Book Review: Booked by Kwame Alexander

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Elizabeth. You’ll find Miss Elizabeth sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at one of our branches. She shares her review of the book Booked by Kwame Alexander for tweens.

Image result for booked by kwame alexanderNewbery Medal Winner Kwame Alexander brings home the gold with another brilliant piece for tweens.  Booked is written in verse, making it a quick read and perfect for reluctant readers. 

Eighth grader Nick eats, sleeps, and breathes soccer, but his family and teachers want him to broaden his horizons.  His father insists Nick expand his vocabulary to better educate himself, and forces Nick to study the dictionary.  The school librarian, lovingly nicknamed The Mac, encourages Nick to join Book Club.  Nick complies and even learns to enjoy reading, vocabulary, and linguistics, but soccer is still his passion. 

Booked provides smooth, flowing verse, the topic of sports to peak one’s interest, and even vocabulary words are thrown into the mix!


Book Review: The Seventh Wish

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Elizabeth. You’ll find Miss Elizabeth sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at one of our branches. She shares her review of the book The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner.

seventhwishHave you ever made a wish?

Some people may wish on a shooting star, while others are granted wishes from genies in bottles.  But what if you could make a wish on a fish?

In Kate Messner’s newest book, The Seventh Wish, seventh grader Charlie discovers a unique fish while out on the ice.  The fish offers to grant wishes so long as Charlie releases it back into the water.  While Charlie intends to use her wishes to help her friends and family, things don’t go according to plan.  Charlie soon learns it’s sometimes best to create your own outcomes instead of waiting for a fish wish to come to fruition.

Geared toward tweens, this story has some serious situations but weaves through the details thoughtfully

Homemade Monday: Puzzle of Opposites

Here’s a new way to look at any of those wooden/board puzzles you might have in your toy chest, closet, or playroom floor your children are tired of putting together.


Instead of putting the puzzles together based on the actual picture on the front of each piece, write and/or draw opposite pairs on each piece and the board onto which they fit. Turn the pieces so they are face side down. Then your children can match the opposites.

New Location, New Playspace

Today’s post was written by our Children’s Librarian Miss Elizabeth and highlights the children’s area in our new location.

If you haven’t heard yet, our Jackson Township branch has a new temporary location at Nobles Pond. It has only been open for a week, but the new children’s section already has patrons raving.

The best toy so far seems to be the heat-sensitive board that enables children to draw with their fingertips, or even leave their handprints on the board.

Puppets, LEGO blocks, and the AWE Early Learning Station made their way over to our new location as well.

Colorful book displays are currently full of back-to-school books, so stop in and pick some up or reserve your favorites now!

Book Review: Pete the Cat’s Got Class

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Elizabeth. You’ll find Miss Elizabeth sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at one of our branches. She shares her review of the book Pete the Cat’s Got Class by James Dean.

51Zg+cghrYL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_It’s the perfect read for children as they are preparing to head back to school.

Pete heads to math class in this story, which is one of his favorite subjects. He’s such a great mathematician that he volunteers to help his classmate Tom learn to add and subtract using Tom’s favorite toy, racing cars. Using something of great interest to learn a new task was successful! Maybe Pete will grow up to be a teacher?

Be sure to checkout this book at your local library, and let your librarian know how you liked it!

Tall Blocks, Small Animals

Books become more meaningful when you can expand the story to a hands-on activity. Here is one extension activity you can do with very little supplies.


You’ll need to read the book Tall by Jez Alborough. (Hint: Stop by your local library and pick up a copy if you don’t own it.) Tall is about a few jungle animals who help a little monkey feel taller than he really is. This is a great book with very few words. You can use the illustrations to talk about what is happening on each page.

Next, get out the blocks or the LEGOs. You will also need a couple small animals or action figures. Now let your child’s imagination go wild. Let he/she build towers as tall as can be (just make sure no one is on the other side in case it falls!). When he/she is done building, place the small animal on top of the tower. Just how tall can the tower be before it falls over? Experiment with different shapes.

This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about the tower he/she is building. Ask questions like how tall do you think it can go before it will fall? What kind of tower is it? Why is the animal or action figure climbing so high? What is it the animal is trying to see?

Try to avoid yes/no questions as they require no other answer. To help expand your child’s vocabulary and comprehension of the story, you want to ask open ended questions.

Credit for activity idea: Teach Preschool.

Float or Sink?

The key to teaching your child throughout the summer months is to sneak in learning experiences while they are having fun. For instance, whether you are swimming at the pool, splashing in a water table, or simply getting ready for bath time, why not play a game of sink or float?


First, you’ll need to gather together a few items. Make sure you have a mix of light and heavy objects. Also, try using two of the same materials in different forms. In my example, I used a ball of foil and compared it to a flat piece of foil. (In my example, we just used a bucket with water tinted a light shade of blue just to see it better.)

Once you have your objects, let your child guess what will happen with each object. Will it sink or float? Don’t forget to ask why! This is a key component as you expand their vocabulary. You can just sort the items in piles.

Now for the fun. Let your child start dropping the objects in the water. Talk about what he or she thought might happen versus what actually happened. Talk about why the objects sunk to the bottom or floated on the top.

By sneaking in a few fun activities while your child is enjoying his/her summer, you are helping to shorten that summer slide and get him/her back on track faster when school rolls around again.

Don’t forget to comment below with the objects you tested!


Practicing Pinching

It’s important at an early age for children to exercise their hand muscles. Those are the muscles that will help them grip a pencil, hold and grab objects, use scissors, open packages, etc. Below if a fun activity you can do on a rainy day or even on the front porch on a sunny day to help exercise and strengthen those muscles.


You will need the following items:

  • Clothes pins or tweezers/small tongs
  • pompoms of varying sizes
  • two containers

Label the containers BIG and SMALL. Mix together all of the pompoms. Let your child start picking up the pompoms with the clothes pin or tongs by pinching it. Release the pompom in the correct container.

This activity teaches opposites, strengthens the pinching (fine motor) muscles, and helps increase vocabulary. You can talk to your child about the different sizes and colors of the pompoms, substituting words like large, tiny, huge, etc. for big and small.

As a variation, you could use objects you find outside like leaves, flower petals, stones and pebbles, sticks, etc.