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National Library Workers Day!
Hey guys! This isn't a holiday most people know about but its SO IMPORTANT! It's National Library Workers Day! Alright so you might not be thinking this is a huge deal BUT librarians, library technicians, and library aides all around the world (right this very second!) are helping someone learn something new, discover a new world, and best of all, to fall in love with reading. If that isn't enough for you - Why you should love libraries: 1. Libraries serve a vital social service by helping bridge social gaps. No matter what your background is, if you have access to a library, you have access to literacy and computer training. They give you resources to learn as well as people to teach you! 2. Libraries have been around for 5,000 years. They contain a TON of info as well as trained people to help you find whatever you're looking for. 3. Libraries can act as safe havens for students at school. For those with anxiety or for those who do not feel comfortable around their peers, the library is a peaceful escape. 4. Libraries provide support for job seekers via free access to the internet to search for and respond to job applications, and by helping them to improve their employability skills. Among a thousand reasons why you should be proud of library workers, I'm especially fond of this day because my mom is a public school library tech! She worked at the elementary and middle school levels and has been changing kids lives for almost a decade! (Actually, maybe more than a decade?!) It was her dream job since she was little and even though it took her a while, she finally got her own library :) Look! She's even holding a ridiculously large book as a small child! She is never without a book in her hand, car, or purse haha! (But really that's a bible my grandpa had to swear on to become fire chief, but that's besides the point) Also, my mom has a Tardis in her school library. PLUS! She puts in the extra effort to keep her library up with the times. That means focusing part of the small budget on graphic novels since that has proven to be the best way to get middle school boys excited about reading. Or focusing on responsible internet use, how to do research on and offline, and of course, how to find the books you won't want to put down! So if you see or know someone who works or volunteers in a library, thank them for everything they do!
Raising Sharp Readers
Here's an excellent article by Colby and Aliana Sharp, about how they are raising their three (soon to be four) children as readers. Colby is a founding member of The Nerdy Book Club, and I've followed his blog for years, but this insight into how he and his wife foster a love of reading at home provides great tips to share with parents. I've always believed surrounding children with books makes it inevitable that they will explore them, even if they can't read them yet. Corralling them on a single bookcase means books are easier to overlook. Remember, books are competing in most houses for attention. Leave them everywhere--they're not clutter, they're decor:) Be a reader yourself. One of my friends, an avid reader and book reviewer, remembers her mother stirring a pot with a book in her hand. Dinner was often overcooked, but reading was established as something very important! For some of us, local bookstores are a thing of the past, but the internet can allow you to connect your child with authors, keep up to date on new releases, and yes, seek out those elusive author visits, even if you have to drive a bit. Other tips that Colby and Aliana share include giving books as gifts (that's all I send my nieces and nephews. Scour the end of the year best book lists if you're not familiar with new children's books, or give classics that you enjoyed.) Also, frequent visits to the library to ensure you have a great selection--our library allows unlimited checkouts, and I love seeing a child carrying a large sack of books out the door. While you're at the library, be sure to explore all there is on offer--let your children pick out CDs or videos, play with puzzles or toys, etc. Our library has an outdoor space connected to the children's library. Believe me, creating positive memories about the library don't just have to involve books, but they will get kids back in the door when they're older! There are several other interesting tips in this article, so be sure to read it in its entirety, then share with parents with young ones.
Board Books for Babies and Toddlers
Babies are going to chew on books. They have done so since the dawn of, well, books, I guess! Here are some adorable board books that are also reasonably priced, because as much as you want to treasure your child's beloved books, saving one that's been gummed to pieces just isn't appealing. Once they are past the chewing stage, almost all of these are available in hardcover or paperback, too. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is a beautiful story for bedtime. Repeated reading will be requested! Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann will bring out the giggles. It's virtually wordless, and your child will delight in reading the story through the illustrations. Where Is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox is a perennial favorite. The rhyming text will have your toddler asking "Where?" and delightedly pointing out the green sheep to you. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin Jr. is another simple rhyming text full of Eric Carle's gorgeous collages. A fun way to reinforce colors, too! Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown needs little introduction. A tranquil book at the end of a toddler's busy day, it will also work its calming magic on you! Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton was one of the favorite board books in our house. Silly rhymes and humorous illustrations will have your toddler giggling and asking for multiple re-readings. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault, with Lois Ehlert's illustrations, is a bouncing rhyme of an alphabet book that will stick in your head for days. The simple and bright illustrations will delight toddlers. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is another perennial top 10. Carle's vibrant collages seem to jump off the page, and your toddler will giggle at the caterpillar's appetite, and wonder over the beautiful butterfly he becomes. I've also included a few videos, featuring Eric Carle reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and a read along version of Moo Baa La La La. This is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to board books, so be sure to explore your local bookstore for more!