Category Archives: Web resources

New Spanish books and new Spanish blog

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Thanks to a tip from a wonderful teacher, we were able to stop at a local book fair and pick up a box full of great new children’s books in Spanish!  They will be added to the collection soon.  If you would like to stay up-to-date on library programs and new books in Spanish, check out Fountaindale’s new OYE blog.  This Spanish language blog will have information for children and adults on library services, events, and new items in our collection.

On your marks, get set, go!

Are you planning to follow the Iditarod in your classroom?  Did you know that there is a whole Iditarod education web page?  It includes lesson plans for teachers and fun materials like coloring pages for students.

Are you looking for some stories about mushers and sled dogs?  The Iditarod education page includes recommended books about the Iditarod and Alaska.  Debbie Reese, blogging at American Indians in Children’s Literature, recently recommended a series of picture books about an Inuit boy named Jake and his puppy, Kamik.

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Kamik’s First Sled adapted from the memories of Matilda Sulurayok, illustrated by Qin Leng
Jake’s puppy Kamik is growing quickly, but the dog isn’t becoming any easier to handle. All Jake wants is to raise his puppy into a strong, fast sled dog, but Kamik is far from ready to pull a sled with a dog team. With some advice and a little help from his grandmother, Jake learns basic principles of how to begin training a dog to pull. Kamik finally has his first sled, and he and Jake can finally begin exploring the tundra together. But Jake and Kamik are still inexperienced, and when a blizzard starts blowing in across the tundra, Jake has to rely on his knowledge to get home. Inspired by the life memories of the author, an Inuit elder, this book lovingly presents basic dog-rearing practices that even the youngest dog lover can try.

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Kamik Joins the Pack adapted from the memories of Darryl Baker; illustrated by Qin Leng
Jake cannot wait for his uncle to meet Kamik, and to see what an obedient puppy he is becoming! Jake’s uncle is a great musher, who has won many dogsledding races, and if Kamik is good enough Jake hopes today might be the day that Kamik finally gets to run with a dog team!

It’s the first day of early voting!

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Are you talking about the election in your family or classroom? We have many online resources you can access with your Fountaindale library card that you might enjoy sharing with your children. These can be found in alphabetical order by going to fountaindale.org and clicking on Find It! Select Online Resources and scroll down for each of the following.

BookFlix pairs classic animated storybooks with related nonfiction. A Read Aloud feature enables children choose whether to listen to the stories or read the books themselves. Books are aimed at preschool through the primary grades. Three sets of books introduce youngsters to the democratic process: Duck for President and Election Day; Madam President and What Does the President Do?; Otto Runs for President and Let’s Vote on It.

The books on TrueFlix are aimed at third through fifth grades. They, too, have the Read Aloud feature. Each includes a video, follow up activities, and projects. Among the titles in the U.S. Government section are several of particular interest in this election year: The Presidency, Voting, The Congress, The Supreme Court, and The Bill of Rights.

Upper elementary and middle school students will find the FreedomFlix eBooks useful. Each title is accompanied by video, a project, and related websites. Our Democracy books include: The Branches of U.S. Government, Citizenship, The Democratic Process, Forms of Government, The Supreme Court, The U.S. Constitution, Women’s Right to Vote, The Bill of Rights, and American Capitalism.

At Scholastic Go! find a wealth of material on Election 2016 from the latest news to a section on the road to the White House and an Electoral Challenge game. The developers of the site state, “Our engaging news articles get kids hooked on the nonfiction reading they’ll do their whole lives as they become informed, active citizens. There is no bigger news story in the Unites States than the election of a president. And there is no better opportunity to engage kids in our democratic process.”

Tough topics for any age

I can hardly imagine what it’s like to be a preschool-to-primary teacher right now trying to plan a lesson on some of the typical beginning of the year curriculum topics.

“All about me”: I describe myself.  My classmates describe themselves.  We talk about similarities and differences.

“Community helpers”: We learn about the people who work in our community, like the police.

Whether you’re a parent, a student, or a teacher you may be having a really hard time this week as you watch the news (or react to grown-ups watching the news).  I’m certainly seeing this among family and friends.  While I don’t have easy answers, I want to share what we have at the library.  We have some books to help you talk to children about scary things in the news, general resources for coping with stress, and old favorite books and movies if you decide to take a break from news or social media and just gather together as a family.

I really don’t know of any children’s books that talk about contemporary police shootings.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has an online collection of resources at http://www.tolerance.org/racism-and-police-violence to help with discussing the topic and help make students feel safe and supported so they can learn.  We have books at the library that can help you talk to children about race and racism.

We have also helped recommend books for a police officer who was visiting a classroom and wanted to read aloud to the students.  (He wanted funny books.  I asked if his feelings would be hurt if I suggested something with donuts?  The answer was no, and he did check out a doughnut story.)  We have funny picture books and simple factual books about police.  Whatever you need, we will do our best to help you find it.

