The Daring Librarian:


The Impact of Ezra Jack Keats and the Impact of Awards


We’re about to try something new at the library and bring a little more attention to the Coretta Scott King Book Awards with some special events.  These are prestigious awards especially for African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults.

There has been some debate about whether it is necessary to have awards that focus on a specific ethnic group.  It might seem unfair to have awards that not everyone is eligible to win.

As we consider those issues, I think it is helpful to look at the history of children’s book publishing and children’s book awards.  What prompted the creation of the Coretta Scott King Awards?  What books were being published before and after the awards were established?

Today, since the weather just started to get snowy, I’m going to share the article Recognizing the Impact of Ezra Jack Keats by Rocco Staino that recently appeared in American Libraries Magazine.  This is a glimpse of the period before the CSK Awards, 50 years ago.

The Snowy Day

Staino’s statement that Keats was “the first author/illustrator to depict an African-American protagonist in a full-color picture book” is not quite as outrageous as it might first appear, if you keep the qualifier “full-color” in mind.  The older, and still well-loved, Goodnight Moon alternates full color spreads with black and white ones.  A few years after The Snowy Day earned Keats the Caldecott Medal, Sam, Bangs & Moonshine won the same award with illustrations in black, white, and  brown.  Full color picture books became more common as picture book technology progressed.

Henrietta M. Smith wrote an interesting background piece on African American Children’s Books in The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators.  In her descriptions on children’s books with African American characters and books by Black authors from the 1930s through the 1970s, I can’t find a mention of any picture books predating The Snowy Day that weren’t marred by stereotypes (though she mentions books of other types, such as poetry collections, primers, nonfiction, and children’s novels).  Librarians such as Augusta Baker actively encouraged building collections of books with appealing illustrations of Black children.  Evidently, finding good titles for the picture book section was particularly difficult.

Staino quotes another author, Anita Silvery, observing that “Because a wide range of libraries bought copies, often The Snowy Day was the only title that children saw for years to feature a child of color.”  The character Peter was important to children of color (African American or not) who rarely saw themselves mirrored in picture books.  Caucasian kids like me, growing up in the snowy Midwest, could also see ourselves in the little boy doing all the things small children do in the snow.  The only thing that was unfamiliar to me was that Peter “called to his friend from across the hall,” and as a child I had not yet lived in an apartment.

Living in an apartment would have been familiar to Ezra Jack Keats, who was born in Brooklyn.  As a child I had just sort of assumed he was Black, and it was only as a librarian that I learned he came from a family of Jewish immigrants from Poland.  In a way, his own background inspired him to create stories like The Snowy Day, or an earlier story with a Spanish-speaking character, My Dog is Lost!  The Jewish Museum, hosting the exhibit The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats, provides the following description on its website:

Keats’s experience of antisemitism and poverty in his youth gave him a lifelong sympathy for others who suffered prejudice and want. “If,” he once remarked, “we all could really see (‘see’ as perceive, understand, discover) each other exactly as the other is, this would be a different world.”

When The Snowy Day was first published, African American writers and artists were not finding very many opportunities to get published as children’s book authors and illustrators.  In 1969 two school librarians, concerned that no African Americans had yet won the Newbery or Caldecott awards, decided to create a new award that would highlight their work.  The new Coretta Scott King Award helped change children’s book publishing, making more books by and about African Americans available to children.