Category Archives: Web resources

What to do when kids are scared & worried

Here are a few tried-and-true books for kids and resources for parents to help deal with violence and upsetting news.

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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.

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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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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.

Someone also shared an article from PBS Parents that was new to me, How to Help Kids Feel Safe After Tragedy, which is a quick read and has simple, practical suggestions.

That time a nun read my kindergarten class Oscar Wilde

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Sister Catherine was awesome. Sister Catherine taught me how to read, and my phone number, and what prayer meant and the beginnings of self-control.

She read to us. Two books I particularly remember were Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and The Selfish Giant. Because she was a Sister and it was kindergarten, it was kind of a shock to me as an adult when I realized that anyone might consider either of those books controversial.

Sylvester, like a lot of children’s books, features animal characters acting like people. The main character is a donkey and when he mysteriously disappears, his family calls the police. The controversy over this book, published in 1969, is that the police are depicted as pigs.

It’s hard to describe “The Selfish Giant” without giving away the ending, but on one level it’s a fairy tale and on another it has Christian symbolism. It’s considered a classic and has been included in anthologies such as A Treasury for Six Year Olds, The Children’s Book of Faith, and Easter Treasures.

I guess I didn’t really think about who the author was until (at a previous job) someone questioned my classifying the book with some other Christian fiction. My first thought was that someone might have stripped the story of the more explicitly religious elements while adapting it to picture book format. But as I thought more about it, I realized that the the person who raised the issue might really have been objecting less to the actual book and more to who the author was.

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Because if you ask, “Who was Oscar Wilde?” the answer usually includes these elements: he was a writer, he was known for his flamboyant personality, and he was imprisoned for homosexual acts. But because of Sister Catherine, his notoriety isn’t the first thing I think of. The Selfish Giant is still a book I put out on display at Easter time every year (and I was upset when our last picture book version of it got lost last year and relieved when it reappeared on the shelf this spring).

When I was asked to pick some books for the GLBT Book Month display in the lobby, I thought of some of the classic, much-loved authors who fall into this category. I actually forgot to put any Langston Hughes books in last year’s display, but several artists have recently made beautiful picture books by illustrating his poetry. I’m also planning to feature books by Hans Christian Andersen, whose fairy tales are even better known than Oscar Wilde’s.

The resources for GLBT Book Month include tools to find books by contemporary authors. The Stonewall Book Awards and the Rainbow Book List can help you find books with characters who are gay, or gender-fluid, or living in a diverse community or just figuring things out. The display will have something– old or new– for everybody.

 

 

 

Comforting Reads for Difficult Times

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The Association for Library Service to Children has released a new list of recommended books called Comforting Reads for Difficult Times, which you can download and print here:
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In addition to suggested books for different ages on topics like depression, resilience and violence, ALSC also suggests resources for adults. These books, articles and websites provide additional book suggestions and advice on topics like talking to children about the news.

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.