Monday, October 8, 2012

Super Saturdays at the Library

After a long week at school (and work), come relax at the Urbana Free Library's Children's Department on Saturday. Read a book, play a board game, have fun on the computer, or enjoy one of our special Saturday programs. Saturday is when we offer our multicultural storytimes (in conjuction with the University of Illinois). This month, we have Spanish Storytime and Slavic Storytime. In the last year, we have also had Russian Storytime, Korean Storytime, and Middle East Storytime. Next month, we will have an India Storytime. If you like to draw, come to our free Art Lessons for Children that is offered once a month/every month on Saturday. And, every Saturday afternoon, we have Chess Club for Kids. In addition to our multicultural storytimes, art lessons, and chess club, we offer "extra" Saturday programs. For example, recently we had Create with Maisy and Zany Zoo Storytime. And, on Oct. 13, we will have Tom's Treasure Hunt . So, come learn about a new culture, create and  draw, play chess, and enjoy our beautiful Children's Department.     Janet R.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Rest of Our Favorites This Year (So Far)

So far we have looked at our favorite Picture, Nonfiction, and Fiction books.  But that's not the only things in the library.  Oh no!  For our fourth and final look at the items the children's department loved this year, we are focusing on the books and other things that don't quite fit into the other three categories.  Poems, beginning readers, and movies all make the cut of the best.

Miss Rachel

 My Friend is Sad
by Mo Willems
Kids LOVE this book about Piggie trying to cheer up his best friend, an elephant named Gerald.
E easy to read WILLEMS

Miss Elaine

Bake, Mice, Bake!
by Eric Seltzer
An interesting plot, easy, repeated words, and darling illustrations that have a lot of kid appeal.  It doesn't get much better than that in early easy readers!
E pb easy to read SELTZER

Miss Shih-Mei

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
by Marilyn Singer
Each poem, when read from top to bottom, tells a fairy tale - and then, from top to bottom, the same tale from a different perspective.  Accompanied by beautiful illustrations, these ingenious poems put a new twist on the old favorites.
J / 811.54 SIN

Miss Lora

This movie is a neat re-telling of the Rapunzel story.  The animation is great and just wait 'til you meet the horse, Maximus.

Miss Lauren

The Muppets
Both adults and kids will love the Muppets' adventure to reclaim their old theater.  Adults will enjoy all the 80s references and there is plenty of the kiddy humor and re-purposed modern music that the Muppets are famous for.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Looking for a Great Children's Book?

When you are looking for a great children's book, go to the Urbana Free Library's website and click on "For Children", then "Books". We have a plethora of bibliographies to help you find the books you are looking for. We have the "Caldecott Medal" list which is the award for the best illustrated children's book of the year. And for older children, we have the "Newbery Medal" list of the best written children's books. Also, we have the current year's list of Bluestem, Monarch, and Rebecca Caudill nominees (which many local schools require their students to read). We also have a host of bibliographies on many different topics. For younger children, we have "Toddler Books", "Picture Books - Librarians' Favorites", "Potty Time", and "New Baby in the Family" lists. For older children, we have "First Chapter Books", "Fantastic Fantasies", "Superheroes", and "Getting Ready for Middle School". Plus, we have several lists of books recommended by children just like you, and you can submit a review of book you would recommend, too. There are many more bibliographies on a wide variety of topics on our website under "For Children", then "Books". So, check it out!              Janet R.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Favorite Fiction Books this Year (So Far)

Part Three of the favorite books the children's department has read in 2012 is all about fiction.  Anything can happen in the land of fiction; girls can fly, robots save the world, or things can seem almost completely normal.  So kick your imaginations into over-drive and lets dive into the wacky world of made up stories.

Miss Rachel

Rust Vol 1: Visitor in the Field
by Roydenn Lepp
Amazing graphic novel with historic 1950's feel.
J / 741.5 / LEP

Miss Elaine

The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place)
by Maryrose Wood
Told from the perspective of the fifteen-year-old governess, Wood continues the story of the Incorrigible Children, who have an unfortunate proclivity towards chasing squirrels.  Unsolved mysteries continue to grow, so the reader is beginning to think something sinister is going on.  I can't wait to read the third one that just came out.