We must be kind to one another

Saturday I was moving materials in and out of the Vortex for the library’s hardworking teen volunteers.  I noticed the teen department had a display for GLBT Book Month and thought to myself that I really needed to get it together and make a display for our department already…

IMG_0675[1]and then the next day I caught a couple of headlines before work, and by the time I had a chance to read a little further it had become clear that there had been a terrible shooting targeting the gay community in Orlando, committed by a man with some kind of association with ISIS.

I’ve already shared the best resources I know for talking with children about scary things in the news.  Today I want to share some resources for talking with young people about tolerance and about extremism.

One of the most thoughtful people addressing this topic is Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core.   Living in the Chicago area, you have probably heard him interviewed.  This is from the introduction to his book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation:

This is a book about how some young people become champions of religious pluralism while others become the foot soldiers of religious totalitarianism.  Its thesis is simple: influences matter, programs count, mentors make a difference, institutions leave their mark.  When we look back in the lives of young religious terrorists, we find a web of individuals and organizations that shaped them.  These young killers are not, for the most part, dramatically deranged individuals.  They are kids who fell into murderously manipulative hands. …And then we should ask: why weren’t the hands of people who care about pluralism shaping that kid instead of the hands of religious totalitarians?

He writes about people from a variety of backgrounds who have fallen into extremism, as well as his model for people of different faiths learning and serving together.  It’s a good book for any adult who cares about young people.

The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook is a title that is focused on individuals rather than an interfaith movement.  I’m listing it because it offers basic information (an important alternative to online searches), is inclusive (taking the approach that it’s OK for people to disagree), and contains advice for how to “avoid extremism, fanaticism, radicalism, and other pesky ‘isms’.”

Not My Kid: 21 Steps to Raising a Nonviolent Child has advice for any parent who worries about children living in a violent world.  There is practical advice on raising children and preventing violence, and specific information on what behavior might be a sign that a child needs professional help.

Two organizations that are well known for identifying and opposing hate groups are the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.  They offer tools for Education and Outreach and Teaching Tolerance.  (A bonus this time of year is that in addition to resources for the school curriculum, there are also resources for summer camp.)

PFLAG is another well-known organization, offering support through local chapters to “LGBTQ individuals, family members and allies.”  They are a good first place to look for information, resources, and community.

The GLBT Book Month link above has some resources for finding recommended books (“authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community”) including the Stonewall Book Awards List (which includes fiction and nonfiction for adults, children, and young adults) and the Rainbow Book List, which has titles for children and teens.  The Horn Book Magazine also featured an article not long ago about Maurice Sendak, Arnold Lobel, James Marshall, Remy Charlip, and Tomie de Paola, five gay men who created beloved picture books.

It can be hard to talk to children about difficult and scary topics.  But it’s important to make a start, to keep talking, and sometimes to get advice from other people who are also working to make their world a better place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace begins at home

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I hate to use sentences like, “It’s time to get out the post-mass shooting books for the children again,” but it’s time to get out the post-mass shooting books for the children again.  There’s been an awful lot of violence of all kinds in the news lately, and it may be hard for children and families to handle.

The American Psychological Association has a link on its front page right now for “Managing your distress in the aftermath of a shooting.”  If you follow it, there is a related article on How to talk to children about difficult news and tragedies  (with links to even more resources–including some helpful guidelines specific to children of different ages– at the end).

If you want some books to help with the discussion, these are ones that I recommend again and again (arranged by recommended age, from youngest to oldest).

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The Moon Came Down on Milk Street by Jean Gralley
You’ve probably seen a quote attributed to Mr. Rogers about his mom telling him, when he saw something scary, to “look for the helpers.”  That’s this book in a nutshell, as firefighters and rescue dogs and other helpers put things right after a disaster.

More general in their scope, but also helpful, are Aliki’s books Feelings and Communication. These are good titles for opening up discussion between children and parents, and I’ve recommended them in a variety of situations.

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Sometimes Bad Things Happen by Ellen Jackson
Mentions some of the bad things that happen in the world and presents some positive ways to respond to them.

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And God Cried, Too: A Kid’s Book of Healing and Hope by Marc Gellman
The angel Gabriel helps Mikey, an angel-in-training, to understand why bad things happen for what seems to be no reason and how to hold on to hope and faith during difficult times.

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Bad Stuff in the News: A Guide to Handling the Headlines by Marc Gellman and Thomas Hartman; pictures by Meredith Pratt
Discusses how such problems as terrorism, child abuse, natural disasters, violence in sports, and hate crimes are reported in the media and some things that individuals can do to address these problems.

It’s a little dated now, but Media Madness: An Insider’s Guide to Media is a helpful tool for introducing the idea of thinking critically about what you see and hear.

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What to Do When You’re Scared & Worried: A Guide for Kids by James J. Crist
This self-help guide has lots of practical and specific advice about how kids can handle their fears.

Build your own monster trap

Just in time for Halloween, Audri demonstrates how to build your own Rube Goldberg device for trapping a monster: