Monday, December 29, 2014

Checking out "Big Books" from the Library

If you’ve ever been to an early literacy program at the library or in a school classroom (or if you cast your mind back to your own childhood!) you’ve probably seen examples of “big books” – oversized versions of (usually favorite) picture books. 

We use big books in group settings for obvious reasons: primarily, that the oversized illustrations and print make it easier for large groups of children to see the pictures and make connections between the printed words and the words that are spoken. But many of the libraries in Rock County, including Eager Free PL, have big books available for checkout, too.

Why take home a big book? The oversized nature of these books can make “normal” family reading time exciting, especially if it’s a big version of a favorite title. Here are some ways to use big books at home:
  • Talk about the cover of the big book. Is this a book you’ve read before, maybe one that you even have at home? What’s on the cover, and based on that, what do you think the book is about
  • Encourage children to practice turning the pages of the big book (have very young children help you turn the pages to protect them from tearing).
  • Run your finger along under the words as you read them to help establish “left to right” as a print convention.

Find Big Books at Eager Free Public Library (links to RockCat, the library’s online catalog).
Find Big Books at Hedberg Public Library (links to RockCat, the library’s online catalog).

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Best Books" Lists to Help You Find Your Next Book

A great thing about the end of the year is all of the “Best of 2014” lists that come out! Here, in no particular order and with no particular agenda, is a roundup of some “Best Books” lists for you, should you be in need of something good to read in early 2015.

Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emily Laybourne 
Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten – editors for this review publication pull a “top ten” from the 9,000+ titles they reviewed this year, highlighting five fiction and five non-fiction titles.

NPR’s Maureen Corrigan couldn’t commit to just 10, so here are her “Top 12” favorite titles for 2014.

The editors of the New York Times Book Review also came out with their choices for the top ten books of the year, including fiction and nonfiction.

For the young readers in your household, check out the top-ranked titles in a variety of categories from School Library Journal – a whopping 70 titles made up their “best of 2014” list.

And finally, let’s not forget about the young adults – the Teens’ Top Ten from 2014 is a list that is voted on by teens from around the country.

Visit RockCat to find these “best books” at a Rock County library today!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hands-On Activity Books

Looking for some fun activity books to occupy your time over winter break this year? Check out this list of entertaining, hands-on guides to keep your family busy this winter!

Checkerboard How-To Library: Cool Art with Math and Science - these guides are a fun way to explore STEM and STEAM learning in a hands-on, accessible way.

Great American Artists for Kids: hands-on art experiences in the styles of great American masters by MaryAnn F. Kohl - learn about art-making and history at the same time with this book of hands-on explorations.

Hands-on Art: more than 100 delightful, skill-building ideas and activities for early learners by Jean R. Feldman - great early art education resource especially for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Let’s Try it Out with Towers and Bridges: hands-on early learning science activities by Seymour Simon and Nicole Fauteax - building and engineering activities for young learners.

Hands-on America series by Jennifer Quasha - if you love American history in your family, try out this series that pairs hands-on projects and activities with various eras and phenomena in American history, such as the Gold Rush and the Westward Expansion.

Hands-on series by Yvonne Young Merrill - this series of hands-on books explores cultures and historical periods on an international scale.

Knights and Castles: 50 hands-on activities to experience the Middle Ages by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell - projects that aide in the exploration of medieval history, such as creating a catapult, coat of arms, and more.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Books for Snowy Days

Even though we haven't had a ton of snow yet this year, we all know we're bound to get some eventually! Books about weather and seasons are a fantastic way to connect what you're seeing outside your windows with the stories you're reading. We'll be reading some of these in upcoming library story times, but they're fun to share one-on-one too.

Here's a nice roundup of books about snow from No Time for Flashcards, as well as seasonal books from the Cooperative Children's Book Center at UW-Madison (check out their Winter section!).

Monday, December 1, 2014

Funny Picture Books

This post brought to you by Emily Koel, intern at Eager Free Public Library this fall!

Are you a parent who reads to your kids? Do you and your children love funny stories? I know that I still love a picture book with a silly story. Here are some picture books that might make you and your child laugh together.

This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris

I am Cow, Hear Me Moo by Jill Esbaum

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak

Up, Tall and High by Ethan Long

It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Weasels by Elys Dolan

He Came with the Couch by David Slonim

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Picture from