Miss Shih-Mei

by Joke van Leeuwen
An interesting and heart-warming story explores the conflict between individual freedom and the togetherness of family and friends.

Miss Lora

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
by W. R. Philbrick
Homer tells more than a few "tall tales" when he sets off on adventure to find his brother who has been sold into service during the Civil War.  This story reminds me of Mark Twain's tales of mischievous boys, Huck and Tom.

Miss Lauren

Anything but Typical
by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Autistic twelve-year-old, Jason's biggest worry is if his online friend will turn into his online girlfriend after they meet in real life at a young writer's convention.  Jason is easy to relate to and his words provide a clear picture of what it is like for him to grow up different from those around him.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Announcing Fall Performances!

Percussionist Rocky Maffit  
September begins a new season for Prairie Breezes Mini Concerts for Kids.  This is a children's music series designed to introduce children to live, quality musical performances, most often occuring on the second Friday of the month from 4:15-5:00 p.m. in the Lewis Auditorium.  Percussionist Rocky Maffit will kick-off the season on Friday, September 14 with "The Rhythm is YOU!" featuring percussion instruments from around with world that can be shaken, struck, slapped or scraped.  Rocky interweaves playing and demonstration with song and audience participation.  In October, The Derek Cordoba Jazz Trio - Derick Cordoba (guitar), Olivia Flanigan (vocals) and Michael Meadows (acoustic bass) - brings swinging rhythms and irresistible melodies together for jazz favorites from the great American songbook.  As the weather turns colder, come inside to enjoy the warming tunes of the Big Bluestem String Band on Friday, November 9.  Bringing toe-tapping traditional American music to this concert will be Kathleen Everingham (fiddle), Rebecca Grosser (guitar), Jose Agusti (guitar), Drew Phillips (mandolin), Randy Cordle (banjo), and Todd Kinney (bass).  Then just in time for the winter holidays, join us on Friday, December 14 for a performance of harp music and Irish dance by the Caengal Harp Ensemble, an energetic group of youth harpists from the Next Generation School, and founded by Leila Ramagopal.  We hope you are excited as we are to hear these great performers.  We look forward to seeing you!  -Elaine B.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Round Two!

Round Two!

A year ago we held our first chess tournament, a fun and exciting event which encouraged many kids to continue playing chess. Now we are ready for round two, this Labor Day weekend, on Saturday, September 1, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Just like last year, we will have 30 beginner players, divided into 3 groups according to grade: K-1st, 2nd-3rd and 4th-5th, and 12 advanced players. Each player will have chance to play 5 games, and the results will determine three prize winners from each group. The winners will each receive a free book!

Tournament seats are limited and will be assigned on a first come first serve basis - so register now! Stop by the children’s reference desk to pick up a form, or download this form  and turn it in before August 28th.

Whatever your skill level, this is a chance for you to have fun with other kids who are also enthusiastic about chess. If you are curious about chess but have never played before, we have plenty of books, CDs, and DVDs for you to delve into: check out our chess material bibliography here. Once you understand the basic rules, you are welcome to come by the Children’s Department to join the Chess for Kids program every Saturday afternoon from 4 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. At Chess for Kids, you can always find another kid to play with, or you can learn more advanced concepts from our high school volunteers.

Win or lose, the game of chess is about sportsmanship and having fun. So join us, whether it's for the tournament or weekly games or both - come play chess!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Children's Magazines

The Urbana Free Library Children's Department has over  40 magazines on a wide variety of topics. We have several nature/animal magazines including : "National Geographic for Little Kids", "Ranger Rick", "Big Backyard", "Zoobooks", and "Dig". If you're interested in science, check out "Ask" or "Kids Discover". Also, get your creative juices flowing with "Creative Kids" and "Stone Soup" - both of which include writings submitted by kids. Several "boy" oriented magazines that we have include : "Amazing Spiderman", Sports Illustrated for Kids", "Scooby Doo", and "Junior Baseball". For girls, we offer "American Girl", "Disney Princess", "Kiki", and "Sparkle World". And, for our youngest patrons, we have "Baby Bug" and "Wild Animal Baby".  So, whatever your interests are, we have a magazine for you. Check one out the next time you're at the Urbana Free Library Children's Department.               Janet R.